Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

Learning From the Current Media Revolution

From Jim VandeHei, who was one of the co-founders of Politico…

In coming years, the revolution will likely demolish much of what we read and watch now. State and local newspapers and TV? Gone. Their models are fatally flawed. General interest magazines such as Time and Newsweek? Gone or unrecognizable shells of their former selves. Traditional TV and cable? Shrinking and scrambling. Clickbait machines such as Gawker, or Ozy, or Mashable? Gone or gobbled up by bigger players.

At the same time, the need for content, especially (but not only) video content, will explode. It will be a mad rush that makes the 1980s’ race to create new cable channels seems like a leisurely stroll.

The pipes for distribution of content are mostly set. Facebook, Amazon, Google and Snapchat will be joined by the savviest traditional media companies such as Comcast and new media players, most notably Netflix, Apple, Vimeo and others.

Source: Escaping the Digital Media ‘Crap Trap’ — The Information

At the end of the article, he posits that we are entering a golden age of content creation and that consumers will happily pay for eclectic and efficiently delivered media as mobile destroys desktop paradigms, and streaming destroys cable.

I’d include podcasting in this conversation as well. It’s not hard to fathom that podcasting, or some iteration of it, really does catch on “in the mainstream” as our mobile devices and autos get smarter and more in tune with our own listening preferences as compared to broadcast NPR or radio.

Just this week, I finally convinced my parents to sign up for Netflix and Hulu. They love it. “Why would we pay for cable now?” Dad asked. I’ve been asking the same since I cut the cord back in 2006 in favor of other ways to find and watch the media that most appealed to me and our family.

It’s easier, cheaper, and (I think) more fun than ever. Apple TV, Roku, Plex etc have made the content game enjoyable again.

Businesses, churches, and nonprofits can learn a great many lessons by observing the current revolution / rebirth that journalism and content industries are currently experiencing. Find faith in the ability to embrace the eclectic. Find your voice and your audience. Stop trying to be all things to all people and broadcast messages (especially on Facebook and social media). You’ll be rewarded by your fans.

 




FBI Looking to Delay Tomorrow’s Hearing on Apple Encryption

“On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking [terrorist Syed] Farook’s iPhone,” federal prosecutors said in a filing Monday afternoon. “Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc. (“Apple”) set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/feds-move-to-cancel-iphone-hearing-221062




Peak iPhone

Too Many iPhones

From earlier today before Apple’s Q1 Earnings call:

“When CEO Tim Cook reports Tuesday on Apple’s sales for the last three months of 2015, investors will be watching closely for any hints about how Apple’s signature smartphone is faring in the current quarter. Sales usually fall somewhat after the holiday shopping season. But analysts say it appears Apple has cut production orders from key suppliers in recent weeks, suggesting it’s lowered its own forecasts.”

Source: Is Apple Reaching Peak iPhone? | CBS

And from just now after the earnings call regarding the upcoming Q2 2016:

… The company expects to report between $50 and $53 billion in revenue. That would put it below the $58 billion it reported in Q2 2015 and would mark the first year over year decline in revenue for the company in years.The slight decrease can likely be attributed to falling iPhone sales, which have been predicted for some time now. In Q1, Apple reported sales of 74.7 million iPhones, which is just barely better than the 74.5 million it did in the same quarter last year. Apple did not say how many it expects to sell in Q2, but analysts have predicted declines as high as 25 percent.

Source: Have we reached peak iPhone? It’s complicated | The Verge

Apple sold an average of 34,000 phones per hour for 13 consecutive weeks. That’s incredible, but unsustainable, growth. If anything, Wall Street loves growth. With China’s economy on a rapid downturn and the U.S. economy weak due to a number of variables that could lead us into a potentially havoc Spring, Summer, and Fall, Apple is wisely hedging its bets on production. That’s especially wise since carrier subsidies for new devices are now non-existent in the U.S. and each new iteration of the iPhone undergoes a “meh, it’s not that different from my old one” period with potential upgrading users.

If nothing else, we’ve learned today that the media loves using the term “Peak iPhone” (give the term a google if you’d like to see).




Apple’s iOS Home Screen Problem

I flip back-and-forth between iOS and Android, mostly iPhone 6s Plus and a Nexus device, all the time and enjoy both operating systems (though I do enjoy Android more to be honest… much to the chagrin of my family and friends who all use iMessage on iOS and therefore I’m a “green bubble” when on my Nexus device).

However, I’m always curious as to why iOS users who transition or experiment with Android feel the compulsion to stack their home screens full of app icons.

Not that it’s a cumbersome way to navigate your mobile device (I think it is), but it’s a curious hold-over from the vision Steve Jobs and his devs had for the original iPhone in ’07. I’d wager that even he would think it’s time to move past that convention in 2016 (something which you can easily do on Android, but not so much on the aging iOS interface). Maybe Apple in the Cook Era is too deep in the institutional molasses.

Whenever someone wants to play with one of my Android devices who has previously been an iPhone and iPad only user for the last several years, they almost always respond positively and immediately to the widgets on my home screen.

“I like widgets a lot, and wish iOS had something similar.”

Source: A Week With Android — Medium

I do wonder how the masses will respond when / if Apple ever adopts widgets… the “rows and rows of apps” conventions has been successfully turned into a standard way of interacting with mobile devices here in the US.

However, that’s not the case in the Asian markets where Apple really wants to expand in the coming years as it has reached a relative saturation point in North America with devices. Apple is slowly sneaking widgets in via the Notifications shade, but I’m not sure how many users actually know / use / understand that interface.

Of course, I was totally wrong in 2007 about widgets and the iPhone, so what do I know?

Maybe the fear of being a “green bubble” will be enough to keep users on iOS, at least here in the US.

And don’t get me started on how / why the iPad Pro still uses the same “rows of app icons” convention…




The Future is Messaging and Google Seems Oblivious

 

“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more,” Facebook’s VP of messaging products David Marcus said in a Facebook post.

Source: Facebook’s M Is Here, and Google Should Be Worried

Messaging is big in Asia. Services like WeChat in China and Line in Japan / Thailand / Indonesia are how people communicate, buy things, book things, and operate. Sort of like how we (the enlightened) are amazed that people live inside of Facebook and think of it as the internet. There are even WeChat Stars like our YouTube stars. It is strange for us in the US to wrap our heads around (or at least me).

However, it won’t be for long. I remember sitting in a presentation by a Rakuten VP (they are a large Asian marketing firm that acquired messaging app Viber last year) at a conference in 2004… they were demonstrating data associated with the rising use of mobile phones to purchase items in stores or do cross comparisons via SMS in SE Asia while using brick-and-mortar stores as showrooms. I was blown away and thought “there’s no way anyone in the US would ever buy something on a mobile phone…certainly not furniture or computers.”

I was wrong. Best Buy is the best showroom Amazon could ever hope for (at least in my personal experience).

Five years from now, everyone in America will live inside the major messaging app that we settle on. Whether that’s FB’s Messenger, WeChat, Line, Snapchat (doubtful), Viber, Hangouts, WhatsApp or something we haven’t heard of yet, we will decry this newfangled “messaging media” and “messaging marketing” and look fondly on the days when we all just had Facebook newsfeeds or Twitter timelines.

Remember ICQ and AIM? We’re going back.

Messaging apps are what comes after “social media.” Facebook gets it. Even Apple (iMessage) and Blackberry (Messenger) get it. Google seems to be dragging its feet, which is scary to me.




U2’s New Album

I was a huge fan of U2’s Achtung Baby, Zooropoa and Pop albums. They are still three of my “desert island” albums that I go to when I need a good listen while grinding out some work.

I own a number of b-sides, collectibles, and even vinyl versions of U2 albums that I’ve collected over the the years because of what their music in the 90’s meant to me. However, I was pretty disappointed in the new album (you know, the one that Apple put on your iPhone and iTunes without asking) on first listening.

After my third listen tonight, the album is warming up to me with a couple of standouts, but I’m still trying to get to the point where I actually like it.

Fricke knows his stuff, though. Here’s a good review…

“We can hear you,” Bono swears. “Your voices will be heard.”

via U2’s New Album: Songs of Innocence | Rolling Stone.




Which iPhone 6 Should You Buy?

I’ve had quite a few people ask me which iPhone 6 (the 6 or 6+) they should buy (money aside). Here’s a nice review I’ll be pointing to:

Big vs. bigger: Which iPhone 6 deserves a place in your pocket? | Cult of Mac.




Android is Pretty

For all of my pals who say, “How can you use Android? It’s just so ugly compared to iOS!”…

A collection of screenshots encompassing some of the most beautiful looking Android apps.

via Android Niceties.

Thanks to Devin T for the link.




OmniFocus for iPhone Adds Background Syncing

One of my favorite (and indispensable catch-all) apps added background syncing today. Yes, I know that’s not a big deal to most people, but it’s insanely useful because it means I can set up various locations (such as my house) where OmniFocus will automatically sync my to-do items upon leaving. Nifty if you’re like me and forget to sync from time to time and wonder why you’re not getting “Due” alerts, etc (or maybe I’ve been doing it wrong?).

Nonetheless, OmniFocus is one of those apps that has a learning curve (and it’s not for everyone), but once you get it to work your way, it becomes a necessity. It’s not cheap and it’s not easy, but it’s well worth it if you’re ready to get serious about getting things done…

OmniFocus for iPhone for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store: “OmniFocus for iPhone brings task management to your fingertips. Keep track of tasks by project, place, person, or date. With OmniFocus for iPhone, you’ll always have your important information at hand, whether it’s a shopping list, agenda items to discuss at work, things to do at home—whatever you need.”

Sign of the times, I guess.

Original link via MacStories.




The Golden Gut Exists

Why Don Draper Shouldn’t Be Your Ad Guy – Forbes: “As appealing as Don Draper’s (and your in-house guru’s) perfect instincts are, they are indeed fiction. Even experts often fail to correctly predict which ad will perform better than other ads. Chris Goward, founder & CEO of WiderFunnel and author of You Should Test That notes, ‘In every presentation I give to marketers, I ask them to vote on which test variation won. Remember, these are the cream of the crop of digital marketers. In most cases, their gut intuition is wrong.”

I would disagree with this.

As would Steve Jobs… sometimes you get what you pay for and you get a passionate person who knows that if you asked enough people what they wanted in a car, you would have gotten “faster horses” as a response.

There’s room for testing but don’t forget the innovators and the crazy ones.

We love data and testing. But we love guts, intuition, the liberal arts and humanity even more.

“The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones that do.”