I get the idea of using metaphors to illustrate a narrative. But there is a difference between that and simply inserting the name of a cool company to make your existing product suddenly feel young and hip. I’ve had countless pitches of this sort: “We’re like Uber, but for dog walkers,” “We’re the Airbnb of supermarkets,” “We’re like Netflix, but for wine lovers.”

So when I got an email from marketing automation company Act-On telling me that it is “bringing the Waze experience to marketing automation,” I bristle a lot. In this case, it is something of a bristle and a chuckle.

You see, Waze is the Israeli startup that was acquired by Google. It built a navigation tool that had a lot of real-time goodness included — Waze would surface traffic delays, accidents and speed cameras on a user’s route. But Waze also never quite succeeded as it wanted to — it didn’t get anything close to global coverage, its UI was (some suggest) clunky and, post-acquisition, it has pretty much been stripped bare and all the cool stuff has been added to Google Maps.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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