Road MX 2012

It’s been said several times that Guadalajara is the Mexican Silicon Valley. During the mid 90’s this was just starting out to be a catch-phrase for foreign investment in the city. It was nicknamed so because large companies like IBM and HP had settled here instead of Mexico City. Still the phrase “Mexican Silicon Valley” was something that was out of reach for the majority of the people living in the city. It was just reserved for people working at any one of these large companies.

However, thanks to technology and of course fast pace investment, this phrase is now a reality to many people, reachable for anyone with an interest in the field. It is now also called the Start Up culture. Of course, the international mecca of start ups resides and will reside for time to come in Silicon Valley itself, in California. The whole of the Bay area is to thank for this lifestyle. Yes, I call it lifestyle because not only does it affect the work place, but your whole life in a very positive way.

Today, the Start up culture is on the rise in this city. So much so, that many more start ups based in California are setting up shop here. Even better, many of the start ups created here are setting shop in California! It’s a two way process. For example, OVIA [now Wowzer] was co founded by a group of former students from ITESO who started their HR company here and then established their commercial office in Mountain View, California.

These developments have created a community of Start up junkies here in the city. Which is why “Start ups on the Road MX” was created. It has had more and more visitors and participants thanks overtime. This year, it was held at the Hilton Hotel. Created by a non profit community called Suma Valley, the event had several important speakers like Bismarck Lepe from Ooyala, Gris Cuevas from Linked in and Rodrigo Martínez from Wowzer itself.

Community Management Done Right - by Gris Cuevas
Community Management Done Right – by Gris Cuevas

Gris Cuevas’ presentation in particular was of special interest to me. She spoke about the importance of every entrepreneur and business to be aware of their community and to tend to it. Thus, Community Management isn’t just about posting on Facebook and Twitter. It’s about so much more than that. [Ask me about her PDF presentation]

Interesting talks by interesting people in a very very interesting community. Good thing the Start up culture is on the rise.

The Web Writes History in a Different Way

History has always been a compilation from people’s memories, a few portraits, photographs, diaries and mostly delicate artifacts that have been left behind after people pass away. We can only gather what little clues we get and build a story from it. Even when there were writers and historians recording events on a daily basis in their journals, we are left with only one version of the truth. Let’s say the writer was honest, but he or she could only be honest as far as their perspective would let them. Perhaps they didn’t see a key event, they missed a word, they heard something wrong or something else went otherwise, so our clues are left corrupted.

We can never be 100% sure of history because well, we weren’t there to witness it. However that might come to an end. We are the first generation of human beings that can record history like never before. Every blog post, tweet, status update, share or any other interaction done online is a definite, exact and accurate clue of what happened, down to the very second it was launched into the web.

Adam Ostrow makes sure to remind people about this in his TED Talk presented on July 2011. He also mentions that of course these clues or entries will long outlive us. Of course this is also true for ancient scripts, monuments and artifacts. But these posts can be shared to the entire world without damaging them. For example, when there is a natural disaster, people tweet about it, share pictures, make videos out of it and what not. They each contribute with a piece of hard rock evidence of what’s going on.

Of course there would be so many publishers and information givers that each will see the event from a different angle, which will give us a more holistic and accurate story from more than just one version of the facts. Not even certified reporters can achieve this. The power of crowd sourcing is greater than any certification, title or authority can achieve. A story told by 750 million Facebook users for example, can never be accurately reached by a single reporter or even blogger like yours truly.

Information has never been richer. We are a collective historian society as every second goes by.We can finally leave a definite, mystery-free record of our existence for generations to come.

The HP Fever… and Not the Computer Brand

There are two options: you either thought about Hewlett Packard or Harry Potter. What did I think when I saw the letters posted on most of the social networks I’m in? I’ll leave that for you to guess; hint: I write a lot about that stuff.

So, I wouldn’t normally write about this because truth be told, I’m not a Potter super crazy fan. Yes, I’ve watched all of the movies but I haven’t read the books. (I apologize to the Potter fans out there that think this is some sort of offense). Don’t get me wrong, I love reading books. I consider them to be the only solid foundation of humanity’s education followed by the Internet. I just haven’t wrapped my mind around Mr. Potter.

But today, I’m going to watch the End of an Era, the very last of the movies, and the closing of a generational icon, so I thought about giving it at least a little homage from my part. I believe I had only seen movie goers dress up for movie premieres on Star Wars and T-Shirts on Edward or Jacob team for the Twilight Saga. Potter is  no exception of course. I know the premiere was yesterday, since I saw the disguised fans line up outside the movie theater and upload their pictures everywhere on the net. I will see the crazed evidence myself tonight.

What really interests me though is how JK Rowling has been questioned over and over again, almost pressured to the point of not letting the saga “die”, but to continue writing. All I can think of is that unhappy fans will definitely carry on with this story on Fan Fiction (at this point I’m almost 100% they already have).

Why is this so important to the digital marketing world? Check you RSS Feed, see what swarms headlines. The ones right now are G+, Microsoft’s mistake on Tulalip and the Murdoch Scandal and of course, Mr. Potter. It would be a mistake as a marketer to not pay any attention to it. Let’s see then how this ends. Wish me luck!

Life in the Time of Vampires

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XueNm_GJk80]

Not even Anne Rice or Bram Stoker could possibly compete with this trend. Although both are years apart from one another, and their success is worth quoting for times to come, Vampire Fever has never been as vibrant as it is right now. Granted, the very essence of Dracula is owed to Mr. Stoker. Rice’s Lestat has been a successful Broadway Musical for quite a while now. However, those versions of the immortal monster are targeted to a more mature audience; a much more dramatic and aching population that is. Even if we add up their success in numbers, it holds no candle to what we are living right this moment.

Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight Saga of course would be the poster child to the genre. All those talks about Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and the rest of the cast, won’t leave anyone alone. But there’s more to it than just this story’s books and teen-love-screaming movies. There are franchises and other books that are overflowing the market with their own version of immortality.

The Vampire Diaries invades the CW network channel to awe teenagers yet again. (Finding any common denominator yet?). Other movies like Van Helsing, the Werewolf, The Red Riding Hood, Wolfman, and so many others talk about either Vampires or Vampires’ natural enemies: werewolves.

Never before had there been so many different plots to the same fantastical creatures. It’s like in the 80’s and early 90’s when movies were all about Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van-Dame and Jackie Chan trying to save the world or mobster films like the God Father. These examples were focused on the masculine desire of action. Now, they’ve settled with video games to feed on their action thrill.

Now what is it? At last! Tweens have found their calling. Yes, Tweens (it’s spelled correctly), what are they? Tweens are the little people in the middle of that weird age between being a small child and a teenager, roughly between 9 and 12 years of age. It had been a while now that they were weirdly settled in ages where they were embarrassed by their moms, but still not old enough to enjoy teenage stuff. Want proof? I got mine when I went to see the second movie in the Twilight series to the cinema. Lines were so long, they reached the lower floor of the mall. More than half the people in them were Tween Girls. Once we were seated and watching the film, their screams would fill up my ears every time the camera focused on Edward Cullen… true story. They would scream at a character played by a human being that cannot hear their screams…

So how’s life in the Time of Vampires? I would describe it as Augmented Reality. All these gadgets like smartphones, internet, and what not’s magnify the stories glory. It’s just as some of the versions of vampires describe: being a vampire, everything feels and is magnified. Well, being vampires fans all around us, it just gets magnified. How long will this last? It’s been more than a fad now… how much longer?

Reached by 10 Different Media

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, today is my birthday. It’s not even 1pm and I’ve already been very fortunate to be congratulated by friends, family and coworkers. But it’s not that I’m writing this entry to brag about it to the world (ok, may be a little). The point is, how have people chosen to congratulate me? Media, Media, Media.

This all reminded me of this rather famous scene in the film “He’s Just Not That Into You” where Drew Barrymore is talking to Scarlett Johanson about how love lives get even more complicated with all the technology available. Of course, today in my particular case, it’s not about love nor is it a bad thing to be contacted through a series of channels.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gGXylVz6KI]

So far I’ve been congratulated in person, by sms, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Cell Phone call, Regular land line call, e-card, e-mail, inbox messages, MSN, Skype, Facebook Chat, BBM Chat (that’s BlackBerry Chat), and Whatsapp. Thus, I want to thank all the people who remembered and chose technology to surprise this marketer. Thank you!!

A Weekend Offline

I’ve heard several people say they would log off the e-world just to get some other perspective, at least for a little while. Lately, doing that is nearly impossible, because even though you may be away from your computer, smartphones are always there to accommodate your every online whim (you can hardly take your fingers off that little keyboard!). So, if you are surrounded every day by the internet, it takes a very strong will power to break free, to unplug all your devices and contact to the virtual universe.

Since I’ve had contact to every device possible, I haven’t done the offline “cleansing”. This weekend however, it was an entirely involuntary but healthy situation. I end up in a weekend with no computer, no tv, and no signal on my BlackBerry. All I had were my friends and the actual contact we had with the real world, no wires attached.

I must say it was absolutely relaxing. I focused on nothing but having live conversations, interacting with the surroundings and not worrying about a thing. The world still revolved.

However, the minute I got all the devices back, I noticed just how much went on in 48 hours. Worldwide trends that, as it is lately, ordinary people knew more about and kept you more informed than news channels. Events like 1,000,000 visitors in St Peter’s Square for the Pope’s Beatification, or Osama Bin Laden being dead.

The world keeps spinning indeed, but did I really miss out just for a 48-hr unplug? I feel new and better than ever. Ready to tackle on more trends, more internet; a power nap boosting my working stamina. I recommend it yes, just don’t do it for too long and many times altogether. You’ll find yourself liking other things, and as far as I am concerned, I just love the net. Humanity’s greatest gift to humanity itself.

The Easter Bunny 2011

Another week where people just go crazy about. Whilst many cry “crisis time!” Many others, including some of them can’t wait for this week to start. At least as far as Mexico is concerned, every single person is waiting for Easter Week. No matter how badly you are doing, it’s basically the week that lifts up spirits. Whether it’s the full week or just from Holy Thursday until Holy Sunday, people will hit the nearest beach or cabin to their city. Why is this a good thing?

More than just emptying cities, making days a little bit less hectic, people get a “power trip” to regain sense of themselves. Granted some may say during that week activities go down, but tourist activities soar, bringing economy to a peak. Talk about reinvestment elsewhere. So what does the bunny bring to Mexico? A break from everything, a rise to economy and a rise of cheer-me ups.

60 min with Google’s CEO

I was sitting comfortably, reading a book on Wednesday night when my phone rings. It was my best friend, “care to join me at Google’s CEO conference tomorrow morning (Thursday)?” The words didn’t quite make any sense in my mind, until I uttered, “Eric Schmidt is coming? Where?”. She then went on “No! Not THAT CEO, (already I thought it was too good to be true), Google Mexico’s CEO John Farrell is giving a conference at our campus”. To be honest, I had never heard of the man, but it seemed too interesting to let go.

The next morning we were being seated in the conference room. A nice approachable fellow started talking in perfect Spanish. There I was thinking that he’d probably have trouble or just talk to us in plain English. His one-sheet biography was being handed out to us just before the conference started. He’d been an advertising executive in several other companies, mainly TV. Here’s a tiny glimpse of him from Google Database http://www.google.com/intl/es-419/press/bios.html

He came into Google back in 2004 as CEO and both his advertising world and the general public’s was about to change drastically. He mostly spoke about AdWords and how they have revolutionized non traditional media. How innovation was highly regarded in Google and its 20% rule (20% of Googlers’ time was to be invested in their own ideas). Only then could innovation be really achieved.

Then the moment everyone (or at least one person other than myself) was waiting for came. Questions time. “Do you consider Facebook to be well organized and thus considered competition?” A girl in the audience asked. Everyone turned to look at the blue -eyed top executive. He didn’t take a moment’s breather and granted us a flawless answer. “Facebook is doing things incredibly well. It is definitely our competitor. We most definitely have different ways to approach the market: they are social, we’re the most sought out Search Engine. But for example, I’m not from Guadalajara, and if I want to eat at a good Chinese restaurant, I would personally trust my friends more for a recommendation than a search engine. That’s their competitive advantage over us. We’re turning a lot of our things social, but still we hold out our advantages as well. We make search, an expert one”.

Satisfied with the politically correct answer, the girl sat down. Several other questions were asked, but that was indeed the highlight. Google formally recognized that it no longer held the keys to virtual paradise: someone else was fighting them for it. He then talked proudly about Android and Chrome. He acknowledged the deliberate intention of Google itself to juxtapose these two operating systems. Make them compete against each other (although Chrome is for tablets mainly and Android for mobile phones). “A Darwinian Strategy” he ever so accurately put it.

That is how Innovation is achieved: let people work on a new idea of theirs. If several come up that are similar, put them against each other and let the best “man” win. I stood in awe at the end of the conference. So simple and direct, that is why Google is still the King.

Writing it Up for Maroon 5

What do we know Coke for? The great black drink that will probably come in any event you have; the Polar Bear commercials around the holidays; the representation of the Santa Claus version the Western world knows today. It’s brand equity is number one in the world with a value of almost $70 billion dollars.

Among other events and sponsorships the brand does on a daily basis, altruism is part of Coke’s marketing strategy as well. The latest one is its joint efforts with Maroon 5 in order to support Africa with a Clean Water project. This March 22nd, the band will be broadcasting live on all social networks to hear people around the world about their ideas and talent to write up a new song. So, this song will be co-written by literally the citizens of the world.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XzFeVEz2Lj8#at=14]

See what crowd sourcing can bring? On a daily basis, crowd sourcing is always present. Even the CAPTCHA codes at the end of an online registration is a form of crowd sourcing. Why would something like that be considered crowd sourcing? Many cases involve people trying to digitize old texts, thus they provide you with a word in that text and it automatically gets digitized.

It’s a cheap way to raise resources in a quick and very efficient way. It’s like they say, 2 heads are better than one, 5 are better than two and so on. Altruism is no exception.

On St. Patty’s Day…

Personally, I’m not a gamer. I haven’t been since I was about 12 and Nintendo 64 was the hit of the moment. But I look at my guy friends today and they’re mostly crazy over Xbox (to play Halo), Wii (on the boxing ring), and well the unfortunately discontinued Guitar Hero. I must confess, I did enjoy that last one when one of my friends practically forced the little plastic guitar strap on my shoulder.

As far as computer games go, they’re very last season for what I can see around me. Right now, after iPod Touch was released to attract gamers (think of it as PSP but cooler) game apps have been soaring. The latest crazy game app? Surely you’ve already heard of it… “Angry Birds”.

What’s more interesting about this particular presentation in games is that they are much more flexible than console games to be subject to special changes. Just look at “Angry Birds” looking like leprechauns. Oh St Patty’s Day. Wonder what they’ll do? Drink Guiness as they get angrier? http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/angry-birds-seasons-goes-green-for-st-patricks-day-08-03-2011/

The flexibility and instant connection to consumers, no matter where they may be in the world holds a clear distinction from the rest. Never the less, Kinect and Xbox are always on a guy’s eye for a night in with his boys.

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