213. PressPausePlay: Digital, Before & Now. The Most Disruptive Thing to Happen to Humans to Date

24 takeaways from this video: Continue reading “213. PressPausePlay: Digital, Before & Now. The Most Disruptive Thing to Happen to Humans to Date”

94. How To Ru(i)n A Business: Streaming & File Sharing Better Absorbed Than Fought

19 important takeaways from this documentary:

00:01:00 It’s becoming harder, maybe impossible to encapsulate information into discrete units and sell them.  Says Yochai Benkler of Yale Law School

Hollywood and the individual artists have put a lot of money into making these movies and music (digital products) and so they want to get something back, but the way they are trying to stop the copying now is definitely not working, says Eric of mininova.org

Ever since Napster the music industry has been trying to kill filesharing, says the late Aaron Schwartz, Co-founder of reddit.com

(All the popular filesharing sites of the time) were sued, and in the end the entertainment industry succeeded in driving filesharing technology out of the mainstream. The industry has turned to suing individuals for downloading music without permission. In the 1970s cable news was viewed as a pirate medium, seen as nothing more than a channel that pirated their content and broadcasted it to individuals – piracy pure and simple. Movie studios immediately brought lawsuits against the news studios. The first .mp3 player by Diamond Rio were met with a lawsuit. 

Traditionally copyright lawsuit has just been in civil matter. Criminal infrigement liability – the ability to prosecute you and throw you in jail has been reserved for circumstances of commercial piracy such as making and selling copies of your copyrighted material on the street for a profit. Well, in recent years copyright owners haven’t been satisfied with that and have wanted to reach out against people engaged in non-criminal activity. 

So they have sought to sue people and punish them severely enough so as to essentially intimidate a large number of other people.  –Fred von Lohmann, Attorney, FFF

There is a long history of whatever the encumbant industry happens to be, they’re resisting whatever new technology provides… the video recorder was strongly resisted by Hollywood. The sheet music people resisted recordings. Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs

We recognize that we will NEVER stop piracy. We just have to try to make it as difficult and as tedius as possible and let people know that there are consequences if they’re caught. –Dan Glickman, Chairman of MPAA

The fact that the DVD writer is the new weapon of mass destruction in the world is primarily for the fact that a $50 billion firm can be reproduced at the cost of $0.10-$0.15 

This should not be seen as a singular event in and of itself, but rather a repetition of events that have already happened in the past. –Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangladore

Mark Getty, chairman of Getty Images once stated that intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century. This is a fantastic quote that can be condensed into a single word: war. This is simultaneously ridiculous and serious.  -Sebastian Lûtgert of Pirate Cinema

00:07:00 Before the arrival of the printing press in the 1800s, information was scarce and relatively easy to control. This economy of scarcity permitted the select few to send information across time and space.

Print brought with it an abundance of information which threatened the control over ideas. This new mass communications technology was seen as the unholy work of the devil.

Printing, moreso than authorship, became associated with rebellion and emancipation, and so printers were hunted down.

00:14:23 What happens when a copying mechanism is invented – be it the printing press or bit torrent – it shapes people habits and gives people completely new ideas how they can work and work together, what they can share, what they can relate to, what their lives could be.

The one technique that brought us (humanity) to where we are is copying.  -Sebastian Lûtgert of Pirate Cinema

00:15:28 Communication – the need to talk to someone – is an act of sharing. The need to listen to someone is an act of sharing.   –Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangladore

00:15:33 Culture and language is shared through imitating each other. This is how we learn to speak as a baby and how new things come into and spread through society; what keeps us together is that we copy from each other.  –Felix Stalder, Media Theorist

00:17:20 From paper to digital, Joseph Licklider, wanting a better way of improving the distribution of information, initially came up with the idea of creating a network of information sharing computers. The ARPANET, established in 1969, was designed to allow scientists to share computer resources in order to improve innovation. With AARPANET, there was no centralized ‘giver of information,’ and anyone could join the network provided they agreed to abide the rules.

00:19:48 This network was built so that there wasn’t anybody in charge and that everybody has control over their own communications. -the late Aaron Schwartz, Co-founder of reddit.com

00:22:20 One of the main battle grounds in law and technology now is the extent to which it is possible to exclude people from information, knowledge, and cultural goods. The ability to put this information into a container and then say ‘you have to pay me to access this information.’  –

Yochai Benkler of Yale Law School

00:23:45 The entire monetary payment system was built around the idea of the sellers choice to give his or her product/service to someone else for an agreed price.

00:26:00 The war on piracy is failing because of the very fundamental social reason that people like sharing and transforming things, and technology makes this so easy that there is no way of stopping it.

00:28:55 You can sue people forever, but once your product/service is that far out of the bag (on the internet), trying to contain it is hopeless. 

00:34:56 This ability to take and recreate at ease is turning passive consumers into active creators. This suggests a new economic model for society.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For an interesting look into this new economic model for society of how brands exploit your attempt at accessing these information, knowledge, and cultural goods, watch the documentary Generation Like: How Your Quest For Identity & Connection Is Subtly Manipulated by Douglas Rushkoff.]


72. William Channer on How to Build a Successful Podcast & Reconsidering Your Comments Section

imageDesigner, founder and journalist, William Channer has +10 years experience enabling and inspiring startups through apps, books and podcasts on advertising, business, design and technology.

How and why did you start Dorm Room Tycoons (DRT)? My co-founder and I started DRT while in university in order to get my hands on information we normally couldn’t find in text books and in class – hence the name Dorm Room Tycoons. We started by following and reading popular blogs such as Ryan Singer at Basecamp and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, but after a while we thought “Instead of just reading these blogs, why don’t we actually interview the guys behind them: speak to them first hand and see what they have to share?”

But rather than asking your typical ‘generalist-generalist’ questions you see quite often, I asked questions that myself and, I assume, a lot of people specifically wanted to know more about.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In my interview, Hervé Godard of Blake Magazine likewise suggests meeting the owner(s) and the people in charge as often as possible because often times there’s an interesting story behind how the company or product came into existence. Perhaps two people who normally should never have crossed paths, but somehow did and it turned into the company they represent today.]

This is how I discovered advertising and was really inspired during my interview with John Hegarty, and decided that I wanted to work for somebody like him. So I used DRT to get my foot in the door and interview the top ad guys (Rory Sutherland, Dave Trott…) at the advertising agencies in London. I leveraged my interviews and was smart about it, and as a result of my interviews I did get a job as a copywriter for BBH London and creative for AKQA.

I’ve also written on technology for sites like The Guardian and Designmodo. My publications as a journalist established my credentials in the technology sector, which then gave me access to these thought leaders and innovators, and experience taught me ways of approaching them and getting them to sit down with me, answer my questions and honestly opening up to me. Once you’ve an interview with one big name, that further establishes your credibility and others are then more willing to make time for you.

It also comes down to the quality of the copy in your emails. Everybody wants something. I can invest hours researching and finding out exactly what the person I want to do an interview with wants, and then crafting the email the right way to cut through the thousands of interview requests they likely receive and get them to respond to mine. This all comes down to the quality of your copywriting.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The most thorough and well-written book I’ve read on copywriting so far is *Copywriting: Successful writing for design, advertising, and marketing by Mark Shaw.]

In the beginning, DRT was a weekly publication and required a ton of work. Nowadays I can’t post interviews on a regular calendar anymore because it’s quite difficult working around the schedules of such high-level and busy people and securing a big name every week. Additionally, I’m now juggling a few startups and apps myself:

  • Panda is a free newsfeed dashboard for designers, developers, and entrepreneurs
  • Podcast Gift is a weekly curation of the best podcasts in business, design, and technology
  • Ways to Connect is a book I co-authored with Ryan Singer of Basecamp

So to summarize:

  1. Establish your credentials
  2. Get your foot in the door by contacting people who already know and trust you
  3. Perfect your mission, product/service, and quality of your copywriting
  4. Use the people you already know as a springboard to contacting more difficult to reach people who don’t yet know and trust you
  5. As you expand your network, be open to and actively seek out collaborative projects and business ventures that further establish your credentials and let you do what you enjoy doing

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In a presentation at UC Dublin, Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York dissects his personal step-by-step method for convincing complete strangers to not only let him photograph them, but also to open up and share deep personal insights into their lives:

Tell me more about how you designed the copy for your emails. It is really all about your approach and positioning. If you approach them as a fan, I think that generally turns them off. They may respond to you and thank you for following their work and emailing them, but they probably won’t take your request too seriously.

But if you come on the level with them and approach them objectively and professionally, like:

“Hey, I interview the world’s influential innovators in the _______ sector. I’ve interviewed a few of your peers, and I’m interested in what you have to say. What do you think?”

Then you’re much more likely to get a ‘yes, it would be a pleasure’ or at least a ‘Sounds interesting, tell me more about it.’

Your podcasts sound as though they are done in one take, no editing. How do you manage that behind-the-scenes so that both you and your interviewee sound so unrehearsed – lacking grammar errors, perfect clarity and flowing logic of thought…? That is all down to the editing in post-production. People want and expect a certain level of quality; therefore it’s very important for creating a useful high quality product that

  1. Your listeners want to continually follow, listen to and download
  2. The people you’re asking to interview trust and want to be a part of

On some of my interviews on skype I’ve even had to reschedule interviews so I could mail them one of my own personal mics so that the best quality recording possible. The content you’re putting out there is going to be there forever – as a signature of your credibility and competence, and also for the person you’re interviewing; and you want to get it right the first time.

Personally, I use Logic Pro – a software specifically designed for music. I’m more into seamless sound and fluidity that lets you cut out the ‘ums’ and ‘uhhs…’ and blanks in our conversation. Also, some interviewees record their answers on their iPhone headphones, where the sound quality isn’t that great and so I must boost certain sounds while suppressing other sounds. I’ve found that Logic Pro lets me add a little extra finish that listeners don’t realize while their listening and in the end creates a more well-rounded interview.

Why doesn’t DRT have a comments section? Most comments tend to be noise – they don’t really add anything to the quality of the initial content. When you’re sitting in front of someone really wise, you tend to prefer to shut up and listen to what they have to say. Therefore DRT is designed to have the attention fully focused on the person I’m interviewing.

How do you monetize DRT? When I started DRT, it wasn’t monetized. Today I do earn a little income though advertising while my podcasts continue to be free to listen to and download. I do this because I think this sort of information that is already readily available in some form or another and should be free. Charging for that information isn’t something I want to be known for. Even today, DRT has limited advertising on its site, and each podcast is sponsored by a company, but again the focus is on the person I’m interviewing.

Even today, DRT itself isn’t a significant source of income, nor is it meant to be. It is instead a way for me to find paying jobs and entrepreneurial projects with people. I am sometimes approached by brands and companies to do consulting work for them, but that isn’t my main focus right now.

That being said, if you’re providing specialized knowledge and solutions that is not easily found and readily available, and requires extensive research and a unique solution to each individual problem, then it’s understandable that you charge for it, and consumers would understand this and be willing to pay for it.

Have you found Ad Blocking software cuts into your revenue to the point where you’re working for free? Not yet.

After +108 interviews, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned? You have to have a name. People put a lot of emphasis on the product. Your product is important, but it is absolutely insane the amount of products that are created every day!

Therefore what’s more important than the quality of your product is the reputation and credentials of the person behind the product.  Consumers will buy a product if they are convinced it will help them or make their lives easier, but consumers will also readily buy or invest in a product – sight unseen – simply because a person they know, trust and respect created it or is publically investing  in it.


Consider for example the Paypal mafia – The group of guys who co-founded Paypal and then went on to use their name and reputation to start and utterly dominate many other industries. They created a network exosystem for themselves. Now when these guys speak, people listen.

What are a few of your favorite advertising campaigns?

I have a small advertising budget, any advice?

1. How does your target demographic want content to be available to them? In a printable pdf document? A blog post? A podcast? Or do they want the option of all three? Create your content and then transfer it into the format that your target audience wants.

2. Self-publishing on Amazon is almost as easy as launching a blog, plus you have Amazon’s algorithm and sheer visitor volume working for you. You might not get rich on it, but it’s one way of earning money and a great way of gaining exposure and building credibility for future projects.

3. Invest in networking and creating a high-quality social ecosystem. Get on a plane and go to San Francisco – or wherever the financially backed and well-connected industry leaders and innovators are. But don’t just go, organize your trip dates, then spend the next few months emailing and packing your schedule so full of meetings that by the time your plane lands at the airport you’re already 15 minutes late to your first meeting, and then EVERY meeting after that!

Apply  to Y combinator, a site that provides seed funding for promising startups. If you can become y-combinator alumni, you’re well on your way to building your reputation and network.

I’m a startup, what are your top 4 DRT interviews I must listen to?

  1. Patrick Collison of Stripe on what makes Silicon Valley special
  2. David Karp of tumblr on the importance of startup mentorship
  3. Sam Altman of Y-combinator on funding the next visionaries
  4. Jason Fried of 37Signals on why copy is more important than design


68. Rares Vidican on Ad Blocking Software, Creating A Digital Media Strategy & The Intricracy Of Digital Ads

Rares Vidican, Data Manager for Group MTeam Leader and Tracking and Data Manager for Group M, Rares Vidican has +5 years experience creating, tracking and managing the analytics for media plans and digital campaigns. Continue reading “68. Rares Vidican on Ad Blocking Software, Creating A Digital Media Strategy & The Intricracy Of Digital Ads”

64. Lewis Chalas on Digital Advertising, The Consumer Journey and The Power of ‘Click Here!’

Digital Coordinator for Group M and Co-founder of Razzia.co, Lewis Chalas has +6 years experience working with brands to most effectively reach consumers through digital media.

How does your job fit into the advertising process?  The commercial team creates the creative brief with the client and then hands it off to me. My job is to study the clients business and their consumers to discover the best way to reach their consumers. Typical digital solutions that digital agencies offer are:

  • Display ads – banner display ads.
  • Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
  • Tracking and analytics.
  • Mobile advertising campaigns.
  • Cross device campaigns – ads that cross from computer to tablets and mobile.

Digital coordinators manage all these different digital campaign options to deliver to the client the final product.

What are some clients you have worked for? Netflix, Les Furêts, BGL, Colgate, Fiat

What are some campaigns you have worked on?

Is there a digital screen size (desk top, mobile, tablet…) that you have found to be more profitable than others? This really depends on your objectives.

In terms of sales, consumers may feel more comfortable entering their credit card details into their desktop and laptop, however this is changing and I don’t believe that there is a battle between desktop and mobile. Honestly the size of the screen (laptop, desktop, tablet, mobile)  isn’t really the issue anymore. The more important question to ask is ‘Which screen(s) do your consumers interact with the most, and why.’ In short, ‘What is your target consumer’s journey?’

Tell me about the consumer journey. Two questions you need to answer for this:

  • 1. What do I want to say?
  • 2. When would my consumer be most receptive to my message?

Consumers may use their phone more in the morning before work to browse the news and quickly check their email, and then after work during the transit home. During the day they will work on their laptops and desktops. In the evenings after 6:00PM and on the weekend consumers may use their tablet to relax, read and browse their favorite sites, and thus may be more open to your message, likely to share your articles and making a purchase. Knowing this about your target consumers, you’re better able to focus your digital advertising when they will be most receptive to it.


Learn more on this chart on Campaign Live and Mec Global.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In our interview, Ivan Pejcic, strategic planner for Ogilvy goes into detail about how to incorporate the consumer journey into a creative brief.]

What is the difference between a sales ad and a branding ad in terms of look and feel? For branding objectives you want to go big to be sure the consumer cannot miss you – Half Page 300×600 ads or full-page ads that appear before the person can visit the website, and are thus more expensive because they’re pay per impression (PPI) and take up so much space. For branding ads you need something that stops and teases the user such as a video or image(s) as well as a call to action such as ‘Click here.’

The smaller ad formats don’t make for good branding campaigns. The smaller sized ad formats are generally used for sales because they provide more qualitative traffic – the consumer intentionally chose to click on those ads.

With sales-based advertising you should be engaging. For example it should say ‘Click here to get 10% off’ or another attractive offer to peak the consumer’s curiosity. Never underestimate the power of the words ‘Click here.’


If PPC gives you free advertising until somebody clicks on it, what is the benefit of PPI? PPI is more for volume objective such as placement – when you want to saturate a particular website or advertising network of websites during a short time – to be the ONLY advertisement people see. PPI isn’t the best way to drive sales; but it is the best way to get your brand in front of a lot of people very quickly.

What are some misconceptions clients commonly have about advertising? The separation of television and online; nowadays we can actually synchronize television commercials with digital ads.

Focus on one objective per campaign. Don’t try to mix a branding campaign and a sales campaign because the approaches are different. Often brands try to do everything with one campaign. If you have the budget then you can run a branding campaign and a sales campaign simultaneously, but don’t try to create one ad that does both. 

I have a small advertising budget, any advice? In no particular order:

1. Invest in a fully-responsive website that is both desktop and mobile friendly.

2. Have a landing page for your advertising campaigns to link to, but more importantly organize your website so that every page is designed to convert –so that on every page and blog post consumers are encouraged to purchase or sign up. Don’t clutter your website with so many extraneous share buttons, widgets, ‘related posts’ and text that people overlook the most important thing you want them to see – the purchase button.

3. From point A to point B, you lose traffic with every click the consumer has to make. So when running a sales campaign, don’t link your ad to your homepage, instead link directly to the specific page where the person can buy the product or service you are advertising in your ad. The fewer clicks possible the better.

4. If you’re selling several items, don’t advertise ‘check out our store’ and then direct the consumer to your store page. Instead, focus your advertisement on one item specifically, and then direct the consumer to that precise product’s purchase page.

Consider running a dynamic campaign where you split-test your different products to see which products sell the most and help you better segment your market.

5. Once your website is ready, just go live and carefully monitor your analytics to see how your visitors behave.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on how to run an analytics campaign, refer to my interview with Thomas Palugan, Data Consultant]

6. Get as much free advertising and buzz as you can through your friends and social network. Guest post on other blogs for exposure and reputation-building. Post informed comments on other people’s blogs and community forums.

7. Online – focus on SEA – search engine advertising to catch business and new consumers. Plus since you only play per click, you’re maximizing your exposure and impressions can act as branding.  This gives you a much broader reach.

8. Take advantage of Facebook’s very targeted advertising opportunities. For example you can launch a  pay per click (PPC) campaign that targets only members of your target demographic that have already made online purchases.

9. Offline expenses such as business cards and flyers can be more difficult to monitor because the price of one business card is roughly the same as the cost of a person clicking on your online advertising, but you can’t analyze the exposure of your business card. Consider that as you plan your campaigns.

10. Host an event around your brand. To do this you need money and/or friends network to help you diffuse it.

11. Consider raising money by bringing in investors to launch larger campaigns.

12. Force people to notice you. Blow up enormous balloons with your logo on them and place them in the streets. These balloons will attract photos which will (hopefully) be spread onto social media platforms.