Previous month:
April 2008
Next month:
June 2008

May 2008

the mother of all innovation (re-edited)

Fisher 500 AM/FM hi-fi receiver from 1959. Courtesy of Rusty Turner.Image via WikipediaThey say that necessity is the mother of all invention.

(later edit, kudos to Paula) But is necessity the mother of all innovation?

Not necessarily.

I would suggest that necessity is neither the mother of all invention, nor is it the mother of innovation.  Let's take a two pronged approach.

  1. Innovation often presents solutions to problems we never knew we had.  To invent is to create something new. 
  2. Necessity drives solution finding, not innovation nor invention.

Solutions need not be groundbreaking to be useful. The answer to your challenge may not be in new technologies, but in making progress by moving backwards to identify an end game solution.

For example, take the situation with Hezbollah.

In an effort to jam Hezbollah's field communications, Israel jams Hezbollah's cell phones.  For most enemies, this would present a technical problem, to be solved by a technologist.

A technologist may look to create a new type of radio, a stronger cell transmission, or another form of wireless communication.

Hezbollah's solution?  Going back to physical wired communications, laying fiber lines for all communications in the field.

Sometimes the toughest technical challenges can be overcome by gaining context.  Hezbollah understood their unique situation, and made the tactical decision to use their home territory to their advantage, laying cables where Israeli and Lebanese troops do not want to go - into Hezbollah controlled territory. 

I try to avoid politics, but to me this is more than politics. 

Here's to hoping that the good guys win.

National Geographic : brilliance or desperation?

Correction: This post originally stated that this program was a Discovery Channel effort.  I have since been corrected, and properly attributed this campaign to National Geographic.  My sincerest apologies to all parties involved.

Nat geo Battle at Kruger is a You Tube phenomenon. 

And now, the National Geographic is here to pick this entire video to pieces.

Is this desperation?  Have the folks at the National Geographic given up on original ideation, resorting to expert commentary on user generated content?

Or is National Geographic brilliantly tapping into a relevant social phenom

If you were National Geographic, what would you do?

My Analysis

  • The Battle at Kruger was a hit in social media, generating over 31 million views.
  • The National Geographic audience enjoys this content genre.
  • Much of The National Geographic audience may have already seen this video.
  • However, never before have any of the above mentioned audiences (YouTube and National Geographic audiences) viewed this video through the lens of an expert commentary.
  • National Geographic is therefor delivering their unique branded message to two audiences:
    • National Geographic enthusiasts
    • Viral video viewers who were enthralled by this remarkable video.

Yes, this is a smart move by the National Geographic. 

Let's hope they can capitalize on their value proposition (expert analysis) with this fresh content. 

Let's hope they are smart enough to tease segments of their expert commentary on YouTube (linked back to the original video), driving back to a National Geographic experience while providing value to the You Tube audience.

But that's just what I think.  How about you?

National Geographic Teaser Video

links for 2008-05-09

  • GREAT presentation on social media. We cannot say it enough - and everyone has a unique perspective or twist. It's social, it's here. Now let's deal with it.
  • Saying no (thank you) is a difficult thing to do, particularly for overachievers and early adopters. But you need to prioritize. And that's when you start saying no. And this is why my blogging has slowed down.

sad but true? or do we need some perspective?

Jefferson-NickelImage via WikipediaThe other day, I heard this joke.

How do you get a client to leave an agency?

Roll a shiny nickel down the sidewalk.

Hohoho. (sarcastic laughter followed by awkward silence)

  • Firstly, clients are not dumb.  Nor are they naive.
  • Secondly, agencies (and unagencies) are just as at fault here as their clients. 

Shiny Nickels are nothing new, and they aren't going away.  We just need to learn to put on sunglasses.

Raise your hand if you remember AOL chatrooms.  Now tell me how different they are than Twitter.  Now tell me Twitter is a fad that is going to fade away.  Sure, we may access the platform in new ways, but the platforms, and their users, don't disappear.  They shift.

Think about it.
    Twhirl is to Twitter as AIM is to AOL Chatrooms.

Twhirl and Twitter may not be the future, but they aren't dead.  Just because it is shiny, doesn't make it unsustainable (for at least a few years).  Just because it is shiny, doesn't mean that it is useless. 

If you don't look at your life through the filter of common sense, everything will look skewed.  However, put on the shades of reality and allocate your budgets accordingly, and you will be set for life.

If you believe in every pitch you hear, you're going to end up falling flat on your face, very, very quickly.
If you stop believing in the value of the startup, you shouldn't be in media.

NewsCorp was once an emerging business.
Google still is in many ways still a startup.
Facebook is a startup.

Don't chase the all the shiny nickels. 
But avoid them at your own peril.

taking some time to read and enjoy

So life's been crazy.  Passover in Israel, meeting with technology partners in the AM, working remotely in the afternoon and evening,  and now back to work and playing catchup.  My wife and son finally came back this morning.  FYI - Seeing your wife and baby after 4 days across the world from each other is the best feeling in the world!  Seriously, having your 9 month old jump into your arms is an amazing feeling.  Wouldn't trade it for the world.

But with all the hullaballoo, I haven't had time to read.  And I feel like I'm blogging blind.  Blogging is a conversation.  If all you do is write, you aren't participating in social media, you're just talking.  So I'm off to read. 

Here's to a great weekend, filled with unpacking, getting a haircut, going to a lecture by one of my favorite speakers, spending some quality time with my family, and finally purchasing that new computer I've been talking about.  When your laptop HD starts clicking, you know the time has come.  Now if only I could get all my old data off that old beast, my life would be much easier.  Any ideas?

New Media "Journalism" ESPN Panel (Video)

People love to talk.  But talking doesn't make you a journalist.  Talking makes you a conversationalist.

So what differentiates the masses of conversationalists from the real journalists?

Is it professionalism?  Is it readership?  Is it subscription value?  Is it the distribution channel?  Is it mainstream press recognition?

From the looks of the ESPN panel conversation below, this is still VERY "tbd".

ESPN Panel Discussion on Sports Bloggers & Sports Journalism - audio is NSFW

Personal Opinion

Journalism is an art.  Art, as is beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.  If Marc Cuban decides not to let "the joes" into the locker rooms, it is his right to do so precisely because it is his right to decide whether or not your creations and opinions are of value on the level of professional journalism.  However, the choices he makes are at his own peril. 

The art of the amateur can easily become just as influential as the published musings of the established thought leader.

So maybe most bloggers aren't journalists (in my opinion), but that doesn't make them any less important.

Treat us as you will, but know that you do so at your own risk.  And always remember, even journalists need a readership to pay the bills.  And their readership is made up of ordinary people, who talk, and though they may not be journalists, remain conversationalists.