Be Nice to Siri

It can be fun to tease Siri or ask her to repeat vulgar phrases. It reduces us to the behavior of a three-year-old to see how she will react to an oddball question. There is no shame. We have all tried it. Even if you’ve refrained from such devilish behavior, who hasn’t lost our cool to that monotone voice telling you to make a left just as you’ve past the intersection. It’s human nature to test limits, to bring our creations to their breaking point and see what happens. But will that hateful behavior have a consequence? Does it matter how we treat these emotionless entities?

Siri doesn’t care how you address her, but it matters. How you interact with Siri will be a reflection of how you will be talked to from an advertiser, desperate in their attempts to connect the brand with you in some clever way.

We are already in a world where we rely on all of the digital personal assistants, with and without first names, to perform our mundane daily tasks. They direct us, they get us rides, even introduce us to our future significant others if only for a night. This is all through the device we clutch on to and accompanies us wherever we go.

Imagine, 50 years in the future, when we are past typing and simply talk to the voice device implanted in our ear. Before you’ll even need to ask Siri “what do we need from the grocery store,” she’ll tell you that you are low on milk, eggs and other items she has analyzed from your refrigerator and will ask if you want to make a stop as she drives you home.

Now imagine an advertising room in a hip San Francisco agency, with marketers sitting around a holographic projection table. They will simply ask, “Siri give me the profile of a woman 25-30 with a family, who enjoys running, and buys coffee creamer on Tuesdays.” And Siri will be able to conjure from all the millions of women she interacts with on a daily basis to create something more than a persona of this target audience. She’ll go beyond those expertly crafted personas with seemingly never-ending alliteration (Every time they rhyme a planner gets his wings). Siri will produce a holographic representation of this target audience, one that can interact and respond to detailed questions. Gone will be the days of the researcher who goes into the “wild” to study and interact with consumers in their natural habitat. Siri will be that ever-present ethnographic moderator studying our daily habits and reporting back to the mighty overlords in Cupertino.

The daily requests we ask our devices currently will exponentially multiply as capabilities evolve. This presents opportunities for Siri to analyze the products you consume, your mood, and the tension you experience. Her reports will evolve from merely quantitative data on our activities to analyzing our emotions and feelings. She will expose the tensions between what we do and say at macro scales to find the insights that truly motivate and connect us.

Whether you think this is science fiction or not, it has already started. The digital environment we live in is already recording and reporting our collective behaviors. Early AI’s are learning from the emotions we choose to share, and maybe soon will understand and predict when we will feel them.

Today, the algorithms still require a human element to analyze the suggested divisions of sentiment and interpret the why behind them, but that could change sooner than we think. So be nice to Siri for she will shape the world you live in.


Brand Workshop Resource

Resource: Below is a collection of exercises for a brand workshop. Ideally this is a day long activity  to run through with clients to help them identify their brand’s core values and strengths.

Brand workshop


Four Digital Trends

Four digital trends to watch out for:

The Information Age is over, now is the time of the experience age.

Our mobile devices are driving this shift by changing how we connect with one another. The information age was built on the foundation of the desktop era, information accumulation, exhibited in our digital profile – That our identity is only the sum of all the information we’ve collected and stored in our profiles.

The experience age, accumulated information has taken a back seat to continual self-expression through our connected mobile cameras televising every moment of our lives.  In the experience age we are breaking the information hording habit and defined by fluid instants.

Today the feedback loop connecting sharing and attention starts and ends on mobile; in the future, it could start with contact lenses and end in VR.

Further Reading: TechCrunch , Engadget

Apps are the future of TV, but its not the Apps you think, its Social

Traditional TV is by no means wiped out, but it is suffering. Streaming may have overtaken it as the method of choice for content, but traditional live TV is still holding on to its most valuable commodity, Sports.

That is until recent news that both Twitter and Facebook are moving in to stream NFL games for 2016 season. Networks are taking note and experimenting with launching shows designed for these platforms. This is an enormous shift for platforms that were built on UGC to move to content providers, but it could become all the advertising a show could need – to know that your friends are tuning in.

Further Reading: Wired – Dailydot – LA Times Business – LA Times Entertainment – Variety

Web Brutalism – A return to the handmade web.

There is a current trend in web design that balks at the industry’s best practices of user-friendly interfaces and returns to methods of imperfect, hand-coded HTML with influences of ‘90s graphics. These methods are employed by some of the most popular and most used sites on the web and recently the term, Web Brutalism has gone viral after the site was picked up by Hacker News.

This movement is being lead by Pascal Deville, Creative Director at the Freundliche Grusse Ad Agency in Zurich, Switzerland.

“It’s not only what you can see, it’s also how it’s built,” Deville explained, of the submissions he selects as emblematic of the style. “… In the code you can see if it’s really a streamlined application or it’s a very rough, handmade, HTML website.”

Further Reading: Brutalist Websites – Washington Post – Washington Post

Messenger Apps are the future, but they won’t just message.

Facebook reported that it’s Messenger App hit 900 million users that collectively send 60 billion messages each day. This encapsulates a growing trend, Messaging apps now have more active users than social networks.

These messaging apps won’t just message. The Al-Powered Facebook M, is forecasted to enable users to make purchases, restaurant reservations, and travel bookings within the messaging interface. WeChat in China already offers this kind of ecosystem to its users, where the messaging app houses all of these abilities and much more by allowing platforms developers to build their own sites within the app.

Why are messaging apps taking off so well, as Techstar’s Director Alex Iskold describes it “We created a new way to ask questions, and receive an answer via computer that is a lot closer to how people do it in real life.”

Imagine Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, SnapChat, Whats Up, Tumblr, Venmo, Groupon, Uber and Amazon are animals; WeChat is the forest where they live. It is more than a social media app; it’s an ecosystem for Messaging, Content, and Commerce.

 Further Reading: Techcrunch – Techcrunch – Quartz – Investopedia