my grandma blogs better than you

Free Advice for Today’s Musicians

Posted in internet, music by tipo on February 23, 2011

Unlike most, I go around town telling people that it’s a great time for musicians. Just look at NIN, Radiohead, Justin Bieber, OK Go, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips and up-and-comers Childish Bambino and Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All… all of these musicians see the Internet as an integral part of their creative process.

If I’m spending the majority of my waking hours on the web, you better deliver me a digital lifestyle to buy into. If you do that, I will hype all your songs on Twitter; I will retumblr your posts; I will join your online fan clubs for pre-sales; I will stay up all night and watch your YouTube remixes; I will buy tickets to your live shows and watch movies you score.

But I will not buy your music. I will find it for free online with one Google search. It’s too easy. I am your modern day fan. The model can be changed, but the labels are not going to help you, your fans will.

Free advice for musicians:

  1. Have a perspective and start a blog, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. You don’t have to do it all. Just do one really freaking well.
  2. Release a few songs every year under Creative Commons. Outreach remixers.
  3. Befriend bloggers. Pick up some PR skills or find a really ambitious fan to help you out.
  4. Make some digital deals. Find a production company, website, mobile platform or brand that needs some high quality content. This is where they money is at.
  5. Play live shows. Lots of them. Charge for them but sometimes do it free for the fans.
  6. Keep making good music. If it sucks, forgetaboutit.

New School Examples:

Flaming Lips iPhone Symphony
Childish Bambino Tumblr
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All Tumblr & Fan Remixed Tumblr

Old School Examples:

NIN’s Creative Commons album
Radiohead says pay what you want
Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube
OK Go gets State Farm to sponsor their music video since EMI wouldn’t allow embeds
Arcade Fire’s Chrome Experiment

The Future of Media is Software

Posted in internet by tipo on November 28, 2010

The next evolution of media platforms is software licensing. Forget content syndication, co-branding or ad networks. If you want to grow your website or mobile application in the next year, you need to create a point of difference through engineering.

Let’s look at what Buzzfeed and Hunch are doing today:

  • Buzzfeed opened access to its ‘viral dashboard’ to publishers looking to track the popularity of their content this past September. Use of the viral dashboard is currently free but you can imagine Buzzfeed eventually developing a revenue sharing model with partner sites. The move, regardless, immediately puts Buzzfeed into the real-time analytics game in which there are far fewer competitors and perhaps more money than the content game.

The above two examples come from a handful that I can think of today. It’s clear that Buzzfeed and Hunch are leading the way of how media platforms should evolve over the next year. Licensing API’s that provide other platforms powerful data can lead to greater reach, revenue and market worth than age-old media models.

Where do traditional advertisers fit into this new model? Well, more to come on that! If you want a little taste of what the future will look like, make sure to check out a partnership that I hold dear to my heart, PepsiCo x Foursquare x Catalina Marketing x Safeway.

Location Wars: Don’t Forget Your Employees

Posted in internet by tipo on August 17, 2010

For a moment, stop thinking about location in terms of what mobile application will win the war and start thinking about scale and your organization. If you’re not a mom and pop store and if you’re a medium to large size retailer or CPG that’s trying to move millions of cases of product, your top question is how can I use this consumer behavior to drive volume?

Your stores’ employees hamper scale. Recent case studies from Foursquare to Gowalla demonstrate that redemption success relies on whether your employees not only know about the offer and how to redeem it but also how to educate the consumers about the offer within stores. This is not easy when you have thousands and thousands of employees and have never once hired a cashier or store manager based on their digital literacy (unless you’re Apple).

What if employees had to use Foursquare to check-in and check-out of work instead of punching a card? What if the employee of the month didn’t get a photo in the staff room but his own in-store special? What if you celebrated overtime by rewarding frequent check-ins? Brining innovation within your store and/or shopper marketing programs doesn’t mean starting with consumers, it means starting with the in-store experience (employees) which leads to scale.

…Don’t forget to vote for my SXSWi 2011 Panel: Younger Than Pete Cashmore! VOTE HERE.

Postmodern Texting

Posted in internet by tipo on August 11, 2010

A person very close to me said that I’m the least emotional texter the other day. My knee jerk reaction was ‘how dare you insult my texting style’ but shortly after I realized that I do text like a 50-something and that I prefer such.

People my age, 18 – 24 years old, spend most of their time ‘on.’ By on, I mean always performing for some audience. As Chuck Klosterman explains in Sex, Drugs, and Coca Puffs, MTV’s Real World caused viewers to develop a sophisticated view of postmodernism, even if they weren’t aware of what the term means. Cast members look  directly into the camera despite being instructed to act like they’re not being filmed. This behavior influenced viewers ‘real lives’ as they began to compare themselves and their friends to the one-dimensional cast members.

Today, most people my age are constantly a postmodern version of themselves. On Facebook and Twitter, we’re curating content to architect a persona. On Foursquare, we’re announcing that we’re present and broadcasting selected locations to Facebook and Twitter that once again support our desired image. On Gchat and BBM, we’re inserting as many emoticons as possible to substitute for our lack of physicality. We created an environment where we are required to always be on.

So when it comes to texting, I now recognize why my friend said my texts are emotionless. With so many options to create and join a conversation, I reserve texting for moments to ask, “Where are you?,” “I’m in the back.,” “What’s the password to the account?” and other banal, but timely questions and replies. However after surveying several friends, such behavior is not socially acceptable. I’m supposed to CAP words, add exclamation points and question marks and even insert a smiley face if the mood strikes me. Once again, media environments converge and create new expectations that supersede efficiency and utility.

I do not plan to change my modern texting style. If you’re looking to engage with the postmodern version of myself, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, IM and perhaps even in-real-life.

I would love to know your thoughts on modern versus postmodern texting/media environments….

Learning from Diaspora’s financial model

Posted in internet by tipo on May 24, 2010

Diaspora’s success at raising over $175k in a matter of days shouldn’t only be attributed to the collective outcry over Facebook’s privacy mess-ups. From the get-go, Diaspora did several smart things to lay a foundation for success:

1. Ask for money in the beginning. Unlike Twitter and other digital products that began as free to users and eventually tried to establish a financial model, Diaspora understands that your best bet to build desired behaviors is from inception.

2. “I was here first.” Similar to the above, technophiles want to be the first ones to join a community. These individuals will provide you with the best insight for agile development, spread the word and defend your platform when times get tough.

3. Software is free, hosting service and phone support are at a premium. Pay nothing at the door, but make sure the bar inside is loaded.

4. Tiered, tangible rewards. Diaspora not only recognizes people’s concerns around digital privacy, but also a desire to reconnect with “offline goods.” Rewards such as t-shirts and stickers might sound kitchy, but geeks like myself will proudly wear such flare.

I’m pretty excited to see what these NYU kids work up. And I’m not just saying that because they went to my alma mater!

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Friday Make A Chart Day (v3)

Posted in internet by tipo on April 16, 2010

Strategist/blogger/fashionista/lolcats-aficionado Bud Caddell declared all Fridays #makeachartday two weeks ago. The successful launch was followed by strategist/blogger/ping-pong-maker/manly-man Clay Parker Jones encore worthy performance as host. The hostess baton is passed to me this week, so please send me your glorious charts either by leaving a comment with an URL or by posting to twitpic/tweetphoto (include #makeachartday). I’ll post them below throughout the day.

By Johanna

By Bud

By Tyler

By David

By Bud (his 2nd chart of the day)

By Ellen

By Rye

By Kyle

By Jen

By Matt

By Christopher

By Michael

By Jonathan

By Clay (this is one of a series)

By Eric

By Mike

By Eric (his 2nd chart of the day)

By Jonathan

By Len

By Dan

By Rick

By Bud (his 3rd chart of the day)

By Ana

By Christy

By Charlie

By Clay (his 2nd chart of the day)

By Pragerd

By Adam

By Jonathan (his 2nd chart of the day)

By Mark

By Ana (her 2nd chart of the day in response to Jonathan’s Orbit chart)

By Dan-O

By Matt

By Daniel

By Brandi

By Josh (hater of #makeachartday)

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A Foursquare Critique On 4SQ Day

Posted in internet by tipo on April 16, 2010

In honor of global 4SQ Day, I thought I’d add my two cents about the application despite this post being way overdue. One, I’m a Foursquare addict as broadcasting my locations to friends was something I already did. Two, I’ve been disappointed with many of the brand integrations.

Currently we’ve seen brands sponsor the leaderboard, a badge or tips. A best in class examples is watching Tasti-D-Lite build a loyalty program around Foursquare – at least this integration is connected to business goals. The realm to play within the application seems limited, but it’s not.

Foursquare should continue to be used for loyalty programs and CRM. Similarly, the application is ripe for research. Shopping behaviors, qualitative consumer insights (tip section), top performing stores and more could be deducted from Foursquare. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nielsen teams up with Foursquare one day. And lastly, the undiscovered integration: emotional connections.

News organizations and entertainment houses need to capitalize on an existing behavior, checking-in to a cultural moment. During the NYC winter 09/10 snowstorms users checked-in to the user-generated venue “Snowpocalypse NYC.” Countless New Yorkers wrote tips such as “Sledding in Central Park” to much more slanderous remarks. In that brief window of time, hundreds of people made an emotional connection within the application and to each other. News and entertainment joints could do just the same with live events, television shows and movies. There are countless opportunities for transmedia storytelling and deeper connections to your brand within Foursquare.

On today’s first 4SQ Day, I ask for marketers to think bigger. (And yes, I’m pretty sure the only people who read my blog are marketers and my boyfriend.)

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How Innovative Is Your Privacy Policy?

Posted in internet by tipo on February 22, 2010

Internet privacy is a slippery slope. Despite our perception of a borderless web, legislation varies for each country. As Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others push the web to become more social, users’ privacy control wanes. And privacy is absolutely not dead. Privacy is now a method to create and manage your identity, explains my coworker Bud Caddell. 2010 is the year people share more, 2011 will be the year people regret their exhibitionism.

I am more concerned about our youth than adult users when it comes to privacy. Adults need to take personal responsibility and understand that if Facebook hints at changes in users’ privacy settings, then they must take action. I don’t expect my 10-year-old cousin on Facebook to understand this – and yes, despite Facebook’s 13-year-old age limit, he and several of his underage friends peruse the network each day. You can argue that parents are responsible for keeping their children away from the social web, but we all know that’s an unfair expectation.

Web giants need to start mimicking older media predecessors’ social responsibility. In 2007, Nickelodeon began prohibiting use of its characters on junk food products. Characters can only be licensed to “better for you” products that were determined by Nick’s marketing department and food advocacy groups. Comparatively, the Google Dashboard is a poor man’s excuse to bring privacy controls to the masses, let alone youngsters.


Some web applications are ahead of the curve. The mobile app Citysense grants users ownership over historical data. The app includes buttons to “delete any data acquired in the last 24 hours” and to “delete all historical data.” This is brilliant. This will be the future. More historical data may make an application smarter (what up, algorithm) and more appealing to marketers (what up, CRM), but users’ distrust will be on the rise as they start to see their digital thumbprints all over search engines and declined university and job applications. Platforms that exercise transparent user data management will soon be perceived as more innovative than those that do not.

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Future Algorithm of the Social Web

Posted in internet by tipo on February 16, 2010

I recently alluded that Facebook needs to implement smarter algorithms or my defriending fiesta begins tomorrow (David Armano held a similar argument this weekend). My coworker Mike Arauz helped me realize that my dilemma is much larger than Facebook, by asking what metrics would I like to see in a network’s algorithm. There’s no doubt that social’s main focus is soon to be content (and location) compared to individual connections. If current social powerhouses don’t filter the noise, they will quickly become less valuable.

A social algorithm needs two pillars: 1) That identifies your relationship with an individual (person, brand) and 2) That identifies your relationship with the content source. An individual and content source must be equally weighted because if content is social’s currency, it’s only valuable when you have individuals to exchange it with and vice versa. Most networks tend to only focus on the individual and ignore the fact that a significant part of our interactions occur with content. Whether a friend pushes out a status update, check-in or piece of content, his action needs a two-pillar combined score:

For the algorithm to be possible, the future social network would leverage APIs so your friends and data from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Reader, Delicious, Last.FM, Netflix and so forth travel with you. On a more micro level, I would hope for the algorithm to reflect more personal connections: Do you listen to the same music as the individual? Watch similar films? Hang out in the same places? However, the crux of the algorithm is to recognize your relationship with content and the insights that come from it.

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Facebook, You Ain’t My Everything

Posted in internet by tipo on February 7, 2010

Facebook will do or die in the next few months. Expect it to not only turn into your main content platform, but for it also to become very location centric. We already witnessed the network’s power last week – A Facebook blog post encouraged users to create a “news” feed, fanning your favorite media outlets. As a result, Facebook was the #4 source of visits to media sites last week, only behind Google, Yahoo and MSN. Come on, that is insane how quickly Facebook can disrupt a paradigm.

More so, industry rumors hint that Facebook will soon institutionalize check-ins. This is obviously a major threat to location darlings Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp. But how public are Facebook users willing to become? On Foursquare, I have 25 friends who I interact with on a daily basis. On Facebook, I have 800 friends that I never talk to and see – do I really need those people to know where I hang out at night?

If Facebook is out there and listening, please take my advice that you need to step up your intelligence algorithms. If my news feed becomes flooded with content and location check-ins of people I never contact, get ready for me to unfriend hundreds of people. The value of my Facebook friends rely on whether 1) I hang out with them in real life 2) I can’t hang out with them in real life but want to stay in touch or 3) I find them voyeuristically interesting. Every time I click on a friend’s profile, read an article they liked or viewed a photo, I need you to track that data and provide me with smarter content recommendations and location check-ins upon my return. If you don’t become any smarter, you will start to resemble the black hole that is my email inbox.

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