Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 27, 2015 9:18 AM

We Should All "Pull A Kardashian" On Twitter (It's Not What You Think)

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly to SoundCloud, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up on listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry and Heather B. morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed:

  • How many times do you shoot out a tweet, only to realize that you made a spelling mistake or grammar error? It happens to me all of the time. I hate it. One, I'm known for my writing, so it sits out there, and it annoys me. Two, on platforms like Facebook, you can go back and edit your posts. You can't do that on Twitter. So, you have to delete it and repost it. Kind of a pain. Thankfully, we have people like Kim Kardashian with a direct line to the folks at Twitter. Over the weekend, she emailed Twitter to ask why they don't allow tweets to be edited. She also tweeted it. Sure enough, Jack Dorsey (Twitter co-founder and current CEO) responded that he thought it was a great idea. Let's see if it happens. While I know Kardashian wasn't the first to recommend this, she may be the one who gets this feature to actually happen. When we make a mistake on Twitter and fix it, we should say that we "pulled a Kardashian." 
  • I'm here in Florida, this week, and it's stunning to see just how busy the shopping malls and stores are. I thought brick and mortar retailers were struggling in the Amazon world. While, it doesn't feel like it from my vantage point, we had an amazing turn of events last week as Amazon reported their quarterly earnings. The company posted a surprise second-quarter profit and big numbers from their web-services business. The implications of that were massive. Amazon has had a 55% stock pop this year, while Walmart has slid by about 16%. The biggest news? Amazon now has a larger market cap than Walmart. Amazon's market cap is now $246.5 billion.
  • App of the week: Spyglass (and, yes, it's $3.99).

Listen here...

By Mitch Joel


July 26, 2015 7:42 AM

Steal The Show At Work

Episode #472 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Michael Port is often called into organizations to talk about marketing. Sometimes, he's called in to speak about how to increase sales. Other times, he's the guy that big corporations call in to build better lead generation and networking strategies. With that, he's a former professional actor, and bestselling business author of five books (Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, Book Yourself Solid Illustrated, The Contrarian Effect and The Think Big Manifesto), with his sixth, Steal The Show, about to come out. With Steal The Show, Port is bringing together all of his skills in an effort to help business professionals present themselves better. While I've known Port's work since his first business book, most recently he has become an often-talked-about horse whisperer for very powerful speakers. Now, he's taken this master-class content and turned it into a book (and training platform). Personally, I believe that an individual's professional success is directly correlated to how strong their presentations skills are. Port is a master. Enjoy the conversation...

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #472.

By Mitch Joel


July 25, 2015 8:26 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #266

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:

  • What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy? - Greenheart Games. "Games get copied a lot-- so much so that it's hard to make a living at it. So, when you're making a game about making a game, what happens when people who pirate it encounter piracy? Suddenly, they become pretty practical about it." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Enter Restricted Government Areas in Virtual Reality - The Creators Project. "There's plenty we're not supposed to see, top secret and redacted. Much of that privacy happens through tech, and James Bridle is trying to reveal these secrets with tech too. In this project, the artist makes immersive environments so any citizen can see private tribunals, and late-night airfields that are otherwise hidden from sight." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Web Design: The First 100 Years - Idle Words. "Maciej Ceglowski, creator of (inspired by writes about the myth of Moore's Law, and what the web is really good at (connecting knowledge, people and cats), and what we're trying to make it do (eat the world). He makes the case that we might lose this wonderful web of cats, knowledge and people, and we should be careful." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The world is getting better all the time, in 11 maps and charts - Vox. "I've never met a doomsday/bad news story I didn't fall in love with, but it's always good to check the data. Of course, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics... never mind info viz. But still. It's encouraging to see some charts that suggest everything isn't going down the toilet." (Hugh for Mitch). 
  • CrossFit's extremely lucrative business plan is also deceptively simple - Quartz. "When I ask you about which businesses are super-hot right now, I bet you're inclined to talk about the stuff coming out of Silicon Valley, or other tech hubs. Being a startup has become synonomous with having an app or some cloud-based business. I first saw CrossFit back in 2001, when it was a simple blog with one different type of workout every day, that could be done with some simple gear and in a garage. To see it now, is to see a real thing of beauty. Go ahead, look to Silicon Valley for your case studies, I'd rather look a brilliant business models like CrossFit." (Mitch for Alistair). 
  • Cool at 13, Adrift at 23 - Well @ The New York Times. "I ran into some friends that I had not seen since high school. It was an amazing experience. I really loved them as friends, had re-connected thanks to Facebook, but we never saw each other in our 'protein forms.' As is the case in these scenarios, we started talking about others we went to school with. I wondered what had happened to someone we all thought was the coolest in our grade? 'Oh,' said one of them... 'not so great anymore...' It turns out that this individual is struggling. I wondered why. ' hey peaked in high school', suggested one of them. It gave me pause. Then, a couple of weeks later, this article came across my radar. We all want our kids to be liked and accepted, well, it turns out that you may want your kids to not be so cool in high school, after all..." (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel


July 24, 201511:48 PM

The Theory of Everything

Here's something to blow your mind this weekend.

Philosopher, author, journalist, educator and someone that I admire to the point that I would do (almost) anything to get him on an episode of Six Pixels of Separation, Alain de Botton, recently gave a presentation at the famed Google Zeitgeist event. If you have not read any of his books, you do not know what you are missing. Start off with The Pleasures And Sorrows of Work, Status Anxiety or The News: A User's Manual. It's big-brain stuff (so pack a lunch and bring along your Moleskine). This is a powerful twenty-two minute presentation titled, The Theory of Everything

Trust me on this: Alain de Botton, Philosopher & Author - The Theory of Everything...

By Mitch Joel


July 23, 201511:32 PM

Shocking Shopping Experiences At The Mall

We pulled into your typical American shopping mall this afternoon. It was shocking.

My world is, obviously, different than the average consumer. I spend my time looking at how disruptive digital technology is for business, and how brands can better leverage it to connect with their customers. The news that I read would have you believe that this is the end of retail as we have known it. That people are abandoning everything that we knew about the shopping experience, and replacing it with online services. Amazon now has a higher market capitalization than Walmart. We're going to see Fast Company cover more and more stories that feature photo essays of abandoned shopping malls. All of us sit at home, tap our screens and our goods are delivered in a couple of hours, with near-perfect customer service (no lines, no hassles, no pushy sales associates). How can the stores and malls compete in a digital world, where the best prices are a search away and nearly all businesses are able to sell something to anyone, anywhere in the world? 

With that, I am a retail rat. 

It's in my blood. My father owned a store. As a child, my weekends were spent hopping from store to store. When I was younger, I just assumed that my father was visiting with some friends and taking me along for the ride, so that we could spend some quality time together. As I got older, I realized that my dad was visiting these stores to figure out a better way to merchandise, or work with his fellow merchants to have stronger buying power. I was, literally, brought up in the retail environment. It is a part of who I am, and I still have a hard time passing by a pharmacy, and not going in to see how the front of the store is currently merchandised against the dispensary, and what new brands are being brought to the customer's attention. In that, I'm not a huge consumer. I just love the smell of retail in the morning. Still, it's hard to imagine a strong future for that sector when you see, feel and engage in e-commerce.

Don't believe the hype.

It's a Thursday afternoon. People should be working in this suburban area. We decided to take a break from our summer vacation at the beach, and head over to the local mall. We'll enjoy the air conditioning, walk around a little bit, and grab some dinner. It turns out, that the mall that we're visiting is 2,700,000 square feet with over 300 retailers. The physical infrastructure is book-ended by the big department stores. I'm anticipating a ghost town on a Thursday afternoon. It took close to ten minutes just to approach the space, due to traffic. Finding a parking spot was next-to-impossible. The humming and buzzing of people (and yes, they were carrying lots and lots of bags) reminded me of Times Square in New York City at night. An attempt to find an open device in the Apple store to fiddle with was futile. Some stations had a line-up of people waiting. It wasn't just Apple. Even random stores in strange corners had some people moving about. 

It was so busy that it gave me a headache.

Of course, the problem with this scenario is that while people may still be going to shopping malls, their connectedness provides them with the power to research the best prices, shop later or buy items online from retailers they may prefer (for a myriad of reasons). There is a ton of data to support the notion that physical retail is challenged in a digital age. There is an equal amount of data to support the idea that pure-play digital brands have seen substantive opportunity in going with brick and mortar support. Although what I experienced is a classic case of something I call the Market of One, it was stunning to see. The hustle and bustle and the ringing of cash registers. Seeing young people (yes... millennials) hardly being able to handle the amount of bags that they were carrying... it felt like everything I've thought about digital was off... not as realistic as it felt from the cushy corner of my laptop.

Shopping malls are social experiences. Not just shopping experiences. 

Shopping online isn't social. It's transactional. Yes, there are social components that make it more transactional, and it can create more loyalty, but the impetuous of digital is transactional. Shopping malls are a social experience. Yes, there must be transactions, but consumers spend time at the shopping mall to explore, to be around other people, to experience. You don't go to Amazon over the beach (some go to the beach and shop on Amazon at the same time). Many go to the mall over the beach. Especially on this hot summer day. Shopping malls are an experience. You may hate shopping. You may not like shopping malls. You may dread the traffic, the parking and the other slants that we always lay out in support of e-commerce, but our experience is not everyone's experience. Maybe this, particular, shopping mall is doing everything right. Personally, I highly doubt it. It was a place where different cultures, races, genders and ages all come together. Nobody looked miserable. They were all there for an experience... and it felt like they found it.

Maybe shopping malls will soon become the new shopping (again)?

By Mitch Joel


July 22, 2015 6:58 AM

Kill Your Managers

What is this Holacracy of which you speak? If there's one thing that businesses are constantly looking for, it's a better (and more efficient) way to manage its people. We've moved from the industrial age to the Internet age, and... Read more

By Mitch Joel


July 20, 2015 8:40 AM

700 Million Appliances Will Soon Be Connected To The Internet

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is... Read more

By Mitch Joel


July 19, 2015 8:48 AM

The Internet That Could Be With David Weinberger

Episode #471 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. When I think about what the Internet means to me and to business, I often think of David Weinberger.... Read more

By Mitch Joel


July 18, 201512:56 PM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #265

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete... Read more

By Mitch Joel


July 17, 2015 6:21 PM

Digital Videos Is The New 3D

No, don't worry... you don't need glasses or anything like that. For marketers trying to navigate digital marketing in a more effective manner, they are faced with both an opportunity and massive challenge. Yes, advertisers are still producing 30-second spots,... Read more

By Mitch Joel