An incomplete view of a conversation about the future of the internet

PoorMansNFCLast evening, I attended a bit of a different meetup. It was a basement chat (yes, no signal, no wifi) about the future of the internet. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay until the end of i, but I did catch two of the presentations. Maybe some of you who have seen the entire thing can help me get a complete picture of last evening’s talk session.

Here’s what I got from the first presentation. My key takeaway from his presentation is that culture is no longer a barrier to technology integration and evolution. It’s the current technology adoption, the boxing up of our work with tech, the legacy systems and the sunk costs of software investments that are holding us back from growing faster. That and the lack of adaptation to the current capabilities of our world. I had no clue that 45% of UK print media have not adapted to mobile technology in the 7 years that have passed since the iPhone has hit the market.

Update:

Next up was Andrew Larkin, a technologist who’s keen on physics and Newton, to be more precise. I particularly enjoyed the part of his presentation where he showed the value and importance of JavaScript/MongoDB in today’s web, the power of JSON that enabled them to play with OFCOM’s datasets realtime, without any databases and the fact the he advocates the following:

Give people time, space and encourage them to play and experiment.

The best, from my point of view, was Becky Stewart from CodaSign, who took us on a trip through her work on the internet of things and bringing ordinary items to life with the help of electricity and micro-controllers. It was something in the way the objects now could become interactive that suggests the future for our houses, our clothes, accessories and workplaces. Just see some of the videos below:

Pig with Wigs – they sing if you change their wigs

Human Harp – transform any strings into harp strings

Metaprojection Jacket – project while you perform

GPS Shoes – there’s no place like home

Good Night Lamp from Good Night Lamp on Vimeo.

Hello Little Printer, available 2012 from Berg on Vimeo.

What is littleBits? from littleBits on Vimeo.

And the masterpiece micro-controller that can be used by non-technical people:

I’m telling you, this is the future!

Startup Sunday in Barcelona with Jeff Robinson

I met with Jeff Robinson, the organizer of Barcelona Internet Startup Meetups, C.E.O. Internet Advisory Corp. He and his Meetup.com group offered us feedback on the business model and on the segment that we would choose for an online rental business that me and my friends are working on right now.

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He has 30+ years of capital market experience – everything from desk and floor trading to investment banking and was interested in the business idea, thus validating the direction we were heading, which was great.

The key takeaways we got from the meeting were:

  • stick to a simple and transparent model
  • the rental idea was validated by the group
  • suggested to focus on a single segment
  • a business that can attract investment must have an MVP that is regularly used by 100 people or so to prove the model

I think it’s very important for a group that wants to launch a startup to network and seek feedback as much as possible. Meetup.com is just one way to tap into the investor and like-minded entrepreneurs networks which can provide invaluable ideas, perspectives and tweaks that you might not have come up with in your own brainstorming sessions. What’s more, these type of events can give you a sense of what success means to an angel investor or for an up and running startup.

Always go prepared and have a targeted problem to address. For us it worked that way, it might work for you, too.

The Reputation and Influence meetup – some conclusions and a piece of advice

Bo04cAZCQAAqGKzLast night I went for the Online Marketing London Meetup on the HMS 1918 President boat. Yes, a digital meetup on a boat. It was a 3 piece presentation about reputation and influence, but somehow it turned again into a product presentation. First up was Brandwatch – a reputation and influence measurement tool, where the presenter made some points that I’ve summarized below:

  • Do good work, don’t be a dick, repeat – reputation rules. You have to listen and not through Google Alerts, then identify probelms, fix them and be authentic. Also be where the audience is.
  • Google Alerts misses loads of results. US has loads of analysts and social media rockstars that charge / speech or mention, in comparison to the UK or Germany, which don’t have as many.

Key takeaway – not really new stuff, old ideas, common sens, but the platform has really poor design. Might need some UX consultancy.

Next up – Peerindex – whose CEO started by asking: why should you care about influence? Here’s a quick sumup of the best stuff:

  • The dictionary definition of influence is useless. The world seems to be much more complicated for marketers nowadays. The old locus of authority ment that ads worked like a sinch, but now more and more consumers refer to peers (84%) and shifted the locus.
  • Narrow down to the 5000 people that dictate what the 1 million do. Influencers drive lots of attentition, so brands need to pay atention to them and deliver content that they need and will spread.
  • And apparently clubs don’t want to attract the unwashed masses at first. They want the hippest clubbers. No, really?
  • If your business gets really good or really bad reviews, should you address the really bad ones? Look at NPS and see if it’s a perception problem, not a product problem.

Key takeaway – influence is relative (doh) and they have a Klout competitor tool that does digital measurement on the panel of influencers they have in their database. Useful for brands who want to keep up with the ever-changing influencer list.

Last presentation was a courtesy of Lincoln Coutts. This is where I gave in and left the building…er…boat. It’s funny how a person talks about influence and reputation with under 1000 followers. The first part of the presentation was filled with generic “everyone is a publisher and builds a personal brand of some sort” kind of stuff.

Key takeaway – please, when you come and present to an educated audience (digitally savvy people), do come up with new stuff. Don’t present something that anyone with above 3-4k followers and a few thousand visitors/month can jot up in 45 mins in a semi-formatted power-point. That’s if you want to keep your influence.

I was expecting more of a debate over who is influential now on topics, on how to engage an influencer in a constructive way, based on past experience, not common sense, but hey, maybe they’ll get it right next time.

Photo via: @cmooki

Why videos go viral? via @Pulsar_Social #LDNSMC

Today is the day I went to my first London Social Media meetup, just to get the feel of the industry and meet some like-minded professionals (which I did, thanks for the welcome everyone!). The topic was not too bad either, given the fact that the Pulsar people delivered an interesting presentation on viral videos. They based their conclusions on data drawn from their digital listening platform and created so interesting patterns.

The Social Media Cafe – May edition was kindly hosted by Timberyard, who serve great Cappuccinos!

Why stuff goes viral

The presentation started pretty straight-forward. They studied the evolution of Captain Hatfield, Ryan Gosling’s cereal video, Dove, Gangnam style, the Turkish Taksim protests and other viral videos that went viral and searched for patterns. Used pulsar to track the URLs.

Apparently, there are two types of viral videos. A Spiker viral video gets 80% of its shares in the first 2 days, driven by a group of KOLs. However, the Grower viral videos, like the Dove one, gets its views slower, over a longer period of time. So even if your video doesn’t spike in the first few hours or days, there’s still hope.

The most share-able video was the Turkish protest one, thanks to the fact that it had a unique news item in it. It contained a lot of emotion and the interest for the topic was shared by a lot of people from all over the world.

Questions to consider: How long does it take for a video to peak? How long is it share-able? How constant is the spread, how volatile?

The Turkish and the Hatfield video went very fast (spikers), but Dove went slower (grower), with a more consistent momentum. The key question here was why that happened to both categories of videos. They looked at the fact that audiences influence the virality and found that there was no correlation between demographics and virality. But the connections and micro-networks had a big influence. Groups of people picked up the videos and shared them according to the type of audience within the group. The Turkish and Hatfield videos got inside groups & audiences with common connections, so people jumped on the sharing wagon more easily, but Dove entered a less connected group of networks with a more diverse audience, so its momentum was shaped in a more less ample way, which leads us to the next characteristic:

Modularity – how much is the group made up of subgroups/fragmented and how much is modular(political affiliation). That also influences the virality – Turkish videos were shared by a highly modular community. The Dove one was more fragmented, having to make more jumps. Look at trends and ride one. If you don’t, you have no chance of viralizing your content.

Hatfield Groups – 30, male, into tech – shared by influencers first
Dove Groups – a mixture of teen girls, marketing professional women, and Saudi Arabia women – very diverse crowd

They concluded that a high demographic diversity leads to slower movement of the video, due to the number of jumps the content material has to make from one community to another. In the end, you need a trigger and a validator, then you need community connectors and emotion – funny, sad, astonishing. No emotion, no virality.

Validation in a community is done by the tone of voice of the biggest community KOLs that put the video out there. They are the gatekeepers that push the content in their groups and apparently one can detect them through Pulsar and engage them in a targeted way.

All in all, it was a very interesting meeting, with loads of conversations afterwards regarding the future of social media, on how kids interact with it and how education has to evolve and encapsulate it in the teaching methodology.

Photos via @JamesBougourd and @Fcancerproject