I haven’t yet found the time to start into it, but I’m pretty excited about House of Cards, the new series developed for and appearing exclusively on Netflix. I’m also really curious and interested to see how it fares in terms of views and ratings.
At first, I questioned the strategy of releasing the entire series at once. I’m a big fan of serialization, and think that there’s a lot of value to having “appointment viewing”, even for streaming services. I think it enhances fan followings to have fans who are rabidly waiting for the next instalment. So, I wondered, why didn’t Netflix release an episode a week to try and build excitement, interest and demand?
Netflix has a bunch of advantages over network and cable television distributors. For example, they’ll know exactly how many people viewed each episode. They’ll know exactly where those people were in the world, and also exactly what kind of devices they were using. They’ll know exactly when people chose to pause, or fast forward, or rewind. And because the entire series was released all at once, they’ll know exactly at what rate it was consumed, and how that varies through the series.
These are revolutionary metrics for television producers. Companies like Amazon, Google, LinkedIn and eBay have used these type metrics to completely disrupt industries through careful analysis. Was that monologue really too long, and did it cause viewers to tune out? Now we’ll know, and we’ll even know the splits.
And this, as far as I can figure, is why they released the entire thing at once. To investigate what are seen as absolute truths about television production and see if the data holds up. I’m pretty interested to see what comes of that.
At first I didn’t get Facebook Poke, but after spending about 10 minutes with it, actually poking back and forth, it clicked. Tweets and Facebook posts are default public, and even if you restrict them, any one person who you share with has a permanent, shareable asset. Even SMS or Facebook Chat (which they are trying to make the same thing) can be shared without your involvement.
Pokes through this app, though, aren’t just completely private, they self-destruct. This makes them like whispers, more personal interactions that transcend time and space but at the same time are non-permanent and transient. They aren’t recorded, and can’t come back to haunt you beyond someone’s retelling.
This is different in an important way, and carves out a whole new space of communication for Facebook. I think you’ll see a lot of foolish, fun pokes, some racy ones (sexting level 99) and some really touching and meaningful ones. But you’ll be the only one to see them, and you don’t be able to show them to anyone else. The experience will remain forever between you and the sender, and in time, it will fade like any other memory you built together.
I get it.
It’s been ninety days since I joined Wattpad.
While putting together my first update for our fantastic board of directors, I was making the point that more than half of the Product and Design team has been at Wattpad for less than three months … at which point I noticed that I have been here exactly three months. This of course, led to some uncomfortable questions. Most notably: what have I accomplished, and was it a good use of my time?
Looking back I see some successes and some failures, as well as a good many dead path explorations, which are a little bit of both, I guess. I’ve fallen into the trap of doing instead of guiding one too many times, and spent what feels like a lot of time but probably hasn’t been enough time recruiting for our open positions. On my good days I’m pushing things forward and seeing new features, positive changes, and more focused delivery of projects. On my bad days I feel like I’m falling behind on prioritizing and communicating.
Best of all, I find myself even more energized and invigorated about what it is that we’re trying to do at Wattpad, and working with more and more people who feel the same way. We’ve grown quite a bit in the past three months, and are on pace to do the same again in the next three months.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
End to end design matters
There are some people in that Reddit thread who think the entire thing is a set-up. Let’s skip past that for now, as I think it’s actually kind of irrelevant. In either case, it’s a great example of how businesses (and celebrities) need to think about interaction on Twitter.
There’s a conversation about your product, your brand, and your activities taking place. As with any conversation, simply dropping into it to talk about the topics you’re interested in would be considered rude. Instead,join the conversation. Where appropriate, be playful. At all times, be helpful and informative. Feel free to ask questions in return.
SmartCar got this one right, and got to build a bit of brand equity for free. Good on them.
I’m really excited about Monday.
A little more than I year ago I took a big jump, leaving my role as Director of Firefox at Mozilla in order to work in a totally different field. Sadly, it was an experience that was cut short when it became clear that to be effective I’d need to relocate to Perth, West Australia. A gorgeous part of the world, but a little bit far from my family.
I’ve no regrets. The past year has taught me an awful lot about myself, and about what I want and what I need to do. For example, I know that I’m most passionate when working on products that help people interact with each other in new ways. I also know that I’m always going to be most interested in working on Internet-based products, and that I’ll always be a passionate and involved member of the Mozilla community.
Don’t worry: I hadn’t heard about them before, either. They’ve been a quiet success story despite explosive user growth and incredible investor interest. Wattpad is pretty simple idea with huge implications: people like sharing stories, and people like reading stories, so Wattpad provides a place where a community can congregate around those core activities. There are no kingmakers for content, there are no barriers to entry, and there is no limit to the size of audience that an author can reach.
What does exist, though, is an opportunity for writers and readers to truly connect and collaborate; to share their love of story. Since Wattpad is “of the web,” there’s also no borders; a global community sharing ideas and emotions, using whatever device they’d like (computers, feature phones, smartphones, tablets) to interact with the content. The mission is clear: change the way that people discover and interact with stories, and make it easier to connect readers and writers together.
My new friend and CEO Allen Lau has impressed me with his vision for Wattpad, and the team he and co-founder Ivan Yuen have put together is fantastic. Once again I’m finding myself in a mission and community oriented company as we develop a killer product that will reshape the way people interact with each other. There is a lot of work to do, and an incredibly broad range of interesting ideas and product opportunities to look into, and I am just so eager to get started.
My first day will be Monday, and yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.
(Did I mention we’re growing? If you’re at all interested in joining me, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!)