In Crypto ‘Arms Race’ For Mass Adoption, Companies Ink Sports Deals Worth Hundreds Of Millions

As cryptocurrency companies seek to reach mainstream audiences, some platforms are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to sponsor sports teams, stadiums and even leagues in a bid to woo new fans.

On Sept. 22, Crypto.com struck an eight-figure deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to sponsor the jersey patch and have visibility in the arena. The crypto trading app will also work with team management to develop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and create a way for fans to use cryptocurrency to pay for tickets and other products. The Hong Kong-based company will also show up elsewhere alongside the NBA franchise—including on TV broadcasts and various other digital platforms.

Crypto.com Chief Marketing Officer Steven Kalifowitz recognizes that in order to build the brand, he has to also educate consumers about this new asset class.

“Crypto is not just another shoe,” he says. “It’s not a commodity thing or a suitcase or something. Getting into crypto is very much a cultural thing.”

Flush with money from eager investors, a growing number of crypto brands are spending big to reach a mass audience through sports sponsorships and mainstream events. Other deals this month include the cryptofinance company XBTO sponsoring the Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX sponsoring Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 team and the nonprofit Learncrypto.com sponsoring the English Premier League team, Southampton F.C.

Perhaps sports arenas are not a bad way to go when it comes to finding new fans for a new—and still largely unregulated—asset class that some critics dismiss as gambling and proponents say is the future of the internet as well as the economy. And in a fast-growing and cluttered market, the fight is to get not just recognition but market share.

“To me it looks like an arms race for user acquisition,” says Keith Soljacich, VP/GD of Experiential Tech at Digitas, a leading digital advertising agency. “It’s kind of like if you have a crypto wallet on a platform, it’s a lot like holding a Visa card, too.”

The 76ers deal is just one of many that Crypto.com has landed in the past year while it’s on an aggressive sponsorship spree totaling more than $400 million in deals. Earlier this month, the company became the first official crypto platform partner for the famous French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain. Crypto.com is also a sponsor of a wide range of teams including the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, Fox Sports’ college football midday coverage, UFC, and Aston Martin’s Formula One team—just to name a few. Each of these also includes various other integrations far beyond a logo.

Chris Heck, president of business operations for the 76ers, says the team had been looking for a new jersey patch partner for a couple of years and spoken with hundreds of companies. And because the jersey patch is the most important partnership a team has, it requires brands and teams to be “completely aligned.”

“As the world woke up to the crypto space a little over a year ago, we got a chance to venture down that road,” Heck says. “Think about it this way: Sports are entering into the crypto era world, and we get to the at the front of the line with Crypto.com. These are folks that are partnering with gold-standard brands like UFC, F1, PSG, and we get to be their brand and their of choice in the United States with major sports teams and that’s pretty cool.”

All this to go beyond the current crypto user base to reach the masses: A study Crypto.com conducted in July found that total global crypto users have doubled year-over-year from 106 million to 221 million. However, just a fraction of those are currently the company’s customers.

Earlier in September, FTX—a two-year-old startup that just moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas—announced a $20 million ad campaign starring football legend Tom Brady and his wife, the model and businesswoman Gisele Bündchen. And like Crypto.com, FTX is sponsoring a wide range of teams and leagues in rapid succession including a five-year deal with the Major League Baseball announced this summer.

“If we just stop at one deal and we’ll wait and see how it does and wait to see how that does before doing another one, the best opportunities might be gone,” says FTX.US President Brett Harrison.

According to Harrison, FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried asked for ideas of how do something “that’s big.” Someone then came up with the idea to buy the naming rights for a stadium, and a few months later they won the rights to rename the Miami Heat’s arena FTX Arena in a $135 million deal approved in March.

“There is a group of tech companies that know it in their bones that if they don’t become brands quickly, there is a time in the future where there will be just a few left,” says Jamie Shuttlesworth, chief strategy officer of Dentsu Americas, which became FTX’s agency of record in June.

Traditional advertising methods are important for building trust in crypto brands, according to Harrison—especially since it deals with something like taking care of people’s money.

“When’s the last time you saw an ad for maybe a bank pop up on the top of your Google search and said, ‘Time to move all my money from my Chase account or Citi account?’”

Major stadium and team sponsorships are often held by brands that are already well known, but the crypto sector’s aggressive land-grab feels in some ways like strategies in games like “Risk” or “Monopoly”—where people can either wait for the right properties or buy everything they can as fast as possible.

When asked about the Monopoly metaphor, Harrison joked that “we’re trying plant our pieces on as many Park Places as possible.”

There’s plenty incentive for sports organizations to team up with crypto companies. Mike Proulx, a Forester analyst and marketing expert, said many sports leagues want—and need—to attract the next generation of fans.

“These kinds of deals look to tap into crypto companies’ young skewing userbase with NFTs that are, in a way, a modern/virtual take on old school baseball cards,” he says. “And the benefit to crypto companies is, of course, getting to leverage the league IP that legitimizes their platform with trusted brands while also growing their users.”

The crypto industry has exhausted its original market, says to R.A. Farrokhnia, a professor at Columbia Business School professor and Executive Director of the Columbia Fintech Initiative. However, blockchain technology isn’t something that’s easily explained to the average person—it involves cryptography, complex networks, and other concepts—and also still aren’t to a point where users can easily navigate.

According to Farrokhnia, there are still questions about whether the foundations and interfaces are advanced enough to warrant the aggressive push toward mass adoption. Or, he asks, “are we putting the proverbial cart before the horse?”

“These are all the moving parts in this ecosystem and it seems the pace for innovation has accelerated,” he said. “But are we doing things in the right sequence?”

Farrokhnia also points out the irony that despite all of cryptocurrency’s new innovations, the companies are still using classic marketing models. However, he adds that little for athletes to market unregulated digital economies than to pitch things like CPG products or other brand categories.

“What kind of reputation risk could this have for teams or sports figures or influencers or actors who are engaging in this kind of marketing campaign or activity? Most likely they have good lawyers that would protect them against such things, but you never know.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a Forbes staff writer and editor of the Forbes CMO Network, leading coverage of marketing, advertising and technology with a specific focus on chief marketing

Source: In Crypto ‘Arms Race’ For Mass Adoption, Companies Ink Sports Deals Worth Hundreds Of Millions

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More Contents:

Wary of Bitcoin? A guide to some other crypto currencies

Consistency of Proof-of-Stake Blockchains with Concurrent Honest Slot Leaders

Gridcoin: Crypto-Currency using Berkeley Open Infrastructure Network Computing Grid as a Proof Of Work

Vertcoin: The Soaring Cryptocurrency Set to Surpass Bitcoin

Out in the Open: Teenage Hacker Transforms Web Into One Giant Bitcoin Network

Exclusive: Grayscale launches digital-currency fund backed by Silver Lake’s co-founder Hutchins

Crypto social network BitClout arrives with a bevy of high-profile investors — and skeptics

Kodak CEO: Blockchain Significant, Though Not a Doubling in Stock Price

Zcoin Moves Against ASIC Monopoly With Merkle Tree Proof”. Finance Magnates

Big-name investors back effort to build a better Bitcoin

Why Brands are Failing To Listen To Customers and How To Fix That

As terabytes of consumer data are collected every day, companies have more information than ever about their customers. But that doesn’t mean they understand what those customers need—or how best to serve them.

Without a clear understanding of what customers are experiencing, executives put their brands at risk, according to Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, which helps companies collect video feedback from their customers. As the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates, a company’s survival in challenging times often requires a strong, meaningful audience connection and swift action to meet customer needs.

So, what can companies do to more effectively tap into customer experiences and build lasting relationships? Here, MacMillan and Rick Reuter, a principal in the financial services industry practice for consultant Deloitte, discuss what’s preventing companies from listening to their customers, the importance of human connections, and how companies should be thinking about the customer experience post-COVID-19.

Companies have access to tons of customer information. So what are companies missing? Why isn’t that data enough?

Andy MacMillan: We’ve become really algorithm dependent. Data and algorithms are useful. But they also mean we aim for the average: What does the average buyer want? We don’t ever learn about the exceptions. It’s become very sterile, and I think we all sense and feel that. The challenge for companies is how to get real feedback from people outside the company, and how to use that feedback to put the team in the shoes of the customer.

How do companies get that real feedback from their customers?

MacMillan: I think you have to be deliberate about the idea that you can’t just stand entirely behind the technology. You have to decide it’s important for people in your company to talk to customers.

If you’re a bank, go out and get 10 or 15 people without deep technology backgrounds to walk you through what it’s like for them to bank online. Then we pull that video in-house and let the teams watch and see what it’s like to be that customer. Or for an airline, it means asking a premium flyer who is not very tech-savvy what it’s like to book travel for his or her family. How do you get your tech team to understand how to alleviate some of those flyer’s concerns, when your team is not the demographic we’re talking about? That’s the personal aspect I’m talking about that’s missing.

Rick Reuter: And sometimes it’s just having a real person pick up the phone. So, it’s not 15 menus of connecting through a call-center app. It’s “Hello, Mr. Reuter, how can we help you? We saw that you did this today. Is that what you’re calling about?”

How is COVID-19 changing the landscape for how companies are expected to interact with customers?

Reuter: I think companies now are getting more and more connected with the human experience than they have in the past decade, and I think it’s refreshing that we have this technology infrastructure to adapt quickly. We just need to continue to make that a priority.

MacMillan: The question, even six months ago, was “How do I squeeze out more margin for myself as a company?” Now for the first time in a while, we’re seeing companies actually thinking about customers and taking measures to keep us safe. This situation has caused us to go back to a time before we relied on the algorithms. We’re saying, “Hey, let’s go talk to some customers. Let’s find out what their needs are and figure out how to service those needs.” It’s a remarkably simple formula, but I would say that hasn’t been the heart of what we’ve been doing for the past decade.

When the COVID-19 crisis ends, what’s going to happen to these customer-centric changes? Will they continue? 

MacMillan: It’s going to be difficult for businesses to just snap back to the assumptions we had six months ago about how everything works.

One of the changes companies should keep is how they’ve empowered employees on the front lines. A coffee chain I go to, each [outlet] had different ways of implementing carryout-only procedures to keep people safe. It was very smart. It was like all the rules had been thrown out the window—instead of a uniform corporate policy, the company trusted employees to make some rational decisions on how to keep themselves safe, how to keep our customers safe, how to adapt to this unprecedented situation.

Reuter: That’s a culture where employees feel empowered and they feel ownership of the problem, which creates opportunity. I think that’s a great example of a large enterprise creating some local angles to be successful.

How can companies empower individual employees in a smart way?

MacMillan: It’s about culture and values. You hear front-line retail workers say, “I wish I could do the right thing more often for people.” And often it isn’t really about the money. It’s just trying to treat people the right way, trying to solve a problem in a restaurant, in a store, whatever that might be.

There’s also something to be said for hiring good people, conveying your shared values as a company and empowering those people to make good decisions in line with your values.

As companies rise to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and try to meet customer needs, what’s the biggest thing they can do to improve their listening?

MacMillan: I think the issue isn’t for or against technology. I think it’s how do we layer in perspective and actually care about the customer in an authentic way? We talk about an empathy gap, and what we mean by that is, it’s not like people go to work every day and don’t care about the customers; it’s that they don’t have the perspective. They don’t actually get to see these customers and talk to them to know that they’re not hitting the mark.

The lesson companies can take away from this crisis is the way it’s caused us to go, “Hey, wait. I need to find out what the customers really need, and then go figure it out.” And as customers, we’re delighted that they seem to care.

By:Taylor Smith for FastCo Works

Source: Why brands are failing to listen to customers—and how to fix that

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Related Contents:

“Examining the Market Orientation-Performance Relationship: A Context-Specific Study” (PDF). Journal of Management. 24 (2): 201–233. doi:10.1177/014920639802400204. hdl:2027.42/68689. ISSN 0149-2063.

“Revisiting the relationship between marketing capabilities and firm performance: The moderating role of market orientation, marketing strategy and organisational power”

Godovykh, Maksim; Tasci, Asli D.A. (July 2020). “Customer experience in tourism: A review of definitions, components, and measurements”.

Tourism Management Perspectives. 35: 100694. doi:10.1016/j.tmp.2020.100694. ISSN 2211-9736. S2CID 219478840.

Pine, B. Joseph; Gilmore, James H. (2013).

“The experience economy: past, present and future“Welcome to the Experience Economy

How to Sustain the Customer Experience“Understanding Customer Experience”

Godovykh, Maksim; Tasci, Asli D. A. (2020-05-26). “Satisfaction vs experienced utility: current issues and opportunities

Manning, Harley; Bodine, Kerry (28 August 2012). “The 6 Disciplines Behind Consistently Great Customer Experiences“Customer Experience Management: What it is and why it matters”

“Customer Experience Management Market Report, 2021-2028”.

http://www.grandviewresearch.com. RetrievedNg, Sandy (2011).

“Generating positive word-of-mouth in the service experience

Nasoi, Roxana (2017-08-23). “6 Customer Journey Mapping Examples: How UX Pros Do It”“How Digital Visualisation Tools are Driving New Retail Sales and Marketing Models”

“Five innovators of the in-store customer experience

Building A Company For Your Brand

A successful brand influences the way people perceive a company’s name, history, logo, and marketing campaigns. 

A strong brand not only makes customers pay attention but also enables your company to charge a premium over competitors, build customer loyalty, boost sales and accelerate product differentiation in the market. The concept of a brand extends beyond your company logo to your core values and any interaction with customers and suppliers. Your brand is the identity and personality of your company and the promise to your customers

In this guide, we guide you through everything you need to know about developing a brand identity for your small business. Creating a brand is more than just a catchy name – it’s about creating the entire identity of your business and the products and services that it sells. Whether you have a business idea or want to turn away from your current brand, here is what you need to know about building a strong brand identity for your company. 

A solid branding process can transform your business from a small player to a successful competitor. Building your brand strategy is a masterclass that changes the way you look at your business and will give you more clarity and confidence that your brand exists and that it serves people. As with every other aspect of establishing a company, the first step is complete market research to create a brand identity.

Before you begin selling products or services you must build your brand and find an entourage of people willing to jump when you open your doors to business. As you move through the tactical steps of your branding strategy and design your logo, you must also take the time to make clear who you are as a company – in other words, your brand identity. Like a methodist who lives and breathes his character, a company must live and breathe its brand if it wants to convince its customers.

Branding is the process of building a brand – whether it’s designing a logo, researching the name, working on attributes, or working in a focus group – business is part of the business that you build. Your brand is an integral part of your brand identity, defined by the name and type of products manufactured by a particular company. To be successful, you want to build your email marketing and contact lists A around a logo. Creating a logo helps people identify with your brand by consistently using it across your entire platform.

Your logo is the face of your business, it is the first thing that most customers see when they encounter your brand and it is a visual advantage that keeps your business together. Your website is the most important marketing tool you will have for business growth and branding. Your online business identity can be found on a variety of design services for brand identity, marketing, advertising, and design. Business is not just a mission, it drives your mission and value by sharing your brand history and telling customers how the business started. 

Whether you hire a brand consultant or work in-house, it’s one thing to spend time, energy, and resources needed to build a brand, it’s another to understand what customers think about your company’s brand. Learning what your audience wants from a company in your industry is crucial to creating a brand that people love. This is a common way of thinking among small business owners who focus too much on marketing and sales and forget that their business is a company with a brand.

 As a result, identifying the ideal target audience for your business will support your overall digital branding strategy. Your core messages should include unique aspects of your business, added value customers, and the personality of your brands. Your Points of Difference (POD) make you special, they make customers choose your business over your competitors, and they should be included as part of your branding strategy.

By developing a strong brand voice and carrying it through your content, you strengthen who you are and what you do for your customers, strengthen relationships and help drive the business forward. Today you have the opportunity to build your brand and make your company credible, trustworthy, and accessible to your customers and prospects – whether in your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, online videos, pictures, articles, and white papers.

In this masterclass Building Your Brand Strategy, learn our proven 5-step process to build a strong foundation and position your business for what it stands for. Simply put, building the tactics, brand awareness, marketing, engagement, community-building strategies, and consistent implementation that give both new and existing companies a boost is necessary for successful branding in the digital age. 

They recognize the connection between successful companies and strong branding and strive to build a brand that is as successful as theirs. Mascot logos can humanize your business and create a brand personality, but be aware that they can be of old-fashioned style and are recommended only in certain contexts, especially if you prefer a retro look. This provides you with variety, as you can create a unique design for your business while remaining true to the brand identity. 

Source: Building A Company For Your Brand

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Related Contents:

Has Digital Killed Traditional Advertising and Media

Digital technology has changed our world. It has altered how we access news, entertainment and information, our work patterns, and our communication channels. How we buy and sell.

So, as digital advertising and media continue to grow, have their traditional forms become redundant?…Let’s talk…

Simon Cheng, Marketing Director, Menulog

“No, I don’t think digital has killed traditional advertising. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. Digital complements traditional, as each plays their own role. Traditional will always be important for mass reach objectives and brand building. While, digital is great for performance and driving incremental brand growth through more targeted reach.

“At Menulog, we are a technology business however we invest a lot in traditional channels – TV, outdoor and radio – because they are still some of the most effective avenues for capturing the attention of mass audiences. Equally, we also invest heavily in performance media, using search and social to convert demand. After all, there’s no point investing in creating demand if you are not then capturing it or driving engagement.

“As the world of media continues to become more fragmented, advertising and communication channels need to reflect how consumers want to consume content. Marketers shouldn’t over complicate things. It’s the right message, right place, right time. The channels that fit naturally against your objectives, are those to go with.

Andrew Cornale, Co-Founder and Technical Director, UnDigital

“Digital marketing is certainly more readily accessible than traditional advertising and I would argue that it has overtaken traditional marketing in many senses, but has digital killed traditional advertising? No.

“Traditional advertising still has its place. We see successful campaigns using traditional advertising all the time. However, I’d argue that its high price point and specialised skill set makes it less accessible to the everyday business. For many businesses, digital advertising is more affordable, scalable and targeted. Plus, it’s easier to map ROI against a digital campaign where sales can be mapped directly to it.

“To me, digital marketing is a smarter strategy because decisions are backed by data with less guesswork and, generally speaking, there are just more opportunities to find customers online. If one day, we do see the death of traditional advertising, I’d say digital marketing certainly had a hand in it, but it’s not necessarily holding the murder weapon.”

Yasinta Widjojo, Senior Marketing Manager, Pin Payments

“There’s no doubt that marketing and advertising have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, alongside the advancements of technology and the internet.

“While traditional advertising relied on methods such as TV ads, billboards and print journalism, digital advertising has superseded these methods with algorithms that enable marketers to find and sell to their key audiences. Technology has opened the door to endless possibilities, when it comes to advertising, but with changes come challenges.

“Consumers are battling against a barrage of online noise, through their email inboxes, social media accounts and websites. No platform is left unturned, making creating genuine authenticity with your customers much harder.

“Interestingly enough, the feeling of digital numbness that has come alongside the pandemic, has led some customers back to traditional advertising. The pandemic has seen a rise in guerrilla advertising that harnesses both the digital and physical world, using billboards, posters or graffiti that can be scanned by a smartphone.

“As society adjusts to using their smartphones for COVID-19 check-ins or QR codes, modern marketing which amalgamates both old and new advertising methods, is being embraced. Traditional advertising isn’t dead, it’s had a system upgrade with the help of digital.”

Adam Boote, Director of Digital and Growth, Localsearch

“Changing consumer behaviours in a tech-savvy society have significantly impacted the way advertising is created and consumed. Millennials and Gen Zs are far more influenced by digital media – 49% of TikTok users purchase a product or service after seeing it on the app, and 60% of Millennials admit their purchasing decisions are influenced by what they see on Facebook.

“We’re now seeing a big wave of consumers, including small businesses, turn to digital after weighing up not only print, but broadcast advertising. Although free-to-air TV viewership is increasing with more people at home, its key objective is generating brand awareness – so you may or may not receive immediate action from viewers. Online, you can target audiences with far greater demographic accuracy, targeting the people most relevant to you and guiding them through to where you want them to go.

“For SMBs who don’t have thousands to spend on TV ads, nailing your SEO and digital presence is far more cost-effective.

“However you decide to integrate digital with traditional, when consumers do remember your business and need your product or service, you want them to be able to go online and find you. Fast and easy.”

Cary Lockwood, chief executive officer, Loyalty Now

“Traditional media and advertising still have parts to play in the cultural zeitgeist, but the real question is: are they as effective in engaging audiences as their digital counterparts?

“Traditional advertising operates by conveying a broad message to a broad audience. However, in today’s hyperlocalised economy, consumers want their individual voices heard by merchants who offer solutions tailored to their unique interests and behaviours.

“This growing customer expectation, coupled with a need for business transparency, is one of the reasons experts anticipate some digital advertising methods to become obsolete soon. This is particularly evident in the current phase-out of third-party cookies ahead of 2022.

“Instead of investing in broader advertising avenues, businesses must embrace targeted partnerships with platforms that boast highly engaged audiences, and that also let merchants leverage hyperpersonalisation to better engage their consumers. This will lead to more committed return customers whose buying power outweighs surface-level interactions with disengaged buyers.”

Simon McDonald, Regional Vice President Optimizely

“Digital platforms have revolutionised advertising. Traditional mediums lock advertising into one-way communication, whereas digital platforms provide two-way interactive capabilities. Businesses can now customise advertising to personalise any brand experience and utilise real-time metrics to monitor their campaign’s success.

“Digital advertising is constantly evolving, and so is consumer behaviour. Organisations need to embed a culture of test and learn across all of their digital strategies, allowing businesses to quickly respond and evolve with the industry and consumer trends. While traditional advertising is still around, it is always best as part of a larger digital multichannel marketing campaign that can evolve and respond to consumer behaviour.”

Nicole Schulz, Brand Reputation Practice Lead, Sefiani Communications Group

“In a time of increasing misinformation and disinformation online, traditional media has played a vital role in delivering timely, factual and credible information to Australians. The Digital News Report 2021 found that in Australia, trust in news has risen to 43%. As Australians turned to public broadcasters for critical news over the past 18 months, trust in traditional news brands has remained high. In contrast, 64% of Australians are concerned about false and misleading information online. Roy Morgan research found that TV is regarded as the most trusted source of news, nominated by nearly 7 million Australians.

“However, the same research also found that the internet is now Australia’s main source of news. There is no doubt that Australian audiences at large are continuing to shift away from traditional towards digital platforms for news but the credibility and trust attached to traditional new publishers remains paramount. To thrive in the future, traditional media will need to continue to evolve its multi-channel offering to suit and serve diverse and segmented audiences.”

Clare Loewenthal

 

By: Clare Loewenthal

Source: Let’s Talk: Has digital killed traditional advertising and media? – Dynamic Business

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Related Contents:

 

Forget Everything You Think You Know About Time

In April 2018, in the famous Faraday Theatre at the Royal Institution in London, Carlo Rovelli gave an hour-long lecture on the nature of time. A red thread spanned the stage, a metaphor for the Italian theoretical physicist’s subject. “Time is a long line,” he said. To the left lies the past—the dinosaurs, the big bang—and to the right, the future—the unknown. “We’re sort of here,” he said, hanging a carabiner on it, as a marker for the present.

Then he flipped the script. “I’m going to tell you that time is not like that,” he explained.

Rovelli went on to challenge our common-sense notion of time, starting with the idea that it ticks everywhere at a uniform rate. In fact, clocks tick slower when they are in a stronger gravitational field. When you move nearby clocks showing the same time into different fields—one in space, the other on Earth, say—and then bring them back together again, they will show different times. “It’s a fact,” Rovelli said, and it means “your head is older than your feet.”

Also a non-starter is any shared sense of “now.” We don’t really share the present moment with anyone. “If I look at you, I see you now—well, but not really, because light takes time to come from you to me,” he said. “So I see you sort of a little bit in the past .” As a result, “now” means nothing beyond the temporal bubble “in which we can disregard the time it takes light to go back and forth.”

Rovelli turned next to the idea that time flows in only one direction, from past to future. Unlike general relativity, quantum mechanics, and particle physics, thermodynamics embeds a direction of time. Its second law states that the total entropy, or disorder, in an isolated system never decreases over time. Yet this doesn’t mean that our conventional notion of time is on any firmer grounding, Rovelli said.

Entropy, or disorder, is subjective: “Order is in the eye of the person who looks.” In other words the distinction between past and future, the growth of entropy over time, depends on a macroscopic effect—“the way we have described the system, which in turn depends on how we interact with the system,” he said.

“A million years of your life would be neither past nor future for me. So the present is not thin; it’s horrendously thick.”

Getting to the last common notion of time, Rovelli became a little more cautious. His scientific argument that time is discrete—that it is not seamless, but has quanta—is less solid. “Why? Because I’m still doing it! It’s not yet in the textbook.” The equations for quantum gravity he’s written down suggest three things, he said, about what “clocks measure.” First, there’s a minimal amount of time—its units are not infinitely small.

Second, since a clock, like every object, is quantum, it can be in a superposition of time readings. “You cannot say between this event and this event is a certain amount of time, because, as always in quantum mechanics, there could be a probability distribution of time passing.”

Which means that, third, in quantum gravity, you can have “a local notion of a sequence of events, which is a minimal notion of time, and that’s the only thing that remains,” Rovelli said. Events aren’t ordered in a line “but are confused and connected” to each other without “a preferred time variable—anything can work as a variable.”

Even the notion that the present is fleeting doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It is certainly true that the present is “horrendously short” in classical, Newtonian physics. “But that’s not the way the world is designed,” Rovelli explained. Light traces a cone, or consecutively larger circles, in four-dimensional spacetime like ripples on a pond that grow larger as they travel. No information can cross the bounds of the light cone because that would require information to travel faster than the speed of light.

“In spacetime, the past is whatever is inside our past light-cone,” Rovelli said, gesturing with his hands the shape of an upside down cone. “So it’s whatever can affect us. The future is this opposite thing,” he went on, now gesturing an upright cone. “So in between the past and the future, there isn’t just a single line—there’s a huge amount of time.” Rovelli asked an audience member to imagine that he lived in Andromeda, which is two and a half million light years away. “A million years of your life would be neither past nor future for me. So the present is not thin; it’s horrendously thick.”

Listening to Rovelli’s description, I was reminded of a phrase from his book, The Order of Time : Studying time “is like holding a snowflake in your hands: gradually, as you study it, it melts between your fingers and vanishes.”

By : Brian Gallagher

Brian Gallagher is the editor of Facts So Romantic, the Nautilus  blog. Follow him on Twitter @BSGallagher.

Source: Forget Everything You Think You Know About Time

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Related Contents:

Process instruments and controls handbook

Compendium of Mathematical Symbols

Farmers have used the sun to mark time for thousands of years, as the most ancient method of telling time

Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

A Brief History of Atomic Clocks at NIST

Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity

An introduction to electromagnetic theory

New atomic clock can keep time for 200 million years: Super-precise instruments vital to deep space navigation

12 attoseconds is the world record for shortest controllable time

Frequency of cesium in terms of ephemeris time

Subjective Time Versus Proper (Clock) Time

A brief history of time-consciousness: historical precursors to James and Husserl

The concept of time in philosophy: A comparative study between Theravada Buddhist and Henri Bergson’s concept of time from Thai philosophers’ perspectives

Critique of Pure Reason, Lecture notes: Philosophy 175 UC Davis

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

Getting organized at work : 24 lessons to set goals, establish priorities, and manage your time

Bridge between quantum mechanics and general relativity still possible

Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History

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