Thought Leader

Thoughts on Leadership

In case you did not pick up on it early, this is a parody on every TED Talk ever.   TED talks are certainly NOT a case of “seen them one, seen them all”, but lately it did start to feel; at least to me, as too much science and not enough art.    Oh, I’m not talking about the content.  I’m referring to the style of presentation.  TED got that down to a mathematical system.   Weather it was through trail and error or deep physiological research, the good people in academialand  managed to resurrect the PowerPoint Presentation from the hell of mundania to the purgatory of  academic pretencia.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a good TED.  Rory Sutherland’s frustrated tirades about why advertising men (and women) can’t be in charge of the world.  Maybe the thing that I hold against them…is a grudge.

The Grudge

Ages ago I was a camera-man on a TED talk.  Local TED-X.    The TED people had more ego than talent.  The speakers was fine, but still a mixed bag of….well randomness.  The thing that got my goat was this.  I offered to edit one or a few of the videos.  My main disciplines in film making has always been the subtle things.  Sound design, color grading, editing as the main language of cinematography.  Team TED agreed to allow me to do one.  I chose the hardest one, but not only for that reason, the degree of difficulty.  As an editor one understand that you give the media what it asks for and not an inch more.  You certainly not want to attract attention to the editing.  In the case of this presentation, the media asked for allot! 

They hated it!  The main reason that was given; it was overwhelmingly unanimous, was that it just does not feel TEDish.  And they said it like it was a bad thing. 

My Advice to TED

Evolve or die.  15 years ago the movement was innovative.   In 2020 not so much.  Is TED still relevant?    When I asked this question to the 1st five people I came across before hitting publish, they all responded with:   WTF is TED?

Below is my cut of the video.  Let me know what you think.  Be honest.


Smartphones and Cake

BB vs. iPhone

It was one of those days, where I spoke to a potential partner about competitive advantage.  It was hard to get a read on the person, like so many others.  Jobs said people don’t know what they want, you have to show them.  But some people do not know what they want even after you show them.   Jobs, people know they want a thing; a tangible thing, when they see it, but they struggle with abstract things.

Deep  Research

Okay, that headline was false.  I did not really deeply research this phenomenon that I come to call the Rowe Effect.  But, I’ve kept an eye on it for a few decades.  Uber is an abstract concept that was sufficiently executed and then grew into the thing that we know it as today.  Few people know that Uber was not a “taxi service” as such, but an app for people to carpool.  Through need and supply, pivots and incrementalism, the Uber Original became  Uber Today.  Companies like Lyft, on the other hand, saw during  the early stages of Uber that there is an need for a crowd sourced taxi service, if one can label it as such.  Lyft never had to go through the metamorphosis. 


I have to remind myself that this is a media/video blog and not rant about my frustrations swimming up-stream.  Video on the Internet (VOI) are solidly part of our daily info or entertainment diet.  But unlike the old day, when you got your info and entertainment over a square box, there are in modernity none of the  gate keepers in the form of broadcast bosses.  Or is there? 

Catch 22

How no one can see this is beyond me.  The modern gatekeeper is not the whimfull TV boss; it is a highly logical algorithm that gets its marching orders from a democratic consensus.  This is a mouthful, but let me say it in another way:  what you see in your feed is what everyone wants to see in their feed.  To get out of that track is very hard.  Also for said track to change is a slow and difficult process.  If no one is discovering you it will be hard to be discovered.  If you already highly ranked, you will rank more highly.   This is obvious but what is less apparent is that a lot of great content will never hit your eyeballs because there is a curation problem which the old days of TV did not have.  Sure the old days had other issues, but this issue is an elephant in the room, at least for me. 

Let Me Spell It Out

Content producers, technicians, service providers et-all should self-unionize and self-curate.    They should form teams, groups, circles; networks where their efforts can be co-ordained.  Things like knowledge, skills, and even cost of marketing can be co-opted. Burden and profits are shared.   It comes down to game-theory of which I wrote earlier. 


But in most cases, what I observe is that most prefer the cupcake over the 4 tier wedding cake.  Most understand cupcake and are intimidated by the complexity of 4 tier wedding cake.  Or, and this is the most likely, they will rather have all of a cupcake than; God Forbid, share any part of a wedding cake.