GMail Autopilot

1 April 09

One of my favorite aspects of April Fool’s Day is Google’s ‘release’ of new features and products. One such feature greeting me this morning is GMail Autopilot

As more and more everyday communication takes place over email, lots of people have complained about how hard it is to read and respond to every message. This is because they actually read and respond to all their messages. Read the rest of this entry »


Whole Earth Generation

27 March 08

futurethink whole earth generation

Whole Foods recently announced a new initiative designed to reach out to its younger customers and get them involved in green and healthy living. The grocery giant is running a contest (through YouTube, naturally), in which eco-minded youth aged 8-17 years old can submit 2-minute video clips detailing what they are doing to be part of the Whole Earth Generation.

Some submissions will be selected to appear on Whole Foods’ official YouTube channel leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd. Six winners will be then be selected from all the submissions, and they’ll go on to host an episode of Whole Foods’ Whole Earth Generation Video Podcasts.

This is how companies should be leveraging the Web and social media to connect with youth. It’s not about banner ads or passively managed Facebook pages – it’s about connecting and interacting with your audience and listening to what they have to say.

YouTube for the Intellectual Set

7 January 08

BigThinkNot to say that YouTube’s immense user-base isn’t intellectual, but the content uploaded to and popularized on YouTube has a decidedly light-weight feel. YouTube is more about entertainment than anything else – you know, viral videos featuring skateboarding bulldogs and South Park spoofs.

A new site, Big Think, aims to serve a different niche on the online video world. From the site:

“Our task is to move the discussion away from talking heads and talking points, and give it back to you. That is Big Think’s mission. In practice, this means that our information is truly interactive. When you log onto our site, you can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with todays leading thinkers, movers and shakers. You can search them by question or by topic, and, best of all, respond in kind. Upload a video in which you take on Senator Ted Kennedy’s views on immigration; post a slideshow of your trip to China that supports David Dollar’s assertion that pollution in China is a major threat; or answer with plain old fashioned text. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or heck, throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.”

The site features video clips of numerous “experts” (Richard Branson, Paul Krugman) responding to specific questions. Most of the videos are interviews, where the interviewer is kept out of the final video itself so that the clip looks more like a commentary than an interview. The site aims to become a discussion forum, where users can post questions, ideas, and responses focused on all things “intellectual” – politics, religion, business, law, healthcare. Log on, and check out some of the clips when you have a minute. Apart from being interesting, the whole idea that the existing clips are meant to spark discussion is really exciting. How might you respond? For more, check out this New York Times article on how Big Think got started.