I’m going to be hosting a workshop during Content Marketing World tomorrow. If you know about CMW, then you probably know it as that the event in Cleveland that Kevin Spacey is speaking at, among other festivities. Actually, Spacey is the perfect choice to shed light on a new way of doing business between the content creators and the people consuming the content. His hit “television show,” House of Cards, isn’t on television in the traditional sense but streamed exclusively on Netflix. It’s the first major series to go directly to streaming and it’s changed the way we think of how entertainment is produced and delivered. As a producer of the series, Spacey speaks passionately about the shifting economics between those producing content (himself) and those distributing it (Netflix, NBC, ABC, HBO, etc).
Spacey’s insights on the topic are sharp and well delivered and correct. But in putting together this panel, I realized that the sands aren’t only shifting under the feet of content providers. The world of content creators (movie stars, talk show hosts, newspaper columnists) is also changing. I’m not talking about the rotating cavalcade of cats, skateboarders colliding with concrete, and teenage confessionals that is YouTube. That’s a whole other post. I’m talking about the world of Makers.
All of the panelists that I brought together aren’t content providers or strategists in any sense of the word. They’re people utilizing technology to invent, create, share, hack, re-share, learn and invent again. Some are artists like Erica Mott, who is working with open source hardware and software as well as some ‘hacked’ technologies like Kinect to create a movement and music duet between performers and sewing machines.
There’s Joel Corelitz, a composer and musical technologist who has received accolades and recognition for his work in video games such as The Unfinished Swan and Loom. Corelitz has created a way for an audience to jam with a musician on stage using smartphones — a way that actually sounds like music and not cacophony.
Another is Ken Burns of Tiny Circuits, who has created an entire business based on the idea of small technology that can be easily adapted, expanded, integrated and shared. Want to build a GPS tracker for your cat? Google it and Ken can hook you up. (Incidentally, Ken is a great example of the kind of Maker that is changing the landscape of the Northeast Ohio economy. He’s one of the reasons why I think this region is ripe to be the next boom region based on the Make Economy.)
The other panelists include Jason Tilk from Nottingham Spirk, Jared Bendis from Case, Brian Peters from Kent, and Lyn Goeringer from Oberlin — all innovators who, in the past may have either given up on an idea because it was too expensive technologically to execute or would have toiled in obscurity until someone discovered their work — or didn’t. Collaboration was exclusive for folks working in places like NASA or Lockheed Martin Skunkworks or IBM.
Today’s equivalent of those places are Facebook and Google — but those juggernauts really depend on the content creators of today — people doing, making, and sharing — if you look at places like instructables.com or makezine.com, or even do a selective search on YouTube, you’ll see that this side of the content universe is growing and changing how we approach the world beyond content. House of Cards may be the future of television and visual entertainment. But machines that can dance with you, musical instruments that let you jam with performers, and clothing you can program — that’s the future of everything else.
You can attend this panel discussion on September 11 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and see all of the panelists work at the upcoming IngenuityFest, September 26 - 28 in Cleveland.