jason oke

If you’re not in awe, you’re not paying attention.


Last week’s PSFK conference was great.

Once again, I remain convinced that the real value in conferences lies in the social value they create. I mean to take nothing away from the speakers and content – there was lots of inspiring stuff.

But the best parts always seem to be in the breaks and drinks and little moments, catching up with some of my favourite people. What has struck me at the last few conferences and events I’ve been to is that in an age where many people already share their ideas and presentations, I find the most value comes in the things that can’t be replicated and disseminated online: the live conversations, the putting faces to names, the late night conspiratorial drinks, and generally the injection of some physicality and tangibility into the digital vagueness that defines much of life in the social web.

Seth has some similar, but probably more coherent ruminations on the theme.

Props to Piers for organizing, to Noah, Seth, and Leland for hanging out and getting me drunk, to Faris for getting me really drunk, and Adrian, Mike, Vivian, Lee, and I’m sure a few other people I’m forgetting for good conversations.

Filed under: Interestingness, People, planning, Social networks

Age of Conversation, part deux

After the success of last year’s original Age of Conversation book, the crowd-sourced marketing volume is gearing up for a second edition led once again by Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton.  It’s Age of Conversation 2.0 – and the authors and topic have been announced.  As with last year, all proceeds will go to charity.

This year’s book will carry the provocative & slightly agressive title Age of Conversation: Why Don’t People Get It?  In case you’re worried, I’m told that “people” refers to the traditional marketing status quo, rather than actual, you know, people, who seem to “get” this whole age of conversation thing in increasingly large numbers.

Given that this year’s edition will feature 275 authors, most of them bloggers, you’ve probably already read about this many, many times (275 authors bodes for no small amount of self-congratulatory cross-linking – not too mention a War and Peace length tome).  Many notable names from the marketing world will be contributing a chapter each, and somehow I snuck in too. And given the list includes some of my favourite authors, it’s an honor to be included.

The list, in all its glory:

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Beeker Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

And if you missed out on last year’s original edition, you can buy the book here and here.

Filed under: advice, Books, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Oprah & media blind spots

Oprah Winfrey, being an immensely popular gazillionaire media mogul and all, isn’t usually thought of as flying below the radar. But she’s been up to some really interesting stuff the last few weeks that no one seems to be talking much about.

The latest book being promoted and discussed in her famous book club is Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” – a spiritual treatise on being conscious and present, quieting the chattering of the mind, and losing our association with the ego to become connected with the energy of the world around us. It’s heady, new-agey stuff, and as Tolle himself says in the book it will either change your life or you’ll find it a pretentious, aimless ramble (personally, I’m a fan of his stuff). As with most of Oprah’s previous book selections, it’s shot to the top of the best seller lists for the past month.

But what’s interesting is that Oprah’s taken a new turn with the book club and is hosting a series of 10 weekly webinars with Tolle to discuss, chapter by chapter, the contents of the book. They’re 4 weeks into it now, and each one has drawn as many as a million people live, from around the world, making them the largest webcasts in history. A further 1.5 million people a week have been downloading the webcasts afterwards on iTunes and from Oprah’s site.


The series has also garnered some big-name sponsors such as Chevy, 3M, and Skype. In addition to “sponsored by” credits, brands are further integrated into the series in various natural ways – Skype provides some of the conferencing capabilities allowing viewers around the world to ask questions live, and Borders Books are hosting book study clubs around the US that Oprah periodically throws to for questions. And it’s all been pretty seamless and tastefully handled.

So it’s clearly breaking some new ground: organizing the largest live webcasts in history, not just once but over 10 successive weeks, is a pretty big deal. And yet no one seems to be talking about it. The media, both mainstream and marketing trade press, has mostly ignored it – by comparison Oprah’s new reality show “The Big Give” has garnered much more coverage. What little coverage has been given to these webcasts seems to often be skeptical and mocking of its “new age” content.

So do we have a blind spot about this kind of thing? Do our marketing minds not know what to make of something a bit more spiritual? Do we just not care as much when there’s less selling going on?

Filed under: brands, Web/Tech

PSFK, design, and beer

I’ll be at the PSFK conference on Thursday in NY. If you’ll be there, find me and say hello.

A few other related events are shaping up.

On Wednesday night, Faris & Noah are hosting an evening of pre-conference drinks (you don’t have to be coming to the conference to join the fun).

Where: Sweet & Vicious, 5 Spring Street (btwn Elizabeth and Bowery)
When: Wednesday, March 26, 7pm – whenever

There’s also a plan afoot to do a late afternoon trip on Wednesday to MoMA for the Design & The Elastic Mind exhibit. Probably around 4 or 5pm.  If anyone wants to join up for that, leave a comment or send me an email.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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