“The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.”
This is a quote from an interview with Larry Page in Wired magazine I read a while back.
Often in what we do for a living, we are getting clients to get to the 10% – if not less. Another quote from a strategy director that I work with, nicely summing up the current state of advertising:
They say a computer is only as smart as the people who programme it. We can’t ever programme a computer with consciousness, because we don’t understand it ourselves. To programme such a thing, we need to understand the bottom of the consciousness iceberg – the 90% of unconsciousness that exists behind the scenes.
A computer is a logical machine. A series of 1’s and 0’s. But your computer has good days and bad days. What’s most telling about the fallacy of computers as logical machines is their inability to run without re-starting. Eight to ten days in regardless of sleep, they get sloppy.
This is a post in response to an ad. The ad in question was for a job as a social strategist at W&K which was featured in an econsultancy article, that quite cheekily linked to this.
The offending slides themselves are by W&K Amsterdams very smart head of planning, Martin Weigel.
It’s an interesting set of thoughts which posits the Byron Sharpe (yet to read it myself) ‘How Brands Grow’ theorem. Buyers are fickle and have a repertoire of brands they buy from. Getting light buyers to buy your brand is how a brand grows. Simple, right?
Lots of traditional ad-types hail this way of thinking as a saviour against the social media kerfuff of ROI-less ‘engagement’.
My head of planning big brain type guy, Tom, recently wrote about ‘The Death of a Middle Man’.
He talks specifically about the ‘middle’ man role that agencies play, and how that’s getting smaller and smaller.
Perhaps the title of the article would have been adequately named ‘The Death of The Middle’. Partly because it sounds better, partly because it’s more politically correct, and partly because the middle is much bigger than just us advertising folk.
What’s so magical about Instagram, I wondered. There is something about it’s retro styled set of filters for photos which has caused it to be used by millions.
At it’s core, Instagram adds a layer of old fashioned imperfection or ‘colour’ to a clean cut, sparkling and crisp digital world.
In the past, watching grainy videos or looking at old photos with sun spots, conveyed a sense of time passing, embodying a richer meaning filled with associations.
Then new technology came along and represented everything as clearly as if it were now, in all it’s inglorious reality. Super megapixels plastered all over Facebook.
Instagram gives us power over the beautiful feeling of nostalgia - capturing and adding emotion to the memory of a specific time and place. Creating something that would otherwise take years to arrive. A shortcut to instant gratification that we are so accustomed to today; satisfying a longing for added meaning to something that would otherwise be a flat representation of the recent past.
Technology has given us the ability to let us self author these emotions into our lives, adding texture to the ones and zeros. I wonder if the future will give us software that gets even closer to representing the human experience, not as it is, but as we (want?) to feel it.
I was reading an old issue of Wired (I have an unread stack) and stumbled upon Russell Davies article - ‘Where is value now that rarity is extinct?’
An simple example of my definition of rarity: gold and other materials are scarce, of limited supply, and therefore valuable. Russell’s point is that in a digital age where everything is code replicated (as with music), where does value really lie? Novel attempts aside.
Russell subtly refers to the time economy. The value in services can depend entirely the craftmanship (skill+experience+time) that it takes to create the ‘thing’ in question. Thereby increasing it’s value.
It’s one and the same really (things that take a lot of time and skills that are in short supply - e.g. UX freelancers cost lots of money). Capitalism in the most basic of settings.
There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of gamification to businesses and to the world. Turning life into a game to create behavior change sounds like some seriously smart thinking. Especially when it comes to turning activities that are traditionally seen as difficult to get people to do for their own benefit (eating fruit, exercise, watching less of The Only Way Is Essex)
Gamification is interesting because it seems to have been a core element that behavioural economists like Thaler and Sunstein appear to have missed from their bag of tricks. It is also something people have a sense of through the huge amounts of time that men have spent playing Call of Duty, and that women have (generally) watched men doing so. Or those who have read about gamers dieing in cyber cafes due to forgetting to like, eat and stuff.