7 articles to read this weekend

What a week. I returned from SXSW sick. I’m still sick as write this but that doesn’t mean I’ll skip out on sharing some inspirational pieces I read this week.

The era of Facebook is an anomaly.

The era of Facebook is an anomaly. The idea of everybody going to one site is just weird. Give me one other part of history where everybody shows up to the same social space. Fragmentation is a more natural state of being.

I keep coming back to this. No one is leaving Facebook any time soon, they are just using it differently and less frequently, like email. Email used to be the cream of the crop, then Facebook came along, and now it’s about Instagram and Snapchat. Our internet habits change, quickly.

The Tri-X Factor.

“Grain is life,” Corbijn says, “there’s all this striving for perfection with digital stuff. Striving is fine, but getting there is not great. I want a sense of the human and that is what breathes life into a picture. For me, imperfection is perfection.”

Tri-X factor is a type of monochromatic black/white film, often described as “dirty,” that emerged in the 1950s where it became a film of choice for many photographers. It’s scarce but still can be bought to this day. Tri-X pictures are stunning and raw; the fact fact they’re taken on analog cameras adds an extra element of experience to them. The photographer has no idea what the images look like until they get developed. The more I read about original photography, the less I want to use my iPhone, but the iPhone just makes it so darn easy.

Show Your Work: Austin Kleon on the Art of Getting Noticed.

Almost all of the people I look up to and try to steal from today, regardless of their profession, have built sharing into their routine. These people aren’t schmoozing at cocktail parties; they’re too busy for that. They’re cranking away in their studios, their laboratories, or their cubicles, but instead of maintaining absolute secrecy and hoarding their work, they’re open about what they’re working on, and they’re consistently posting bits and pieces of their work, their ideas, and what they’re learning online.

This is what I love about the Internet and owning a blog. You can gather (steal) information from the web and people you admire and spin it into your own words while giving credit to the aggregated sources. Austin echoed these same words at SXSW this week and I suspect he’ll share similar thoughts during his talk this Tuesday at Paper 53’s new offices where I’ll be in attendance :).

Remember: Show. Your. Work.

Seth’s Blog: Are we not plankton?.

The fabled Oreo tweet and the now legendary Ellen selfie are examples of whale eating plankton. Each retweet is so worthless to these whales and the brands that come from the TV world that they need millions of them, constantly. They’re hooked on tonnage, and will dumb down whatever they do to get more of it. To get mass in the social media world, you need luck and you need to pander.

Seth Godin, king marketer, is also keen at provoking discussion. I agree that most marketers don’t have honest intentions, i.e. focusing on adding quantity (noise) over long-term quality. But we live in a world of brand ecstasy, shortened attention spans and short-term profits so we’ll take any extra attention we can get. Attention = profits, as menacingsparrw pointed out to me.

By the way, Seth is running a course on Skillshare called The Modern Marketing Workshop. Join me and thousands of others to get feedback on your next project.

How Moleskine Transformed The Process Of Reading.

Handwriting is shifting from a necessity to more of a conscious act…even a certain kind of creative luxury. For people who want to remember something or to take a break in a fast paced world or to trigger their creative mind, the act of writing by hand is very useful. Handwriting is now a conscious tool used by our fans whether they are keeping a journal, planning a to-do list, or designing a wire-frame for a website that will ultimately be built using a computer.

I think Millennials are the last generation to support pen and paper handwriting. People communicate and takes notes now through images, emoticons, and mobile text. But some people (me included) will always use handwriting as a means for focusing. Writing a to-do list on screen is less forceful than writing one by hand, where each stroke of the pen is like a positive reinforcement to get that task done. I love handwriting, but I suspect that’s what the previous generation thought about cursive which is pretty much extinct today.

Don’t Quote Me on This.

Quotation becomes a way not to add depth to your thinking, but to avoid thinking in the first place.

Is quoting a cop-out? It’s well worth asking as to why people quote rather than inject their own thoughtful opinion. I think we’re all guilty of pulling what’s already been said and assuming that says it all, but using a quote as a scapegoat may be just be outright thought-laziness.

How Twitter Is Reshaping The Future Of Storytelling.

“that this kind of storytelling is quick, even ephemeral, and largely improvised. It’s really more like broadcasting than writing, and one of the things that makes Twitter so intimate, even in its rowdy, buzzing, crowd-y-ness, is that you are reading someone’s work in real time.”

Let’s not kid ourselves. Twitter is the next book format. Just look at author’s Teju Cole’s latest Twitter story. Twitter fiction is a thing, a new medium that will lead to major events and books. Remember, the Internet is about showing your work as it happens.


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“Life gets better when you show up and you’re ready for it.” – Sophia Amoruso 

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Day 1 – SXSW

Main points and highlights:

Gary Vaynerchuk: How to Rock SXSW:

“Provide value up front.”

Vaynerchuk makes it clear that SXSW is not about selling upfront, it’s about offering value first and then (only then) pitching the sale. In other words, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

Austin Kleon: Show your work

“Don’t be a hoarder.”

Kleon implores creatives to share their work and collaborate in what he calls a “scenius,” where fans, artists, thinkers gather and steal each other’s ideas. You don’t have to be a genius, you just have to be willing to share your process and recast what others do best into your own art.

Always be Innovating: thinking like a startup

“You can’t outsource culture to HR.”

Culture starts from the top, the founders set the tone. Apple may still be innovating today but it’s not ‘creating’ because Steve Jobs isn’t there to push a vision. As a result, Samsung is eating away at its Smartphone sales.

Meanwhile, Facebook still manages to promote its hacker ethos while scaling on Wall Street. And Larry Page is making Google a design-first company in the name of Google’s altruistic tenet: “Don’t be evil.” But what happens to Facebook and Google if the founders aren’t there?

Why It Pays Not to Rush the Process of Innovation

“Creative tension has to exist.” – Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest

Nest never rushes its products; it takes its time to get it right and develop all ends (the complimentary app, customer service etc.) so that the first customers become the biggest advocates.

Nest steals right out of the Apple playbook. Rogers argues that the best marketing for your product comes from keeping it a secret. If you give everything away, there’s no new news to hype the product. In a twist of irony, Google now owns Nest because it’s trying to be the next Apple.

Day 2 begins now…


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What is Tumblr?

Even Tumblr’s founder Tumblr David Karp fumbled his answer during his Q&A at SXSW.

I’m sure the more you know about Tumblr the more complex it really is. Tumblr combines the best elements of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. In fact, the user’s homescreen focuses on the primary pillars of content creation: images, video, links, and text.

In simple terms. Tumblr is a blogging platform built on top of a vibrant social community, made up of mostly creatives. Unlike Twitter and Facebook where content gets lost in the feed, content on Tumblr just seems to get recycled, “reblogged” and keeps on living on.

Tumblr is uniquely positioned to take over the waning excitement in Facebook, especially as Internet users are getting used to sharing content publicly. People now want to own their voice. They also want to curate the content they find on the web and share it like it’s their own.

Myspace actually provided the first public expression engine.  But it preceded the mass training of public expression that most people got from Twitter.

Tumblr just feels different and incredibly indispensable. Tumblr built to evolve and take advantage of the latest technologies and social networking trends.

Yes, I’m voting long on Tumblr.  And wishing I had some investor money to show for it. 


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The perils of too big

What goes up must go down. Everything that gains popularity hits an inflection point for both hyper-growth and slow decline.

As a result:

  • Bauer and his label will see limited royalties from his track all while less people consume it.
  • SXSW attendance will dip year over year.
  • Social users will gravitate to other social networks like SnapChat and Instagram

Popualrity signals decline. Hit tracks, events, companies may be around another 100 years but they’ll never be appreciated as they once were.


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