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Standing on the rooftops, shouting out June 4, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, branding, conversation, digital strategy, technology, work/life.
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I think I need to start a competition amongst readers to see who can pic the song each post’s title is from. Here’s a hint:

Anyway, your friend and mine Tim is fond of saying “To understand change, you have to be part of it.” Now, he perhaps didn’t come up with that himself, but I am always reminded of him whenever I think of it, which is as good an exercise in branding as you’ll find.

With this in mind, I have spent some time this morning trying to bring my own silos of conversation together. My marketing self tends to exist only on this site, but my musician self is spread across Facebook, MySpace, iLike, YouTube, and God knows where else. Oh, not to mention another website of his own. Now, I do my best to keep my two selves separate, but bear with me for the purposes of this conversation.

It goes without saying that nobody working full time has the means to update all of the above sites, let alone engage the way we all insist we should. On top of that, there’s a requirement for authors who establish these sites to get a little more versed in the nuances of the technology than they’re otherwise compelled (or able) to do. What it means is more time spent tweaking the various underpinnings of a site or service and less time doing the things you started a site for in the first place. Cue frustrated creators and audiences in silos.

David Jones (a person, not the store) is a guy I’ve come across here in Canada. I spotted him tweeting one day “Don’t tell me what you would have done, tell me what you did.” – and that really struck a chord. Talk of best practices is all well and good, but evidence of how you’ve implemented it for yourself and others is much better. For the time being, until the big players in this space decide to make their platforms talk to each other, we all get to take part in a zero-sum race to a dead end.

Now I can understand each platform’s desire to control the artist dashboard, as the eyeballs are currently what gives them value. The reality however is if the smaller players don’t make it easier to pick up syndicated content, they’re going to see a reduction in usage.

I want to make it easy for people to consume my content in whatever manner best suits their existing habits. Turning that into a reality however currently means an ultimately unsustainable adjustment to my own. Something’s gotta give.

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Calling Social Media Out November 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, web 2.0, work/life.
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22 comments

I’ve had enough. I’m done with social media and I’m calling you, you and particularly YOU out on it. I’m nailing it to the wall for the crock that it is. UGC was the first to cop it, social media is next.

I’m looking at what Jules is doing with The Population, my friend Matt‘s work with DP Dialogue, whoever else is out there. Yes, we have the Beersphere tonight, yes I blog, vlog, put music on MySpace, I comment, bookmark with del.icio.us, I use compfight to search Flickr for Creative Commons-licensed imagery, I discover new music via Last.fm and Pandora, and I Twitter. I do all that, and I’m telling you right now social media will be, in the great history of the web, hell in the great history of the next three years (if that long), the 2.0 equivalent of Pets.com.

And here is why.

First, we have to agree on something. You can choose to disagree, and I welcome that, but my stance is this: the web is inherently social. Not for everyone, particularly not for older generations, but from me back to the babies it is inherently, indiscriminately, and unavoidably social.

Next, we have to agree that the web is young. The web is still figuring out what it is, what it wants to be. You know movies? The name comes, need I remind you, from moving pictures. Photos that seemed to come to life, truth 24 times a second. Web 1.0 was moving pictures, we’re now in the Talkies. Imagine if film had stalled when talkies came along and we suddenly found the actors had horrible voices?

That is where we are; social media is “the talkies” of the Internet.

Social media isn’t anything special, it is just the Internet in its current form. All media is social – Julian says this himself. It is a period that will forever be known as a time where it became as easy to create content as it was to consume it. THAT is the important part of what is going on.

Not Web 2.0, not new media, not digital media, not post-media and certainly not social media. If all media is social, media must be inherently social and if we agree the web is inherently social then the Internet is, my friends, just a collection of media (we need to separate that idea from the business of media). We have created a new taxonomy in an attempt to somehow describe the “otherness” of this new space, which is itself not a recent development; we’ve separated movies and TV for years even though they showed us essentially the same thing (like FM radio and Pandora do now). Watching video online is no different, and soon we won’t treat it like it is.

In fact, thank God (or Dawkins for the atheists) we’re rapidly coming back around to a place where we’re not stuck on discussions of platforms and mediums; there will only be one platform where everyone produces and, once again, content will be king. That platform is the Internet, and, dear client folk, if someone comes to you with a digital strategy that does not have a focus on creating 1-to-1 connections in your audience, then run for the hills. But do not be caught up in the myth of social media, that is just the interwebs as we know it.

As Iain Tait said much more succinctly than I, digital is not a thing anymore.

Now, let’s talk about something interesting for a change.

**Update** I got the name of Matt’s social media company wrong as he points out below. Apologies to him and the good people at De Pasquale.

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New businesses reside in the linked economy November 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, creativity, intent, strategy, technology, web 2.0.
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5 comments
Threadless

 

Image via Wikipedia

I spend a lot of time with friends thinking about where tomorrow’s businesses lie, and I’m on the record that great content with good intentions and an open philosophy will be at the heart of the real money-makers in the next decade.

With that in mind, I’ve just read a fascinating post from Mark Ury who is an Experience Architect at Blast Radius. Mark ties together a few loose strands of thinking and comes out with something entirely his own. I particularly love the below principles he borrows from Jeff Jarvis

Can applying “link economy” strategies work for “traditional” companies? Here are Jeff Jarvis’ four principles. And below is a modified version, applied to companies in pursuit of innovation:

1. All companies must be transparent. Your talent base and IP must be exposed and connected. They’re not useable unless they’re linked.

2. The recipient of IP and talent is the party responsible for monetizing them. The more you enable the flow of IP and talent AWAY from you, the more it comes BACK—with greater value and skills to monetize. Just watch how Hollywood operates.

3. A porous organization is the key to efficiency. In other words: do what you do best and link to the rest.

4. There are opportunities to add value atop the IP and talent layer. This is where one can find business opportunities: by managing abundance rather than the old model of managing scarcity. The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity.

…which he applies to Threadless during the course of the post…

The result: a business that manages abundance (t-shirt ideas), provides value through transparency (the audience becomes both editor and consumer), and values the flow of IP and talent through them—rather than by them. (Doc Searls calls this kind of value “a shift from “making money with” to “making money because.”)

Great piece. And it contains some links to some other fascinating reads on “the linked economy”. Mark also takes the time to talk about opportunities that exist around monetising the aggregation of information and content, of which Threadless is a prime example (as is Flickr, YouTube, MySpace etc.).

The idea here is this: find the verticles in seemingly well-mined markets, and you will open up doors the rest of us never knew existed.

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Feed the Animals -or- Girl Talk, open beats closed, every day I’m hustlin’ July 4, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, music, work/life.
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Yesterday the inimitable Scott Drummond came to my rescue. Scott is my musical educator, always throwing me new tunes and genres to check out, in addition to being an amazing friend and weekend brunch buddy. He hit me with a world of great stuff, but I want to talk about one artist in particular, Girl Talk.

Girl Talk is a DJ who mashes up everything he can get his hands on. It is absolutely not for everyone, but I can’t get enough and makes it Saturday night in my heart when the calendar says Tuesday morning, so for this I am grateful. Scott hit me off with a link to a live bootleg which is absolutely off the handle (and on this Friday July 4th exactly what you need to get the party started).

The model he is going with selling his latest album though is perhaps more interesting than hearing Roy Orbison laced over gangsta rap, spun into Nirvana with Salt’n’Pepa over the top (in my ears right now).

Head to his MySpace page and you’ll see the below:

Buy Girl Talk\'s new album!

So the “pay what you want” thing in music isn’t new, agreed. Click-through though and you’ll be taken to a page which displays the purchase options:

any price grants the download of the entire album as high-quality 320kbps mp3s
$5 or more adds the options of FLAC files, plus a one-file seamless mix of the album
$10 or more includes all of the above + a packaged CD (when it becomes available)

Additionally below that it says the album is released under a Creative Commons licence, the same licence under which all the images I use on this site are licensed. Attribute the creator, don’t profit directly from the work, and you’re welcome to do as you please.

Now here’s the trick: you punch in the amount you would like to pay on that page, and then the files are available on the next page with a separate link off to PayPal to make a payment. The entire system is based on goodwill and honesty, as I punched in $5 and started downloading the tracks before the payment had gone through. I’m happy to pay as I really like what he does, but I’m wondering how many people will reach that page, grab the tunes and take off?

The ironic thing though is none of it really matters. If someone wants your music for free, they will take it for free. A model of a dollar is better than a model of no money, and by putting your music out under Creative Commons people can remunerate you based on the value you provide while giving them access to your music without the shadow of illegal downloading coming into it.

This goes back to what I was saying in my Life after the dip post:

Exposing what people want to engage with and burying the stuff they’re not interested in is key, and it is only an issue if your business model rests on the viability of the things people don’t like. Digital Rights Management for starters if a zero-sum strategy where nobody wins. I’m a big believer artists should be compensated for the work they do (indeed one day I hope to do nothing but), but in the interim we need new models that are malleable.

Seems to me this model is right on track

Old dogs and new tricks January 14, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in marketing, web 2.0.
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3 comments

Saturday night, after watching No Country For Old Men (great movie, very heavy though), my band of reprobates and I descended on Jimmy Watson’s to down a few bottles of Dry & Dry (dry vermouth, dry ginger ale). One of the crew is a good mate from England who spent many years working in traditional media, think newspapers, Sky TV, etc.

We got into a debate around the future of advertising and entertainment (because on Saturday night we clearly had nothing better to do…), using The Sopranos as a case study. My friend is not old, but older than I, and definitely from a different school thought. He does currently work in marketing though and has lectured at universities on journalism – he is by no means an idiot. With this in mind I was astounded by how little he grasped of the web 2.0 world, convinced that changes in consumer behaviour only came about because traditional advertising and media companies decided to alter the lay of the land.

I initially thought he was taking the piss, but upon further exploration he was deadly serious. His argument centred around a rather bizarre core, stating that if advertisers and media companies didn’t remain in control, then productions such as The Sopranos would simply cease to exist because of a lack of advertising dollars. My point that a market for quality entertainment would forever exist, citing everything from Homer’s Odyssey to Quarterlife seemed to fall on deaf ears; sure levels of production quality are bound to vary from project to project, but people don’t tune in for the lighting, they tune in for compelling characters and stories they see something of themselves in.

My friend’s issues ran deeper than the quality of story-telling though. Once of his fundamental concerns was, essentially, “Who will pay the salaries of the people who book the ads if nobody comes and books the ads?” I told him nobody, because we don’t need the ads, and that seemed to trigger a small nuclear explosion inside his head. In the mind of my educated and intelligent friend, it was inconceivable that ad-centric business models in traditional media would not survive ad infinitum. More than that, he couldn’t conceive of people who weren’t part of these establishments being the ones that changed everything, even though he himself uses things like MySpace and Facebook.

It reminded me of a moment I had a month or so ago on a tram going to work. I was reading RSS feeds on my BlackBerry, everyone else was reading a newspaper; I was the odd one out, but somehow had not removed my head from my ass recently enough for this to come as anything other than a surprise. It is so easy to get lost in the Brave New World of Web2.0 and forget that Facebook is still pretty novel for most, that the things we spend so much time discussing are not even blips on the horizon of the general public.

In the end, I opted to change the subject. After all, it was Saturday night, and my choices were to persist with my ad-hoc oral essay entitled “Everything you know is wrong”, or I could order another round.

Better make it two then…

N.B. For a thought-provoking look at how consumption of media is changing, check out this post on Fred Wilson’s blog.

*Update* The inimitable Bob Lefsetz hits the nail on the head.

Without passion we are nothing January 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy.
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2 comments

I try to keep this blog free of introspection, philosophising and general ponderance of things not related to marketing, digital strategy and the things that go on around those broad categories. Anything that falls outside of that either remains inside my head or (less frequently than I’d like) winds up on my MySpace blog, a page that for obvious reasons exists to promote my musical endeavours.

Today though I posted a piece on passion, and it was a pleasure to write, flowing effortlessly without much pause for thought. Living life with passion is something I am a big believer in, and it’s something more important than marketing or why Facebook is so successful. If you’re wondering what it is that really gets you up out of bed each morning, go have a read. Better yet, step away from the computer and take a walk. Without your phone.

Everyone has a quiet voice that comes to them, but not everyone takes the time to listen. That is where you’ll find your passion, believe me it is waiting to be heard.