Wednesday, 19 August 2009

10 Great creative online destinations

Whenever I find myself in a creative void, I have a list of web sites that I can visit that instantly give me a shot of inspiration. I try to visit most of them everyday, and have found that by studying these great sites on a consistent basis has expanded my own capacity for being creative. Opening up to other’s creative work is a great way to broaden our horizons and helps us think outside the box. Below I have outlined my top 10. Enjoy!

1. SpringWise – A database of great ideas that any entrepreneur can act on to help you start the “next big thing”. There are some great, fun ideas, plus they showcase the latest trends of entrepreneurship.

2. WhyNot? – Much like SpringWise, WhyNot? has lots of user-submitted ideas for any ambitious soul can take on and develop. However, WhyNot? is more of a community for entrepreneurs than SpringWise, which can be a bit more helpful at times, I really use both of these sites as a way for me to think alternatively.

3. Digg – You can find a smattering of news, tips and other odd things on the Digg homepage. Digg’s users find the best of the web, and the community voting does a wonderful job of showcasing quality news and compelling links.

4. Popular – I love the popular page. One can find the most creative and interesting articles and tools on the Internet on the popular page. It’s basically a barometer of what’s hot on the web with designers and techies alike.

5. Tumblr – Tumblr is another one of my personal favorites. Aside from creating your own Tumblelog, the Tumblr homepage showcases the best links, images and videos that people are sharing around the web.

6. WisdomQuotes - Nothing inspires more than a great quote from someone smarter than myself. I’ve done entire blog posts based on an inspiring quote.

7. Seth Godin’s blog – Aside from his uber-savvy marketing advice, there are plenty of untapped ideas and inspiration that he shares frequently with his readership. And you better believe that if Seth Godin dreamed it up, there’s a good chance he’s on the mark.

8. DocStoc - You can find some incredibly creative and informative documents that can lead to many ideas. You’d be surprised at the great content you can find at DocStoc.

9. – Jason Kottke has been posting interesting and creative information on the web for the past 10 years. He’s a favorite of many bloggers, and rightly so.

10. How to Change the World – Guy Kawaski is a fun guy with great ideas. Though his blog is geared slightly more to the marketing crowd, it’s full of great ideas. I think the most stimulating thing about Guy’s blog is that it’s written with great voice and lots of humour.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Refining your idea

Hey world, I have had a long and eventful weekend, and as some of you may relate, that means my Monday is going to be less productive than usual. So far I have caught up on some reading and made some calls. Then I took out my idea book and started to refine.

Creative individuals have plenty of ideas. Great big, earth-changing ideas. Unfortunately, not many of them ever evolve into anything fruitful. Why? Because having an idea is only half the battle. The real challenge is refining the idea into something than can and will happen.

There is a fine art when it comes to refining an idea. It’s what separates good ideas from great ideas, and will ultimately define your success.

Most ideas have a clear cycle, I am going to attempt to breakdown some points for refining your ideas.

Make it usable

An idea is worthless unless it’s transformed into something useful. Incredible ideas can turn into stupid ones very quickly if the idea isn’t doable.

What makes an entrepreneur great isn’t necessarily the greatness of the idea he has. A special entrepreneur is one who can make the idea happen.

Define it

To refine the idea, you have to first define the idea. By creating a definition for your idea, you’ll make a clear focus on what the idea is going to do. How is it going to help? What will it do? How will it do it? These are things that have to be carefully thought about in the early stages.

You may find that you’re constantly changing the definition to your idea, and that is totally normal. You might change the definition many times before the project is done.

Make it sellable

If you’re going to invest time, sweat and money into an idea, it needs to have a business plan. In other words, can it make money?

Money plays a huge part in refining ideas, whether creative types want to believe it or not. Money is what gives you the ability to create the idea, and later to sell the idea. Some people don’t want their ideas to have anything to do with money, and that’s totally fine. You should figure out up front if you want to make money from your ideas or not. Most people do ;)

Does it makes sense?

After you’ve done the other three steps, I find that if I can explain my idea to my parents or grandparents without them walking away scratching their heads, than the idea has been well defined. What may make sense to you might not make sense to anyone else. If you’re finding that nobody is understanding a) the core concept of the idea or b) how it improves something, you’ve got trouble.

And that's all folks, hope you have fun refining

Monday, 10 August 2009

Reading Makes You Better at Life

Recently I’ve been on a huge reading kick, picking up everything and anything I can get my hands. With the wonderful advent of Amazon, you can easily and cheapily get any book you want.

I’ve found that no matter what I read, the act of reading every day has helped me in nearly every aspect of my life. Here are a few of my ways that reading can improve the quality of your life.

It makes you smarter

Those that read have a higher intelligence, and general knowledge than those that don’t. In Anne E. Cunningham’s paper What Reading Does for the Mind , she found that reading, in general, makes you smarter, and it keeps you sharp as you age.

No matter what you’re wanting to do or become, you can’t do it without more knowledge. Reading is an excellent way to get where you’re wanting to go.

Reading reduces stress

Like most form of entertainment intends to do, reading distracts your mind from whatever is going on in your world at a given time. Fiction is meant to the best for this, although I don't read an abundance of fictional books. Whatever it is your reading, you can bet it will relax you.

Given that I’m a pretty high-energy person, reading forces me to sit and be still. This daily act of making myself be quiet and still has been nothing short of miraculous for my life.

Improved analytical thinking

Cunningham’s studies have found that analytical thinking is boosted by reading. Readers improve their general knowledge, and more importantly are able to spot patterns quicker. If you can spot patterns quicker, your analytical skills receive a boost.

Increased vocabulary

It’s no secret that reading increases your vocabulary and improves your spelling, but did you know that reading increases your vocabulary more than talking or direct teaching? Reading forces us to look at words that we might not have seen or heard before.

Increased vocabulary is especially crucial for bloggers or writers. All successful writers will tell you that in order to write well, you need to read. Every day. You’ll be surprised at the words you start incorporating into your writing.

Knowing what other people are saying and using the perfect words to convey your feelings is a critical part of being a better human. Better listeners are more successful in life.

Helps prioritize goals

Many times we’re certain we know what we “really want” in life. Yet I’ve found that activities like reading show me things I didn’t know about myself. My mind will drift to things that I’d really like to do, and it isn’t long that these little lapses in reading start to cycle. The same sort of goals keep popping into my head, allowing me to see what I really want to do.

When you remove yourself from your work environment, you’ll start to see things that you might really want to do, that you’re not doing yet. Reading gives you a chance for your to wander.


Ok so there are a few ways that reading makes you better at life, I urge you all to pick up a book today and start reading. We make time for the things that are important to us. How much TV do you watch? How much time do you spend trawling the web? You could easily replace reading with those activities.


Saturday, 8 August 2009

Johnie Walker - Commercial

This is simply advertising as it should be done, they say all great brands, be it people, companies or charities have a great story. This commercial is the perfect example of a great story being told.

Friday, 7 August 2009

YouTuber's - Selling out

Not being a youtuber myself, at first I thought the girl in this video was a bit crazy. On the second listen I realised that she makes some really good points, about when it's ok for brands and people to work together, and how transparent they should be.

italktosnakes gets the VT seal of approval, check it out.

10 youth myths - Slideshare

Morning peoples, today's gem comes from slideshare, before I share it with you, I want to highlight if you don't know already how great slideshare is for gathering information and gaining knowledge.

Mobile youth are particularly good, and regularly produce greats slides like this, '10 Youth myths', check it out

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Is this the future of brands?

Sally hrouda recently wrote a compelling piece on the future of brands. Many of the topics are familiar, but I appreciate the way she has condensed a lot of information and opinion into a very concise piece. Worth reading, check it out below:

Brands and companies are moving forward from traditional and tradigital marketing into a period of social engagement that maximises participation. They used to be able to treat their audience like herds, forcing their message upon them. However, people are now like swarms, connected to each other through digital touch points (mobile phones, cyberspace, computers) moving through currents, in no direction.

The millions of micro-interactions occurring in the realm of social media (Facebook, YouTube, Google, blogs, twitter) have led to the birth of brand ecosystems, living, breathing organisms that are about stimulating brand conversations. A strategic planner previously drew out the most powerful insight into human nature through obtaining a “helicopter quality”, having the ability to look at facts from an overview viewpoint. But in this changing environment it is imperative that they break down the barriers between brand, channel and consumer and listen within currents to react quickly to cultural trends (mobile, gaming, music, celebrities) and predict future movements, whereby pushing brands into a desired destination. There is an opportunity for brands to use tensions, or brand memes to challenge competitors or the status quo. Providing the ecosystems with new experiences that gives them something to talk about and influence society to build their own communities, or tribes around brands.

Due to the increased transparency of governments, countries and brands in the economic downturn and conflicts people have become disillusioned by institutions and instead are turning to each other for more credible advice. A brand’s success will derive from its ability to build trust, which will in turn build a strong brand affinity. They will need to prove themselves, not just advertise their benefits, but empower people to build stories and co-create content via channels, which then transform into brand platforms. Karim Temsamani explains that Google is at the very beginning of expanding its capabilities into image/video search and translational services. Ultimately brands will become intangible as constituents signal dynamically and brand experiences cross borders through cultural ecosystems. People in society will be able to be a part of global conversations and global ecosystems, becoming creators of global brands. A strategic planner will need to become a live thread between ecosystems and their agency to create innovative dynamic experiences, before they become outdated.

People are aligning themselves with brands to create their avatar. For a company or brand to influence people to gravitate towards them and buy their products they will need to be create movements. What if Fairfax created a movement for real journalism or Google for knowledge? And as a result new media standards are set and everyone becomes educated. Knowledge could provide people with skills, improving an economy and cultural tensions between societies. A strategic planner will have to plan to build movements not just nail an insight.

Rene Descartes once stated an individual exists because “I think, therefore I am”, however in the future we will evolve to “I link, therefore I am”. By 2020 people will link to brands, which will be a holistic experience created between products, conversations, movements and people through virtual and real interactions.

Global youth insight into importance of the weekend

Found this interesting video on the global youth opinions/insights regarding the importance of the weekend. Worth checking out, how do you feel about the weekend?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

New music monetization models

I was recently talking with a close friend about the increasingly bleak outlook of the music industry, we were both attempting to predict what the new music model may be. I was suggesting its going to be a middle ground between, brands, artists and a cause. Clearly not a well thought out solution, but I am sure there is something in it, give me a couple more months and I would have cracked it.

If you cant wait until then PSFK, recently put up a post entitled 'Album as Advertisement or Application', worth reading, check it out here.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Spiritual vacation to Egypt

The reason for July's post absence, is I took a much needed spiritual vacation to Egypt. The trip was monumental for many reasons. First I turned the grand old age of 25, which for me is a big deal. I really connected with the lady in my life and I got to touch and absorb the history from arguably the most significant place in the world. I can honestly say that this trip has changed my life, having experienced what I did I can no longer be the same person.

Before going I could never have imagined that a single trip could do so much for my soul, but it truly has. I would urge everyone to take a trip to Egypt for the right reasons and just take everything you can in. I mean it's the place where Moses wrote the ten commandments, which is literally the base of all world law. That alone could represents the places significance to the world, without even mentioning the pyramids, the Nile,the red sea, Sphinx etc .

I don't believe there is much more I can say, except seeing is believing