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New model of journalism Room for innovation

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aro T t Readings!
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In 1996, two grad students at Stanford University began an ambitious some said crazy new project: Index the sprawling new phenomenon known as the internet. The fundamental driving principle of this platform? Open access to information. Sixteen years later, Google still believes in open technology and the tremendous possibilities it can deliver. Innovation, value, and freedom of choice for consumers, are just a few of the fruits of openness. While a web that enables a vibrant, profitable, and competitive ecosystem for businesses unleashes unlimited opportunities. Thats how former Google SVP Jonathan Rosenberg put it in The Meaning of Open, a 2009 blog post that he revisits in this issue of Think Quarterly (page 20). He reflects on a world where achieving the impossible doesnt sound so crazy anymore. As weve all experienced, an open system of information, technology, and ways of working has completely altered how we live and interact, and how we conduct business whether its a new model of open journalism (page 32), brand-builders embracing digital marketing (page 42), or the economic contribution of the internet as a whole (page 28). We hope you enjoy this issue of Think Quarterly and agree that theres never been a more exciting time to be open... for business, for innovation, for making the impossible happen.

Margo Georgiadis
President, Americas Google


06 11

Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN, explains why going digital is a big deal for small businesses. WORDS BY Caroline Waxler


As SVP of Product Management at Google, Jonathan Rosenberg outlined the companys commitment to openness. Now an advisor to Google management, he finds that open is more important than ever before. WORDS BY Jonathan Rosenberg

16 18

Investor, philanthropist, and space travel entrepreneur Esther Dyson counts down 10 trends, ideas, and principles preparing for lift-off. WORDS BY Esther Dyson


New research confirms what many have long suspected: The internet is a vital engine of economic growth. Mary Grove, Googles Head of Global Entrepreneurship, goes behind the numbers. WORDS BY Mary Grove

21 26


A new model of open journalism is disrupting the media business and the implications reach to the heart of our democracy. WORDS BY Vince Medeiros


Brand-building used to happen behind closed doors. Today, digital technology from social media to mobile apps is making consumers a big part of the process. We speak with the experts who are writing the new rules of engagement as they go. WORDS BY Allison Mooney

33 37 41


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales discusses the lessons that can be learned from his commitment to open information. WORDS BY David Mattin


Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, explains how the think/do tank is using technology to help people solve some of the worlds toughest problems. WORDS BY Jared Cohen

Peter Diamandis has his sights set on the biggest challenge of his career: Opening up Earths final frontier to private enterprise. WORDS BY Cyrus Shahrad


Think Quarterly represents the collective mindspace of journalists, academics, experts and industry leaders from around the world. Some are Googles homegrown visionaries. Others lend their outside perspectives. All tell stories you wont find anywhere else.

From 2002 until 2011, Jonathan Rosenberg was SVP of Product Management at Google, overseeing the teams that manage Googles innovative product portfolio and go-to-market strategies, with a special focus on delivering exceptional user experience, continuous innovation, and highly relevant, accountable, and untraditional marketing. Today, Jonathan is an advisor to Google management, and peers into our open future on page 20.

Esther Dyson is an active angel investor (and a trained cosmonaut), with a portfolio/board seats including 23andMe, Airship Ventures, Evernote, Meetup, Voxiva, XCOR, WPP Group, and Yandex; plus B612, Eurasia, Long Now, and Sunlight Foundations. You can find her on Twitter as @edyson, where she describes herself thus: I occupy Esther Dyson. Esther imparts The Knowledge on page 26.

Mary Grove is Head of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach at Google, where she oversees partnerships and programs to empower entrepreneurs around the world. Mary joined Google in 2004 and has worked on the IPO and New BusinessDevelopment teams. She delves into the meaning behind the latest research on the internets true economic value on page 28.

Jimmy Wales created the worlds largest encyclopedia when he cofounded the open-source Wikipedia in 2001. Five years later, he was named one of Time magazines 100 Most Influential People in the World. Jimmy explains how Wikipedias commitment to open standards can offer valuable insights for business on page 48.

Jared Cohen is the Director of Google Ideas and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Councilon Foreign Relations. Previously he served on the US Secretary of States Policy Planning Staff. He received his BA from Stanford University and his MPhil at Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Jared explains how technology can help overcome some of the worlds toughest challenges on page 54.

Peter Diamandis is an American engineer, physician, and entrepreneur best known for being the founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation. He is an expert on the growth of exponential technologies, a global leader in commercial space, and recently offered a $10m reward for the first team to invent a full body scanner. Peter argues that private enterprise is the key to unlocking the stars on page 58.

Contact | Visit The articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or editorial team. Google 2012

...Id love to tell you how we were so smart... p.9


Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN, explains why shes a passionate advocate of shopping small and going digital.

Caroline Waxler |


Ross Mantle


his part of the room was supposed to be furnished, says Susan Sobbott as she points to the space adjacent to her kitchen table. Were at her century-old Arts and Crafts-style home (an antique that shes nearly finished restoring) in a leafy New Jersey suburb. But this is our playroom. The kids come in. Our daughter can do cartwheels. Our son can set up his LEGO. Its a totally flexible space. My husband keeps saying, When are we going to get furniture for this? And I keep saying, We cant. Its open. The 48-year-old president of American Express OPEN certainly has a thing for flexible spaces. As head of the corporations third-largest business unit and its only sub-brand she may have been at this venerable institution for 22 years, but she thinks like a startup entrepreneur. Its this thinking that has made OPEN not only the leading card issuer for small businesses nationwide but has established its OPEN Forum as the go-to online resource and social network for small business owners and entrepreneurs. This year, Sobbotts division is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. Having started life in 1987, catering to an under-served market as American Express Small Business Services, it was rebranded in 2002. The brand was created prior to me and so everyone who owns it will have a different interpretation [of its meaning]. My interpretation is that OPEN comes from that seminal moment for a business owner when they declare that they are open for business. We try to learn from companies, she continues, speaking of the customers she serves. Not only because Ive fallen in love with them, but because they inspire us to get to know them better. To that end, American Express OPEN took up residence at one of the coworking spaces owned by tech incubator WeWork Labs. We do that so our team

Many business owners are intimidated by digital technology. We have a survey that says more people would rather do their taxes then develop a social media campaign.
can walk outside their little glass cube and interact with business owners who are around them and say, What do you think about this or that? Her team also works closely with another co-working space, General Assembly. It doesnt stop at conversation. OPEN offers its employees the opportunity to participate in an externship program. Here, employees act like a small consulting team, living with a business for a period of time and gaining the insights required to solve potential problems they may be experiencing. Sobbott knows that this is good business. Were trying to help businesses grow and were trying to help provide them with whatever we can to get them the support they need. In turn, as they grow, theyll become better customers. mall business owners are a diverse group. There are 25 million of them, Sobbott says. They range from your dentist to the woman who is making jewelry on her dining room table to a tech start-up. And not all of them are eager to embrace digital. Many business owners are quite intimidated by it, she admits. We have a survey that says more people would rather do their taxes then develop a social media campaign. To that end, says Sobbott, Were focusing our time and attention on really helping them understand what digital marketing assets exist, and letting people know where to find them. In fact, she continues, one of the things we did recently on OPEN Forum was to put in something called Crash Courses. Crash Courses are bite-sized how-tos on various topics. Its a simple principle that as the business grows, we grow with them and our bottom line is impacted in that way. Thats not to say that the bottom line is the only consideration. For Sobbott, success is measured first and rt by the quality of the experience that American Express provides its customers, as well as the number of people the business reaches through its work. Central to those goals are the companys own plans in the digital space. In particular, the decision to partner with all the major social media platforms to serve up innovative offerings to customers. One such campaign on Facebook, Link, Like, Love, serves up discounts based on the users interests that are automatically put on the members card and redeemed at the point of purchase. You dont have to bring a coupon, you dont have to remember a code, and the person at the point-of-sale doesnt have to do anything, Sobbott explains. The initiative is symptomatic of everything American Express does: We want to bring value to our customers, and the way we bring value is by getting them access to things that they couldnt otherwise get access to.


obbotts major contribution to OPEN is undoubtedly her creation of Small Business Saturday. Taking place over Thanksgiving weekend, its the day when consumers are encouraged and rewarded for shopping at small businesses. Put yourself back in 2010; nobody knew where the world was going, says Sobbott. I kept thinking, What can American Express do to help our customers? I knew it had to be something bigger than us, so I challenged the team: Tell me how we can bring all of American Express to benefit our small business customers. What their customers needed, says Sobbott, was traffic. The germ of the idea was to ask American Express customers to shop at small businesses. And then I thought, Why are we stopping at our customers? Why dont we just ask all of America to shop at small businesses? Great idea, but Thanksgiving was only six weeks away. We knew that the only way we could do something that could scale was through social media. First up was a Facebook promotion that saw American Express offer $100 in free Facebook advertising to the first 10,000 business owners to sign up to the campaign. Facebook Ads helped those businesses build online buzz and drive engagement, while American Express supported them with a Facebook Pages set-up guide and a central hub that housed, among other things, toolkit components and a directory of businesses involved in the promotion. The Small Business Saturday Facebook page now has over 2.8 million Likes. Over on YouTube, meanwhile, American Express teamed up with Google to create My Business Story, a free tool that allows small business owners to create professional-quality videos. Its just one of the companys 57 playlists that have so far racked up almost 20 million views. Still, Sobbotts team knew that to get Small Business Saturday off to

a flying start with the public, they needed a killer incentive. So they offered customers $25 in credit if they spent $25 in stores and restaurants. It worked so well that by year two 100 million Americans shopped small, with the campaign achieving 65 percent awareness. We had over 200 public organizations join us, 75 corporate partners, and every state in the country, says Sobbott. There was even a bipartisan Senate Resolution passed to encourage consumers to

shop at locally owned, independent businesses. Sobbott laughs. As much as Id love to tell you how we were so smart and so strategic I mean, we were smart and strategic but, boy, we struck gold. We tapped into a passion and energy that was already very prevalent. Everyone wants to kick start the economy. We just gave people a simple action to help do their part by encouraging them to shop small. And it was huge



What is your earliest memory?

When I was four years old, I was riding on the handlebars of a bike and fell off. It was painful and it wasnt smart, but I learned how to pick myself up.

Which piece of music alters your state of mind?

Anything by Yo-Yo Ma.

When did you last let yourself go?

The Alpine slide in the Berkshires.

What are you searching for?

What does success look like to you?

Success is helping people achieve their potential.

When was your last moment of clarity?

A twenty-fifth hour in the day.

When I first looked into the eyes of my newborn child.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Restoring my antique home.

What do you want to be when youre older?

When were you last surprised?

Young at heart.

Last year, when President Obama went to a local bookstore with his daughters for Small Business Saturday.

What do you want that you cant have?

Athletic prowess.

What do you see in the mirror?

The reflection of all those who have believed in me along the way.

What was your greatest mistake?

What is your biggest failure?

Buying into work/ life balance; its about one integrated life.

Underestimating myself.

Who is your inspiration?

My father, who ran a small business; and my mother, who worked with him and raised four kids.

How much is enough?

Whatever it takes to keep moving forward.

If you had to stay in one place, where would it be?

With my children, reading them a bedtime story.

When did you last feel ashamed?

When I forgot to call my mother-in-law for her birthday recently.

Whats your signature dish?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The thought of what comes next.

Chocolate chip pancakes.

Tell us a joke



In 2009, Jonathan Rosenberg, then Googles SVP of Product Management and now an advisor to Google management, wrote a memo outlining why open companies would win the future. Today, however, he finds a world that has outstripped even his wildest expectations.


Jonathan Rosenberg Matt W. Moore

hree years ago this December, I sent an email to my fellow Googlers, attempting to pin a clear definition on a term being batted around quite a bit: Open. I was concerned that within our walls it meant different things to different people, and that too many Googlers didnt understand the companys fundamental commitment to the merits of being open. Referring to the two prongs of open technology and open information, I outlined our underlying ethos of transparency.

Pursuing open systems, I argued, has led and would continue to lead to two desirable outcomes: Google gets better and so does the world. It was a plausible argument, and a later post on the Google blog, The Meaning of Open, helped further clarify this sometimes-elusive concept. In the weeks that followed, I received thoughtful emails from a remarkably broad audience professors and writers appreciative of the look inside Google, business leaders telling me how open affects their business, grad school students surprised that this was the very opposite of the lock-in strategy they were being taught. Cut to three years later. What leaps out at me from that manifesto now is something entirely different: How wrong I was. Its not that open doesnt improve Google and the world. Its that this has happened far faster than Id ever imagined. This realization came to me recently in the middle of the most mundane of twenty-first-century routines: I was checking my phone, a Droid Razr Maxx. Staring at the thing, I saw it for its sheer diversity: Two dozen apps from the New York Times to Flipboard, Dialer One to OpenTable, RunKeeper to SlingPlayer created by a slew of different developers, on a phone built by Motorola. It occurred to me I wasnt looking merely at a mobile device, but the physical embodiment of how an open ecosystem can ripple its way through the world nearly overnight.



To be sure, I always sensed the idea had legs but Id failed to anticipate the extent to which it would rewrite the rules across the private and public sectors. There are three technical trends driving this, and theyve evolved at an astounding rate. First: The internet is making information freer and more ubiquitous than Id thought possible; virtually everything that was offline is now online. Second: The vision of mobiles potential truly became a reality, as devices grew much more powerful and faster than expected, facilitating unprecedented global reach and connectivity. Third: Cloud computing has allowed for infinite computing power on demand. And were far from finished. As I write this, Google Fiber is preparing to roll out a one-gigabit service in Kansas City, signaling that connectivity is about to go through another order of change. A bit of irony attends the intersection of these technical developments: Novel as they are, their effect has been to bring more and more businesses back to basics. Product quality and scale are now the most important factors in determining business success. Historically, businesses could take advantage of the scarcity of some information, or of connectivity, or of computing power to attract and keep their customers and repel competition. Today, customers can make far more informed choices thanks to the availability of consumer information. Indeed, they empower each other to do so, via sites like Yelp and a raft of social media. No longer can a company so thoroughly control its customers environment. As barriers to distribution have fallen think cheap space for online retailers consumers increasingly control it themselves. Under this new paradigm, with markets growing ever more competitive, companies have no choice but to focus on product quality and scale. If they dont, someone else will.

The lesson seems clear now: If youre going to engage in an open system, youre forever committing to compete for your spot as primary innovator.

ith so much change happening so quickly, open has emerged as a critical business tactic in achieving product excellence and scale. Opening a product to an army of creatives is the surest path to product innovation and diversity, since it allows each contributor to focus on what they do best and encourages input from the widest possible audience. Chrome and Android, which have taken off since The Meaning of Open first appeared, exemplify this principle. With both, weve maintained one simple goal from the beginning: Make the product as strong as it can be. As we learned time and again, no route would get us there faster or more reliably than open more hands working on a product will only improve it. Open allows for preto-typing a concept, or testing it in the earliest stages. Whats more, open systems tolerate failure better and attract a more devoted user base. They know the primary motivation of an open system is product excellence; if the company tried to impose some other agenda on it, the developer audience would detect it immediately and revolt. In committing a product to openness, the company surrenders the ability to do anything but make it better for the user. The results speak for themselves. If you owned a smartphone in 2006, chances are it said Blackberry or Nokia on it. Even just three years ago, Android represented a mere five percent of the market. Today, weve shot up to 51 percent, and odds are good your smartphone was made by Samsung, HTC, Motorola or another Android partner. Android has even ended up in places we hadnt anticipated, such as TVs, cars, airplanes, and even appliances. (Check out Ouya, a new videogame console built on Android. Without an open



Android, that sort of innovation doesnt happen.) The lesson seems clear now: If youre going to engage in an open system, youre forever committing to compete for your spot as primary innovator. Open has been no less instrumental with the Chrome browser, which has been built off the open-source Chromium project. Today, Chrome is a full seven times faster than when it launched just four years ago, and new code becomes available for all the world to see as its developed. Working in the light of day like this makes it harder to have hidden agendas or otherwise fall short; get things wrong and a global audience of developers will spot it instantly. Making open work as a business tactic may require new organizational proficiencies. Speed is paramount, as is rigorous decision making. An open ecosystem encourages a flood of ideas, and while creating good ideas is easy, choosing among them is hard. So open can give companies a big competitive edge, but only if they are suitably positioned to take advantage of it. The alternative tactic most notably employed by Apple and our own search teams is to keep systems more closed, and to exercise complete control. This approach requires its own set of unique organizational skills, beyond just moving fast, since product excellence and innovation must be sourced entirely from within. Both approaches can obviously be successful, but in our experience, when it comes to building global platforms, going open is a more sure-fire path to success. Fortunately, a growing number of organizations have seen the writing on the wall. In Wikinomics, authors Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams recount the tale of Goldcorp, a Toronto gold-mining firm that, in the late 90s, appeared to be on the ropes. Facing a

Creating good ideas is easy but choosing among them is hard. Open can give companies a big competitive edge, but only if they are suitably positioned to take advantage of it.

contracting market, a host of internal troubles, and what appeared to be a picked-over mine, CEO Rob McEwen did precisely what any business textbook would say not to: He started giving away what little the company had left. Specifically, he dumped 400 megabytes of information about Goldcorps 55,000-acre property on the company website. Rather than jealously guard its last shreds of proprietary information, he offered $575,000 in prize money to anyone who could use their data to, in essence, find their gold. It was a tremendous success. More than 80 percent of the targets identified by the public yielded significant quantities of gold. From that small initial investment, the company has pulled over $3 billion worth of gold from the ground. Of course, McEwen was merely tuning in to the deep-seated principles of the open-source movement. In the early, woolly days of the internet, an ethos of universality and egalitarianism pervaded. Walled gardens, no matter how pleasing, can never compete in diversity, richness, and innovation with the mad, throbbing web market outside their gates, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has written. Google has always thrived on that diversity, richness and innovation. Its what has allowed us to come out with creations like Chrome and Android and what allowed, for similar reasons, a timeworn extraction industry to stun the world with similar successes. Dramatic as the Goldcorp story is, its the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, what began as a geeky concept within tech circles has spread to all corners of business, governance, healthcare, education, and beyond. We at Google see a number of opportunities beyond the tech sector where open could affect improvements both small and large.



EDUCATION From Stanford to Korea, universities and teachers around the world are beginning to give away high-quality educational content at no cost under an open copyright license. Whats more, this content is increasingly available to people in the most remote locations; bandwidth and connectivity have done away with some of societys most abiding barriers to education. From the end of a long dirt road in Mumbai, a student with a phone can now take the highest levels of coursework at MIT. Just as excitingly, that student can also become a teacher. Thanks to truly democratizing entities like the non-profit Khan Academy, an online repository of over 3,000 video lectures, people around the world can both utilize and contribute to a growing library of resources, from physics lectures to finance tutorials. We already know the extent to which public education transformed society in the twentieth century. The possibilities for open online education seem just as limitless. GOVERNANCE Claims to governmental transparency are one thing moves like the one Canada made recently, with its formal Open Government Declaration, are another. The document recognizes that open is an active state, not a passive one its not just that data should be free to citizens whenever possible, but that an active culture of engagement should be the goal of such measures. As more municipal, state, and federal governments move in this direction, theres reason to believe itll pay off financially. (After GPS data was made publicly available in the late 1980s, for example, commercial services built on top of it are thought to have contributed $67.6 billion in economic value within the US.) Conversely, one could argue

Walled gardens, no matter how pleasing, can never compete in diversity, richness, and innovation with the mad, throbbing web market outside their gates.
that when the Egyptian regime shut down the internet in January 2011, it forced citizens into the streets to get more information, swelling the crowds at Tahrir Square. In that instance, its possible that reverting to a more closed system hastened the governments demise. HEALTH CARE PatientsLikeMe is a social networking health site built atop the US Department of Health Services open data. Making way for more initiatives like it could provide more patients with ways to share information and learn from others with similar conditions. Researchers, too, could benefit from greater openness in the industry. Opening up health data would allow for the kinds of large-scale epidemiological studies that lead to substantive breakthroughs while employing stronger safeguards than ever to ensure total patient privacy. By making its registry of birth defects available to researchers, for instance, California has allowed doctors to home in on a wealth of information about the health impact of environmental factors. And, of course, Google Flu Trends has already demonstrated how connectivity and scale can coalesce to transform what we know about a particular virus, merely by letting information be shared and collated.

SCIENCE Researchers, institutions, and funding agencies around the world are beginning to realize that greater sharing and collaboration around the results of scientific research can lead to greater speed and efficiency, higher quality research, and a greater overall impact. As European Commissioner Neelie Kroes noted in a recent speech about science and openness policies in Europe, Researchers, engineers, and small businesses need to access scientific results quickly and easily. If they cant, its bad for business. Greater access to scientific research can stimulate innovation in the private sector and help solve the big challenges we face around the world. (Google Fusion Tables is one tool scientists can use to share and collaborate on disparate sets of data.) Meanwhile, open in the scientific context can mean opening research to entirely new participants. After failing for over a decade to solve the structure of a protein-cutting enzyme from an AIDS-like virus, scientists put the challenge to the gaming community. Using the online game Foldit, players solved it in three weeks.



TRANSPORTATION By opening up public transit data, governments enable entrepreneurs to build applications that run on top of that data, thereby improving the citizen experience; citizens can also use this open data to report infrastructure problems. At Google, weve already seen how this can work. When we set out to organize the worlds geographical information, we found that for many places, good maps simply didnt exist. So we created MapMaker, a participatory mapping product that lets anyone create annotations to Google Maps. With that, a league of online citizen cartographers was born, charting in one two-month period over 25,000 kilometers of previously unmapped roads in Pakistan. he technical trends converging now are poised to alter indeed, have already begun to alter realms that were historically closed, secretive, and stagnant. The future of government is transparency, I wrote three years ago. The future of commerce is information symmetry. The future of culture is freedom. The future of science and medicine is collaboration. The future of entertainment is participation. Each of these futures depends on an open internet. Id amend that a bit. Given the radical changes weve seen in just those three years, the challenge has shifted. We must aim beyond even an open internet. Institutions in general must continue to embrace this ethos. Getting to these futures was never going to be easy but Im pleased to report that were closer than ever



The Knowledge

Esther Dyson

With interests spanning healthcare, genetics, and private space travel, Esther Dyson is one of the worlds leading polymaths, philanthropists, and investors. Here, she shares her mental inbox: 10 trends, ideas, and projects that are capturing her attention right now.

While the Chinese laid on a tightly choreographed visual techno-feast with thousands of people in perfect synchronization, the UKs Danny Boyle created an amazing jazz-like celebration in which thousands of people, mostly volunteers, moved about freely as individuals in self-organizing harmony, mirroring the countrys actual history of free agents creating great art, music, and lasting institutions.

Online social networks give individuals a sense of dignity that they often lack under an autocratic government. These are places where citizens can be disappeared. But once youre on a social network in full view of all your friends you develop both an identity that cannot be so easily erased and courage reinforced by the visibility of others you know.

I dont drive a car, so in the Bay Area I often use the San Francisco subway system (BART) and CalTrain. But on my last visit, my niece told me about the #5 bus. Checking it out on my iPhone, I discovered a whole new world of mass transit crisscrossing San Francisco, with real-time updates that make it a viable option for getting around. How many other things will our cell phones reveal if we only take the trouble to look?

With the advent of open data (including school attendance and grades, health measures, traffic and infrastructure conditions, energy use per capita, employment and crime rates), its easier than ever for a community to quantify itself especially if a local news organization teams up with citizens to collect and analyze the data.



In the developing world, cell phones are capital equipment, (something thats used to make a product or provide a service) allowing millions of individuals to become producers without an employer. For example, farmers can get the necessary information to buy seeds and sell crops at optimal prices; while unemployed youths can become market researchers, defining their own jobs and, ultimately, their own lives.

Within 100 years, theres about a 50 percent chance of an asteroid impact on Earth more devastating than the one that struck Tunguska with the energy of 700 Hiroshima bombs in 1908. Its now possible to detect them in advance, but theres no budget to do so. And yet if we did detect one, governments would quickly pool their resources and change its course. Thats why former NASA astronaut Ed Lu formed the B612 Foundation. (I am in its Founders Circle.) For the price of a medium-size hospital winTg, we are launching a space mission to detect and map half a million asteroids and, potentially, save humankind.

Lots of start-ups today are focused on personalization and curation. Who does that leave to produce real, enterprise news where a smart reporter gets an angle targeted at a specific community? One of my favorite examples: Hotel/Motel Weekly covered the OJ Simpson trial by interviewing the manager of the hotel where the jury was sequestered, offering a unique spin on a well-covered story.

There are three health markets: The well-known one of doctors, clinics, drugs, and insurance. Then theres bad health: Recreational drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, (too much) unhealthy food. Finally, theres the market for health itself, enabled by new tools and devices for self-monitoring, and also social apps that use game dynamics and other psychosocial insights to encourage healthy behavior. In the long run, most of the costs are likely to be born by employers or government (through your taxes). But Id rather pay for people to be healthy than pay for the social costs of poor health.

Despite the hype/fear about genes predicting your future, they are simply symbols pointing to conditions you may have. People who have their genes sequenced now are often benefactors rather than beneficiaries. In the end, the probabilities of all the different ways you can die still add up to only 100 percent or slightly less if you believe in life extension!

One of the best books Ive ever read is Barry Schwartzs The Paradox of Choice. It points out the emotional downside of freedom. People with no choice can always blame others for their situation, whereas those with choices face the possibility of regret. Being free is not just an opportunity; its also a challenge. Not everyone lives up to it



The TRUTH of the DIGITAL Economy

ast year, I visited Kabul and Herat. I was curious how people in a country with roughly four percent internet penetration and limited mobile data access interacted with Google search and products. Since radio is a popular form of mass communication in Afghanistan, it turns out that people call in to a local radio show called Percipal (Seek and Search) and ask their query to the host. The host, who has internet access, does a Google search and then reads the answer on air. The message I brought back to the US? Constraint breeds creativity; people are ever entrepreneurial in finding ways to connect with one another to access information. More than ever, entrepreneurs around the world are leveraging technology and the internet to connect, create, and transform their communities and the planet. Every day, people improve the efficiency of their businesses, find like-minded neighbors to improve their towns, and distribute their bands latest single online. If necessity is the mother of invention, incentive is the father and there are many ingredients that

Googles Head of Global Entrepreneurship, Mary Grove, interprets what the latest research tells us about the internets contribution to economic growth.

Mary Grove |


Leandro Castelao



go into creating the right incentive structures for entrepreneurs to thrive. Among them are access to capital, a talent pool, and a network of mentors who have succeeded and failed, not to mention the commitment of legislators and leaders to promote a free and open web. In the US, where the JOBS Act makes provisions for crowd funding, weve seen sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter use the web as a democratizing platform to surface good ideas and enable entrepreneurs to finance them, leading to more opportunity and job creation. The internet has created more than 3.6 million net jobs in the US alone, while driving more of the economy than agriculture and construction combined. A recent McKinsey report revealed that in developed countries, the internet has contributed an average of 21 percent GDP growth between 2004 and 2009. On average, the internet contributes 3.4 percent to GDP in the G8 nations, plus Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Sweden an amount the size of Spain or Canada in terms of GDP, and growing at a faster rate than that of Brazil. In fast-growing and aspiring countries that are poised to contribute, like Morocco, Turkey, and Vietnam, the internet contributes an average of 1.9 percent of GDP already some $366 billion in 2010. The implication is clear: A free and open web leads to more economic development and opportunity across the globe. The internet also delivers you an audience that is both local and truly global. Consider Startup Weekend, an organization that runs 54-hour weekend events in over 400 cities across some 70 countries. (Google will be Startup Weekends galactic sponsor for the next two years.) A few months ago, I met the founders of AfterShip,

The internet has created more than 3.6 million net jobs in the US alone, while driving more of the economy than agriculture and construction combined.



winner of Global Startup Battle, a friendly face-off between the 48 winning teams from Startup Weekend events that took place in November 2011. The four founders of AfterShip met for the first time at Startup Weekend Hong Kong. They formed a team to launch a product that weekend, went on to win the global battle, and released their parcel tracking service to the world a few months later. Weve worked with thousands of similar entrepreneurs across our Google for Entrepreneurs programs, from Campus London to Women Entrepreneurs on the Web, all of whom are creating the next generation of successful digital ventures. The web also empowers communities to create extraordinary value and, in some cases, to literally put themselves on the map. During our visit to Afghanistan, we saw that no comprehensive digital maps existed. A few months later, the young entrepreneurs

The web empowers communities to put themselves literally on the map. The Great Trigonometric Survey of India took 60 years with Google Map Maker, you can do it in days.

we met in Herat used Google Map Maker, a tool that allows people to map their communities in Google Maps in over 188 countries around the world, to map 11 regions in Afghanistan, which are live on Google Maps today. The possibility of having ones city (or street or business) put on the map exists today thanks to the power of the internet and the communities it enables. Similarly, in Pakistan, a team of local community volunteers mapped all of Lahore in less than 24 hours. The Great Trigonometric Survey of India took 60 years with Google Map Maker, you can do it in days. But we mustnt assume that the transformational nature of the internet is an inevitable consequence of connecting together a whole bunch of servers and computers. Rather, its totally novel, very-light-touch, community-driven model has enabled entrepreneurs, researchers, artists, and all of us to try things out, iterate quickly and cheaply, and grow exponentially



As digital technology changes the shape of our media, bringing a plurality of voices to a global audience, Think Quarterly examines the rise and implications of open journalism.

Vince Medeiros |


Jack Hudson



raditional top-down journalism proprietors, editors, and journalists commissioning, writing, and editing stories under the newsrooms fluorescent lights with no input from the public has been seriously disrupted. The public wants in and now has the means of playing a part in challenging journalists and those in power. In fact, were slowly seeing the emergence of a new nexus between media, citizens, and their potential impact on events. The roots of open journalism or a more inclusive way of producing news are many, but at its core lies a potent combination of recession economics, digital technology, and networked activism across the world. First, the economy. Recent numbers from the US suggest only moderate recovery, while the UK is said to be in the worst double-dip recession of the last 50 years. With the exception of Germany, most of Europe is either in recession or battling for survival. Its no wonder, then, that commercial media, whose businesses rely largely on advertising revenue, are struggling to cope. Enter technology. The internet has given brands a new outlet to connect with consumers, and theyre beginning to embrace it. According to a study by Global AdView Pulse, worldwide digital ad spend saw 12.1 percent growth in Q1 2012, outpacing all other media. Its been a tough road, especially for print, as many papers and magazines have yet to find a way to turn a profit online. This difficult combination has sent a long-established way of doing business profit-seeking companies selling audiences to advertisers into something approaching a crisis, forcing them to look for new sources of revenue, and for new ways of engaging people, creating communities, and eventually monetizing them. In comes Occupy. From Wall Street to the Arab Spring to the streets of Athens and Madrid, young people are increasingly networked and angry. This global wave of activism is shifting the zeitgeist from self-absorption to solidarity, while incubating an appetite for real democracy. People want to participate, have a voice, and play a part in describing a world thats in crisis. And wherever theres crisis, theres an opening. Seen through this lens, open journalism becomes an extension of Zuccotti Park, an annex of the Arab uprisings, and a fundamental cog in the wider demand for social justice.

The upheaval brings to mind the arrival of Gutenbergs printing press some 500 years ago, and many media companies have yet to find their feet. As Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices Online, says, Those news organizations which figure out how to adapt the best aspects of professional journalism to the realities of a networked society will be the ones that will survive and succeed over the long haul if they can figure out a business model. lobal Voices Online has been giving voice to those less heard for seven years now, shining a light where few others are looking. The site, a non-profit with no real-world office, curates, contextualizes, and translates the work of citizen journalists through their own blogs, YouTube channels, Twitter feeds, and other citizen-media platforms. We pioneered the model of curating conversations coming out of the international blogosphere, says MacKinnon, something that has become commonplace on many news websites, especially during breaking news events like the Arab Spring. Among the mainstream press, the UKs Guardian has been among the quickest to embrace this new way of doing business, and was the first news organization to adopt the phrase open journalism. Indeed, editor Alan Rusbridger refers to it as their operating model. This is not the Gutenberg age, when the ability to communicate widely was placed in the hands of a few, Rusbridger explains. Anyone can write, publish, and distribute their work now. Why not ask them to do that with us or, at the very least, incorporate what they have to say with what we have to say? We do it because it gives a more complete picture. Its better journalistically, in other words. And we do it because, if we dont open ourselves, they will simply do it elsewhere. Why compete when you can collaborate? Its better commercially. From coverage of the Arab Spring to last summers English riots or the death of news seller Ian Tomlinson during the 2009 G20 disturbances in London, the public have played a role in helping the Guardian tell the story. One example was our reporting of the riots last year when one of our journalists, Paul Lewis, followed the action across England for four days and nights. He was guided by a network of followers on Twitter, which was also his first platform for publishing.



The information he received helped direct him to particular trouble spots, and witness events that would otherwise have gone unreported. By the end of the four days, Paul had amassed 35,000 new followers analysis would later show his feed was the most influential of any media organization. In addition to contributing to news stories, citizens are at times completely bypassing traditional outlets. Egypts infamous Day of Rage is a good example. On January 28, 2011, soccer supporters seized the Qasr al-Nil bridge from the riot police, marking the moment Mubaraks clique effectively lost control. The event was shot on cell phones, posted on YouTube and quickly became available to people both in Egypt and across the region. This would never have been shown on state television, says the BBCs Paul Mason, and even a benign and neutral TV network would never have shown it in full. Two weeks later Mubarak was ousted from power. Mason, who chronicled the recent global uprisings in his book, Why Its Kicking Off Everywhere, says that the fluid nature of information across social media is beginning to undermine established ways of telling the news: I can see video news becoming a series of unmediated, barely edited or narrated clips, disseminated by Twitter, making traditional live or rolling coverage redundant. Amateur news, he argues, can be more reliable than the professionally produced stories shown on TV, adding that crowdsourced news can be faster, more instantly checkable, and is not open to manipulation by bad actors in the news management or censorship operations, especially at the early stages. So much of TV news already looks fake, with impossibly suave people. Mason says that even the competitive nature of news journalism is changing to reflect the collaborative competition model found in other networked industries. The emergence of open peer-groups among journalists, above all on Twitter, is affecting the way I get raw news and is enhancing clarity, he says. At an EU conference there will be a few of us all trying to get a scoop, but once somebody gets it, theres a more collective process of working it through via retweets and comments. Everythings a work in progress: A tweet leads to a blog; a blog leads to a feature; you tweet the feature; you tweet a link to somebodys work thats inspired you, or a response to your stuff. Suddenly theres a moving ecosphere of knowledge instead of a fixed hierarchy.



oogle also has a part to play in this emerging news environment. Google News brings together stories from over 45,000 sources worldwide. The product was created in the aftermath of 9/11 when Google research scientist Krishna Bharat found himself frustrated by how slow it was to manually walk the web in search of information on the attacks. Authors on the web had not created a hub with links to articles on the story because the content was super fresh, says Bharat. It seemed to me that Google, being in the business of helping people find information, could automatically create bundles of links to brand new content for the top stories of the day. Internal feedback was so positive that the company decided to make it a fullfledged product within six months. Google News may not directly democratize news production, but it certainly makes available the widest possible range of sources. For any given story, we provide efficient access to all news articles published on the story, from sources around the world, explains Bharat. You dont have to walk the web looking for related content. Our algorithms do it for you continuously, in real time, for every story in every language. Each time you encounter a story on Google News or News Search, you see not only the lead article, but also a plethora of other related choices to read or watch, as a sequence of next actions. According to Bharat, this helps local and small publishers as the format advertises related articles to users based on their preference: With source personalization, we prioritize sources the user likes, but at the same time bring in voices that are essential for a particular story. It balances personalization with serendipity. This, he says, ultimately benefits democracy: We allow the facts presented by one source to be complemented and cross-checked with those presented by another. It makes

users better informed, and reduces the risk that they will acquire a distorted view based on the output of a single, biased source. For Bharat, Google News is an integral part of the wider move towards openness: Ultimately, open journalism depends on a robust process for discovery, and Googles news products make that possible. s digital media grows, the fight to control its future rages on. The sense of unpredictability has created an opening, and many forces will be trying to take advantage of it, says Des Freedman, Reader in Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, London. Many studies are now showing that online news sources are more concentrated than offline news sources. There are obviously fewer studies of Twitter so far, but of those studies that have taken place, youre not seeing a re-distribution on Twitter. Despite positive case studies, Freedman says that digital medias democratic potential is definitely a work in progress. Google News is a different means of distributing news. Does it mean that the dominant voices are necessarily different? The Huffington Post is able to offer a diversity of voices technologically speaking, but it does fit into a very traditional picture of who is read, as opposed to who could be read. Dan Hind, author of The Return of the Public, wants to redress that imbalance via a system of public commissioning, where people handle an editorial budget and have direct say over what stories are covered and by whom. It works by giving everyone some small degree of control over the content of the mainstream, something they are denied at the moment. That way, says Hind, journalism becomes a career in which serving the public, rather than your owner or editor, becomes the royal road to success and prestige.

We provide efficient access to all news articles from sources around the world. You dont have to walk the web looking for related content. Our algorithms do it for you continuously, in real time, for every story in every language.



It might be some time, and take serious popular pressure, before public commissioning becomes a reality. For now, though, it seems clear that collaborative journalism of the kind that shed light on Ian Tomlinsons death enriches the public sphere. A radically democratized media, however, would probably go beyond the consumerized individual whos able to feedback or input in an already existing process. According to Freedman, The crucial question is: What do we mean by open? If open is just a motorway where anyone can travel, thats fine if you have a car but what if you have no say over its upkeep and where the road is going? s with most revolutions, the process is chaotic. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff can be put in its place, writes media theorist Clay Shirky. And as the cracks

The question is: What do we mean by open? If open is just a motorway where anyone can travel, thats fine if you have a car but what if you have no say over its upkeep and where the road is going?

widen, spaces for citizen participation are opening up like never before. For the powerful, thats scary; for democracy, thats a wonderful thing. Google News. Egypts Day of Rage. The Guardians open journalism. Theyre just the beginning. Whatever happens next, new technologies, the disruption of old hierarchies, and the growing mood for a more equitable distribution of resources point in the direction of a more interesting media landscape than the one were leaving behind one that gives people more power to set the agenda, to make and distribute news, and to truly hold the powerful to account. The last words go to Freedman: We face a situation that has enormous potential; a time in which there is a great appetite for new sources and angles. But theres no foregone conclusion. Just as we might struggle for social equality, we also have to carry on struggling to redistribute media resources



...We're writing the rules as we go. p.29


Thanks to the openness of the web, consumers are taking control of the brands they love. But although the rules of the game have changed, smart brands are embracing digital to create their most responsive, innovative, and efficient campaigns ever. This is how theyre doing it.

Allison Mooney

ohn Battelle has a game he likes to play. When speaking to a room full of marketers, hell pull up Google or Twitter and search for their brand. What pops up is a focus group of the world no two-way mirror, no whiteboard, just raw, real-time feedback. Its fun to see their reaction, he says. Its a gut-level realization that they are not in control of their brand. Thanks to the openness of the web, consumers have more power than ever.

What they say matters and they expect to be heard. But brands are empowered as well, and the best ones are using digital to build direct, meaningful relationships with their customers. Theyre gathering feedback to inform how they do business. And theyre baking transparency and collaboration into both their products and marketing, making them more responsive, innovative, and efficient. This is what the experts are saying



How are brands coming to life online? Check out these best-in-class examples. Drawn from Googles Creative Sandbox, a global collection of the coolest campaigns across the web, theyve all been contributed by the agencies who delivered them. Have something to share? Were open for submissions.


Agency Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles Client Toyota The launch of the 2012 Camry needed to be big. Apart from a huge sales target, Toyota wanted to change the conversation from tsunami and recalls back to road trips and reliability. Problem was, Camry owners talking online and shoppers wouldnt consider buying Camry until theyd read one or two reviews. But if Toyota could get a fraction of the 6.8m Camry owners in the US to tell their stories online, they could create a Yelp-style site that potential customers could use in the purchase process. So Saatchi & Saatchi LA built an everevolving social network in just six weeks, with dynamic choose-your-own-adventure question logic, real-time stats based on user interaction, a custom-moderated back-end for saving user-generated stories, and the ability to create a customized animated 3-D flash collage that could be shared anytime, then built it all to work on desktop, Android, and iOS. The result was an 800 percent spike in real-world Camry interest, with 19 percent more Camry sales leads than pre-campaign. Toyota declared their best sales quarter in nearly five years. Nearly 100,000 people were now talking about the car no one talked about. Fast Stats 460m unpaid media impressions 710,000 site visits 3,166 project man-hours

Start talking
Brands are what people say about you when youre not in the room, and the room has gotten extremely big and extremely digital, says Battelle, who founded online advertising network Federated Media Publishing. Today, peoples perceptions are greatly influenced by what they see on the web (see our data visualization on page 38), so the digital sphere is central to a brands identity. And yet, at the same time, it has fundamentally changed the rules. You cant assume that if you engage in the same strategy and tactics post-digital that you will build your brand in a competitive way, Battelle warns. The campaign-based broadcast model of last centurys advertising has been augmented by real-time content, conversation, and participation. The new brand-building toolkit now includes interactive apps, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels alongside packaging, logos, and 30-second spots. Seventh Generation, a brand that specializes in eco-friendly household and personal care products, forgoes traditional advertising entirely. [Our budget could] buy about two to three weeks of TV so its not an option, reveals CMO , Joey Bergstein. For the same money, we can create a continuous conversation with consumers online. That strategy is backed by Andrew Keller, CEO of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Announcement communication feels antiquated, he argues. A brand is either interactive, engaging, and social, or its trending toward irrelevance. If you arent talking, youre either out of business or hiding something. From a consumers point of view, social media and digital tools are more closely related to a brands products than a brands advertising, he continues. They are the company. That makes them huge branding opportunities and liabilities.

Mind the gap

The key is to develop brand assets that are optimized for digital and social. This allows you to drive engagement while maintaining a strong, clear, and consistent brand voice, striking a balance between open and controlled. Gareth Kay, Chief Strategy Officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, calls it designing for gaps leaving space in the brand narratives you craft for others to step in and participate. If that sounds simple in theory, in practice it is anything but. It's not easy, admits Wendy Clark, senior vice president of integrated marketing at Coke, and its certainly not found in any textbook. So you have to overcome what you were taught in school. The idea that you can chart, plan, and control brands thats just not possible anymore. We're writing the rules as we go. Clark was at the company during the backlash against New Coke. It showed her firsthand what happens when you fail to account for the sense of ownership that consumers attach to your brand. Coke rebounded, and today is one of the most actively appropriated brands in the world. Do a quick search and youll see thousands of tweets, posts, and videos by everyday consumers. Its an incredible compliment and honor, Clark says. But as the brand, we also have a role to play in helping that storytelling be as good and authentic as it can be, and helping to fuel the best stories through our reach and scale. Kay points to Levis Go Forth campaign as a great example of a brand giving consumers the opportunity to take part in an open but still carefully scripted environment. It included an intricate scavenger hunt that sent players racing across the US to retrieve artifacts, each one unlocking new online clues. The brand team helped out via Twitter, creating a hashtag that let the community track progress in real time. While the Levis Go Forth site served as a hub, players also built their own wiki to puzzle out clues, and blogs to share experiences. We have to do stuff for people and get out of the way, argues Kay. The more invisible, the more powerful.



Agency Ogilvy South Africa Client Carling Black Label South African men love two things: Soccer and Carling Black Label. Two soccer teams dominate Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs. But Carlings target market was growing increasingly impatient with what they perceived as the poor management of their teams by foreign coaches. Fans saw themselves as the experts when it came to their clubs, and were convinced they could do a better job if only they were given the chance. Teaming up with Ogilvy Cape Town, Carling offered them that chance. The Carling Black Label Cup was a realworld match between the Pirates and Chiefs, featuring sides picked directly by the fans. For seven weeks in the run up to the game, fans voted for the players they wanted in the team, using unique codes found on promotional bottles of Carling Black Label. The only thing they needed to cast a vote and Be the Coach was the one thing they already had: A cell phone. Fans cast votes via SMS and USSD, while tracking team selection on a microsite and joining the conversation via social media. After intense voting, the teams were announced, igniting fierce debate in the mainstream media. And the result? The Orlando Pirates won on penalties. Fast Stats 10.5m votes cast $10m earned media 600 percent increase in Twitter followers 450 percent increase in Facebook traffic

Take a stand
Brands have always had human qualities a voice, an image, a personality but now more than ever they need to have a point of view. After all, consumers have one and theyre going to let you know about it. Every action is under scrutiny and subject to widespread public debate, so you need to be ready to have your beliefs challenged, says CP+Bs Keller. At the same time, however, Every interaction needs to be seen as a branding opportunity. Having a clear perspective isnt just useful in a crisis (think product recalls, simple missteps, or out-andout brand terrorism); its the key to successful collaboration. Great brands have a core set of values that act like an operating system, says marketing strategist John Gerzema. They allow people to create a lot of innovation without a lot of confusion. Think about LEGO Mindstorms or My Starbucks Idea great communities that espouse the brand ideals. In this light, ceding control to consumers looks more like effective delegation than a lack of control. If a brand demonstrates very clearly who and what they are, they will attract a certain audience who find what that brand stands for and does appealing, says Caley Cantrell, a professor at VCU Brandcenter. Ideally, those values transfer to the communities that get built up around the brand.



Put the customer first

Tapping into the passion around your brand is good; being preachy is not. Compete for consumers attention on their terms, not on yours, says Kay. Build a bridge between what they are interested in and what you are good at. Dove, IKEA, Method, Target, and Virgin are all brands doing a great job of this. Their success, he says, Is simply the natural conclusion of marketing being about putting the customer first. Cokes Wendy Clark calls this meeting people at their truth. It's imperative that companies and brands dont simply dispense their truth. We have to engage, get into the dialogue, meet our consumers and constituents at their truth and help them to understand, accept, and embrace ours. This means opening up, and Coke has gone so far as to take this literally. In North America, Coke invites groups of Mommy Bloggers to their headquarters in Atlanta where they tour the companys archive and meet with nutritionists, product teams, and sustainability leaders. For Pizza giant Dominos, it meant integrating negative customer feedback into their Yes We Did campaign to demonstrate just how serious it was about executing a turnaround strategy. The company even released a four-minute YouTube doc with the tagline, Inspired by our Harshest Critics.

Right: Dominos turnaround campaign was inspired by the companys harshest critics




Agency Uncle Grey, Denmark Client ONLY Jeans With stylish design, organic materials, and responsible production, ONLY Jeans wants to start a denim revolution. Alongside Danish agency Uncle Grey, they decided to begin online. The challenge was to capture and harness the spirit of the ONLY girls, and showcase the strong product DNA of the brand. ONLY wanted to interact directly with consumers, involving and enticing their audience to become an active part of the brand. They also wanted to make it easy for the end consumer to buy, like, pin, tweet, and drive more traffic to The answer was online interactive film experience, The Liberation, a fashion catalogue, movie, game, music video, and worlds first ondemand video retail environment in one. The entire experience is built around a story of rebellion. As you watch the narrative about three girls looking for trouble in a sleepy town you can immediately start interacting. With a simple click at any time, the film freezes. Every item of clothing has been tracked and from here you can browse, like, pin, tweet, and buy. In doing so, users are invited to interact with the action of the film, moving the story forward. Within two weeks, ONLY had over 280,000 unique visits. The campaign spread to thousands of blogs, resulting in a 442 percent increase in interaction with The Liberation has since been viewed over one million times across more than 100 countries worldwide. Fast Stats 3 Cannes Lions 1m views 442 percent increase in traffic Visit to see more projects, vote for your favorites, and share your thoughts.

Knowledge is power
Of course, its not a conversation if youre doing all the talking. As Seventh Generations Joey Bergstein points out, you need to listen to peoples aspirations, desires, needs, and challenges. This can provide unexpected insight into how consumers see your brand and what it means to them. As word of mouth has gone digital, its generating a gold mine of data and a host of tools that make listening in easier than ever Google Trends, Sysomos, Radian6, SocialMention. The web gives marketers a 24/7 focus group of the world. This data is becoming indispensable for disciplines like strategic planning and product development, even making its way into creative executions. As part of their Crunch is Calling campaign, Wheat Thins surprised people who tweeted about the brand with prizes including an air guitar, a palette full of Wheat Thins, and crunch-proof headphones. Wheat Thins understood that its important to show youre listening and when there are thousands of people talking, that isnt easy. Top management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has recommended that companies consider every employee a bona fide marketer. Taking that advice to heart, employees at online retailer Zappos all take turns manning the response line, listening and responding to peoples concerns. This can only make your business smarter, nimbler, and more customer-driven, says John Battelle. Battelle envisions a future in which digital and traditional brand-building come together through data. He predicts that in the next five years, CMOs will be able to see a complete, 360-degree view of their customers that helps them satisfy their every intent. Blame Google, he jokes. You put in two to three words and the entire world reorganizes around them, around that intent. Its such a powerful concept. Consumers become accustomed to that responsiveness. Marketers need to adapt

When Jimmy Wales opened up his encyclopedia website to a passionate community of fans, he transformed a struggling business into the worlds largest knowledge bank. But what can the rest of us learn from Wikipedia?

David Mattin |


Chris Martin

sk Jimmy Wales about the meaning of open, and hell talk to you about the TV show Lost. More specifically, about the community of super fans who, since Lost first aired in 2004, have collaborated on an encyclopedia about the show. The Lostpedia, which sits inside Wikia, the lesser known of Wales two wiki projects, now contains over 4,500 articles covering every episode, character, and plot-twist. And within it, says Wales, lies a lesson in where we are and what the future holds. I love Lost, and the Lost wiki is one of my favorites, he says. The fans who write these articles want to explain the show to the world. And theyve done a great job. In fact, a while back we heard that the shows writers use the Lost wiki

to help them keep track of the plot. So here you have the producers of a mainstream entertainment product collaborating with their audience to help produce future episodes. Thats unimaginable only a few years ago. Were amid a revolution in participatory media, which has huge implications for organizations of all kinds. When Wales pronounces on these subjects, people listen. Thats no surprise: His status as modern-day prophet of digital openness is secure thanks to a certain online encyclopedia that you, along with half a billion others, probably use regularly. Wikipedia, co-founded by Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001, now contains over 22m articles, and latest Comscore numbers put monthly users at 490m. While the site written and edited entirely by its users is a testimony

to the staggering growth made possible by openness, its also proof that such openness does not have to come at the expense of quality. As early as 2005, a study by Nature magazine found that a selection of Wikipedias science entries were as reliable as those in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. o: Openness works. But dont think thats the end of it. Wales believes that the revolution Wikipedia helped spearhead is only just beginning. People want to participate, and thats only going to grow. But theres so much more to come, he says. Were going to see new kinds of sharing and collaboration online. Not just text but, thanks to increasing bandwidth, video, too.



Whoever you are, all this has huge implications: For messaging, marketing, design. How do you engage with your customers now? Even if youre a traditional offline business, you can think about an open web presence and a more open process. Its not enough anymore just to put a comment section on your website. Its about letting your customers collaborate with you to do cool, fun things. Theres still a lot to be learned about what this new age means. And everyone, says Wales, should start learning. Indeed, anyone that doubts the importance of this emerging age of openness need only look to the story of Wikipedia. The website grew out of another Wales project, Nupedia, a more traditional encyclopedia that used expert contributors and conventional peer review. Nupedia had a top-down structure, which included a sevenstage editorial process, explains Wales. Wed started with the idea that there were lots of smart people online who want to share their knowledge, but it wasnt working.

When Wales and Sanger started an offshoot community, Wikipedia, that dispensed with the top-down editorial control, user numbers went off the chart. Amateur enthusiasts queued up by the thousands to write on subjects from the Muppets to Munchausens by proxy. It turned out that we had the right initial idea about people: Theyre social, they want to create. But Nupedia was the wrong model. With Wikipedia, we unlocked peoples passion. That was the difference. It was a learning process all along, he continues. We didnt know where the balance was between how open we could be and how controlling we needed to be. Today, though, Wales has timetested answers on that front. The site has evolved a model that combines radical openness with an underlying social structure that maintains order

while policing standards. Though anyone can write or edit articles, a team of around 1,500 administrators elected by the community have special powers to reverse edits, lock pages, and settle disputes. Meanwhile, a small team of bureaucrats, also elected, acts as final arbiter. There are clear lessons, says Wales, for any organization seeking to create an open online presence. Its a mistake to think that the choice is between topdown control and anarchy. Openness doesnt mean anarchy. You have to create social norms that people will follow, and that means providing guidance and a structure.



With Wikipedia, its definitely not a case of, Hey, do whatever you want, its all fine. The community has certain values now on neutrality, for example that are core to the brand. Some were put in place at the start; others have evolved over time. Its a living, breathing thing, and weve learned that we need to be open to change as we discover new problems and new solutions. What stays the same is our commitment to an open, consensus-based decision model. rue, the relevance of fostering participation and building communities are more immediately apparent for online businesses: After all, community members are only ever one click away from becoming customers. But Wales cites George Lucas Star Wars franchise (which sold $510m of toys in 2010) as a great example

of a traditional, sales-based business harnessing the powerof openness. For years, Star Wars fans have been making their own film tributes, using characters from the original movies. Since 2002, Lucas has awarded an annual prize to the best, making certain stipulations about their nature no nudity or graphic violence and providing a library of music and sound effects to help. Its textbook use of openness according to the Wales model: Invite participation, provide a framework and some tools, reap the rewards. You can imagine a totally different way of dealing with fan films, which is to start suing these people for copyright infringement. Instead, theyve understood that every new fan film makes new fans for the entire franchise. Youve got to realize that the people who want to collaborate with you are also the ones who are going to go out and get others excited about you. Openness, then, means finding a way to draw these people Wales calls them influencers to your organization.



His key advice for anybody just starting out? Remember that openness has to start from what your customers want, not what you want from them. I dislike the word crowdsourcing because I think it turns the whole problem of how to foster openness upside down in a bad way, says Wales. Crowdsourcing comes from the word outsourcing. Outsourcing is about saying, I have some work I want done, I cant afford workers in a high-cost

country, so Ill outsource the work to a lower cost country. Crowdsourcing is the logical extension of that: Ill outsource the work to the public and get it done for free. But, of course, people dont want to work for free. You need to go at it from the opposite direction. Where are communities of people who are passionate about what Im doing, and what are they trying to do themselves? What tools can I give them to help? How can I empower

them to come together and create cool new things? The Lost wiki and Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards are just two examples of that empowerment. If youre thinking that way, then youre going to find the better problems to solve, and youre much more likely to get results. These people are out there, theyre already interested in you, and if you do the right thing theyll be happy to help you. You just have to listen to them



the wheel more efficient and more effective. p.40

Tech for Change

Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, explains how the think/do tank is using open technology solutions to help people tackle some of the worlds toughest problems.

Jared Cohen |


Parko Polo

ts not often that a multinational corporation seeks out the company of arms dealers, drug traffickers, money launderers, and people smugglers. But thats exactly what happened in July this year at Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition (INFO), a twoday summit convened by Google Ideas in Los Angeles. On the agenda: Bringing together reformed criminals alongside former victims, survivors, and experts to find solutions to some of the worlds toughest challenges. Googles role in all this? To bring a different skillset to the table in the shape of technologists. Google Ideas is a think/do tank that aims to explore how technology can make a difference to people working on the front lines of global issues. With problems as far-reaching as these, we need to start by breaking down barriers and opening things up. That might mean making solutions to shared problems open source, making illicit networks activities transparent, or simply opening lines of communication where none previously existed.



At INFO, it meant listening to people like Okello Sam. Okello was 16-yearsold when the rebel army tore him from his village in northern Uganda. When they capture you, you lose your humanity, Okello told the audience in LA. They torture you, they get you involved in drugs, they make you kill people who are close to you. Okello was lucky: He survived. Today, he runs Hope North, a secondary school which has helped educate more than 3,000 vulnerable youths. But as a child soldier, he witnessed the issues at the heart of the summit drug trafficking, the illegal arms trade, sex slavery and was able to share vital insights into the way technology can weaken warlords by empowering villagers. At INFO, we were able to introduce people like Okello to innovators like Brazils Igarap Institute, with whom were working on a project to map the global trade in AK-47s by crunching over a million data points on imports and exports of small arms, light weapons, and ammunition. Thats when eyewitness testimony can become a platform for action and change. This is a collaborative model that we first developed last year for our Summit Against Violent Extremism, held in Dublin, Ireland. Working with reformed gang members, former jihadists, and ex-neo-Nazi skinheads who are now helping young people turn their lives around or protecting potential victims, we looked at how we could help them share best practices and find ways to improve their work. But for all that technology is part of the solution, its people, not technology, that get kids out of gangs and extremist groups. Technology simply helps them work more effectively and on a larger scale. Working with Londons Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), we created the Against Violent Extremism Network, a platform to collaborate on ways to use technology to its full advantage. ISD now runs the network full-time.

But for all that technology is part of the solution, its people, not technology, that get kids out of gangs and extremist groups. Technology simply helps them work more effectively and on a larger scale.

But for all that technology is part of the solution, its people, not technology, that get kids out of gangs and extremist groups. Technology simply helps them work more effectively and on a larger scale.



riminal networks often adopt new technology quickly, but we believe that same technology can help those combating them get one step ahead. One of the challenges in tracking illicit networks is their sheer scope borders do not contain drug cartels, arms smugglers, or human tissue harvesters. At Google, our strength is finding trends and patterns in huge sets of data, then mapping the findings. Its how we provided tools for Al-Jazeera and the human rights group Movements. org to create a visualization tracking the defections of diplomats, senior military officials, and members of parliament from Syrian President Bashar al-Assads regime. We used the same approach to support Kate Willson, an investigative journalist whose reporting on black markets has taken her across the US,

Europe, and East Asia. We matched the reporting techniques of Kate and her colleagues at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with Palantir Technologies, a software company that is radically changing how information is analyzed. Their collaboration produced a fourpart investigative series on the global trade and illegal trafficking of human tissue, published in July. The series explained how skin, bones, and tendons are sometimes taken illegally from the dead, moved through illicit networks, and used in medical procedures in ways that affect patient safety. Palantirs analytic software helped the journalists map out the complicated networks. These companies and their operations stitch an intricate network across the globe, Kate told attendees at the INFO summit. But those connections are buried in paperwork and data sets. Ultimately, we uploaded

more than one million companies, people, documents, and events into the system. Projects like this show how were helping groups make better use of technology in the work theyre already doing. Its not about reinventing the wheel, but rather making the wheel more efficient and more effective. ntroducing technology in a new context can also have powerful effects. In Somalia, the voice of the people is rarely heard. We looked to change that by developing open-source software that made it possible to conduct Somalias first public opinion poll. For the poll, Voice of America (VOA) asked more than 3,000 Somalis across the country, as well as in a refugee camp in Kenya, about the kind of constitution and government they wanted to see.

Google is not a state and does not have a foreign policy, but as a company we do have values. We believe technology is an empowering force and that even when technology is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution.
The result gave the world a rare glimpse inside the fragile state, and also gave Somalis a snapshot of how they see themselves as a nation in the twenty-first century. For instance, 87 percent strongly agreed that Sharia law should be the basis of the civil and criminal code. But on the status of women, Somalis veered away from strict interpretations of Sharia 77 percent of women and 58 percent of men agreed that women should be involved in the political process. Conducting a poll in a country like Somalia is an incredible challenge, admitted Gwen Dillard, VOA Africa Division Director. But the challenge is also part of the appeal. Introducing technology into a nation that collapsed in 1991 was an opportunity to gauge how empowering people to communicate and share information more effectively might help prevent violent conflict and promote stability. Google is not a state and does not have a foreign policy, but as a company we do have values. We believe technology is an empowering force and that even when technology is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution. At INFO, the potential for technology to change lives was described by a panel of North Korean defectors, who shared the story of their escape through China and South Korea. They spoke about the darkness in any society deprived of access to information, and the ability of even basic tools like cell phones to provide illumination. In all our projects, we work with partners who are already doing great things on the ground. Our aim is to give tools to the real experts who are confronting these challenges. We hope these projects can establish a precedent for how technology can be used in a positive way, one that can then be expanded on a larger scale. Even if we move the needle a little bit, we can inspire other organizations to embark on similar efforts, and acknowledge the power technology can have to improve peoples lives



Peter Diamandis has a dream: To open up Earths final frontier to private enterprise. This is the story of how one man kick-started a disruptive new era of space exploration.

Cyrus Shahrad |


Tavis Coburn

n February 2012, Peter Diamandis took the stage at TED to talk about the subject that informs his new co-authored book, Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think. Following a barrage of bad news images beamed onto a screen behind him foundering cruise ships, famine in Somalia, black fanfares of financial doomsday Diamandis rebutted the notion of a world in irreparable tailspin. In an age of information overload, he said, the early warning centers of our animal brains continue to prioritize bad news over good for the purposes of survival hence the ongoing media mentality of if it bleeds, it leads. Yet behind the headlines, positive news stories too often go unnoticed. The average human lifespan has doubled, per capita income tripled, and child mortality fallen tenfold in the last century alone. And with the exponential rate of development for

emerging technologies like AI, robotics, and digital manufacturing, Diamandis argued that humanity will not only overcome its current problems, but will make more progress in the next two decades than in the last two centuries. Where others see crisis, Diamandis sees opportunity. Thats nowhere more apparent than in the space exploration industry most often associated with the 51-year-old MIT and Harvardeducated entrepreneur, born to Greek immigrant parents in The Bronx. When the last Space Shuttle mission rolled to a halt on the tarmac of the Kennedy Space Center in July 2011, the mood of grimly determined cynicism that gripped the world was summed up by a withering obituary in the Economist entitled The End of the Space Age. For Diamandis, however, it marked a beginning: A shift of power from the grasping claws of governments and state agencies into the hands of the humans of Earth.


In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when the first explorers set out across the oceans, missions were sporadic and risky, says Diamandis. It was only later on, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when we created the first commerce between the New World and the Old World, that the frequency and safety of those missions increased, and the Atlantic opened up. Its a similar situation in space. Weve had 50 years of government programs that have started and stopped, and which did an amazing job of showing what was possible early on. But its not until we tap into the economic engines that open space up that were really going to set out on the true epic of space exploration. For me, thats just beginning. iamandis sees the problems of a government-sponsored space industry as being tied up not only with the exorbitant costs of space travel, but also with a reluctance to take risks for fear of federal investigations and embarrassment on the world stage when things go wrong. As such, NASA operated an aint broke, dont fix it policy that saw the Space Shuttles Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour flying with a 20-yearold computer program, something that seems ridiculous to a new generation of entrepreneurs with both the capital and the character to take the risks that progress demands. Were living on a planet with some 1,000 to 2,000 billionaires, many of whom became inspired by space exploration as kids in the 1960s, and youre starting to see a significant number of them begin to invest in space, Diamandis explains. Unlike government agencies, theyre motivated by creating viable businesses and revenue flows.

Its about making the impossible possible, about realizing that we can achieve pretty much anything we set our minds to once we bring the right people, technology, and capital to bear.

As they take the risks necessary to make that happen, the cost of doing things in space is going to fall, and as the costs fall, more and more individuals will get involved and more incredible things will become possible. Its an exciting time. Contrast that, he says, with the way NASA managed to make space so boring with its caution, its closed doors, and its absence of emotion in missions. (Diamandis wryly notes that successful operations are deemed nominal rather than phenomenal.) If the next generation is to view space exploration as a viable alternative to video gaming, it has to be made participatory, something Diamandis has gone to great lengths to achieve through a range of companies. Zero G has taken over 12,000 people on a modified Boeing 747, inducing states of weightlessness by performing parabolic arcs. Space Adventures, Ltd has taken eight commercial tourists on orbital space flights, and is planning to send two commercial astronauts on a circumlunar mission by 2017 (at $150m per seat)While the embryonic Rocket Racing League envisions rocket planes tearing around virtual sky courses over desert stadiums in scenes reminiscent of Star Wars pod racing marathon. Yet Diamandis is best known for the X PRIZE, a competition he launched in 1996 to catalyze space exploration in the manner of the grand aviation prizes of the early twentieth century. It offered $10m to the first private team to build their own ship, fly it into suborbital space, and land it safely twice in two weeks. The challenge was completed in 2004 by SpaceShipOne, built by Burt Ratan and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, pre-empting Diamandis theory that both the risktaking character and the capital needed to kick-start space exploration lay in the hands not of Earths space agencies, but its entrepreneurs.



First and foremost these guys want to fulfill their childhood dreams, he says. They grew up being motivated by the Apollo missions and episodes of Star Trek, and expecting space exploration to be much further advanced than it is today. Now they can afford to go and do it for themselves. Secondly, a lot of these guys reinvented industries: Larry Page and Sergey Brin reinvented the information industry with Google; Jeff Bezos reinvented the shopping industry with Amazon; Elon Musk reinvented banking with PayPal. And when youve reinvented such huge industries and youre looking at how slowly NASA has been progressing, you start to think, Well, maybe I could do better. And they have done better. With SpaceX, Diamandis sees Elon Musk achieving in 10 years what NASA couldnt do in 40 reducing the cost of rocket launches to a fraction of that offered by major competitors, opening up countless commercial and federal space flight opportunities as a result. Richard Branson has enlisted Burt Ratan to design SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic, which could spearhead an age of suborbital space tourism as early as 2013, creating a new generation of excitable explorers along the way. For his part, Diamandis continues to divide his time between a range of commitments: From the recent announcement of a second $10m X PRIZE purse for the invention of a Star Trek-style tricorder a handheld device capable of scanning the human body and diagnosing disease to overseeing the Singularity University, an institution co-founded with friend and fellow futurist Ray Kurzweil, that educates innovators capable of meeting the future head on with its graduate and business courses in the field of emerging technologies. Diamandis also recently founded a new company, Planetary Resources, aimed at using robots to mine asteroids for fuels and precious metals a hugely challenging enterprise and one that offers a neat insight into his approach to running projects for which there is no prescribed blueprint. Its about finding people who combine the right mix of experience and determination with a desire to jump into the unknown, and finding the right investors to help develop a creative economic engine that you can sustain over decades. Asteroid mining is a big, audacious goal its going to be difficult but not impossible. We humans typically do these things: Look at modern deep-water drilling operations, which invest between five and 50 billion dollars each setting up robot cities on the ocean floor, and which would have seemed impossible not long ago. The same is true of space: Its about making the impossible possible, about realizing that we can achieve pretty much anything we set our minds to once we bring the right people, technology, and capital to bear