Wake Up: A Strategic Intel Report on Convergence
Our worlds are colliding at an alarming rate. Work and pleasure. Public and private. Real and imagined. As we track and analyze trends that cross the boundaries of marketing, media, entertainment, and technology, the points where these worlds converge are a valuable source of consumer insights and audience intelligence. In these pages, you'll find examples of mash-ups that are driving cultural and behavioral change, and implications for marketers.
wake up QUARTERLY WINTER 2014 A STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE REPORT The Issue // Convergence S T N E T N CO Letter from the editor .................................................................................................3 Work + Play Play: The Adoptive Mother of Invention ...........................................................................................5 Past + Present Experiencing History in HD ................................................................................................................9 Art Rede nes Out-With-the-Old, In-With-the-New ..........................................................................11 Light Side of Convergence + Dark Side of Convergence Jedi or Sith: The Light and Dark Sides of Convergence ...............................................................13 This + That = Nope ..........................................................................................................................19 1 Brands + Personality The Freaky Friday Syndrome ..........................................................................................................21 Romance + Innovation Of ine and Offbeat: The New Breed of Dating Apps ....................................................................25 Select Apps and What They Do .....................................................................................................28 Luxury + Mass Access Trumps Ownership .............................................................................................................29 Food + Science The Cultivation of Curious Consumption......................................................................................31 Gaming + Social Media Brands Will Like Xbox Oneâ€™s Social Features ..................................................................................35 Sports + Data Performance-Enhancing Data: Democratizing Moneyball .........................................................37 The Datasexual ...............................................................................................................................40 Contributors Forecasts..........................................................................................................................................41 Friends of Omelet Forecasts... .......................................................................................................................................47 The Crew.......................................................................................................................................50 Photo Credits................................................................................................................................ 51 Endnotes....................................................................................................................................... 52 2 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Winter 2014 3 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR The most profound revolutions are not the ones trumpeted by pundits, but those that sneak in when we are not looking. - Mark Weiser, 1993 Astute words to introduce our convergence issue, from the former chief technologist at Xerox PARC. This is the guy who pioneered ubiquitous computing – the concept of being connected anywhere, anytime, on any device – twenty years before “Glassholes” stumbled around public (or at least the Bay Area) in computerized headgear. This is the guy who forecasted a post-screen future, driven by smart technology and our ambient, data-driven economy. What was his crystal ball? Reading the subtext, not the over-hyped headlines. As we collectively hit refresh on another year, there’s a natural inclination to look backwards, through Google-colored glasses, and summarize the preceded by hashtags (#enoughalready). and geopolitical milestones of the last year, the past is behind us. And by the time you read this, the present is too. What we’re left with is what lies ahead – what’s next. So now is as good a time as any to take a peek around the corner. And like Mark Weiser, the brain trust at Omelet looks for tomorrow’s breakthroughs in today’s undercurrents - what strategy wonks would call microtrends. We look for patterns that shape the course of where we’re headed; for narrative threads that tie together ideas, and connect individuals with communities. What does this have to do with the theme of convergence? Everything. As an agency that sits at the intersection of marketing, media, entertainment, and technology, we obsess over convergence points; these hotspots produce some of the most valuable brand insights and audience intelligence. And today, our worlds are converging at an unprecedented pace: work and pleasure, public and private, real and imagined. Collisions are, by their very nature, messy (see: George Costanza’s “Worlds and contradiction. But that’s the richest vein for innovation. Because breakthroughs don't happen without breaking something. proclamations or speculation about what the year holds. Will legalized crack that TV that Jobs promised, or at the very least break into a new product category with wearables? We’ll leave the guesswork to the pundits, and concentrate instead on the canaries in the coalmine. Converge on. SEAN MCNAMARA firstname.lastname@example.org chief strategy of cer 4 + + PLAY: THE ADOPTIVE MOTHER OF INVENTION Anna Nesser A couple of weeks ago I was at my mother’s home in Florida, sipping coffee at the kitchen table while waiting for a Thanksgiving pie to a conference call with my creative team in L.A. and clients in New York. Working in account management means I’m nearly always on, and yes, that includes the occasional working vacation. My folks might argue that I’m doing it wrong; that I should be creating more of a balance between my work-life and my life-life. But I see it differently. In a world where the lines between work and play are blurry at best, developing a sense of balance between the two is no longer the goal – integration is. Maneesh Goyal, founder of Live in the Grey, argues that “balance is, by its very nature, concept just conjures up images of trying to balance a see-saw.”1 So is the very idea of in and out of work with clear boundaries, a vestige of a bygone era that existed before we learned to apply the ‘knowledge work’ that drives today’s progress?2 Truth is, many of us aren’t in the business of producing tangible things anymore. Instead, we produce ideas. As idea-makers, we’re probably working more than 40 hours a week, and those 5 WORK + PLAY PLAY: THE ADOPTIVE MOTHER OF INVENTION Americans regularly do some work on vacation.9 59% of We’re constantly connected, not just by our devices, but also by our incessantly churning, always-buzzing minds. They don’t exactly have an off switch. And that’s a good thing - ideation requires lateral thinking, and unlike task-oriented work, ideas can, and should, be born anywhere, anytime. 3 Inspiration can and should come from How an idea is sparked is very much a mystery… I like to open myself up to lots of different experiences so that I can be receptive when lightning strikes.4 For me and my peers, this always-on approach to work isn’t a cross to bear, but rather a way of working smarter and gaming the system in the emerging knowledge economy. It goes back to that much-hyped Millennial FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, which it turns out isn’t just a social phobia. In fact, it’s just as relevant to our professional lives. “A fun dinner for me is with the friends who I would gladly co-found a something-or-other with and brainstorm business ideas. That, to me, is a wonderful blend of business and personal life.”5 Millennial young gunners want to catapult over the corporate ladder of yesterday, and they don’t want to miss out on any opportunity that could expedite their rise to the top. “There are those managers who live for their job; they do not want to miss any aspect of their project because they were assigned or better yet, created the assignment. They treat their project as though it were their child: they want to be the only one who provides nurturing and is solely responsible for its anywhere. development.”6 The advent of knowledge work has implications that reach far beyond Millennials. In the last few years, there’s been a sea of change in conference culture, - Michael Gross as events like TED have given rise to a new-school approach that’s more liberal arts than it is vocational. Rather than gathering like-minded professionals to discuss are designed around convergence, bringing together people across disciplines to spark new ways of thinking. It’s a new age of cross-functional collaboration. And other groups have taken notice. The most notable of these neo-networking events is probably the Summit Series, where the lines between work and play are barely noticeable. Staged in a vacation destination, like a ski resort or yacht, Summit is where “a friend is more >>> 6 WORK + PLAY PLAY: THE ADOPTIVE MOTHER OF INVENTION valuable than a colleague, both professionally and personally. The eclectic mix of activities and talks…encourage participants to discuss ideas, not interests.”7 Another example of this new model of frankencation is CAMP, where play inspires ideas. Think adult summer camp in Big Bear, where, in addition to mastering the ropes course partaking in a “curated experience programmed to inspire, increase innovation, encourage collaboration and community, and grow success.”8 Companies of all shapes and sizes are becoming more attuned to the idea that infusing play into the workplace can not only improve attrition and retention of high-potential talent, but also trigger cultural transformation. However, it’s important to note that the context of ‘play’ is evolving. It’s no longer exclusive to the creative class’ playthings: Ping-Pong, pets, Pac-Man, and PBR. Nor is it applied to the traditional forced-fun rituals of group happy hours and team-building outings. Drawing on my own experience, ‘play’ encompasses everything that I’m passionate about: people, learning, design, and food. So I chose to work at a company with aligned values; one that lets me proactively apply my interests to my working environment. And I’m not alone. When searching for a job, my peers are more branding report found that 45% of Millennials 10 In the age of knowledge work, the relationship between enterprise value is placed on production over presence, on results over time spent tethered to a desk.11 So don’t be alarmed if we’re reading the latest Mashable list or scrolling through Instagram when you walk by our desks. Chances are we’ll be responding to emails later that night at the Jay-Z concert. And who knows, we might meet our next client at a friend’s dinner party. Work-life integration does not mean giving up your into your profession. That’s where the magic happens. As a generation, we’re emotionally tied to our work. Whether or not we admit it, our jobs play an are, and as we collectively leave a greater imprimatur on the modern workplace, we should embrace the convergence between these two worlds. 7 WORK + PLAY PLAY: THE ADOPTIVE MOTHER OF INVENTION Research at California State University Long Beach showed that people who have fun at work are more creative, more productive, work better with others, and call in sick less often.12 8 PAST PRESENT + EXPERIENCING HISTORY IN HD Cristina Pedroza Faulkner once wrote, “The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.”13 More than half a century later, this statement aptly describes the current state of network programming. Entertainment is a reliable barometer for social attitudes and beliefs, and in recent years we’ve seen a recurrent trend in historic themes coming to life on the small screen. This development isn’t exclusive to the television business – creators and curators across media are looking to the past to and deconstructing historic stories, searching for inspiration to produce new content by remixing or reimagining old ideas in relevant and relatable formats. mirror? In a business that’s evolving towards an “on-demand” model, in which a greater quantity it’s a safe bet that the recent inundation of historical programming isn’t coming from the supply side - as the genre is neither cheap nor easy to produce - but rather from the studios, networks, writers, directors, and producers, who are responding to audience demand, and in turn, ratings. So what does that say about the audience? The obvious implication is that we’re nostalgic for simpler and safer times, but it’s not that simple; subjects like Vikings, pirates, Rasputin, and the 9 PAST + PRESENT EXPERIENCING HISTORY IN HD American Revolution don’t exactly give off the warm-and-fuzzies. Nor is it as simple as an escape from our current always-on, tethered-to-tech lifestyle – although the popularity of stories about post-apocalyptical survival from robots, aliens, or zombies could anecdotally point in that direction. We posit that the growing popularity of this genre points to the audience’s desire to connect with a shared history; to feel like a participant in a journey that past generations experienced vampires, dragons, and ghosts, along with those evil robots and zombies, these stories are grounded in tangible, historical context. But they’re not too real, unlike the exploitive nature of most non-scripted programming, from the shameless manipulation of children in Toddlers in Tiaras or Little Miss Perfect to the dystopian indifference towards the human condition in Bridalplasty or Married by America. in the development pipeline doesn’t appear to be newsworthy; premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz have been playing the period adaptation game for years, and the major networks were there more than a quarter of a century ago with pop hits M*A*S*H and Happy Days. However, since AMC’s runaway critical and cultural success with Mad Men, there’s clearly been a renewed interest in the genre. Don Draper and his band of merry reprobates proved that basic cable could not only capture and sustain the attention of a loyal audience, but also get them compulsively talking about it, spreading the gospel one week at a time. And other imitators have followed suit, including Playboy Club, Pan-Am, and Masters of Sex, although they have failed to galvanize the voices of the young and “Mad Men was sort of the tipping point that showed that there was an audience in basic cable for period drama.” - Alan Gasmer, Executive Producer of Vikings.14 >>> 10 PAST + PRESENT EXPERIENCING HISTORY IN HD ART REDEFINES OUT-WITH-THE-OLD, IN-WITH-THE-NEW In 2014, AMC will look to reprise its winning period formula with two new drama series: Halt, and Catch Fire and Turn. The former is a dramatization of the early1980s personal computing boom, while the latter will tell the story of a group of childhood friends and spies who had an active 15 Vintage Video Games + Modern Canvas22 Tired of wandering around art galleries, staring at tired, static canvases with the other automatons? Sit down, grab a controller, and play your art instead. of the Starz original programming for 2013-2014 is period content. Other players are not far behind. On the heels scripted series,16 which was recently picked up for a second season. And at the end of last year, the channel also premiered the feature-length movie Grainger, William Hurt, and Holly Hunter, and is currently in pre-production on a mini-series about Houdini.17 81% Sculpture’s Classics23 + 3D Printing Thinker; it should take you a little less with the help of a 3D printer. The Museum Visit + 3D Digital Tour24 Mona Lisa’s smile can be seen in 3D, thanks to the Louvre and Nintendo’s idea to reinvent the Museum Tour. Historic shots now enjoy La Vie en Colour25 You no longer have to wonder how your great grand pappy’s life looked in Technicolor. 11 PAST + PRESENT EXPERIENCING HISTORY IN HD #1 new cable series of the year, averaging 4.3 million total viewers.18 The CW, a proving ground for the tastes of young, largely female audiences, has also jumped on the period bandwagon with Reign, a loose portrayal of Mary Queen of Scots’ tenure in sixteenth-century French court. While critics19 have lambasted the show as more of a Gossip Girl meets The Tudors mash-up than a true rendition of the depth and complexity of the young queen’s plights, it has put on no airs of being historically accurate and has embraced its pop sensibilities. And that approach has clearly paid off, as the series has managed to grab the attention of Millennial viewers, the holy grail of network audience segments, by incorporating contemporary elements20 of music and fashion design in a period drama. With so many inspired-by-history stories headed for the small screen this year, we have to question whether this trend will hold strong in the long run, or whether the industry will squeeze every ounce of creative and commercial juice from it before discarding the husk and moving on to whatever’s next. We’re betting that after this next wave the tide will turn, but soon it’ll be back. These audience trends tend to be cyclical, and the enduring principle behind connecting with others through shared history will stand the test of time. After all, “the pursuit for new ideas, sights, taste, sounds, and experiences”21 is an innate part of human nature. In today’s wired world, in which instant innovation and crowd-sourced solutions are the new norm, the analog struggles and solitary hardships of past generations are as alien as extraterrestrials. For audiences, and in particular younger viewers, the growing interest in these journeys into the past indicates that re-discovering the old may be just what people need to inspire something new. Implications for Marketers Don’t be afraid to look back and revisit the past. There’s untapped equity in your brand’s origins, and your audience’s roots. Even if people have heard the story before, a fresh narrative around an old tale can bring together the present and past in an unexpected light. Let people discover your untold secrets. Tease them. Entice them. Give them the opportunity to claim your brand as their own by discovering missing links in your chronicle. Audiences are hungry for the unseen and the unheard, and this pursuit for hidden treasures may be just what many brands need to reignite their relationship with older audiences and connect with new ones. 12 LIGHT 13 SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE JEDI OR SITH? THE LIGHT AND DARK SIDES OF CONVERGENCE JEDI OR SITH? THE LIGHT AND DARK SIDES OF CONVERGENCE Whitney Anderson or more things coming together, readers of Henry Jenkins’ seminal book, “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide” generally connect the term to media.26 One thing most people can probably agree on is of technological advancement. After all, technology – whether it’s the printing press, the steam engine, or a 16 GB smartphone – facilitates the coming together of people and ideas. But technology can never be separated from culture; there is an ongoing feedback loop, as one shifts, the other transforms in kind. Director Spike Jonze explored this symbiosis in his December 18, 2013. In the not-too-distant future, a personalized greeting card writer played by Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his computer, an conceit is high concept and outrageous enough to have easily become a broad comedy (one can picture studio execs suggesting Jim Carrey for the lead), but the movie is actually a sensitive, fragile, and touching love story – with insightful commentary on how humans and technology might someday converge. As anyone who’s made threats towards Siri can attest, Jonze is asking a lot of the viewer with this premise. But in the context of Moore’s Law, named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who boldly predicted in 1965 that computing power would double every two years, it’s not so outlandish. Most people assumed Moore’s Law would be a short-lived phenomenon, but nearly 50 years later it’s still proving true. Technology’s exponential growth rate means we are now accomplishing in one year what once took centuries. Scientists recently calculated the world; that’s 315 times the number of grains of sand on Earth.27 All this data will soon be universally available (Google’s Executive Chairman forecasts the entire world will be platforms, services, and devices.28 In this increasingly converged world, with “dumb” objects getting “smart,” and the blurring of boundaries between work and play, advertising is changing: business, culture, marketing, media, and even human relationships. Some argue this accelerated change is for the better, while others believe that it’s ushering in the downfall of civilization. Let’s explore both sides. 14 LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE LIGHT SIDE 15 Dem tio a z i at ocr n Simply put, anyone can learn anything from just about anywhere. History shows many examples where exclusive knowledge was used as a tool of control. From religious organizations guarding knowledge from “the profane,” to resources to monopolize airtime - information and its distillation, has historically been limited to the wealthy and elite classes. But technology is to Khan Academy to YouTube to Tutor.com, there’s no shortage of online sites providing courses and tutorials on nearly every subject or trade imaginable without traditional tuition price tags. And patients, once at the mercy of their doctors and care providers, are becoming more informed about their own health and well-being, and empowered to make decisions based on more accessible data. One example: the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Challenge. It’s a global competition designed to inspire scientists to create a handheld health diagnostic tool people can use in their own homes to better manage their personal conditions. LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE LIGHT SIDE Em erm w po ent lle Co te n I e ctiv nc e g lli e Where you once needed access to a stage or media platform to make your voice heard, now you simply need an internet connection. Artists can get funding outside the studio system, and Beyond individual success stories, technology is enabling people to unite their voices and change entire cultures. Sexual assault is a huge issue for women in Egypt, one that often gets overlooked, ignored, and accepted as part of Egypt’s culture. In response, a group developed HarassMap in 2010, an initiative that works to end the social acceptability of sexual harassment.29 HarassMap allows women or witnesses to report sexual harassment via its website, harassmap.org, as well as email, text, or Twitter, and to track where assaults are taking place. Not only has this technology given a voice to those that would otherwise hesitate to speak up, in Egypt so that the harassment of women is becoming less tolerated. All of us are smarter than any of us. Sure, we were crowdsourcing long before Wikipedia in our own analog ways, but online communities opened our day-to-day lives decidedly better. Amazon customer reviews, TripAdvisor user comments, we travel, and what we read. But there’s more to collective intelligence than avoiding a bad restaurant via Yelp; it’s being used to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Take for example Foldit, a game created by scientists. For out the particular structure of a virus in monkeys that caused AIDS.30 What the scientists couldn’t accomplish on their own, in a decade and a half, no less, was solved within three weeks by random participants playing the Foldit game. And what’s most inspiring about this story is that many participants had no science background at all. 16 LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE DARK SIDE Peak Distraction Are smarter gadgets actually making us dumber? A recent study found that people who are interrupted by technology score 20 percent lower on a standard cognition test.31 Another study proved that a large percentage of students couldn’t concentrate on homework for more than two minutes without distracting themselves with social media or writing an email.32 With smartphones reaching near ubiquity, the consequences of digital multitasking are coming to a head. Just as 41 states outlawed texting while driving, there are rumblings of “texting while walking” bans in reaction to pedestrian fatalities. In Japan, more than a dozen people fall off of railway platforms while looking at their phones each year.33 People are not only putting themselves at risk, but technology is causing some people to exhibit symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction and depression. Connected Loneliness “Connected, But Alone?” is the title of Sherry Turkle’s famous TED talk, and she points out that we’ve gradually become accustomed to being “alone together.” We’re sitting next to our family, our co-workers, our friends, but we’re interacting with someone else on our devices. In the United States, two studies showed that 40 percent doubled in 30 years.38 It is the great irony of our age that we have never been better connected while simultaneously feeling more alone. Turkle believes our fear of intimacy causes us to rely on technology when we should have a face-to-face conversation. Meanwhile, comedian Louis C.K. blames technology for preventing children from learning empathy. In an interview with Conan YouTube views, C.K explained, “I think these [cellphones] are toxic, especially for kids…you need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing anything. That’s what these phones are taking away.”39 Displacement Robots are taking our jobs. While it’s easy to another door opens,” the truth is 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being replaced by computers within the next two decades.34 “The pace and scale of this encroachment into human skills is relatively recent and has profound economic implications,” according to two MIT economists in their recently published book “Race Against the Machine.”35 And it’s not just blue-collar factory jobs that will disappear. A recent McKinsey report suggests we’ll be seeing the “automation of knowledge work,” software essentially doing things that used to require a college degree.36 Paul Krugman of The New York Times argues that in order to maintain a middle class society, we may need to create additional social safety nets for those losing their jobs via 37 17 LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE DARK SIDE >>> 18 LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE DARK SIDE What can we learn from all this as marketers? For every advancement in technology that creates opportunity, there is an equal and opposite dynamic that creates a whole new set of problems. From the light side of convergence, we learn that sometimes the best way to gain power is to give it away. Let consumers be in control. Use them to crowdsource ideas, and take advantage of the mass of intelligence outside your own organization. Ultimately, the more control you relinquish the stronger the connection you can build with your brand’s tribe. It’s a paradox, but also a real opportunity. From the dark side of convergence, we recognize that humans are emotional creatures. At their core, they want to be heard and to connect in meaningful ways. By speaking to – or rather with – them as humans, by providing them opportunities to slow down (rather than adding to the cacophony), and by helping them connect with core of who they are. And that leads to loyalty. As for the future of convergence, and whether the dark or light side wins out, countless movies machines, and most posit a world of us against them. Emotional humans versus rational (and lethal) robots. What Spike Jonze portrays in Her is much more optimistic. Instead of looking at technology as something that isolates us, he imagines a world where it exists as a tool for teaching us the importance of human relationships, and how to openly share our lives with other people. Though to learn this lesson we THIS + THAT = NOPE Adam Szajgin It’s a fact of life that bringing two different elements together is always interesting. One plus one (1 + 1)? equals “hmmm, let’s see how this goes...” But like a smoothie made with Nyquil and a blended up ham sandwich, just because it’s an interesting combination, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. My point is simple: just because mash-ups are trendy right now doesn’t mean you can just throw stuff together all willy nilly and expect it to work out for your brand. Think of it like a marriage, or the high-calorie snack that will keep you company while you sit home alone on a Friday night – choosing the right partner is everything. The right partner brings out the best in your think and feel differently about you. The wrong partner either makes you look like a desperate jerk trying to capitalize on a trend, or draft off somebody cooler, funnier, and better than you. Or, it lowers your value, cheapens your image, makes your life miserable, and makes everyone wonder what the hell you were thinking. 19 LIGHT SIDE OF CONVERGENCE + THE DARK SIDE OF CONVERGENCE THIS + THAT = NOPE 1 Choose Wisely: As you bring elements together, you want to make harmony – not just noise. Your relationship should bring out the best in who you are and make you shine. But just as important, is to converge with something or someone that will be enhanced by the addition of your identity and your values. that’s far enough away from who you are to be interesting, but close enough to make sense. The leap should be exciting but we want everyone to make it to the other side. 2 Execute Flawlessly: Just because mean you can’t botch this. Even the greatest convergence in the history of mankind, peanut butter and jelly, takes a nosedive off the shitcliff when you use too much of one ingredient or the other. Or if you put it on that square piece of cardboard called 9-grain bread. It tastes like birdfeed and should be outlawed immediately. However, if you pay attention to the details and draw out the right elements from each ingredient, you can make even the craziest convergence successful. 3 Don’t Force: This a good rule for life. Don’t force it. People can tell. They can feel it and it feels icky. Everyone will have a bad time, especially you. Your best bet is to converge with brands, trends, and ideas that truly interest and inspire you. 4 Enjoy It: Run your idea through the “will this sell more product?” If it feels like a nightmare, it probably is. That’s because convergence is the ultimate brand exercise. The power doesn’t come from what it sells. The power comes from what it says. This is an opportunity to express and enhance the perception of your identity in a way you could never do on your own. When in doubt remember, this should be like sex - it should be great. If it partner or just stick to playing with yourself. 20 BRANDS PERSONALITY + BRAND PERSONALITY + THE PERSONAL BRAND Josie Brown A funny thing happened on the way to the new-media forum. People started behaving more like brands, and brands more like people. In this almost perverse role reversal, we see individuals carefully managing their “brand” positioning and personality, while companies think - and act - more like real people, warts and all. When you take a step back and look at the recent evolution of media and marketing, this transference actually makes sense. Not only are the channels where people and brands interact with one another converging, but so too is the style in our lives, John Q. Public has access to the same marketing tools as multinational corporations. Not so much in traditional or terrestrial media, but certainly in the social sphere: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Google+, Vine, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and even MySpace (yes, it’s back). And on these platforms, it’s what’s editorial opinion and what’s sponsored messaging. As marketers, we’re being programmed to think of engagement as the new impression. But for real people, the concept of engagement is just as relevant as it is for brands. Have you ever caught yourself compulsively hitting refresh and counting your likes, shares, comments, and followers after tweeting a carefully crafted >>> 21 BRANDS + PERSONALITY BRAND PERSONALITY + THE PERSONAL BRAND 22 BRANDS + PERSONALITY BRAND PERSONALITY + THE PERSONAL BRAND A proud display of a human showcasing the "Brand Me" A brand adding a human touch to their product's packaging joke or posting a brag-worthy photo? In fact, you could apply just about any of the new-media individual’s efforts to build and maintain a brand image in the digital age. See, as kids, we grew up with the ability to shed personalities as we crossed borders between our discrete worlds: school, sports, activities, community groups, and summer camp. As adults, it was the same thing, with different façades for work and play, for college friends and baby-group acquaintances. Whereas the opportunities to market your “brand me” used to be limited to a yearbook quote, bumper sticker, or cubicle wall, and you could segregate and nurture the idealized version of your persona for different groups, it’s now on display in an amalgamated portraiture, a single integrated identity that’s visible for all to see. So it’s no wonder that people are behaving more like brands. Think about how the people in your life, be they bloggers, writers, doctors, designers, tattooists, attorneys, or teachers no longer want to separate their product from their name. In fact, none of us do – we are becoming our We fetishize public icons like Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, or Martha Stewart, who’ve leveraged their own personalities to build brand would. 23 BRANDS + PERSONALITY BRAND PERSONALITY + THE PERSONAL BRAND So how do we explain brands acting more like people? Ten years ago, most brand strategies to consumers, telling them something. Today, most briefs that cross our desks focus on starting a conversation, allowing consumers to discover something for themselves, and then talk about it. So it only stands to reason that people would want to have a conversation with someone they can identify with, someone they feel like they already know, with relatable qualities they can connect to. a monologue, in which a guarded automaton parrots talking points at you, or engaging in a dialogue with an imperfect person with whom you have a voice in shaping the course of the conversation? You probably don’t choose to spend time with people who talk about nothing but themselves, or take themselves too seriously, so why would we expect any different from marketers? The idea of engaging with customers was alive and well long before Friendster was a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. There was a time when we once shook the hand of the farmer we got our eggs from, we talked sports with the milkman, and trends with the hairdresser; we formed loyal relationships with people and their products or services. We invested in them, and they invested in us. So it makes sense that smart brands are learning to be more social, and less self-centered; to ask questions, and really listen to the answers; to adopt the behavioral traits of real humans. The relationship between a brand and its customers is just that – a relationship. And a successful one requires two-way communication, honesty, and a sense of mutual respect. The payoff is huge: trust, desire, and emotional connection, which all translate to loyalty and advocacy. As brands behave more like people, and people think of themselves more like accountable and investible brands, the lines get blurry, and that’s when things get interesting. If a critical mass of people choose to engage with brands in the same way that we do with other people, it’ll exactly who their brand is, and who they want to connect with. In this Freaky Friday scenario, the journey to self-discovery for brands and people should make for more interesting, and ultimately entertaining, marketing. 24 ROMANCE INNOVATION + OFFLINE AND OFFBEAT: THE NEW BREED OF DATING APPS Sabena Suri Katie is a 23-year-old friend who recently broke up with her long-term boyfriend. She spent the requisite time in mourning – in this case more than a week, less than a month. But when we went to dinner the other night, she was glowing, happier than I can remember seeing her. I asked her if she’d met someone. Her reply? “Three guys. On Tinder.” It’s a familiar refrain for singles under 35. Online dating, a $1.3 billion industry40, has disrupted the traditional courting rituals and changed the game for Gen Xers and Boomers, who bars, or shock and awe of a truly blind date. But among Millennials, the digital natives who came of age in this post-dating world, online dating is simply the norm in modern romance. Apps like Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and the dating pool connects and communicates. This new breed of apps shares a common thread: Looking beyond the obvious advancements in technology and social connectivity, there are broader cultural factors driving the shift away on our old friend, social anxiety. We know that people are carefully positioning and maintaining stock: 54% of online daters have met someone who “seriously misrepresented” themselves in 41 Millennials are looking for ways information; for ways to see through the smoke and mirrors by relying on friends of friends. 25 ROMANCE + INNOVATION OFFLINE AND OFFBEAT: THE NEW BREED OF DATING APPS Another factor driving adoption of these new mobile dating services is the sheer volume of prospects available at the swipe of a thumb. For a generation who grew up in the shadow of a distressing divorce rate, relatively few of whom are ready to settle down when they have endless these apps play naturally to their tendency to browse before buying. Couple that with a tough economy, and many moving back in with their parents – or more likely one of their parents – and the lengthy, romantic idea of courtship they grew up with in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days simply isn’t realistic (or affordable). Knowing what we do about Millennials’ need to engage right now,42 these apps are brilliantly architected for alacrity and dispatch. Instead of right to the chase with people they trust (even by association) can get started in less time than it takes to order a drink. Which is likely what they’re doing from a barstool while they’re dynamite wants to do that on the computer at home? “What makes Tinder truly killer, though, is that it was designed exclusively for smartphones and the hyper-social Millennials who wield them. Although online dating has long since lost its stigma, OkCupid and eHarmony remain sites you browse alone at home, with a fortifying glass of wine and a spreadsheet to track interactions. Tinder is an app you pull up at a bar with friends, passing the iPhone around."43 Coffee Meets Bagel takes the opposite approach: precision. A sniper shot, not buckshot. The site sends just one match to users a day, tailoring options based on shared interests. Yet, the “bagels” are often friends of friends, making them far less random. Let’s Date uses Facebook Down does the same, anonymously. "With Coffee Meets Bagel, I don't have to waste a bunch of time searching through be a match. It's just one person each day and I can really give them some consideration," says Jimmy, 27. >>> 26 ROMANCE + INNOVATION OFFLINE AND OFFBEAT: THE NEW BREED OF DATING APPS Grouper has found a way to combine friends of virtual concierge, setting up groups of three guys and three girls, picking a location, and ordering Other sites like The Dating Ring and Dating in Groups have followed suit.44 The advantages? Keeping things casual and getting friends’ opinions (instantly) before heading off with an otherwise random stranger. So, online dating evolved, and will continue to do so in the future as we build a better mousetrap. As marketers, we should look for cues in the importance of Millennials’ ever-expanding social circles; the newest wave of dating apps reveals that this generation is willing to trust not only their friends, but also friends of friends. Positive experiences spark endorsements that have exponential legs if people think you’re worth talking about. What’s more, the old adage that says a bad experience is much more likely to be shared – and with more people – than a good it comes to online dating – or any industry where a negative experience is actually expected – the opposite is true. People are willing to share unexpected ways to do just that. What makes Grouper great is that it’s like an automatic gut check, since we’re all on the date together. My friends can be like, yeah…no. Right then and there. Chelsea , 22. might be pushing the next wave in online dating tools for Millennials, these trends are grounded in fundamental human truths. People are busy; they a partner. They’re also skeptical; someone who looks too-good-to-be-true on paper (or screen) usually is. 27 ROMANCE + INNOVATION OFFLINE AND OFFBEAT: THE NEW BREED OF DATING APPS SELECT APPS AND WHAT THEY DO BAS d what kin ased on b rs se u a atches ve; uses res. f Fish: M nt to ha ious desi a Plenty o sc w n y o e c th b su ip r sh e n v o of relatio iz to unc re gical qu e guys a psycholo and thre the ls ir g g in e n, sett of thre d locatio Groups n r: a e st p u re Gro on inte d based matche date. p u ro rag d on stage fo rd” base ating Ca D “ a s te te: Crea a red Let’s Da y swipe one, the 45 e m so t rs rejec se u If s. interest OMMO ED ON C N INTERE ST BASED ON P HYSICALITY (+LOCATION ) Tinder: Allow s the user to approve ma based on phy tches sical appea rance, swipin or right for no g left for yes . 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BAS UTUA Co L FR ema ffee Me IEND e il ofte with a ts Bage S na p l : o E t a e frien d of ntial da ch day , sing a frie te Are le nd. 47 , a.k.a. you to k a “b s receiv I nter now e age es Fac l”, w an ebo potentia ted?: Le h o is ok fr iend l match ts single s e s . b s ro base The d on wse an mat Hinge dg : che com s mig mon et ht h but on ave ly som shows ethin frien d g in com s of frien mon ds w hom with 48 . you ED O NM APPS FOR COUPL ES te to-do-lists, couples to crea ws lo Al a o: ad oc Av ugh a tap and , and “hug” thro private message vibration. the same time, play games at n ca s ing er Us : le Coup umbkiss” by plac nt dates, and “th rta po im ive ch ar e. e at the same tim thumbs on phon ople sweet things pe adding up the s towards int po Kahnoodle: By te ula m ers, users accu do for their partn their other half. ons” created by up co “digital love 28 LUXURY+ MASS THE DEVIL RENTS PRADA: WHEN ACCESS TRUMPS OWNERSHIP Jas Gill Imagine a world where we no longer own clothes, jewelry, cars, or even homes. Seems far-fetched, given our innate propensity for conspicuous consumption, but this reality may not be too far off. A shift towards access, as opposed to ownership, is changing how companies market, distribute, and sell their products, and how customers shop for and buy them. marks a departure from the Malcolm Forbes doctrine of “he who dies with the most toys wins,” portrayed vividly in The Wolf of Wall Street, for a new “she who dies with the most experiences wins” ethos. 29 LUXURY + MASS THE DEVIL RENTS PRADA: WHEN ACCESS TRUMPS OWNERSHIP We’d argue that either way, you’re dead, and therefore not winning, but that’s beside the point, which is this: People aren’t rejecting materialism as much as they are changing the Similarly, ShopHers capitalizes on the notion of sharing pre-owned designer fashion. One of its unique offerings is the option to be matched with a “Style Soulmate” who shares your exact same measurements and style – allowing you to swap clothes hassle-free. You could swap your Versace blouse for your soulmate’s Chanel dress – having your designer cupcake and eating it too. In the short year since the beta version of the site launched, the company has organically grown their customer base to nearly 250,000 members.53 dining, music, and even travel. With Airbnb, you in Kensington for a week, just to see what it’s like. Likewise, the 24 million active Spotify users will tell you that they’d rather listen to millions of songs than own just a handful of albums.54 Foodies, listen up - Dinner Lab, a newcomer to the stage, is an underground social dinner club that brings together up-and-coming chefs with aspirational foodies for a night of good food and company. Just last week, I had a celebrity chef cook me up a six-course meal in a boxing gym in downtown LA – an experience I typically would never be able to afford. This trend is changing the face of luxury as we know it by democratizing lust-worthy goods and making them available to the unwashed masses. And it’s giving rise to new business models built on the principle that you don’t need to be rich to live a little more extravagantly every now and then. The effects are already being felt throughout the fashion industry. A slew of fashion platforms are increasing accessibility to items that were traditionally reserved for the elite. Take Le Tote, a fashion company that lives the 49 Le Tote allows women to rent unlimited boutique clothing and accessories for only $49 a month.50 As marketers, we know that great insights are the ones that you’ve always known, but never heard articulated. This is exactly what CEO Rakesh Tondon stumbled upon. He realized that women, especially his wife, were constantly complaining that they had nothing to wear – yet had closets full of clothes. And better yet, women were always borrowing and sharing clothes at a very localized level – across all ages and socioeconomic levels.51 behavior, and brought it online. Tondon admits borrowing model, and considers Rent the Runway a pioneer of the new luxury fashion. We talked to Tondon about the access over ownership trend to get his take. “It’s a very real trend. I hate to call it a trend, because it’s really an evolution of how we’re wired. It’s the direction we’re all going, and there are reasons for it.”52 The implication for brands is obvious – today’s consumers, especially Millennials, see themselves as part of a collective that can (and should) work together to access and share experiences; luxury is no exception. You can expect the luxury landscape to change drastically over the next few years, extending beyond the reach of the 1 percent. As marketers, we need to adjust our strategies to cater to this trend that demands greater accessibility to highquality goods by focusing less on ownership and more on discovery and participation. 30 + SCIENCE 31 FOOD FOOD + SCIENCE THE CULTIVATION OF CURIOUS CONSUMPTION Morgan Aceino “I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Ernest character Ron Swanson pointing out that a “wrong way to consume alcohol.”55 Is this an early indicator of another food fad on its way to cultural obscurity or validation that people are salivating for more? We’re leaning towards the latter. World-renowned chefs and revered scholars alike have deemed the marriage of food and science worthy of rigorous study. This recent recognition and validation has given rise to an almost academic fascination with the “how” behind cuisine. We’re experimenting with it in places and ways that go beyond tweaking Grandma’s recipe in a traditional kitchen. Ramen burgers. Cronuts. Pork belly. Pork everything. Craft soda. Foodies are infamous for an obsession with what’s trending right now. And moved on, chasing down the next undiscovered delicacy. With attention spans as short as the line at most food trucks these days, there are few trends that they stick with once they catch the attention of the mainstream. But one particularly relevant movement has recently made its way from fringe to the forefront without losing its cred within the tribe: food science. The convergence of food and science is hardly new (the term "molecular gastronomy" was coined back in the dark ages of 1988), and could easily be relegated to the transient trend pile. But the latest iteration of this mash-up has inspired a surprising sense of intellectual curiosity around food that can tell us a lot about broader behavioral patterns. Pop culture is a fairly accurate yardstick for identifying that point where a trend crosses over to the masses. Recently, Parks and Recreation parodied “molecular mixology” with the We’re mummifying, molding, breaking down, and rebuilding edibles in ways that are unexpected - and in some cases - downright dangerous. We even have some of our biggest brains dedicated to pushing food science to new levels. In 2013, Harvard University created a whole lecture series dedicated to the topic: Science and Cooking. In it, students delve into everything from the Physics of Mouthfeel to the Evolution of Culinary Theory.56 On the other side of the country, UCLA has followed suit with a class called Physiological Sciences, which focuses on science and food, and brings experts from both >>> “By taking inspiration from humanities, sciences and arts, we undertake work which other research facilities, rooted in one side of the arbitrary science/craft divide, might not attempt. For example, often those working directly with complex foods at an artisanal level understand little of the biochemistry, and those who study them at a biochemical level have little applied knowledge of gastronomy. We seek to reconcile these approaches, using modern and traditional methods to combine craft and science for delicious results.” - Nordic Food Lab59 32 FOOD + SCIENCE THE CULTIVATION OF CURIOUS CONSUMPTION push each other to new, exciting places.57 Chefs all over the world are embracing science to elevate their culinary prowess. Noma, named “Best Restaurant in the World” for two years running by the S. Pellegrino Awards, places the utmost importance on exploration and experimentation in the name of food and science. The esteemed head chef René Redzepi set up a whole houseboat with an experimental kitchen dedicated to this endeavor - Noma’s food lab.58 We’re also a little obsessed with experimenting to manipulate and reimagine familiar food from extinction60) and treating obesity with neuroscience61 to fermented black garlic (deliciously bizarre62) we’re digging deeper, adventuring more, and collecting experiences that have implications beyond what happens in the lab or kitchen. Brand Implication Anthony Bourdain, reformed chef and world explorer, captures the sentiment of curious consumption best in a piece of advice about life: better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go.” For brands, that means embracing the modern left-and-right-brain approach to creation and consumption. Be relentlessly surprising. Create experiences worth exploring. Break conventions. Make new ones. Surprise to delight. Connecting with today’s consumer requires a new recipe. The way to his heart might be through his stomach, but the way into his conversation is through his brain– by fostering his intrinsic sense of curiosity. When done properly, and with purpose, he’ll keep coming back for more. 33 FOOD + SCIENCE THE CULTIVATION OF CURIOUS CONSUMPTION 34 GAMING + SOCIAL MEDIA 35 GAMING + SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDS WILL “LIKE” XBOX ONE'S SOCIAL FEATURES Jimmy Barker In 2009, Microsoft tried to bring social media to gaming consoles. It didn’t work. With limited functionality, the Facebook and Twitter applications for the Xbox 360 sputtered and were eventually removed from the Xbox Marketplace. Now, Microsoft has a second chance with the its next-generation console with an arsenal of impressive social features. In 2014, gamers will be able to share screenshots and videos of their virtual adventures directly to Facebook using the console’s built-in DVR. So, when you slay a dragon or demolish an alien overlord with your bare hands, you’ll be able to rub it in your friends’ faces with the push of a button. You’ll also be able to stream live gameplay footage to Twitch, a gaming content hub with 44 million monthly visitors – a number that’s destined to grow as a result of partnerships with both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It doesn’t end with these shiny new sharing options, either. Facebook and Twitter have their of the console’s essential features. For example, the familiar Friends app, which provides real-time information about your online buddies’ activities, has been redesigned and now closely resembles Facebook’s newsfeed. There’s also the new “Follow” feature. Unabashedly taking cues from Twitter, you can now follow other players, giving their content priority placement in your activity feed. So, your Xbox One will notify you when a followed player posts an awesome gameplay video, just like your phone gives you a heads up when Ellen tweets a hilarious joke. Where marketing is concerned, the “Follow” feature could be a game changer (pun intended). Just as Twitter has given Katy Perry a preposterously large megaphone – her horde now growing to 48 million strong – someone will soon become the world’s have a direct line to an almost obsessively engaged audience of 46 million Xbox Live subscribers: 25-44 year-olds who spend an average of 87 hours per month on their consoles. That’s an enormous platform for opinion sharing. Imagine the potential sales boost an upcoming game might enjoy if Xbox One’s top gamer gushed about the title in a live stream viewed by the masses. A negative review, on the other hand, could be just as impactful. Personally, I’ve made past purchase decisions based entirely on the opinion of one trusted friend. That a single gamer might wield sweeping authority over all of Xbox Live is noteworthy and a testament to the powerful social tools the Xbox One is introducing. While the potential marketing opportunities created by gamer-generated content and social sharing are immense, they’re also marred with uncertainty. Will brands be permitted to directly sponsor gamers? Or will there be limitations? Would Microsoft consider selling ad space on popular channels? It’s all a bit up in the air right now. What’s certain, though, is that the internet is about to witness a serious uptick in gaming content. Until now, expensive, specialized equipment was required to share your personal gaming experiences, but the new consoles are set to democratize the medium. Production and consumption will be easier than ever – and that could put more than a little stress on my analog friendships. But, hey, if you need to get in touch, you can always “Follow” me. When you slay a dragon or demolish an alien overlord with your bare hands you’ll be able to rub it in your friends’ faces with the push of a button. 36 SPORTS + DATA 37 SPORTS + DATA PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DATA: DEMOCRATIZING MONEYBALL Devin Desjarlais When 40-year-old Jason Kidd returned to the New York Knicks after an injury, his inner circle of advisors looked to ones and zeroes to gauge his ability to play. Strapped to his jersey was a matchbook-sized GPS device, loaded with sensors that tracked his acceleration, agility, and force. Thanks to that little device, and the data it provided his trainers and doctors, Kidd was cleared to play ball during the 2013 season.63 Way back in the early aughts, Michael Lewis’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game introduced us to the true story of Billy Beane, who used sabermetrics – advanced empirical analysis of baseball – to disrupt 19th century conventional baseball wisdom and take an underfunded Oakland A’s to the playoffs two years in a row. And long before that, there was Rocky IV and entertaining take on the “technology of human performance.” In recent years, data and technology have played an increasingly prominent role in competitive athletics. We saw it in the 2008 Olympics, when competitors wearing Speedo’s high-tech LZR racer suit won 94% of swimming races.64 And then again in 2012 when Nike’s HyperDunk+ shoes with built-in pressure sensors gave LeBron James the data he needed to prepare himself – and his team – to beat France in the 2012 Olympic opener.65 Today, the rest of the world is coming around to the realization that using data to track everyday athletic activities can optimize personal and professional performance. Matt Levine, a professional sports consultant, began to appreciate these implications after his company studied and sold niche baseball data to teams like the New York Yankees. . “For the regular industry because of how they’re pushing the use of technology with performance evaluation.”66 While “big data” was surely one of the most hyped (and misused) corporate buzzwords of 2013, its taken a page out of the sports industry’s playbook, developing winning strategies not on experience or intuition, but rather on data-driven decision-making. In fact, companies that do this are proven to be 5% competitors.67 Thanks to the availability of an avalanche of data streams, athletes and businesses now have a competitive edge that was impossible even a decade ago. Just last year, while LeBron was using big data to improve his courtside skills, Target was using their own data to accurately identify a customer’s pregnancy and predict her spending habits before she’d even alerted loved ones.68 >>> Theo Epstein, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, has embraced sabermetrics, hiring Bill James as a consultant. 38 SPORTS + DATA PERFORMANCE-ENHANGING DATA: DEMOCRATIZING MONEYBALL That data has also led to the emergence of technology that consistently best their competition in every race, game, and qualifying round. In a life-imitates-art charade that recalls the Russians’ space-age training regimen in Rocky IV, these athletic automatons are trailed by a team of physicians and performance monitors, who are armed with an arsenal of tools to accurately track and measure performance, and charged with are extremely valuable assets, running smoothly.69 Unfortunately, like most things in life, there are few shortcuts here; simply having access to data isn’t competitive edge. They must understand the factors behind each success and failure to accurately assess competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and measure the impact of tactical changes needed to win. In both worlds, even the smallest of margins – measured in fractions – can make a huge difference.70 So what does this mean for marketers? Through the ability to track such incredible data, professional athletes have become proverbial guinea pigs for statistics companies to provide the kind of data that businesses need to win. But beyond that, we can look to sports as an example of how to leverage information for competitive gain. It’s becoming increasingly clear that data must be used to inform key decisions upstream, not to simply support an opinion or justify a point of view. It needs to be used to drive critical thinking and challenge conventional wisdom. The human body is our greatest source of data and thanks to smartphones, wearable technology, and new apps, we now we have a myriad of ways to measure and analyze it. We can track mood, sleep patterns, cognitive function, blood pressure, diet, and location. What does this mean for brands? A big opportunity to know more about their consumers' behavior. 39 SPORTS + DATA PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DATA: DEMOCRATIZING MONEYBALL THE DATASEXUAL A Look at the World of Quanti ed Self Cognitive Function: Sleep Function: Tracking how optimal your brain function performs Track how your quality of sleep and if you are getting enough sleep to improve health Mood Function: Track how your mood is throughout the day Products: Lumosity zz Products: Products: Jawbone Up, Lark, Fitbit, Zeo Moodpanda, Moodscoping z Heart Function: Track your heart health from heart rate and blood pressure Dietary Function: Track food intake to fine tune weight loss and find out what foods may make you irritable Products: Products: MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, Noom Withings, Tinke Activity Function: Track your movement and activity level throughout the day and get reminders to move DNA/Microbiome: Learn about the good bacteria and potential genetic ancestry to prevent certain diseases Products: Nike Fuelband, Fitbit, Jawbone Up Products: 23andMe, uBiome Eating Function: Track how fast you eat your food to ensure if you are achieving optimal digestion through vibrations Smartphone: Can track any and everything about you. Primarily as a handheld GPS Products: HAPIfork Products: Yelp, Foursquare, Moves Blood Glucose: Track your blood sugar levels as you go about your day to understand your metabolism and energy Speed and Distance Function: Track how fast and far your run, jump, and move throughout the day Products: vDexecom Products: Nike+, Armour39 Inforgraphic by Alan Huynh 40 CONTRIBUTOR PROFILES COPYWRITER NERD JIMMY BARKER + STRATEGIST SCREENWRITER WHITNEY ANDERSON + WHAT DO YOU DO? I solve formidable business problems for global brands with the cunning usage of puns. More accurately, I generate ideas that humans will enjoy and then explain them with words that brands can embrace. WHAT DO YOU DO? I oversee the strategic planning department which involves mentoring (and learning from) some amazingly talented people. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? Often I use my Chicago Bears fanaticism to inspire empathetic enthusiasm. No matter the client, I try to imagine that consumers love that product or service in the same way that I admire the Monsters of the Midway. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? Earlier in my career I was a working screenwriter (Disney, After Dark Films) and churned out a couple scripts that now sit on some development shelf somewhere. At Omelet I get to use these storytelling skills in so many different ways. I think my favorite is thinking of ways stories can be told visually rather than verbally â€“ useful when you're developing content for global audiences. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Irony and authenticity. If younger generations continue the mock-adoption of lifestyle choices their parents genuinely appreciate, soon everyone will sport a retro wardrobe and ornate facial hair, but no oneâ€™s true intentions will be apparent. 2014 could be the year this phenomenon reaches its tipping point. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? More Sharknados! (a.k.a. sharks + things that make no sense with sharks.) On a totally separate note, I think 2014 will see a lot of improved integration between digital teams and PR teams. Both disciplines need the other's knowledge. Digital natives and experienced PR professionals should join forces. 41 CONTRIBUTOR PROFILES STRATEGIST FOODIE MORGAN ACEINO + BRAND ANALYST TREKKIE CRISTINA PEDROZA + WHAT DO YOU DO? The brand strategist part of my job is mostly rooted in being a culture, competition, and consumer spy. I'm also really involved in the Quality of Life Committee here (so I know my way around planning a party.) WHAT DO YOU DO? I try to make the story behind numbers a little sexier. Trust me, analytics can be hot if you know how to look at the data. I also use my research superpowers for the good of our clients. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? I'm a little obsessed with urban exploration â€“ especially when it comes to a city's food scene. One of the things I've noticed is that a lot of consumer macro trends can be predicted by listening really closely to what's going on in the local food world. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? I have an engineering and operations background, but I have been obsessed with As part of my job, I have been able to geek out about my TV pleasures: True Blood, Game of Thrones, and most recently my lifelong favorite: Star Trek. Yes, I am proud Trekkie. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Dudes and the kitchen. We've already seen tiny sparks of this, but I expect it to blow up in 2014. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? I have to say augmented reality is going to get another go. A couple of years ago AR seemed like an abstract Minority Report type of concept that would take time to develop. However, with the most recent launch of Google Glass and more wearable items, the clash of digital and analog is something users are not only perversely curious about but want to see how far it can go in their daily lives. their culinary chops. From restaurant exploring to getting down and dirty in the kitchen (so to speak), 2014 seems ripe for ushering in a whole new group of dude foodies. (Doodies?) 42 CONTRIBUTOR PROFILES COPYWRITER BANKSY ADAM SZAJGIN + STRATEGIST FASHIONISTA SABENA SURI WHAT DO YOU DO? Sometimes I come up with ideas, write them, and questionnaires. + WHAT DO YOU DO? I do a lot of consumer research, creating presentations, and tracking trends. One of my favorite things is reading about Millennials, because I am one—so it’s kind of cool when a marketer or journalist gets it right. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? Your entire life should converge with your work, especially when it comes to creativity. The best ideas often come from random places, and the best advertising tells the truth about life. If you pay attention and take notice of everything you possibly can, all of it gets absorbed and becomes a potential ingredient for whatever you make next. Sifting through all of life, connecting different pieces and using that to form new thoughts is how we create. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? I am a huge fashion fan(atic). I think fashion and culture are inextricably linked, so as a strategist, that’s interesting to me. If hemlines are getting shorter and people are putting studs on everything—what does that say about society right now? WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Luxury and subtlety. Whereas luxury used to be consumers are now looking for quality without showiness. So, we’re seeing brands like Louis Vuitton releasing understated collections without the LV logo and Mansur Gavriel creating a popular line of simple leather handbags. I’m excited to see other designers adopt this trend. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Me and you. February 19th. The Coffee Bean at the Third Street Promenade. 5:15 pm. I’ll be wearing a stargazer lily in my lapel. As always, coy blue eyes. Then, over hot espresso and the sound of a homeless man arguing with Whitney Houston’s ghost, we shall converge. 43 CONTRIBUTOR PROFILES ACCOUNT DIRECTOR ANTIPODEAN JOSIE BROWN + STRATEGIST TRAVEL JUNKIE JASMEET GILL WHAT DO YOU DO? I shape and build business with our key clients while overseeing the total end-to-end delivery of campaigns and projects by the wider agency team. + WHAT DO YOU DO? As a brand strategist, my strength lies in being able to empathize with and put myself in the shoes of people. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? I've had the privilege of doing this ad-gig in a number of countries around the world. It's taken me from my home country in New Zealand, across to Australia, over to the United Kingdom, through Europe and on both coasts of the United States. Operating as an outsider who thinks like a local has sharpened my ability to hone in on a legitimate universal truth, see the wood and the trees, and understand BS in any language. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? Every member of my immediate family was born in a different country, on a different continent. We are a family of multiple nationalities, exposed to a number of different cultures at a very early age and have been a cultural omnivore ever since. I've been to over twenty different countries and in each and every one â€“when you strip away the languages, customs, and skin colors â€“ people are all basically the same. This basic insight is what got me WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? The offensive and the owned. It's been a long time coming but offensive labels, terms, words and icons are being reassigned, re-owned, repurposed and done away with. The user is now the proprietor and barriers are coming down. Where once an antipodean was considered a bit of a 'them' word, it's now very much an 'us' word. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Beauty and men. The traditional roles of men celebrated. It's okay for men to care how they look, use expensive grooming products, and even shop. Men are looking for brands that cater to a handful of brands that are doing it now, but look for it to become increasingly popular in the next year. 44 CONTRIBUTOR PROFILES PR MANAGER MARATHON RUNNER DEVIN DESJARLAIS + ANALYST URBAN EXPLORER ALAN HUYNH WHAT DO YOU DO? I handle all internal and external communications, and work with reporters to promote our professional work. I’ve never talked more in my entire life (although my parents would probably disagree.) + WHAT DO YOU DO? The analyst part of my job requires me to look at tons of numbers and turn them into pretty pictures and insights. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? As a runner, I’ve disciplined my mind and body to work in tandem to achieve great feats. As a result, I’ve found myself applying that same discipline to challenges I face in the workplace. It’s easy to see a linear solution when faced with a dilemma but just like with running, there’s always another route. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? and in my past career as a city planner I realized that everything that makes a city function was designed or predetermined in some way. So despite cities being the most entropic and chaotic institutions, I realized that they can be more easily enjoyed and explored if you boil WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Exercise and the workplace. Los Angeles is a smorgasbord of forward-thinking companies that understand that their employees conquer challenges in different ways. So when they’re faced with a problem, why not hit the ground running? Literally. WHAT T WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? data to drive tangible decisions in their choicesso that certain cities socially engineer the interactions residents and visitors have within the built environment. With technologies like iBeacon, locations will provide feedback to users to enrich the user experience, and all of this smart and reactive technology is just day one. Items, appliances, vehicles, and places will continue to communicate with each other to provide a more enriching experience for all users, without them even realizing it. 45 CONTRIBUTOR PROFILES ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR REFORMED ARCHITECT ANNA NESSER + SUIT STRATEGIST SEAN MCNAMARA + WHAT DO YOU DO? Account services are all about working with people. I'm constantly switching roles between heavily involved in all things Omelet, from our QOL WHAT DO YOU DO? Dr. Jekyll oversees the account management department, marshalling a company of fearless, entrepreneurial leaders in advocating for our clients, controlling the chaos of a thriving agency, and generally keeping all of the pieces together. Mr. Hyde heads the strategy group; together with his crack team of audience experts, brand strategists, connections planners, researchers, and analysts, he breaks into the lab at night and takes those pieces apart in search of a better method to the marketing madness. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? In my previous career I was an architect and while that may seem miles away from advertising, it's closer than you'd expect. We both work collaboratively to solve conceptual problems – the only real difference is the medium. One of the most important things I learned in my architecture days is how valuable a cross-disciplinary education is. Real breakthrough comes from the convergence of different kinds of thinking. So, I try to keep up to speed on topics outside of my world by reading publications on science, psychology, art, etc. and by surrounding myself with people with varied interests. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? There’s life outside of work? Go back and read WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? Clearly you didn’t read my letter from the editor either. I said no predictions. But in the interest of covering my bets, I’ll go with: everything gets incrementally smarter, fewer words and more pictures, Vice Media kicks the sleeping dragon, a gilded new age for advertorials, privacy trumps peacocking, we bury the label ‘hipster’ (in an unmarked grave off the Gowanus Canal), and pay-to-play media rises like a phoenix from the ashes. And, if the gods are smiling on us, hashtag fatigue. #havemercy. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? There's got to be something else we can fry, right? But on a more serious note, I think there will be a further convergence of science and art, design, architecture, advertising, etc. There's so much 46 FRIENDS OF OMELET TOM COLICCHIO Craft Worldwide | Owner +Fisherman The Vampire Diaries | Writer/Exec. Producer CAROLINE DRIES +Painter WHAT DO YOU DO? I am a chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, judge â€œHooked Up." WHAT DO YOU DO? most of my time split between writing scripts and breaking stories with our other nine writers in a writerâ€™s room. As Executive Producer, I'm responsible for co-running the show with Julie Plec. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? My show, "Hooked Up" (NBC sports and YouTube) allows me to listen to interesting people while WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? I'm a storyteller and TV fanatic at heart, so my job kind of worked out perfectly. I'm also a painter, which allows me to be more ambiguous with a feeling or impulse that I'm trying to portray, as opposed to a constructed and linear beginning-middle-end. The notion of loss visualized by a balloon stuck in a tree vs. a story about someone who loses someone. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? I think community is becoming more important than ever before. People want to feel connected; even when they're alone tapping on a little screen, they want to feel like part of something greater than themselves. I predict further convergence between the private and public spheres, all in the interest of belonging. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? I anticipate more TV live-fan participation via online resources. I predict we'll be receiving more wedding invites through email, which will create chaos for a while since they won't be on our fridge to remind us. I think we'll hit our climax of reality television converging with redneck families that we're meant to judge and accidentally fall in love with. 47 FRIENDS OF OMELET Coolhaus | CEO/Co-founder NATASHA CASE +Architect RAKESH TONDON Le Tote | CEO WHAT DO YOU DO? I head up product development, merchandising, marketing, business development, and some of our sales team. Of course, someone has to lead the quality control as well, so I'm at the top of the 'food chain' as far as taste-testing, a very serious job. + Investment Banker WHAT DO YOU DO? I am the founder and CEO of Le Tote. My role is focused on operations, marketing, business development, and partnerships. My business partner, Brett, overlaps with me in a couple of these roles as well as in terms of discussion of our overall short and long-term strategy. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? My architecture background. Nobody tells you this at school, but I actually think architecture is one of the best educations for developing a brand and telling its story. WHAT OTHER PART OF YOUR LIFE CONVERGES WITH WORK? In my previous life, I was an investment banker working in mergers and acquisitions of technology companies. I did that for over 12 years and realized my real calling was in building something that people would want to pay for. In investment banking, one is trained to use data quickly to make conclusions, or gather knowledge of a particular industry / company. I think that training has been really useful. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? The celebrity entrepreneur. More and more celebrities are looking to invest their money adventurously in start-ups and growing businesses. Entrepreneurs (particularly in tech) have transcended to a celebrity status, as they take their companies public and have their entire business careers and sometimes personal lives amenities like that of a movie star's mansion. Perhaps some of the world's youngest billionaires Mark Zuckerberg in Hunger Games 3? Hopefully not. WHAT WILL CONVERGE IN 2014? I think 2014 is going to be the year that Indian food is going to become mainstream. You'll see Chicken Tikka outlets all over the world. In more e-commerce. There are a number of subscription e-commerce companies out there, and we'll see the wheat from the chaff. 48 49 W E R THE C CREATIVE Jimmy Barker, Copywriter Alex Gonzalez, Senior Designer Rajat Gupta, Art Director Michele Pappas, Designer Adam Szajgin, Senior Copywriter ACCOUNT Josie Brown, Account Director Anna Nesser, Account Supervisor STRATEGY Morgan Aceino, Senior Brand Strategist Whitney Anderson, Director of Strategy Jas Gill, Junior Brand Strategist Alan Huynh, Junior Analyst Cristina Pedroza, Senior Brand and Business Analyst Sabena Suri, Junior Brand Strategist PRODUCTION Nicole Cassese, Proofreader Jakob Frank, Editor Robert Macaisa, Project Management Coordinator Matt Valdepena, Project Management Coordinator PUBLIC RELATIONS Devin Desjarlais, PR Manager 50 O T O PH P.2 Photo taken by Jakob Frank. S T I D E R C P.17 Ibrahim, Gigi. "Anti Sexual Harasment March to Tahrir." Flickr. N.p., 3 Feb. 2013. Web. P.19 Photo taken by Morgan Aceino. 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