Mar 16

Impact Analysis: The rise of VR at SXSW 2016

Virtual reality (VR) got a boost in attention over the last few weeks with high-profile announcements and campaigns at  SXSW and the Game Developer Conference (disclosure: Samsung is a client I work on). Coming out of these conferences though, the question now becomes ‘so what’? You may remember agency strategists clambering on how Meerkat and Periscope apps were the ‘next big thing’ out of SXSW 2015, but are almost nowhere to be seen now. Looking at VR in a similar light, the product has some substantial barriers to mainstream acceptance; cost, ecosystem size, and usability.

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/


Getting to the ‘so what’? 

I feel we are still a few years and product iterations out till VR truly hits the mainstream. The question then becomes, what value are we then able to pull out of the ‘Year of VR’? Virtual reality as a concept is a means of escape and an immersive experience. Perhaps what marketers should take away from the conference is the idea of depth and experiences in what they are trying to promote instead.

Providing deeper marketing experiences

I  don’t think VR technology is entirely out of the picture yet. For larger brands, there is still the availability of 360 videos that provide deeper visuals on a consumer’s mobile device.  Otherwise,  being better at telling a story about your brand, or about what your company does could be a great focus also.

Avoiding ‘The Next Big Thing”

Not to sound jealous because I’ve only gone once…. but a fault of a conference such as SXSW is that those who come away from it try to grasp at what the next big trend in marketing/tech will be. In my honest opinion, changes are more likely to happen organically and over time (Ex: Snapchat  as a viable platform) rather than overnight. I found SXSW to be more of a general learning experience where marketers can see more of the ecosystem around them, and be able to perfect on the basics. The need to jump onto another big trend is potentially dangerous, resulting in lost time and money for something that isn’t tested and perhaps not quite strong enough to be in the public eye.

Feb 16

Impact Analysis: Facebook Reactions

Yesterday we saw the addition of  “angry”, “sad”, “wow”, “haha” and “love”  join the familiar ‘like’ when it comes to user response to Facebook content. While previously content was measured by a single like or negative action (unsubscribe, report, unfollow) this new set of engagements brings a new layer of complexity to the simple Facebook post.

Effects on the newsfeed?

What Facebook has yet to describe is the effect that each new reaction has when it comes to ranking content. Will content receiving more “Loves” get higher newsfeed priority over content that receive just “Haha” or “Like”? What does getting an “angry” mean?

Content Considerations

With a  previous focus on getting single engagements, whether its more video views, comments etc., adding 5 new reactions could throw content strategy for a loop. A brand with a focus on humor related content could instead now rank posts by how many “Haha”s it gets.

Another thing to consider is when would “angry” and “sad” reactions come into play. Are there particular moments when a brand wants to generate particularly strong emotions?



How to Track? 

Measurement structures will also be affected by the introduction of these new engagements. By having the ability to chose the ‘angry’ engagement, measuring by total engagements doesn’t necessarily prove if a post is more or less successful anymore. Already a ‘Love’ may have more value than a simple like, and a post made to engage fans with ‘Haha’s could be deemed a failure if instead it received ‘Angry’ and ‘Sad’.


We still need to see the full impact of  how the new ‘reactions’ feature alters content flows.  An observation I’m already seeing is that a as a single click option (versus a hover and select) general ‘like’ engagements are still the most dominate engagement.  After a week or so (once initial excitement has died down) there should be enough data to evaluate the impact and see what (if any) changes to tactics and overall strategies need to be done.

Oct 15

SQL Beginners Cheat Sheet

So its been a while again, but push comes to shove and I’m determined to get back on to making a return to this blog. I’m on a bit of a skills development fix at the moment and decided here would be a great spot to report back on what I’ve been doing and to create some documentation on the key learnings.

I recently went through a beginners course on SQL through Code Academy (link to the course here) which I found really interesting and potentially useful for future endeavors.


What is SQL? Known as a ‘Standard Query Language’ its a method of organizing and summarizing data. My general thinking when it comes to this is that taking a structured dataset it allows the user to summarize and manipulate the data. In the case of multiple datasets, it connects them through a common tie so the user can get a better understanding of how they interact.

Why is it potentially useful? I’ve experienced SQL in the context of a data tool where the language organizes raw data in such a way that its  a readable output for the end-user. When thinking about it in terms of even a basic excel spreadsheet, the language allows for the data to be summarized and reformatted saving the user from having to do a lot of manual work.

Below is a select set of terms from the course and example code:


; is used as an ‘End statement’ and is placed at the end of a command. It tells the system to move to the next query statement.

There are three basic functions of the SQL language: To BUILD, ANALYZE or JOIN data tables.


CREATE TABLE: is a command telling the system to build a new data table.

table_name(***): labels a table for use in queries and joining with other tables.

column_1 data_type: defines what data goes into a particular column (can be text, date, number etc.) These can be layered up to create a series of columns

INSERT INTO: is a formatting command used for define the set columns. Following this, column titles can be added ex: (id, name, age).

VALUES: This is a command used to enter in individual entries. Its formatted as VALUES (row value 1, row value 2…);

UPDATE: used to change entries in a table. Using ‘SET’ and ‘WHERE’ entries, data within the table can be altered

ALTER TABLE: Where as UPDATE alters an entry, ALTER TABLE allows the user to change or add data columns.

DELETE FROM: Deletes rows from a table.


Example Code:

CREAT TABLE table_name (
 column_1 data_type,
 column_2 data_type,
 column_3 data_type
INSERT INTO celebs (id, name, age)
VALUES (1, 'Justin Bieber', 21);
 SELECT *FROM celebs;
UPDATE celebs
 SET age = 22
 WHERE id= 1;
 SELECT *FROM celebs;
 twitter_handle TEXT;
 SELECT *FROM celebs;
DELETE FROM celebs WHERE twitter_handle IS NULL;


SELECT *FROM ‘table name': displays all data from the labeled table the SQL interface. The * is used to notate ‘select the whole table’. Other commands such as ‘SELECT DISTINCT’ can be used to summarize a table further based on a column or row entry.

BETWEEN: Is a filter option for the use of numerical data.

ORDER BY: organizes a data set. A related command DESC/ASC(aka: Descending/Ascending) can be used to organize numbers by a set parameter.

LIMIT: Sets maximum number of rows pulled from a dataset.

GROUP BY: organizes data by a specific column entry (example: type of apple).

COUNT: summarizes numerical data by a category (example: how many entries contain X)

SUM: Counts up the numerical data of a particular column in a table ( Ex: How many impressions in total).

MAX(): finds the largest value of a criteria.

MIN(): finds the smallest value of a criteria.

AVG(): finds the average of a criteria.

ROUND(): rounds decimal numbers to a specific integer.


SELECT* FROM movies WHERE imdb_rating >8;
SELECT * FROM movies
 WHERE name LIKE 'Se_en';
 ORDER BY imdb_rating DESC;

SELECT price, ROUND(AVG(downloads),2) FROM fake_apps GROUP BY price;


JOIN: creates a common column between two tables which joins the data set together (ex: id_actormovie JOIN ID_Actor)

ON: states the parameter of the join.

Inner Join: joins entries when a join criteria is met.

Left Join: Combines two tables together side by side and provides a NULL value when the join parameters are not met.

AS: When joining a table this allows columns of the joined table to be renamed without affecting the original unjoined tables.


albums.name AS 'Album', albums.year, artists.name AS 'Artist'
 FROM albums JOIN artists ON albums.artist_id = artists.id WHERE albums.year >1990

Aug 10

Our Privacy Online

For a while I thought that internet privacy was over. The era of your mom telling you that  you shouldn’t talk to strangers and to keep your identity a secret was coming to an end.  I kept the mind set that the internet has become just another facet of a person’s identity and that information you post up is similar to being part of a phone book or walking down the street. Recently there have been a few things which made me reflect upon  how internet privacy and anonimity on the web still has some importance.

Blizzard Vs. The Hordes:

Earlier Blizzard Corp makers of World of WarCraft, Diablo and Star Craft announced the implementation of a RealID system which they planned to put into place for the upcoming Star Craft 2 title and later across their entire library of games. The idea behind real ID was that users could interact and be more connected to their friend lists within these games.  Blizzard had to later pull back on this initiative  because of the massive backlash from their communities and it is now  an optional feature rather than being  enforced system wide.

When everyone has a Facebook account why would gamers be concerned about revealing their personal information in game? Well for some its a sense of escape, it takes them away from their day to day lives as described in an editorial from Daniel Lipscombe  titled Why I play games: My Escapism . Gaming is a way to become separate from day to day activities. If you attach your real name to characters in game or within discussion of the game  is that separation still there? Also if  a character named “Princess Peach” decked out in pink  is suddenly attached to a user named Joe Blow can this person still act out the characteristics of that character? (Ok extreme example but you get the point!)  Despite all of this openness on social sites such as Facebook,  anonimity is still sought in the gaming world because once you form your character you can be a different person than yourself. When that character suddenly has your name it changes that aspect of the game.

The Anonymous Internet

With the ability to act (almost) completely anonymous online a certain mob mentality can often sink in within a group of like minded users sometimes with negative consequences.

Jessi Slaughter  AKA Kerligirl13 an 11 year old  from the U.S. enjoyed sharing her life and her interests on YouTube like many vloggers. As video views increased on her channel she began to see negative comments and she reacted much like any 11 year old girl would with a reactionary video. This video to haters  with the infamous line “I’ll pop a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy” went viral and attracted the wrong type of attention. So much so that her and her family are now under police protection .

A large cause of this problem  is a site called 4chan. Now I won’t go into much details about the site or its users (because they scare the hell out of even me…) but as a group they have been known for creating false rumors about Steve Jobs having a heart attack (and causing Apple stock to take a tumble) and rigging the Time Magazine 2008 most influential person poll to be Christopher Poole aka Moot the founder of the site. Essentially this site with its large and anonymous user base is able to cause a lot of trouble when motivated to do so.

Upon seeing the video from Jessi ,4chan users decided to take it upon themselves to teach this girl a ‘lesson’ through harassing phone calls and  vandalism of social media profiles among other things. While what this little girl has said online is  absolutely inappropriate for a girl her age to be saying at all, harassing her and her family is even worse. With the growing ease of finding personal information online it is easy to announymously contact another person and do actions to them to the point of harassment. Kids especially not knowing the expansiveness of the internet and the consequences of being online are now increasingly at risk of receiving abuse online and without fully understanding could be sharing all sorts of personal information with perfect strangers on the web.

With younger age groups being at such risk online its very easy to say that they should be protected but the harder thing to answer is how?  No matter what restrictions are put in place there will be work arounds. Age restrictions on sites are easily lied to and  parental controls are almost easily turned off as well. When others can act anonymously and manipulate your own information how can be protect those who are just learning about the full expanse of the web?

Creating Online Persona’s

In the end I think managing your online self is becoming just as important as managing yourself offline. We all are visible online, its as easy as a quick google search so we need to ensure that only what we want people to see is visible. I think we also have to remember that our anonymous selves aren’t completely anonymous either. Comments or accounts that you think you made in private  can still be potentially tracked back to you.

Having these online persona’s bring on new problems like cyber bullying and identity theft and for good and for bad put us in front of a more global audience. For now I’ll remain more careful of what I place online and will continue to watch how things develop.

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

Jul 10

Announcement: Blog Redux

Yikes,its been since the end of April that  I wrote something on this blog… truthfully thats a little embarrassing! Its not that I dislike writing its just with my current format I don’t have anything to say… right now with so much content about social media going out  and not much in terms of change within the area theres not much content  that really gets my brain going.

So then what? Am I going to let this blog die?  Absolutely not, its just going to change format! What’s going on in the world of tech ( Interactive, Web and Consumer products) still really gets my gears going so I’m going to work and have that become the much more dominant content of this site. Thats not to say that I may slip in a post or two about Social media as from time to time I may come across or work on some really awesome stuff  but its no longer going to be a  focus ( just to worn the 5 or so people that are actually still reading this!).

In the next few weeks expect some changes to show up. If I can get things up and working I’m hoping to get some custom theme work in and probably a change in name and domain. In the end I think if I want to keep this blog up and running its got to come down to passion and having a bit of fun with this thing. Stay tuned!!

Mar 10

Are you learning anything from Social Media?

So I’ve been procrastinating with posting this for a bit , but now I think I have a good intro…. So at my new job at Syncapse, I do a lot of measuring and spending my day looking at client data.  I’m finding it  really exciting because essentially I get paid to do the learning for companies so they can consistently improve their Social Media strategy. Reflecting on the work I do though it seems for a good portion of the ‘social media world’ that metrics and measurement and the whole idea of ‘learning’ from what you’re doing doesn’t get talked about a whole lot. With that, I thought I’d put down a few of my thoughts of why Social Media measurement or the idea of ‘learning’ within Social Media strategy is so important.

You Get To See if Things Work: With Social Media measurement you get to gauge how effective online strategies really are.  Are there no conversations surrounding your content? Is  there conversation but not the kind you want to hear? Then there is obviously something that needs to be fixed. Perhaps you haven’t told your audience about your initiatives or maybe your content isn’t relevant to them. By implementing strategies and comparing them to what you’ve done in the past  you are able to see what you’re doing right or wrong and how to make things even better moving forward.

You get to see if customers love/hate you (and how to improve it!): As a part of online measurement you are able to look at  what people are saying about a company or organization online .  This is looking at what users are saying directly AT you or what they are talking indirectly ABOUT you with everyone else.  Are they having problems with a particular product of yours? Is there something that people want to see more or less of from you? The insights you get from conversations are way different than what you can get from a survey  or traditional market research. In a survey people have time to consider and alter their answers to give you just half truths. Within online communications you’re getting the raw knee jerk reactions regarding what they think about you and how they use your product in everyday life.  ( CAVEAT: Watch out for Trolls! No matter what you do there will be someone looking to stir things up…. all I can say is DONT FEED THE TROLLS )

You Find the Unexpected: Often times its important to stick your head outside of what you’re doing to get a different perspective of what is actually happening with your company. This is especially true with Social Media. By looking at what occurs outside of your organizations’ initiatives every once and a while you may  see surprising things happening with your customers that you haven’t heard of. Perhaps they are re-purposing your product in a way that you didn’t think was important (ex: Coke and Mentos blasters) or maybe some previously unreleased news about your company has become public and is gaining an unexpected amount of traction with your customers. By learning what your customers and the public is doing ‘out there’ you’re able to adapt to things as they come up rather than let events plow you over!

In closing while a lot of discussions regarding social media surround  customer engagement and use of the tools, I think measuring your success and learning from what you’re doing online is just as important. Without knowing what you’ve achieved and what is occurring out in the wilderness that is the ‘internet’ you’re only going to continue making the same mistakes and not improve upon yourself.  With my new position in  Measurement Science I hope to be able to share some  brief tidbits  about online measurement and why its a useful part of the campaign process. Stay tuned!

Dec 09

Reviewing My 2009 Strategy

So its been exactly a year to the date of my post 2009 Strategy. To me I think its important that I revisit it as its been quite a year since I wrote that (1 year blogaversary yay! ) and it should be something I keep in mind moving forward when I set my goals and plans for 2010 … or ‘010 as I like to call it.

So  here we go…..

1. Becoming More Passionate: So I think I wrote this with a bit of an expectation that I would suddenly be hit on the head and determine that I would be completely passionate and happy go lucky about a certain job or aspect of my life. Well, it didn’t happen.If you do a quick search on the net you can find a lot of articles and postings on “Finding your Passion” but from what I’m realizing is that it isn’t a fast and immediate process. I made some progress but I would say that I’m still not close enough to choosing a passion and committing myself 100% to it.

Developing passion takes a bit of work- At Social Media Mastermind

That isn’t to say that I failed at my goal, I think as time went by I re purposed it and made it more realistic. Over the year I feel I discovered I really enjoy learning and exploring topics and that I couldn’t be passionate about something that stayed constantly the same.  I also think that as a whole it has to be people related but in a more analytical sense. Reflecting back on school my favorite topics often related to how people interacted (be it Consumer Behavior, Psychology, Communications or Market Research ). Right now in my current work I’m exploring net communications and social media which may or may not be the same in the next few years. Overall I think I’ve laid out a bit more of a path for myself but there is still more work to do going forward.

2. Spending time on the right people: I think this has been the area of biggest improvement for myself , but an area that I still need to consistently work on. I made in my opinion 2 huge achievements: Setting my own boundaries and Getting out and meeting with/interacting with new people.

On Setting Boundaries: Looking backwards on 2008, a big downfall for me was not setting my own boundaries. So this meant going along with the group and not looking  out for my goals and priorities. In 2009 while this was definitely a bumpy ride ( as some of my friends can attest to) I learned to protect my own interests and refocused on friendships that were really important to me. Overall it was a pretty significant personal endeavor.

Interacting with New People: I think this is what I’m most proud and surprised by. Over the past year I’ve met a ton of new people and really pushed myself to be more outgoing. I’ve met a lot of great people ( many of them are on this list here) and really got to learn* and explore a side of business that I sort of knew about for a while but didn’t completely understand till this year. I’ve met a few great people who’ve really pushed me to be better in getting out there and improving myself. You know who you are, I really appreciate it.

One of the rainier Patio Fridays with Katie Boland and Philip Moreria (C/O Lee Dale)

The Challenge: In the latter half of 2009 I lost momentum in this area ( job search/moving up north were to blame) I definitely don’t want to see the relationships I started with people wither .There are many people I respect and admire and having lost contact with many people in the past I don’t wish for that to happen again. So moving forward with w/e path I end up taking ,  being more deliberate with meeting people  and perhaps just booking more 1 on 1 time is going to be important.

3. Taking Care of my Health: We can’t always get things 100% right? Alright so this was a fail on my part. While in some regards I was active in that if I was able to I would walk rather than take transit or drive overall the idea of moving towards less of a 1 pack didn’t exactly pan out. Well no excuses in ‘010,  at minimum mornings will be work out time and when I’m able to I’m also looking to snag a gym membership to be even more serious. To put it out there my goal is to bring myself up to 160 in lean mass (I’m right now at around 150). As a secondary benefit I think it would help me gain a much better mental focus.

All in all I think for what the year was, I ended it pretty strong. The external environment could have been better but then who’s to say everything I’ve experienced would have occurred if it had been different. I plan on making a 2010 strategy coming up  (its in the works). It will probably be posted closer to New Years.

*I’ve discussed some  great events on this blog but for anyone looking for future reference 2 great places to learn if you’re a business person learning about the web and entrepreneurship are at SproutUps and Refresh Events( a calendar of  events can be found here also) .

Oct 09


So umm, first post on this new blog . Out of finally bending to the pressure of guys like Malcolm Bastien and Dan Hocking I’ve started up this blog. I’m going to be looking to bring everything from my old blog onto this site ( just for continuity) and then deliver some great and probably better content. Things are going to be gradually changing with this blog so don’t expect anything to stay exactly the same. I’m probably going to make a more definite choice on the theme and grab a few widgets to make things even better.

Overall stay tuned! This blog has a lot of life ahead of it!



Jan 09

I <3 Reddit!

So I’ve been reading Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott ( amazing book!) and have just finished the chapter on “The Net Generation as Consumers”  where in one section he spoke about companies becoming essentially friends with their target consumers.  Reflecting back to companies I’ve dealt with the news aggregator site Reddit  comes to mind. I’m a big fan of this site and have often either forwarded links from this site or shared it with my friends and I do this not only because I enjoy the content on the site but because the site creators have essentially become my friend and have befriended the rest of the website members. Here are some of the simple yet significant ways that they manage to do this:

Interacting with members outside of the site: The creators of this site not only interact with members through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter ( ex: @ kn0thing)  they have offline meetups!  I’ve met with them personally last year during their Drankkit World Tour where they went to major centers and sat down and had drinks with members ( a few pics of me at that event included)  but they even do it randomly including having dinner with a Reddit member who just asked if anyone were interested in going out for dinner.

They personalize: The Reddit alien is a big part of the personality of the website, almost every day  a new drawing of it is posted up depending on current events or project of the site. From time to time as a result of already mentioned meet ups or requests of members the Reddit Alien is redrawn or the Reddit logo even contains relevant pictures. As well the website is in a constant state of change( much like Gmail its in constant Beta)  if there are enough user requests certain aspects of the site are changed.

Not only are they creators, but they are also users: They don’t passively watch the site or attempt to moderate it , they are fully involved members. They aren’t afraid to get in there and post a comment or link and create discussions with other users. They also start side projects that encourage further member collaboration. Sometimes it can be silly such as Mr.Splashypants  but even in more serious matters such as Reddits Feed A Need campaign where users are encouraged to lend their skills and time in helping out a not for profit organization.

Overall I have a major heart on for this site and its creators. As a consumer I have a choice between Digg and Reddit  as they are essentially the same site and many times have the same links but  as Reddit has worked harder to befriend me my loyalty is pretty cemented in place . I’ve included a few pictures from Drankkit Toronto 07 , some with me included. Enjoy!  



Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian

The 2 Reddit Creators , Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian with Jenna Landry from Wired Magazine



My attempt at a "C" for Canada.... it ended up pretty lame!

My attempt at a "C" for Canada.... it ended up pretty lame!

Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at kevin.richard@ryerson.ca or send me a twitter message.

Jan 09

Do as I say…. not as I do?

Ok, so I saw this and thought it would be something hilarious to do :

Andy Nulman, I WANT YOUR BOOK  Pow Right Between the Eyes ! :P (Kevin Richard Unit 3  350 Huron St. , Toronto Ontario M5S 2G3) 

I feel really bad for doing this after listening and reading about how there can be a loss of credibility when taking materials from outside corporations/interests on  Six Pixels of Separation  but I’m also an avid reader and as marketing is my area of interest its kind of hard to pass this up. 

So Blog post for a book….not a bad deal.  If its any good I’ll write a follow up post, if not it this will never be mentioned again. I guess I’ll rebuild my legitimacy through puting up a good blog post very soon!