Earlier today I watched a terrific TED presentation from Eli Pariser. He explains how Google and Facebook are using algorithms based on our past site viewing patterns to give us all different search results and newsfeed updates.
As well as Google and Facebook’s algorithms, I think there’s also a natural pattern evolving with twitter whereby we’ve started building our own silos of self-confirming opinion. During the 2011 Election I’ve seen this quite clearly.
I’ve followed people on twitter over the years because I found their insights interesting. But what I also found in the Election was that most people I follow are left-leaning liberals who had little time for John Key and his approach to media. Kind of like me looking in the mirror.
I found that a little boring and ended up ignoring a number of people and looking for some new folks to follow to give my view on the Election a bit of balance.
As Eli Pariser points out in his presentation, news editors of TV, radio and print media may have had particular left/right leanings, but at the end of the day their position has only been sustainable if they offered a bit of professional balance. Just look at Fox News in the US. Widely viewed, but only by a limited audience.
To really create or write a good news article it’s important that the “other side’s” view is articulated, read or viewed and understood. Then people can make up their own opinion based on both sides’ arguments. That’s a democracy.
If we all just see the same old information from a select few with similar views, how will we grow?
Web 2.0 was all about content. If you had it, you could do great things. Blogging and self-expression exploded through simple platforms that allowed people to create websites to share their views, hobbies and insights with only limited technical knowhow. In blogging, anybody could become a publisher.
Problem is/was, as people quickly find/found out, blogging is actually hard work. It’s time consuming and, if you enable a thread of discussion to unfold, things can get quite animated. In forums and blog discussions people desire responses quickly and anonymity can be a scary mask for insults and insensitivities.
Often people who start/ed out blogging with a hiss and roar, sometimes find/found it wasn’t quite for them. What they really wanted was active communication and live distraction from their daily lives.
Entertainment is what we crave from the Internet. It offers us interaction with a global audience. But some of us don’t want that. We don’t want to be on stage. Some just want to remain in the audience and watch. This is where movie, TV and music downloads really appeal. And appeal they do. If you’re under 25 and you’re not file sharing, you’d be in a distinct minority.
Peer-to-peer networks are the hub of the ‘entertainment Internet’ and unfortunately, New Zealand’s government has just passed a law that will limit any opportunity in this space. Well, any opportunity for most of us to participate.
Content provision is, once again, the key. Only this time, it’s not from the long tail of bloggers, it’s from the select few multinational TV and film studios. We now need them to become comfortable with an infrastructure or interface that enables anyone in the world to legally download, stream and watch any TV show or movie when, and wherever, they want.
If we could access these services, or had a New Zealand service that could tailor content to our needs and give us access to any movie or show, what would you pay? $0.20 to watch an episode of the latest Survivor episode? Or may be today’s Manchester United match? Or perhaps a rerun of Prime Suspect?
If you knew there was no issue with downloading one of these games or shows for a small unit price, would you do it? My guess is, yes.
Unfortunately New Zealand has another issue or limited bandwidth and data caps. Issues that Sam Morgan recently raised in this article in The Listener.
Which brings me to consider another shift. If you step back for a moment and consider the basic marketing issue content provider have it’s quite illuminating:
Pricing – Find the unit cost people would be prepared to part with for a show.
Product – Figure out how to share enough revenue with the content providers to give them satisfaction to part with their product.
Promotion – The democracy of social media will sort this out pretty quickly.
Placement – A “P” in the marketing equation that perhaps is finished with the Internet (short of location based apps) but if you’re in New Zealand, I’m going to add another P…
Pacific Fibre – There is absolutely no way that New Zealand can keep up with the rest of the world if we don’t figure out a way to offer Kiwis uncapped broadband at internationally competitive speeds.
Pacific Fibre will be a game changer for New Zealand. Competition is absolutely vital for our position in the world’s rapidly changing uncapped interconnected economies, so this “P” is of high importance IMHO.
Knowing you had a world audience was a terrific driver for blogging with Web 2.0. People used the long tail of the globe to connect and share their knowledge and interests. It didn’t matter who you were, or where you came from, if there was a common interest, there was a connection.
As we move to the next stage of the Internet, the game is still the same. There’s opportunity out there. Wouldn’t it be a shame if New Zealand, with all its natural isolation, lost out on this opportunity because of red tape and market monopolies?
Many moons ago I remember discussing the need for online micropayments with some smart web guys. They saw it (along with better bandwidth) as the chasm that would make the difference for successful ecommerce to really explode into the mainstream. This was the mid nineties, so we didn’t really talk about user experience then but inside the micropayment discussion really sits the need for an efficient user experience. If your process of micropayments makes things easier for people, they’ll adopt it.
iTunes is a classic example of this in action. So too is the Snapper card. The later is an interesting example and one that would solve one of my nagging issues with charity street appeals.
The issue I have with street appeals is I never have any cash on me. On Daffodil Day last week I was able to pull together a measly $0.50 from my pocket that didn’t really warrant me being offered a flower to wear.
Of course I could have walked around the corner and got some money out from an ATM and given the collector some cash, but if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t be donating $10 or $20 and to change that would have meant another trip to the dairy. All up the process was just too hard. So I didn’t give the charity anything more than a single coin.
Now if this micropayment experience between the collector and I could be simplified, that would help. Here’s where I think the Snapper card could help.
If Snapper were able to arm each collector with a simple scanning device I’d have a simple way of giving collectors a self-nominated amount like $2 or $3 with a quick swipe of my Snapper card. There it is. Payment process complete. No nonsense.
If this were possible, I would use it. And I think others would too.
Be the first, be the best, be different is a catchy line that floated around a few years ago as a motivator for business success. When you think of some real world examples of this line Sony and Apple do a pretty good job. The Walkman, the iPod, the iPad have all ticked the boxes of being the first, the best and different.
By being at the forefront of innovation, Sony and Apple’s brands sit nicely with the desires and demands of people who consider themselves innovators and early adopters. These people are also at the heart of social media and popular trends so it’s no surprise that when Apple and Sony release their new products it creates such a remarkable buzz.
Problem is, there are only a small number of innovators and early adopters in the world and most of them get bored really quickly.
This is where we see ‘copycat’ manufacturers like Google and Dell waltz in, take the innovators ideas that society has liked, alter them slightly and mop up the remainder of the market with similar products sold at a considerably reduced price. That’s where the real money is made.
And this is what’s going to happen with Google’s Android. The iPhone 4 is having some speed wobbles and I just can’t help feeling that Google’s gradually building some momentum underneath the glamour and will be able to use all its arsenal of services to systematically swallow Apple’s profits.
If Google do this Apple will, of course, kick into the next big thing. I do wonder though if they’d make a better profit if they repackaged some of their products to compete with copycat brands after the buzz has settled.
Perhaps be second, learn from the best, be similar might be a better line for those that don’t mind missing out on the glamour, but in doing so minimise the risks and still make a very successful business. Just ask Trade me.
To bring folks up to speed, when Apple recently launched their iPad they built it so it couldn’t run Flash, Adobe’s proprietary platform for animation, video and interactivity for websites. They felt Flash drew too much power from the battery to operate effectively. Instead Apple saw the future in the open code of HTML5.
At the moment millions of websites and online videos use Flash so with this massive decision by Steve Jobs at Apple, Flash sites and videos will be lost to all iPad users (and that user list is growing rapidly).
If you consider one of the core features of the iPad will be domestic use with people using it to peruse the web, video is an important feature. And now if the article I read is true to form and the adult entertainment industry do cross to HTML5, things will move superquick.
This news also makes for a bit of amusement as Steve Jobs has been quoted in a recent email exchange with Valleywag editor Ryan Tate as saying their App Store will create a “freedom from porn”.
If you think I’m being sensationalist, think back to what’s driven the development of some critical web developments that we take for granted.
Where did the willingness and capability for online payments come from?
Would we have peer-to-peer video streaming without adult video?
For things to really advance with the web, money needs to change hands. And for a large part of the web, adult entertainment is where the money comes from. Just consider Wikipedia. Where did Jimmy Wales get the capital to seed this fantastic resource? Have a look…
Today’s announcement that cigarettes are going up to $17 a packet made me consider what people would save if they quit smoking and put their savings on their mortgage. Here’s what I found out by using Sorted’s calculators:
If you smoked a packet a day that’ll cost $238 per fortnight in 2012.
If you have a mortgage of $200,000 at 7% interest you’ll need fortnightly repayments of around $652 to repay it over 25 years.
The interest you’d pay over on that mortgage over 25 years is $223, 861. That’s just the interest.
If you quit smoking and put the money you spent on cigarettes into your mortgage repayments you’d make repayments of $890 per fortnight.
The result of this wee action would mean you’d pay $107,482 in interest and pay off your mortgage in just 13 years and 4 months.
That’s a saving of $116,379.
Visit Quitline now.
This week’s announcement from AOL that they’re likely to sell or close Bebo after paying US$850 million for it early last year did not surprise me. AOL are legendary for muddling even the best of products and for the last 12 months I’ve seen Facebook really outperform Bebo on a number of levels. And for me, a core level is advertising.
In early 2007 I began running ads for some of my clients on Bebo. This new player on the local social media scene had quite simply exploded with Kiwis aged 12-24 and I was keen to get my clients’ sites noticed here.
The journey to get ads to air was very drawn out. At that stage Bebo didn’t have anyone on the ground in NZ so I had to go all the way to Jim Scheinman, the CEO in San Francisco, to get some sort of traction on who and how we could get our ads rolling.
In the end the solution was to use Google’s Placement Targeted Network. Now I was absolutely happy with that. Using Google I could easily optimise exposure and cost. After all, a site receiving hundreds of millions of page impressions was ripe for the picking and low cost high exposure advertising was underway.
Subsequently, we had a number of really successful months running ads for our clients on Bebo until it all went to pot when Bebo enlisted TVNZ’s help as their NZ media sales partner. All of sudden a complex middleman was here using a CPM model for buying ad placements on Bebo. It just didn’t work.
So we stopped advertising on Bebo. Our clients couldn’t afford it.
Fortunately at this time another social media site called Facebook was building real momentum in New Zealand.
Facebook had learnt a thing or two about surviving online and invested in creating an ad management console that enabled people to manage their own advertising just like Google. We tried it with a few of our clients and it worked. And it still works for us every month.
Now I know we’re only ‘little old New Zealand’, but I can’t help think that that very simple decision of keeping the ad logistics simple and enabling a long tail of advertisers to fill these vast voids of ad inventory was a pointer to why Bebo is melting and Facebook is solidifying its position as the global player in social media.
Great to hear Taika Waititi’s second feature film Boy has completely nailed the local competition to go straight to number 1 in NZ’s box office. I think it will also do well internationally. Here’s why:
1. “Academy Award Nominee” has a nice lead in to any promotion. (That it was for a short film a few years back is irrelevant.)
2. It’s getting great reviews. Product sells. Period.
3. He’s just like Flight of the Conchords. For international audiences this is gold. In fact, his history with both Jermaine and Bret is solid. No bollocks. That authenticity works with reviewers.
4. He’s bided his time. No ‘one hit wonder’. He’s grown through it.
5. It’s authentic. Taika grew up on the East Coast and this story is set in a place he knows.
6. Pass the dutchie. After hearing it in the trailer I watched it on YouTube. Priceless capture of musical history. Been humming it all night.
7. Levering Michael Jackson from 1984 is failsafe.
8. The world loves New Zealand films. Peter Jackson gave us the digital brilliance but a story with Maori characters with thick East Coast accents is fresh for picking after Niki Caro’s Whale Rider opened the door.
9. They’ve taken time to create a unique online presence beyond the movie website with a dedicated site for the Crazy Horse Gang. With priceless wee vignettes hosted on YouTube this is a superb set of assets that can mix it up across social mediums. There’s a lot of mileage to unfold here.
10. He’s got a terrific one liner – calling someone an “egg”. Innocuous and strangely delightful with a thick NZ accent.
Let’s see how it pans out.
Basically every Tweet I’m following at the moment is about the announcement of Pacific Fibre. This new venture “aims to connect Australia and New Zealand to the USA with a high capacity low latency fibre cable.” And what a Twitter friendly story we’ve got here.
It’s being backed by Kiwi heavyweights Sir Stephen Tindall, Sam Morgan, Lance Wiggs, Mark Rushworth and Rod Drury and it appears they’ve timed their announcement just right to go gangbusters across a particularly useful crowd of thought leaders.
Bernard Hickey from Interest.co.nz tweeted an hour ago and it’s just exploded. He just told me that his initial tweet has been retweeted over a dozen times in the last hour. Looking at Datascope I can see his name’s all over things. Chris Keall from NBR is doing nicely too.
And this news is welcomed. Pacific Fibre could be something spectacular for New Zealand. As far back as I remember New Zealand’s Archilles heel with Internet business has always been our limited pipes. The opportunity is massive. It’s going to put the crawlers up Telecom – something I’m sure appeals to Sam Morgan!
I’m a little surprised that Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor aren’t in this uber-consortium too. I’d imagine large bandwidth for their large hard drives would be a real boost for their businesses.
Interesting news. And go Twitter for sharing the love so quickly.
Good luck to all involved.
Today Beyonce won the Song of the Year Grammy for “Single Ladies (Put a ring on it)”. If you haven’t heard or seen it yet, have a look. The song’s catchy and it’s quite an impressive bit of choreography mixed with a certain sex appeal. (My oldest daughter asked me why they were dancing in their undies!)
The version I watched had just received 9.6 million views on YouTube. This was the version uploaded on 13 October 2008.
Single Ladies has been around for a long time and it’s recognition today at the Grammys was possibly due more to its gradual infection into social media, or more specifically, YouTube. Here’s how it went for me…
After viewing the video I looked to the side and saw a five star rated Saturday Night Live parody of the video featuring Justin Timberlake donning a leotard. Very funny. Views – 17.9 million. Date uploaded – 18 Nov 2008. Talk about a great launch pad for a song.
Then there’s another highly rated video featuring a chap with a world-class motor thinking he’s Beyonce. Funny-ish. Views – 10.9 million. Date uploaded – 10 January 2009.
Oh and there’s a dance troupe pulling a flash mob dance to Single Ladies in London. Clever considering they do the whole thing in one take. Views – 3.5 million. Date uploaded – 20 April 2009.
And a baby watching Single Ladies on TV and dancing. Cute. Greatly assisted by Dad laughing. There are few things more infectious than laughter. Views – 8.1 million. Date uploaded – 26 January 2009.
But wait, there’s more! Now a grown male in a nappy creating a meme out of the meme of the baby dancing to Single Ladies! Ridiculous. Date uploaded – 28 September 2009. Views 868,029.
So far all the parodies I watched were by people simply trying to make others laugh. It wasn’t until June 2009 when a group actually levered “Single Ladies” to simply promote their own cause.
Enter the Jonas Brothers, a Disney produced boy band who’ve shamelessly lifted the SNL “bloke in a leotard” idea and lip synced Single Ladies to promote their next release. Now I would normally mock this but their video has been viewed 16 million times! Date uploaded – 3 June 2009.
Accepting the Jonas Brothers are already a very successful boy band in the US, it’s interesting to see that successful exposure and marketing in social media doesn’t have to be an original idea to capture people’s imagination. In fact the copying of an idea, execution, and song, with just the slightest individual interpretation, can be more popular than the original. On this wee journey alone the rip off versions have accumulated five times more exposure of Beyonce’s song than the original video.
Perhaps the Japanese were ahead of their time with Karaoke.