Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
October 27, 2014 9:53 AM

Apple Pay And The Future Of How We Spend Money

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly to SoundCloud, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up on listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry and Heather B. morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed:

  • Are we about to see the end of email? Doubtful. Still, Google is attempting to reinvent email to make it that much efficient for all of us. This past week, Google launched something called Google Inbox. Of course, it's invite-only right now, but people are already excited and talking about it.
  • Do people still care about Ello? They just announced $5.5 million in funding.
  • Amazon reported their quarterly earnings, and it wasn't pretty. The stock took a beating. Of course, they're still making tons of money... they're just spending a lot too. I, for one, think that Jeff Bezos is one of the best entrepreneurs out there. So, should Amazon's stock take a beating or should Wall Street back off?
  • Apple Pay was launched last week when the new iOS for iPhone's was launched. What will the future of mobile payment look like? Can Apple Play be the big player?
  • Not to be outdone in the "shiny new objects" of the week space, Facebook also released something interesting this week (that also plays into that topic of the impermanent Web) called, Rooms. The new app allows groups of people to contribute to message boards on topics of your choosing. Users create rooms for a topic they're interested in and invite others to join by sending them a QR code for the room. Each user who joins can pick the name they want to use and, much like traditional message boards, group creators can also assign moderators or set age restrictions. But, you can be anonymous. Can you really be anonymous?
  • Jimmy Kimmel talks up Apple Pay (and, it's funny).

Listen here...

By Mitch Joel


October 26, 201411:23 AM

How To Speak So That People Want To Listen

Episode #433 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

How many people do you know that are able to get even one of their talks on to the TED stage? My friend, Julian Treasure, has done it five times. Crazy. You have to be working on some pretty interesting stuff for that to happen. And, indeed, he is. Over the years, Julian's TED talks about the power of audio have become "must-watch" presentations. Julian is the chair of The Sound Agency, a company that advises businesses on how to use sound. He is also the author of the business book, Sound Business, and keeps a blog by the same name. His latest TED talk was published on the TED site a few months back, and it's called, How to speak so that people want to listen. It is about to pass 3.5 million views. It's an important piece of content for anyone in business, and I'm thrilled that he agreed to come on to the podcast to discuss it. Enjoy the conversation...

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast #433.

By Mitch Joel


October 25, 2014 8:46 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #227

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:

  • One Lap with Rob Coneybeer - One Lap with Rob Coneybeer. "Rob is a smart VC from the Bay Area who's been to Bitnorth and Montreal's Startupfest. He's a smart investor, having backed companies like Nest. He is also a hardcore race car driver. He has a new series in which entrepreneurs have exactly one lap at high speeds to pitch their product. This takes elevator pitches to the next level -- and the results are pretty funny to watch." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Rhyme: Why Eminem is one of the most impressive lyricists ever. "As a music fan, you'll love this inside look into how songs are written, and the depths of true lyricism." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • The Runners. "Interviews on the big and small questions of life, with (jogging) joggers in London's Victoria Park. Love, sex, God, depression, passion and more. Pretty amazing little film." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Political Polarization & Media Habits - Pew Research Journalism Project. "Pew (as usual) with more interesting research, this time on the political polarization and media in the US." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • William Gibson: The Future Will View Us "As a Joke" - Mother Jones. "Here's a pretty fascinating podcast/interview with the person who coined the phrases 'cyberspace' and 'cyberpunk.' Not only does famed science fiction writer, William Gibson, think that the future will see us as 'a joke,' but it's shocking to read that he avoided the Internet and email for as long as he did. Beyond that, this interview also illustrates how challenging it is to be a science fiction writer, in a world where science fiction is always becoming reality." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • 'Am I being catfished?' An author confronts her number one online critic - The Guardian. "For fun, several years ago, a fellow blogger and author (I think was Julien Smith, Chris Brogan or Scott Stratten) asked all of us who had also written books to head over to Amazon and read the absolute worst one. Reviews are funny. You can read hundreds of great ones, but it's that one bad/brutal one that will always roll around in your noggin for days, weeks... and beyond. Bad stuff sticks to your ribs. I have thin skin, but you're supposed to have thick skin. Also... never engage. In four words: Don't feed the trolls. This author decided to go for it and ignore the online golden rule. Ugh." (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel


October 24, 2014 7:56 PM

Where Does Amazing Work Come From?

Every brand wants amazing work. Every agency wants to create amazing work for the brands that they represent.

It doesn't just happen. The cash register doesn't start ringing on its own. Having consumers talk about a brand is rarely something that starts as organically as it seems. People often ask me about where great ideas come from. There needs to be a root. A foundation. A beginning point. An agreement between the brand and the agency about where they must wind up. We live in a results-oriented world now. It's a place where every piece of creative can (and should) be tested and analyzed. We also live in a real-time environment, where even TV commercials can be posted on YouTube to see how they perform. Measurable, real-time and there's lots of it. Advertising takes on many different forms now. Much more than the traditional, TV, radio, print and out-of-home model. Native advertising, search engine marketing, sponsored tweets and more. The stakes have never been higher.

Everything starts with a great brief.

What looks like a simple document is - in reality - an agreement of how audacious and serious a brand is about making the right impression. You won't find a marketing professional who doesn't take the brief for what it is: page one of a much bigger story. So, how do the most creative people in the world think and use the brief? It turns out that Bassett & Partners (a brand and strategy design firm) wanted to know the answer, so they created an incredible mini-documentary titled, Briefly. If you are curious about how to write a better brief or how to deal with the briefing process (and who isn't it), please watch this... and share it with your team... and the brands that you represent.

Here it is: Briefly...

Briefly from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

(hat-tip to Min at Twist Image for the find).

By Mitch Joel


October 22, 201411:30 PM

It's Not My Job Anymore

Do brands still need to be convinced about digital marketing?

It's done. It's over. Digital marketing is an integral component of a proper marketing mix. In fact, I can selfishly argue that digital marketing is more important than most traditional mass media channels. That doesn't devalue what can be done with traditional advertising, it simply means that digital marketing - on its own - can be enough to build, sustain and retain a healthy client base. Yes, there are countless brands that have built massive businesses without the help of traditional advertising, by relying solely on the power of digital channels. And, we're going to see a lot more of them as time marches on.

The end of evangelism?

Hardly. That being said, I have often proclaimed that those who focus on digital marketing should no longer be in the business of convincing. That's an evermore important philosophy for us to embrace. When it comes to hunting down business for Twist Image, we will typically shy away from the potential clients who are asking us to come in and convince them as to why they should shift their advertising budgets to digital, or to convince them e-commerce could be a viable channel for them, etc.... Instead, we look for brands that are actively trying move their needle in a significant way, because they know, believe and understand what digital can do for them (and have been taking the channel a little bit too slowly).

Don't confuse emerging media for digital marketing.

Within the scope of digital marketing, there are many new and emerging platforms. You can look at platforms like virtual reality or programmatic to channels like Snapchat, Ello and even Pinterest. It's fine to question these new opportunities or to sit on the sidelines to better determine if your brand can have a voice within it. It's not fine to still be relegating small percentages of advertising budgets against channels like email, search, social media, content marketing and beyond. Again, digital marketing is no longer a question mark in marketing,

What about the influencers?

It feels like we have all but abandoned this model, because everyone can be some kind of influencer. This is true. Anyone can publish their thoughts - in text, images, audio and video - for the world to see. Still, the ability for individuals to build a direct relationship with their audience is profound, and it continues to grow on a daily basis. While YouTube may feel like HBO to the modern marketer, it continues to grow and expand into a form of television that could - depending on how the next few years unfolds - create an even more significant parade of celebrities than it already has. That platform has both become a mature marketplace for brands, and still amazes with new YouTube celebrities that are being created daily and earning millions of subscribers. From a brand perspective, working with these influencers and figuring out a way to be relevant within these communities -  or better yet, develop your own content and build your own community - seems to be a strategy that is being abandoned for a more traditional advertising approach. You know, pre-roll and post-roll TV commercials that have hardly been re-purposed for YouTube, that most consumers are opting to skip whenever possible.

Don't make this mistake.

It's true, there is no longer a need to convince brands that digital marketing is critical for success. Still, a lot of what we're now calling "digital marketing" is really just traditional advertising in digital channels. And, that's where the real rub lies. Too many brands are confusing advertising in a very traditional way in digital channels as digital marketing. It is not. The right approach? Instead of thinking about how an ad might share a brand message with the world, step back, and ask a better questions. Something like: what is the problem that my brand solves? How can my brand help people and add value to their lives? What stories would most impact consumers and make them think of us? See, this is why digital marketing reigns supreme. Brands can now create digital products and services to answer these questions. They no longer have to just create another form of advertising to scream at people. Still, In an age when we no longer should be convincing people about how important digital marketing is, it still feels like we have miles to go until brands understand it.

Fact: digital marketing allows brands to do so much more than just advertise at people. Still need convincing?

By Mitch Joel


October 20, 2014 8:50 PM

The New iPads Will Force Us To Redefine The Screen

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is... Read more

By Mitch Joel


October 19, 2014 7:12 AM

First There Was UnMarketing Now There Is UnSelling

Episode #432 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Scott Stratten is back with a brand new book, UnSelling, that he co-authored with Alison Kramer. Over the... Read more

By Mitch Joel


October 18, 2014 8:58 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #226

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete... Read more

By Mitch Joel


October 17, 2014 5:43 PM

Content Is Not King

It's a pretty bold statement, isn't it? Are we making the wrong assumptions about content? What works? What doesn't work? What makes something go viral? Do you think that BuzzFeed knows the answers to these questions, better than anyone else?... Read more

By Mitch Joel


October 16, 201411:33 PM

Our Digital Lives

Don't blame technology. Technology is ambiguous. Yesterday, I blogged about a new documentary that was being aired on TVO titled, Life After Digital. The documentary depressed me on many levels. Yes, it's a dystopian view of how bad people seem... Read more

By Mitch Joel