Very interesting way of thinking about telling a story, whether for a movie, for a brand or for a cause.
Google Glass has been very big on the news since 2012 and recently we've even seen venture capitalists claiming that its advent would create a new space for investment in start-ups. It's worth hearing how Sergey Brin presents that initiative and then consider things carefully from the standpoint of human behavior, not technology.
One of my friends and partners, Fabian Tilmant, a Google hater, Apple zealot and Tech skeptic, who is currently working on a book outlining DICoDE a model aimed at decoding and reinventing content businesses, said something like "you are what you do". His claim came from the fact that I said Google has a weakness in the way most people perceive them as a company, replying to Fabian's opinion that Google is "increasingly perceived as an ad company". For the record I disagree with that statement and I'm looking for data about how Google is perceived, but I suspect people know the search engine, the billions made selling ad space and the issues with street view. Not too sure they'd spontaneously say "Oh yes! Google, the ad company"... Most people don't have a clue about things like AdWords, AdSense, the display network or retargeting... and even if they did, it's not an "ad company", whatever that may be.
Anyhow, are you what you do? Is a business what they do? Fabian thinks so and says "Public Opinion don't know vision/mission. They only see/feel/experiment touch points." He is quite right, but that does not mean that what consumers experiment is the core of a brand's or company's identity: it is the perception of the people. It is also the definition of the company in the consumer's mind. But it is not identity. Identity is something that is difficult to grasp most of the time, which is why we often use metaphor to define or convey it. Identity is on the inside, not defined by someone else's perception of a person, company or brand. Granted, identity, mission, vision all have important influence on the kind of goals and strategies a company can pursue. In turn strategies have an influence on the activities of a company, including products, services and cultural patterns of behavior, all of which impact market perception. But again someone else's perception of you is not your identity, no more than your clothes are part of your organism.
So in my opinion in order to succeed, particularly with Google Apps - an amazing platform that gives businesses of all sizes the IT firepower they could never hope to have paying for armies of sys admins to run the incumbent's products -, Google needs to fix the way it's perceived because much of what many people know of Google tends to make it possible for older incumbents like Microsoft to try to exploit fear and imply (falsely or at least without any proof at all) that people's and businesses' emails are "read" by Google, much like your postman would open your good old paper envelopes. And of course we know that Microsoft is not alone using fear tactics or trying to hit Google's reputation using questionable means. Their good friends at Facebook have been caught paying a PR company of questionable ethical standards to slander Google.
So, no you are not what you do: identity and image are not the same thing at all.
Recently I had the great pleasure to present at a "Friday Session" organized by Cleverwood. The format is great because it's time boxed to 1.5 to 2 hours during which people who know something that could be useful to the others run the session. Usually the topics are focused on the Internet, social media, mobile technologies...etc However, because the challenge of dealing with people is a great one, I'm trying to contribute content that comes from my interest in NLP and coaching.
For many people, dealing with people is one of the most challenging things in professional life. For consultants, dealing with people is critical to the success of their projects. That's why I focused my Friday Session on two key concepts that can be used in a variety of contexts: personal relationships, sales, business development, negotiation...etc. These two concepts are:
This can be used to understand conflict, develop negotiating positions, work on a sales pitch...etc It's a great way to explore the "Other" position and understand the way the whole system made of "Me" and "Other" actually works.
So, overall it's "as simple as 1-2-3" and no, business cannot be about me, myself and I.
I recently came across this TED Talk and watched it several times because I was impressed with the unusual use of a discipline like design to tackle a challenge of social development. Another reason was the pragmatic approach of Emily Piloton and her partners in taking feasible steps first, in creating a positive initial experience with design and in engaging the local community. So once again, the only thing that truly matters is practice. "An ounce of practice is worth tons of preaching"...
Brian Cox beautifully makes the case for curiosity, exploration, science and innovation.
This is an example of something that is going on in a lab right now and has the potential to become a really big product. It can become:
CrowdPhoto.net emerged in my market watch as an interesting initiative, not only because it exemplifies the potential of crowdsourcing, but also because it was built in a weekend using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
CrowdPhoto is a bit like an Aardvark service for pictures: people request a specific picture like "A pink penguinin North Pole" and specify how much they're willing to spend to get their hands on the picture; other people can submit materials in response to the request and get paid for the picture(s) they provided. I'm not too clear whether there is a reward sharing or other mechanism in case many people provide content on the same request, but that's the concept in substance. The prototype is remarkable in a few ways:
Crowdphoto makes me think of the world described by David Brin in his book Earth, where privacy gets overtaken by low-cost mass-adopted high-tech surveillance, communications and database tools that people carry around propelling the planet into an era of complete social transparency. Each person who freely contributes content on the web has a level of authority relative to the topics they are covering and is therefore more or less influential.
Whether it's going to fly or not as an economically profitable operation is quite another story and to a large extent not a very relevant one. The sheer fact that people have the capability to go from concept to deployed prototype in just a weekend thanks to infrastructure as a service is truly amazing and has far-reaching implications for entire categories of businesses that can now be tested fast and in a flexible way. I just wonder what was the sum total of effort and money invested in preparing the weekend and in building the prototype.