Very proud of our spaceLab team who pioneered an easy way to unlock your doors using an Apple Watch.

MAKE Magazine was so impressed they asked the team to write this feature AND produced a video!

Check. It. Out.

Make an Apple Watch Door Unlocker — Make:.

Because of the Independence Day holiday (and a healthy downtime break between parade and fireworks), I found myself with a free hour to head down a rabbit hole on historical trauma associated with holidays like this one.

In the era of Facebook, it’s really interesting to think about how commonly held beliefs would have been spread/upheld/challenged/disrupted in niche communities informed primarily via IRL conversations (and maybe printed paper pamphlets) back in the days of our forefathers.

It’s also compelling to think about how our traditional publications and social networks have shifted to primarily advertising vehicles, despite the fact they were built/formed by people seeking community.

The role of communities in social media is getting lost, in my experience. With algorithm shifts, monetization and the firehose of content growing exponentially each day, there’s entirely too much focus on content marketing in the big, legacy social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Marketers are losing sight of the opportunity to build and engage with communities as we did in the early days. Not for the sake of monetizing, but for the opportunity to form a 2-way relationship with your true fans, friends and followers. To add value. To learn. And to change based on the conversation.

I thought this quote from a post on Creating A Common Memory (Doctrine of Discovery) that was prescient to this insight…

Georges Erasmus, an Aboriginal leader from Canada, said, “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.”

The innate desire for humans to form communities is indefatigable. Because the legacy social networks may no longer the primary way to build and foster communities, brands must continuing exploring the roles of message boards (a classic!), niche groups, comments/reviews and link sharing portals.

Much of this community conversation isn’t public, just like the good old days. But that’s all the more reason for brands to get smart about how they are monitoring and engaging in a dialog with their stakeholders.

Scott Cook at Intuit once said, “A brand is not what we tell consumers it is; it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

Therefore, brands must continue to seek out, build and engage with communities beyond the Big Three in social media.

Like I said, it’s a bit of a rabbit hole and is definitely outside the realm of historical trauma that impacts lifespans and generations, but it’s also my believe that brand advocacy, reputation and buying habits are transgenerational.

And these notions are formed/reinforced/changed in communities.

Therefore, we must continue to prioritize communities in all that we do. Even if we can’t serve those people advertising or measure their tie to sales.

Chatting with robots absolutely fascinates me. I’ve received two telemarketing calls for secondary education that was merely voice-clips served by an algorithm based on my responses. But that wasn’t evident until about the 25 second mark. Pretty good 2015 Turing test! I got one into a 3 minute loop asking it weird things, actually.

Check this out…

Conversational modeling is an important task in natural language understanding and machine intelligence. Although previous approaches exist, they are often restricted to specific domains (e.g., booking an airline ticket) and require hand-crafted rules. In this paper, we present a simple approach for this task which uses the recently proposed sequence to sequence framework. Our model converses by predicting the next sentence given the previous sentence or sentences in a conversation.

Human: who is skywalker ?
Machine: he is a hero .
Human: who is bill clinton ?
Machine: he ’s a billionaire .
Human: is sky blue or black ?
Machine: blue .
Human: does a cat have a tail ?
Machine: yes .
Human: does a cat have a wing ?
Machine: no
Human: can a cat fly ?
Machine: no .
Human: how many legs does a cat have ?
Machine: four , i think .
Human: how many legs does a spider have ?
Machine: three , i think .
Human: how many legs does a centipede have ?
Machine: eight .
Human: what is the color of the sky ?
Machine: blue .
Human: what is the color of water ?
Machine: water .
Human: what is the color of blood ?
Machine: it is the same as a black eye .
Human: what is the usual color of a leaf ?
Machine: it is a green one .
Human: what is the color of a yellow car ?
Machine: yellow .
Human: how much is two plus two ?
Machine: four .
Human: how much is ten minus two ?
Machine: seventy – two .

via The Future of Neural Network-based Chatbots and Intelligent Virtual Agents: A Neural Conversational Model.

I think this is an amazing quote, and says a lot about what’s driving content innovation these days… Especially as Buzzfeed hires a longtime PepsiCo marketing exec, Frank Cooper, to help them blow up their approach this week…

Anyway: another thought prompted by a throwaway Ellis tidbit in relation to the news that some brands (in this case, Ballantines Whisky) after having escaped the early 2000s gravitational well of “build it and they will come”, slingshotted their way past “build it where the people are” have now set a heading for “deploy fleeting structures of content on other peoples’ networks” by commissioning a digital magazine for Instagram. I’ll get to the point, though. Ellis says this: “Used to be that porn was the vanguard of any new comms technology shift. Now it’s advertising. Has been for a while. Look at where the infomercial people are going” and he’s not wrong.

–Dan Hon quoting Warren Ellis.

via Dan Hon’s s2e04: Everything.

…my test for outsourcing human work to machines is this: any task that has an output or outcome which can be pre-stated or even guessed, should eventually be performed by a machine.

Humans should eventually be left to more or less exclusively deal with open-ended endeavors that generate new organic value (as opposed to efficiency derived value).

Alluding to Peter Drucker’s thinking, effectiveness should be a human pursuit, while efficiency should be delegated to machines.

via We Should Want Robots to Take Some Jobs – HBR.

See also:

Mary Meeker’s famous annual Internet Trends presentation was today.

Although never presented very clearly (in a creative sense), this is one of the most important milestones of aggregating trend data in our industry each year.

By this time tomorrow, you will see countless digital/advertising trades recutting and summarizing this data in their coverage. And insights held in this presentation will serve as a reference point throughout the rest of 2015.

See all 197 slides in their ugly glory here:

“Some brands — notably Red Bull, Squarespace and Converse — have found ways to partner with musicians without infiltrating their works…

So to a degree, ‘selling out’ can be creatively liberating. But there’s a difference between selling a partnership and selling part of your song’s message — the part that a listener trusts and needs to connect with. Consumers need to look at branding in lyrics with extreme skepticism. They should look to support acts that only use brands to establish an artistic identity, not solely a financial one.”

Pop Music Is More About Advertising Now Than Before — And Nobody Realizes It.

We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. — Vernor Vinge

The AI Revolution: Road to Superintelligence – Wait But Why.

All content needs to be made interesting. What you’re doing as a writer is introducing variable rewards into your story. Everything that engages us, all pieces of content are engineered to be interesting,” he said. “Movies aren’t real life, books aren’t real life, your article isn’t real life. It’s manufactured to pull us one sentence after another through mystery, through the unknown. It’s a slot machine. Your article is a slot machine. It has to be variable. So just because an experience introduces variability and mystery — that’s good!”

Slot machines perfected addictive gaming. Now, tech wants their tricks | The Verge.