Thought Starters

A mixed collection of materials looking at societal trends, the role of technology and other content that has resonated with me.

The World Bank has combined population and GDP per capita statistics in a graph, providing an indication of current spending power as well as an indication of future opportunity.

Real GDP Per Capita and Share of Global Population

Gartner has updated its Hype Cycle which gives an indication of maturity and adoption of different technology platforms around the world.

Gartner Hype Cycle

American consumers are now faced with a growing array of video content through a range of platforms but consumer spending has actually decreased according to analysis from Liam Boluk.  In a world of all you can eat subscriptions such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, consumers are arguably choosing to spend their money elsewhere.

Entertainment Industry Ecosystem

Andreessen Horowitz has announced a $50 million investment in BuzzFeed, gaining mixed reactions from the news media.  Felix Salmon warns that comparing BuzzFeed to traditional media sources risks missing the business’ true potential.

The best way to think of BuzzFeed’s various products, then, is probably as a proof of concept: it’s a way to show advertisers that the company is able to reach a large, young, mobile, social audience in a multitude of different ways. The ability to reach those people is something of a holy grail for advertisers, who are therefore very willing to pay top dollar to anybody who can help them achieve their goal. The idea is that if BuzzFeed can reach a broad audience with its various editorial products, it can then sell that secret sauce to advertisers, and help them reach the same audience, using the same tools.

There’s been a lot of noise lately about the unbundling of mobile apps in Western markets with the launch of Foursquare’s Swarm and the splitting out of Facebook Messenger. Taylor Davidson warns against seeing this as a natural conclusion with app extensions, deep linking and notifications providing a countervailing force to this trend.

And as the platforms, hardware, and operating systems in mobile continue to change how people use their devices, don’t be surprised if the rationale behind unbundling shifts as well.

I think we think of unbundling as the end-state, but instead, it’s a process that leads to it’s reversal. Unbundling creates the incentives for rebundling.

The constant, as usual, is change.

We’ve seen strong growth from shared economy based enterprises such as Uber and Airbnb which use rating systems as a means of engendering trust on the part of consumers. Danny Crichton in an article for TechCrunch warns of the corrosive effect of these computational trust systems on wider society.

Our growing need to feel connected is confirmed by research from the US which found that 60% of US internet users were almost always connected.

Three in five internet users are almost always connected

British communications marker regulator Ofcom’s report The Communications Market 2014 is a treasure trove of insights into the UK market. Find below some key insights.

Reinforcing the earlier message of the always on lifestyle is the following graph looking at consumers engagement with media and communications during their waking hours.

Media Consumption Activity

Looking at how media and communications time is spent across different age cohorts provides clues as to how we can expect media to move in the future.

Media by Time

A similar analysis of internet consumption by device type points to the importance of smartphones for younger audiences.

Device usage internet

Providing further data on the UK market in the 4GEE Media Living Index which provides figures on mobile data usage from EE customers. Among the interesting data points are the following which point to the strong presence of Tango in the mobile messaging space and Soundcloud in audio streaming.

Instant Messaging Audio Analysis from Comscore points to Snapchat moving from outsider to well established member of the communications space in the US having long passed what Comscore considers critical mass in the 18-24 aged audience segment.

Snapchat PenetrationPew Research Center’s analysis of Twitter traffic provides an interesting breakdown of social communities and how they interact, converge and/or diverge. Something well worth considering when we see issues emerge that have the potential to bring us together or divide us.

Twitter CommunitiesMalcolm Gladwell’s look at organised crime among immigrant groups in the US point to this ‘career’ as being seen as an important enabler of upward mobility in what makes for an enjoyable read.

The point of the crooked-ladder argument and “A Family Business” was that criminal activity, under those circumstances, was not rebellion; it wasn’t a rejection of legitimate society. It was an attempt to join in.

If you find yourself in London between now and the end of August, do check out Lucy Sparrow’s The Cornershop in the Columbia Road area recreating various household goods in felt. You can find an interview with the artist over at Folksy.

felt-food

The featured image is Beautiful Bridge #1 by Sabina Lang & Daniel Baumann in Recoleta, Buenos Aires.

Thought Starters: Content that has got me thinking 16

The following infographic provides a valuable illustration of trends in the business world as companies go up and down.

S&P 500 Churn Over the Past DecadeThomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has raised some important questions in terms of income inequality. The following graph suggests flattening income growth for the majority of Western consumers although the counterbalance to this is the emergence of the middle class in many emerging markets.

Growth in Real Average Income

Whilst on the subject of income, NPR in the US has looked at what professions are likely to put you above (or below) the incomes of your parents.

Household income during Childhood vs Income during Adulthood

Nemo looks at the winners and losers when services like Uber disrupt markets and how regulators can maximise benefits for consumers.

Jason Jacobs from Runkeeper argues that dedicated fitness trackers are likely to go the way of many other devices that have been subsumed within the smartphone.

Steven Sinofsky looks at how many digital services start with a focused offering but see their functionality expand sprawl over time and argues that this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a bad thing.

JWT Intelligence identify what they see as the ten key mobile trends for 2014.

Felix Salmon argues eloquently for salaries being public, arguing that it is likely to lead to fairer compensation and avoids fueling some of the nastier aspects of  organisational politics.

Harvard Institute of Politics research points to Facebook’s penetration growing among young adults in the US but usage is declining.

Facebook's Reach Among Young Adults is Still Unmatched

Research from the e-tailing group points to social media as only providing a limited contribution towards sales when compared to other digital channels…That’s not to say it doesn’t provide valuable support to other valuable business metrics.

Digital Marketing Channels that Generated Orders for US Ecommerce Sites

A valuable overview of how Facebook is positioning its digital offering can be found in Facebook for Direct Response Marketing presentation produced following recent announcements at the F8 Developers Conference.

Facebook for Direct Response Marketing

Facebook has launched Context Cards on their redesigned iOS app which will look to serve more contextual information based on user location and activities.

Research from RJMetrics points to women dominating among active Pinterest users with 84% staying active after four years.

Pinterest users remain almost exclusively female, 84 stay active after 4 years

Moz looks at how events can be leveraged to grow an organisation’s digital profile.

Are you running low on ideas? Mark Johnstone looks at ways of kickstarting your creative thinking.

The featured image is by German artist MadC in Tahiti where she was invited to paint for the Ono’U Street Art Festival and coverage was found on StreetArtNews.