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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hacking the e-Publishing World

My team spent last week piercing the veil of e-Publishing platforms. We have a client who asked about it. As you probably know, e-Publishing is growing by leaps and bounds. There are double the number of e-published books than traditionally published books today. You’d think that means it’s an open source dealio. Not so.

The major book distributors are trying to compete by creating apps and ebook formats unique to their reading devices. While I was at DesignPhiladelphia an author told me her next book will go digital-direct, skipping print altogether via Wiley’s new proprietary platform for e-publishing. If you’re interested in the e-publishing boom, check out the article The Web is Dead in Wired. It’s a sobering debate about what’s left of the frontier. Buffalo carcasses piled high.

After a 10 year Moon-doggie high about the wonders of the world wide web (confession: I inhaled), it’s clear that it’s becoming just a real-estate grab. Some people own property. Others lease space from Facebook, Match.com and Craig’s List. The homesteading movement is coming to a close.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Top Internet Myths

Photo by the tartanpodcast
danah boyd’s writing a book focused on myths that we have about teens and social media. She’s gathering quotes from news media that perpetuate these myths. Drop by her site and share your favorite myth. Here are a few she’s gathered thus far:
• Myth #1: The digital is separate from the “real” world.
• Myth #2: Social media makes kids deceptive.
• Myth #3: Social media is addictive.
• Myth #4: Kids don’t care about privacy.
• Myth #5: The Internet is a dangerous, dangerous place.
• Myth #6: There’s nothing educational about social media.
• Myth #7: Kids are digital natives.
• Myth #8: The Internet is the great equalizer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Internet Librarians

I’m in Monterey today, speaking at the Internet Librarian Conference. And I get to give a case study that is so intimate, so local to me that it feels risky. It’s about my local library. If you have a crappy library, I feel for you. If you have a terrific public library, as I do, you are blessed. There’s nothing like it. If you don’t know one way or another...you have the former.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Study--Do Brands Go Deeper than Skin Deep Online?

New research shows that Millennials relate to brands in "Deep and complicated ways". The 8095 ("eighty ninety-five") study just out from Edelman PR, shows that brand identification is right up there with religion and ethnicity. But that was true only "When it comes to personal identifiers millennials share online". It's a fascinating study that should trigger debate.

I'd argue for a new definition of "deep". Digital culture is more casual. It has fewer deep rituals. Think about it...are there any experiences online that would qualify as rites of passage? So, I guess the question is: how deep does the digital culture go? Skin deep? Or inner sanctum of the soul deep?

The report notes that volunteering to try new products and review some of them online is a "core value," and the majority of those surveyed had recommended products to friends and family via a social network. The research involved interviewing 3,100 respondents in eight countries. Check it out...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First Novel Published on Facebook

Last year, Guy Kawasaki told me that “low overhead” was the new killer app. I couldn’t help wondering what he’d make of the buzz at OMMA Global this year about the power of “story” to drive allegiance and traffic in digital culture. Is “story” the new killer app?

Maybe you saw this already, but the first novel to be written entirely on Facebook is here. Written by Leif Peterson of Whitefish, Montana—it’s more proof that “story” is the new killer app.

During the winter of 2009, Leif Peterson was challenged by a friend to write a 1000-word story about a man who discovers a Missing Person poster with his own face on it. He wrote the story, and on February 10th, he posted it on Facebook for his friends to read. But the friends who read it didn’t realize he was done; they thought he was just beginning. Messages began pouring in demanding to know what happened next. So he kept on writing.

For all the disheartened creatives out there: Stop fretting that technology has usurped your intellectual property—leaving you without prospects. Look at it this way: to be sure, the business model may be changing. Books and traditional publishing are waning. But the need for talented writers is on the rise. Don’t worry. Be scrappy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How Corian Uses Sponsorship to Inspire Innovation

Being on the road always means two things: my in-box will be a nightmare, and I will miss the place I’ve been to. After spending 4 days at DesignPhiladelphia, the same is true. Philly has a rough magic to it. But, having chipped away at email while waiting at the airport, I have time to blog about one of the highlights of my trip - visiting the DuPont Corian Design Studio.

Corian is a sponsor of the lecture series for DesignPhiladelphia. As such, it sponsored a show of top artists and designers who were invited to elevate the work-a-day kitchen surface into an art form for an exhibition dubbed “Carte Blanche".

What struck me about my experience at the Design Studio is how flexible a material Corian is. Kitchen counters merely scratch the surface. From lighting to wall coverings, Corian is used everywhere at the Studio.

Sure, brands like Corian create culture relevance by sponsoring events like DesignPhiladelphia. But they’re also using the relationship to inspire innovation putting their brand at the center point. Not every sponsor seizes that opportunity. Corian gets it because they are trying to appeal to designers - people who often carry the banner for innovation. The reality is, all businesses are in need of new thinking.

So ask yourself, what’s your next sponsorship deal doing to help you innovate?

Friday, October 15, 2010

How To Get to the Essence of Your Idea

This week, I’m hanging out with people who live and die by the quality of their ideas--designers. I’m in Philly to scout DesignPhiladelphia. It’s an 11-day banquet of events showcasing designers and design-based companies in Philly.

Wednesday evening, I heard a talk by Todd Bracher, sponsored by DuPont’s Corian brand. (I’ll share more about the very cool Corian design center later.) Bracher was awarded Designer of the Year in 2008. He talked about getting to the “essence” of a design. He starts with something natural—the spine of a dead fish, a bug, or Cindy Crawford’s birthmark. Next, he adds necessary elements until the structure is sound.

Once he giveth, he taketh away. Bracher then strips the design down to its barest essentials, creating a simple essence. “I want the point. Just one single point of inspiration to shine through.” Cindy Crawford’s birthmark inspired Bracher’s top-selling coffee table. It’s a great design—pure and simple.

Bracher is on to something. Think about it. How often do we work something into a frenzy of over expression? I plan on trying it. Say less...mean more.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Keeping Your Event Hot When Sponsors Grow Cool

Photo by michaelrighi
Despite fewer sponsors and government dollars, two events this month are gaining ground where it counts most—with audiences. The London Film Fest is one, with ticket sales up 8% this year. The other event is across the pond in Philly. DesignPhiladelphia has brought the city alive with its showcase for what’s cutting edge. Capturing the attention of the media, the event has the City of Brotherly Love buzzing with visitors. I’ll travel to DesignPhiladelphia later this week to check it out and report back.

What the two events have in common is that they have forged ahead with brave programming and strong media relations campaigns—classic and digital, despite tight budgets. Sponsors will come back. And when they do, they’ll entertain proposals from events that can demonstrate strong audience and media appeal.

Take note. It’s not a good idea to scale back your exuberance for your programming in these times. Keep the home fires burning and you’ll have a compelling story to tell when the thaw occurs.

Read more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finding Something Half Rare on the Beach and Learning a Lesson

You know me. I love Michigan. I recently spent a long weekend up in Traverse City to attend my best friend’s wedding. Winter conspired in the woods, but the air was not so crisp as to keep me from the beach.

Along the pebbled shores of Lake Michigan, I kept my eyes peeled for a Petoskey Stone. They’re fossilized fragments of coral reef over 300 million years old. As a kid, I searched in vain and have never, ever found one. As a grown woman, I was more laid back, flinging stones as I walked and chatting with my daughter. And then there it was…at my feet.

Later on at the wedding, I boasted about what I’d found. The locals were incredulous. “They’re so rare on this beach.” I had to confess to them it wasn’t a very good specimen.

“Sounds like a half and half,” said the young blond woman at my table. I brightened. Yes, yes. That’s right.

That’s the way it is sometimes. We yearn for things. They appear. They’re never so perfect as we’d thought. But finding something rare, created during the ice age, who cares if it’s half perfect? It’s still astonishing. Not flawed. Not less than. Just half and half.

The stone sits on my desk. I roll it on my palm during conference calls. It reminds me--keep up the rigor, but always innovate. It’s never perfect. Just half and half.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Making the Case for Fast Talking

Fast talkers have a bad rap. There’s the fast-talking salesman and the fast talking preacher. Yet, when you or I face an audience we have too many ideas to share. We want to make meaning. Some advise that slow talking is more persuasive. Less is more, and all that. I’m not so sure. I watch Alan Richman do Beckett. I follow even if I don’t catch every word or thought. I get the drift. The clip is a rush of poet’s adrenaline. What do you think? Are these the times for fast talking?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Celebrate Banned Books Week

There's still time. Banned Books Week runs through this weekend. The annual 8-day celebration of books targeted for censorship and complaints is the brainchild of the late Judith Krug at the American Library Association, and it is one of the most successful public education programs in U.S. history. What started as an idea has mushroomed into a social movement. (Disclosure, ALA is a client).

Love your liberty? Then do your part to protect it. Celebrating Banned Books Week is a great way to let people express their love for the First Amendment. Need ideas? Host a Banned Books Party where people read out loud from books on the banned list. Buy a banned book. Blog about a banned book you’ve read and cherished.



There are many ways to take part in this annual event. The Crash Pad puppets celebrated with a video (embedded above), spreading an anti-censorship message for Internet viewers everywhere. The New York Times published ten other ways to celebrate.

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