Archive for the 'trends' Category

Using new media to drive decisions for old media

November 20, 2007

I was in Portland last week talking with a few people who really understand this video:

I saw this video about 6 months ago (maybe longer since I never really know what day it is) but I haven’t seen it in a long time. Since I returned from Portland I have seen the advertisement 4 times (and I have watched a total of 3 hours of television).

Two things I know:

1.) Advertisements often repeat many times in a single segment – Ok cool.

2.) The old media has not caught up with new media this fast – i.e. – The television shows that I watched since I returned are not “aware” that “I” actually watched this video. In fact that would be even more phenomenal since I watched the video in Portland on Thursday and returned to Massachusetts on Saturday. (Somday – but not today)

However, this brings up a good point. What if FedEx was smart. What if FedEx had created a program that could scour social media sites – YouTube, Break.com, VodPod etc… to find all media posted about FedEx. Certainly, they would have to manually massage the list but when they were finished they would have a perfect dataset on how many times their commercials were watched.

Then with this data, they could determine which of their expensive (and probably not so expensive) commercials were most successful. Then if they saw a sudden spike in the number of times a particular ad was played in the new medium, then they could return that ad into the rotation in the old medium.

Or, maybe (the more likely story – unfortunately) the writer’s strike is forcing everyone – including commercial makers – to go back to the content that made them successful in the past.

Live television and “Extreme Sports” – a match made in heaven?

August 3, 2007

X-Games LogoBy nature I am a pretty reserved person but there is a special place in my heart for “Extreme Sports”. You know – freestyle motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding, BMX etc… I was a part of the inaugural X-Games which was held in Newport, RI. And was in attendance when Corey Hart (married to pop artist Pink) attempted the first ever back-flip on a motorcycle. It was absolutely insane and everyone in attendance was in disbelief. The sport had elevated (as if jumping 100 feet at 45 miles an hour on a dirt track needs elevation). That was back in 1997.

ESPN has been televising the X-Games since it’s inception back in 1995. In previous years they always edited the footage and televised the events a few weeks after it happened. As the sporting event became more popular (moving from it’s “try-out” spot of Providence Rhode Island to its now more larger venue – Los Angeles California) the idea of “taped” games wore off. So a couple of years ago they started to televise these live. Which brings us to today and what I witnessed last night.

The Setup
The event is called “Big Air”. One can only imagine what “Big Air” actually means to these insane athletes who feed on adrenaline. The inventor of this competition is Danny Way (he was part of the third generation skateboard phenomenon’s who helped pioneer mainstream skateboarding and helped make skateboarding what it is today). The idea is this:

Stand on top of an 80 foot ramp (yes I said 80 feet) and then get on your skateboard. Travel down this ramp (it is only about 8 feet wide) at speeds of up to 40 mph. Then make a selection between 3 different jumps with varying angles and “gaps”. The shortest being 40 feet the largest being 70 feet (no exaggeration) remember this is a skateboard and it is going 40 mph. Then once you have safely “landed” on the other side of the gap, you go down another ramp until you make your way to a huge 30 foot “quarter pipe” ramp. The entire distance traveled from end to end is over 250 feet (yes almost as long as a football field). Then when you hit the quarter pipe you get air (i.e. you travel upwards of 20 feet higher then the top of the 30 foot ramp – psst. 50 feet in the air). You then come down and “land” on the wall of the quarter pipe heading back the way you came (still traveling 30 mph). Ok, so if that is not enough add this in: Over that 70 foot gap you do a 720 (2 rotations) and when you hit the top of that 30 foot quarter pipe you do a 540. INSANE

This “sport” has evolved over the last couple of years and has now become the sickest event at X-Games. If you have the chance to see this “setup” on TV, look in the foreground of the “ramp”. You will see the Motocross “Big-Air” jump. It looks like a sandbox.

So on to my question – is this good for television. I can tell you I do look forward to watching both the Summer and Winter X-Games since neither of them are near my house any more and my kids are not old enough *yet* to travel to see one of these events. I would say they are pretty popular. Then last night put doubt in mind.

When I watched this on TV I got out of my seat and almost lost my breath (my body still produces chills when I think about it). I said to my wife (who was not watching) “Oh my god, that guy just died on TV”. She asked me “Is it live”. I said “yes”.

I have witnessed several other “gross” events in T.V. history – I remember when Joe Thiesman’s leg was broken on Monday Night football – I remember when Napolean Kaufman appeared to be cut in half when he was stopped at the line of scrimmage. The X-Games has had it’s fair share of accidents – I have even seen people like Ryan Nyquist break is nose in practice only to get stitches and place second in the competition an hour after – so I guess this ranks up there. But for godsakes the dude’s shoes fell off! The most “amazing” thing about this was that within 15 minutes he “walked” off the ramp. I have not looked yet to see what his status is but I can say that he broke several bones in several places.

What is going to happen when we see the first live death on television? We all know the impact Steve Irwin had on the web’s video revolution. I still have daily hits from search engines for my Steve Irwin post.

Will the Wii get any followers?

July 16, 2007

There is no question that the Wii has changed the world of console based gaming. In a time when the other game consoles were focusing on high powered (high cost) graphic engines designed to produce the most realistic gaming systems to date, the Wii focused on the controller. They have built an interface which has truly changed how gaming systems are perceived, at least for the general public. The question remains though, will their be any followers? Will we see the “gyro-controller” for the PS3 or the “sensor-plate” for the X-B0x 360?

They say that imitation is the ultimate source of flattery so why haven’t we seen more innovative controllers from the other major game consoles? Or, even a new gaming console that no one has heard? I am sure that Nintendo has all sorts of patents on the controller but until the Wii arrived, controllers had not changed that much. In the last two major console releases there were no added buttons or features in the controller.

So, if the Wii is so revolutionary and they have completely changed family entertainment, then why are they still all alone? If the time to production of the Wii is any indication, then it may just be a matter of time. Or, is the Wii simply a fad, a blip on the screen? CNN.com seems to think that the Wii may at some time soon become “the biggest hit in the industry’s history“, topping Play Station 2 (which is currently at over 120 million consoles shipped the Wii is currently at about 8 million) .

While I think that the Wii has certainly struck a cord and expanded the console game systems beyond the everyday “gamer”, I am skeptical about it’s wide acceptance amongst the entire gaming community. Hopefully, the folks at Nintendo have taken the time to produce the killer controller and are now working on adding the graphics horsepower found in the other major consoles.

Amazing Controller’s + Extreme Graphics = Revolutionary.

Update [7/18/07] – I was catching up with some of RSS reads and I found this on Engaget: Microsoft shows off new Xbox 360 controller for casual gamers.  Maybe we won’t have to wait 3 years for someone to combat the Wii and begin extending the gaming community.

Categorizing our communities

May 30, 2007

Sarah Cooper posted a great response to the following series of posts regarding “Circles of Relationship”. The summary of which can be found here and here.

The flash application that Sarah built (here) brings up a good topic about classification for our communities. I participated in a beta site called wis.dm (which has currently shifted it’s format and is completely unusable) but when it started out it showed me clearly how a system could be built which would allow us to classify the people we participate with in our communities.

The system used a rating service (which had some scaling issues that lead to its ultimate demise) which allowed people to determine who were experts.

Basic idea was this:
1.) Someone posts a link to topic and adds some comments (to spark conversation). They then tagged the links (and people who posted comments could also add their tags).
2.) You voted on the link and comments

The result was essentially a system which would relate someone who posted a lot of information on say “Apple” or “iPod” with a positive vote as an “expert” on the topic.

We need this system in our world today so that you can tell me that “Jen” (from the sample flash application) is really good to talk to about concerts, OK to talk to about clothing and not so good to talk to about Movies. I think that this has been created as an internal memory piece (particularly on web forums where you participate with many of the same people) but how do we extend that?

For instance, I have frequented a web forum where people talk about movies. And there is this one person who is the “King-Transformer” guy. Knows everything about the history of the show, the movie and everything else that is Transformer based.

Know I know that this person is the person to go to in order to ask an educated question about Optimus Prime and gang, but how do I tell others. How does this person become widely known as the “King-Transformer” guy. This system has to be created some how. Unfortunately I think that this is something that will require the cooperation of many sites but we can hope.

Forget January … 2007 is the year of the connection

January 11, 2007

Yeah you heard it here first (although trendwatching.com is predicting it for the month of January) this year will see the advent of connecting on line as the premiere method for communicating with people that are both located in and out of our immediate proximity.

Don’t get me wrong the connections we have made without technology will not go away, we will just enhance those connections through tools on the Internet.  You will learn more about the world through people then you will the Internet.  What you get from these new web 2.0 applications that are popping up is trusted views of what is out there.  Your Aunt Jenny’s web links will be available through her del.icio.us account and your long last friends blog will let you know what he was up to over the last 10 years.  This is the year.

Today I was contacted by three people within the course of an hour and a half via LinkedIn to connect with them.  I know that may not seem like such a strange occurence but take into consideration that the last time I was contacted from someone on LinkedIn (after they found my profile) was over 2 months ago.  3 people contacted me within an hour and a half.

My question, and the krux of my post, did they read the article posted at trendwatching.com (or similar prediction from someone else) and think to themselves “Hey you know what, they are right I need to connect with some people” or better yet did they say “If this is THE thing to do this month, I better get a head start and not be left behind, nobody likes to be late to the fad party”.

Either way I am satisfied because like a good glass of beer, no matter how that pint got into your hands, eventually you will like it.  I am glad to see that people (in the mainstream) will be using these tools for communication with their networks, proves that our applications work.