A Manhattan Project of the Mind (or Brain Wars)
Sharon Weinberger, @weinbergersa, Columnist BBC.com/Future
Presentation at SXSW

·      Background
o   Do a weekly column called “Code Red”
o   Write about the Pentagon’s role in neuroscience
o   For ten years I’ve written about the technology the Pentagon chooses to fund.
o   About 6 years starting writing this articles.
o   After writing these articles, starting getting thousand of letters from people who claimed to be experimental test subjects.
§  Whether these people are right or wrong, they are googling what the Pentagon is doing, and finding out that in fact, the Pentagon does have technology to make voices in people’s heads.
o   This is partly about neuroscience as a weapon.
o   What are they really doing, and what are they not doing? What’s the hype and what’s the reality?
o   There’s some good science, and some bad science.
·      You can trace the Pentagon’s interest back to:
o    J.C.R. Licklider’s vision in 1960: a man-compuyter symbiosis.
§  Seems obvious today, but in 1960, the notion that a computer wouldn’t just crunch numbers, but would interact with you and help you make decisions.
§  The game Missile Command is similar to a real problem the air force had in the 1950s, and hence developed Sage, a system for monitoring and tracking incoming missiles.
o   Jacques Vidal’s “Toward direct brain-computer communication”
§  Got funding from DARPA as a basic science project to use observable electrical brain signals to control technology.
·      DARPA Director’s Vision 2002:
o   Imagine 25 years from now where old guys like me put on a pair of glasses or a helment and open our eyes. Somewhere there will be a robot that will open it’s eyes…
·      Duke University Medical Center in 2003
o   Taught rhesus monkeys to consciously control the movement of a robot arm in real time, using only signals from their brains.
o   Crude approximation, takes a lot of training.
o   But it works
·      Augmented Cognition (AugCog) 2003/2004:
o   Goal for order of magnitude increase in mental capacity.
o   Want to help soldiers manage cognitive overload.
o   Vision of Augmented Cognition 2005
§  Video showing how sensors can be used to detect overload by brain. When too many streams of information threaten to overload here, the user interface is streamlined to highlight certain elements and reduce others (e.g. maximize text, minimize images).
·      Neurotechnology for intelligence analysts
o   They look at hundreds of images each day, trying to glean information.
o   Scientists wanted to watch the P300 signal (object recognition), to see if they could help the analysts better spot things.
o   In theory, they could detect the signal faster than the consciousness can interpret it. There’s 300ms delay in the conscious brain.
§  We don’t totally understand why there is the delay.
·      In 2008, did project called “Luc’s binoculars”
o   Wanted to use binoculars and P300 signals to help identify objects of interest.
·      In 2012, actually have a system…soldier with EEG in the lab. But to actually develop technology to use in the field, it is much harder.
·      Neuroprosthetics: 2009
o   By 2004, 2005, and 2006, one of the biggest problems was roadside bombs. Lots of soldiers losing limbs.
o   Modern prosthetics are cable systems: you clench a muscle in your back, it is sensed, and moves a cable to move the arm.
o   It’s very, very hard.
o   Our understanding of which neurons do what is still crude…it’s probabilistic.
o   Mechanical arms are still more useful.
·      2013: Brain Net
o   brain-to-brain interface in rats
o   Same guys at Duke who did the rhesus monkey brain implant
o   They linked two rat brains… one is the encoder, and one is the decoder.
·      Other Directions: Narrative Networks
o   neuroscience for propaganda”
·      Future Attributes Screening Technology
o   When you go through the airport, a subset of agents are trained to specifically look for suspicious behaviors: facial expressions, body language.
o   DHS want use remote sensors to look at physiological indicators: heart rate, sweating, blood flow in face, etc
§  They want to identify “mal-intent”. Whether you harbor the intent to commit a crime.
o   See Homeland Security Youtube video
§  Future Attribute Screening Technology
§  Battelle / Farber
o   All sorts of issues: Why are people nervous? Because they are going to commit a crime? Or because they’re skipping work to go to an event? Or because they ate a ham sandwich?
§  Decades of research have shown we still can’t reliably detect lies.
§  We certainly can’t detect mal-intent.
·      Future Directions: Smart Drugs
o   No formal studies done.
o   Anecdotal reports: 25% of soldiers in field use a smart drug such as Ritalin or Adderall.
o   Should we test smart drugs?
o   Possibly the government is staying away from it because of the long history of problematic research done in the past (LSD experiments by CIA), plagued by ethical concerns.
·      President Obama’s Vision 2013
o   Unlocking and mapping the brain. Wants to flow billions of dollars into. If that happens, DARPA will be one of the major sources of funding.
·      Hype vs. Reality
o   Brain controlled drones?
§  The technique is slow. 10s of bits of information per minute, and subject to noise.
§  Not obvious that it can be used yet for field applications.
·      Where are we today?
o   Brain-computer interface already here in limited capacity: very limited, very crude, don’t work well.
o   Neuroprosthetics still years away.
o   Deception Detection: very little agreement, even on the basic science.
o   Mind-controlled drones: a generation away.
·      Implications
o   Technological: expands the battlefield through telepresence
o   Ethical: human testing questions…is it an even battlefield for augmented soldiers?
o   Do we have the right to brain privacy? Do soldiers?
o   It’s hard to have a serious debate about futuristic technology. (The giggle factor)
§  Will: interesting idea, given increasing pace of technology, we need to talk about the future, but it’s hard to do.
·      Was able to participate in experiment using FMRI to try to read associated brain activity
o   In two hour session, surrounded by ton of gear, had a difficult time being able to even detect what part of brain associated with tapping her finger.
o   If it was that hard to detect such a simple thing, then reading deeper thoughts, reading minds, is very far off, even if it is ever possible.

The Future of 3D Printing
Alice Taylor, Founder/CEO Makie Lab, @wonderlandblog
Avi Reichental, CEO 3D Systems
Rich Brown, Senior Editor CNET, @Richard_H_Brown
Scott Summit, Founder/CTO 3D Systems/Bespoke Products, @BespokeInc
·      Makie: Customized doll factory. Have an iPad app now.
·      Prosthetic Legs: Scan existing leg to make a new leg that makes the contours of existing.
·      3D Systems: range of printers from consumer end $1,300 Cube printer to many hundreds of thousands.
·      At the consumer end, can make entry level, basic plastic stuff.
·      The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
o   Everyone has a terminal in their house, and nanobots come flooding in and make whatever you want.
·      NASA using metal printing for a rocket to go to mars
·      Voxel printing: using multiple materials. Objects made of tiny parts.
·      Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing
o   Plug for this book
·      What are the opportunities for small businesses?
·      What are the IP related concerns?
·      What can we do with this?
·      What are the opportunities?
o   Reichental:
§  Endless
§  What is today…
·      Every hearing aid device is 3D printed
·      Many dental implants are planned
·      Many parts on drones are printed
·      Aircraft parts are being printed
o   Every F18 has about 90 printed parts
§  The possibilities
·      Localization of production
§  The gamechanger is that every company, from a garage startup to the biggest corporation, has access to the same level of 3d printing technology.
o   Taylor:
§  Started from videogame industry
§  Wanted to make video assets into products
§  First idea was to print avatars
o   Summit
§  The things that kill startups, compared to a big company are:
·      Time to market
·      Up front costs
·      Inventory costs
§  With a 3D printing business model, these costs become irrelevant.
§  Hardware plays become more like software plays. There’s just the time investment to build models. You can be more nimble.
o   Taylor:
§  It’s product on demand.
o   Reichental:
§  In addition to democratization
§  Printer doesn’t care if it is printing complex object versus simple product.
§  Almost no waste
§  Very little energy
§  Printed locally
§  Millions can design for themselves
·      Is it about consumer, medical, military – where’s the biggest use?
o   Reichental: We can’t even convince of all the opportunities ahead of us.
o   Summit:
§  We don’t think of ourselves as a medical company. We see ourselves as a fashion company, we just happen to make body parts.
§  Everything we do is a unique instantiation. Nothing is mass produced.
§  You can’t peg it as a medical product, as a fashion product. It’s a blurring of what exists.
·      Intellectual Property
o   Yoda is a copyrighted character.
o   But he’s up there on thingiverse for free.
o   Taylor: he’s a popular calibration item.
o   Is there a danger?
§  Taylor:
·      As Tim O’Reilly says, the biggest problem is obscurity, not piracy.
·      Is Disney’s bottom line adversely affected by someone printing a Yoda?
o   No
§  Summit:
·      In traditional manufacturing, as soon as you take your designs to Asia to be manufactured, you’ve lost your IP anyway.
§  Taylor:
·      People who are going to print stuff at home, they are creative. They make an ecosystem around a product.
·      When we make clothes for our dolls, we put the patterns up on the forum. Then our customers remix/improve them.
§  Summit:
·      It increases the engagement with the user.
§  Reichental:
·      The IP system today is antiquated. It doesn’t reflect the power of the crowd, or new monetization strategies, or what is possible today, or what new, nimble startups do.
·      Consumer 3D Printing
o   MakerBot 1: completely open source.
o   Failed kickstarter project to make a cheaper copy using open source plans.
o   MakerBot 2: using some closed source.
·      SLA: liquid, SLS: powder, FDM: extrusion. About 9 different mechanisms.
·      How do we move 3D printing forward?
o   Reichental
§  MakerBot came from the red rock project in Bristol. It started with the heart of democratization.
§  There are now 60 companies around the world making something like the original makerbot.
§  But that’s replication, not innovation.
·      They’re recreating what is, not insightfully rearranging, originating.
§  Innovative companies are not blocked by patents. They innovative around them, and come up with better products.
§  I sympathize with any projects for democratization, but I think we should design something innovative.
o   Taylor
§  Now we have 50 different FDM makers, and it’s bringing down price, and building up the ecosystems around the materials: sparkly plastics, wood filament, etc.
§  That’s for FDM, which was open source.
§  For SLA/SLS, which it is locked up by patents, we don’t see the same price and materials advantages.
§  The powder we use to print the dolls hasn’t been democratized. So we have 70 euros a kilo, whereas the ABS that goes into Makerbots is 5 euros a kilo.
·      Reichental: We’ll help you with that.
·      3D printing for social good
o   Solar powered printed that makes glass from sand.
o   Product to grind up plastic and turn it back into filament.
§  Happy meal toys and milk jugs go in the top, and useable raw material comes out the bottom.
o   On the flip side, the Defense Distributed people are making weapons.
§  They don’t want the government to regulate anything.
o   What do you guys think of this responsibility?
§  Taylor:
·      I’m a little ignorant of gun regulation, thanks to being British.
·      For at least a decade, it’s going to be easier to buy a gun than to print one. It’s not a practical threat in the next ten years. More practical threats is gun trading.
·      It’s a decoy in a way to get media riled up.
o   Modern Meadow: Wants to print leather and edible meat.
§  Environmental benefits.
o   Summit
§  This is a tool for a creative person to have their imagination come to life.
§  This is a basic good.
§  A parent can give their kid a 3D printer instead of a game system.
§  Kids will take this and learn this. They’ll going beyond the $300 printer into SLS and cloud printer, and they’ll be an amazing innovator by the time they are in college.
§  It could be a real rebirth of innovation.
o   Reichental
§  Let’s give kids the opportunity to be creative
§  For hundreds of years, publishing was under the control of a few.
§  Then the internet changed all that, and now anyone can communicate.
·      Q: Materials?
o   Taylor
§  Used off the shelf.
§  Not a lot available now.
§  It could take another 15 years before everything the science fiction writers say comes true
o   Reichental
§  We have more than 100 materials in our portfolio
·      Wax: for customization of jewelry
·      Biologically compatible materials
·      Compostics
·      6 different metal alloys
·      nylons and plastics
·      Q: 3D printing electronics?
o   Taylor:
§  Already happening in british universities, must be elsewhere.
§  Possible to print circuitry into the material, but still under development.
o   Reichental
§  Built an airplane without any flaps, with circuitry inside to change shape of wings.
§  4D printing will be 3D printing with functionality.
§  5D printing will be dynamic rearrangement of materials.

A Robot in Your Pocket
Jeff Bonforte, CEO Xobni, @bonforte
Amit Kapur, CEO Gravity, @amitk

·      Marvin Minsky
o   In the 50s, predicted robots would be everywhere in 5 years
o   In the 60s, it was 10 years
o   In the 70s, it was 20 years
o   In the 80s, it was 40 years
·      It’s a fine line between tools and robots
o   Robata is Czech for “hard work”
o   It’s a fine line between a tool and a point where it becomes something that works for you.
·      We think of robots as a hardware thing
o   We want R2D2, Rosie, and Six.
o   What we have are vacuum cleaners and industrial robots.
·      They’re here, and they’re software.
·      What’s changed in the last decade?
o   Data
o   Smaller and cheaper sensors.
o   The more things we measure, the more accurately we can respond.
o   Smartphones are a collection of sensors we carry with us all the time.
·      Software, too.
o   Natural Language Processing: Understanding semantically what something is about.
o   Machine Learning: Software can look at data, learn from it, do intelligence tasks.
o   Distinct Ontologies: Instead of a rigid taxonomy, … Humans don’t think in hierarchical structures. We think flexibly. An iRobot vacuum makes us think about things like chores, and how we don’t have time, and the cost of hiring a may.
§  Machines need to be able to understand and combine things.
·      More data than we know what to do with.
o   We start by measuring things we don’t know what to do with.
o   Will it rain today?
§  It’s a deterministic problem. Use barometer, wind conditions, etc.
§  Stochastic: Look at 10 million shoe selections of New Yorks, and you can figure out if it’s going to rain.
·      The point of stochastic is that one data point doesn’t matter. Whereas in a deterministic model, you could crash your model with a weird data point.
·      After 24 hours, shoe selection is not correlated to weather.
§  The point is, we can correlate surprising things.
o   Xobni does this with inboxes. The average inbox is a couple of megabytes. The Xobni inbox has 40 MB of data.
·      Explicit versus implicit data
o   “I’m here at this restaurant”, or “this is my favorite person”
o   vs.
o   We look at your data, and observe what you do. If you text a person 1,000 times to the same number, why does the phone still ask you which number to use?
o   Examples of implicit data:
§  Payment patterns from credit cards
§  Locations you pass when you drive, locations you stay a long time.
§  You express your preferences and patterns through what you do every day.
o   For example: let’s say I get a txt message from someone with a link. How often do I click on links from that person? If it’s high, then go fetch the page in the background, so that when I do click on it, the page is preloaded.
o   Implicit systems are much more accurate, because they are related to current behavior and actual actions, rather that what people think they are interested in, or what they explicitly said 2 years ago.
o   Features like circles in google are explicit and they cause high cognitive load.
·      Where giants tread
o   IBM’s Watson.
§  Smart AI can win Jeopardy.
§  Now diagnose cancer.
o   Google’s self-driving car.
§  Passes 300,000 miles driven.
o   Huge R&D budgets, years of efforts.
·      Startups coming into the equation
o   The cost of getting technology and processing data is going down
o   More tools are open source
·      Big R&D innovations feel like they’re five years away, but it’s usually 10 years.
o   Example of iDrive: cost and effort to do ($5.7M for 16 terabyte drive, $1.5M monthly bandwidth bill, write every component of systems) versus Dropbox ten years later (off the shelf components, cheap costs).
·      Progression
o   Analogy: Brakes
o   Digital: Antilock
o   Robot: Crash avoidance
·      Progression
o   Analog: thermostat
o   Digital: timer thermostat
o   Robotic: Nest
·      News
o   Analog: Newspapers.
o   Digital: Online representation.
o   Robot (gravity): Personalized experience based on their preferences, derived from their past behavior
·      Businesses
o   A: Yellow pages
o   D: Yelp
o   R: Ness
·      Information
o   A: Encyclopedia
o   D: Google Search
o   R: Google Now
·      Contacts
o   A: Address book
o   D: Contacts / Email
o   R: Xobni
·      Objectives
o   Learn
o   Adapt
o   Implicit
o   Proactive
o   Personalized
·      A spam filter that’s 95% accurate is totally unreliable. 0% adoption. At 98%, still bad. 99%, still bad. You need to get to 99.8% before you get adoption.
o   But for restaurant selection, 95% is great.
o   Different level of expected quality for different systems.
·      Gravity
o   Personalizing the Internet
o   Marissa Meyer saying that Yahoo is going to be very focused on personalization.
o   Surrounding ourselves with the experts in machine learning, natural language processing.
o   Mission: leverage the interest graph to personalize the internet
o   The more information that flows into a system, the harder it becomes to find great content. It’s the signal to noise ratio.
o   The history of the internet is of companies creating better filters to find great content.
o   Phases
§  Their web: directories, google.
§  Our web: use social graph, get content shared with us from friends
§  Your web: using technology to process data to understand the individual, and have adaptive, personalized experience.
o   Interest Graphing
§  Semantic analysis of webpage. Match against ontologies we’ve built.
§  Watch what people do, match against interests.
§  Then personalize what they see.
§  Show examples of how sites filled with links (New York Times, Huffington Post), Gravity will find the top articles you’d be interested in.
·      Xobni
o   Why who matters?
§  It starts with the idea of attaching files to email. You know the sender, the receiver, and the email. Instead of presenting all files on the computer for possible attachment, you can prefilter the list, and it’s a 3x reduction in possible files.
o   Super cool demo of voicemail.
§  Voicemail transcribes and hotlinks to contacts, doing things like resolving references to email (“see the address I emailed you”), and people (the venndiagram of people they know in common means they must be talking about this Chris), and vocabulary (this two people use words like “dude”, and “hey man”)
·      Future Applications
o   Trackers are digital. What’s the robot version? The equivalent of a check engine light for your health.
o   Education: the creation of personalized education and teaching.
o   Finance: help for your particular financial situation.
·      Often people are worried about privacy. Anytime you give people data, you have to worry to what are they going to do.

Democratization of Publishing: Survive & Thrive
Aaron Rubenson, Director Amazon Appstore for Android, Amazon
John Densmore, Artist, @JohnDensmore
Libby Johnson Mckee, North America Director, Kindle Direct Publishing, @libbyjm3415
Steve Carpenter, author, creator of Grimm series on NBC, @GrimmStephen
Guy Kawasaki, @GuyKawasaki

·      LJM: All of these guests have had the opportunity to traditionally publish and chose to self-publish.
·      John Densmore
o   Had 6 figure deal from major publisher
o   Kept getting requests “more stories about Jim Morrison”, “we don’t like the title”.
§  They wanted “The Doors: The Inside Story”
o   Realized my baby was going to be morphed into something I didn’t want.
·      Steve Carpenter
o   Very similar story to John.
o   Wanted creative control.
o   No bar to entry.
o   I just had to figure out how to upload the book, and then I was published.
o   It was up to me to sink or swim.
o   After waiting 4 to 6 weeks just to get a phone call returned, I realized I would have to wait a year or more to see it in print.
o   And also realized I’d have to pay an agent 15%, which is more than the 10% I pay for movie agent.
o   So I decided to do it on a lark.
o   The first reviews all mentioned the lousy formatting. So I unpublished the book, hired a real person to reformat it.
o   Then the reviews mentioned they didn’t like the ending. So I unpublished it, rewrote the ending, and published it again.
o   I’d rather hear from thousand of people who paid money to read the book than to hear from one person to whom I am paying money.
·      Guy Kawasaki
o   I’ve published a lot of books, so I have more creative control.
o   But the speed of publishing: it’s less than 24 hours with KDP. With a traditional publisher, even the fastest is at least six months, and they lock the print and ebook together.
o   The royalties are great: If I had a $10 book, I make $7 with KDP, and I’d make maybe $1 traditionally published. That’s 7 times the revenue.
·      Rubenson:
o   Apps grew up in the a world that was self-publishing from the beginning.
o   There’s so many self-service options out there, which one to choose from? There are many different stores.
o   The challenge is where to publish and how to get discovered.
·      Q: This shift happening in publishing, where if everyone publishes, then there is so much out there. How do you stand out in a crowd? Is this a problem?
o   Guy:
§  You shouldn’t have gates up. If I have a choice between 6 large companies in NY picking what people can read and everyone can pick forthemselves, I would choose that everyone picks.
§  It doesn’t matter now who the publisher is. The proxy for quality isn’t the publisher, it’s the number of stars on the revenues.
§  Spend $1,000 and get a professional cover.
·      You have about a second to make people click.
o   Carpenter:
§  I struggled with this for a while.
§  Went to a panel this morning, speaker said: “The good news is that it’s a meritocracy. Be awesome.”
§  The tools for being discovered are way better now than four years ago.
§  Get into KDP Select. “Think like a drug dealer. Give away the stuff for free.”
o   Densmore:
§  Thanks to technology, everyone can make their own music, movie, book.
§  I hired –someone- to do my cover. The cover is hot. So hot that publishers are coming back to talk to me.
o   Carpenter: Made a tabletop display. Cost me $300. I put them in a friend’s coffeeshop, go into bookstores and put them into the books there.
·      Q: There’s a lot of conversation about how authors have to build their platform. But authors ask “How do I do that?” What are your platforms?
o   Guy:
§  Platform is the sum total of the number of people in the world who have heard of you.
§  Start today. It takes 6 to 9 months to build a platform.
§  Use the NPR model.
·      They make great content 365 days a year.
·      They have a telethon to raise money once a year.
·      They have earned the right to bother us during the telethon because they’ve shared such great stuff all year long.
§  As an author, you must share great content on a subject. You are establishing credibility and expertise in a given area.
o   Carpenter:
§  I asked my 16 year old son how to tweet.
·      He said “Just pretend you have a cool life.”
o   Rubenson:
§  The tools are often the same for app developers.
§  Developers spend a ton of effort to use one app to build the platform for future apps: by cross-merchandising other apps, by selling stuff within the next.
·      Their goal is to get to 100% adoption of their next app from the current app users.
o   Densmore:
§  I had to ask my son to turn on the television there were so many buttons. Now I tweet and use facebook.
§  There’s people who won’t admit that they want as many people as possible to see their baby. That’s the first step.
·      Q: There’s a shift from the business of writing to the business of publishing. Can you talk about the shift in your mindset?
o   Guy:
§  Everything that a traditional publisher does, you now have to do yourself. With total control comes total responsibility. You have to do it or hire people to do it.
o   Carpenter:
§  Don’t pass up any opportunity. Do they have a blogger with six followers? Do something with them. Don’t turn down an interview.
§  Guy: If they have one follower, don’t turn them down. They could be the next west coast director for Rolling Stone.
o   Rubenson:
§  Developers are looking at exploiting intellectual property across all of their properties. The Angry Bird folks have a cookbook, merchandise, etc. They want creative content that spawns everything.
o   Guy:
§  My 10th book was called Enchancement. I thought that was the pinnacle of my literary achievement. So I got a facebook page forenchancement. Now I have 35,000 people following that page. I can’t move them over. I should have done a fanpage for Guy the Author. Now what do I do? A page for each book? That doesn’t help me market the next book.
·      Q: Let’s talk about pricing. I get the most questions. What’s the role of free? How do you think about pricing?
o   Densmore:
§  I priced in the middle ground.
o   Carpenter:
§  Trial and error. I tried a bunch of different prices. Since you can choose yourself, why not try a bunch of different things?
§  I thought it was important to stay under $5. Because of the retail theory that anything under $5 people don’t think that much about.
§  I eventually settled on $3.99.
§  I love the free promotions. It allows the book to get up onto a list. It doesn’t matter that it’s the free list. It’s right there next to the paid list.
§  Let it ride, let it get out there. Get onto that first page.
§  People who get your book for free tend to write really positive reviews.
o   Guy:
§  We wanted APE to be taken very seriously. It’s not a get rich quick. I want it to the Chicago Manual of Style, not get-rich-quick.
§  We wanted the lowest price that still seem serious. That’s $9.99.
§  We also wanted to get the 70% royalty.
§  (We got blessed to be the Kindle Daily Deal one day, sold thousands of books.)
§  If you price your book too cheap, it sends the message it’s not good.
§  If I was a novice novelist, I might try 99 cents to get to $2.99.
§  But for non-fiction, pricing it too cheap sends a message that something is wrong.
§  I sent a message to 5 million of my closest friends, asking people to fill out a form, if they wanted a review copy.
·      We sent out a thousand or so full manuscripts.
·      Amazon won’t let people post reviews until the book is for sale.
·      So after the book went on sale, I sent a follow up message to those people with the manuscript, and told them to post their reviews.
·      And so the first day of sales started with 50 reviews.
·      Q: What have you learned? What shocked you?
o   Guy: It astonished me that to this day, people think that they need a kindle device to read a kindle book. I was stunned people didn’t know there is a kindle app for every platform.
o   Carpenter: The thing that shocked me is how many books I sold. I did it as a lark. I did no social media. It took about six months, and then something just kicked in.

Industrial Revolution 3.0 & Future of 3D Printing
Mike Senese, Senior Editor at Wired
Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO and Co-Founder of 3D printing marketplace Shapeways
·      Is 3D printing really a gamechanger?
o   For last hundred years, getting used to mass manufacturing
o   Very effective at making complicated products in a fast, efficient way.
o   The problem is that they’re all so similar.
o   As the enduser, we have no influence over those products. We can only choose to buy or not buy (and hence we have marketers to convince us to buy.)
o   But people like to customize their products.
o   We want to make products unique, customized to each person’s needs and wants, and still doing it fast and effectively.
o   The combination is so powerful, it’s the next industrial revolution.
·      You only sell what you need. This wouldn’t be possible without the Internet. With the internet, we have feedback loops very tight. WE can do design loops very quickly. One product a year is quite normal. But on Shapeways, we’ve seen 20 or 30 iterations in a month. That’s just impossible in traditional ways.
·      You can experiment: there’s no startup costs.
·      3D printing brings products on par with software. No startup costs, you can develop just intellectual property, and turn it into something you can sell.
·      There are mirrors to what digital did to the music industry. The industry existed in a certain way for a long timeit was an effective industry. Mass customization could allow consumers to have anything they want. How are big brands going to take advantage of this opportunity?
·      Replacements parts: if a knob falls of a stereo, now you can get the exact replacement piece.
o   Manufacturers have a problem: e.g. when they make a car, they need to keep enough spare parts on hand to have a 20 year supply of those parts. Their inventory is huge. The car is designed with CAD, so all the parts could be manufactured on demand, relieving the need to keep 20 years of inventory for every part for every car produced.
·      Nokia released a phone case design under Creative Commons license, and within hours, people were modifying and adding to the case: headphone wrappers, different bases.
·      Existing powerhouses often don’t get it disruptive change. So will the manufacturers of today be the ones to adopt 3D, or will new manufactuersemerge?
·      What are some really exciting things you see coming? And how will design change, as 3D printing enables new types of products that couldn’t exist before?
o   We’re going to see design driving companies, instead of it being an idea that kicks things off, and then design is something that happens at the end.
o   Having 3D allows people to amplify the integration of design at the front of the process.
o   We’ll see more cases of designers as the heads of companies.
o   It’s staggering to see the size and complexity of the design files to render these 3D objects. We’ve got the computers and infrastructure to work within this space.
·      Why is this happening now?
o   3D printing is as old as the internet.
o   It’s the coming together as:
§  3D printers are more mature. They are more reliable and the output is more meaningful.
§  We have to be able to create the designs, and not so long ago, CAD software was very expensive. Now the software is free, and we have millions of people using it.
§  And the computers have to be powerful enough.
§  The internet allows the exchange of these files.
§  And the internet allows the printers to be centralized, and distributed via mail.
§  It allows production to be localized again, by having the printers and equipment near where it needs to be.
§  NY was once a hub of manufacturing. We were excited to open a facility in NY, because it brings the manufacturing back close to where the designers are.
§  Local manufacturing is much better on the carbon footprint, brings back high tech jobs, and enables close-knit communities around this.
·      Will the 3d printing space get to a point where everyone is using?
o   Sometimes we’ll be using it without knowing it.
o   Boeing built the Dreamliner. Saves more fuel, has higher internal humidity. Some of the parts are 3D printed.
o   More and more products will pop up around us, we won’t realize they are they 3d printed.
o   People get upset if you take away their internet. They don’t understand how it works, but they don’t want it to go away. Right now, 3D printing is in the “this is cool technology” phase, but eventually it will be invisible.
o   We may print engines in the future, because making cooling channels can lead to better fuel efficiency, and current subtractive techniques only work to make straight channels. 3d printing can make a better engine. We won’t think it’s 3d printed, we’ll just think “oh, this is a better engine.”
o   Clothing is another great opportunity for printing. Today we use sizes, because we need to mass manufacturer. It’s always a compromise: too loose here, to short there, etc. With 3d printing, you could get clothes that are perfect. You can also have variation that is integral to the clothing: e.g. a stronger elbow or knee part, which seamlessly transitions into softer, lighter regions.
§  The machine is happy to make all the clothes slightly different.
·      We here a lot about the MakerBot model. As we move forward, what types of developments are we going to see?
o   Today, different ways to print. The machines we use at Shapeways are mostly based on nylon powder with lasers, and it’s deposited layer by layer, and fused together.
§  All based on one material and plastic.
o   In 2009, we found company that could make metal parts. We can print in titanium, stainless steel, and silver.
o   We can also do ceramic and glass.
o   The next generation of machines can do multiple materials. You can mix materials. You can dither materials: e.g. transparent and black, metal and plastic. We need a language to describe these new materials. We can do tough and soft together. We can design in where things should break, which is sometimes necessary.
o   The third generation is printing semiconductors. We can print LEDs and actuators and gears. In a few years, we can design devices and upload them.

Self-Publishing in the Age of E
Hugh Howey (Wool, @hughhowey),
Kirby Kim (William Morris Endeavor, @pantherfist)
Rachel Deahl (Publishers Weekly, @PW_Deals)
Erin Brown (Erin Edits)


·      Self-publishing not new. Anyone can publish, find an audience.
·      50 Shades of Gray, essentially self-published, fastest selling adult series of all time.
·      Number of books self-published has grown nearly 3x.
·      About 250K books self-published books per year.
·      Q: More projects start as self-published, and are they of higher quality?
o   Kim:
§  Authors trying to show that they have a sales platform, that they can get reviews.
§  But for quality, not necessarily. Even if someone puts something on Amazon, I am still looking at whether the project is appropriate for me, their query letter.
·      Q: Has 50 Shades changed things?
o   Kim:
§  At one time, it cost money to self-publish, and lots of barriers: hard to get books into stores.
§  It’s a natural result of more ereaders and ease of publishing that more works are self-published.
·      Q: Hugh, you went traditional, then self-published.
o   Howey: I saw my traditional publisher using the same tools for self-publishing any author would. When I looked at the royalties and the amount of work involved, it was obvious I could do it myself. It’s a startup with zero up front costs if you’re willing to do the work yourself.
·      Q: What about pricing?
o   Howey: I wanted to make them free, but Amazon wouldn’t let me, so I set them for 99 cents. Then readers would complain that they couldn’t find my books because they were underpriced, so I raised the price.
·      Q: When did you decide to get an agent?
o   Howey: I didn’t, I was too busy writing. I was pitched by Kristen (his future agent) that I was missing out on all these other markets.
o   My sales were a hundred thousand copies per month. Publishers were offering advances comparable to just a few months of royalties.
·      Q: When should people go self-published vs. traditionally published?
o   Brown:
§  I encourage people to go traditionally published first, including getting an agent who will protect their interests. Publishers are also useful feedback: if you get criticism, then maybe you need to address that feedback.
§  Success stories are still few and far between in self-publishing.
o   Howey: It’s hard in both paths. And I know hundreds of people online who are quitting their day jobs and earning a modest income from their self-publishing writing, and that is really hard to accomplish with traditional publication.
·      Q: “Amazon bestseller” is thrown around a lot, and it’s a slippery term.
o   Kim:
§  Agents have to decide that either they are going to work on books they have a passion for, or sometimes they’ll work outside their comfort zone. They’ll think “oh, there’s some money here.” The agent then is left focusing on the wrong thing: the numbers. It makes it hard for them to pick up the phone and call editors and pitch the book with enthusiasm.
§  Some people are successfully leveraging that sales platform.
·      Q: Is it harder to find success in either way, given that so many people are self-publishing, is there too much competition?
o   Howey:
§  We can’t possibly produce enough material to entertain all the readers.
§  I don’t worry about it. I write because I enjoy it, and I’d keep writing if I never sold a book.
§  Writers are not my competition. We’re all in it together.
o   Brown:
§  Finding quality material is about the same: you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. Readers are looking for so many different things. There are storytellers who are great writers, and great writers who aren’t good storytellers. Some people love 50 Shades, and some hate it.
o   Kim:
§  All boats rise with the tide. These are dark days in the industry. When you hear of any book working out, it’s good for everyone.
§  Publishers are learning about new markets, markets that were underserved.
·      Q: Howey did a unique deal with S&S. Can you tell us about that?
o   Howey:
§  It make be dark days for publishing, but publishers are making record profits. The upside for ebooks is huge.
§  I said to publishers, if you want the print rights, you can have them, but I’m keeping the e-rights. I get paid every month with ebooks, I can’t afford to give that up, and only get paid every six months.
§  S&S came to me with the deal I had wanted all along: they bought the print rights, and left all the erights with the Howey.
§  I still want to be an indie author. “I don’t want the stigma of being with a big publisher.”
o   Kim:
§  Ebooks are outselling print books now.
§  So it’s extremely rare for a publisher to give that up.
§  Howey had an a lot of leverage based on the strength of his sales.
o   Howey:
§  I’m not the first person to do this, and I’m not the last. Next year we’ll have a panel on how to do print-only negotiations.
§  The publisher sees the sales, and they’d rather have part of something, than nothing.
o   Kim:
§  It’s hard to bootstrap sales from nothing. Having sales is a big deal.
·      Q: What were you selling in digital versus print, and how did you sell those print copies?
o   Howey:
§  The up-front cost of producing physical books has gone to zero.
§  Fans will want them. You need to bring them to signings. They’re nice to have on your shelf. Some readers are always going to want print books.
§  When you sell hundreds of thousands of books, people are going to talk about it. When the coworker who doesn’t have an ereader wants it, they look for a print copy. When a Barnes and Noble gets 5 people who ask for a book, they’re going to stock it at a bookstore.
§  S&S has done a second print run of the hardback already. True fans want the ebook and then they also want the print copy too.
·      Q: The success stories (Amanda Hocking, Bella …, etc.) are genre writers with a lot of books self-published. Do you need to be writing genre fiction? And do you need a lot of books published?
o   Brown: It’s helpful to write that way. In traditional publishing, I dealt mostly with genre fiction. They have rapid fans who want to read a lot of books, at least a book or two a year. If a writer publishes a book every five years, they can’t sustain their fan base.
o   Kim.
§  Agree with above. Genre readers, who read a lot of books, have a particular affinity for the ebook form. They don’t want a stack of 100 physical books.
§  For commercial novels, you need to get into the 50,000 sales range before they are impressed. 5,000 sales doesn’t cut it anymore, unless you’re talking about a literary novel.
o   Howey: We have to remember what readers want. Look at TV, and what’s popular. People want fun, they want escapism. They want Twilight and 50 Shades.
o   Kim: You also see people coming out of MFA programs and they want to write a literary genre novel: it’s a science fiction setting, but it’s a sophisticated writing style. They’re elevating the entire category.
·      Q: Is Hollywood having a hunger for self-pubbed works, or are they just motivated by sales?
o   Kim: Hollywood wants commercial stories, and most self-pubbed successes are very commercial. Hollywood is looking for a good story.
o   Howey: Hollywood is dying for the next thing. They’ll option a twitter feed or a grocery list. The economics are different: $5,000 is a big deal for a publisher, and it’s a valet ticket for Hollywood.
·      Q: Is erotica tapped out after 50 Shades?
o   Brown: Romance and erotica has been around forever. It’s not changing.
o   Kim: We see 50 Shades and knockoffs on the racks even at airports now.
o   Howey: I think the anonymity of ereaders and reading online allowed it to expand. We’ll never see another 50 Shades, because you’ll never be able to brag about reading BDSM erotica again. Once is curiosity, and twice is perversion.
o   New Adult: It’s YA books, ramped up, and more explicit, with risqué sexual themes.
o   Howey: The books are following the readers. Harry Potter readers became Twilight readers.
·      Q: What’s the biggest misconceptions about traditional and self-publishing?
o   Brown:
§  MisCon: That traditional publishers are heartless corporations out to extract every last dime. But publishers are full of people who love and breath books, and want them and the authors to succeed.
§  MisCon: That you’re going to get a big advance and quit your day job. It’s not going to happen, and it’s split among four payments over a year or more.
§  MisCon: That, for self-publishing, that you don’t need an editor. And that success is easy or overnight.
o   Kim:
§  We’re all in it because we love it. Discovery is the best part of the job, championing and advocating for it.
§  MisCon: That your job is over once the publisher has the book. You have a lot of work ahead of you, lots of pounding the pavement, lots of work to get the word out.
§  MisCon: That self-pub is easy. The odds are still against you.
o   Howey:
§  Everyone I worked with at traditional publishing has been amazing, even the ones I had to say no to.
§  MisCon: That once you get an agent or a book out there, that you have a career ahead of you. The reality is that you have six months to prove yourself. In my case, it took three years for me to take off. I’ve had friends whose dreams has been crushed when the traditional publishing didn’t turn out the way they wanted.
§  MisCon: That self-pub and traditional pub is very different in quality. They aren’t, the only difference is that the self-pub slushpile is available for purchase. If you look at the top 1%, they are of roughly equal quality.
·      Questions from audience
o   Q: Why would an author who does the hard work to build an audience, why would you go with a traditional publisher?
§  Howey:
·      Publishers are doing e-only imprints to get authors into the stable early, because once a book becomes big, it is too expensive for them to acquire.
·      We will see more hybrid deals.
§  Kim:
·      Publishers can help you break out, reach new audiences, at a faster pace.
·      Publishers can help you get reviews, they can give you some financial security up front.
o   Q: From an editors point of view, do you have a preference for who to work with? What should selfpub authors do to not make their editors mad?
§  Brown: I’m never mad at my writers. I always work directly with writers. I get a clients manuscript in the best shape possible, whether they are pitching agents or self-publishing. I can’t make promises. It’s a collaborative relationship to make the best relationship possible.
o   Q: What are you seeing for kid’s books, especially with ereaders? Is there much talk in the industry about it?
§  Deahl:
·      All of the children’s publishers see apps as a major potential revenue stream. It’s not been the business they’ve been in, so it’s something new. Is it the product? It is ancillary? How do we price it? How do we link it to the book?
·      No obvious examples of anything that’s been big revenue generators.
o   Q: Are there any creative, outside the box examples of authors who were able to market their books?
§  Kim: John Green, his first thousand books he sold on Amazon were signed copies. He always had a fan base, so this was a big boost for that book. He also has done a lot of viral videos with his brother.
§  Howey: science fiction author did his own audiobooks serially.
o   Q: As a big six publisher, what can we do, within reason, to recruit new authors and keep them happy?
§  Howey: Pay us monthly, and show us real-time sales, so I can see the effects of the marketing I do.
§  Kim: We have full agency meetings about marketing. We have our own brainstorming meetings for marketing our authors. We want publishers to come to us early and have a candid conversation about marketing and trying new things. Too often we see the same old stuff.
o   Q: How can business founders who are writing business or self-help books market their books?
§  Howey: it’s easier for those kinds of books, you just need to get the meta-data right, so people can find it when they search for the topic.
o   Q: Lots of new digital marketing tools out there like goodreads. Are you using them, and what do you use?
§  Howey: My blog post this morning was thanking my goodread readers. It’s good to engage with your readers, rather than try to brow-beat other people into your books.

Here’s my annual list of tips for attending SXSW, updated for 2013. I just want to preface this with the most important tip of all:

TALK to people. Socialize. Any time you’re waiting for a panel, talk to the person on your left. Then talk to the person on your right. Then introduce them to each other. Make dinner or drink plans with random strangers.

Everyone at SXSW is an expert in something, has an interesting story, and will be rewarding to talk to. Don’t be fooled into thinking that only the folks on stage are the smart ones. Measure your days by how many total strangers you had a good conversation with.

Ok, here’s the list:

Before the Trip
That’s one full conference room. Get to your session
early to get a seat. Popular sessions fill up quickly, and
once they do, you aren’t allowed in. One more reason
to plan your schedule in advance.
  1. Power equipment: Get yourself a travel power strip, and/or auxiliary battery for your laptop. Being able to  take notes, follow the twitter stream, or research sessions for 10 hours a day is a stretch for almost any laptop or phone. I own and love the Monster Outlets to Go travel power strip, with built-in USB port. It packs down small, and lets you walk up and use any outlet, even one already occupied.
  2. Plan out your schedule. There are thousands of sessions you can attend – usually from 40 to 60 during any given timeslot. Which are the ones that are most interesting and applicable to you? Although you should choose primarily based on interest and applicability, all other things being equal it is often a good bet that speakers in larger rooms are better than speakers in smaller rooms. So get familiar with the map of SXSW, and figure out which rooms are which. Also, it’s not a given that you can make it to a particular talk from any other talk in the allotted time, and still get there with a place to sit. So look at the overall map of all the hotels, and figure out what you can make.
  3. Choose your backup talks: For one time slot, you might have a favorite talk you want to attend. Maybe it will be awful, or maybe it’ll be full and you can’t get in, or maybe it will be cancelled. With SXSW Interactive spread out across many blocks, buildings, and floors, it’s not possible to get from any given room to another quickly. So once you know your preferred talk for a given timeslot, pick out a backup talk that is nearby.
  4. Business Cards: It’s surprising for such an online environment, but business cards are still popular. If networking is important to you, bring some. Make them simple. Name, email, phone, twitter handle, website.
  5. Get TweetScriber, the iPad app that lets you take (1) notes on sessions while (2) following the twitter stream for a given talk, and (3) copy the best tweets into your notes, and (4) share your finished notes with a single click.

At the Start of Each Day

These are the registration lines. Plan to give yourself
at least an hour to get your badge on the first day.
  1. Food/Coffee: Get your coffee on the way to the conference center, not at the actual conference center. Lines for coffee are ten to twenty minutes long. Also, in 2010 they started having sessions go through the lunch hour. I think that sucks, but I hate to miss anything, so I go to them all. Since it’s hard to get food quickly, you may want to bring another snack bars that you’ve got food in your backpack to cover you through to dinner. I’m partial to KIND Nut Delight bars, which are relatively low on sugar and high on protein, and the closest bar I can find that is 4 Hour Body (4HB) compatible.
  2. Start charged: Start the day with charged laptop/phone/etc.
  3. Clothes: Bring a light jacket in case you don’t make it back to your hotel room. It’ll cool down at night. Conversely, it will be warm enough at some point during the day for short sleeves.
  4. Reschedule: Learn anything interesting yet? Find a new track that seems interesting? Reevaluate your list of planned talks, and see if you want to make adjustments.
During the Day
Don’t sit in the back. Go ahead, find a seat up front! Make
friends with the person sitting next to you.
  1. Talk to the people around you: SXSWi is a social place. The people around you are likely to be very experienced, smart, interesting people. Start up conversations, make dinner plans with strangers, and keep going until 2am. The wisdom of the crowd is not just an abstract thing at SXSW – it is manifest in the people all around you. Talk to them.
  2. Be in the moment: Don’t go to a session and then check out and read email, surf the web, or do work. SXSW is precious. Make the most of your time by being totally immersed in what is going on. 
  3. Recharge: Look for outlets in hallways, restaurants, outside, anywhere, and use them when you find them. 
  4. Conserve power: If you are taking notes on your computer or blogging the sessions, you may want to turn off wifi on your laptop to save power (and to keep your focus on the session, so you don’t start random web surfing.) I usually use my smartphone to follow twitter and email so I’m still connected.
  5. Follow the #SXSWi tag on twitter: You want to follow #SXSWi so that if another session is excellent and your session kind of sucks, then you can make the switch quickly. (or conversely find out if a room is already packed and can’t fit any more.)
  6. Follow the twitter tag for whatever session you are in: There will be a back channel of conversation about the session you are in that is almost as valuable as the primary speakers. SXSW is full of experts, both presenting and in the crowd, and you want to tap into all of that wisdom. This doesn’t violate tip #1, because you are not being distracted by something different, but rather tapping into more of what you are already there for.
I’ll be there doing a reading from A.I. Apocalypse on Saturday at noon, so please stop by. And feel free to send me a tweet at @hertling if you’d like to talk artificial intelligence, science fiction, or indie publishing.

Have fun, and enjoy SXSW Interactive!

Photo credits: Luc Byhet and John Swords under Creative Commons license.

Amber Case
  • Mobile device are larger on the inside: 
    • they have thousands of people and relationship in there. 
    • Printed out number of photos on a computer: massive stack 5 feet height, eight feet long, eight feet wide.
  • Printed out Facebook wall: Took up all the walls in a very large room
    • One other civilization did this: the Egyptians covered their walls with hieroglyphs.
    • But the Egyption stuff did this 3,000 years ago, and it’s still here.
    • But what if your Facebook account is deleted? It’s all gone in a second.
  • Your computer becomes an external brain.
    • You become an archeologist trying to search through a dig site to find the information you want, as more artifacts come in filling up the dig site. 
  • After her TED talk, got 22,000 emails.
    • We’re not just under information assault, but we get information jetlag: if we pay attention to twitter, we lose track of email. If we pay attention to email, we lose track of Facebook.
  • When the landline phone first came out, you go into rooms, have a private conversation with someone else.
    • People thought that everyone was going to go into rooms and never come out. They were concerned that society was going to break down as a result.
  • Steve Mann
    • human cyborg
    • started with 80 pounds of equipment to do augmented reality
      • location aware data
      • remove undesired brands from view in supermarket
      • replace billboards with useful data
      • do facial recognition and prompt with data about person.
    • Then it was 40 pounds, then 20, then 10. Now it’s all in a headset that does a laser projection onto his eye.
  • Mika Satomi
    • Has a vest that is a video game: you are getting a massage while the person doing it is playing a video game.
    • People want to play games more than they want to be farmers. Yet they like to play farmville. What if farmville was a videogame in which you were controlling telebots that were actually farming?
  • Haptic location: wear a belt to know where north was.
    • After weeks of wearing it, you gain a new location sense: knowing where you are, how far you are from things, where are things are from each direction.
  • Location enables invisible buttons:
    • when you get within a block of home, your lights come on.
    • when you come to a given location, you get messages.
    • when you are close to where you are going, the people you are meeting get a message.
    • automated behaviors that don’t require visual/tactile distraction.
  • Geoloqi
    • Gives you automated data when you walk up to a bus stop
    • Automatically displays the wikipedia articles near you
  • The interface disappears
    • Actions are reduced
    • queries are eliminated
  • You don’t have to ask for information.
    • You don’t have to load apps
    • Or discover new stuff
    • or remember to load a website
    • or navigate its interface
  • Layers
    • Don’t Eat That: Warns you if you are too close to an establish that receives a low rating
    • Pinball layer: tells you how many pinball machines in establishments.
  • Downsides
    • Battery Drain (most people have used location aware apps, and then had to disable them because of battery use.)
    • Lots of technical challenges: no network connectivity, lack of GPS signal, etc.
  • So the next generation: Geoloqi
    • Solves some of these core problems
    • An ecosystem where you don’t have to solve these problems
    • A turnkey geolocation solution
  • Partnering with three companies: 
    • appcelerator
    • factual: has database of sixty million datapoints
    • locaid: has access to 350M devices in their network

Discoverability and the New World of Book PR
Cal Reid @CalReid
Senior News Editor
Publishers Weekly
Barbara Henricks
@Barbara Henricks
President, Cave Henricks Communications
Hollis Heimbouch
Vp, Publisher, Harper Business
Rusty Shelton
President Shelton Interactive
  • There are at least 300,000 new titles. It’s not possible to promote or even report on books in the same way.
    • Anything with a screen is a now a chance to read a book
    • Seemingly inexhaustible supply of book content.
  • We’re inundated with opportunities to discover new talent. 
    • The effect of finding authors much earlier in their career, means there is much more work to develop the author. It’s the same work, just more emphasis.
  • In the age of digital retail, are there clear strategies for helping readers find their books
    • Many journalists get 100 books a day, 800 emails a day.
    • Challenge: cutting through the noise.
    • Where once you sent out hundreds of books, now…
    • Really dig in and find an audience of 50 people that are really relevant, and send them really customized pitches.
  • Most exciting time to be an author.
    • At intersection of three industries that are all rapidly transforming: book publishing, journalists, and PR.
    • In 2008, 1 in 4 media jobs evaporated.
    • And that was before the recession. Now maybe it’s 1 in 2.
    • So journalists have far less time to cover anything.
    • Journalists: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
    • When a journalist is looking for someone in your speciality area, making sure that you can be found when they are looking for an expert. Google is your friend. Instead of pushing info out to journalists, be interesting enough online that you’re the obvious answer when the journalist is going out.
  • Really use online reviews and interviews to build the swell and momentum. 
  • Authors must have this relationship with journalists long before they submit their final manuscript.
  • An author should start building their audience the minute they conceive of their book
  • Instead of going directly to a huge audience, go to the influencers who already have that audience, and build relationships with them. 
  • We’re in a bookstore 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Several years ago: 59% of people who went into a bookstore knew exactly what book they were going to buy before they went in.
    • But now we’re in a bookstore all the time. 
    • And there is infinite supply
  • There are 11,000 business books published each year.
    • The NYT is cutting their number of reviews of business books from 24 a year to 12 a year.
    • It’s not a viable strategy to pursue a NYT review.
    • You have to pursue non-traditional media, and you need to create as many opportunities as possible.
  • Start the viral effort on your own.
    • If people ask how they can help: a review on Amazon, a blog post, here’s five questions I could answer for you.
  • Good PR helps bad books fail faster.
    • Ten years ago it took a long time for people to discover when a book was bad.
  • Give people an action item, an interactive campaign, that encourages people to extend the campaign: You want something more than just “it’s a great book” (although that is good).
    • A Thousand Gifts: great book in which author talks about a thousand gifts in her life. It naturally encouraged readers to do the same, which meant that it wasn’t just a single mention of the book (“it’s great”), but a thousand mentions of the book, as readers publicly articulated a 1,000 gifts for themselves. 
    • You want to build a movement
      • (Note to self: Is there a movement around artificial intelligence and robots?)
  • As authors, it’s particularly important, especially for 1st and 2nd book: there’s a real finite time when there will be publicity around the book. it’s the first 60 to 90s.
    • if you go on the air to give an interview: you want to mention the book, but you also want to encourage people to connect with you online.
    • Not just “go to my website”, but some kind of offer:
      • an assessment
      • an online test
      • free material online
    • When you think about website and social media presence, you want to grow an audience in your topic area, even if they aren’t ready to buy a book today.
  • If you don’t take social media presence seriously, you will need to rebuild from scratch for each book that comes out, because you’ll have lost interest in between.
  • How does the rise of reading on mobile devices help or hinder?
  • Questions
    • Q: How about a limited budget for online advertisements?
      • Rusty Shelton: Facebook advertising. You can get people to like the page, creating long term relationship. You can target very specific interests.
      • Hollis: Facebook. On a limited budget, it’s not possible to establish enough impressions with traditional media.
    • Q: Are book videos helpful?
      • Most effective is an interview that’s been broadcast somewhere. It’s short, it shows people.
      • For a very compelling author, a book trailer. It can lead to national exposure.
      • Not helpful: long speeches. The media doesn’t have the attention span for something more than 3 minutes.
    • Q: What about social networks besides Facebook and Twitter?
      • Pinterest: coming up with creative ways to reach your audience: young females is a great reader audience. Pinterest is like a visual twitter. If you give people a way to extend the book with quotes or action items.
      • Many people using Pinterest toolbar, which pulls the images to the front: As author, you need to examine what happens, what the images are, if they are helpful.
      • Google Plus: Have authorship attached to your profile. Google’s search pulling in Plus profile data to display next to articles in search results. Read up on the code needed to ensure that this happens.
    • Q: What about authors that don’t want to do all this work?
      • Most authors that don’t have social media presence come in with bias against it. But within a couple of weeks, these people are striking up relationships.
      • Don’t pull people kicking and screaming to it. 
      • “Will you commit to give an hour a week?”
      • Then work to make that as valuable an hour as possible.
      • If they won’t do any social media, do things that feel traditional:
        • podcasts
        • webinars
    • Q: I use Pinterest for wedding pictures and parties. 
      • That’s hard to connect a book readership to.
      • But you can do: quotes that inspire them. more text based.
    • Q: What would drive, someone who didn’t create a book, to promote that book? What truly inspired them to promote a book?
      • It’s passion: When you are inspired by a book, then you want to promote that book.
    • Q: ? (something around what’s coming and how to prepare)
      • Publishers who are signing up for books now, don’t even know what capabilities they will have in 12 months when that book comes out.
      • Perhaps in the future: it will be more like a subscription to someone’s knowledge: that they’ll keep updating and providing more/newer information.
    • Q: If I’ve got an interview with an author, how should I best use that time?
      • It’s rare to have an interviewer who read the book, and very rare to have 15 minutes.
      • It’s tough to get into the plot, because most people will not be familiar with the plot.
      • People want to know what the author is like.
      • They want to know how the book relates to current news.
      • The more opportunities there are out there, the more it stands out that someone like you is taking the time to read the book. They will make them very
    • Q: As an editor, we used to cut lots of stuff from the book during development. Now we save that content to use, as supplemental content.
    • Q: DRM limits discoverability – with a paper book I can lend it to a friend. 
      • I think there are other ways to accomplish what you’re talking about without tackling DRM. Sampling and content syndication. Give people free chapters online. Give people a chance to read for free. That’s easier than trying to tackle DRM.
    • Q: Why should we expect authors to be great marketers?
      • We don’t expect them to be great marketers. We do expect them to be great storytellers and to create really interesting, smart content. And the publisher and marketing team can figure out the best way to get those stories out there.
      • We expect an author to not only write a book, but to continue to create awesome related content to build the communication.
      • People write books because they want to have an audience, they want to be heard and to be seen as an artist/idea person. If you want to call that marketing, you can.

Jared Spool
The Lives of Links
  • trigger words:
    • the things that cause users to click
    • we need words to describe our tools
    • trigger words is an example of that.
  • we’ve been studying how people use the web since 1995
  • we had this theory in 1995: that people who know how to use the web would be better at doing things on the web.
    • we got people with different levels of experience
    • we set them down in front of web sites and had them do things
    • it turn out that people’s experience didn’t matter, but what did matter was design of the web site.
    • (will: this is different than something like using a tool like a circular saw, in which experience is important.)
  • Predicting Failures of Scent
    • Use of the Back Button
    • Pogo-sticking
    • Using search
  • We have thousands of clickstreams
    • we look for patterns.
    • we have two piles: those for people who succeeded, and those who failed.
  • Backbuttons predict failure:
    • For the clickstreams where people use the backbutton once: only 18% are successful.
    • For the clickstreams where people use the backbutton twice: less than 2% are successful.
  • Pogo-sticking also predicts failure
    • Jumping up and down through the site hierarchy
    • People who pogo-stick are only 11% successful
  • Search predicts failure
    • (except on Amazon)
    • When people do search, they type in trigger words
  • Search Pro tip:
    • Your search logs are filled with trigger words
    • Ideally you want the logs to include the page the user was searching from
    • So put the trigger words as links on the page that users were searching from
  • 7-Eleven Milk Experiment
  • Compelled Shopping: Buying Apparel
    • Give the prospective customer $1,000 to buy the clothes they want.
    • “Ideal site”: the customer should spend $1,000
    • Gap: $660
    • Lands’ End: $465
    • Macy’s: $156
    • Newport News: $63
  • Number of clicks to get to final purchase
    • The Gap: 11.9
    • Lands’ End: 15.7
    • Macy’s: 51
    • Newport News: 51
  • Examples of shopping sites: some sites force you to click through to the individual products to get details. No way to compare, no way to see data on individual products. It forces pogo-sticking.
    • Good example: Crutchfield. Shows more data. It’s exactly the differentiated data you want.
    • Bad examples: No data.
    • More bad examples: Meaningless data “technology you trust”
    • More bad examples: Showing the same bullet points for everything: “No annual fee.” “0% interest”. Also useless in comparison.
  • Most useless words in web design:
    • click here
    • learn more
    • click here to learn more
  • Good Design is Invisible
    • It’s like air-conditioning in a room: you don’t notice it, unless it’s bad or it’s not working well.
  • Links secretly live to look good.
    • But they still have to look like links.
  • We used to think that links are supposed to be blue and underlined. Thankfully, we’ve moved back this.
  • In some cases, we can find it out. The page has a clear visual language.
  • In other cases, we can’t tell without waving our mouse all over.
  • Look Good: You have to establish a consistent visual language.
  • Links have to do what you expect.
  • Example of dictionary.com: it’s hard to find the content.
    • The page is full of links and advertisements. You want the user to stay.
  • Other examples: in the middle of articles, there are links to go elsewhere.
    • to related articles
    • to unrelated articles
    • but why?
    • let the person finish the article
  • Taco Bell Advertising Lawsuit example:
    • good article, but…
    • link to everything the tribune has ever written about alabama in the middle of the text
    • link to crossword puzzle and sudoku in the middle of the page
    • advertisements to sue people or to advertise on the page
  • It’s all junk: it’s not really relevant or related.
  • Flyouts:
    • Other sites hide the links
    • you have to put the cursor over stuff to find the links.
    • People want to see the links. That’s why they are using the web.
    • Flyouts are fun to code, but they aren’t fun for the user.
  • Do What The User Expects
    • Deliver users to their desired objective
    • Emit the right scent
    • Look good, while still looking like a link
    • Do what the user expects