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
Jan 27

2013 Week 4

Reading

  • A list of the 33 most creative women in advertising. (Why 33, no idea!). I’ve worked with one (Colleen DeCourcy) and have loved the work of the others. Women make up only 3% of creative directors in this male-dominated industry, but there are slow moves to change this
  • The US PGA enforcing bans on reporters using social media on the course – at a time when they are expanding their usage. Confusing messages for fans of a sport
  • Coke’s view of mobile. Some great learning here. Somethings I’m continuously saying to the teams at work – everything has to be considered mobile first, you can’t use the can’t use it standalone and you have to think integrated, both within a single campaign and across all your campaigns. that is, don’t build an app for every new campaign, think how you will fit them all together over the months and years.
  • Thinking about Twitter competitions and best practice for running them. Some helpful legal guidelines came up about running promotions.

Doing

  • Work wise, the week was fairly quiet. We had training for the new format in reviews and I started to prepare stuff. We had some feedback on a pitch and need to do some more stuff. (keeping it deliberately vague). I got involved in a quick turnaround project that needs some designs/content for early next week. Keeping my fingers crossed for that one!
  • We had a visit from the group CEO, who was recently appointed. He’s making his way round the various offices to see what the different companies do. Of course, this meant a quick tidy up all the office! But we didn’t do any decorating :-)
  • Gym attendance was good this week – 4 sessions done. Had a second go at Pilates and decided that I like it and will keep going. Also had my first go at spin, but that won’t be continuing, as my legs don’t suit the pedals, it locks my feet in the wrong position, causing pain! To continue with training, I went and got some proper running shoes as well, which should minimise issues
  • Dinner out with friend this week at J Sheekey. A great meal – and we’re committed to dining out more often as part of our 2013 changes
Jan 21

Linked In Best Practice Guide

Duncan Chapple’s post brought to my attention that the LinkedIn guide that I contributed to last year (in fact, last May) is now online. The B2B Marketing Linked In Best Practice Guide is available for purchase now. I’ve started looking through the rest of the book (I contributed the section on Brand Building) and so far loving the contribution of the others. As well as Duncan, there are sections from Andy Bargery, Mark Fones and Maya Grinberg

Jan 18

2013 Week 3

  • The week after CES means reading about CES. Not just the immediate responses, the announcements and the press releases, but the posts from those who have taken time to think about what they have seen. the Verge went through what they though was the best of CES. Of a far more reflective nature is the piece from Stephen Sinofsky, who is ex-Microsoft Windows. (via Ewan Spence)
  • Social Media Today has a list of the best social media conferences to attend in 2013. I’ve never been to any of them! Probably because the conferences I do tend to go to are slightly more on the tech side (Le Web, SXSW) or completely different things like TEDx events. However, if your after some of the beast thinking then last list is a good one. You should also look out for Social Media Week which is coming up soon.
  • This is brilliant – Nicole Cooke’s retirement speech. An insight into the chalelgnes of women’s sport, the impact of doping on the overall health of women’s cycling
  • The Friday pitch went well – at least from our side. After pitches, it’s always about the wait. It’s a rare thing that clients get back to you when they think they can get back to you. There’s always something, a person not around, a further piece of information they need. It’s a waiting game.
  • Friday night was supposed to be a birthday party – so I was expecting a wee bit of a sore head on Saturday. But an evening phone call put paid to that, with a request to go onto Sky News Sunrise show on the Saturday morning. The topic was the use of social media to promote positive activity in Belfast, supporting businesses during the current protests. I always enjoy these opportunities, and this time I got to sit on a Breakfast sofa for the first time ;-)
  • Saw Les Miserables – the film. One thing that struck me is that on a stage, all the action is constrained, you need to use imagination to paint the scenes, you can all the parties singing, you can see the whole thing. You would think that the film would take advantage of the ability to show a much wider scope. But i found that lacking – and it seemed that most of the film was close-ups of the actors, emoting, showing that they were real ‘actors’ that could sing rather than stage actors who need to project. I love the stage show, the film left me feeling a little short changed.
Jan 11

2013 Week 2

Week 2 is done. I’ve decided I don’t like the sign outside Southwark Tube station, which provides the date. It’s a reminder every morning that another day has been ticked off and it’s mutely asking me what have I done to change the world. Or something like that! So what have I wrestled out of this week?

  • Via Terrence Eden, i read this great report from Vanity fair on the making of the Blues Brothers. Fascinating insight into the minds of Aykroyd and Belushi.
  • A last minute request to go to Switzerland for a client meeting meant I was able to go early for the weekend to meet up with Geoff to discuss the social media marketing for a film being made this year in Switzerland. Called Murkwood, it’s due to start shooting in the autumn. But at the moment, the team behind it are shooting a short called True Dark. Geoff and I went up into the mountains for look at what was happening as they shot one of the key action sequences for the short. (full set of pictures here)

    True Dark Shoot

  • The meeting was with a long-standing client and focused on the partnership we are building with them over the next few years. I was there to discuss how social and digital can be used for their primarily B2B work but how it can also be used to create a pull from the end customer
  • Back in the office for the rest of the week, straight into a pitch prep. The pitch is today, for a second strand of work with a client we won in the latter part of last year. Again B2B work, my focus is on strategy and process for this one.
  • The gym visits are going well. Caroline is great at getting me to the gym and once there, I’m the one who makes us do things! We’ve created our own programme to start off with, a lot of core strength work to get us started. Next week we’ll be off to our first class!
  • I wrote about my brother-in-law and Mont Ventoux yesterday and that is going to be a focus this year. Getting him back up that mountain!

And that is that. A fairly quiet week all told, no world changing things yet.

Jan 10

Paul and the Mont Ventoux

In September 2012, my bother-in-law Paul flew out with 2 friends to tackle the challenge of Mont Ventoux – climbing the mountain 3 times on 3 different routes in 1 day. The night they arrived, off out for a ride, he got knocked off his bike by a truck. He was airlifted off out, with a blood-clot on the brain that left him in a coma for 3 days. Worse, it completely destroyed his shoulder – even after operations, nerve transplants and reconstructive surgery, he still has no use of the arm.

But he’s not letting that stop him finish his challenge. He’s planning to go back in July this year and complete it. He’s got a support for the arm and is currently tackling the problem of safely connecting the arm to the handlebars, so is looking for advice for that and he’s started back into training!

Article in this week’s Express and Star (not online for some reason)

Jan 04

2013 Week 1

A challenge to set myself! A defined weekly blog post. But the question I ask myself, is it about progress, the job, my life, or is it about things I’ve found you may enjoy. The latter inspired in particular by James Whatley’s Five Things on Friday series of posts which I’ve really enjoyed reading over the year. But as he says in the last post, the series evolved, so I’ll start with something and see where it goes!

  1. First up, a great round up from Grégory Pouy of what he sees as the best digital campaigns of 2012. A series of case studies to be borrowed across the following year! But don’t just read the examples, think about the why. Do you agree with Grégory’s reasons why they are good? Do you think there are other reasons?
  2. Looking forward, Deep Focus have produced as excellent piece of work about trends in 2013. Everything is bang on in that list, things I’ve been talking about internally for years. What’s most relevant in my agency is point 9: “The changing demands of demographics and devices will make experiential a key part of digital marketing“. That’s exactly why I joined Momentum in 2010, because of the opportunity about social around experiential and events, because it’s not just engaging with people with Facebook, but INVOLVING them through experiences. And this leads to Henriette’s constant refrain about Return on INVOLVEMENT being a key metric, which made it onto Mashable’s list of 2013 buzzwords. I’m looking forward to being able to read Henriette’s book in English :-)
  3. Finally, a connected piece about the type of thinking that you need to do around planning for an brand event – this time when a brand is sponsoring something. Great piece from Leo Ryan about sponsorship social planning, the process and the tactics that you can use. There are other things that you need to think about when the sponsorship runs over a series of events – what’s the connecting story and how do you keep things fresh without feeling repetitive, but that’s another post!

That’s what I’ve been reading..what else has been happening?

  • came back to work to find out we’d won a nice little pitch, international, but with plenty of London involvement. Another sport we’re going to be involved in
  • started the year supporting a pitch, straight back into thinking.
  • Moved my gym membership closer to work, so less excuses not to go. Got a gym buddy. Will be working hard at the measuring and monitoring and taking advantage of the trend of apps for the quantified self!
  • finally, had a quiet Old Year’s Night, then a long walk on New Year’s day to take advantage of what felt like the first dry day for ages!