Mark Duplass to Sundance Filmmakers: ‘Get Your Goddamn Movie on Netflix’

paulwayres:

Finally, someone from the creative side of the media world understands that content distribution is not about standards, hardware or ecosystems – it’s about the audience and how they engage; and more what they engage with, why they engage and who they tell. And Mark Duplass should know – his career was forged on the anvil of audience, not brand, production and distribution.

Originally posted on Variety:

Having debuted nearly 10 features at the Sundance Film Festival as either a director, producer or actor, Mark Duplass knows a thing or two about distribution practices.

Prior to the festival premiere of his new film, “The One I Love,” the multihyphenate stopped by the Variety Studio to offer what he says is valuable advice for a young filmmaker.

“I’m gonna say something controversial here,” he said with a relaxed but serious gaze. “And this is no slight to all my friends who distribute movies, (but) the most important part of making a movie is making sure that film streams on Netflix.”

Duplass, who also stars in FX’s “The League,” said his first feature accidentally made its way to the streaming service years ago and it was, without question, the greatest stroke of fortune in his career.

SEE MORE: Lynn Shelton, Mark Duplass, Ira Sachs on the High Expectations for…

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Social media expert or time wasting idiot? My top 10 ways to identify who is who.

First things first, I am not a social media ‘expert’, these strange animals do exist, but they are few and far between, and I am not one of them. The social experts that I know tend to be deeply digital characters, technology industry veterans capable of explaining how the fabric of the web works and why, as well as understanding how value can be extracted from the torrents of social interactions. I’m not saying that you need to be a data nerd to be a social media expert, but it helps. Also, a few other observations, social media experts are almost never former 4th grade drama teachers, or indeed, home-office based Mums or people who ‘re-trained’ to take advantage of the ‘huge’ opportunity in the social space, or worse, people whose business ‘just kinda snowballed’ after the massive social campaign that they ran at the local hardware store saw a net increase of 6 new twitter followers and some forced “likes’ on Facebook. Wonderful though these achievements undoubtedly are, they do not constitute the conquering of the social Mount Everest. The caveat to all this is that there are some spectacularly successful and knowledgeable social media experts who were perhaps once drama teachers and do in fact work from home. My point here is that identifying these pioneers is straightforward, the key indicator is in their ability to articulate their own original thoughts and ideas, and to be clear, this means that you will likely have not thought of something they mention, or, that what they propose will resonate with your own experience. Moreover, they will (more likely than not) be able to point you to case studies of projects that they’ve undertaken on behalf of individuals and brands with which you may be familiar.

Social experts, real social experts, tend to deny any ‘expertise’ within the social media category – they tend to concern themselves with social data, they are the social scientists who are data driven, outcome and value aligned and rarely share their unique selling points  and insights for free in facile “top 10″ lists linked to cheesy, under-trafficked and pointless blogs that centre on muffin receipes, “powering up Google + in 2014″ and other random rubbish that is neither valuable or even in the slightest way, informative. Strange that!

In the round though, those professing to be social media experts are flowery, non-skilled individuals who do nothing but populate every social channel known to man with borrowed quotes, plagiarized content and tagged articles from informed publishers within their area of their so-called “expertise”. To be very precise, very very few of these utter social sheep can sit the right way around on a toilet, let alone drive audience, engagement or indeed,  sales through social channels. After years of having these social titans clog my social streams, I thought I’d share my own “top ten” “how to identify a time-wasting social media expert wannabe”, and in my next blog post, I tell you how to have a little fun with them too, if that is, you have a few spare minutes.

1. The first clear and obvious sign that you are dealing with a social lightweight is posting frequency. Some of these utter idiots use pre-programmed  apps to broadcast content to populate their social channels on an almost minute by minute basis. I don’t know many thought leaders who have time to do the odd tweet here and there, let alone a detailed outreach schedule. The more successful social gurus will tend to have thought to curate a stream of news and content that supports their area of information expertise, as such, even thought their streams are populated with news content, that content tends to be relevant and informative. The over-share that some of the less expert social travelers seem to be believe to be critical is staggering in the extreme. As an example, today, on one twitter stream whose owner whose owner remain nameless,  they had posted 49 tweets, of which 50% were repeats and 100% vacuous rubbish. They did the same yesterday – shotgun tactics in a sniper’s world – sorry #fail!

Conclusion: experts tend to post/tweet when appropriate – not bombard people and bludgeon to death with reconstituted crap.

2. Tone? Always flowery rubbish. Always!

Conclusion: if you feel like you are dealing with Mrs Walton from the Walton Family, they are likely not an expert. Run away as fast as possible!

3. Sentiment; they will appear like the kid at college desperate to make friends. Polite, overly interested in your well being, and always asking “how are you?” – more flowery rubbish I’m afraid.

Conclusion: more Mrs Walton I’m afraid.

4. Community leadership: these folks work on the “in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king” principle. So they’ll acquire their industry following from interest and event based groups where they’ll follow you if you follow me. So, as an example, they are unlikely to be jousting intellectually with Jason Calacanis on matters relating to the digital evolution, or debating the future of digital content with Stephen Fry. Nope, these folks will be active in their own unique influence ecosystem, comprised others just like them, newbies, the elderly and 12 years old kids desperate to build up followers as trophies. As an aside, they always seem to  want to connect on every social platform that exists, and their prime motivation in life seems to be to develop notoriety and, if you will, some form of de-facto earned kudos that they can claim as a result of having lots of other people just like them click a button on an a screen that says that they are inextricably linked. It’s hilarious when you take a moment to think it through.

Ironically, they seem to gather online in whatever the collective noun (how about ‘toilet’) for a group of social media charlatans might be. Trading the same ideas and supporting each other with their stupid  and annoyingly unoriginal thought pieces, quotes and pearls of commercial wisdom, based on a veneer deep appreciation of a sector that they think they know deeply, but barely scratch the surface of comprehension.

Conclusion; of they are not followed by someone you have heard of, and more, are regularly engaged and re-tweeted by other ‘notables, they are likely fakes.

5. Unilaterally, these folks seem to have all attended the same 2 day “Get a PhD in Social Media” correspondence program that delivers the breakthrough strategy , “how to get people to click on a link by asking a question”, or offering a URL with the ‘”top 10 Kitty videos on YouTube”, or indeed, “how to look an utter buffoon by pretending that you have a social audience hanging on every letter of you insightful posts”. As an example, I read today on one ‘expert’s’ site, a detailed and highly informative piece that sets out the expert way to improve one’s Klout score. And here, in a precis of what was ground-breaking insight, is what was shared. For those not used to dealing with intellectual insight, you may want to sit down before reading what follows.  Essentially, the conjecture was that linking all of your social accounts to Klout, (and here’s where insight seems to know no bounds) and, engaging with recognised domain experts with higher Klout scores than you may just increase your own Klout score. Bloody hell, stop the presses, this is disruptive and informative thinking the like of which we’ve never seen. I can hardly wait to connect my social streams to a meaningless scoring platform whose relevance is recognised only by bird brained, self-important people with nothing better to do, who are the only ones who actually care what their Klout score might be. Moreover, they have not perhaps been lucky enough to read some of the detailed updates that Klout have recently introduced that outline how ‘resonance’ (yes, that the ‘pebble in the pond impact of what you say’) will increasingly amplify scoring – so the world seems to be moving towards a ‘forget the quantity, quality matters’. To the budding social experts out there – you have been warned.

Conclusion: head over to Linkedin and check what these social titans have done before the development of their online training and consulting empires. I’d suggest you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions pretty quickly.

6. Personal descriptions: I hardly know where to start. The descriptions that some of these people use are, frankly, stomach turning. However, there are patterns that can be inferred from the data, and, the revolting wholesome goodness that they project. Universally, it would appear that these social experts are “successful pioneers” and in “huge demand” from global enterprises who want to learn from them. They all appear to be “accomplished public speakers”, “spokespeople”, quoted ‘experts’ in the media, and of course, the controllers of multi-billion dollar media empires.  As an aside, few can lay hand or thought to a real-world case study that discusses the business benefits of a social engagement program that they’ve implemented.

The vast majority claim to like spending time with their family (which is handy), whom they seem to like (another win). As a group, they do lots for charity, I’d venture that these people could teach the chappie on the road to Damascus a thing or two about helping their fellow man. Finally, they tend to own pathetic yapper-type dogs who feature in their more human ‘shares’, and, rather predictably are more religious than the Pope. Their descriptions are phrased in perky, happy ‘tones’ (which is a phrase they’ll teach you about), that conveys ‘sentiment’ (another light bulb moment for you here), while conveying a transparent demeanour and a desire to ‘engage’ (my personal favourite). I warn you now, do not look at too many of these personal descriptions without some other form of visual stimulation, or at the very least taking a break between reading a few – they are likely to cause nausea.

Conclusion; at the slightest whiff of wholesome goodness and a desire not to piss anyone off – avoid at all costs.

7. Disingenuous engagement . It’s a good thing to say ‘thanks’ to someone who agrees to connect with you on Linkedin – frankly, it’s just good manners and business etiquette. Similarly, “@ ” someone to say thanks for following is a nice touch. Facebook – not so much, you are friends anyway right? And G+ – once someone explains the circles metaphor and the personality crisis that it’s having, I feel confident that I’ll be able to figure out how, or indeed, whether I should acknowledge a connection at all. But that’s it in terms of engagement. If I wanted to be a weather reporter, and respond to the stupid and shallow, pre-meditated “Hey, thanks for connecting, and how’s the weather where you are?” , I would have become a weather reporter. Nor, unless you are prepared for a fairly rude and accurate appraisal of my well being is it wise to ask “how are you today?” Yet these infernal buffoons seem unable to help their wholesome selves. Why?

I like social interaction and banter as much as the next man. What I detest is the replication of small talk that I can get from the barrista (still makes me laugh that, “barrista”) at my local coffee shop. Debates among peers can be informative and useful, and the ability to ask a question of a domain expert democratizes knowledge. In fact that’s (for me at least) the real wow factor of the emerging social channels. The ability to recall “do you remember when…” is one of the real engagement factors that define why social networks have become so well used, but reminiscing suggests the existence of a relationship of some form. However, in the real world, if I have just been introduced to a random stranger, I am unlikely to discuss my innermost thoughts with that person until I have established rapport, trust and respect. To this end, when the ‘experts’ think it smart to ask me “what are you up to today?” it often draws the standard “drowning more kittens, just like yesterday” response.

Conclusion: any signs of “how are you today?” should draw out your venom,  respond caustically and delete them from friends or unfollow.

8. The ‘experts’ democratisation of knowledge – candidly, it would be hilarious were it not so sad. The manner in which these people impart their wisdom seems to be couched with a worrying religious fervor that scares the crap out of me, and a dumbed down manner that can cause irrational and spontaneous rage. Moreover, the knowledge imparted from a hook line like “get 100,000 followers on twitter in 30 days” tends to be, well, rather disappointing when you’re told to “be active” and “tweet a lot”. Indeed, what is most revealing is that the  very challenge that our heroes pertain to be able to meet, is the very thing that confounds them and that they’d most like to be able to achieve. In fact, some of the irony in these hooks to meaningless content would give P G Wodehouse a run for his comedy money.

Conclusion: popular “top 10 ways to tie you private parts into a reef knot” lists have long been a way of attracting the tabloid reader base. Unless there is original thought, imparted real world experience and opinion – avoid.

9. Influence networks; the painfully transparent process of groups of social ‘experts’ colluding to promote one another inside their own meaningless communities and interest areas. Pathetic. We’re back to points “1” and “2”. Few of our new found chums are capable of actually having a point of view at all, which means that they don’t so much divide opinion as gather splinters in their posteriors from the digital fence upon which they sit. I’d love to see one of them, just once respond to a comment or article with an outrageous reply, something like “You cretinous idiot, you’ve missed the whole point!” Instead, the stock “What a great response, I certainly go ahead and take that into consideration. Thank you!” is the stock response.

Conclusion; seek opinion and solutions, not vanilla flavoured middle of the road rubbish. If that’s what they provide, and as an example, their response to the Syrian problem might be, “well let’s just see what those great guys in Washington have to say about that” – you know what to do…

10. Original thought and trying to be clever. I have left my biggest frustration until last. My aim in writing this was not to lambast people for engaging on social channels. Nor was it to criticise those that try to become social community experts and advisors – far from it, I love entrepreneurial spirit, I admire people who give things a go. But for the love of God, have an opinion! Develop a point of view. There are so many news sources out there that allow me to access news and draw my own conclusions, what I most want is other people’s thoughts on things – I want them to do more than retweet something that they thin might be important. I want them to tell me why they think it’s important.

Conclusion: test their mettle – see what they know and think. Ask them something really random and see whether they (a) have a pulse (b) have a sense of humour (c) actually have the ability to construct a scenario that may see them proffer a point of view. If not, use your delete key as fast as possible.

Rant over. That is all.

Next post will deal with how to really frustrate and annoy wannabe social experts. Do tune in!

Google guilty of feathering their own nest? Probably.

There are some pretty choice comments doing the rounds of the social ecosystem relating to Google’s acquisition of Nest Labs. The main themes of the commentaries are poles apart; one group seem to think that paying $3.2 billion for a wireless controlled home thermostat is madness, while the other camp, smug in a self-satisfied way ‘ we get it and you dont ‘ kind of way, seem to suggest that this is the deal of the decade. I think that they are both right.

Digging deeper into the transaction, it’s clear that what Google have bought is IP rich, innovative and well staffed asset aiming at delivering increasing connectivity across multiple user settings. Nest is more than a central heating gizmo, or a means of managing your heating bills, its the shape of things to come, and while I loathe the phrase, a pioneer of the ‘internet of things’ . And that’s what Google have bought, their passport to the home, in much the same way that they’ve bought their way into the car, the TV and indeed, most other broad horizontal markets. But why Nest? Why now?

Well, let’s look at how Google make money – an they do make money, lots of it. Their core revenue streams are still search driven and ad-backed, although their foray into the world of transaction based revenues is not to be sniffed at, they are a money generating power house. But I am convinced that they have seen the writing on the wall in terms of their market limitations and as such, are broadening their commercial bases to take advantage of opportunities as they arise in new markets and across traditional business boundaries. Today, Nest is a pioneer of delivering remote control to the home, sure their first stab is a thermostatic control, but a pivot to all home infrastructure , devices, services and appliances is a logical next step. That pivot is massive and delivers market opportunity and real-world value. Imagine a billion buildings optimising costs on behalf of their owners, imagine the cost savings in terms of energy utilisation, more accurate fault diagnosis even remote problem resolution. And so on. This is an incredibly smart move from Google, they’ll own people (through identity, search and apps), communications,  businesses, cars, houses, content and more importantly the data that glues these constituents together – they will, to all intents and purposes, be the internet of things OS, and that will enable them to pivot to new revenue models that see transactions, data exploitation and service delivery.

Yes, $3.2 billion is a huge number, but the for the chance to exist within the fabric of where we are, be that at work, at home, in the car or indeed, anywhere – it is cheap at half the price. Couple that with a great management team, some outstanding engineers and investors and a bucket of IP and you have the sale of the century. It’s Google third biggest acquisition ever, I believe that it is by far and away their most valuable.

2014 Tech Predictions

2014predictions-1

Top 10 technology ‘probables’ and ‘should happens’ in the UK in 2014.

I promised myself that I would never write a ‘top 10 something or other list’ and then post to Twitter, but if you can’t beat them, join them.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

1. Shoreditch may not (well, is most likely not) the centre of the UK’s digital universe. Hard to believe though it is, there are other locations in the UK, indeed in London, that also seem to produce some interesting businesses without the incessant over-marketing of E14. There are, of course, some great businesses in Shoreditch, but you don’t actually have to be there to be successful, despite what everyone tells you. You heard it here first!
2. Social data applications will become much more important, monetised and valued by the corporate world. I still see social networks in their very early stages of development, they are by no means mature. Increasingly, corporates will start to assemble their own data structures that centre on data generated by the social ecosystem. Combined with their existing corporate data, they’ll be able to build data structures that enable deep knowledge of existing and prospective customers and align products to them. This means tangible improvements in business productivity and realizable savings in business processes. Undoubtedly, because they stand to gain the most soonest  – the insurance and banking sectors will lead the charge.
3. Big Data will get a new name. At least, I hope it will. At present, it is the name given to “a lot of data that we’d rather not throw away but we don’t quite know what to do with, at least not yet“.  Quite how database, cloud storage and hardware manufacturers will pivot to this new reality of actually defining what value there may be in ‘big data’ is a confounding question that will drive the acquisition of smaller data analytics companies by the main players, through the roof and beyond.
4. Apple will be fine. Really they will. So too will Facebook, and shock of shocks, so will Twitter.
5. Tony Bates will be named as MSFT’s CEO; Bates is British, so that counts as the UK. Bill Gates will not be named CEO although he will name Bates as the new boss, and remain as Executive Chairman. Steve Ballmer will move into the VC space and drop a load of dough on some very esoteric projects that, initially at least, no-one gives a hope in hell’s chance of working. But work they will, and when they do, all the journalists who have given him such a hard time will deny ever having wronged him – in spite of his fantastic YouTube video in which he depicts a power-crazed dictator, which of course, he is not. Well, not for much longer.
6. Medical and well-being solutions will be central to the wearable technology that CES promoted beyond rational excuse. Indeed, I think the bio-tech space will be turned on its head as the economic realities of dealing with long term, chronic medical conditions will come home to roost. The cost of managing diabetes alone exceeds $170 billion annually in the US. It’s estimated that at least 30% could be saved just by helping sufferers change their lifestyles. Don’t be surprised to see a load of clever stuff from the UK and Germany in this sector.
7. Video will remain the killer data format – in that it will be killer for consumers, who will continue to consume video content with abandon, and killer for network carriers and MNOs, because they’ll still not get a penny for the content that costs them so much to deliver.
8. The matter of internet Privacy will rear its innocent head on an almost daily basis, yet little will change as the increasingly aware thought leaders from the consumer base realise that there are no free lunches on the web, search is free so long as consumers are prepared to share their data. Ditto social. Ditto apps. The paltry efforts of legislation will do little to damage the treasury coffers of the main players – so in short, privacy will remain an issue that will not be fixed. Instead we’ll see a stalemate.
9. Mobile payments will flourish as the humble mobile finally morphs into one of those clever gadgets from I-robot.
10. Innovation will slow as hardware becomes constricted by processor and battery technology limitations.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN

1. UK government stops spending a fortune artificially creating free trade zones in derelict parts of the capital and starts to make investments in business across the UK with the view that a meritocracy is probably preferable to a bunch of under-funded, badly located and naïve businesses.
2. Individuals will have the right to charge for their online data and have greater control of who gets to see what. Ultimately, personal data will become the currency that it already is, but consumers will have the chance to see some value from their content, networks and ideas.
3. All governments globally will ban the phrases “big data” and “the internet of things” and mandate that people who have no idea about how data is harnessed to deliver personal and enterprise value, to be quiet on pain of incarceration, or even death.
4. Apple will be fine. Really they will. So too will Facebook, and shock of shocks, so will Twitter.
5. MSFT will finally break up into a number of distinct companies and start to re-invent itself as the pioneer that it once was. The removal of the OS and Office stipends (read ‘monopolies’) will force the devolved indepedent businesses to deliver the innovation and value that they once did during the 1980s and 1990s.
6. Global governments will finally recognise that there are global diseases for which they could find effective global cures and management strategies; as a result, they will learn to collaborate and share knowledge with each other and the major bio/pharma companies. The net impact will be a global reduction in healthcare costs and an increase in quality of life for every citizen on the planet. As an aside, there will be apps for those who are addicted to their digital devices, and the The Priory will add to its roster of addiction treatments by running pioneer cold turkey retreats for those who have lost the ability to think or do for themselves in the real world.
7. Content producers and creators will have a ‘light bulb’ moment in which they finally figure out that content should not be stuck onto YouTube for free as it will inevitably ruin the long term health of of the content industry, and leave “Mitty the Kitty” and facile Xbox and Playstation gaming ‘celebrities’ as the headline performers in the Royal Variety Performance. Actually, come to think of it, that may not be such a bad thing.
8. Governments will mandate all data driven businesses to offer all users the ability to opt out of data sharing and retain their rights to personal information privacy. Rather than fining any wayward constituents – their propositions will be banned from use within the jurisdiction that they’ve contravened. This will have far-reaching impact on valuations of digital businesses as investors will be forced to adopt the rather racey ‘does it make any real money or does it stand a chance of doing so‘ question. Radical I know.
9. ‘Normal’ people will just leave their cell phones off some of the time, revert to human interaction and conversation and not constantly live their lives in an artificial onliine world of memes, memories, avatars and shallow celebrity. For data on those who don’t, see “6.”
10. Innovation will be driven by real-world needs and value, not ‘hit and hope’ concepts that have no relevance, utility or value for anyone. People will realise that they only use about 10% of the total functionality of the devices and applications that they own, as such, a new dawn of building what people want will break out all over the digital world.

10 observations from IBC

I admit it, I hate conferences. And exhibitions. I loathe them. Business gurus (conference sales people) will tell you that they (conferences not sales people) are a necessary evil, a means of understanding the future, of understanding competition and understanding a market. With this insight in mind, having studiously avoided IBC for ten years, I recently took the hop to Amsterdam to immerse myself in the future of broadcasting at IBC.

When last at the show, the conference halls were alight with “multi-platform” content distribution, content management, monetisation and whizz-bang machines that have an array of (as yet undefined functionality) flashing lights. It was actually quite exciting. Certain I was to experience a paradigm shift after a decade away, I looked forward to being wowed by the future of broadcasting, but that’s where the disappointment began.

1. Incredibly, if you put a fluster (collective noun) of media/creative types, over a long weekend, in a conference setting in Holland, the impact on the economy is remarkable. To the organisers of the jolly nice IBC conference recently, well done!  The uptick in local trade in certain postal codes of downtown Amsterdam, along with a generic uptick in coffee consumption across the board are nothing short of remarkable. I expect the Dutch finance minister to be on the phone to you shortly. One subtle suggestion, any danger of moving the RAI closer to Dam Square? That cab ride is a bitch.

2. Nothing has actually changed; it’s not a brave new world, it’s back to the future I’m afraid. No real innovation. At all. Best exemplified by the tremendous sales grunt working for a major CDN who was at pains to tell me that his company had more pipes that Pimlico Plumbers; my reaction to this formidable individual was to ask how all said pipes actually improved customer experience and engagement, however, in a refrain reminiscent of the infamous Spinal Tap “but this one goes to 11″, I was told by my enthusiastic new chum that his company has a lot of pipes. Pretty much everywhere by all accounts. Jolly good, and I expect they’ll still have loads next year too. Can’t wait to discuss this all over again.

3. Not one vendor, and I really do mean not one, seemed to mention the end user in any collaterals or stand dressing. They were not afraid to mention every technological acronym known to man, but not a peep about the humble content consumer, who appeared to be universally insignificant in this brave new world of broadcasting to consumers.

4. The big boys are still the big boys, but they won’t be much longer. The way it works is simple, broadcasters make/commission/license content that’s created on monumentally expensive cameras, edited with gut-bustingly expensive software, permissioned and distributed by wallet bashing content management and playout platforms through budget bashing broadcast infrastructure. In short, if you are a broadcaster, a bandwidth provider or a scaled up software house – your future looks rosy. Well it did. Trouble is that there seems to be a generic lack of smelling coffee immediately after waking up among the leaders of these companies. Yes, of course multi-platform, OTT and the like are important, what is fundamental though is a means to interact with audiences, to increase reach, to drive engagement. When I have got 5 minutes, I’ll come up with an acronym for you all. Something like YSY – “you’re so yesterday”.

5. A smorgasbord of niche players exist; there were a bunch of cool smaller companies at the show, few of these were well funded, less will survive. It is criminal.  I can not lay blame at the broadcast industry’s door here. So venture capitalists, wherever you are, shame on you. Do some analysis and figure out whether being at the intersection of content, consumer and commerce is a good thing thing. If it is (and I’ll take a wild guess that it may well be) then I’d suggest that you break out the cheque books and get jiggy with it, before someone else does. This space is set for massive disruption, the unthinkable will happen, Davids will topple Goliaths, cats and dogs will live together in perfect harmony, the world as we know will change. Think Google taking out Microsoft and you’ll be on the right track.

6. I was amazed at the utterly dull manner in which the status quo was being maintained by all the vendors – rather than stating, “well actually, that company is a pile of shit, we’re much better, and here;s why” everyone seemed to have over-indulged in pancake smoking and, short of wearing some fetching beads, growing hair and hugging trees, everyone was at peace with one another in what was a beautiful throwback to the 1960s. Utterly spineless behavior, unless of course none of the usual suspects had anything new or disruptive to report, and indeed, unless their core propositions are in fact, the same of stuff with a different wrapper. Hmmm.

7. Bravo BT! Brilliant world first 4K demo on Sunday afternoon, of what is the most compelling content ever, rugby union. Cracking quality and faultless user experience.  I applaud you and everything that you stand for. I am standing, humming the national anthem, and saluting while typing. Seriously though, at least they were prepared to show that the future is now! In doing so, they’ll steal a march on the competition. You heard it here first!

8. Everything is smaller, other than the cost. Smaller satellite dishes, smaller whiz-bang components, smaller everything in fact, other than data pipes which are increasingly leviathan, or at least my new chum the sales chap from the CDN believes that they are. There’s a rule in engineering that goes along the lines of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. And so it would appear that the vendors and exhibitors were following engineering best practice. To a man they’ve shrunk the size of multiplexors, encoding boxes, frame management boxes and pretty much everything else you can imagine. The really forward looking chaps have even changed the colour of the LED lights, that as yet nave an undefined purpose. And yet, a decade after these technologies became accessible and mainstream, they are going up in price. Why?

9. Special mention to the innovative satellite dish manufacturer who have added puse as the colour of choice for the 2013 winter collection. Well done chaps, that’ll change everything.

10. On a serious note, IBC is a necessary evil. It does bring the disparate components together and provide a shop window for what is available; I’d suggest that it’s the folk who exhibit and attend that need to change their tune. And there’s a simple rationale to this statement. The next generation of content consumers are just as likely to be content creators, broadcasters and opinion leaders. They’ll snap away with iphone video features, upload to a gaggle of different video hubs and herd audiences of millions. There will not be an acronym in sight. It will just happen, because it can. This generation of users (and I know that its unfortunate these gits ruin what would otherwise be a beautiful world) will elect to engage with content that they discover, not what is force fed to them. They’ll expect to be able to access on any device (and I do mean any); they will dis-engage from content at light speed if it is not up to scratch from a quality perspective, and guess what, contrary to popular belief, they pay for it too!

Can’t wait for next year.

 

paulwayres:

Good news for all who are mentally strained and stressed!

Originally posted on Paul W Ayres:

 

When it comes to keeping healthy and fit, living a mentally active life is as important as regular physical exercise. Just as your muscles grow stronger with use, mental exercise keeps your mental skills and memory in tone. Although any brain exercise is better than being a total mental couch potato, some kinds of \

via Mental strain helps maintain a healthy brain.

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paulwayres:

Russia is fast becoming the new digital frontier, but without local knowldge, contacts and objective opinion, how can you break into the market?

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Revenues at Yandex, the Russian search engine which dwarfs Google in that territory, have rise by 41 percent year-on-year in its Q3 2012 financial results. Last quarter Yandex reported a 50 percent increase in revenue, and an increase in profit of 76 percent compared with Q2 2011.

Today the company reported revenues of RUR 7.3 billion ($235.2 million), which were up some 41 percent quarter on quarter with last year. Operating income was up to $82.3 million, or 43 percent year-on-year. Profit for the third quarter was RUR 2.3 billion ($74.2 million).

Yandex is on something of a roll. It’s launched its own ‘social’ browser, opened its own Android store and boosted its Yandex.Disk cloud storage service.

In addition it is experimenting with expanding beyond the Russian ‘RuNet’ with a service in Turkey, but with mixed results so far. Word on the street has it that they plan…

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10 things that “social media experts” can do to help me

1. Actually prove that you understand the medium; by this demonstrate to me that you understand how to engage an audience and cause interaction that delivers benefit to your clients.

2. Tell me something I don’t know (and for the sake of clarity), things like “it’s jolly big” or indeed, “social media is going to be very important” do not count. At all.

3. Please stop banging on about “how to market yourself on Facebook or Linkedin”, and rather than talk about it, do it. Please?

4. Come up with some original content, if I see one more statement along the lines of “If Facebook were a country, it would be bigger than…” I fear I will have to wage digital war.

5. Stop retweeting clever people’s ideas and articles and try to interpret what they might mean. We all have a retweet button – I’d like to know what you think, not what you think you should think.

6. Try to entertain, educate and teach. Don’t preach – we get enough of that from politicians – and they know fuck all too.

7. Recognise that you are probably not an expert, you probably never will be, so please stop trying to be. Become a trusted advisor, maybe even a consiglieri, not an expert. Unless your surname is either Dorsey, Zuckerburg or Crowley – you are not likely to be an expert, just a practitioner.

8. Please be accepting of the natural course of digital evolution; try to understand that the platform is less important than the user, and as such, treat your clients with the commercial respect that they deserve.

9. Social engagement is not a ‘one fits all’ strategy. Different entities and people have different objectives and needs – so do not shoe-horn a standard methodology onto everyone – it does not work. I know this and so do you.

10. And finally, if you are not able to do any of the above, please go back to what you were doing before you saw an opportunity to exploit those with partially less knowledge than you.

“Time for a digital comet”

I was lucky enough to be asked to participate on a panel at a conference recently. The conference was aimed a professional publishing organisations seeking to monetise their content online. I was looking forward to hearing how many of the thought leaders in the industry were positioning themselves in terms of how to drive revenue from content. At the conclusion of the conference, I was left feeling disappointed, for not only was it obvious that many of the industry stalwarts who should be leading the charge in digital content transformation are the very individuals at organisations forcing inertia into the content monetisation process. Here are the rather sad observations, and (I promise this is true) observations and sound bites from some leading lights and content domain experts:

  • “Content should be monetised thorugh advertising alone”
  • “Pay-for content will not work”
  • “Not many people will actually read content on their smart phones”
  • Mobile payments are a few years away”
  • “It really helps to measure activity”
  • Social media should drive audience to established content delivery sites”
  • “Tread carefully in the social ecosystem”
  • “Stick to what you know”
  • “Only quality content carries a value premium”
  • “Professional content is the key”
  • “Social media ‘likes’ are very important”
  • “Try to re-purpose what you have and eek out every last drop of value”

Well, here’s my take, it is time for some of the more ong-serving internet innovators to stand aside lest they become crushed by the speed of evolution. In one specific case I was actually embarrassed for one of my co-panel commentators who remains locked in a content exploitation strategy that could easily leverage Netscape’s Navigator, HTML on-the-fly and Cyber-malls while using ‘Beanz” to buy content. While another thought that it would be jolly helpful if those jolly nice chaps at Facebook would share some of the data that they harvest from users. Wow – that’s a good idea!

My direct take on the comments are as follows:

  • “Content should be monetised thorugh advertising alone”

Utter rubbish – what i-tunes has achieved has irreversibly proven that people are prepared to pay for content if it is reasonably priced, well packaged and easy to access. Apple have made billions and will continue to do so.

  • “Pay-for content will not work”

Works fine with paper and ink, and as above, it is, can and will work. The trends that we are seeing magnify the fact that people want relevant content engagement that they are prepared to pay for it.

  • “Not many people will actually read content on their smart phones”

I am not even going to comment.

  • “Mobile payments are a few years away”

In short, bollocks!

  • “It really helps to measure activity”

No shit Sherlock.

  • “Social media should drive audience to established content delivery sites”

This really made me angry. Why would I leave an information rich, relevant and real-time content platform like a social network in order to access a dull content site? Sure, that’s the way it has been, but its not the way things are going.

  • “Tread carefully in the social ecosystem”

Sorry, that’s the last thing any self-respecting content owner should do. Get among it!

  • “Stick to what you know”

No, don’t! Embrace every new idea that emerges – frankly, who knows what will work and what will fail.

  • “Only quality content carries a value premium”

Nope – ‘fraid not. Lots of things work in the social context that would simply never see paper or ink.

  • “Professional content is the key”

No, comment and curation is the key! User generated content has far more impact in interest groups than authoritative content. Pinterest?

  • “Social media ‘likes’ are very important”

“Likes” are an unbankable currency.

  • “Try to re-purpose what you have and eek out every last drop of value”

No, re-cut, re-hash and re-align for social channels.

Anyway, I a secretly hoping that a large digital comet crashes into the internet 1.0 planet shortly, such that evolution can get on with the business of evolving without the weight of digital dinosaurs strutting their outdated stuff.