Worn Out Highlighter

The radio personality Glenn Beck used to have a sound effect of a roll of duct tape. He would use it to wrap up his head to keep it from exploding when he was describing something that was blowing his mind. It made me laugh every time.

(SFX: duct tape) I’m reading Hooked and I’ve never highlighted a book more. And I’m only 20% in.

Go read it. Oh, and here is this…

 

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It Felt Like A Spa Vacation

Strip everything away and it comes down to this. Advertisers need eyeballs. Yes, we protect people. Yes, we add value to their day. But, it is all spelled out in The Attention Merchants, we aggregate a large audience and sell access to it.

We wandered off into Facebook because they aggregated a larger audience and now they control the access.

This is a really interesting article. And here is one of the money quotes. Glance at the quote then read the article. It is not very long, I have a minute. (Tapping foot…)

Users want access to us. They want to ask questions and they enjoy it when we share part of our lives. It looks like a Danish TV station is going to take a step forward in taking back control.

We get control. We get the eyeballs. We monetize the audience. The longer we wait the harder it becomes.

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I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Got a direct message on Facebook from The Weather Channel…ice storm in my market.

Still not a note from a human…but they’re getting more lifelike.

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“This is what is coming.”

Many moons ago, when I started my broadcast career as a disc jockey, I heard a programmer talk about ratings. It was his practice once a year to travel to Arbitron (the dominant radio ratings company at the time) to look at diaries. He said it was always instructive, and very humbling, to see how people filled out the diaries. The hope was that listeners were dutifully carrying their books with them and accurately reporting every moment they listened, and logging every turn of the dial between stations. What he found was pages filled in with crayon, or even lipstick, and the hope that he would know every moment of their rapt attention to his programming was, of course, unrealistic. It was clear that many ratings participants quickly filled out their diaries at the last minute before the return deadline, then stuffed them in the return envelop to justify taking the two dollars that was included for participating in the survey.

The point is it is always a treat to get to see users in the wild with our products.

This came across my field of view this morning. It is part of a multi-person text thread between a handful of people (not meteorologists) planning their day with freezing rain approaching.

I’ll leave the non-looping radar comments aside since we’ve discussed it before (which way is it heading?). The interesting insight into users in the wild is this was a group making weather decisions amongst themselves. Nowhere in the thread did it say,”(insert meteorologist here) said it was going to…..”

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Life Finds A Way

I couldn’t begin to guess how many times I’ve thought of the the line, “Life finds a way,” from Jeff Goldblum in the original Jurassic Park movie. It is true.

Go read this short article from Motherboard. A bunch of good lines. I’ll wait…

My hope is that Facebook is not as important as everyone thinks, it’s just where people happen to be on the internet right now.

On WeatherBrains last week James Spann asked, “How do we get them to put down their phones and come to the newscast?” He knew the answer before I gave it. We don’t “get them” to do anything.

In Hatching Twitter, Nick Bilton reports that Facebook tried to buy Twitter in the early days. Zuckerberg is quoted as saying, “we need them to…,” because some part of Twitter was deemed helpful at that moment to his goal. It doesn’t matter what he needed us to do. It was artificial. It was in service of his need, not ours.

The Motherboard article is great. It talks about serving its readers. Zuckerberg is certain he can use algorithms and machine learning to guide and control humans. He can’t…..because life finds a way.

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Habits

A good post from Seth Godin. A reminder of this one from a few years ago, with another good read for our business.

I bought a CD yesterday.

That didn’t used to be news. I used to buy a CD every week, week after week, year after year. It adds up.

Hi-rez streaming changed that habit for me, but it took about a year before the itch (mostly) subsided.

Old habits die hard, and it’s entirely possible that your customers are on fumes, buying your old stuff now and then, down from often and on their way to rarely.

You can live on old habits for a while, but the future depends on investing in finding and building some new ones with (and for) your customers. Or your family. Or yourself.

The most powerful insight is that you can do it with intent. You can decide that you want some new habits, and then go get them.

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A New Year

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading the blog last year!!

After Christmas we were lucky enough to spend a few days away with friends. Sitting around a kitchen table one friend mentioned having gone to the station Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, wanting to see the 7 Day Forecast. His comment was that it was a frustrating experience trying to find what he wanted. My usual anti-weather-on-social-media instinct kicked in and I asked what led him to Facebook as opposed to the station website. He first response was that he actually didn’t know and we talked for a moment about my theories on how we’ve been training people to get our information. Being a thoughtful guy he came back to me a few minutes later and said he remembered how frustrating it was the last time he went to the station website. Bad UI.

So…we’re left with two bad experiences.

It has been a while since I mentioned The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. One of the great lessons in the book is a business venture started by IBM. In the founding stages it was determined that the new business would be located on the other side of the country from IBM HQ in order to keep the big, old, slow, dominant parent infrastructure from influencing the new venture. It worked. The book is some years old now but worth adding to your 2018 reading list. Christensen never once mentioned broadcasting and when I read it I kept wondering where he had been hiding while spying on us.

My hope for the new year is that we will look for experiences based on user needs, not our own. Our needs will be met if we do that. Human input into digital experiences repeatedly bears fruit.

Here we go!

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