I apologize for that. sort of.
but genuinely +1′ing this series of vids. And if you wait for it, there’s even a nice 404.
Good on you, Google.
I apologize for that. sort of.
but genuinely +1′ing this series of vids. And if you wait for it, there’s even a nice 404.
Good on you, Google.
PIE startup KS12 has unveiled “Early Stage“: a videosprint about startups, startup ecosystems, entrepreneurs and storytelling.
“Early Stage” weaves the stories of the recently graduated class of PIE startups - AppThwack, Code Scouts, Little Bird, Lytics, KS12, and Stublisher - with insights gathered from a mix of entrepreneurial-types and PIE alums including David Embree, CEO of Athletepath, Andy Baio of XOXO fame, Brad Feld of Foundry Group and TechStars, entrepreneur and former investor Robin Jones, Urban Airship CTO and Co-Founder Michael Richardson, Geoloqi CEO and Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case, Global Executive Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy John Jay, and myself – and culminating in the PIE class public launch on Demo Day.
PIE has successfully incubated some great tech companies, but this year marked the first effort to bring in storytelling start-ups that served up more content with their technology, and “Earlystage” is further evidence that in an age of rapid change, storytelling is both a deeply human need and a business-critical skill.
Much of the heat around the Walmart and ‘eBay Now‘ plans to test same-day shipping has been generated through the positioning of these efforts as a ‘retail/e-tail battle royale’ with pretty much everyone against Amazon.
Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic writes: ”Walmart will send Internet-purchased items to you the very same day as online check-out, in 5 select cities…Amazon already offers that same quick delivery time in 10 cities…Walmart [has] 4,000 stores primed for this delivery option…Amazon…40 warehouse distribution centers. That means Walmart could offer same-day delivery to a lot more people in far more obscure places.”
There are operational and logistical hurdles to overcome (and Amazon’s done this “e-mmediate” thing before – remember Kosmo?), but with the global near-ubiquity of mobile, marketers should pay close attention: when you can impulse-buy anywhere there’s a data up/down, every brand impression is a potential point-of-sale.
Imagine: on your lunch break, you see a Coca-Cola awning – a minute with your mobile, and Amazon ‘Same-day’ has a case waiting on your doorstep when you get back from work. All the light touches that add up to our personal brand experiences - vending machines, retail signage, delivery trucks, packaging, social media, and yes, advertising – are purchase-enabled product shelving in the infinite aisle of Amazon.
(And people LIKE instant gratification - the more instant the better. We are hard-wired for same-day. That’s why 3-d printing is the next industrial revolution and all this will change again.)
Granular sales attribution to individual brand expressions may be hellish, but if Amazon, eBay and Walmart (and their partners) enable infinite-shelf impulse-buy, could this be a way for CMO’s to use their brand footprints in entirely new ways to drive revenue? Could an unintended consequence of “Same Day” be a reconsideration of the right column for ‘Marketing’ on the P&L (revenue, instead of expense?), and with it, a reconsideration of the value of brand communications in the overall revenue mix?
I think it’s cool to get stuff the same day. Or even better: yesterday.
what do you think?
Begun four years ago as a collaboration between Wieden+Kennedy, entrepreneurs, technologists and brands, PIE is a constantly evolving tech-fueled experiment in business and creative innovation. After an intense three-month program, six members of PIE’s current class (codename: #blueberry) took the Gerding theater stage to show their stuff on October 5th, 2012.
Here was the run of show:
Little Bird - brainchild of @marshallk, @mikalina, @tylergillies (aided and abetted by @DGaff, @xolotl, @brennannovack, @peat) - identifies influencers by the quality (not quantity) of their connections. Just before coming on stage, AdWeek, Techcrunch, The Next Web, All Things D, Venturebeat, Betakit, Digital Trends, GigaOm, Wired, and the WSJ noted that Little Bird closed a $1MM round – led by Mark Cuban. Watch Marshall’s #piedemo presentation here.
Next up was a company that put the “experiment” into Portland Incubator Experiment: Code Scouts, PIE’s first non-profit startup. Founder/Exec. Director Michelle Rowley created Code Scouts to tackle both the worsening developer shortage AND the chronic lack of women coders with a flexible training regimen + internship opportunities meant to “change the face of technology”. She used the #piedemo stage to describe the pilot program’s success and how she intends to refine and scale the offering nationwide. (see her presentation here.)
KS12 was another experiment for PIE: our first content-based, “social video” startup. KS12 co-founders Patrizia Kommerell and Gabriel Shalom want to build the future of events – starting with how they are documented – through a collaborative, on- and offline content-generation process they call a “videosprint“. Onstage at #piedemo, they unveiled #earlystage, their current piece tracking fellow blueberries through PIE and the broader startup ecosystem. The finished ‘sprint’ is to be unveiled November 16th (follow their sprint liveblog here, and see their #piedemo pitch here.)
Appthwack co-founders Trent Peterson and Pawel Wojnarowicz are ex-Intel guys who saw the tidal wave of mobile app development blow all to hell on the cliffs of Android ecosystem fragmentation and built a testing solution for Android apps so good that Mozilla has made it a mandatory QA step for all Firefox-for-Android releases. Appthwack used the #piedemo stage to unveil their plans to expand their offering to serve mobile web (done, check) and iOS testing (in the next two months).
Lytics.io “makes big data useful”: CEO James McDermott and CTO Aaron Raddon saw lots of reports coming out of current analytics platforms, but didn’t see that data making software smarter. Anyone selling anything is now competing with Amazon and its big data – Lytics offers businesses a chance to level the playing field in terms of personalization and automated business decision-making. Aaron tells how Lytics can be YOUR “Moneyball” here.
Stublisher CEO Kyle Banuelos believes collective experiences like concerts and sporting events are our shared social roots, and the Stublisher team wants to reinvent how we experience events before, during and after, using geo-fencing and social streams to tell new kinds of stories. “What Wikipedia did for knowledge, we’re doing for experiences.” Kyle tells the Stublisher story here.
Oh: and this time, we HAD A BAND!
Amazon’s ‘Advertising Week’ splash revealed the worst-kept secret in online media and marketing: Amazon’s ambition to be a media/marketing powerhouse open for brand business. Adweek reported that Lisa Utzschneider (Amazon’s VP-Global Sales) “pitched Amazon’s ecosystem of websites and devices and showed off ads with Amazon’s familiar buy button” to a standing-room only crowd. “When it comes to advertising,” Ms. Utzschneider said, “we have applied many of our core tenets by starting with the customer and working our way backwards. We are actually running ads we are proud of.”
And then today, I received this:
Was this a part of the new offering for advertisers? The messaging outside seemed completely unrelated to the item I’d ordered (FYI: a copy of Tim Harford’s ‘Adapt‘). Is Amazon now delivering packaging custom-printed to age/demo/interest targeted recipients? Can you buy based on reach, frequency, DMA? We’ve seen what happens when systems get behavioral targeting wrong…now imagine the most questionable thing you’ve checked out on Amazon – or dodgy site “your friend” browsed while using your Kindle – and translate that into “behaviorally-targeted” product pitches in HUGE PRINT on the side of your mailers. Awesome.
But think of the creative possibilities an Amazon palette could enable: Time-targeted, geo-fenced, purchase and browser-history aware, behaviorally micro-targeted, personally ink-jetted messages and experiences? Exxxxcccellent, Smithers.
Just start from the customer and work backwards.
I’m hoping to connect with Ms. Utzschneider – more to come.
Someone will sue the bejeesus out of Twitter for “emotional damage” and “injuries suffered” when they topple off wobbly legs that have fallen asleep while they tweeted on the toilet. Twitter can thank Apple’s crap battery life for protecting them so far (see fourth tweet down), but with the impending iPhone 5, will their luck hold?
tentative definition: ”Boundary Behavior”
“The dynamic renegotiation of provocative human connections in the face of accelerating, digitally-fueled social, cultural, personal and economic dissonance. At the core AND fringes of cultural transformation, it’s where the new stories and new meanings of the connected age are built and crash-tested in real time.”
The line between “artist”and “technologist” is blurring as code fluency becomes increasingly critical to the creation of meaningful cultural objects.
Three years ago, Lauren Cornell and the Rhizome/New Museum team launched “Seven on Seven“, a 24-hour “sprint-posium” pairing artists/technologist teams to create privately and explain publicly…something. A work, an idea, a prototype. Something resulting from the collision of their very different world views. Like a cultural LHC, “Seven on Seven’s” real premise is: can seven successive impacts of sufficient force throw off new cultural particles?
W+K got involved because the “Seven on Seven” platform confronts issues we tackle daily: What is an idea, now? How fast can you get to a compelling idea? How do artists and technologists productively collaborate? How do we build timeless stories in timely ways?
The teams had 24 hours to create two equally critical things: a collaboration, and the story of that collaboration. The story without the thing was fantasy, the thing without the story was unengaging.
A brief synopsis of the teams and the results:
Team #1 was Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz, who used “the hidden spaces between cultures” as a visual root for their project: a tool that translates a query into a local language image search in fifteen countries – a “simple” act that exposes cultural differences visually (e.g., here’s “party“). Aaron described their process of considering “how supposedly neutral and statistical tools that claim to present an unmediated world carry with them biases that program us.” The internet, they argued, has created an illusion of cultural flattening that this tool exposes. (other examples: Liar, crazy and freedom). Simple Formula, complex results. So hot Clay Shirky (@chsirky) was tweeting it during their presentation. Watch their presentation here.
Charles Forman and Jon Rafman were Team #2. They were interested in using images to explore memory and its plasticity. Charles described how looking at old photos created ”chronologically impossible” memories. Jon has found unintended stories in images. Both sparked to the way old photos confront us with our “mistaken notion that we’ve always been whomever we’ve become,” and their collaboration generated the “Memory Box“. As described, by Jon, it’s as an “ivory box with golden circuitry” that records a reaction to any of your personal images, then serves that image and reaction back up seven years later for re-consideration. Not an archive of memories, the Box is an archive of what we’d forgotten, intentionally or not. Your chance to confront your neuro-plasticity. Without their invention, said Charles, “Ten years from now, I’ll remember that I was the funniest guy here at that you all loved me. And right now, there’s nothing to prevent me from doing that.” 20:47 video here.
Team#3 delivered the event’s “homeless hotspot ZOMG” moment. Jeremy Asheknas, who enjoyed lifting “the constraint of the newsroom requirement of sticking to just the facts”, was working with Stephanie Syjuco, an artist who amongst other things, leads counterfeiting workshops. “I’m supposed to be transgressive,” she said, ”and he has a code of ethics.” Together they created an alternate “crowd-sourced” Seven-on-Seven they called “Seven on Seven, Again“. They described their recruiting process and the resulting seven ideas – from “Hushamaphones” to a “Market of Intangibles”, but the mood shifted perceptibly in the room when the two revealed the entire project to be a fiction. As required, they’d built a product (a website of the event) and a story – but in this case, the product was an artifact of a story that was a fiction. They raised all kinds of questions about authenticity you can watch here.
Team #4′s Aram Bartholl and Khoi Vinh were one of two team in Wieden’s NY office. While outside their office people leapt a swimming pool filled with rancid coffee and stale donuts, the two considered the ubiquity of the internet: Aram noted “it’s in pockets and cafes, but always in rectangles.” Khoi noted screens had gone from social experiences to personal ones, and wondered if you could reverse that trend. Aram didn’t buy technology deliverance – “I don’t believe in the AR thing – floating in a pool, connected to a brain…”, ”or floating in a pool of coffee and donuts…” added Khoi.
They built a circular case for an iPad, then filmed Aram wearing it around NYC to see what reaction it caused. And while a circular screen “may not be culturally viable”, it was an important part of breaking cultural expectations for screens.
To see how it would change interactions. To see if people would engage with it differently. What would it mean if people could touch your content? Unsurprisingly, it took some convincing for women to engage with the gestural interface on Aram’s chest. Their video is priceless.
Team #5 was Blaine Cook and Naeem Mohaiemer, representing activism and left politics. In wrestling with the creative process and where ideas come from, they considered the way the brain processes images and ideas, and thought about “slow” and “tactile” time. They explored five concepts:
“Don’t let me be lonely”: Naeem quoted Blaine with “poetry looks like ass on a blog.” And I can’t remember how this explained the concept, but it was so good, it’s here.
“Killing Time”: Now that people “Google” mid-conversation, everyone is an instant expert. Or as Blaine put it, “I feel my memory doesn’t work anymore, and it doesn’t matter.”
Constellation Theory: Not a single note here. I google-ed it (see “killing time”, above) and got this blurb: “the self is organized into a stable concept, our defenses protect the self-concept and how to be aware of our defensive nature” from this book.
For the specificity of the local: you can’t flatten everything. Local matters, illustrated by way of the German word, Doch, a hard-to-translate word roughly meaning “I affirm your negative structure.” Also, (and I’m not sure why) they described Tacqawores, a work of fiction that described a micro-community (“Punk Muslims”) that was inspired to form because of the book.
Back to a room of my own: Naeem asked “how do we get our minds back when they are so linked into rectangles?” Blaine “we are against pecha kucha and TED. we are for the slow jam. we need our room back.”
The result: roomofmyown.org – a deliberately reflective collage-wall of ideas you can share with a limited number of people. While today’s “social” tools pressure us to expand our networks, this one forces choices to be made – and attention to be paid. The prototype, said Naeem, is a means to an ends: How do we slow down? Watch their video here.
Team #6, Anthony Volodkin and Xavier Cha built an idea around the notion “you are what you eat” – and felt a fair proxy interactively was the twitter stream you consume. What if you could see the tweets someone else consumes, rather than projects? Would you get better insights into who they than reading their carefully curated tweets? Boom: Peep, the tool that lets you step into someone else’s twitter feed. Xavier: “Foursquare isn’t a record of where you’ve been, it’s a record of missed opportunities – at any given moment, a friend is having a better time than you.” Peep looks for you in your incoming stream – in other words, the you you’ve chosen, not the you you create. You can watch them here.
Team #7, Latoya Ruby-Frazier and Michael Herf (also based in the W+K building) shared a concern about how technology is used – and how it affects us. Both interested in how you talk about culture and images – and how you raise visual literacy around the meanings embedded and encoded in images. Their project, Decode: A Encyclopedia of visual culture, is a collaborative platform on which users (identified by age, gender and race) can offer their cultural insights and perspectives on images in popular culture and communications. The tool would look for modifications, and layered cultural meanings. So that the font you use isn’t the one used by…say…Nazis. Video of the presentation is here.
If you’ve made it this far, wow. Buckle up – travelogue is over. Next stop: key takeaways
(and here’s the liveblog stream of the event from Rhizome. Nifty.)
I was at the playground with my two boys yesterday.
We began a game of tag.
As I closed in on the older son, he shouted “magnet charge”.
Beeping loudly, the younger son came at me from the side, wrapped his arms around me and clung while his brother scrambled to the top of a jungle gym.
With my younger son still beeping triumphantly around my ankles, I asked the older about the ‘magnet charge’ move.
From atop the junglegym came the answer: “It’s one of his apps. He’s got ‘move silently’, ‘night vision’, ‘minigun’ and a whole bunch of others. We downloaded all of them. Isn’t that awesome?”
“Beep! Beep!” came the shout from my ankles. “Beep!”
Turns out amongst his friends, you don’t have ‘skills’ or ‘superpowers’ on the playground anymore, you have ‘apps’.
From the top of the jungle gym came the closer:
“You can activate the apps across the playground with Siri – you just need to know their names!”