THE CASE FOR CHASING THE NEW

Old Apple Mac, like the kind my brother gave me when I was a kid — Photo by Federica Galli on Unsplash
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I was on a call with a couple of meditation teachers friends earlier today and as often, they were quite amused by what they consider my bag of tricks. Aka my digitally-minded ideas.It’s true, I have been tech-savvy since I was a kid. I was lucky to get a big brother when I was about 10 years old. When we met, over a barbecue in my family’s garden with my little brother in tow, he was visiting from New York with his wife and their two baby daughters. Yes, I should clarify, he is 25 years older than me, and we only share one parent, our dad. He is my half-brother though the term really makes little sense now.

Michel is the smart one in the family, make no mistake! When his parents refused for him to study physics at university (on what grounds, I don’t recall), they only came to an agreement when he pledged to do both med school and physics. At the same time, or so the legend goes.

The gift of the new brother came with a computer, or two, and games. Oh, how we loved the games! And some great music. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, and Whitney Houston’s debut album. All game-changers for me.

With a brainy geeky brother, I got a chance to embrace the new. We’d convene at his apartment for holidays and he would always have a new piece of technology to share with us. I have hilarious images of our blended family, my ancient dad included, a tight crowd behind his computer screen, enjoying something new, or rather fantastical for the older generation.

So I take my tendencies from him, really. I remember being wildly excited to get a Nokia with an integrated radio back in 1998. With podcasts being very in and everyone embracing audio, I want to point out: I always believed in sound.

Back to today: I’ve been wondering why chasing the new, especially in terms of technology, has such a pull on me. It goes beyond the simple pleasure of discovery, though that is strong too. You maybe have picked up on my not too subtle disabused feelings about Facebook and as many others, I feel a growing concern as to how people and brands can safely continue to communicate on these platforms. I am not making a case for them to disappear, though you will see in this article by Amy Brown, that managing social media comes at a high price, and things are not looking good. Now we all know the algorithm on FB, IG and Twitter is working against brands and sometimes against common sense. Seeing something from 24h ago when someone has posted three times since because the one post had a higher reach doesn’t suit my personal use. In any case, what do we do now?
We look for the new. Or maybe make a case for the old?

AUDIO IS WHERE IT’S AT

Hyped up in the last few months, Clubhouse is the new platform making a hit. The drop-in audio chat is a new kind of social product based on voice. I am only just starting to use it and it seems exciting. Something between podcast, radio and forum.

A funny thing: outside of the app itself being promising, it’s been promoted quite heavily by Elon Musk and there seems to be a small misunderstanding as to the stock name on the market, as reported by the Financial Times.

Linked to the theme of sound and chasing the new, one of my favourite newsletters, la Colazione dei Campioni, also introduced me to Capp.FM or cappucino for short, which describes itself as “a daily personal audio show featuring your friends.”

GOOD VIBES AT VIBELY

Lastly, I came across Vibely, the brainchild of two Asana alumni, who proudly boast: ‘Built by women, not gamer dudes.’

This startup has created a premium, creator-controlled community platform that allows fans to gather and for creators to create revenue in new ways.

“[Creators] are controlling their own destiny,” Yu told TechCrunch. “On Instagram or Facebook, you might create content but the algorithm decides at the end of the day whether or not your audience sees it. With Vibely, they have 100% control since this is their community.”

The startup is planning to make money through membership dues and in-app mechanics like social currencies and rewards. The platform doesn’t ask creators to put more content out there, but to interact with their own fans in a meaningful way. The company’s goal is to be more positive and supportive of the humans who use it (creators and fans), and the founders secured seed financing from backers including Steve Chen, the co-founder of YouTube; Justin Rosenstein, the co-founder of Asana and co-creator of Netflix’s “Social Dilemma” documentary amongst others.

It sounds to me like they are building a platform for generous interaction, meaningful for all involved. This reminds me of Brené Brown and how generosity is one of the qualities that helps build trust. I am happy to see new startups for now eschewing the current tendencies of established tech giants and putting the consumer’s needs and their well-being at the center of the product or experience.

THE CASE FOR OLD-SCHOOL PR

I’ve been working with a client on their forthcoming yearly strategy, as they are being courted by investors — exciting for many reasons, and especially because of the times we are in. Knowing what we know about the major social media platforms today, we found ourselves agreeing on a major point. It may sound like I am breaking an open door but hear me out.

I love every opportunity social has given us and yet old-style relationship building and yes, PR, and yes, press, is where I want to focus our time and energy (and budget). The model has its flaws too, many, and when a brand doesn’t advertise, it is as difficult to get seen, almost like it was an algorithm.

The big difference though is this: it’s not two algorithms doing business, it’s people doing business. There is an exchange of energy, there is a relationship to build. Just think about how much more capacity there is for success when it’s a person choosing whether or not to put your products in front of a new audience, not a machine.

Of course, this approach takes more time than an overnight viral success, requires more investment and the ROI is harder to track. But it can be the way to success for those seeking advocacy and longevity in their industry.

This post was originally published in the AVM.Consulting newsletter, which comes out every Wednesday. For more insights into business development, storytelling and coaching, you can visit: https://avm.consulting/

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