Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 24, 2015 9:10 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #240

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:

  • Death By Robot - The New York Times. "Asimov cooked up three laws of robotics that governed how robots would behave. Turns out they were pretty smart laws: don't kill humans, do what they say, that kind of thing. But nobody's suddenly building a fully-formed, anthropomorphic robot today. Instead we're surrounded by dozens of special-purpose robots, without much of Asimov's conscience. When robots are charged with everything from ending lives to saving them to extending them, it's high time for some ethics." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Ai Weiwei is Living in Our Future - Medium"Over the holidays, someone joked that Santa Claus was the perfect model for government surveillance -- he knows when you're bad, after all -- and that the Elf on the Shelf was training us for growing up in the Panopticon. Here's what it means to live under permanent surveillance. And as this long, packed piece demonstrates, that future is about to happen to all of us." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • If every Norwegian's a millionaire, why's Alberta in hock? - Canadian Dimension. "Diffrent strokes for different folks, I guess. Norway seems to manage its oil wealth prudently. Canada, not so much." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • In Your Wildest Schemes - The Nib. "A great - what do we call this? 'Graphic essay'? 'Long-form comic' ? - piece on climate change, and the failure of our current political/social machinery to grapple with the problem in a sensible way. Medium really is becoming the medium for long-form stuff, isn't it?" (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Researchers create 'self-aware' Super Mario with artificial intelligence - Mashable. "In case you didn't know, Elon Musk believes that robots will become smarter than human beings... and that they will eventually kill us all. Not a joke. Not a plot from a science fiction movie. He just put ten million towards the Future of Life Institute, which is working to keep artificial intelligence safe. So, that's a headline that has been capturing a lot of media attention. Then, I see this article on Mashable. It turns out that the next version of Super Mario may not require you to play at all... instead, you will be able to watch Mario learn, grown and - potentially - become even smarter than you... maybe even kill you?" (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Facebook report says it adds more than $200 billion to global economy - Reuters. "On Monday, I will be in Toronto for Advertising Week. As a part of the event, I will be taking part in a live debate with Andrew Keen (moderated by Mathew Ingram) about the future of the Internet in our lives. I actually believe that Keen's voice needs to be heard. I have often wondered what will happen to us, in a world where companies like Facebook can grow to their current size and revenues with so few people, compared to the generations before us. That is a lot of wealth in very few hands, and not a lot of jobs for the rest of us. While this could be a very self-serving report, Facebook makes the case that they have contributed over $200 billion to the global economy and 4.5 million jobs. 'The report looks at the businesses that maintain pages on Facebook as well as the mobile apps and games that consumers play on Facebook and measures all the economic activity that result. It also considers the demand for gadgets and online connectivity services that are generated by Facebook.' So, should we stop looking at just how many people companies like this directly employ, and start trying to figure out how many people are making a living because of it?" (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

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January 21, 2015 7:14 PM

Find Your Brand Expression

Marketing is a game of differentiation.

Some might (fairly) argue that a brand's true "win" happens when they're so unique, that the marketing is baked right into the product and service. It's a high bar to set for most, especially businesses that are already established and have been in-market for any length of time. Whether the brand is an original or trying to find its differentiation, this issue is only magnified when it comes to creating content that resonates with an audience. Over the years, marketers - like me - have pleaded with brands to up their game. In order for real content to work, it needs to be valuable, human, selfless and there are many more attributes.

What is there was to it?

Where do you find inspiration? Is it in your daily life? Those personal areas of interest could provide the key to unlocking a new type of content that your brand could use to create and connect with. Recently, I started another podcast called, Groove - The No Treble Podcast. It's a personal art project for me, because it allows me to explore four areas of personal interest:

  1. Diverse music. I love everything from fusion jazz to death metal.
  2. Bass players. My primary instrument of choice is electric bass. I started playing it in my early teens. I'm not that good, but I love the sound that it makes.
  3. Creative conversations. To speak with bass players about their creative process and playing over technique, gears and riff.
  4. Podcasting. If anything, I love how podcasting allows me to experiment with audio, in a way that radio does not.

It's that new expression.

Getting back into the bass playing scene has been fascinating. I'm able to see a massive transformation in how the instrument is approached and played. With that, I have been introduced to many different genres of music and bands. Like anything else, it can become a rabbit hole. Two videos that have stood out, for me, are the following...

What a brand should see.

These artists have taken something that exists and not only put their own spin on it (which is a great place to start), but they are also able to express themselves in - what I consider to be - a very different and unique way (it may not be your taste, but look beyond that). Let that just sit there and marinate in your brain. Content needs to have this kind of unique expression in it. All over it. It should ooze with your personal expression of words, images, audio and/or video. No, I'm not expecting corporate brands to be all loose and irreverent with their voice. Yes, I am looking for brands to take whatever tools they have and figure out a new kind of expression with them.

What is your brand expression? Is it different? Really different?

By Mitch Joel

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January 19, 2015 9:14 AM

Google Glass Isn't Dead... And Other Digital News To Know This Week

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:

  • Google Glass isn't dead... even if you heard it was. Google decided to no longer sell Glass to consumers. It will instead focus on business applications for the time being. Many headlines are ranting that it's dead. It's not. In fact, they are moving Glass out of the experimental lab (known as Google X) and placing it under the leadership of Tony Fadell. Fadell is best known for playing a role in the birth of the iPod and he then went on to found Nest (which Google bought for $3.2 billion). So, Fadell is leading the charge in the connected home space and now he has Glass too. Hmmmm... 
  • Just when you thought the Internet was all about Tinder,  hooking up, and more nefarious things, something like Be My Eyes comes along and you regain faith in humanity. It's a simple app to help the visually impaired get immediate assistance for simple tasks. The app has two groups: "helpers" and the visually impaired. When there is a match, the app launches their iPhone's rear-facing camera and connects them with a helper who can provide assistance. Genius!
  • Want to advertise to teens on Snapchat? It's going to cost you. How much? How about $750,000 a day. Yes. You read that right... and, remember, those ads disappear! 
  • App of the week: Evernote's Scannable.

Listen here...

By Mitch Joel

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January 18, 2015 9:28 AM

The Internet Is The Answer

Episode #445 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Don Tapscott could well be an international treasure when it comes to the Internet and the digital economy. He recently published a majorly updated version of his seminal book, The Digital Economy. It's hard to believe that this book is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. So much has changed. It's fascinating to go through the updated version, because you can read what Don got (so) right... and (so) wrong (though it's not as much as you might think). His newly written thoughts - after every chapter - also points us further into the future. Don has been writing, speaking and consulting about technology being a business and global game-changer for over thirty years. He has authored (and co-authored) fifteen bestselling books, and is often the person who gets the calls from the CEOs of the biggest companies in the world (including many in Silicon Valley) to talk about where things are (probably) headed. He's been on the podcast before, but it's always an honor when he's willing to come back. 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 Twist Image Podcast #445.

By Mitch Joel

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January 17, 201510:39 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #239

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:

  • The Toxoplasma Of Rage - Slate Star Codex. "We get pretty angry these days. There's a good reason groups seize on extreme, polarizing controversies: 'If campaigners against police brutality and racism were extremely responsible, and stuck to perfectly settled cases like Eric Garner, everybody would agree with them but nobody would talk about it. If instead they bring up a very controversial case like Michael Brown, everybody will talk about it, but they will catalyze their own opposition and make people start supporting the police more just to spite them. More foot-shooting." Brilliant, true, and sad." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • We Know How You Feel - The New Yorker. "I'd been wanting to get Rana, the founder of Affective, to Strata for a couple of years. She finally took the stage last fall in New York, and it was an amazing presentation. The implications of computers that can measure emotion are incredible -- and everyone wants a piece of them, from advertisers to interrogators to toy designers to creators of adult content. This deep, chewy New Yorker article is worth reading at least five times, carefully, if you want to understand the next decade." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Dying Light Parkour - Ampisound. "Bad news all over the place this week. Here's some... distraction. I got dizzy watching this. And, if the zombies come, I am going to have a hard time." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • George Mason University Green Machine Plays Rage - Thomas Block. "A marching band. Rage Against The Machine. Bring it." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • What  Has Us Interested at Homebrew... - Homebrew. "When you're in venture capital, you get to see a lot of business/startup ideas. When you're doing venture capital in Silicon Valley, you're able to get a peek into the future. A lot of these VC companies invest in specific types of technology. Homebrew is one of them. But, here's the thing: because they see so much, they also have an eye for what they would like to see. In fact, they don't just have an eye for it, but they keep a list of technologies that they are waiting for startups/companies to create. That list is secret. It's private. Well, no more..." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Among The Disrupted - The New York Times. "This is some heavy reading. It's not as dystopian as you might think, after an initial read. We often talk about disruption as, 'it is what it is... and there's not much anyone can do about it.' But, have we paused to think about what it has done to the creative process and... ultimately... what the output of that means to our culture? Are we cultivating the next Moby Dick from our writers or is it an improbability in the face of 140 characters?" (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

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January 16, 201511:21 PM

What Really Happened At CES... And Does It Matter For Marketers?

Do you wish that you could go to CES in Las Vegas? For many marketers, going to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is one of those bucketlist items. It's miles - and miles - of the latest, greatest... Read more

By Mitch Joel

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January 14, 201511:07 PM

How To Think About Mobile Advertising

Mobile ads are not Internet ads. Mobile ads are not like other ads. Marketers can say whatever they want about advertising. Many brands feel that it is all about the message being consistent across all platforms. Other brands believe that... Read more

By Mitch Joel

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January 13, 201511:37 PM

Sometimes Data Is Just Data

So, how is all of that data working out for you? There have been two stories in the news that have truly captured my attention (and a lot of thought) over the past few weeks. The first one, is how... Read more

By Mitch Joel

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January 12, 201511:03 AM

Native Video Platforms Explode In Popularity... And Twitter's Next.

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

Utilities:


January 11, 2015 9:57 AM

The Internet Is Not The Answer

Episode #444 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. On Monday, January 26th, 2015 in Toronto, I will be taking part in a live public debate with... Read more

By Mitch Joel

Utilities: