Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Wolfram's Target Audience

I am hooked on to Wolfram Alpha. I really think that it rocks and I can't live without it. Some days ago I wanted to bake a bread with my new bread baking machine. But I don't have any scales in the house to weigh the ingredients and the recipe tells me to use 250g of rye flour. But I do have a metric measuring cup. So I typed in density of rye flour and I get 540 g/dm^3 (grams per cubic decimeter) as answer. I know that a decimeter^3 is the same as a litre so a simple division tells me that I need 0.46l or 460ml of rye flour.

Yesterday I was using it for some more mathematical purpose when my eye fell on this ad for the Mathematica software. They use the slogan "One software to rule them all" a modification of a quote from "Lord of the Rings". Of course, my first reaction was "Wow, these guys are cool!" Then I calmed down a bit and started thinking about Wolfram's marketing strategy. My first thought was then replaced by the more sobering thought "Wow, these guys really know their target audience!" I am not really a fan of  marketing people because I think that targeted marketing aims at manipulating people. But funnily enough, in this case, I don't mind. Maybe, deep down, I think that the people who devised this ad had as much fun creating the ad as I have looking at it. But maybe that is exactly what they want me to believe. Maybe the marketing department of Wolfram are just a scheming bunch of cold blooded guys who know exactly what a geek like me would fall for. Maybe they hid the Easter eggs in Wolfram Alpha just to attract those nerds who have nothing better to do than to sit in front of the computer, trying to tease clever answers out of a machine.Well, they have succeeded. I think Mathematica is a great software I have had the pleasure to work with and I think, by making Wolfram Alpha and the Wolfram Integrator available to everyone, they have become more likeable. And yes, I will still waste my time by looking for Easter eggs that have not been posted on the internet yet.

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