Going Against The Grain

When talking to entrepreneurs at the very early stages of their companies, I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency to give a fairly long product roadmap. “And then we’ll add this. And then this. And then this.” That type of thing.

And I think that’s fine; it’s good to be thinking ahead, and it’s even better to have a vision for where you want the product to go. But it’s just as important to be realistic. And the likelihood of things going exactly to plan from day one is basically zero.

But that’s all obvious. What may not be so obvious is what happens when a product actually hits, takes off, and establishes itself. Because it feels like there’s a trend emerging here, at least in the world of apps, that is worth noting.

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"Where Is This Geotagged Place?," Wonders Instagram User

I’m fairly prolific on Instagram and I have a lot of followers. 1 As a result, I believe I get a glimpse into the average user of the service. And that user is fascinating.

I rarely post a photo that isn’t geotagged at some location. But without fail, for every picture I post, I get the same comment below my picture: “where was this picture taken?”

At first, I found the question amusing. I mean, the answer is right there above the photo. You have to scroll by it to ask the very question for which you should have already had the answer. But now, I find the question more telling.

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James Franco (yes, that James Franco) on the art of the selfie:

I’ve found that Instagram works much like the movie business: You’re safe if you trade “one for them” with “one for yourself,” meaning for every photo of a book, painting or poem, I try to post a selfie with a puppy, a topless selfie or a selfie with Seth Rogen, because these are all things that are generally liked.

For every indie you want to do, you need to whore yourself out to the studio.

Om Malik:

For decades, brand and display advertising were the bread and butter of television, newspapers and magazines. As the audiences shifted to the web, the brand dollars started to shift online as well, though much of the money was spent on mostly banner ads, a somewhat ineffective tool. However, the emergence of social sharing platforms especially on the mobile such as Tumblr, Instagram and Vine has offered brand advertisers a chance to create and reinvent brand-based advertising, and perhaps open up a whole new era of Madison Avenue creativity.

In the early days of television, as media transitioned from radio to television, network owners put radio-styled content on the air and adopted radio-styled advertising. However, it wasn’t till later when specialized ads were created for television that the industry really boomed. I am sure many of you have seen Mad Men and the shift of ad creative from print to television it exemplifies.

There’s been some obvious backlash, but I still think a lot of the Instagram ads I’ve seen (at least in concept) are really well done.