Category Archives: MISCELLANEOUS

Jimmy Fallon. Facilitator of Creativity and Sharing.

This is something you have to see. My observations:

1) The best thing about Jimmy Fallon is that he gives The Roots opportunities to make make magic like this happen.
2) I am genuinely surprised by how good Mariah Carey sounds here.
3) The Roots make great music from instruments you would find in any first-grade classroom.
4) I don’t find Jimmy Fallon as funny as I find him creative and a great facilitator of other peoples’ creativity, and someone who is acutely aware of what people want to share.

Bravo, Jimmy.

So Tell Me How You Really Feel: Brand Tags Are Back.

In 2008(!), my friend Noah Brier (@heyitsnoah) launched a little side project called “Brand Tags“, enabling people to share the first word(s) that came to mind when seeing a particular brand.

In his own words:

In lieu of actually writing something interesting (which I haven’t done in a while), I’ve decided to release a 70% done project. It’s called Brand Tags and the idea is simple: You tag brands with the first thing that comes to mind. The idea came to me as I was working on my Brand vs. Utility presentation a few months ago. The thinking went something like this: If brands exist as the sum of all thoughts in someone’s head, then if you ask a bunch of people what a brand is and make a tag cloud, you should have a pretty accurate look at what the brand represents.

Four years and an acquisition later, my friends over at Solve Media (disclosure, I’m on their Board of Directors) have relaunched the Brand Tags service as a free opportunity for brands and their agencies to gather real-time sentiment. What I’ve always loved about Brand Tags is the sometimes visceral response that traditional market research just wouldn’t yield. As I’ve heard Noah say before, “it lets agencies tell their clients how people really feel about their brands”.

Having this service back in a more mature incarnation (complete with a wordcloud “export” function for PowerPoint/Keynote presentations) is incredibly valuable. We’ve gotten into a habit of brushing aside methodologically-complex panel-based brand market research in favor of social media sentiment analysis. And while conversations may yield a ton of insight, semantic analysis often fails because of inadequate natural language processing. A more heuristic approach can really help when both of these extremes fail to deliver, and Brand Tags have the potential to be that.

So hats off to Noah for seeing his vision pay off. Congrats to the team at Solve Media for seeing Noah’s vision all the way through. I’m looking forward to putting this to good use.

On Hitting Curveballs: Featuring Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow.

Full disclosure here, I’ve known Mike Lazerow for a while now. Deep Focus is a client of Buddy Media’s, too. But that doesn’t influence how I feel about this heartfelt, tear-jerking video that Mike just posted to YouTube, analyzing the sale of his company and everything (and everyone) that led up to it, that made me think about, well, everything.

Sometimes, when we analyze, criticize, and otherwise take a jaded look at entrepreneurial businesses, we forget that the people, the entrepreneurs behind them, are actually people. People that took chances. People that were faced with adversity. People that overcame it.

Having built and sold a business (Deep Focus) before, I know that the trials and tribulations of putting it all on the line can wreak havoc on your life. And life throws you curveballs, whether you’re at bat or not. As as an entrepreneur, I try to fear nothing; to treat every pitch like it’s one I can hit out of the park, no matter where or how it’s thrown. But then, as if to remind us that we’re human, things happen that make you realize what’s really important. Life. Family. Humanity.

And just like that, you’re reminded of why you’re so motivated in the first place.

As we get older, this becomes more clear. As a teenager, Mike was faced with a life-threatening condition that set him off on an entrepreneurial path. Me? I just thought I could do some things better. I was young and stupid.

But when I recently found myself with two children born nearly two months early, a wife who was stronger than I could possibly ever be, the most amazing 3 year old daughter welcoming me home every night with an ear-to-ear smile and the biggest hug ever, and a team of people surrounding me at work as an always-on support system, I realized why I (still) push myself so hard. Love for them all.

The kids are now home, and the family is doing great. It’s the new normal. But nothing will ever be the same. My toughest management challenge yet lies ahead of me.

Young entrepreneurs, young and stupid is an advantage. Believe it or not, this the easy part. Your desire will always be there, but your motivations will evolve, and curveballs (and other breaking balls) will be thrown, each with the potential of making you stronger. Embrace them. Overcome them. Learn how to hit them out of the park. And discover how to balance it all.

Like Mike.

Thoughts on “Generation C”.

Today I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the great Kai Ryssdal on NPR’s & American Public Media’s Marketplace about Nielsen’s latest report, calling Americans 18-34 “Generation C”. That’s “C” for “connected”.

It’s the first segment, so just click play to listen (topic starts around 01:00). Coincidentally, they interviewed students at The George Washington University (my alma mater) in the prologue.

In other words, the feeling I had (and a point that I made during our Evening of Connectedness at Social Media Week in NYC) was that “connectedness” is actually an evolutionary state — not a demographic. It’s also as much of a technographic as it is a psychographic. What I left out in the radio interview was that because of all the data that we are creating, “Generation [anything]” is becoming less relevant than ever before. When you can speak to consumers in ways that are personally and contextually relevant, it makes being generationally relevant irrelevant. You could even argue that there are generations within generations as the speed of everything increases.

Here’s Nielsen’s infographic:

Click to enlarge.

What are your thoughts on “Generation C”?

** UPDATE: Here’s the full transcript.

My Interview With Chris Hughes.

Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Facebook co-founder, Obama campaign social media ringleader, and Jumo founder Chris Hughes. His grasp of what makes people want to give time, money, and support to causes, his ability to create groundswells of support have been bested by no one I can think of. If you’ve got 25 minutes, check it out. I think you’ll enjoy our conversation.


Watch live streaming video from adage at livestream.com

The Internet Kill Switch and The Second Amendment.

With all the attention being paid to Egypt during this historic period of change, not enough has been made of the government’s disabling of Internet and mobile phone services. I previously blogged about what Egypt’s Internet traffic looked like after the initial shutdown, but now the last remaining ISP has been taken offline.

While that drama is playing out, it seems that another one is just getting started.

Wired reports of the bipartisan-supported bill introduced by Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This bill ,which eventually died as the new Congress was sworn in, would essentially grant the Government, in working with the private sector, the ability to turn off access to parts of the Internet it deemed necessary in the face of a “threat”. This bill is now being re-worked and prepped for re-introduction.

How soon we forget.

No, not what’s going on in Egypt under a repressive regime, but our own constitution.

The ACLU and EFF are up in arms about this legislation as they see it as potentially stifling to freedom of speech, and would result in censorship. It’s also the kind of thing that brought us hits like the Patriot Act. It’s a First Amendment argument.

But I argue that it is a Second Amendment argument.

The Second Amendment grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Not just for self defense, but to allow us to keep our own government in check, as “a well-regulated militia”. For the founding fathers, this was a way to ensure that Government couldn’t get too powerful (there was no way they could foresee the development of high-power weaponry, nuclear weapons, etc.).

While this conversation can easily become one about guns and ammo, it just as easily can become one about the power to organize and share information. Information is now just as empowering to citizens as arms once were. And nothing has facilitated organization, the sharing of ideas, and the spreading of information better than the Internet. If there was a “kill switch”on the Internet this would essentially remove something that we now take for granted. Access to information, to collaboration, to organization, to each other. Things that are necessary for a free and open democracy.

Let’s hope that the Internet remains a place where we can freely organize, and that we learn from not just the recent events in the Middle East, but from the lessons our founding fathers tried to teach us.

Deep Media, Transmedia, and The Art of Immersion.

book.jpgHop on over to Henry Jenkins’ blog for an in-depth interview with the legendary Frank Rose, about his book The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue and the Way We Tell Stories.

I’m absolutely honored to be mentioned in Frank’s book, a book about the ways storytelling is getting more complex, more enveloping, more immersive.

A little bit about Frank Rose:

Frank Rose is the author of The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Genera-tion is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories, to be published in February 2011 by W.W. Norton, and a contributing editor at Wired, where he has written extensively about media and entertainment. Before joining Wired in 1999, he worked as a contributing writer at Fortune and as a contributing editor at Esquire and at Travel + Leisure. He is also the author of The Agency, an unauthorized history of the oldest and at one time most successful talent agency in Hollywood, and West of Eden, a 1989 best-seller about the ouster of Steve Jobs from Apple, now available in an updated edition.

The book, and Henry Jenkins’ interview, is a great introduction to Alternate Reality Games, gamification, and multiplatform storytelling. There is a ton in there to get you started on thinking about how you can live up to the now higher expectations of your audiences.

Read Part 1 of the interview here.

Read Part 2 of the interview here.