With inspiration comes perspiration. And not always your own perspiration. This could be the mantra of an event organiser as much as a presenter at a conference. If nobody has sweated to make the event great – and each presentation within – inspiration is unlikely to follow.

At Circus2012, an event put on by The Communications Council*, Faris Yakob was the first to speak. From the energy that he put into his presentation, he might well have been perspiring! On this occasion, with perspiration came inspiration. There was a lot to be inspired by in Faris’ talk.

If Content is King, Awesomeness is King Kong

First, who is FARIS YAKOB, Chief Innovation Officer at NY agency, MDC? He’s a well educated Brit who comes across as part Tigger, part gorilla: bright, bouncing and hairy.

Below are some notes from his presentation, with the links that I found while watching an episode of Homeland last night. I’d try to put these notes into a single thread, but you know what, he’s less of a linear story teller (more about “non-linear stories” later). What’s more, there’s enough inspiration here for a few different linear stories.

In short, Faris’ presentation can be summed up as:

If Content is King, Awesomeness is King Kong

[Apologies to Kenny Mathers (Nokia)]

Faris spends his talk outlining how technology + advertising + awesomeness rock his world. The soundbites:

"I don't have answers but I do have antlers!"

Everything is changing really fast and that’s really exciting.

I don’t have answers but I do have antlers!

Gartner says that by 2017 (?) the CMO will spend more on tech than the CIO.The Greek: Technos Logia – creating through logic.I don’t use the word “digital” any more.

Bran Ferren formerly of Walt Disney’s Imagineering department said, “Technology is stuff that doesn’t work yet”.

You, the active participant vs The Passive Massive.

Three laws that make tech ever more accessible:

Moore’s Law – ref: “clever bloke at Intel who said that every 18 months the microchip size would shrink, the capacity would grow and the world would change”, this blog June 2009.

Kryder’s Law – Price of memory drops & increases in size.

Guilder’s Law – Price of a 3 minute call will be free thanks to bandwidth getting ever cheaper till its free.

Clay Shirky – Abundance breaks more things than scarcity does. Society knows how to react to scarcity.

Cultural Latency “There is a correlation between the amount of time it takes to distribute something, and the amount of time it takes for that thing to have an effect, and consequently the amount of time that thing stays relevant and interesting.”

The speed of communication has come a long way. The first marathon: “The name Marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens (42.195 kilometres or 26 miles and 385 yards) to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought),which took place in August or September, 490 BC. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming “Νενικήκαμεν” (Nenikékamen, ‘We have won.’) before collapsing and dying.”

In short,

More & Faster.

Awesomeness is so important. ref the original meaning of Awe: Awe & Terror re the presence of God in the bible.

John Tierney in the NYT, 2010, says, “most of all, readers wanted to share articles that inspired awe, an emotion that the researchers investigated after noticing how many science articles made the list”. Awesome ideas go viral.

AWESOMENESS = affinity + weight + time decay… as outlined by Facebook power scoring system, EdgeRank “It’d be completely overwhelming if the newsfeed showed all of the possible stories from your friends. So Facebook created an algorithm to predict how interesting each story will be to each user. Facebook calls this algorithm “EdgeRank” because it ranks the edges. Then they filter each user’s newsfeed to only show the top-ranked stories for that particular user.”

Some examples of awesomeness:

1) Four films by the “electronaughts” inc Buzz Aldrin and Naveen Selvadurai (Foursquare founder) at BMWactivatethefuture.com, about the future of mobility.

2) WWF green file format, a jv with Adobe to create non-printable pdfs.

3) Watson for IBM, which creates a huge perception change for the company across America as the “computer”, Watson, goes on Jeopardy on TV.

Closing quote, which Faris says is overquoted:

Arthur C Clarke:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke’s_three_laws

In conclusion, Faris shows us how content is abundant; awesomeness will be the powerhouse that drives behaviour change. Or, where content is king, awesomeness will be king kong.

*Faris gave the opening talk at the Communications Council’s Circus. Who was in the audience at the Circus? Since the Comms Council is the industry body for advertising in Australia, it was easy to imagine who’d be in the audience. And looking around whoever you’d imagined, you were right. Creative agencies and a few of their clients. Media agencies and a few of their clients. Journalists. Pitch doctors. And possibly a few students.