Jun 06

LeWeb London: John Perry Barlow

John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Leweb London 2013 - Day2
Photo by:Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/

I’ve been a hippie since sometime in 1965,when I quit being a beatnik. I’m fine with it, as part of what it’s meant, is that I know which side I am on in the struggle between certical and horizontal, religion and net and authority from consensus. I started writing songs for a band called the Grateful Dead, and there was also something that we did that was practical. By it’s nature, hippie is often someone who has done a bad job, but for us, it was practical. We started out early letting people sharing the concert. They could not take, as we’d played it already. They started, and there was resistance but we said what the hell, reproduce the tapes. And that was the viral marketing. By the time we quit in 1995, we could fill any stadium in the US. because we had shared our music.

THis led me to understand the economy of the virtual world in a way that few can do today. There is a difference between atoms and bits. Atoms have a value, a relationship with space-time scarcity. To make things valuable, then make it scares, as De Beers does with diamonds (which aren’t really rare). But when you talk about ideas etc, familiarity is much more important than scarcity. If I had the largest diamond in my pocket, it is valuable because it is scarce. If I had a song in my head, it is valueless until it is shared. It is in my best advantage to share. I have been trying to get a whole load of folks/institutions t understand this for the last 25 years.

I wrote in 1985 that it was extremely difficult to get people NOT to share anything that they found valuable and interesting if it could be reproduced and distributed at zero cost. The desire to share information that is interesting is fundamental

We are at the interesting point where the forces of the past, about controlling information, are vigorously trying to claim what can be known, keep as theres and make it harder for us to claim the possibilities that are here. That anyone on this planet will have the means to know anything about anything that interests them. The access will be there. We are coming into the ability to convey a right that no-one has thought before, the right to know. If there is a right to know, the human race will advance more, as we will seek the truth.

I was talking to Jimmy Wales…about wikipedia. Talking about what he was going to do…warned that he would still have this pile of disinformation and slander etc. Wales thought he was right but it was worth a try. Now he goes to Wikipedia to look at something he knows something about and finds, to his satisfaction, that there is good stuff on there and it grows. We care so much about knowledge and the truth and that we are doing this

We are willing to go to a lot of unpaid trouble to make it available to anyone about what is the truth about stuff, eg molecular biology. A few years ago I went and got a British Library card. I wanted to write the dot communist manifesto, even though I’m a rightwing republican. If you look at the Communist Manifesto know, it is more true and germane than it ever was. It is easier to share songs than cars. Marx thought there would be a revolution and all that was solid would melt into air and that is what is happening and stuff is not properly subject to property and sharing is easy. We now need to kill a few things, institutions and that is good.

As a musician I find it ironic that a record label talks about piracy when that is what they have done to us. But thinks about thing.s If you use content, ask if there is a container. Now we are taking something and turning it into a noun that can be owned. The word consumer, what is the word. When reading or listening, I’m not consuming. It is when eating, but not an idea. A consumer is about placing us into a subservient position which is where the institutions want us to be.

Asked what law he would change? He would abolish the idea of intellectual property, a very recent idea. It used to be a licence, a limited term to exploit the idea. It is impractical to own this stuff. There are other relationships to this stuff that we can have. But we will have to wait for things to get really bad before that happens

How will you make a living? He gets asked this question all the time. He gave away their songs all the time, and still made a decent living. The Dead Heads had access to all their music, but all of their studio records went platinum. I’m talking about musicians getting paid. If you have a model to strip them of their work and for something else to own the songs, then they don’t get paid!

People fail to recognise what sharing goes on all the time. Ask people if they would give up their assets or their relationships, then assets will go. Relationships are squishy…they are all about sharing.

We are still in the middle of a bloodbath around this and it will get worse before it gets better. The online dimension is extremely powerful and can express itself, (even if sometimes horrible) but it has meaning. We will still see horrible stuff, horrible crimes, but liberty resides in the rights of the person you find most odious and you have to defend that. But on other hand, you have wikpedia, you get works being put out there, not locked behind ownership.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Nick Halstead and Data

Nick Halstead, Founder & CTO, DataSift Inc
How Social Sharing Built a Billion Dollar Market
Nick Halstead has been at the heart of the social sharing economy for five years, creating the world’s first social sharing button and building a business upon the data that it generated. Nick will talk about the evolution of the sharing economy, from the early days of RSS and TweetMeme, to the prominence of social now and give his insight on the future of sharing in a social driven world.

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

What Nick has created, is powered by the sharing economy. Is going to tell us the story of how he got to where he is now.   It started off with the RSS icon and an argument with his Dad. His Dad did not understand it, why it was in the browser. He could not get to the content he wanted to. THe original name was fav.or.it. It was how o take huge amount of data and use social signals (interaction with content) and use that as in indicator of whether that was good or bad. Engagements, votes and the source.  It was OK

Then Twitter came along. And Nick saw that the data from Twitter could be used as a replacement for the signals. A wider set of signals. Without a lot of people using favorit, then little signal. So build on top of Twitter, where even then 1 of 4 were links, so pulled our what was hot. We brought in the idea of the authorit yof the people, not the publisher source. We looked at how people sharing links, who reshared.   Then provided a sharing button, the RT button to put on signs. It wasn’t really a ‘invention; for an evolution. In 9months were doing 1.5b page impressions a day. That was all about sharing economy, share what was the best content. Behind that, we were developing a data business. We had access to the data, people were asking us to help them understand the behaviour of the users. We now have many other social networks as well, to share content out there

YOu have now got share buttons in 50% of sites, to allow content to be put out to social networks.   When Nick joined Twitter, it was few, now >500m tweets a day. Growing all the time.

How is the data use? There is a symbiotic relationship between people on the networks and the companies that use the data. Look at when Alex Ferguson resigned, the news broke and spread quickly via Twitter. Businesses are using this to drive actions, eg something that would have impact on stock price.   4 years go, it was pretty simplistic. Keywords, plotting trends etc. Look at something like SecondSync, which is using social channels to assess TV popularity. They are tracking all the tv programmes and assessing impacts. Can assess popularity.   The data gets sold onto the programme makers, so they can see how the programme was being received minute by minute. You have the network who cares about demographics and then the ads care about their placements, their ads.   That’s why programmes use hashtags.

We talk about the value with no context. Whether people who mentioned you were actual customers. Now that is changing. A company called Phace (Face?) getting info and using the social info to assess who is talking.

Bloomberg supply Twitter data into their terminals, so traders can track things. The social data has changes things.   But how are you empowered rather than companies?  Now you can impact Bloomberg and the markets. A football shirt company uses social signal to determine the favourite players so they can impact the supply chain and get right volume into the marketplace. A retailer is using geolocation to see where people are shopping and use it to influence if they should open a store there.

There are huge advances in being able to understand intent. Bringing in context.  If you have context, you can ask questions. Eg who should I then sponsor?  Another way is starting to join the data together. Starting to connect the data, to be able to prove the value, being able to understand social alongside other data to get the whole picture

Forrester is thinking that next year, social media marketing will be over $3.1b. Growth will come from China, connecting social activity to inshop activity. We’re going beyond the button, beyond the Like button are becoming less and less value. It is about implicit actions, rather than explicit. You can look at photos, at what is being said

It’s only going to keep in growing!

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Comments on Google Glass

Boys and their Toys – The Google Glass Phenomenon
Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb
Robert Scoble, American blogger, technical evangelist, and author Rackspace
Ben Metcalfe, Co-host, LeWeb’13 London Co-Founder, WP Engine
Loic will be joined by Robert Scoble and Ben Metcalfe for this sure to be entertaining session.   Hear from these ultra early adopters their thoughts about Glass.  What’s it’s full potential? What are the cons? And everything in between!

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

This was more a conversation, with little planning….so just some comments and points.

  • The assistive technology is what is most interesting. How it can help with your life. Maps, and plane gates etc. Show sports scores and weather. Meetings, the traffic between me and meeting,   Glass is not owner specific :) ie you can get another persons to do something!
  • There are a lot of senses that are not using. Eg eyesensors. There are going to be features that are going to be unlocked.  Has a ear vibrator to transmit sound to ear (rather than speaker)
  • It’s less distracting than a smartphone, is in the way of where you are looking, not down at phone
  • It is very google centric, pictures go to G+ (in private). I can comment etc via that. I can see tweets
  • One nice things..if you shoot a series, it will turn them into an animated gif, sticking them together, do changes. It makes things easy
  • You can select which Twitter users you see stuff from. keep a select group that comes direct to eye/ Plus emails that can be selectively shown
  • It’s too big to wear easily, the social aspect is interesting, Loic takes it off. But Scoble keeps the Glass on most of the time
  • Other interesting things – games. Functional information support, eg surgeons with xrays.
  • There is a fashion cost to it. with one eye only. But they are lightweight, and last.
  • Scoble have shown it to more than 600 people..they are getting feedback from more than just the small of testers. (eg SV white people)
  • Google has said it will be 18 months before this is in the hands of the consumers. They are slowly rolling it out wider.   They need people to think about building apps

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Snapsation

Chris Chabot, Founder & CEO, Snapsation
Chris has been a driving force of the social web for as long as it’s been been around. As a lead engineer on OpenSocial, Developer Advocate for Google on open web standards, and a founding member of the Google+ team, he’s always worked on creating new connections between people through technology. With Snapsation Chris has combined his experience with social, the fascination with the new sharing economy and his love of photography to create new opportunities for the countless talented artists, and people who need high quality imagery.

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Excited about this as get to solve a real problem. It’s only when you solve a real problem, will you make a change. So Snapsation is where photographers find people and people find photographers. Is photography dead? (or is it just cameras!) The problem was that few people had devices..and fewer knew how to use them. But now photography is really living – but the devices is the phone. And it’s everyone, not just the few.

As a society, there is so much information and we have a poverty of attention – photos are quick to digest.  Images are an effective way of communicating. people who use photography are visual story telling. Visual,, rather than texting. Much richer communication. The society is becoming more visual. If you have a business, a restaurant, you need great photos on your website. The impact is incredible.

There is no common language between photographers and people. They don’t do visual sites, they don’t do prices. Everything about finding a professional is difficult. The amount of friction to get to the incredible hard. And there are lots of great photogs who want to find customers.  But may not have the full business knowledge to find customers.

So this is what snapsation is. The market place for photographers.  (note, there’s nothing in the UK at the moment)  (he gave a demo of the market place site). You can define service requirements, and what you are wanting to do and do the payment.  It helps you to market yourself, gives you ideas, how to prepare your portfolio.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Julien Smith and Breather

Julien Smith, CEO, Breather
With a dynamic team such as Julien & Alex, their new venture is sure to be disruptive. Julien, a New York Times bestselling author, who’s work focuses on adaptation and change, but not the “think out of the box” clichés that most companies embrace. Instead, his work draws from a deep study of the adaptive ability of the human body, as well as evolution, biomimicry, and an observation of nature. Alex built the API for one of the world’s biggest web services, Twitter. He was one of the first people there, in 2007, and helped Twitter become what it is today. These two are a powerful combination, come hear the inside scoop on Breather!

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

The city is the centre of what we do. It will grow bigger. Last year, in NYC, I ordered a meal from my phone, it was all paid for. I can order a cab anywhere via myphone. You can get coffee and pay via the phone. City have everything that is needed and few downsides.

But the big downside is what makes the city. It’s the people, a lot of people.   We like people, but not all the time. The growth exert and incredible pressure on the city. City evolves, and the question is what is it that a city will become, what will it have to become in order to support all this stuff. What the city has to do is solve the problem of people The greater the density, the more opps there are, but it then lacks private space.  And that is one of the key things we’ll need more of. In the coutnry, there’s lots of space, but none of city advantages.  Private space is broken.

When I’m a tourist, my options for private space is limited. Hotel? Starbucks? What space, what power?  If local, then have home, office, shops again. When you need space, there are few good solutions. If you need a phonecall and need to be quiet, there are few options.   So what can be invented?  It has to fit with existing structures to solve the problem   We need something better.  When we need privacy, we want it very badly.   What do we invent? It has to be small. It is to fit inside society.  It has to be easy. So why can I not get private space using my phone?

So this new company is a network of private spaces that you can unlock with your phone.  It’s a subscription model.  This is about being able to get private space on demand. It is what cities needs.  Cities will become broken without the option of private space on demand, You can unlock the space with the phone booking. No need for keys.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Collaborative Economy

Jeremiah Owyang, Partner, Altimeter Group
The Collaborative Economy:  How People, Startups, and Corporations build a new Market
Industry Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, will share findings from a recent research on the Sharing Economy.  He’ll highlight the trends in the startup space, including verticals served, funding, and forecast what types of startups that will make it –and who won’t.  The speech will outline how startups can work with corporations to serve this greater movement of sharing

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Shows us Frederick VII, King of Denmark.  He was watching the EU revolutions spreading and had options. Fight or collaborate.
We have heard about orgs that are looking at sharing and collaborate. So what role do corps have if people don’t want or need them., We look at how ownership AND Access is shared. The interesting thing is that corps have to let go in order to gain more. It is the only way.

Sharing is not new but it’s happening faster. If we go on a business trip, rather than using a taxi company, we use a neighbourhood person. We avoid hotels, stay in someone’s home. As the company grows, you don’t grow to bank, you can get peer lending. Grow more, use crowd resources.  Use excess office space that is brokered. There is a disruption happening.   The average car, that is properly shared reduces need for 9 cars. That’s a $270k opportunity loss. Don’t forget insurance, gas etc. One properly shared car could have $1m impact.  This is absolutely a disruption for business

We looked at if this was a passing fad? is it a long term trend. There are many different instances/factors. There are silo, economy and techfactors

Silo Factors: 75% of people polled expect to see an increase in sharing objects and spaces. It’s not just the youth, or closer living etc. We are amplifying with scalable velocity the need to share

Economic Factors: The population continues to rise but resources stay the same. People want to do more with the products they buy. They want to re-use

Technology Factors: 87 phones per 100 people.  Startups use social channels. THis revolution is on top of the disruptor – the internet

Looking at startups in this space. They are being funded. 200 startups have received $2b. This movement is not going away and it will increase in speed

So what do you do if you are being disrupted?  What happened with Frederick?  Frederick collaborated. He helped with the government, a new constitution. He helped, on his own terms. So there are lessons to be learnt.  We call it the Collaborative Economy Value Chain

We take products and turn into services. We take services and turn into marketplaces. You activate your marketplaces to create your products

Company as a Service. You let products be rented, or subscribed to or gift them.  Look at BMS in SF. You can rent cars off the lot. Subscription is not new, can we do this ti durable goods and services. Build a long term relationship.   BMW see that cars will be saturated in cities in 2050, so they know the renting model will matter

Motivate the Market Place. You can encourage only, as they are already doing this. When buyers and sellers. The opportunity is to connect them. Rg Marriott can certify my guest hose/room and bring them trusted guests. You get trusted folks from loyalty programme and then gets a cut of the revenue.   Any type of company can do this. Can a software provider do this service?  It does not exist yet

Provide a Platform: your market places build products. Customers can build the next generation of products. Co-ideate. Co-fund. Co-build. Co-market. Co- etc etc etc. There is software but it is not connected to corps etc. Provide a platform that the crowd becomes the company. there are a few small examples. Eg Nike design shoes.

Why would you connect the players in this? how would you provide the services? why would you try the models?  You can tap into the crowd. You can be in a deep relationship and get them to help. You can add value between customers and extract some value. No-one is doing this yet. This is an open market.  THe opportunity?  is 20%  Looking at the startups that is the average cut in these transactions.  There is a revenue growth opp

Frederick was a hero. He stopped the bloodshed. They remained as a monarch. He let go of his throne to gain the kingdom. IF corps want to be part of the collaborative economy to gain the market/ What side of history will you be on?

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Movement of the Sharing Economy

 Douglas Atkin, Head of Community & E-staff Member, Airbnb

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Wants to talk about a movement for the sharing economy. To grow the community. Grow the collective power. To stand up against the entrenched interests that stands in their way. Why?  There is an opportunity. There is enthusiasm. The players are looking at collaboration. How can the players share customers? Is  there ways to encourage people to cross-verticals (and take trust?).

And there are the challenges. The industries won’t stand idly by. The laws work against it. Should citizens band together to push for the sharing economy. A new kind of union for a new kind of economy. Looking for your support for this. Help your users, fund the movement, show your support.

We send on the brink of a new time that delivers social as well as economic benefits. Most people are not experiencing economic independence that mass production and consumerism promises. Production and control is centralised. The sharing economy is distributed.  You can’t do sharing without community, without creating individual experiences. Life is built in. (in regards to work/life balance).  The other rewards are important -not just the cash
The movement is independent, global. social. It uses peerpower and collective action to grow the sharing ecomony and overcome the challenges. It has the possibility of making the world better.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: AirBnB

Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder, Airbnb & Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Joe talked about how he set up, the idea behind it.
It was triggered by a huge conference, filling up the hotels and decided to see if there was a way to connect people to the space in his living room.   They had the concept – Airbed and Breakfast.  We wanted to make it more than a place to sleep, we wanted to cook them breakfast etc.

What advice is there to make yourself available to find ideas?
It’s about connecting new dots in a new and different way.. You need to marry the problem..find something that means something to you. We had to look at ways to pay rent to save apartment. You need to be close enough to connect the dots.

What happened next?
We had the concept. Then we built the website. We showed the apartment. We showed the neighbourhood and provided a guide. The end of the second day, we had the site live. But how did we get the word out?  We emailed the conference. And they sent out to the team and we had it in thw world. We got people emailing. People sent them resumes to convince them to allow them to stay with them. By Day 6, we had people there to share a living room with them.

On Day 7 and then what:
It was a great social experiment. They entered as strangers and left as friends. ANd we made money for the rent. But the social experience was greater.  And then we thought about how we can grow this and give other people this experience.  We found a tech partner. We went off to create the next version  For SXSW, 2008. But it was a failure. The hard cash exchange seemed to put people off. So we started again – so you could pay with card via the service. We got big press – but system failed, we built up the servers. But we weren’t growing, the market and the solution were not connecting. We went to the investors. They did not believe the founding team were right – 2 designers and a coder. They also thought it was risky. We did not get initial investment

Now?
THe business tipped last year. We were doing more internationally last year. We could see the growth and started to connect with the local community. We have teams on the ground.  We think you can’t localise without the local. Tech itself does not work. We run meetups, we connect with the community team to share tips, how to be a great host. People start to help each other out.

In some places it is not legal?
The car was once litigated against. We think it’s time to change. It’s a temp problem and will change

When will you go public?
It’s a misuse of our time now to think about that. We have to grow the community. No, we won’t tell you the revenue. Yes we employ a few hundred people

Are you a threat to the hotels?
Not directly. We are taking the pie and making it bigger. Last year in London, we helped expand the room supply. Let more people come to the city.   Our use cases are also different. Hotels are great for business, we;re not really business travel -only 10%. Also AirBnB often longer stays – eg a month.

What’s next? are you moving to other sectors? What do you think of the sharing economy? Where else will it become big?
When i think about it, it is those that have connect with those that want. It’s about connecting with resources. I imagine it between 2 people, not companies. Think about any resource? It will help unlock resources, there will always be something that people will want to ‘share’.   When you look at the internet. Act 1 was about companies, Act 2, we have a critical mass of people and it’s about connecting them. Act 3 is about the critical mass of people..who trust…and how to you get them offline and connecting that way.  The next big challenge is to design the online and offline transition. THat’s what we are thinking about. How can we simplify the key exchange. How can we reduce friction across the whole trip?

What are some key tips for entrepreneurs?
Marry the problem, empathise with the people. Meet people.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Tech City

Joanna Shields, Chief Executive, Tech City Investment Organisation & Matt Cowan, Writer & Broadcaster
An interview with Joanna, again all about London and the start up scene – the role of TechCity. (There was little actual information/evidence – just a general talk)

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Some points:

  • They have changed the investment rules, to make it easier to get equity
  • They are looking for top 50 companies to provide some direct help, who want to list and will get support and mentorship
  • The gov believes that entrepreneurship is a way of growing, it is a change agent. The Tech sector is growing at 11% pa.
  • TechCity is a group of neighbourhoods in East London. It is about community rather than gov initiative. Recognise that it is happening and providing support. It is happening across the country -there are 22 clusters.
  • There is a dramatic shift in employment – growth businesses are changing. There is no job for life. So we are encouraging looking at entrepreneur as a valid career path.
  • UK is very self-deprecating, we don’t shout out about success. Unlike the US. What is happening here…Financial, fashion, 3d printing, You start to see strength from the traditional areas.
  • Changing priorities: we support all the way from ideas through to launching on the stock exchange. We cna support on the journey. We are going to be focusing on the skill side. About how to be great product managers, define specs, to understand consumer and market requirements.
  • Learning: looking at pulling together the programmes and make people more aware of them,
  • Silicon Roundabout: we are consulting with community, to understand what the changes and upgrades should be
  • Other places: we are working with 22 clusters across the country. We can represent them to gov etc
Jun 05

LeWeb London: The London Startup scene

Welcome to London!
Moderated by Ben Metcalfe, Co-host, LeWeb’13 London Co-Founder, WP Engine
Brent Hoberman, Co-Founder, PROfounders Capital, Chairman, made.com & Founder & Chairman, mydeco.com
Eric Van der Kleij, Head of Level39
Eze Vidra, Head of Campus, Google

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning;
Photo by “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

BM: what changes have been happening in London?
BH: there are more startups. There are more investors. We have more US funds investing here. It’s claimed it is the most regulatory friendly environment. It leads the rhetoric! With politicians calling for people to come and start here. The talent pool is great, the buzz is better, but challenges on the route to IPO.
EV: the density of network has increased. Not until recently has it grown enough. It is becoming more normative to become an entrepreneur.

BM: how are you fostering entrepreneurs?
EK: yes, the density increasing. At Level 39, they are specialising in Financial, retail and smartcity tech. That’s what we are focusing on. London does that well, has areas that are specialising.
BH: the corporates are seeing the digital change and looking at how to get into it. One of the best ways is to work with start-ups and develop new things. We connect big corporates with the startups to bring them together. Provide a conduit.

BM: in SF, it seems to be anti-corporate. So this is different. Why would a start-up want to be involved in a corporate.
BH: for credibility, for scale. Advises startups to look for things that give them credibility. If you are in retail tech and get in with Tesco, that opens the door for everyone else.
EV: Campus is a not-for-profit option, we support all sort. Campus is a little experiment. It’s an ecosystem, it’s a support foundation. Google will benefit form a healthy system of startups and so will the city. This is an investment. We have resources and talent committed. We provide mentors. We bring thought leaders to inspire and educate startups.

BM: in an ecosystem for startups, how do you fuel the system, add investment. Felt that there are lots of money, but are they really investing.
EK: it is improving, wasn’t great previously. We are moving the needle in London, we are lucky that we have access to talent, to the whole of EU who can come here to start their businesses without visa issues. On investments, we have seen a higher number of US. True Ventures have done 5 deals in the UK. We have also improved the policy environment to encourage investment. That has unlocked a little more opportunity. We need to encourage smarter investments so Angels do not make mistakes.
EV: we’re also one of the world leaders in equity crowdsourcing. Completely legal to invest down to £10. It’s easy to start something. There are lots of company creation happenings,
EK: we should also try and take a look at the corporates. US acquire for strategic purposes, in the EU, it’s often for revenue. So how can we encourage corporates to strategically acquire, for talent, for growth, for investment, for new ideas.
BH: tech companies are good at this – the others need to take a look at what they are doing?

BM: so what next?
EV: more ambition, more aspirations. More giving back to the community, those who are making a success
EK: continue to sustain relationship with EU. So investors see us as a big market. To be seen as a single, addressable markets. So better collaboration
BH: I would echo the EU point. It needs a renegotiation of a single EU digital market. Also, change the attitudes to success and failure.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: An Intro

For the next few days, I’m at Le Web London which is all about the sharing economy. There’ll be lots of liveblogging!

Loic Le Meur introduced the 2 day programme, welcoming everyone and opening the sessions with his definition of the sharing economy.

A quick summary of his Slide Share talk:

There is a new consumer mindset, simplicity, community, participation and collaboration. There are new values. Sustainability, authenticity. Creating together. Greed is bad, but money is OK. They want to live with less. You are not what you own. New products, are they are designed to last. It’s about use availability, rather than ownership. Why own a DVD or CD, just do subscription. Access, not ownership.

May 21

OMG..they changed Flickr!

If you want to protest against the Flickr changes, it appears the best way to do so is to KEEP PAYING THE SUBSCRIPTION!

Somewhere in Yahoo!, there’s a spreadsheet. On it, there’s a financial model for Flickr. Bought by Yahoo all those years ago, left in a corner with only the occasional bit of love, Flickr was one of the originals, one of the few where you could pay for a service. But it was never really upgraded. Until now.

Now, someone has tweaked the model, looked at the projected lines and decided something. They’ve decided the subscription service is costing them money. That it is not worth keeping it. BUT, they must have concluded..BUT…if we can just get some MORE people putting MORE photos on there we should make MORE money from displaying ads against those photos to MORE people (and with less people who are Pros, that gives us MORE people). But they couldn’t get more people using the free service. They couldn’t attract all the new generation used to Facebook and Instagram and all these places where they weren’t restricted to the last 200 photos only and where it was more about the person than the photo.

So the business objectives were set:

  • get rid of these pesky kids pros, who want to pay money for a decent service. They cost us in processing the money, in providing customer service support, for maintaining additional code to not service them ads
  • Encourage more people to put more photos up on the service, grabbing the younger demographic by making the site look ‘cool’ and more like the photo services they are all using without restrictions.

So change they did. A redesign to make it look more like other services and that they know the old pros will HATE. And a clear message to everyone to stop paying us money and go to the free service. Because given the messaging and the changes in account, that’s surely what they want us all to do!

The message in the email:

As a Pro Member, your subscription remains the same. You’ll enjoy unlimited space for your photos and videos, detailed stats and an ad-free experience. However, you can switch to a Free account before August 20, 2013

The message on the screen:

Flickr doing its best to make you go away

Flickr doing its best to make you go away

there are changes to the accounts. You can no longer buy a Pro-account (although the people who have them get to keep them as long as they keep paying). You can buy an ‘ad free’ account at double the current cost. Mashable has a good summary of the changes in Flickr account types:

Type Free Old Pro New Subscription
Cost Nothing $44.95 for two years if you have it set up already $49.99 for 1 year
Storage 1 TB Unlimited. Although different sections say different things 1 TB
Image Upload size 200MB 50MB 200MB
Video upload size 1GB 500MB 1GB
Ads? Yes No No
Stats No Yes No
Replacing images No Yes No
Archive Hi Res No Yes No

Those are the changes – some make the free account a better option – but buying a subscription does not seem worth it.

The biggest outcry has been about the redesign. On my Twitter feed, it was mixed. Searching for immediate reactions last night showed a mainly positive reaction to the designs first impact, but reading the comments on the Flickr forum is about 99.5% negative. The people commenting here are the old pros, the ones that have been around a while. They typically don’t react well to change, but this is bigger than usual and the anger is far more than usual.

I also don’t like the redesign – I liked the clean nature of the old version. But what I hate most is how half-cocked it is. It’s a ‘Minimally Viable BIG redesign’. They’ve changed the home page to be a photostream. They’ve changed your profile page with header image and photo stream.. But everything else they’ve just slapped on a header and left it. it’s as though they were told they HAD to have it ready for yesterday and just get it out there. So it’s not been thought through. Now they have the home page looking the right to attract the new people who are used to more recent photo services, but it’s creaky and slow and seems to fail at times. My guess it we’ll get more changes as they role it out to the other parts. But in the meantime, it’s doing its job. Attracting new people, putting off the longer-term users.

Whenever there’s been a major change, there have people who have protested by leaving the service, stopping their subscription. However, given what appears to be a major push in focus, it seems the best way to protest is to KEEP paying them money as a Pro account, stay ad free and prevent them serving ads to you.

May 17

2013 Week 11

Mar 9th through to Mar 15th

Behind, behind, behind. I do so much typing at work I get home and I do nothing but read. Input vs output. What is best. So what was I reading?

Reading

  • Social Media Sustainability Index – a look at how big companies are using their social media presence to communicate their sustainability credentials. The challenge is how you communicate a complex and intertwined set of initiatives using platforms that are, by the nature, usually a place for short attention spans
  • Engagement Rate – a metric you can count on.. An argument from Social Bakers, one of the leading social metrics companies, about how their Engagement Metric is one you should consider. The word engagement is used extensively and different people use different meanings but a RATIO is far more useful than the raw numbers from Facebook
  • The difference between strategy and tactics. by Jeremiah Owyang. For many a difficult thing to get. As I’m currently looking for a new strategist, a pertinent question.
  • Why the Comms Agency Model is Ripe for disruption by Drew Benvie. Perfectly placed as Drew launched his new agency, but valid questions to ask
  • The science of Junk Food Lovely long read in the NYT on how junk food takes a lot of science to get right.

Doing

Mar 21

2013 Week 10

2 Mar to 8th Mar

After the quiet of last week, this week was a little more exciting.

Reading

Doing

  • Went shopping! Yes, not that much of a strange activity for most, but for me to volunteer to go shopping with friends is very, very unusual. It was all to do with getting out and trying on some new sized clothes, as I appear to have lost about 2 dress sizes so far this year. (well, at least in some stores). Bought one top, but had a great time trying things on, then drinking fizzy stuff, which is the only sensible way to finish off a shopping trip
  • Work dinner at BAFTA, A chance for the senior team to get together and let our hair down a little, even if it was a Monday night. A lovely full service dinner was pulled together plus a few drinks. A few of us even ended up in the Ritz, some place I’ve always wanted to have a cocktail in, even given the slightly large price! I was sensible and went home relatively early, others were not so and ended up not very well the next day!

    Cocktails at the Ritz

The rest of the week was the usual round of work, a bit of gym, and that’s about it! I was saving myself up for the next few buys weeks I think.

Mar 20

2013 Week 9

Sat 23rd Feb – Fri 1 Mar

You’d think i could do this, wouldn’t you. One post a week, that’s all I need. But no, I end up doing other things over the weekend and then at work time and the one post gets left behind until major catch up sessions like this one! So what did I do way back at the end of Feb?

Reading

Not a lot. I have no saved links for this period, so it must have been quiet!

Doing

  • The weekend was spent washing, tidying and sorting things out after a week away. And sorting out all my photos to organise the F1 ones into teams. One of those non-exciting housework weekends.
  • The rest of the week was fairly quiet too. Well, except for being a person down in the team,, so we were covering that work. And I was finalising a slight re-organisation of the team. And I was reviewing the interview results from the previous week, where the first round interviews for my replacement person had been taking place. We decided who to invite back and set them a brief to respond to, concious that by doing so, we probably compromised their next weekend!
  • On the Friday, I went along to ‘An Evening with Joe Saward‘ who’s an F1 journalist. It was set up as a Q&A session where the audience just threw out questions and Joe answered and told stories based on his long experience with the sport. It was interesting how different the crowd was to the other regular F1 event I go to (#badgerbash, more on this later in the year) with the audience being primarily mature men with very few women. I think that’s a result of who the journalist is.

Well, that was a quiet week (outside of work!).

Mar 19

Red Dawn Screening

Last week I went to a preview screening for Red Dawn (the 2012 version, not the one that was released in 1984). It was a blogger screening (or at least a blog readers screening) that I had won from Mel at Miss Geeky. I’ve been lucky this year with Mel – I’d previously won a great Les Miserables prize pack.

So how was the film? In generally, pretty enjoyable! I have fond recollections of the first one (I wonder how many people watching remembered that) and was interested to see how they would update it. First of all, it’s North Korea who does the invading instead of the Russians – although apparently it was originally China, but they changed it in post. But the rest of it seems to be pretty similar. A group of teens fight it out against the invading force, somehow managing to be an effective guerilla force. It could have been a little less soppy in places, but I had a good time watching.

As someone who has run screenings before, I was also interested in how it was put together. Unfortunately, one of the poorer ones. Pre-film nibbles were crisps and water/juice/pop (the reason being is that <18 may have been watching the film). But I thought they could have at least done a ‘thank you for coming, here’s some info for you’ speech at some point instead of just saying nothing and letting the film run!

Feb 26

2013 Week 8

A quick follow up to catch up the weeks.

Reading

  • Fitbit talks about tracking and privacy. I’m using a Fitbit and I love it. Just wearing it makes me think about being more active, to climb the stairs instead of the escalator. As mentioned in the article, the ecosystem is great and I hope increased competition does not restrict this.
  • A comment on whether Silicon Valley really is a meritocracy or if that’s just the white male view. The concept of privilege is not going away, nor is the vastly different perceptions of it.
  • Moshi Monsters and why kids love them. Yep, building a new kids property is hard. Moshi pretty much nails it
  • Why Americans are WEIRD. A challenge to the accepted wisdom that people’s behaviours and perceptions are fundamentally the same, based on biology, so using western (and primarily US) people for studies would apply worldwide. this research shows that is not the case and Americans are often one of the most outlying of groups

Doing

  • HOLIDAY! yes my first holiday of the year. Now, most people would not call what I did as a holiday, but I enjoyed it. It was a trip to Barcelona to watch the F1 testing. So every day, travel up to the circuit and sit and watch cars go round for 7 hours. In the freezing cold and occasional rain. Then back to the city for tapas and red wine. A lovely week and one that is planned for next year too!

    2013 Barcelona F1 Testing Day 3

  • Forgot to add this for the last week entry, but I have completed a further 2 stages of the LOOP walk. Over the two weekends, I have travelled from Bexley to West Wickham Common. Three sections done, 21 to go!

    Walk the LOOP 3  -Petts Wood to West Wickham Common

Feb 26

2013 Week 7

Nearly the end of Feb and I’ve managed to miss a week. Didn’t last too long then! That’s what going on holiday does, trying to rush to get everything sorted. So let’s catch up forstly with week 7.

Reading

  • American Express launch ‘Pay with a tweet hashtag‘. The ability for people who have linked their twitter account with their Amex card to order good with a tweet. Tweet the appropriate hashtag for one of the available products, retweet the Amex confirmation tweet and the item is yours. Hope people remember to lock phones and desktops then – to avoid helpful ‘friends’ ordering for you!
  • The ultimate in responsive design – using the camera to change how big the font is, from Marko Dugonjić
  • A lovely short story, Four Million Followers, about the life of a brand Tweeter. If there is a secret network, we’ve not been invited yet at work :-(
  • Mailbox is getting a lot of hype, with the queuing mechanism. Wired looks at whether it will make a difference. I see lots of articles about email being broken, but have not yet seen a decent idea of a replacement. And social media does not replace email in many settings!
  • Are the best days of community management behind us?. A great piece from emoderation about how community management has been taken over the suits – it’s about business more than relationships. I’m someone who, at the core, believes the best community managers are those who represent the community back to the brand and work to better the brand. It’s not always possible, but that’s my starting point.

Doing (looks back in diary to see what I did 2 weeks ago)

  • Work has been interesting. I’ve been looking at some speculative projects to see where we can grow the business – not direct pitches, but pulling together Point of View documents in a few areas around ‘Social Media and…’. With the ‘and’ being varied.
  • Had a little trip to Paris with work for a client innovation work shop. A lovely trip on the Eurostar, some good food in Paris and then a day spent working on new ideas. It was interesting that the workshop format, structured to drive the formation of ideas, is something that I rarely see in agencies but I used to do a fair bit of client side. The agency world is often in thrall to the ‘lock the creatives in a room and let them come up with something’ model. Here we had brand, legal, PR, global, local teams all working together.
  • It’s annual review time and I’m still busy doing them. We have a new model this year, competency based, and it’s taking a little longer for everyone to complete them. But seems like we’re setting good plans for the year around development and training. At the same time, one of the team decided it was time to move on this week, so CVs being gathered and interviews planned.
Feb 11

2013 Week 6

Where’s it going. the diary clicks forward day by day and the year creeps forward. Week 6, that’s over 10% gone already.

Reading

  • A Primer on the US TV business. A great rundown on all the different players in the US TV market. Even if you don’t agree, what they are doing impacts the rest of the world.
  • Miller Lite, NASCAR and Brad Keselowski – how a off-hand tweet from a car led to a focus on social media for the brand and increased access for the fans.
  • Hashtags and the Superbowl. Did Twitter win the Superbowl marketing, or was it just the hashtags, which are multiplatform
  • Richard III confirmed! . The Channel 4 TV programme was depressingly light on the science, preferring to focus on the ‘personal journey’ of Philippa Langley and not painting her in the most flattering light. The Leicester Uni site fills on some of the gaps. The forums of the Richard III society also make interesting reading.
  • Microsoft Research India are running a very interesting experiment in India, using mobile to understand social platform usage, collaboration and organising processes in a country with minimal internet access
  • Applebee’s Social Media Meltdown. I have no idea what went wrong at Applebee’s, (I’m guessing they’ll blame an intern at some point), but they fundamentally forgot a few basic rules about social media and getting into pointless arguments!
  • Something that totally rings true to me – Social Media influencers are not really on Facebook. Yes, they’ll have accounts, but they’re active in ‘long-form’ as well as status updates. The article mentions how ‘brand marketers are using comScore/Nielsen to identify influencers’ which doesn’t work for niches. We do a lot of audits and detailed searches, with a few weeks of monitoring before we produce influencer lists. not as simple as going to a single ‘list’ but we make sure we understand who are are talking to.
  • Why Moshi Monsters works. Liking this look back on the Moshi Mosnter success

Doing

  • I went to see Old Times at the theatre, with Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams, Having not read up on the play before hand, just noting that there was a mystery about the interpretation, spent a lot of the time trying to work out the premise. I decided they were ghosts, in some way, but that’s not one of the ‘official’ explantions.
  • Visited the ‘London Gin Club‘ for the first time, with some colleagues. There was disappointment that there was only 1 martini on the menu, as it’s basically a Gin and Tonic bar. We tried one of their taster flights. Good gin, interesting venue, needed one more person working as service was slow.
  • Thursday night was spent at the IPG Inter-Agency quiz night. 9 rounds (there was supposed to be 10, but they couldn’t get the music to work), of all sorts of love/Valentine’s related questions. Including the final round which was all about naming positions from the Kama Sutra. Some issues over questions being wrong (due to poor search ability), but a good fun evening. Even better – we WON! Well, we got second, but we still WON…tickets to see Maroon 5 at the O2. :-)
  • Finally, did section 2 of the LOOP – Bexley to Petts Wood. Pictures are on Flickr

Walk the LOOP 2 - Bexley to Petts Wood

Feb 03

2013 Week 5

So that’s one month down, 11 to go. January, the month of resolutions and changes; a month of waiting for payday as Christmas and a usual early December payday take their toll. How was it for you?

Reading

  • Article from the New York times on quiet coaches. Totally agree with this, that it is a last bastion of quiet. And people just don’t get it!
  • In this Forbes article, transmedia storytelling is “a larger universe of characters and settings that keep the fantasy consistent across multiple forms of media, including comic books, websites and videogames” and the work includes spendign a year writing the story behind the 30 second ad that is Coke’s Happiness Factory in order to spin it out. Nice work, but that’s transmedia storytelling is probably not the description that most practitioners would use!
  • Unilever continue to push on the sustainability front, making it far more a core part of their business rather than a thing they say. I’ve been in talks by Unilever about using social to drive recruitment – and sustainability was front and centre in their talk, so they include it everywhere. Marketing Week reports on their second phase as they start using brands in their Sustain Ability Challenge
  • I’ve seen The Hacker’s Diet getting a lot of recommendations for being a no-nonsense guide to working out the best way of dieting. I’m working my way through this and it’s pretty good.
  • We spend a lot of time explaining to clients why various Facebook posts behave the way they do…and then Facebook change the algorithm and we have to change again. This article on Edgerank changes by Thomas Baekdal is one of the more interesting I’ve seen
  • This is more of a list of things to read rather than something I’ve read yet. But a list of 102 Best Non-Fiction articles of 2012, compiled by Conor Friedersdorf is great.

Doing

  • I took the plunge and bought some new running shoes, going to a specialist shop and getting my gait assessed on a treadmill with video. Picked up a nice light pair of Brooks trainers and so far they’ve been great. My exercise programme hit a small snag at the start of the week, with a cold grabbing hold of me, but back onto it by the end. The results for month 1 have been great. My running is coming along, my diet changes have been pretty strightforward and I’ve lost 12 lbs in that time. Expecting month 2 to be slower on losses, but will continue to consolidate habit changes.
  • I was a last minute addition to a work ‘outing’, at the European Sponsorship Awards. The work with UPS over the Olympics had been nominated for both the Business to Business and the Business to Employee categories and we ended up taking home a highly recommended for the B2B work.
  • Final outing to the week was to catch up with an ex-team member, with all the rest of the team. I’d still not fully recovered from the cold so did not stay long, but brilliant to catch-up with Mona