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Video Billboards in Concert

Don’t know if it’s in any advertiser’s future plans yet, but it was in the dream I just awoke from – someone spent a lot of money to make a city-wide spectacle using those video billboards.

Don’t ask me which ad agency snuck into my cerebral cortex last night or what the pitch was, but ultimately what I saw in my dreams was a gigantically staged set piece that was only possible because the tv has been writ large and elevated to the roof top.

I was somehow having a rooftop party, and so were lots of my neighbors. Out on the roof and at one end of a major boulevard in town, I looked down the street and suddenly noticed all of the video billboards showing a coordinated piece. It looked like dancing. I don’t think there was any audio, I think it was the perspective and the sudden realization that they were using the entire boulevard and its inventory of video billboards to make a big event. 

As I looked across the town, which had its usually light fog creating a complimentary glow to the big monitors, rather than blocking any of the view. In addition to the boulevard I lived on, there was another parallel boulevard in the distance that was also part of the display.

It was at that moment, just as I was remarking to myself and the people at the rooftop party that this had to have been the most elaborate and expensive ad I’d ever seen – skydivers started appearing in the sky. Seemingly, the actors from the giant screens were now dancing and dropping from the sky. Many landed on my roof and were roundly congratulated by my guests. As we showed them how to get down off the roof, we all basked in this amazing experience.

Weird. An amazing dream time spectacle indeed.

Speed(ing) Dating

I was sitting in downtown SF watching the comings and goings of a much younger crowd. I was near a gym and there was this constant stream of people in and out. And in front, I saw this weird dance taking place. People would stand at the curb with their phones out and cars would come and go. There was the “traditional” car sharing transactions, but also some of the new mobile valet services which I’d never witnessed yet. But while I am familiar with Ubers and the like at a high level, I wasn’t quite prepared to see multiple, separate groups being picked up. I saw a dance of strangers trying to make sense of what the appropriate way to interact with another stranger in the backseat (or front seat) of their Uber.

Which made me think… You’ve got just a few minutes in the backseat with a stranger… Speed dating!

Why not have Uber know a bit about your dating preferences and then squash two potential mates in the backseat of an Uber and let them have a short commute to figure out whether they want another ride together?

You could rate your companion just as you do the driver.

The driver could have a series of ice breaker topics/questions – if needed.

Swipe left if you like, turn right if you need a little more time with that special someone.

Box Bladders

I welcome the gradual shift from styrofoam peanuts to little bags of air cushioning my various mail ordered products. And though a one-size fits all product allowing them to just toss in more or less of the bags, it still seems like an incomplete patentable journey.

Thereby I came up with the idea for the box bladder. This would we a product jointly developed by the powerful Cardboard Box Cartel and the
Huffers & Puffers Union. Each box would have an uninflected air-bag like bladder inside when sent to Amazon or There, items are placed in the box and after being taped, the person or robot packing the box hooks up an air hose to the valve recessed on the box side and fill up the bladder, snugly wrapping the contents in the box. The consumer, on the far end of the supply chain, could simply release the air valve (like a bike tire, inner tube or sex doll) and the bladder would deflate.

Okay, get cracking!

A Camera Reflection

As I think about the progression of things towards “free”, I keep running into instances where “if only they added another” becomes ever more likely/practical.

I was trying to take a good photo of my baby girl as she sat in my lap today. I was using my iPhone and everyone knows how hard that can be to take a good shot with. An earlier piece pointed out how eventually, which the ever cheaper price of displays, that they’d have displays on both sides of the phone and in this instance, I would have been able to see what I had in the viewfinder. But I couldn’t.

The photo didn’t come out all that great, but as I emailed it to my wife back at home, I thought for a moment that not only did the photo show little of my daughter and I, but it didn’t show much of what was around us. So my wife had no way of knowing where we were.

So I almost took a picture of what we had been looking towards at the time of the photo, which happened to be Treasure Island here on San Francisco Bay. But when I stopped myself from doing that, I realized that with the decreasing price of camera lenses, why doesn’t the phone just do it by itself?

The new iPhones have cameras on both sides, so that should be trivial, right? Just a software thing. But what about other cameras? SLRs? Doesn’t have to be the same high-end lense/photo, but why not just add a bunch of smartphone cameras to all sides of the camera? That way you could get context for your photos. The camera could somehow store them in a way that software on my computer could connect the two. Just as they have GPS coordinates embedded in photos, why not photos of what was on either side or behind me?

Never know what you’ll see as things move closer to free.


After seeing yet another somethingVille billboard along US101, the thought struck me.. Why hasn’t Zynga catered to the goth/vampire/werewolf market? How about CemeteryVille where you come out at night and play your character (whether ghost, goblin, vampire or teenager trying to spark in your convertible after the prom). You can get points for sucking the most blood, spend your hardbought credits to buy garlic or a silver bullet.

Perhaps there’s only so many people this would appeal to, but as someone who’s never played an anythingVille game, I know I’ll enjoy the updates of my friends showing up on the Wall (Mr. Gorbachev tear down this Facebook Wall!)