Caffeine

The Gold List - A journal written by David Sherry

Self-Care and the Aloe Kickstarter

Aloe App: Gentle self-care reminders from yourself.


Is this how bad we’ve gotten? We can’t remember to brush hour teeth?

Maybe.

 

We’ve heard stories about gamers dying from lack of eating due to their addictions. Dying! 

 

Part of me just has to question the whole thing. How did we get here? How are these people handling life in a way that they forget these things? 

Now I’m not here to put this down. I’ve followed Amber’s work for awhile and it seems like she’s done a great job building up people positively as well as community. So kudos to her.

 

But is this where we are? Do we need to be spoon fed? To be reminded to do the simplest tasks in life?

 

Apparently, yes.

 

Aloe is an app to remind you to check in with yourself and do self care. Which has seen both praise and pushback. 

I will say, the support was bigger than I expected to see. It’s resonating. 

 

Here’s what’s going on.

 

In the old days, we filled any big stretch of free time or boredom with the media available at the time. You had movies, books, the paper, and the radio. 2 hours free after dinner? Gather round the radio for the program.

But today it’s about the minutes of free time not the hours.

 

Because today we’ve got devices in our hands, and an explosion of new media. 

 

So every media business today is fighting for all of the unused time that previously was unfilled. 

 

See if you add up enough 1–5 minute stretches during the day…

 It’s actually a lot of time. And that time can be advertised against and charged for.

 

From waking up to showering. From getting in the car to getting to work, while you wait in line.

 

Time that used to go unfilled is slowly filling.

 

Media is in a war for your attention, and they want every nook and cranny of your time. The mantra of today is never-not-be-consuming.

If you think this isn’t true, tell me honestly you haven’t taken your phone into the bathroom.

 

The problem is, that loss of space — it’s destroying our ability to see with a bit more context. Where we are in space and time. We’re so focused IN, zoomed IN, that we can’t see the big picture. So eating, sleeping, showering…it all just falls by the way side. 

 

Our focus is on the screen.

 

So, it’s got me thinking, yeah, ok, tech got us into this mess, it’s tech’s job to dig us out.

 

We’ve got entire teams dedicating to doing psychology and UX research for how to make websites more addicting. Don’t we need an entire team to help fight the addiction?

 

Like on Fitbit how after a certain period of time if your rhythms seem off it just simply asks “are you ok?”

 

What Amber’s doing with her app is hitting you with an anti-fill-every-minute-message.

 

“Hey, I know you want to use the next 5 minutes for maximum consumption time on Instagram, but you forgot to eat.”

 

It’s people who think like this that are pushing our tech to be inclusive and intentional.

 

One interesting bit about the pushback to this, is that there is a free twitter bot that does this called Tinycarebot. Interestingly enough, the bot picked up on people’s tweets in some of the conversations about Aloe, and began tweeting at them. 


Another tip that struck me about this campaign was the simple idea of a community wall/garden for all backers. It seems so obvious but it’s little details like that that make all the difference. Plus it’s cute and pairs well thematically.
 

Plants grow when they’re given some space.

When things develop over time and they get the right sun, the right watering.

People need that too.

We just have been focusing elsewhere. 
 

Gold
#32


Aloe App

ProductsDavid SherryDaily
Afrofuturism

 

The pendulum has swung away from Sci-Fi.  
We’re too gripped in the now. 

Too curious what’s going to happen today or tomorrow in our politics.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean we’re present, either. 
Updates and notifications have ensured otherwise. 

It just sort of feels like we’ve lost sight of a brighter future. 
Which is reflected in polls with a higher percetange of people thinking they will be worse off than their parents. 

But the truth is, baked into most sci-fi is an optimism of a better future. 

Yes, there’s evil, but its prevailed.

Sci-fi gave us storyline versions of the world in a better place because of humans, not the opposite. It has the unique ability to help us imagine. To our ourselves in their shoes.

What we need today is a new Star Trek, a new Star Wars. 
Even a new Harry Potter would be a help to those suffering from our modern stress for the future. Pull us away into a story.

But the truth is, those stories have always been about white people. Even though the world in reality looks different than that. 

Which made me happy to see that they’re having Tony Stark step down to be replaced by Iron Heart in the comics - a young black female protagonist is taking the reigns. 

And then on This American Life I heard about Afrofuturism for the first time.

Which is, according to NYT is, "a social, political and cultural genre that projects black space voyagers, warriors and their heroic like into a fantasy landscape, one that has long been the province of their mostly white counterparts.”

The real future is black, and hispanic, and white, and every other race. It’s just time for them to reclaim their space in it, their own way. And Afrofuturism is the artistic rallying point to dream up that future.

"Ms. Olupona said her abstract, Afrocentric designs, some incorporating fantasy fauna and futurist imagery, “suggest ways in which we can differentiate ourselves.”

“What they say about the future,” she continued, “is that we’re always going to be here.”
 (credit NYT)

Currently when you type out the word "Afrofuturism" my spell check is still giving me an word unknown.

But if we can manifest our own future by dreaming about
it in the present, will that still be the case? 
 

Gold
#31


Afrofuturism on This American Life


Afrofuturism, the Next
Generation (NYT)



Marvel's new Iron Man Will
be Known as Iron Heart

 

Slack as a social network

If you had to ask me which social network I’ve gotten the most value from, I’d say hands down it’s been Twitter. But I’d follow that up with, “when it was old Twitter.”

But with the intensity of our politics, bots, and failure to innovate I think people have been wishing for the early experience of Twitter in something new. Mostly something that provides value instead of spam, and encourages converstaions. 

The reality is that almost every popular social network out today, barring Quora, has hit a scale in which it’s difficult to not muddy the waters with spam, advertising, sales, and watered down content. I.e. Low value sharing.

When Slack was built, the premise was thought of as an email replacement for companies. A productivity tool.

But the elements on their own were heavily borrowed by social media.

The @ and the # are key elements of how slack functions. You can set status updates and share links in a feed. 

And, so in some weird way, Slack looks like one of first open source social networks. Open source meaning you can build your own social network with the tools they give you on their platform. 

If we’re looking at the traditional view of a “social network” with a network affect and a social graph, it doesnt fit. But it’s got the architecture that shows the face of a new type of social network. 

By creating a framework of interaction and messaging, feeds, channels, Giphy integrations and link sharing, anyone who’s interested can build their own dedicated eco-system within Slack. It’s akin to a forum.

While you can’t follow any one person directly, you can follow and mute channels, and join Slack groups which hold your interest. 

The real beauty of slack is it’s balance. In your group, you’ll see a healthy mix of all of these ingredients:

  • Link Sharing
  • Conversations
  • Help/Requests
  • Absurdities
  • Local-Trending topics
  • Serendipity


All of this without any advertising.

Of course, due to it’s mostly private-nature, the scale of a social network will likely never be hit and Slack as a social network will always be limited.
 

So, what’s next?

The social networks we see today are only one breed. Scale helps aggregate the best media, news and memes. But depth from micro-communities provides deeper value, connection, and attention. The pure speed and quantity of interactions is much more seamless. 

You might post to Twitter a few times a day max, but on Slack you may type out dozens if not hundreds of messages. AIM chat rooms on sterioids. 

A slack group can be built as a social-productivity platform. Something I believe LinkedIn would dream about. Wheter it’s graphic artists, programmers or science researchers, groups who are problem solving can now do so in real time with supportive groups, real time feedback and assistance.

Yes, we’ve achieved the phase of “online profiles.” These profiles let us share who we are and who we wish to be. 

But now it’s time to utilize our knowledge, resource, input and ideas collectively with a group of like minded individuals. 
 

I don’t think Slack will be the next social network.
 

But I do think the next social network will take cues from Slack. 

 

Gold
#30


Slack List

 

The Vice Video + The Alt-Right

But this Vice Video is eye opening in many ways.

Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News

And Vice is hitting it's stride with their reporting.  When most outlets are talking to each other about what's going on in an echo chamber, Vice is talking to those who are there. Then again, the founder had a heroin addiction prior to starting the company... so they're not afraid to get into the underbelly. Which means in depth reporting (note that it's 20 uninterrupted minutes long).
The interviewer doesn't need to be a know it all, just needs to be there, asking questions... and she GOT IN THE CAR.

I couldn't believe she did that, but we need to know what's going on when the cameras are typically off. What it's like in the moments in between the action.

To be blunt, these people they are covering, Alt-Right and White supremacists from the Charlottesville in no way should be given a platform of any type. The video linked today from Vice made me sick to watch. I'll start this post by saying I in no way want to give publicity or kudos to these people. 

1: because I'm a human.
2: because I grew up Jewish.

What I want to do, though, is try and break down what's going with these hate groups from a perspective that brings branding into the context - which is a key strategy component for any group trying to grow their message. I don't know everything, but we want answers and we want to know what we can do about it.  

First off, this a rebrand.

The Alt-right is no different than their predecessors, but the attempt is to make you forget the historical significance of the Nazis by using different terminology. This is effective for them on two fronts.

  1. It’s easy for politicians to speak about without having the same taboo words in our culture. 
  2. It’s easy for them to recruit, because the words aren’t associated to that which they grew up to understand as something terrible. 


So these words are chosen deliberately to attempt to speak the same message, from a new vocabulary. One that’s updated for a younger generation and can pass through the typical cultural-sniff tests of acceptability. 

Luckily, this has been called out from Trump’s latest press conference fiasco.

However, until that point it seemed that Alt-Right became a more acceptable term in the public sphere, until it was given a face by the recent march, and polarized against the non-nazis from the other side.

This contrast, created by those calling out Trump, helped showcase the true identity of those renamed.

When lines are clearly drawn, it's easier for people to choose sides. So a contrast is a key element for group formation, protest, and anit-protest.

At the same time, by diminishing the contrast, Donald Trump also made more "normal" that which was taboo. Which seems to be the bigger hurdle for their movement to take shape, as the very nature of their proposition is extreme. 

So their group is determined at this point to appear to be more of a dominant ideology as it is. Which is why you'll hear these people talking like they have some "unawakened" giant.

Which is simply not true. 
But the aim is to appear that way.

So the second thing you’ll notice is that they’ve changed attire. By getting rid of the hoods, and switching to “polo and kakis” look they attempt to appear more in the mainstream. 

Sure, someone in a white costume appears at the edge of society, they are an outcast crazy playing dress up. But when they come down the street wearing what your friends at the beach bar are wearing...

This is an attempt to signal their position as being more in line with the general population. 

Symbols are important, both symbolic leaders of the group, as well as symbols to rally around. There is question whether or not Trump will be their iconic symbol. My guess is not. But regardless, his presence has allowed for an increasing boldness in public, with his "say how you feel" attitude. And a frightening level of people's willingness to publicly espouse these ideologies. 


So what can we do about this?

The first is to recognize the strategy and combat it accordingly. Call out these words and brands by their true names. Keeping a clear contrast between each group is actually beneficial for those fighting this as it's about allies and support.

"The main reason, Dr. Stephan explained to me, was that nonviolent struggles attracted more allies more quickly. Violent struggles, on the other hand, often repelled people and dragged on for years.

Their findings highlight what we probably already intuit about protest: It’s a performance not just for the people you may be protesting against but also for everyone else who may be persuaded to join your side. 
"
from How to make fun of Nazis

The more peaceful the other side is, the greater the contrast. So playing into the violence only draws less distinction between the groups. 

Next is that symbols and leaders play a key role here, and it's up to the morally just side to use their own symbols for peace.

Make no mistake, "the wall" was a symbolic element to the Donald Trump campaign that was incredibly effective. What's infused this group is a lofty ideal of that which isn't possible. They make bold claims about a future with no plan or way of actually attaining it.

This is not to say that lofty ideals need to be created that are unachievable, rather that if there is no pictured painted of a better future for those fighting for peace, people will always gravitate towards a message that they believe will help them be better off, even if unlikely. So the left needs a message. Something people can rally around about the future. Play the offense not the defense. 

Create a vision for a future that is empowering to those who might gravitate to these hate groups. This means engaging them in dialogue prior, before they move sides and take an extreme position out of desperation. 

The internet, like it always done, has helped connect a group with similar ideals. But, it can connect a counter movement too, and it already has.  

I see no way that this movement can continue to grow momentum over the long run, to make that leap into actual mainstream. But damage is inevitable before it’s quelled.  

Like any movement, this ideology is either building or dwindling. We can go backwards, but not forever. More of a back step. The pendulum always swings back. And the vacuum always get's filled.

(Dirt) Gold
#29



Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News
 

 

CultureDavid SherryDaily
Archillect

“There are no humans involved.” 


This is a statement we should get accustomed to hearing more often. I’ve followed Archillect for awhile now and decided to share as they just launched their first Patreon campaign. My twitter feed is riddled with Retweets of this bots media.

Archillect is a social media bot that crawls the web for interesting images, gifs and visuals to post onto various social media channels. It does so by being fed keywords and using a social graph to map the data of how likely it is to go viral before sharing. 

Essentially, a computer is picking which imagery it believes will be most viral and then shares it.

Which now has 400k Twitter followers and growing.

(The creator) Murat Pak explains.

“For instance, most of my designs, I didn’t actually design something, but I designed something that designed some other thing, and the second thing was the actual product. That’s how I like things.” (from a motherboard interview)

 

So we’ve got a bot that can spot what imagery might be impactful, impressive and inspirational — but so what?

This is just one of many ideas being created and put into the world that will change how we consume media. It appears human curation for some things is a dying art. Most notably, music and movies. But it’s not just the curation, soon, it will be the production. 
 

Which, I saw on twitter, Murat Pak tweeted: 

“Or I would like a true neural network based version of her where she can actually create.”
 

So she, (Archillect) and others will act like a tool for us. Help us consume that which we want to see and understand us better. We already have algrothims and machine learning, they’re powering the best types of media curation for us.  But then it will go a step further, and become the creator as well as the curator.

They’ve already been experimenting, with little success so far, on letting computers generate the music that we listen to. 
 

“Listen to the First Pop Song Written by AI”
 

At some point, maybe it will be indistinguishable. Especially in rave music or techno and probably jazz.

So maybe the next version of Archillect will be an artist. And that means it has all of the data it’s already scraped at it’s disposal. All artists build on the foundation of those that come before it, will AI be able to consume all art works from time to synthesize ideas? 

Will the “Data” of massive stores of paintings and art pieces be valuable to AI teams building AI Artists? The reality is I don’t think it’s that we’ll stop being artists, rather the tools will change. Like they always have.  If Da Vinci was born today would he still be a painter? Probably not, he’d probably use Illustrator and Sketch.

And so artists in the future will use their own version of Archillect. Our own pet computers, tools for making music or art. Then there’s that magic ingredient. Something that will be very tough to quantify: inspiration.

The best singer song writer will always produce more magic than a computer can. Thanks to our incredibly advanced brains, intuition, emotions and rich experiences. And this is good news, for us.

“There are no humans involved.” 

This is a beautiful phrase when it comes to boring, dangerous, or repetitive tasks.

Inspiration?

Leave that to us…

---

Fun quote:


“All of this popularity has gone to Archillect’s head a bit. Because of her own reputation, her followers are liking her posts simply because they come from her, which is making it rather difficult for her to discern which of her posts are actually “good.” Since her whole method of curation is based on the relative popularity of her different posts, this situation is giving her a bit of an existential crisis.” — Motherboard.

Gold
#28

 

Archillect

Here are the top tweets of the month.

From an interview on Motherboard.

 

ProductsDavid Sherrydaily
Smartphones and iGen

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

The real story here is about depression and our social interactions, and the way that smart phones have massively shifted how teens grow up. This article is fascinating and scary and relevant. 

Today's gold is about what the writer called iGen. Which is the generation born after 1995. They grew up with a smart phone, and this has massively shifted their psychology apart from previous generations. 

From the sounds of it, iGen are forming a different outlook on life, one which is based on their virtual lives. As with any outlook shift, we open up possibilities to create new systems, new modes of being, new pressures which can allow for societal, and cultural shifts. 

But there's also a backlash. A reaction to the shift. 

It seems that this generation faces a daily paradox, one that is eroding their happiness.

We wish to be with others all of the time.
But we choose to be alone and communicate through the web.

We choose to stay in.
But we get FOMO of the event we missed.

We wish to be with others,
but when we are, we choose to be invested in our phones...

This article is a fascinating look at the impact of technology good and bad, and will leave you questioning how we're spending our time. While I can see this being often sensationalized, I don't discount the idea that smart phones are massively altering how children and teens grow up. 

These shifts are having consequences, and it's this first test-generation that has to deal with them...

Gold
#27

 

Have Smartphones Destroyed a
Generation - The Atlantic


 

CultureDavid Sherrydaily
13 Days in a Row

They played 13 Nights in a row at Madison Square Garden.

How is that possible?!

To understand how that is possible, one has to understand the culture. 

I first heard Phish when I was in Junior High, sometime right after my Nirvana phase. 

I'm not sure who lead me to them but me and my group of friends were hooked. Our class was rare in that we all had the bug, and picked up other rituals along side the music like frisbee and long boarding. I was obsessed all through high school. 

But I'm not trying to convince you about the music.
I'm saying it's worth talking about the culture. Would any brand (or band?) be so great to command such a performance? 

Can you name a band you'd want to see 9 nights in a row?

But Phish music isn't just a band. It's a sub-culture. 

It's an ongoing discussion among a group that varies way more than you'd expect.

Businessmen, families, children, teens. All attending after parties, pre-parties. And everyone's got stories about long road trips to go see them. Times where it rained all during the show but it was the best set. Everyone's got opinions about the best set or best show or best cover.

Because even though they are playing 13 nights, they will rarely repeat a track. With improvisation, and a loose structure around it all. They only way you could make it through such a creative performance feat is to have done this for decades. And Phish has been at it for 34 years. 

"The approximately 39 hours of music Phish will create by the end of the 13 shows might contain just as many secret codes as David Lynch's Twin Peaks revival." - Jesse Jarnow

People love it because they can study it. Read between the lines, speculate.

So it's not uncommon for people to bring notebooks to the show, Like someone taking stats at a baseball game! Notebooks they've been keeping for years as their personal journey of every show they've ever been to, what songs were played... a journal! 

Then there's the forums, which is about speculating upcoming shows or discussing previous sets.

It's like a Wine club!

Ever heard of a Gap Chart?!

It's where they track how many shows it's been since the band has played a certain track. People count the gaps between shows, then create an average.

"This data is generated using the following rules: first, we analyze the songs played in the last year. From there, we examine the most frequently played songs that have not appeared in the last 3 shows that count "for stats purposes." Those songs are then listed above. We also include the average show gap for each of these songs, which might help better explain the likelihood of a song's appearance." (from Phish.net)

When you reach this stage, you become more than a band.
More than a brand.

You are part of someones life.

Part of their upbringing. Phish fans manage their life schedule around shows. They use shows as a signal for when to take vacations and you better believe there have been phish cover bands at someones wedding. 

So what can we learn?

At some point, every brand or company has to face this question:

Do I make more products for my existing customers?
Or, do I get new customers for my existing products?


Basically, more product? Or more new customers?


And every time, for 34 years Phish (like many other jam bands) has chosen more products for their customers.

This is the simplest way to look at this series of concerts.

Phish isn't playing 13 shows in a row to find new customers, new listeners.  Phish is trying to give massive enjoyment to a demo that can't get enough, those that are already listening! 

They see that it's worth a risk. They're not promoting to new audiences, they're saying "we know what you want, and we're going to give you all of it." And they took a risk but had fun with it. Being that it's called the Bakers Dozen, there's free donuts every night for fans, crafted to fit the setlist or give hints at possible songs they might play.

For example a strawberry fields donut might hint at a cover of The Beatles.  And those that are loyal see this signal and embrace this with love. They love them for it.

How can you not??

Which is why you see incredible stories of those that attend..

"there’s Scott Marks, 38, a business analyst in Cranston, R.I., who manages the set list section of Phish.net, a nonprofit volunteer-run fan site. He’ll drive to New York three times to see nine shows, bringing his Phish concert total to 283." - From CAROLINE TELL, NYT

"There’s Ira Lindenberg, 34, a real estate executive, who will fly back and forth from Toronto for six Phish shows" 
- From CAROLINE TELL, NYT


They come out because they know Phish are are giving there all for the fans. And so the response is to show up and support. Be a part of something unique. To not miss out on the legendary Bakers Dozen. 

And for those that can't make it...

There's digital downloads. Posts from fans about what tracks were played and highlights. Youtube videos posted. 

But mostly...

"You had to be there."

Gold
#26

Why "Baker's Dozen" Shows
are a Fans Dream" - Rolling Stone



Phish: Live from Madison
Square Garden 7/21/17 Set II Opener

 

Foreign Rap

Despite Trump’s best efforts, we live in a global society.

And despite the look of all of the people running our political system, it's not the way the rest of the world looks. 

Foreign rap is a site that shows us what's to come.

First, what's already here: Hip Hop.

It dominates the market, something I hear often from the Lefsetz Letter, my personal go to for any news related to the music industry.

Hip Hop track plays on Spotify and Youtube blow everything else away. It seems as the world turns global, we've found a universal language. 

And it's no longer contained to the U.S...

Click the top left drop down! Look at the list.

And suddenly you find that you're really digging tracks from everywhere. South Korea, Japan, France, Nigeria. 

So what's to come is global music going main stream.
Of course, it's always been here. But now it's going to open wide up to hit scale. 

The first sign of this was a rapper I've been into since last Summer named Skepta. Then Drake put him on his newest Album, More Life, which was more of a cocktail party of rappers than a Drake album.

The second was Despacito. One of the biggest hits of the summer and it's sung in Spanish! Bieber took it mainstream.

Not to mention Spotify is based in Sweden. Which means the pull of gravity for music now has another center other than LA.

Like Max Martin, also from Sweden, who wrote every catch tune you've ever heard of, (read his wikipedia if you haven't, you'll be surprised that just one man can practically write all of the music you grew up listening to).

So, What's next?

My take is that Americans are going to look to start hitting festivals in Europe at some point soon. They've been hip to Coachella, but based on what I've seen about Tomorrowland in Barcelona...

And the global sound is interesting. It's a new take, as we blend and see collaborations across borders. New languages.

Which is probably good for our culture. More stars from different backgrounds. It can't be denied.

So take a listen to foreign rap. Put on the videos in the background. And vibe to it until you get caught with the bug.


This week gold was sent to me by Shaun Singh (New Zealand) based Wunderkind.  Thanks for supplying the tunes, Shaun.

 

Gold
#25
 

 

Foreign Rap


Tomorrowland Festival - Armin Van Buuren


Max Martin

 

MusicDavid SherryDaily
Manchester Orchestra on Comedy Bang Bang

Why is comedy in its heyday?

Because the news is depressing as hell!

We need a laugh and the ramp for comedy spins up again. It seems to go in waves.

Just like music. In fact studies show the happier the songs, the more depressing the economics are for the public, and vis versus.

So Manchester Orchestra appears on Comedy Bang Bang. A favorite podcast of mine which is an improv show.

Comedy Bang Bang came out in 2009 hosted by Scott Aukerman, it used to be named Comedy Death-Ray-Radio, and is 500 episodes in. What interests me about both the comedy show and the band is that they live without major hits.  

Name a Manchester Orchestra main stream hit? You can't.
What they both have in common is a fan base that loves them. That knows the deep cuts. That can quote the lyrics and quote the quips.

Andy Hull and Robert McDowell are technically brothers in law (and band mates). They are so real on this show, so down to earth. You can tell they are fans of the podcast, giddy with excitement.

And I think it goes both ways. One thing they do on the show which is rare is let them play a few tunes. Manchester Orchestra is known for their lyrics and consistency. 

They've done it their own way. And they've been at it awhile. Manchester Orchestra essentially started when they were 15 and they dropped out of high school. They don't see themselves as a big band.

Sometimes you know how big you can get and you okay within that...

And it seems that they are ok as long as they are excited about their work. So they take on side projects and they experiment. And they function as their own toughest critics. 

One such enjoyable side project/expiriment was writing the score for Swiss Army Man, which is a totally off-beat movie that I enjoyed ever moment of. For the film they teamed up with popular music video producers, The Daniels . These are same guys who did the music video for Lil John's Turn Down for What.

Hit their website and check out Interesting Ball if you want another weird short. 

And so the lesson to me is that you don't need to be huge to be meaningful. 

And you can follow what excites you, but you've got to keep working at it. 500 episodes, or a band since 15.

You might build a business plan, full of stats and growth with a plan. But you leave out all of the magic that happens when you make art that's meaningful. All of the random moments that occur in the process.

It's the serendipity that makes life fun. Never knowing who you might work with next. Going with the flow and making art that touches people, enough people.

Stretching into new territories, movies and projects, and following where the road takes you...


 

*GOLD*


Manchester Orchestra on Comedy Bang Bang


The Daniels


A Black Mile to the Surface
Manchester Orchestra will (on Spotify)


#0024

MusicDavid Sherrydaily
Digital Packaging


Our digital bits are slowly gaining ground on the physical world. 

And slowly we realize where in a new age wherein what matters is what’s happening online more than off of it.

I mean sure, stuff happens off-line but... a lot of that is transferred into the digital world, where it really matters. 

The last generation was about the big house and the fancy car. 
The new generation is about the big youtube following and the fancy new website. 

If it’s travel, it’s about posting the story from your travel. 

If it’s fashion, it’s about sharing photos for your latest find and discussing with others in the forum.  

So, ok physical still matters but only because it assists us living our digital life. 


Product packaging. 

You know, the Apple packaging that made you feel like you were unboxing the future?

The magazine on the shelf that stood out.

The book cover. The exterior of a car.

This is being brought online.  (Duh!)
We're creating packaging for everything online and putting on the infinite shelf of the web.
And design on the web is hitting it’s stride. Whether it's brutalist websites or pop up websites, the shelf is limitless. 

Therefore in cyberspace we’re looking even harder for something to catch our eye. 

What if you thought about your website like a physical product on a shelf?

The first step is to realize whether your in the physical world or the digital, you're still selling a product in a package.

It needs to catch the idea of the browsing customer perusing the isles of the internet. 

Then, when they take a chance and select your package, you have the ability to provide the "unboxing" experience. 

Now that we're on the web, your product isn't static, and your unboxing can last quite awhile. This is your advantage.

Digital product packaging is an art that's in it's infancy.  

Well funded companies with big digital budgets are creating beautiful packages that stand out and make us want to buy. And companies of the future will continue to push the boundaries.

But what we haven't figured out yet is what that new interface is turning into.

Your website may be rather static. But we have a new opportunity to turn the process of pulling someone into the work (and it is a process) to a journey that can last quite awhile.

That’s done through updates, something that physical goods don’t currently have (until IOT hits).

The updatable nature of products mean that they are ever changing. And, through push notifications they can break more like a process than a product. 

And if your product becomes a process...

Your customers are students and you are their teacher.

I think Apple is a perfect example for what I'm talking about here.
What are they keynotes if not drawn out public Onboarding events?

They are taking us all into the future with every keynote. They wish to do this, hypothetically forever, so the onboarding must never stop. If we as consumers catch up with Apple, where they're not one step ahead leading us, they're dead. Which is sort of why it's started to feel that way. With the limited future innovation potential with their biggest product, the iPhone, it feels like we're catching up with Apple instead of them being at a distance pulling us along. 

So a key of onboarding is to remain in the lead of your customers. You must lead them through the experience so that they delight and grow over time. This is reinforcing the ongoing nature of your experience for onboarding.

You can do this but online, and for your product. Hence Webinars. Although we can get much more creative than that and with a lot more technology. 

So what's next?

Recognize that you’re selling a good. And that good sits in a package that catches the eye or is skipped.

But on the internet, there's infinite shelf space. 

So once someone takes a chance on you… you can let them peel back the layers for a long time. You're always onboarding. You're always remaining in the future for your customer and you pull them with you (although they remain slightly behind). 

If you lose your lead, you'll lose their interest. 

And what's next for websites (the package?)

Like every invention, we always begin by mimicking what came in the past. The first TV show's were essentially radio-style broadcasts.

So the first websites look like paper, put online. 

Then we got the browser and linked web pages.

Then we got apps. 

Stage 3 is the feed.

Stage 4.. is about breaking these standards all together. Because the truth is the web brings infinite opportunity and space to expand beyond the containers and packages we've built to date. 

I applaud Squarespace for it's democratization of our online world. But I feel they have built a robust system for building for the web of 2017 but not the web of the future. Sure, simple interfaces will always win, but we’re stuck on one paradigm. That of the browser. That of the scroll and the click. This will be obliterated once we change how we interact with the web.

Before that happens, we’ll see many experiments. These are already popping up. I don’t see them succeeding, because we’re still beholden to the mouse and key. But once the paradigm changes I believe that pages will lose their structure and open up into entirely different possibilities. 

"As the screen constantly sheds the limitations of its previous technologies, the capabilities of the space behind the glass accelerate forward at light speed."

So far it's been static, but in the future our digital packaging will flow and shift and become dynamic interact with. Feeds, non-linear journey's, webs, collages.

The internet is really just information, organized.

In the future we will continue to dream up new ways to organize this information in a way that better suits our style of consumption.

And in the future we will get physical with the web. 

"As inhabitants of the web, we are bound to using the click of the mouse and the scroll of the wheel as essential method of communicating with the ether. Yet despite the power afforded to our web presence, our relationship with these actions remains constrained to a purely utilitarian approach. The infinite space of the screen is hindered by our inability to use these peripherals as more than just a functional means to an end. With user interface technology becoming more and more frictionless, more and more engrained in the paradigms of Kinectian motion sensors and Leapesque gesture based navigation, the mouse and the keyboard are faced with the possibility of obsolesance."


I can imagine a scenario where we will use our hands in the air like with our Wii remotes to unbox a website. To explore the boundaries. To connect physically with our digital items. 

And VR will utterly destroy the browser and the web page view. It will seem laughably static. Like a comic book vs. a movie. 

And, maybe, eventually, the experience returns full circle to where we can physically feel the selection and exploration of a new product we buy online. 

Gold

 

The Space Beyond the Screen Has Exceeded
Our Wildest Imaginations.



 


#23