Leaks driving organisational change

It was really curious to see the leaks about the NY Times Innovation last week.  It’s a good read, just for how real it is.

The reality though, despite the content of the leaks, the act itself is going to drive change.

Clearly, internally, they are at a point of hey we need help to get the Times to see for itself and to get an outside perspective on how we need to change.

This will be noted as either a moment in time whereby they turned the corner and hit their stride.  Or didn’t.  I’m confident it’ll be the former.

The Times is able to attract some of the best & the brightest – they just need to empower them to take the organisation where it needs to go.

What I think they can forget, is that the world references what the Times are up to, I was in New Zealand the week before last and people were asking what the publishers were up to over here.  This is a great privilege but also a responsibility.  A responsibility to help guide & lead the sector through the rapid changes in the market.

The next six months should be interesting.


May 20th, 2014

Incremental steps

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

Iterative change over time builds up so much that you need to sit down and have a clean slate.

A review of where we are now, where we want to go and how we get there.  To connect the dots that got you here.

  • For leadership, this could be a new CEO, to come in and take the company forward.
  • For systems, it could be a new tool which acknowledges the past but has the platform for the future.
  • For culture, it means embracing all the little changes and bedding it down into the DNA of the company.

This is a good thing, it’s the natural progression, it’s how organizations move forward.  Otherwise they lose sight of the lessons they’ve learnt to get where they are.  Long term sustainable success is by building forward momentum, so you’re not repeating the mistakes of the past.


April 30th, 2014

What is good?

We’ve been playing around with Machine Learning, to help uncover patterns in content.

And there’s two significant components
1) Definition
2) How variables stack up against that definition

You can look at the elements, imagine you want to use machine learning to find out how to build a good car.

You would load up all the good cars, that within itself is a definition, what is good?

It could be design lead, which could be established through design awards, or design nominations, it could be sales, it could be publicity.

Something quantifiable.

Then you break down it down to detect all the variables that make up a good car, things like four wheels, the gradient of the curves, acceleration, weight, colour.

This helps you then understand what a good car looks like.

But good is subjective.

Just remember that, data analysis is great but it always comes back to what are we doing it for.

April 25th, 2014

An Image Centric Web

I heard the Ari of TripleLift give their pitch a while back.

Their argument is the web is becoming image centric. Just take a look at:
Any publishers site

And there’s a lot of truth to that, we’ve always heard an image tells a thousand words, in a web of ever increasing content being able to convey your message quicker, consistently & concisely is important.

Images are a great way of doing that.

Something to think about, how do we get more visual in our communications, how can we say more with less, what do our images say about us?

April 23rd, 2014

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

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