“being digital is an eye opener and essential reading for anyone remotely connected to the communications industry. And incidentally its great fun to read.”—Arthur C. Clarke 1995
1995 bitbook being published
15 years later, I lay out of work on a bench reading Negroponte in the sun. No use in wondering why so much refusal and so little acceptance is granted from this land of thinkers and poets, and what Adolf Hitler may have to do with it. I am 20 minutes from Wolfgang Goethes birthplace in Frankfurt, the hub of the most advanced IT infastructures in the world. The occasional dog comes by and takes a sniff at me.
No bones only bits
Negroponte was concerned with the right people reading his book which is why it was published in book form in the first place. He wanted Industry leaders and high ranking business folks to dig into being digital to allow for a smooth culture convergence to take place where it matters most and be done with it. Capable researchers the likes of Amelia Torode have long pointed their fingers at why it seems that technology changes, people don’t. The age group dominating business life [25-45] is tragically absent from being digital. Too busy with organizational issues of real world business as it was passed on from diseased or retired founders.
A bit of ‘sympathy for the executive’
Always late with administering & executing ideas passed on to them, executives have no time for ideas of their own. Consequently t’s all tactics instead of strategies. There is no time for experiencing or having a clue of what being digital could possibly mean to them.
2.2 Million passengers will be flying to their destinations this summer. Each of these travelers will likely make use of the tiny monitor build into the back of the seat of the person sitting in front of them. Those passenger will spend a good portion of the flight concentrating on the movie being watched despite its tiny screensize, ignoring everything else around them.
With a 309,162,581 people living in the United States and an employment-to-population ratio of 71.5, which is considered high, 221,051,245 Americans are going to work every day. A good number will sit right down at the monitor at their desk and stay put for most of the day.
What is happening with us when we cannot take our eyes of the screen? Same that happens with us when we can’t take our eyes of an individual of the other sex. Our system makes us dive into a world of desire, a world we are needy for and interested in! We exit the world we are surrounded by and enter into the world of what interests us most or at the moment. A state of universal freedom and exclusive focus on what our needs, interests or desires are. This is great! We have now chosen to be doing it our way. Nothing distracts us from what we have in mind doing. We have arrived at a mental state of independence and we are supreme.
We have removed ourselves from a world of atoms and have become engaged in the new world of bits. Godspeed. Lightening fast as we also have been removed from beloved beings trying to hold us back. On a more pragmatic side note, this is why it’s a good idea to ask a co-worker to please step away from the screen so we can have her attention.
When we are digital all happens to our fullest satisfaction as it is all happening in our head were all adventure springs from. Our brains have invented reading this way, an indispensable tool that was solely invented from within and by our brains, unaccompanied by help from outside.
Being digital is being in a black and white world with no grey shades. Here it is either on or off. It’s either ‘1’ or ‘0’. Transparency, clarity. I much prefer todays aggregators over yesterdays human intermediaries since I can count on it being nicely quantity driven and free of human judgement and misperception.
Nicolas Negroponte is Professor of Media Technology at MIT and Founding Director of the Media Lab.
2010 Germany’s acclaimed top creative Amir Kassaei supports ‘DIGITAL THINKING’
What good is calling a keynote ‘DIGITAL THINKING ‘ 15 years after Nicholas Negroponte introduced ‘being digital’ you may wonder? The German edition of Negroponte’s bit book is subtitled: ‘the future of communications’. Amir Kassaei set out with good intention to signal his support for digital at a recent gala event held by the advertising congress 2010 in Berlin. I like the sound of his voice, Amie Kassaei’s presentation reflected skilled routine and it is a pleasure to watch. Cool, calm collectiveness while he had to wait for the technical staff to get sorted.
By now I had time to watch the video which I quit the first time to post uneducated bits. Those of you who caught my slurs, please accept my apologies. Do sit through the entire video should you happen to understand German.
The fun theory
Amir Kassaei does ideas that do. With his acknowledgement of digital, he provides the German market with the much needed signal and gets the ball rolling for the much needed transformation to take place. Why Amir Kassaei and the fun theory is important? The Volkswagen powered social activities for the fun theory is bringing in the numbers to convince the account gatekeepers asking for measurable returns. VW is active in 37 countries with Amir’s creative lead. The fun theory is a perfect reflection of Volkswagen’s brand pillars such as ‘Fahrvergnügen’ which the US of A has such a liking for. The fun theory brings ‘Fahrvergnügen’ to places never imagined such as a stairway at Odenplatz in Stockholm dressed up as piano keys which made 66% more pedestrians than normal chose the stairs over the excalator right next to it. The fun theory is a grab bag of small ideas that do. Gareth Key who coined ideas that do must love it.
Germans free Germany from its shock freeze
With signals set, the race is on. My beloved ad industry will now come free from shock freeze which endured for 15 years. Think of how Germany recovered from world war 2 or think of the sweet episode when Amir reminded us of the early beginnings how Doyle Dane Bernbach set out to win VW as a client with a presentation titled:
How to sell a Nazi car in Jewish Manhattan
- Publicness offers safety. Withdraw leads to loneliness.
- Facts create. Restraint makes you poor.
- What helps people, helps business.
German stakeholders must thank Amir Kassaei for embracing digital being, and for signalling the German marketplace.
Germany just took home the lion share of European creative awards. We are experiencing a renaissance in communications. It is now the best time I have ever had in my good life in advertising, regardless of my current state of being out of work. I have come to enjoy my time off and remain busy with helping the transformation to take place. The do word is a powerful one these days. I salute Nike for ‘just do it’.
The job for advertisers and young recruits:
Go do ideas that do¹
- “Being Digital” by Nicholas Negroponte, Contents of Online Version
- Being Digital Selected Bits
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Being Digita available at Amazon.com
- Technologie changes, people don’t—Amelia Torode
- Being-Digital – 7th October
- Image courtesy of GeekAbout.com
- The Fun theory.com—DDB Amir Kassaei
- featured staircase case
- Image courtesy of GeekAbout.com
Amelia Torode Arthur C. Clarke being digital Berliner KommunikationsFORUM eV DDB Digital Footprints Doyle Dane Bernbach Frankfurt Gareth Kay Germany's future of communications Goodby Silverstein and Partners MIT nazi cars NIcholas Negroponte the fun theory Thinker & Poets VW Wolfgang von Goethe