The ultimate GTD trick

I’m forever finding new tools, software and shortcuts to help me work more effectively.

A few weeks back I received a notification, look at this 6 months from now, it was an internal review.  This was powered by FollowUpThen, a simple app which notifies when you need to follow up on something.

It works like this:

1) You forward or cc them in on an email

2) Put the date at the front of the email i.e. [email protected]

3) They then confirm the email and send it back to you on that date.

It’s the ultimate getting things done trick, get things off your plate which are deferred and you’ll get them back when you need them.

April 14th, 2014

How digital [ads] will change the tv experience

I was thinking about this last night – upon hearing the news of the Amazon set top box that’s rumored to release next week.

What happens when you have a fully digital tv experience, with ads you can engage with?

Here’s what happens:

1) Real Time Bidding
I was at an Ad:Tech session about this last year, their conclusion is that real time bidding won’t happen on Tv.  I disagree.  Once you can do real time bidding you’ll want to, to maximize the return.  There will be some nuances (i.e. tv shows advertising currently being booked out in advance) but over time brands will want to bid up certain times.

2) Advertising is going to flex in terms of time
I think ads will get shorter, more 6 second ads, more 15 second ads.  But then they’ll also get longer.  How? Well you’ll have the choice to find out more – which may take you on a journey that lasts 10-15 minutes.  I.e. imagine how you watch a streaming show, then click on an ad link go away explore that then come back.  This will come back to the tv.

3) Tv viewing will be on our terms
But there will also remain this idea of getting around the tv for a live event.  Why? Brands will capitalize on the monopoly of a time/place and want exclusiveness on that.  House of Cards – yes you can watch it all at once but you can only watch it when they first launch it – they still control that release.

4) More and more behind the scenes
The same way as the internet feeds those that seek more information – tv shows will have more behind the scenes; interviews, live tweets from the crew.  Fans will be able to get richer & deeper relationships with the shows they love.

5) Scripted vs reality?
I think these trends will continue but as before you will get greater involvement and ability to participate in the tv shows.

6) Responsive tv formats
The same way the web has developed a responsive theme for handling websites across different viewing screens, technology methodologies will evolve so you can do this much easier and be aware at the production end how it’s going to work in the different formats.  When shooting for mobile you don’t get the same impact with the ratios you use for tv.

7) Digital will be in the content
I think rather than overlays, digital ads will be like regular ad breaks, in the content itself.  Product placement will continue its growth.  But I think overlays just interfere with the experience and richness of content.

8) Tv is a verb
Tv is becoming a verb really – for leaning back and enjoy a show.  Not lean forward on your laptop.  Tv is sitting down relaxing and consuming entertainment (whether it’s on your tablet, phone or laptop) but it’s that different mode of consuming content.  Content that is lean forward will have different rules apply.

What’s not gonna happen?
This is super subjective but here’s a few things discussed that I don’t think will happen and why.

On Screen Commerce
There’s a lot of discussion of on screen commerce – buy what you see.  I don’t see that flying, as media production in general try to use ambiguous or unbranded goods (other than product placement) to maintain focus on the story.  And product placement generally don’t want to advertise the fact they’ve paid to be in there.

Ad Overlays
I don’t think anyone wants to have ads overlay their Game of Thrones.

A true pay for no ads
Ads pay for 75% of tv costs and cover around 70% of the satellite costs to deliver content to you.  I just don’t see consumers willing to make up all of that gap when it can be subsidised by ads.  We even see Hulu doing this.  We will see more crowd funded intiatives though which I think will be the exclusion to the rule (see: Veronica Mars on KickStarter).

And that’s it.

Interesting food for thought, the future of tv, how it will change and what actually won’t change.  The biggest undercurrent in my mind is (and like any major societal change) that it will be as the next generation become decision makers in the production of tv – they’ll bring through the big change.

 

March 28th, 2014

Micro Services, the new trend in app startups

What I’m seeing a lot of is tools like customer.io, simple little web apps which let marketers pull together a unique combination of technology to improve what they’re doing.

What’s driving this trend?

  • More digital savvy marketers
  • API marketplace, if I can plug it in, I will
  • Startup infrastructure is good, billing, customer management, templates, allowing rapid development of your one key feature which makes you different
  • Virtually zero cost to entry
  • Ability to raise angel funds
  • Exit market

It’s great, every day I’m discovering another tool which we can plug and play, make what we do work harder.

March 24th, 2014

A Javascript CMS

A few years back, we had this insight at Y&S that in the first 90 days of a new client we weren’t consistently getting the same data.  The reason for that was the process of getting tracking code installed.  In those days nobody had Analytics installed – over time this was less of an issue.

The reasons they weren’t often installed were:

  • It sometimes took a few revisions to get the code in all the right places, or tracking correctly.
  • IT Departments would sometimes stall saying it took too long (15 minutes) to install it or raise security concerns.  This slowed us down whenever we needed to put additional code like conversion tracking.

So what we did is came up with the idea of Javascript CMS, you would install one piece of javascript, everywhere.  And then over time we could add extra code, depending on the page.  We however kept running into security concerns around multiple pieces of javascript and detecting the URLs.  So we parked it for a while.

Others clearly had the same insight as within a year there were multiple players and Google released Tag Manager – what they’d done is made a few compromises to get it worked.  But hey it worked!

Our learnings from that were that we were confident of the insights, we needed to scratch up on some of our development skills to crack some of these bigger problems.

I share this story, as people do forget that behind every project that gets a green light are a few which didn’t and it’s not often because they’re bad ideas, it’s for a whole bunch of other reasons.  You just need to stick with it and realise this process of creating new things is one of ups, downs, sideways but the process creates new ideas… just not every one.. .so stay committed to the process because it does work.

March 19th, 2014

I don’t know much about art but I know what I like

I was at SxSW last week and really enjoyed the Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) talk on Art and Science.

He shared a story, that his father (a painter) said that this statement was the most profound about art.

Art is only about what you like he said.

I liked this – we can worry about whether what we like or not like is accepted across Art.  But really all that matters is what we do like, the commonality in our expression of the art is ourselves, we are the filter or curator of what we like.

That’s what makes all our homes and personal spaces unique – it’s us as the filter to it.

In a world of bits and bits it’s nice to know we can still put our own little stamp on the world.  Ironically that’s the exact point of art!

 

March 13th, 2014

Innovation always starts out looking like a bad idea

I loved this quote shared by Ben Horowitz last night at a Columbia University held launch for his new book.

The whole hour of Q&A was pretty good, he touched on Leadership, the struggle of being the entrepreneur making the change, being courageous.

It was really good – put me in good stead for his book: The Hard Thing about Hard Things which I’m about to start.

He went on to say, that if [the innovation] looked like a good idea it would already have been done.  True innovation looks like a good idea.

It reminded me of a Peter Thiels advice ‘tell me something thats true but nobody agrees with’…  at Forbes.  It’s a great piece of advice when you think about it, let it settle in.

These are all just good reminders that things worth doing start somewhere out there alone and over time grow the crowd around them.  Being a leader is taking the courage to make that step and then bringing people along with you.

March 5th, 2014

My business card experiment

When I first started out in business I thought I’d do away with business cards – they were old school.

Then I realised over time what an efficient mechanism for sharing details but also it’s a nice way to express mutual interest in following up. It’s not just the card but the swapping of cards which solidifies the intention of meeting again.

So whilst I tried to do without them, I got them in the end.

And yes I got good ones.

Not this kind though.  More like this one.

March 4th, 2014

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