dancing with what IS

In describing the emergence of geotility, Faris Yakov writes, "increasingly, when any spatially aware device is part of the flow, geotility is mandatory: making something useful for where you are right then...And yes it is scary. But as Kevin Kelly points out, the cost of personalisation is transparency." I agree. And transparency may also be the cost of collectivization. Geotility apps must know your whereabouts and preferences and who your friends are and what kinds of books you like and and and in order to give you valuable information. For example, your route to work could be 10 mins faster, or if you took a different route you'd bump into an old friend, or the bookstore on your way home is having an event that matches your Amazon profile. But geotility apps are gonna have to know our collective demographics and/or communicate with each other in order to provide us with collectively valuable information. I imagine traffic moving like a school of fish. I imagine that when people and places perpetually communicate, we'll increasingly be at the right place at the right time. I imagine an enhanced ability to collectively improvise. Which is kinda scary and technophilic but kinda magical and even primal. Like birds and bees and other sensorful beings, we’ll be that much more able (again) to dance with each other and our place. To dance with what IS. Same season, different year?


deep into the long tail

According to the Yucatec Maya, Gods made people out of corn. And as I learned while making tortillas in the Yucatan a few years ago, the Yucatecs know how to make lots of things out of corn too. Meanwhile, Iron Chef is all about getting versatile with one ingredient. If flying them into the studio is too costly, Iron Chef could subsidize the cost of videochatting/lifecasting/otherwise inexpensively hacking Yucatec chefs onto the show. And considering their textile design and weaving skills, the same could go for Project Runway. Seemingly unrealistic, but the point is: if these shows are digging deep into the long tail of chefs/designers/whatever, why not dig even deeper and support the littlest guys? At the least, get some free publicity for what's being micro-financed.


brand cliques

So I started noticing brand cliques a few years ago. You know, cliques of companies that cross-promote/subsidize/whatever their products/services. United Airlines gives you miles if you pay with Visa. Solar City gives you a better deal if you participate in Community Supported Agriculture. That kinda thing. As brands develop strategic relationships with each other (United with Visa) and competing brands develop functionally comparable relationships to each other (United with Visa, American with MasterCard), it becomes possible to envision ecosystems of products/services, replete with different forms of symbiosis – mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism. And it becomes possible to envision value-based ecosystems of products/services – for example, since I mentioned Solar City and CSAs, based on the value of environmental sustainability. In fact, this is especially relevant for sustainability, which requires the kind of systems change that would be enabled by ecosystems of sustainable products/services. So come on Solar City, CSAs, City CarShare, etcetera, etcetera: make friends.


the (refreshingly shifting) role of the smagency

[I'm actually referring to the (refreshingly shifting) role of the agency in providing social media services, but I just wanted to write the word "smagency." And I originally blogged the posted on Clear Night Sky, the blog of a smagency called Clear Ink.]

I don't usually post about other people's posts, but this was just too good to pass up. Especially because it directly implicates the work I was doing while at Clear Ink, an online marketing agency, in the fall of 08: developing its social media services. The post I'm talking about is From The Head of Zeus Jones (quite literally), and although it was written back in October, I (re?)discovered it today and attribute it with utmost blogworthiness. Indeed, it discusses the role of the marketing agency in providing social media services:

"If, as I believe, the adoption of social media by all companies is inevitable, what role does the communications agency fulfill?...Clients may not need help talking to their customers but that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. After the channels of communication are established and after the pleasantries have been exchanged, customers will want something to talk to companies about. The best things to talk about are things that the company is doing to make their products, services or experiences better. It seems to me that there’s still a lot of demand for help in improving our clients’ core services and making them more marketable. For applying marketing thinking to operations. Personally I find it’s actually far more rewarding to do this kind of work because you’re actually collaborating with your clients on things that are lasting and have unquestioned (rather than questionable) value within their organisations."

This last bit is why I added "refreshingly shifting" in the subject line - shifting from working with clients on things that have questionable value to things things that have lasting/unquestioned value and actually improve their core services (ooh! actual product development!) sounds, well, refreshing. But this means CI might have to change its approach to providing social media services; at least, as I articulated them. Helping companies implement a blog and produce content for it is part of the story, yes, but only in the beginning. Helping companies improve their products, so that they actually have something to blog about, will have to be part of the story too. If you're still intrigued, check the entire post.



Ok, it's a terrible name but an awesome idea: karaoke for Shabbat songs, with that little ball bouncing over which words to sing and real bar/bat-mitzvah videos (maybe your own!) as the background. Which would make learning Shabbat songs oh-so fun for kids and adults. I want.