Each of us has a million things that we promise ourselves. But ultimately, we all have one goal: to be great. Here are my thoughts on whats going to be great in '08 and how you can become great in '08.
Going to be great
Social networking is being built around everything. I love this when it's fresh. What better way to suck time away from work than to give me a damn profile! But when it makes sense it makes sense. Sometimes the network is built around nightlife. Take Going.com . I had a chance to use this site recently when we did an event in LA. It's more kick-ass than Ticketmaster and already generating buzz amongst promoters, scenesters and artists. You know what's great? It works and I can see who's going to different events and their taste.
Taking the same motto of "It's better with a network," the new Current.com is making waves with a new, open approach to submitting content from anywhere on the web in a bunch of different formats (video, links, pics, etc). Your network is notified when someone within the network changes something or uploads. I also love Current's Facebook widget. Content is currency, but convenience is king. (Full disclosure: Current was previously a GTM client.)
My favorite new maverick has got to be Blowtorch.com. It was named one of the hottest companies to watch by Fortune Magazine. Blowtorch utilizes the networked way young people interact, online, in theaters, at events and on mobile devices, to receive and deliver content. The company also has deal they have with over 600 theatres near college campuses, meaning big exposure on big screens. Can you say Film Industry 2.0? The company's young, but the buzz is strong. Watch it.
Eight for '08
Despite all the changes ahead this year, there are some tried-and-true rules that should be followed to make sure that the culture picks up on what it is you're doing and runs with it. This is about true adoption. Based on 17 years of hard lessons in subculture, here are my eight rules on how to do it right in 08 and beyond.
- Commit to the culture. This is the first rule. Everything has to be grounded in a commitment to the culture you are targeting. That culture is already shaped and in place -- and will ultimately drive the adoption process
- Make yourself useful. You have to begin with quality product, and one that actually fills a need. Take your time, get it right and then go to market. If it's crap throw it back (because the customer certainly will). Remember: You can't buy relevance, it has to be earned.
- Don't be afraid to lead. Even if you're not a mainstream success every time, those that are thought-leaders will see you doing something cool, creative and different and respect THAT. In a sea of copycats, only the strong survive.
- The Street's are watching. Who you align with, what you support and how you communicate are all as important as what you have to say.
- Respect the scene. In every city around this world, there is an undercurrent of coolness going on that can be tapped into by working with the right partners. These are people that have earned the trust of the scene they represent because they have stayed committed to their craft when others fell off.
- Trust is earned, not bought. Only after you innovate, fall, get up and do it again do you start to earn the trust of your peers.
- Realize that you are not the audience. If it takes you out of your comfort zone, great. That means that you're starting to learn something. Better yet, make a real effort to diversify your team with people who have a non-traditional background. They can help massively.
- GIVE BACK. The last (but not least) rule. It's as simple as brand Karma. Brands cannot continue to take and never give anything back to the communities they tap to purchase. Support organizations that are doing work to better the world and the reward will be tenfold. People in these grassroots organizations are their own subculture and are a massive force in this country.