The Collective Power: Welcome to The Hive:

Psst. It’s here. On my desk. A unique collectable, high tech, no battery, impact resistant, always on, no-cloud and darn pretty carrier of wisdom on Mediabrands Belgium and its illustrious Mediabrandies. Who are they? What drives them? Where do they come from? What sets them apart? Why?

Find the answers in this book.

It’s inspiring, honest, right-in-your-face, unfiltered and glutenfree.

It truly takes a village to make Mediabrands. Discover the pure human side that powers us to be so much more than a media agency. Enjoy the stories, the anecdotes, the passion, the good… and the bad. Powered by People.

The Illuminati are secretly distributing copies of this book… if you can’t wait, take a glance at https://thecollectivepower.be/

Welcome to The Hive….

The Third Wave – Steve Case

Steve Case’s career began when he cofounded America Online (AOL) in 1985. At the time, only three percent of Americans were online. It took a decade for AOL to achieve mainstream success. AOL became the top performing company of the 1990s, and at its peak more than half of all consumer Internet traffic in the United States ran through the service. After Case engineered AOL’s merger with Time Warner and he became Chairman of the combined business, Case oversaw the biggest media and communications empire in the world.
In The Third Wave, which pays homage to the work of the futurist Alvin Toffler, Case takes us behind the scenes of some of the most consequential and riveting business decisions of our time while offering illuminating insights from decades of working as an entrepreneur, an investor, a philanthropist, and an advocate for sensible bipartisan policies.
We are entering, as Case explains, a new paradigm called the “Third Wave” of the Internet. The first wave saw AOL and other companies lay the foundation for consumers to connect to the Internet. The second wave saw companies like Google and Facebook build on top of the Internet to create search and social networking capabilities, while apps like Snapchat and Instagram leverage the smartphone revolution. Now, Case argues, we’re entering the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major “real world” sectors like health, education, transportation, energy, and food—and in the process change the way we live our daily lives.
The Third Wave is part memoir, part manifesto, and part playbook for the future. (source Wikipedia)

Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות‎, [Ḳitsur toldot ha-enoshut]) is a book by Yuval Noah Harari first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011and in English in 2014. Harari cites Jared Diamond‘s Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) as one of the greatest inspirations for the book by showing that it was possible to “ask very big questions and answer them scientifically”.

Summary

Harari’s work situates its account of human history within a framework provided by the natural sciences, particularly evolutionary biology: he sees biology as setting the limits of possibility for human activity, and sees culture as shaping what happens within those bounds. The academic discipline of History is the account of cultural change.

Harari surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on our own species of human, Homo sapiens. He divides the history of Sapiens into four major parts:

  1. The Cognitive Revolution (c. 70,000 BCE, when Sapiens evolved imagination).
  2. The Agricultural Revolution (c. 10,000 BCE, the development of farming).
  3. The unification of humankind (the gradual consolidation of human political organisations towards one global empire).
  4. The Scientific Revolution (c. 1500 CE, the emergence of objective science).

Harari’s main argument is that Sapiens came to dominate the world because it is the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers. He argues that prehistoric Sapiens were a key cause of the extinction of other human species such as the Neanderthals, along with numerous other megafauna. He further argues that the ability of Sapiens to cooperate in large numbers arises from its unique capacity to believe in things existing purely in the imagination, such as gods, nations, money and human rights. Harari claims that all large-scale human cooperation systems – including religions, political structures, trade networks and legal institutions – owe their emergence to Sapiens’ distinctive cognitive capacity for fiction. Accordingly, Harari reads money as a system of mutual trust and sees political and economic systems as more or less identical with religions.

Harari’s key claim regarding the Agricultural Revolution is that while it promoted population growth for Sapiens and co-evolving species like wheat and cows, it made the lives of most individuals (and animals) worse than they had been when Sapiens were mostly hunter-gatherers, since their diet and daily lives became significantly less varied. Humans’ violent treatment of other animals is indeed a theme that runs throughout the book.

In discussing the unification of humankind, Harari argues that over its history, the trend for Sapiens has increasingly been towards political and economic interdependence. For centuries, the majority of humans have lived in empires, and capitalist globalization is effectively producing one, global empire. Harari argues that money, empires and universal religions are the principal drivers of this process.

Harari sees the Scientific Revolution as founded in an innovation in European thought, whereby elites became willing to admit to and hence to try and remedy their ignorance. He sees this as one driver of early modern European imperialism and of the current convergence of human cultures. Harari also emphasises the lack of research into the history of happiness, positing that people today are not significantly happier than in past eras. He concludes by considering how modern technology may soon end the species as we know it, as it ushers in genetic engineering, immortality and non-organic life. Humans have, in Harari’s chosen metaphor, become Gods: they can create species.

(Source: Wikipedia)

X: The Experience When Business Meets Design – Brian Solis

Welcome to a new era of business in which your brand is defined by those who experience it.

Do you know how your customers experience your brand today?

Do you know how they really feel?

Do you know what they say when you re not around?

In an always-on world where everyone is connected to information and also one another, customer experience is your brand. And, without defining experiences, brands become victim to whatever people feel and share.

In his new book X: The Experience When Business Meets Design bestselling author Brian Solis shares why great products are no longer good enough to win with customers and why creative marketing and delightful customer service too are not enough to succeed. In X, he shares why the future of business is experiential and how to create and cultivate meaningful experiences.

This isn’t your ordinary business book. The idea of a book was re-imagined for a digital meets analog world to be a relevant and sensational experience. Its aesthetic was meant to evoke emotion while also giving new perspective and insights to help you win the hearts and minds of your customers. And, the design of this book, along with what fills its pages, was done using the principles shared within.

Brian shares more than the importance of experience. You’ll learn how to design a desired, meaningful and uniform experience in every moment of truth in a fun way including:

  • How our own experience gets in the way of designing for people not like us
  • Why empathy and new perspective unlock creativity and innovation
  • The importance of User Experience (UX) in real life and in executive thinking
  • The humanity of Human-Centered Design in all you do
  • The art of Hollywood storytelling from marketing to product design to packaging
  • Apple’s holistic approach to experience architecture
  • The value of different journey and experience mapping approaches

The future of business lies in experience architecture and you are the architect.

Business, meet design.

X

(source: Amazon)

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (Hebrew: ההיסטוריה של המחר) is a book written by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The book was first published in Hebrew in 2015 by Dvir publishing; the English-language version was published in September 2016 in the United Kingdom and in February 2017 in the United States.

As with its predecessor, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harari recounts the course of history while describing events and the individual human experience, along with ethical issues in relation to his historical survey. However, Homo Deus deals more with the abilities acquired by humans (Homo sapiens) throughout their existence, and their evolution as the dominant species in the world. The book describes mankind’s current abilities and achievements and attempts to paint

The book sets out to examine possibilities of the future of Homo sapiens. The premise outlines that during the 21st Century, humanity is likely to make a significant attempt to gain happiness, immortality and God-like powers. Throughout the book, Harari openly speculates various ways that this ambition might be realised in the future based on the past and present.

(source: Wikipedia)

The Singularity Is Near – Ray Kurzweil

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology is a 2005 non-fiction book about artificial intelligence and the future of humanity by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil.

The book builds on the ideas introduced in Kurzweil’s previous books, The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990) and The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999). This time, however, Kurzweil embraces the term the Singularity, which was popularized by Vernor Vinge in his 1993 essay “The Coming Technological Singularity” more than a decade earlier.[1]

Kurzweil describes his law of accelerating returns which predicts an exponential increase in technologies like computers, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence. Once the Singularity has been reached, Kurzweil says that machine intelligence will be infinitely more powerful than all human intelligence combined. Afterwards he predicts intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe. The Singularity is also the point at which machines intelligence and humans would merge.

source: Wikipedia

Star Wars Rogue One. True heroes die.

So there I was. All Coca Cola and popcorn.  A full day before the Belgians got a shot at it, I got to see Rogue One (tx Ilse Lambrechts!). Star Wars baby, but not as you used to know it.  Not the kind of Star Wars you’d dream up. Not the Walt Disney smooth Princess treatment some have feared. Rogue One is solid. Dark. It radiates Rebels, War, and Tragedy.

Prequel

Timeline wise, this episode is just after Star Wars 3, just before star Wars 4.  It gives some good answers to those questions you carry with you since the first trilogy. But this Rogue One is not part of the ongoing Saga. Little to no magic of the Force, no quasi invincible ‘chosen ones’. The goodies bleed when they get hit. They die. They die hard. This is about the brutal bloody tragedy of war. Of laying down lives so that others can live. Gareth Edwards made a stark dark Star Wars. Westeros in Space.  It’s beautiful.

Shadows

In the light of underdogs fighting to survive in countries all around us as we speak, this movie is right in your face. War ups the ante. You cannot be a hero without dying first. Rebellions are built on reckless and romantic hope, on stolen weapons. On insane bravery, and blood colored sand. Rebellions are built on quarreling outcasts arguing among themselves and mistrusting each other, fighting the bigger evil together. This is no Alliance, these are people flocking together in a desperate attempt not to be blown away by an evil emperor who has the better weapons and controls the high ground. These are people fighting with their back to the wall. Fight or die. Statically, the odds are non-existent.

Rogue One Trailer

I will not spoil any further. Go see.

 

iMax 3D

I saw the movie in the new iMax in the Brussels’ Kinepolis, in HD double laser projected 3D. More than impressive.

Information Diet: Be a Creator, not a Consumer

Clay Johnson hammered it in deeply: we need to behave differently, or we will information obese. Author and technologist, Johnson has a fabulous track record in advocating open source information, and governmental tactical transparency.  He just launched a website called InfoVegan.com and wrote The Information Diet. Johnson is afraid that an overload of information, mostly junk, will have a disastrous effect on our society, and on us, humans.

Johnson is convinced that the automation and industrialization of the media and the thoughtless consumption of it creates an obesity based on information overload and mass-ignorance. He advises a better “diet”.  “There is a strange shift” he claims: “In the past, ignorance was stooled on a blatant lack of information, now an uncontrolled flood of information triggers the same thing.”  He points an accusing finger to some of the bigger thinkers in society, journalists and influencers who are more obsessed by increasing clicks and hits and likes than focusing on the quality and trustworthiness of the info that gets released. “For publications, it seems that concentrating on quality is a lost effort: clearly, it does not pay…” That is why he believes we have a collective responsibility in keeping it healthy: “if we all go on an info diet, the media world will be less obese”.

In his book, he gives a clear path towards a healthy content lifestyle: he urges everyone to write at least 500 words before breakfast: “Be a creator. Be a producer. Set yourself in the state of mind of someone who has something to share. Don’t start your day as a content junkie.” He also advocates to time the periods of media consumption, to switch mail and mobile off on set times, to “go of the web for a couple of hours.” In reducing the time spent immersed in information, he believes we will become more critical on what we consume. “We eat three times a day, do the same thing for media consumption: schedule it!

Johnson also pleads for more clever content consumption: who is feeding you content, and why. Are they left, right? Is the information biased? Can we verify? “Be a conscious consumer of information, seek information rather than blind affirmation of beliefs you already hold to be true. We need an information diet for more critical, healthier media that starts informing again instead of  persuading. We need this diet to re-cultivate a culture of healthy suspicion and common sense.”

Contagious: the science of luck

Viral. Catching on. Views. Fame.  Every marketer dreams of making that one piece of magic that just auto-propels itself in the atmosphere, gets millions of views, is widely talked about, and brings a Golden Lion home at the prestigious Cannes festival.

But, then comes the gazillion dollar question: How do you get your campaign snowballing, how can we make your movie get a viral twist, how can we make your idea more even infectious? One movie gets trashed without mercy with only a couple of hundreds of views; the other one brings piles of cash, and a lot of fame. Every marketer, every agency, and every brand would gladly give and arm, a leg and a piece of a kidney to get the magic formula to guaranteed viral in a heartbeat.

Comes in Jonah Berger, professor of marketing at Wharton Business School. He wrote a book Contagious: Why Things Catch On,  that packs some real good insights based on more than 10-years of relentless research. Berger for sure is a very patient man. He concludes that for an idea, product or movie to get contagious, infectious or viral, it is not so much a question of luck, but a matter of careful planning, psychological understanding of the audience, and a healthy dose of science.

In one of the most talked about sessions here at SxSW, Berger demonstrates that getting widely spread, requires to look way broader than just at the usual influencers. While influencers certainly help driving the message home, and are primordial in helping you create precious awareness, they do not have that much to do with your campaign going viral. Real contagious content spreads like a wildfire, regardless of who is at the sending end.  Therefore, there is a much better pay off concentrating on the target audience and the message, than on intermediate messengers like influencers.

Berger also puts a lot of focus on the social currency. People only share what will make them look good, funny, ad rem, connected and smart. All the other stuff gets highly appreciated, but not shared. Campaigns should be calibrated to the impact they have on the social currency of the people likely to share the message. Worth of mouth has become a unique way to make impressions, and build a personal brand.  No-one sane will share things that might harm his/her carefully constructed image.

A third trigger is the element of contradictory controversy. The message needs an unexpected outcome. Something that triggers an alarm bell in the brain, something that is not following the highly predictability path that we are already plotting in our brain, Contagious content takes an unexpected side road, and triggers our interest, and makes a long lasting impression.

Look at this ad for Panda cheese. Pandas are always cute, right?  🙂

Pitch to win: blood on your wheels

How far would you go to win? How far do you need to go? How far is good enough? Every consultancy firm has a sacred fear of coming close second, to get the call that says “It was fabulous, we loved the team… but..”. The “but” that kills.  The “but” that tells you your competitors were quicker, smarter, better, and used better tactics. They got to the client at an angle you did not see, using language you did not consider, using a plot you omitted to explore. They were more daring, more creative. They swirled around faster, with all their weight on the front foot, delivering a killing hook. They were Machiavellian in their approach, using what it took to win.

How far would you go to nail that important contract triumphantly at the barn door of your office? It takes more than a nicely dressed war room, and some shiny white boards to win these days. Just great corporate hair, and a fashionably cut suit does not get you in the charts anymore, neither does the BMW3 series.

My grandfather was a self-made man, a successful entrepreneur. He educated me with John Wayne. “See that sheriff?” my grandfather said: “every time he walks out that door into that street at sunset to confront the villain he knows he needs to win, if he wants to live, if he wants to come back. As long as you do the same, you’ll be fine. Go, but go to win. Do burn bridges, you’ll fight harder.”

I was given a book recently  Market Forces, by Richard Morgan, painting a pitch dark view on the corporate world in the very uncomfortable close future. Consultancy firms respond to pitches from global corporations. Over time these tenders are fought more and more grimly. From showing up with the best team and the best proposal, to showing up first… to -well- showing up alive basically.

In  Market Forces, tenders and pitches are fought out on the road, on the way to the client. Pitch teams kill off weaker opponents on the deserted highway to the pitch. No rules. No witnesses. Quickest reflexes and biggest cojones wins. Competing consultants only stop to collect the bloody plastic corporate nametags from their dying opponents. Clients get the consultant that has proven to be the last man standing, natural selection. The consultant that went the extra mile, and lived, wins. Darwin would be proud..

“Show up early, with blood on your wheels… or do not show up at all”.  Market Forces might be caricaturizing it, but it’s more reality than you think: are you John Wayne enough to kick your opponents out of the meeting room?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll sweet talk my boss into getting me bigger wheels

 

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