Thinking Digital 2011–The Firehose of Inspiration


This week I attended the Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle. The conference is organised by Herb  Kim and the Codeworks team, and brings together an amazing mix of innovation, technology and great speakers. In the next series of blog posts, I reflect back on two days of what I call the “The Firehose of Inspiration”. Thinking Digital is the highlight of my year and each year gets better and better.

Gerd Leonhard kicked off day 1 of the conference with a talk on the rapid flows of information. He discussed how common it has become for new stories to ‘break’ on Twitter, rather than regular broadcast media. Other key points discussed included: The number of connected devices is expected to grow to around 50 billion around the year 2020. Tomorrow’s challenge for brands, is not going to be distribution. Rather it will be a fight attention. Advertising will need to be re-thought to capture the hearts and mind of people. It will need to improve, so it becomes itself as useful content. 

My notes from the talk follow below:

  • By 2020, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet
  • A fight for attention and not distribution” is the next challenge for digital
  • Interactive television is the future, TV will evolve to be social – We are moving from the network (MTV) broadcaster, to networked broadcasting (YouTube etc).
  • Social networks are the broadcasters.
  • Data is the oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world (Everything we do generates data).
  • We are people of the cloud – accessing content through Spotify, Instapaper, Flipboard, Netflix, iPlayer etc. When we think media and marketing, we must think ‘Cloud’.
  • We are also people of the screen – digital comes first, objects and physical “stuff” is now coming second
  • Sharing is the default mindset of the digital generation and we consume differently
  • Collaborative consumption, there’s a shift today. The trend is not to OWN but to SHARE” e.g. Netflix, ZipCar, Boris Bikes etc.
  • We need a new public licensing standard – people usage rights
  • Twitter and the web is beating all other form of media
  •, The world’s first “morning-after” app that can erase your past
  • Locking things down is a death wish. If you don’t allow sharing, you will be toast
  • The future of media is bundling and upselling
  • The internet is a big copying machine so we need to rethink our approach to copyright
  • No longer is the web just about technical innovation, it’s now also about social innovation
  • On the web you can’t force people to buy, you have to attract people to buy
  • Think outside of the ivory tower
  • If copies are free – then need to sell something that can’t be copied – Kevin Kelly
  • Work out how to monetize customers who are living in the cloud

Gert’s free books, including Friction is Fiction and Music 2.0 are available to download here: &

Gert Leonhard’s presentation from Thinking Digital, can be seen below:

Author: Jas

Jas Dhaliwal is a highly experienced International Social Media Strategist. Currently working as AVG Technologies, Director of Communities and Online Engagement, he specialises in building and engaging with social communities across the web. Born and bred in London, he is passionate about technology and social anthropology. Prior to AVG, Jas launched the social media program for Microsoft’s MVP Award program. Jas holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and has an MBA from Brunel University in London, England. You can follow Jas as @Jas on Twitter or on Google+

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