Time Out: over in Ireland to see the family

By the time you read this I will be starting a trip to Ireland to see the family. Chances are there that there will be very little internet connectivity going on so don’t expect many updates on this blog until I am back next week. I am hoping to get some high scoring check-ins on Foursquare at least!
Celtic Cross

Digital Marketing Group presentation

Andrew Seel of Qube and I presented last night at a Digital Marketing Group event hosted by John Horsley at Anda De Bridge on the Kingsland Road. There was also a presentation by PageMagix on their new Facebook management tool. My slides are below for reference.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

L.A. Noire lets impatient gamers skip the hard parts – interesting move

Segmenting China’s digital consumers – McKinsey Quarterly – 750 million online by 2015

How important is action based measurement to you? | pharmaphorum A room with a view: how to measure value in social media – the action based economy

AppleInsider | Apple’s ‘iPhone 6’ to employ Sharp’s next-gen p-Si LCDs in spring 2012 – thinner lighter display

Apple Q&A on Location Data – at the end of the day, the average consumer just doesn’t care

Your DMCA Complaint to Google Should be Thorough

Groklaw – Barnes & Noble Charges Microsoft with Misusing Patents to Further an Anticompetive Scheme Against Android – this is much bigger than it seems

Lessig: Copyright isn’t just hurting creativity: it’s killing science (video) | Motherboard – at critical points in the growth of the US, copyright was much more laissez faire

Google Realtime Search Quietly Adds Quora, Gowalla, Others

Thoughts on a “risk averse BBC”, as covered in the Guardian today | :Ben Metcalfe Blog – it will be interesting to see if The Guardian hold their hand up with their role in this whole sorry car crash

Digital Pharma: Bayer UK’s Twitter slip-up | InPharm – genius

China: Baidu Says 80% Of Chinese Android Phones Will Have Baidu Search By Default – and this is surprising because? Verizon is using Bing as the default search engine on many Android phones

Goldman Sachs Has Had No Analyst Covering Microsoft For Months Now – nothing to see here, move along. Probably why no upside to the share price

Yahoo Weighs Spinning Out Hadoop Engineering Group for $1 Billion Opportunity – ReadWriteCloud

Nokia hands Symbian to Accenture, to shed 7,000 jobs – Telecompaper – interesting bit is how Accenture will provide mobility software, business and operational services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia and other ecosystem partners. Accenture is the go to market strategy?

Hong Kong Hustle » Mini-malls make a dramatic resurgence! – part of the awesome discoveries that you can make in Hong Kong

What price blogging? | Let’s get digital. – shilling so cheap? Makes me wonder about the business model of content farms

50% of Printers Charge for a QR Code – why on earth are they charging for printing QR codes? Its like charging extra to print URLs, email addresses or telephone numbers

Communities Dominate Brands: Smartphones Bloodbath Year 2, Q1: Now Nokia. Ouch, this is painful – Tomi breaks down Nokia’s quarterly results. Can Nokia keep the business together and make the transition to Windows? The numbers don’t look good

The Windows 8 Leaks Keep Coming: Is Microsoft Behind Them? – ExtremeTech – I wouldn’t be surprised, it fits in with the usual news drip strategy that Microsoft has used in the past (and part of the reason why they love blogs)

Demand Media’s Stock Drops Like Its Google Traffic – I couldn’t work out why people would buy into the IPO anyway as the content farm model is very tight on margins versus cost of creation

How Pizza Hut could eat Facebook for lunch « excapite – the key thing here is scale enough?

FT.com / Technology – Instant messaging forecast to hit texting – not terribly surprising however Disco may change this

CBS Outdoor to take TfL to court over London Underground losses – Brand Republic News – not surprising when you think about how many ‘Londoner’ posters CBS Outdoor have been running to hide the amount of spare inventory that they have

Murdoch’s News Corp set to become the UK’s biggest advertiser – Brand Republic News – seven letters, starts with M, means monopolist can also be family name

TelecomTV | Reality bites Deutsche Telekom as senior executive admits T-Mobile USA was uncompetitive also-ran – just like in the UK then

Worst Energizer Night Race 2011 Ever!! No Medals & Headlamps+++ | Tian Chad

Facebook trials group buying deals | New Media Age – now we’ll see if a large sales force and email database is all you need

Radio Show | Billy Daniel Bunter & Slipmatt – Kool London Show | 21.03.11. – I think this is what I woke up to on Monday morning, not sure though

Three Yahoo Vets Seek to Build New Commerce Network Called ChoozOn | AllThingsD

Mobile App Developers Seeing Two-Horse iOS-Android Race | mocoNews – no real surprises here, but doesn’t bode particuarly well for RIM or WebOS

The BBC Is Struggling to Tighten Its Belt – NYTimes.com

Asahi Glass to Roll ‘World’s Thinnest’ Glass Substrate for Touch Sensors — Tech-On!

RSS Feed Search Engine – genius

Friendster changing it’s raison d’être?

I got an email from Friendster talking about a new improved site where they would get rid of most of my profile information as part of the redesign. As far as I remember the site went through a redesign relatively recently including a new funky logo pictured.
friendster JPG
This could be a way of trying to get a handle on the number of engaged users that they have, but I think that its more likely to signal a major shift in the business model.

Those of you who don’t know who Friendster is; they were the first mainstream social network (the way we now understand them) in the US. They inspired MySpace and laid the ground for Facebook to become the omnipresent sinister web business we know and ‘love’. Like many businesses early on a technology adoption curve, they lost out on the big score; partly because they couldn’t scale their infrastructure fast enough.

However, they have managed to survive as a business, which is more than can be said for most of the services I worked on at Yahoo!.

I like: Dennis Coffey – Ubiquitous (Steinski mix)

I find much of the current hip-hop scene, distinctly unhip-hop in nature. No such fear with this Dennis Coffey track. Mr Coffey is a veteran funk musician and the track has been remixed by Chris ‘Steinski’ Stein whose ‘Lessons in Hip-Hop’ tape edits and productions pretty much defined the hip-hop sound.

Charles Kim retail insights presentation at Where 2.0 conference

Really cool presentation with data points by Charles Kim

Key take outs:

  • 95:5 rule. You want affluent women in your shop. They make up 5% of the US population
  • You can get men to spend more if they bring a female friend or significant other
  • Women shop longer, and spend more
  • Men show up later at retail events


I like: oki-ni presents Truth by DâM-FunK

oki-ni have been issuing a series of mixes with related t-shirts.  With DâM-FunK they were on to a stone cold winner. I have been a fan of the tracks and mixes that he has done for the Stones Throw label and this mix is of a similarly high quality with 80s analogue synth sounds and smooth funk.
oki-ni presents TRUTH by DaM-FunK by oki-ni
All of it was mixed down with vinyl records rather than MP3s and the like.

B2B PR in a world of declining trade media?

If you don’t read anything else this morning because the bank holiday’s crop of media is too much at least read this Guardian article examining the state of trade media. The question that needs to be asked is what is the health of B2B PR in the face of declining opportunities for media relations hits?

Archived from blog posts I wrote for PR Week

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Online video falling short in UK: News from Warc.com – not convinced by the methodology around this. Based on asking consumers rather than behavioural observation

MediaTek looks to restructure, sources claim – MediaTek have made it easy for hundreds of phone manufacturers in China to roll out their own handsets, this restructure looks like an expansion into other markets

Yahoo Moves Fast To Scoop Up IntoNow For $20 – $30 Million – media check-ins

The Etiquette of dating via BBM

Social Search is Already Being Gamed | Social Web Thing – yes The New Yorker is evil, but it also says something powerful about their brand that people were prepared to like their content first and read it afterwards

Microsoft Makes a Big Data Play with Project Barcelona – enterprise data search

RIM Needs More From Playbook To Reclaim Mobile Mojo | paidContent

Google’s China market share: declining | FT.com – its not just Baidu who is gaining

On the road

My plans to come home changed and I ended up driving back to Birkenhead with my Dad. Being Good Friday, the trip took a butt-numbing six hours.
Boot lid of a car in Toddington Services
Along the way I treated the journey as a kind of anthropological laboratory. The first thing that really caught my eye was this set of vinyl stickers on the back of a car. It speaks for itself in many respects, but I found it particularly interesting that it celebrated a ‘surveillance’ life.

And with free wi-fi available at Stafford motorway services, there is no reason why the video couldn’t have garnered an audience by the time you’ve got home.

My Dad and I chewed the fat about people that I used to know and how car companies are screwing over consumers by putting authentication chips in water pumps and how the engineering of clutches have made them more expensive to replace with flywheels now have a springs in them holding two masses together rather than a solid chunk of metal.  But the driving was mostly mediated by the pings and calm female voice of the satellite navigation device.  Driving I quickly found that satellite navigation devices aren’t designed for direct sunlight (like you get in a car during sunny weather), surely a potential poster child for OLED displays in the future?

The cheaply made casing of the Chinese-made device (badged in the name of a German discount technology retail brand) was held on to the windscreen with a high-quality German-made plastic cradle. The quality of industrial design, fit and finish could not have been more different.

The satellite navigation device doesn’t augment your travel experience however, instead ‘she’ (my Dad gave the device a gender based on its voice and I suspect slightly temperamental nature) the oracle of travel ( in a similar way to Google being the oracle of knowledge). Progress up the M6 was slow so we decided to follow the device’s advice and take the A500. It was certainly a more scenic route but progress was slow and my right foot was starting to ache as I now drive so little.

So spying a sign for the M6/M56 I decided to deviate from the route and head back across Cheshire to try and make better time home. The sat nav kept trying to get me to do a u-turn. My Dad started to get more guilty, concerned that the sat nav would pipe up with ‘I told you so’ when we’d eventually meet a motorway full of traffic at a standstill. The traffic was actually ok, but talking to my Dad he felt like he had almost broken a bond of trust with the device. This humanisation of the device had also thrown up some other interesting ideas: it is cheaper to buy him  a new sat nav device than replace the battery and update the maps, but my Dad wants to fix it.

This is partly because I’m the dreamer, the ideas person in the family and he’s the maker. He built his own electric motor actuated Christmas lights, hand-built their first two motor homes and loves to tinker with stuff, when my Mum lets him. But its also partly because he feels a real emotional attachment to the disembodied electronic female voice in the device.


Adventures in Merseyside: part 4

Each time I come home I come back with some insights into life outside the media sector and outside central London. Here’s the latest dispatch:

The early bird catches the senior customer

I had to get my driving license replaced since it runs out the middle of next month and you can only do it at certain post offices. If you do it by post to the DVLA, you have to send in your passport and its only for British subjects. So I headed into Ellesmere Port (home of the Vauxhall/Opel Astra) where they have a well appointed post office as part of the ASDA superstore.
Cheap parking
I dropped my Dad off at work and got to Ellesmere Port by 8:30 in the hope of being first in the queue at 9am. There were a couple of old people in the queue already and one of them pointed out that the Post Office opens at 8am to cater to local demand.

The place wasn’t exactly buzzing as the locals would say, but there was a lot of people out and doing shopping at that time of the morning. Many of them with the aid of sticks and various type of wheeled frames. Those shops that were open were doing good business and the National Milk Bar in the Port Arcades had a stream of customers that the staff seemed to know by name. Shops that offered a bargain with names like Pound World and The 99p Store seemed to have a number of people inside and a small queue at the tills. The moral of the story is that the early bird catches the senior pound.

This means that there are potential opportunities for time-of-the-day bounded offers and bargains to deliver results  and provides a definite window of seniors marketing.

The interface of retail and social media

Given my role I am really interested in two areas: where the rubber hits the road in terms of technology and people, and technology and business respectively and my trip to Cheshire Oaks gave me some food for thought in both of these areas. For those of you not familar with it; Cheshire Oaks is a collection of outlet shops and restaurants with free parking. It is a shopping destination with coaches of people arriving from around the North of England to shop there.

I parked up my car and followed a family who sounded like they were from Burnley towards the shops. Our Burnley family were talking about how hard it was to organise the different family members to come across Facebook, email, SMS. There has got to be an app or service in there somewhere?

Like most shopping districts at the moment, Cheshire Oaks has a few empty units. Generally in a place like this; retail units are like the teeth in Shane McGowan’s mouth – you tend to notice what’s missing rather than what’s there. The management team did a couple of smart things.
QRcode at Cheshire Oaks
They vinyl wrapped empty retail units using them as signage and as a way of gathering customer data. This vinyl wrapping was also an act of reputation management; too many empty retail units visible and it kills the atmosphere of the place.  The QRcode pictured takes you directly through to a form to sign up for emails about special events and promotions at Cheshire Oaks.
Social media at Cheshire Oaks
They used the window wraps to also highlight their social media presence, though QRcodes to direct people to them as well would have been even more powerful. If you assigned a tracking redirect like bit.ly you could even do real-world A-B testing of different wrap design and colour-way combinations.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Earth Day update: “Green” product sales down sharply in wake of financial meltdown – you saw a similar pattern of consumer behaviour in the early to mid-1990s recession in the UK

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » Sorry, wrong number – economics of iPhone theft

news.gov.hk – MTR respects press freedom – OMD got caught out

China’s Phoenix New Media Announces IPO Plans – ChinaTechNews.com

Webinar Recording: How to Integrate Social Into Your Website « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang

Chanel Traffic Cone | Flickr – Photo Sharing! – Photo: A Chanel branded traffic cone spotted on the street in Shibuya. Only in Japan?

Gallup: Chinese People See Themselves Struggling – WSJ – I think that the points made about Gallup’s sample size and methodology are interesting

What’s Next for Enterprise Linux & Cloud {Collaboration Summit ’11} | The Linux Foundation Video Site – some really great stuff

Replica/Ripoff Online Fashion Retailer Milanoo Raises ‘Multiple Millions’ From Sequoia | Fashion News @Signature9

Getting NFC to the mass market isn’t a question of “if,” but “when” and “with whom” | VentureBeat – subject to a ‘chicken & egg’ dilemma

Beastie Boys – the Beastie Boys use tumblr. Really happy that the haven’t gone down the design route. I am a great advocate of borrow, adapt, build

China Mobile To Invest CNY16 Billion To Build Wireless City – ChinaTechNews.com – interesting Chinese wireless experiment

Companies increase outsourcing for SEO, PPC and social media: survey | Econsultancy

Analysis: Why Did Walmart Buy A Social Media Firm? – I spoke to Arun as he was writing this piece whilst grabbing a hot dog with my old friend David Ingle. I see this as Walmart reclaiming their heritage in innovation: in supply chain management – they drove the move to ‘Made in China’, new retail formats – the big box store that nuked independent retailers and data-mining ‘beer and nappies’

What CEOs Want From Their CMOs | Forrester Blogs – scout for external innovation, in addition to no embarrassments, cost reductions and increase revenue

Easter greetings

Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy Easter.
Easter Island statue

Marissa Mayer talks about Google Map Maker at Where 2.0 2011

Google’s Marissa Mayer talking about Google Map Maker. Sounds like a great tool for PROs