Jan 25

Davos Conference Participation

The World Economic Forum starts in Davos today. This year they’ve increased the methods of sharing and participation with sessions available on webcast and also as podcasts for the first time this year. (nice to see the little orange icon.

They also have a blog, which is open to contributions from all:

Every participant of the Annual Meeting – ranging from business leaders to political leaders, heads of NGOs, religious leaders, academics and journalists – will be asked to join the Forum blog.

Supported by Loic (and Six Apart?) I’ll be watching this to see if the group collaboration works. If it does, it’s a good example for company conferences, where the challange would be ‘why’.

Jan 25

Busk Marketing

Annie over on London Underground reports on the interface between corporates and self-impression. Underground buskers are being paid by companies to play music. The buskers are being paid a reported £40/day to play Johnny Cash songs, to support the release of the new movie Walk the Line and its associated release of albums.

There appears to be a mixed reaction from the buskers – are they compromising themselves and being a corporate schill? For some, the money is too good an opportunity; others feel they could not do it. A good marketing test, getting the songs in front of an estimated 3 million people for a cost that would be far cheaper than a set of tube posters. I think the buskers need to put their prices up!

Jan 24

Conference Tiredness

Two days of the conference over, another 3 to go. Despite some of the cool things being shown and shared, it’s come back to me how tiring just sitting and listening is. Without the alternative input that can be obtained from shared wikis, back channels, flickr etc, the conference can drag. Without a shared space to track the conversations, information is lost. The risk here is that so many of the market representatives here (it’s a European Marketing conference) may not get everything written down in their notebooks and then have no way to get back into the information.

Now, I wonder who I need to talk to in order to see if they would do it differently next year?

Jan 20

Whale in Thames

This has just turned up in my inbox…

London (dpa) – A whale was spotted in the river Thames in London Friday swimming past the parliament of Westminster and Big Ben, eyewitnesses said.
Boaters and sightseers reported seeing the mammal, believed to be a pilot whale – which can grow up to 6 metres long.
Tom Howard-Vyne, head of communications at the British Airways-operated London Eye ferrieswheel on the bank of the river, said: “I saw it blow, it was a spout of water which sparkled in the air.
“It was on this side of Westminster Bridge and 10 minutes ago it was near the House of Commons. It was an amazing sight,” he added. It was believed the whale was being tracked by a lifeboat to make sure it would not get disturbed by the shipping in the river.
The sighting was described as “extraordinary” by experts, who believed that, like a number of dolphins previously, the whale had “got lost.”

If it’s up by Westminster, it’s definitely got lost!

And now it’s on the BBC

Jan 20

Girl Geek Dinner February

The 3rd London Girl Geek Dinner was held last night. About 40 people turned up for networking, chatting, some food, drink, and open mike talks. Jen got up last and gave an impromptu chat show, dragging out confessions of other geekdoms from cooking to interior design. Other talks were from Rachael, (on developing mobile user interfaces) and Bill (on being a jounalist with a CS degree). The open mike format worked well in this case, giving a variety of speakers.

The next one is now planned for April – so keep an eye out for the announcement and come along if you are in London.

Ian has photos on Flickr.

Jan 19

European domains

After seeing the sale of sex.com, I thoght I’d take a look at who was up for sex.eu. In the first 10 minutes after applications opened, 131 requests Although many appear to be multiple requests from the same buyer through different registrars. They’re nearly all claiming prior right to the word as a national trademark.

Taking a look at the European trademarks, the word obviously means many different things across Europe. There are trademark registered or applied for under sex for:

  • Austria: online material
  • Germany: Indoor aquariums and covers for indoor aquariums and Toothbrushes, toothpicks, dental floss
  • Germany: Friction lighters for igniting gas; gas lighters; lighters.
  • Germany: Perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions, soaps, dentifrices
  • Germany: Tobacco; smoker’s articles

There’s another 40 trademarks in the EU with the word in it…this must be one of the weirdest – SEX WAX .MR. ZOGS.THE BEST FOR YOUR STICK – which does actually appear to be surfboard wax.

Jan 19

Strange Comment Spams

For the last few weeks, I’ve been receiving a lot of comment spam that all follow the same format. Here’s a typical comment:

I enjoyed reading your stuff. Cool site. Central is feature of Astonishing Round: www.dallasnews.com , Collective Boy becomes Coolblooded Soldier in final www.newscientist.com Red, Faithful, Universal nothing comparative to Central , to Kill Grass you should be very Curious www.scripting.com Red Stake Love or not

Looking at the source, the links appear to be exactly what they say they are, going to ‘genuine’ sites as opposed to those trying to sell drugs and surgical procedures. There’s just been a whole lot linking through to movie sites. I have no idea what these are trying to do, but it’s getting boring deleting them.

Jan 19

Do you have rhythm?

From the Metro, the Song Tapper alllows you to tap in the rhythm of a song and then tries to match it to its database to tell you the title. This is targeted at everyone who has a song going round and round in their head and they’re trying to find the title. Unfortunately, on my few attempts it did not match any of my songs. However, that may say more about my complete inability to tap out a rhythm than a failure of the system.

Posted in fun
Jan 17


Last night I went to a business networking event. Unlike some I’ve been to, where it is a ‘come along and chat’ night, this one was more structured in that there were a number of experts who provide free 30 minute sessions during the night on their specialised subject. Even though they are trying to convince you to use their services going forward, the selling was pretty light and the sessions are no obligation with some pretty good advice given out. Last night there was an emarketing expert, a Management consultant, a voice coach and a lifestyle coach.

In conversations with the attendees I spent a lot of time talking about blogging. There was a lot of interest from people who were aware of it but did not understand if and how it could help them in their business. A lot of people had websites, often because ‘they had to have them’ but were not leveraging them to drive business. One person there was getting their website rewritten, unbeknownst to them it was going to become a blog – but the word had never been mentioned, it was just being described as an easy site to update and get comments on. By the end of the evening I had a number of people to whom I need to send out a load of links. (which I can use as a post in my new blog about my new business…). I was also busy recommending Naked Conversations as a good starting point as the book is out in the UK at the end of January.

Looking for the book, I found a weird glitch. Using the search term ‘Naked Conversation’, Amazon came back and told me there was nothing that matched the term ‘naget’…I’d love to know why it does that.


Jan 16


I’ve been looking at a couple of sites that have been designed to support people trying to keep to their New Years Resolutions.

The first is from Boots the Chemist, with its Change One Thing programme. They have hints and tips in six categories; the whole campaign is backed up with heavy instore promotion, tying in products with the different programmes. From a store perpsective, there’s some interesting matches, as one I’ve seen ties in condoms into the de-stress programme. On the website, you can sign up for supporting emails and text messages to support your journey – it allows you to set goals and reminders.

The second is from Diet Coke. This is far more ‘fun’ focused than Boots, with a resolution generator and a lot of stuff about reseearch showing that people are far more likely to stick to small changes for resolutions than large ones. The campaign appears to be heavily driven by press and TV. Again you can sign up for emails to keep you motivated. But in this case it’s not the pull marketing of Boots, where you get messages that you set on the days you define, but push marketing, where you are signing up for their suggestions plus adding yourself to their database for future random emails about games and stuff.

Two different approaches capitalising on the New Year mind. I think I prefer the boots and not the campaign that names its character after a type of law.

Update: If you want to send yourself reminders to do things, try hassleme.co.uk, where you can set it up to send you emails at set periods to remind you to do things

Jan 15


Standing Guard

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown is trying to promote Britishness.

Britishness is a very artifical thing – there is not actually a country called Britain, Although we’ve shared a monarchy since 1603, it was not until 1707 that Scotland formally joined England and Wales in the Kingdom of Great Britain, where Great Britain was the name of the island. In 1800, Ireland got joined in, making the United Kingdon.

If I’m asked what country I’m from, I usually say the UK. But if asked what nationality I am, I say English. Brown wants a national day – but the countries in the UK already have their days, even if they are based on Saint days.

Brown wants to promote a national identity, to promote patriotism in a multi-cultural society. There’s a lot more needed to do this than promote one single national day.

Jan 15

Elvis Impersonator

Elvis Impersonator

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

I spent some time yesterday at the Russian New Year festival in Trafalgar Square. There were a few stalls, a couple of bars and a big stage. Various Russian acts performed; as a metal band came out and really rocked, this gey walked up, took off the coat and started dancing. The buckle was labelled Elvis, the shirt was very flowery and the wig was very, very obvious, but stuck on well, not moving as he danced to act after act. He was still there a few hours later. A pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Jan 13

Stock Check at the Zoo

London Zoo started theirannual stock check today. As explained on the morning TV, they don’t really concentrate on the bigger things, because I think you’d notice pretty quickly if the count of elephants was out by a couple. It can take up to a month, ensuring a good record is done of all the births and deaths; this year they had a new giant anteater, a bongo calf, Francois langur monkeys and a penguin chick, alongside the successful breeding of a colony of rare Bermudan snails. They do cheat a little though…they don’t count all the ants, just call them a single colony.

Jan 11

Sky Broadband

I wonder what the business reason is for not allowing extra subscribers to Sky Broadband. But I’d more than likely sign up to a subscriber system to download movies. I rent them at the moment from Amazon; it’d be so much easier just to download instread of having to post DVDs all the time. But instead I have to sign up for a package over £30…but I can’t where I live so this is out of the question for me.

This is DRMed to death, in that you only have a limited number of days (30) to watch the movies. But that’s not much different from the rental system I use – i have to return the discs. So in this case, letting me subscribe as a rental system (instead of locking me into a subscription that makes me sign up for things I don’t want) is a way Sky could get money from me when currently they make nothing.