The Kawasaki-Scoble Bullet Train

Posted by Sean X Cummings on April 3rd, 2012 at 2:11 pm

The Kawasaki-Scoble bullet train hit AdTech in full force keynoting AdTech SF 2012. Like bulls in a china shop they illuminated ways to facilitate connections that mean something, and connections that make a lasting impression. For what is advertising but that? And it is nice to witness; a shift from tonnage of connections to the impact of connections that can help you and your brand.

If you were taking notes then you probably missed at least 70% of their tidbits of wisdom as they were cascading from them with such speed and aplomb for it was truly watching two ADHD children talking about shiny toys... but let me try and do a recap for you....

Thanks to Guy for attempting to bring the discussion back to what is practical, however, what really came through was they both march to the beat of their own drummer. It seems that they just do what is interesting to them, and we are just lucky that what sees to interest them often becomes interesting to the rest of us.

First they tackled the issues around Google +. "Hey Google + is anyone there?" Google is in a deep hole in comparison to development. There is no write API for G+ and that leads to a whole range of things keeping Google at bay. Scoble highlighted the App HiLight which uses Facebook to show the people who are also on hilight and within 100ft of us. HiLight cannot build on top of G+. And so Google is stuck. Innovation requires others to make it interesting, and without developers often technology is introduced with a bang... and then slowly whimpers into oblivion.

However, Guy is enamored with it. He likes that he can edit on G+ so he posts first to G+, then edits, then posts to Facebook. And that is a lesson. Use the technology for what makes sense to you. Do not force fit yourself to technology.

Use the technology for what makes sense to you. Do not force fit yourself to technology.

Scoble advised to build a brand that goes across all of the social networks. Create the cross links which makes the audience have deeper resonance. As to which are most important? Well, that depends who you are. If you are selling Wedding Dresses then Pinterest is probably the best bet, but if you are Virgin America then Facebook/Twitter. And that is lesson two. Don't just read a book that says these are the ranking of where you should be in social media. Understand your business and what you do and then choose the social channel that will work best to accomplish your goals.

Don't just read a book that says these are the ranking of where you should be in social media. Understand your business and what you do and then choose the social channel that will work best to accomplish your goals.

One piece of advice is that pay attention to what new technologies and social channels are out there. When a technology is new, is when the social graph and the linking behavior gets built so be there early.

So what brands are doing it right in social connections? They both highlighted GoPro. Why does that work? Because their tactic causes conversations. Of course, as Guy mentioned, no one is trying to create something that people don't want to talk about, but Scoble contends, "just build something that 4 people will be interested in. Why? Because if you can get 4 you can get 8 who can get 16." That is how products grow.

How do you do that? One way is to be there at the time the market window is open. InstaGram is an example. They fit into a window. Four months later and it would not have worked. The app Flipboard would have only happened that summer. GoWalla vs FourSquare chose different philosophies. FourSquare saw that the "check-in" was as important as the game. GoWalla did not, and FourSquare one. The market opens up because of new ideas. And that is lesson three: Do not become myopic as to what consumers will adopt, allow them to choose.

Do not become myopic as to the features consumers will adopt, allow them to choose.

As to ways to engage with your social media presence, Guy takes the NPR model. They produce such great content all year that you are willing to sit through the pledge drives. Think the same way in social media, produce a lot a great content, then people will be willing to listen to a small sales pitch. Guy connects people to a lot of content and about one in 20 tweets is promotional, for his books etc... but you do not mind it because the value of the content that he is producing those other 19 times is what the value is. And that is lesson four: The value is not your brand, the value is the content. Engage people with content through your social media, and then you can speak to them about your brand... and they will value your brand because of it.

The value is not your brand, the value is the content. Engage people with content through your social media, and then you can speak to them about your brand... and they will value your brand because of it.

As to questions from the audience asking about how to work with corporate cultures that are not tolerant, I can sum up their advice up thus...

Just do it. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission... but you have to be a really good listener to the internal politics at your company.

There was a ton of other insights I missed, ignored, or otherwise glossed over, however, the lessons I gleaned above is about the best I could do herding the idea-cats of the keynote.

Enjoy the conference, ask tons of questions, and find the next great innovations to bring back to your companies!

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