Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Boring: The Story of YouTube’s New Sponsorship Model

All the hubub a few weeks ago was YouTube’s branded channel thing. All of a sudden advertisers had a way to spend money on the site where all the cool kids were hanging out. The very first was a Paris Hilton channel sponsored by Prison Break. I don’t mean to rain on everyone’s parade, but who gives a shit?

Luckily, the people over at Organic have answered some questions for me and explained their thinking behind the brokering of this deal:

Well, it represents a shift in how marketers are engaging and speaking with their customers. To me, it represents the impact of Web 2.0 on advertising. In fact, it is web 2.0 advertising. I agree that Paul Saffo’s quote on the current state of the web is spot on: “the Web is moving from being a place where people access information to a place where people access other people in an information-rich environment.â€? This is true on YouTube and this is true for how advertisers are trying to “accessâ€? customers; by leveraging 3rd party credibility and tools to establish dialogs in authentic environments. Sure, there will always be a need for high reach display advertising to help tell a company’s stories, but the true benefit of the Web is its immediacy and ability to engage and interact with users. The tools and sites of Web 2.0 are helping to make those connections and facilitate dialog amongst consumers.

Fundamentally, I agree that “the Web is moving from being a place where people access information to a place where people access other people in an information-rich environment.â€? But what about the YouTube sponsorship is new? At the end of the day, it’s still a media buy. YouTube is the property, Paris is the content, Prison Break is the advertiser. The majority of what’s being paid for, I’d imagine, is some kind of feature on the homepage and what could be less revolutionary than that.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see the big deal. Seriously, if I’m just being dense someone set me straight in the comments.

The individuals are the stars on YouTube. People like lonelygirl15 with their 5,000 some-odd friends and millions of views. Why isn’t someone making deals with them? Even better, why not dig deep and find the niche stars? Connect directly with the people, since they’re the media anyway. It’s not about YouTube, it’s not about MySpace, it’s not about Flickr. It’s all about the people.

Sorry for sounding like a broken record, I just had to get this off my chest. Also, no offense to Organic on this one, I think it was a smart deal, just not a revolutionary one.

August 30, 2006

Real Relationships

[Editor's Note: This is a continuation on themes begun with "Insignificantly Interesting" and "The Sniper Effect".]

Last time we talked I finished with the idea that “in an effort to create stuff that appealed to everyone we were left with a world full of junk.” I’ve talked about it in terms of advertising in the past, but this is much bigger. We’re surrounded by a bunch of design-by-committee junk. The business world is trying so hard to appeal to everyone that they’re creating stuff that appeals to no one.

So where’s the opportunity here? It’s in the niches. I began to hint at this last time, but the beauty of a niche is that you don’t need, nor should you try, to appeal to everyone. You need to know your audience, speak to them and know what the hell you’re talking about (or be real good at faking it).

When you’re talking to a small group of people, your ability to earn trust and influence increases. It takes less water to fill a 10 ounce glass than a 20. What that trust and influence equals up to is a relationship, and that’s the end game all these marketers, advertisers and everyone else are gunning for. John Hagel explains it like this:

First we are moving from a world of relatively scarce shelf-space to relatively scarce attention. Second costs of production and physical distribution are significantly declining on a global scale and customer acquisition and retention costs are rising. At the risk of over-simplification, value creation is shifting from business driven by economies of scale in production to businesses driven by economies of scope in customer relationships. Layer in a third factor at work — the systematic and significant decline in interaction costs that make it easer for customers to identify vendors, find information about them, negotiate with them, monitor their performance and switch from one vendor to another if they are not satisfied with performance.

That, to me, is all about brand experience. Every touch point needs to thought through and manned with someone prepared to wow a customer and if you can’t do it, someone else can. Like me. I have the ability to email every commenter on this site. With a small audience, it’s possible to initiate that personal contact that makes people feel special. How can Coke compete with that?

I think that is the bottom line. Maybe it’s not fame/stardom that people are looking for, but it’s hard to deny that people want to feel special. I know what makes my readers tick. I know what videos Loren’s into, what kind of posts will elicit a sarcastic reaction from Jeff and the kind of links Chartreuse likes to read. Sure it doesn’t scale, but for $10-a-month hosting fees, it doesn’t need to. I can figure that out later, influence will always be a valuable commodity.

Feeling special is just a kind of attention, those three people I singled out are just one of the many who have left comments around here lately an made me feel special. It’s a two way street, you see. “Rather than just focusing on how to get attention, vendors might also want to consider how they can help their customers receive attention that is important to them and not just from the vendor, but from others that matter to the customers,” Hagel says. Those links and callouts are a small example of a larger idea: These are real relationships. “A small audience of super-committed fans can be worth more, in economic terms, than a massive audience of casual viewers and readers.” That’s big.

August 28, 2006

Sick Friday Roundup

I’ve got part three of the series coming soon, but I figured I’d use this sick (fluish) Friday night to fill in the week.

Barcelona

IMG_2487.JPG IMG_2811.JPG

IMG_2473.JPG CIMG2314.JPG

See the whole photoset at Flickr. The place is amazing. Gorgeous architecture and art, obviously, but also the city is full of an amazing energy. It’s big, but feels small. The food is fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m going back as soon as I can.

likemind.ny Round 2

Once again likemind.ny went off without a hitch, we’ve even now got our own commercial thanks to the friendly staff at 1938 Media. Check it.

YOUTUBE LINK

I was thinking a lot on my walk over at 8am about what makes likemind special. More than anything else, for me it’s the self-selection. We don’t organize anything, or define what a ‘likemind’ is, yet for the second time in a row people clearly of likemind showed up. If you are wondering whether it’s the right place for you and you show up, it was. If you don’t show up, it wasn’t.

When I was thinking about this, I was reminded of something I read yesterday. After racking my brain all day to remember, I finally decide to put my google where my mouth was. After about 15 minutes of searches I had made the connection, it was an article from Digital Web Magazine about “Understanding the Unconference”.

In the article is a description of Harrison Owen’s ‘Open Space,’ which is defined by four principles: “1) Whoever comes is the right people, 2) Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, 3) Whenever it starts is the right time, and 4) When it’s over, it’s over.” That is likemind. Expect more on this in the future.

Other

Finally, I want to leave you with a comment Vaspers the Grate left over at CK’s Blog:

Average people now have the tools and networks to make their own products, promote and distribute them, especially online objects and downloadables.

Thanks to blogs, and only to blogs, the web is now fully democratizable, to usher in the Universal Content Utopia.

Business models for this new blogospheric/Web 2.0 user paradise?

One of the best is the All User Content product, like PostSecret. You do next to nothing, letting the users do all the work, which is posted freely to your blog, then assembled into a book, and possibly a blockbuster movie. Heh.

Get rich doing next to nothing is now viable. Not get rich quick, but get rich with the robots, RSS feeds, blog portal masters, and computer programs doing most of the work.

Blogger, you are an infobot, searching your consciousness, the internet, and offline sources for benefits to present to your readers. They contribute content to your blog via comments. So it’s a We Media based on lots of Me Medias hooking up and sharing and caring.

The whole comment’s great, but that last line in particular hit me. The crowd is only smart if all its members are working off their individual wisdom. It’s not strictly a ‘we media’: Lots of people going out of their way to do good things for other people. It’s a shitload of fantastic ‘Me Media’. Thanks to the tools inherent in blogging like comments and RSS, all those individual media channels can hook up to create a larger community/good. That’s revolutionary.

Alright, I don’t feel good, I’m off to bed. To all those I talked to at likemind, thank you. It was a pleasure to have you and a pleasure to speak to you. Honestly, there wasn’t one conversation I didn’t enjoy.

August 26, 2006

The Sniper Effect

[Editor's Note: This is a continuation on themes begun with "Insignificantly Interesting"]

When I left off the last time, I mentioned that “the only difference between the stars and ‘Joe Scmoe’ was the audience, but not any more.” Paul Graham explains it like this:

If I’m right that the defining advantage of insiders is an audience, then we live in exciting times, because just in the last ten years the Internet has made audiences a lot more liquid. Outsiders don’t have to content themselves anymore with a proxy audience of a few smart friends. Now, thanks to the Internet, they can start to grow themselves actual audiences. This is great news for the marginal, who retain the advantages of outsiders while increasingly being able to siphon off what had till recently been the prerogative of the elite.

Now add that to ‘The Real World Rule’ (“the seemingly insignificant is often the most interesting”) and you’ve got a recipe for success. To quote Graham again, “The big media companies shouldn’t worry that people will post their copyrighted material on YouTube. They should worry that people will post their own stuff on YouTube, and audiences will watch that instead.”

As I’ve said in the past, you don’t go to MySpace for MySpace, you go for MY space.

But it’s not just individuals getting in on the action, it’s also the business world. What small companies didn’t have was audience: They didn’t have the budget to market their product effectively.

That’s no longer true.

Anyone can find an audience without a $10 million ad spend. What’s even better is that the audience is targeted and self-selected. Now getting, and holding, people’s attention is a hard thing to do, but considering us regular Joes are working on much smaller margins, we can afford to speak to smaller niches. We don’t need ‘hits’ on a mass scale.

This site has about 300 RSS readers. That’s a big deal to me. Those are 300 people savvy enough to use RSS and interested enough in this site to subscribe. I can confidently say that my cost/benefit ratio is higher than all those blue-chip advertisers. I’ve got a sniper rifle to their machine gun: Sure I might hit fewer, but I’m a hell of a lot more accurate.

There’s something interesting about influence that people don’t talk about: It’s relative to the size of the audience. The smaller the niche, the more influential you can be. If there are five people talking about purple hyperwidgets, chances are all five are pretty damn influential. That’s a big deal.

That ability to live niche makes for a much better return on attention (ROA) for my readers. I assume that the vast majority of what I write is at least somewhat interesting to you because it’s interesting to me. I’m not worried about appealing to everyone because I don’t need to be.

Which leads me to my next point: In an effort to create stuff that appealed to everyone we were left with a world full of junk.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

August 23, 2006

Insignificantly Interesting

My topic du jour lately has been how regular people are the new superstars. Media is changing. As Chartreuse so astutely put it, “Old media is begging for attention. New media is attention.”

So how did we get here? Hank Steuver’s got a guess: “‘The Real World’ went from exploring how to get your adulthood started (remember that its earliest housemates were trying to do something on their own — one was a doctor, one was a journalist, one was an AIDS activist) to a recurring drama of sloth, ill tempers, wasted days and wasted nights. ‘Real World’ producers quickly surmised that people prefer to watch other people do nothing with their immediate futures.” The seemingly insignificant is often the most interesting.

We are becoming the media and the media is becoming us. One is not taking over the other, they are just converging to become a single entity. Blogging doesn’t spell the end of journalism, it spells a new beginning.

It’s not about the speed of communication for speeds sake, but rather for recognition’s sake. At all times we are both producer and consumer. As McLuhan put it in “At the moment of sputnik the planet became a global theater in which there are no spectators but only actors”, “The mysterious thing about this kind of speed-up of information, whereby the gap is closed between the experience and the meaning, is that the public begins to particpate directly in actions which it had previously heard about at a distance in place or time. At instant speeds the audience becomes actor, and the spectators become participants.”

Hell, it’s even effecting Girls Gone Wild, “In the beginning, when ‘Girls Gone Wild’ cameramen first popped up in clubs, the women who revealed themselves seemed innocent — surprised, even, by their own spontaneity. Now that the brand is so pervasive, the women who participate increasingly appear to be calculating exhibitionists, hoping that an appearance on a video might catapult them to Paris Hilton-like fame.”

Fame is being recognized as a serious factor in people’s motivations. The thing is, fame up to now meant Angelina Jolie or 50 Cent, but today anyone can be internet famous.

The game is changing, for a long time, the only difference between the stars and ‘Joe Scmoe’ was the audience . . . but not any more.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

Update (8/23/06): Check out part two, The Sniper Effect.

August 22, 2006

What’s in an Experience?

Last time we talked I finished with the idea that “in an effort to create stuff that appealed to everyone we were left with a world full of junk.” I’ve talked about it in terms of advertising in the past, but this is much bigger. Much of the time we find ourselves waist deep in corporate crap.

Though mediocrity is hardly ever cited as the part of the equation, it has doubtlessly played a large role in the rise of so many small businesses. Most of the corporations producing consumer goods have been doing so for a long time. They grew up in an era of limited choice and complete control. They could afford to make shitty stuff because people didn’t have any other options. Now we do, and we’re demanding better.

John Hagel explains it all like this:

First we are moving from a world of relatively scarce shelf-space to relatively scarce attention. Second costs of production and physical distribution are significantly declining on a global scale and customer acquisition and retention costs are rising. At the risk of over-simplification, value creation is shifting from business driven by economies of scale in production to businesses driven by economies of scope in customer relationships. Layer in a third factor at work — the systematic and significant decline in interaction costs that make it easer for customers to identify vendors, find information about them, negotiate with them, monitor their performance and switch from one vendor to another if they are not satisfied with performance.

Basically, today we have unlimited shelf space. With unlimited shelf space comes unlimited information. Unlimited information and limited attention don’t always play nice together. The companies that will succeed are the ones that realize this and create products and brand experiences for a world where attention is the scarcest commodity. If you don’t do it, we’ll go find someone else who will. Simple as that.

So what’s the answer? Well, it’s got to be great experiences. One of the largest opportunities I see in the marketing world is to enter the equation earlier and bake a great experience into every product. If your company can pull it off and create said ‘great customer experience,’ it’s never been easier to build an audience. After all, in blogs influentials finally have an audience to call their own. Create great stuff and we’ll talk about you until the cows come home.

Better yet, though, help us get attention and we’ll give you all the content you want for free. “Rather than just focusing on how to get attention, vendors might also want to consider how they can help their customers receive attention that is important to them and not just from the vendor, but from others that matter to the customers,” Hagel says.

Listen to us, speak to us like human beings and answer our calls in reasonable time. It’s really not all that much to ask.

August 22, 2006

Likemind Round 2

likemind.gif

After the huge success of the first likemind, it’s time for round two. Once again, the idea is that a bunch of people of like mind get together, drink some coffee and talk about things of mutual interest. You don’t have to have been at the first to come to the second. The whole thing is very loose: no agenda, no moderators Piers and I are just part of the crowd.. Last time everyone just naturally talked to everyone else, getting up and switching seats on their own to speak to new people.

With that glowing review, here’s the info for number two: (that’s the likemind rhyme)

when: friday, august 25 at 8am

where: sNice, 45 Eighth Avenue, at West 4th Street, NYC (GOOGLE MAPS)

Once again, if you’re interested all you’ve got to do is show up. You can get more info and sign up to stay informed at likemind.us. I hope to see some of you there.

August 21, 2006

Offensive Ideas

Do The Right Thing is one of my all-time favorite films. Spike Lee says some stuff in that movie that scares the vast majority of people. It tells a story of race relations in this country that I believe was accurate in 1989 and still holds water today. The center of the story is the fact that urban businesses are often owned by outsiders not looking out for the well-being of the neighborhood. In the case of the film an Italian owns the pizza shop and a Korean owns the bodega.

Now I bring this up because yesterday morning I read this in the paper: “[Andrew] Young said Wal-Mart should displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods. ‘You see those are the people who have been overcharging us,’ he said of the ownsers of the small stores, ‘ and they sold out and moved to florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough.” Then the Wal-Mart spokesman put the nail in his coffin, “First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs.”

Now the point of all this is not to engage in the debate that Young brought up (though I have a hunch he’s right), but rather to use it to illustrate Paul Graham’s excellent “What You Can’t Say” essay. He says if you’re looking for ideas that are correct you can look no further than the ones that people are most offended by. “The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed,” Graham explains. “I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true.”

Nobody came out and said Young was wrong, they just said that he was offensive. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation league said, “The sad part [is that] even people of color and even minorities who suffered discrimination and prejudice are not immune from being bigoted and racist and even anti-Semitic.” Of course the Wal-Mart executives who have a vested interest in coming into those urban centers didn’t claim Young was wrong either, explaining “Ambassador Young’s comments do not reflect our feelings toward the Jewish, Asian or Arab communities or any other diverse group.”

I expect this is because Young is not wrong in his ideas, but rather in his delivery. As Graham explains, “When a politician says his opponent is mistaken, that’s a straightforward criticism, but when he attacks a statement as ‘divisive’ or ‘racially insensitive’ instead of arguing that it’s false, we should start paying attention.”

The problem is that Young engaged the wrong people. It’s a double-edged sword, however, because in order to get attention sometimes you need to be shocking. If you choose your words incorrectly, however, you run the risk of wasting all your breath arguing with people on the points that don’t matter instead of the ones that do. In this case, Young is stuck talking about racism instead of talking about the problems in urban centers.

So what’s my point? Well, at its most basic, I’m sick of hearing the same things over and over again. I am always looking for voices of opposition, for people who take a different route. Graham’s equation of looking for offended people and figuring out what offended them is one way to find those voices. It might not be the right way, but anything is better than listening to the world on repeat.

August 20, 2006

When a Movie is More than a Movie

[Editor's Note: I'm still on vacation, while I'm away here's something for you to think about.]

By Jeff Hughes

Hello all -

I’ve basically quit as a movie critic the last few years but I saw WORLD TRADE CENTER yesterday.

First, let me make a few quick points:

1. September 11th – to most of this country – was a “televised event.” The story was broke to them by a friend’s phone call or a CNN Alert and then they spent the next few days in front of their television watching the pinnacle of human drama unfold.

2. To the people in New York City and its surroundings at the time, it has become so many different things. Noah remembers how beautiful the day was. My uncle remembers a cloud of smoke from the New Jersey Turnpike. I vividly remember soot-covered businessmen running into the deli under our building and slamming 40s of beer, faces flooded with tears.

3. To people in those buildings or those who lost love ones, it is still an unspeakable event.

For me, more than anything else, the days after were worse than the day itself and have haunted me so terribly that I’ve stil never been to Ground Zero. I’m not interested. I don’t think it would be cathartic.

And using myself and the eleven others in my theatre as an example, I’d have to say there is no possible way this country is ready for Oliver Stone’s WORLD TRADE CENTER. Because I wasn’t and I knew it immediately.

Now, for the moviegoers out there. It’s beautifully shot and the score is quiet and subtle. But this isn’t a movie. This is history reaching into your stomach and tearing you apart. I didn’t cry at WTC the way people cry at movies. I cried at WTC the way people cry at life, more appropriately, at death. I felt everything all over again and perhaps more viscerally than the first time. You feel the tears coming from inside and you can’t keep them in. I took two breaks during the movie. Not for a drink or a piss but to catch my breath. To remember things were okay. I wasn’t alone. No one in the theatre I was in made it all the way through and two gentlemen, who were clearly cops, looked like they’d been through a way by the time it was over.

Movies were very important to me on the Friday after 9/11, when the AMC at Union Square opened its doors for free all day. Then I walked back to my Lafayette Street dorm, covering my face with my hand because the smell in the air was so thick it felt like it was pushing down on your shoulders. All of that came back to me in the last row at the Lincoln Square Loews yesterday and I didn’t want it back. My mistake. I shouldn’t have bought the ticket. I thought I was ready, five years later.

I wasn’t.

And I’m not exactly the most sensitive cat out there.

If I’m not ready, I doubt others will be. But give Oliver Stone credit. He wanted to bring us back to a place and time. He did it. I just didn’t want to go.

Jeff Hughes is a New Jerseyan living in New York. He’s also a playwright, critic, Bears fan and blogger at Da’ Bears Blog.

August 15, 2006

Vacation Reading

I leave for Barcelona today. Can’t wait. I haven’t been on vacation yet this year, so it’s a much needed break from life. Wish it were coming at a bit of a better time, but isn’t that always the case?

Anyhow, I’ve printed out a ton of articles to read and think about while I’m away, and I figured I’d post links to all of them in case anyone wants to read along. If you find anything interesting, just come back here and add your two cents. Let the conversation continue while I’m gone.

Vacation Reading List

So I have no idea if any of those articles are interesting because I haven’t read them yet, but if you do and enjoy and have something to say, come back and comment. Start a new conversation, don’t sweat it.

In addition, I figured I ask a few questions to ponder while I’m gone.

  • If you had access to the attention data of millions, what would you do with it?
  • What’s the most important cultural shift that will happen as a result of all this user generated content?
  • Can YouTube be beaten? How?
  • Can Myspace be beaten? How?
  • Are people becoming brands?

Those were all the questions I could think of off the top of my head. Before I go, let me make one last reading recommendation. Chartreuse’s “The Big Difference Between Old and New” is as good a ‘state of the media’ as I’ve read. This line almost made me cry:

Old media is begging for attention.

New media is attention.

I’ll leave you with that to chew on. You may get a few sporadic posts while I’m away, but I’m not making promises. Take it easy!

August 10, 2006

All the World’s a Stage

I’m going to expose some big things here, so be prepared.

  1. Journalists are just regular people who write for a magazine.
  2. Advertisers are just regular people who work in the advertising industry.
  3. Superstars are just regular people who get a lot of attention.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s all a sham. The media industry is filled with regular people. When you look behind the curtain, the wizard is actually us.

For a long time what these people had going for them was distribution. Not anymore.

We’ve all got it now.

People don’t go to MySpace for MySpace, they go for MY space. We are all creators and our creation is our lives. As we become more aware of how the world functions, of how businesses operate, of how textiles are produced, our consumption choices become a kind of production of their own.

Best of all, it’s happening right now.

“Teens are extremely socially aware, but favour participation through their consumption choices, because they believe corporations are more effective agents of change than governments.”

“Perhaps the first lesson of the brand underground is not that savvy young people will stop buying symbols of rebellion. It is that they have figured out that they can sell those symbols, too.”

We’re all in the game now. We’ve just got to accept that we’re all acting on the same stage. It’s all about self-awareness. Reality television, for all its shortcomings, has shown us that we’re all players. The internet has exposed the inner workings of our brain.

When you step back and look at the landscape from above, you start to realize that it’s all shaped by people just like you.

Update (8/8/06): Got rid of a Shakespeare quote I took completely out of context (which Jeff corrected me on).

August 8, 2006

No Inside Jokes!

On Friday night I went to a friend’s improv performance. The evening consisted of three teams performing for an audience of 50 or so people. I had a good time and did a fair amount of laughing along the way. On the way home my girlfriend Brittany and I were talking about the performance and she said something that really got me thinking: The jokes people liked the best were the ones that replayed an earlier gag. It was almost like they were telling inside jokes, she said. Thinking about it, she was absolutely right, it was those earlier references that got the most laughs.

Tonight, when I got home I had an email from Kareem with a link to an article titled “The Death of the Double Entendre all about how there are no more inside jokes in advertising. Whereas once advertisers expected some level of cultural competency to understand what they were creating, today we simplify things to a level where misinterpretation is impossible. Sure, today’s advertising may be more risque, but that doesn’t mean it’s more interesting. In an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible advertisers have all but ended the inside joke. They wouldn’t dare write a line that couldn’t be easily understood by their entire demographic segment.

That, I think, is the problem. We’re too mass. We spend a lot of money trying to generate more leads (the ultimate goal of advertising), rather than better ones. It all seems pretty backwards to me.

August 6, 2006

Links Roundup: Hotcake Edition

It’s Friday, it’s hot, here are some links:

  • There’s buzz in the marketing blog world about Agency.com’s “viral” video pitch for Subway. To be honest, 9 minutes is way longer than my attention span, but Karl over at ExperienceCurve has some insight into it: “In a world where agencies shit their pants at the idea of failure they tend to be more conservative than the companies that hire them. They cave to clients cost constraints, and totally skip the important “creativeâ€? bit at the beginning and then waste a tonne of money on the execution. That being the case Agency.com just did an experiment in the ‘fuzzy front end’, no money on the line, no deadline, just some ideas and some playtime.” In response to Agency.com, the folks over at Coudal have been nice enough to provide their own, unsolicited, gem of a video. The sandwiches taste like shit, now that’s an insight.
  • Chartreuse is paying the way for some people to go to New Orleans and document what’s really going down. Follow the action at New Orleans Now.
  • While we’re on the topic of Chartreuse, his post How All This New Media Stuff is Going to Make You Famous and Rich (Or a Happy Ending is Just a Story That Isn’t Finished Yet) features a gigantic picture of me with my tongue out. Once you get past the fear, however, he’s got some serious thoughts on the future of stardom: “Smart companies are thinking about how to exploit all the power of all these individuals to sell shit. Smarter companies are being set up to bridge that gap between individuals and the companies that need them.”
  • This was the week of transparent marketing blogs for me. First I run across The Chocolate Blog promoting the LG phone and then Yodel, the Yahoo! blog. Both are refreshingly honest. Here’s how they set up the chocolate blog: “LG recognises the influence that the internet has on people’s perceptions and purchase intentions and is keen to engage with consumers online. They realise that consumer-to-consumer recommendations carry a higher trust factor than virtually all other forms of advertising, and that word of mouth is a frequent factor for purchase. They also recognise that bloggers are the most important initiators of online conversation right now.” Thanks for admitting it.
  • Scott’s got four ideas on how to make money with user generated video: Attention, advertising with revenue sharing, subscription revenue sharing and free bandwidth in exchange for advertising. I’m sick of all the C’s personally (CPC, CPM, CPA, CPXYZ), but who am I? All I know is YouTube is going to need to figure something out with a $1 million a month bandwidth bill.
  • Aaron Swartz on blogging: “So that’s what this blog is. I write here about thoughts I have, things I’m working on, stuff I’ve read, experiences I’ve had, and so on. Whenever a thought crystalizes in my head, I type it up and post it here. I don’t read over it, I don’t show it to anyone, and I don’t edit it — I just post it. I don’t consider this writing, I consider this thinking. I like sharing my thoughts and I like hearing yours and I like practicing expressing ideas, but fundamentally this blog is not for you, it’s for me. I hope that you enjoy it anyway.” I think that’s the best description I’ve ever read.
  • Snakes on a Plane will make a lot of money and that sucks for movie fans.
  • What’s more important in design, process or outcome? I’m an outcome kind of guy, since “everything eventually comes down to design”.
  • Last, but not least, a really long article about that current state of brand management that isn’t necessarily revolution, but is still quite interesting.

That’s it for now. I’m going to Barcelona next Thursday and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the blog in the meantime. Supposedly I’ll have WiFi, but I’d really like some disconnected time. If anyone feels like writing something, drop me a line. That’s it. Stay cool.

August 4, 2006

Blogxperiment

As usual I’m not willing to leave well enough alone. My favorite blog as of late has been chartreuse(beta), as I kept reading and enjoying, I kept wondering what made it so good. Yeah, he’s got style, smarts and great links/videos, but beyond the content, the form fascinates me. It’s just different than what you run across elsewhere, and after much though I think I’ve identified a few reasons why.

1. Hyperlinkology: At least that’s what I called it. Basically, it’s using links as a way to add to annotate the content. So many people (including me), link to things by saying “I just read on so-and-so website” . . . Chartreuse just talks and lets you explore the links for yourself. As usual, someone else has explained this better than I. In Interface Culture, Steven Johnson describes Suck.com linking style:

Whereas every other Web site conceived hypertext as a way of augmenting the reading experience, Suck saw it as an opportunity to withhold information, to keep the reader at bay. Even the sophisticated Web auteurs offered up their links the way a waiter offers up fresh-ground pepper: as a supplement to the main course, a spice. (Want more? Just click here.)

As should be evidenced by this post with it’s boring links, actually pulling this off well is incredibly difficult. It requires “abandoning language conventions and embracing some of the power of this new medium.” When you do it right, though, you create an atmosphere where readers want to click on everything.

2. Characters: Beyond just Chartreuse himself, you’ve got site security and a wealth advisor. They all add to the experience of the site as something more than a blog: You’re reading episodes, not entries. I find myself reading the comments to see what’s going to happen next. Who is site security going to go after this week? It’s an adventure, not a blog.

I write all this as a recognition of innovation. chartreuse (BETA) is interesting because it abandons many blogging conventions. As with most new media, it takes a while for people to get comfortable enough to experiment. It gives me a glimmer of hope that at some point in the future we’ll be talking to more than just us geeks.

As a side note, part of what makes the site great is he’s not afraid to speak his mind and stand up for what he believes in. He’s decided to put up $1,000 of his own money to send two people to New Orleans to document what’s going on.

August 1, 2006