Snowflake Effect on how-to videos

Two Years After Launch, Howcast Is Streaming 25 Million How-To Videos A Month

by Erick Schonfeld on January 28, 2010

Two years ago, former Googlers Jason Liebman, Daniel Blackman and Sanjay Raman launched Howcast, a site filled with originally-produced how-to videos on everything from “How to Ice Skate” to “How To Deal With a Mean Boss.”  Today, Howcast is streaming 25 million videos a month across its network, which includes its own site, popular channels on YouTube and Hulu, and an iPhone app (iTunes link) which has been downloaded more than one million times.  A year ago, the startup was streaming about 10 million videos a month.


The growing list of sites such as HowcastHowStuffWorks and eHowwhich provide sites and tools for creating and posting how-to video continues to grow dramatically and exemplifies how The Snowflake Effect is enabling the mass customization and personalization of content, video in this case

Note also how companies are starting to figure this out and hiring Howcast ti create and publish what they are calling “branded entertainment” which as the TechCrunch posting above notes “These aren’t ads per se, they are more instructional videos on how to use a product or attempts at social branding.”  I think that as companies and organizations start to figure out the power of creating content which truly is of value to us, and not just dressed up commercials, these will add even more to the exponential growth of very learning oriented video content.

I’ll post more on this soon, but I think it is now clear that whenever we set out to explain something, tell a story, or create content for any other reason, that we need to assume everything is a mashup and adopt a “nothing new” approach where we initially assume that all the raw content, the small modular bits of content we need, already exists.  I typically describe my notion of a mashup model* as being “a unique assembly of bits and pieces, usually from more than one source, into a single integrated whole”.  With this in mind, imagine content creation as being like building a house.  If you were to be building your own home you would no longer go out and fell your own trees to create the wood you need, nor make your own windows or forge your own hardware.  Instead you would use pre-made parts and pieces from lumber to complete window and door assemblies to plumbing fixtures to appliances which you would find in catalogues and at building supply stores and you’d “assemble” your home (with help) from all these components.  In a very similar way we can now see that creating content is more a matter of finding and choosing the pre-existing components and assembling them into unique “just right” solutions that match the context and conditions for any given situation.  The web is becoming the world’s largest catalogue and content supply store where you go to find all the materials and tools you need to build your very personalized content assemblies.  Design now becomes the critical skill for almost all of us and the value comes not so much from the raw basic components as from the resultant mashup and how well it is assembled and works as a just right solution to the unique needs at hand.  


*for more details and my thoughts on mashups search on “mashups” on the Off Course-On Target blog

Posted via web from Snowflake Effect


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