Joss Whedon’s ‘Reverse Kickstarter’ is a Success

 

For many, Joss Whedon – creator of the cult hit show Firefly as well as the Avengers series – is a figure held in high reverence. In addition to being a hit-maker, Whedon is also known for doing things his own way, as he showed with Dr. Horrible in 2008, so it should come as a surprise to no one that he is doing the unconventional again with his most recent film, In Your Eyes.

The plot of the film, while very Whedon-esque, is not the most intriguing thing about the film. Rather, it is how the film was released and what Whedon decided to do after that is so unique.

Whedon announced at the film’s premier at the Tribeca Film Festival that everyone would be able to download the film from Vemo for $5 after the screening. In the announcement Whedon said, “This is exciting for us because it means we get to explore yet another new form of distribution… and we get $5.” But Whedon and his team were not going to stop with simply experimenting with a new form of distribution, they decided to growth hack the hell out of the marketing.

Some time after the film’s release the tweets started pouring in about random acts of Whedon:

The cast and crew, along with Whedon himself sent out gifts to random people who rented the movie. The idea being that those people would tweet about the experience and excitedly share it with their friends (who might also think they have a chance at being randomly selected). But it wasn’t just signed posters that were sent out by Whedon & Co.

They also sent AppleTV’s….

Rokus….

And Xbox Ones….

The response has been obviously great, as those users have gone on to share the experience, allowing the campaign to go viral which raises awareness for the film. The innovativeness of the campaign – which has been compared to a ‘reverse Kickstarter’ by many on social media – is only matched by its outstanding execution. AppleTVs, Rokus, and Xbox Ones all share the fact that they are ‘big ticket items’ the kind of thing that you would hope is under the tree on Christmas, but the connection between them is more than that… they all enable you to play Vemo on your TV, and that was likely a strategic decision.

This is pure speculation, but I wouldn’t doubt that the ‘randomly selected’ recipients of these prizes were not all that random at all. In fact I wouldn’t doubt the ones that received streaming devices likely watched the movie on their laptops, signaling a need for a device like a Roku or AppleTV. Furthermore, I wouldn’t doubt the influencers were carefully picked, as it would be a waste to send it to someone who wasn’t going to tweet or Instagram it right away.

Strategy aside, this was another brilliant and unconventional move from the mind of Joss Whedon, who is proving time and again the power of fan service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tablet Takeover, More Than 1 in 3 Americans Own a Tablet Computer

The speed at which a technology can become ubiquitous is sometimes utterly astounding. According to a recent report, over a third of Americans now own tablets, and that number is only going to rise.  Among consumers aged 18 to 34, tablet ownership is even more common, with over half of Americans in this key demographic owning a tablet. What began as an Apple revolution has blossomed with competition furiously keeping pace, as Android-based devices now account for 59% of tablets sold. Even more impressive is according to the report, 68% of US adults plan to purchase a tablet computer at some point in the future.  These increases fall in line with a number of major consumer tech trends; namely the continued mobilization of technology.

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Apple Scores Big with iOS 7, ‘Biggest Change Since the Original iPhone’

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Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference has become an annual attraction, as it typically is the platform through which Apple announces its biggest and most innovative products. This year’s conference was no different. As with most years the rumors prior to the conference were rampant with most people expecting the announcement of a massively overhauled iOS 7, those who were waiting got what they hoped for.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called iOS 7 the “biggest change to iOS since the debut of the iPhone” and based on what we saw that doesn’t seem like a big stretch. The new iOS is headlined by a completely redesigned UI, featuring a new flat design, grid, 3D layers, and gestures.

As you can see the new UI creates a 3D like effect.

Overall the new UI is undeniably gorgeous and really takes the iPhone to the next level, as aesthetically the old iOS was beginning to look stale against its Android and Windows phone competitors. Perhaps the most elegant element of the new system is its responsiveness. For example, using the phone’s accelerometer iOS 7 is able to adapt the screen in parallax, achieving as designer Jony Ive claims, “new types of depth.”

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The PRISM Separating National Security and Privacy

Every now and again a story comes along that really makes me want to stand up on my soapbox and rant, and the recently breaking government PRISM scandal is one of those types of stories. First a little bit of background on this story for the uninitiated:

According to a Washington Post article the U.S. government has been secretly tracking American’s online activity through an initiative code named PRISM. The name might sound like something out of a Marvel comic but the organization is very real, and what it does could be potentially terrifying to privacy-concerned citizens. According to leaked documents, the PRISM program has been in effect since 2007, gaining strength and capacity steadily since. Originally intended as a program to monitor foreign communications through US servers but in practice it would seem the scope is far greater.

PRISM, which began in 2007, has grown a lot since.

Under the program, the NSA is granted access to a number of familiar major company’s servers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, Youtube, Apple, if you have interacted with any of these companies over the last 6 years (and who hasn’t) your information is susceptible to government surveillance under PRISM. Now, admittedly, they aren’t likely tracking and monitoring every individual’s activity they actually have stringent guidelines for picking who to monitor. Actually, there is only one guideline, and its not stringent whatsoever. According to the report, an NSA analyst has to have only ”51 percent” certitude that the subject is “foreign”. The loopholes in this system are even bigger than the plot holes in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. And at this lies the root as to why the reaction of the American public to this story has varied along a continuum of terrified to furious.

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