Schwarzenegger in a skirt?
por Mario Persona
Supertankers are the biggest man-made mobile objects. Huge, brute, heavy, they make anyone near feel like a Lilliputian. They impress us with their weight, they make us dizzy with their height, they flurry with their power, and they are always ready to explode and cause an ecological disaster. They are the Rambos and Schwarzeneggers of the seas. (Aqui em Português)
On the other hand, what really seduce us are sailboats. Fragile, simple, elegant partners of the wind. They politely excuse the waves as they break them and fluster our eyes with the ephemeral voluptuousness of their sails.
We are so impressed with grandeur, power and majesty that we often fail to notice everything that is fragile and unassuming. We want to have the control of everything, from the basement to the top of the roof. Power intoxicates us. At the academy, we want to be Rambo, at work, Donald Trump. We dream about building sky scrapers, casinos and pharaonic mausoleums, even if they are for our own burial. We admire the exterior superstructures, and forget that seduction comes from the interior design.
In the midst of the vlog fever and systems that provide hosting and broadcast infrastructure — Youtube, BlipTV, Videolog, Putfile, Google Video, Mobuzz etc. — emerges a young Australian whose name sounds like the petroleum from supertankers, but is as subtle as a sailboat. Ben Petro, 27, created Gidol!, short for Google Idol. Join me along this great idea from a guy who is now a celebrity.
The site’s name is a marriage between the information supertanker — Google — and the great entertainment seduction — American Idol. It appeals to the most accessible audience; young people in search for fame: music. And it is for both; those who sing like a jackdaw and also for unknown titlarks.
To the former, Gidol! provides the possibility of becoming the new “Brookers”, the 20 years old girl who has been watched by millions around the world and became a star mimicking on the little screen on YouTube. In the blink of an eye she went from receptionist to artist and was hired by a TV production company. She even bought her first car with the help of her fans.
But that is for those who perform or mimic. And for singers? Gidol! offers the chance to see their career skyrocket carried by those who… perform! Yes, by his or her cover.
And this is where Ben Petro saw the opportunity to put together hunger and the desire to succeed. At Gidol! he promotes competitions. There are open categories, but there are also others where those who want to be artists must mimic a new singer, like the young Indian singer Aneela, who sings in Hindi. While the public votes, singers and performers go on helping each other. But who helps Ben Petro, the Gidol! creator?
It seems he is not that worried about that now. It is his hobby. Ok, you must be concerned with costs, infrastructure etc. Well, hobbies never cost anything, right? Any investment of time and money in a hobby is always followed by excuses like… ‘I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t go out with my friends’… You have all heard somebody talking like that.
Besides, not everything happens in Petro’s laptop, as the videos are hosted by their own creators on Google Video Catching on? They’ve got a ride on famous brands and on the moment’s sensation and has put everyone else to work: Google Video hosts the videos, boys and girls mimic, dance and jump around, and the wannabe singers supply them with their songs, lyrics and MP3.
This guy has a bright future sailing on his sailboat because he knows how to optimize resources and sail with simplicity. The same simplicity that Bree, or LonelyGirl15, reveals in her videos watched by millions on YouTube. In this little and ingenious soap opera style show, which can be genuine or done by professional actors, as some believe, she deals with the ups and downs of an idyllic relationship with her friend Daniel, attracting millions of spectators along the way. The girl plays a role that is exactly the opposite of the modern woman — strong and independent.
She is simple, fragile and vulnerable. She has nothing to do with the “warrior” or “powerful” kind of woman that we have been used to seeing among highly successful women. She has the fragility of the “apple of the eye”, nickname for the part of the body that we rush to protect literally in the blink of the eye. And she is far from the stereotype of sensuality the media forces on us: in a video where she goes for a swim, the girl has a “grandma-style” swimsuit.
Would such a huge audience be a sign that femininity, grace and decency are scarce products in today’s market? You judge. While you do that, think about the homework, be it for business, behavior or life: simplicity is everything, homely is king and Schwarzenegger would never look right in a skirt.
More about this subject? Besides the book below, I suggest the video “American Pop Culture – It’s Crumbelievable!” from “The Colbert Report” show. Read also an article about LonelyGirl15 in Businessweek
| The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-target goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.
One example of this is the theory’s prediction that demand for products not available in traditional bricks and mortar stores is potentially as big as for those that are. But the same is true for video not available on broadcast TV on any given day, and songs not played on radio. In other words, the potential aggregate size of the many small markets in goods that don’t individually sell well enough for traditional retail and broadcast distribution may someday rival that of the existing large market in goods that do cross that economic bar.
Traditional retail economics dictate that stores only stock the likely hits, because shelf space is expensive. But online retailers (from Amazon to iTunes) can stock virtually everything, and the number of available niche products outnumber the hits by several orders of magnitude. Those millions of niches are the Long Tail, which had been largely neglected until recently in favor of the Short Head of hits.
When consumers are offered infinite choice, the true shape of demand is revealed. And it turns out to be less hit-centric than we thought. People gravitate towards niches because they satisfy narrow interests better, and in one aspect of our life or another we all have some narrow interest (whether we think of it that way or not).
The Long Tail book is about the big-picture consequence of this: how our economy and culture is shifting from mass markets to million of niches. It chronicles the effect of the technologies that have made it easier for consumers to find and buy niche products, thanks to the “infinite shelf-space effect”–the new distribution mechanisms, from digital downloading to peer-to-peer markets, that break through the bottlenecks of broadcast and traditional bricks and mortar retail.
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