Josh Spear at Zeitgeist Europe 2007

Uploaded by Google on 25.05.2007


SPEAKER: -- out of his mind, and he did what people these
days do when they are bored, or actually do for any reason
whatsoever if you can call this up, he started a blog.
And became a very popular blog.
I don't know if you can shift to the laptop PC, we'll have
a chance to see his blog.
There it is.
In fact, I think it was conspicuously showing on some
of the laptops present.
I saw Josh there, moments before, it was then on his
home page and was left there for you all to notice.
A form of guerilla marketing that I applaud.
His blog became very, very popular and he now has found
himself in the position of consulting with many, many
corporations large and small on an area that I guess he calls
And if you don't know how to do good
brand-vertising-markability, he's the guy to tell you.
He's founded a company called Undercurrent that is taking up
nearly all this time, as he is using up his carbon offsets
faster then even we are.
And I hope he'll give us some wisdom today.
So Josh please come up and join us.

JOSH SPEAR: Get my dongle here.
This is daunting.
Definitely humbled to be here, with such an amazing group of
speakers and people and brands and agencies.
Thank you for having me.
Special thanks to [? Nakesh ?], who actually read my blog,
found me and invited me to be out here.
SPEAKER: And thanks for dressing up.
JOSH SPEAR: And I dressed up.
I was going to wear a ripped t-shirt and decided I
would wear a collar.
Who am I?
John did a good job with this.
I started this blog in the back of a journalism course.
I was going to be an advertising / journalism
double major.
And it really disappointed me, as a young person, to see
that the universities were basically ignoring new media.
They're still teaching old styles of advertising and still
learning about film and radio.
It just blew my mind that one of the best advertising
programs in the U.S. wasn't talking about it.
So I started a blog to place things that I thought were
interesting or cool or emerging in art and design and food and
gadgetry and really just my life.
My job was really quite easy, because I just posted
things that I liked.
Fast forward a bit.
Now there's about eight people that work on the site, and I,
unfortunately, because it's my favorite thing to do, I work
on it very little now.
And I launched an agency that helps companies integrate
into the digital space without advertising.
What would it be like if they were to spend that money on
building resources and things that young people, and all
people, would actually use and would be infinite?
And we're going to talk about that today.
So enough about me, let's talk about digital youth
trends with Josh Spear.
That's not Josh Spear.
This is Ally.
She's unimpressed, she's bored, she was born digital.
She's anywhere between the ages of probably
14 and 22, let's say.
But instead of talking about trends today, and instead of
talking about big global turns, I want to talk about a few of
them that manifest in her daily life and things that really --
that make her tick in the digital world.
Things that she cares about, things that she's doing often.

Obviously she wakes up in the morning.
Alarm clocks no longer exists for the digital youth.
It's all happening on our cellphones.
It's probably all happening for many people in here.
How many people use their cellphone, even when they're
at home, as there alarm?

Not in the shower, though.
Mobile are in our hands.
It's in her hand before anything else happens.
And she always knows where it is.
This is something that's really interesting.
That's happening across everyone, but the digital
youth is being born with this insight, this internal
conscious about where their cell phone is at all times.
They know if it's in their desk, what drawer it's in.
If it's in there jacket, what pocket it's in.
If it's in the hand bag, where in the hand bag
it is, what pocket.
And so do you probably.
Everyone knows this now.
And it's literally changing the way that we as physical
human beings think about where we are in space.
Where's our connectivity.
Because I feel awkward when my cellphone isn't around.
And if I leave, I feel naked.
And for someone that's was born digital, like Ally, without
that, right away the first of the day, she's almost naked.
So the first trend that's going to echo throughout the stuff we
talk about is mobile as my center of gravity.
And this isn't the center of gravity for everybody, but for
the digital youth people are born with that as their
center of gravity.
Ally and friends drive to school, they twitter and text.
Louis said, how many people twitter?
You want to do the numbers again?
Because I was watching people.
SPEAKER: How many people don't twitter?
How many people are like, what the hell is twitter?
And we have to double that for the people who are
to embarrassed to say.
So you need to explain it.
JOSH SPEAR: I'm going to jump into twitter.

The best term I've heard for it is micro blogging.
It is simply, what are you doing?
It is this community so you can sign up, with your cell phone
or online or through IM, and say what are you doing
at that given time?
And the things that people are twitter are ridiculous.

It's something that concerns me, but it's quite interesting.
Here's Ally, she had a purse twitter.
She accidentally twittered from her purse because she was so
interested in letting her friends know what
was happening.
Ally is based on a real person.
Ally's actually got 1736 followers, she's updated
more than 1200.
SPEAKER: And is I Justine a friend of yours?
JOSH SPEAR: I Justine is a friend of mine.
So Ally's based on real person, rather than use the real person
I thought it would use Ally.
SPEAKER: And have you met her in real life?
JOSH SPEAR: I've never met her.
An interesting that's happening here are twitter
location based stuff.
It's like twitter meets crack.
This is what I call the buddy beacons.
Anyone know Helio, that company?
Nobody knows Helio?
A couple people.
This company, their whole campaign, they have the
campaign called Friendar.
Where are your friends?
Now it's not just about what are you doing, it's what are
you doing and where are you and how close are, are you in my
proximity, are you within five miles so we can meet up for
a drink or a date or other things?
So this big trend is -- I'm always on, find me anywhere.
This is something else that's going to echo through this.
Ally fires up her laptop during a free period at school.
She's got something nice in her email box from a guy she likes.
Virtual gifting, anybody?
Seen virtual gifting?
Anybody on facebook here?
Who is not on facebook?

SPEAKER: You could check again at the end of the session
and see who signed up.

JOSH SPEAR: Ally's received a gift that a boy
spent $1 to send her.
Actually, it doesn't exist, it's a small icon that was
placed on her facebook page.
You can choose your gift.
Everything from a roll of toilet paper, to a shot
glass, to a small bunny.
What's most interesting about this is that these gifts are
actually limited edition, and limited time.
And there's rumor that facebook is selling more than a million
of these, that's more than a million dollars a month
of something that has no limited supply, a month.
Hot or Not is another group that's been
doing this for awhile.
And they recently within the last month, actually overturned
their membership numbers, which was creating about $600,000
in revenue a month for them.
And they went strictly to virtual gifting, and they made
that back in the past month.
They make $600,000 just from virtual gifts.
Obviously, $2 for a red carnation, but it's $10
dollars, 10 U.S. Dollars for a fake red rose.
SPEAKER: Plus they're shipping.
JOSH SPEAR: Yeah, there's shipping.
There's bandwidth costs here.

This trend, virtual gifting, this is really, really
interesting to me.
Anybody can write prose now, anybody can send you a text
message, anybody can twitter you, and anybody can do all
these different things, but how do you show that
you really care?
So right now, and I think this is going to really blow up, is
let me show you I really care.
I care enough to spend $10 on a fake rose.
That must mean something beyond just the note that I can send.
SPEAKER: So it's not the thought that counts.
JOSH SPEAR: No, it's no longer the thought that counts.
It's a cross between ingenuity and pocket change.
I mean it's really fascinating, this virtual gifting.
And I've seen a lot of brands here that it would be
interesting if they were to apply that virtual gifting.
How that would work.
Show the appreciation for a car, or the appreciation
for a brand altogether.
SPEAKER: Hey, Josh, just a quick question.
Do you think if these folks were offered a chance to trade
there virtual gift get back in for the dollar,
would they do it?
Or would they keep the little rubber duckie?
JOSH SPEAR: I think they would keep the rubber duckie.
I think there's no question.
I mean if we if we bump back we see that Justine
here has 37 gifts.
SPEAKER: She has $37 but she'd rather have the gifts?
JOSH SPEAR: She'd rather show off the gifts.
She's also got 741 wall posts, and 493 photos, so she's a bit
of a new media whore but --
-- all them --
SPEAKER: That's some of the new youth lingo you're using there.
That's very good.
JOSH SPEAR: All of the digital youth are.
And that's something that needs to be thought
about a little bit.
These these things that means so little to all you grown
adults mean so much to them.
And though we can laugh it off, it's still, like, well, wait a
minute, that's a million dollars a month.
SPEAKER: I could be selling them those gifts.
JOSH SPEAR: And I just might.
So after home she goes online to, yes, to flirt.
I can't wait to talk to talk to the Bebo guys about social
networking and what it's for.
I strongly believe that whether you have a social network for
dogs, for cats, linkedin for work, facebook for
school, people and work.
It's all about the exact same thing.
It's about flirting.
It's about sex.
It's about booty.
Anybody who says otherwise is lying, I really think so.
This is a new site.
Anybody seen the site I'm in like with you?
SPEAKER: Nobody is going to admit what.
Come on.
JOSH SPEAR: One, that's good.
AUDIENCE: We're married.
JOSH SPEAR: Well, if you work in advertising, you
should see it, I guess.
I'll show you this site.
This site, I'm in like with you, I'm not surprised
you haven't seen it.
It's fairly new, maybe four or five months old now.
And the site is invite only, right now.
Due to bandwidth issues.
And you can come on to I'm in like with you
and you set up a game.
So Ally goes on and she sets up a game.
Her game is called suggestion box.
And her call to action is improve me.
So bidders go on and they actually bid points, points
that they received initially -- now this is back to mobile is
the center of gravity, and I'm always on this -- when they
signed up for the site they were prompted if they'd like to
-- they were prompted immediately for their
cell phone number.
Because most of the management of the site happen
through your cell phone.
It would text you and say, how old are you?
And then it would text you and say, I you like to upload
a picture of your profile?
And it would text you and say, what would you like to be known
as your as your likes and preferences, et cetera?

That's how you acquire points.
So now boys, or girls, or anybody, can come and
bid on her and say how would you improve her?
What you get when you win this game is you get the
ability to contact her.
So people bid more blogging, another mac, you're
fabulous, keep it rolling.
So they bid their points on these people.
And does she get those points or they go to a third party?
JOSH SPEAR: She gets those points, she gets the
person's points when she chooses the winner.
So when she chose me as the winner she gives me, Josh
Spear, the jets setting super maven, the
ability to talk to her.
SPEAKER: Is how you met her?
SPEAKER: They could hear there's another story in there.
JOSH SPEAR: So now that I was the winner of this game, I was
given the ability to send her a message.
And not only was was I given the ability send her a message,
I was giving her the ability to actually call her on the
telephone, without ever revealing my phone number, or
seeing her phone number.
They built a system where a call system says, thank you
for calling I'm in like with you, would you like to be
connected to, and it reads through your contacts.
This brings up a lot about privacy, and a
lot about anonymity.
And a lot about this big trend, which I think
is, dating is gaming.
And dating is gaining is -- dating has been
gaming on TV for ages.
But it hasn't translated on the internet yet, and this is the
first place I've seen it happen.
And I think it's going to be huge.
In fact, I know it's going to huge.
Because people can step behind and actually have a better
process to vet out potential people that they talk to,
or potential companions.
And it's something that the digital youth is
comfortable doing.
They're comfortable uploading those things by their phone,
and they're comfortable playing a game to achieve
some type of success.
Even if that success is just talking to someone.
Shop at the mall.
She could.
They're not anymore, as much as they were.
She finds one of a kind jewelry, cool T-shirts,
custom ring tones, nobody else has online.
Any Etsy users, or people that know Etsy in here.
A couple.
Etsy is awesome, for people of all ages.
Etsy is sort of like the eBay of homemade stuff.
Ally goes on Etsy or most digital youth would go on Etsy
to find things that have been hand made, things that
nobody else has.
So she could pop on and find the orange blossom necklace
which costs a whopping $10.
Which has a rating of 586, and purchase it.
Something that people will say, where did you get that?
And she'll say, well, I got it on Etsy, but they're all gone.
It won't be I got it at Hot Topic, or I got it at the mall,
why don't you go get one.
Another place for her individuality is Threadless.
Any Threadless people in here?
A couple.
I love Threadless, and I love the Threadless guys.
Threadless is a consumer generated fashion label.
So people actually upload artwork to Threadless and then
users of the community vote on that art works to be
placed on T-shirts.
And after they reaching a maximum number of votes,
the T-shirts go on sale.
Here they are for $25 and when they're sold out, they're gone.
She can actually go on and say, OK, you know I like the origami
being lit on fire T-shirt.
I'd buy it, tell me if it wins.
These guys, Jeff and Jake, friends of mine, they ship more
than a million T-shirts a year doing it this way.
And a majority of them are not the same.
Because they only will produce 100 or 200 of that,
of any given T-shirt.
Another place that she achieves her individuality online is a
company called StartMobile, that I think is going
to be quite large.

This is a ring tone and wallpaper place, but it's all
about independent artists and emerging designers and people
that actually want to program their own ring tones.
It was interesting to hear from the singing frog man earlier.
Their slogan is enough with the singing frog and enough with
the bikini babe wallpapers.
How long can that really last?
Before the digital youth, or anybody, realizes that they all
have the singing frog ring tone and says OK, where do
I go to get this?
So there are things like this that are popping up and
allowing this girl Ally to go on and have something
that nobody else has.
So she can really be an individual.
This trend -- here she goes on, she types in her cell
phone number, super easy.
It's like everything else online now.
Longtail anyone?
This is crazy.
There's like hundreds and hundreds and hundreds
of individual artists.
If you are an artist, and if Ally was an artist, and Ally
might be an artist, she could go on and actually upload her
own art works to be sold on this site.
And then make money back off while having unique ring
tones and wallpaper.
So this big trend.
Mass individuality.
And online has only made that stronger and
stronger and stronger.

So when it comes to reaching or selling anything to Ally or to
the digital youth, it's not about finding her.
There are unbelievable researchers that can tell you
exactly what they're doing.
And it's certainly not about interrupting her.
We know that.
We learned that a long time ago.
It's about creating content and functionality that's she's
going to seek out, use or interact with one a
day to day basis.
I do this chart to try to help illustrate this point.
Things that Ally seeks throughout her day, throughout
her day as a digital youth are good.
So she uses things like twitter and Bebo and facebook and I'm
in like with you and Etsy and YouTube, of course.
But things that seek her, as far as advertising, and direct
marketing and things that advertisers, and there are many
in this room, say are bad, they're still happening.
Because we're still trying to attract these people that way.
I think as someone who recently launched an agency working in
this space, things that are happening in that other world
of text advertising, which I think at least Google does
contextual advertising, with all due respect.
But they're still in another universe to Ally.
You can go through that day that Ally used and that was
only five trends of a very short day.
None of those things apply to her, because she's not there.
And even thoug -- the slide with -- I try and show the
slide while offending the least amount of people, those things
they may be measured as effective to some degree,
because people are clicking on them or young people say
they're working or -- but if you look at the trends, and
what she's doing in her daily life, and things that she
actually cares about, she doesn't care about
those things.
That's all.
Thank you.