A poem, algorithmically made from [my] tweets.
A poem, algorithmically made from [my] tweets.
Things of note for the week ending Friday January 23rd, 2015.
1. HOW DO YOU BUILD AN AIRBUS?
It’s like I’m psychic, I know. The question has been on your lips all week, right? It’s incredible really, I honestly don’t know how I do it.
- Just stress-testing an Airbus wing -
Japes aside, if you were indeed pondering the above question then please, ponder no more. This rather excellent and informative video (5mins 16 seconds) can tell you all about it. I’m not a massive plane geek (not ‘nerd’ – check the venn diagram) but I really enjoyed it.
2.65m different parts? Amazing.
The wings are made of TAPE. STICKY TAPE. Amazing.
Plane-making factories can knock out one whole plane every two days? AMAZING.
2. A WAY IN WHICH GOOGLE GLASS WON
And now, a short interlude on the unexpected benefits behind the (so-called) demise of Google Glass:
Technology needs to be socially acceptable. I think in this case that Google Glass didn’t pass that test. A highlight that op eds on the closure of Google Glass like to look at is how it was ridiculed. This included – the way that it looks on your face. Not everyone wants to look like they’re performing sci-fi cosplay at a convention. It also means social acceptance of issues that are pretty unique today – privacy out in the world.
Now you could say that CCTV and government agencies are watching you anyway and there’s the old, OLD chestnut that if you’re not guilty, what’s the problem?
In fact, I think there is a social recoil to being possibly recorded overtly. Google Glass is not exactly subtle but many humans are also uncomfortable when they get close to a whopping great big TV camera that stands out like dogs’ balls.
The piece from which the above is quoted from is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Good smart thinking.
3a. THE THINGS WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE
It’s a book, by Raymond Carver.
It provides a theatrical backbone to the (excellent) film, BIRDMAN.
After seeing (and subsequently waxing everso lyrical about) the latter, someone whose opinion I respect strongly recommended seeking out the former.
And with the melancholic stories of American life in a timeless era providing a backdrop for loss, desire, and wasted lives; it is an incredibly powerful read.
I am probably stupidly late to this but I don’t care.
Sometimes the words not written hit harder than the ones that are.
It is a thing of beauty.
FJ and I share a mutual love of mobile technology and the fact that he has one of the shinier phones in the world is unsurprising to me – he is also a man of taste. But FJ isn’t a thing this week (sorry FJ).
The thing this week is FJ’s replacement handset. Y’see FJ’s Mi3 device suffered an issue with its SIM tray (I believe it got jammed) and FJ needed to get it replaced.
So he did.
— FJ!! van Wingerde (@fj) January 19, 2015
I love this.
That is all.
Before we move on to THE NEXT THING, here are a couple of other Xiaomi things you might find interesting. First up is FJ’s review of said phone from August last year. Good insights here and definitely worth reading if you’re after something different for that achingly desperate pocket of yours.
Second thing is this announcement of Xiaomi’s latest flagship, the Mi Note. Fancy.
4. NEW TWITTER CARD ALERT: VOTE NOW
In my never-ending quest to be a leading source of knowledge on all things Twitter Card related, I thought I’d share this latest nugget that I spotted the other day –
While this isn’t exactly new news (Twitter was spotted messing around with these back in September of last year) it is the first time that I’ve spotted them in the wild.
— Bank of America (@BofA_News) January 19, 2015
They’re weird, they don’t embed (see above), I can’t see a proper use for them (yet) and they seem to be only available to [selected] partners – read: paying advertisers. I’ve tried dicking about on the BIRDOPS page where they’re built but I’m not having much luck.
Oh well. They’re a thing, and now you know about them.
Bonus Twitter thing: ‘Hey! Stop using Instagram!‘
5. HOW TO BE AN EXPLORER OF THE WORLD
DID YOU LIKE THIS POST/EMAIL/THING YOU ARE READING?
Why not tell someone about it?
EDIT: ‘3a’ and ‘3b’ this week. That’ll be because I’m an idiot and can’t count (it’s been a long week). Thank you to the super smart person who pointed this out.
Throughout the process, Marshall and I played around with what we each thought our trends were for the year, stress-testing the notions, cross-examining the evidence (and each other) and as a result, some awesome stuff made it in.
Sidenote: co-writing is fun. If you write, try and write with someone some time. It can be both challenging and rewarding and if you’re lucky, like me, you’ll strike gold with someone super smart to do it with.
There were other trends and ideas too mind: ones that we didn’t have the time to investigate properly, ones that we just couldn’t find enough (read: any) evidence to support, ones that we had put some thought into but hadn’t completely finished noodling on them yet, and ones for which we had a catchy title but no real substance (basically 90% of the trend dross out there today).
Normally we’d cut those but this time however we decided to keep some of those unfinished trends in the final document and, under the heading ‘Random stuff we haven’t figured out yet’, they can be found from slide 40 onwards in said presentation.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, the one that came closest to making it was a little thing that I’d been ruminating on called Trend Churn.
Gap – ‘Dress Normal’ / Wieden + Kennedy
“Sales at the Gap continued to drop in November, as its roundly-criticized “Dress Normal” fall campaign failed to drum up interest from consumers.
Gap’s comparable sales for November were down 4% versus a 2% increase last year. Sales were down 7% year-on-year in October and declined 3% in September. Gap’s other brands, Old Navy and Banana Republic, saw sales increase this last month — so this is a Gap-specific problem.” – Business Insider, December 2014
The word itself, ‘Normcore’, first came to my attention in a K-Hole trend report entitled ‘Youth Mode‘
The Youth Mode report introduces the problem of Mass Indie culture—“where everyone is so special that no one is special”—and proposes a new aspirational model in #Normcore, “a way of being that prioritizes self-identification over self-differentiation.” Normcore is like the smiley face emoticon, which K-HOLE uses so affectively: inclusive, basic, and human; an invitation to engage.
Makes perfect sense right? Right.
Turns out the whole thing was a non-starter. A non-trender, if you will.
And that is a trend itself.
The whole schtick I was pitching at Marshall was the idea that when the bright young trendy creatives are sucking up all the sexiest trend reports all at the same time, constantly under pressure to deliver The Next Big Thing, then surely at some point or another the Emperor’s latest threads will wind up in an ad somewhere.
Samsung – ‘Be Your Own Label’ / Cheil Worldwide
“Samsung set to discontinue Galaxy Alpha in favor of cheaper phones. Production of the metal Alpha will reportedly end when the current inventory of materials runs out.” – The Verge, December 2014
The thing is with writing [a decent] trend report is that you really do need a number of proof points that at least go some way to validate your thinking.
Without those, it’s just a hunch report.
With Trend Churn, I didn’t have the data . I knew that Normcore had leaked into adland but I couldn’t find anywhere that actually measured its impact. Not without any meaningful evidence anyway. Everything in this piece so far is pretty circumstantial.
But you can see what I was noodling at.
I’ll leave you with this piece of solid gold, nabbed from an amazing blog post (from an amazing writer – Jenka Gurfinkel) called ‘The Possibly Real Trend of Real Trends‘
“In the days of slow-moving, 20th century media, emergent cultural expressions had time to incubate below the radar before they tipped into mass awareness. Pre-Tumblr, the only way to find out about a new cultural emergence was through the unassailably real channel of one of its actual practitioners. There was no need to wonder about veracity. Now, a nascent trend doesn’t really have the time to mature into something legitimate before the trendhunting hyenas descend upon it, exposing it to a sudden burst of scrutiny. What remains becomes neither niche enough to be authentic nor mass enough to be indisputable. Maybe no new trend seems quite real because it hasn’t had the chance to become real before we’re looking it up on urban dictionary and just as swiftly are click-baited on to the next dubious dopamine hit of meme culture.”
And in that one paragraph, Jenka nailed exactly the point I was getting at.
Watch for this in adland throughout 2015.
There’ll be more.
As if you’ll notice.
Things of note for the week ending January 16th, 2015.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Five things on Friday #107.
It’s been a busy week (and there are several other blog posts in draft that are close to publishing – probably at the back end of next week – once the madness subsides and all is calm once more) so why not enjoy yesterday’s edition of Three Track Thursday (it’s not another new regular thing, don’t worry, I do actually have a life to live) while you read?
1. GOOGLE: PROJECT ARA
The world’s first (proper) consumer-grade/ready modular phone, Google’s Project Ara is very exciting indeed. Admittedly this thing has been on the way for a while now (starting off as a small start-up, being backed by Motorola, who were then bought by Google), at long last, it’s actually getting somewhere.
And that somewhere is Puerto Rico.
This is actually really exciting and, with the right support, could actually effect a sea-change in the way that we deal with mobile hardware.
Replaceable, shareable, and a unique flavour defined by each individual user; we could be looking at the future, kids.
The Next Web has more.
2. THE EIGHT BOOKS EVERY INTELLIGENT PERSON SHOULD READ
This next item comes once again from the rather excellent blog known as Brain Pickings. During a Reddit AMA recently, renowned and respected physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was asked the following question:
“Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?”
Tyson’s response is suitably insightful. Covering everything from Charles Darwin, The Bible and even Sun Tzu, the list is unsurprisingly excellent.
(But that is not why this is a thing this week)
He goes on to add:
“If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”
Maria Popova, author of Brain Pickings (where I picked up this gem), responds to that last section more brilliantly than I ever could.
“What has driven it, evidently, is also the systematic exclusion of the female perspective. The prototypical “intelligent person” would be remiss not to also read, at the very least, Margaret Fuller’s foundational text Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which is even available as a free ebook, and Betty Friedan’sThe Feminine Mystique. But, of course, the question of diversity is an infinite one and any list is bound to be pathologically unrepresentative of all of humanity — a challenge I’ve addressed elsewhere — so Tyson’s selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness. My hope, meanwhile, is that we’ll begin to see more such reading lists by prominent female scientists, philosophers, artists, or writers of the past and present; to my knowledge, none have been made public as of yet — except perhaps Susan Sontag’s diary, which is essentially a lifelong reading list”
And so right.
Now go read a book.
3. SOME BACK TO THE FUTURE STUFF
Hey! Wait! Where are you going?! Come back! No! Wait!
I promise and swear that this is not yet-another-post about how THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II. No. It is not that.
But seriously – can you really take any more of it? We’re only three weeks into 2015 and if I see another ‘Top things brands can learn from Back to the Future’s 2015 predictions – published on LinkedIn’ I might never watch the darn thing ever again. You know it’s going to get worse, don’t you? Like much worse. You’ve got Nike trainers, Buzzfeed lists of ‘things BTTF got right!’, and that’s before we even get to October… Ugh.
Where was I?
Oh yes, THIS is an awesome collection of three top-down posters that perfectly illustrate the trilogy’s different parts. And they’re awesome.
“Enhance. Stop. Move in. Stop. Pull out, track right. Stop. Center and pull back. Stop.”
So good. The above photos were found over on iO9. And I’d recommend clicking through because, if you like this kind of thing then you might find the comments to be really quite awesome.
4. EVER BEEN IN OR NEAR A THEATRE?
Then this handy guide might be right up your street.
5. PHOTOS FROM THE SPACEX LANDING
This is fairly hot off the press: Elon Musk has finally shared some photographs of the ‘failed’ (if you can call it that) landing of the reusable SpaceX rockets.
And they’re pretty incredible to look at.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2015
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2015
If none of the above makes any sense to you (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? UNDER A ROCK?!) then the BBC has a really good primer.
Bonuses this week are varied -
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See you next week,