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December 2007

around the blogosphere : 12-31

  • At first I tried reading every great, relevant blog, but I lost the ability to comprehend and more importantly, to digest and internalize.  Then I tried reading a select few blogs, but I lost my broad perspective.  Now I'm reading a select few, scanning a few more and filing the rest away for a rainy day.  Any ideas on how to read and retain all this worthwhile material while still being productive?
  • Hey boys and girls, THIS is how you get the word out to the world about your offering.  It's (a) personable, (b) buzz worthy, (c) attention grabbing and (d) unique.  Am I missing anything here?
  • Here's your homework: take this post and share it with at least 5 people in your company.  Write a cute note about how you think some people on their team should read it and they will pass it along.  At the end of the day, everyone will be that much smarter and you won't look like a snob.  Kudos Matt, great post!

why is the record industry still chasing waterfalls?

Broken_record Here's an idea!

Never move forward.  Never adapt.  Fight progress.  And above all else SUE EVERYONE who tries to adapt your offering to their needs.

You wouldn't think this business would be worth billions...  but the music industry is.

Sure, they got past Napster and got on board with web 2.0 (more or less).  But they're still stuck in a RECORD industry world. Today's youth and tomorrow's masses aren't about buying the hottest new record and having friends over just to listen to it.  We want to EXPERIENCE it.

Today's user is looking for EXPERIENCES, not just passive music.

When are we going to see audio tracks bundled with Guitar Hero or Rock Band extras? 
When are we going to see the music industry INNOVATE? 

Rather than begrudgingly following users from CDs to MP3s to DRM-Free MP3s, why couldn't the music industry LEAD us into the future rather than chasing long gone waterfalls?

fun fridays : next gen input interfaces

The video below requires some explanation.  FRONT is an interactive system motion capture system that records 3D "pen" strokes -- sending that information to a computer afterwards - apparently to be "printed".  (Video after the jump)

Uploaded by reelgood0008

I don't speak Japanese, but the story here is clearly apparent from the visuals.  Live mixed reality meets avatar like customization.  This is just too cool.  Check it out below (after the jump).


And what post about interface evolution would be complete without including the amazing Jeff Han?  Sure, the iPhone does multitouch, but it doesn't use tilt or pan technologies to navigate a 3D world!  On that note, why wouldn't Apple create a next gen mouse similar to the iPhone/iPod touch that would marry the multitouch experience with the built in accelerometers to deliver an intuitive 3D input interface?  This would change the face of both gaming and virtual world navigation!  And couple this technology with the Japanese mixed reality avatar-like technology featured above (fed by an integrated web-cam) for more human facial gestures, and you've got the world's BEST mixed reality home PC!  Dell's released a World of Warcraft unit, here's to hoping they pick this up next!  Any thoughts?

Video below (after the jump).

social media 101: holiday etiquette

People send out holiday cards for ONE simple reason: to maintain a relationship; be it a friendship, family or professional.

Junk_mail15 years ago, NOBODY would have sent out a an impersonal, mass produced, pre-recorded message that didn't even feature your own voice or the name of the addressee.

This year, I got TENS of junk ecards from sales people.  They cluttered my inbox when I wanted to get out of the office.  They were an annoyance.  They generated anything BUT goodwill.

How did this breakdown of social etiquette occur?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, because I for one am at a loss.

Key Takeaway: Communications are only as effective as they are meaningful.

If someone produces a video especially for you, it is meaningful.

If someone composes a handwritten note personalized to you, it has some meaning.

If someone includes a personal picture that is of meaning to you, it has meaning.

The Golden Rule:  Generic communications work well for computers, not for people.  If you're selling yourself or your company to a PERSON, make it PERSONABLE.

If your message isn't impactful, what are you really accomplishing?


For a great discussion around this meme, check out Scott Monty's post and the comments here.

cutting the wrong corners - local marketing 101

With lots of buzz around retail performance over the holiday season, I'd like to take a couple of minutes to analyze the state of retail and the future of truly local retail.

Spilled_milk Local mom and pop stores should outpace and outperform the mega-tailors any day.  The level of friendliness, familiarity and customizable service offered by local stores should put them miles ahead of the big box chains.

Local retailers however, often fail for one simple reason: they don't play the game by their own rules, rather they seek to outpace and outperform big box chains on pricing and range of offering. 

Consider my local pizza shop.  They cannot compete with the national chains on pricing, hours of operation, advertising or branding.  However, they compete VERY effectively in communications and personal relationship building.  The proprietor knows everyone.  He compliments you on a new jacket and wishes you a congratulations when you come in with a baby.  This guy was doing incredibly well.

Then I stopped by last night to pick up some pizza for a friend's birthday party.  This proprietor had run himself ragged.  He was dead tired, and was taking it out on customers.  And it only got worse.  He was using pizza boxes supplied for free from a company called PizzaAdz.  PizzaAdz places full color ads on the tops of pizza boxes.  The ad was for a film called Wrist Cutters.

Sure, the guy saved a couple bucks on ad-supported cardboard boxes.  But would YOU bring pizza boxes to a family event where kids would be present, if the boxes were advertising a suicide focussed rated R movie?  Now consider this: this is a kosher pizza store in a very traditional, politically conservative, orthodox Jewish community.  Ouch.

telling a compelling story in under 60 seconds

Firstly, props to Gill for sharing the video below.

Brands can and should be delivering content, as long as it is compelling and unintrusive.

Take the video below for example (feed readers, it's after the jump)

If this were to run as pre-roll I would be annoyed. If this were to run as mid-roll I was be VERY annoyed.  If this were to run as post-roll I probably would never see it. 

However, as a piece of stand-alone content, it would be fantastic.  It's compelling, it tells a story, and most importantly, it creates a meaningful impression, delivering that WOW factor that make videos go viral.

Key Takeaway: bad content will flop.  Good content will do acceptably well.  Great content will succeed.  As always, content is king; but it is the execution that can ultimately deliver success.