You've probably seen this already making the rounds online. "This is a generic video" is far from it. What's brilliant about the video is that it was inspired by "This Is a Generic Brand Video," written by Kendra Eash for McSweeney's Internet Tendency. A literary piece making fun of advertisement became a video that looks like it's making fun of ads but it's really an ad for a service for stock footage. So meta it's an Ouroboros.
In the B.I. [before the internet] world, starting a business had a clear timeline: says Ito, you hired MBAs to write a business plan, you raised money, and then you built the thing you wanted to build. But in the AI world, the cost of innovation has come down so much that you start with the building—and then figure the money and business plan. “It’s pushed innovation to the edges, to the dorms rooms and startups, and away from stodgy organizations that had the money, the power and the influence.”
During Nicholas Negroponte’s era at the MIT Media Lab, the motto he proposed was: “Demo or die.” He said that the demo only had to work once. But Ito, who points out that he’s a “three-time college dropout,” wants to change the motto to: “Deploy or die.” He explains, “You have to get it into the real world to have it actually count.”
Ito takes us to Shenzhen, China, where young inventors are taking this idea to the next level. In the same way that “kids in Palo Alto make websites,” these kids make cell phones. They bring their designs to the markets, look at what’s selling and what others are doing, iterate and do it over again. “What we thought you could only do in software, kids in Shenzhen are doing in hardware,” he says.
Ito urges us to follow a compass rather than a map. Instead of planning out every exact points before you start, allow yourself to make the decisions you need as you go in the general direction of where you need to be.
“I don’t like the word ‘futurist,’” he says. “I think we should be now-ists. Focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present.”
Looking forward to seeing this talk when the video becomes available.
The most dominant companies, no matter the industry, are digital-first. Think Netflix over Blockbuster or iTunes over Tower Records. So how can we take advantage of this trend in our work and with our own projects?
Aaron Dignan, speaking at the 99u conference, walks us through how we can have the right mindset to thrive in the future: We need a purpose, a process to support it, the right people, and (most importantly) these need to combine to make products that serve a community larger than any employee or organization. Dignan shows off plenty of examples and tells us what to adopt for our own work. “When we look at the companies that are really dominating, this is what they are doing.”
The app, simply called “Ken Burns,” allows the user to surf an overarching timeline year by year, seeing how clips from each film line up chronologically with – and, as Burns says, “speak to” – each other. Zoom in on 1869, for example, and a cloud of clips from The Civil War, The West, and The National Parks orbit in parallax formation around one another; swipe to 1930, and it’s clips from Jazz, Prohibition, Baseball, Huey Long, Thomas Hart Benton and The Dust Bowl. You can also watch its six playlists straight through – they range in length from 20 minutes to an hour long – or select individual clips à la carte.
The concept came out of a conversation Burns was having two years ago with MacKinnon, who is the music entrepreneur behind Hear Music and has known Burns since they worked together on music components for 2001′s Jazz.
“Ken and I were talking about how his films were in the search engines of iTunes and Netflix, and they’re always the top-rated thing when they run on PBS, but there wasn’t a digital place where all of his films were presented as one thing, as an integrated body of work,” says MacKinnon. “Then he paused for a second, and looked at me and said, ‘I really love my iPad.’”
Download the app but only if you are prepared to lose your day to it.
An Unexpected Way to Experience a Night at the Ballet
Following the inaugural 2013 installation LES BALLETS DE FAILE, New York City Ballet is proud to collaborate with the French artist known as JR for the second annual Art Series.
Exhibiting freely in the streets of the world, JR catches the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. His largest project to date, INSIDE OUT, was born in 2011 when JR won the TED prize and called for the creation of a global art project with the potential to change the world. Transforming messages of personal identity into public works of art, more than 172,000 people have taken part in nearly 8,600 locations around the world.
JR will share his Art Series installation during three special performance evenings — January 23, February 7, 13 — when every seat in the house is available for just $29. On these evenings, every audience member will receive a takeaway created specifically for this event.
Absolutely love this collaboration. More please. NYC Ballet should have a ballet with sets designed by JR.