179. How to Run A Business: Superbrand Secrets From The Technology Industry

13 takeaways from this video: Continue reading “179. How to Run A Business: Superbrand Secrets From The Technology Industry”

110. Copy, Cut, Paste: How Everything Is Copy From A Copy From A Copy

14 important takeaways from this talk:

00:01:52 Consider the audio part of the ‘Harlem Shake Video’ from 00:00:57-00:01:26 in the talk above. The first Harlem Shake video was uploaded onto Youtube on February 4th. By February 10th over 4,000 Harlem Shake videos were being uploaded every day. This is because the Harlem Shake video was the perfect meme: A short, 1 cut video with only two scenes and one addictive musical sampling of the first 30 seconds of Harlem Shake (2012) by Henry Baauer-Rodriguez.

The Harlem Shake song itself received many awards, certifications, and chart listings, almost exclusively through viral online videos and without significant radio or television exposure. However, insofar as copyright laws are concerned, Harlem Shake used, without permission, a sampling from Miller Time by Plastic Little, released in 2001. Further, the underlying drum beat in Miller Time was taken, without permission, from Synthetic Substitution by Melvin Bliss, released in the 1974.


Consider now the video part of the ‘Harlem Shake Video,’ again from 00:00:57-00:01:26 in the talk above. The video is created using Minecraft, the most successful indie-game of all time. Minecraft was heavily inspired by Infiminer by Zach Barthe, which was inspired by a free Flash game called Mother Load.

Zach Barthe, when asked if he was angry that he didn’t earn a profit from Minecraft, responded “The act of borrowing ideas is integral to the creative process. There are games that came before Infiniminer, and there are games that will come after Minecraft. That’s how it works.


00:05:37 So to sum up, we have a video, inspired by videos that samples a song, that samples a song, that samples a song, made in a game inspired by a game that was inspired by a game.

This his how art and culture is made; by taking the taking the works that we love and building upon the ideas those before us whom we admire. NOBODY IS IMMUNE HERE; lone rangers don’t exist.

00:07:53Even Apple, considered one of the greatest innovators of the modern era, borrowed ideas and technology from other competitors at that time. 

00:08:02 What makes this exponentially innovative technology and readily-available art so readily-available? With the internet came two important advancements which have resulted in the biggest explosing in creativity in human history:

  1. Easy access to all media ever made
  2. The ability to publish your work instant and freely to a global audience

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more interesting information about how humans are coping with the exponential evolution of technology, watch the documentary Transcendent Man: When Humans Merge With Technology & Transcend Biology.]

This would all be fantastic if it weren’t for one thing: © Copyright


00:08:50 A common technique of content publishers who use and remix other people’s content is to place variations of “NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ALL RIGHTS TO RESPECTFUL OWNERS” alongside their uploaded content, believing this is notice is enough to protect them.

But this notice will not protect you from a copyright infringement lawsuit.

00:11:22 Youtube’s content ID software scans through every video that is uploaded to Youtube for potential copyright infringements. This system is so powerful that it can even detect the underlying melody of a cover song.

00:11:36 Youtube tries to educate its users on how to avoid copyright infringement through their Youtube Copyright School.

Google’s best attempt at explaining copyright laws to the average user is to show them a crushing wall of text and tell them to go get a copyright attorney before uploading their Youtube video…

00:16:57 This is because most music licensing and fair use is in fact really, really complicated. If you want to use a sample, you need to directly negotiate a license with the rights holder – usually with the record company. Even a highly-distorted, 2-second sample has been found by courts to infringe copyright. Therefore sampling is extremely difficult and expensive to do.

On the other hand, you could consider sampling so fragrantly that record labels are terrified to take you to court for fear of establishing a new precendent in copyright law.

Purchasing the use of cover songs, on the other hand, is the only sane licensing in the copyright world. You can purchase them directly and immediately online through websites such as Harry Fox (HFA) wihout needing permission, like you do with sampling music.

00:18:49 Likewise with photography, if you want to use an photograph, you have to negotiate a license directly with the photograph owner. But an illustration based on a photograph is not nearly as clearly outlined in the law.

00:20:20 Regardless of whether you believe your use qualifies as ‘fair use’ or not, fighting the accusation just to prove you are innocent can take years and cost millions of dollars in discovery, expert witnesses, court fees, etc. just to reach a conclusion – bearing in mind that after all that you are not guaraneed to be found ‘not guilty.’

This is why almost every copyright case settles out of court and almost always includes a confidentiality agreement, and why there is so little actual case law challenging current copyright laws.

00:23:51 Fair use will not save you. In fact nothing that you have ever made is fair use because:

  1. Fair use is not a law, it’s a test used in court to help a judge determine if something is liable for infringement. Only investing those years and millions of dollars in discovery, expert witnesses, court fees, etc. can you then challenge the accusation.
  2. Anyone can sue you for anything, even without grounds.When they do, you will have to defend yourself, and settling out of course is almost always cheaper than fighting for your reputation, and the person suing you knows this and is counting on you settling out of court.

00:26:53 Being sued for copyright infringement carries with it a penalty of can ruin your life, and definitely the life of your business. This is due to the way that copyright damages work: the law allows a copyright owner to collect not only actual damages that they’ve suffered plus any of the profit taken in by the copyright infringer, but also statutory damages for ‘willful’ infringement of up to $150,000 per work.

00:27:20 The problem is that even a small settlement done out of court on a bogus copyright infringement claim is more lucrative than years of running Youtube advertisements on an uploaded video, and lawyers are realizing this and adapting their strategy.

Extortion-like mass automated copyright lawsuits are being sent out and the out of court settlement monies collected as a business model, usually between $2,000-5,000 per person. This isn’t a creator protecting himself with copyright, this is exploiting copyright as a revenue model.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on copyright law as it pertains to photography, read Andy’s insightful blog post Kind Of Screwed.]

74. Generation Like: How your quest for identity & connection is subtly manipulated

24 important takeaways from this documentary:

00:10:01 “The icons of this generation are the ‘Like’ button, the ‘Tweet’ button, the ‘Rebog’ button. This is the biggest transformation that we’ve had in terms of communicating with consumers in our lifetime, and to not learn how to participate in those channels is outrageous; to stand on the sidelines is not an option.” – Bonin Bough, VP of Global Media, Mondelêz Int’l

00:12:48 “All those selfies you take and post on Instagram helped that company to sell for over a billion dollars. Send a tweet, and you help raise the value of Twitter to around $30 billion. Facebook is valued at around $140 billion. Those numbers aren’t based on profits, those prices are based on the number of likes they can generate; and likes don’t generate themselves.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:13:10 “Likes don’t generate themselves. Thats why companies need kids to stay online clicking, and liking, and tweeting. They do that by giving kids the chance to be a part of the game: fame by association. Reach out to anybody, and there’s an implied promise that they might reach back.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:15:50 “Social media is all about sharing; and that includes sharing the wealth. When kids with large audiences work together, everyone benefits." – Douglas Rushkoff

00:16:15 "There’s no point in not wanting all of us to help each other be successful and rise together.” – Tyler Oakley

00:17:57 “It used to be that if a kid didn’t have any connections, hardwork and talent were the only path to fame; and even that was no guarantee. But today you can build and leverage a social network.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:18:45 “(You might) have genuine talent, but that’s beside the point. To get ahead you need to attach yourself to others who have mastered the game of ‘likes.’ It’s basically just merging all the fan bases together. – Douglas Rushkoff & Liam Horne

00:20:50 "You need to stop worrying about your followers and start worrying about the money.” – Steven Fernandez

00:23:04 Lots of people can do what you do. What you need is a way to cut through the clutter. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:25:50 If you don’t have a zillion hits, then you generally won’t get noticed by a sponsor.

00:30:18 If you’re connected to a person and that person likes a brand, and then you like the person and then as a result you like the same product, then now you’ve got a double-endorsement to your friends. – Oliver Luckett, CEO of the Audience

00:30:58 Get social media, then use social media to promote your career, brand, product, etc so that you get to the point where you have a social media network that you can sell. That is every SMART person’s goal with social media. You are your own media company. – Douglas Rushkoff and Oliver Luckett, CEO of the Audience

00:31:47 Start with the research and strategy phase where you really dig into who your audience is, and then figure out how your audience uses social media to communicate… The challenges would be using that audience in the way that you want to use them in order to see the results you’re looking for. Instead of selling the product to the audience, get the audience to sell your product for you.  – Kendra Campbell-Milburn, Sr. Director for TGVLA & Douglas Rushkoff

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on how brands collect and sort through your data, check out my interview with Data Consultants Samantha Bilodeau and Thomas Palugan]

00:34:04 What’s designed to look like a grass roots wave of excitement is actually a meticulously planned marketing strategy. It may be catching fire, but it was doused with gasoline beforehand. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:34:16 Day-by-day, hour-by-hour; absolutely nothing is left to chance. Your goal is to create a controlled brush-fire online to the point where the fans are convincing each other. All the little tid-bits you give them serves as fuel for the fire you’re trying to create… That is how brands both keep interest up and prep for the next one. 

From the beginning to the end, every bit of the marketing strategy is being manipulated; a year out. – Brooks Barnes of The New York Times

00:34:45 Consumers aren’t just being marketed to, they’re actually part of the marketing campaign itself. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:37:02 Your consumer is your marketer. That is a real shift because it used to  be a one way conversation of the marketer to the consumer, and now your consumer is doing as much as the marketer is and getting the message across; consumers are wanting to be as much a part of the process as the company will let them be. -Jane Buckingham, President of Trendera

00:41:10 Surprisingly, consumers can always tell when you’re ‘pushing’ something. So try to keep it transparent and honest because consumers know it’s your job and they know that you have to pay bills. – Tyler Oakley

00:41:55 ‘Selling out’ is not selling it anymore; it’s sort of getting the brass ring. If you get a brand to send you stuff, that brand realizes that you’re important enough that you’re an importance audience to reach. –Jason Calacanis, Founder of Insider.com

00:42:17 ‘Selling out’ doesn’t even exist as a term anymore. You don’t hear young people talking about selling out; I’m not even sure that they know what it means. – Alissa Quart, Author of Republic of Outsiders

00:43:17 Can you really win when you don’t make the rules? Maybe that’s why some of them are opting to become the game makers themselves. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:45:07 A seamless blend of marketing, media and everyday life; every moment of your consumer’s life can be turned into a branding opportunity. There are nuances in how you present things that create different psychological responses. Don’t even call yourself an ‘ad’ to consumers: call yourself ‘rewards’ and ‘moments.’ As consumers go out and experience the world, the things that make the most impact are the things that seemingly come up serendipitiously. Serendipity by design. -Brian Wong of Kiip and Douglas Rushkoff

00:49:50 Kids take the very marketing techniques that have been used on them, and use them on one another; all in pursuit of the same prize. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:50:30 Getting likes feels good; at least in the moment.  – Douglas Rushkoff

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”

Depth of character is absolutely counterintuitive for brands, which usually champion one or two attributes and miss out on chances to humanize themselves and captivate consumers.