Monday, 8 December 2008
For those that cant sit through the whole video, it concluded with the panelist's stating their most significant social media feature foe the future.
1. Ambient social connectivity
2. Brands embracing social utility
3. Event organisation - fan networking
4. Socialization of media, eg. currenttv
5. Location based connectivity
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Anyway whilst waiting in reception I noticed an interesting book entitled 'How to think digital', within the book it states the 21 principles of digital marketing, I left out the last one because it was a shameless plug. These lists always interest me, they wont always be revolutionary, but they attempt to give clarity to a lot of information, which cant be a bad thing. see below.
1. Talk to people at the right time: the moment of truth.
2. The most powerful medium is word of mouth.
3. Marketing is about getting people to do things.
4. Watch what happens after the click.
5. Keeping people waiting is a sin.
6. You're a dataphobe. Get over it
7. Don't wait for the dust to settle.
8. A relationship can last a lifetime.
9. Find the perfect partner.
10. Use the channel of we.
11. Experience is what matters.
12. Handle privacy issues with care.
13. Digital media will keep evolving.
14. Work on predicting the future.
15. Develop a closer relationship with truth.
16. The consumer is i control relationship.
17. Leverage the power of now.
18. Boring isn't boring at the moment of truth.
19. Localization isn't just translation.
20. Just because its digital doesn't mean its better.
21. All warfare is based on deception
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
If you dont know get to know here
Dazed presents 18 of the freshest young fashion talents of the year here on Dazed Digital. For the December issue of Dazed & Confused, the fashion team gave reason to be cheerful with a shoot by Daniel Sannwald styled by Katie Shillingford and Robbie Spencer. Pierre Debuscherre also made a film to accompany this energetic shoot, which showcased the new designers, the new faces as chosen by the Dazed fashion team and and above all it asks people to “Smile!”
Friday, 14 November 2008
Russell Davies the planning messiah recently brought a interesting point to my attention that i have given some thought to. The business model that supports creative industries is fundamentally wrong, most large organisations operate in 3 silo's doing design or content, marketing and aftersales or service, dealing-with-the-consequences-of-what-the-other-two-silos-have done.
What makes this model wrong is no silo ever talks to any other, because the process almost always proceeds steadily from left to right. Design make stuff and pass it to marketing who then work out what to say about it. There will probably be some broader corporate direction that will attempt to make this stuff more seamless, integrated and coherent and to connect the end to the beginning, but it always gets swamped by the organisation. By the time a product gets to someone like the advertising agency no-one wants any more thoughts about how the product might be improved.
This isn't a revelation is has been the way organisations operate for years. However, it should be noted that people actually experience the product in a different order. People's experiences of most consumer products starts with the communications or marketing. The experience starts with the product or service second. It's not because integrating marketing and design thinking isn't a good idea, it's because it's organisationally / politically impossible.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
I think any digital native, can relate to what Iain learnt, I have listed the 10 points below.
1. Phones are good
2. Email can wait
3. Ipod breed Ipods
4. Pens vs Pixels
5. Screens and sleep
6. The fractulisation of stuff
7. Computers create width not focus
8. I felt cut of from stuff not people
9. Without computers I felt less creative
10. Computers are easy to hide behind
This is a great post read about each point in detail here
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Its funny how things happen, some call it fate, some call it destiny I call it divine design. Beyond the Valley is perfectly aligned with a concept I have been working on, and would love to tell you more about.
Asides from this, my background seems to align perfectly with the company culture. I work with the Daydream network, London's first user generated arts magazine. As well as being a Youth advisor to the Tate and INIVA. GT the current digital advertising agency of year is where I had been most recently applying my trade with the industry.
Ultimately I am passionate about Art, Social Media and Culture. I dont just talk about, but I live it which is why I am perfect for Beyond the Valley.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Iain Tait offers 7 things to consider when seeking the next step in your career:
- Get yourself a portfolio
- Spend a bit of time making your portfolio nice / neat / test it / proof it
- Be clear and upfront about your role in projects you’ve worked on
- Have an opinion on aesthetics / design / interaction / type / sound design / whatever…
- Brand yourself
- Do some light detective work
- Put your plan into action
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Trendwatching.com recently published there top 15 trend questions. Its worth a read check it out:
If we look one more time at our aforementioned definition of a consumer trend:
“A manifestation of something that has unlocked or newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need, desire, want, or value”
and we agree on ‘unlockers' being anything from a change in societal norms and values, to a breakthrough in technology, to a rise in prosperity, then it’s easy to see how trends can and will emerge all over the place. In the end, it's all about ideas, ideas that translate—to technologies, to revolutions, to products—and ideas that spread.
Which brings us to the following: larger entities like countries or cultures or brands that are setting trends are of course all dependent on individuals who set things in motion. So rejoice: anyone can be a trend setter.
Full article here
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Mediaweek recently published an interesting article entitle 'Ads for Respected Brands Hit Racy Sites'.
As pop-culture and celebrity gossip blogs continue to see increased traffic, particularly with the youth demographic, advertisers’ views on what counts as acceptable have started to change. Given the uneasy economic climate and tightening budgets, it’s become increasingly important for mainstream brands to be mindful of where their ad dollars are going. As a result, following the crowds, even if that means entering non-traditional venues on the web with less respectable material, makes a good deal of sense. Despite the inherent logic of this move, some in the media still question whether this issue has more to do with negligent ad networks than with any real shift in attitude. In either case, it’s always been a challenge for manufacturers to reach a new audience without alienating their loyal base. The takeaway from this seems to be that a quality product or service will go a long towards keeping your customers regardless of the occasional media misstep.
Read the full article here
Sunday, 2 November 2008
The essence is that we need to start looking at collaboration as something richer than getting participants to contribute their preset format content in a serial, one dimensional, string, within a rigid structure of publishing.
Collaboration is all about creatively collecting and combining a collection of data, making it accessible anywhere, through anything, with incentives for collaboration.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
PSFK tracked down one of the big boys from MTV to find out where he gathers inspiration for one of the worlds most recognized brands. Here's what he had to say
1. So what are you up to right now?
Designing mobile phone panels for MTV x Sony Ericsson ‘100 Panels’ Project. Designs to be exhibited at a creative summit in Tokyo this fall.
2. Tell me about this or the last creative project you were personally proud of – big or small.
MTV’s Summer Sizzle ‘06 Campaign. A series of live action spots showing massive popsicles, choc ices and ice cream cones melting on the beaches of California to the astonishment of the locals.
3. What did you draw upon to inspire you for this project – (could be anything).
Claus Oldenburg’s oversized sculptures and drawings of everyday objects.
4. Why did you use these inspirations? What human emotions do they play upon that you felt necessary for this project?
5. In your day-to-day work – how often do you feel inspired? Is it important to be inspired?
It’s important to want to get out of bed.
6. How do you kick start your off-days: How do you find inspiration?
I tend to write off an off-day. I find inspiration from searching - mental archives, my reference library, picture search engines and just wandering.
Monday, 27 October 2008
Here's an isolated look at the Nike relationships within the map....
It raises some interesting questions..
1. How do brands connect to bigger themes, interests, ideas and emotions?
2. How are brands leveraging those connections?
3. How do brands enhance those connections?
4. How do brands bring communities together?
While many have questioned the role of brands in social networks and communities, Shared Egg illustrates that people can be connected and linked by brands. It still remains to be seen how brands best leverage this opportunity to activate and build out these connections and these communities.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Ed Cotton (Influx Insights / BSSP) explains why trends and inspiration matter. Approaching the whole idea of his talk from a creative perspective, Ed describes how account planners or other individuals responsible for briefing creative people can package their message up in a way to get them to pay attention.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Ruby’s Pseudo recently published a nice collection of insights on marketing to teens, and brands trying to reach youth in the digital world.
- Don’t be too flippant and don’t give youth the basic facts they’re looking for; i.e. - What it is? Where can I get it? How much does it cost? etc.
- Be approachable and accessible to youth.
- Don’t redirect visitors to another site.
- Don’t use background music. Youth can see through a false ‘hip’ image.
- Don’t create a Facebook profile for your brand.
- Don’t target the emotionally vulnerable with insincere “‘Single? Broken-Hearted?”" questions.
- Don’t target a small age range, allow your brand to grow with its users.
- Don’t blatantly rip and appropriate youth-produced content onto your site. This once again presents a false image, of which youth can see through.
- Don’t use pop-up advertising. It irritates rather than entices.
- Don’t push the boundaries of social network interaction.
Sunday, 12 October 2008
The Soak Cycle
When it comes time to washing dishes you take the grimy dish and put it in water to let it soak. Time and water+soap do the hard work. With time the water and soap break down the grease and grime. Similarly letting your project soak will allow your brain to work on the project even while you’re doing other tasks.
Soaking is when a project is thought about but not actively worked on. The project is reviewed at specific intervals. This gives your natural creative instincts time to work on it.
The human brain is a powerful tool. Giving it time to work on a project will lead to a more creative, better solution. Schedule times to think about your project. Depending on the scope or length of the project you may schedule 5 minutes a day for a week thinking about it or an hour every two weeks for 3 months (or anything in between).
When you schedule thinking time, be sure to give yourself enough time to think. Write down notes of your conclusions so you can refer to it in the future. Try to take different approaches each time you begin a thinking session. Many times you’ll get that “Aha moment” (a good idea) when you least expect it, so don’t worry if you feel blocked. People report inspiration frequently in the shower. Giving yourself time to think will give you more shower days to let your brain think about it.
During your thinking time find ways to break down the project into small parts. Do a few little steps for the project to give you a better understand of what it entails. Do a five minute task. Do any tasks that take just a few minutes to delegate. They should be delegated as soon as possible so the receiver can plan accordingly and it’s not an emergency at the last second. This process is called layering where you “layer” your successes. It allows you to know you are on the right track and gives you tangible results.
Put layering and thinking together by scheduling time to talk to people. Talk to thoughtful people about the project, even if they don’t have expertise about it. Just talking about the project will allow your brain to crystallize your thoughts. In addition, others may provide a new perspective on the project you are tackling and give you a new wave of ideas.
Enlist others to look at your project as you’re working on it. This gives you an outsider’s view. Get a coworker or friend that you can bounce your work off of. Try to get someone whose ideas you respect but who thinks a little different than you. Show them your progress so they can monitor if you’re fulfilling your mission.
You don’t have to listen to them. Just listen to why they are saying it. They may say you should make an element red. They don’t necessarily mean it has to be red- but it has to contrast from the background. Again you see how outside ideas can trigger new thinking and ideas.Full article here
Thursday, 2 October 2008
A over worked mind, is one of the biggest obstacles to productivity, I have kindly put down some ways to get mental breaks. This is kinda like my therapy, compiling this list will actually help me to practice what I am preaching.
Get More Sleep!
Not only does sleep recharge your body and at the very least keep you healthy, it also gives your mind a chance to rest. Literally. If your mind hasn’t been recharged when the day has started, you’re already 2 steps behind.
If you’re finding yourself getting a little sleepy in the afternoons, take a 15-30 minute power nap. Studies have shown that 20 minutes in the afternoon provide more rest than 20 minutes in the morning.Music
Although some find music a hinderence when their working, personally I work best with the right music in the background. For me, the best music to work to is jazz. Wordless music seems to work best, but everyone has their preference. What’s important is that it adds a little something in the background, but shouldn’t be something that you’ll focus on too much. It’s just kind of there.
Switch’ It Up
One of the best ways to give your mind a break is to switch up your tasks. I can type on something for 30 minutes, get up and do a load of dishes, and come right back feeling quite refreshed. Not to mention that I’ll probably still be working on what I’m typing subconsciously, while I do the dishes. This way my productivity doesn’t take a hit, and I’m still finishing those “tasks”.
Switching it up may mean switching locations too. Work at a coffee shop, do something outside, it doesn’t matter.
Variety is the spice of life, don't forget.
Do Something Fun!
It’ll actually increase your productivity because you’ll be more refreshed later. Taking breaks is just as (if not more) important than the work.
“Breaks” can take many forms, and the only mandatory thing is that you enjoy it. If you have a job behind a desk, give your legs a stretch by doing something active. If you’re in the manual labour biz, go and get a massage. The important thing is to just do what feels good (within the legal realm of course).
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Currently I am a relatively unknown blogger, like many other Joe bloggs, so I have been thinking at what point does my opinion become validated. Is success the proof that your opinion is correct, if so and 20,000 people read my blog daily, does that mean my opinion is now more valid than it was when 5 people read it.
Or if I become successful for a reason not related to my blog and start blogging, is my opinion automatically validated because I am a success in my own right, so must hold a valid opinion.
In closing please answer the question DOES SUCCESS VALIDATE YOUR OPINION?
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Google was a very good search engine for two years before you started using it.
The iPod was a dud.
I wrote Unleashing the Ideavirus 8 years ago. A few authors tried similar ideas but it didn't work right away. So they gave up. Boingboing is one of the most popular blogs in the world because they never gave up.
The irony of the web is that the tactics work really quickly. You friend someone on Facebook and two minutes later, they friend you back. Bang.
But the strategy still takes forever. The strategy is the hard part, not the tactics.
I discovered a lucky secret the hard way about thirty years ago: you can outlast the other guys if you try. If you stick at stuff that bores them, it accrues. Drip, drip, drip you win.
It still takes ten years to become a success, web or no web. The frustrating part is that you see your tactics fail right away. The good news is that over time, you get the satisfaction of watching those tactics succeed right away.
The trap: Show up at a new social network, invest two hours, be really aggressive with people, make some noise and then leave in disgust.
The trap: Use all your money to build a fancy website and leave no money or patience for the hundred revisions you'll need to do.
The trap: read the tech blogs and fall in love with the bleeding-edge hip sites and lose focus on the long-term players that deliver real value.
The trap: sprint all day and run out of energy before the marathon even starts.
The media wants overnight successes (so they have someone to tear down). Ignore them. Ignore the early adopter critics that never have enough to play with. Ignore your investors that want proven tactics and predictable instant results. Listen instead to your real customers, to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that's how long it's going to take, guys.
Sunday, 21 September 2008
This young man, is a great example of the power of spoken word. There is something to said, about the ability to speak publicly. Now clearly this youngster is a remarkable child, to be able to so confidently address 20 thousand people, but he must have had some support, empowerment, and teaching to get this point.
So if one individual can learn to speak so greatly, at such a young age, there is nothing stopping others. We really need to start giving our younger kids more, to enable them to be the best people they can be.
In a funny way, this video is very inspiring to me, DO YOU BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Social media communities are built around information that inspires. People don’t want to talk, argue, or debate about a boring topic. They won’t vote for something that’s uninteresting or dumb. A community doesn’t exist around content that isn’t inspiring.The key difference between social media sites and search engines is that humans are making the recommendations. This is why using social media as a “filter” for news and inspiration is a fantastic idea.
Sometimes Google isn’t the best place to find creative solutions or ideas. Sometimes the best place to search is through the archives of sites like Delicious or Reddit or Friendfeed. These sites have information that has been thoughtfully submitted on interesting web sites or topics. The difference between a search engine and social news or bookmarking site is that people filter the results.
There’s no shortage of creativity to be found at social news and bookmarking sites, they’ll often give great results for finding something very specific. A general rule of thumb is this: If people take the time to bookmark, submit or vote on a story, it’s more than likely to be a better resource.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Jay Smooth's illdoctrine vlogs are always interesting and thought provoking. This one I thought was especially interesting, Jay puts his views on the issue of Hispter rap out there, what do you guys think? Is there really even a such thing as Hipster rap and if so is there a need to hate on it?
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Thing 1: Don't believe the hype - There’s a great deal of discussion about music online in the mainstream press, and there are a couple of predominant threads to that coverage. Mostly, it’s not true.
It pays to be able to separate fact from fiction and hype from reality when it comes to the online music environment. Especially when your livelihood depends on it. Here are the two most important things to watch out for:
1) Technological determinism
2) People tend to lie
Thing 2: Hear / Like / Buy - There are lots of sophisticated tricks and tips for marketing music, online and off. But if you mess up this one fundamental principle, you might as well not bother at all.
Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume.
But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it.
Thing 3: Opinion leaders rule - How do you know what music to buy? Often, another person tells you - generally in some mediated way. Different media, different people, same principle.
Other than hearing, then liking, the most common and reliable way to find out about music is via the opinion leader. Often this will take the form of a press review or column — or some sort of radio feature. Occasionally, it’ll come from the telly. If you happen to respect the opinion of the person or institution telling you that the record is great, the chances you’ll be persuaded are reasonably high.
Thing 4: Customise - All this talk about the music industry online overlooks one simple fact: there isn’t one. There are many. One size does not fit all.
You’ve seen the website. It has a landing page with a photo on it and a little bit of blurb. There may be one or two things that move on it, or it might even have an animation. It has a fairly simple navigation system along the top or down the side. The links say things like About Us, Gallery, Downloads, Contact, Our MySpace — and the links take you to exactly the things you might expect when you get there.Thing 5: Connect - It might seem an obvious thing to say about using the internet, but if you don’t connect, then you might as well not bother switching the damn thing on.
Having a website is not a promotional strategy. If you’re going to have a website, you need to have a promotional strategy.
Your promotional strategy should generate traffic — and, more importantly, repeat business. In order to get people to check out your website, it can’t just be tucked away on its own little shelf in the world-wide-library (to stretch the metaphor).You can download the complete ebook here
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
These are the background slides from my presentation on June 21, 2008 at Interesting 2008 in London.
Monday, 8 September 2008
His take, is that computers are not necessarily becoming smarter, but humans are getting dumber, due to reliance on technology. Although a bit paranoid, these ideas are food for thought.
Some people identify the Singularity as the point computers become more intelligent than humans. But intelligence is relative. By trusting the bots as we do, we are making ourselves less intelligent, less independent and more reliant on the machines. My grandfather ran a drug store in Detroit. He could take a stack of numbers as long as his arm, run his finger down them like a blind man reading braille, and add them up faster than anyone could punch them into an adding machine. Later on, he would stand next to my dad with a stack of number and add them up while my dad punched them into the calculator. My dad never got the answer any faster than my grandfather, and my grandfather never trusted the calculator. I couldn’t add a stack of numbers as long as my little finger if you lit a fire under my ass. I rely on calculators to do it. The portion of the brain my grandfather developed so well, completely atrophied on me. More significantly, the distrust of the bots atrophied as well.
1) The law of pure potentiality: The source of all creation is pure consciousness... pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest. And when we realise that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe
2) The law of giving: The universe operates through dynamic exchange... giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.
3) The law of 'Karna' or cause and effect: Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in the like kind... what we sow is what we reap. And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.
4) The law of the least effort: Nature's intelligence functions with effortless ease... with carefreeness, harmony, and love. And when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.
5) The law of intention and desire: Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment... intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite organising power. And when we introduce an intention in the fertile ground of pure potentiality, we put this infinite organising power to work for us.
6) The law of detachment: In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty... in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.
7) The law of 'dharma' or purpose in life: Everyone has a purpose in life... a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ectasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Creativity is something that’s not easily contained. In fact, it’s contagious. When creative people start putting their heads together, some amazing things happen. It’s a rare occasion when an incredible idea is solely created by one person.
I know, I know it can be hard to let go of our ideas. There’s that little creativity myth that says that keeping our ideas to ourself is much better than sharing them. After all, what if someone steals them, I think this is kinda old school thinking, today its all about collaboration.
Big idea man Seth Godin opened my eyes as to why “giving away” ideas is a great thing. Seth made a beautiful point. 99% of the time the problem isn’t someone stealing your idea, it’s you not actually doing it. So what better way to put an idea into motion than having more people help?
There are many ideas that I’ve had that never would have come close to completing without the help of others. Sharing ideas is critical.
Its important to start changing the way you think about your ideas if you’re going to start letting other people work on them. Pretty soon you’ll have people questioning every aspect of your idea. This is a necessary and healthy aspect of collaboration. If you’re really wanting to let other people (more than one, at least) start working on your ideas, you’ll have to be able to do three things.
1. Realise you can’t do everything on your own - There’s a tendency as idea owners to want to control and do everything. People don’t want to just add input, they want to work on the idea too! Remember, these people have the same goal as you: they want the idea to get better and better. Give up some responsibility. You’ll find happier collaborators and more time for yourself to work on other ideas.
2. Allow for the free exchange of ideas - Now that the idea is open to other people’s interpretation, there are obviously going to be new and different ideas spinning off of it. Some ideas may be so revolutionary and different that they completely change the scope of the original project. That’s totally normal. Remember: The idea is now bigger than just you. You have to be willing to be accept that someone else may have an even better idea than yours.
3. Trust other people - Allowing other people to work on your idea ultimately requires more trust. By letting other people work on the idea, improve the idea and even rip the idea to shreds takes trust. Lots of it. You’ll have to accept that these people working on your idea want the idea to succeed too.
Friday, 29 August 2008
Mike Davis, a designer and DJ from Minneapolis has started a great new blog So Much Pileup, that showcases graphic design and illustration from the 1960s through the early 80s. Lots of visual inspiration for all you designers I strongly suggest you check it out,
Mike’s motivation for creating a catalogue of vintage design:
Any designer’s studio or home is filled with books, stickers, posters, postcards, and other pieces of history. I started this blog to share some of the work from my collection that’s inspired me as a designer, primarily from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. I’ll be posting logos, postage stamps, motion graphics, packaging and promotional design from the time I consider to be the golden era of graphic design, just before computers took over and anyone with a copy of Photoshop and 10 fonts started calling themselves designers.
OBEY is a company/brand that I always look out for, and take inspiration from its success story. Fairey created the "André the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign in 1989, while attending design school. This later evolved into the "Obey Giant" campaign I'm pretty sure you would have seen the posters on a wall near you. This campaign has grown via an international network of collaborators replicating Fairey's original designs. Fairey has also spun off the OBEY clothing line from the original sticker campaign, He uses the slogan "The Medium is the Message" borrowed from Marshall McLuhan.
Fairey's story shows how a simple sincere idea, can grow into multi-million company with a vision, a bit of talent and lots of dedication.
Check out Fairey explaining his story at detail here.
* “A lot of stuff for corporations – it’s not even that they don’t mean well, it’s just that they’re a little bit clueless as to the right way to go about addressing what skateboarders, street artists, punks, and hip-hop kids want to see. So finding someone who can be a liaison to that culture and help them deal with it authentically can be a real benefit for the artist and the company.”
* “After getting some attention for my stickers, it really opened my eyes to the idea of putting something in public that people see and get curious about. It really opened my eyes to the power of communication in public space.”
* “I think almost everything I’ve achieved has come from me perusing what I felt really strongly and passionately about and not second guessing my instincts and trying to have a level of authenticity.”
* “My idea was always to make my work seem bigger and more important that it really was. The result was, it started to resonate with a lot of underground culture types – skateboarders, people into punk music, etc – but additionally from people representing companies that wanted to identify with that demographic as well.”
* “There’s so many times where you go, ‘OK, should I be spending more time on my art or on my business?’ And I’ve found that I’m not happy doing either exclusively – that its all important.”
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
There seems to be a lot of talk around the effectiveness of PR recently, I have summarised some opinions.
Jason Calacanis tells budding entrepreneurs that they don’t need a PR agency.
As both subject and writer it feels like I’ve learned a lot about how the PR and the press works–especially in the technology business.
My philosophy of PR is summed up in six words: be amazing, be everywhere, be real.
You don’t need a PR firm, you don’t need an in-house PR person and you don’t need to spend ANY money to get amazing PR. You don’t need to be connected, and you don’t need to be a “name brand.” Today, many bloggers lament how much press folks like Kevin Rose and Robert Scoble get. They say that they get too much attention and that they got this attention too quickly and without earning it.
Michael Arrington, founder of Techcrunch, has similar suggestions:
I can’t speak for big media journalists who’ve been in the game for years and years, but from my experience with blogging for a few years, I agree that PR as a profession is broken.
They’re trying to apply the same rules they used when the number of journalists covering their companies was a manageable, chummy lot. Today there’s a whole spectrum of people writing about startups in big media publications, large and small blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed and everything in between.
Most PR folks don’t read blogs and certainly don’t understand them. All they see is a Google alert with their clients name, and rush to put out a fire. Down the road they may try to bring those bloggers into the fold, largely relying on word of mouth as to the best way to approach them in lieu of actually reading the blog itself.
That leads to the occasional massive clusterfuck and some truly hilarious moments that I would like to write a book about some day. To sum it all up, the relationship between bloggers and PR firms is shaky at best. Or at least it should be. Some bloggers really cultivate PR relationships, but for me PR is the last refuge when I’m attacking a story. They keep trying to put out the fires I’m starting.
So back to practical advice: what do you do if you’re a startup looking for help in getting the word out about your company? First off, don’t hire PR help until the volume of inbound requests by press are simply too much to handle without help. That’s way down the line for most companies.
Raised in the "always on" world of the Internet, on-demand content and social media technologies, today's youth has different expectations and media consumption behaviours than previous generations. This trend is especially evident when it comes to music. Driven by iTunes and the iPod, the youth of today have a big appetite for digital music, ring tones and all things mobile.
A study from Jupiter Research found that "worldwide, mobile music generated 4.4 billion dollars in 2005 and is expected to generate 9 billion by 2009...Mobile music now accounts for 15% of the entire music market--and youth leads the way (Juniper Research: Mobile Music: Ringtones, Ring-backs & Full-tracks (second edition & third edition)."
In February and March of 2008 the University Of Hertfordshire conducted the largest U.K. academic survey of its kind, When they looked at the music consumption behavior and experience of young people (aged 14-24).
Among the findings:
* Around 90% of respondents now own an MP3 player. They contain an average of 1770 tracks - half of which have not been paid for;
* 14- to 24-year-olds love music - arguably more than any previous generation;
* 58% have copied music from a friend’s hard drive to their own, and 95% copy music in some way;
* 63% download music using P2P file-sharing networks;
* The CD is not dead. Even if a legal file-sharing service existed, over 60% say they would continue to buy CDs;
* 42% have allowed P2P users to upload music from their computer. Much of this behavior is viewed as altruistic;
* 80% of current P2P users would be interested in a legal file-sharing service - and they would pay for it too;
* Money spent on live music exceeds that spent on recorded music.
Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of British Music Rights, summarises what this all mean for the music industry:
“The music industry should draw great optimism from this groundbreaking survey. First and foremost, it is quite clear that this young and tech-savvy demographic is as crazy about and engaged with music as any previous generation.
Contrary to popular belief, they are also prepared to pay for it, too. But only if offered the services they want. That message comes through loud and clear.”
Over this bank holiday weekend I was selling drinks at carnival, what seemed to be easy money turned in to the hardest two days of work I have ever done. Although it could have also been the best, sometimes its easy to forget what hard work feels like, when your in the business of creative thinking. Over the last two days I definitely proved that i still had the hard graft in me. I turned from a savvy marketer to a blue collar street trader, the thrill of the hard sell kept the adrenaline going. It had been a while since my direct selling days, but I found my self quickly into the swing of things using all my charm and wit to sell drinks. I had forgot how much skill it actually takes to judge and adapt your communication style to so many different people.
The main learning from my carnival experience is poor planning is certainly a recipe for disaster. Possible due to ignorance or arrogance I assumed due to the sheer amount of people any sort of drink would be easy to sell. Not so true we managed to sell out all the red-stripe on the first day, and just a few soft drinks. Had I done my research I probably would have found out that beer was going to be the best seller and not bought an equal amount of Giuness and soft drinks.
It was the quick thinking to concoct a punch and give away free samples that really saved the day. We managed to create a frenzy around our Carnival punch, this turned an almost waste of time, effort and money, into a great learning experience and profit.
Moral of the story is always research and plan a strategy for the task at hand, and if you don't be prepared to work, like my basketball coach use to say GO HARD OR GO HOME.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Friday, 22 August 2008
The human condition: Lost in thought.
Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the conflicts of their own thoughts. They never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalised sense of self that is conditioned by the past.
In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness. In the ancient teachings, it is the Christ within, or your Buddha nature.
Finding that dimension frees you and the world from the suffering you inflict on yourself and others when the mind-made "little me" is all you know and runs your life. Love, joy, creative expansion, and lasting inner peace cannot come into your life except through that unconditioned dimension of consciousness.
If you can recognise, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as just thoughts, if you can witness your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, then that dimension is already emerging in you as the awareness in which thoughts and emotions happen - the timeless inner space in which the content of your life unfolds.
The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely.
Here is a new spiritual practice for you: dont take your thoughts too seriously.
How easy is it for people to become trapped in their conceptual prisons. The human mind, in its desire to know, understand, and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It say: this is how it is. You have to be larger than thought to realise that however you interpret "your life" or someone else's life or behaviour, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality in one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself.
The thinking mind is a useful and powerful tool, but it is also very limiting when it takes over your life completely, when you don't realise that it is only a small aspect of the consciousness that you are.
Wisdom is not a product of thought. The deep knowing that is wisdom arises through the simple act of giving someone or something your full attention. Attention is primordial intelligence, consciousness itself. It dissolves the barriers created by conceptual thought, and with this comes the recognition that nothing exists in and by itself. It joins the perceiver and the perceived in a unifying field of awareness.
Whenever you are immersed in compulsive thinking, you are avoiding what is. You don't want to be where you are. Here, Now.
Dogmas - religious, political, scientific - arise out of the erroneous belief that thought can encapsulate reality or the truth. Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of "I Know."
Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas. It is true that every dogma crumbles sooner or later, because reality will eventually disclose its falseness, however , unless the basic delusion of it is seen for what it is, will be replaced by others.
Unless we start to act Beyond the Thinking Mind.
Always one to try and improve my creative process I found this article very helpful. Merlin Mann over at 43 Folders has done an interesting analysis of how creativity works. The theory is that creative work gets done best in a seemingly paradoxical cycle of laser focused activity, and lazy idea gathering, idling and re-charging. In essence, creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.
Mann breaks it down:
Most all makers with longevity talk about a process that involves regular, scheduled work periods that allow generous time for warmups and getting into what Csikszentmihalyi himself has called, “Flow.” For as long as he or she can stay in that Flow state, a good artist is capable of synthesizing unbelievably disparate material and ideas in a way that’s often satisfying and productive. For those who cannot, it means another morning of video games, Facebook, and binge eating.
43 Folders: “Attention & Ambiguity: The Non-Paradox of Creative Work”
Thursday, 21 August 2008
One of the things that everyone, everywhere has to do on a regular basis is solve problems. I thought it would be worth jotting down a few of the different ways you can go about solving problems from what I have learnt from my agency days (but I think that this applies to anyone in business - creative or otherwise).
So the first part of solving any problem is to question. The time honoured Who? What? Why? When? How? Is a great place to start. In advertising this could be are we talking to the right people? What are we trying to achieve? Why do we want to do this? When do we want to do this? How are we going to achieve it?
Each one of these questions can trigger a whole load of new questions that help to understand what it is your trying to achieve and the best way to achieve it.
Which takes us nicely on to arguably the most important part of solving any problem, working out what the problem or objective actually is. Often the problem you’re given isn’t the real problem.
The more specific the problem the better. It’s much easier to work out the answer to a problem when it’s absolutely clear in your mind. So rather than trying to solve “increase brand affinity by 10%” how about “help people to fall in love with the brand again”?
It’s often easier to solve a problem if you can break it down into more manageable chunks. For example, Sainsbury’s famously reframed their problem from “add £4 billion of sales annually” to a far more comprehensable “Increase the average basket size by £3.32″.
Now you know what your problem is you need to read as much as you can on the subject. James Webb Young, one of the greatest advertising men of all time, had a specific technique for generating ideas was:
1. Gather the raw materials - the immediate problem & your general knowledge
2. Work these over in your mind (To this I’d add: Write your first thoughts down, no matter how bad they might be. Keep on writing more stuff. Give it time. Write more stuff down.)
3. Do something else/sleep on it
4. Have the idea
5. Shape the idea to make it useful and practical.
He also believed that “ideas are new combinations”. So when trying to create that little bit of inspiration try combining two unexpected elements e.g. big but personal (HSBC The World’s Local Bank) or small but tough (VW Polo).
Another technique is to think of great ideas in other sectors and categories and apply them to your problem. So if there’s an idea that always works in fashion retailing you might want to think about whether it’ll work in publishing.
Once you’ve got your solution, remember to keep the explanation as simple as possible so that anyone can understand it and pass it on.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
We buy more stuff and throw it away faster than at any point in our history. The House of Lords has criticised the British fashion industry for contributing to a throwaway society. A Science Committee report today attacked 'fast fashion' outlets such as Primark for selling clothes so cheap there is no incentive to repair them.
Similarly buying a basic television has never been so cheap, relatively speaking. In the past, people would call a television repairman to fix the telly if it was broke. Nowadays you would pop down to the high street to buy a new one - which probably doesn't cost more than you're old one did five years before.
"Our attitude to technology has changed from using something until it breaks beyond repair, to constantly replacing it because something cooler is in the market," says Tom Dunmore, editor-in- chief of the gadget magazine Stuff.
Mark Strutt, senior campaigner at Greenpeace, says: "We consume vast amounts of electronic goods and throw them away. Mobile phones are a classic example, where they are more or less designed to be thrown away after a few years. Another prime example is the MP3 player, which does not have a battery that c be changed or recharged."
This thought came whilst taking one of my regular West End trips, as I always leave with something to write about. Although the way things are going Primark will soon have killed the high street. Yes I am saying this now in gest, but I wonder in five years how false that statement will be.
I have had this for a while, just came across it today, the infamous Wieden & Kennedy's rules to creativity:
1. Act Stupid.
“Our philosophy is to come in ignorant every day. The idea of retaining ignorance is sort of counterintuitive, but it subverts a lot of [problems] that come from absolute mastery. if you think you know the answer better than somebody else does, you become closed to being fresh.” states Jelly Helm, creative director.
2. Shut up.
“The first thing we do when we meet with clients is listen. We try to figure out what their problems are. Then we come back with questions, not solutions. We write these out and put them on the wall. And then we circle the ones that we think are interesting. More often than not, the questions hold the answer.”
3. Always say yes.
“What I’ve learned from improvisation is to let go of outcome and just say yes to what4ever the situation is. If you say an idea is bad, you’re creating conflict–you’re breaking an improv rule. You want an energy flow that moves you forward, as opposed to a creative stasis.”
4. Chase Talent.
“Find people who make you better. It’s best to be the least talented person in the room. It’s reciprocal. It challenges you to keep up.”
5. Be Fearless.
“Do anything, say anything. In the worlds of our president, Dan Wieden, ‘You’re not useful to me until you’ve made three momentous mistakes.’ He knows that if you try not to make mistakes, you miss out on the value of learning from them.”
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
This really got my visual taste buds going, French photographer and street artist JR has produced another inspiring public art project in Rio. Known for his massive scale black and white portraits, JR recently covered a hill side shanty town with his trademark imagery. The photos make the houses almost seem alive with the intricate emotional details of his subject’s faces popping out. This latest project is part of a series called “Women Are Heros”.
Monday, 18 August 2008
When is the business world going to fully embrace this thing we call social media. A recent report has revealed that brands are still unsure of how best to leverage the large communities on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Tim Hoang reports. 'Despite the clamour by the marketing industry to affix 2.0 to all things vaguely Internet-related, it would appear that marketers are still struggling to fully utilise social networks as a channel of communication.'
That said there has been an increasing spend by marketers on social media sites. eMarketer recently predicted that by 2012, £285 million will be spent advertising on sites such as MySpace and Bebo. The popularity of social networking sites continues to be strong with around one-third of the total number of Internet users in the UK accessing them last year.
In the report, JupiterResearch underlines how difficult it can be for marketers to fully embrace social networks. However, it has made a series of recommendations in order to get the most out of social networks:
• Marketers should promote their pages with paid adverts rather than relying on viral marketing to get the message out. The vast majority of marketers attempting to generate viral buzz don't succeed in getting users to pass along their messages.
• Advertisers need to engage users on the page. Even simple forms of engagement, such as contests, on average doubled the number of friends acquired by each branded page.
• Marketers must appeal to social networkers' love of multimedia to get noticed. Social Networkers are twice as likely to visit a branded page focused on media content than a branded page focused on products.
Read the full article here
Sunday, 17 August 2008
How often to you surf the web, and come across a site that is full of clutter. Clutter is the stuff that has no “place”, doesn’t belong with its surroundings, and serves little to no purpose. Honestly this happens to me quite often, so it’s no wonder most web pages are abandoned within a few seconds of viewing.
Whether intended or not, a person’s home and the way you present it are physical manifestations of your personality just as the design and content of a corporate website are virtual manifestations of a brand. Environments, both real and virtual, affect human perception and behaviour.
Here are few points to consider when designing online environments to attract, comfort and retain visitors:
Visual Elements: On a website, color, typography, iconography, and other imagery should be considered as carefully as an interior designer considers surfaces, furnishings, and art. Are they appropriate for the target user?
Colour: There are appropriate uses of colour for specific messages targeted at specific end users. Once an appropriate colour palette is defined, a designer can use it to direct users to specific content, organize that content, and create an appropriate environment.
Typography: Too many typefaces in one place is like cramming a room with furnishings from different eras. Stick to a theme, and visitors will be more comfortable and get a better sense of the message the type is sending.
Imagery: Imagery (photos, illustrations, icons) should enhance an environment by promoting a message or feeling. Iconography can be a helpful cue for web users, or it can be unnecessary and even misleading.
Content: A clearly defined hierarchy of information is crucial to helping users understand what a site has to offer and finding the information they seek.
Navigation and User Feedback: If a visitor has to think about where they can click to get more information, or click through multiple pages to get to specific information, they are not likely to stick around.
Friday, 15 August 2008
Have you ever thought about the power of images, and how in turn images can shape our thought. Me neither, but Errol Morris has in a recent article in the New York Times he examines the 'power of imagery' and goes on to talk about why we need to question the images we view. He finds that people will tend to believe what they see, even if it’s not true. Changing history can be as easy as changing the photo - either content, or simply the caption.
My dad always told me that the story in more powerful than man. There is no denying that this has been evident throughout history, colonial powers throughout time have doctored images, artefacts and scribes to make sure the story that lives on is in their favour.
Morris interviews Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and an expert on digital photography:
(Farid) “And even like this missile one. You start putting it out there and saying, “Oh look, this picture? It’s a fake. This picture? It’s a fake.” But you know what people remember? They don’t remember, “It’s a fake.” They remember the picture. And there are psychology studies, when you tell people that information is incorrect, they forget that it is incorrect. They only remember the misinformation. They forget the tag associated with it. They did these great studies, especially with older people. They give them information about health, Medicare, Medicaid, that kind of stuff. And they say, “this information that you heard? It’s wrong.” And what ends up happening is, that information gets ingrained into their brains, and even if they are subsequently told it’s wrong, they end up believing it.”
If you dont know then get to know
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Threadless in my opinion have possible the best social media business model, outside of direct social communication web-sites. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It’s not Web 2.0.
Threadless isn’t about Web 2.0 buzzwords, technology for technology’s sake, etc. Threadless is about kicking ass as a real, profitable company and taking care of its customers (the loyalty of customers is the #1 priority).
2. Community…no, really.
A lot of sites pay lip service to the notion of building a community. Threadless actually does it. And it’s not just having a blog or a forum (though the site has those too). Check out the site’s navigation where “Shop” and “Participate” are given equal treatment:
It’s no accident. Threadless isn’t just a place to buy stuff. It’s a place where people do stuff too. The people design the shirt ideas, decide which shirts get made, post to forums, upload photos of themselves wearing the shirts, etc. The result? People are attached to Threadless. As Don Norman says, “We are much more emotionally attached to products for which we feel some involvement.”
Threadless makes people feel like partners, not just customers. That’s why people become MySpace friends with Threadless. They start blogs about Threadless . They care what happens.
Read full article here
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Is there something about the world that makes people give up on there desire to change the things they find fault with in the world. By this I mean does the pursuit of money, happiness and general need to survive take over peoples consciousness, also what part does the media play in this?
This thought was partly borne out of my recent redundancy. Its funny how until you leave a situation, its difficult to rationally judge the situation you were in. In my case this situation was a job within one's of London's best advertising agencies. As good as this job was, I now realise how much it took over my life, as most jobs do. Depending on how you view it, my job had either evolved or stopped my desire to change the things in the world that I didn't like. This leads to wonder how many other people this has happened to.
I can remember my passion to rid the world of its problems when graduating from university. This passion seemed to go once I entered the world of work. At which time I was also in-taking news coverage without question, by reading the free newspapers to and from work.
With a clear mind I now question the very purpose of these newspapers. Understanding that the media is one off, and probably the powerful forms of communication, along with Word of mouth and advertising. Is the plan to in-turn brain wash people with irreverent news on their journeys to and from work, gradually building peoples tolerance to the subjects and topics in the messaging.
Anyway not to the digress from the point, I wonder why life does this to people. Is it just that people weren't really that passionate about the change they wanted to affect. Are we as people generally happy with the routine monotony of working 9 -5, paying bills etc, etc, and how much of this is a result of the media reducing the collective consciousness of the people.
Ask yourself this question, Are you still passionate? If the answer is Yes, are you working in, on or towards your passion. If the answer is no, one more question WHY NOT?
Smashing Magazine, recently posted an article '7 Essential Guidelines for Functional Design', this is a great article, but more interesting to me is how easy it is to adopt these functional design guidelines to most aspects of life.
At the heart of every piece of practical design, whether it be a website, product package, office building, manufacturing system, piece of furniture, software interface, book cover, tool, or anything else, there is a function, a task the item is expected to perform. Most functions can be achieved in a variety of ways, but there are some basic elements a designer needs to take into account to create a product that best fulfills its intended function.
1. Consider the product’s goal.
2. Consider who will be using it.
3. Consider what your audience intends to do with it.
4. Is it clear how to use it?
5. How does your user know it’s working?
6. Is it engaging to your users?
7. How does it handle mistakes?
Read the full article here
What’s really going on here is that instead of the massive global trends big trends like “Green is the new black!”, there are now thousands of micro trends that can come from anywhere and anyone.
From the JC Report:
It’s not just designers who are contributing to the end of boldface trends, however. Armed with broadband and blogrolls, consumers, too, are rejecting the commandments of the editorial elite, taking inspiration from peers around the world to craft their own personal interpretations of style. Rather than buy into one trend from head-to-toe, like the “preppy” or “punk” movements of decades past, consumers are appropriating eclectic influences and remixing them like a DJ does with music. It’s now common to see stylistic mash-ups, like a demure Stella McCartney floral-print blouse coupled with Alexander Wang’s grimy cutoffs and finished off with a pair of Balenciaga’s erotically charged knee-high gladiator sandals.
JC Report: Death of Trends Part 1 / Part 2