I spent my formative years in agency life working with a senior colleague who loved champagne and fine wine – and a weakness for new shoes. Alcohol is often a good social lubricant when building relationships with influencers, but it is lethal when it is mixed with a journalist looking for a story.
Whilst Stanley McCrystal may appear has a footnote in the history of the war on terror for his championing of counterinsurgency warfare tactics in Afghanistan, his most prominent mark was made with a number of cases of BudLight Lime on a coach from Berlin to Paris.
This is where Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings got the juicy material for The Runaway General feature which nuked McCrystal’s career.
Contrary to what you may have been led to believe alcohol and public relations don’t mix.
I, Cringely » I’m with stupid – interesting article on click fraud
Leak: EU pushes for criminalizing non-commercial usages in ACTA | La Quadrature du Net – The leaked document shows that the EU Member States are willing to impose prison sanctions for non-commercial usages of copyrighted works on the Internet as well as for ‘inciting and aiding’, a notion so broad that it could cover any Internet service or speech questioning copyright policies.
The Real Science Gap | Miller-McCune Online – very similar to the reasons why I left a scientific career in the early 1990s
The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace | The White House – the personal freedom and right to privacy implications of this is horrendous. Land of the free to do nothing online, home of the brave to comment on a blog or express a dissenting opinion online
Yummly – Think outside the recipe box. – interesting take on the recipe site using semantic technologies
Where old iPhones go to die – Jun. 25, 2010 – large amount are recycled further expanding the iPhone eco-system. A bit like the old adage of your first Porsche being a second-hand Porsche as the company didn’t used to do entry models
Apple iPhone 4 Antennas… – AntennaSys Blog – finally some experts talking about the iPhone 4
Stanley McChrystal, Bud Light Lime Salutes You – provides more colour on the McCrystal dismissal
I was speaking with a former colleague who now works for a major marketing combine. We were talking about future trends and how organisations are coping with them when he came out with “I have been told that we can’t do strategy anymore we need to get gen-y to do it“.
Some things struck me about this:
- Yes its good to try and better understand young consumers, especially if you are chasing the lifetime spend. Insights are great and there are number of great people out there who can help you get that understanding
- Generation-y in many ways aren’t that different to generation-x at that age, its just that until the great recession they haven’t really known hardship. Who doesn’t want work-life balance, authenticity etc? Look at Bill Hewlett and David Packard’s HP Way which they had coalesced by the 1950s yet spells out the tenets of being a great gen-y employer
- Whilst generation-y have grown up with digital, that doesn’t mean that they get digital in a more meaningful way compared to migrants. From my experience there seems to be a normal distribution of skills, expertise and smarts
- Is generation-y, generation-y? Would the young people who fit into the category of gen-y? Probably not, like their predecessors in generation-x they probably identify with a number of tribes and have a fluid identity within and between these tribes
- Has strategy changed? I still rely on tenets and prinicples laid out by Sun Tzu almost 3,000 years ago. The implication that strategy has fundamentally changed reminded me of the dot.com spiel I used to hear from clients circa 1999 – 2000. This is probably what I find most disturbing about the above statement
The fetishisation of generation-y reminds me of the way many companies have become paralysed without the intervention and thinking of management consultancies. It is not like these companies don’t know the answers – it is either an inability of the management to think coherently or a fear of their decisions. Contrast this with the attitude of the successful companies: do you think that Steve Jobs needed generation-y consultants?
A favourite story of mine comes from Andy Grove of Intel managing to break the ‘crack cocaine’ over dependency on consultants. When they were faced with a challenging market environment and intense Japanese competition Grove asked the board, what did they think that high-priced consultants would advise them to do?
Intel got out of the hard-fought memory business, focused on micro-processors, went on to be spectacularly successful, in the process annoying the hell out of everyone with their pioneering use of audio branding.
We need to think also about what youth now means. Since it is a state-of-mind rather than an age-bound demographic:
- Skateboarding and surfing hipsters (Tony Hawk, Shawn Stüssy)
- Middle-aged music fans going to up and coming music concerts
- Veteran cyclists (like Rapha aficionados)
Marketers need to challenge thinking, run a meritocracy (a la David Packard & Bill Hewlett circa 1960) to utilise the best ideas that anybody including younger colleagues can bring to the table and leave their preconceptions at the door. But that doesn’t mean that strategy is left up to the intern.
This Pat Law post inspired me to think about my own travel retail rituals. When I travel I have a number of rituals, a shrink may consider them to be coping mechanisms for dealing with dislocation whatever. One of them is that I always watch CNN if I can get it. It makes me feel more connected.
I generally have rituals in the airport as well. I usually fly out of London City Airport for short-haul and Heathrow for long haul journeys.
- Coffee – preferably Starbucks so I can get free wi-fi using my Starbucks card. Heathrow in particular is a rip-off, City airport has free wi-fi, but it can be difficult to get on their network. I follow the coffee up with a bottle of water as airplanes are exceptionally dry environments
- Newspaper – Irish Examiner, Irish Times, Wall Street Journal in order of preference
- Magazine – Monocle, The Atlantic, Technology Review or Wired (US edition) if my subscription copy has not come in yet
- Forex – I usually don’t get this sorted until I get to the airport. I also make a point of phoning my credit card companies and letting them know that I will be away. It helps dealing with card failure later on
- Batteries – an eight-pack of AA cells, preferably Duracell – to make sure that I have batteries for my camera
- Chewing gum – Blue Orbit multi-pack or one of the plastic tubs that they do
As with flying out, but with some additions
- Hong Kong-style milk tea – instead of the coffee if possible. Chep Lap Kok airport has free wi-fi anyway so I can break away from the chains of addiction and connectivity that bind me to Starbucks and enjoy the potent brew of milk tea. I particularly like the cha chow variation with condensed milk rather than evaporated milk
- Acqua Di Parma – when I can get it, isn’t stocked in most duty-free areas
- Melatonin – great to help with sleep, unfortunately hard to obtain in the UK
- Toblerone – for the office
- Milk magazine – never ceases to amaze me how the magazine can be credible and still do deals with brands like McDonald’s restaurants; you wouldn’t see i-D doing a cover-mount with KFC. I find it fascinating
Today’s Financial Times has an article covering Mark Zuckenberg’s presentation at the Cannes Lions advertising festival. In it Zuckenberg talked about four countries that Facebook doesn’t have a lead in: Japan, South Korea, Russia and the People’s Republic of China.
The authors seem to think that Zuckenberg’s remarks about ‘Now for the first time we are focused on doing some specific things in specific countries’ was aimed at conquering these markets. Facebook would need to be very careful to avoid the graveyard of previous efforts by companies like Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft in these territories.
All of these markets have established communities on products and services that are in many ways superior to Facebook. They have cultures and online behaviours that are markedly different than peers elsewhere, in the case of Korea there are technical standards and three out of the four countries have unique legislative environments.
As Google and Yahoo! have found to their costs, success in China may bring a backlash in their established western audiences.
The challenging geographic focus steered discussions away from other factors that maybe affecting Facebook’s slower growth:
- How have privacy concerns affected their business? How has it affected engagement levels and the user utility?
- How does the user experience suffer from negative network effects of too much noise? Try searching on a particular topic and wading through the morass of groups and pages now available
- Is Facebook now suffering from a lack of clarity of purpose as it has undergone service bloat?
- Are partners and collaborators concerned about being zucked?
JESS3 and Eloqua created a neat infographic that helps envisage how different online communications techniques | social media vehicles relate to public relations strategies.
It’s deceptively simple. Thanks to Simon Owen for flagging this up for me.
I am hoping that I can get decent wi-fi reception to live blog from Social Media Influence conference. Hopefully it will all work really well.
MAXROAM – Data Calculator – nice data estimator
What EMI’s Repositioning Means | Forrester Blogs – consultant speak no real change
Dell is breaking away from microsoft – The Inquirer – this is less about Dell leaving Microsoft and more about Microsoft not scaling its product offering in a competitive manner
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Talks To Advertising Executives | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD
Live map of London Underground trains – I love this mash-up, it will make it a lot easier to see line closures and strikes :p
made.com – great furniture and interesting crowdsourcing model: a kind of threadless for the home
What Valley Companies Should Know about Tencent – nice overview of Tencent, though I don’t believe with the conclusions re share price and future recommendations
Is Google far too much in love with engineering? – interesting perspective on the Google culture, the analogy is similar to something that Microsoft suffered from for its first decade or so
Political social network discussions – deeper and wider than other subject areas
Social Network Analysis – nice primer
Enhancing Net Promoter Score (NPS) with Total Social Customer Value (TSCV) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing – interesting move on holistic measurement
FT.com / Companies / Automobiles – Japan’s new rules change face of AGMs – will this make it harder for Yakusa to disrupt and hassle Japanese company AGMs and will it help corporate governance?
How the Gulf crisis made BP British again. – By Daniel Gross – Slate Magazine – interesting study in crisis comms.