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Thoughts

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Internet Week New York - Yahoo Provoke Summit

It's been a week and I finally have time to give a recap of some of the highlights of Internet Week New York. On Monday, I attended the Yahoo Provoke Summit with an introduction by Ze Frank. I'm not entirely sure how to describe Ze other than genius, cultural anthropologist, thinker and web pioneer. Okay, that will do. In his 45 minute riveting talk he successfully connected a few lines of Corinthians 13:1-13 "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" to how the biggest challenge for advertisers is to create meaningful connections between people. How did he do it? I have no idea but I will relay some of the ideas he spoke about. Puer Aeternus = the eternal child. In the land of Facebook, games like Farmville and FourSquare, have we entered a state of puer aeternus? What exactly is "work?" Ze argues that work is that attempt at creating an authentic, emotional connection with our peers and future peers. The Modern Day Pirates summed up Ze's point that in his "view, advertisers should not restrict their visions, but rather should present them to the internet and engage their target audience.  If the product is worth marketing, it will find its supporters, and they will rally around it in a way that money cannot buy."

After Ze's presentation, Nick Parish from Contagious Magazine led a panel discussion with Bre Pettis from MakerBot, Matt Szymczyk from Zugara and Seth Goldstein from Stickybits. Check back with Modern Day Pirates for company descriptions. Bre had some thought provoking comments and told me later that he should have started a fist fight among the panel to entertain the audience - but really, he was interesting enough. He thinks that IP (Intellectual Property) is dead and that everything will be open source. Digest this one for a bit. Imagine you run a small non-profit in Africa and you need an online donation infastructure. 5 minutes later, you're up and running - no cost to the organization. Now think about pharmaceuticals, education, architecture.. He also believes, coming from working in the American school system as a teacher, that education is dead. In keeping with the sharing of knowledge, he believes that the education of the future will be through sharing over the web. So maybe he's trying to get on the TED speaker radar... but he definitely has a good point. 

And finally, Iain Tait, Global Interactive Executive Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy discussed how to evolve an advertising organization to better facilitate this type of higher level, thought provoking creativity. As I'm sure we've all read before - the most successful organizations are the ones that encourage the "best stuff" to win. It's no longer about "the man" pushing his ideas onto us in the marketplace and the same should hold true for an ad agency. The successful ad agency should have hungry, ambitious, evolved and creative people that are dedicated to working and winning as a team. Creating integrated and innovative campaigns is not about ego or ownership but about sharing and the collective win.

Wow.. I see a theme here. Collective. Human, emotional connection. Sharing. In 2006, Time Magazine voted "You" as the "Person of the Year." It seems that in 2010, this concept of individuality has evolved to recognizing the importance of all of us and not just thinking about our own needs, but the needs of the collective.