One thing is becoming clear, the future is going to be messy.  Quantum computing, folksonomy, healing algorithms, etc.  All built upon the premise that perfection is fragile and hard to keep stable, but to begin with the idea that if you can have some understanding/control of imperfection that it can adapt itself around any new condition.

“I want to instantly find the best of something in a product category without wasting time on my own research. I want a place like Amazon.com, but, when you search for “toaster”, you are presented with only one model of toaster: the one that 80% of people would consider to be the best toaster in the world.”
I want

People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves

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When you’re trying to win customers, are you listing the attributes of the flower or describing how awesome it is to throw fireballs?

“Computers, after all, are just shaky towers of nested abstractions: from the code that tells them what to do, to the interfaces that suggest to the user what’s possible to do with them. Each level of abstraction becomes an opportunity to make work more efficient, communicate more clearly, and assist understanding. Of course, abstractions also become chances to complicate what was clear, slow down what was fast, and fuck up what was perfectly fine.”

Side-channels and security theater

Cryptography and especially public key encryption continue continue to be heavily financed, researched, and developed.  It is possible to send an email using consumer tech that would take years to decrypt.

However, thieves will rarely attack your multi-million-dollar ultra-secure front door.  Instead, it just take a bit of poking around to find the sidedoor left unlocked for the staff smokers or window left ajar.   While passwords that need to be 12 characters, with numbers, case changes, non-alpha characters, and changed every week will be foiled by the contract worker with a post-it note.

The fact is that when security is a barrier, humans will do whatever they need to in order to overcome that barrier.  Too often, the cost of cryptography is paid by the everyday user, while those looking to cause harm can just use the side door.

Security needs to move from the mathematicians to the designers.  Keeping users and data safe is no longer an issue to be solved by longer and longer keys, instead safety will come from a improved user experience.

So how exactly can you make serious content shareable? What you don’t want to do is wait until after the story’s already on your site. Consider your approach from the beginning. Here’s how:

What’s the headline?

Write a headline first — before you begin crafting your story. The headline should be a simple, straightforward, specific promise about what the story’s about. You might discover a different headline through your reporting, but starting with something precise will help focus the story.

What is your approach to telling the story?

What’s the best way to convey the story? Whatever you decide, get to the point right away and make the piece easy to understand. Charts, images, videos or other visuals can be helpful, but only incorporate them if it’s useful to the audience.

How will this be different from what others have already done?

Cut through the noise. A lot of media might be covering the story, but how can you differentiate yourself? What can you add to the story? Try creating an explainer, where you take the complex issue and make sense of it for people.

Why will people share it?

Imagine someone coming across your story online — what will make them take the next step to share it? Will it make them happy, sad, enraged, informed or intrigued? If it leaves your audience with no reason to interact, you’ve missed something.

What’s next?

Don’t ignore the story after it’s published. Compile the metrics, and ask: Did the story’s traffic and engagement fall flat? What would you do differently? Take a look at the comments and shares to learn how people felt about the story. This should inform future coverage.

Content as the next major ad format

The trendlines all seem to be pointing in one direction.  That content promotion is poised to become the next big ad format.

I’m not talking about content creations per se, no advertorials.  But instead, a business that focuses on exposing users to the existing word of mouth of your loyal customers.

http://digiday.com/publishers/buzzfeeds-house-traffic-shop/

http://vimeo.com/78207513

http://www.fastcompany.com/1801084/outbrains-content-recommending-ways-seduce-readers-stick-around

As recommendation services take over the roll of content providers, this business will boom.