When I started writing AI Apocalypse, I had to deal naming and discussing multiple AI characters. Since biological genders could, in theory, be meaningless to AI, once approach would be to give them names at random, and use only gender-neutral pronouns.

I’m fine with using “they” as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun. “It” can also work, but it’s somewhat distancing. In the end, I felt like using gender-specific pronouns because that brought my closer to the characters.

That begs the questions of how the AI get genders when they don’t start with any. I believe they start gender-neutral, but can choose the gender pronouns they want applied to them. Although we don’t see it in the books, I’m imaging that there’s some aspect to their online profile/reputation that indicates preferred gender pronouns. So we could, in theory, have AI that identify as it, he, she, they, or something else entirely.

I thought this was a pretty novel explanation. Until I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation with my kids the other night, and we saw The Offspring (Season 03, Episode 16), the episode in which Data creates a child android named Lal. And what does Lal do? She starts out gender-less, and then chooses a gender after making observations.

I’ve seen every Next Generation episode, many more than once, but didn’t remember this episode at all. But it must have influenced me, but this was exactly how I imagined the AI in the Avogadro Corp universe to behave.

I think a lot of science fiction influences me that way: concepts linger over many years, even though the details of where something came from fade away.

By the way, I only recently learned that Japanese has gender-specific name endings, and “ko” is reserved for female names. So Shizoko, from The Last Firewall, is properly a female name. Woops. Sorry to all Japanese speakers out there. If you want an in-universe explanation, I’m going to say that Shizoko was previously identified as female, but changed her gender while keeping her name. 🙂

 

Maybe I’ve written one too many books with the word apocalypse in the title, or maybe all the people I know that have been victims of one hurricane or another are rubbing off on me, but I find myself wanting to be prepared for whatever unexpected events might come. So I’ve got food, water, power, fuel, first-aid. I’m not a hardcore prepper, but I’ve got a few supplies.

Thinking about ebola made me realize that there’s nothing in my kit in the event of a widespread biological outbreak. Sure, I could stay home for a few days or a week, but what if I needed to venture out for more supplies? So I thought I’d check to see what the CDC recommends, and how much it would cost to be prepared. If it wasn’t too much, then maybe it would be worth adding to the emergency kit. I visited a few different CDC pages.

The answer is that for less than the cost of taking your family to the movies, you could buy all the safety equipment you’d need.

The basics are this:

If you want to go hardcore, as you’d want to if you needed to take care of an ebola patient, you’d add:

In the end, it costs about $15/person. Pretty cheap to add to an emergency kit. Part me says it’s crazy to get this stuff, but part of me also knows that by the time you actually need it, it’s too late to get it.

 

From Escape From the Data Center: The Promise of Peer-to-Peer Cloud Computing:

In principle, a P2P cloud could be built using the ordinary computing, storage, and communication equipment found now in people’s homes, with essentially zero initial investment. Broadband modems, routers, set-top boxes, game consoles, and laptop and desktop PCs could all contribute. The challenge is to turn this motley collection into a coherent and usable cloud infrastructure and offer its services to customers. You also have to ensure that the salient features of clouds—on-demand resource provisioning and the metering of service—are maintained.

This would surely be tough to do, but think of the advantages. First, there would be no single entity that owns or controls it. As with most other P2P applications, a P2P cloud could be created and operated as a grassroots effort, without requiring the permission or consent of any authority. People would choose to participate in a P2P cloud by installing the appropriate client software on their local machines, and the value of the resulting cloud infrastructure would be commensurate with the number of individuals who are contributing to it.

By now many of you will have received an email from Amazon letting you know about the new second edition of Avogadro Corp. I’ll say more about the second edition, but first a little background.

I wrote Avogadro Corp in 2009 as a first-time fiction writer. I wrote the first draft in December and finished with just a few minutes to spare before midnight. It slowly developed from a 27,000 word novella into a 67,000 word novel over the next two years as I took writing classes and learned a bit about writing.

I released it in November, 2011. I was delighted with it, as were many of the 50,000 people who ultimately got a copy. It received acclaim, won awards, and was even covered by Wired.

New Avogadro Corp Second Edition. Buy at Amazon.

New Avogadro Corp Second Edition.
Buy at Amazon.

But some feedback was critical of typos and grammar, and I grew as a writer, I really wanted to go back and fix some issues. So in January of this year I started on a complete rewrite. It’s still the same story it was before, but I added a little depth to the characters and setting and polished the prose. There are 3,000 new words of content, and it’s been copyedited and proofread by professionals. I think it’s much improved over the original.

In addition, it’s gotten a beautiful, new cover, thanks to designer and writer Jason Gurley.

If you’ve previously bought an ebook, you should be able to download the new second edition for free. We haven’t yet enabled nanotech-updating for the physical book, but you can buy a new second edition paperback that will look great on your bookshelf.

If you enjoy this new second edition, I could use your help spreading the word about it. (As I’ve mentioned before, I’m still juggling a day job and a family and writing, and would love to cross over the threshold into full-time writing. It will take 10 months to finish the editing for book 4 with my current schedule, but only 8 weeks if I was writing full-time.)

Here are some things that would help:

  • Mentions on any social media sites, especially those were tech people like to hang out: Slashdot and Reddit, in particular. Of course, Twitter, Facebook, and others are also great.
  • If you dinged Avogadro Corp a point or two on your Amazon review because of the typos or grammar issues (totally understandable), but feel the new edition is an improvement, please consider updating your review if appropriate. (You can find your own Amazon reviews here.)

If you need them, here at links to the Amazon version:

I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear what you think. Send me an email or a message on twitter.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00039]I have three kids of reading age. When I finished Avogadro Corp, they asked to read it. A few thoughts raced through my mind: They’d probably be bored by it, or maybe scared. But I’d probably let them at least try to read it. Except that I’d used a lot of curse words. So I said no.

I wrote my second book, and they asked to read it. I had used less curse words, but I had a teen character who smoked and did drugs. Doh. I said no. I started my third book, and it has less curse words, no smoking by any of the main characters, but it had a sex scene I didn’t particularly want to explain to them.

Around this time, they asked if I was I ever going to write a book they could read. I said yes, and then didn’t get a chance to work on it for almost a year, although some ideas germinated in the back of my mind.

One particular memory: I’m a fan of Cory Doctorow, and I went to see him speak at Powell’s. He writes smart science fiction about the issues he cares about in real life: privacy, control over our data, the police state, and activism. Although I’d guess his largest pool of readers is adults, his books are definitely oriented towards teens, and making them aware of their power and influence in the world, and equipping them with the tools to make a difference. Only Doctorow can write a novel in which you learn how to encrypt your hard drive or install Linux.

At the Powell’s speaking event, Cory asked the audience “Do you want a reading or do you want a speech?” There was a unanimous cheer in support of the speech. Afterwards there was a question and answer session.

What really stuck in my mind was the teens in the audience. They made up maybe a quarter or less of the room, but they loomed large in my mind. These are the people Cory wants to reach. And during the Q&A portion, the teens stood and asked questions of Cory about privacy and jailbreaking phones and technology, which he addressed. It sounds sort of factual and ordinary when I describe it, but it was powerful to me in the moment.

I knew that if I was going to write for kids, I didn’t want to just write entertainment. I wanted to address issues in the same serious way that I address topics in my adult science fiction. Sure, robots and AI make for good entertainment, but I write the stuff I do because I think it’s important for people to think about it, and I treat it as seriously and accurately as possible.

So what topics did I want to address for kids? What is appropriate for the age I wanted to write for? I decided to focus on a few things:

  1. Logical reasoning. It’s a foundation skill every intelligent person needs. The format of a detective story is ideal for this.
  2. Building and manipulating technology. Kids love technology, but many are passive consumers. I want them to see themselves as creators, customizers, and makers. In the novel, the kids build an autonomous quadcopter for their science fair, then use it as a tool in solving a mystery.
  3. Judging the validity of information. Can you trust the source? It is true? How can we know? Being a critical receiver of information is important when we’re deluged with advertisements and dubious information all over the place.

I started working on The Case of the Wilted Broccoli in the fall of 2013, and published it this summer. It’s a kids mystery novel featuring an eleven-year-old girl detective named Willow who has to solve a mystery at her school when people start getting sick from the school lunch. Some of the inspiration came from The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown, all much-loved books in our household. But it’s a story that embodies the principles I mentioned above.

I have one scene in The Case of the Wilted Broccoli about Wikipedia that my critique partners and an adult editor told me I should remove because it wasn’t necessary to the story. But I knew it wasn’t necessary for Cory Doctorow to explain how hard drive encryption works, yet he did anyway. I kept the scene in, and multiple kids have told me they loved it. Here’s an excerpt:

In class, their teacher reviewed the bridge-research assignment. “You’ve all picked your bridges, and you should have started your research. You have one week left to turn in the first draft of your report, which should be two pages long. And remember, no using Wikipedia.”

Linden groaned inside. Teachers were always saying they shouldn’t use Wikipedia, but he loved, loved, loved everything about it. He raised his hand.

“Yes, Linden?”

“We should be allowed to use Wikipedia,” he said. “Wikipedia is equally accurate and more comprehensive than traditional encyclopedias.”

“Anyone can edit Wikipedia. It’s simply not a credible resource.”

Linden’s felt his blood start to pound in his ears. He respected his teachers, but they weren’t always right. “But it’s been studied by dozens of researchers, and they’ve found it has high quality, even in specialized subjects. Even if someone puts incorrect information into Wikipedia, the editors usually spot and correct it within minutes.”

The teacher tapped her foot. Linden couldn’t tell if she was annoyed or amused.

She looked at the wall for moment, then turned back to the class. “Regardless of the accuracy of Wikipedia, if you all do your research using it, everyone’s reports will look exactly the same. Each person researching the Fremont Bridge will read the same information, and I’ll get back ten of the same reports. So no Wikipedia.”

The teacher’s point was good. But Linden knew some secrets about Wikipedia. Some of the best stuff was not in the main page for an article, it was hidden on the Talk page. That’s where the people writing an article had discussions. And if two people disagreed about a subject, the history of their arguments was preserved forever on the talk page.

That wasn’t the only secret, of course. The History link displayed every change ever made on a Wikipedia page, so visitors could know what had been deleted or added.

Linden had already started his research on the St. Johns Bridge last night. After he read the main article on Wikipedia, he discovered on the Talk page that there was a disagreement over whether the bridge should have an apostrophe in the name. Should it be written St. Johns or St. John’s? It turned out the bridge was named after James John, also known as “Old Jimmy Johns” or “Saint Johns.” Since Johns was his nickname, the name of the bridge shouldn’t have an apostrophe in it. And yet the main article hadn’t said anything about who the bridge was named after.

I hope that each book I write for children embodies more of these principles while telling an entertaining story that kids want to read. Some day I’d like to give a talk or reading and have kids show up to ask me questions about building drones or editing Wikipedia.

If you or someone you know has a child ages seven through eleven, please check it out and let me know what you think.

The Case of the Wilted Broccoli is a kids mystery novel featuring an eleven-year-old girl detective named Willow who has to solve a mystery at her school when people start getting sick from the school lunch. She and her brothers build an autonomous quadcopter for their science fair while investigating the food supply for their school. It’s available in paperback, and for Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, and Nook.

This is just a quick note to say that I’m still hard at work on Book 4. I’m staying as focused as possible on getting the first draft done while I’m still able to write on a daily basis. During the summer school break, I can write every day. Once my kids go back to school, I only have two good writing days per week.

The good news is that I’m making great progress and the end is within sight.

Now let the quiet resume.

I’ve launched a Patreon campaign! Please consider supporting my writing with a small recurring donation.

What is Patreon? It’s a relatively new crowdfunding platform with some key differences from Kickstarter and its many competitors.

Kickstarter is about raising the funds for a specific project, like making a movie, or bringing a physical product to life. But Patreon is about supporting ongoing creation, like a webcomic, series of YouTube videos, or in my case, a series of books about the near future, artificial intelligence, and the singularity.

Patreon supporters, or patrons, make a recurring donation: either monthly (as in my case), or per piece of content.

Why support me?

Naturally, there are patron benefits. All patron supporters will receive a free digital copy of each book as much as a month before it’s published. There will be occasional bonus material, such as unpublished chapters and short stories. You’ll receive thanks, of course, and at higher donation levels, also receive signed copies of physical books, and at the highest level, an exclusive one-off patron creation.

But I hope you’ll also consider the benefits to my writing and my career:

Each new book requires an outlay of several thousand dollars in editing, proofreading, and design. In the past, I’ve made tradeoffs between keeping cost low and quality. With greater support, I can make each book the very best quality possible.

I would also like to write full-time. Today I juggle a family and full-time job, and squeeze writing into the little leftover nooks and crannies in my schedule. I’d like to give each book the full time and focus it deserves. Writing income is also lumpy: much of it comes when I release a new book. Monthly patron donations on Patreon will help level out my income.

If you loved Avogadro Corp, A.I. Apocalypse, or The Last Firewall, become a patron and help me create more works of even higher quality.

Using Social Media to Engage Younger Readers — Willamette Writers Con 2014 (#WillWrite14)

Kiersi Burkhart

@kiersi

http://prolificnovelista.com
  • Your brand
    • social media engagement is a long game. start social media engagement 1-2 years before publication.
    • Who you are. What makes your unique. What you write. Your career goals.
  • You will not see results right away. It takes time then starts to snowball. You want to accumulate some following by the time you launch so you can use that to drive initial sales.
  • Who are you?
    • You are curating yourself for this audience.
    • Who do you want to be? What’s the image you want people to have?
    • Sure, there are alcoholic children’s book writers out there, but that’s not how they project themselves.
  • The Cult of You
    • this is your ultimate goal
    • you want to create devotees or spokespeople.
    • you can’t individually talk to 10,000 people and handsell your book.
    • but you can talk to dozens or hundreds of people who are influencers, and each of those people can talk to their dozens or hundreds of friends. the net effect is 10,000 people reached.
  • What are younger readers?
    • Picture book, elementary, and middle-grade:
      • No direct marketing.
      • Indirect marketing to those with purchasing power
    • Young adult:
      • Direct marketing is OK.
      • They have money.
      • They have twitter accounts, and instagram. They are online.
  • Younger Audiences
    • Parents
    • Friends and family
    • Teachers
      • If you’ve got a book that belongs in the classroom, you want to talk to teachers.
    • Librarians
      • Place huge book orders. Both school and public libraries.
    • Grandparents
      • Have a lot of time online.
      • On Facebook.
      • have extra money to do book purchasing.
  • Young Adult
    • More than 55% of YA books buying power in adult hands
      • 78% of adults buying for themselves. (almost half of these are 30-44)
      • 22% of adults buying for teens
    • 45% of YA books are teens buying for themselves.
  • Social Media overview
    • Twitter (really important to connect with people)
    • Facebook
    • Goodreads
    • Blog / website
    • Edelweiss: a way for influencers to get books
    • Add-ons: instragram, pinterest, tumblr
  • Twitter – The Basics
    • Use keywords to find your community
      • YA, MG, picture books, author, location
      • Use has tags like #YALitChat, #MGLitChat
      • Aim small, not big. Big is not helpful.
    • Start a conversation.
  • Why Twitter
    • Direct interaction with your audience
    • Connect with other authors – your peers
      • Engagement, support, resource sharing, networking
    • Focus on delivering value in order to gain followers
      • Relevant links, personality, industry knowledge
    • Be You! Readers want to know the real you.
  • For my middle grade: what’s the value I can deliver to parents / teachers / librarians
    • food safety
    • where does the book take place
    • school lunches
    • mystery / thriller
  • There’s no point in promoting yourself to your twitter followers. They’re already following you. All you’re going to do is annoy them.
  • Twitter Tips
    • Use a twitter client like tweet deck or hoot suite
    • Create lists for:
      • writers/authors
      • agents
      • fans
  • Facebook
    • Be sure to create a public fan page
    • Be aware of your time investment
    • Pictures, links, personal status updates
    • Events — good for book signings, releases, etc.
    • Let your readers get to know you
  • Goodreads
    • A growing platform
    • To-Read lists create anticipation
    • Book / ARC giveaways
    • Review etiquette
    • Author Groups for established authors
  • Your website
    • primary brand
    • offers content readers will want to explore
    • interactivity
    • connection is key to your readers identifying with you.
  • Your blog
    • use your blog as a way to reach other bloggers
    • cross book promotion / mutual back scratching
    • let readers get to know you and your process
  • Book bloggers
    • teen book bloggers: perfect spokespeople
      • search teen on twitter to find them — not people who are blogging about teen books, but teens who are blogging about books.
      • they’re doing it to get free copies of books.
      • a close-knit group / community (get in with one, get in with the others)
      • themed blogging
      • engagement over time is key
  • Librarian Book Bloggers
    • Search librarian on Twitter or Google
    • Have a large community
    • Great way to reach parents & teachers
    • Also teacher bloggers, parent bloggers.
    • stackedbooks.com
  • Author bloggers
    • Connect with authors in the same category or genre
    • Already interacting with them on your blog / twitter
    • cross-promotion allows you to access to one another’s audiences
    • great if you can befriend an established author
  • Talking to book bloggers
    • Building your platform is a long game
    • start engaging bloggers far in advance
    • build a relationship before you need them
    • focus giveaways on bigger blogs / platforms
  • Word-of-mouth is king
    • key way to reach teens
    • find your influencers and make them want to talk you up
    • continue to interact and engage with them
    • create a street team
    • thank them with swag
  • Street Teams
    • Your street team are your spokespeople
    • other authors, bloggers, influencers
    • cover reveals, blurbs, excerpts, interviews
    • local influence
    • provide an ARC for reviews
    • ask your friends! don’t be afraid.
  • Talking with teens
    • remember being a teen yourself
    • take them seriously
    • treat them with respect, like you would any adult
    • talk with them, not to them
    • captive vs. voluntary audience
  • Talking with teens
    • Ask questions to engage
    • Ask for stories and tell stories
    • Keep the dialogue open and never condescend
    • Always reply to them. interactivity is key
    • Let them get to know you (backstage pass)
    • Be personal, not formal
    • If you’re going to use pop culture, you’d better be totally up to date, or you’re gonna sound old.
  • Should you go local?
    • Direct sales are inefficient
    • Only do it if you have access to influencers
    • Cost/benefit analysis of signings & appearances
    • Consider conferences like ALA or BEA

Amazing talk by Luke Ryan (@lukeryansays) on The Future of Media at Willamette Writers Conference. #WillWrite14

  • What’s broken, and the challenges ahead of it
  • How to fix it
  • What’s the future
  • The Challenges
    • technological dissonance: new technologies challenge their standard technologies, leading them to change their habits of media consumption or curb them altogether.
      • there’s DVDs and blue ray, and streaming video, it’s all so challenging. I’ll just wait.
    • disruptive technology: suddenly and dramatically changes the industry.
      • 8-tape to cassette tape were a transition technology.
      • vinyl to tape: also transition.
      • CD more disruptive: because it ate everything that came before it.
      • digital is totally disruptive: because it destroys everything before it AND even destroys the outlets that sold the old stuff.
        • no record stores, no bookstores, etc.
    • film:
      • revenue is slightly up. looks healthy.
      • but reality is that ticket sales are down.
      • it’s being made up by much higher ticket prices (from $5.80 in 2002 to $8.10 in 2012)
      • ticket prices disguises unhealthy underlying economics.
    • film – key issues
      • skyrocketing marketing costs
      • substantial front-end investment
      • massive loss of home video revenue
    • film history
      • Jaws: first movie to open in all theaters at the same time. never happened before. it was the first blockbuster.
      • So then every movie had to open that way. that created competition: multiple movies opening on same weekend.
      • so they had to increase marketing spend to get attention.
      • soon they were making little money in theaters, but they were making it up in home video sales
        • home video was as much as 90% of the total theatre gross, nearly doubling total revenue.
      • marketing spend: harold and kumar go to whitecastle. Made for $4.5M, marketing department spend $28M, killing profitability of movie.
      • because the marketing department commands more money, they have more control. so soon the movie-making decisions are being made by the marketing department: remakes, toy connected stuff.
    • with netflix and other services, nearly all home video sales dead. Frozen is the rare exception.
    • TV
      • median age: 51
      • even CW, which aims to reach woman 18-34: median age is 33.
      • young people are on instagram and snapchat.
      • age breakdown:
        • mobile video: teens
        • online video: 20s
        • TV: 30s and older
    •  TV key issues
      • loss of ad revenue via demographic decline and DVR
      • competition for short-form entertainment
    • Books
      • All book sales are declining…except ebooks.
      • Legacy publishing: sales stagnant. flat projected out.
      • self-publishing: up and to the right. continual growth.
    • Book Key Issues
      • decline in traditional distribution
      • competition with other forms of media
  • Traditional Distribution Systems
    • Creator -> Distributor -> Consumer
    • traditional systems are breaking down…
    • leaving room for new paradigms to take their place
    • Creator <-> Technology <-> Consumer
    • Not only does the traditional distribution go away, but it becomes a relationship instead of a push.
  • The Long Tail
  • Fan Strategy
    • Creating spreadable content that allows every different fan type to engage on a level that is pleasurable to them and profitable for you.
    • Fan types:
      • Skimmers, Dippers, and Divers
      • Skimmer: watch the series
      • Dipper: watch the series, read the book
      • Divers: watch the series, read the books, visit the communities, buy the costume, go to the convention.
    • The more passionate fans are your evangelists. So you want to develop skimmers into dippers, dippers into divers. The divers will create more skimmers and dippers.
    • Game of Throne – Five Senses Campaign
      • Smells of Game of Thrones: tweeting about it. (Mailed out)
      • Food of Game of Thrones: on social media about it. (in NY only)
      • It creates buzz, even though only a small subset engages in it.
  • Social Media Heft
    • One’s cumulative amount of influence and reach across social platforms allowing for strategic fan engagement and expansion of overall awareness.
    • Anyone can put digital stuff online. But how can we get attention?
    • How do people find what they like? “Well, I like what Julie likes, and Julie says I should watch this, so I will.”
    • In the future, this will be monetized. You’ll pay the content creator directly, and Julie will get a little bounty.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine:
    • took $4M out of marketing budget and used it to do free screenings for people with social media heft.
    • in response to study showing that people would see the movie only if a friend recommended it
  • Brands don’t want consumers anymore. They want fans.
  • Coca-Cola is kicking Hollywood’s ass, and Hollywood doesn’t know it yet.
  • Should Coke advertise? They don’t need to. They could make TV shows, shows that they own, that strengthen their brand at the same time that they now have an asset: they own the TV show.
    • Once Coke proves this out, everyone else will follow.
  • Traditional marketing: shoot out money hoping to hit eyeballs.
  • New paradigm:
    • Money goes into content, content goes to eyeballs, that generates money, which goes back into more content.
  • How traditional media will evolve:
    • Film
      • purchase of feature film companies by tech/telecom
      • Rise of new direct distribution indie film business
      • maximization of assets by blending with video game industry
    • television
      • networks become self-selective app portals
      • rise of second-screen technology
      • independent creator distribution through tablet and web.
      • those with the greatest social media heft will win.
    • books
      • digital becomes standard
      • interactive forms of narrative and illustration.
      • authors thrive on direct interaction with consumers.
  • “It is only forms that change, not essence.” — Ram Daas
  • Transmedia
    • Narrative built across multiple platforms that is designed to grow exponentially with as little repetition as possible.
    • Avoiding the repetition is key: if you make a movie and book that is identical, you haven’t given the fan anything new.
  • Velocity
    • 1. quickness and force of motion.
    • 2. rate of occurrence, action, or turnover.
    • The velocity of money is key to what makes the economy work. $5 sitting in your pocket does nothing.
    • The velocity of entertainment
  • Narrative leverage
    • Unique narrative lines across multiple platforms of entertainment.
    • platforms: film, television, games, apps, digital, social, merchandise.
    • world: a specific and contained system in which various entities attempt to thrive, occasionally in harmony, but mostly in conflict.
    • core story: the primary narrative off which all other story assets and platforms will grow. your core story is the trunk, and the rest of the platforms are branches off it. The core story will generally settle on one platform.
    • story asset: any sequence, character, or notion that has the opportunity to be broken out and used in a more expansive way across other platforms.
  • more successful transmedia franchises
    • sesame street
    • star wars
    • the bible (jesus tweets, churches, etc.)
  • building a transmedia franchise
    • find the world and characters you want to explore
    • find the platform best suited for the core story you want to tell
    • design a narrative experience across this platform
    • take stock of your story assets
    • take stock of your audience challenges
    • begin to build other assets across their most helpful platforms in terms of both story telling and audience engagement.
  • Marketing cost
    • one of the great strains to any entertainment platforms bottom line is the marketing cost that must exist.
    • Transmedia can replace that marketing cost with engagement, distribution, and world of mouth.
  • Film
    • positive: one of most popular. communal experience. can tell a story well and with the highest quality technical assets.
    • negatives: can only go so deep into the story. same experience. not interactive. very expensive.
  • television
    • positive: convenient/casual experience.e format allows for greater story depth. story evolves over time. relative high quality. less time per visit than film.
    • negative: only slightly more interactive than film. interrupted narrative: segment to segment, show to show, season to season. reliant on large following to remain in production. relatively expensive.
  • Books
    • positive: convenient and portable. immersive mental experience. can be enjoyed at the pace of the consumer. author has the greatest control of the content.
    • negatives: portable. time and thought intensive. largest cost-to-entertainment ratio among platforms. $30 hardcover for X hours of entertainment.
  • Games
    • positive: interactive, immersion. greater story depth. possibility of open world. can be monetized in strategic ways (e.g. virtual economy)
    • negatives: often requires physical skill. specialized delivery system (xbox), very expensive to produce.
  • Apps
    • Interactive. can be consumed as a snack. relative low cost. fun, addictive style of play. portable and live on necessary device. booming virtual economies.
    • negatives: lack of in depth experience, can be repetitive. hard to get noticed.
  • Digital
    • positive: in-depth, serialized story. more ability to have a social component. can be made for relatively low cost. Can be consumed from many types of devices. can be a snack.
    • negatives
  • Social
    • positives: high interactive. intimate connection between creator, story, and consumer. builds awareness and affection for little cost. can be a unifying guide between platforms.
    • negatives: a hard platform on which to tell a story. has to be deliver in small bits. requires consistent maintenance and interaction. possible to lose control of the message/conversation.
  • Merchandise
    • positive: a tactile experience. encourages interaction. highly monetizable. serves as marketing to those beyond the initial consumer.
    • negatives: takes up space, requires up front money.
  • Homework
    • Watch one of the great trilogies (lord of rings, star wars, the matrix)
    • identify all the story assets: write them down.
    • identify all the audience challenges (e.g. males under 25…how do i reach them)
    • do this for your own IP: develop a franchise bible
      • overview of the franchise
      • overview of the world itself
      • core story
      • platform-by-platform breakdown
      • summary of connective tissue between platforms
      • marketing strategies
      • distribution strategies/timelines
      • glossary of unique terms
  • There are no gatekeepers any more.
    • climbing up the long tail is not possible.
    • that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
  • Q: how to expand beyond the literary
    • Are you creating something that’s spreadable?
    • something that’s an easy engagement beyond what exists.
  • Franchise Pitch for AMBER book series.
    • (shown as a series of slides: title, cool image, descriptive text)
    • History of the Franchise
    • The Books
    • What makes it cool.
    • what’s special inside it.
    • FILM
      • here are what the three films could be. (and i’ve got one script for you)
    • TELEVISION
      • Here is what the TV show could be.
      • Non-repetitive to the movie script. Here is what you could build around it.
      • three different TV show ideas, playing off different story assets.
    • MOBILE
      • the games that can be played
    • INTERACTIVE FICTION
      • choose your own adventure games
    • SOCIAL
    • BOOKS
      • New books in the series
      • rights to do graphic novels
    • Strategy
      • a chart showing each of the forms of media along the left side, with a timeline across the top, showing connections between specific properties.

 

From Inside the Artificial Brain That’s Remaking Google, a Wired article:

[P]erhaps half of the teams now using the Google Brain software are simply downloading the source code, tweaking a configuration file, and then pointing Google Brain at their own data. “If you want to do leading edge research in this area and really advance the state-of-the-art in what kinds of models make sense for new kinds of problems, then you really do need a lot of years of training in machine learning,” says Dean. “But if you want to apply this stuff, and what you’re doing is a problem that’s somewhat similar to problems that have already been solved by a deep model, then…people have had pretty good success with that, without being deep learning experts.

And:

“Google is not really a search company. It’s a machine-learning company,” says Matthew Zeiler, the CEO of visual search startup Clarifai, who worked on Google Brain during a pair of internships. He says that all of Google’s most-important projects—autonomous cars, advertising, Google Maps—stand to gain from this type of research. “Everything in the company is really driven by machine learning.”