/ Strategies for a discontinuous future / Selected work 2004-2009 /

2007 Markets, Networks, & Communities
2008 The Macropocalypse & Edge Competencies
2009 The Great Compression, Smart Growth & Constructive Capitalism

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bubblegen 3.0

Hi everyone.

Let me take a few minutes to discuss some fairly significant changes to Bubblegen.

First, I am going to be creating a new kind of research institute: the Havas Media Lab.

Second, as some of you might have noticed, I am a discussion leader/blogger at HarvardBusiness.org, to help frame and introduce many of the ideas in my forthcoming book.

Let's take these one at a time.

Regarding the Media Lab, I've been working with the team involved for quite a while. They rock, and we all have a deeply felt interest in reinventing media, marketing, and brands.

The Lab happened because I don't think any of the standard models - venture funds, corporates, firms, etc - can really make it happen (or else it would be happening).

Hence, the need for a new kind of entity, which is focused on driving new ideas - but also focused on igniting experimentation and discovery.

I've talked to many of you about the Lab already. I'll be discussing the goals of the Lab both here and at the Lab's (currently nonexistent :) blog in depth over the coming weeks.

Next. As a discussion leader at HarvardBusiness.org, I'm gonna discuss big-picture issues about how strategy and advantage are evolving. The team at HBS Digital have assembled a group of some of the world's most serious business thinkers as discussion leaders, and it's a privilege to be added to that list.

I used to post a lot about bigger picture stuff at Bubblegen. But some of you have noticed that I've been holding back discussing exactly that here at Bubblegen for a while - now you know why.

So if you're interested, hit my HBS blog. The first post is a deeper discussion of something we've been talking a lot about here - DNA.

If you're a Bubblegen regular, let me know what you think by leaving a comment there - I could use the feedback, to help me understand how you guys can be members of both communities.

What does this mean for Bubblegen/advisory? I will continue to work with a small number of clients on advisory work, but the Lab's goal isn't strictly to be a consultancy.

What does that mean for Bubblegen/blog? Bubblegen is going to live on in much the same way it does now, discussing stuff in excruciating detail with lots of tedious jargon, just with a bit less frequency :)

I'm excited by all of this - and I hope you are too.

-- umair // 1:30 PM //



When is your book coming out?

I am really excited to read it.

I like you blogs. I love the media economics powerpoint.

It would be great to read in-depth analysis from you in a book form.

I think the book will help expand your ideas and increase your visibility.
// Anonymous Anonymous // 8:04 PM

Congrats on Havas!
Judging from the smileys on this post, you're obviously excited, and I'm happy for you.

As far as being a member of both communities...hey..I use Firefox and it's another RSS feed on my Bookmark Toolbar, so no sweat...I'll check both out here on.

Looking forward to n.0
// Blogger preetam mukherjee // 8:06 PM

Congratulations on more new and exiting endeavors.

I hope you can continue to interact often with your online communities. I really look forward to your research, it's extremely inspiring. It would also be great to be able to network more easily with other people in the "club".

How about some book discounts for long time "fans"? I'd buy in bulk and give them out to people that would dig it if I could!

Any idea when it will come out?
// Blogger Ethan B // 8:25 PM



Looking forward to staying in touch at all of the available touch points and supporting/augmenting your thinking....it has been a lot of fun following BubbleGeneration but it looks like the real fun has just begun...

// Anonymous weg3 // 8:33 PM

Jolly good sir. All the best to you.
// Blogger james // 9:32 PM

Interesting new opportunities, Umair. Congrats.

A book? That seems quite the contrary to the model you'd profess via BubbleGen. What made some of the content/ideas you made available via BubbleGen so exciting was that they were highly timely and cutting edge on strategy. I'll be interested in seeing if you can sell edge-style media distribution for your content via HBS Publishing. If anyone can, it is you.

Like Björk is the artist's artist, you're the strategist's strategist and I look forward to seeing more.
// Anonymous CoryS // 9:45 PM

your thinking is necessary to be heard in the world, so however that happens, good.

resistance to it will be natural, so skill in presentation, showing people how it benefits them, is good.

i don't know if you make money from your work, hard to imagine there are people who would pay you to tell them everything they are doing is wrong, but i hope so

media is a disease in some ways, a fitler, just like a blindfold, as well as a liar and a distorter and a propaganda tool... nothing beats immediate experience, the senses and mind do enough damage to what is coming into our awareness... mediated experience causes huge human problems, more than anyone yet is willing to talk about


am interested to see what you come up with in a media business...
// Blogger gregory // 7:05 AM

so maybe this is the right place to leave a link to this paper (about to be printed in a book) i just published on my work blog on "micromedia convergence" -- i owe a lot to your bubblegen-thinking. and the "Lab" idea is fascinating: can' wait to hera more.
// Blogger jurij m. lotman // 9:03 AM

sorry, the link:

// Blogger jurij m. lotman // 9:04 AM

Good for you, Umair. Added the Harvard feed to my top list so will simply follow your conversations on strategy there...
// Anonymous Antony Mayfield // 12:07 PM

Hi Umair, congrats too!

Just housekeeping: the HBS feed loses the paragraph formating (at least for me with netnewswire), making it difficult to read.

Good luck with everything!
// Anonymous Julien // 12:35 PM

Guess havas is swallowing a valium while adding you as leader of their media lab;) Letting go of control ain't easy... Good luck and let us know if you are moving or staying in London...Also check the link, we are brewing some new media...maybe something interesting for you.
// Anonymous james // 2:39 PM

wow - third comment from a "james" on this post. Sounds interesting umair and good luck with it. will look forward to reading the HBS stuff. Ps thanks for the product strategy advice the other day - has really helped clarify a few ideas i had for a new direction.
// Anonymous jamescoops // 3:44 PM

Umair, That's great news. Havas should be able to give you the underpinning and fuel you need to really grow your practice an make a big difference.
Stay true! And don't let the account weenies undercut you too often.
// Blogger Scott Crawford // 4:08 PM

I am pleased to hear about the book and wish you a prosperous time with the new partnership. The book is particulary interesting as it will add much needed weight in hammering home points to clients, with especially thick skulls. One question, does this mean the end of the 'next' sessions?
// Anonymous lewis // 10:52 AM

Excellent stuff Umair. Best of luck.
// Anonymous Will McInnes // 7:56 PM

Umair, just a last thing: please make the feed from Harvard be a full text feed and not just extracts.

I suspect many of us do read feeds offline too and even when online, it's a real pain :-)

// OpenID Julien // 6:08 PM


As requested, the feed from HarvardBusiness.org is now a full feed and can be found here:


Thanks for checking out the site and for the feedback. Please let us know if you or anyone has any formatting issues with the feed or the blog and we'll work to get those addressed.


Rob Roesler
Director of Web Marketing
// Anonymous Rob Roesler // 5:15 PM
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