Oct 30

Not all Women?

You’ve probably seen this video. The ‘highlights’ of walking around New York for 10 hours, but not in a good ‘look at all this tourist stuff we visited’

The video troubled me and not just because it seems to be a very narrow selection of choices of the types of men who do interact with her. That could be deliberate, to get more coverage, or it could be as stated, that the majority of comments from white guys were not recorded well. It’s a film by a charity trying to get views and attention, it’s going to do everything it can to get watched and talked about/

It troubles me in two specific ways. The first is my reaction, the not all women reaction. I can empathise with men who use #notallmen in reaction to reports of harassment. it is human nature to want to put things in stories that relate to their own experience, so if it’s never happened to you or people you know, then it is hard to understand. That was my first reaction – in all the time I have lived in New York, doing lots of walking, I never got a commented on at all. So what is different?

You have to move beyond the first reaction, recognise it for what it is and then move to understanding, not explaining and denying. Then ask yourself the question – what can you do to change it.

The second troubling thing is tied into the notallmen reaction. How have we, as a society, for into the situation where good morning is seen as a threat by women or where men can be scared of saying it. Many of the comments on the video are about how can this ALL be harassment when it was lots of general greetings. Because it is perceived as harassment. Because the experience of this woman and many others like her is that the body language, eye contact and tone that go along with the bland comment are threatening. So how can we change both reactions – that men can just demand attention and that women now see that as a threat.

Oct 24

Restaurant Review: Great Queen Street

Restaurant: Great Queen St, 32 Great Queen St, Holborn

I decided to pop into here one wet Monday evening on the way back from work. I thought it’d be quiet. I was wrong! They managed to squeeze me into a small table, right by the bar and I watched as the rest of the restaurant quickly filled up. It may not be that buys every Monday, as there was a large party taking up half the restaurant, but I did get the feeling that it is never quiet. It’s not quite a gastropub, more like a restaurant with a very large bar.

Partridge at Great Queen St

I just decided to have the one course, partridge, with new season cannelloni beans and a bit of water cress garnish. I’d paired this with the side dish of ‘greens’, although I was disappointed that this was white cabbage. Very nicely done white cabbage, but I was in the mood for something a bit more dark green to go with the richness of the bird. Maybe some chard.

There was a small wait for the partridge, which they had warned me about. The bird had to be roasted! The main dish was tasty, cooked well, lying on top of the beans and tomato sauce. It was also a fun dish to eat – the finger bowl provided giving permission to pick up the bits to get the last remnants of the meat off the bones.

The menu appears to change regularly, with a definite season vibe to it. The wine list is all Old World, mainly French, although quite small – or should that be select and exclusive? What that means is that the wines by the glass/carafe are also limited in choice, but I did enjoy the Poivre d’Ane Syrah/Grenache blend.

Overall, a lovely place to have a meal and I get the feeling it would be easy to spend a fun evening with friends here.

Great Queen Street on Urbanspoon

Oct 12

A New bathroom is delivered

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll have seen my daily photos charting the renovation of my bathroom over the last few weeks. Finally it’s done!!! After 2 weeks of having to shower at work, it’s over and I get my own bathroom back.

I’m pretty sure that the bathroom was original, with the suite installed when the flat was built back in the 50s. The council added central heating since then – running the pipes in front of the bath, but everything else has stayed the same. This is why you have a toilet cistern that may contain asbestos and a cast iron waste pipe on a very weird angle that means the toilet needs to be raised up a few inches off the floor. But in generally, it works, so no need for me to change it, up until this year.

Now it’s done and I’m happy, especially with the increase in storage so I can hide everything away. :-) It was installed through London Bathrooms, a small local firm. Very happy with their work and with the excellent finish. I gave the owner (Rufus Landricombe) instructions and he recommended the suite and fixtures/fittings; I’m not someone who wants to spend ages on details of this! And the fitter was extremely tidy, leaving it all packed away at the end of each day. I would definitely recommend them.

What it looks like now

Bathroom Day 11

Bathroom Day 11

Bathroom Day 11

What it looked like

Bathroom Day 0

Bathroom Day 0

Oct 09

SMW:Wimbledon and IBM

Another session from Social Media Week London, this one social media, Wimbledon and their partnership with IBM.

Alex Willis (Wimbledon)

In 2011 the Wimbledon team set out a 3 year plan to improve their digital experience. At the time they had started to engage on social, with 300k FB fans and 150k Twitter followers. They had 2 websites (one for all year round and one for the championships), and used radio and video; they had an app same as site. But their channels were not connected.

Their 3 year plan was about:

  • Extending reach
  • Ensuring everything on brand
  • Extend channels and apps

Their position is “to be the next best thing to being there”

  • Some numbers: 1.7m downloads of mobile app, 400k on iPad. These both provide a personalised experience. They have a ‘live at Wimbledon TV channel online/apps/YouTube. They had 1.3m streams – 58% of this on the .com. 17.1m visit website; 4.5m social audience. The .com is 80% of the digital audience – on desktop. (Wimbledon audience very different to CPG trends for example – so at work?, content needs the real estate?)
  • The have developed a clear tone of voice: Tradition, heritage, prestige, pinnacle, English. A slightly bumbly English gentleman. They look to be relevant, useful, unique.
  • During the Championships, they have 1 person per platform, to make sure they make the best of the each platform and to ensure the different roles are clear. (this is temp only, rest of year it is just Alex)
  • They have far higher outbound activity and earned conversations than the other grand slams. They have extra freedom as they are not limited by commercial constraints, they don’t promote sponsors and they can stay true to the brand.
  • They have started to focus on content partners for the different platforms. They worked with Grabyo for video; with specific player interviews and Q&A. Partnering with players who then shared on own accounts; they did some quirky stuff with them as well in videos. . They ran different promotions per platform, eg a Queue Selfie on Twitter, #MyWimbledon on Google+, Live video channel on YouTube. They had a Facebook photobooth in the players lounge, but it did not get any traction. They tried a Murray Digigraph, tweet and get a response from Murray.
  • They have experimented a lot with Video headlines on YouTube, they can be a lot more informal then their same video on their own site. They also did a content partnership with YouTubers and got Tom Daley involved in a partnership.
    New in 2014 was Hill vs World. Which was an in-ground activation, something they are trying to do more. They asked questions on the screen and compared answers with those not there.
  • They have tested out foreign language, so 3 Chinese feeds on Weibo, geotargeted Japanese content on Facebook
  • They have had very good growth – without paid media. FB1.6m to 2.4m; Instagram 100k to 200k; Twitter 700k to 1.18m; G+ to 1.2m. YT 15m views in the 2 wks, a 61% growth. Facebook ORGANIC reach of 12.7m on 6th July.

Chris Thomas (IBM)

Their requirements were frequent data updates (every 5 mins); the ability to identify trends and themes; be part of the conversation; demo the power of social media to their clients; provide easy to use visualisations; fully automated; offend nobody (so heavy filtering and management). Their social media hub at Wimbledon was in public view and was used for client entertainment.

Tech wise they provided Watson Content analytics, which is NL analysis. The IBM emerging tech services provided apps; the IBM research/Customer Experience labs identified influencers. It was all hosted in the Soft Layer (cloud). It was all presented through a very, very nice dashboard.

The dashboard allowed you to dig, slice and dice in may ways. Volume of conversations, trending topics, sentiment. Eg on 3 July sentiment dipped negatively, all because Sharapova commented about Tendulka. (#Wimbledon mentioned stayed positive). They could did down to show what was being said, they could then amend and change topics to keep focus on the tennis.

They measured influencers across the day/topics and this allowed them to understand the conversations and connect with it. They measure (and this seemed to be on Twitter only):

  • Engagement – responses
  • Activty – number of posts
  • Authority – who RT etc
  • Timeliness – how quick were responses
  • Followers – numbers

In summary, their key learnings were to integrate the digital and social strategies, you need a consistent brand experience and you need to organise yourself to listen and act. You need to have the right people in place who understand the digital world.

Some responses to audience questions

  • An audience question was about the bottom line and Wimbledon are in the slightly unusual position that it does not matter for them, there is no objective to make money from the digital. But it does open up opportunities as they are using the metrics to identify new territories to focus on based on interest, allows them to focus.
  • They have started a process to engage with the other grand slams to co-ordinate some activity across the year.
    For IBM it is a showcase for new business to show what they can do with partners
  • Wimbledon continuously look to innovate (and are planning next year). They tried a Fantasy format this year.
  • They are starting to use their historic archives to keep engagement going all year.
Oct 07

Sushi Tetsu

DSC_0189

Less then 5 minutes walk from where I work is a tiny little sushi place called Sushi Tetsu. I’ve walked past it plenty of times and always meant to book. When I finally got round to looking it up, it turned out that it was almost impossible to get into. It has 7 seats only and opens for booking only 2 days a month, when you apparently have to be very, very stubborn and keep redialing until you get through. Or? Or, you can try to keep an eye on cancellations on Twitter and have the number on speed dial. Which is what I did and was lucky enough to pick up a single place for a Friday evening.

They ask you to pre-book if you want the Omakase, which is basically a tasting menu with special sashimi, more fish sashimi, nigiri, a hand roll and a desert of a sweet omelette. That’s what I chose, so when I got settled in my place all I had to choose was the sake. Then I just watched the chef Toru prepare the food for us all round the bar and chatted occasionally with his wife Harumi about travel, tv, food bloggers and other restaurants. (she recommended Hedone!). Because of the setting, I only ended up taking the one photo, the rest of the time I just enjoyed watching a master at work. Everything was done with care, in a ballet of prep as Toru kept all 7 of us supplied with a steady supply through our various meals.

From the first taste of the edemame beans, all the way through the courses, I loved this sushi. A huge mixture of tastes and textures, many I’d never tried before. I loved the seared marinated mackerel. The seaweed marinated turbot was just sublime. The snow crab was sweet and the the seared scallop just perfect.

Hopefully, I’ll get lucky again with the phone another day and get another chance to experience the show.

Sushi Tetsu on Urbanspoon

Oct 05

Hedone again

So Andy Hayler, a great food blogger (who is from Chiswick too), pointed out that there are 992 foodblogs writing about London, or at least 992 who have signed up for Urbanspoon’s blog list. I don’t pretend to be a regular food blogger but I do LOVE eating out..and taking photos of the food, so I thought I’d join the list :-)

The last time I booked for Hedone, I ended up being unconscious on the operating table having my retina re-attached at the time I was supposed to be eating. So this time, not that I’m superstitious or anything :-) I didn’t book too much in advance just rung up an hour before to get a ‘bar stool’, which I normally where I end up sitting. I chose the 7 course menu, with accompanying wine. I didn’t take photos of everything, but I did take some notes! This is my 4th time eating here, the last time was in February. Even with only a few visits, the maitre’d still remembered me – last time I was there I was reading the Naples guidebook and she came overto ask how my trip had been. For someone who is really bad at faces…this is extremely impressive!

The meal started off with a couple of little bites that were not on the list. There was a little cherry meringue, with fois gras and raw button mushroom slices. Loved the cherry and fois gras combination, the button mushrooms provided an earthy flavour that did not quite gel. Then a tiny cone with mini tuna nicoise salad. That was tasty. The first listed starter was poached oyster with granny smith foam and a violet. This seems to be a standard here. Didn’t take a photo this time, but here’s one I made earlier.

Birthday dinner at Hedone

Next up was a cucumber medley – cucumber flan, cucumber sauce and a cucumber granita. Hedone used to serve a unami flan and they seemed to have used this as a base and added the cucumber to it. The sauce carried the pure essence of cucumber and was gorgeous! Next, another staple of the restaurant, which was sweet onion and pear. I could have eaten a lot more of these

Hedone pear and onion

On paper, the liquid parmesan ravioli, with onion foam, bits of smoked ham and more sweet onion, was potentially my least favourite, as I don’t really like parmesan, I have no idea how they have liquid cheese that does not burn the tongue! But it worked extremely well,the cheese flavour modified well by the onion. The plate was scraped clean!

Hedone - parmesan ravioli

The ‘main’ now: venison, beets, radish (and a little more onion). Just great ingredients served lovingly, nothing too clever here.

Hedone - venison

Then the first of the deserts was a trio of lemon with figs. Lemon sorbet, cream and jelly (or syrup or something). I’d watched all the figs being cut up earlier in the afternoon and seen the care that went into making sure that everyone was perfect. The whole combination was great.

Figs and lemon at Hedone

Finally, another standard, the chcocolate and raspberry desert. The sharp raspberry powder just set of the chocolate perfectly.

Hedone Raspberry desert

All in all, I love this place, would go far more often if I could!

Hedone on Urbanspoon

Oct 03

SMW London – Social across the Shopper Journey

For Social Media Week London, I managed to get to go to a few sessions, fitting them in around the working day. The first one I attended was run by Ogilvy, who presented about using social across a shopper journey – Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Loyalty, Advocacy.

Well presented and a good model, it sort of set the scene however for the week – I’m probably not quite the right audience for this week, it looks to be more targeted as the less experienced end of those who work (or would like to work) in social media. I’ve been using a similar model for years! So I only attended a few talks and looked for some new figures and case studies

If you’re interested here are the slides:

Some interesting facts and figures that came out of this session

  • 22% of Facebook fans (of a brand) were ambassadors. But 55% of ambassadors are not Facebook fans. So you need to look outside the obvious and easy places if you want to engage with different types of advocates. Just like it used to be before Facebook
  • As social moves to mobile, we continue to look for easier ways to pay – as form fillign is terrible on the phone. WeChat did a brilliant promotion to get people to add their details, leveraging New Year when Chinese typically send people envelopes of money. 5million joined, 20million envelopes sent. All of them added payment details which can be used for future social purchases
  • Adding a + to a bitly link can provide numbers (if not liked down). This was actually something I didn’t know, so worth going for that!