What is Vaporized? Dematerialization Into Software

There is a seismic shift rippling through the entire economy, but it’s difficult to observe because it is invisible. I call this change “vaporized”.  When my clients ask me to explain what is happening to consumer electronics devices, fixed media and even retail stores, I tell them that these things — and a great many others — are being vaporized: that is, they’ve been replaced by digital software.

The process of dematerialization has been most noticeable in the media and entertainment industries during the past decade. Half a century’s growth was wiped out in less than a decade in the newspaper, magazine, and recording industries as digital software changed the habits of hundreds of millions of consumers.  The television industry is going through this process right now.

This process is not limited to media and content: even the devices that play digital content have been transformed.  Your digital camera, video camera, handheld game consoles, DVD player, voice recorder, GPS unit and about a dozen other devices have all been replaced by an app on your smartphone. The vaporized version is much better than they old physical version: it’s cheaper, easier to use, weightless, customizable and, since it is built into your smartphone, it’s always with you and yet it takes up no extra space. If you don’t like the default app that came with your phone, simply click to download a different one.

But media and consumer electronics are just the leading edge of the change. More than one million apps for your smartphone have replaced things that were previously sold as physical products. Today, the process of dematerialization is happening in several fields at once: finance and payment systems, automobile ownership and transportation, labor and manufacturing, health care and medicine.  It’s easy to predict that several other fields will be transformed in the near future, including government, the military, the insurance industry and many others. Vaporization is set to transform the entire economy, and with it, consumer society.

To gain a better understanding of this process, I wrote a book called “Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success In A Dematerialized World.”   The book will be published in vaporized-coverSeptember 2015 by Lifetree Media. You can pre-0rder it now on Amazon.

In December 2014, I was invited to give one of the opening keynote speeches at the Turkey Innovation Week exposition in Istanbul.  You can watch my keynote speech about Vaporized right here.

Robert Tercek’s Three TEDx Talks About Creative Activism and The Future of Media

I’ve had the honor of being invited to make a presentation at three different TEDx events:  TEDxMarin 2011, TEDxTransmedia in Rome 2012, and TEDxHollywood 2014.   These three short talks present a sequence of perspectives on the way creative activists use media to foster social change.

The first talk is called “Reclaiming the Power of Personal Narrative.”  It talks about the rise of social media, the trance of mass media, and the way that creative activists are using newly-democratized access to global media to foster positive social change in their communities all over the world.   This talk focuses on some of the very talented activists who are sponsored by the Creative Visions Foundation in Malibu, California, where I have served as Chairman since 2010.

The second talk is called, “Seven Gifts for Creative Activists“.   This presentation is a compact distillation of my own formula for collaboration among groups.   After 25 years of working with disparate teams all over the world on the launch of TV shows and networks, games, web sites, and other startup ventures, I’ve developed a toolkit that helps give some structure to the creative process.

The third talk is called “From Observer to Activist:  The Role of the Documentary Filmmaker in Surveillance Society“.  This talk consists of a story in three parts:  the rise of democratized media, especially video and film;  the race between private companies and government agencies to control that data;  and finally the evolving role of documentary filmmakers as storytellers who weave meaning and purpose into the tide of audience-generated video content.   In this short speech, I summarize the arguments that I made during my opening presentation at the 2014 Sheffield Doc-Fest, a large film festival in England.

Enjoy these clips.   I’d be very interested in your thoughts and comments.





Will I see you at TEDx Transmedia in Rome?

TEDx Transmedia RomeI am thrilled about participating in TEDx Transmedia. I’ll be the final speaker there at the end of the day.  They have a stellar lineup of speakers, all exploring the future potential for media.  It’s happening in Rome on September 28.   

Below I’ve posted a preview interview that I did for the event.   Personally I find the word “transmedia” inelegant, like new media in drag, but I am a big fan of innovation in television.  I am looking forward to seeing some amazing things in Rome.



TEDxTransmedia (TXT):   Hi Robert, please can you give a brief overview of your relationship with Transmedia? What do you think of the term? 

Robert Tercek (RT):    The word “transmedia” may not beautiful, but the concept is deeply appealing.  Continue Reading

VIDEO: Robert Tercek at PrimeTime on “TV’s New Ecosystem” with transcript

In my previous post, I shared the first half of the transcript for my opening keynote speech about the future of television at the PrimeTime conference in Ottawa in March. Below you will find the text for the second half of the complete transcript for my speech. This section focuses on Facebook’s impact on social media, Google’s impressive collection of video properties, and it concludes with speculation about how the future media landscape will be controlled. The final section includes a quick survey of the amazing diversity of original video content on digital platforms. Enjoy.

To read the first half, click here.
Continue Reading

VIDEO: Robert Tercek at PrimeTime on “TV’s New Ecosystem”

On Thursday, March 1, 2012, I gave the opening keynote speech at the CMPA’s PrimeTime conference in Ottawa. My topic was the future of the television.  This talk examines the disruption of the old television industry and the rapid emergence of an entirely new ecosystem for digital video.

This clip includes the full video of the speech.  I’ve included the text transcript below.

[Topics: second-screen apps, social discovery, over-the-top video OTT, cord-cutting, disruption in cable TV and pay TV, the rise of the new ecosystem, the changes wrought by Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and other technology giants, and the Motorola acquisition by Google. Also includes discussion about Aereo, Boxee, and other new players.

The following text is the edited transcript of my speech. Continue Reading

How to be a YouTube Star: my interview with Danny Zappin and Lisa Donovan of Maker Studios at MIPTV

MIPTV is the biggest international TV market in the world. Twice each year, the buyers and sellers of TV shows converge in Cannes for a frenzied week of dealmaking.

The folks at Reed-Midem who run MIPTV invited me to help produce and present a new mini-conference called MIP Cube. This two-day event offered an immersion into the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving online video industry.

I invited the co-founders of Maker Studios to join me for a lively conversation at MIP Cube. Danny Zappin and Lisa Donovan are the original YouTube stars. They both began Continue Reading

Making the choice to become the author of your own destiny

On Sunday afternoon, I recorded a “virtual” seminar for Michael Margolis‘s REINVENTION SUMMIT which starts tomorrow. This is the premier online conference for people who are redefining themselves and their careers by using storytelling techniques to reframe their own circumstances and the meaning of their lives.

My seminar is called “THE CHOICE”. It will be the closing session for the online conference, posted this coming Friday. In my usual style, I’ve crafted a Continue Reading

Live from MIP Cube at MIPTV: My Interview with Phillip DeBevoise, the co-founder of Machinima

At the recent MIPTV market in Cannes, I interviewed Philip DeBevoise, the co-founder of the super-hot online video startup Machinima. This Los Angeles-based company has experienced some incredible results in the past year. They reach a global audience of 166 million viewers and they serve more than 1.4 billion video views each month. That’s way bigger than any traditional TV channel.

I’ve known Phillip’s brother (and co-founder) Allen for more than a decade. We worked together in the mid-1990s on pioneering online narratives and some early interactive TV concepts. I’ve watched his progress at Machinima with great interest because it offers some useful insight into the dynamics of the new video business that will eventually encompass today’s television industry.

Here’s what I learned: Continue Reading launches and closes $1.2M seed round

I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping my portfolio of startup ventures make progress.    During the past six months, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with longtime friend Brian Bowman, who just launched social dating site with a big round of funding from Intel Capital, PlentyofFish and the CrunchFund as well as a group of individual investors.      Here’s the news via TechCrunch.

What makes different and, in my view, significant, is that Continue Reading

VIDEO Robert Tercek at TED x Marin: “Reclaiming The Power of Personal Narrative”

Here’s the video of my recent speech at TEDxMarin.  The theme of the event was “Communication Revolution”.  The organizers invited me to speak about the future of television, social media and personal storytelling.

Robert Tercek at TEDxMarin May 2011: “Reclaiming The Power of Personal Narrative” from Robert Tercek on Vimeo.

TED talks are all about passion and ideas.   The ideas that get me most excited these days don’t come from big corporations or even startup ventures.  They tend to come from individuals who are working outside of the context of business entirely.   I decided to focus my comments on four activists who are using media to tell stories that literally change the world.  I find these people very inspiring.   They are some of the 85 Creative Activists sponsored by the Creative Visions Foundation, where I have been involved on a volunteer basis.