julien smith

Extreme Testing: What Breather.com is Doing with 430,000+ Daily Data Points

Here’s something you probably already knew: at a rate that’s unprecedented, the internet is creeping into the real world. You can see it in companies like Uber, that are slowly eating away at the taxi industry. You can see it in the drones that are coming up on Kickstarter every day. You can see it […]

Extreme Testing: What Breather.com is Doing with 430,000+ Daily Data Points is a post from: Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #163

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:

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #160

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:

  • Sid Meier: The Father of Civilization – Kotaku. “An amazing look at Sid Meier, the nicest, smartest guy in gaming, who has sailed relatively unscathed through the ups and downs of the gaming industry because, well, he’s just that good.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Let Us Blaze New Trails – Letters of Note. “Last week I looked at Mad Men. Here’s a letter from a slightly mad ad-man, Bill Bernbach, which was forwarded to me by friends on two coasts. In it, Bernbach laments the death of creativity that often accompanies a growth in size. In a software-eats-everything world, companies that valued scale are quickly eclipsed by those who favor cycle time and disruption. This letter may explain why.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • The coming crisis for the oceans – The Science Show. “A sobering look at the state of our oceans, from Callum Roberts, author of The Ocean of Life, interviewed by Robyn Williams on Australia Radio National‘s The Science Show.” (Hugh For Alistair).
  • The Pageview Race – Magellan Media. “My friend and colleague Brian O’Leary takes a critical look at Josh Sternberg‘s post at Digiday, about Who’s Winning at volume publishing. Sternberg awards the gold medal to Forbes.com, which produces the most volume of content per editorial staff (ratio 1:8). Brian asks a good question: if advertising rates continue to fall, is ‘winning’ at volume publishing winning anything? Or, is it better to start thinking of ‘content’ as ‘part of a value chain, but not all of it.’ The example given is AirBnB‘s content strategy, seen as a model of new ways of thinking about using content for marketing, rather than content as a vehicle for advertising”. (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Zipcar For Office Space: A New Service Lets You Rent A Desk By The Hour – Co.DESIGN. “This past week, Alistair, Hugh and I spent a good chunk of time at International Startup Festival held in Montreal. Our mutual friend, Julien Smith was along for the ride. Julien has been making a lot of noise (and raising significant capital) for his startup, Breather. As the company begins to roll out these available spaces in urban centers that members can access, you can begin to feel how significant of an opportunity this might be. This Fast Company piece tickles at what could, ultimately, become a whole new way to look at spaces, how we live, work and more. At first, I couldn’t wrap my head around what, exactly, Julien was trying to do with this startup. Now, I can’t stop thinking about how interesting it truly is.” (Mitch for Alistair). 
  • 23 Books You Didn’t Read In High School But Actually Should – BuzzFeed. “I was doing my best to not get sucked in by the seductively ridiculous headlines that BuzzFeed pumps through the tubes. When I saw someone post this link on Twitter, I could not resist. I spent a good chunk of my elementary and high school days daydreaming of wanting to be anywhere else. Thankfully, I never let school get in the way of my education. We’re given reading lists and the like all of the way through school. Some of us read the books, but most of us probably just skimmed the surface of the content. I was about to make the foray into reading some fiction this summer. I was considering the latest from Neil Gaiman, before this list came along. It’s somewhat depressing that I own, but haven’t read a lot of these books…and I should… and so should you (in case you haven’t). And, even if you read these in high school, I’m pretty sure they’re that much more magical now that we’re adults.” (Mitch for Hugh).  

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Are We At The Beginning Or The End Of Publishing?

What would you make out of a question like that?

Regardless, that was the exact question that Alistair Croll (co-author of Lean Analytics, BitCurrent, Year One Labs and one of my weekly link buddies) asked of Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto and my other weekly link buddy), Julien Smith (Breather, co-author of Trust Agents and The Impact Equation and author of The Flinch) and me at today’s International Startup Festival. Under normal circumstances, this is a tough question to dissect and answer in a cogent way. We were asked to answer this during a concurrent session being held outdoors in a tent set-up with people mingling and networking outside. Trying to create some energy and excitement in the room (err…. tent) made my attempt frazzled. I’m hopeful that this blog post can clear it all up.

Traditional publishing still matters.

This isn’t about big book and magazine publishers killing trees and maintaining the transport industry while feeding a distribution channel to retail. It means that these big publishing houses still have professionals who love and care about content in a way that allows customers to get true value from the products that they are buying. These products may be physical, digital, audio, digital audio or whatever. When I look at the people who work at Grand Central PublishingHachette Book Group (the publishers of my two business books, Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete), I do not see the same type of professionals that I was subjected to for over a decade while I was in the music industry. These book publishers know and understand that the landscape has changed, they know and understand that their consumers are buying their products and using them in new and different ways and, they’re trying their best to not make the same bad decisions as those in the music industry. It’s not perfect. They are some ugly things happening. There is going to be more messy stuff as we wander this road through business purgatory. Still, traditional publishing matters. It brings long form content to a bigger and more diverse audience. Not every author is going to have a shared experience, some will get book deals because they have a lot of followers on Twitter, and others will get a book deal because some editor believes that their content could set the book world on fire. As Seth Godin likes to say, your mileage may vary.

Self-publishing matters more than it ever did.

Take a look at the bestselling business books on Amazon‘s Kindle ebook page. Along with the expected slew of new and notable business books, you will find self-published and independent authors rocking this list with books as cheap as one dollar. With minimal technology and investment, anyone who wants to write a book can do so. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to work, and it doesn’t mean that it’s going to sell, but it does mean that they can not only write a book, but have access to a viable marketplace to sell and promote it. This doesn’t mean that big book publishers go away, it simply means more competition and more choices for the consumer.

Digital publishing opens up a world of opportunities.

It is very alluring. Anyone can have a thought and publish it in text, images, audio and video instantly (and for free) to the Web (and to the world). Whether it’s a simple tweet or all the way up to building a robust online publishing platform like Tumblr or Medium. The opportunities and the ideas are endless when it comes to digital publishing. With each and every passing day, we are seeing new and creative ways for people to publish – look no further than what is happening on Vine or what people are creating with Instagram‘s 15 second video.

It’s just the beginning…

People crave content. It has never been easier to get content published or to make the decision to become a publisher. With that, more and more startups will launch new and inventive ways for content to find an audience. Will other kinds of publishing disappear? Possibly. Is it the end of the book as we have known them to date? Doubtful. People will still want and enjoy this type of content and media. I can’t imagine an end to books or magazines. With that, this moment in time is a new beginning for the publishing industry with no end in sight.

What do you think? Are we at the beginning or the end of publishing?   

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The Depressing State Of Social Media Marketing

How do you think brands are doing when it comes to social media marketing?

My friend, Chris Brogan (co-author with Julien Smith of Trust Agents and The Impact Equation), laments the state of social media marketing in one of his latest blog posts, The Bare Truth About Social Media Marketing. While Brogan paints the landscape with a wide brush and lacks any quantitative of qualitative data to back it up (beyond his own review of what some brands are doing in spaces like blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), it’s easy to understand and relate to his frustrations.

Social media is not living up to its promise.

You don’t have to go that far back in time. A little over ten years since the publishing of the momentous business book, The Cluetrain Manifesto, painted a picture of how brands could now conduct themselves. Everything was so bright and hopeful back then. Suddenly, all of this inter-connectivity and untethered consumers would lead us to a path where markets truly would become conversations and the promise of Don Peppers and Martha Rogersone to one marketing world would and could come true. In a way, social media has over-delivered on certain aspects of the equation. No one could have imagined just how transformative these technologies and innovations have become. Nobody could have imagined how willfully consumers would want to connect and publicly share so much personal and contextual information. Nobody could have imagined a world where each and every one of us would become our own media channels, publishing our thoughts in text, images, audio and video to the Web… and to the world in real time. Nobody could have imagined the volume of data sets and information that now paint a very different consumer profile, which transcends the world of demographics and psychographics. Just look at what is happening today on Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and more. The opportunity for businesses to connect in a much deeper, richer and more profound way could not be easier. Brands truly can have real interactions between real human beings.

So, what is so wrong?

For my dollar, people like Brogan (and I count myself in the same camp as him) simply wants brands to become more personal and more personable. In short, brands have passed the social media marketing test because they are using it as an added way to communicate. I would argue that communications is not the point… creating true connections is the point. This is not a debate of semantics, but a much larger corporate conversation that brands are simply not eager to have. If you surveyed the vast majority of these brands, they will not understand the gripes of Brogan, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Nilofer Merchant, Avinash Kaushik, Joseph Jaffe or me. They will point to the amount of people who are following them on Twitter or how many likes they have on Facebook and push it further by showing the level of engagement they have with consumers in terms of speed-to-response or resolution in regards to a customer service issue as the barometer for success. They will demonstrate how often their messages are shared, liked, promoted and retweeted. They will highlight individual consumer feedback as a metaphor for the direct relationship that they now have with consumers, but they are still missing the point.

So, what could be so right?

Using social media to communicate a message is the obvious stuff. To this day, we have all-too-many brands who don’t even know how to nail down that very elementary component. What brands are missing, when it comes to social media is the true connection. The trust that is built out of real interactions between real human beings. And, quite frankly, they’re missing this point because social media marketing is simply seen as any other form of corporate marketing and communications. It may even be agency-led or outsourced to a company that specializes in community management. Brands aren’t internalizing the power of how to be social, so the act of social media is simply an extension of the communications and not a true connection between brand and consumer.

Getting social media right. 

It’s not easy. It’s not perfect. It’s not fast. It takes time. There is not one set way for all companies to engage and connect. Because of this, brands look at social media marketing much in the same way that they look at their campaigns or their quarterly goals. And, if we’re going to honest about this, that just won’t cut it. Social media is organizational and it’s not a vertical within the marketing or corporate communications department. Social media is the horizontal that runs across the organization, much in the same way that the culture, brand and human resources should. If we benchmark social media by campaigns and quarters, we are relegating it to a world where its efficacy won’t be about how to build a better brand through better connections, but rather a world where its only role is to augment and supplement the communications of a brand. That sounds like more noise to me.

That would be a shameful waste… wouldn’t it?

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #146

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 Monitori…

Hacking The Media (Again)

Episode #349 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

We are getting more regular when it comes to recording Media Hacks. In this semi-frequent podcast within this podcast we hold a roundtable …

Media Hackings On The Internet Of Things

Episode #342 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Does anyone remember Media Hacks? It was a semi-frequent podcast within this podcast that was a roundtable conversation with Chris Brogan, …

Prepare For Impact

Episode #334 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Welcome to episode #334 of Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast. Please excuse the nepotism, but I treat Chris Brogan and Jul…

On The Road (Warrior) Again

Now – more than ever – it’s possible to do business from anywhere at any time.

For over ten years, I’ve been doing my best to figure out how to be as upwardly mobile as possible. To ensure that I can work from anywhere and have access to everything th…

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #123

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, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwid…

Job Snobbery

Does the title on your business card define you?

Alain De Botton is probably as close as we’ll get in today’s society to a true modern philosopher. I was first turned on to his thinking when Julien Smith (Trust Agents and The Flinch) left me a copy of…

A New Kind Of Startup

Episode #315 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Julien Smith (co-author of Trust Agents with Chris Brogan and the author of The Flinch) was downright mad at me. We have lunch on a frequen…

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #108

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, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwid…

Two Blogging Camps: Which is Better?

Today’s guest post is written by Craig McBreen. Several weeks ago Gini Dietrich wrote about “smart” posts vs. those other posts. I think she kinda said: Stupid spreads like a virus. It’s not exactly like comparing Mad Men to Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Charlie Rose to Snooki, but those top 10 lists sure go [...]

You Can Learn A Lot From Someone Who Makes Comic Books

Why didn’t they have commencement speeches like this when I was growing up?

In the past couple of years, it seems like more and more amazingly powerful commencement speeches have been making their way online. The Steve Jobs one still gets its fair sha…

The Future Of Television Is Social

Episode #298 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

We used to watch TV at night and discuss it the next day around the water cooler at work. Thanks to Social Media it’s becoming increasingly…

Creativity Takes A Lot Of Hard Work

Episode #297 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

How does creativity happen? Does it take a lot of time? Can brilliant creative just happen? What inspires creativity? Who is a creative? Th…

The Art Of The Pitch

Episode #296 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

I picked up the business book, The Art of the Pitch – Persuasion and Presentation Skills That Win Business, by Peter Coughter and could not…