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Monday News: Sony’s future, focus groups and creativity, copyright v. revenge...

Japan Industrial Partners, which specialises in turnarounds and buyouts in manufacturing, said it aimed to reach an agreement by the end of March to buy the PC business.

A small player in the global PC business, Sony has often been criticised for having too much under its wing.

If the PC deal comes together, a new company will be established, both sides said.

Sony said it would concentrate on its line-up of smartphones and tablets and “cease planning, design and development of PC products”. –Aljazeera America

 

The author further points out that when the Doctor Who update was focus grouped in 2005, it showed dismally, even though it has become a huge success since. When we talk about fostering an environment of creative risk and introducing novelty in the Romance genre, I think Anderson provides some crucial food for thought:

It takes time for new products to be adopted by the public. It generally takes a small passionate group of “sneezers” (people who get excited about something new and start telling everyone they possibly can) to get behind a new product and make it a success. This is down to familiarity and status quo bias amongst the general public – we don’t tend to like “new” and “different” things when they first appear – but once people begin getting excited this initial resistance can soon be broken down. The problem is that a focus group will only enforce these biases. How can genuinely new and exciting products ever reach the market when faced with these hurdles? –Jamie Anderson’s blog

I have to admit that I have been very frustrated with attempts to have the safe harbor provision eliminated, precisely because of the speech-chilling possibilities; at the same time, though, I agree that victims of revenge porn need an easier legal route to justice. Enter the DMCA, which protects copyright of selfie photographs, so many of which are later used in the execution of revenge porn schemes:

Many of the lawsuits against revenge porn websites are for tort claims like stalking, harassment or invasion of privacy. The problem is that most stalking and harassment laws are not applicable to revenge porn submitters because there is no repeated course of conduct or direct communication with the victim.

. . .

More than 80 percent of revenge porn photos are selfies, meaning that, as the “authors” of their selfies, the majority of victims own the copyright in their photos. Victims can use the takedown provisions Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to de-index websites with their photos from search engines like Google and ask the websites themselves to remove the photos, all without having to hire a lawyer–The Atlantic

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

20 Comments

  1. Kaetrin
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 04:10:19

    The South African ad is wonderful. Thx for sharing.

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  2. Ros
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 05:52:25

    I don’t care what that was advertising, it was beautiful.

    Several years ago, I had a Vaio. It was the most beautiful computer I’d ever owned and I loved it, but they were always expensive for what they were. So I’m a bit sad but not all that surprised that Sony are giving up on them.

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  3. Lynne Connolly
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 06:32:18

    Focus Groups – I used to run them and analyse them as part of a market research manager job. They always tend to the mediocre, because the accepted wisdom is to discount the outliers as representing an insignificant part of the population. The technique is excellent when you’re trying to develop something like frozen peas or yogurt, because it provides information that will move the most product.
    With media, the approach should be radically different. Have the producers learned nothing from the success of HBO? They gained their foothold by making quality, expensive, difficult dramas. And “Game of Thrones” fits right into that.
    It revolutionized American TV drama. It’s sad to think we won’t get any more of that, if they take the “fmcg” approach to focus groups.
    copyright as a tool to help stamp out revenge porn? Why not, if it works? After all, it wasn’t the rackateering that got Al Capone, it was the tax evasion!

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  4. Eliza Evans
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 06:54:17

    Oh my god, that video! I’m literally in tears. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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  5. Sirius
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 07:09:11

    Add me to those who loved the video.

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  6. Lynnd
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 08:08:03

    That video is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Sunita
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 09:09:24

    I don’t entirely disagree with the premise that focus groups inhibit risk-taking and innovation (although that’s not always true). But to blame focus groups is to mistake the symptom for the cause. Executives in all kinds of fields want sure things; very few businesses reward failure unless you’re a CEO with a golden parachute. If you take away focus groups, they’ll find some other way to try and ensure the next winner. There are plenty of copycat shows on TV that weren’t dreamed up via focus-group testing. In other words, the reward system for the final decision maker shapes the incentives in the earlier parts of the decision chain.

    I don’t know what Bell’s costs in South Africa, but in the UK Bell’s is definitely a medium-priced (at best), working person’s whisky. So it’s kind of fitting in that way too. Great ad.

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  8. Darlene Marshall
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 09:32:17

    *Sigh* My current and last three laptops have been Sony Vaios. I love the model, and have always found it to be the best of the best for keyboard and screen. I think my next laptop will move me over to the Mac side.

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  9. mel burns
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 09:42:00

    Georgina Henry died on Feb 7…..

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/feb/07/georgina-henry

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  10. P. J. Dean
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 10:13:25

    Adored the video. I just wanted to point out that the man learning to read was reading HARD COPY. That warmed my heart more. He was learning how to read and finally reading the OLD SCHOOL way. With all these industries shuting down their e-reader divisions and the whole DRM debacle, maybe it’s time to really re-consider going paperback again. Even though my books are e-pubs, my publisher is slowly putting out its inventory in print now.

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  11. Rose
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 11:10:00

    The link wouldn’t load for me, but I think the term Anderson is looking for is early adopters and/or opinion leaders. Research shows that innovators and early adopters aren’t just ahead of the curve, sometimes there’s actually a lull between the point they adopt and the point where the rest of the market starts to do so, and you can’t always predict how long it will last – or if the rest of the market really will follow.

    Maybe the solution is to do targeted focus groups with early adopters and opinion leaders in addition to the usual sampling. Actually, I imagine some companies already do just that.

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  12. Robin/Janet
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 11:48:58

    @Sunita:

    Executives in all kinds of fields want sure things; very few businesses reward failure unless you’re a CEO with a golden parachute. If you take away focus groups, they’ll find some other way to try and ensure the next winner.

    I don’t think Anderson would disagree with you. But I also don’t think he’s failing to see that point, or ‘mistaking the symptom for the cause,’, but rather taking on focus groups because he’s specifically interested in the line between creative collaboration and creating for the purpose of broadest consumption:

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting for a minute that collaboration and creative input from multiple parties isn’t important feature of the creative process. Far from it in fact – I’d say it’s essential. If you’re a creative and you don’t have anyone around you to call you out on your bullshit, then you are in trouble. But there’s a huge difference between creative collaboration and the creatively sterilising effect of trying to please everyone who might see your creation.

    This very much reminded me of the discussion we’ve been having these last few weeks on DA about how reader feedback, for example, often stands in for “the reader.” It’s not precisely the same thing, but I think the same line, so to speak, is being traced.

    @mel burns: Thanks for posting that link.

    @Rose: I couldn’t load the article on my phone, for some reason, but it’s fine on my laptop.

    Re. sneezers and early adopters, sneezers is a term Seth Godin popularized in relation to his “ideavirus.” They’re the ones who spread the virus. He uses the term separately from early adopters. There’s a brief description of sneezers here: http://www.authorems.com/2012/sneezers/

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  13. Ridley
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 11:50:17

    @P. J. Dean:

    I just wanted to point out that the man learning to read was reading HARD COPY. That warmed my heart more. He was learning how to read and finally reading the OLD SCHOOL way.

    I’d like you to check your able privilege here. Paper books are fine and good for those who can read them, but many disabled people cannot, and reading electronically is not a lesser experience or exercise. Ebooks allow many people to read who can’t read paper books: dyslexic readers, blind readers and physically disabled readers. They’re an important part of a literate society.

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  14. Rose
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 13:19:14

    @Robin/Janet:
    Re. sneezers and early adopters, sneezers is a term Seth Godin popularized in relation to his “ideavirus.” They’re the ones who spread the virus. He uses the term separately from early adopters.

    That sounds like a variation on the concept of opinion leaders to me… and I think opinion leaders is the more appealing term ;) I’m not familiar enough with Seth Godin’s work to have an opinion about its merits, but it’s well-established that word of mouth is a powerful force and that firms want what they’re selling to generate positive word of mouth. Achieving this isn’t so easy, of course.

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  15. azteclady
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 14:26:36

    I loved, loved, loved the video, it made me cry.

    I knew nothing about Georgina Henry until I followed the link–how sad! Thank you for sharing that, Mel Burns,

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  16. Jenns
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 14:45:15

    What a beautiful, poignant ad! I loved it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Re: the Vaio. I owned one years ago and loved it. I’m sorry to hear that Sony has given up on them.

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  17. library addict
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 17:05:51

    My first PC so many years ago was a Viao. And my current laptop is a Viao. It will hopefully last me a long time.

    Add me to the list of those who loved the video. I like that it wasn’t just books he was reading, but comics, cereal boxes, etc.

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  18. Lynn Rae
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 17:45:16

    Just had to chime in on the focus group discussion. I find it frustrating whenever I read about an industry ‘expert’ justifying continuing with a tried and true formula because ‘that’s what our customers want’. No, that just means you are selling the same old product to the same customers. They don’t seem to grasp the fact that plenty of people don’t buy the product just because it is the same old, same old. It’s the whole idea of untapped markets remaining untapped because no one is will to take a risk and find out what ‘different’ people are looking for.

    Oh, and I love the video too. Excellent stuff. Just what I needed after walking into the middle of a confrontation in our grocery store’s parking lot in which one woman threatened to shoot another over a parking space this afternoon. While I was trying to get my six year old son in his booster seat. Whew!

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  19. Sandra Schwab
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 16:42:36

    Oh my goodness, that video! It’s wonderful and so moving. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyReply

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