From Starting Up

Working For Instagram And The Great Dis”Content”Ment (2min Read)

SMALL SCREEN BIG VISTA

The absolute irony of trying to use Instagram to market a video production service that deals largely in widescreen cinematic shots is not lost on me, infact it quite annoys me if asked. I think it a challenge someone could enjoy the enormous vast expanse or perspective a video stream from a camera 300 meters up delivers on a mobile phone screen running an app that further crops the image down to such a small and insignificant scale that the only video that looks slightly interesting or vibrant is that of a close up of a blossoming flower or smiling pet cat.

So the dilemma goes! How to get cinematic images seen and enjoyed at scale without having access to the channels for traditional cinema or the required relationships to get on the big screen?

DEPENDENCY

I've begun experimenting using short clips on Instagram to drive traffic to the full length video on YouTube, but as you may know if you use Instagram regularly- which apparently a billion of you do, there is no way to put hyper links in the description, this i am fairly sure is possible if you are willing to pay Instagram but do you know what! – i am not willing to pay them, not a damn penny; for the more money you sink in to these social media channels the more deeper and deeper you become reliant on them for your business to succeed on these platforms, and that feels like a dangerous road to travel.

Sure social media is a good way to get your creative work/business seen, especially if you are not a commercial enterprise but perhaps more of a small business or creative however, how many of these small enterprises are actually measuring their ROI when it comes to social media marketing, and is there even a valid way to do such analysis considering the ever increasing use of bots? And how many young companies and entrepreneurs are building audiences on a platform that is likely to become more and more closed off? – especially if their parent Facebooks behaviour is anything to go by.

DIS-CONTENT-MENT

I am not content with the term "content" it implies the work creatives do is just something to be put inside something else while the audience waits for the next "content" to be put in, and repeat. It feels fleeting, momentary like no body actually cares about the work; it some how looses its artistic credibility, its process, its purpose. If all i did was create content for Instagram, my primary compensation would be paid out in hearts and bot generated comments – which are infuriatingly obvious as they are essentially meaningless, see a recent blog post i made regarding this subject here.

JAB JAB RIGHT HOOK

I have come to the conclusion that the reason to keep posting "content" on Instagram is largely related to Gary Vs Jab Jab Jab Right Hook theory where one needs to stay front of mind, by regularly jabbing your audience with "content" this way you might, if your lucky stay front of mind amongst many many many others trying the same tack tick.

Long term i think we will see more distributed version of these platforms, as people begin to learn that they themselves are able to collectively monitor their social media behaviours for the good of all the users, ideally minus the boheameth middle man entity. (See Steemit for a glimpse in to the future) The users themselves collectively will become the boheimetih and will prosper financially together, i give it another 5 to 10 years though. Hopefully not – but people are fickle and the internet is an ever confusing place, likely to get more confusing over time. How would you suggest moving people to a new ultimately more self beneficial platform? Sounds impossible right?

RACE TO THE BOTTOM

In the end as long as you don't get to siloed in your own beliefes and try to remain open to new opportunities you will discover there is a world of new opportunities out there, especially for so called "Content creators" however be conscious of the inevitable race to the bottom, sites like Fiverr and UpWork put creatives and developers at loggerheads in a quantity vs quality environment, its an unfortunate byproduct of our age, but if you can identify your unique stance, you will have an advantage in the space, this is where I believe your "local" is important i think. look around you, what can you do for those in your immediate vercintiy? Also check out this article on The Drum to see what Proctor and gamble recently did with their digital ad expenditure, i think a clear sign of the future.

Featured Artwork:

Artist: Rich Tella
Medium: Digital Video feedback-loop projection on to Pendulum Monitor
Date: 2006
Location: Exeter

Vetting ICOs

The world of Digital Currency has changed dramatically. I am unsure i should even be calling it 'The world of Digital Currency' anymore as it certainly doesn't resemble any currency i am familiar with – or world, It's more of an entire distributed finacial system now, a new digital economy even. Sure, there have been many out there calling it such for many many moons, hell! – i am certain i used the term a number of times on my own blog; but the fact is that it has never before felt so much like a real functioning economy as it does today. That's both concerning and exciting.

Entering the space today for many will be overwhelming, probably so overwhelming they will seek out professional help from those who they believe can help, that leaves an awful lot of potential for scam artists to enter the mix, not to say they haven't been here the entire time, Ive certainly had my fair share over the years, as have many of the innovators that i have
interviewed.

TEST FIRST

The scams persist, and likely always will however, once you as a digital currency speculator, user or investor/trader lose out to a scammer, you will quickly decide if this game is for you, and whether you want to keep playing. Those that stick around learn quickly the methods for avoiding loosing on a monumental scale by playing small initially, testing the waters, over time as confidence grows one can become susceptible to mistakes, not doing due diligence, not testing a large transfer first with a small pilot, to make sure all is well with the network, and in particular the addresses and wallets provided.

Not a week goes past with out hearing of another hack or scam where some newbie company throws up a site with an ICO in motion, collects Ether to their fund and then POOF! It's gone. Seems like a super easy way to raise a lot of money quickly then vanish with the proceeds claiming unforeseen simple user design miscalculations.

BAD ETHEREUM

All of this activity serves to give Ethereum a bad name in the long term (Untill the regulators catch up that is) Much like Bitcoin had, and still has to some extent, a reputation for money laundering and dark market activity Ethereums reputation could well end up going a similar way. Take the DAO hack of 2016, that ended in the actual Ethereum platform itself forking, resulting in two versions of the platform token Ether. One single contract on the platform resulted in the entire platform being unilaterally altered, at the time it seemed super bad, but it had to be done in order to return confidence to the growing market interest in Ethereum, no matter how much it pissed off the purists.

With all the recent ICOs emerging, (some 300 to date) a significant majority will end up in ruin, that's practically a given indeed many are designed only to raise as much Ether as possible to be cashed out and for the project to be abandoned, leaving the founders wealthy as fuck. So wealthy infact ,they can go on to do it all over again on an ever increasing scale.

So here's a simple three step solution to vetting an ICO, no need to invest in anything, but at least you can investigate as best as possible should you choose to invest anything at a later date.

  1. First do your homework on the people making the promises, are they even real people? These types of project call for a team of experienced, motivated and technically savvy founders. Learn as much as you can about them.
  2. Second, the ICO must solve a real-world problem in a way that cannot be done without the use of blockchain technology. Find out why they are using the Blockchain, is it just for the buzzword?
  3. Third, the solution should have a strong enough network effect so that its code can't be easily copied into a possible competitor. This is a tuff one as all code can be copied, can the ICO get out ahead of competition though?

So yeah! Investing in crypto and now ICOs is pretty dull, unless you find a project that stimulates your senses, something that your can get behind – and there is a lot of them to choose from, so read, read some more, then take a breath, go on holiday or something then read some more. Then figure out what you want to do.

DISCLAIMER

This post covers a token or element in the cryptosphere. The cryptosphere is new and exciting, but changes rapidly and often in ways that do not benefit users. By the time this article is published, changes may have already occurred. Most tokens in the cryptosphere are complete scams that are get-rich-quick-schemes for insiders. Often, we cannot know this beforehand and only later discover this. A person should only trade with money that they’re willing to lose because losses are guaranteed. If you choose to participate in purchasing a token in the cryptosphere, you should do so with the full expectation of a loss and you should also expect it to change in a manner that does not benefit you. There are however very few good ideas in the cryptosphere.

The Wayback Machine 

I am consistently shocked at how many people i speak to that haven’t heard of the internet archives Wayback Machine, its a truly remarkable tool, especially when investigating corporate websites. You will be very surprised to find out how some sites started out. In my experience using the tool to investigate digital currency related startups and so called ICO,s websites i am almost always shocked at how the sites started out, they are often started in an industry or topic entirely unrelated to what its been used for today, this is obviously due to how domain names are traded but because the Wayback machine captures sites rather frequently you can really zoom in on a specific time frame and see the dramatic changes and put these on a timeline against what the current StartUp is claiming on their current site, this often shows if they are being somewhat economic with the truth.

The Wayback machine boasts some 299 billion web pages captured and archived over many many years. You will almost certainly find your own site should you search for it. I wanted to draw wider attention to its very existence, partly because it bothered me so many hadn’t heard of it, and how it is such a fantastic resource that they really ought to have.

So now you know!

Strictly no elephants (Qwids Cross-Post)

tumblr_lje1v8AD2j1qao9g9o1_500BETA UPDATE #8

Question. Can the customer of your customer, also be considered your customer? Immediate reaction, “Well no, not really.” Secondary reaction, “I guess it depends on where your business stands in the relationship between your customer and the customers customer. Something i missed in a previous post. 

For Qwids it’s crystal clear that we are not so much placed between our customers and our customers customers, so much as we can be a tool for each party to interact with the other, or, that we are perhaps a destination (online space) for one party to interact with the other. In regards to what we have learned, we have realised that brands can have a hard time moving to a new destination, (or “Platform” as it’s often called in the hyper-tech-startup scene) if it is not already populated with a substantial amount of users.

This, we understand is largely due to the brand’s perception in the difficulty around moving their customers (or users) on to that shiny new platform. We are already slowly building up our user base, as you are likely aware it takes some time and without a fully functional service (Native App with access to camera/device notifications) it can be a slow process. So, for the time in which it takes for the Qwids Apps to be ready (in around June) we are going to be making use of a third party solution called MightyBell. Although it doesn’t give the brand’s using Qwids everything they could benefit from right away, it does give them the ability to notify Qwids users via mobile device notifications of new missions and offers, something we haven’t been able to do up to now. It also provides a place for Qwids users to trade their qwids, (remember lower case “q” is for qwids the points, upper case “Q” is for the service name) share missions, make suggestions on missions and offers, and general chit chat around the service, also via mobile device notifications.

If you are a Qwids user already head to qwids.me to join other users and help us test with the early adopter brands to help them identify the potential of the Qwids service, we would love to hear your questions. If you are just curious and want to check the scene at qwids.me, come on over also, just please bare in mind we are Sweden based at the moment and so the brands we are working with only operate within Sweden, of course if you are travelling to Sweden in the coming weeks feel free to try some mission out and claim your offers when you arrive.

Qwids Team

info@qwids.co

 

 

“On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Bot” (Qwids-CrossPost)

 

“Brilliant! Best one so far” – Bot #2395895

 

When it comes to real genuine human relationships, how many of you would choose to automate the majority of your person to person interactions? How might it make the person you are talking to feel if they found out they were talking to a bot instead of you? I ask this question because many people today are saying the bot’s are coming – it is my opinion they are already here, and chances are you have spoken or interacted with one online without realising.

Last month I decided to try a few of these bot services out, one such service states on its website:

“Our main goal has always been to create user-friendly Instagram automation tool that mimic one’s natural behavior.”

The thing with ‘mimicking one’s natural behavior’ is that it suggests there is such a thing as natural behavior on the internet. When I ran the free version of the bot, I had the choice to make automated comments on other users Instagram post that had some predefined rules associated with them, (think hashtags) – the standard choices for comments were as follows, although you can add your own:

 

“Pretty Awesome :)” – Bot #239529228

 

Instagrammers – as you look at those comments above, do any of them stand out for you, perhaps you have seen them before on your own posts? Share your bot stories in our Facebook group

When I ran this bot on the @qwidsbiz Instagram account sure enough, engagement went up – in terms of other bots responding back to our Qwids Instagram posts, but the whole affair left me feeling quite ridiculous, and a few weeks later after speaking with my younger brother, (23 year old) he asked me why i had left that comment on his post on Instagram, he said it didn’t seem like me at all. I quickly came clean and told him I was trying this bot service which goes out and does some interactions on Instagram automatically, his reaction was that of disappointment sprinkled with a little anger. He felt that I had stooped to a new low, I explained I was researching exactly this topic:

– how do these types of tools make the end receiver feel?

 

This feeling of anger and disappointment was later re-confirmed to me by another friend who had gotten very excited about a very popular Swedish pianist commenting on her Instagram post. With great excitement my friend shouted out loud, “oh my god, he commented on my post” I responded – “Who?” As I looked at my friend’s post and the comment from the famous pianist – low and behold, I noticed it was exactly one of the ‘comments’ offered by the service I refer to above in this post, “Such an inspiration” the comment said. I didn’t know what to say, I paused a moment, and then i blurted it out – “That’s a bot!” My friend responded what do you mean? -I responded – “it’s an automated comment” I watched as the realisation washed over my friend’s face, closely followed my anger and confusion. She felt duped, I said not to worry too much, “this is happening all the time to everyone, and not only on Instagram” my comment didn’t seem to make the situation any better.

People of the internet! – Have you been in conversation with bot’s you thought were real people? Or people you thought might be bot’s? How was your experience when you found out? Did you ever find out?

Please consider sharing your stories with us in the facebook group – bot’s welcome?

 

“Enjoyable content! Thankyou.” – Bot #239511123

 

Mr Qwids, info@qwids.cowww.qwids.biz

Qwids App on Google Play
Qwids App on Apple App Store

Blockchain Based Bowie Bonds (1 min read)

Being well and truly wrapped up in the madness that is digital currency, i am often coming across what appear to be rather interesting projects, indeed i have even in the past tried to help others understand some of these unique adaptations of Blockchain technology. Check out the video i made on how to get hold of DAO tokens back in May 2016.

Although its next to impossible to vet all these individual projects unless you can commit full time or manage some sort of team, this latest catch SingularDTV – striked me as quite interesting indeed. What hooked me about the project – is mostly due to my search for a sustainable revenue model for video content that i am in the middle of producing, i would really like to monetise the distribution in a new way, and a way in which all those persons contributing in the production are satisfied with their compensation.

Another reason i was attracted by SingularDTV was the fact Zach LeBeau
the CEO shows up in all their PR materials, and appears to come across very genuine and engaged. He also shares his back story – which for me is super important to understand quickly – why is this guy doing this? – whats the motivation? To be clear this post is not to serve as an endorsement for SingularDTV as so far they are yet to launch anything however, i understand that will happen very soon, do your own due diligence, do not rely on others to do it for you.

For me owning some SNGLS (price at writing: 0.00009879) means i feel like i am contributing to something that is being built with which i can align some of my values, i appreciate and respect the people trying to build this platform however, that does not mean it will succeed no matter how good their intentions.

So this brings me to the main reason why i am excited by the idea of Singular DTV, and why i think this model could be helpful to other startups in the future. Zach LeBeau clearly presents his back story and inspiration, and most importantly – it’s simple to understand.

The concept for SingularDTV is rooted in a spectacular but lest remembered moment in history where in 1997 along with David Pullman, the person responsible for “Bowie Bonds – David Bowie tokenize himself using an asset-backed security which uses the current and future revenue from albums recorded by the musician as collateral, he then put out these bonds on Wall Street raising some 55 million USD. Bowie bonds represented one of the first instances of a bond that used intellectual property as the underlying collateral. Billboard have a great post on the story of Bowie bonds here.

As i have understood the Singular DTV platform so far, Zach LeBeau now suggests that soon this type of operation of issuing asset-backed securities for your creative endeavours will be available in an easy to use format through the Singular DTV platform. Being a wannabe filmmaker – this platform model comes across as very attractive to me.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to reach out to me on twitter @richtella

 

What’s the format Rich?

ANSWER: Just like the Pizza Burger BBQ Chicken, the format is not any one thing in particular, but instead all things all at the same time.

Its common knowledge that one is typically recommended to blog about a single particular subject of interest, but why? One of the top reasons as i understand it, is so that you can align yourself as a blogger/authority on your chosen subject matter. Another is so that you may have a way to monetise your content as you develop your voice within your chosen space i.e “influencer marketing”.

But what are the potential drawbacks of such narrowing down of ones blog? what if you simply do not want to narrow down your online content offering to just one single topic or subject?

From my observations it seems the bloggers that get away without zooming in on a single subject, typically themselves become the subject matter – think youtube celebrity types such as Casey Neistat. Perhaps they started out with a niche subject but eventually they themselves became bigger than the subject they set out to cover, when this happens, the audience has indicated to the blogger – or in the case of Casey Neistat ‘vlogger’ – and likely due to their interpretation of their channels youtube or facebook analytics, that they (the blogger) should share more of their personal life.

Those who typically enter down that path become very much a celebrity, and begin to develop their personal brand within that space. In doing this they are able to branch out in to almost any sub-genre they like, as they themself are now the reason people watch – no longer are people watching because the blogger is an authority on a specific subject.

A problem i have had, and as you can tell; continue to have, is that i have many interests, and they all tend to overlap. My very first blog was the MMMDo blog, where i would simply make things (typically furniture) film or photograph what i made, then attempt to stitch some sort of useful blog post together, i was surprised recently when i checked up on my blogs associated youtube channel to find one of my videos has nearly 25K views.  to bad i had not monetised the video as i had used some third party content which i had forgotten to remove.

My second blog was bitjoin.me where i took what i had learned about video production on the MMMDo blog and attempted to apply it to the subject of digital currency, i stuck mainly to interviews with people working in the space and also some ‘How To’ videos this blog helped me learn more about the technology used in digital currencies as well as improving my video production skills. From the very start my mind was on producing a documentary in this space, due to the unique and fascinating subject matter and the fact that those early days were so all over the place (thanks to the ongoing scaling debate, to some extent they still are)

As part of thebitjoin.me blog i also published video diary entries from the early days of starting a company, the video series originally entitled Starting Up loosely documented my progress as an entrepreneur just when i had begun doing entrepreneurial things, the concept went through several adaptations as i tried to find the best format, but eventually i put the concept to bed on a youtube channel called Start Up Slam.

I went on to start blogging for Qwids, a startup company i founded with a group of amazing people all working to develop a service that lives at the crossroads between (old world) loyalty points and (new world) digital currency. Blogging for a corporation proved rather demanding, and i know i know – one must blog regularly; but the research involved for this subject is very demanding, and although really fun as i learned a lot about the subject matter – in a startup there is only so much time to go around. The last post i made was in March, I do intend to pick this blog up again as soon as we have made the necessary changes to our UX and gotten the traction we need in the market; hopefully by August 2017 : )

This brings us to now, and here, this blog. What’s the format Rich? What’s the niche? Who’s your target Rich? Truth is, i don’t have any of those things. I am just writing about stuff i do, linking to past blog posts and sometimes writing about stuff i am interested in, but not so knowledgeable on. That’s all.

Sergej Kotliar clip 2017 (BitJoin Cross-Post)

In April 2017 i began following up with the 6 founders featured in my first documentary short – Founded. I started by catching up with Sergej Kotliar of BitRefill. In the past i have published the full interviews on the BitJoin youtube channel, however this time i intend on publishing these interviews solely on Popchest in order to help raise funds for the production of the follow up documentary to Founded. If you know of a better way to raise funds don’t hesitate to contact me at rich@bitjoin.me