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Native Ads, Flamingos and Millennials

It’s Advertising Week in NYC and continuing the trend this year, everyone is aflutter about Native Advertising. There is also specific focus on how to reach out to Millennials. Separately, I found myself reading a lot about something seemingly unrelated–Flamingos. And it got me thinking: Flamingos and Millennials are both an interesting bunch. If we parallel the two, there are some very relevant and important lessons we can extract about the value of Native Advertising.

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Everyone Redesigns

When surfing the web I often get frustrated with how much clutter is on most websites these days.  When I worked on The Wall Street Journal site we struggled with what things we could remove. Somebody clicks on everything and as a news site it’s an industry standard to have a “read this next”, or a “Most Popular on Facebook”, or a “Trending on Twitter” so you just keep adding more and more. It’s starting to get a little silly though. You just can’t keep everything, it’s like living in your own filth.  So a new trend is emerging: clean and simple. Less is more. Great websites like Quartz and Mashable have already drastically simplified the notion of how to build an awesome news site.  Here are a few of the modules that are cluttering up websites these days:

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Too Many Stop Signs

Surfing the web today, we frequently encounter stop signs, those little indicators that we’ve finished with a page (long comment streams, generic recommendation units, the giant stack of ads, even the footer that’s usually ignored). They leave us little choice or incentive but to hit the back button and return to our point of discovery. Take a moment to think about your own consumption patterns. If you’re like me: you arrive, you consume…and you bounce.

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How to Personalize The Entire Internet

Gravity was born under interesting circumstances.  Amit, Jim, and I had joined MySpace early on, and by the end of 2008 were running the business, tech, and product initiatives respectively (at a time when that was a good thing to run).  The three of us had been operating as a team for years and always knew that we’d start a company together at some point.  The real question was what to build.

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