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Facebook shows the future of media is all about UX, not original content

Facebook recently announced the launch of a revamped video streaming service aptly called “Watch.” Despite the hype, we should be careful jumping to the conclusion Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook behemoth have their sights set on Hollywood.

The real story here is that the service promises users a more streamlined viewing experience and the ability to engage with their community of friends around the content. Ultimately, the Watch viewing experience is what’s groundbreaking, not the programming it distributes.  

For modern media companies, the question has always been whether content is king or if products trump all? The right answer is unequivocally: to win in today’s digital world, media companies must innovate the user experience.

Let me explain. I began my career at a big media company transitioning their many printed publications to the online world. It was quite a challenge. While everyone I worked with — journalists, editors, and media executives — recognized the importance of having an online presence, few knew exactly how best to go about it.

My big takeaway was seeing just how differently media and technology companies view innovation. One side believes creatives and content czars should lead the way, and the other that engineers ought to rule and that products determine success.

During my tenure there, it became very clear that the company was completely rooted in content. Creatives — those who wrote, photographed, filmed, etc. — sat at the top of the totem pole. They drove the company agenda. At that time, creatives saw product teams and technologists as backend technicians of the business. Necessary, but not allowed to sit at the big table. The experience of consuming content took a backseat to the content itself.   

While this decision produced award-winning journalism, it didn’t empower them and other respected companies like it with the innovation they needed to avoid disruption from new media upstarts. Today, we’re still witnessing the fall-out as traditional publishers struggle to transform into companies that prioritize product development as much as their content production.  

In contrast, companies founded in technology often see things in the opposite order. Engineers, programmers and computer scientists are the bedrock of the company and rockstars of the office. Creatives play an important role, but it’s often in support of the work done by product and software teams.

While there are merits to both methods of organization, it’s time to put a stake in the ground. If you observe companies finding success in the post-Internet world, the user experience is the primary driver.

Consider YouTube, the world’s largest repository of online videos — debatably a new media company — didn’t begin as an original content company. Instead, they offered the technology tools and platform for other creatives to share, “like” and spread their content across the globe. YouTube’s exponential success in media circles is the result of focusing not on content itself, but on the user experience. They chose product development over media production.

Sure, some may argue that good technology can only take a business model so far. Eventually all companies, even those product-led, must expand and diversify outside of their comfort zone. In the past several years, Netflix found tremendous success in creating a whole slate of original content. However, they led with and perfected the user experience — the platform and on-demand streaming — and then followed with the creative.

Don’t get me wrong: there are a number of successful companies with a “content-first” approach. However, the companies truly driving innovation and change in the media landscape today are grounded in, and lead with, user experience.

I applied this notion when founding my company and relied not on the content component, but rather on the user experience we enabled. The company would not have lasted 15 years if we had tried to do both, or relied solely on the media side. As it turns out, spending time at an old media stalwart can actually teach you a thing or two about running a technology company today.

Ultimately, the winners and losers of the new media landscape will be decided by technological prowess. Whether or not a company embraces that future, is up to them.

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Connected, engaged, but often overlooked: The US hispanic market

As the CEO of a media incubator, I’m proud to have publications across the world, from the U.S. to Latin America and Europe. Getting insight into these communities, and seeing just how engaged separate readerships are in different parts of the world, has become a source for learning.

As an example, one could assume — especially when dealing with startup and business publications — that people who read a Colombian-based tech and startup publication would predominantly live in Colombia, or perhaps its neighboring countries. However one thing that surprised me is that in many cases, more than half of visitors come from within the U.S.

It appears that first, second and even third generation Hispanic Americans are keeping a close eye on the social, economic and business climates in the countries south of the U.S. border, and while their respective governments might be knocking heads, there is still a large connection between Hispanic Americans and the countries their families came from many years earlier.

Here are three other facts which you might not know about the hispanic market in the United States:

A growing market that prefers both English and Spanish

According to the U.S. Census, the number of Spanish speakers living in the United States has grown steadily from an estimated 10 million in 1980 to 37 million in 2015, and it is projected to reach as high as 41 Million by 2020.

In the 2014 study Your Next Big Opportunity: The U.S. Hispanic Market, undertaken by the ‘Think with Google’ think tank, Lisa Gevelber argues that the U.S. Hispanic market has often been overlooked by leading companies and marketers.

The fact that the Hispanic population growth in the U.S. has been steadily shifting from immigration-based to U.S.-born-based over the last decade has posed somewhat of a challenge for brands, who have been unsure as whether to create content in English or Spanish.

As outlined in a recent Forbes article, in 2016 Facebook released its “Facebook IQ” study which conducted in-depth interviews with 500 Hispanics in the U.S. from different language usage backgrounds -predominantly English, bilingual, and predominantly Spanish.  

The study revealed some interesting insights, including that more than 80 percent of respondents felt the Spanish language helps them remain connected to their culture and more than 80 percent of predominantly Spanish speaking American Hispanics use Spanish at least half of the time when they consume content online.

The study also showed that 79 percent of Spanish-dominant and 60 percent of English-dominant Hispanics believe that brands should communicate to consumers in both English and Spanish.

A market ahead of the digital curve

With Hispanic Americans projected to account for roughly a third of the US population by 2050, the time to start targeting this market may be now. When it comes to marketing to this market, it is important to leverage digital channels.

The earlier ‘Think with Google’ study shows that while often overlooked, this market is ahead of other demographics when it comes to early adoption of new devices and it is above average when it comes to mobile usage and video consumption.

However for marketers, it does depend on the age group being targeted. A recent study by Pew Hispanic shows that while the vast majority of 18 to 29 year old Latinos, 94 percent, and 30 to 49 year old Latinos, 89 percent, use smartphones to access the internet, only 58 percent of Latinos ages 50 to 64 and less than half of those ages 65 and older do so.

A 2016 study published by Christina Choy, Insights Manager at Yahoo points out that in comparison to the general population of the U.S., Hispanics are spending more time watching digital video and less time watching traditional TV every year. According to a Nielsen report, the average Hispanic American spends more than eight hours watching online video each month—over 90 minutes longer than the average.  

From an advertising perspective, the study highlights that 64 percent of Hispanics said they are okay with receiving video advertisements if they are receiving access to free content, however that predominantly Spanish speaking American Hispanics were more open to native ads on videos than predominantly English speaking Hispanics.

This group remains the most active on social media

In addition to an increasing population, social media usage remains above average amongst U.S. Hispanics as compared to other demographics. The earlier 2016 Nielsen Social Media report shows that more than 30 million US Hispanics use smartphones as their primary means of accessing social media, considerably higher than any other ethnic group. In terms of content consumption, Hispanic Americans spend more time on social media channels than any other channel.

Whatsapp remains the most widely used communication tool, although a recent study also claims ‘Facebook is the number 1 go-to platform for US Hispanics’ communication’.

According to the earlier Facebook IQ study, U.S. Hispanics are increasingly using social media to connect with their favorite brands and as a discovery platform for new ones. The same study shows that nearly half of Hispanic Americans surveyed view Facebook as a great place to share information about brands, brands, and promotions with family and friends. However, be aware that recent studies show that this market won’t just share any old ad within their communities. 88 percent interviewed said the advertisements which they connect with most include aspects of their culture, regardless of the language.

Hispanic Americans are fully embracing the digital revolution and are more connected and engaged that many other groups in American society. In part because of this, we are likely to see this group take a more vocal position in the country in terms of cultural and economic importance.

Said entrepreneur Hamlet Baptiste, CEO at Ranksense, when discussing his experience in a Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, “I was surprised to learn that combined, the alumni here alone have annual revenues north of $760 million and employ more than 12,000 employees.”

In 2015, U.S. Hispanics accounted for $1.3 trillion in buying power, a 167 percent rise since the year 2000.

To put this into perspective, this is more than twice the 76 percent growth in all non-Hispanic buying power during the same period. Assuming things continue on the same path, Hispanic buying power is estimated to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020. 

That should be enough to grab the attention of media and marketers all over the world.

This article was Co-Written by Craig Corbett

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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How any leader can become a meetings hero

“At Facebook, we hang posters around our campus to inspire us – Done is Better than Perfect, Move Fast and Break Things, Fortune Favors the Bold. Two of my favorites say “Ruthless Prioritization” and “The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty.” Those posters influence how I plan my day — I spend my time on what matters most, and I still get my hands dirty every day.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Meetings are tough. Too many meetings can ruin your whole work week and cause you to get nothing accomplished, while too few meetings or meetings that aren’t effective can have the same effect on your teamwork. Finding the right balance of time spent, productivity, and collaboration is the key to making meetings work, but most people aren’t focusing on the right things. Learning how to make meetings work for you is the key to success in business in any sector.

How much time is wasted on meetings?

The average person spends nearly 12 hours a week preparing for and attending meetings. A lot of that time is wasted on things like trying to get your tech to work, dealing with internet interruptions, and getting the attention of folks who are doing other things instead of paying attention.

In the average 38 minute call, 8 minutes are wasted getting started with greetings and banter, 13 minutes are wasted with interruptions and distractions, and there is only about 17 minutes of productive meeting time. Even meeting rooms pose problems – how often do you walk into a meeting room and everyone is able to instantly connect to the internet without any issues?

Setting clear goals can help

Listen, no one wants you to spend all week laying out guidelines for meetings. “Planning for meetings is almost as much of a waste of time as wasting time in meetings,” says Alex France the director of Design Bundles.

But you do need to set clear goals. Are you catching up in a status meeting or is there some sort of major decision everyone needs to be prepared to plead their case for? Just a quick email laying out the guidelines for what the meeting is about and then end goal will help keep everyone on track.

Is it time for a tech check up?

More meetings today happen online or over than phone than in real life, a dramatic shift made possible by the wonders of the Internet. Conference calls are nothing new, but video conferencing and other collaborative meeting tools are straight out of Star Trek.

It’s just a matter of time before we are having meetings through virtual reality or augmented reality. If you’re still dialing in to the conference line on a regular basis it may be time for a refresher – there are some new options available to make your meetings more productive.

Utilizing better tech can lead to less stressful and more productive meetings. Among workers who want better meetings, 51% say they want tech that works at the touch of a button, 44% want wireless meeting tech, 44% want their meeting tech to work seamlessly across different devices, and 40% want to conference with colleagues in multiple locations more simply.

Collaboration is key

Gone are the days when the boss handed out assignments and waited for you to turn in your work. Today’s workplace demands collaboration by self starters. It’s up to you as an employee to make sure your work is done seamlessly and collaboratively. Meetings are supposed to be more about coming together to figure out how to solve problems as a team than they are about everyone reporting to the boss where they are in their part of the project. Collaborative meetings hinge on making the best use of the tools you have available

Keeping documents where everyone on the project can access them is a big time saver. So is making sure everyone is trained to use the same collaborative tools to work on projects. When projects run more smoothly, meetings follow suit.

Bringing meetings into the 21st century

Virtual and Augmented Reality tech can make long-distance meetings seem closer, but there are lots of other 21st century tech solutions that can make meetings more effective. Interactive whiteboards, screen sharing, and mind mapping technologies help to keep everyone on the same page in a futuristic way.

Screen sharing is a great way to ensure people at multiple locations have access to the same information, while interactive whiteboards and mind mapping can help visualize what’s on your mind during active collaboration times.

Mastering meetings is about more than just showing up and listening the whole time. It’s about planning ahead and making your collaboration as efficient and effective as possible. Set clear goals and upgrade your tech and watch the magic happen. Are you ready to take your meetings to the next level?

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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Contributors

How any leader can become a meetings hero

“At Facebook, we hang posters around our campus to inspire us – Done is Better than Perfect, Move Fast and Break Things, Fortune Favors the Bold. Two of my favorites say “Ruthless Prioritization” and “The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty.” Those posters influence how I plan my day — I spend my time on what matters most, and I still get my hands dirty every day.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Meetings are tough. Too many meetings can ruin your whole work week and cause you to get nothing accomplished, while too few meetings or meetings that aren’t effective can have the same effect on your teamwork. Finding the right balance of time spent, productivity, and collaboration is the key to making meetings work, but most people aren’t focusing on the right things. Learning how to make meetings work for you is the key to success in business in any sector.

How much time is wasted on meetings?

The average person spends nearly 12 hours a week preparing for and attending meetings. A lot of that time is wasted on things like trying to get your tech to work, dealing with internet interruptions, and getting the attention of folks who are doing other things instead of paying attention.

In the average 38 minute call, 8 minutes are wasted getting started with greetings and banter, 13 minutes are wasted with interruptions and distractions, and there is only about 17 minutes of productive meeting time. Even meeting rooms pose problems – how often do you walk into a meeting room and everyone is able to instantly connect to the internet without any issues?

Setting clear goals can help

Listen, no one wants you to spend all week laying out guidelines for meetings. “Planning for meetings is almost as much of a waste of time as wasting time in meetings,” says Alex France the director of Design Bundles.

But you do need to set clear goals. Are you catching up in a status meeting or is there some sort of major decision everyone needs to be prepared to plead their case for? Just a quick email laying out the guidelines for what the meeting is about and then end goal will help keep everyone on track.

Is it time for a tech check up?

More meetings today happen online or over than phone than in real life, a dramatic shift made possible by the wonders of the Internet. Conference calls are nothing new, but video conferencing and other collaborative meeting tools are straight out of Star Trek.

It’s just a matter of time before we are having meetings through virtual reality or augmented reality. If you’re still dialing in to the conference line on a regular basis it may be time for a refresher – there are some new options available to make your meetings more productive.

Utilizing better tech can lead to less stressful and more productive meetings. Among workers who want better meetings, 51% say they want tech that works at the touch of a button, 44% want wireless meeting tech, 44% want their meeting tech to work seamlessly across different devices, and 40% want to conference with colleagues in multiple locations more simply.

Collaboration is key

Gone are the days when the boss handed out assignments and waited for you to turn in your work. Today’s workplace demands collaboration by self starters. It’s up to you as an employee to make sure your work is done seamlessly and collaboratively. Meetings are supposed to be more about coming together to figure out how to solve problems as a team than they are about everyone reporting to the boss where they are in their part of the project. Collaborative meetings hinge on making the best use of the tools you have available

Keeping documents where everyone on the project can access them is a big time saver. So is making sure everyone is trained to use the same collaborative tools to work on projects. When projects run more smoothly, meetings follow suit.

Bringing meetings into the 21st century

Virtual and Augmented Reality tech can make long-distance meetings seem closer, but there are lots of other 21st century tech solutions that can make meetings more effective. Interactive whiteboards, screen sharing, and mind mapping technologies help to keep everyone on the same page in a futuristic way.

Screen sharing is a great way to ensure people at multiple locations have access to the same information, while interactive whiteboards and mind mapping can help visualize what’s on your mind during active collaboration times.

Mastering meetings is about more than just showing up and listening the whole time. It’s about planning ahead and making your collaboration as efficient and effective as possible. Set clear goals and upgrade your tech and watch the magic happen. Are you ready to take your meetings to the next level?

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

Read next: The Essential Phone just became a really good deal now that it costs $500

Readmore

Continue Reading

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