5 Minutes With Faris Yakob

Named one of 10 modern day Madmen by Fast Company, Advisory Board Member, Faris Yakob, shares his take on current state, and future, of social media.

1. What is your or your organization’s greatest success with social media to date?

My greatest success with social media to date has been, without doubt, the lovely people who I have met and become friends with. Professionally, probably a series of socially created and distributed documentaries I conceived of for BMW first electric vehicle.

2. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?

Robots. I truly believe the next big megamonopoly company, like MSFT and GOOG, will be built on robots.

3. What speaker or event are you most looking forward to at SMW NYC?

Anil Dash: We Are All Makers: Participating in the Design of Our Future: Dale Dougherty and Anil Dash
Alexis Ohanian: Open and Unfiltered: Defending the Internet, Featuring Alexis Ohanian and Eli Pariser
Cindy Gallup (because she never fails to include sex toys): Money, News & Sex: Stories of Challenging 3 Industries from Cindy Gallop, Jessica Jackley & Katie Orenstein

4. What prompted you to join Social Media Week’s Advisory Board?

I enjoy helping people when I can. I think a conference, a trade body, can function as a community hub, a way of giving people a voice and helping them help each.

5. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?

What does most creative mean? I think we use the word that way we mean least obvious connection point. So, The Curators of Sweden, whilst brilliant, is so strategically relevant that it’s hard to push it as most creative, in this sense. Social, new media artists, I think help push the boundaries of the possible, beyond solutions: art can be R&D for humanity. The endless reviews on Amazon, Wikipedia itself, the composite creativity of the many, I find those things staggering.
And, um, something on Facebook.

Faris Yakob is a strategist, writer, public speaker, creative director and geek. Most recently he was Chief Innovation Officer of MDC and founding partner of Spies&Assassins, the creative technology boutique. Previously, he was Chief Digital Officer at McCann Erickson, and Digital Ninja at Naked Communications. He’s won and judged numerous awards, strategic and creative, served as chairman of the Content&Contact and Integrated juries for the Clios, created the NEW category for the London International Awards, and teaches at Miami Ad School. He was named one of the top 50 creatives in the world by the Clios, and one of 10 modern day Madmen by Fast Company. He writes and speaks on technology, media, brands and creativity, all over the world and was featured in Morgan Spurlock’s The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. If you want him to write, speak, think about things or have ideas for you, you can find him online @faris and farisyakob.com.


Crowdsourcery Potions 101: Recap

jmakkarAbout this Guest Blogger: Johnny Makkar is a digital marketer who blogs at Attention Digital. You can also find Johnny on Twitter @jsmakr.

Crowdsourcing was definitely a hot topic in 2009. It will only continue to become more relevant this year as we witness more brands and their agencies wanting to further experiment or push innovation on future projects.

The Crowdsourcery Potions 101 event started and ended by focusing on the different view points related to crowdsourcing and what the term meant to each panelist (more on that below). As the discussion went on, it became clear who was more excited about the future possibilities of crowdsourcing and who was cautious about it’s role in the future of advertising.

Michael Lebowitz (Founder and CEO of Big Spaceship) voiced many concerns on crowdsourcing creativity. He mentions “once you turn something into a commodity, it’s no longer creative”, stating that people should always be compensated for their experience and work. Something as simple as a logo contest taps into a lot of talent but the result is typically only one participant getting compensated for their time. Michael also emphasized how powerful culture can be and how it can easily be lost in a more distributed world…”you can’t curate culture in.

Ty Montague (Co-President and Chief Creative Officer, JWT North America) believes we are only getting started when it comes to the possibilities of crowdsourcing and is paying close attention to the different experiments that are happening in the industry. He thinks some brands will harness the power or crowdsourcing better than others to build stronger reputations and solve their business problems.

He also brought up the Andy Awards a couple times which for the first time chose to crowdsource the jury election process using electthejury.com. This voting “experiment” was considered to be a success after it attracted more than 37,000 votes according to Adweek, but he did note that it wasn’t perfect and there are still many ways to improve the process for the coming years.

Is crowdsourcing the best name to use going forward? Faris Yakob (Chief Technology Strategist, McCann Erickson New York) points out it doesn’t matter what we call it, because “having access to more people who can do things is a good thing.”

John Winsor (CEO at Victors & Spoils) doesn’t like the term crowdsourcing because some people may associate it with broader outsourcing and cheaper labor. “Crowdsourcing (putting out to the masses) is one thing, the idea of creation is a super important part of it.” He emphasizes the goal at Victors & Spoils is to create a global talent pool that can work on client projects who recognize having an agency of record is no longer the only solution.

Late in the discussion, several examples were brought up that rely on many variations of crowdsourcing including YouTube, Wikipedia, and a new car company called Local Motors.

Browse Twitter search using #smwcrowd and #smwnyc + crowdsourcing for more and enjoy the event video in its entirety below if you couldn’t attend or watch live.

I was only disappointed when the panel was asked to define crowdsourcing toward the end that nobody responded with “let’s ask Twitter!”

Other Key Quotes

(most under 140 characters, apologize for any differences in advance):

“All crowdsourcing is still self selected, everyone has the right to not participate.” — John Winsor

“The world is going to get a lot more diverse.” — John Winsor
“Clients problems and great creative minds are going to aggregate around solving problems no matter what type of environment they work in.” — John Winsor

“People and money are going to aggregate around the best ideas.” — John Winsor

“Engagement is the product” — Faris Yakob

“The trick is to get people together and give them something to do” (on branded online communities) — Faris Yakob

“Once you turn something into a commodity, it’s no longer creative.” — Michael Lebowitz

“Crowdsourcing is not very collaborative, but a great suggestion box on steroids.” — Saneel Radia

“Build “scaffolding” for people to contribute to a collaboration effort.” Saneel Radia which he admits he stole from @shaunabe

“I love the wisdom of crowds but I don’t like the output of crowds very much.” — Michael Lebowitz

Research done with 1 million Facebook fans is marketing.” — Faris Yakob

“Co-creation is a phase that very unexplored by most companies.” — Saneel Radia

“If you build systems to encourage people to come and collaborate, rather than compete, you’ll get more wisdom from your crowd.” — Saneel Radia via @denuology

“We’re on the verge of a remaking of business and what a company is” — Ty Montague

For further reading and discussion on crowdsourcing and general thought leadership on the future of the marketing/advertising industry, here is where you can find the panelists:

Connect with the panelists:
John Winsor: @JTWinsor | Blog | Victors & Spoils | Amazon
Ty Montague: @tmontague | JWT North America
Michael Lebowitz: @BigSpaceship | Posterous | Big Spaceship
Saneel Radia: @saneel | Denuo
Faris Yakob: @faris | Blog | McCann Erickson New York

Further reading:
A crowdsourcing ad agency: can it work? (Creativity Unbound)
Crowdsourcing a Discussion on Crowdsourcing (EyeCube)
Can Creativity Be Crowdsourced? (Ad Age)
Will work for all it’s worth – the launch of Agency Nil (BBH Labs)
The Actual Crowdsourcery Bit (Talent Imitates, Genius Steals)