Strategies for Everything with Alexander Manu

Alexander Manu, the “Chief Imaginator” for Innospa International Partners, explained how create “magic” and in the process turn crowds into audiences. It all breaks down to motiviation, business capability, and technology, he said. He pointed to Kennedy’s cailm that within the decade, the United States would put a man on the moon as a perfect example of that confluence of forces.

Getting down to first principles, Manu said that content boils down to a “moment,” and he showed the now-famous “Charlie Bit my Finger” clip from Youtube. The parents of the children in the video uploaded their innocuous family moment because they could, and in the process garnered millions and millions of views. But beyond that, the clip was endlessly remixed up to and including a NSFW version that only resembled the beginning clip in that it was funny and contained the original audio (in a whole new way.)

The conclusion, he said is that “Charlie bit my finger” and other emerging content is all about a culture of participation. And Canadians in particular a re ravenous Youtube users, implying that they are also heavily participating.

The same phenomenon happened on a corporate scale when Paul McCartney signed up with Starbucks record label because “he could”, Manu said. Same phenomenon, different scale.

Manu pointed to new developments in media and technology as nothing more but a repetition of historical patterns. If North American natives had killed Columbus, the world would be a radically different place. Likewise, if newspapers had addressed Craigslist and myriad other competitors, the wouldn’t be in the pickle they’re in today. But what they failed to do, he said is “address the new context.” Our exisiting models do not address change as a constant, he said.

But these new digital phenomena start small and build upon themselves quickly, he said, which makes it easier for smaller participants to build up powerful capabilities.

The internet of things is when a person, object and space is both a link and a holder of information, but that phenomenon means that everyone is an agent of change, empowered and participating with everything around them. Because of that, the top priority of brands should be engagement with that environment and its users.

The old value chain, Manu said, was to design, develop, make and market a service, and then the user is theoretically satisfied. The new business plan is to define a business, product, or service, develop it, but then open the creation of tools, apps, media and other content to everyone. Using that strategy you give your product an exponential capability. Additionally, giving you the product for free and charging someone else in another part of the chain (as Google does) is the new way to compete. And you transform the crowd into an audience, and the audience into a partner.

It is also critical to remember that in the commuity precedes the network. The App Store bring a developer community together int a network by enabling them with tools. Similarly, the Obama campaign did that same by enabling their community and in the process electing a president in an entirely new way.