With COVID on repeat, and pandemic spikes going up and down, 2020 was like one giant repeating GIF (Even the year’s digits look like a pattern: two, zero, two, zero).
Santa, the true inventor of overnight delivery, is on the defense because of the kids. If they get even the smallest hint of possibility to be on the Naughty side of the list, they ask for a recount. Their eyes are on the prize, just like any other business in the world seeking new markets and clients, and inventing in the process.
The inventing part, since invention of attention, has greatly shifted towards the content. Once people understood the power of storytelling through the media, it all became one glorious hunt for the next big thing, as if it were a giant white whale; as if it were an oil field. Welcome to the next chapter.
1. Oh-oh, twouble!
Cyberpunk 2077, for example, a video game narrative, with its cost “significantly higher than the roughly $80 million the company spent on its last game,” per WSJ, went through many obstacles this year just to get their game to the next level.
Most of the gaming industry was in glitching mode throughout the year: “At Activision Blizzard Inc., dozens of employees used to be able to simultaneously download a test version of its annualized shooter series “Call of Duty” within 15 minutes at the company’s office in Santa Monica, Calif. But once everyone became homebound in March, the process began taking as long as four hours.” Or, as gamers would call it, a normal update.
“But why say more?” Herman Melville would write, and then wrote, felt like, thousands of pages more.
2. Points and problems
“There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.” – H. Melville
With new content being produced
daily every minute – “All our testing showed that higher production value was not better,” said Nathaniel Lubin, a Biden campaign consultant. “The things that were realer, more grainy and cheaper to produce were more credible.” – audience fragmentation became a problem. So many platforms, so many eyeballs, and very few Tom Hanks movies.
If you think about it, if you separate a problem into a number of Points, versus looking at it as a single point, it may leave you with solutions that may be connected in different and unexpected ways – just like your attention.
With the internet being flooded by quick bytes (pron. click·bait | ˈklikbāt |) of data, available across multiple platforms, it is difficult lately to see the full picture, even if you ask Google.
Everything you ask for is being segmented to the granular level and distorted when needed, or possible. Even this article is carefully separated in paragraphs and using popular references to keep you engaged. You’re still reading, right?
Unlike this article, there are other ways to seek attention. Writing a book about a giant whale and waiting fifty years for it to become popular may not be your best path to attention. Tools like Facebook and TikTok (yes, tools) built to “commodify your personality” may offer those fifteen minutes of fame. For long-term success, you need some character. That would be Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077. And knowledge, tools, experience, and the right mix of aforesaid.
3. If you don’t fix it, it becomes a part of strategy
Activision Blizzard, at the top of their game, eventually resolved their dial-up download problem. They had to find solutions on the move and keep connecting the dots. Otherwise, another narrative would overtake their spot in the market and spell the end of the story for Activision Blizzard, but nobody wants it to end (Unless you are reading a book about the hunt for a giant white whale around Japan). It’s not like the air bubble in toothpaste will ever get fixed. If you don’t fix it, it becomes a part of strategy.
With technology being so closely interwoven with fantasy, no wonder they sometimes cannot be told apart. While it may be a part of the problem, it also can be a part of the solution.
NYT was looking at how the crisis can be abridged, in a smart way with technology: “Innovations in home sale transactions have been widely embraced only recently despite being around for a while. The key here is that such innovations are likely to make home buying faster. Showing a home virtually, for example, eliminates the delay imposed by the need for a weekend open house, and a remote online notary can save time when local ones are in short supply.” The solution was right in front us, we just didn’t get to use it, because we didn’t have to.
Dealing with obstacles and using available resources is the common thread in the examples above, and is also the premise of many Tom Hanks movies. In this case, everyone was using the same technology, and the real obstacle was in finding ways to communicate better and deliver, just like Santa. Let’s avoid obstacles by being creative.
4. Karma is a pitch
Technology is inseparable from our lives and what we create. It should be used accordingly, as a tool, and it should not be ignored. The stones of Stonehenge reflect some of the earliest technologies related to calendars and the summer and winter solstices, for example. As we get the correct time and date through our devices (upper left or right corner of your device right now), we often forget all the stones that had to be moved long ago just to get the right time.
Here’s the thing: we don’t push the stones any longer in order to acquire knowledge. It doesn’t work with our busy schedule. Kids have a game at five o’clock. You forgot, again. The knowledge we have was gently guided to us, and in most cases, we accept it without thinking about it much. Just like 10 or 20 years ago when the Stonehenge was created (I know), there is plenty of knowledge floating around, ready to be used. So, call Miller.