Cue The Future


"I'm living in the future, so the present is my past" -Kayne West

Cue the Future

In the interest of helping people understand me more effectively, I’ve changed the name of this blog to “Cue the Future,” which more aptly communicates what guides most of my efforts.

In my life, I’m focused on figuring out how innovation will improve our lives, and how we as a society can get there quickly and safely. I strive to be one of those innovators, as described by this O’Reilly quote:

So often, signs of the future are all around us, but it isn’t until much later that most of the world realizes their significance. Meanwhile, the innovators who are busy inventing that future live in a world of their own. They see and act on premises not yet apparent to others.

This name change has come on the heels of a lot of thought, including input from several friends, Steve Jobs and Mark Suster.  Read more about that process after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to easily change the domain name for your WordPress blog

I recently migrated my site to a new domain, and I took an interest in seeing how simply this could be done. Could I, for example, create a list of directions that accomplished everything I wanted out of the move without requiring technical skills to implement? Could I build the “wordpress migration for dummies” framework?

I was able to accomplish this goal through a little research and experimenting, and as such I’d like to republish my findings here in case it might be helpful to you someday (hi random Google readers from the future!).

I only had a few goals for my migration:

  1. Keep my current posts available at the new URL
  2. Automatically forward any traffic to my old URL to the new domain
  3. Have one canonical source for Search Engines in order to maintain good standing in Google.
  4. Never need to use a tool that I couldn’t explain to my grandma over the phone.

Here’s how I was able to complete my goals:

0. Export your blog content to an XML file (found under Tools>>Export). You should probably backup your database just to be safe.

1. Create a new, clean install of WordPress at the new domain name.

2. Go to Settings>>Privacy in the new install and set it so that Search Engines can’t find the new blog.

3. Install all plugins to new blog.

4. Copy all the settings from the old blog to the new blog. You do this by hand, but it generally takes less than 5-10 minutes. Make sure Permalinks get setup with the same structure.

5. Goto Appearance>>Themes and select your design, customize however you set your old theme.

6. Goto Tools>>Import and import the file you exported in step one. When asked whether to include files, do so.

7. Goto your old blog, and download and activate the plugin, Redirection.

8. In your old blog, goto Tools>>Redirection and start setting up 301 redirects for your blog. This is made infinitely easier with the use of regular expressions, which is describe on the page linked in step 7.

Simply, what you want to do here is setup the source url with a simple regular expression that will find all your posts.  For me, this was /blog/(.*) then you want to check the RegEx box, and set the Target URL to a Regular expression that will pass through the original permalink URL. For me, this was$1 don’t forget to make sure the action is set to “redirect to URL.” Once you’ve set that, all your posts should be forwarded properly. Then just redirect the base url (i.e. redirect to and any pages. If you have a predicatable URL structure here, you can use the regular expressions trick again.

9. In your old blog, goto Settings>>Privacy and make this site invisible to Search Engines.

10. In your new blog, oto Settings>>Privacy and make this site visible to Search Engines.

How blogging rewired my brain

On a recent vacation, I experienced a fit of “small thoughts.”

For a few hours, every few minutes my brain was coming up with somewhat interesting tidbits that were fun to mull around. These ideas were not earth shatteringly brilliant by any measure, but represented a small change in my understanding of some concept not key to my day-to-day life. If your having a hard time visualizing what this type of idea might look like, here’s a good example.

I normally would have shared these ideas digitally as I had them, but I had no access to electronics on this trip. I also knew I wouldn’t be returning to the ability to blog or tweet for a long period of time (~two weeks).

With these limitations, I became very aware of the effort required to document each of these ideas — because I couldn’t immediately use these thoughts, I found my natural inclination was to decrease their value in my head and use that as an excuse to not write them down.

Personal-publishing tools like Twitter and Blogs are powerful motivators — they increase the value of thought capture by making each thoughts value as a final product clear. This effect incentivizes bloggers to capture more of their thoughts and evaluate/prepare them for public scrutiny which improves their thinking, and that’s why I tend to value the thinking of people who actively publish, even if it’s for an audience of one.

####   Related:

* I wrote a post on Why I Blog, which could be updated with the thesis from this post.

* I think Twitter is interesting because it makes it easy to capture interesting and seemingly inconsequential ideas. Having that information captured is good for increasing global knowledge, but the main benefit is in the process of refinement for the original thinker. Publishing makes one think better.

* If we follow the path of innovation in personal publishing, it seems to be about allowing people the opportunity to capture smaller and smaller thoughts. Extrapolating this out, I’d be interested in consumer web technology that makes it easier to capture original thoughts that appear, at first glance, to be entirely mundane and uninteresting. Perhaps a tweet represents the smallest unique item of thought, but I doubt it. I have a feeling there is still a lot of opportunity in working directly with people’s thoughts, with voice, or with their habit of keeping diaries. I think the format that becomes the smallest unique captured thought should be called “Thoughtlets

* The global database of ideas represented in the public nodes of personal publishing efforts (posts/tweets/delicious saves/etc.) is helping people learn today. I can pay attention to more of a persons thinking than I ever could in the past, because more of their thinking is being captured and they are making more of it public.  However, I still have a limited number of people I can pay attention to. The real game changer will come with the rise of machine learning. When tomorrow’s supercomputers can pay attention to everyone’s thoughts — we will have really interesting opportunities, and robot apocalypse.

* One such opportunity: Intellectual reputation can be ranked fairly, based on the clarity, power and originality of your thinking. With a benchmark (how well did it improve the machines capability for thought), there will be less subjectivity in this ranking.

* Chris Saad is an expert on Attention. I’d love to attend an event or a group of people thinking about the effect and future of attention. That would be fascinating.

* OhLife is a really interesting startup. I don’t think they have yet applied a “search for the thoughtlet” to their user experience, but i really like the idea of email based journaling.

Cool opportunity for a designer

An organization I’m working with is looking to hire a design-thinker to help build an exceptional global brand.

If you’re waiting in the wind to be the next Eston Bond, Jason Putorti, or Dustin Curtis (i.e. you’ve got the chops, you just need the opportunity to hone and the platform to work with), this could be a killer opportunity for you.

Bold claim, I know… why do I think that?

  • You get ownership of the brand: at the end of the day, you will be the voice in the company fighting for design-thought and UX. We care about excellence in brand, experience, and design — you’ll have a huge amount of influence in the company at large.
  • You’ll get to work with an advisory board of impressive leaders from the deisgn, marketing, and branding spaces. The reason I’m helping this organization is that their team is incredibly good at getting impressive, top-notch people excited and ready to contribute time/money.
  • Your work will help shape a movement that’s incredibly positive and powerful for the world we live in. You will be doing good.
  • You get to work with a great team.
  • You’ll be able to live. The wage is the least compelling part of this offer, but, this is a paying job that will let you live your life in San Francisco.

So, if you’re a great designer and the above sounds interesting to you — I invite you to check out our job description:

If you’re interested in the position, send your background/portfolio to

For posterity, the job posting is copied below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook Places for marketers

I penned a blog post that’s over 900 words about the Facebook Places launch as seen by Marketers. In it I discuss 13 facts about how Places will affect businesses. Go check it out on the Involver Blog! Here’s a small excerpt from the article:

How should I manage my Facebook Page and Facebook Place(s)?

  • Before managing your Facebook Place, you must claim it. The easiest way to do this is to accept a phone call at the number saved for that place. If this is not viable, then you can submit a document verification request instead, but this will take longer.
  • A Facebook Place can be merged with a Facebook Page.  If you merge your Place and Page, it will add maps, Check-ins, and Friend Activity Feeds to your current Facebook Page.
  • You can only attach one Facebook Place to a Facebook Page right now, it’s not advised to attach your Facebook Place to a page if you eventually want to attach multiple Places, as Facebook is working on a solution for this.
  • Involver Customers, if you attach your Facebook Place to your Page, you’ll be able to mange both with the Involver Audience Management Platform.

Go read the rest…

Here’s a photo of my first Facebook Places checkin, at Blu in New York City, what was yours?

#### Treats

* I was in New York City this week for Estee Lauder Digital Day, and while in New York I learned a few things — Blu is a horrible restaurant, I really want to try Angel’s Share in the winter, Virgin America is the only way to fly to JFK, and Matthew Dear is an amazing musician.

* There seems to be an increasing trend to heap responsibility onto my generation for fixing the world’s problems earlier then our predecessors were given a shot (it seems like 20 and 30 something leaders are beginning to become normal enough that people are wondering if they are better at effectively using power to improve the world we live in. I wonder if this is unique, or if this same cycle happened for other generations?  X? Boomers? Was there a similar push for you to start taking control/responsibility at 25-30?

* Swearing at the beginning or ending of a speech makes you more credible, dammit.  “Jazz” is apparently the best word to play in Hangman if you want to win. For more awesome tidbits like this, you should click here and follow me on Twitter, I’m @tylerwillis.

About the Author

Tyler Willis is the Vice President of Business Development at Unified, which builds enterprise marketing technology for brands and agencies.

This blog is about how the future will affect technology, marketing, and the things we care about most. Learn more about Tyler.


Tyler is a featured speaker and instructor for The American Marketing Association, and is a popular speaker on topics related to social marketing and how technology is changing our lives.

Recent engagements:
- South by Southwest
- American Marketing Association
- TMP Directional Marketing Client Summit

Email for Speaking Requests.

Lightweight Update

I write infrequent (quarterly at most), semi-formal updates of what I'm doing and thinking.