Thursday, July 22, 2010

Truth Be Told

Dear friends,

I am proud to announce an evolution. I love to write and share my ideas with you and now I have an opportunity to do it at a more professional level. ThisIsClutch will now appear at


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Social Media evolving the 30 second spot

What happens when you combine high quality content creation with social media? Well here is a clever experiment where creatives produced real-time follow-ups to further engage people in their brand content.

This article is about "a team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers who gathered yesterday and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice - in real time. They leveraged Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs. Everybody loved it; those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. The team worked for 11 hours yesterday to make 87 short videos, that's just over 7 minutes per video, not accounting for any breaks taken.

The group seeded various social networks with an invitation to ask questions of Mustafa's character, a dashing shirtless man with over-the-top humor and bravado. Then all the responses were tracked and users who contributed interesting questions and/or were high-profile people on social networks are being responded to directly and by name in short, funny YouTube videos.

We just brought a character to life using the social channels we all [social media geeks] use every day. But we've also taken a loved character and created new episodic content in real time. This is something new. We're operating on Internet time but with a level of quality you'd get on a TV slot. That combination was what really got many peoples' attention."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Changing World of Film

Despite the fact that the i"Phone"4 doesn't really make calls all that well, it is a pretty impressive piece of technology. After watching this film I was surprised by the quality, especially considering it was shot and editing without leaving the iPhone 4. The team chose their subject well because the shots they captured would have been near impossible using many other recording devices.

This really got me thinking about how powerful portable technology will be used in the future. From a journalist standpoint capturing, creating and sending a news report from a cellphone has some pretty powerful implications. I'm excited to see how other skilled individuals start to use this technology.

"Apple of My Eye" - an iPhone 4 movie / film - UPDATE: Behind the scenes footage included from Michael Koerbel on Vimeo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Evolving Teaching

Dan Meyer talks about the process of learning. He questions our methodologies for teaching and encourages the use of real life examples. His premise explains how we can teach more effectively by changing text books so that students are forced to develop real world solutions instead memorizing formulas.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Will Apple make the same mistake twice?

I'm fascinated with fail culture and the movement to embrace failure as an opportunity to improve and evolve. It's something American corporate and educational culture has had trouble with for some time. If you've been following the evolution of cell phones lately you'll know that Adobe and Apple have been duking it out over the importance of Flash on the mobile device. Without going into the specifics Apple argues Flash is an old technology and Adobe argues in favor of open markets, a response hinting that Apple must let go of its strangle hold and yield control to developers. There are a variety of perspectives, but the fact is that Apple only has 10% of the mobile phone market and the other 90% of the market share IS supporting Flash.

The bigger question here is not about the success of Flash but rather the ability of Apple to learn from its past failures in the PC business. Didn't they fall to Microsoft because of their hard headed decision to open their operating system to other hardware manufacturers and isn't Job's following a similar path to failure within their mobile business?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Banksy's Grand Scheme

What makes good art good; and should everyone make art? Banksy answers these questions with great insight and a movie full of hilarity.

This documentary is the Grizzlyman of the art world. Yes it's about street art and actually features footage of Banksy as he tags Gaza and LA alike; but it's really about Thierry Guetta. Also known as Mr. Brainwash, an eccentric (mental) frenchman with a passion for filmming street art.

Thierry was a true ethnographer, he captured everything on film and filled his house with endless boxes of tapes of graffiti artists from Sheppard Fairy to Invader creating their art across the world. He didn't have a plan he just shot. Then the art world started selling Banksy's work at auction houses. He was pissed and knew the time was right to strike back. The problem was Thierry wasn't a documentary filmmaker, he just loved filmming. Thierry took a stab at the film but when Banksy saw Theirry's work he said, "I used to tell everyone to go off and make art; I don't do that anymore."

Now the film get's interesting. Under Banksy's request, Thierry's passion for film turns to street art, but Thierry knows no limits. He hires a team of henchmen and starts producing images for his street art show. The only problem is he hasn't cultivated a style or put any thought into his work, but that doesn't stop the masses from consuming his work. With an endorsement from Banksy and Fairy he transforms into "Mr. Brainswash" and becomes an overnight art sensation clearing over a million on his first gallery opening.

Now the question for me is why were people so quick to assign value to his art? Sheppard got noticed after employing a strategy of recognition equals power. His reputation grew the more people noticed his work, the more it was noticed the more influence and power he gained - his work became a movement based on drawing people's attention to this idea of branding. Banksy has risen by employing a similar strategy - he created thoughtful work riddled with political and cultural overtones. He knows how to express his ideas with wit, tact and creativity - and this film may be his master piece.

At first I was pissed at Thierry for desecrating the art world, in fact I thought Banksy was too; but then I had an idea of what Mr. Brainwash was. He's not an artist, he's part entrepreneur; but more importantly he's a pawn in Banksy's plot for retaliation . The film starts out with an anecdote explaining how Thierry became successful selling vintage fashion. He found a profitable model for buying cheap clothes and marking them up 400%. It worked because people bought it. Well the same was true with his art; but then I thought, what if that was Banksy's plan from the start - after all he did get a lot of investors to spend their money on what has now been outed as superficial art. I couldn't help thinking that this seemed like one sweet victory for a man who has an obsession with almost anything but the bank.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Replay, Nightmare, the Gift m & Food Revolution

Five well crafted pieces of subtly branded content that makes a good effort to provide a engaging experience instead of jamming another ad down our throats.

Replay Documentary Series: A documentary that re-unites an old highschoo
l rivalry. Well produced and interesting story to develop the Gatorade brand.

Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution: The Nake Chef & ABC pair with Giant Foods to change unhealthy eating behavior

The Gift - A bad ass short strategically placed in a Phillips TV frame.

Nightmares Never Sleep: Nike's branded interactive online game that tests your focus, agility and balance.

Devo Song Study: Listen to samples of the songs from Devo's new album and select 12 of the 16 you want them to include in their new release.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Currency of Trust

Craig Newmark of Craig's list makes an interesting prediction about the future of social networking saying "By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power." Building a digital reputation is about increasing your expertise, advancing your professionalism and building your credibility.

I've read it a thousand times, if you want to be an expert at something, then practice for 10,000 hours. Well what if there was a way to track your hours of expertise to establish your skill level and credibility? Here's an example. If someone asks me a question about training for a triathalon or becoming a Cat 3 bike racer how do they know I have the expertise to give good advice? Well
I use Garmin Connect to record all my work out activities and they can see I biked 600 miles last month, ran 75 and swam 12. They can also use goodreads to see all the training books I've read and see the interaction I've had with members about how the concepts worked for me. Now what if there was a way to rate my experience level or gain credibility points that make my advice more worthwhile?

Last year Y-combinator hosted Cory Doctorow where he explained his idea for something called Whuffie bucks. It's a system for recording and building individual trust. It tracks your interaction with social networks and feedback from your contacts so you can develop your reputation. When I think about my personal career I believe that LinkedIn recommendations have value but I think there's a huge opportunity to create a system for developing an online reputation.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Future of Magazines Is Here

Popular Science has been working with mag+ to release a new way to view content digitally. They will premiere their technology with the release of the iPad.

Mag+ live with Popular Science+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

How Much Does Workplace Culture Reduce Productivity?

What if businesses started measuring the work you do based on the product you create not the hours they see you working. Jason Fried makes a good point, people don't work at work any more. Getting work done means being productive, being creative and that requires focus and thought; but the work place is filled with distractions like meetings, ringing phones, management and socializing. People are seeing this and we're starting to see a change in work behavior. Tim Ferris encourages strategies similar to Jason to increase productivity in the Four Hour Work Week; on the top of the list: get rid of distractions.

Some workers still need a lot more structure than entrepreneurial life can provide but with the advent of software, video chat and other interactive tools I think we're going to start seeing work life moving away from the office and into an online space.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Value of Online Relationships

Umair Haque writes an article called The Social Media Bubble where he discusses how facebook and twitter produce artificial, weak connections he coins as thin relationships. The article currently has 214 comments which give some pretty interesting perspectives on how social media is meaningful. Here are a few excerpts from comments that had compelling arguments. For those who still aren't convinced read this article about re-uniting a band for charity.
"There are those of us out there though, who are trying to make it abundantly and transparently clear that a trust network can very well be established right in plain sight, and build on a universal value system of trust, mutual respect, cooperation, and collaboration. I've been working for months to reveal the value and power of building a trust network around yourself, and I've just framed it out."
"the internet has provided the tools to build more trust and more shared experiences in life across geographic boundaries - and that is of enormous worth. The question is whether people use these tools to further relationships - or just grasp for attention from the masses."
"Social media has enabled a great potential to initiate relationships, "it's all about who you know" And that is 100% true. Since I've proactively developed relationships online (NB-mostly with local people) I have created much more opportunities for myself and met more people that I may not have had direct access to before."
"You say "Real relationships are patterns of mutual investment. I invest in you, you invest in me." That's exactly what we do on Twitter and Facebook, we share good information not to promote (maybe a little) but to help others find that information easier while in return they send you good signal to save time. We also discuss in great detail with those "friends" our thoughts, beliefs and opposing views on various subjects. For some of us, this *is* a huge "investment of time, money, knowledge, and attention" that we do unselfishly. This is just as much of a real relationship as one may have with a co-worker or classmate. Some will fade away when they are no longer in the location (or site) but other friendships could stand the test of time."
"Most relationships in social media do not hold constant value. They are not like dollars that can be exchanged at any given point for a (relatively) fixed amount. They hold "potential value" instead of "relative value". For example, you might never realize any value in a certain connection, but then one day when you need someone as a source for x story with which that connection is knowledgeable, or an interview with y company where that connection works, that connection now has an extremely high value. It's the potential that drives these kind of relationships in social media."

My perspective is that social media isn't a fad or a bubble, it's simply in a nascent stage because ultimately it:

1. builds and reinforces our offline connections with people. It lets us continue our conversations, share our discussions and get input from other people in our network.

2. allows us to share things that are interesting and important to us and receive information from others in return.

3. let's us reach out and learn from individuals who previously would have been out of our reach.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Viral Strategy is an oxymoron

Gareth posted a blog response to an adweek article about measuring viral success, something Faris calls idea multipliers. I like the article and the comments because they tear apart the old school model of advertising that is based on persuasion. It goes hand in hand with the idea that communications firms should be innovating, and calls for the need "to stop using research like drunkards use lampposts - for support, not illumination."

For me a brand or product resonates when it's authentic. That means "being immersed in the cultures they want to engage," or "playing a part in adding to or evolving this culture."

Going viral or finding a smart content distribution platform can be important but finding a way to manufacture viral diminishes the authenticity of the message. As online content continues to grow and overtake traditional media I think we'll continue to see brands intertwining themselves in culture so they are part of the experience instead of someone who is just commenting on it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Augemented Reality Applications

We're starting to hear about augmented reality but this is one of the most functional applications of the technology. BMW uses an overlay to enable mechanics to make repairs by overlaying an animation of what they should be doing and the visuals make it as easy as pie to understand what needs to be done.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Content Distribution

We've seen an increased importance for connections planners or media creatives because buying a 30 second spot is becoming antiquated. Targeting niche audiences and creating meaningful connections with people who care is exponentially more valuable. One thing that I'm starting to see is the merging of a creative idea and a media strategy. Finding a creative way to engage your audiences resonates more than just producing something creative.

Is your content optimized for search? Do you understand and embrace social media? Is your creative engaging, interactive and designed for the more active millennium generation?

According to this article from Business Insider marketing your content to
a target audience is shifting from art to science. The fact is you can have amazing content but it will go unnoticed if you don't have a great strategy to disseminate it through those pipes we call the interwebs.

Advertising has seen the advent of the connections planner and media creative who is at the forefront of designing creative solutions to distribute your content. This article makes a few suggestions like
1. design your content with specific audiences in mind,
2. use technology that will allow you to create content at really high quality, and
3. develop a marketing budget that accounts for distribution.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Energy Innovation

Innovate a new kind of energy, more efficient, more powerful and at the same time reduce our global carbon emissions to zero by 2050. I feel like this challenge has been on the table for a few years now but it's nice to finally get presented with the challenge. Solving the energy and carbon emissions problem simultaneously is certainly the single greatest challenge our generation will face. We have 20 years to invent the technology and 20 years to implement it. Let's get crackin'.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Branding is Dead

Branding is Dead.

Well at least the way it's been done for the past 15 years. Here's a little remix of Hoffman Lewis (an SF advertising firm) and Naomi Klein (author of No Logo who is well known for anti-globalism.)

Both have a problem with the same thing. Brand culture and brand strategists have spent the past 10 years creating a world of culture, imagination and personality around a world of collapsing innovation and product development.

As products and services lost momentum advertisers compensated by focusing on the company's brand image. For me, the pinnacle of this movement came in '08 when I was recognized with a Jay/Chiat planning award for help on a campaign that boasted bad marketing for a great product. Although the strategy was considered clever, the irony is that the product was the same old crap the company had been creating for the past 10 years. It was another example of spraying a tan onto another pasty dude at the pool. The spray on brand tan that company's have received over the past decade are wearing off and they are getting exposed for their in-authenticity. Companies must continue to think disruptively but they must also tout an innovative, respectable product.

There is good news though. What is emerging from the rubble is a combination of brand imagination and product innovation; a mixture that has the potential to evolve the way we do and communicate business.

This is a call to action to stop branding the empty cow; if you must, look to the hands of the engineers, the architects, the builders; and find brands that are worthy of communications. But in my mind the real opportunity rests in collaboration. If your clients have a lousy product, don't create a more imaginative world to disguise it; help them build something better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to Manufacture a Meme

First what is an internet Meme?

A meme (pronounced
/ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. (The etymology of the term relates to the Greek word μιμητισμός (pronounced /mɪmetɪsmos/) for "something imitated".)[2] Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate and respond to selective pressures.[3]

So it's viral content that encourages participation. It tells a very brief but revealing story. I recently came across an example that used om nom nom (which was apparently lifted from Sesame Street's Cookie Monster) to explain what a meme is. But when I started thinking about it I found it interesting that meme's aren't manufactured, they just occur; so what I'm wondering how easy it is to go about creating one.

Hypothesis for creating a Meme:

1. Learn how to be both funny and insightful.
2. choose one of the following:
a. select a pop culture event that resonates with a large audience immediately following a highly publicized occurrence; ie. Kanye slams Taylor Swift on the MTV music awards, Christian Bale loses his cool and spews profanity at a set hand.
b. choose a niche on the long tail that harbors a group followers who are passionate about something obscure or interesting; ie. LOL cats, Om nom nom creatures

3. Create an overlay that calls out something insightful or recognizes the essence or true nature of whatever topic you have chosen.

4. Make it easy and enjoyable for others to get creative and manufacture their own overlays that allow them to express their creativity and take part on what might be called "the inside joke."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Humanitarian Design

It's something all of us entrepreneurs and innovators should be thinking about. Not only how to make a profit but how to help people and how to take care of the planet. It's where capitalism meets altruism. Well Emily Piloton and Project H are at the forefront of making great things with not only great form and function but designed especially with social responsibility in mind.

What if we refocus our business models to think about doing good instead of just looking at the bottom line? It's not a new concept, but rather a business model that has taken some time to prove viable. There is money to be made even when a company is doing great things for other people and the planet.

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