I really like this site. Simply a collection of well composed shots by one person of otherwise ordinary bits of our world. Here's a couple of my faves:
more you know, the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you
become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You
realize that nothing is as clear and simple as it first appears.
Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing. Being a man of action, I can't
afford to take that risk. I'm ignorant, but at least I act on it."
-Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes
After yesterday's post you'll be pleased to learn of the matching Tony Blair website to the stationary (well, kind of matching but not as classy.) Technically it is much more than just a website, but "The Office of Tony Blair." Today's question is, are eponymous websites the digital equivalent power tie?
And, can you refer to oneself as "The Office of..." if not a one time world leader or rich?
Referring to this as The Office of Brett Macfarlane doesn't quite have the same oomph as Tony's.
This is sick. This is so so so sick. One of the biggest challenges of film in consumer applications is the lack of depth. Having spent a life time outdoors in ski racing and watching/shooting what has probably amounted to months of video, the lack of translation of real world contour has always been a bit of a nuisance.
3-d has always been an neat idea and elusive beast. I'd rather not wear ill fitting glasses with different colour lens. But lately some neat minds have started to take different approaches to adding multiple dimensions to a mono-dimensional surface - screens.
This hack of Wii which has been floating about is very interesting. But this film below really really blew me away. Let is start playing they click and move with mouse. It's not 3-d it is a spherical 360 degree.
I found this on Ourboros. More details here. Pardon my grade school excitement but man that's sooooo cool.
Now imagine mashing up the DoDeca cam with Wii head tracking and you've got a true virtual reality experience.
The Age of Conversation was an experiment in taking 100 marketing minds of the blogosphere and putting them together to produce a book. They did it, it was published and is grand. Full of great thinking.
Now the second edition is in the works - Age of Conversation 2.0. Your's truly has been tapped to write a chapter. But first the gang needs to decide on a theme. This is where you help out by voting here.
Not to sway you but my vote was for Why People Don't Get It. Thought either of the other two would be good.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about how there has become a lot of confusion in things digital when it comes to marketing. People are confusing what are great business opportunities with great marketing opportunities.
There are a lot of people making money and starting companies all over the digital space, and that's great. But that doesn't mean they are great places for brands to go and try and influence people or try to tell them who they are.
Too many are slapping up logos and contests or trying to become your friend in an effort to try and jump on the next great bandwagon.
But without a story or purpose it just annoys and fails to influence. Or worse, fails to meet expectations.
For instance, Google Adwords is a great transaction driver and has brought new people to spending money in a marketing type activity. But it does nothing to change my view of the brands that use it. It's just a conduit. So while it's a great business opportunity it's not a great brand opportunity. It will help close a transaction but won't help retain or create price premiums. Or make me feel more of a need to buy one brand over another. It's more a giant arrow pointing to the check out.
Or something like that.
I know this thought isn't anything new, and I've yet to work out what I mean by the different between a business opportunity and a brand opportunity, but I'll get there. Until then, go buy the book.
API's, apps, widgets and the like are big news these days. According to some the future of marketing. Want to make your own? Just give this a little tutorial a looksey. It will totally make everything clear, I promise.
Did you watch it? Okay, I lied. Lets focus on solid strategy and great ideas and leave the production to the experts... if there are any out there yet...
Attended a wonderfully refreshing presentation this morning on digital content. It was called the Multi Platform Content Incubator hosted by the local New Media association. Billed as some of the finest examples of cross platform entertainment the globe has to offer.
It was great because there was no dogma about the internet being a big deal. Nobody was trying to convince anyone to spend more online or that everything not digital is doomed. It was focused on content, how it's being created and how it's being applied to different platforms - some old and some new. Here's what some of the speakers covered and my thoughts below.
Brent Friedman - Electric Farm Films - "Afterworld"
afterworld.tv, a 2.5D animated episodic Sci-Fi web series.
- Net distribution is fraught with technical problems.
- And because online delivery has promise of immediate delivery, viewers are livid when technical problems/delay occur. Even though it's free.
- Portals like YouTube and MySpace they are many limitations.
- CAA actively looking for sponsorship of content with major brands (danger danger agency people!!!)
- It all starts with a good script, but creating all the content proves much harder.
Nathan Mayfield - Hoodlum Interactive "PS Trixi"
Comes from soap opera background, now producing original content firstly in Australia and now for BBC and ITV in UK.
- 1 human year = 17.5 internet years
-With multiplatform content, technology is the bane of existence.
- As content falls outside talent union norms, negotiate early.
- **start with script, then identify story points that can pool out to different online platforms/portals that best tell the story
- Audiences are intelligent and want to suspend disbelief, but don't try to be too clever because they will see through it.
- find815 - coporoduced with Lost team next big show
- Though online, still pushed in a "series" type model of 8-12 weeks of promotion and release of series at regular intervals.
Dan'l Hewitt, Director of Development, Bebo / "KateModern
Most technologically advanced social network.
- Doesn't claim social networks will take over the world, or that aren't a trend but as they reflect in an online world what we do in the real world they will exist in some format.
- For now Bebo is a great multimedia delivery platform.
- Consumers accepted of product integration when organic to the storyline and characters. They understand that it covers the cost of production.
What I thought was really interesting was talking to content producers, film makers, the folks from VBS.tv is that in a way all these new websites, tools and applications are really tertiary elements. What still rules is the idea. The story. And whether you use email, blogs, widgets, gaming like content, expanded content, traditional posters, TV ads or events all depends on what the idea is and whether those things tell the story better.
It was also interesting talking to talking to content funders, Telefilm and entertainment lawyers, as they all acknowledge that the new "model" of how deals are done and more importantly what the content looks like is being developed on the fly. In a few years it will more or less be figured out.
For advertisers, this means ensuring you really understand what your story/brand is all about and ensuring you have a compelling idea to tell it. From there you can develop and choose the right touchpoints to tell it. And the really smart companies will be the ones who recognize this is an interdisciplinary affair. Digital agencies, that make websites and banner ads probably aren't going to do very well in this more robust space. Likewise, broadcast agencies that specialize in hard sell weak idea TV ads won't do too well either. But those who can marry great ideas with technical expertise (or at least production networks) are poised to be the next great generation of story tellers.
For a brand maybe this means looking at your marketing function as a marketing department, but as a media company. A company that generates media ideas wrapped around you brand that are intriguing enough for people to watch. And you will get the hard number results to prove whether you have something interesting to say. Some of the viewership numbers for things like KateModern are approaching levels of top level network programs. To make this possible some of the old sacred cows are going to have to give. We're seeing that in Hollywood with the writers strike. Which to me appears to be good thing.
While that's all great to say. It's going to be a heck of a lot of work to figure out and there are sure to be loads of lessons along the way. But boy it's going to be fun.
The latest in the genre of videos looking at how focus groups kill great ideas. Good portrayal of the group dynamic.
Would be neat to see a video on how good research techniques can inspire great ideas. But I guess that would be like the celebrity blog that focuses on camera shy, good mothers who are moderate drinkers. Nobody would pay attention, it's not at fun.
If you live in Vancouver, like coffee and aren't afraid of new people Likemind is this week. To be held on Friday at J. J. Bean at 2206 Commercial Drive. I'm out of town unfortunately and had wanted to organize a posse as I attended the last one and saw no evidence of any likemindedness happening. So I enjoyed a delicious coffee and home made muffin on my own. Which was an enlightening experience unto itself. It's a Likemind offshoot I call Monomind.
As pledged in September I've been doing lots of running. And have been addicted to my Nike+ system. I'm closing in on 200 miles . Which may not sound like a lot, but man it's a lot of work. Since the above photo I've been through three pairs of shoes, I like them fresh.
I've been recruited to help out a challenge. Loser wears some hideous short shorts to work. As I'm always one to promote workplace humiliation you too can join to drive the cause if you're a Nike+ person.
Since getting into running in a big way it's been interesting observing my own absorption in the pursuit. As adults we often forget what it's like to be totally into something. Finding a new restaurant, discovering a new band or buying a new sweater all fail to have any significant captivation of your mind. It's not like when you were a kid/teen. Back then, when you were into something, you were really really into it. Reading and rereading magazines for months on end. Talking about it constantly at lunch in school halls and obsessing over every detail. And going back to read those magazines again.
It has been neat to get into something again. Not just for the very act of running, but all the stuff that goes with it. The big stuff like researching training programs and planning out my weekly runs. Down to the small stuff like figuring out which socks are best or the difference between gloves (yes, winter running needs the right pair of gloves.)
The thing that has been really cool is that in this day and age, when you get into something it is such an immersive experience. As we become adults, and people busy with life and things like weddings, babies and new loafers, it's easy to under appreciate the power of when someone really gets into something. And how voraciously you seek out content for it. This is such an amazing opportunity for a brand to engage and interact.
Much has been said of the Nike+ product and the relationships it drives with runners. I just discovered Nike has quietly launched a running blog. Which I've read start to finish and will probably re-read multiple times as I aim for New York. This is the right way to use web 2.0 to market to me. I don't even feel marketed to. You're sharing helpful and interesting information. It's real. From real people. Written in plain English. Kudos.
Well, I better run off now...
This is sweet. In the world of film, action sport movies own the title for ever pushing their genre higher. This sweet little clip for a Friday afternoon shows what convergence looks like in off road motor sports.
Yesterday Bill Gates made his final speech as head of Microsoft at the Consumer Electronics Show in San Fransisco. And he hammed it up with a little video about his last day at work come June when he officially retires.
Corny, but it reminded me to throw up a few photos from a visit I made to the Microsoft campus in Redmond in December. I've always been fascinated by technology and how it changes the way we live. It is safe to say that nothing in human history has had such a profound affect in such a short period of time as the personal computer. In less than 30 years computers have invaded every aspect of our lives. And since the opening up of the web in '94 the way we acquire and consume information and entertainment has revolutionized our expectations for corporations, governments, celebrities and information itself by giving us greater and more timely control and choice. All of which is manifesting itself in profound ways for brands in how they exist and what the mean and do.
While easy to dislike them as a company, it's also easy underestimate the huge role Microsoft has had in this evolution and the huge role Bill Gates himself had. The thing about the computer revolution is that you can link so many macro changes to a few individuals/groups such as Bill, PARC, Gordon Moore and Steve Wozniak among the more famous. Or even the folks behind the TCP/IP protocol that allowed all computers, regardless of manufacturer to talk to one another.
So I really enjoyed the opportunity to go and explore the Microsoft campus. While out of discretion I won't share much of what the offices and campus is like (though I will note the ironic observation of a lot of Apple like design on murals and internal communications) the part I will share are some photos from the visitor center. It was neat to see the history of where technology has come but also some of the "future" products. As an advertising/marketing professional it was like crack.
There were portable loos everywhere. But that's a reflection of construction. It's everywhere as they build more offices. A physical testament to the modern information company. To grow you don't build more factories, you hire more people.
Security is naturally tight. Badges and escorts required at all times when in the actual office parts themselves. However, despite all the computers, human error is rampant. Not even close to correctly spelling my name.
Entering the visitor center.
An original copy of Bill's 1976 open letter to hobbyist computer users on how paying for software will make better software.
There were numerous examples of facial recognition software that worked really well. Here I am thinking what I normally am... nothing.
A bunch of guys that probably felt some serious payback at their 30th high school reunion when they arrived on their personal helicopters, flown from their yachts dockets on their personal island/countries. Well done folks! Lets all just be greateful they used their powers for good, not evil.
Lots of XBox action. The lounged featured most recent games. Some people in there looked like they hadn't left in weeks.
Just thought this title was funny Time Manager for Management Consultants. Have picture in my head before the book was published of well paid men in nice suits confused as to what they should be doing at that moment running from meeting room to meeting room, running into each other.
A real live working version of the screne from Minority Report.
Tablet PC's with surprisingly accurate handwriting analysis. Apparently I am sharp and impatient. Learn quickly, skipping parts that seem useless. However make decisions carefully weighing pros and cons. The word impatient came up a number of times. So I left before finishing...
Computer lounge with all the latest goodies. Sadly, even on the Microsoft campus with all the latest Microsoft browsers and products run really slow. I really wanted them to be faster, but now know it's not just my computer sadly.
A wall of Pocket PCs. Remember those? Looked cool but seemed really, really out of date. But I'm sure the Apple museum has a Newton.
And to end, the world.
Think Small is a homage to the most influential ad ever. It also speaks to that while thinking big is important, it's the small details, bits and ideas that actually bring them to life. In general we need less thinking and talking and more doing.
One line I really like from Big Think's introductory video is - "we have access to so much information, but is it any more informative."
David Lynch on watching a Hollywood film on an iPhone. Though I have never watched an entire film on an iPhone (but have be saved by documentaries and music videos when flying on non-VOD equiped planes) I would have to agree with Mr. Lynch. That's why we need to find newer and more interesting forms of film content...
Like investing and real estate I leave music recommendations to the experts. One of whom is my buddy Mike Turner living in Chicago as a producer and label scout. He also works with global radio station KEXP out of Seattle and they have a post of their top music picks for the year.
Mike Turner, Equalizer Chicago producer
Lupe Fiasco -The Cool (Atlantic)
Office - A Night At The Ritz (Scratchi Records)
Tom Schraeder -The Door The Gutter The Grave (self-released)
Ariel -The Battle of Sealand (High Wheel Records)
Cracklin Moth -My Heart is Leaking (self-released)
Cameron McGill and What Army -Hold on Beauty (self-released)
Bang Bang -The Dirt That Makes You Drown (Morpheus Records)
Andrew Bird -Armchair Apocrypha (Fat Possum)
Tenniscourts -Self titled (self-released)
The 1900’s -Cold and Kind (Parasol Records)
Photo above if you're wondering is from the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle where many of the bands synonymous with grunge played, before what they played became known as grunge. Sadly they closed a couple weeks ago. This image is of the control booth at the back from a show I attended in November. You can see electrical safety is a prime concern as amongst the beautiful chaos of extension chords and over plugged plugs the fire extinguisher is easily accessible.
Happy New Year.
Lets start the year on with our data hats. WARC reports a leaked (or at least allegedly leaked) new media survey from Deloitte.
What is clearly emerging is had proof that while web advertising continues to grow, is does not consumed in a vacuum. The old adage that a layered media plan is exponentially more effective continues to entrench itself. A few days ago one of Canada's national papers published a report that 80% of Canadians, across all demographics still rely on traditional TV and print new sources over internet. It comes down to trust.
If there is a take away looking at the research it's that folks are spending more time entertaining themselves online and with mobile devices but have yet to really trust content on the medium or find advertising all that valuable. If there is one point from the Deloitte research that demonstrates the opportunity still ahead in digital it's this:
67% of consumers said they would willingly be exposed to more online ads if they could receive free content they found valuable; but 65% opined that any type of internet ad was more intrusive than ads in newspapers and magazines. 37% said they would rather pay for online content than be exposed to advertisements.
Reading between the lines and making some fair assumptions, online advertising is unfortunately learning many lessons from bad off line advertising. It's intrusive, gets in the what of what you really want and offers little value. Are online banner ads becoming the equivalent of bus backs and urinal posters? However, what is golden is the data shows people will be happy to be exposed to more ads if the content is valuable. What if that valuable content was the advertising.
What if Honeyshed fit the bill as valuable content?