Last updated by at .

Facebook: good ideas and poor execution

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University, img from AdWeek

There are a number of levels on which a great idea can go wrong. At least 3 in my opinion. Strategically good/bad. On the actual idea level (problem-solution) and finally execution. This is important in the Facebook case. I think a lot of the discussions following (and also preceding) Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University is lacking nuances.

It’s impossible to find and therefore promise to take care of content that breaks a guideline in any other way than algorithms. That’s a fact. Some stuff will be missed. But systems will learn. Strategically – focusing on that path is the right one.

Facebook is doing a lot of interesting things execution wise around that strategic direction. Not all great, but that’s how it works.

I like this:

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, says that dishonest advertisements political candidates put on Facebook should stay there because they represent important discourse.

From Futurism

Totally agree. That is something traditional media (and other less traditional, mind you) should do something useful with. They couldn’t themselves. We should be super thankful that this can be done today. That “evidence” doesn’t disappear.

“Like a lot of things Facebook does, I think it’s an interesting idea, but poorly executed,” Andrew Seaman, the ethics committee chairperson of the Society of Professional Journalists, told Futurism. “I think one problem facing society is that people don’t know how to spot trustworthy news sources in today’s media environment. So, asking them to help highlight quality information seems foolish.”

Also from Futurism regarding the ideas Facebook has around people ranking/indicating sources they like and trust.

Here’s the right way forward I think. Facebook is best at understanding, strategically, the most promising way forward. They should work closer with media and external media/research partners (what do I really know about this and how they’re doing it today? No much, I have to admit) in order to try how to get the execution right. I agree with the criticism of Zuckerberg’s very limiting knowledge and understanding of media (and actually, perhaps, freedom of speech beyond the technology bubble…). Again, great ideas that are poorly executed. Much better than having bad ideas.

Think this, from Jack Dorsey is important and should be at the heart of the strategic efforts from Facebook, being an amplification machine. This is the big danger – amplification and volume – more than the content itself.

“We talk a lot about speech and expression and we don’t talk about reach enough, and we don’t talk about amplification. And reach and amplification was not represented in that speech,” according to the journalist Sarah Frier, who was tweeting from the event.

From Business Insider

People get so mad and reactionary. We all benefit from picking ideas and thoughts appart more granularly. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathing water.

From 2009 to 2014 – the deal-breaker that is APIs

an rfid and twitter powered cat door via psfk.com

Back in 2009, the above twitter/rfid cat door surfaced in my feed. I remembered that me and a colleague of mine (a brilliant digital director now at North Kingdom) had an interesting discussion about possible futures of APIs in general and connected physical things more specifically. It’s really ever since (and before that) that I’ve been bookmarking and in other ways saving and reflecting thoughts on what I label “offline/online”.

If the internet as such is now finding its way into the minds of the less technically advanced, the second revolution re: internet is the physical one.

I often get “oh shit” reactions when I let my thoughts wander. I had one while preparing a deck and a few workshops around the subject of brand strategy and digital strategy considering the new reality that is networks and the dramatic impact it has on businesses, communications, great ideas etc. I had completely missed the Watson API. I mean, Watson computer. Cognitive powers. AI. API. When that evolves. Oh shit. My head hearts.

An API for the Watson computer by IBM
The IBM Watson API, over at Programmable Web.

Mt. Gox, official systems and a parallel CEO profile

There are some hilarious quotes and secions in this story in Wired, about Mt. Gox and its fall. Simply hilarious, even though there is a serious side to it.

The 28-year-old Karpeles was born in France, but after spending some time in Israel, he settled down in Japan. There he got married, posted cat videos and became a father. In 2011, he acquired the Mt. Gox exchange in from an American entrepreneur named Jed McCaleb.

But soon, McCaleb was getting wires for tens of thousands of dollars and, realizing he was in over his head, he sold the site to Karpeles, an avid programmer, foodie, and bitcoin enthusiast who called himself Magicaltux in online forums.

That’s exactly what I would do with a burgeoning financial empire, sell it to a cat-vid-poster.

No, but seriously. As with everything that has a future affect – before it comes, it comes in numerous versions. This (sort of thing) might do something with how we view the more traditional structures and systems. More positively. Or it might not. Regardless, It has shown that official systems aren’t nessesarily a rule.

The internet of things – industrial internet

The incredibly smart people of BERG hacked a washer and proves a great deal of areas where connectivity help. I mean, the “find repair people” part alone is worth a lot. Some time, after 2 years of really not thinking about it. Postponing rinse takes care of the “shit, sorry I can’t because I’m doing the washing” problem. There are probably not many products that do not benefit from connectivity.

I talked aobut this and that (which is what interesets me most) with a very technically oriented ex-colleague who shared a conversation with interaction designers of a more visual background and nature, and how that hinders the thinking around connected products. “What’s a couch gonna say to me?”. Nada, but tracking the use of it provides input to material choices and manufacturing (something that today is a part of the manufacturing process, but pehaps could be combined and outsourced to “natural use situations”) as well as feedback to healthcare industries benefiting from understanding our couch-potato-behavior.

Cloudwash: the connected washing machine from BERG on Vimeo.

instant-on is the killer TV feature

That’s the central problem plaguing both set top boxes like Roku and Apple TV and content services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Instead of letting you lean back and soak up content, these new challengers require decisions–a careful cost-benefit analysis of thousands of different options. If the traditional TV experience is about letting viewers surf channels, today’s on-demand video is like giving them a speedboat and forcing them choose a destination before they can even get in the water.

From the article “To Grow, Netflix Must Learn From the Quietly Brilliant UI of Regular TVs”, in wired

Well hear hear. This is exactly what Is missing in the creating of the future of TV. From the services currently in the market to the reasoning that goes on in pitch material, and pitches, that I’ve been involved in with regards to positioning TV content providers of today, when developing for tomorrow.

Don’t just stare at new technology and heaps of content at your finger tips. Look at the tired people whose brains stop functioning as their ass lands softly in the couch. The key feature? Bzzz – TV is on and streaming. Streaming something. One more bzzz and there’s something new.

The instant on, under a second, is something “new” TV (content, and the delivery of it) doesn’t manage. This is also why personal, pre-loaded, schedules are important. Not just because you can create your own channels based on favorite content, but because something has to start streaming as you enter couch mode. Human behaviour, not just technology.

connected intentions

“When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.”

We want to do good, make the right decisions. Eat green, wear helmet, give to the needy. What we say and want to do doesn’t always (almost never?) equal what we actually do. Attitudes and intentions might be there (I said I’d start wearing a helmet, and really meant to, for about a year) but behaviour is held back by barriers often ridiculous in nature.

The Buycott app, covered here in Springwise, is an example of a phenomena where those barriers, standing between intentions and behaviour, are lowered. When intentions are enforced and supported effortlessly, things can get interesting. Users/consumers tend to forget, but if forgetting gets harder, there’s even more pressure on brands.

Brands need to think harder (and try harder) to operate in a world where active and intentional (strategic) brand building more frequently is done through operational actions, decisions, etc, and less so through intentional brand communication.

Doing bad stuff has always risked ending up in the news or search results, but it (generally) demands momentum, a high “shittiness level” and a collective outrage. We’re alerted (and reinforce) though common sentiment and mass behaviour in a connected society. Connected information like this, which helps our intentions by becoming connected intentions, doesn’t. It becomes as individual as the wine suggestion app in a bottle store.

That doesn’t mean groups and social pressure doesn’t exert power on brand choice/decisions, but an added – again comparably effortless – nudge and reminder is potentially big. In a way it’s what connected and quantified self is/will be for daily health decisions in general.

ICAs framtida vision en underskattning av tekniken

ICA delar i en film med sig hur de ser framtiden. En framtid de, antar jag, gärna ser och bidrar till. En otroligt krävande, påträngande och underskattande om du frågar mig.

När dina ägg är slut ska du inte bara tala om detta för en liten manick, utan följa upp denna upplysning med en beställning på nya. Kanske även antalet. Det funkar ju, men det är ungefär som de där människorna (ni vet vilka) som talar om att de ska maila, drar iväg mailet, för att 2 minuter senare dyka upp (fysiskt eller i SMS) och tala om att de har mailat. De utnyttjar liksom inte styrkan i tekniken (jo, jag talar om mail som teknik). Predictive technology ska ju ta handlar om just detta, exempelvis google now.

Inköpslistan som skapas av alla dessa krävande inmatningar i ett system (som under de första åren inte kommer vara optimalt utan en orsak till extrem frustration fattar man ju), pushas sedan ut till en stackars familjemedlem (eller slav, det förtäljer inte historien). Snacka om oväsentligt, påträngande strunt. Stackare.

Ska framtiden verkligen behöva vara så krävande?

Nä, så här kommer det inte se ut. Varför? För det första för att det är inte bra, och för det andra för att vi redan har teknik som gör detta på ett bättre sätt.

Egg minder by GE and Quirky
GE har, tillsammans med Quirky, som sysslar med produktutveckling (ofta en “framåtlutad teknisk inställning”) med crowdsourcing som metod, tagit fram en lösning på äggproblemet. Nja, kanske inte ett jätteproblem, men det är ju på detta sättet vi hittar rätt framtida applikationsområden och utföranden – på lite quirky vis… Egg minder hjälper dig ha koll på hur många ägg du har i kylen, samt hur gamla de är. Nästa steg är uppenbart – beställ när antal = x. Du bestämmer så klart, men behöver inte bry dig mer. Inget swipe. Inget inmatande. För varför liksom?

iBeacon är lite på tapeten för tillfället. Det står klart för de flesta att Apple sedan iPhone 4 meckat in iBeacon-teknik i alla lurar. Det är ungefär som jämfört med Bluetooth (det är faktiskt Bluetooth 4.0) vad en full och ansvarslös dörrvakt är jämfört med en nykter – “nej, nej lägg ner ditt leg, jag kommer ihåg dig det är lugnt välkommen in”. Alltså ta tag i en kundvagn och du är registrerad. Lägg ner ditt chip (som du ändå glömde i bilen).

Det är inte framtidens teknik, utan pågående teknikutveckling. Den blir bättre och bättre på vad den är där för; att hjälpa oss. Och i ICAs kontexten handlar detta mycket om att försvinna. Inte att aktivt interagera med oss. Interaktionsdesign och tjänsteutveckling (som den här) kommer, tro det eller ej, handla mindre om att swipa, klicka, peka och dra. Teknik kommer att försvinna, och då gör den ofta ett bra jobb.

#himc – a cheap first step towards changing a bit

For a very long time, Hyper Island have been using the #himc tag, which stands for hyper island master class, to share think pieces, concrete advice, brain food and absolute must-reads.

Many organisations need help and advice on how to make better (business) sense of emerging technologies and possibilities – and more importantly subsequent behaviours and implications for business and brand strategy – and I, personally, do a lot of work in that area (both as occasional hyper island collaborator, but primarily under the funny you should ask flag).

In all honesty, just by following the #himc tag (which cost nothing but a few minutes of attention), as they live by the sharing is caring rule of thumb, any company looking to better navigate an increasingly complex reality would benefit greatly. It doesn’t have to take much, but what is a required first step, is to start letting new perspectives, inspiration, opinions and realities through that filter called business as usual.


annotations as visible but passive moderator

Comments and commenting on the internet is great, but a nagging issue at the same time. It’s the missing aspect to journalism, seen as it’s societal glue, voice and protector (the good journalism, that is).

The experiment over at Quartz is interesting. Reframing reader input/feedback, ever so slightly, as annotation. Annotations referring to specifics within a text (written text, but this can be applied to any text such as audio, video or any container or format).

Comments and discussions often derail because there’s a delay in one or many comments – from people who get off topic or express out of bounds ideas (bounds being decided both by the editors’ AND the readers’ norms). Before you know it it’s to late to nudge it back.

Reframing comments as annotations keeps discussions, individual comments, much closer to the intentional piece commented on. Feels like there’s something in that. Sort of local hyperlinks, making the comment and commented very visible and chained together.

Keeping it close to subject is important in discussions. Live discussions are often kept on topic by some moderator.If discussions wander off, it’s dealt with quickly and guided back to topic. Impossible in other situations (even video based discussions are hard, due to both technical noise but not seldom a feeling of “they’re so distant so I’ll go on, the risk isn’t huge”), but it feels like annotations is one that might work well for recorded texts.