If you were to ask me what the future of marketing is, where the next biggest thing is, what's huge but not being talked about, my answer would be one word: repositories.
For folks who aren't programmers, repositories are collections of computer source code that get compiled and turned into the programs that shape our lives. Think of them as libraries of code. One of the greatest meta-repositories online can be found at GitHub, where you as the average person can find projects, programs, and code for nearly anything imaginable that can be coded. There are GitHub repositories for astrophysics and life sciences, repositories for social media and Big Data, repositories for games, and even ridiculous applications of cool technology, such as text analytics of adult video titles.
If you can think of it, chances are someone's working on code for it - and that code is available to you on GitHub as a fellow programmer. Most repositories that are public can be "forked", which means that you can make your own copy and start working on it (assuming you have some programming skill). You can make improvements to existing programs and merge them back into the source project, or you can keep going on your version of the project (as long as you obey the original author's licensing terms and give credit, of course).
Here's an example of a code base that leverages all of the major popular web technologies to launch a startup relatively quickly, intended for use at hackathons where you don't want to waste precious hours setting up the basics. Drop this code into your server and you've got the framework to actually start building something.
If there's a game-changing app coming for marketing tomorrow, chances are it's in someone's GitHub project today.
What if you're not a programmer? What if you can't code? GitHub still has its uses. At the very least, search for problems you're trying to solve in your business with technological solutions and see if someone's got a GitHub repository that might solve that problem. For example, let's say you wanted to do something with Klout scores. Search for Klout on GitHub to see what developers are working on, and if you find a project (as a non-programmer) that looks like it's close to what you want to do, you can click on the developer's name, read their bio, and possibly hire them to modify their code for your specific purposes. Who knows? By partnering with a developer who has already done a good chunk of the work you want to achieve, you might be the sponsor of the next big thing!
Explore GitHub and see what could be in your future, now.
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