What are your metrics for success? Or how do you get everyone to join a band?

What are you metrics for success?
Is it money? Or prizes? Or accolades? Or how hot your significant other is? Or is it personal satisfaction?
How do you know if you have got something real? How can you know if you are headed in the direction of GM, AIG, lehman brothers, the bush administration, etc?

As of this post, this video has >700,000 views.

And our Quartet video has >380,000 views at posting time.

What do youtube views really tell you? We have a prize from ARS Electronica which we are very proud of but should this make us second guess things a bit? We have top dollar educations from MIT, a team of talented people, a budget of 6 figures, and an international marketing squad behind our project. All of this and you still have about half the views of some random kid playing with his marbles? Hmm…

When discussing this post with Jeff, he pointed me to the video below on the alltime most viewed videos. This video has 95 million views!

Just a random moment that happened to be recorded, 95 million views! And it really is a great minute or two of video. Human emotion, some drama, tension, release, etc. It is not realistic of course to control such a thing but it is great to know it can happen.

Where does that leave us? Not sure… But it reminds me of one other story of success which i can’t find a reference for now so i’ll simply recount my best memory of it and maybe someone out there knows. It wasn’t in the VU wikipedia page. Anyways, someone said something like “The first velvet underground record was basically a flop/mediocre success with critics and the public. But in another measure it is often said to be a success in that everyone who did buy a copy of the album started a band.”

“Everyone who bought the album started a band.” I like that image. How do you create something that causes everyone who comes in contact with it to start a band? That is a very nice seed to plant. What are the other versions of bands that we can start?

It’s most certainly true that you would have to be a very lucky weatherman to predict the future in such a way. But maybe we should be more clear about what it is that we are all striving for. Is there a way to enjoy and observe the peaks(95 million hits, everyone starts a band, etc) of the lottery style reward systems we often use today but place our true definitions of success on the smaller victories? And what exactly are those smaller victories?

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4 Responses to “What are your metrics for success? Or how do you get everyone to join a band?”

  1. Alita says:

    For me, my metric of success is a simple RECOGNITION, not an award, or anything materialistic, I always put it this way, when you received something like an award, people tend to forget all about you when there’s somebody else taking that place over the time and they will start comparing.

    We are appreciated…how cool is that? Even if you build a sky rocket to moon and back but it was not appreciated, what is the whole point of building it anyway, right? Appreciation is one thing that mankind will not get easily.

    On the viewing, I can say, almost 90% of people watching ads or other infotainment and in fact memorized them were simply because there’s a comedy or baby element in them. They are very much careless if anything that pops up on their screen, were a straight forward serious 30secs ad with a big v/o behind [if we live in the 50's or 60's this is the killer tv ad, and might makes you a million dollar man..hey Dan..that's you...;p].

    Anyway, if you want to persuade people to come and sit with you in the same boat and share the same view, you might want to change your strategy on re-presenting your quartet to your target audience. If you know who you wanted to target to, you might wanted to create a few ads or if you are creative enough [which I have no doubt on it], you can do only 1 killer ad, and try to re-capture your target audience.

    Just a suggestion, if you do your quartet with a baby cooing and your machine move with it, then I bet, head will definitely turns. I’m thinking of the storyboard in my head right now…hmm… ;p

    FYI, layman will always see this:-


    That baby is so cute. He bitten his brother’s finger and gave an evil laugh while showing his tiny toothy. Soooo cuutteeee….awwweeeee…..
    And on the other hand, here’s a machine that hear music and starts on their own and if searched further through youtube, you will find this machine with a girl in ‘sexy machine’ video clip. But in this century, if you want sexy, go to porn sites. And what exactly this machine does, hmm…no idea. Only that it’s fantastic because it was robotic. Wow…[for 5sec] then…ok…let’s see the baby vid again. He was adorable, wasn’t he?


  2. jeff says:

    Ok, go with me on this for a second… inspired by the above comment, eric’s recent video of his piece Organ Organ, etc..

    What if we film some hot model with one of our sculptures [Quartet, Weight loss, etc], talking about how awesome the machine is. Will people then watch through, see the beauty in the piece, and also want to send it around? It seems it is untrodden territory, that also allows us to make a statement about ‘embedding’, while having fun and possibly making some sort of infomercial?

    This is what we’re been talking about all along, right? Arts is the utilization of the perceptual biases in the human body to get across information. If what we want to get across is more subtle than some girl, why not add the girl? Will it take away from the message, or will it add to it while spreading it further? I’d be very curious to find out!

  3. Alita says:

    There’ll always be biasness in every people in any part of the world, no doubt. But, when we invented something robotic or unique sculpture, the keyword here is ADAPTATION. How can we adapt those machines into everybody’s live? Even if you put top model like Gisele Bundchen, the highest paid model in the world, if the real attention was to make people to see the artistic part of it, than you must tune into your focus, where do you want people to focus on, in the sculpture or the model?

    Let’s put ourselves outside of Quartet box, you have this amazing product, correct? And what can we do with it to attract people’s attention? You really need to think one unique selling point if you want to make 30secs infomercial with people to remember about it. Use your magic bullet to penetrate your audience and to do so, you have your to answer own 5Wives [What, Where, When, Who,Why] and 1Husband [How] questions.

    -What is this machine about?
    -What is it for?
    -What they can do?
    -What’s the best medium that you will use to announce your machine existence?
    -What do you want to get when people notice your machine?
    -Where can we view it? Infomercial, commercial, expo, or exhibition?
    -Where can we get it? If it was for sale
    -When was it created?
    -When can the layman see it?
    -When is the best time for this machine to be use?
    -Who’s the person behind it?
    -Who can get the benefit out from it?
    -Who are you targeting people when it was created, artisans? Corporate? Advertising agencies, musicians, and robocists?
    -Why was it created?
    -How do you want people to see it? Artistic or as a product?
    -How do you plan to market it?
    -How do you plan to use the medium that you can get to do your brand awareness?

    ** you can add your own questions though…

    You have to answer your own FAQ before doing any infomercial. This is important because you have to put yourself into everyone shoes. And you must remember that when comes to presenting something unique to layman…the message must be simple, less word, and more graphic. And if you are invited to present to public [away from your MIT society or geniuses] seriously, put a joke or two in it or they will still have no clue what is it you do at the end of your talk or infomercial.

    It is definitely not an easy job to invent something and it is similarly not as easy to get everyone to experience the beauty of it.

    I’ve shown Quartet to few of my besties and few of my family members, and I must say, none of them are interested to know more about the machine. Reason being was because this machine is just another robotic machine, and so? But for me, their curiosity has just shut down ;p

    BUT…When I show it to my artiste friends, they were blown away and started googling about it and start calling few of my orchestra and theatre friends to join and try to compose.

    So…think of how many shoes you have to fit in to get your message across…


  4. eric says:

    The generalized form of your question
    “How do you create something that causes everyone who comes in contact with it to start a band?” might be,
    “How do create something that causes as many adaptive mutations as possible?”

    Here the word adaptive can be interpreted loosely because—especially in the context of
    rapid cultural evolution—adaptations can suddenly arise from previously benign mutations. Perhaps in the case of YouTube videos, adaptiveness might be equated with action. Is the mutation expressed outside of the mind of the watching organism?

    Underlying the success of the cute baby video, as measured by YouTube views, is a linking of the content to emotion. You mentioned the 50s and 60s, Alita - this is when the advertising industry really figured this out - the leveraging of emotion to sell things. This decomposes the hit-rate metric of success into success as emotional activation. Cuteness, fuzziness, funniness, disgust, fear, pain. These are commonly elicited by most-watched YouTube videos.

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