I'm spending the new year in Sanibel Island, Florida. It's a tiny beach community located on the Gulf side of the state. 2006 has been an amazing year for me--it's the year I started this blog. It's been a year filled with learning, inspiration, and insights. It has given me a whole new perspective on marketing, creativity, and innovation. And of course 2006 has been a year where I've met so many of you in different ways. Some through the blog, others through e-mail and others I've been fortunate enough to meet in person. 2006 has been the year I discovered another form of community. And I don't use this word lightly.
It all sounds great because mostly, it is. I've been extremely fortunate to have had the types of ecxperiences I have. But like many things in life, a pricetag comes along with it. Blogging requires an investment of time and energy that mostly exists outside the hours of 9-5. Staying in touch with your community is a commitment--one that requires you to look beyond yourself. Providing content with a unique angle takes both creativity, stamina and passion. Once you get the ball rolling, you want to keep it going in meaningful ways. And lastly, blogging requires the ability to balance. I've got a demanding career, a family that needs me, and my "non-digital" community that I don't want to neglect. It's a balancing act that is tough to pull off, though luckily I haven't hit a breaking point (I have come close several times though).
But it's all good. So this week I'm going to be writing from a different slant. The environment here is great. I love the saltwater, the sound of the surf and it's peaceful--I can already feel the batteries re-charging. Over the next several days, I'm slowing down my wheels, taking in the beauty and using the blog as a journal. I'm "taking it easy". You're welcome to tag along if you like...
From Micro Persuasion:
"Social media, according to Wikipedia, includes "the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives with each other." This includes blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, vlogs and so on. For the last few years this was all considered related to, but separate from mainstream media. That point of differentiation is now gone."
OK, Karl here is my 2 cents:
No, I don't think that the lines will blur to the point that the labels of Social Media and Mainstream Media (MSM) become pointless or moot. What my visual shows above is a clear separation between the two—however there exists a level of interaction that hasn't happened before in the past. They now openly feed off of each other. Mainstream media seems to no longer be ignoring the Social Media movement. They are, in fact working in tandem with Social Media content generators—getting scoops, watching, reading, subscribing. I know this because several MSM'ers have subscribed to my blog.
But does this mean that the lines blur and the distinction goes away? Steve Rubel is a bright guy and he knows this space way better than I do, so he maybe taking a provocative position (or a long term visionary one)—but in my opinion we've got a long way to go before MSM and Social Media are indistinguishable.
Here's a few anecdotal first hand experiences to help illustrate the points I am making.
1. When I watch the news/listen to the radio, I still hear journalists speaking skeptically of Social Media even though they now openly reference it in their stories. Plus, I’ve worked in Newsrooms in both print and broadcast years ago, many of the same people still remain in power at the top.
2. Most of the people I work with are vaguely familiar with my blog (some not at all) and usually only perk up when they hear about the BusinessWeek/Boston Globe mentions. In fact, even though this blog has moved very quickly in a short amount of time, my actual work responsibilities haven't changed much since before I started the blog.
3. Many mainstream media outlets have their own versions of blogs, podcats etc. but this isn't Social Media—it's the MSM using technologies such as Podcasting, personal publishing or RSS to distribute content in new ways. They are using the techology to innovate how their content is shared or even interacted with.
4. Whether we like it or not, us content creators are still fighting for credibility. It's getting better—but we don't have the clout of a New York Times/WSJ piece etc. There's a distinction there. Sorry. And lots of bloggers are in the midst of writing good old-fashioned books (Godin, Jaffe, Shel) etc. Why? Credibility—and exposure to those who still aren't participating (or even consuming user generated content). Yes, for some if it's not in a book—it's not real.
So if I were to make a prediction for the next year or two, it wouldn’t be that the line between the two would dissolve and that Social Media as we know it dies (or the MSM for that matter) however, I think a more probable scenario is that Social Media steadily begins to establish more mainstream credibility. The MSM continues to be more open about leveraging their Social Media sources—we see more Vincent Ferarri's taking on AOL's and more video taping of Comcasts etc.
And here's a sign of the times. Lately on the evening news I have noticed a new phenomina. Many of the video clips that are being featured are pulled straight off of YouTube. You see the logo and everything. Is that blurring of the lines? Well, it's getting closer to it—but it's not. When we see Amanda Congden replace Katie Couric—well then MAYBE the lines have completely blurred.
OK, that was an exaggeration everyone. :)
"Think of someone in need
Do something about it"
These were words I wrote not very long ago on my post titled "A Holiday Manifesto". Of course it's easy to write words like this. They're inspirational. Who wouldn't agree with thoughts like these? It's another thing to actually live them.
Gavin Heaton, author of the Servant of Chaos is a friend in need. A few days ago, just before Christmas—his father-in-law Noel and a group of cyclists were hit by an automobile. Noel and several others were severely injured and are in critical condition. Details and updates can be viewed here.
I'll be honest with you—when I first started blogging, I remember seeing this word tossed around and I always viewed it with skepticism. You see, I have deep memories of what real community is. I remember my years living in Ozone Park, Queens before we moved out to the burbs. I remember how we would throw block parties when there would be blackouts and how everyone would bring out the food that was about to spoil and share it with each other. And I remember how we would just walk into the connected home of our neighbor of we ever needed anything.
To me, that's community.
Gavin, has been an amazing supporter of this blog, He's encouraged and inspired me on a regular basis. Though our homes aren't physically joined as he lives in Australia, I feel like they are. I want to help. I want to act.
Here's how to act.
1. Spread the word, take the graphic from this post and include it on yours.
2. Go here and donate. Encourage your readers to do the same (Thank You Cam).
3. Send a kind word here. Let them know that we care.
Why? Because if it happened to us, we'd be fortunate and blessed to have others do the same.
Noel with Squeakers
OK, I apologize for the cryptic headline. But basically what I'm trying to say is that Seth Godin created a Squidoo page for Mack Collier's "Z-list meme". I'm still not exactly sure how Squidoo works though I did sign up for it a while ago. All I know is that I started getting page referrals from this Squidoo "lens" and checked it out (as any blogger would).
On it was a list of blogs under the heading "The Z List". Directly above that it says this:
What does this all mean? Well, I'll provide a personal perspective. When I first registered with Squidoo many months ago, I did so purely out of buzz—meaning I'd seen it on Typepad and heard about it, so I signed up. But I'd never actually used the service since setting it up. So, this serves as an interesting reminder of the service and how it actually works in context.
One of the features on this page is that you can vote (up or down) for each blog (but you have to be a registered Squidoo user). So this could be a very interesting marketing move on Seth's part.
Well, that's my 2 cents. The "Z-meme" that Mack started has certainly spread in some unique ways—ironically it's become "the gift that keeps giving". :)
"We're clearly at an inflection point. I'm not even a traditional ad-guy and I've been asked to write this, so what does that say? We're all firmly in this together—marketers, designers, clients, agencies, researchers, ethnographers, art directors and writers, all being sniped at, out-thought, and remixed by consumers younger than our own kids. Hard as it is to say, in most cases, they're as good, if not better, at this stuff than we are. Now, together, we must figure out where to go from here."
This made me think of a presentation I gave when first joining Digitas (I've since updated with some of my visuals). It's a high-level overview of the role of design (speaking very broadly here) in the context of the digital agency. So back to the "ad guy" theme...this leaves me with several questions:
1. What does the future ad guy/gal look like?
2. Is he/she a designer of some shape, form or kind?
3. Will the future of advertising even remotely resemble the current status quo?
4. Will we still call it advertising?
Of course all thoughts expressed will help fuel future posts. My, that writers block I briefly suffered from didn't last very long... ;)
Tonight I sit in front of the Laptop realizing I have nothing to say.
I don't feel like doing a visual. I don't feel like writing. I don't feel like talking about the industry. I don't feel like starting a conversation. Today is the first time I've felt this way since starting the blog. It's actually liberating. I have nothing to say. I'm too tired to think—or feel. I'm OK. I'm OK...
Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is a mega agency acquisition. :)
Well, I only found out not too long ago that we are now officially part of the Publicis family. You can ask me how I feel about this, but honestly I am in shock and don't know what this means in the short or long run. What a huge surprise! All I can tell you is that the broader Agency world is obviously taking Digital in all forms very, very, very seriously. The purchase is proof of this.
Stay away from malls
Gather around a table
Re-discover family tradition
Re-live fond memories
Forget bad ones
Play with a toy
Play chess with a friend
Spike the Eggnog
Think of someone in need
Do something about it
Not the yellow kind
Wear silly hats
Get carried away
Watch a classic
Send your cards out late
Get up early
Make a wish
Start your blog
Read a book
Talk to a stranger
Don't make promises
Give something away
Receive with grace
Watch home movies
Share them too
Say goodbye to the past
Say hello to a new year
Smile if it feels right
Find a quiet place
Look out for mistletoe
Don't fake cheer
Merry Christmas. | Happy Holidays.
And a peaceful New Year to all.
So here's how it's netting out as of now. The poll seems to have leveled off here—so I put this together as a snapshot. Looks like most of us are a pragmatic bunch, chalking this up to business as usual—though a close second feel TIME gets the better end of the stick.
The poll is still active if you don't like what you see.
OK, I totally admit it. I only understand the theories behind Second Life and the broader "Metaverse"—but I haven't experienced it first hand for myself. I've seen pictures, videos and of course read all about it (how can you escape it?). I'll try it out someday as I believe that experience is the best teacher. But until then, here's an observation. After watching this video of Leo Burnett Detroit's Holiday musical, I have to say that SL avatars freeeak me out. I had no idea how creepy they can look—especially when they do 80's rap-induced dance moves. How come nobody filled me in on this little detail?? SL people out there, how do you get past this?
OK, feel free to bash me for being so "behind the times". Someday I'll get my second life—you just won't catch me dancing in it. :)
From Communication Arts/Design Interact:
"This site supports IBM’s “Innovation That Matters” campaign by serving up business issues that matter most to senior executives.
Diverse and worthwhile content and an interface that makes accessing it a unique and engaging experience equal a site that’s anything but business as usual.
With a strong editorial focus, content is a treasure trove of white papers, studies, videos, audio podcasts and newsletters produced by some of the sharpest minds in business and technology (who users can easily connect with via handy e-mail links). A series of tools enable users to track worldwide business trends that cross reference the content on the site and the international business press and blogosphere."
I like that they included the blogoshphere as part of the trend resources that can be tracked. Kudos to the team. I'm sure they busted their arses on this one.
David Sciascia, creative director
Rebecca Picatoste/Catherine Forsman, interactive strategy/design
Ted Sanders/Ray Vazquez/Francois Balmelle/Peter Balogh, Flash design/development
Charles Truett/Chloe Cooke/Mallory Whitelaw, visual designers
Matt Barthel/Adrienne Matt, content strategy/development
Web site: www-306.ibm.com/innovation
A collection of Apple iPhone concepts from various sources can be found at the Apple iPhone blog
Here are some of my faves:
A little like a "remote" but still pretty cool.
Just got a heads up from my co-worker Amit that I was briefly mentioned on page 98 in the December 18th version of BusinessWeek (as part of their "Best of 2006" feature). That's the good news. The bad news is that they called me an Ad Guy. ;)
" Digitas ad guy David Armano’s Logic+Emotion blog provides visualizations of the blogosphere’s spheres of influence and plays host to rich trend conversations by advertising thinkers."
Not that I'm complaining—hey, I'm just happy I wasn't mentioned in the "Worst of 2006" section. And it is kind of nice to be aligned alongside such goodies as Google Trends and Blog Pulse. OK, fine BusinessWeek—call me whatever you want!
Thanks again Amit for the update.
CNN reports on TIME Magazine's person of the year. YOU. TIME has embraced the fact that millions upon millions of people are giving up their evenings watching primetime, and choosing to create, co-create, collaborate, share, and produce original content instead (gotta love the simply innovative cover which reflects your face).
So I guess it's official. This isn't a trend.
The most interesting thing about the brief report on CNN was that literally after showing the cover, they promoted their own version of "citzen journalism" called iReport--a feature on the news channel which solicits photos and stories from the masses and puts them on the air.
In essence it's as if they are saying. "Hey--we're a part of this whole thing too!". As a somewhat relevant aside, I took this picture with my phone and wrote the post on it as well, without touching a PC. All in under10 minutes. Yes, times have changed as TIME suggests.
Ben and Jackie's Citizen Marketers keeps picking up steam. Here is the latest—an interview featured on CBS. This represents a symbolic milestone of the "shift" in our behavior which transcends the boundaries of marketing and even media. Even if you are not in the "1%" category mentioned in the book (and elsewhere) chances are that your behavior online, digitally and even offline is significantly different than it was five years ago. Amazing times we live in.
Oh yeah. And it's always great hearing a news anchor say stuff like "cultural conversation".
This year Digitas gives the gift of open source, blog friendly e-greetings. I've always wanted to be a drummer! OK, I'm lying—I always wanted to play lead guitar but hey, this is a close second.
Now if you work agency side or have ever been a part of creating Holiday greetings for clients etc., you know that there's literally close to no time set aside for these kinds of things and it's a miracle to get something out the door. I'm really proud of the team who worked on this (out of Chicago) as they busted their asses big time.
Here's how it works:
1. Select a movie
You can select from Dancer, Rocker, Angler, or Skier.
2. Upload your mug
You can scale up or down, and rotate in either direction.
3. Save and share (how you like)
Send a customized e-mail, or simply copy and paste a url, or for us bloggers—snag the code put it right on your site. You can size it down from the default setting.
Hope you like it. I know there is a lot of this kind of stuff floating around over the holidays—but they make for a good laugh. And with travel, deadlines and last minute client requests—this is a good time of year to be laughing. :)
Q: What happens when you get two geeky marketing types talking over a beer or two?
A: You get two geeky marketers who should have left the office a long time ago who need to get a real life. :)
Digitas colleague and emerging channels uber geek Greg Verdino is in Chicago this week chatting up things like Second Life and the "Metaverse". So I thought I'd grab him and a couple of cold ones and record ourselves silly.
If that sounds like a good time to you (heaven help you), give a listen!
Gratuitous product placements compliments of Joe Jaffe and Miller Light.
Just in time to send 2006 out with a bang, Sony + agency Zipatoni give birth to a baby Flog (fake blog). Get the scoop at AdFreak and tip of the hat to Greg Verdino.
Forget the 5 things about meme! Mack comes up with his own, putting the spotlight on "Z-list" blogs. Here are his picks:
Shotgun Marketing Blog
Being Peter Kim
Check out the Viral Garden for more details on how to participate.
You Say Persona + I Say Persona
I'm in the midst of writing/designing some personas—so this article from Kim Goodwin of Cooper seemed relevant.
Well it's bad enough that I have dealines, but now I've got "Bloglines"—all this meme stuff was spreading around and I couldn't get to my blog until the end of the day.
Well thanks to Tom Asacker, Gavin Heaton and "almost" Ann Handley, I now am obliged to spread this meme which requires me to share 5 things about myself before assigning it to some fellow victims... erm, bloggers.
So here goes. 5 Things about meme:
1. I'm a recovering Leo
I was born on July 28th, 1971 in Brooklyn NY. This makes me a Leo. A Leo with an attitude. I refer to myself as a recovering Leo because I work very hard at suppressing the less desirable Leo traits while letting the more positive ones thrive. Leo's are natural leaders, we don't shy away from challenges and we can be highly motivated. We're also very loyal, generous and affectionate. But we can sometimes get carried away with ourselves, enjoying the limelight just a little too much and we can tend to wear our lion hearts on our sleeves. Yup, I'm a Leo—I just happen to be one with a conscience.
2. I worked a “rolling bar” at age 16
Ever go to a wedding where the Bartenders rolled their bars over to your table? Yeah—that was me. At age sixteen no less. On weekends between high school days, I could be found at the “Imperial Manor” serving Whiskey Sours and Sex on the Beach to an assortment of patrons out on Long Island. Need a visual? Think “The Wedding Singer”—that about sums it up.
3. I was a “Kid in the Hall”
When I was younger, I mostly stayed out of serious trouble—but I did drive my teachers nuts. I was the guy with random outbursts, classroom pranks and would even spontaneously get out of my desk, throw my arm around my teacher's shoulder and say “you’re the greatest”. That usually resulted in my ending up in the hallway for the rest of the class.
4. I was “king of the fire roads”
In my early work years, friends and I would drive up to Vermont in the summer, take ski lifts up the mountains and ride our mountain bikes at full speed down the mountain. The fastest trails were called “fire roads”. One time I was blazing down one and wiped out in spectacular fashion, doing a “summersault”—bike and all. Somehow I ended up on my feet and was crowned “king of the fire roads”.
5. I wasn’t supposed to succeed
In the fourth grade I was berated by a teacher (Mrs. Sharkey), during a school performance. We all dressed up as our heroes and recited something (I was Teddy Roosevelt). I can’t remember what I recited. All I can remember was her yelling at me, calling me a lazy slob and pointing out that my shirt was untucked and how stupid I looked—all in front of the class. Funny how things like that stick with you.
So those are my five things. Now I get to pass this on to five other blogger-victims of my choosing. Have fun!
Karl Long - One of my original blogoshphere friends and tour guides
Roger von Oech - Roger's gotta have some good ones
Paul McEnany - Paul will probably drop some F-bombs
Mindblob - Because it's the mysterious Mindblob!
Leisa Reichelt - Only fitting for a blog titled "Disambiguity"
With the upcoming release of Microsoft’s new OS, called Vista (shown above)—Microsoft takes a page out of the Apple, Nike, Target, and even Motorola play book and gets serious about the role of design in the Microsoft brand experience. Will the new OS, transform the way Microsoft is perceived similar to what Motorola experienced with the break through RAZR? Only time will tell.
But, something seems to be in the water at Microsoft. Last week I had lunch with Chris Bernard, a “User Experience Evangelist” with Microsoft. An alumni of Chicago’s own Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chris is working hard at weaving design principals and the role it plays in the entire customer experience into the fabric of Microsoft's culture. It’s a huge company and he will no doubt have his work cut out for him as traditionally, this hasn’t been at the core of Microsoft's strengths. To be fair, Microsoft did tap the power of design heavily with the release of the Xbox. Not only was the game interface totally overhauled, but the unit itself was transformed from a “black box” to a thing of beauty (and power) with the shift to a sleek, organic, white unit which can be stood up or placed on it’s side.
How does Microsoft intend to get here? They are incorporating a design philosophy they call AERO. It goes something like this:
“Ease of use is important but we want to also really improve Efficiency for people using Windows a lot, and make them more productive. We want the product to deliver more than just doing what it is supposed to enable you to do: we want to evoke a positive emotional connection (when people feel better about what they are doing they in general are more productive, make less mistakes, take more pride in their accomplishments etc. which is all goodness, also for business)".
Will the AERO design philosophy work? There are some bits of evidence. As Chris and I chatted, he demonstrated some software design applications Microsoft is rolling out. But as he demonstrated these, I was also paying close attention the the Vista OS that was running on his laptop. Sure, it resembled Apple in some ways—but I couldn’t help but wonder how a PC user would react to the changes. Here’s a couple of highlights:
From what I could tell in my brief encounter with Vista, it looked pretty sweet—definitely a big move for Microsoft, but I have to get my hands on it for the true test. So, will design for the entire customer experience help move Microsoft forward? We’ll have to see. An improved operating system that is “useful, usable, desirable, and feasible” to use Microsoft’s own words is good start. But it’s a start. In my meeting with Chris, I shared with him that the core reason I opted not to purchase the Motorola Q after playing with it. Though I loved the small, stylish smart phone itself—I had difficulty getting past some interface issues related to that particular version of Windows Mobile.
In the end, it just didn’t “feel” right. I think Microsoft is on to something here with their newfound focus on the user experience across all touch points. People make decisions on what “feels” right and design in the context of providing a good experience has a lot to do with that. That said, does Microsoft have what it takes to make their users "feel great"?
Note: visuals in this post are pulled from Microsoft and referenced with permission.
Just having some fun here with cafe press. Whipped up a few designs. If you're in the market for a T-Shirt, how about it? :)
So are there any favorites you would REALLY like to see in a T-shirt? I can't promise anything—I have no idea if anyone would even want these. But hey, it was fun just to see them on shirts!
Interactive Agency Enlighten have re-launched their Holiday Party Excuse Generator. Drat, we just had ours last night. I could have used it. :) As an aside, they are looking for a Design Director and Interactive Designer. Check out the jobs section on their site, which is by the way one of my favorite agency sites.
Oy Vey! The whole Draft, Wal Mart debacle is hard to believe. Agency gets client. Agency looses client. I don't know how many more times Wal Mart can make the headlines. Here's an interesting take on the story from the Chicago Sun Times.
I Wouldn't Trade My Second Life for Yours
Digitas colleague and fellow Lawn Guylander Greg Verdino will be delivering a Webinar on January 11th for Marketing Profs focused on Second Life 101. The Webinar it titled "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Metaverse"
Here's a synopsis in Greg's own words:
"This isn't a plain ol' romp around Second Life to check out cool stuff. There will be some of that, to be sure, but the real focus is on giving marketers a good look at what virtual worlds are all about, what other marketers are really doing inside Second Life in particular, and hleping them think about what this trend might mean for them and their brands."
Roger von Oech and I have been having an interesting series of discussions around his Ball of Whacks. I've been watching my 6-year-old play with it for a while now, and each time I look at it—I cant help but wonder how the product would be affected if it came in an array of colors in addition to Red.
Color is one of those fascinating things that's hard to put a finger on. Sometimes people react to color in totally emotional if not irrational ways expressing preferences for colors that fit their personal tastes. Automobiles are a great example of this. You may love that Mini Cooper in Red, but hate it in Green. And someone else may have the opposite reaction. Color is also about mood:
Other times color is used to help convey information, hierarchy and data. Prime examples here would be charts, graphs, information graphics, displays, manuals etc. Here color becomes more about utility, clarity and context.
But color is powerful, no doubt about it. And like any power it can be harnessed, used for good or abused. I still shudder each time I walk into an office that mixes Teal and Magenta with a touch of faux brush patterns thrown in for good measure. Using color should be a deliberate exercise. When we pick colors we are essentially saying things about ourselves and/or attempting to connect with the sensibilities of our audience. When I first designed my personal site, I chose a color pallete that both suited my personality but I also deliberately chose colors that can be found in nature. People tend to respond well to colors rooted in nature because we are hard-wired to appreciate the design of nature.
So back to Roger's Ball of Whacks. I wondered what would happen if I played around with a few colors. Here are some thoughts as to how color can change the dynamics of this product:
1. Like automobiles, you can choose one that fits your personal preference
2. The Ball can become a "room accessory"—something that coordinates with your office or desk ensemble
3. Hand out all color variations at a creative workshop and encourage people to trade pieces, mix colors and end up with a creation that started out as monochromatic and ended up in Technicolor
4. Produce limited edition colors (for collectors)
5. Come up with a line of "kid colors" just for them
You get the idea. Sometimes color changes everything, as long as you know what you want to accomplish with the use of it. So help Roger out will ya? Do any of the colors above speak to you? If not, what color (or colors) would you want your Ball of Whacks to be?
"I've heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world. The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular.
I hate peanut butter. We all should."
So said Brad Garlinghouse (allegedly), a Yahoo senior vice president, according to the WSJ where a copy of the full "peanut butter manifesto" can be found. If you don't have a subscription, go here. The memo was written in mid November. Instead of writing about the recent re-org which Yahoo! announced, I thought it would be interesting to take look at the memo again.
"We have lost our passion to win. Far too many employees are "phoning" it in, lacking the passion and commitment to be a part of the solution. We sit idly by while -- at all levels -- employees are enabled to "hang around". Where is the accountability? Moreover, our compensation systems don't align to our overall success. Weak performers that have been around for years are rewarded. And many of our top performers aren't adequately recognized for their efforts."
This part in particular really sticks with me. Pun intended. Passion is lost when you spread anything too thin. Brad spends some time talking about a business strategy which tries to do everything and does nothing exceptionally well—resulting in frustrated, unproductive and less than engaged employees:
"As a result, the employees that we really need to stay (leaders, risk-takers, innovators, passionate) become discouraged and leave. Unfortunately many who opt to stay are not the ones who will lead us through the dramatic change that is needed."
I think Brad touches something that all companies need to be wary of. Spreading your employees too thin—especially the passionate, effective ones who throw themselves in their work and perform. The end result can be the same. At some point they'll become overworked, frustrated and tired of picking up the slack. Ultimately, they'll lose passion and leave.
Now let's take a look at Brad's solution (and isn't it great that he offered up one?):
1. Focus the vision.
2. Restore accountability and clarity of ownership.
3. Execute a radical reorganization.
You'll have to read the entire memo for the details but the theme of the solution is change. Change at all levels. A re-focusing of doing what Yahoo! is good at and excelling in those areas. A change in culture that rewards performers and weeds out low performers"
"My view is that far too often our compensation and rewards are just spreading more peanut butter. We need to be much more aggressive about performance based compensation. This will only help accelerate our ability to weed out our lowest performers and better reward our hungry, motivated and productive employees."
Now think about this memo which some speculate is directly ties to the recent re-org. Was this directed at share holders or was it a genuine move to publicly admit that there is a problem, and to call for change? In other words, was this transparency?
"I love Yahoo! I'm proud to admit that I bleed purple and yellow. I'm proud to admit that I shaved a Y in the back of my head."
To me this sounds like the plea of someone who loves what they do and the company they work for—and they couldn't sit on the sidelines of political correctness as they helplessly watched it go down a dangerous path. I could be totally wrong, but after reading the memo I think Brad was urging his fellow Yahoo-ers! to re-discover the passion they once knew and the greatness that comes with it. So with the news that Yahoo! is making some big changes, I hope they re-discover themselves and what made them great in the first place.
The headline of this post is a gag of course, but I was surprised (pleasantly) to see that the 2006 In Your Words "time capsule" as some are calling it, has been featured as a "popular" item in slideshare. If you haven't used slideshare yet, it's eerily similar to YouTube, except it's designed for us PowerPoint Jockeys. It's not perfect (doesn't render flawlessly), however it's terribly effective, easy to use and a nice alternative to e-mailing large presentations (or a collection of photos). And like You Tube, it turns what you upload into a social, open source piece of content designed for distribution.
So, if you are comfortable with working in a presentation format and feel like sharing, take slideshare for a test drive.
What was the most significant event/aspect of 2006 in regards to marketing, advertising or user experience?
I was able to capture some of your answers in the PDF associated with this post. I would have liked to use all of them, but I needed to keep this streamlined. I think it captures a bit of the spirit we witnessed in 2006. I modified some visuals to break up the quotes in this way:
2006: The year of...
PC (Power Consumer)
Business + Design
Thank you for contributing your thoughts and feel free to use as you like. What's that? You want to know what my answer is? Well, it's not in the piece but here goes...
2006 was the year of re-discovery. We re-discovered our interests and passions through sharing common interests with people who we related to but may have never met personally. We re-discovered brands in ways that we hadn't known before. We can interact with and engage brands on our level—in a way of our choosing. Maybe not all brands, but the ones who are reaching out to us. We re-discovered a sense of purpose through creating, co-creating and expressing ourselves and our views, both personal and professional. We re-discovered the joys of community, even if it's not the traditional kind (and we re-discovered how important the traditional kind really is).
Yup, for me 2006 was a year for re-discovery. I've discovered things about myself through the experiences related to this blog and the people I've come to know through it. 2007 should be an equally interesting year. More to come on that in the next few posts...
Digitas Drinks Second Life Kool Aid
Sorry, couldn't help myself with the headline given the image :)
Greg Verdino, Digitas emerging channels hot shot captures some highlights from a recent Digitas SL hoo ha. Apparently all was going well until a lightsaber fight broke out. Who the heck invited Darth Vader anyway?
Loser T-Shirts Rock
Was checking Out Karl Long's T-Critic where T-Shirt designs fight each other to the death. There must be something wrong with me because I thought some of the ones on the "losingest" section were pretty good.
Preview The Design of Future Things
Don Norman has a sneak preview (draft) of his not yet published book which includes gems like this:
"As our technology becomes more powerful, more in control, its failure at collaboration and communication becomes ever more critical. Collaboration requires interaction and communication. It means explaining and giving reasons. Trust is a tenuous relationship, formed through experience and understanding. With automatic, so-called intelligent devices, trust is sometimes conferred undeservedly. Or withheld, equally undeservedly. The real problem, I believe, is a lack of communication. Designers do not understand that their job is to enhance the coordination and cooperation of both parties, people and machines."
Charlene Li from Forrester is back at blogging after over a month-long hiatus. Her latest post provides a profound insight of what can happen when blogging and life collide and the perils of second guessing yourself—or in Charlene's own words, analysis paralysis:
"I realized this past week that I'm suffering from analysis paralysis -- I've been holding myself to a level of analysis and writing that is simply unreasonable given what I want this blog to be. My last substantial post was on the YouTube acquisition by Google, which was quite the event. But those kind of blog post opportunities come roughly about once a year, and for some reason, I've been trying to write similar posts for the past month with no success.
So I've vowed to follow Nike's mantra and "just do it", or in this case, to "just blog it". Damn the idea of quality and depth of analysis -- I'm better off getting something out there and getting your reactions to it. So here I am, writing a stream of consciousness and finding my voice again."
Charlene's post provides a deep insight into the nature of social media (and maybe life). It's less about perfection and more about being an individual—strengths, flaws and all. Charlene's blog provides an opportunity to understand how she sees things and expresses her opinions in voice that is uniquely hers. She says it best:
"I'm often told by readers that my blog has an interesting voice which always I find so curious -- because it's not something that I consciously do"
So maybe that's part of the appeal to personal publishing. The opportunity to be personal. Having access to someone's subconscious in addition to their conscious—and the freedom to be creative without being "perfect". Go check out the rest of the post. And welcome back Charlene. Both to you, and your voice.
Photo originally featured on Waiting For Dorothy
Cam over at ChaosScenerio has done a nice little comic strip depicting what many of us have gone through or are currently going through. The process of consuming traditional media, then moving on to emerging media—getting overwhelmed in the process and figuring out how to apply our personal filters to decide on our terms how and where we want to spend our time.
For those of us who have made it past the "overwhelming stage", I'm sure you'll agree it was worth it. But what about the ones who dabbled in social media only to see no value in it?
Remember the post about the Wharton Marketing Professor who said:
"Blogs are the latest forum for people who have nothing to say that others actually care about," states Wharton marketing professor Xavier Dreze. The mode of a distribution, explains Dreze, "is its highest point. What this means is that there are more blogs with 0 subscriptions than blogs with one subscription or two or three or four. There is a reason why the modal number of subscriptions to a blog is 0."
So what does that comic look like?
Here's a pic taken from a vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. That's big brother Max marching full steam ahead and little brother Mason following his path. They were on an adventure together, exploring and making trails out of the vineyard rows.
Sometimes we need to follow in someone's footsteps.
Be that little sibling.
Take on the apprenticeship and learn from those who have seen more than us. But what you don't see in this picture is what happened shortly after. Both boys quickly turned around and marched back in my direction—full steam ahead. And guess who's turn it was to follow in little brother's footsteps?