Monday, 28 March 2011

I'm Pregnant with Charlie Sheen!

No, I don't mean he got me pregnant (ick, he's too old for me!), I mean I think I'm going to give birth to him.

My active online muse (as opposed to my semi-retired online muse who has a new regional job in Europe and has no time for her muse responsibilities), has inspired me again, this time by suggesting I post about the publication (self-publication on of the first instalment of "Is Rex a Dog? The Short-Story Collection".  At first the insight didn't seep through, then I walked my dog-ters through the park and the wheels began turning.  Then I read this eye-opening article on Charlie Sheen in Newsweek by Bret Easton Ellis.  Then I 'got it'.  I gave birth to something that I've been nurturing, pondering and mulling over for the past nine months or so.

You see, what's been astounding the Boomers and more conservative Gen Xers out there ever since Charlie began his very media-savvy ranting of late is how he continues to not only maintain media attention, but use it to make MORE money!  Sold out 'concerts', a million twitter followers, millions of YouTube view, etc.  What Bret's article led me to understand was something I've been gradually creeping towards in the back of my brain:  int this day and age

If you aren't clear on how Charlie Sheen is "WINNING", you are losing.

Bret had this to say about, not just the newest cohort that is entering the workforce, the Millennials, but all the Gen X males who are in Charlie's age group and fully support his ability to be 46 and live like an irresponsible multi-millionaire frat boy: 

"Do we really want manners? Civility?  Courtesy?  
 HELL NO!  We want reality."

A week ago my muse convinced me, just by doing what she does (blog a LOT of intimate details about what's going through her mind and heart) that I was not 'getting it'.  Many of my 'change-o-philic' colleagues have leapt into the world of Web 2.0 'sharing' by blogging relentlessly about their families, idle thoughts, hang-overs and conflicts at the office.  I sat back and dealt with my own compulsive urges to 'share' by separating my thoughts into 'business-related' (this blog 'channel'), 'personal' (Just One Cynic's Opinion) and creative/intimate (Is Rex a Dog?).  I even went so far as to keep the latter anonymous due to the now-antique fear that I might lose credibility and contracts/work should colleagues and/or clients if they realized I was a bit 'out there' -- like they can't tell!

In my typical 'all or nothing' style, having intensely and obsessively blogged and tweeted to the point where I understood how these new media worked -- and then realized I both had not accumulated a million faithful followers NOR had made a single cent from all that effort -- I ceased and desisted (for the most part) from putting a lot of energy into the blog focused on "Where Marketing is Heading After the Novelty and Hyperbole About So-Called 'Social Media Marketing' Evaporates, as it Should" for the past nine months.  What was the point, I asked myself, and the answer was "it merely satisfies your OCD need to get thoughts out of your brain so you can move on to the next insight".  Didn't seem worth it, really...
Of late I've been asking myself what would Charlie Sheen do?  
Quite seriously!
NOT with a view to desperately wanting to become famous, to 'earn' a million followers (take note all you fellow tweeter/bloggers not only spending up to 25% of your productive work hours posting irrelevant, useless and largely inane 'thoughts' -- "Just photocopied my latest post for the wife.  She won't read my blog online!" -- think about it, the 'fame' you are desperately chasing doesn't bring in a single cent for you or your firm, yet every time you stop work to tweet eats up several minutes several times an hour, every 6 minutes is another 10% of each hour).  What Charlie Sheen, who is an 'A' type personality, who is manic, who is sharp (big-brained), has OCD issues and can't resist blurting things out (might even be some Turret's tendencies in there), 'gets' is that there no longer is an invisible line between personal and public personas, there is only you with all your oddities and predilections.
What are you imagining is going to happen in 15-20 years from now when all of today's Millennials enter their 30's?  
Where do you think all those 'sexting' photos and home-porn videos shot on their iPhones of now 16-20-something year old kids are going to go?

Do you really think that 16 year old boys who, two weeks after receiving the photos 'broke up' with those same young ladies, are going to erase the files?  Or are they more likely to 'share' them with 20 friends, or post them on an "ex-GF" website or on PornTube?  Once on those sites, where are the files from auto-website-scraping 'bots' on and going to go?  You know where -- not the trash bin!  Those videos and photos (and drunk or ill-conceived blog-rants or Gmails, for that matter) are going to be available for the rest of time eternal.
Folks, we have entered a new age, and Charlie Sheen is just one of the eldest leaders of the change.  
There is no line between public and personal/private anymore.   Get used to it!
You can desperately try to hold it back, you can obfuscate and use Internet scrubbing services to try to hide your inner demons, but the 'winners' get it.  They understand that the leaders of this new era are not going to be able to hide their private sides.  The outgoing, risk-taking, 'A' type, early-technology-adopting leaders of the future, the politicians, inventors, authors and top business people of 2025, are going to have to live with the fact that all the same tendencies and predilections that pushed them to the top ALSO led them to shoot naked pics and sex videos of themselves back in the day and that the world will be re-watching their hard-bodied younger selves when they become the front runners of the future. 

Think I'm making too much of something that is insignificant?  Ha!  You really don't understand young people very well, do you?  They do not have sufficient development in the regions of their brains responsible for calculating long-term implications of spontaneous risk-taking to quell the hormonally-elevated reward/pleasure centres in other regions of their brains.  Give any one of these kids (no, they are NOT "young adults") three vodka coolers, a cute partner and a smart-phone with an HD camera...
So what does any of this mean to you or me?
What should we be thinking about in terms of our own individual (personal) "brands'? 
You might as well 'put it out there', folks.  We are who we are, and, especially today, everyone else is going to figure out who you really are, through and through, sooner rather than later!

Over the past couple of weeks (in my usual highly detailed/focused OCD way) I've been cross-linking my blogs, fiddling with the promotional, traffic-enhancing tools,  'taking responsibility', if you will, for my private and professional thoughts, insights and odd predilections.  (No, I'm not posting any erotic short stories just yet, Rex is racy enough!)  I've been considering dropping the 'professional channel' altogether.  I've been coming around to a new perspective on my gradual evolution from:
  • Odd, barely passing grades,  OCD kid/teen,
  • To intense, summa cum laude college-grad,
  • To global ad guy, 
  • To marketing strategy guy, 
  • To business consultant, 
  • To OCD blogging guy, 
  • To human-insight/keynote-speaking/seminar-leading guy,
  • To storyteller. 
  • To...
I've come to understand that my value to people is no longer merely in the marketing/business arena, but in the realm of what makes us uniquely us.  In the spirit of "The Secret" and 'projecting positive energy' I'm going to go back to sharing some thoughts (briefly, versus my early full-length tomes!) here over the coming weeks (no, I WILL NOT give into my OCD nature and blog daily -- the quality would just drop off!).
I hope some of you will follow me through the exploration on my blogs.  
(It will involve some really deep s__t that seems simple on the surface.  ;-)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

An Even MORE Powerful View of Tsunami Destroying an Entire Town

Amazing how high the water rose, and how incredibly quickly:

Friday, 25 March 2011

Deaths Per Watt: Coal Kills - Nuclear Power Super Safe Based Upon Experience

Seth Godin has simplified this into a powerful visual:

Rami raises some excellent points, however the harsh reality remains.  By 2050 we're going to increase the human population by another 50% versus today's 7 billion and the fossil fuels will be largely gone before then.  Nuclear is the only thing we have AT THE MOMENT to meet our species' quickly increasing (on a per individual round the globe) energy demands.  Knee jerk political reactions are not the answer, innovation is.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Neither "Design Thinking" Nor "Social Marketing" Actually Exist, Folks...

My comment (rant?) in response to a > article on so-called "Design Thinking" by Helen Walters:

Helen, "the formal discipline is still pretty new"?!?  I beg your pardon!

The crux is very, very simple.  In this post-economic-decline era every major magazine and consultancy is screaming "INNOVATE" and "LEVERAGE DESIGN THINKING" (along with "leverage 'social marketing'!").  So-called "design thinking" is almost impossible to breakdown simply, but allow me to have a go at it:

1)  Articulate the challenge/issue/problem,
2)  Research thoroughly (leave no stone unturned),
3)  Analyze all the info with a totally open mind,
4)  Wait for the threads you've come across to coalesce into an breakthrough new concept/idea/approach. 

Please explain to me what is in any way revolutionary, or different in any way, in this approach that what the Greek philosophers, or any genius in history from Copernicus to Einstein, used? 

The one thing that our politically correct modern culture exclude us from pointing out is that ALL of those rare individuals had the mental acuity for #4 to happen inside their big brains.  This process cannot be taught, or applied, or generated.  It isn't something new, and it isn't unique to design, it's just the way some rare creatively brilliant human brains work.

It has been said that we all have moments of genius -- geniuses just have them all the time.

All that can be done is for companies to scour their ranks for employees with the ability to think in leaps of inspiration, as many are currently ignored or entirely underutilized (many of them aren't the most socially adept of creatures).  Sit these individuals down with the first two points above in front of them, motivate them and wait.  Voila: innovation.

Innovation and 'design thinking' training courses for the vast majority of the bell curve are just an enormous scam, as is "social marketing" (people are either going to talk about your product/service with their social circle because it is worth talking about, or not).  We cannot train people to become geniuses any more that we can manipulate people into talking about products -- the moment they are manipulated they lose all credibility. 

We are living in the age of enriching and proliferating "the brand experience" (more literally: analyzing/improving how consumers experience your product/service and finding innovative ways to get more of them to do so).  The only monumental change that has happened in the past decade is the death of 'push' marketing at the consumers' insistence (as a result of their newly public chatter over the Internet) and the growing dominance of 'pull'. 

No one ever liked or wanted 'push' marketing any more than Libyans wanted Muammar Ghaddafi as their leader, marketers simply had the ability to shove it down consumers' throats through what is now being called "legacy media".  Where the majority of marketing budgets should be shifting is NOT to 'social media' (more 'push'), but to 'experiential marketing'.  Yes, at a MUCH higher cost per impression, but XM is all about "facilitated trial" and leads to instantly loyal consumers.

The current hyperbole about 'design thinking', 'innovation' and 'social marketing' is just an awful lot of 'push'.  For those people out there who can nab large chunks of corporate training budgets to peddle this snakeoil, I say "Bravo!", but in the end it just leaves a disappointing, malodorous whiff in its wake.  A worthwhile investment would be in training how to identify and support the true innovators in any company's team.

Just Because it's Cool...

And I find it thought-provoking, a visualization of today's global inter-connections on Facebook (note low Russian/Chinese penetration):
Versus population density:

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Gamification: Using Our Natural Desire to Win Rewards in Developing Unique Brand Experiences

This is interesting.  A practical theory to use in marketing that ties back to my core theme that the real future of our industry has virtually NOTHING to do with "social media" and everything to do with 'brand experience".  Tying in the notion of game-playing in order to win rewards is an insight into human nature that any brand can put to use. 

This is from a post by one of my media heroes (and I don't have many!), Uwe Hook, on MediaBizBloggers today:
What is gamification?
Gamification is the use of game place mechanics in order to encourage people to adopt applications and, ultimately, change behavior. Think about Foursquare: People are encouraged to check-in at physical locations in order to earn badges, mayorships and rewards (coupons, freebies, etc.). Gamification or Game Mechanics work because it makes technology more engaging/entertaining by encouraging desired behavior and taps into the human desire to play a game. It can help to perform tasks that are normally considered boring or arduous.
Gamification will gain in importance
There's a good case to be made that 'Pleasure' should be added to the 5 P's of marketing. Why shouldn't pleasure be an extension of a great customer experience? Right now, customer experiences are mostly limited to well-working and easy to use. In the near future, a great customer experience has to add the fun factor. When you're being rewarded to do your timesheets, you'll do them more timely. And it might be even a task you'll be looking forward to. You can create 'player journeys' to reward people with status, access and power – you create meaning inside of the mechanics. Loyalty programs can be expanded through leaderboards, each customer interaction can become an enjoyable experience.
So in building apps and games for contests, or influencing consumers to "like" your product in social media (i.e. trying to get free PR), if we can build in game-mechanics, even soap brands might be able to improve peoples' involvement with their products.  The trick is to make the mechanics relevant to the product's use.  Hm...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Media Helps Humans Spread Irrational Panic

Comment on an online MIT Tech Review article about the 'knee-jerk' impact of Japan's post-quake/tsunami/aftershocks nuclear disaster: Fukushima's Spreading Impact

I'd think, of all the publications out there, that MIT would try to throw a wet blanket on irrational panic amongst the masses.

Japan's ocean-front nuclear plant faced what can only be called 'a perfect storm' of physical challenges:
  1. One of the 5 biggest quakes in the past 2 centuries knocking out failsafe #1, 
  2. A TEN METER tall tsunami taking out failsafe #2, 
  3. Massive and ongoing aftershocks taking out failsafe #3. 
Please tell me, outside of California's plant, which is also on a major tectonic plate convergence and is ocean-side, where else there's a nuclear plant facing this kind of perfect storm of factors?

This particular disaster has NO IMPACT on the world's nuclear plants. NONE. Yes, they need to review the results and evaluate their failsafes, but almost all are based inland, away from major fault lines.

It always amazes me when the not-so-smart masses and the media that feeds them whips up panic over irrelvant incidents. (Kids in the developed world can't play in the streets anymore because a one in a million chance of a paedophile might happen along.)

Life's risky, get over it.  Learn, adapt and move on.

Friday, 11 March 2011

A Visual History of Sci-Fi, Cool!

Mind-Blowing History of Sci-Fi

Ward Shelley's sprawling, hand-drawn flowchart of science fiction's history.

Artist Ward Shelley has produced another fine, fine, fine hand-drawn flowchart that will blow your mind.

This time, it's dedicated to the 2,500 years of intellectual history that have produced the modern sci-fi genre, which sounds totally ridiculous, but just look at the chart and you'll understand its beauty (click to open larger, click again to zoom):

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

There is No "Social Media Revolution"! It's a "Communications Technology Revolution"!

Comment left on in response to "Baked In: The VC Who Discovered Facebook on Why All Businesses Will Become Social -- Kevin Efrusy tells us why Facebook and Twitter are bringing about a 'fundamental disruption' in the way business is done on the Web."
By E.B. BOYD, Mon Feb 28, 2011

Excuse my acronym, Kevin and Allen, but WTF? I'm all for people jumping on bandwagons to make a buck, "going social" being today's most ballyhooed, but you're talking about two very different things here. There's a vast chasm of difference between Accel focusing on investing in firms that have found ways to leverage people talking about their products/services because they have a distinct point of difference and "all businesses becoming social"!

Over the past several years we have seen a rush of media spending being diverted from traditional above the line media like TV (for good reason in the latter case as 'eyes' have been moving to online programming consumption without a solid ad revenue model being developed as yet for online), to 'social' media WITH ZERO PROVEN ROI. Good for Curebit for trying to ride the wave, but as Uwe Hook has pointed out on, humans are social creatures and always have been.

There is no 'social media revolution' happening! There is a "communications technology revolution" happening.

When Allen suggests some companies are "bad" he's merely pointing the finger at the dullards in the marketing world who can't fathom how to shift from "push" to "pull" strategies, or as Kevin points out, are selling products that no one wants to talk about and so are forced to try to inject interesting discussions about their boring products into conversations. Yes, they'll eventually either give up or will find niche areas where their product details have some relevance, but at the end of the day, guys, 'push marketing' is never going to completely die out, there are still going to be billboards on the roadsides and ad content injected into print publications that move onto tablets.

My point is that there is not and never has been and never will be any way to 'do social marketing' because any attempts to do so are merely attempt to manipulate conversations, just like interrupting a private phone call with an ad message. If you are talking, as Allen suggests, about finding new technological ways for people to willingly and happily share info about products they are trying and appreciating, then that all part of today's communications technology revolution, NOT a 'social media revolution' per se.

At the end of the day, however, we are not talking about "all businesses becoming social", we're talking about all marketing efforts becoming 'pull' based -- what I call "brand experience focused" and thinking about how to get people to talk willingly and happily about their product/service's distinct points of difference and weaning themselves off of 100 years of a 'push' based ad model. This ridiculous over-use (misuse) of the word 'social' is becoming tiresome and just a bit sad.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...