Technology is the New Content

I remember when I first interviewed with the three Quest founders to join as the head of marketing. I laid out a plan to earn their first million fans, and explained that, to do it, the company would need to create a content studio. They thought I was joking.

Back in 2011, a branded content studio was a pretty crazy idea, especially to three guys who just put their houses on the line to bootstrap a protein bar company. A content studio? To sell protein bars?

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Game Shows are the Real Hero of Innovation

What helps drive mainstream audiences toward new technologies? Is it celebrity endorsement? Big budget special effects? No? Well what about the humble game show?

Content and technology have a vital symbiotic relationship. Just ask any VR developer (ahem) about the need for great content to support a new medium of entertainment – You can’t have one without the other.

From radio to TV to mobile games, and now to live interactive mobile experiences, game shows have always been at the forefront of bringing audiences to a new entertainment technology. This relationship between technology and content was perfectly on display in the 1950s, during the start of the exponential growth of television.  

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Vertical is Personal: IGTV is the Aspect Ratio We’ve Been Waiting For

Kodak, originally known for still photography, transformed culture forever and set a precedent that would go on to last for over a generation. In 1891, Kodak released a transparent roll film, which inventor Thomas Edison used to develop the first motion picture camera.

Technical limitations often dictate a medium. Kodak’s film was created in the 4:3 aspect ratio. The decision by Edison to use Kodak’s film locked filmmakers and audiences into the 4:3 aspect ratio for over a century. Today, Instagram, with its release of IGTV, is following in Edison’s footsteps and solidifying a place in history for vertical video.

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Don’t make Electric Moons

In the late 1800s electricity was the technology de jure, ready to change the world. But no one was sure how.

City planners, enamored with the possibilities, were unsure how to get around the cost and complexity of stringing wires to every home. They came up with what they thought was an easier solution. Electric moons. A centralized source of illumination, ensuring the town always had light.

Great technology, bad application.

Knowing a technology exists, and properly applying to daily life, are two very different things. The same goes for artificial intelligence. You know it’s going to (and already is) change the world. But do you know anything about AI?

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The Future of Buying

Who do you think has the top mobile payment app in the US?

Apple? Google? Maybe Samsung? 

None of the above. 

It’s Starbucks. 

Of the 55 million Americans who used a mobile payment app this year, more than 40% will have done it on the Starbucks app. 

It’s an amazing example of how a strong brand can drive technology adoption and new behaviors. Loyalty rewards, innovation and convenience brought the coffee shop into a technology leadership position. 

But it’s not a strategy that can be readily copied.

Instead, it shows how far behind the US is in mobile payments. Starbucks’ brief dominance will be an interesting footnote in the march toward mobile payments as the shopping experience in the US is revolutionized. While the US struggles with chip credit card readers, we can see what that future looks like by looking into the crystal ball that is China. 

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Three Reasons Why IHOB was a Brilliant Campaign 

Imagine getting your top competitors to announce a new product for you….

The human brain is incredibly lazy. It has so much information to process that it will do whatever it can to simplify and quickly come to a conclusion. The best thing about these lazy brain quirks is that you can consciously know them, study them, even deploy them against others, and they will still effect you.

If you design something that bypasses the frontal lobe then strategy goes out the window. There’s a studied medical condition where those with certain frontal lobe injuries lose their strategic ability.

Case in point, the IHOB campaign. This simple stunt bypassed the social media managers logical and strategic minds, sent them into “I must respond!” autopilot, and they began tweeting… on their competitors behalf. Can you imagine doing that if you took a few hours to really analyze what was going on?

In celebration of the lazy human brain, and to allow its autopilot effects to take hold of me, here are the top three reasons why the IHOB campaign was brilliant. Continue reading “Three Reasons Why IHOB was a Brilliant Campaign “

The AR Illusion

Feature-rich augmented reality is still many years away. You probably wouldn’t think that, however, after reading the headlines from today’s Apple WWDC 2018. Apple is employing some clever sleight of hand to make AR appear more polished than it actually is. This is the AR illusion.

The AR illusion was in full effect at WWDC, and it may have some long-term impacts for the immersive industry. Continue reading “The AR Illusion”