What we read this week (10 May)

Bill Gates in an entertaining interview with Wired, insights from a news aggregator, how teenagers are more correct in their use of “social,” the gaps in language and literature when it comes to digital life, and reflections on augmenting reality.

Quote of the week

We’re reaching a cliff of AI, where the height of human knowledge falls off into a wasteland of poorly automated social grace.

Mark Wilson

Articles of the week

Week 53

Social is baked, it’s about details from now on, says Russell Davies and we agree. It’s an exciting time to be actually able to grasp and explain the full implications of social and we are happy to do it.

Once in a while, I stumble over a blog post and think to myself: Yes, that’s exactly it. Here is Russell Davies on Social:

But, social media feels done. Baked. It feels like we don’t need a bunch of new social media tools or publishing technologies. It’s pretty easy for anyone who wants to put something on the web to do so.

It reminds me of a thing I saw in a coffee shop a while ago. A little plastic thing, a bit like an ice-cream spoon. I couldn’t work out what it might be for. And then I realised that it’s to go into the hole in the coffee cup lids to stop the coffee spilling out. That feels a bit like the technological moment we’re in with the social web. Were fiddling around at the edges of mostly solved problems.

When we talk to our clients, we always try to emphasize the human and social behavior factor of even thinking about implementing a social strategy. While it is superbly important and beneficial to understand the underlining technology, it is not where the focus should be. We live in times of extreme technology-induced change; that is a given. The platforms that we use today are technological manifestations around a certain human behavior. They help shape it, but they are replaceable. Again, it is not about technology but about the fundamental change in how we behave. To that note, Russell’s assertion just simplifies how we need to think about Social. The technological revolution of Social is over, everything that we will see from here on in that field will be iterations of what we already have. That’s helpful. It frees up the cognitive space to think about what really is important.

And that’s how we approach our clients. We help them to focus on what’s important, often by shaping the questions, not only the answers. That’s what we’ve been doing since we started, that’s what we did last week.

More concretely: We are mostly in full prep mode for multiple new projects. So it’s mostly heads down, headphones on and a lot of face time with our screens right now.

Week 31

Seems like I broke the monday release pattern for the week note. Berlin is testing our resolve to stay focused and in the office these days. It’s warm, it’s shiny and it’s … well … Berlin. Still, we managed to accomplish quite a few things in this last week.

Seems like I broke the monday release pattern for the week note. Berlin is testing our resolve to stay focused and in the office these days. It’s warm, it’s shiny and it’s … well … Berlin. Still, we managed to accomplish quite a few things in this last week.

Johannes has been mainly supporting a local agency from Berlin with our expertise in social. There is, of course, a constant demand for this kind of knowledge. While some agencies – like BBH Labs – managed to adopt, not everybody picked up the necessary expertise to advise their clients. That’s where we come in. Coming from an agency background, we know the pain points and how agencies operate. While we do not provide the execution part, we do – like in this case – provide extensive strategic advice and conceptual work.

Peter was juggling a couple of things. One of our first clients is the Next Conference and things are getting interesting with the event happening next week where Peter will be moderating the Social Layer track. If you are in town for the conference and interested in a chat – we will be roaming the halls of the conference. Ping us!

Coincidentally we are about to finish up a project with Die Zeit. Fabian, who teamed up with us on this one and Peter will be presenting the results in Hamburg.

As for myself: I mainly concentrated on Cognitive Cities this last week. There was (and still is) some accounting work to be done. We created a little mess for ourselves with that one, but it’s a good learning process. Some mistakes will certainly not happen again. At the same time, we’re preparing the first Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam, which is now officially announced. With everything that is happening around CoCities, we decided to follow our guts and just experiment with the format a bit. There is no definitive version of how those events or the main conference will look like, but we are curious to learn by just doing something.

Travel schedule: Johannes is in Stuttgart on Wednesday and Thursday. If you are around, ping him. Peter is in Hamburg on Thursday and Igor is in Berlin for the whole week.