Personalization done visually

In the movie above – made possible by Verizon in order to sell their broadband products – me, myself and I are the hero. Oh, and some aliens also… By uploading a simple portrait (made by cellphone, on the fly) I was able to star in a self-assembled movie. Picking storylines, scripts, props and speech snippets, the movie was made for me. When done, I received a link to watch the movie. A nice example of personalization. Not by name, but by face. And yes, I can use a hairdo! But don’t you like the car? I wonder if Aston Martin paid for this in-script sponsoring…

Pitching 2.0-style: Crowdsource

With the Internet as global, 24×7, connective medium around, pitches will never be the same. SitePoint – an Australian company – is offering business design-contests where talented (and would-be talents) can participate in contests for the design of, say, a website, a corporate logo, a complete stationary… The winner gets the job and gets paid. All the other participants get… Well, nothing? SitePoint is calling this form of ‘outsourcing’ crowdsourcing because of the huge amount of people who participate in these contests. Real talent will surface. The question is: will REAL talent participate. Everything has it’s price and when you’re a gifted designer, would you compete with thousands of not-so-gifted designers who will do the job for a fraction of the price you are working for? SitePoint is rather realistic about the quality however, hence this quote:

The Design Contests are not suitable for people who expect to walk away with the perfect design every time. Sure, you might get lucky, but often what happens is you come away with a good design that needs a few finishing touches.

Apple bans MySpace

myspace.gifApple is blocking the MySpace-website in their stores. Up until now there was no official statement made, but the problems in the stores were growing. So, what’s the big deal? Well, Apple’s famous ‘try-and-play’ approach in the stores, makes it possible for everyone to try out Apple-products. A lot of people however, are using this possibility to pimp up their MySpace-pages. While a lot of Apple computers have a webcam build in, it is rather easy to make a picture of yourself. And with the convenient broadband connections in the stores, you can put it on your MySapce-page in a sec.
The problem is the amount of MySpace-users that was blocking the Macs for other people to play with. So, Apple now officially banned access to MySpace from its stores.
I think this act is not in line with Apple’s brand positioning. In their advertising they stimulate people to be creative and express themselves. Now they are in fact blocking this expression. It is wiser to open up one Mac in each store for the MySpace-junkies. Or: make an event out of it! Every wednesday afternoon is MySpace-day at the Apple stores. Employees help you out with putting your face in your MySpace-page. Thus demonstrating the possibilities of a Mac!

Young Adults Still Read Magazines

Young adults read more consumer magazines than older people, according to a summer 2006 study by McPheters & Co. cited in MediaDaily News.
In the six months prior to the study, respondents said they had read an average of 29.3 specific magazine issues. Adults ages 19 to 24 read an average of 30.9 issues, and 25-to-34-year-olds read an average of 33.3 issues. Readership declined after age 34, and those 65 and older had read an average of only 25 issues in the previous six months.
John McPheters of McPheters & Co. said young adults “reported that they read a larger number of both different magazine titles and specific magazine issues than their older counterparts.
“This evidence speaks directly to the growing concern that younger audiences are abandoning the hard-copy magazines for the Internet and other forms of media. It simply has not happened.”

The CEO-event: Gates and Jobs meet up

gatesjobs.jpgIt is presented in the Blogosphere as an event of the year: the joint appearance of Steve Jobs (Apple) and Bill Gates (Microsoft). Already in February the blogs started buzzing about this happening. “Somewhere between May 29 and May 31…” This might be the result of Jobs’ carefully planned PR-machine (the man is a natural on this). Either the reason, the effect is that their respective followers act upon this event as it is the final election debate of two presidential candidates… Gates and Jobs will both (at the same time) appear at the All Things Digital Conference that takes place today. During the unrehearsed on-stage conversation Gates and Jobs will briefly discuss the history and future of the digital revolution. The conversation will take place with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Jobs will also be hosting his own individual session to discuss the iPhone and other developments at Apple. Hey, business after pleasure!

Update (May 31st): The event happened at May 30st. The report and some clips can be found here. Starting with the interactive “coffee table” named Surface, Bill Gates presented. We know this thing already for almost two years. Watch Jeff Han’s presentation at TED Talk, February 2006:

Hoping for the bubble to break…

bubble.jpgIn his fun-to-read article (with a very serious message) Michael Arrington (TechCrunch) is hoping for the return of the better times in Silicon Valley. He compares the current situation there with the events that took place just before the bubble broke back in late nineties. “Times are good, money is flowing, and Silicon Valley sucks”, he states with a sense of cynical humor.

I left Silicon Valley at the peak of the insanity last time around, and I was pleasantly surprised when I returned in 2005 to see so much goodwill and community surrounding innovation. Now, it’s just like the old days again, and Silicon Valley is no longer any fun. In fact, it’s turned downright nasty. It may be time for some of use to leave for a while and watch the craziness from the outside again. In a few years, things will be beautiful again. The big money will be slumbering away, and the marketing departments will be a distant memory. We can focus, once again, on the technology. And the burgers and beer.

The need to actually dodge for VC’s must be a strange experience. Remembers me of the column by Edo van Santen on Sprout (in Dutch). He signals the same situation here in The Netherlands. Guess we have a bubble in the making…

Breaking up: advertiser and consumer

The Break Up
Uploaded by geertdesager

Now this is a rather strange new campaign by Microsoft. Although the company itself is behaving like the advertiser in this clip a lot, at least they seem to understand what is happening nowadays. The consumer in the clip says she doesn’t want a ‘funny’ relation. But the clip in itself relates on ‘funnyness’ a lot. And let’s face is: this is advertising for Microsoft’s software, isn’t it? So, I’m left rather puzzeled here… Is this the new wave: showing you know what is happening in the world, but not acting to it? Or is this just a traditional advertising approach to “markets are conversations”? I’m afraid it is…

Viral Marketing for the Real World

podcast.gifThe title above is the name of a very interesting podcast by Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast. While this channel as a whole is something to bookmark, I find the edition on Viral Marketing especially worthwhile. Author Cathy Olofson interviews Duncan Watts (professor at Columbia University) on his article that is published in HBR of May 2007. This article (that I didn’t read) is about virals. In the podcast Watts eleborates on the way virals can be succesful. He compares the basics of viral marketing with the principles of biological viruses and how these spread. Reminds me in a way at Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book “The Tipping Point“, that is about this subject too! Hear for yourself by downloading the podcast. You can also search in iTunes for HBR IdeaCast and take a subscription.

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