This Week’s Insights: Why was the iPad a failed publishing revolution?… How your phone’s design killed talking on the phone… Public space as a policing tool… How bands are succeeding by playing smaller… VR is a great experience in search of an audience imperative.
- The Best New Experience In The World Can’t Succeed Unless… it finds a way into people’s day to day lives. This is the challenge facing virtual reality. People who try it are excited by the experience. But that’s not enough. “Every successful medium has either “killed” a predecessor (in the manner that television displaced radio in the home, or that streaming video is chipping away at cable) or ‘colonized’ time and attention that was unused or used for something else. However, that was somewhat easier when people actually had free time. Today, we live in a media environment where billions of dollars are spent fighting for the time spent ‘waiting at the bus stop’.” Sound familiar?
- How Bands Find Success Thinking (And Playing) Smaller: There was a brief time when successful musicians toured to sell recordings. CD sales were where the money was. That’s no longer true, and even the biggest bands can’t survive on it. The economics have also changed for touring. “If you’re only playing 10 or 12 or 15 markets, and touring is the income-generator, there’s a real temptation to play markets too often. It’s a real tough balancing act between playing often enough in the same market, or market area, and playing too much.” So more musicians are hitting smaller markets again and again.
- Audience (Or Not) By Design: Public spaces don’t just happen in most cities, they’re planned. And city planners don’t just design people-friendly spaces, they also create spaces with an aim to discouraging people and behavior. “Hostile design–whereby public spaces are modified to deter certain activities such as rough sleeping and skateboarding–is a“stealthy way of policing public space. These designs legitimise the point of view that homeless people are the enemy. Instead they need support, often with addiction or mental health.”
- How Phone Design Made Us Hate Talking On The Phone: There was a time when talking on the phone was a pleasure; phone conversations can be strangely intimate. No longer. Now we find reasons not to use our phones for talking, and there are some design choices that have encouraged this behavior. “Not only are phone calls unstable, but even when they connect and stay connected in a technical sense, you still can’t hear well enough to feel connected in a social one. By their very nature, mobile phones make telephony seem unreliable.”
- Why The iPad Didn’t Revolutionize Publishing: Now it seems obvious, but there was a time leading up to the introduction of the iPad, when many thought the screens would completely change publishing. It might be important to understand why that didn’t happen. “I’m not saying News Corp. or Conde Nast, publisher of Vogue and GQ, would have been worth as much as Google if they hadn’t bought into the iPad hype. But they did lose precious time and money following Apple down the iPad rabbit hole when they could have focused on Facebook, internet video, smartphone apps, mobile websites, their own subscription products or other promising areas. Newspaper and magazine publishers no longer treat the iPad as a priority, if they devote resources to it at all.”