Showing posts tagged the future

Reading: The Ciphers of Social Media

Kevin Kelly does a fascinating deep dive into the 500,000 people following him on Google+.

His question: how many of them are real? The results are unsurprising.

To my astonishment over 560,000 people have put me in their Google+ circles. That is over half a million strangers who want to hear what I say on Google+. That crowd is far greater than the number of people subscribing to Wired magazine during the years I was editing it.

Where did these half million people come from? And who are they? Because they are starting to post a lot of spam in the comments. You the reader don’t see much of this spam because Google does a fantastic job of suppressing it so it’s invisible to readers. But as host I see the hidden spam grayed out so that I have the opportunity to undo it in case an entry is legit, but that has happened only once so far. All the other times Google has expertly and accurately removed spam before it displays.
Still, there is enough comment spam that it got me to wonder: how many of my circlers are spammers?
With the help of my research assistant Camille Cloutier, we randomly sampled my great circle to see who was there. I’ll tell you our conclusion and then how we got there.

Conclusion: Most of the half million people following me on Google+ are ciphers. They have signed up, but have not made a single public post, or posted their own image or a profile, or made a comment. They aren’t home. The only place you’ll see people are in the same small set of 100 “recommended” people they follow, of which I am one.

Remember: numbers like followers, fans, +1’s, or whatever are transitory and frequently irrelevant.


  • actual engagement with real people
  • true connections — make someone’s life easier or better
  • brand advocates who tell your story

Great find, Jake!

Reading: Siri Is Only The Beginning | TechCrunch

Dag Kittlaus was co-founder and CEO at Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010.

For decades, Hollywood has been portraying machines that humans can converse with, delegate tasks to, and command. Remember the HAL 9000, KITT the car, COMPUTER from Star Trek, or even the brilliantly conceived and visualized Apple “Knowledge Navigator” from over 20 years ago? The day is dawning.

Hello Siri.

The response to Siri has exceeded even my own imagination … and I have a rather vast imagination. I don’t believe it’s an accident that Siri has captivated as it has. It’s fun, it works well for most, and makes complex interactions simple. And while I don’t know what Apple plans to do with Siri going forward, you can bet that it’s going to get better and do more. I’ll be the first one in line for the iPhone 5, 6, and 7 just to get the latest Siri. (Better yet, I’ll just ask Siri to send me the latest model as they become available.)

The internet is for…computers?

Internet traffic is increasingly shifting away from desktop devices like PCs and toward other connected devices like game consoles, smartphones, tablets, and set-top boxes, the study found. Now, just 45 percent of Internet traffic on fixed networks actually goes to laptops and desktop computers.

Netflix Takes Up a Third of Internet Bandwidth: Traffic shifting from computers to connected devices - Adweek by Emma Bazillian

Uhhh. Talk about burying the lead…no one cares about Netflix. Yes, we watch a lot of TV online.

Here’s the big one:

Less than half of all traffic from fixed networks is for computers. Wild. What will that number look like in 10 years? Will traditional “computer” traffic even be 10%?

Again, it’s a Post-PC world and we’re just living it.

Five thoughts on Nest

Incredible hit by the Nest PR team to land this inspiring longread on the history, opportunity, and Apple-ness of the most innovative thermostat developed by former Apple design guru Tony Fadell on Wired. Money graf:

 The Nest is the iPod of thermostats. A simple loop of brushed stainless steel encases a chassis of reflective polymer, which encircles a crisp color digital display. Artificial intelligence figures out when to turn down the heat and when to jack up the air conditioning, so that you don’t waste money and perturb the ozone when no one is home, or when you’re asleep upstairs. You can communicate with the Nest from your smartphone, tablet or web browser.

Fadell promises the Nest will pay for itself within a year or two of use, and ultimately save you up to 30 percent of your utility bill. And its presence on your wall will be less an artifact of the industrial age than a piece of high-tech art. - Steven Levy, Wired (Brave New Thermostat: How the iPod’s Creator Is Making Home Heating Sexy)

This is an especially impressive hit when you consider one salient detail that Wired and friends might have missed:

 ”Tech Press seems to have swallowed Nest PR hook, line, and sinker. Plenty of “learning thermostats” on market. No research done on reports.”  - Ars Technica’s Ken Fisher (Twitter)


Not everything is all rosy in this piece however. As Wired points out, having your thermostat set your temperature for environmental efficiency can often give you a feeling that no one really wants:  the feeling of Al Gore himself barking at you. 

An unhappier discovery came when Matsuoka learned that some of the Nest’s prototype testers were unhappy with her algorithms. She had instructed the thermostat to proactively set temperatures for efficiency: Once it learned when people were out of the room, it greedily lowered temperatures in winter and raised them in summer. But people felt that the Nest was forcing them to change their behavior. It was like Al Gore himself was in the room, barking at you to put on a sweater.

Maybe that’s the trick. New Plan to Save the Environment: An Al Gore in Every Living Room. 

Maybe this green movement might have some actual economic big ideas in it? Ya just maybe, let’s put some smart money behind the best ideas and let it go.

That said, I enjoyed SplatF’s take on Nest as merely the next step of the “Apple-fication” of everything in our lives. 

For now, many of those Apple colleagues — especially the ones who worked most closely with Steve — still work there. But over time, more will leave to start their own companies or launch new projects. And some of those companies will make some really cool things completely outside the consumer electronics industry, reflecting both the work of their founders and also a little bit of Steve Jobs. Today’s example is Nest, a company founded by former Apple iPod co-creator Tony Fadell, which makes thermostats. His product is basically the iPod/iPhone/iMac equivalent of the thermostat. - Dan Frommer, SplatF (The Apple-fication of everything)

Love it. Now Apple gets credit for saving the environment, transforming home comfort, and every future technological design that is simple, elegant and just works. Now that is a hell of a brand.

And damnit. We just pre-ordered one for 40 West. Hook, line, sinker.

About me

Social media evangelist. Helps brands share their story. Works at Buddy Media.

Views expressed are my own.

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