Postcard from Detroit

detroitI’m a big fan of the Motor City. If I wasn’t so settled in Berkeley, I’d definitely move there. I occasionally do some lifestyle/culture writing and this was a fun piece.

I didn’t choose the title; Detroit is much cooler than Oakland.

The photo is by Jesse Welter, who leads photo expeditions all over the city.

http://www.oaklandmagazine.com/Oakland-Magazine/October-2014/Detroit-As-An-Oakland-Doppelganger/

Facebook’s Google Ambitions

Last week, Facebook reported Q3 earnings. Revenue exceeds analysts expectations, stock falls, blah blah blah. What was interesting about the call was how much like Google Facebook is sounding, not least of which is its ambition to catalog, well, not all the world’s knowledge, but all the world’s Facebook content — which is coming close to equaling the size of Google’s index.

Facebook Touts Search in Q3 Earnings

Can You Hack a Connected Car?

Security is lagging behind tech when it comes to highly computerized automobiles. Chris Valasek, director of vehicle security research at IOActive, and security expert Charlie Miller recently released a research paper titled “A Survey of Remote Automotive Attack Surfaces” that details all the different fronts on which automotive systems could be hacked. I talked to him about whether there’s really a problem and how bad it could be.

Can You Hack It?

How to cover an automotive tech conference

car and moneyProviding same-day coverage of conferences keeps me focused and thinking, as I try to make connections between what different speakers say and identify trending topics. I recently wrote same-day wrap-ups of FC Business Intelligence’s Insurance Telematics USA conference. (Insurance telematics, also known as usage-based insurance or UBI)┬árefers to the various hardware and software applications that let insurers get an accurate view of customers’ driving behavior.)

Day One: Data, Data Everywhere as UBI Becomes Ubiquitous

Day Two: What UBI Do People Really Want?

Another new content paradigm: the meta-site

Burt's Bees Content Ad
Burt’s Bees Content Ad

You could think of TotallyHer.com as one giant, in-house version of Outbrain. The newly launched site pulls the top content from a network of owned and partner sites, then mixes in native ad content. Other sites in the network act as farm teams for TotallyHer, which is what gets promoted by site owner Evolve Media. Hmmmm.

TotallyHer Launches as Native-Only Site for Brands.

How to Make Your Brand Content Work Extra Hard like Subway Does

cimorelliSubway hasn’t connected the dots between its two web series and in-store sales, but it does an excellent job of creating an ecosystem of content assets for each one while forging complex ad/distribution deals. Read all about it in Summer with Cimorelli: Inside Subway’s Hit Web Series.

Brand Journalism

What is it? The lines can be blurry, but I’d define brand journalism — as opposed to brand content — as work that has a raison d’etre beyond plugging a company. While all good branded content provides valuable information or insights to the reader, I think what separates brand journalism is that you might not even realize that it was produced by a company, because it adheres to the same standards and follows the same form as regular ol’ journalism.

Some recent examples of my work in this area:

Big Data for the Little Guy

M-Commerce: What Metrics Matter?

How Socially Devoted Brands Handle Negative Tweets

See all my SAP blog posts here.

 

 

 

Are We Having a Content Bubble?

The emphasis on brand content and content marketing is great for us writers, and I’m heartened by how many companies are talking about the importance of quality in that content. But I have to wonder: How do companies know that their brand content is producing results for them?

In the first part of a two-part series, I looked at how — or whether — companies are measuring the effects of branded content, and whether things like page views or engagement are valid ways to asses them.

Content Bubble: Does Anyone Know Whether Content Marketing Works?