Archives for posts with tag: netflix


There is an alarming trend to remove friction from everything we do. We’re constantly trying to make things easier,faster and so simple that we don’t even have to think anymore. Friction provides barriers towards doing things:

– Forcing me to register for a site before I can  push the purchase button. (That’s why people love Social Log-In.)

– Asking people to click on an ad to get the desired information. (That’s why people love to find all the content inside the banner.)

– Pushing me to to finalize the purchase in the store.

In the digital world, friction means your product is dead. Any barrier will lead me to delete your app, abandon the cart, move on. An armada of engineers, designers and UI/UX practitioners work day and night in Silicon Valley to eliminate friction.

Facebook wants us to share anything we do without us doing anything.

Retailers want us to pay with our phone, no credit cards required.

When there’s no friction in the world, there’s no free will.

You don’t have to make decisions, the app does it for you. You don’t decide what to share, Facebook does that for you. You don’t decide to look for a movie outside of your comfort zone, the Netflix algorithm recommends a movie for you. At one point, the world won’t need our decisions anymore. What happens  when we lose the capacity to make decisions and live in a recommendation world?

We’re building our own broadcast stations on the digital channels. We’re following people that are like us, think like us and agree with us. Where are the debates happening? No wonder there’s gridlock in Washington, we don’t even listen to the other side anymore.

Friction is at the heart of change.

We should not try to eliminate friction from our lives. If everything we do in life is easy, life becomes tedious. Arguments are a form of friction. Debate is a form of friction.

Show me a frictionless marriage and I see a dead marriage.

Show me a frictionless society and I see a dead society.

We should remove unnecessary barriers, absolutely.

But we need to continue to have friction in our lives to move ahead, tackle new problems and make this world an even better place.

648ea7e88cf47a3e1cffc05a09f84b26b5300f53_m (1)

I’m amazed at how many brands and agencies think their competitors are only the ones who operate within their category. I’m even more amazed that brands and agencies tend to focus on one competitor as the one to watch.

Toyota vs Honda.

American Airlines vs Delta.

Colgate vs Crest.

Clearly, brands love to create this one enemy that will focus energy of the team and makes it easier for the public to create a faux war of brands: (Who is better? Michael Jackson or Prince?) While I see the benefits, I tend to believe that it’s not good enough to know who you consider as a competitor. You need to understand who considers you as a competitor.

Barnes & Noble vs Borders

While both brands were engaged in an intense turf war, Amazon stole their lunch. Forcing one into bankruptcy and the other brand to wonder: How did that happen?

Toyota was regarding GM as their biggest competitor. Honda saw Toyota the same way. Who’s outselling Honda now? Hyundai.

All the big networks were engaging in a battle for viewers while cable networks started to develop their own drama shows. Oh, and this little company called Netflix changed the game even more dramatically.

Your competition is anything that causes your customers not to buy your product/service. It’s anything that erodes or explodes your competitive advantage. It may not even exist today, but it could mean you won’t exist tomorrow.

In the end, you need to focus on improving your product/service every day and ensure that your source of competitive advantage remains robust and relevant. If you focus on the ‘competition’, you may forget to focus on your customers, and it is they who ultimately manage your brand. Brands often make choices that are more influenced by what their competitors are doing rather than what their customers want. Too many people regard differentiation as being different from their competitors, but it’s not much use if in your quest to forge your own identity, you do things people don’t want, don’t desire, don’t buy.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Mark Zuckerberg wants you to share life stories. Just don’t expect diaries. Get ready for your photoshopped self.

A few days ago, Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed: “The heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up.” And, he added: “Timeline is the story of your life.”

My jogging maps, the books I read , the movies I watched, the pictures I took – Is that really the story of my life?

Data aggregation as the expression of a human dream.

Facebook is not the only platform that satisfies a basic human dream. We’re archiving what we see, hear, read, eat, where we are traveling and how it takes us to run 5 miles for one reason and one reason only: We don’t want to die.

Or better: Since we all have to die at one point, we don’t want to just disappear, be forgotten.

Most eulogies leave out the “He was a bastard” part or the “She was a meanie” piece. The new Facebook timeline will become an idealized archive of your digital self,  defying mortality with every “like”. A permanent monument to yourself, conveniently leaving out the depressed moments, the embarrassing stories, the dark secrets, the big failures that made you who you really are. De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est – Speak no ill of the dead.

Who is this digitally conserved replica of me?

How will the tools form my digital ego, how will they change my real self? And how does this digital self affect my own perception of me?

Facebook focuses in its timeline on the consumption of media and products – makes sense for marketers to get access to people in a relevant setting and helps Facebook’s valuation tremendously. Skeptics might say our life story will consists of lattes and “The Bachelor” viewings.

Diaries were never that exciting.

One could argue, the Facebook life story won’t be that much different than your typical diary. Andy Warhol noted in his diary each cab drive and the fare. I dare you to read my diary from 20 years ago without falling asleep after the first sentence.

The big difference: I wrote for an audience of one. Me, myself and I. Nobody else. I wasn’t hoping for “likes” or comments. Facebook rewards you with an audience and its comments when you tell a good story. Without readers no autobiography.

When you share your life story on Facebook, is there any space for openness and honesty? We tend to discuss what should be public or private on Facebook. Maybe we should discuss more how Facebook and all the other platforms make us focus on stories we want to share. What’s the worthiness of an experience if I can’t share it with the world?

Will these mirrors of our digital self enrich us?

The audience you carry with you throughout your digital life might lead to a race to the boring middle. When we feel we are in the minority, we might not express our opinion freely. Who wants to get booed by the Facebook fans? Why would I express the support for a political candidate when 30% of my fans might block me in return? Why would I share a controversial theory that results in no feedback when I can post an Instagram image of my daughter and get 20 responses?

On the other hand, looking at myself through the eyes of others might enrich my life, adding more perspective to my thinking. A life story filled with contributions of others.

Are we living in reality? Or creating a digital fiction?

Facebook and all the other platforms are about identity management. I’m sharing the latest insight from Forrester, the FT column, the David Brooks book I just read. Leaving out my most embarrassing album purchase ever (Titanic Sound track, there I said it.), my favorite trash TV show (Scroll up, it starts with The…) or a possible hangover.

When we look back in 5 years, our life stories might be as boring as Andy Warhol’s cab entries. Or they may be an insight who we wanted to be 5 years ago. What stories we shared to develop this new identity. Or what apps wrote about us.

And we might look at all the personal data and stories, look up and ask:

“Who is this person? Do I know him?”

Enhanced by Zemanta


Ownership has been one of the pillars of the American dream. Your first car, the house with the picket fence, the bigger car and the bigger house. That pillar is crumbling.

There’s the financial crisis, a flood of defaults and foreclosures placing whole states under water. More importantly, there are all these new services that tap into a Zeitgeist: Why bother owning any DVD’s when I can get three from Netflix to send back whenever I want to? Or better, why bother sending anything when I can stream the whole movie? Why leaving your car unused in the driveway for 90% of the time when you can just sign up for Zipcar, and share vehicles with the many others around your city in the same situation. Your kids have quickly outgrown their clothes, but those shirts and pants are in too great a condition to throw them away. So, you decide to try thredUP to swap those clothes for new clothes from other families online.

Or, you have boxes filled with CD’s, hard drives clogged with all your mp3’s and iTunes libraries. They have all become obsolete and feel like such a burden since you joined Spotify. Suddenly, you have access to 15 million songs for free (plus advertising) or $9.99 monthly (includes streaming on your mobile device and listen to your choices offline). $9.99 is the average fee for one album on iTunes, Spotify gives you access and semi-ownership for the same price. It’s pretty obvious that Apple’s iTunes service as we know it is in severe danger to become obsolete in a very short time, including all the other music downloading services.

Spotify has changed the music industry. Again.

There have been other services like Spotify before (Rdio comes to mind.) but they weren’t carried by a wave of anticipation, hype and supreme user experience. One of the main features that will convince many people to join is the social function of sharing playlists: Once you log in through your Facebook account, you can peruse the playlists of your Facebook friends and explore new music or reconnect with old favorites. The idea of owning music will feel in no time as outdated as the tapes in that moldy box in the back of my garage.

In a few years, the majority of music will be streamed, the rest of the revenue for the music industry will come through live shows and specialty editions like Bjork’s new album ‘Bibliophilia’ as a multi-media project encompassing music, apps, internet and installations.

Your living room will change.

Remember the good old days when you could walk around the living room of a friend, sneaking a peek at the books he’s reading, the albums he’s listening to, the movies he’s watching? Those times are gone for good. All this information is now housed on social platforms and the sharing of that information has become an expression of yourself. Just like ownership of things used to do the same.

Eventually, the future of business is sharing.

In Lisa Gansky’s fascinating book The Mesh, she describes how new technologies, and the ability to access real-time information about everything around us via GPS-enabled mobile devices, are expanding what we can share with one another:

“Up to now, the information revolution has primarily swept through industries and services that are or can be digital – numbers, text, sound, images and video. Related sectors, such as banking, publishing, music, photos, and movies, have undergone massive change. Now, mobile networks are rapidly expanding that disruption to physical good and venues, including hotels, care, apparel, tools, and equipment.”

This will change everything.

Sharing will dominate the future of business. New businesses will arrive that focus on creating, sharing and use social media, wireless networks, and data crunched from every available source to provide people with goods and services at the exact moment they need them, without the burden and expense of owning them outright.

The change from ownership to access and sharing will transform whole industries. Including ours.

We were just getting comfortable with that whole digital and social thing. Time to get uncomfortable with today’s realities again.