Screen Hopping, The Endless Itch For Attention

The remote control and mobile phone have turned us into bored content hunters. We flip channels and websites hoping to find something that excites us.

Such rapid hopping makes another person crazy. Indecision creates frustration.

There’s simply too much choice on TV and the Web. Without a plan we scan content until we stumble upon something that grabs our attention. The final destination may be sports, music, movies, or the news.

The TV and second screen can compete for attention or be complimentary. Just last night I watched US play Brazil while keeping an eye on game sentiment on Twitter. Other times I’ll use the TV simply as background noise and the mobile or desktop screen as my primary focus.

Whether it’s one screen or two, browsing the TV or the Internet from our coach is an inescapable process. There’s too much content clutter that to our advantage/disadvantage can be viewed quickly.

Sometimes turning everything off to be happy is the only choice.


Weekend Reader

These are the most interesting articles I read through this week.


Alphabets Heaven: Boosh

At least you liked the flowers.


Facebook Fortitude

Word on the street says that mobile threatens Facebook’s future. The mobile screen is way smaller and difficult to insert ads without disrupting the whole user experience.

The Facebook app is janky as it stands with bugs and slow response. That needs to get fixed first. One thing that Instagram taught all app developers is that speed is key to growth. No one wants to wait to see content. Instagram starts uploading user images even before the filter gets selected.

But have no fear, Facebook will figure it out. Zuckerberg feels the heat and is fiercely persistent. He’ll keep adding companies to his portfolio until he figures out how to create the ultimate mobile experience that keeps advertisers on board.

Every time we doubt Facebook it proves itself again. It could disappear one day like MySpace but we should remember that it still has Instagram just like Microsoft has the Xbox. It also knows more about us than our parents.

Facebook has enough manpower to come up with innovative solutions for its users and advertisers. There’s no quit.

People love to hate Facebook and use it at the same time. That part won’t change.


Public’s Public

When we look back at Facebook we’ll have to congratulate it for opening up interest based networks that were reserved for early adopters and niche interests.

Now the only way for startups to scale quickly is to enable sharing activity to Facebook. But not everyone likes this strategy, especially the users.

As soon as Instagram sold out its most passionate users went nuts. How could something so cool, creative, and expressive sell to a behemoth? The same thing almost happened to Foursquare in 2010 and most likely will happen to Pinterest if it keeps it’s pace.

But the main reason people dislike Facebook absorption is mass. Networks like Instagram and Quora were public networks without feeling public. One could post content ‘anonymously’ and grow a tribe outside his or her friends.

As soon as Facebook intervenes users get disturbed. Don’t users want to grow their follower base with the inclusion of Facebook friends? Not really.

As a network, scale is the priority. As a user, niche expression and the feeling of uniqueness are priorities.

The user friction between mass and special interest networks is still overhyped. The best products get recognized and swallowed. And the users keep using.


Forcing Artist Productivity in the Interconnected Era

There’s an expectation today that artists must produce faster and release more content to stay relevant.

If you’re an author, you need to write 2 books a year instead of one and maybe a manifesto or novella on top of that. If you’re a musician, you’re expected to make an album, an EP, and drop a couple Internet singles in a year. The relentless demand for productivity goes on.

Daily communication via Twitter is another demand on artists. Fans want to interact and get the inside scoop. Some writers like Seth Godin maintain a daily blog to keep fans entertained.

Today fear drives an artist’s work. If an artist stays silent too long the risk is irrelevancy. There’s always new authors and endless forms of Internet entertainment that will make people forget. Artists are also competing with amafessionals that release stuff for free. And some of the content is pretty good.

Art is judged on productivity. There’s simply too much noise to be the old fashioned reclusive artist that ships once every decade. There will always be respect for scarcity and quality for masterpieces but artists must have some type of other presence whether it’s blogging or on Tweets. It comes down to this: Hyper-productivity keeps an artist relevant so fans and new followers will buy more stuff.


An App Within An App

The Facebook app store is a logical next step to organize the hundreds of apps that plug in to Facebook.

In order to access the apps like a Spotify or a Pinterest though you have to have to first download those iOS apps through the iTunes app store.

The strategy here must be stickiness and more sharing and awareness for Facebook apps, kind of like what the Washington Post social reader has done.

Facebook wants to become your operating system. Unfortunately Facebook rises on top of mobile phone operating systems iOS, Android, and Windows. It doesn’t own the hardware nor the software, the starting user platform.

This is why Facebook will build its own phone and mobile software.

I don’t see the day I’ll login to Facebook just to use Instagram, Spotify, or any other entertainment apps. Those apps live by themselves and share my experiences to Facebook. I may use Facebook to view that content however.

Until Facebook creates its own phone and operating system, apps within it are simply an app within an app on an iOS or Android platform. It needs a native environment with app exclusivity.


Creative Juice

Perpetual creative juice from Steve Jobs.


“There are no rules for creativity.”

– Clay Shirky.

One more thing:

Creativity is the ability to produce valuable knowledge.

Find your creative space.


The (Good) Problem With Kickstarter

What happens if you raise $1 million on Kickstarter and you never ship?

This is what happened to the first Kickstarter project I backed, a point and shoot iPhone attachment called Red Pop.

Well, it finally shipped after months of delay and tweaks. But even after if arrived and I installed it, Red Pop was janky and it took grainy pictures. I asked to return it and never heard back.

The problem in backing projects on Kickstarter is that the final product is usually not good enough. Kickstarter projects are fun to invest in, mostly because we’re betting our money like a VC. But sometimes these products are just half-ass and need to be developed by big companies with bandwidth and full capabilities.

I see Kickstarter as a training ground for products of mass consumption. After owning the Nike Fuel band I instantly wondered what a Smart watch would look and act like. A few days later I heard about The Pebble on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a reminder that all the technology we want is probably in development somewhere. But it’ll take years to see and perfect it.

Unfortunately we need big companies like Apple and Google to push innovation along and market adoption. When there’s market utility, there’s money to be made.