A collision of thoughts

 

I just attended the 1st US edition of the Collision conference in New Orleans.
A 3 days marathon of start up pitches and product demos, talks by founder, developers, media execs and investors.

I focused my time mostly on keynote sessions to get a good feel for tech and media tends.

Here is what I captured.

I am not going to write about the strategic value of data, the astronomic rise of video, the audience fragmentation push and pull game, the importance of native content or the need to experiment with bots, etc…

All these topics were definitely highly discussed but I’d rather share fresh new insights that I haven’t heard much about before.

There are 2 of them.

1- VR is better with AR and AI:

VR was at the center of many many, many conversations. Every company, every start up seems to be involved in some way or another.

It is like we are recreating the invention of the moving image but instead of doing it over 100 years, it is happening in 3 to 5 years.

The impact of VR on our lives, our social interactions, our empathy is (will be) huge.

From the New York Times Displaced documentary covering the refugee crisis, to Charity water story telling, to Cirque du Soleil working on integrating VR into their shows, or recording important moments of our lives with the new Samsung VR camera being released next month….

VR is the next big thing. That is pretty obvious.
What was interesting at Collision conference was to hear about what will happen when VR is here, at scale.

 VR will be bigger with AR and AI (and vice versa)

The potential for VR + AR +AI merged together deepen utility and “enterpisification” in the work place, education and general life experiences…

For instance, imagine a VR experience with voice recognition, space tracking, hand movements and personal data all in one.

You are in a VR experience, you turn your hand up, your emails appear, speak to dictate your response, swipe right  and it calls the person you want to communicate with…

As screen definition improves, processing power speeds up, content creation becomes simpler, new human behaviors that we don’t even know could be possible will emerge simply because the VR echo system exists…

This is a good transition to the next insight.

2- Ethics:

If we are going to create robots and attempt to enhance human genetics and physiological functions, we need to solve ethical questions that didn’t need to be asked before.

I started to think about that at SXSW where I saw a few engineers giving presentations that we were closer to philosophy than technology.

Right now we know 2 stages of life “alive” and “not alive. So where do robots fit in and how we define their missions in society?

Andrea Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics has endless knowledge and opinion about that. Here is one of her previous keynote.

What about the fascinating applications that Halo Neuroscience will have not only on sport performances but learning, education, medicine… how can the device be used without aggravating inequalities?
Is it pushing the limits of the human conditions?

As you can sense, the Collision conference was a great experience.
After 3 days of hyper stimulation, my brain was ready for some relaxing rhythm at NOJazzfest.

 

Marie Sornin

One way ticket

** For Australians citizens mostly **

I have already written a blog titled “How to make it in America”, this post is about the preparation you need before buying a one way ticket to the US.

I have been in New York for about 3 months, and apart from still not having any credit history (which is pretty much the key to unlock any type of service in America) everything is going pretty smoothly.
So here are some observations for Australians who want to relocate to the US.

They are based on my experience from contemplating the idea of moving to the US to living like a New Yorker.

1- Know what you want:

Knowing exactly what you want to do is a must before you start engaging with contacts in the States.

Until you clear what position you are looking for, what type of company you want to work for and why, you will get asked to figure it out before going any further.

2- Activate your contacts:

Once you have a plan, it is time to get in touch with your network: friends, ex colleagues, recruiters, inspiring people that can link you with opportunities and knowledge about the American market.

Don’t forget that they are likely to get people asking them for such tips all the time, so be creative in the way you approach them.

I once attended a presentation by Tim Ferriss (author of the four hour work week) one of his tips is to “trade” information.
This is how he managed to become an early investor in start-ups such as Linkedin and Evernote.

Before we decided to move, my husband went to Miami for a conference.
He made some great contacts there, and took one of the executives out for dinner.
A few months later, that same executive referred him for a role at Google. The next day, he got a call from Google’s recruiter.

3- Are you eligible to work in the US?

Sooner or later during this journey, you will get asked if are you eligible to work in the US.

That is when you need to pull secret card: The E-3 visa.
It is a unique status for Australian citizens part of a trade agreement between Australian and the US established in 2009.

All the details can be found here on the Australian US embassy site.

This status makes it very easy for companies to sponsor Australians on a 2-year working visa.

The main difficulty is that very few recruiters and HR departments know about it.

To be successful at lifting the “are you eligible to work in the US” barrier, you must be able to demonstrate how a company can sponsor you on an E3 in 3 weeks for less than $2,000 fees.

If you can’t do that, your other options are L1, H1, etc. visas. They are extremely complicated, costly and lengthy to obtain. 

When I started talking to my employer about transferring to New York, the E3 was one of the first things I mentioned. I repeated it in every single communication, only to find out that when my position was approved, HR was about to start the immigration process for a H1 visa (intra company transfer), which was not guaranteed.

I had to patiently go over the E3 status again, prepare a detailed summary of the requirements for the employer and employee.
That information allowed HR to get sponsorship approval from the immigration consultant working on my case.
3 weeks later, I landed in New York with my work permit in hand.

4- Make the trip:

You can do all the prep you want, it is not until you get yourself there that things will accelerate.

Organize your trip by lining up as many meetings and interviews as you can.

When you are there, don’t be lazy. As hard as it is to fight the jet lag and go from meeting to meeting, just do it.
If someone throws you a contact: call them and meet with them.
Adapt your schedule to make the most of it!

4 months before moving, I spent one week in New York.
I tried to book a quick meeting with my now boss before I arrived.
On my first day there I tweeted this: 

He noticed it and made time to catch up with me on my day before last.
When I left, I was in a position to follow up on a job offer.

5- Follow up:

After your trip, you will need to close on the opportunity that you want.
Follow up on the visa, contract, benefits, and relocation.

It is a very important phase. Once you leave, the excitement fades, people go back to their daily routine and your opportunity becomes another task.
Don’t let that task fall at the bottom of their to do list because you are far away.
This is a difficult exercise of applying pressure without become that annoying person.
Patience and positivity help a lot.
I listened to more reggae than usual during that time. 
What will be your way to stay on top if?

6- Get ready:

Once you have a job lined up or a moving date, you start a marathon of things to do. What you will need is just pure simple organization mastery!

When you review your financials, over estimate the savings that you will need.
As mentioned above, until you get credit history (6 months of having your Social Security Number) you will need cash!

When I think about life in the US, that quote attributed to Steve Jobs “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” comes to mind. I will also ad be vocal, move fast.

Marie Sornin

Consumer insights on steroids

Imagine if you could record your life… that is the idea behind a lot of new technologies and wearable devices. Every parent who has used Google Glass love that they can take pictures of their kids every moment, creating price less memories.

With a much more complicated toolkit, that is what Deb Roy and his family have done over several years. This gave birth to an incredible set of data and later to BlueFin, the technology behind the new Twitter TV Ad Targeting solutions.

WELL WORTH watching!

Marie Sornin

An essay on social currency

Guest post by Alexander Southwick– Emerging Solutions and Social Advertising Executive at Fairfax Media

As social media develops to become a mainstream marketing channel for brands, there is a critical need to define the way we measure social success. In line with the traditional measurement metric of ‘reach’, most marketers look to the total number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on their brand accounts as a key objective for their social media activities.
In theory, ‘reach’ should increase the engagement level with brands. Therein lies the dilemma of social networks: a consumer can filter out a brand if they feel they are being interrupted too much (spam). Knowing that the average post on a Facebook brand page will only reach 12% of your audience means that the total number of ‘likes’ a page has isn’t a true reflection of social success. Instead marketers need to look away from reach based messaging, to messaging that is adding value to the communities they are building around their brands: Social currency!

Social currency is a relatively new term that is applied to material being shared across social networks. People deal in social currency to increase their personal or brand standings in the eyes of peers and consumers. In short… something that people want to share and discuss. A brand updating their page with a new viral video gives their users a reason to share with their connections. As a result the creation of content with high social currency will help to add value to the community. Consequently, for marketers to be successful at social media, they need to look to develop content that gives social currency for users to take away and ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘reblog’ and ‘repin’ across social networks.

One of the most outstanding example of social currency is the  Red Bull Stratos Jump. It occurred on the 14th of October 2012 and not only did Felix break 3 world records, he helped Red Bull create truly unique and compelling ‘hook’ that people wanted to ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘reblog’ and everything in between. With more than 8 million people worldwide watching the Youtube Live stream, the post jump photo of Felix having landed safely has achieved 491,353 Likes, 21,175 comments and 50,508 shares the majority of which occurred in the first hour of it being uploaded! Multiplying the number of shares by the average number of friends a Facebook user has the reach potential got close to 11 million Facebook users. Even by applying the 12% viewing ratio, that still gives you a true reach of 1.32 million! Red Bull associated its brand to content that is so compelling  it became a mainstream topic of conversation. Direct marketing benefits are invaluable!

Creating social currency isn’t easy.
However, by deeply understanding your audience (beyond what they like about your brands & products), identifying what is  most interesting to your fans/followers and potential customers and creating content around it, you will have the keys to provide value. The next thing you need to do is break out of the TVC model and go for a ‘branded entertainment’ production model…. and that isn’t easy… only a few advertisers manage to do this well. The Mary Me Microsoft campaign we blogged about in 2010 and the ‘is it content or is it advertising?‘ post from last December showed good examples. Here is a more recent one: Teaching your consumers something new a in fun way is a particularly good, even if it has a bit of a sombre message –

As more marketers understand the importance of social currency, and consumers gain more power to ignore or amplify their message….  The process of surrounding the target consumer with messaging in an integrated campaign might not hold true anymore. Accurate measurement is critical for social media to keep growing its share in the communications mix. We must re-think how to evaluate social media KPIs and what messaging will achieve these KPIs .

As an agency or advertiser, do you have specific KPIs for your social media campaigns? Are able to clearly measure the benefit they are bringing to your marketing plans?

For more information on how to create social currency read our article “What are the three words that will guarantee social media success?”

Alexander Southwick

Sources:

Red Bull Facebook Page

How to become a sexy Pinner

I mean someone who builds appeal on Pinterest!
For those who are not familiar with Pinterest; it is a
content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects… just like a good old pin board or even fridge door! Pinterest is the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark (11.7 million users globally/ apprx 570K in Australia – Jan 2012). I think that what has made Pinterest so popular (at least to women) is its visual appeal. Like Nancy Georges described it at last week’s social media womenPinterest is “A real Beautiful, Delicious eye candy”.

If you are in home decor, art, craft, fashion, style or deign, food, travel, Pinterest could become a great marketing tool for you!

Sexy

Here are some key tips gathered at the social media women event last week:

– Start Pinning before you follow people, you must demonstrate insights to your creativity when they start following you.
– Select topics you like so that you feel like participating!
– Add pin it button to your bookmarks, it makes it super easy to pin as you browse the web!
– Just like on any other social networks: follow the rules of engagement: don’t pin in blocks, don’t “spam pin”, follow people you like, acknowledge when someone re-pins your content (and follow them if you fin their creativity interesting), re-pin and like when you see something you love!
– Act like you are the editor of your own magazine: build boards that resonate with you and your creativity. Make it fun for you and you “audience”!!
– Make your board names interesting and attention grabbing (eg: Sarah says). Create storyboards (eg: a board for anything to do with summer, orange…)
– Go mobile: download the app for iphone or Android. It will help you be spontaneous and more authentic.
– Explore & discover: use the search button & the drop down. Give yourself a goal to use Pinterest (eg: accessories you need for a party, home reno, plan a holiday…)
– Upload videos: there is not a lot of video content yet, so easy way to get noticed!

Happy Sexy Pinning!

Marie Sornin