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February 2014
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April 2014

March 2014

What Zuckerberg was thinking

The purchase of Oculus Rift did not arrouse my curiosity, but when Dave Pell of NextDraft pointed to a story by Lev Grossman... I figured out why Zuckerberg got so excited. And I must admit, it's pretty exciting! Any technology that helps people do things, as opposed to doing things to them--that's worth understanding.

Time.com: The Virtual Genius of Oculus Rift, 2014-Mar-26 by Lev Grossman

Iribe says “It’s kind of like the beginning of film. It’s going to take this whole new set of mechanics and engineering to master it. We have no idea what really works in VR. People ask us, What’s the holy-grail app going to be? I have no idea! Don’t know.” The uncertainty doesn’t bother him....

“I think people have always wanted to experience the impossible,” Luckey says. “That’s one of the reasons games have caught on. They want to actually do things themselves, have a say in how that world works, instead of just watching someone else do it.”


Ideas ≠ business as the Daily Candy demise heartbreakingly demonstrates

Daily Candy was the email newsletter that opened my eyes to the medium. I read it nearly every day from the moment it was discovered, even though it gradually become less joyous. The idea that reading an email could be a lovely adventure blew my mind open, and the original Daily Candy is still the standard to which I compare my own work. 

NBCUniversal is shutting down the newsletter, moth-balling the web site, and discharging the staff (although they are welcome to apply to other positions in the company). The official reason is that, as a business, Daily Candy was not performing well enough to satisfy the corporation's profit and growth goals... not that it was losing money, not that it wasn't still a tremendous source of inspiration, not that it didn't have the loyalty of employees and readers. Just that it wasn't a good investment. It was dragging down the stock price. 

I'm very ambivalent about the news because I never spent that much money with the publication. I did occasionally buy small items, but I've never bought the fashionable clothing and decor which drove the editors. I would have paid a subscription, but was never asked. When the original drawings by Sujean Rim were retired, the newsletter stopped being as important to me. Here's an example of Sujean's work for Daily Candy:

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The most important thing I want to remember was that Daily Candy was a glorious idea. If it had stayed in private hands, it would probably continue because it wasn't a money-losing concept. On the other hand, I can appreciate the creators desire to cash out and establish their personal financial independence. I just hope they will go on to create many more glorious ideas. 


Why sharing information is not a good indication of reading, liking, using or anything

Sharing links in social media has become one of the most sought-after behavoirs by marketers. Certainly, it can increase your exposure, but does it really establish a sustainable market for your news, products or services? Tq140327wiIt's becoming increasingly clear that people share links to make themselves look good or to become popular. So think before you promote that link!

Time.com: What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong, 2014-Mar-19 by Tony Haile

A widespread assumption is that the more content is liked or shared, the more engaging it must be, the more willing people are to devote their attention to it. However, the data doesn’t back that up. We looked at 10,000 socially-shared articles and found that there is no relationship whatsoever between the amount a piece of content is shared and the amount of attention an average reader will give that content.

When we combined attention and traffic to find the story that had the largest volume of total engaged time, we found that it had fewer than 100 likes and fewer than 50 tweets. Conversely, the story with the largest number of tweets got about 20% of the total engaged time that the most engaging story received.

Bottom line, measuring social sharing is great for understanding social sharing, but if you’re using that to understand which content is capturing more of someone’s attention, you’re going beyond the data.


Curiosity versus Creativity encourages Engagement

Tq140317lmValeria Maltoni recently made a very good point about using social media to demonstrate our creativity or cleverness as opposed to opening up the opportunity for our followers to grow and shine. She also points out this approach requires depth, not breadth. What occurs to me is you stick to a certain topic over a period of time that works well for that social platform and encourage people to share what they know. Have you ever tried this approach?

Conversation Agent: Learning by Example, 2014-Feb-26 by Valeria Maltoni

Those who fail in social, do so because they fail to see that the opportunity to create value is in the eyes and experience of the person taking advantage of it. You have the honor of building a platform, or joining one, creating the context or making a situation possible to empower people to do things with it.

Two thoughts on learning by example:

  1. why not be deeply there, focused on the question/problem/issue/opportunity
  2. what's in it for you is likely to become clearer through participation....

Curiosity, the desire to learn by example, may have become a closer characteristic to connection-seeking than creativity, after all.

Curiosity is the most powerful thing you have.


Disciplining ourselves to see the customers' point of view

Seeing our business from the customers point of view is always difficult. I've always thought of myself as an outlier because, for me, any travel is a desirable adventure and instead of something I've had before, I usually want something new and unique to the place I'm going. I can understand that others want to find something familiar and reassuring. But now the entire market is shifting my way. Travelers have better tools that eliminate much of the uncertainty and most of the unpleasant surprises. My point of view is not so unusual any more, but I wouldn't know that unless I challenged my thinking. We have to keep unlearning.

Adweek: How Airbnb and Yelp are Changing Hotel Marketing, 2014-Feb-19, by Joan Voight

For business travelers, “discovery” now ranks higher than “escape” or Tq140310td“indulgence,” per the survey.

“Consumers have overcome their fears and discomfort from being in a new place, since they now have access to lots of information from Google Maps, review sites like Yelp and social media,” said Oscar Yuan, vp at the Millward Brown Optimor brand consultancy


The painful part of free media

All this free social media is so hard to maintain. Tq140306wl

NY Times: The Plus in Google is Mostly for Google, 2014

The value of Plus has only increased in the last year, as search advertising, Google’s main source of profits, has slowed. At the same time, advertising based on the kind of information gleaned from what people talk about, do and share online, rather than simply what they search for, has become more important....

The company has also pushed brands to join Plus, offering a powerful incentive in exchange — prime placement on the right-hand side of search results, with photos and promotional posts.

“It is literally promotion that money can’t buy,” Mr. Elliott said. “It is something that Google could make billions off of if they sell that space tomorrow, and they’re giving it away to try to get people onto the social platform.”