Change Everything

This post presents the content and discusses the process in my journey to create the “This Can Change Everything” presentation for iMedia Breakthrough Summit on March 21, 2011. It was a 30-45 minute discussion where I covered So|Lo|Mo, Gamification, Maker-movement and Social CRM/Caring after a hat-tip to Moore’s & Metcalfe’s laws combined with the “People” coefficient. With an extra 15-minutes allowance, I may have added connected TVs as a potential “return to the Family Room” theme. Regardless, these themes are ones that I believe can change everything in the coming years.

I had the unenviable challenge of following Jaron Lanier on the speaking line-up at iMedia Breakthrough Summit on March 21, 2011 with a talk titled “This Can Change Everything.” If you need a memory prompt on Jaron, he’s the guy who popularized the term “Virtual Reality,” wrote the book “You Are Not A Gadget,” one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people, the futurist that Speilberg tapped for Minority Report and a mind-blowing, deep thinker. In short, he’s been working on stuff that can change everything his entire career.

So, I did what anyone under water might do. I reached out to my smartest friends to weigh in on what they thought could change everything. A couple of observations: 1) everyone had their own opinion based on their context; 2) they had a real passion and enjoyment for the gambit–this was a topic people are drawn to and don’t seem to shy away from answering. I had the same fascination and attraction to the topic. For outreach, I started with Skype interviews and then some flipcam video captures behind the scenes at conferences.

My original outline in December included Social Gaming, Augmented Reality, Location Based Services and Connected TVs as thematic game-changers. I was going to start by using Justin Bieber as an example of radical disruption by a marketer using emerging platforms. Bieber created incredible connections with fans on YouTube, Twitter and in other social media channels and leveraged that influence to beat the established, incumbent cultural gatekeepers into compliance to showcase his craft. By bringing his tribe with him from the virtual world into real world commerce, events and media he reformed power, reversed conventional thinking and redefined success. As Guy Kawasaki said in a recent BrandSquare webinar we hosted, there’s more marketing than music lessons in Bieber’s film, “Never Say Never.” Guy goes so far as to challenge “if you go to that movie and don’t learn something I’ll pay for your ticket” in his Enchantment webinar.

As you can see by the deck prototype sketch I had on my office wall, by the time the talk came around the outline changed quite a bit. Some of the factors that informed the shift:

  • The world changed with Tunisia and #Jan25
  • Input and inspiration from my interviews
  • Distilled, salient messages for 30-minute presentation
  • Shift from technology focus to macro dynamics

When governments fall to hashtags and crisis strikes the stress-test and true value of the emerging platforms to “Change Everything” become instantly more evident. So, my talk went from Bieber to Mubarak, from geo & AR to So|Lo|Mo and from SocialGaming to Gamification. In the video below, Reeve Thompson of Department of Behavior and Logic, creators of a super-beta Apps platform, Cabana, talks about the democratization of production. That seed grew to enormous proportions in my head and is worthy of several dedicated posts. As a result, “Everyone’s a Maker” replaced some of the nascent technologies in the original outline. The last topic, “Caring” came from a number of influences including the immediate situation rising from Japan’s Tsunami and related disasters.

Below is the 15-minute sister video to my presentation which follows. Some geeky production notes, these videos were shot on the iPad2 at South by Southwest in Austin the day after iPad2 release, edited on the iPad2 using iMovie and uploaded to YouTube via iPad2. As a result, this may be one of the first movies of its kind. To my knowledge, the iPad2 is the first commercial success that allows you to do each of these all on a single device. That’s a game changer and included in the “Maker” section of the deck.

Here’s the slideware with videos embeded:

And tying it back to a theme Jaron Lanier introduced at iMedia Breakthrough Summit before my presentation, we need a vibrant middle class. In the democratization of production, if you have an idea you can bring it to market now and make money. If your plight is dire, response and support can be on its way. The underlying message to my presentation lies in something my friend, Deb Schultz likes to say, “Technology Changes, People Don’t.” I challenge that the change in platform calls for us to be our highest aspirations and best selves. The systems and platforms are making it easier for us to realize this truth. If an eighth-grader can change the world, so can you.

Close with Jaron Lanier’s TEDx Talk from 12/03/10:

What do you think can “Change Everything?” Please comment, like, tag and tweet in and around the content connected to this post. Or better yet, create your own change and share so we can point to you.

Thanks to: Trina Albus, Director of Social Strategy, Beachmint; David Armano, SVP, Edelman PR; Bonin Bough; Pepsico Global Director Social Media & Digital; Tim Brunelle, Creative Director; Pete Cashmore, Founder & CEO,; Brett Crosby, Sr Product Marketing Manager, Google; Matt Dickman, SVP & Partner, Fleishman-Hillard;  Frank Eliason, SVP Social Media, Citibank; Tarah Feinberg, Emerging Platforms, Anthem Worldwide; Jennifer Van Grove, Start-Ups Editor,; Kate Hayden, Events,; Jamal Henderson, Brand Manager, Brisk Ice Tea; Noah Hornik, 8th-Grader, Visionary Kid;  Joseph Jaffe, Author, “Flip The Funnel”; Lou Kerner, Securities Analyst on Social Media, WedbushCharlene Li, Principal, The Altimeter Group;  Tilly McLain, Founder, OneTrueFan; Fred Neil, SVP CRM, Shiv Singh, PepsiCo Beverage Director Digital & Media; Dell; Reeve Thompson, Co-Founder, Department of Behavior & Logic; AJVaynerchuk, Co-Founder, VaynerMedia; Gary Vaynerchuk, Author, Wine Guy, Co-Founder VaynerMedia; Scott Wilson, MNML Design & LunaTik Watches; Ben Wirz, Director of Business Consulting, The Knight Foundation

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