Category Archives: Culture

Leslie Nielsen Passing

RIP, Funny man. Shirley we’ll miss you. Always made us smile if not ROTFL.


Weekly Round-Up 9/20/10

appnationApps/Mobile: Perhaps in honor of Drew Ianni’s successfully launching the AppNation Conference/Empire September 13-14 in San Francisco, it seems like most of the round-up is flavored with Mobile/Apps news, even in those that relate to Acquisitions, Apple and Facebook. Here are some App-related news inspired by the event:

Faux FB Phoney Facebook:


Social Media

Killer Apps:

Do Androids Dream?

In Philip K. Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“–better known for its 1982 Blade Runner film adaptation–the title refers to the empathetic aspect of humans for animals that Androids lack. As our devices and the algorithm gets closer to replicating our brains and appearance the novel explores deep ethical questions arise about what is human and therefore how they should be treated. I won’t take the tangent, but it’s worth giving the nod to how this line of thinking relates to current debates around equality working its way through the courts today in California. Back to the post at hand, there’s a genius and an irony to Google’s novel reference through the Android name in their development for our most personal, connected devices–the mobile platform. Unlike our PCs and web browsers where we taught/teach the search algorithm mainly through intent (search) and behaviors (clicks) billions of times a day, on mobile we begin to expose more of us to the algorithm. In our voice inflections and dialects combined with our location, calendars and real-life friends, expressed in time on the phone and in person, we’re teaching the algorithm our more intimate aspects of those people, places and things we care about most. The mobile platform is a feeder system of millions of devices serving billions of transactions/interactions into a smarter and more intuitive cloud-based algorithm. So, perhaps in time Androids will dream and awake.

In the meantime enjoy snacking on this teaser video for the new Samsung Android-based Galaxy Tab tablet debuting in Europe next month:

Hallelujah-Top 10 Covers

Just finished watching KD Lang sing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ for the fifth time on tivo. Like everyone else, I naturally went to search for it to share. In doing so, I discovered something pretty amazing: this one song covered by so many A-list and pop-culture acts routinely earns 2-million views when covered (hint to emerging acts wanting to show their reverential side).

Here are my top 10 examples:

The man himself, Leonard Cohen, about 1mm views

Rufus Wainwright with Joan Wasser and Martha Wainwright from the brilliant biographical Cohen film, “I’m Your Man,” nearly 20mm views via 6+ other ‘related videos’ versions)

Jeff Buckley’s version, almost 14mm views

kd lang. 2mm views

Allison Crowe, almost 5mm views

Sheryl Crow, 2mm views

Amanda Jenssen, Swedish American Idol, almost 5mm views (there’s another post with nearly 800k views as well)

Four Norwegian singers including Kurt Nilson, almost 20mm views

Jason Castro, 2mm+ views

Bon Jovi @ MSG in 2008

What’s amazing about this song–also frequently referred to as “The Shrek Song” by the YouTube generation–is that other versions earn 10s of millons additional views. For example: Alexandra Burke, about 8mm views and John Cale, over 2.5mm views.  If you’ve been doing the math within this post, you’re at over 80mm views of this one song and this is just from YouTube, not inclusive of other video sharing sites. We’re also counting just the head, not the tail versions of these videos. In aggregate I wouldn’t be surprised if viewership on this one song is over 200mm when you add all the long-tail occurrences. As with any longtail, I also expect that KD Lang’s performance tonight for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies will earn a lot more views per video.

I believe these number dimensionalize what Carl Jung meant when he quoted ‘the Chinese Master’ in Miguel Serrano’s “Jung & Hesse, a record of two friendships“: “a man thinking rightly in a room can be heard 3000 miles away.” Leonard Cohen, the master of word and song-craft, will be heard in every corner of the earth for ages to come.

Don’t Freakout when Granny Friends You

Social Spectrum Visual

Social Spectrum Visual

Your privacy is in your control. In other words, you can worry a little less about who friends you and if you have “to quit them” or not.

I’ve had quite a few conversations with clients and friends that hail back to a previous post where I proposed a Social Spectrum.  The post was in reaction to technical shortcomings for filtering and creating dynamic privacy–the situational rules you create for “you on display”–on SocialNetworks. Better tools are emerging, but they remain largely hidden and “opt-in” by nature. You have to actively place rules on your media SocialMedia, but it can be done.

The premise behind the original post was that everyone enters SocialMedia from different perspectives and experiences, around a variety of media and interests, with different expectations and comfort-levels about revealing parts of themselves to others and, ultimately, to the search cloud.  There are cultural, gender and age divisions that inform how active and open you might be as you approach and develop SocialMedia competencies.

For the purpose of addressing my closest colleague’s concerns, I divided the range of SocialMedia into an axis for private and public as well as one for personal and professional. This spectrum has remained relevant as I’ve discussed SocialNetworking connections with new clients, partners and vendors at all levels of seniority in their organization. Here’s a recent paraphrased example:

Me: I realized after friending several people in the organization that not everyone’s comfortable with connecting on Facebook. Most prefer LinkedIn for professional connects.

Her: Yeah, you’re still sitting in my pending list. I’m expecting a lecture.

Me: The lecture is mine. I should ask if there’s an interest in connecting in the invitiation message. Go ahead and delete. We’ll find other ways to share that you’re more comfortable with.

Some senior-level newbies to SocialNets are concerned by the appearance of intimacy and access beyond what they would allow in real life (IRL). Some, fresh out of college, are used to friending quickly but think twice when a tagged photo hits their socialgraph from a college friend. They haven’t had to modulate between friends and colleagues before. Some opt-out, ignore or block access to their socialgraph risking professional embarrassment of a lesser nature. Redefining their Social Spectrum becomes an active effort.

For myself, I follow the same rules I would IRL: I have appropriate and clear boundaries. I don’t accept friends or associates that I wouldn’t run into IRL through one of my many interests. I block when someone or something becomes inappropriate as you would expect. 

Unlike IRL, I don’t have to listen to an overly chatty person (which some have accused me of being based on an active twitterstream, btw). The great news is that technology offers you the ability to filter content and even people. Twitter reader/management applications like TweetDeck and DestroyTwitter allow you to group the people you want to hear from most. Facebook has added a “like” link on each item that shows up in your SocialGraph which will eventually optimize people and topics you like to see most from you friends. And, with a little work, you can also tune your Facebook settings to hear the right signal-to-noise for anyone or thing. As Facebook connect becomes more widespread you’ll be able to take these same privacy settings with you out in the wild of the web.

Below is a great tutorial on the subject. Enjoy and let us know what else you use for filtering in the comments.

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Did you feel that?

In California, when we say “did you feel that?” we’re usually referring to an earthquake. We look around for others to validate the sensation or to scan other perception points for movement. In a way, our economy has us looking around for proof points and confidence too.

On January 5th we asked, “did you feel that?” for a different reason. There was a palpable enthusiasm and optimism that entered the office that day. It was new car smell+first day of school+opening day kick-off+getting the band back together all rolled-up into one. It wasn’t just the reflection from a longer-than usual vacation, although that might have helped. It was the feeling of a team coming back together with good momentum and challenging work ahead that we love doing.

I encourage all of us to hold onto that feeling this year. Connect socially and share stories of your weekends, holidays and families. Laugh. Be excited about the work and the fact that we’re working. Be part of creating great value for our clients and their consumers so that their businesses remain healthy. Don’t suppress your excitement—no one does on the first day back. Don’t let it slip into routine. Be Great. Be the shaker that others feel good about having on the team.

And, yeah, you did feel that. It’s Real. Here’s to a transformational 2009.

When Every Little Bit Really Does Count

The Good Cause

The Good Cause

Tonight at 9:12pm David created a blog post for a friend in need. Daniela, with her three youngsters, made the courageous decision to exit a physically abusive marriage. Now homeless and far from home and support, her friends came to her aid. David posted a picture, an entreaty for donations and included a widget from ChipIn–a PayPal enabled payment system–to raise money that would provide Daniela the means to rent a small apartment for her family. His target was $5,000 and within two hours it easily passed $7,000 in donations.

To be fair, David is just any guy. He’s David Armano,  or @Armano on Twitter where you may already be one of his 8000+ followers. I am. You should. He puts great thinking and creativity into the SocialSphere everyday through his Logic+Emotion blog, twitterstream, twitpics, flickr visualizations, slideshare decks, bookmarks and more.  David populates and prolifically fills his SocialMap with an abundance of original thought, discoveries and insights. So, when he finally asked for something in return, the community answered his call. When he posted to his blog, he also asked in addition to giving that people help him spread the word by “retweeting” his link. They did and the response was immediate.

The widget allows you to track progress and it’s clear by the decimal point movement that people were making payments of all sizes, including very small, but meaningful ones. Because with The Long Tail and micropayments, a little can add up to a lot. In this case, a families dreams of a better life. Currently 218 donors have raised $7,099.31 or $32.56 per person on average.

To bluntly and awkwardly bring this back to the business of digital marketing and Real Branding, here are some lessons David delivered tonight:

  • Brands that create value have the right to make the ask on occasion and their fans will respond
  • Micro is the new black. Sure widgets have been around for at least three years when RockYou put its code up on MySpace and started tearing at the walled gardens creating a distribution and value-creating revolution. But now they’re getting people elected, or into their new home
  • Blog post alone isn’t the solution as Forrester’s Jermiah Owyang has recently discovered; need to add viral and urgency through twitter. Add a twitter url and hashtag for your followers to use, making it easier to promote, track, aggregate through search and measure
  • We digital folks never fail to be amazed when our magic works for us–and it does

Thanks David and family for the lessons from the heart. Every little bit counts. You can help the cause by clicking over and making your donation now (I don’t know how to embed widgets in WordPress otherwise you would be able to do it right here; don’t tell anyone :-). Be Great.

Lessons from Book Quote’s Viral FB Meme


The Book Quote Game Goes Viral in Facebook

Virally speaking based on watching my own response along with others in my social graph, a clever little meme called the “Book Quote Game” is exploding over on Facebook. Over the weekend a quick challenge gambit  appeared in my Facebook socialgraph and I took it. I responded in to a friend’s post asking me to find a random but specifically-placed quote from “a book near me.”

What followed surprised me: within 12 hours 18 others added their quotes–more comments than my FB posts usually get; their socialgraph represents 3641 people and inspired another 23 comments. I didn’t crawl their comments to see the network effect in added reach, but if we use the averages based on mine, the echo would include another 9300 in reach. With an average friend duplication of 7.75% you still reach over 10,000 people per post in the first two generations of the meme. Because the active socialgraph/profile will bury this meme, it needs to reappear at different times, which it does as others replicate and comment. I expect to see this meme come back around many times in the coming months.

More surprising is that this isn’t even a Facebook application. It’s an activity that’s as catchy as an application but relies on The Groundswell to crawl all the SocialNetwork’s carriers to produce the Metacalfe effect. So, without any programming and low-production content you can create a viral campaign by following the best practices of The Book Quote Game.

I’ll give more evidence and details then see if there are best practices that can be applied for Marketers. Please add your reactions below in the comments area as well. Continue reading

Transformers and Me–More Than Meets the Eye

space-era, robotsI’ve got a lot of robots and Transformers in my office. The quick explanation is “they’re cool.”
The more involved version follows.
I have a small collection of 1950s-60s space/atomic era rockets in part because I love the naive notion that “science will save and lift us” and the object lessons this notion offers.
I added robots—some original and replicas—to my “save and lift” collection.  FWIW, I share the starry-eyed optimism in all pursuits. And I have enough experience to know that there’s another pole to that perspective.

The Ultimate Pop-Up Blocker

tvbgone.jpgAwhile ago I posted a travel innovation piece about a device that kept the air-traveler-in-your-lap syndrome. Here’s a fun little device that will knock out TVs where ever you go. This isn’t just playful subversion, it’s another expression of User-In-Control or “pop-up blocking.” When the user experience stinks, expect a technology to emerge that addresses the user’s preferences, like the pop-up blocker, ffwd button on TiVo, Google (yes, an entire company dedicated to making things more relevant and findable online), etc. Enjoy more. Be Great. Debate below.

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