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and even retail stores, I tell them that these things — and a great many others — are being vaporized: that is, they’ve been replaced by digital software.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video camera, handheld game consoles, DVD player, voice recorder, GPS unit and about a dozen other devices have all been replaced by an app on your smartphone.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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
In November 2010, I was invited to participate as a speaker and moderator at the Creativity World Forum in Oklahoma City. More than 2500 attendees, including hundreds of international delegates, attended the event. We participated in workshops, discussions, exhibitions, demonstrations.
I was the moderator of a discussion on the topic of Technology Aiding Creativity, and my guests were Pranav Mistry, the creator of Sixth Sense and other futuristic UIs, and Andrew Zolli, the impressario behind PopTech. Here’s the video of my opening remarks:
I chose to focus on three main points, to direct the audience’s attention to the way that technology can catalyze creative breakthroughs: giant scale, two-way dialog and the freedom of open platforms. The breathtaking pace of innovation on the web can be attributed to the fact that nobody needs to obtain permission from powerbrokers to gain access to scale, dialog and open platforms. That’s radically different from traditional mass media. And that’s why digital media grows so much faster than old media.