We often forget that the thing we don’t like about something is also thing that makes it possible. The annoying part of something good, is usually what keeps it alive and provides us the gifts that surround it. One case in point is Youtube advertising. It’s so annoying isn’t it, to spare that 5 seconds before clicking out, or that entire 30 second advertisement you can’t even click out of – how dare they. What we ought do is imagine for a minute that Youtube never found its monetization model. Then what? Then it probably fails, doesn’t exist and instead of having pretty much all forms of education and entertainment on demand on any topic, any time, we’d be stuck with a few free to air TV channels, home shopping, and marginal pay TV subscriptions.
The cost of the benefits is rarely a heavy price to pay, especially with new technology and disruptive innovations which need to have lower barriers to inspire adoption. And speaking of disruptions – the advertising we have to endure is not nearly as bad as it was in the TV era. Sometimes it’s worth remembering that misdirected hate is both a waste of energy and a short sighted perspective.
When it comes to starting anything new, including learning how to speak a foreign language. So here’s my top 10 tips on how to hack the language learning process using the web:
- Watch free youtube lessons on speaking your preferred language. They’ve got ’em all.
- Follow native speakers of that language on twitter. Here frequency & brevity is your ally.
- Comment on blogs in that language to practice your written form.
- Makes friends on-line with people from that country who want to learn English.
- Organize skype chats with your on-line friends to practice each others language together.
- Download one of the many free apps to practice in down time or while waiting for people.
- Offer free on-line English lessons to speakers of the language you desire to learn.
- Watch kids shows (cartoons etc) from your home country that have been translated on-line (see youtube)
- Set your browser, mobile and web apps into the language you are learning.
- Bonus Analogue tip – go to local restaurant and practice with waiters…
There’s never been a better time to start something worth starting.
After the blog post from yesterday I happened upon a Cool Hunting interview with young comedy powerhouse Aziz Ansari. His approach has also been one of going direct to fans and paying attention to the changes in the digital landscape. His interview below has some cool insights, and a few laughs to boot. Oh, by the way, the Youtube channel from Cool Hunting is worth following as well.
What other entrepreneurial examples of web first & direct are you guys seeing?
Lately I’ve been totally loving the Youtube channel Big Think.
Basically it is some of the worlds leading thinkers, scientists, artists, educators et al, giving their views on important questions in a global society. Heavy kind of social, geo techno political issues. Often they are in short soundbites of under 5 minutes. For me it a nice TED alternative for bed time watching on my iPhone, or car listening (also via my iPhone which is streaming it from Youtube) – which makes me wonder is their a Youtube ‘radio’ app – where it streams only the MP3 file? If not there should be one. Gee, I might have to build it myself.
Check out Big Think – it is big awesome. Over.
It’s easy to think that our target audience is the same people it has always been.
18-24 year old influencers
Main grocery Buyers
Primary School kids
But sometimes, that target market evolves. Some times it is the exact same people it was 20 years ago – except they are actually 20 years older. Case in point is Ice Magic. Yes, that chocolate coating dessert that is scrumptious when spread all over ice cream. These guys who run the brand found out that a whole bunch of big kids (35 year olds) were reliving their child hood and sharing photos on line. They even invented ‘ice Magic Day’ an annual event where pics of the choccy treat are shared on twitter and flickr.
Rather than fight it, they embraced this underground brand community and where it is going. And the end result is this uber cool graffiti piece.Which I am really digging because I am one of the members of the community. Enjoy
The thing I really dig is brands that are honest. No point being uptight. Pringle Scotland does a good job of this. Hat tip to Big Red of Haul.
Every now and again a brand crosses the chasm. A brand goes from being a thing, to being an emotional ingredient. These moments are usually personal, they are hard to capture and share. But occasionally it is captured, and it takes us to an entire new understanding of what is possible when we create things with the end user in mind. In this instance, the car was first created with driver in mind. And then, the acquisition was created with a dad in mind.
Another example of great narrative that would not be possible in the limited media of yesteryear. What a beautiful brand story to share – Kudos to all involved.