Musicians can prosper in the age of free music November 18, 2008Posted by eyalnow in Gift-Economy.
Tags: copyright, donating, DRM, file-sharing, free-economy, Gift-Economy, iTunes, music-industry, music-sharing, network-economy, p2p, piracy
Offering music for free adds to its value through network effects.
Musicians can tap into many income streams – donations, legal downloads, value-added CDs, live shows, collaborations, commercial-uses and more.
People are sharing music.
Through websites, p2p file sharing services, portable music players, wireless networks and hard-drives, people are getting more music than they ever have. For free.
And it’s only spreading.
Most people under 30 don’t even consider it “wrong” in any way.
It is time that musicians, labels and the whole music industry, instead of fighting it, start embracing this phenomenon and the new possibilities if offers, and find where musician, label and consumer can be mutually happy.
CD sales might be plummeting, but music creation and consumption (I’m dis-inclined to use the word “industry”) is booming, with new artists gaining popularity, and old forgotten works suddenly attracting new listeners.
More people than ever before are expressing their creative potential and reaching audiences.
More listeners are enjoying more music in more ways, places, and times of the day.
This renaissance is driven by many factors:
The explosion of the internet in the last decade and its increased use by people from all walks of life
The declining prices of computation, storage, and bandwidth
The progressive advancement in music copying technologies – cassette tapes, writable CDs, digital files
The popularity of high-capacity portable music players
The use of compressed digital music files, and
The arising of peer-to-peer networks
Music sharing adds value to the music through network effects.
People who share music, especially on a personal level, help the music industry by being promoters and advertisers of their favorite music. With so much music out there, musicians should be grateful to people who choose to listen to them, and even more grateful to file-sharers who store, distribute and recommend their music. A person who downloads a free song might become a fan, and might one day translate into a buyer.
Even a person who merely adds a tag to a song on any music download service, contributes to that song being a bit more findable and to the artist being a bit more popular
I think it is the music INDUSTRY, rather than musicians themselves, who is opposing free music, because of the fear it might go out of business.
And it is right.
The change in the music scene will lead to a sort of re-distribution of wealth.
Famous musicians are still going to make money, but a bit less.
All the middlemen – agents, labels, stores – are going to make less money, and some will go out of business.
The most important is that obscure, unknown and new artists can nowadays gain popularity faster then ever before, monetize it by aggregating small income streams across various sources, and be able to keep creating and live off their art.
And last but not least, music fans will enjoy more music, available in any time and place, by more artists, in cheaper prices, and most often for free.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Some people will pay for music on legal download services, some will get it for free, some will donate for it, and some will even continue to buy CDs.
In the same way, musician will survive and prosper by embracing multiple income streams – donations, legal downloads, CD sales, commercial uses of their music, live performances, merchandise, and in other ways that will appear as technology evolves.
One income stream that is still largely untapped is donations.
Research shows that people are happy to pay for music, provided it’s easy to do so and that the money actually goes to the artist. 
Radiohead has proved that music fans are willing to pay for good music even when they are not required to. 
Sure, there will always be leeches and free-riders, but if there are enough people who donate, the artist will have another income stream to support him. 
Donating should be embraced as a viable income stream, encouraged as a social phenomena, and implemented in products and services
Applications, websites and services such as windows media player, last.fm, SoulSeek and BitTorrent should have a “DONATE” or “SUPPORT” button which will automatically transfer a set amount to the artist whose music one is listening to, downloading or reading about.
Firefox can easily have a plugin which recognizes artist names in a block of text and adds a small dollar sign next to them, which, when pressed, transfers a set amount to the artist.
There are some ways in which donating can be encouraged:
Musicians should publicly and positively ask for their fan’s support. Mention it in interviews, on stage, on TV, in your songs, on your website
Instead of marketing campaigns to discourage “piracy”, the music industry should invest in marketing campaigns that encourage donating for ones’ favorite artist
De-criminalize all acts which until now were considered “piracy”. Drop pending lawsuits against file-sharers. When people stop thinking they are subverting the system, they might cooperate
As a musician, keep a public list of all the donors on your website
Acknowledge and thank donors with a short “thank you” email
Offer incentives to donors
Make a weekly or monthly draw among all the donors to an artist. Let the winner meet the artist personally, visit him at his home, attend a live show, accompany the artist backstage, have their photos taken together, visit a recording studio, and receive autographed copies of his collector-edition box-set CDs and DVDs.
A reality-TV-style documentary can be made about each fan’s visit, which will be available at the artist’s website and on video sharing networks.
Give donors privileges such as download rights in the service
Through agreements with 3rd parties, give benefits such as discounts, gift coupons, event invitations, backstage passes, etc.
Set up a referral system; have fans accrue points for referring new listeners to their favorite artists
ALTERNATIVE INCOME STREAMS
The music industry should take an example from the web and software industries.
Software makers offer basic, limited or trial versions of their products in the hope that some customers purchase the full version. But even those that don’t upgrade, might recommend it to their friends, who in turn might become buyers.
Web sites first offer free services, attracts visitors and registered users, and then find a way to monetize them.
Free music is the shareware model of the music industry
Artists and labels should find alternative ways of generating income.
More and more income streams may appear as technology evolves in the same way that the telephone, record, sms and the internet itself, evolved in ways that their original inventors couldn’t have imagined.
Some of the alternative income streams are:
Royalties from radio and internet-radio
Commercial use – ads, TV, WebTV, movies, venues, etc
Legal music download services such as iTunes and eMusic
Endorsement of and sponsorship by commercial brands [I personally dislike this idea, but the option exists]
Selling a box set of CDs or DVDs with an added value – casing, artwork, lyrics, photos, booklet, posters, limited numbered editions autographed by the musician
Engaging in cooperation and collaboration with other artists in other media. For example, Phillip Glass didn’t just make the music for the Qatsi trilogy, he was directly involved with the creative and artistic decisions of the film-making process, working closely with Godfrey Reggio  . Since then, he has made music for many other films. Another example is “Ashes and Snow” – photo book, novel, film, and art exhibition. Exposure to any of them will entice you to seek the others 
Offering early access to new songs
Lower the price of CDs and strengthen customer confidence in them. Give a 10 year warranty over CDs. Your CD is scratched ? We’ll send you a new one.
Sell higher-quality CDs or DVDs . Original CDs are sampled at 44.1K, which is still inferior to the master recording. 
SET YOUR MUSIC FREE – HERE’S WHY
The music industry should allow p2p music sharing to co-exist along with legal music services.
People who download and share your music are your fans; They choose you over millions of other artists and songs. Instead of publicly denouncing and humiliating your fans, thank them, reward them, connect with them, encourage them to promote you, and see where you can mutually benefit. 
In most cases, a song downloaded from p2p music-sharing is not a lost sale, because the listener probably would not have bought it anyway. But now that she has an option to sample it, she may become a fan, and then a buyer. Thus, a free song is an advertisement which can lead to an actual sale.
Song files on p2p networks are usually of lower, and sometimes substantially lower quality than original CDs. So file sharers are not circulating exact copies of your CDs, but rather, what can be thought of as samples.
Once the listener heard a song, he might be tempted to purchase the original CD or original digital download, or support the artist in another way such as donating, attending a live show, buying merchandise, etc.
If people are going to share music anyway, it’s better for musicians (and their labels) to offer medium quality copies by themselves, rather than wait for high-quality copies to appear.
Musicians should not offer partial songs (first minute of a song), or songs embedded with messages, because these music files will be shared less than real complete versions of the song
Musicians and labels should set-up presence in the main music-sharing networks, similar to film makers and TV networks setting up channels on YouTube. They can then build virtual communities in these networks, connect and collaborate with their fans.
If a musician is popular in a p2p music-sharing network, he can use it as a leverage for his other income streams.
Musicians should offer their music under permissive creative-commons licenses; Allow non-commercial use of your music on the condition that users give credit in some way and, voluntarily, notify you of their use. Imagine a popular user-created video on YouTube using your song and crediting you, both in the video itself, and on the page it’s hosted on, where it is indexed by search engines.
Keep copies or links on your website of all the creative ways your music has been used, and ask visitors to vote for their favorite. Reward the creators. Engage with them.
Even a single mp3 file that uses and re-mixes different music pieces can include a list of these sources in its comments field, and can be indexed by search-engines.
Music fans actually add value to music files by adding and updating meta-information – lyrics, BPM, song info, artwork, web-links. Through natural selection, the better files spread.
Music-sharing facilitates Storage, Promotion, Discovery and Distribution of music, taking the load off brick-and mortar shops, online music stores, and to some extent, music labels.
Digital distribution is nearly free. In contrast, consider how much it costs to manufacture a CD, case, cover , hold it in a warehouse and send it – even directly – to the customer
As an aside, consider the environmental impact of manufacturing, delivering, playing (spinning physical media), and someday recycling a CD
LEGAL MUSIC DOWNLOAD SERVICES
Many more people will use legal music download services if:
The music is easy to find,
Of high quality, (high bitrate)
In a wide variety,
The services are easy to use 
The services are cheap and with many price plans – flat rate, per album, per song, per hour, per Mb, streaming, etc.
Purchases are guaranteed to last for many years.
The music is not protected by DRM, and can be legally shared with others
The music can be played on any software and portable music player
Some music is offered for free
Are musician creating music just for money?
Is it their “work”, their “job” in the same way that a factory worker has a job ?
Would musicians prefer not to let their music spread , elevate and touch hearts around the world if they don’t get their percentage ?
What else can fans and file-sharers provide the artists with ?
Find out by allowing more ways for fans to connect with – and contribute to – their favorite artists.
Recognize the most dedicated and talented of your fans, engage with them and see how they might contribute to the production and promotion of your music.
The nature of music, as part of technology, is to spread, to evolve, to pervade, to interact, to grow.
Allow it to do so.
The music industry is operating under a scarcity mentality.
Adopt an abundance mentality, and you will have abundance.
You are what you share.
The more you give, the more you receive.
Set your music free.
 “80 percent of p2p users [in the UK] said they would pay for a “legal file-sharing service.”… What the respondents appear to want is an unlimited download service free of DRM that could be legally accessed for a monthly fee, something that doesn’t yet exist. People were quite clear that an on-demand over-the-web streaming service like Last.fm won’t cut it; they want to own and control their music.”
 The average price for Radiohead’s InRainbows was 6$ among those who paid, or 2.2$ among all the 1.2 million people who downloaded it from the bands’ website during the 3 months it was available.
 Radiohead – a year later – statistics and analysis
 Jamendo, a website that supports artists through a mixture of donations and ad revenue sharing, receives an average donation of 14$ from every donor.
Statistical analysis of Jamendo’s data:
 People want to pay, by Kevin Kelly:
 1000 True fans, by Kevin Kelly
 Better than free, by Kevin Kelly
 Radiohead’s In Rainbows: A Look at Anti-Marketing in the Music Industry
 Qatsi Trilogy
 Ashes and Snow
 The Digital Devolution – 6 Ways Sound Quality Breaks Down:
 The Inevitable March of Recorded Music Towards Free
 While researching for this paper, I tried to open an iTunes account, and was greeted by the message: “The iTunes store is not available in your country yet… You will not be able to make any purchases”.
The same happened with eMusic.
Kevin Kelly and Lawrence Lessig were two major sources of inspiration for this paper. I am grateful for their insightful writing.
As a research tool for this paper, I’ve used Diigo, a service that let’s you highlight, save and manage text directly on web pages.
My sources and highlights for this paper can be found at:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Singularity vs. Spirituality October 7, 2008Posted by eyalnow in interactions, technology.
Tags: artificial-intelligence, Futurism, singularity, spirituality, technology
1 comment so far
The Singularity is the moment when
1. artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, and will then be able to create an even higher level of intelligence.
2. human beings will be able to “download” their brains into a computer and thus will reach immortality.
In response to a blog post about the singularity at Kevin Kelly’s blog, I wrote the following:
I see this as a spiritual and philosophical issue, not a technological one.
I’d like to offer some ideas and questions that I’ve been contemplating:
1. Singularitans think that consciousness arises from the brain, while spiritualists believe that consciousness arises from the soul, and that the brain and body is just a physical manifestation of the soul.
2. The brain is just a machine – advanced, complex, evolved enough, to serve the soul on this physical plain.
The soul “downloads” itself into the brain, into the body.
It’s the hardware without the software.
Without the soul, it’s just meat.
3. Kurtzweil or others may transfer their brain structure to a computer, but the result will be what William Gibson calls a personality construct – a copy of the persons’ character, persona, memories, etc., which can be programmed to appear self aware, but will not really be.
4. However, I also see it as possible that, as AI gets sufficiently strong, a soul can take residence in it, and for outside observers it would seem as tough the AI has reached self awareness by its own.
5. Which human abilities can _never_ be replicated or surpassed by a machine ?
6. Does high intelligence necessarily mean consciousness and/or self-awareness?
7. What about emotional intelligence ?
8. I see some of the hopes towards singularity and immortality as a simple fear of death and the denial of spirituality.
Shai Agassi’s Electric Cars Innitiative – My Comments September 27, 2008Posted by eyalnow in technology.
Tags: alternative-energy, business, electric-car, transportation
Shai Agassi, founder of Project Better Place, is setting up an infrastructure that will allow people to switch to an advanced electric car, to charge it while they are at home, at work, or in the shopping mall, and, if they can’t wait to charge it, they can pull into a charging station and have the battery replaced with a fully charged one.
Agassi offers something similar to mobile phone operators – Subscribe to my electricity for a few years and get the car for free.
He already has Israel and Denmark as test countries, and is aiming at the US.
As much as I like the initiative, I do see a few issues in Agassi’s plan:
- What with all the other electric car manufacturers ?
Will agassi open up his network and provide charging to their car models ?
- What about current competing technologies of batteries ?
Would all the car manufactures need to adhere to the same standard ?
- Is better place the only entity involved in setting up the standard ?
- What if, as battery technology advances, it will be possible to safely and conveniently fully charge the battery in a few minutes, and have it last for 100s of miles ? Would we still need all the infrastructure ?
- Independence, Choice – Why not allow every car owner to plug the car straight into the wall, without needing a fancy charging unit ?
When I go to visit my friend who lives out of town, I’d like to be able to charge my car during the time that I’m there.
- On a larger scale, why not allow competition on the electric charging market ?
Better place can have its high-tech charging and battery-swap stations, but why not let others open basic charging stations with competitive prices?
Surely competition will benefit the consumer, and will help the wide-scale adoption of this idea.
- Can regular cars be converted to electric cars, instead of being thrown to landfills ?
- Do we really need another type of private car ?
Can’t this attention, money and energy be spent instead on public transport ?
- Is electric the only way to go ?
What about cars using alternative fuels and energy sources such as Biofuels, Solar, Zero-point energy?
- Where would all the electricity come from ?
Agassi promises that it will all be green energy, but is it feasible?
- Privacy: The company always knows where your car is – while driving or parking.
What security measures are in place ?
- Availability – what if the local car computer or server or computer network fails ?
Can we still get charged ?
- While I acknowledge Agassi’s environmental concern, I wonder if in the process of making the world a “Better Place”, his company might become the next ExxonMobil ?
Regardless, I hope that Agassi’s plan helps in moving us towards a more sustainable future.
Augmented Reality December 23, 2007Posted by eyalnow in technology.
Tags: augmented-reality, innovation, technology, trends, virtual-reality
add a comment
A very basic implementation of AR is already used when you watch an international sports match. The electronic billboards at the stadium are used by each television network to display different advertisements, possibly in various languages according to their viewer’s location.
Other potential uses include:
- Displaying driving directions over your front windshield which are superimposed over the actual road,
- Providing surgeons with “superhuman” skills by projecting x-ray, IR, and other images directly on the skin of the patient,
- Assisting soldiers in training and in the battelfield by having them wear see-through visors and displaying on them tactical information such as targets, attack or patrol paths, and potential sniper nests
Nick concludes: “What’s really going to happen is that the real and the virtual will blur together, become indistinguishable, as more of our experience becomes computer-generated. Eventually, there won’t be any reality to escape from.”
Google-Knol enters knowlege-sharing scene December 23, 2007Posted by eyalnow in knowledge-sharing.
Tags: google, knowledge-sharing, wikipedia
add a comment
Google has announced a knowledge-sharing service called “Knol” (from knowledge), which lets people write an authoritative article about their subject of interest or expertise, and meant to be the first thing that web-surfers find when they look for that particular subject.
“The key idea behind the Knol project is to highlight authors”, says Udi Manber, Google’s VP of engineering.
Indeed, one of the strengths of Knol compared to Wikipedia, is the possible authoritative nature of the articles, since writers will be (hopefully) identified by their real name, and may be experts in their fields, so they will be putting their reputation on the line.
“Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a Knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information”
An example of a Knol page shows a nice implementation of all these features.
Although I’m glad to see Google put its weight behind such a noble cause as knowledge sharing, I fear, as others in the blogosphere, that it is trying take on Wikipedia or even to dominate the whole knowledge-sharing scene.
There are some other issues here:
Seth godin’s Squidoo, is a similar author-centric knowledge-sharing service.
It has now been online for 2 years, and sports 300,000 articles.
However, I have never found it within the top search results for anything I searched for (and I search A LOT!). Rather, it’s usually Wikipedia at or near the top of my search results.
Would it be any different with Google-Knol ?
As Michael Arrington noted in his review of Seth Godin’s Squidoo, writers could build a name for themselves and possibly make more ad revenue by having their own blogs.
On average, Wikipedia manages to keep a good-enough level of information, and to identify instances where an article is opinionated, un-substantiated or even false.
Since Knol places more power in the hand of the author of the page, how good will the service be as a source of objective, factual information?
How easy would it be for the public to review and correct articles ?
Wikipedia’s cumbersome editing process leaves much to be desired in this area.
How prone will the service be to spamming, and especially to wisely-disguised advertizing ?
How will copyright be handled ? Would writers have any rights on their “Knol” ? what happends when someone takes a given Knol-page, improves and updates it and then re-posts it under his own name ?
Will Google really stand on the side without any editorial influence (read: censorship) ?
Found via Seth Godin
Word of the day – Implicature December 3, 2007Posted by eyalnow in word-of-the-day.
add a comment
“Implicature” was coined by a guy named Paul Grice to help describe situations in which what a speaker means is not the same as what she actually says.
via powerset blog
Software that both you AND your father can use? – Here’s how March 19, 2007Posted by eyalnow in design, interactions, interface, usability.
1 comment so far
I learn a lot about user-interfaces when my father needs my help with accomplishing something on his PC.
The other day he wanted to move some videos he shot with a digital video camera from the multiple read-write 80mm DVDs (expensive) to standard write-once DVDs (very cheap).
He could describe it to me very easily — move the files from the small DVD to the big DVD, so I can re-use the small DVD in my camera — but, he couldn’t do it if his life depended on it, and thank god, it didn’t.
I admit I used to somewhat patronize my father, thinking that he’s not really trying or that he expects the computer to do too much.
I now see I was wrong.
I was seeing it with my own tech-savvy eyes, instead of looking at it from the point of view of my father, who only started using computers a few short years ago, and who only needs the most basic features of word-processing, emailing and web browsing.
Sure, the DVD-burning software that he uses has a nice wizard, but it’s not the first thing that you see when you open the program, nor is it so easy to use for someone who is really a beginner.
It’s not the user who is supposed to learn how to operate any application, or the computer as a whole, but rather it is the application who needs to lend itself to non-technical users such as my father, as well as to more experienced users who need easy access to some of the advanced features.
After nearly 20 years of the graphical user interface, and with the much-celebrated exponential rise of computer power vs. its falling costs, its disappointing to see how little technology has really advanced in lending itself to us.
I recall the inspiring words of Jeff Han when he presented his innovative touch screen at the TED conference last year:
“At this day and age, there’s no reason we should be conforming to a physical device… interfaces should be conforming to us”
Hi-tech devices such as interactive touch screens are just part of the solution, and are still a few years away from the mass market.
It is the whole concept of the graphical user interface that must be re-designed to allow for a natural, gradual learning curve.
Says Kathy Sierra, from the “creating passionate users” blog:
“I’m a big fan of splitting capabilities into different products, or having a really good user-level modes–where you use wizards or simpler interfaces for new users, etc. Yes, they’re often done badly, but they don’t have to be”
and in another post:
“What if instead of adding new features, a company concentrated on making the service or product much easier to use? Or making it much easier to access the advanced features it already has, but that few can master?”
While I resonate with the “user-level modes” concept, I don’t agree with Kathy that “splitting capabilities into different products” is a good idea, because most users will need to use only some of the advanced features, not all of them.
Offering a single product with a flexible set of features can also allow users to “pay as they go”.
How to design software that both you and your father can use
An application needs to have 3 main “profiles” or “modes”: Beginner, Normal and Advanced.
By default, a new product, service or application must arrive in the “beginner mode”, with only the basic features available. The interface needs to be similar to what you encounter in any system that serves as a public information-kiosk. The beginner mode is maybe the most challenging to design, because it involves a lot of thinking into which features are really the most important and how best to design the wizards that will take the user by the hand and lead him through the whole process.
The option to switch to the “Normal mode” needs to be visible, and when selected, at least for the first time, the application needs to re-check with the user that he’s really interested to access this mode.
The “Normal mode”, as you might expect, shows more of the product’s features, but still not all of them. Only the features that the typical user needs.
There should be an easy way to customize these features, as well as their display, so the interface will not be cluttered with too many features that the user seldom uses.
Some applications highlight the features you use often and grey-out or even hide those you don’t use, which is a nice feature by itself, but there should also be an option to permanently hide these features.
The application must be able to save these customized views and options in a user-profile, that should be easily accessible, manageable and transferable.
The “Advanced Mode” should not display all the features, but rather allow the advanced user fine-grain control over all aspects of the application, its features and its display.
The application’s HELP section needs to accommodate for both beginners, normal and advanced users, and include friendly HOW-TOs along side detailed instructions on how to customize various features.
There are a few good examples that come to mind which implement some of these ideas:
Spybot Search and Destroy (an anti-spyware tool) creates two start menu entries – normal and advanced, and also displays this option in the menu bar as “mode”. When you switch to the advanced mode, Spybot warns you that it is only recommended to those who know what they’re doing, and that you might harm your system. The advanced mode lets you tweak many of the program’s features and to choose if you want to display them or not.
Azureus (a legal P2P content sharing tool), opens in the “featured content” page, with very few icons or menu options, but still allows you to do what you came here for – browsing content, downloading, managing your content library and even publishing. Pressing the “advanced” mode expands the menu, adds many expert features, and gives you fine-grained control over all aspects of the program.
It’s not only software, though.
Some digital cameras arrive in a “simple” menu mode, which you can easily turn into “advanced”, unlocking many features that novice users never need.
Software and product makers who adopt this attitude will appeal to a greater audience, and their increasing sales can help them make their products even better.
And maybe these products will be good enough to allow my father, and others, to interact easily and naturally with technology, and to derive more personal value from it.
The (misguided) pursuit of happiness March 15, 2007Posted by eyalnow in growth, happiness, psychology, science.
add a comment
We all want to be happy, yet some of us keep making the wrong predictions regarding what it is that will make us happy.
What can science tell us about the human pursuit of happiness?
Dan Gilbert is a professor of psychology at Harvard who studies just that: Happiness.
Last year at TED conference, Gilbert gave a talk in which he demonstrated just how poor we are at predicting or understanding what it is that will make us happy. Only 22 minutes long, and highly recommended.
Gilbert suggests that many of our wrong predictions are due to what he calls an “impact bias” which is our tendency to overestimate the impact of future events, such as elections, romances, promotions, college tests, personality tests, medical tests, sporting events, discrimination, insults, infidelities, and others.
“The fact is that a year after loosing the use of their legs, and a year after winning the lotto — lottery winners and paraplegics are equally happy with their life“
“A recent study showing how major life traumas affect people suggests that if it happened more than 3 months ago, with only a few exceptions, it has no impact whatsoever on your happiness”
What at first can seem as a trauma can be turned to a vehicle for growth and change. In his book – Stumbling on Happiness – Gilbert expands on this issue and gives the examples of Christopher Reeve (superman turned quadriplegic) and Lance Armstrong (successful cyclist recovers from cancer, regains his championship and becomes a cancer-awareness activist), who said that cancer was “the best thing that ever happened to me”.
Gilbert goes on to explore the idea of synthetic (self-created) happiness:
“[Most people] believe that synthetic happiness is not of the same quality as what we might call natural happiness.
Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted”
“In our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind… Why do we have that belief? [because:]
What kind of economic engine would keep churning, if we believe that NOT getting what we want could make as just as happy as getting it!”
“A shopping mall full of Zen monks is not going to be particularly profitable because they don’t want stuff enough“
“I wanna suggest to you that synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for”
I resonate with his suggestion.
Consumer culture, through the popular media, tries to persuade us that the key to our happiness is to be found in material possessions and the act of consuming. However, real joy, rather than mere pleasure, can be felt directly through experiences such as falling in love, the birth of a child, or selfless service to others.
Gilbert finishes his talk with an inspirational thought:
“Our longing and worries are both to some degree overblown, because we have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience”
I’m looking forward to reading his book.
More Dan Gilbert resources
A few excerpts from Gilbert’s book can be found here.
An excellent book review by the New York Times can be found here.
“Affective forecasting…or…the big wombassa” – a (long) talk with Gilbert at the respectable EDGE magazine. I haven’t read it all yet, but it looks promising.
Intuitive user interfaces March 14, 2007Posted by eyalnow in innovation, interface, technology.
I recently came across two innovative user interfaces that are reminiscent of the technology portrayed in the movie Minority Report.They both use touch-screens that can handle multiple inputs, and are sensitive to both movement and pressure.
Jeff Han of Perceptive Pixel, presenting his touch-screen at TED, said some things I found inspiring:
“There’s no manual, there’s no interface – the interface just kinda disappears”
“At this day and age, there’s no reason we should be conforming to a physical device… interfaces should be conforming to us”
“This is really the way we should be interacting with machines from this point on”
Fast Company magazine has a piece on Han, written by Adam L. Penenberg.
The second touch-screen is by an italian company called natural interaction, which has some captivating videos on their website.