On being ‘trendy’ for the sake of it

meeker
Planners are nice people. We’re quite in to sharing and helping, finding little bits of information that reveal a little something of the world we live in today and perhaps, hopefully, helping us do out job better by highlighting opportunities in the marketplace for brands.

It’s in that spirit that a deck got shared today by Hugh. Hugh’s brilliant, lovely chap and in no way is the deck a reflection on him or his ability to parse useful stuff. 

But it was, is, a terrible deck. Produced by the venerable Mary Meeker who is a venture capitalist and analyst with her jolly clever beady eye trained on the Zeitgeist of our digital world, the intention of the deck it seems is to share with the world how everything is changing and it’s really exciting…. But, to what end? I felt I had to respond:

1. [slides 1-12] You’d have to be a moron to deny that life is different today than it was in 1993. Is this news?
2. So there’s lots more video being uploaded on to YouTube. It’s not a massive surprise is it? It’s also not a massive spike, it’s just something that’s been happening progressively as things get better. Like the fact that street lights are brighter than they were 20 years ago.
3. It might be jolly exciting to the owners of DropCam that their software’s popular at the moment but nobody in the real world knows about it or cares. They’ve only just got their head around Skype and maybe Facetime. I’m digitally savvy yet only about 20 people I know use Vine. It’s interesting but it’s not changing the world.
4. What the hell am I supposed to do with the knowledge that 700k hours of sleep are logged on Jawbone per day? Ask around your friends, do you know a single Jawbone user? Has this told us anything about how people sleep now as opposed to how they slept in 1953? Can we make any conclusions from it? No.
5. There’s a chart that shows that the developing new world shares more than the old world. Is that really a surprise given the changes happening there in culture and politics? Crucially, has digital driven these changes or is it a reflection of changes that were happening anyway and digital happens to be their conduit? Basic cause-and-effect paradigm. So this infers we should be focussing on Saudia Arabia’s population sharing on Facebook? great, I’ll bear that in mind for the next Post Office site I work on.
6. This slide (pictured) Take this to a marketing director on £150k a year in a boardroom in their corporate office. Talk them through it, explain what it means for them and their business, how it will help them impress their CEO and deliver on their purpose. I bet you couldn’t.
7. Every single f-ing graph shows an almost linear progression. So stuff’s getting faster, bigger, or changing channel entirely predictably. No big shocks, that’s just change over time.
8.[slides 32-37] Mobile is over-taking desktop. Thanks for that. Have you hear more people drive cars now than horses and carts? True fact.
9. Apparently, stuff we’ve only just seen will be important. Like wearable tech – and if you say it won’t be, remember those idiots that thought there wouldn’t be a computer in every home LOL!!! fancy not being able to predict the future . Idiots, it’s all here, the graphs are telling you it’s going to be mega!
10. Driverless cars, clever crop-spraying drones, better uses of QR codes. It’s all coming. Are you ready? Don’t forget to use this in your next slides for Go Compare.
11. Have you heard about China? They’re going to be really important. Increase in GDP, big population, they have bikes where you can see where your parcel is.
12. [slides 82 onwards] And then a baffling series of slides on immigration and skills shortages in tech industries….

So, anyway….it’s great that we think about how the world’s changing, that we know people using devices and acting in ways in which they might not have done 5, 10, 15 years ago but knowing this stuff doesn’t tell us anything useful about where we’re headed, it’s a Black Swan. I applaud the amount of time and effort that goes into these decks, no doubt justifying the cost of all that thinking, but I wish there was more genuine insight.

For example, I recently got told by someone that their kids wouldn’t be seen dead on Facebook or use an iPhone; there’s a chart that probably shows that somewhere in this deck. Now that’s a good bit of information but I want to know, why don’t they do those things? What can I do to connect with those kids in order to communicate with them about a brand, a story, a product or service?

I wrote this quickly and off the top of my head and thought it was probably a knee-jerk rant and just as unhelpful as the deck itself but it turned out quite a few people here at Dare agreed, and Hugh kindly showed me the post by Tess Alps from 3 years ago where she rants about something quite similar. So I thought i’d dust off WordPress and post it.

As you were.

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