Archive for the ‘star’ tag
16 days of intense competitions around Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in London are over. And to send us off into the ‘Time after The Olympics’ adidas UK have produced this fun little video in record time. It features many stars of Team GB miming Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. A nice and warm way to remind us of the joy and humanity of the events.
Strategically adidas linked the video to their overall Olympics campaign ‘Take the Stage’ with David Beckham top and tailing the video as a fictional director and the final hash tag #stagetaken.
I think Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton show some serious star quality - and all of this in an unusual low-budget (by adidas standards) kind of production. There is more on the Making Of here on director Philip Bloom’s blog.
Client: adidas UK
I recently heard from a TED speaker who was able to quote, verbatim, truly nasty comments people had posted about her talk.
And yet, I’ve never once met an author who said, “Well, my writing wasn’t resonating, but then I read all the 1 star reviews on Amazon, took their criticism to heart and now I’m doing great…”
There are plenty of ways to get useful and constructive feedback. It starts with looking someone in the eye, with having a direct one on one conversation or email correspondence with a customer who cares. Forms, surveys, mass emails, tweets–none of this is going to do anything but depress you, confuse you (hey, half the audience wants one thing, the other half wants the opposite!) or paralyze you.
I’m arguing that it’s a positive habit to deliberately insulate yourself from this feedback. Don’t ask for it and don’t look for it.
Yes, change what you make to enhance delight. No, don’t punish yourself by listening to the mob.
StoryBundle is just one of a few new “pay-what-you-want” book deals blossoming from the ashes of traditional publishing like ferns after a forest fire. This service, run by former Gizmodo pop star Jason Chen, is one of the cooler offerings out there right now and they started out with the Big Bang package featuring up to seven sci-fi books for your perusal and purchase.
You can donate as much (or as little) as you want and a portion of your cash can go to a charity. You can also stiff StoryBundle itself, giving all the cash to the author. Your choice.
“My dream is two-fold,” wrote Chen in a blog post. “As an avid reader, I wanted to make a place where independent authors can get exposure and readers can get quality ebooks without having to sift through list after list of titles. With StoryBundle, voracious readers will always have great reads easily within their reach.”
Services like this closely mirror similar services in the gaming and media space including the Humble Bundle aimed at raising awareness of indie games and music. The Humble Gaming Bundle, for example, regularly hits over $5 million in sales. Arguably, books require “imagination” and “literacy” and are therefore lesser cultural artifacts than games, but good on Chen for trying.
We covered competitor Snug Nugget last week but I think StoryBundle is definitely a bit prettier on the surface and the book offerings seem a bit more polished. As a fan of books, however, I’d recommend checking out both over the next few bundle iterations because it’s of paramount importance to support these nascent services.
AwesomenessTV is so awesome that they snagged $3.5 million in a first round of investment.
What does their awesomeness consist of? Creating original video content for teens and tweens. It is like regular TV, but on the Internet. Which makes it awesomer.
The YouTube channel broadcasts comedy, fashion, sports, music, and reality programming. It’s geared toward “breakers,” otherwise known as adolescents looking to break out of the mainstream media bubble.
“Our core fan base are teens and tweens who are not only consuming pop culture but influencing future trends,” said producer/director Brian Robbins.
Currently, the listings include a sketch comedy series that mocks pop culture, a daily talk show for teen girls (think The Viewbut with more pink), a documentary style series featuring popular musicians, and a sports highlight show. Interactivity is highly encouraged and engaged viewers may find themselves on the channel.
In the pipeline is the network’s first scripted drama series. Chances are this drama will be jam-packed with tear-jerking goodness, considering the producer and director heading this whole endeavor is Brian Robbins, the creator of Smallville and One Tree Hill.
Since launching less than two months ago, over 75,000 subscribers have viewed 10 million videos. That is a lot of time spent not doing homework.
Hedging an investment on teen media consumption is usually a safe bet. But according to a study called “Why the Internet Won’t Kill TV” by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, teens only watch there minutes of video a day on a computer or cellphone, as compared to four hours in front of actual televisions. Apparently, the old fashioned boob tube is still the preferred method of viewing entertainment of today’s youngsters.
The investors obviously believe this endeavor will see returns. This round of funding was led by MK Capital, a firm with a strong portfolio of digital media companies. Greycroft Venture Partners and New World Ventures, as well as a slew of media and technology executives also participated.With
Will teens change their behavior and begin viewing more video content (and advertising) online? Only time will tell. Until then, AwesomenessTV will use the money to expand the network’s offering and hope to grab the attention of teenagers everywhere, which as all parents know, is no easy feat.
AwesomenessTV is based in Los Angeles. It faces competition from other YouTube channels like Teen.com and mainstream media programming as well as streaming sites likes Hulu and Netflix.
ShoeDazzzle, the fashion e-commerce outfit that counts reality star/deep thinker Kim Kardashian among its founders, says that it has broken a new barrier: the site picked up 1 million new users in the month of July, bringing the total number of members up to 13 million. ShoeDazzle claims that’s more than double its nearest competitor in the online accessories market, which include Beachmint and JustFab. In comparison, JustFab, which raised a $76 million round in July, told TechCrunch at the time that it was adding 500,000 users every month.
Bill Strauss, the CEO, tells TechCrunch that the growth is a sign that the company’s business model expanding beyond subscriptions and shows is “resonating” with female consumers. The company today also announced that it is achieving a record number of item sales per order — these are up by 17% compared to Q1. However, it is not giving a concrete number either on average sale amounts or how many items are getting sold.
However, the increase in numbers shows the site is picking up some momentum: the 13 million milestone comes four months after the company announced 10 million users amid an effort to widen its catalog beyond shoes and accessories to also offer clothing. ShoeDazzle says that member growth is up by 25% over the last four months.
ShoeDazzle has been gradually expanding what it is offering to its mainly-female users base. Not only is it now offering apparel and other accessories in addition to shoes, but in March it dropped the mandatory subscription model that put users on a once-per-month buying schedule. Now people can visit the site and buy as often (or as little) as they like. That puts it in line with competitors like JustFab, which has also been expanding its own model beyond subscriptions into an a-la-carte offering.
“The growth shows our changes are really resonating with clients,” Strauss told TechCrunch. He says that one main focus of the company in the last month or so has been to “get the message out that we’re not just based on a subscription model.”
Although companies like JustFab are focused on using funding to expand into international markets to further differentiate themselves from competitors like ShoeDazzle, Strauss believes that there is a better opportunity in enhancing out the footprint (pun intended) that his company has already established in the U.S.
“For now we are focusing here,” he says. “we’re Wooking to increase closet spend with clients here rather than going out geographically, we’re focusing on how we serve our clients head to toe — although international is clearly down the road at some point.”
Despite the expansion into new product areas, shoes remain the most popular item on the site — no surprise, given its name. These are charged at $40 per pair, a competitive rate with JustFab.
Since launching in March 2009 — one of the earlier movers in the space — ShoeDazzle has raised some $60 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz.
As a podcaster myself, I’d say MacManus has written a fair assessment of a podcasting landscape that is indeed dominated by the mainstream media rather than by the independent voices with something to say that was envisioned in the audio medium’s early days eight years ago.
Then, podcasting was seen by many as the big challenger to homogenized playlist-driven radio in the US, a means to democratize radio broadcasting and enable anyone with something to say to, well, say it.
Today, for anyone wanting to make a podcast, the barriers to entry are about zero, even more favourable than they were when I started in 2004 (and they were pretty close to zero then). You don’t even need the bare-bones equipment of a laptop and a headset microphone – if you have a smartphone, you can use online services like Audioboo and iPadio. And it’s equally easy now to do a video podcast.
So why hasn’t podcasting broken out from the mainstream and into the mainstream, as it were?
Actually, who’s to really say it hasn’t? Take a look in the iTunes podcast directory, for instance, and you’ll find thousands and thousands of podcasts to choose from including many that are all about business.
With the exception of Leo LaPorte who MacManus holds up as a podcasting success story – with some clear justification – you won’t find any podcasting “rock stars”.
What you will find among the thousands of podcasts today are shows, series, episodes containing content on myriad subjects, any number of which can attract people looking for great content on subjects that interest them, created by people most of us have never heard of but who we will get to know as we listen to them.
Note the key phrase: “great content.” Yes, just like any publication in a saturated landscape, podcasting is much to do with content. As consumers, we are totally spoiled for choice and we will find what we’re looking for to meet our subjective needs.
If you’re thinking of adding to the long tail of content with your own podcast, here are some tips to increase your chances of discovery, being listened to, talked about and riding up that long tail:
- Offer compelling content
- Ask for listeners’ opinions
- Include those opinions in your next show
- Suggest frequent commenters might want to be contributors
- Talk about what listeners say
- Provide a platform for listener comments
- Make it easy for listeners to get hold of your show
- Build community
Focus on your content, your audience and what you’re helping them achieve. There’s room for anyone with something to say that others may find interesting. If you want to be a rock star, though, join a radio station.
Now, please do excuse me as I need to do some final prep for recording episode number 663 of The Hobson and Holtz Report today with my friend and colleague, Shel Holtz.
The long tail is huge…
- FIR Speakers and Speeches: Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz on Building Community with Podcasting
- 16 business podcasts worth listening to
- Make podcasting take off for you
- Opportunity knocks for a good UK business podcast
The internet is pretty great: It’s allowed the human race to be infinitely more productive as marketers (and as humans on the whole). Still, it can slow us down dramatically unless we manage to avoid time sucks and other distractions. Here are my 10 biggest tips on how to be more productive online, and become a more organized and happy brand ambassador.
Avoid time assassins
The internet, in all of its glory, can occasionally be distracting, and one of the prime ways to end the amusing cycle of cat-videos and games (such as Google Pacman Doodle) is to use a tool that literally makes you get back to your community management responsibilities.
A great example for Chrome users is Stayfocused. This Chrome extension is an easy way to stop unproductive behaviors in their tracks. The overall aim of Stayfocused is to kill the time assassins plaguing the elusive work ethic by giving you time limits on predetermined websites. For example, you can use Stayfocused to block or limit the time you spend on the websites you maintain a love-hate cycle with. (Facebook anyone?) This can increase the amount of time you allot to more productive uses of time, such as syncing with your product team to learn about upcoming exciting announcements, fielding a support question on Twitter, or networking with influencers in your space.
Take a break
One key way to increase your creativity and ability to think with clarity is to give your brain a break. Finding inspiration in the midst of a blank page and frustration can be difficult, so try taking off a couple of minutes away from your work to do something totally relaxing. Donothingfor2minutes.com is a website that makes you do just that — take a couple of minutes to look and listen to waves crashing. If you get antsy and move your mouse, you have to start over. So give into your need to relax for a hot minute.
Focus on the goal ahead
More often than not, it is easy to stop thinking about the purpose of your work, and the overarching goal guiding the task at hand. Instead of beginning repetitive thinking on how difficult or long it will be, try some positive thinking. It is important to step aside from such negative thinking and instead try to focus why you’re doing it: Try to see the work as a way of accomplishing something, instead of some kind of draconian punishment that should be delayed for as long as possible. For example, you might get frustrated answering what seems to be a common question such as “How do I get started with your company” but if you maintain perspective, you will realize that you are signing up new customers!
Turn off your laptop and get some sleep!
One thing which cannot be articulated enough is the importance of sleep. Lack of sleep has been heavily correlated with a multitude of issues, ranging from learning and memory to obesity and heart disease. Furthermore, bright lights coming from electronic devices such as computers, cellphones, and televisions may interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythms, preventing the easy onset of sleep. This means more time spent getting coffee and less time focusing on writing, re-writing, and re-writing your response to someone on a forum. Don’t over think, go with your gut, and your helpfulness and positivity will shine through.
Clear off your desk(top)
A clean desk (and desktop!) equals a clear mind. People can be highly affected by their surrounding and environment, and an easy way to control your own environment is by organizing your desk. Cables, random piles of paper, and trash can all create visual clutter, which can cause one to feel more stressed than necessary. By clearing off your desk, you can create more workable space, be able to find vital pieces of information with ease, and feel more free to work with management teams without a sense of stress. Toss anything you don’t need or use, organize your files so that they’re easy to find, and try to find home for the things you use the most that is closer to you. The less stress you associate with your space will have a positive impact on your focus on
Yelp announced its latest quarterly earnings today, but rather than the financials, these are the numbers that caught my eye:
- Cumulative reviews grew 54% year over year to more than 30 million
- Average monthly unique visitors grew 52% year over year to more than 78 million
Both of those numbers are about double what they were 18 months ago, at the end of 2010. At that time, Yelp announced that it had about 15 million reviews and monthly traffic of about 41 million uniques.
Wowza. Closed out 2010 with +41M unique visitors & +15M reviews in Dec! Feeling good things for 2011! http://yfrog.com/hsjn3xj
— Yelp (@Yelp) January 5, 2011
I still generally believe that overall review counts are meaningless, but I do think this bears watching in light of Google’s risky switch to the Zagat ratings/reviews system. I’m curious to see how that will play out, and if the switch will hurt Google in the long run, while helping competitors like Yelp that are sticking with the familiar 5-star system.
Web Designers, Agencies, & Marketing Firms:
Work with us to deliver the best local search results for your clients and earn commissions.
Expert, accurate, U.S.-based team will claim, verify and enhance your client’s business listings and more.
This is a post from Matt McGee’s blog, Small Business Search Marketing.
Yelp’s Traffic & Review Count Have Doubled in the Past 18 Months
YouTube star Antoine Dodson, known best for the 2010 YouTube hit ‘Bed Intruder Song,’ is “so tired of people from the gay community telling where [he] can/should eat at.” In response to the Chick-fil-A controversy that’s taken the Internet by storm this week, Dodson has uploaded a video to YouTube in which he gives his take on the issue.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Can Creativity be Automated?
Computer algorithms have started to write news stories, compose music, and pick hits.
In 2004, New Zealander Ben Novak was just a guy with a couple of guitars and distant dreams of becoming a pop star. A year later one of Novak’s songs, Turn Your Car Around, had invaded Europe’s radio stations, becoming a top-10 hit. Novak had to beat long odds to get discovered. The process record labels use to find new talent—A&R, for “artists and repertoire”—is fickle and hard to explain; it rarely admits unknowns like him. So Novak got into the music business through a back door that had been opened not by a human, but by an algorithm tasked with finding hit songs. It’s widely accepted that creativity can’t be copied by machines. Reinforcing these assumptions are hundreds of books and studies that have attempted to explain creativity as the product of mysterious processes within the right side of the human brain. Creativity, the thinking has been, proves just how different people are from CPUs. But now we’re learning that for some creative work, that simply isn’t true. Complex algorithms are moving into creative fields—even those as nebulous as music A&R—and proving that in some of these pursuits, humans can be displaced. (via Can Creativity be Automated? – Technology Review)