ross martin

August 19th, 2014 • Ross Martin

Research You Can Walk Through

For years, Scratch has studied the compression of time and space between, say, a good idea and a better one; a thriving company and a dead one; instant success and precipitous failure and then (often in a reality show?) premeditated redemption.

"Time's moving faster than ever," right?  Sure it is, or at least if feels like that, depending on how much (food, content, stimulus, etc) you consume in a given period of time.  But those who stop right there and land on "we've just got to move faster to keep up" — are missing the point and will face extinction.

The winners of the 21st century, so far, are those who obsessively pursue a deeper understanding of the ways in which Millennial consumers are calibrating their speed at every turn.  Slow food and binge viewing; nap pods and Adderall; apps to consume more in less time and apps to fight distraction, the quantified self and the self #unplugged.

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Yesterday, Viacom's blog featured a post by Tiffany Knighten about CADENCE, a project Scratch kicked off last month to present new perspectives on the speed of life in 2014:

"Open to teams across the company, as well as select partners and clients, the month-long installation – part research presentation, part museum exhibit, part art gallery – brought Viacom’s consumer insights to life in a new way. Cadence was designed to help visitors experience the unique approaches programmers, content creators, marketers and brands are taking to calibrate their moves in a culture that’s compressing time and space in more and more complicated ways."

I've been excited about this for a while, for a few reasons:

  •  It's impossible to perform at a high level in the media business without a nuanced understanding of the velocities of culture.  That sounds like a media executive taking himself too seriously on his own blog, but it's true.  Most of us get it wrong, most of the time — we're either ahead of the game, patting ourselves on the back prematurely, or we're behind it, fighting irrelevance.  Stepping back to measure the distance gives us all a chance to catch our breath and look at things with colleagues and partners in a new way.  Then apply what we learn to our daily work, whether we're writers, programmers, developers, marketers, designers, strategists, planners or anything in between.

 

  • Speaking of a new way… it's exciting to see research served up to make participants feel the information as they move through it.  Anne Hubert, Senior Vice President at Scratch, describes CADENCE as "truly immersive, a chance to experience life at Millennial speed, and to apply that understanding to everything we do.”  Watching participants take it all in, explore the subject and raise new questions, I could see the need and the potential for bringing more subjects to light in new and exciting ways.

 

  • An enterprising team of people from Scratch made this happen…from scratch.  It's what can happen when provocative material doesn't want to live locked up in a PowerPoint deck in a conference room.  The content itself inspired innovation in the way it could be manifest.

 

You can read more about the CADENCE project on the Viacom blog.  And for more information, email scratch@viacom.com.

 

 

July 20th, 2014 • Ross Martin

To The Next Person Who Tells You "Settle Down"

Tell us impossible.  Tell us we can't.  That thing we see in our heads — that thing that hasn't been done.

He can't, she won't, we've never.  Tell us settle down, settle down.

Ok now listen close: We.  Never.  Settle.

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We never give up, we never give in, we will Never.  Settle.  Down.

Bring on the roadblocks, build up the walls and stand the armies between us and what we imagine.

Then go away.  Leave us be.  Leave us alone with our gang.

Leave me with bandits and leave me the freaks, the makers and the crazy believers. The ones who can't sleep, the ones who can't stop, the ones who can never sit still.  Who burn and yearn and feed on the doubt and fear.

Leave me alone with the ones who have been here and the ones who never have.

The ones who don't know how but believe they can.  The ones who have everything to lose.

The ones who've seen us and want to know what it feels like.  The ones who've earned their shot.

The ones who stare and the ones who dare.

Look us in the face and say it again, say "Settle down, (your name here), you will never get that done."

July 19th, 2014 • Ross Martin

Can't Sit, Must Run (Nike)

2 years old and still works:

Smart New Nike Running 'Park Bench' Campaign

July 19th, 2014 • Ross Martin

A Sign

More proof that the Singularity is near (h/t Gizmodo):

 

The Movie You Really Want to See This Weekend

 

 

July 14th, 2014 • Ross Martin

Happy Birthday Malala

We stand with you today and always. #strongerthan

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July 14th, 2014 • Ross Martin

"Live In The Layers"

Stanley Kunitz published this poem when he was 73 years old:

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.  

Stanley Kunitz1905 - 2006