Around the Web

Oct 10

A Look at the “It Gets Better” project

On the web randomness happens. A word. An image. A website. One day it could be just like everything else on the net and then almost instantly it becomes something big (anyone remember 3 wolf moon?).  In this randomness it happens perhaps less often  that something with meaning and that does  good takes off .That’s why I found it really interesting to see a video labelled “It gets better”  get as much interest as it has.

The Background: After a series of recent youth suicides related to gay bullying, famous (infamous?) sex columnist  Dan Savage known for his straight talking, no holds barred sex advice column “Savage Love”   posted  with his partner the  video  “ It Gets Better”  which can be found below:

As it stands his video has received close to 1,000,000 visits from over a 4 week period. From  a viral video  standpoint this may be a little  slow in growth but results from this video alone only tell half the story of its success. Growing off this video is the countless response videos from average people and a multitude of celebrities. With over 2,640 video’s created against this video ( according to YouTube search using the term “it gets better project”) and over 7.78 Million video views from the first 40 videos ( excluding the original) this has received some serious attention. Most notably one video has even eclipsed the original receiving more than 2.1 million as of this writing (below):

What does all of this mean? That this original video has inspired action and in a way a ripple effect. Unlike say a fail blog video or any of the other top viewed videos that you’ll see on the front page of YouTube this video caused users to further spread this message through the creation of their own content. This works to further spread the video to not only a larger audience but a much more diverse one than the original as its then seen by these users’ pre-established viewership through channel subscriptions and regular channel visits .

Measuring further success: If I had to measure the full success of this impromptu campaign ( and had full access to any data I wanted) I would do the following:

  • Measure the web and telephone traffic of the Trevor project over the long term ( a few months). As this group recieved a large amount of mention in follow up videos it would be a strong measure of awareness if there was a significant and long lasting increase in the use of the services from this organization
  • Measure the increase in creation and use of teen support services. While teenage suicide was a major driver in this campaign there are too many variables that could get in the way to see if these numbers have improved. But looking at whether there is an increase in support for teens and whether its actually being used would be a stronger sign that the message of `It gets better` resonated with its intended audience .

Do you have a question or comment ? Feel free to reach me at@kevrichard or

Dec 09

Don’t Let Your Project Become Vapor Ware!

I recently came across an article from Wired Magazine called Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem . I was pretty blown away by it. The author told the story of the latest in development version of the video game  Duke Nukem and how despite 12 years of work it will never be released! For someone who casually follows the news in the electronic gaming industry Duke Nukem Forever has been the butt of many jokes, being constantly labeled as vapor ware but still to be 12 years in development with millions spent to not release even a mini game at the end of it all is pretty intense.

C/O Go Gaming Giant

So What Happened? Duke Nukem  a game known for its humor and quality as a First person shooter built a loyal fan base over the years with the latest game at the time being Duke Nukem 3d for the PS1 and N64 (1997). Lead by 3d Realms co-owner George Brousard , the studio aimed to make the best game of the series. Unfortunately with graphics technology constantly changing  Brousard and his team battled with having the most up to date graphics and effects for the game and quickly began pushing back their set release date year after year from their initial one of  of 1998 . After 12 long years and constant graphic engine changes and changes in the game itself this striving for a perfect game ended up killing it in May 2009.

Lessons Learned: Like Digital Realms we all want to deliver great work and are driven perhaps to far for what we perceive as perfection. With no solid launch date Duke Nukem Forever got passed over by many blockbuster games such as Halo, Mass Effect and Gears of War (among many others) who have in the same time span delivered even sequels. Had the developers set a solid deadline , they wouldn’t have had to constantly play catch up to all of these great titles. Instead they could have built a name for themselves.

Rather than  giving yourself a wide open time period to complete your projects, set a solid deadline where regardless of where you are at you’ll decide whether to send it out or move on to the next project. You will always find areas to improve or things that could be different, instead of driving yourself mad with an ideal of ‘perfection’ take your ideas for changes and apply it to your next project.  This way you can not only see the success of one project but you can continue to grow and develop your skills in the next.

Dec 09

Is Your Product Noteworthy?

Ok. So I’m taking this opportunity to write a blog post because I’m really impressed by a company I came across and it really started the gears going in my head ( surprising I know!). Anyways on to the company! I stumbled upon casually through  Reddit and its such a cool product!  The premise is you send 1 or multiple pictures of yourself , your hobbies/interests and a few other personal details and they make a really cool stuffed animal of you!

Mike Bisogno and his Buddy C/O

You now can never have to sleep or do anything else alone. You can do it with yourself!  ;) You could sort of say that its been done before with cheezy sites where you can send in a picture and you get a Barbie or porcelain doll that generically resembles yourself but I think this is much more cooler! These guys take into account your personality , facial features and even let you choose how your mini-me is dressed and recreate you (or your alter ego ) in this funny cartoon form. To make sure I’m not the only person who thought this was a cool product I checked out their Facebook Fan Page it seems I’m not alone! They have a decent sized community going.

So beyond me being a big geek about this product  why am I mentioning it? Why do I feel that a toy is worth a blog post outside of being cool? Well its a product that can be so easily talked about and I think thats such a great attribute for a startup or any other sort of company to keep in mind. So often companies just present a product without thought about how it can be more interesting and have more value than its obvious qualities. What does is takes a basic product of a toy and makes it a piece for discussion.  So in keeping this blog short and unrambly , products are much more interesting and easy to sell when they can be talked about. ( Or in true Reddit fashion TL;DR People talk about cool products. Find a way to make your product cool!)

Do you have feedback? Feel free to reach me at @kevrichard or

Nov 09

Talking Tech on MacDose!

I actually now have the time to post this! So I’ve been having some back and forth conversations with 3 Canadian techies Alex Flint, Matthew Couto, and Nile Livesey which has been majorly  feeding my need for tech and giving me a few laughs ( Matthew especially is an interesting guy! ).  Well Matthew and Nile are a pair that run Perpetual Radio networks…. which has a little to do with radio but a lot to do with consumer tech!

They kindly invited me and Alex to take part in their weekly podcast Macdose  which I was involved in Episode 5 and spoke as well on Episode 6, but that’ll remain a lost episode(tech issues on a tech show, ironic!) . This weekly podcast and all the hilarity that ensues centers around Apple Computer corp. and in  particular Mac products. I’m in no way an expert. I’m typing this right now on an Acer laptop unfortunately! But I figure it  may be  cool to be involved.

For those of you interested, Episode 7 is going to be recorded live and unedited (which is even more hilarious!) this Sunday starting at 12:30 on Blog TV . It will be later posted on the PRN site. Feel free to check it out!  Overall big kudos to these guys for running Perepetual Radio Networks, its a cool upstart site that I hope goes places for them!

This weekend will be a serious time of ‘geeking out’ which I haven’t been doing in a while .Tomorrow I’ll be at Gamercamp which should be absolutely awesome. I’m looking forward to hearing  some insights on the Ontario electronic entertainment industry and seeing some awesome independent gaming demos! Should be great times, expect a blog post on that soon!!

Erm yeah… contact information.  Time to start adding that again! If you want to get in contact with me directly, feel free to hunt me down at or on twitter where I’m @kevrichard.

Nov 09

When Opportunity Knocks

I’m sure many people have seen the recent news story about someone in a BMW who does a comical hit and run in a Extreme Fitness Parking lot( video here) well more recently came the surprise response from Hyundai Canada which can be viewed here.

Looking at the video from Hyundai its pretty obvious that this was done for promotional purposes and to take complete advantage of the viral nature of this hit and run.Even I contributed to spreading it around the net. That being said I think it was an awesome idea that was a great initiative in marketing the Hyundai brand. Heres why:

It was timely: Hyundai didn’t wait forever to react. Within a few days they grabbed a camera and filmed the video while this event was still fresh in peoples minds. Sometimes marketing can be a slow and drawn out process and by not acting on a sudden change in the market or current events companies can miss out on major opportunities.

It focused on the company: The video that Hyundai created could have been an opportunity to take a direct swipe at the competition ( BMW and luxury cars) instead they focused on their company. Sure the parking demonstration teased a bit but in the end it took full advantage of demonstrating their product and how they care for their customers. This way all the attention is on them rather than sharing the attention with another company.

Its a good story: By doing good for the person affected by this park and run incident it makes you feel something for the company. It holds more value to the customer than a commercial or advertisement and its something people are more likely to talk about.

In marketing there is always talk about cutting through the clutter. In the past Gorilla marketing and shock tactics have been used to spur immediate attention from customers but after seeing many of these similar campaigns they become just the same. Instead I think being relevant to the lives of your customers may be a strong way to create a more memorable experience that people will talk about.

Not to seem exploitive but if companies would take a few moments to find a way to do something thats relevant to their customers but also fitting with what they do this may be another avenue of creating awareness for your product.