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Archive for September, 2012

Digital Snapshot – Week ending 9.28.12

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

MySpace Relaunches

I have to say, that after checking out the new promo video, it looks kind of…awesome. It really does. The new MySpace is what I imagine a cool, modern social network would look like and Facebook appears boring and unimaginative in comparison. The site design is fresh and the gaudy, bloated layouts are gone, but featuring new investor Justin Timberlake as a draw for users is a bit too much.

Myspace isn’t dead – yet, but the new site design might be too little, too late to resuscitate the flailing social network. The big question is: who is going to use it? If I was advising MySpace, I’d initially position it as the edgy alternative to Facebook (think Mac vs. PC) for teens who have grown weary of Facebook’s ubiquity.

Apple Maps

In case you didn’t hear (or experience it firsthand), Apple released its new Apple Maps on iOS6, replacing Google Maps on iPhones and iPads to limit Google’s presence on their products. Feedback across the web was negative, mainly due to bugs, but Apple’s already working on improvements. Although a lot of users have been unhappy about the change, it was probably only a matter of time. Long-term, Apple will continue to improve the product and its integration, while strategically it makes sense for Apple to distance itself from Google.

Dropbox Integrates With Facebook

Facebook users will now be able to share Dropbox files, folders and pics within Groups. This is huge for Dropbox, given the size of Facebook’s user base. This new storage capability also makes Facebook a stronger challenger to Google Drive, with the added benefit of increased user engagement and time spent on the site, which could appeal even more to advertisers.

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David vs. Goliath: Small vs. Big Agencies at Social Media Week LA

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Earlier this week I attended a panel held at HUGE LA for Social Media Week called “David vs. Goliath: How Do Big Agencies and Small Agencies Stack Up In The New Gig Economy?” Panelists included industry people who have worked on both sides of the fence.

The general consensus seemed to be that larger companies can be riddled with extra layers and bureaucracy that make it difficult for them to react quickly, although bigger agencies do have a greater amount of resources to draw from as well as name recognition.

On the other hand, small agencies were seen as more nimble and tend to adopt a startup mentality (functioning with small teams, giving employees the ability to make autonomous decisions, etc.).

One area where I think we could have probed further was whether or not companies should focus on growing or staying small. I know – it might sound counterintuitive: shouldn’t every company try to get as big as Wal-mart?

Not necessarily. One panelist mentioned “running lean” – an idea repeated a lot in the startup community, where you only hire and add staff when you absolutely need to to satisfy demand for your product or service.

In a recent Fast Company article, 37Signals founder and CEO Jason Fried warned about the growth approach he sees occurring with many tech startups who staff too quickly. Instead, he offered a different set of metrics to evaluate success:

  • Are you profitable?
  • Are you building something great?
  • Are you taking care of your people?
  • Are you treating your customers well?

Yes, of course, there are a lot of other important things to take into consideration, but this is a simplified, focused and long-term approach to running a successful business that I think more and more companies are going to adopt. See the Coudal Partners story as an example of one company who scaled down and found success. At the end of the day, I think the ideal size of a company is as small as possible. This could mean 3 employees or 30,000 as long as being big, in and of itself, isn’t the main objective.

If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, I suggest “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big” and “Eating The Big Fish: How Challengers Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders.”

UPDATE: I forgot to add this new post from Paul Graham, “Startup = Growth,” which is absolutely excellent.

Ryan Holiday on How to Differentiate Yourself

September 26, 2012 1 comment

If you’re not familiar with Ryan Holiday, you should be. Not only has he worked with New York Times best-selling authors Tucker Max and Robert Greene, but he followed up those experiences by becoming the Director of Marketing for American Apparel…by age 24.

Earlier this summer he released his first book: Trust Me, I’m Lying (Disclosure: this is an Amazon Affiliate link), which explains the new media landscape and how he helped build the American Apparel brand.

Check out the video below for an engaging interview Ryan did with Chase Jarvis. It’s roughly 90 minutes, but I found it inspirational and motivating. If you’re a marketer or someone trying to figure out how to take greater control over your career, it’s a great investment of your time.

P.S. Chase Jarvis has a great interview series on YouTube and I would suggest checking out his other videos as well.

Why Modern Family Is Overrated

September 24, 2012 2 comments

I can understand the appeal of ‘Modern Family,’ but it’s hardly a game changing comedy, which is why this article came at the right time – “The Emmys Need To Get Over Modern Family.” I can easily think of more than a half dozen shows in the past that were funnier, edgier and more deserving of critical acclaim:

  • Arrested Development
  • Chappelle’s Show
  • Friends
  • Family Guy
  • Family Ties
  • In Living Color
  • Married…With Children
  • The State
  • Seinfeld
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park
  • Three’s Company
  • The Cosby Show

These shows became a part of culture. We would talk about them in school, at the bar or at the water cooler. Many of us can probably recall situations, characters and quotes from those shows with ease.

And ‘Modern Family?’ It’s ‘I Love Lucy’ meets ‘Leave It To Beaver,’ repackaged as a modern comedy, but hasn’t this been done before? In other words, it’s just a rehash of old shows that isn’t very original, and part of the appeal of comedy is doing things in a new way that challenges people to think differently.

Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence against Modern Family is that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama (on behalf of the Obamas as a whole) claim it as among their favorite shows. It would be worrisome enough if it was just coming from one of them—the entire point of a presidential candidate answering a question like that is to choose something as pleasantly inoffensive as possible—but the fact that both of them picked it, well, that’s a Venn diagram of blandness from which nothing compelling can escape.”

Full store here: The Emmys Need To Get Over ‘Modern Family‘ – The Atlantic

Hellman’s Recipe Receipt

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

How does a brand make something as simple and boring as mayonnaise a condiment and ingredient people get excited about?

In this case study, Hellmann’s cleverly improves on the point of sale by providing “recipe receipts.” Using special technology, Hellmann’s is able to recognize the items purchased at the checkout, and using those ingredients, provide customers with real-time recipes printed on the receipts. Watch the video to see it in action.

HELLMANN’S RECIPE RECEIPT from NewWork on Vimeo.

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