TEDx Presentation on Artificial You

Several months ago I delivered a TEDx presentation on Artificial You and your Artificial friends. The presentation had great interest amongst the listeners. Therefore I’m sharing both the speach itself and the video to it.

TEDx Aurimas Paulius Gircys

All my life I have been passionate about digital. Now I live my life building online customer paths, helping my clients sell cars, houses and smartphones. Whenever I have a chance, I share this experience with my university students or in international conferences.
Both as an advertiser and a professor I notice how much potential there is in technology. It allows me to deliver an exam online and enables me relax on the beach instead of grading the tests. They are being graded by themselves. 🙂 At the same time I can pop up my phone and have a Skype-call with my brother who stays in Germany. I can run a Hangout and post it on YouTube instead of coming to the lecture. And this is what I did last year, when I left to Mobile World Congress. I created a YouTube video explaining the topic of my class and the students could watch it whenever they wanted. To be honest, the video attendance was 120%, because some students watched it several times. Technology is enabling. It enables us to have access to all the great minds and ideas around the world and at the same time spend that time playing Clash of Clans. It allows us do fact checks – for example, I will be talking about Turing Test and you can do a fact check, if I made a mistake. This is the reason why I never force my students to put the phones into pockets or close their laptop lids. Technology is enabling. It enables us to make our own life so much easier. It also enables us care more about our family members. For example, a friend of mine has a child and he always does Facebook check on the parents of his child’s friends. Sounds creepy 🙂 ? He wants his kid to grow and develop. In fact I think that he would prefer buying friends for his child. He believes that he would help a child develop and make better decisions in future. What if this friend is artificial? A robot so to say that helps your child develop skills that one will need in future? Would you buy a friend who would help you get better at Tennis or Math? I would 🙂

In fact, the only scary thing about this idea is that this friend is artificial. But what if you could not distinguish a real human from an artificial. In fact this is already done. A Turing test – ultimate test to identify a program from a human was passed this year and a program was so great at answering all the questions that the group of experts could not distinguish it from a 13 year old boy. Turing test was passed. It means that artificial intelligence is so advanced that programs can now become your classmates.

This brings so much potential. It means that eventually even in your virtual study classes You will be collaborating not only with other humans, but also with programs, who will try to cheat, will want to be your friends and will have great goals for their lives. Currently if You take classes at Coursera you get to collaborate with people from all around the world. I took one class myself and I was so amazed with the scope and magnitude – 700 teams with 5 people per team developing business ideas. This is such a Think Tank! And with artificial classmates you can have all this on every possible topic starting from business strategy and ending with cooking. I don’t have to grade the exams anymore, so to be honest I don’t mind if I have 200 or 7000 students in my virtual class. And if I do a bad job, I can be replaced with an artificial better me.
This brings so much potential and greatness. For example there is a chance that some of us would not have gotten admitted to university because a superior program student would have better grades. Are you prepared to share your classrooms with virtual students? What if you failed exams because artificial students would study more? Will you care and be digitofobic, or will you embrace the potential?

You won’t need old school communication. Facebook and Snapchat will look as ancient as Egyptian pyramids look today. And that’s fine because your friends and student colleagues will be replaced by algorithms anyway. And not only friends, but also employees and employers. Currently it is still a moonshot away, but algorithms are already in our daily use. How do you know if a letter you received was written by a person or an algorithm? Currently there is both primitive random text generation software and advanced versions that help you write content using special keywords. Most of such software is used to create dummy websites with loads of banners. They have a single purpose – make sure that You find them on search engine and visit the site. But if applied in studies and created by artificial intelligence such papers have a potential of being more unique than anything that we create.
In advertising we already use event based advertising automation. For example right now one campaign is waiting for weather to reach 30 degrees and then it will suggest ice-cream on Facebook. Another client is waiting for snow and will announce instant sale. It doesn’t matter if it snows in December or Tomorrow. Such automation replaces human factor not only in advertising, but also in social conversations. How many of You really know whether somebody retweeting your tweet is a human or a bot? You don’t care, thus your everyday social conversations can be replaced with algorithms and your actions can be observed by agents in order to simulate your conversation and actions while you are outside on the beach. For example last year I spent two weeks actively engaging in social network discussions while at the same time being without Internet on an island in Greece. All due to automation and agents, that observed my behavior and learned from it in order to behave like I would. In fact there is a solution, called LivesOn, which detects that You might be dead and starts Tweeting on your behalf in order to sustain your Digital Afterlife. Scary, right..? One day you might be dead and your friends won’t even notice.
But the beauty of it lies in the potential. Would You pay for a computer program that would take your classes and pass exams while you went skiing or snowboarding? I would.
Problem is that if you miss the classes and skip all the boring things that You do while studying, your friends might chose to invite a computer program to their birthday instead of You. Because the program was the one that cheated together on the exam of law and the program was the one that sent this automated, but very unique birthday text, while You were snowboarding.

Research: Common Knowledge Based Social Media Modeling

Last week my recent research paper on the application of theoretical framework of common knowledge was published. The main idea behind common knowledge is that it is a state when all agents know certain information, know that the others know it, and know that the others know that they know… to the power of infinity. I built a theoretical model to verify the knowledge that agents of the group possess.  Later this model was applied in a practical scenario, where performance of two simultaneous campaigns was evaluated. Despite the fact that traditional ROI approach stated that these two campaigns performed the same, application of common knowledge driven model indicated that these two campaigns had completely different results and theoretically it was possible that a banner campaign was greatly outperformed by social media campaign because it served as a gateway for all agents to know that other agents knew the nformation, which was impossible with traditional broadcasted banners.

common knowledgeIf you are interested in full research paper, you are wellcome to look it up in my Research section or simply download it from the Journal.

Online Marketing Training for Redirected Movie Cluster

Last week I delivered a training for the crew of one of the greatest recent Lithuanian movies “Redirected”. We discussed key elements how to utilize YouTube as an advertising platform for movie promotion and how to create story-telling with banner campaigns.

It was great to find out that the crew was using most of the best social communication practices before the release of the movie, such as taking shots at the casting scenes and promoting them to the worldwide target audience a year before the movie was even released.

We also discussed how to to utilize retargeting and how to reach different audiences on the platforms that the users were most familiar with. After this training, I believe that should the team decide to release a sequel, their marketing campaigns will be even more engaging worldwide.

Check out the article here.Aurimas Paulius Gircys - Redirected seminaras


Google AdWords Top of Page Ads

Did You know that You can use estimated top page bid column to make sure that You bid enough to get into the top of page ads?

There is also another way to get the top of the page ad slot – flexible bid strategy. Find out more about it here: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2979071?hl=en

Dream Generator Application

Here follows an amazing case from Google, where it’s shown how You could integrate mobile with your business.

Austral Lagons lets You enjoy amazing sounds from tropics, islands etc. at night and then in the morning if you had a good night sleep, You are wellcome to purchase a ticket to the destination where the sounds of nature give you the best dreams possible.

Full case follows:


How not to use hashtags to market products and services

Marketers need to recognize that a social media presence is not a billboard – it’s not an empty space that you can buy and slap your message on. When you engage in a social media campaign, you’re joining a conversation – or in Kenneth Cole’s case, crashing a party to which you have not been invited.

Smart marketers find a way for their social media efforts to support that connection – to not only respect the conversation that is already underway, but to strengthen and extend it with their own contributions and resources.

The Internet is buzzing with anger following a tweet on fashion designer Kenneth Cole’s (Chairman and Chief Creative Officer) account that many feel makes light of the protests in Egypt.

The tweet in question reading:

Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC

Kenneth Cole - How not to use hashtags

Kenneth Cole – How not to use hashtags


The Twitterverse, unsurprisingly, is not happy with Cole’s 140-character missive. A fake account – @KennethColePR, à la @BPGlobalPR – has even cropped up, mocking the designer with such tweets as: “Our new slingback pumps would make Anne Frank come out of hiding! #KennethColeTweets.”

Cole later issued an apology on his Facebook Page:

“I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.”

Why didn’t Kenneth Cole learn from the mistakes that UK retailer Habitat did a couple of years ago? The company employed “hashtags” like Iran election and Mousavi – being some of the most popular – to improve positioning in search results and to boost their hit rate.

Habitat UK - How not to use hashtags

Habitat UK – How not to use hashtags


Anyone searching on the site for information about the Iran election or Mousavi was presented with a link to Habitat’s latest catalogue. Habitat had to issued an apology:

“This was a mistake and it is important to us that we always listen, take on board observations and welcome constructive criticism. We will do our utmost to ensure any mistakes are never repeated.”

Think twice before you try to turn a natural disaster into a promotional opportunity. American Apparel offered 20% off for those in states affected by Hurricane Sandy, in case they were “bored” by the storm.

Clothier Gap also made a mildly insensitive tweet, but then took it down and apologized.

Gap Tweet Hurricane Sandy

Gap Tweet during Hurricane Sandy – How not to use hashtags


So don’t use a political and human situation that many people are concerned about, to market products and services.

How to make money while you sleep

Most companies make money while they sleep because they sell products or services with recurring revenue streams. But most professional service firms — like advertising agencies — only make money when they’re logging hours to a time sheet.

Under the current time-based billing model, advertising agency income “per unit of work” has fallen 40% during a steady 20-year decline. So reports agency consultant and advisor Michael Farmer, whose research demonstrates that agency staffs are being squeezed to deliver increasing workloads at a time when fees are declining faster than costs.

The solution to better margins is obviously not to work harder or do a better job of collecting time sheets. To be able to return to the profit margins they had 20 years ago, agencies need new, different revenue streams.

Part of the problem is that the immense brainpower and creativity in agencies is wasted on the increasingly routine and somewhat mundane production work that now accounts for around 80% of a typical agency’s revenues. Many agencies have been pushed so far downstream that they now sometimes compete directly with printers, publishers, and production companies for work that is seen by clients as increasingly commoditized.

Companies may not need advertising, but they all need marketing

As every agency knows, today marketing dollars are being spent in new and different ways, and the budgets that were usually allocated to traditional agencies are being reallocated to initiatives and channels that have to do with “marketing” but not necessarily “advertising.”

It’s an unfortunate fact that the term “marketing” has become associated almost exclusively with only one of the four P’s of marketing: “Promotion.” But of course, marketing is also made up of Product, Place and Price. Agencies and client marketing organizations alike are becoming increasingly marginalized in the business world by allowing themselves to be boxed into just the Promotion business.

Each of the other overlooked P’s of marketing – Product, Place, and Price – represent an area where agencies can create tremendous value for their clients. Some progressive firms are already playing in this space, applying “design thinking” to issues ranging from the optimal design for a bicycle to the experience patients have coming to an emergency room.

Not your father’s awards shows

One telling sign that agencies are now actively developing alternative sources of revenue is the new crop of industry competitions based on inventions and innovations, like the newProject Isaac competition sponsored by Adweek. Instead of the usual categories like print and broadcast, the categories are named such things as Marketing Invention, Brand Performance Invention, Design Invention, Product Development Invention, Digital Publishing Invention, Human Resources Invention, and App Development Invention.

Even the Cannes Lions are moving in this direction with a new “innovation” category this year, along with other newer categories like Branded Content and Cyber. This year’s winner of the new Innovation award is The Barbarian Group, who developed a software-development platform for creative coders called Cinder, which provides a toolbox for programming graphics, audio, and video – some agencies actually used this to prepare their Cannes entries.

The Design award at Cannes is no longer for nice-looking graphics, but rather for game-changing innovation like what the German agency Serviceplan did for their client, a grocery story chain in Germany called Auchan. The agency was able to embed the stores’ sustainability report on a single shopping receipt, allowing users to scan it and get all kinds of information on the grocery chains’ sustainability practices.

Other organizations like Digiday are now sponsoring Agency Innovation Camps, devoted to helping agencies get beyond mass messaging to solve marketing problems in new and different ways.

Will Nicholls, from the British agency Dare, puts it this way: “Traditionally, agencies have created value for their clients through better and different communications. But brand behavior can now come to life in digital product, services, and experiences.”

Creating value in new and different ways

What all this means is that agencies have an important new role: creating value for marketers in ways that have nothing to do with a “message.” Smart marketers know that mass media messaging is an increasingly ineffective way to get traction for a brand. So by thinking creatively about brand marketing is not only a way for agencies to earn revenues outside of advertising, it’s increasingly a strategic imperative.

Havas executive and Victors & Spoils co-founder John Winsor puts it this way “Instead of being executors of communication campaigns, we must become inventors, architects and conductors. The brands we all love see themselves that way. Nike and Apple, for example, don’t really make anything. They invent products but leave it to their vendors to build them. It’s much better to be an Apple than a Foxconn.”

What company founders matter

Founders who can answer “Why” have a competitive advantage over those who can’t, and tend to be better fits for Homebrew.

The average pitch contains substantial time dedicated to the “what” and the “how.” What is the market you’re serving? What is the product you’re building? What is the customer pain you’re addressing? How will you build your product? How will you recruit a team? How will you get customers? All of these questions are essential and certainly factor into any investment decision we make.

That said, “what” and “how” haven’t been sufficient to get us to YES. In the handful of investments we’ve made to date and the termsheets we generated this week (it’s been busy), there has consistently been a strong “Why” as well.

Why are you taking years from your life to work on this problem? Why does your company deserve to exist and why is the world a better place when it succeeds? Founders who can answer the “why” are usually called “mission-driven.” It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily curing cancer or solving global warming (although they might be). Rather there’s a deep conviction that they’re on a personal crusade, one which you need to get on board with RIGHT NOW.

Mission-driven founders energize us. Mission-driven founders also have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. We believe they are better recruiters – not just warm bodies, but the best, most talented people who have many choices and want to work for something which matters. Mission-driven founders seem to commit a little more to their startups because they are giving their heart, not just their brain to the effort. Mission-driven founders build strong cultures.

“How” and “What” can be logically derived. “Why” needs to be felt. And just like funk, it can’t be faked.

If you are a founder who knows Why and you’re working in the Bottom Up Economy helping SMBs, developers and consumers drive economic growth, Homebrew would be honored to hear from you.

If you’re a superstar working for a CEO who you think can’t answer the Why, we’re happy to try and find you a new home because, hey, why not? 🙂

Facebook just launched Embedded Posts

*NEWSFLASH!* Facebook just launched Embedded Posts – wow, this is exciting!! Please share the news!

Embedded Posts is a new social plugin that lets you easily add public posts from Facebook to your blog or web site.

Embedded Posts display just like they do on Facebook, with the ability to show pictures, videos, hashtags, and other content. People can interact with Embedded Posts by liking, commenting, sharing, following posts, and also liking the Page.

NOTE: As always, new features on Facebook are privacy aware. Only *public* posts can be embedded. This feature just launched today on these 5 media pages: CNN, The Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, People.com, and Mashableable. The embed feature will be rolled out to more Pages soon.

See the announcement on Facebook’s developer blog: https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2013/07/31/introducing-embedded-posts/

Plus, check out Facebook’s Embedded Posts documentation, which includes best practices for finding high quality public posts on Facebook to embed:
https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/embedded-posts/ (HELLO? See that? One of the ways Facebook recommends that you find great public posts to embed is by browsing ‪#‎HASHTAG‬ feeds. You gotta start using more hashtags, people! Your posts could end up getting picked up and embedded on mega sites out there!)

See also this AllFacebook.com post: http://allfacebook.com/embedded-posts_b122838

What do you think? Pretty cool, eh? Will you use Embedded Posts on your website/blog?

‪#‎facebooktip‬ ‪#‎facebookmarketing‬ ‪#‎embeddedposts‬ ‪#‎facebookfeatures‬ ‪#‎facebookhelp‬ ‪#‎facebookmari‬

Google AdWords Definitions (Infographic)

Have you ever been lost in the midst of a conversation about pay per click? We know the world of PPC advertising can be confusing, so we’ve created a list of Google AdWords definitions to help you navigate through it!

Google AdWords Overview

Google AdWords can help your school reach prospective students and assist with increasing enrollments. Your ad will be displayed to people who are already searching for keywords related to going back to school. Because these people are already searching for services your school can offer, they’re more likely to become a lead. You even get to choose the placement of the ad, deciding on the specific websites and geographical areas it will appear.

Use the PPC glossary below as your roadmap to a better understanding of pay per click terms:

PPC Roadmap