Our Manifesto

Content in an AI-driven asynchronous world

It's important for you to understand some of our founding principles. In the spirit of manifestos gone before, here they are. You may agree, or disagree, let's have that conversation.

Our 'why' is derived from observing content flows in our always-on, hyper-busy, hyper-personalized, digital worlds.

Our objective is to help you re-think your content strategy for 2021. Time to move beyond last century's paradigms.

To help you take advantage of today's always on, AI-driven, digital world, with thousands of PhDs, match making algorithms, real time streaming data, GPUs, TPUs, CPUs, and CPUs, clouds, and hyper intelligent devices.... etc.

ALL of which are designed to deliver the right content, in the right context, in the right media, to the palms of your communities' hand. As the price of compute, storage, and networking continue on their asymptotic march to $0, the power brought to bear, to improve this match, is growing exponentially.

The ideas in the manifesto come from observing the way content flows in our always-on, hyper-busy, digital worlds.

Video - Menlo Creek Manifesto Introduction

Founding Principles

Mega Trends - Today's Reality

1 - An increasing proportion of content is consumed asynchronously

How much digital content do you consume live? Less and less. Be it a regular TV or Movie show, podcast of YouTube episode, just about everything outside of the live local news, am radio, and big events (and even those, I usually DVR to get some fast-forward time in cue). The triad of creation, distribution, and consumption are no longer bound by time and space. Not for everything, nothing like the shared experience at a live show. But for most of the things we watch, read, and listen too, it's not synchronous, appointment consumption.

Video - AI-Driven Asynchronous World

2 - An increasing proportion of content is discovered via AI Push (notification) vs User Pull (search)

Think about it, how many notifications compete for your attention, and drive your next "click" your next action, be they notifications from email, Slack, Salesforce, Asana, Jira, News, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., the list goes on and on. An increasing amount of artificial intelligence is sprinkled in an increasing number of applications and processes, all designed to get you to click and consume, discover and share. And while ad dollars drive a large proportion of the selection, as the AI get's better, the meta data richer, the algorithms better trained, all interests align in getting the right content to the right person, in context, while they're interested in the topic, in the media format and app most appropriate for that moment of discovery, and hopefully consumption and sharing.

Video - AI Push Notifications vs User Pull Search

3 - Consumption is Bifurcating (or bi-modal if you prefer). Some want a little, Some want a lot. No one wants 'average'

I always chuckle when people tell me that no one watches more than 30 seconds of video, when I don't have to go dig deep for the same person to tell me they binge watched an entire season of Game of Thrones of the Office or some other show. If we want a little, a TickTock nibble, a 2 min native Twitter video great. If we want more, a 2 hour Joe Rogan interview with Elon Musk, or a three part, almost 6 hours of Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary. The good news, with digital assets, you take start with one (long form video), and create as many derivative assets as your imagination can muster, from the short to the long, audio, video, and text, read, watch and listen. Don't limit your deliverable to one editors interpretation, open up the possibilities.

Video - Content Bifurcation

4 - One > 1% of 100

Broadcast with low conversion used to be the only option. Who are the specific people that matter in your world? Names, Titles, Geos, etc., Can you name the top 200, 300 people that matter to you?  Focus on the people that matter. A wise man recently told me that there are 200 people that matter in his space. Broadcast and conversion were built when you didn’t have the ability to connect directly with other individuals that matter. Barriers significantly reduced when you can IM via LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, Salesforce, Instagram, GChat, Etc, Etc, 

Video - One is greater than 1% of 100

What can we learn from 21rst Century Creators
(with a focus on YouTube)

5 - Conte’s Law #1 - Publish don’t Finish

Your effort and sweat and pain and pride for any particular piece of content has NO correlation that content’s update in the wild. I call this Conti’s Law because Jack Conte, founder of Patreon has covered it elegantly in a few videos (This short version, The long version. (They’re different talks, come to the same conclusion). Basically, consumption is NOT determined by what you think is good, or what took the most work or was the most difficult. Sometimes what you throw up at the last minute, catches fire. We hear about it all the time in music, last song on last album was the hit.
So….. Don’t worry about it. Let the funnel figure it out. Just keep pushing content into the ether. 

Video - Conte's Law #1 - Publish don't Finish

6 - Conte’s Corollary Law #2 - The Funnel is your friend

The funnel will sort out which pieces of content hit, and which don’t. Don’t worry about it, approach it from a portfolio strategy, just keep publishing, some will hit, some will not, but don’t try to pick winners.
VCs been operating this way for decades.

Video - Conte's Law #2 - The Funnel is your Friend

7 - Casey's Law #1 - Getting 10,000,000 subscribers was not as hard getting 10,000

When Casey celebrated his 10 Millionth subscriber, he posted this video. I have a whole section in 'resources' dedicated to Casey and the many lessons learned, and this is foundational. It's very hard, and takes time for your audience to find you. There is no substitute for consistent delivery over time, take a lot of work, and more can't keep it up. But if you do, among the billions of connected people around the world, chances are they will build around you.

Casey tells the story.

8 - Video, it’s multi-modal, watch, listen, read.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are 1,800 pictures a minute worth? And if we add sound? Video’s a special asset in that you get Audio and Text as a bonus.  

Video - With video, you get audio and text too

What to do now?

9 - Optimize for asynchronous consumption. Turn the traditional event / content relationship on its head.

Used to be that the Event was the THING, often determined by the space availability at event venues. The content was an artifact, an afterthought, often late to publish, with limited availability, and little investment beyond “chronicling” or “documenting” the event. 

Turn that upside down. Use the event as a simple organizing structure behind the content. Design around a content first, Content purpose-built for ongoing, multi-platform, multi-use, utilization. Not simply an artifact of what happened. 

Video - Turn the Event / Content relationship on it's head, Content first, event as an organizing principle

10 - Feed the AI , Train the AI

The AI needs data, is always searching for data, data advantages. Feed it. The vast majority of people spend time-consuming data, not producing. Do the work, produce, and then meta tag and digitally distribute all over the place.
Metadata, metadata, metadata.

Video -> Transcripts -> Plus Meta Data -> Feeds the AI -> Which connects to your very important people as defined by shared relationships and interests, demonstrated by behavior, that drives AI algorithms.

If the connection is real, water should find it’s course. Help train the AI by manually connecting the dots with those 200 people that matter. Comment on their blogs, like their posts, connect via social, Really Engage.

A not so pretty picture illustrating

1) Video creates Video, Audio, and Text
2) Can be consumed by watching, listening, or reading
3) AI Engines in Content platforms, Content Syndication services, Apps, and Operating systems, are all trying to make the contextual content match, delivering relevant content to the consumer, based increasingly on closer to real time behavior.


Video - Feed the AI

11 - It’s easier to surf a wave, than create one -

Video - It's easier to surf a wave then create one, especially if your library well indexed

12 - Deliver to the palm of your consumer’s hand. 

Don’t expect them to come to your location. They have their mobile with them always. Deliver the content to the palm of their hand, when they're in the mood to consume it. 

Video - Deliver your content, in context, to the palm of their hand

13 - Wrapping the concepts in a bow - Assembling the 2021 content train with actions and intentions. 

Video Let’s pull all the pieces together. 

Video - Thanks for stopping by


Amendments - 

A1 - Data ≠ Information ≠ Knowledge ≠ Insight without context

Signal to Noise ratio increasing at an exponential rate in the wrong direction. 

And Signal increasing faster than our find & ability to absorb it. 

A2 - Overnight sensations (are usually 10 years in the making)

The hardest part of starting, is starting. Just get started. Doesn’t have to be polished, you’ll adjust and course correct and wander over time based on all sorts of factors. But when the muse calls, answer. It’s not a 9-5 thing. If it’s not your primary job, go at your own pace.

A3 - Big Bang - High Leverage - vs Slow and Steady


A4 - Build AI feedstock 

Video -> Transcripts -> Plus Meta Data -> Feeds the AI -> Which connects to your very important people as defined by shared relationships and interests, demonstrated by behavior, that drives AI algorithms.

If the connection is real, water will find it’s course.

How can we help you?

Contact Us