Daily Marauder


THIS WEEK: GRAFFITI NYC & LONG LIVE THE IPO by Marauder

THIS WEEK: GRAFFITI NYC & LONG LIVE THE IPO

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LA Artist Retna at the corner of Bowery/Houston

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NY artist Wane along Kent Ave in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Kent Ave under the Williamsburg Bridge/ Brooklyn, NYC

Photo Credits: Daily Marauder

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This past week, I spent some time in NYC. During my walking trips around the city, I took a few snaps of some incredible street art from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Street art holds quite a bit more worth to me than anything hanging in a gallery because of the circumstances surrounding its viewing. Much in the way Bill Cunningham chronicles street style in the NY Times to show what real (or somewhat real) New Yorkers are doing with the latest runway pieces, street art is built for everyone. Cunningham remarked that “The best fashion show is on the street” and I would add that the best art show is in the same place. No admission fee. No thoughtful head nodding or crowds of people. Just art. Unexpected and there whenever you want it.

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It still strikes me as incredibly odd that LA brought the first street art exhibit to creation at the MOCA Los Angeles, while NYC snubbed its nose in Brooklyn. Between the two cities, street art certainly has its place where it is fostered. In NYC, that’s usually the outer boroughs and in LA that’s Hollywood or downtown LA.

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I tried to track down the artist behind the bottom piece in Brooklyn but wasn’t successful. If anyone has the information, please leave a comment or email me.

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This past weekend, I also watched the 1980’s film Wild Style all about graffiti art culture in the South Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop. It’s not a well-acted film by any means but it’s got a realness to it that’s fascinating.

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In other news, Facebook’s IPO finally goes live and experiences some growing pains, the Zuck gets married, the queen and king of disco, Donna Summer & Robin Gibb, passed away, and Pinterest continues to show strength in pushing e-commerce.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Anti-Gravity Ball



THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW by Marauder

THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW

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This week, SXSW descends over Austin. If you’re unfamiliar, SXSW is a three-in-one conference encompassing interactive, film, and music. SXSW has launched a few innovative companies in its midst including Foursquare and the now-acquired Gowalla. In my opinion, it’s a nerd fest reunion with some music folks on the back end. Once a year, all of my digital nerd friends from all across the US get together to drink, party and possibly hit a panel or two. This week, I had a conversation with an ad agency executive in NYC about the merits of SXSW.

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While this particular person had never attended SXSW, he felt that the information which returned was never of value. The thought was that SXSW was simply a drunken booze fest without value.

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I thought about this argument and sat down to read an article in the New Yorker about Davos. Davos, as contrasted to SXSW, rounds up the top world leaders with the hope of igniting inspiration at the highest levels. I’m sure cocktails are shared but I’m guessing no one ends up at the Driskill Hotel at 2 in the morning passed out in a hotel lobby arm chair. That said, my argument in defense of SXSW centered on the simple physical aggregation of start-up folk, programmers, product people and marketing experts alike. Primarily, in the past four years that I have been attending SXSW, this has included an audience under the age of 35. We are young, we are innovators, and yes, we like to drink. Let’s face it, a cocktail or two lowers our fears and in many cases, allows creativity to flow. Steve Jobs referenced LSD as “one of the two or three most important things [he had] done in [his] life” as he considered the experience principally one which opened his eyes to creativity in ways he did not think possible.

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Now, I’m not condoning alcoholism or drug use. I’m simply pointing out that discounting SXSW because this particular audience parties or drinks heavily,is simply disregarding it based on unfair terms. It may be Spring Break for digital folks but don’t we all need a vacation from reality every once in a while? If you’ll be at SXSW, I’ll be speaking on a panel entitled, “Are We Killing Social with Social?”  Stop by and share some thoughts, cocktail or no cocktail.

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In other news, Pinterest is surging while Google + is puttering, Lady Gaga becomes the first person to hit 20MM followers on Twitter, newspaper revenue tanks shocking no one, smartphone owners now outnumber other mobile users in the US, Yelp shares surge on their first day of trading, and co-founder Naveen Selvadurai is leaving Foursquare.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Lowline: Underground NYC Park Life



THIS WEEK: DELAY TO GRAMMY & SPEED TO TWEET by Marauder

THIS WEEK: DELAY TO GRAMMY & SPEED TO TWEET

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First thing’s first, Happy almost Valentine’s Day with a little love from Google and some geeky Valentine’s Day cards.

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By now, you’re well versed in the loss of Whitney Houston Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton directly before a pre-Grammy event being thrown by the man who discovered her: Clive Davis. I recommend reading the rest of this post with the following background track. Whitney Houston’s voice has been making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end since I was a little girl. She also convinced me, incorrectly I might add, that pink eye shadow was a fantastic decision for a 7-year old. May she rest in peace.

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Last night, Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to the talented Houston belting out “I Will Always Love You” in a truly sweet and very simple performance. For all of the producers of the Grammys, please take notice of what happened in your show last night. The sad passing of Ms. Houston brought emotion back to your show. Music is the fabric which connects us together and recognizing this stitching is what transforms a show from meh to great.

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Unfortunately, CBS didn’t get the memo about the connecting powers of music. While the east coast was watching the Grammys live as it was happening in LA, the west coast had to wait 3 hours to watch a show which was happening, for some, in their own zip code. So, let me address CBS directly. Delaying your broadcast of the Grammys on the west coast is one of the most ridiculous, vile things a broadcaster could possibly do. Here are some tweets from Piers Morgan of CNN, Brian Stelter of the NY Times, & Shira Lazar of What’s Trending (formerly on CBS) outlining the failure.

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If you want to know why the entertainment business is stumbling, here is one of the best examples. While we were all tweeting away about the Grammys on the east coast, our digital counterparts on the west coast were sitting and watching the events unfold in 140 characters of text rather than in video. By the time the west coast was ‘allowed’ to watch, many social media enthusiasts had already ‘watched’ the show. The reason live events, like this one, are so powerful is based heavily on the connection we feel to family, friends, and strangers alike in different time zones taped together by the social networks. Facebook and Twitter sit us all down on our community couch, and like in Coolio’s ‘Fantastic Voyage’, we somehow all fit. Last night CBS, you disconnected us. You put us in competition with each other. You delayed a show on the west coast which was happening live IN THAT MARKET. You ran tweets on your own live feed which literally ruined the biggest moments of your own show for that audience. Please don’t cry to me about the legal ramifications continuing to persist an antiquated model. Fix it.

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Back to Miss Whitney. What you may not know about her death is that it was reported 27 minutes before major news outlets on Twitter. This, along with stories like it, represents a significant shift in the reporting of news, one that has rested in the hands of professionals with journalism degrees and now has shifted to anyone with a smart phone and a Twitter account. But slow down Gossip Girl. It’s not that simple. Twitter urges us to believe that speed should always be prioritized. Speed is pretty tasty especially when Keanu Reaves is starring. That said, there are several examples of Twitter setting the stage for misinformation.

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One such example is evident in the reporting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ “death” beginning with a tweet from NPR. Of course, Ms Giffords was shot but not in fact killed. NPR’s tweet created a cavalcade of tweets from other major media organizations including the Huffington Post and Reuters. What this represents is the classic antagonism between speed and quality. Major news organizations like the New York Times and others have to weight the information in front of them and double-check the sources before they can officially report on anything. Citizens on the street don’t have to double-check their sources and therefore speed to tweet before asking any questions whatsoever.

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So, which is better? Should the NY Times run a Twitter feed of a news story in progress on their site even before that news is verified? I try to play anthropologist on my own behavior when I’m trying to track a story of this nature. I immediately access my own Twitter feed with the anchor text of whatever I want more information about, in this case “Whitney Houston.” The sources I find there are partially verified by the fact that I follow them, increasing their accuracy at least in certain respects. I have become an editor of my Twitter feed, attempting to verify accuracy on my own, rather than waiting for the NY Times to do it. Why? We all want to be the first one to ‘break’ a story to our friends, confirming that we are in-the-know and on top of events like this one. I found out about Whitney Houston’s death in Providence, RI while visiting my mother. She had gone into a bathroom in the restaurant we were eating at and came out armed with information that another woman had told her after reading a text on her phone. While in the car on the way back home, I verified the news on my social networks, again, playing editor to the information supplied.

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In other news, Pinterest experiences the slap of the hockey stick to 10MM users drawing substantial growth from the middle of the US, one dad teaches his teenager a lesson with a 45 and her laptop. Apple rises to the top, and Redbox reverse engineers to add a streaming service.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Giving Your Order with the Click of a Table




THIS WEEK: SUPERBOWL RECAP & PINTEREST WEARS THE BIG KID PANTS by Marauder

THIS WEEK: SUPERBOWL RECAP & PINTEREST WEARS THE BIG KID PANTS

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Good morning Giants fans. Go ahead. Lord your supremacy over us Patriots fans. I’m originally from Rhode Island and so became a full-blooded Patriots fan last night at a bar in Saratoga Springs, NY. What to do when surrounded by Giants fans? Become the #1 annoying fan and learn to avoid thrown glasses.

Being that I’m in the ad industry, my main interest in the Superbowl is the commercials and according to a study by Hanon McKendry , 54% of Superbowl watchers are just like me. For $3MM for 30 seconds, let’s give these ads their due respekt. Thus spawns, the Marauder Top 5. Unlike the USA Today Ad Meter which employs ratings from its web site or Facebook to determine a winner, I’m using a much simpler and valuable rating system: YouTube video views combined with my own opinion. To qualify those views, I am also listing out the upload date as most of these commercials were uploaded a week out from the Superbowl itself. Below my top 5, you will find the commercials I was not a fan of but listed as they pulled considerable weight in video views.


Daily Marauder Top 5: Superbowl 2012 Commercials

VW “The Dog Strikes Back”

5 MM views

Upload Date: 1/30

Kia “A Dream Car. For Real Life.”

4 MM views

Upload Date: 1/31

Chevy Sonic “Stunt Anthem”

743K views

Upload Date: 1/27

Sketchers “Go Run”

450K views

Upload Date: 1/26

Bud Light “Rescue Dog”

150K views

Upload Date: 2/3

Notable Mentions: Superbowl 2012 Commercials

Acura “Transactions”

Almost a winner until I saw the appearance of Jay Leno. Instant fail.

15 MM views

Upload Date: 1/30

Honda CR-V “Matthew’s Day Off”

Here’s the thing. “Ferris” just looks old and bloated. I felt depressed after watching it.

12MM views

Upload Date: 1/26


That said, while likability is fun to assess, it matters less in translating to brand sales. Many brands attempted to take their Superbowl ad buy one step further by creating a digital link using Shazam for TV. While many think of Shazam as a mobile app to identify what song is playing, the company recently updated to allow users to Shazam TV as well creating a digital extension both from TV episodes and commercials alike. This affords the TV commercial some digital legs allowing an easier transition from TV to digital. The best example from a brand last night came during the Toyota Camry commercial. Users could Shazam the commercial for a chance to win 2 Toyota Camrys during the game.

In other news, Facebook prepares for its IPO, Path doubles its user count to 2MM having re-launched 2 months ago, the Susan B. Komen Foundation reverses its decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood , Pinterest wears the big kid pants in the social media family, and the Grammys piles on some interesting digital extensions to their coming broadcast.

Some more Cool Sh-t:

Commercial Crashers: The Old Spice Guy



THIS WEEK: BETWEEN POLITICS & CENSORSHIP, THE TWITTER PAGES by Marauder

THIS WEEK: BETWEEN POLITICS & CENSORSHIP, THE TWITTER PAGES

Todd Heisler/The New York Times


While the Republican candidates continue to crucify each other in debates and public speaking engagements, Twitter has become a critical tool for candidates to engage their audiences. With 10 times more users on Twitter than during the 2008 election and the sites’ ability to break news faster than major news outlets, Twitter is certainly flexing its muscles in the political campaign space.

While Twitter fist pumps in politics, the site felt some public backlash over the weekend. Forbes claimed that Twitter had committed “social suicide” when they released news that they would be withholding tweets in particular countries (i.e. China, etc) Twitter users like Anonymous planned an online revolt on Saturday January 28th claiming they would not tweet in protest of Twitter’s action (#twitterblackout).

This move by Twitter was certainly not motivated by their desire to censor but more importantly to try and infiltrate China, a market which had 485 million online users at the end of June, more than any other country in the world. Twitter is banned in China, based entirely on the fact that the company, up until now, has refused to allow the government to censor tweets. Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, has allowed open access to the government. The site is used by 250 million users. On Friday, I sat down with Ruby Zhang who moved from China to Los Angeles to study at USC’s Annenberg School. She walked me through Weibo and explained the advantages to Twitter:

  • Mainly, her friends from home all use the site and therefore the clear advantage in China is simply that it has mass scale. Twitter will have a difficult time infiltrating given this fact.
  • Images in line on Weibo.com’s home page. Many Twitter folk don’t visit the online site but instead connect through Twitter clients like Tweetdeck and others. Visuals are processed by the brain far faster than text. Twitter has made inroads to add visuals in-line but they certainly have room to grow.
  • Easier list and categorization features. When’s the last time you used a Twitter list? Fantastic feature but it has been de-emphasized in design updates.

In other news last week, President Obama’s State of the Union got a snazzy interactive update showing side-by-side graphics while the President spoke. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may be even more insidious than the more well-known SOPA/PIPA, USA Today’s Superbowl Ad Meter will finally include Facebook ratings, Apple delivers blow out earnings proving that more iPhones are sold per day than babies born in the world, Pinterest is showing serious strength in pushing consumers to retail and Facebook plans to file their IPO next week.

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Re-Imagine: What’s Outside Your Car Window