Banging the Drum

This was the first advertorial I wrote for ‘The Drum’ promoting our new Learning and Skills practice – it’s pretty brief but my favourite bit is ‘they believe they can just hide,  hire and  wait to retire.’ Don’t know if anybody is really like that left but it sounds good!  This is the first time I’ve actually mentioned ‘in public’ what I’m actually up to!

If anybody out there  is interested in finding out more about what it’s all about feel free to ping me!

The New Normal

About Atmosphere

As founder and principal strategist of Lateral, (best known for it’s many award winning campaign’s for Levi’s Europe, Stella, Nintendo, Channel 5), I deluded myself into believing that I really was actually critically objective. I now realise that for the most part agencies will almost always end up coming up with ideas they can make, as opposed to what’s right for the client.

After spending years complaining that clients don’t ‘get it’ we decided to do something useful and help; hence our Learning, Skills and Development practice. We like a good bit of mind expansion and frankly the Drum is a perfect partner. It’s remarkably liberating, especially from a consulting point of view.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Byte. 

Most companies go through similar patterns when adopting new thinking and technology into their business. It’s not unlike the grieving process.

Denial

Somebody in the business  does actually appreciate that something is happening and tries out online trials to ‘see if anybody is interested’. These largely fail as they were tactical and had no bearing on what the consumer actually wanted.  This is understandable, it’s all about gaining confidence.

Anger

It’s all Rubbish! The internet is broken! Why are they taking this piss out of my clever hashtag, complaining about my product on our marketing twitter account. THEY ARE PICKING ON ME! It’s my ball and I’m going home (to the land of telly ads). After this kind of flip, there is normally a flop as you start to realise that your consumers aren’t actually out to get you.

Bargaining 

I’ll be your best best friend if you like me.  Have some stuff for free, write a nice review, *please* and I’ll make you an ambassador. This bit can be pretty embarrassing, even more so than Anger. However it does contain the recognition that your consumers are really where it’s at and that you do have to listen and adapt.

Depression 

The Status Quo. With all the will in the world trying to solve all the problems of the business through marketing alone just doesn’t cut it. Departments need to work together, everything needs to be reorganised. From product, to research to consumer affairs – they all need to play nice. But they don’t, it’s a mess and I can’t fix it!

Acceptance

Eventually the business itself mutates and moulds itself around the new reality. That things are different, but it doesn’t have to scary.

So where is your business today? Are you bang in the middle of an age of disruption where everybody and everything is fair game or have to taken the first steps to  embrace change and flourish.

It’s clear that leaders don’t have the luxury of devolving all responsibility for their digital footprint to third parties anymore.

In the new corporate landscape the Generalist is the new Black. They ‘get’ it – and in most cases the ‘it’ isn’t necessarily ‘This is how it works’, it’s ‘this is how to learn’.

Evolved businesses appreciate people not jobs. Having a group of strategically minded, informed generalists each with specialist skills tends to lead to quicker consensual and qualified decisions.  They appreciate where the opportunities lie and where value can be created.

 Of course you often find that the understanding of these decisions is inversely proportional to seniority in the business who may believe they can just hide,  hire and  wait to retire.

Which is why we started constructing a series of groups workshops and events for senior management to explore and expand with peers the opportunities being presented.

You’ll get an overview of what you need to know and the ability to use  it in your business.  We go well beyond marketing, enabling business leaders to not only free their own minds, but also be equipped with the tools and processes essential to grow their business.

We talk a great deal about businesses and individuals who *want* change & recognise opportunities. However it’s the excuses that make us chuckle the most.  Go to the Drum website and enter our competition to find the best excuse for denial, stagnation and procrastination for your chance to win a place on one of our workshops.

http://www.weareatmosphere.com

http://www.thedrum.com/atmosphere/

Blogsy seems pretty cool

Hmmm. Might start writing again!

Jake is off nursery again today…

Bad Dad part 5 – doing the light year dance

The bfi genuinely wanna get it

So I was invited to an exclusive little mumble organised by one of my favourite people Thayer Prime. I have to admit I’d spent the day with Clock up in Kings Langley which involved large amounts of white wine so… well take that info as you will.

In the pre-boozed up morning I’d spent a while thinking about the the issues / challenges that the BFI were  facing. Given that the event itself didn’t have a clear objective it seemed like the rational thing to do and frankly, that’s what I spend most of my time thinking about anyway – what is the freaking problem we are trying to solve. .

Without any other input the challenge was clear, the BFI as it stands has

1) limited cultural relevance in 2012
2) limited effectiveness in the propogation of British film
3) Iimlted ability to fund the future of British film

They have a load of stuff which can’t be leveraged due to draconian copyright laws and as a result don’t have revenue stream to facilitate the future

Chicken and egg…..

But then… what a fabulous night, Thayer put together a bunch of folk who would never have access to folk lie Richard and Paula from the BFI – superb

Alas the thing that was never fully addressed was actually where the BFI can own a new relevance in our post YouTube world .

Those there totally got it, yet were still limited by the legacy and stolid determination that is the film equivalent of the House of Lords.

The BFI has so much opportunity to remake the British film industry as – well – the British film industry as opposed to being simply a feed for US fodder – as even their own year book shows.

The gag is they have hired people who genuinely care, they are smart and they are fighting, Mulder and Scully style for the future.

Utterly impressed.

In an ideal world, there are a couple of things which they can do which will genuinely affect that future of the industry – easy to say – hard to do.

1) help indie filmmakers get online distribution and substantiate their marketing efforts

2) Enable indie film makers access to all those rich folk, y’know those who are funding the BFI in the first place.

3) Donate a percentage of screen time for films not made by the typical white middle class BFI wannabe folk.

4) Open a conversation about introducing fair-use to their archival material – they are sitting on a seam of gold when it comes to culture, the public should be able to mine it.

Crazy talk, but a start.

Love studio Film – hate Indie

So amongst various other things I’m helping launch a new Indie feature.

It’s called Riot on Redchurch Street and is pretty much the first full on Shoreditch flick.

Made on a shoestring but with some great talent involved including Alysson Paradis the director Trevor Miller is very open to new models.

So I pitch him a combo of legal streaming and ‘alternative’ avenues to get it out above and beyond the usual – that combined simultaneously with event based screening a-la Red State, a pay whatcha like HD download and of course merch. It’s all about bands so that’s a no brainer.

So much so dull. When I contacted Lovefilm got a short answer from mate of ‘we don’t do single picture deals as its too much effort’

Going to be talking to Netflix next week but expecting the same result

You can imagine both my question and the story – how *are* Indie film makers supposed to get out there if the ones who are significant actors in the future won’t have the conversation?

I absolutely appreciate the issue of granularity on a commodity business but at the same time slightly aghast.

If indy film makers in the UK are basically excluded by virtue of not being in the studio universe what hope is there for the industry.

Obviously will be putting it to Vodo et al and direct on the pirate bay with integrated branded content but really is it that boolean? Play nice or not at all?

Guess the big question is: don’t the ‘new’ services have a responsibility to help promote the ‘new’ content creators who choose to exist outside the system?

Reckon there is something in this. Whatcha reckon?

It’s late, i’m ‘tired’ and now we are really screwed. Copyright and Patents are converging. Part 0.1

Right(s) Based on an execution of an idea.

Patents: Based on a description of an idea.

One is music, art and film etc The other pharmaceuticals, tech, software etc

Given the confusing international legislation going on you might as well admit that one equals the other equals a law suit.

So could Kraftwerk ‘patent’ the inspiration they gave or owe JG Ballard coin?

Could band x argue that even though Band Y sound nothing like each other that the other was inspired by the idea of having, well, a band.

Somebody invented Ketchup. Now any tomato based condiment is fucked,

The world of copyright monopoly and patent monopoly are converging – rapidly.

#copatents

bad.

What does the Robin Hood Tax and Skynet have to do with SOPA?

There has been lots of bitching by the banks against the Robin Hood tax. Detractors complain that it will make financial centres like London untenable by charging a .005% tax on stock market trades. I’m sure many would appreciate this move, however the likelihood of a mass migration of merchant bankers to Singapore or Australia is minimal.

What isn’t often discussed is a nifty side effect of the tax.

Ever wonder how ‘Rogue traders’ can bring down banks? It’s not huge transactions going south anymore – but death by a thousand papercuts.

The modern stock market isn’t run by people – it isn’t the ‘wall street’ of the 80’s with folk running around saying ‘Buy! Sell!’, it’s largely automated. A nice system scraping teeny-weeny amounts of cash with each transaction. A fraction of a point up or down still makes money – if you do it often enough – millions of times a second. However margins on these kinds of trades is extremely low – often less than 0.005% of the total transaction!

Under the new tax it becomes economically unviable. The algorithms will need to change and the entire system will need to radically slow down to make it worth while.

Fewer more considered transactions with a level of diligence attached ironically mean more stable markets. This is a good thing.

Now apply the same thinking to SOPA

In the US ‘infringing content’ is flagged via the DMCA (digital millennium copyright act). Basically you notify a site that something is dodgy, they then have a short period of time to remove otherwise the host is liable which can cost potentially $150k per infringement. Motivation or what! This takedown process for most of the big content owners is largely automated – they no doubt use search engines to seek out apparently infringing content, index it, format it, approve it and fire it off.

This automated output is received by site x – the larger of which (google/YouTube etc) will have an automated process which indiscriminately takes the content down. This explains why there are so many false positives across the board.

However painful, the current process does actually require some human interaction as theoretically you can be fined for false claims.

Not ideal but at least it’s just taking individual bits of content down and not entire sites.

The whole raison d’être of the bill is to shift the administrative burden (of proof) from the content owner to everyone else. SOPA would remove barriers increasing the speed of transaction exponentially and of course the collateral damage associated with it.

The doomsday scenario is what happens when big content write their tool to aid their quest for a rogue-free Internet. Let’s just call it Skynet.

    Skynet connects to internal content dbase
    Skynet searches web
    Skynet ‘identifies’ matches
    Skynet emails site, ISP, Search engines, payment processors etc and flags site as ‘dedicated to infringing’
    Site goes down
    Repeat millions of times

Judgement day.

Maybe it’s time to slow down a bit!