Ponderous Giants

Very recently I came across a "business to business e-zine" titled Think Quarterly, produced and distributed by none other than Google, of Google fame. Intrigue arose immediately, but as did numerous questions. Google certainly isn't a brand in desperate need of promotion, so where did its intentions lie with this publication. I set to research, and came across the article 'Google's Think Quarterly Released' on inc.com, an entrepreneurship website.

The article paints the magazine as a either a marketing ploy, something created to better already warm dispositions toward Google, or a legitimate gathering of the worlds digitally adventurous. It succinctly entertains two understandings of the publication. "For some small business owners and executives, Think Quarterly may indeed offer genuine insight into innovation and management theory. For others, the e-zine offers a great example of creative advertising (if budgets didn't matter)."

Even if this wasn't the intention, it will inevitably be construed as self-promotion. After all, it's an ad world we live in. But the masses can reconcile this, they're aware of this fact, and the magazine can build a community while still serving to trumpet Google's triumph.

On the official Google blog Susan Wojcicki, Google's Senior Vice President of Advertising, speaks of Google's aims with this project. "Our aim with Think Quarterly is to regularly tap our homegrown visionaries, as well as heads of industry, innovators and experts from around the world, to lend their insights and analyses to our partners who are seeking to navigate the ever-changing digital world."

This, I believe. Due to their search engine, the Google Brand is inextricably linked to the notion of connection, of finding information and individuals who can help you do whatever it is you wish to do. The zine's pointed attention to digital initiatives and innovation is only sensible, our entire world spins in the same direction. And of all peoples, Google must be able to find anything. The zine seems invaluable, a cover-to-cover treasury of brilliance and secrets.

And of course, as with anything Google produces, the creatives have their fun. A video was released exhibiting the eccentric process involving 13 British artists that yielded 2500 individual covers for the People Issue, successor to the Innovation Issue. The minute long video charms with ease, thanks in no small degree to the artists' personalities, and it spurns me, at least, to get hands on this print.

I leapt then to the website, thinkwithgoogle.com, and selected the Think Quarterly stream. Did spring upon me a beautifully built website, honoring futurism while keeping simplicity and elegance at the forefront of the mind. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the entirety of the Quarterly is available online. I faced the first page of the first edition. The copy reads...



In 2003, a total of five exabytes of data existed. Now we generate that every two days. We are, literally, more creative than ever.

Where to begin? Right here. We've curated big ideas from heads of industry, leading experts and our homegrown visionaries -- all to help guide your own thinking. In our inaugural US issue, we focus on Innovation. Where can you break molds and shape the future? We hope this gives you inspiration, insight, and some new ideas of your own.

The second issues first page is as engaging, connecting the coming tales to the readers own relationship with digital. It reads...



Think back to the first time that you went online. Browsers were clunky. Having enough bandwidth to watch video was a pipe dream. Connecting online with people you knew was hard.

How things have changed. There are two billion of us connected to the internet across the globe. By 2020, there will be five billion people accessing the internet on over 50 billion devices – phones, tablets, TVs, even refrigerators. The internet is information, but information is inseparable from the people who are creating, consuming, and sharing it. And the web is no longer anonymous – it’s built on real people and their connections, opinions, and ideas.

This issue of Think Quarterly is people talking about people. We hope that the diverse spread of thoughts and opinions helps you connect with your customers, your employees, and the human soul of your business.

The copy could be a touch more casual, I think. It's technicality alienates. If you want to evoke nostalgia, make your words poignant for all parties. Certainly, it is a digitally-centered zine, but digital is for the every(wo)man, not just those who take a specific interest in it. People identify less with words like bandwidth than they do with the experiences that bandwidth provides. It works considerably better in the Innovation Issue opener. There, the statistics paint a picture of advancement, of a world changing at impossible velocity thanks to all of us, the "we" that generates the five exabytes of data bi-daily. I'm not saying the People Issue opener doesn't work, I just don't feel as enchanted reading it. It definitely, however, has a stronger close.

There are endless websites centered on innovations in the digital world, communities of ideas and the like. But Google has the name recognition to surpass the lesser known portals and remain the primeval gateway to everything. With a simple title like 'Think' and enough time between issues to built fantastical publications equipped with the likes of magnetism and heat-sensitive Technicolour sheets, this publication seems the seed of a future phantasm, of something incredible, and approaching.  Already I've been inspired by it, one of the first stories I read regarding the New York company Kickstarter, an organization that aids in fundraising for small groups with big ideas.

 This print could flatten out, wither from arid content and blatant self-promotion. Or, it could be very cool. Let's see.


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