The Open Shop

One of the things I really dig on the web, is how easy it is to self educate from various respected sources. One of my favourite forums is tuning in to at Google Talks. A Youtube channel Google has set up where they share internal education events with anyone who cares to watch. Amazing talks at great cost to Google no doubt, from global thought leaders including, authors, scientists, entertainers, entrepreneurs et al and everyone’s favourite price – zero. While this might seem inconsequential and the norm these days, it is a significant shift from the theory of the firm. I could never imagine industrial era companies (think factories and brands on supermarket shelves) sharing their investment in staff education with the general public. I couldn’t imagine industrial era companies putting their value systems on display via ‘whom they choose’ to come into their building. No, they’d much prefer to make donations to both political parties and take a by partisan view of most everything. In fact, I can’t imagine industrial era companies sharing anything that the competition might see and take advantage or insight from. And they certainly wouldn’t invest in anything that anyone other than their shareholders would benefit from.

While it’s clear that the operating structure of digital businesses is different, let’s consider for a moment the open sharing protocols we witness from leading web shops. The ability of tweets to feed into facebook and vice versa. How Youtube allows the embedding of any video into any website. In many ways it’s like mixed multi-packs of Coke and Pepsi. It’s a fundamental shift in how business is being done. While all companies have relationships with their supply chain, it’s very rare indeed for Industrial era companies to do direct business with their most ardent competitors. We’ve now entered the Open Shop Era – where those who share, and open up certain parts of their back room get the benefit of others peoples thinking and output. It’s hard to imagine business becoming anything but more open, accessible and less secretive. Personally, I feel as though this is part of our species evolution to a form of collective sentience and community based assets.

If companies from the TV Industrial complex want to survive the upheaval, then maybe it’s time they opened up their R&D lab, their factory, and started co-opting with their competitors. After all, isn’t Facebook just a 2.0 Kodak moment?


Big think

Lately I’ve been totally loving the Youtube channel Big Think.

Basically it is some of the worlds leading thinkers, scientists, artists, educators et al, giving their views on important questions in a global society. Heavy kind of social, geo techno political issues. Often they are in short soundbites of under 5 minutes. For me it a nice TED alternative for bed time watching on my iPhone, or car listening (also via my iPhone which is streaming it from Youtube) – which makes me wonder is their a Youtube ‘radio’ app – where it streams only the MP3 file? If not there should be one. Gee, I might have to build it myself.

Check out Big Think – it is big awesome. Over.


What I love about

I’ve recently been playing around with Rohan on a relatively new site called Gifyo. It’s such a simple idea it has the ‘why didn’t I think of that’ written all over it.

What it does: Gifyo is a social service that allows you to create animated gifs directly from your webcam. Simply capture, create, and share.

It’s like 3 seconds of filming, that makes an ‘Old School’ style gif. Which has a certain quaintness to it. It’s also very cool because it is so quick to do, and it makes people think about what might entertain other users. Just go to their home page and you can see how quickly this web service has caught on. Some other simple yet smart things it has done is create a live feed where every post gets a turn on the home page feed. Sure, this can only last while it is niche enough to feature everyone… but it sure is a good way of spreading the service – everyone loves a little bit of microfame.

We started a little #officedancing meme just for fun.

So for startup entrepreneurs it provides a couple of really cool lessons.

  1. Sometimes really small, in fact tiny ideas are the ones that catch on.
  2. People want to get attention, more than give it.
  3. Retro technology is big. It is fun and creates a sense of simplicity & nostalgia which is very human.
  4. If you love something, others might too. Don’t waste time thinking about it, build it and find out.

I can’t wait to hear my readers next fun, small and retro idea they have launched.


The human movement, movement

I was really impressed by how some of the smarter Skiing resort operators are using GEO-locating to enable a deep interaction with their customers. What some of the resorts have done is used their new electronic ski lift tagging systems as a social engagement tool. Skiers can register on-line via the resorts facebook page so they can compare how many kilometers, ski runs, hours they do on the mountain for the day, week season and compete amongst friends. It’s even got a nice gaming element to it. It’s a nice iteration taking ideas from the likes of run keeper. You can read more here about what ski resorts are doing to tech-up.

The thing that is clear to me is that there is a human movement, movement. It’s so much more than companies being able to track what people are doing, it’s actually about companies creating forums where we can actually track ourselves. So we can know more about ourselves and change the way we move and interact with others and personally. It takes away the privacy concerns, and moves us into a space where we co-opt information sharing for mutual benefit.

The question entreprneurs and marketers should be thinking about is, how can we help our people track their movement to get more out of when they move. It’s only just the start.


Visual Orgy – Retail

This is an amazing piece of creative work from H&M at a new retail store launch in Amsterdam. Check it out below.


The same theme shines through again. Creativity wins. The production costs are clearly much less that the creative input. I wonder what other startup brands could use the visual projection idea to make something worth sharing on the web?


A Collaboration Conversation

Rachel Botsman is in town this week as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week but more importantly to spread the good word on her book on the new world order of Collaborative ConsumptionWhat’s mine is yours. Rachel contends that the 20th century was all about Hyper Consumption, while the 21st century will be all about collaborative consumption – and I couldn’t agree more!

In order to bring the uninitiated up to speed we are having a Collaborative Conversation with founders of collaborative businesses. This will include Daniel Noble of Drive my Car, Julliette Anich of the Clothing Exchange and myself –

I really think it will be a great evening with lots of fresh ideas, because to be quite honest the collaborative economy is only really starting. At the end of the forum there will be a Pop Up Swap where anyone can bring up to 6 items to swap with anyone else – so we’ll be crossing the virtual sharing chasm into the physical one.

Click here to get a ticket – and come up and say hello.