YouTube Needs to Step Up Their Game

For the past few years, Youtube has been in the power position when it comes to dealing with artists. It is the one of the most popular sites on the web and certainly the biggest music destination. Every once in awhile, an artist will try to fight it, as well as the industry, but generally the music business knows that pulling songs and videos off YouTube is a losing proposition overall.

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No other site offers as much music as YouTube and even though much of it is poor live footage and bootleg content, this is stuff that fans can’t find anywhere else. YouTube also has the stickiness of a video and the ability to engage two senses if you want, but you can also just let the users click open to another tab and just let the music run in the background.

However, there are signs that YouTube’s domination in music may be coming to an end. The big hit is that other streaming sites are finally starting to engage with video. Yes, I’m talking about Spotify. They’ve gotten massive raises recently and it’s pretty likely that they’ll spend at least some of that money increasing video offerings. The other threat is SoundCloud’s launch of its long-awaited streaming service, Go. Even Apple Music’s deal with Dubset to license mixes is a threat. YouTube’s ownership of the UGC and unofficial content space might finally be disrupted.

In reality, YouTube won’t lose artists tomorrow and frankly, it might never cease to be the site where the vast majority of the world comes to listen. This is an awakening though – that they need to begin stepping up their features to prevent any further losses. What could they do?

First, YouTube could market itself as a destination for music and create its own class of music starts within their ecosystem. When the NYC subway was wrapped with YouTube ads, all of the ads were for YouTube stars – none of them were for recording artists, even though they are a huge driver to the site. YouTube stars feature people who make videos about makeup application, cooking, video games and other topics. While YouTube has invested heavily in them, they could also invest heavily in the ready to be recording artists. Why not start their own record label and keep them in house?

YouTube could also help artists solve the big problem of monetization. Last year, they rolled out more e-commerce options, but they could allow artists to make money on everything. Any time Beyoncé wears a dress in a video, I need to be able to hover over it and see a link where I could theoretically buy it, once I won the lottery. More realistically, any time an indie artist wear a cool piece of clothing from an up-and-coming designer, I could hover, buy it with one click, and the artist would get a cut, along with YouTube. Everyone would win.

One last suggestion I have is to harness some of Google’s power. Some of the smartest data scientists on earth work there, and could surely help artists comb through all their information and route the most effective tours or plan great marketing campaigns, and some of those AdWords gurus could assist artists in figuring out how to get in front of casual listeners who just want to hear something that sounds like their favorite band.

What do you think that YouTube should do?

Does the Head of Diversity Have to Be a Certain Race?

Pinterest hired Candice Morgan as their first-ever head of diversity. This announcement was made shortly after Twitter hired Jeffrey Siminoff, a gay, white man to be their head of diversity, replacing a white woman. Although he previously led diversity efforts at Apple, where diversity is less than ideal and was the defendant for Morgan Stanley when they were in the middle of a racial discrimination lawsuit, people were upset that he was not black.

Back to Morgcandice-morgan-head-of-diversity-e1452030834818an. She has over ten years of experience building diverse work environments through her work at Catalyst, so it is safe to say that Pinterest did not hire Morgan because of the color of her skin. Is she more justified for the diversity role because of her skin color?

I don’t think that there is an answer of who has to fill a diversity role. Some have argued that diversity needs to start at the top and be a priority for every single employee. It also may be the case of needing to factor in the entire employee base at the company to be as effective as possible.

Pinterest has taken some additional efforts. They have launched two programs, The Pinterest Apprenticeship Program and Pinterest Engage for engineers from non-traditional tech backgrounds or underrepresented backgrounds.

The apprenticeship program is for people with traditional backgrounds in things like computer science to see what it is like to be an engineer at Pinterest. The apprenticeships are a year long with an opportunity for long-term employment at the end.

Pinterest Engage is a summer internship program that lasts eight weeks for first-year college students from underrepresented backgrounds that are already studying computer science, computer engineering, software engineering and other related majors.

However, according to a recent study, diversity initiatives can be threatening to white people. They don’t necessarily help someone from an underrepresented group to feel more included or less at risk for discrimination. The study claims that it would be better to employ data-driven, research-based strategies with measurable goals, which is something Pinterest is working on with diversity and inclusion strategy startup Paradigm.

Their goals with Paradigm are to increase hiring rates for full-time engineering roles to 30 percent female, increase hiring rates for full-time engineers to 8 percent from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds; increase hiring rates for non-engineering roles to 12 percent from underrepresented backgrounds; and implement a Rooney Rule requirement where at least one person from an underrepresented background and one female candidate is interviewed for every open leadership position.

What do you think of Pinterest and their initiatives?

Bad Design to Blame for Miss Universe 2015?

I have a special interest in marketing and like working aside the visual types that understand that the arrangement of a message is just as important as the message itself. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that if messaging hierarchy and appearance are not intuitive, then confusion will surely follow.

The mishap during the crowning of the Miss Universe 2015 left everyone, especially Miss Colombia in disbelief. However, after seeing the photo of the announcement card that host, Steve Harvey was given, I can’t help to think that maybe instead of blaming Steve Harvey for misreading, we should be blaming design of the announcement card for the mistake. Let me make my case, but first let us take a look at the announcement card ourselves.

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Steve Harvey was quick to point out that it was hard to read and I agree with him. It is true that the messaging hierarchy corresponds with the announcement order. However, placing the winner and the runner-ups on separate sides requires Harvey to know to look for the winning country at the bottom right.

Is it fair for us to assume that Harvey would know where to look? Especially take into consideration that this is likely the very first time that he is seeing the card – and he has millions of people watching him. In order to assess this part, we need to apply the Z-Layout, how our eyes process information. Our eyes begin in the top left before going to the bottom right, forming the “Z.” Going by this principle, it is clear that “Colombia” would be read before your eyes land on “Phillippines” at the bottom right. Harvey probably picked up on the “1st” next to “Colombia,” making it easy to understand how he got confused with the results.

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We can also see in photos that with the way that Steve Harvey was holding the card, he may not have even seen that there was a winning country listed under “Miss Universe.” Further, holding the announcement card would have drawn his eyes more towards the center of the card and avoiding that corner completely.

Though I am not a designer, I would have the results printed in the center of the card, listed in the order that they should be announced. Further, you could even shade each individual result darker, making “Miss Universe” the darkest so that the importance is understood.

How Do We Market Without Social Media Again?

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Social media has become the go-to for online marketing for a number of reasons, but primarily because it can cost you virtually nothing. Social media has become so infused with our lives that marketing campaigns can just get lost in the great clutter on the web. So, that brings me to ask you a question – how can you reach people without social media? That’s right, no likes, shares or retweets. Do you remember how we used to do it in the good old days?

 

  1. Ambassador Programs

Recruit some college students to be campus ambassadors. They serve as representation of your brand and can spread the word in their immediate community. Establish a kind of points-reward system so that for doing things like giving presentations, they can get reimbursed towards college credits. If you realize that there are particular communities that you do better in, there is no harm in bulking up. In the end, it costs you almost nothing – just some paperwork with the university.

  1. Bloggers

No, I don’t believe that blogging is social media. I do however believe that bloggers are how you get your first real customers that aren’t your friends and family. Find blogs that match your target audience and send them a pitch for collaboration. You might have to give them some sort of freebie or pay a small fee to be featured. Ask the blogger if they will host a giveaway on their website by collecting email entries that you can later add to your newsletter.

  1. Contribute

If you have an industry-related topic that you can write about, do it. Send it off to blogs and websites that want content and ask them to include your bio and hyperlink to your business website. Most of the time, you’ll be doing this for free, but when you gain at least one new customer, it is worth it. It will also help your credentials and SEO.

  1. Speak

The same topics that you can write about can also be made into a great presentation. Businesses, schools, conferences and organization are always in need for speakers to inspire their audience. Show your expertise and use your business as an example of a lesson or motivation. Make sure to bring something with your business information on it for attendees as they leave at the end of the program.

  1. Trade Shows

They can be a little expensive depending on the ones you attend, but the return can be worth it. The advantage at trade shows are the relationships that you can build with your consumers and other brands. See if you can attend any trade shows in your industry as an exhibitor. If the costs are too much, then go as an attendee and network as much as you can.

See, marketing does exist outside of social media – don’t forget about these great channels to engage in.

Network Like You Mean It

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Business networking isn’t all winging and wining, business cards and elevator pitches. Most people don’t even like networking. I get it, after a long work day, the thought of having to make conversation with a room full of strangers seems like another big chore. However, the negative stigma to business networking has to stop because it is vital to the progression of your career.

Time after time, the most successful people that I meet are also the best networkers. They realize that business networking is a tool and they have found a way to make it work for them. Now, it is no longer a task for them and they can do it with ease. Just follow these three tips to get yourself started.

  1. It’s not formal anymore

First of all, there is no rule that says that you need to network over a glass of wine in a hotel ballroom and exchange business cards. Networking can happen whenever, wherever and however you want it to happen. It can take place at a birthday party, during a workout or volunteering with your family on the weekend. Pick your favorite activities and find groups that share those passions and join them. This will help make you feel more relaxed and naturally confident – you’ll find yourself making better, more positive impressions.

  1. Set measurable goals

I know what you’re thinking, what kind of goals? Here you go: At the beginning of each month, write down a number of events that you want to attend over the next 30 days. Feel free to vary them according to work and personal commitments. Next, select which industries or organization that you want to network. What do you hope to achieve? Meet new people, learn best practices, promote your business? Decide and keep a running log of your progress. You’ll be able to maximize your time and energy because you won’t feel the need to go to every event invitation that you receive.

  1. Maintain relationships

Remember that meeting someone once doesn’t mean anything. The relationship happens during the follow up. To help support this, keep a list of the people you meet with details such as their work, interests and anything else that will help you remember the connection. Make your first email to them memorable, something that will make them think or laugh. Review this list of people every three months and reach out to them again, share a resource or invite them to another networking event.

It is not about the number of people you know, but how well you know them and even more important, how well they know you. Don’t waste any opportunities, get going!

The Facebook Era is Ending

fb-artSome people can say that they think that Facebook is alive and well in 2015, but I see it as the end. Social media applications have evolved way past Facebook. Even though Facebook will take on VR, SMS and Instagram, I believe that by in the next year or two, there will be a large shift away from Facebook. Why? Because it is already happening.

Let’s look over our shoulder at how Facebook has invaded our lives. Facebook exploded onto the scene and brought social media interaction and the art of snooping on others into the limelight. Facebook is the popular kid – they are the monopoly, the Google of social media. I don’t think that this is a good thing either. Facebook habitually buys up companies that are innovative and creative and makes them less so.

What is really going on? Young people aren’t on Facebook anymore – they want to be on social instagramlogomedia that is made for mobile, meaning Instagram. Especially as millienials own parents and baby boomers get onto Facebook, they are opting for platforms that they aren’t on yet like Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and spending more time texting each other. I belie that in the next five years, these are the social media platforms that will continue to grow and emerge, eventually displacing Facebook.

However, Facebook is doing great things like trying to bring broadband to countries without Internet access – but their 1.5 billion users don’t mean that they can keep their position. After all, Facebook is almost 11 years old, which is prehistoric in our day and age of technology.

A Google Trends report shows that the amount of searches of “Facebook” peaked in December of 2012 anrs_600x600-140711114502-600-tech-snapchat-logo.ls.7114_copyd has only been decreasing since then – people are losing interest. Not to mention that Facebook has become the platform for bullies, body shaming and more harmful acts. Even though Facebook has positives like finding and keeping in touch with old friends. There have certainly been a growing number of dramatic stories that stem from a simple Facebook post and we can’t just ignore that.

Like everything, even the universe itself, things bloom and blossom and then burst. Facebook had its time in the spotlight – spread like a disease, becoming immune to its attractions and now it is all over. We are ready for new channels that are more authentic, less invasive and more psychologically healthy. Who will be next?

How Chinese Companies Win the Customer

China’s greatest success has been in industries that are very customer-focused such as household appliances (39 pdownloadercent global revenue), Internet software (15 percent) and smart phones (10 percent). In these sectors, the majority of the growth is from local market sales – the size of China makes domestic leaders, global leaders.

Based on the enormous size of the Chinese consumer market, appliance makers like Haier and Internet companies like Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu have grown to be world leaders. However, the Chinese consumer market is also quickly moving. The disposable income of its consumers has risen by 10 percent every year for over a decade and now 85 million households have joined the consuming class. In the Chinese market, innovations are rapidly scaled up and commercialized. So, Chinese companies have learned how to adapt global products by tweaking designs and better addressing the consumer needs. A new generation of Chinese entrepreneurs have been solving consumer problems in a unique way – the Chinese way.

China has a highly fragmented retail industry and this harshly limits decent choices for consumers if they are outside of major cities. However, Chinese entrepreneurs saw this as an opportunity and build a world-leading e-commerce industry, Alibaba. It has grown to be the world’s largest online market place based on the value of the merchandise sold – $349 billion last year. Further innovations by Alibaba is Alipay, a payments system and Ali Finance which helps to finance small scale suppliers that don’t have a traditional banking system.

Rethink Business Models

Chinese entrepreneurs greatest flair has been inventing business models. To understand, I’ll let you know that in most parts of the world, 60 to 90 percent of revenue for online businesses comes from advertising. In China, this is not the case; their advertising industry is actually only about a quarter the size of the US industry. Chinese companies needed to create new business models to monetize the web traffic. One company, Tencent generates 90 percent of its revenue from online games, sales of virtual items on social platforms and e-commerce. The result? The average revenue per use is $16 compared to Facebook’s $10.download (1)

Cheaper, but Better

China is known for creating products for about half of what other countries charged, but only at about 80 percent of the quality. With the rise of a wealthy class in China, now they have to create cheaper, but better products to win their consumers. A Beijing-based market phone maker, Ziaomi has become one of the world’s most successful startups. Xiaomi phones usually cost half of what top products of global brands cost for the same and even better hardware features. How do they do it? Ziaomi has achieved this by embracing business model innovations like online only sales and risk sharing with supplier. Now, Xiaomi is the largest smart phone player in China and is preparing to enter foreign markets.

3-D Printing Will Change the World

“3-D Printing was initially a solution looking for a problem. With any world changing technology, it only matters once it actually does change the world.” – Scott Summit, Bespoke Innovations

cube_1It sounds like science fiction, using a computer to make a complex object – appearing out of thin air. However, 3-D printing is here and it is growing, expected to be the mode of production of the future. I creating an object really does become as easy as a simple download and quick print, the manufacturing industry, as well as our lives will be changed forever.

According to manufacturing context, 3-D printing is considered additive manufacturing. This reveals something important – the difference between traditional and additive manufacturing. When creating a tool like a wrench, in traditional manufacturing, there is forging, grinding, milling, assembly, moulds, jigs and fixtures. 3-D printing can create an adjustable wrench in one operation, layer by layer and comes out ready to go with all of its moving parts.

Additive manufacturing will not be able to replace all forms of manufacturing, but for the right applications, there are significant advantages. 3-D printing can create products that have complex internal structures that are next to impossible to build with traditional methods. There is no need for a large factory or to retool an assembly line, that same printer can create a piece of art and next a bike part.
One of the most important applications of additive manufacturing is in the use of prototyping. Now that the price of 3-D printers has fallen to a reasonable level, companies can make experi3d-printer-mental investments without needing to do a full return on investment cost benefits analysis. Additive manufacturing allows for rapid product development and design innovations to be released from previous cost prohibitive factors. Above all, now companies can respond to fast-changing tastes and needs. Designers can touch multiple prototypes and combine it with other parts – they can learn more before committing to expensive equipment and tooling for large production scales. Innovative creators can take more risk now that these prototypes are cheaper and faster to produce.

3-D printers aren’t just good for prototyping though; they’re good enough for actual production. Specialist parts cost a small fraction of what they once did. Now companies can avoid fixed costs and the burden of carrying stock.

Now everyone can become an open-source machine, not just big businesses. 3-D printing is a radical democratization of the creative process and I am very excited for what new products will be created because of it.

Dismaland – Banksy’s New Exhibition

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Last Thursday, Banksy debuted his newest art exhibition in Westonsuper-Mare seafront, UK – Dismaland. “A family theme park that is unsuitable for small children,” is how Banksy describes it.

Depressive and practically unresponsive staff in pink jackets “welcomes” visitors, but that is after they have to walk through airport security made out of cardboard – just the beginning of puns and jokes.

A distorted mermaid, a dilapidated castle, roving occupy protests and a pond filled with boats of migrants are just a few of the exhibits. There is a “pocket money loans” shop that offers money to children with an interest rate of 5,000%. In another exhibit, would-be anarchists discover how to unlock Adshel posters that are seen at bus stops. People can also pay for the tools to break into them and replace the posters with anything that they want.

“Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus-a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…” reads the brochure.

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Banksy promises that the show is not a jab at Disney and made sure that Mickey Mouse would not be included in any of the artist’s work. A total of 58 artsists were chosen to create something special for the exhibition. Jenny Holzer, Paco Pomet, Ronit Baranga, Damien Hirst, Julie Burchill and Jimmy Cauty, who used to be part of KLF are just a few of the artists that participated.

It has been said that Banksy paid for the entire exhibition himself, although we will have to wait and see if he can make a profit on it. The show will run for a total of 36 days, until September 27. Since there is a cap of 4,000 tickets to be sold each day and tickets cost just three pounds each, it is only possible for Banksy to cash out with 400,000 pounds. However, it is Banksy – is he really looking to make a profit on this at all

Banksy could make a killing if he removed the cap – on “locals only” ticket day, the website crashed after six million people tried to log on. Who would have thought that people would want to visit a dark theme park? Everybody seems to be jumping at this possible chance of a life time, so if you have the means, get to the UK quickly – http://dismaland.co.uk/

What is going on at Amazon?

This week, The New York Times published an article titled, “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace – The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.” It caused quite a stir, including Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, coming forward to defend his company.

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Let’s begin with some of the most startling anecdotes. There was a woman who had just lost a child in pregnancy – she was put on performance review because she wasn’t giving her all to the company. Emails are sent out at all hours of the night and if you miss an email, you will get a text message a few minutes later asking why you haven’t replied. Daily performance reviews are standard – so employees can both boost and tear down each other anonymously.

Amazon was described as a place for overachievers to go to feel bad about themselves. In a YouTube video aimed at attracting employees to work for Amazing, a senior engineer explains, “You either fit in here or you don’t. There is no middle ground.”

Employment lawyers in Seattle were regularly contacted by Amazon workers claiming unfair treatment – most of the time saying they were pushed out for “not being sufficiently devoted to the company.” However, unfairness isn’t illegal so it is a difficult suit to win. Only 15 percent of employees stayed with Amazon for more than five years. Officials at Amazon say that this is because hiring was so robust.

“Purposeful Darwinism” is what Robin Andrulevich, a former top amazon human resources executive calls it.

Founder, Jeff Bezos says that he doesn’t recognize the company they are describing. “Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.” He also told employees to contact human relations or himself if any situations like those named have occurred.

Some loyal Amazon customers have even spoken up. “I want the company I’m dealing with to treat the human beings who work there with respect, not force them into a climate of fear. That’s at least, how The New York Times described it, and even if Bezos claims to not recognize the environment, over 100 current and former Amazonians who spoke to The New York Times did.”

Amazon may be focused on creating instant delivery for their customers, but it turns out that their customers don’t want it if it takes these circumstances.