Monday, 22 December 2008

More thoughts on productivity

This is spurred on by a few of the conversations had at the Tweetup last Thursday, as well as (it seems) the constant effort to improve efficiency, and the resulting discovery that I am my own worst enemy.

Still, I'm in good company.

So I was at the Tweetup, talking with some very smart people about geeky stuff, including greasemonkey scripts that took hours to develop, that save a few microseconds when filling out a web form.

We all think we want productivity, but sometimes our actions say otherwise - specifically the actions that spend ridiculous resources making things theoretically more productive, some time in the future, instead of doing the (always harder) stuff of right now.

Like today. So often we think of a productivity app as something we add on. We're almost addicted to adding something on... but sometimes it's about what we take away. Like turning my second monitor off for a short while.

Works for me. Here's to less!

3-minute book review: The Game Changer - iJumpTV #43

How does innovation really happen in a large organisation? The Game-Changer shows you how Procter and Gamble did it. Great summer reading!

We're taking a Christmas break next week but we'll be back the following week with another 3-minute book review. And we'll be back in the office from Jan 12th onwards. 

Have a great Christmas, and thanks for watching iJumpTV in 2008!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Fancy a tweetup?

Even if you don't actually use Twitter, it'd still be nice to meet you as a reader of this blog.

When: Thursday 18 December, 4:30pm
Where: Galbraith's Ale House, 2 Mt Eden Road, Auckland

View Larger Map

RSVP in the comments below, or just show up and look for the geeky folks in the corner :)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


thirty-seven: and this month, I joined a cultImage by dead_squid via Flickr
We are such strange creatures.

We need - or at least I need - deadlines to keep us motivated, full of a sense of urgency.

But those same deadlines, a tool designed to help us get to where we want to go, can become a harsh taskmaster. Tasks that you've waited months to do can become tiresome chores, simply because they're on a to-do list with deadlines.

This is the danger of implementing GTD only halfway. GTD starts with putting everything that's on your to-do list - everything - in one place where you can see it. The aim is to get it out of your head. But it's easy to stop there, and the relief you feel is only temporary.

So in this post I've not only diagnosed my issue, but found the cure: keep working at turning that GTD list into a strategic list, a list I'm in charge of, rather than a shopping list of things I must do before the end of the day.

Thanks for listening! That was helpful :)
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Mobile social networking - iJumpTV #42

Vodafone's new GM of internet and new media talks through how social networking is going mobile in 2009. Plus, your chance to win the book Tactical Transparency!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Marx Brothers are the cure to anything

If the Christmas - sorry, Xmas - rush is getting you down, take a little bit of Marx Brothers.

I had a bit of a Day at the Races last weekend after a busy week, and it got me in tip-top condition in no time.

Marx Brothers, the comedy you have when life is happening.

[No Caption]

Thursday, 11 December 2008

What I'm reading at the moment

It's called A Sense of Urgency and it's put a rocket up me - but in the right way.

See, when I heard the title, I groaned. We've all met people who have way too much energy, and put their own issues on you when you're already a little jaded and tired. This book is different, though.

It's talking about true urgency, a desire to move, and win, now! That's a feeling I can relate to in my best moments.

But there are dangers - on one side is complacency, the sense that things are generally ok. On the other side is false urgency, characterised by anger and anxiety. There's a lot of that going around at the moment.

So far I'm learning nothing specifically new - to my head. But to the rest of me, the stories are encouraging me to follow those practices I know work, but fail to do so often. Like maintaining a "to-stop" list, delegating, cutting out unnecessary activity, and considering the impact of my actions (not just my words).

It's a quick read, too. After a few days I'm half way through the book. Full review coming on iJumpTV soon, along with a whole heap of others.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Had your Warhol moment yet?

I was sitting under an umbrella chatting with Ben about what I call micro-fame, one of the things Generation C has to contend with.

It's the idea that we can experience just a smidge of the issues genuinely famous people have to deal with, stuff like:

  • Having a conversational comment quoted on someone's blog
  • Having people know you (or feel like they know you) that you don't know
  • Because people feel like they know you, saying stuff that you wouldn't say to a stranger (good/bad)
Andy Warhol said everyone would have 15 minutes of fame, but it's really more like 15% of fame. Or, as some have said, "internet famous". Which I compare to being real-world famous in somewhere like Te Kuiti. (Which is not a bad thing!)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Who is the ideal social media audience for a startup?

I've been privileged to meet a lot of exciting startup people in my social media travels. One thing they - we - all seem to have in common is an excitement about the potential of social media, to create awareness quickly and inexpensively among a core community.

As part of this process, you start to interact with others in your community, and spend a lot of time and energy interacting. This can create some great search-friendly content, which is useful for marketing, but can it also be distracting?

Like any really useful question, the answer is "it depends". It depends if your core target audience, your community, are other entrepreneurs like yourself. In many cases, like PlanHQ or Pocketsmith, this is the case.

Of course it doesn't have to be an exact match. Entrepreneurs can be a subset or overlap with your larger audience, and they can help spread your message.

But a startup like BizChat has shown remarkable restraint, focusing on making the user experience easy, and avoiding the temptation to cram the site with as many widgets as possible. (Ahem)

It's a lesson Rowan Simpson points out very clearly, and the approach we tried to take with our current iteration of the iJump site, showing that we use the tools (as you can see from our Twitter updates) but not overwhelming or distracting people who visit.

What do you think? Where's the line between networking with like-minded individuals, and getting lost in the fishbowl?
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Friday, 5 December 2008

Can you be a good communicator online and off?

Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Ll...Image via Wikipedia
I'm weird.

I've been a writer all my career, perhaps all my life, and I can string together sentences pretty well with a pen or a keyboard.

But put me in a small group conversation, and I am an idiot.

A friend of ours thought I was putting it on once, thinking it was a business thing: he doesn't start getting articulate until you pay him!

But alas, it's just that we can't all be good at everything.

Have you ever noticed that the people who find it hardest to "get" social media are usually very competent at speaking in person. They may be great orators or salespeople, or just very confident conversationalists.

On the other hand, the people who naturally embrace social media understand what makes it special - that there's another way to get your message across apart from talking face to face.

We tend to judge people who are different from us, and I've tried to keep the language here neutral. But here's what the background conversations often look like:

Natural conversationalist: People who communicate better online are actually passive-aggressive, they can't handle reality, they're hiding, avoiding confrontation, etc.

Online conversationalist: People who communicate better in person just don't get it, they're behind the times, they're luddites, they're afraid of technology, they don't understand.

Methinks some cross-cultural dialogue could be really helpful. What do you reckon?

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What do NZ bloggers want? - iJumpTV #42

Should companies and PR firms contact bloggers with story ideas? Pursuit PR took part in a worldwide survey of bloggers and got the NZ side of the story. Simon Young interviews Stephen Knightly, director of Pursuit PR, about the results of the survey.

Read more on Pursuit PR's blog:

Also mentioned:

The PR Spammer wiki:

David Farrar's Kiwiblog:

The Cluetrain Manifesto

Jeremiah Owyang's "Three impossible conversations":

The Social Media News Release:

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

What does "infrastructure" actually mean?

Just an addendum to yesterday's blog post, where I said

I - have to spend some solid time developing the infrastructure of iJump

What does that mean? It means we've discovered a lot of the tools of social media in a very haphazard fashion. We know them well, but we wouldn't recommend people copy exactly what we've done. Instead, we're making it really simple and systematic.

Simple and systematic. That's catchy. Might put that on the wall as I work.

Senior moment - but some good stuff about community

I've written a note on my Stickies programme, but have forgotten what the notes were from. I know they weren't my thoughts, but I can't remember whose they were.

But they're good, so here they are:

1. Build a community that your audience wants, not what you want. Eg travel vs travel insurance.

2. Launch - involve target group early. Ask them what they want, identify the ambassadors and make them VIPs.

3. It's an ongoing event. Not just something you launch. People change. A few months it's discussion forums, the next is blogging. Ongoing process. If you decide to have a community, have a community manager or ambassador.

Right. Now I can clear that off my desktop!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Buying me time

The office is echoing quite a bit this week, because not only is our officemate Charlotte is away this week, but so is Marie. And she will be until February!

There's a plan behind this. For some time now we've realised we - more specifically I - have to spend some solid time developing the infrastructure of iJump. That's been difficult because we've got to keep paying the bills. It took a while to figure out the best way to do it, but the answer is for Marie to grab a temp job over the (traditionally quiet) summer period while I get my head down and create some solid systems.

So she's back at her old employers (where different departments are fighting over her) while I'm trying to quickly finish some SimonYoungWriters work and then get into development mode.

It's just helped me to see how many interruptions there are in a day:

  • Phone calls (landline and mobile)
  • Email
  • Events, meetings etc
  • RSS feeds, Twitter
  • and worst of all, the distractions that come from my own mind!
As much as possible, I'm turning off what can be turned off, and switching them back on when I can give them my full attention. As for that last item on the list, well, I can only try and switch those off.

Today's amazing pic brought to you by gadl.
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Monday, 1 December 2008

The problem of choice

An arrangement of fruits commonly thought of a...Image via Wikipedia
I know those far more learned than me have written about the problem or the paradox of choice, but I saw it in action at the Avondale Markets yesterday.

It's a great place, full of colour and life, but fear stalks every corner. Fear of the better bargain, just after you've decided to buy something.

This is worst with fruit and veges, where it's actually pretty difficult to compare apples with apples. Yes, those apples are cheaper, but they're also smaller and not as good quality.

So after a few circuits of the fruit and vege section of the market, our bags were still empty, and we had to just buy something.

Of course, we could have brought paper and marked down prices for absolutely everything we were after, but that would kind of be boring and/or irritating. Much better to enjoy the sun and the craziness that is Avondale market.
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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Happy Birthday mum!

Marie and I had a very special day today, took my mum out for her 70th birthday! (Don't tell anyone that's her age :)

The occasion was sweetened by the presence of Mum's sister and brother-in-law, and my sister, who was supposed to be a surprise, but - detective genes run in this family - mum had already worked it out but wasn't letting on. Still, it was fun to organise.

Lunch was at the highly recommended Aqua Matta, which I often walk past on the way from the PO Box, but had never eaten at before. Try their divine Profiterol! Sheer brilliance in between two slices of pastry.

Catching up with family all day means I'm dragging myself through the next couple of hours, doing what appears to be work. Wish me luck!
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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

On Demand

Marie and I were at the mall on Friday, it had been a day of meetings, and we were in a mood to watch a movie.

Trouble is, it was 4.43pm, and there weren't any movies starting till after 6. What? Very strange. And then, there's the question of would the movies on after 6 be ones we liked? It's mass media thinking at its worst.

Wouldn't it be great to combine what's great about the movies (the shared experience, the big big screen, surround sound, fresh popcorn) with what's great about DVDs (you choose them, you start them when you want, it doesn't have to be "the latest", you can see films from years ago).

And it's possible - or at least a pretty good compromise is possible. You could take an unconference approach to your movie theatre, letting people suggest movies, and have the rest vote on when to see them. Sure, it wouldn't be the exact one-to-one experience we desire, but it would be a fun compromise. It would be fun because it's like a game. It would be social because you know the others in the theatre aren't just there for "whatever's on", but they actually chose the film you're seeing.

How would this work? It wouldn't work by charging membership like Fatso. I pay my Fatso membership because it comes to me. I don't go to the mall on a predictable basis. This needs to be something that works as a spur-of-the-moment thing, as well as an ongoing community that could collaborate online.

That was our thoughts standing in the movie theatre. We had similar thoughts at the zoo on Saturday, but I guess animals are less prone to do things "on demand" for us! :)

Cinema has great potential to give me what I really want
(Photo credit: Jonathan Posner)
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Online community management with - iJumpTV #41

What is a community manager? We talk to John Lewis, who's a full-time community manager for web startup Ponoko lets people make physical objects from their computers. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, John helps Ponoko's growing community of users around the world. Why does a small web startup have a full-time community manager? It's a great example of 21st century marketing - looking after existing customers, and letting them spread positive word of mouth. You'll hear more about John's job in this interview.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

disruptively innovative thoughts

microsoft put too many features in word, so when the much lower-specced google docs came along, it seemed like a good - even better for some - alternative. But when a new browser comes along, it has to compete with the many plugins i have personally chosen for firefox. Big difference between designed by committee and designed by me, the customer. (this post written on the train between mt albert and kingsland, and inspired by the innovators guide to growth!)

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

data portability is good for business

data portability has been positioned as a consumer privacy issue, but it's also a business marketing issue. Say you market through twitter. Great, but what if twitter (god forbid) went out of business? Back to square one (unless, of course, you've got a good social media ecosystem going where you have multiple relationships going with individuals across channels). But wouldn't it be great if you as a consumer could have a dashboard of all the brands you want to hear from, and how you want to hear from them? You would be in control, and it would be convenient for you. I'm sure it's possible, but it would need someone like Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web and gave it away because it was too important a piece of infrastructure to run as a business. The existence of the w3c appears more miraculous the more i observe industry and interest groups. I don't know all that much about the data portability group, but i wish them all the best because this stuff is very important. (apologies for the lack of formatting, i'm writing this on my mobile phone while out on a walk. By the way, olympic park in new lynn is a great walk and full of interesting art works!)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Why every consultant should see the physio

I gave myself a sore neck this weekend, and had to see the physio this morning. Ow! Spasms.

I'm deeply impressed with Andrew at Total Body Physiotherapy in Titirangi. Here's what consultants can learn from Andrew:

  • Empathy. As I struggled to lie down, he said "this has been quite a hard week, hasn't it?". Simple acknowledgement of others' pain helps the healing start.
  • Contextual. He asked about the pain, he also asked about the context - my lifestyle, job, state of mind, whether I ever got angry (I told him about once a week - it's kind of difficult to quantify!) and what I did to relax. Understanding your client's context will give you true insight into the real issues, and help prevent wasting time and resources on a fix that may aggravate the problem.
  • Open. He explained his decision-making process throughout the treatment. For example, "We'll try X, which might lead to Y. If Y happens, we'll do Z, but if not, we'll try C."
  • Realistic. He didn't approach me with a cookie-cutter solution; instead he recognised I needed some preparation before he could do manipulation or mobilisation (see, I learnt some of the physio terminology too!). 
Have I missed anything?

This person needs a phsyio

Friday, 14 November 2008

Do people want to talk to companies via Twitter?

It'd be interesting to know, right? So I asked the other day, and here's what a whole lot of you said:

Annabel Youens
ayouens @audaciousgloop yes please. I love talking to companies through Twitter
Darryl Burling
darrylb @audaciousgloop Use twitter to communicate with people - not companies. People in companies is a good thing IMHO
Vye Perrone
vye @audaciousgloop like : @ New World - how come you stopped stocking Buderim lime & ginger marmalade, now I have to go to Countdown
Vye Perrone
vye @audaciousgloop Yes - think twitter is particularly suitable for quick feedback - where I wouldn't bother writing a letter...
Richard Maxwell
JodiTheTigger @audaciousgloop Communicate with companies using twitter? We'll I have already done it with @orcon and @vodafone and it has been a good exp.
thatwebguy @audaciousgloop I think that would be a great idea, a lot of companies already do it like @zappos. But more would be great! Any thoughts???
marklincoln @audaciousgloop sure to the extent of general updates and as a starting point to initiate conversations elsewhere.
Joss Debreceny
jossdeb @audaciousgloop Yes - but above all they need to answer queries at all. Most don't answer email or do so badly.
Jason Ryan
jasonwryan @audaciousgloop If they are willing to genuinely communicate back, then yes...
_june @audaciousgloop Certianly not every company, but for those who is suits. I like being part of their community, and them being part of mine
Stephen Collins
trib @audaciousgloop in order seeya and an unequivocal yes.
mrjudkins @audaciousgloop I would like the opportunity to provide feedback or ask questions, if they didn't spam me & I felt they were genuine.
Tony Eyles

That's a lot of varieties of "yes" and only one "no". Very interesting!

Meanwhile, Warren Sukernek went and did a proper scientific survey. Nice one!
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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Writing remains a powerful tool

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida -- The Delta II ...Image via WikipediaIn my work as a storyteller, I've found that writing still accounts for a heck of a lot of getting the message across.

Take the story of The Mars Phoenix Lander, for example. NASA has a very important story to tell - the continuing exploration of our solar system. Yet it took a gifted writer to bring that message to life, as you can see in this article.
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What does a social media consultant do?

I've been asked this several times as people try to figure out how iJump makes money: what do we actually do?

It's a constantly evolving field, but here's our current take on it - we help businesses understand and ultimately use the tools we call social media. We don't make the tools, and we don't sell them on behalf of others (although we are open to commissions and kickbacks - transparent, of course - from suppliers).

Ultimately, what we do is consultancy, helping businesses change their culture. Because the technology's the relatively easy part to implement. What's hard is the mindshift from broadcast, top-down control to a more democratised marketing message getting out.

So the short answer is - we get paid to understand how corporate culture changes, and how to use technology to facilitate that positive change.

Of course that's wordy management jargon at the moment - it'll take a bit more clarifying and thinking and more thinking to get it into plain English. But it's a start. And I think it's a pretty unique space that we can pursue, while everyone else focuses on the technology.

Update: Stephen Collins from AcidLabs has his own take on the question.
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Monday, 10 November 2008

Social Media and Psychology

Secrets...Image by Tonyç via FlickrSocial medai makes sense if you understand how people are. A good insight into people helps you build genuine empathy and relationships.

But there are many ways of understanding what makes people tick.

Salespeople read books like Robert Cialdini's Influence (a good book for what it is) and learn how to press the right buttons to get what they want. It's transactional, in disguise as relational.

Screenwriters observe people for the sheer pleasure of it. Because they can't help it. There is just something about people. Then they create characters that make people go OMG! That's just like someone I know ... maybe even me!

Both study people, for different reasons.

Generation C is looking for authenticity and relationship, which makes life hard for the salesperson and very interesting for the screenwriter.

Both people live in each of us. The screenwriter comes out when our basic needs are met, when we have the leisure to be curious.

The salesperson comes out when we need results!

It comes back to the phrase, do you love things and use people, or use things and love people?
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Sunday, 9 November 2008

So. We have a new PM

...and I'm happy about that. I believe the National/United Future/ACT coalition can enable the rest of us to do great things.

Yet I'm a skeptical supporter, one who has met a few National Party people and not liked the slightly elitist vibe I felt. Under other circumstances, I might have supported Labour, if it wasn't for their radical social agenda, and my observations that the best way to truly help people don't come from centralised government planning, but from entrepreneurial individuals.

So, as I tweeted, I look on this new government with hope, but not Obama-style hope. I hope they don't stuff it up. I hope they don't stick to traditional party lines and start thinking about this new world we're in, the way every person and every business has to. I hope we can fulfil the promise implicit in John Key's speech, that we can all achieve our potential.

More thoughts to come, I'm sure.
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Saturday, 8 November 2008

Online communities - top tips from Sweden. iJumpTV #40

This week, Intergen ( hosted a road trip where Andreas Stjernstr

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Oh that's right, we have an election on Saturday here.

Yesterday's history-making election of Barack Obama as the 44th US President was mind-numbingly awesome.

Even though I was working alone in my office I was connected via Twitter, podcasts and streaming video (sometimes all at once) to what was going on.

I don't think it'll be that exciting in New Zealand this Saturday. We have the incumbent, who tends to talk to others like a cross schoolteacher, and the challenger, who seems to have squandered his opportunity to take leadership and doesn't even seem to have unity within his party.

What the two elections do have in common is the increasing role of the internet. In the US it was a whole lot of social media - you could argue that's what won Obama the vote.

In New Zealand the "volatile" polls done by research companies are being supplemented by predictive markets like PulseoftheNation and iPredict.

And for confused, disillusioned Generation Xers like me with no particular party affiliation, there's Pundit, which has a quiz to help you select a party by policy, not by news coverage.

There's - which lays all the policies out. But I'm lazy, so I think I'll take the pundit quiz instead.

If you're in New Zealand, good luck for choosing a candidate and party that suits you this Saturday.

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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What Lawrence Lessig said in Auckland (plus notes from ANZA's Welcome to the Future event)

I was going to use a clever headline like "The future of marketing, media and intellectual property" but then realised most people will want to read this post to hear what Lawrence Lessig said in Auckland this Monday.

During the day on Monday I attended an event put on by the Association of New Zealand Advertisers, which had some pretty exciting - and overlapping - subject matter with Professor Lessig's talk.

If you only want to read what Lessig said, skip to the bottom of this post.

First up at the ANZA event, Professor Robert Lauterborn, coauthor of Integrated Marketing Communications (I interviewed the other coauthor back in 2003) presented the changed face of marketing. Not just changing - it's been changing since at least 1993 when the book was written - but it has changed.

Some gems from his session:

"The only source of competitive advantage is superior understanding of the consumer."

He did a before vs after comparison of a typical marketer's role and the standards they were held accountable to.

In the past, measurements were all around compliance and reach: readership scores, buying media by efficiency, absence of errors in advertisements, changes in awareness.

Now, marketers are expected to shift behaviour in a way that ties directly to business results.

To some, including myself, these are the words we've been hearing for years. But Lauterborn emphasises just how hard it is to actually do the new thinking, compared to just talking about it. I think that would apply to social media as well.

In fact, much of the work we're doing at iJump is not about the technology of social media, but about the mindset of getting really close to your customer. Not in an under-the-microscope kind of way, but in a sitting-next-to kind of way.

But I digress.

After Professor Lauterborn we had Russell Stanners, CEO of Vodafone presenting about the new mobile marketplace.

Again, stuff we've heard for years, but now it's actually happening. And it's happening mostly through social networking! In fact, he even mentioned Twitter, which I grinned at as I mentioned on (where else!) Twitter.

Interesting stat: 40+% of mobile internet traffic on Vodafone NZ's network is going to social networks.

Just for young folks? No. 24% of 25-64 year olds in New Zealand are into social networking on their mobiles. One out of every six minutes spent on the mobile internet is in a social networking community.

NZ Post's Chairman John Allen then took the stand, wearing his hat as head of the Australia/NZ leadership forum, strongly suggesting New Zealand needs to partner more with Australia. Great speaker, but not sure what it has to do with marketing.

Tim Flattery of Carat Engage then took the stand and pulled apart the media industry, piece by piece. It's not like he enjoys this - TV is his favourite form of media - but it's just that the foundations are crumbling. Strong resonance with both Prof Lauterborn's presentation, and Lessig's presentation. The system is broken. Who's coping well? Who's reinventing themselves?

Tim gave a few examples of what might be success for the media industry. Hulu, a mandarin word for "keeper of precious things" serves only a fraction of the number of videos that YouTube serves, yet manages to monetise them all. It's truly amazing that NBC, Universal and Fox could get it together on this one. Desperation sometimes leads to wisdom!

Major League Baseball in the states has also managed to win by turning themselves into a media company. Flattery points out that anyone can be a media company now (as the G33k Show guys will attest!), which helps you achieve competitive advantage (a la Professor Lauterborn) by being closest to your customer. It's game-changing disintermediation of the highest degree. Want some more buzzwords?

(To be fair, I'm coming up with these buzzwords as I write, Tim was very good in using human language.)

Finally, Tim shared how he got Baz Luhrmann to whip up some TVCs for Tourism Australia to tie in with the bigger-than-Ben-Hur (literally) epic film Australia. The ads are very good, despite being Australian. Got a round of applause from the audience, even!

Lots of lessons in the behind-the-scenes story, but most of all, according to Tim: "it's only through innovation that you can build a customer base to enjoy competitive advantage."

Innovation. It's important!

Okay, now the part you're all waiting for ... Lawrence Lessig's presentation!

The guy is gifted with storytelling and visual simplicity (as you can see from the photo above).

I missed the very beginning, but here are my notes:

Writing is democratic. A student writing an essay doesn't need to seek permission from the estates of those he quotes. To do so would be unreasonable.

Yet that's exactly the restraint current copyright law is putting on the 21st century form of writing - remixing.

He talked about stages of society and media, starting with the RO (Read Only) society which got the most efficient in around 2000 with the launch of iTunes. It was the nearest thing to the celestial jukebox, where you could access the world's culture for 99c (in the US).

About 2004 emerged the RW (Read-Write) society, where "the public" started talking back, as epitomised by Wikipedia.

YouTube et al just carried the movement along, turning the once specialised art of remixing and remastering into a conversational activity. Lessig talked about call and response creativity, where my lip-sync to a song triggers you and 40 others to try your own.

"It's the modern equivalent of young people getting together and singing a song, but it's not on the corner, not in the back yard, but over digital networks."

Some examples from the political sphere. (Best example, not referenced by Lessig but created here in NZ!)

Importance? It has nothing to do with technique. It has everything to do with how those techniques are now democratised.

In a nutshell, here's Lessig's argument:

  • Copyright law is legitimate. We need something to incentivise people to create and profit from their original works.
  • Current copyright law is too blunt an instrument for the technology we have. We currently have a Hollywood business model that doesn't allow for the shades of grey between professional content producer and amateur consumer.
A comparison: Alcohol Prohibition.

In 1919 the USA prohibited the sale of alcohol, as part of their war against dependence on alcohol. It didn't work. The costs outweighed the benefits. In the early 30s the US abandoned the war, but didn't abandon the fight against dependence. They just looked for other ways to do it.

In the same way, we have a copyright system the costs of which outweigh the benefits. All the current "copyright war" has done is make criminals out of children. As a father, Lessig sees this trend going either of two ways:

1. The kids decide not to do anything illegal (eg file sharing, swapping, remixing) - NOT LIKELY
2. The kids get used to being criminals. Is this a good thing for society? He doesn't think so.

What to do?

Public steps:
1. Change copyright law. Introduce something like Creative Commons to cover the wide varieties of use that don't fall into "Professional Content Distribution" or "Amateur, Not-for-profit Free Use".
2. Engage creativity - find out ways to return a fair compensation to artists without shutting down public discourse and sharing.
A possibility, suggested by Tim Hubbard and Janine Love in terms of the scientific community, that 0.2% of a country's GDP goes to royalties. A worldwide treaty, and how to collect that is up to each country. It's not perfect, but it's an idea to get things started.

Private steps:
This bit is important if you're in business.

Lessig talks about 3 kinds of economies: commercial (eg the supermarket), sharing (eg a friendship) and hybrid (a bit of both).

For example, Flickr is primarily a sharing community, but Yahoo! makes money from the result of that social interaction.

Other examples include Second Life, Yelp, and Wikia.

Amazon's a business coming from the other end of the equation - a commercial economy which is discovering the benefits and added value of a sharing economy. It's a hybrid.

Lessig quoted Steve Ballmer as saying "every successful internet business will be a hybrid."

There are 3 kinds of hybrid:

1. Darth Vader. (eg Star Wars Mashups) aka sharecropping - in other words, the creator/collaborator gets no benefit. "You create the content, we own it" (Star Wars Mashups appears to be no longer there, but TV3's terms and conditions for user-submitted content are another great example.

2. Ostrich. (eg Google, YouTube). "You create the content, you own it. We don't care, we'll just put ads around it. We're just here to serve."

3. Souza/Che ... Sousa wanted to ban "infernal talking machines" in the early 1900s because he feared they would take away our ability to create, instead just making us passive consumers. Che was a revolutionary. So what's a Sousa/Che business model? Something like Flickr that lets the creator own their own creation, and licence it.

In short, we need to find and use tools that help us respect creators of content AND value freedom.

Lessig ended with a question. If you were in the Soviet Union, when would be the right time to convince you that communism wasn't working. 1976? Too early, things are going ok. 1989? Too late, if you haven't seen it for yourself by then, you never will.

It's like that with copyright today. What stage are we at? How will legislators see that things need changing, and that solutions are at hand?

What can we in NZ do? Carry on the conversation. In the US the conversation has been captured by the Hollywood lobbyists. Unfortunately the interests of "the people" have no lobby group or PR agency. But together, maybe we can raise awareness of new possibilities with our own government, and lead by example.
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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Viral marketing on zero budget - iJumpTV #39

When you have zero marketing budget, where do you start getting your message out? James Stewart put his own body on the line, creating the Million Dollar Leg project. Learn his secrets for getting buzz! In this episode: Top recommendations for buzz-building: Facebook page YouTube Twitter Skype Digg and Stumbleupon Bonus resource: The Idea Virus by Seth Godin

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