This might offend my political connects January 20, 2010Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
I notice a bunch of places where people talk about how they haven’t adopted RSS readers, which I find fascinating and frustrating at the same time. I often will add new sites to my reader and forget about them, often just to stumble back across them like i have done this morning on this post from Clay Hebert on why Conan O’Brien should eschew the traditional TV model and go direct to his audience:
1) Full creative control over his own content
Now he writes a lot of his own stuff but imagine if he wasn’t censored at all. Look out.
2) Not working for Jeff Zucker3) Not working for anyone
5) Never having to worry about ratings again
Let Leno have the “ratings” on NBC. His demographic is not Conan’s anyway, so why try to fight for it. It’s sort of like Newhart and Family Guy jockeying for position.
6) Any format, any device
Conan’s demographic consumes content differently. He could make videos of any length that his audience could consume and stream anywhere. iPhones, iPods, Droids, iSlates, other tablets. Design the content to be snackable and sharable and we will snack and we will share.
7) Watching a show at its original time slot is obsolete
I’ve seen plenty of clips of Saturday Night Live in the last few years, but never on Saturday night. My social network does the filtering and the best and funniest clips bubble to me on twitter and Facebook.
8 ) Your own channel means your own audience and unlimited bandwidth
This idea echoes some thoughts I had while back in Australia over Christmas. I recorded an interview with Innovation Forum’s Ben Rennie which I will link to when he posts it, where I said the traditional TV model no longer makes sense; it is a business setup to sell advertising, not to entertain – in fact the entertainment is the expensive part of what they do! Whereas people like Conan are setup to entertain.
The NBCs of the world may still have a role to play for the time being in helping talented people find an audience, but once that happens they swiftly lose a reason to exist. What we’re seeing is a revolution in ecosystems of value, where the content which has been at the periphery for so long is being pushed back into the centre.
The revolution as we all know will not be televised. But it will be everything else.
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- NBC Universal’s Zucker on Life, Leno and the Comcast Deal (blogs.wsj.com)
- Conan O’Brien Supporters Protest NBC In Hollywood, Chicago, New York (huffingtonpost.com)
That’s not the shape of my heart January 19, 2010Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
Tags: Add new tag, Apple, Google, iPhone, Nvidia, Smartphones
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Interesting video the magic that is The David Report turned me onto, looking at and thinking about the future of magazines. I am somewhat of a junkie for the form and don’t doubt it will continue (in some fashion).
This has me thinking also about devices as a whole, and particularly the arms race that is on in the mobile space.
Everyone is excited to have Google‘s skin in the game with Android, and are touting them as the challenger that can actually take on Apple and their much-loved iPhone. The problem facing Google and its partners is not developer support, of which there is plenty, but control over the hardware environment.
See an iPhone developer makes an app once, and releases it. They don’t need to deal with different specifications regarding screensizes, peripherals, keyboards, cameras, what have you. An Android developer has all of that, plus chipsets from Intel, Nvidia and others. The increased overhead in supporting multiple platforms will, I believe, lead us to a place where apps exist on one Android device and not another, leading to negative user-experiences which will directed partially towards the manufacturer, but more so towards Google. Contrast that with the iPhone, which while it has well-documented flaws, is a consistent experience for every person that owns one.
I’m in the camp of people who think Android is the platform that will challenge the iPhone for dominance of the market, Google to need to invest more in the hardware for this to become a race; right now they’re just running warm-up laps.
Can I get an “Amen!”?
Found via the lovely Conversation Agent.
What time is love? January 13, 2010Posted by David Gillespie in branding, creativity, technology.
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In December, we had a hack day at Poke. In a nutshell, we had 24 hours to come up with an idea and make it an online reality…Our team’s idea was to create an egg-timer that served up a Youtube video to match the exact length your egg needed to be boiled for. No staring at the egg. No staring at a boring timer. Just watch the video and you’re done. And it dishes up different videos depending on how you like your egg. Have a look for yourself over at eggwatchers.com.
<3. Srsly. The importance of this sort of thing perhaps won’t be immediately apparent to anyone who still wants to make TV commercials. For the rest of us, we can be thankful places like Poke exist.
And dream of working there.
P.S. I’ve tagged this in the “branding” category of this blog to make a point – it’s activity like this that builds Poke’s own brand. The same way traditional agencies built their names on their work, so too do the modern shops, the difference being only one of those groups is still willing to run with the bulls.
Someday soon this will all be someone else’s dream January 7, 2010Posted by David Gillespie in technology.
Tags: Add new tag, Consumer Electronics Show, iPhone, Microsoft, Project Natal, Sony, Steve Ballmer, Xbox, Xbox 360
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I was watching Steve Ballmer‘s keynote at CES last night, thinking to myself “This sort of address has its days numbered.” My penchant for drama would have me state we’re witnessing an empire in decline, but I don’t really think that would arrive as news to anyone.
I have a few good close friends who work at Microsoft, and it’s a source of endless debate. At the heart of the issue for me is the lack of clear, single-minded purpose, of intent to do anything other than compete. See “compete” isn’t a strategy, it’s aimless and has you swinging in the direction of anyone who looks like they might do what you do, instead of focussing on the way forward, staring blatantly and openly back infront of you.
A good portion of the talk was spent showing off what other people are going to do with Microsoft’s platform, but devices designed in different ways isn’t really a sexy story. The compelling work, and in my opinion the jewel in Microsoft’s crown (in the same way the Playstation became everything Sony lived for) is the Xbox 360. It is, to my mind, the only space where they are clearly innovating and driving their own path forward, backing it up with an impressive lineup of content. In Xbox they really appear as masters of their own destiny; everywhere else they seem callous, and forever peering over their shoulders at what someone else might be doing.
I highlight Xbox and specifically avoid their much-hyped Project Natal. A tech demo in very controlled environments does not a product make, and having spent a previous life making games for consoles, if the software isn’t there to drive the thing when it launches, it simply won’t matter. There’s also an issue of adoption; I haven’t seen recent figures but traditionally the percentage that even owns a second controller is well below 50%; recent success with music-based games requiring plastic guitars and microphones has surely begun changing that behaviour, though thaty category as a whole is starting to wane.
As for other categories, the less said the better. Microsoft needs a new vision, and it being the media centre of the family home is as good a move as any. Your friend and mine Vik twittered this during the keynote:
Agreed Win7 is a popular & well built OS. But as netbooks become more prevalent, is this what customers will want on their machines?
There’s an increasingly rapid transition going on to web services and away from non-core applications. A friend who came to visit me in Toronto recently only traveled with his iPhone, saying it negated the need for him to have a laptop with him at all. If we entertain the notion for a moment that that is the start of a larger trend, lauding last year’s operating system starts to look less like a success story, and more like a fossil somehow reanimated.
For a brief and fleeting moment I suspect.
Let’s get together and do it again January 6, 2010Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, technology.
Tags: advertising, Display advertising, Foursquare, JP Morgan, Mobile Computing, Mobile phone, SMS
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JP Morgan’s Imran Khan (different Imran Khan) is tipping online display advertising to grow this year by around 10.5%. Which is obviously massive. He also cites a few trends that seem to be moving the industry away from naff executions – aka the banners that neither you nor I ever click on. Which, let’s be honest, is all of them. He is talking though of a trend more towards what Banner Blog exists to share with us, which is great.
That’s not what I want to talk about though. In the same article Khan talks about mobile growing 45% (!!!) this year, winding up with $3.2 billion spent on SMS, $253 million in mobile display, and $321 million in mobile search.
A few things:
- As the mobile platform improves, the notion of display as distinct on mobile from PC will disappear
- It will however give way to services sensitive to your platform and do other interesting things around location, and device-specific functionality
- I don’t understand what constitutes “mobile search” – maybe someone can explain it to me?
- Advertisers who invade the phone like they have every other medium are going to get smacked; it’s still too personal
Aside from all of this, it’s the same Mcluhan-esque mistake (slide 44) made in online advertising where we take what we did before and force it into this new shape because we don’t know any better. If anyone truly believes the best way to use a mobile phone is to send people SMSs, they deserve the rapid demise their business will receive.
Frankly it speaks to the lack of vision and general laziness that pervades the entire ad industry. With the simple days of TVCs and print long behind it, rather than thinking about how it can reinvent itself to be relevant in a new era, it consistently mines tired ideas that speak to the silo-mentality of 20th century media.
People, look at foursquare, get in and use it for a few weeks. That, right there, is a perfect storm of local marketing, small business marketing, and mobile. If you do not see it, either try harder, or find a job where you do not need to.
When honour is at stake, this vow I will make November 29, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, business strategy.
Tags: advertising, Facebook, Google, Internet service provider, Microsoft, Umair Haque, Value chain
I’ve been thinking a lot about The Three Musketeers – my framework for business models which places them (perhaps overly simply, but simply none the less) into two baskets: All-For-One (self-serving pursuit of value) or One-For-All (pursuit of value for an ecosystem). The former is business as usual up until the advent of Google, at which point things seem to turn, and we see more and more businesses cropping up and being successful by creating value
I had, for the longest time, felt uneasy about Facebook. My sense was that it was founded with All-For-One principles, and I have a hard time viewing it as a business that seeks to create value for an eco-system; it is, to my mind, the second coming of Microsoft rather than the second coming of Google.
I say that, but I also now can’t help but acknowledge the market they have developed for small and local businesses to target customers, and the platform they have provided for brands to interact on a more personal level with fans. In some ways, it lessens the role of the ad industry, which to my mind has a hard time justifying itself as even remotely One-For-All, and so can only be viewed as a good thing.
Once, banks held debt till maturity. The great unnovation was being able to sell it to the next guy, who sold it to the next guy, and on and on and on. What was once a simple, short value chain lengthened to the point of absurdity. Exactly the same value chain pattern is surfacing in media. Ads used to be bought and sold through a short value chain. Facebook ended up serving toxic ads because they were sold through lengthening chains of intermediaries — each of whom shifts the buck to the next guy.
The argument does and doesn’t hold water in places – to my mind it swerves dangerously close in places to the kind of opinion that states ISPs are responsible for their customer’s illegally downloading music. The overall point stands however, which is sacrificing the end-user for the man with money is a short-sighted strategy.
We need to spend more time creating things that user wants in the first place.
That is what One-For-All is all about.
All that noise, all that sound November 17, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, technology.
Tags: communication, Kids and Teens, technology, Video
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So my agency is on a decent size pitch at the moment, and we were talking about the acceleration of technology over the last three years as it pertains to this particular company. And we were video taping various people saying different things and so I of course being the narcissist I am went off back to my desk and sat running a monologue over and over in my head, trying to think of something clever to say while being able to toss it off as if it was largely off the cuff.
And then when they came to film me I was on a conference call. And then the opportunity was gone because they’re in a bit of a rush.
The thing I thought of though, I thought was quite interesting, and it was this: the technological revolution we’re going through right now is currently being framed as a change in lifestyle, when what we’re really dealing with, on a really fundamental level, is a change in life itself. 20 years ago, many-to-many communication was basically impossible, and even one-to-many was limited to those who could afford to do it, usually requiring a publisher.
Now anyone can, and because there are still more people in the world who knew life without the Internet than there are who only know the Internet, being always connected is deemed a lifestyle and a choice. As that ratio changes however, being disconnected is going to be seen as a lifestyle and what is currently (at least in some circles, not mine) considered an “other” state, will be the norm.
The norm on the rise now is being able to get a message to anyone you want or as many people you want at any time you want. After thousands of years of relative status quo, it’s changed over night. Which is why I say the web is young, and why I say we haven’t fully grasped all this yet. I could just have a smaller mind than most (it has often been suggested), but sitting and pondering it for a moment kinda blows it to a thousand tiny pieces.
And having said all that, the only thing I can be sure of is I would have wound up on the cutting room floor, with the Creative Director going “Do you really have to do that every time?”.
…I suppose I do…
Tell the whole world the truth is back November 15, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in intent, work/life.
Tags: advertising, Doc Searls, Facebook, Intention, Isaac Newton, marketing
I’ve spent the last couple years talking about intent in various guises. Sometimes related to marketing, sometimes to business, but always, always at the heart of what anyone is doing. It has become an intrinsic part of what I write about, as anyone who has been with me for a little while will attest.
In February 2008 I penned a piece looking at Facebook’s advertising ecosystem (things have changed dramatically since) and referenced a piece by your friend and mine Doc Searls on The Intention Economy. This phrase showed up again in a presentation I did called Digital Strangelove, and I realised just today, after stumbling across Doc referencing that presentation (tremendous honour and incredibly humbling) that despite spending a long time making sure the appropriate references were in place and credits given, I had not tipped my hat to Doc and his original article which clearly made an impression on me.
Thankfully the medium within which we work allows for easy retraction, correction and re-dissemination of correct information – if we choose to take advantage of it. I have updated my deck with a link to Doc’s original piece in the credits, and wanted to take the time to acknowledge the source of that phrase. Additional credit I can only add by stealing from Sir Isaac Newton: if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.