Sep 29

Meeting People

This week I got to meet up with zeroinfluencer, or David as he is more normally known as. I’d first come across him as part of the team behind Where are the Joneses? and then followed him on Twitter. When I saw he was popping across to New York, for the OMMA awards (they won by the way) I tool the opportunity to grab lunch. A great chat, where he proceeded to confound my brain with information theory and possibilities!

Next up was a CenterNetworks meetup, for drinks, food and a couple of presentations from Outbrain and Hakia (at least one write up to follow). A hole bunch of interesting people there. Finally, last night, was a Gawker drinks thingy..or at least Owen Thomas was in town and having a wee get together. Connected with a few people there and had a good time.

Update – corrected the spelling Where are the Joneses?

Sep 28


Two years ago this week I made the decision to leave Diageo after 14 years – I then proceeded to give 4 months notice! My initial plan was to do freelance social media consulting, an area that was just starting to gain wider traction across businesses. This was slightly scuppered by a chance meeting at SXSW, with someone who’d been part of the team at an agency for some Smirnoff work we did with them. They were looking for someone to help support on digital for a client they had, so I agreed to come across to New York for 10 weeks to do this. This eventually led to an offer of a full time role, with a visa. After a lot of thought, I decided to accept – New York was always somewhere I had wanted to work and had been trying to do so with Diageo for a while. My reservations were that this was advertising and my expertise was more in the marketing/social media space. I mentally gave myself a year.

That is what has now happened; due to a tightening of belts, my services are no longer required. Very little of my time was against clients, a lot of what I did was education and internal stuff and they could basically no longer support that. I’m not surprised, I’d been looking for more work internally for a while and not getting much luck. The result is I no longer have a job and am looking, most probably back in the UK as the visa I have won’t work at another company. Unless somewhere else takes my fancy (I’ve always liked Sydney 😉 ).

Next steps..a short period of misery (I’m allowed, this is the first time it’s happened to me), a take stock and then a push to get a new job (whilst moving countries again!) Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of my time here, enjoy the company of the many new friends I’ve made in the city

Sep 25

Halo XBox

I just won an Halo3 Xbox and a copy of the Halo 3 game at the MIXX IAB conference I’m at (put your card in the bowl and see what comes out). Whilst I’m keeping the game, I actually bought an XBox360 Elite about 3 weeks ago so do not really need 2 (at least I do not think i do). So I’m looking for creative ways to give this away or to raise some money for it in a way that is going to benefit someone/charity ( can’t get it as it won’t work there!). Suggestions welcome in the comments or via email

Sep 24

US TV New Shows

Over the last two weeks I’ve taken a look at some of the new TV shows that will appear in the ‘Fall’ season. These are the free ones that are available on iTunes or Amazon. Here’s what I think.

  • Bionic Woman. Loved it, even with Michelle with a US accent. Set up the premise well (conspiracy theories aside) and well put together. Something I’m going to watch.
  • Chuck. This was surprisingly fun. Great characters, fun story. (even if similar to Jake2.0) Interested to see if it keeps up.
  • Journeyman. Premise has been done before as well – time jumping to fix things, but enjoyed the acting on this. Need a few more to make up my mind
  • Life. Damian Lewis is good, but this is just another cop show for me at the moment. Probably not.
  • K-Ville. Another cop show, but far different background to others. Got potential
  • The Big Bang. Comedy in the style of the IT Crowd with one of the characters strongly reminding me of Cory Doctorow for some reason. Nerds meet the ‘real’ world. Funny, but jokes could be a little one dimensional
  • Back to You. OK. Comedy. well put together but not my cup of tea

The odds are I’m going to end up watching one or at most 2 of these shows. I know I’ll be watching Heroes and Stargate. As I’m unlikely to be watching most of them on ‘TV’ which ones that continue for me will depend in the ease of getting them online from the ‘official’ distributor. One of the reasons I watch little House is that it is no available through normal methods and I’m not passionate enough to download. I feel the same about CSI – but I watched a lot more of it last year as CBS had a great online policy. When I felt like watching something, I could just go grab it. I don’t mind the streaming nor the minimal ads they have on them whilst streaming, but just make it easy for me to watch. As I watch all my telly on the telly (I rarely port it to another device), even if through the PC connected to it, that restriction does not phase me like it does many others.

Posted in TV
Sep 24

Advertising or Subscription

I just twittered that I was off to the IAB MIXX conference today and Tom Morris responded, (only partly tongue-in-cheek) that he thought they’d been replaced by Ad Block. Which leads me to my question. If, hypothetically, we all had Ad Block so that no ads were served how much would you pay for your services, starting from Google Search, Gmail and other services, including Yahoo and 1000s’ of other small services that are ad supported. As a starting point, I pay $25/year for Flickr, for additional services and no ads. I’d probably pay the same for Gmail – but is search worth more or less?

Sep 23

Editing Posts

On Thursday, work held what it calls a Digitivity day, a day for employees, clients (and some press) to get them thinking about what they can do on the web and what the rest of the world is doing. I live blogged the day, with permission, and so have a pretty good record that can be sent round internally for those who missed the day. I think it was also filmed, but with different intake modes, sometimes text is better 😉

After the day I ended up editing 3 posts, for 3 different reasons.

  • A type. I made a pretty bad typo in a post about online video that completely changed what a sentence was meant to say. Pretty sure I hit the wrong word on the spell checker. Luckily Joost, as a company that obviously watches what is being said about them, caught the mistake and we corrected it.
  • I edited out some of the more annoying insults from Andrew Keen; I’m pretty sure he’s said worse on the record but I was just not comfortable with them in the post, even though they were pretty mild.
  • I removed bits of information from a presentation about the mobile space and 2 d codes about the company that was doing the presentation. This I was asked to do, after some confusion about what was public or not. I’m not a journalist, but i’m sure something in the stuff I took out was news, but it’s of less relevance to me than a general picture of the space, so this I did not argue. The comments had already being picked up by other sites so the information is out there anyway.

But the last one did lead to a pretty annoying battle in the comments about rival companies in the space, lawsuits, patent infringements and all sorts of stuff. I the end I removed 7 comments and that I’m not happy with. Obvious spam is the only stuff I usually delete. I’ve even left up astroturf comments, with an added editorial about what they are and who they are from. But in this case there were a whole bunch of legal issues being discussed combined with personal attacks between people who look like they are in the middle of a running battle across multiple sites. Some of the comments were also cross-posted to a forum where the discussion continued along with a few emails. (I wonder if the posters considered the irony of battling for patent protection whilst ignoring copyright protection?). The posts are published under a CC license, but other peoples comments aren’t.

I closed the discussion by saying I needed to understand more of the issue and I’ve taken a look at it and decided that I’m not going into it anymore (the reason I’ve been careful with company names and technologies in this post) as it can only get ugly.

Sep 23


Why would Firefox cookies on this machine (macbook) prevent me from accessing my site and the admin tool behind it? Everytime I want to take a look at just does nothing unless I delete the cookies from the last time. Anyone know?

Sep 14

New York Times and Facebook

I like this new Facebook app from the New York Times, as described over at the Read/Write Web. New questions every day that then link back to the story in the online paper, driving traffic back to their site (and improving advertising impressions). They’ve been pushing the app out via email groups and the like, which is a great way of leveraging connections.

Sep 08

Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup has started and so has my task to find somewhere decent to watch it. It does not appear on the usual cable channels, it only seems to be on Setanta, something primarily found in pubs, even though the USA has a team that seems to do OK. So the challenge will be to find a nice pub, showing the rugby, not too crowded and that doesn’t switch over at the slighttest provacation to American Football. My first attempt is at Nelson Blue, a New Zealand place down near the Seaport. Good food, good staff and a mixed crowd of ex-pats and USians. But this will not have all the matches on, as Setanta seems to not to want to provide them with the matches, even though they want to spend the money. Apparently, the company is restricting supply in the city, to certain Irish bars!

After the first England game, I’m pretty sure they are not going to replicate the success of last time. There was no flare, little excitement. I vividly recall watching the final last time, getting up early and going round to the local bar, full of fans, for breakfast, the absolute joy of that last minute kick. The victory parade went past the office and so many people just left the building to cheer the team as they went along Oxford St, an exhilarating moment. Unless they get a lot, lot better over the next week or so, it won’t be repeated.

PS if you do want to watch the rugby in the US, Setanta seems to have the monopoly, so here’s their handy tool to find out which pubs may be playing the games.

Sep 07

Jeremy and his new hat

Jeremy and his new hat

Caught a drink with Jeremy Wright last night at the end of his rapid-fire trip to New York – he demonstrated his new cap bought on his recent trip to the UK, a flat cap in black corduroy. His trip seemed to be full of incidents and surprises, not going completely to plan, but you need to wait for him to blog that to get all of the nuances!

One thing we did end up discussing was the different way that English and North American women walk and carry themselves. Apparently Jeremy was breasted more in his trip than ever before – breasted being his description for a woman getting by you and brushing you with her breasts. Now, he was in pubs, raves and the Notting Hill Carnival so there were plenty of opportunities for close encounters due to crowding but he felt that presenting the breasts first was far more prevalent in the UK. Anybody with a comparable experience?

Sep 05

Digital challenges for a traditional agency

My ex-boss, who left the company the other week, was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal (subscription req.) about the challenges facing her in new job and those facing a traditional advertising agency as it tries to integrate digital. Some key points from the interview:

  • an agency appointing a ‘digital czar’ is not enough, you need to have the people to implement the plans
  • you can’t just drop a bunch of digital people in the middle of a traditional agency as they’ll all just wonder what they are doing. Digital needs to be more than an extension of the ad campaign.
  • to understand digital you need to live it, otherwise you will never get it as a creative medium. it’s not something you can just read about

The points rang very true, it’s difficult in an agency where many live TV but few seem to live digital.

Sep 03

The best games console

I spend time in Chris Pirillo’s chatroom and one of the endless topics of coversation is which game console is better – PS3 or XBox360.  It always seems to be a 2 sided debate between those, with Wii only entering rarely.  I’m just thankful that Apple do not make a console.  However, I think this video from The Escapist sums up the argument better than anything I’ve seen to date.  

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