Issue No. 20     
— June 2016

The Technology

Digital trend publication
blending a mix of culture,
insights and data.

A trend product by






We thought the Technology Issue would be an appropriate time to introduce our new format for the Shape Shift Report. No more individual PDFs to download. Just every issue, every article, every image, available directly on the site. 


Our team hopes that this small upgrade in technology will make it a bit easier for you to read about the huge things that other companies are doing. For example: the ad tech evolutions inside of Facebook and Snapchat, what to expect from the future of social advertising, and the people driving this innovation. 


Data-science is bigger than ever, beacons are going to change the way we shop, coding will be everyone's second language, and no one is really sure how virtual reality will work it's way into our lives. 


Whether you think the future of tech is bright, or are worried about a Tom Cruise Minority Report situation, dive in and see what our contributors think the implications of technology will be on your brand. 



Contributing Editor




Editor's Letter


"Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination."





Dig into the issue by clicking on the links below!



1. The epic battle for advertising Dollars in the virtual world 

This is the story of Snapchat vs. Facebook that no one is talking about. Which social network will triumph? Let's find out...

— Sean Goldfaden, CoEfficient Labs




In recent years, there has been a big movement to bring more women into the technology industry. Educational institutes are making more of an effort to encourage girls to pursue careers in engineering and computer science at a young age, while corporate companies, Silicon Valley startups and Fortune 500s are creating internal programs to cater to their female employees. Where does this movement start? Well, Google is helping, obviously.

— Angela Navarro, Google



Axel is a Jakarta-based visual artist and co-founder of The Taable, a creative studio focused on art direction and photography. His Instagram feed features everyday objects reimagined in a way that is pleasing to the eye.



"Technology without design is just code."

- Jon Lax, Director of Product at Facebook


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- Sean Goldfaden, CEO of CoEfficient Labs

There’s a fascinating story unraveling in the advertising world that needs to be talked about. Snapchat hasn’t announced this yet, so let me do it for them:

“The slow-cooker is on, and when the buzzer beeps, it’s full on war with Facebook.”

You’re probably saying to yourself, “What the hell is he talking about? What is this metaphorical slow-cooker you speak of?” Well, allow me to explain...


When Evan Spiegel (CEO of Snapchat) turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in 2013, people were shocked.

"If you look at it solely from a monetary perspective, yes, they're absolutely foolish." - Brian Solis

Snapchat, it behooves me to point out, makes no money. - Slate

“Snapchat Spurned $3 Billion Acquisition Offer” - The Wall Street Journal


These were just a few of the initial criticisms surrounding the failed deal.


By May 2015, however, the 4-year old “sexting app for teenagers” surpassed 85 Million users. Snapchat was growing into a top 5 social network (along with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest), and venture capitalists throughout the country scrambled to make sense of a new, astronomical $16 billion valuation.


Yet the same question kept circulating amongst investors:

“Yes, I understand teenagers love the product, but how in the hell does Snapchat plan to make money?”


At first, the concept of Snapchat as a “platform for advertising” was a hard one to grasp. The 13-35 year old demo (the majority of Snapchat’s users) are disinterested and unaffected by traditional banner ads.  In marketing, we call this banner-blindness. I am confident that even if you, the savvy reader, REAAAAAALLLLY tried, you could not remember the last 3 banner ads that reached you. Snapchat recognized this tendency too.


Throughout all the doubt and criticism during Snapchat’s rise, Evan Spiegel assured users and investors that when they finally introduced their advertising platform, it would be like no ad-unit anyone had ever seen before - and he was right.


In February 2016, Spiegel and his team in Venice Beach, California, released the ad-unit that we in the advertising world had been waiting for. They called it: The Snapchat Geo-Filter.


The Tech Behind the Geo-Filter

Creating a Geo-Filter for your brand or even for personal use is really simple (the whole process can take under 20-minutes).

  1. Design Your Geo-Filter

  2. Upload the Filter to Snapchat

  3. Choose Your Geo-Fence*

  4. Set the Time / Date for Filter to Run

  5. Launch Filter and Analyze Data

There are many blogs that have gone into great detail on mastering each of these steps above...

But the real magic the thing we should be paying attention to the most, is this concept of geo-fencing: advertising real-estate in a 'virtual world.'

“Wait, what? Advertising Real Estate in a Virtual World? Sounds made up….(and boring)”

But it’s NOT! It’s revolutionary and something that no marketer has seen since the launch of Google AdWords in 2000. The reason AdWords was such an exciting channel for advertisers was because it was so un-tapped AND so vast, and the intersection of these two elements is crucial to remember.


Untapped & Vast

When channels are untapped and vast, it gives marketers a huge leg-up on their competition. In fact, it’s very similar to the concept of settling new land. Take for example the early gold miners who came to California in the 1800s. When the Miners first showed up to San Francisco, there was so much untapped land, and so few other settlers, that they were able to control the best real estate they could find for the cheapest relative prices.  


This is precisely what is happening on Snapchat: a virtual California Gold Rush. Their team has built a Geo-Layer on top of their app that essentially lets anyone buy virtual real estate anywhere in the US, UK, and Canada for very cheap (starting at $5 per 20,000 square feet)!


Why is This Important Again?

The early success of Snapchat’s Geo-Filters are important for 2 reasons:

  1. Platform > Fad Social App - The revenue generated from the Geo-Filters (and other ad-unit successes) solidified Snapchat’s position as a true platform (not just a Fad Social App). With over $1.8 billion in additional funding in the late weeks of May 2016, it would appear that investors also seem to agree.

  2. Facebook is Watching - Snapchat has woken the beast.  There’s no denying it.

It was clear in 2012 when Facebook launched half-assed Poke (a Snapchat competitor). It was clear in 2013 when Facebook offered Evan Spiegal $3 billion to acquire Snapchat. And now….in 2016, it’s clear that Facebook will unleash its own type of Geo-Ad unit.


Only THIS ad-unit won’t live on your mobile phone. It will live in the Virtual World.


Oh yeah! I’m talking about the Oculus Rift (the Virtual Reality company that Facebook paid $2 billion to acquire in 2014).

The Oculus Rift phenomenon brings so much innovation and possibility to the advertising world, that it is still way too early to truly understand it’s impact on our industry.


At CoEfficient Labs, we’ve managed over $3 million in advertising spend on Facebook’s Platform this year, and there’s one thing I’m sure of: Facebook is not going down without a fight.


If you haven’t noticed, Facebook shattered market expectations in Q1 2016.

Why is this happening?

Because Facebook has the single best targeting platform of any advertising channel in the world.  And guess what, this targeting, is going to be applied to the Oculus Rift and their Virtual Reality hardware. Like Snapchat’s Geo-Fenced ad-unit, Facebook’s Oculus Rift brings a brand new channel for marketers that is both untapped AND vast.


These are the pillars for a hyper-growth advertising platform.


My Prediction:

Snapchat is a private company, so it’s hard to really know for sure. Yet history has shown that where attention goes, advertising is sure to followIn observing the social media habits of recent college graduates one thing is clear: they are not on Facebook, they are on Snapchat. With that said, right now, today, there is no better platform in the world to advertise on than Facebook. Currently, Facebook advertising has the best Return-On-Investment in the business.  


But here’s where my prediction takes a turn. If you’re looking at Facebook vs Snapchat as a straight up advertising war, you’d be missing a huge piece of what makes Snapchat worth the $18+ billion it’s valued at today.


Advertisers aren’t the only ones paying for Snapchat Geo-Filters. This is a unique advantage that Snapchat has over Facebook and Google. Men, women, and teenagers alike are creating Geo-Filters for things like weddings, conferences, sweet 16’s, bachelorette parties, and other special events. It’s not just a platform for advertisers, it’s a platform for everyone. Snapchat is essentially double-dipping their ad revenue on a two-sided market.  Not only are they drawing in thousands of advertisers by the day, but they also have an army of users buying filters for special events and lifetime adventures.


Right now, as this epic battle for advertising dollars continues to rage, my vote goes toward the establishment: Facebook. Facebook has the platform, the investment backing, and the vision toward the future. However, in Snapchat, one sees a company who has defied all odds, built an innovative new ad space, and attracted the young demo that is capable of propelling it beyond its counterpart. I am not one to count them out, and only time will tell how this power struggle will unfold.



But the real magic the thing we should be paying attention to the most, is this concept of geo-fencing: advertising real-estate in a 'virtual world.'"

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color backdrop - findings ssr.jpg

"Technology without design is just code."

- Jon Lax, Director of Product at Facebook





Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Delanie Billman


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Creative Direction
Nolan Goff


Art Direction + Design
Jesse Ligo


Nicole Best



Angela Navarro

Angela Navarro is a Software Engineer at YouTube, where she builds new features for the YouTube Android app. She has previously worked on Google+ Hangouts and Google+ Collections. As a contributor to Google’s Computer Science in Media team, Angela has provided technical advisement for TV shows incorporating female programmer characters, including Freeform’s The Fosters and Disney Jr’s Miles From Tomorrowland. Her love of technology started at a young age, inspired by her father’s job as a software engineer at Disney. She first learned to code in high school, where she broke stereotypes by studying computer science and captaining the cheer team. Angela graduated from UCLA with a degree in Computer Science and currently resides in San Francisco.


Streaming on Netflix: The West Wing

Last song played: RGF Island - Fetty Wap

Night in or night out? Night in, featuring red wine and a personal pizza

Most inspiring city: Berlin

Guilty pleasure:

Sean Goldfaden

Sean Goldfaden is the CEO of CoEfficient Labs, a Growth Hacking agency in Santa Monica, CA. CoEfficient Labs manages millions of dollars a year in advertising spend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat. All advertisements are designed in-house and CoEfficient Labs is unique in their short term (90-day) structure.

Pet peeve: Watching friends and colleagues who aren't happy in their job or work situation stay stagnant and do nothing about it.

Favorite App: AdEspresso

Drink order: Vodka soda (with a lime!)

Guilty pleasure: Pizza and ice cream

Most inspiring city: Santorini, Greece

Axel Oswith

Axel is a graphic designer who is overly obsessed with intricate details, geometric shapes, outer space and kiwi. He dreams of hanging out and having tea with the Gods that he worships: Rene Magritte, Josef Albers, and Ellsworth Kelly. In his free time he enjoys reading books, strolling around the neighbourhood, and watching reality tv shows.


Favorite throwback song: Landslide - Fleetwood Mac 

Guilty pleasure: People watching at coffee shops and watching the Tiffany Pollard show 

Most inspiring city: New York
Childhood comfort: Bedtime stories with my dad and brother

Spirit animal: Octopus