Links of the day | 在网上找到

Who’s Behind the E-paper FES Watch? – Digits – WSJ – interesting the way Sony has become an internal VC operation. It makes sense since they need disruptive innovation and they still have smart people. The disappointing bit was hearing them working with an external product design agency given the industrial design strength of the company historically

Tightening too frightening for UK | HSBC – interest rate increase and lower than expected economic growth

Oh No They Didn’t: European Parliament Calls For Break Up Of Google | SearchEngineLand – inevitable but not sure it will make an impact, Google must have expected this?

Maglev elevators are coming that can go up, down, and sideways | Quartz – I love this

Flickr is about to sell off your Creative Commons photos | DazedTech entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield left the company in 2008, but says that Yahoo-ordained plan is “a little shortsighted”. He added: “It’s hard to imagine the revenue from selling the prints will cover the cost of lost goodwill”. It’s the equivalent of looking for pennies that may have fallen down a crack in the sofa

Supermarket own-brands generate more than half of UK grocery sales | BrandRepublic – bad news for CPG brands

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week.

A frickin’ laser-cut record. How awesome is this?

A simple but delightful Japanese Vine

A totally awesome Japanese game for the Sony PlayStation featuring Godzilla and all manner of kaiju. The odd thing about this Bandai Namco game is that it is for the PS3 rather than the PS4

A smooth jazz version of Van Halen’s Running With The Devil, which seems to use studio stems of this rock classic. It works amazingly well

Finally a video of park life in Beijing. It is hard to emphasise the amount of smoking that happens in China, so this video shows you instead

Links of the day | 在网上找到

China has ‘wasted’ $6.8tn in investment, warn Beijing researchers – – define wasted

The click-through rate is not dead, it’s morphed into a zombie | Marketing Magazine – interesting that this has been associated with CTR rather than impressions which is a better analogue of cost per hour from the FT’s point-of-view

Edelman, TransCanada to split after Greenpeace strategy document leak | PR Week – “The conversation about Energy East has turned into a debate about our choice of agency partner,” the statement continued. “We need to get back to a conversation about the project itself, and as a result we have agreed that it is in the best interests of the project that we do not extend our contract with Edelman.” I would have thought that move won’t have been good for Greenpeace either in terms of moving the conversation away from the environment

European Identity: Strength or Weakness? | INSEAD – interesting question to pose, as an Irish national my perspective is that it is a definite strength. We are young nation unencumbered the baggage of former glories; having stepped out from having been colonised. Whilst we had corrupt bankers this doesn’t invalidate the idea of Europe

Tumblr Is Now The Fastest Growing Social Media Platform, Edging Out Instagram and Pinterest by @mattsouthern – blogging by another name

MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer ‘safe haven for TERRORISM’ • The Register – I feel uneasy about this. How would you feel if the Royal Mail or Fedex was responsible for reading your mail?

How Technology Is Changing Media | Buzzfeed – a media pack masquerading as interactive post but lacking in subtlety

2014: The year Facebook organic reach died | The Drum  – made its point clearly

Drone Flights Face FAA Hit – WSJ – increased regulation in the US on commercial usage likely to cramp marketplace in short term, but provide clear framework in the medium-to-long term

Sony Predicts Electronics Recovery | Variety – components rather than finished products

「TOYOTA FUN CHAIN」| DRIVING KIDS with TOYOTA – interesting Toyota effort to make driving relevant for young people

Uber removed blog post from data science team that examined link between prostitution and rides – the gift that keeps on giving for communications professionals

Regin: Top-tier espionage tool enables stealthy surveillance | Symantec Security Response – interesting whitepaper outlining a spying tool. Might it be a UK one? It’s possible given that 9% of the targets were Irish and none where in the US. But Ireland is also a financial centre and has one interesting defence company Timoney Technologies so it would depend who the Irish targets are

Grilled: the Daily Mirror’s deputy 3am editor Hannah Hope | PR Week – interesting traditional media planning cycle (paywall)

White House Push To Allow FBI Phone Hacks Could Hurt Intelligence Gathering – Defense One – very similar to the kind of points made back in the early days of online cryptography

The Grumpy Economist: Dusty corners of the market – anomalies exist in hard to trade paper presumably if they were easy to trade the opportunity would be capitalised upon as it appears

OMG! Canada goes on Twitter!

My friend and former colleague Matthias Lüfkens will be ecstatic that he has another government Twitter account to include in the Burson-Marsteller Twiplomacy project that has been a personal passion of his.

Canada rolled out an official global account
Canada on Twitter
In reality Canada has had a number of digital diplomacy accounts before aimed at specific interest groups like the European Union or Iran. But don’t let those wrinkles get in the way of a good story.

And the internet (actually just over half of them Canadian internauts) responded back. As with most political discussions online this was a male-dominated discussion.

The conversation areas touched upon seemed to mirror the kind of issues that are currently rippling through Canadian politics: the environment, care for veterans. Conversationalists also name-dropped well-loved Canadian brands like the Tim Hortons coffee chain.

The biggest shock for me was that the account showed blatant favouritism towards Hootsuite compared to other Canadian social monitoring companies like Sysomos. Hootsuite was the only commercial entity that the account followed in what looks like a case of casual nepotism.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

This is the proof that the 1% have been running the show for 800 years | Quartz – know your place serfs

Rescuing gadgets from the golden age of ‘Made in Japan’ | The Japan Times – inspiring and deeply saddening at the same time

デザインアンダーグラウンド – ラジカセ・ヴィンテージ家電、オーディオの販売・修理 – Design Underground Factory restoring beautiful Made In Japan consumer electronics

South Korea puts cost of reunification with North Korea at US$500 billion | South China Morning Post – and I bet it would go up from there due to corruption and security issues

Recode Drops Comments | Recode – a blog without comments, also has implications for time on site, if I was an advertiser with them I would find this choice very curious

Beefed up iPhone crypto will lead to a child dying, DOJ warned Apple execs | Ars Technica – the problem is that this has been discredited by experts a number of times and they keep trotting it out

Technics To Launch FLAC Music Download Store Powered By 7Digital – hypebot – nice to see the name resurrected now about some decent pro-audio and DJ gear?

Huawei: KRYDER STORAGE CRISIS is REAL and ‘we’re working on it’ | The Register – is the cause of Kryder’s Law shrinkage a move to SSD and lack of investment in disk science?

Apple Releases Its Most Important Typeface In 20 Years | FastCompany – download the font, really nice

‘Qualcomm’s opportunities greater than challenges’ | RTHK – waiting for the second shoe to drop

Samsung will make far fewer phones next year | GigaOM – reducing SKUs, tidying up the brand and extensions. I guess this also means less risk, innovation and the decline of their successful ‘fast failure’ model

FB Techwire | Facebook – yet another way of wringing money out of businesses that do ‘over promotional’ posts

Opera’s app store will replace Nokia Store on feature phones | GigaOM  – and on Symbian handsets

Why Apple’s absurd valuation makes perfect sense | Quartz – it does seem insane to me….

Things that made my day this week

Here are a mix of things that made my day this week:

A nice video on how Facebook engagement advertising fraud works

As good as special effects get, this time lapse footage of the sun still amazes

It is interesting how retail is looking to replace sales assistants. Nestle is rolling out SoftBank robots in Japan to sell cans of coffee

Interesting idea by jam band Phish that combines a Disney sound effects album from the early 1960s with their live performance. Phish are best known in the UK for being the inspiration behind the name of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. They come out of the live tradition of rock with devoted fans that The Grateful Dead pioneered.

Guardians of The Galaxy is rolling out on digital distribution, Blu-Ray and DVD in the US which seemed like a good time to highlight the many different ways of saying ‘I am Groot’ in terran languages

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Keeping Secrets — STANFORD magazine – great article on modern cryptography

Why podcasts are suddenly “back” – – they never went away

Li Ka-shing turns up heat on food investment with vegan cheeseburger | WantChinaTimes – interesting investments in food technology

Intel Reveals Details of MICA Smart Bracelet – Personal Tech News – WSJ – interesting that they chose Opening Ceremony as their collaboration partner

Non-Microsoft Nokia launches Android N1 tablet with Foxconn — GigaOM – interesting move that could put Hon Hai on a path to becoming a brand in its own right. Hon Hai has encouraged migrant workers leaving to set up franchise electronics stores in the past, which would be their distribution network in China

China’s global internet conference excludes many of the industry’s biggest players | Quartz – would western internet companies bother going?

The Brain Dump | Motherboard – new Bruce Sterling story

Out and about: Dreadzone at Under The Bridge, Stamford Bridge

It has become a tradition that my friend Simon and I meet up to catch Dreadzone on their annual tour last Friday. Simon had come in from Saudi Arabia so its a pretty big deal for us. This was the first time I had been to a gig at Under The Bridge. The space is a purpose-built live venue under the stadium where Chelsea play.
Dreadzone at Under The Bridge, Stamford Bridge

It is the most comfortable venue that I have been to. Molton Brown products in the toilet, spotless facilities, comfortable seats and a stand-up area in front of the stage. There are screens all around the venue to allow you to follow the gig and a great sound system.

Dreadzone put on a great gig, lower energy then previous gigs I had seen them at, but still a great performance. The location of the venue brought out a really mixed audience. Friends and family of the band, long-time Dreadzone fans, middle class professionals with fading celtic tattoos, elderly punks and older mods. I suspect that there were some locals as well, nice young things who looked rah.

The gig seemed to be supporting the reissue of Dreadzone’s second album Sound, which is due to be repressed on vinyl.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Warren Buffett buys P&G’s Duracell business | Marketing Interactive – I think that this is smart, Duracell is a powerful brand

Nokia would like you to know that it’s “up to something” — Tech News and Analysis – more than a licenced brand deal?

Nokia says vanishing consumer brand may return | Reuters – as a licenced brand, think Bush, RCA or Philips

YouGov Profiler – so handy for throwing together personas

Instagram is killing teen girls’ self-esteem – Quartz – an exaggeration, am sure you could have put in magazines, models or TV role models in this title just as well

Is Adblock Plus Killing Your Conversions? | Kissmetrics – it is more the issue that they are counted as false impressions

China bad loans rise as growth slows | SCMP – medium businesses suffering

Build Your Own Tiny Titan Supercomputer for Less than a Grand | Motherboard – gives you an idea of how technology has changed

Kuwaitis to get Dow’s divested shares | Shanghai Daily – interesting move

Morgan Stanley pushed murky China stock to market | AP – Tianhe story probes and is a warning for due diligence`

Hong Kong Tramways: West Island MTR Line opportunity to grow ad revenue | Marketing Interactive – Hong Kong’s trams are a great outdoor advertising option which I’ve used to Tommy Bahama in the past

TSMC Predicts Next Big Thing | EE Times – MEMs and CMOS together on the one chip

Tencent’s Quarterly Earnings Disappoint As WeChat And Mobile Gaming Growth Slows | TechCrunch – games growth wouldn’t run at the same rate in the west anyway?

The Nor » All Cameras Are Police Cameras – interesting article on the paranoia imbued by surveillance technology

McChrystal warns against ‘police state’ | Politico – sweet spot between police state and anarchy

Things that made my day this week

Here are five things that my day this week:

There is something hypnotic about CNC machinery and pick-and-place arms whirling around doing their thing. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu put this film together for their MX4 model

I am a sucker for all things Japanese at the best of times but was bowled over by two videos this week. The first was by Hiroshi Kondo which does a really good job of capturing the other-worldliness of driving at night.

The second video is of the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, I love the detail, the ambient sound of it. Shibuya is a special place that I loved to watch from the Starbucks above it, this brought the experience flooding back.

The Japanese have mastered using laser heated plasma to create firefly-type effect.

CPM Special Bearings posted footage of two ABB robots having a fight with a pair of katanas.

Is PR dead?

Disclosure: I am a ‘non-PR’ person working in what was until recently a PR agency, but now describes itself as an ‘integrated marketing communications agency that offers influencer identification, mapping and engagement, social and traditional media strategy and execution programmes, digital marketing and creative capabilities.
Press Conference with Rt Rev Kieran Conry
Executive summary

It depends on how you define PR as to whether you think it is dead or not. There is a role for PR thinking and PR skill sets.

Main post

It depends by what you define as PR. I consider PR to be the managed interface between an organisation and its publics. It can manifest itself in many ways:

  • The way it does customer service. Wong Kei restaurant in Soho was known and loved for its rude customer service. For the likes of BT or Vodafone, customer service is front line reputation management
  • It is the user experience: paper bills that are clear, correspondence that doesn’t try to bully the recipient, a website that doesn’t try to gouge charges (like Ryanair used to), architecture that adds to an area (like the glass cube of Apple’s famous New York store)
  • It is wrangling regulatory, government and investor relationships
  • There will always be a place for that interface. The people involved lubricate business and help drive growth. PR practitioners have a lot to bring to these areas. They are guardians of brand value.
  • Many people consider PR to be a generator of earned media be it a parliamentary question, a broadcast interview, product placement or article.  To this has also been added earned media: corporate reports, press releases, blog posts, social content etc. This area in aggregate looks much less healthy to me.  The work that is safest in this area is where the interface is the critical part of the product: the relationships with the MPs or the key financial journalists and equity analysts and positive coverage is a secondary attribute.

    The problem with is with media being the product that the relationship with a organisation is mediated through. I usually give a Johnny Rottenesque sneer when someone name drops the attention economy. In this particular explanation, having attention and economy together in a term is useful. It is probably the most proper use of ‘attention economy’. There are so many publishers delivering messages (paid and unpaid). It is becoming much harder for the audience to to come across, find, discover and retain messages from media. There is an over-supply of content in comparison to an inelastic number of viewers. Much of the content published is of poor quality.

    The internet is only a part of the phenomena, digital has only accelerated the process.  Media fragmentation and the corresponding over-supply of content in comparison to the amount of available attention has been on us for a while:

    • Multi-channel TV – back in 1992 Bruce Springsteen wrote 57 Channels (and Nothin’ On) – hardly an academic study but it only feels more relevant now.
    • Racks of magazines – going into a WHSmith or through the Gorkana database confronts you with a sea of publications you have no idea would have existed. And I suspect the amount of magazines and other media that have gone out of publication would dwarf the number of those currently in publication
    • Record label back catalogues – before the iTunes catalogue and Amazon the total sum of records available to order from a record shop was contained in about 3  desk busting directories from the main record distributors. These books were like a few phone books put together in terms of thickness. Items regularly got deleted from circulation. With each change of format: vinyl, cassette and CD different back catalogue content didn’t make the transfer. Bit torrent was popular among people I knew because they could get ripped recordings that weren’t available in digital formats elsewhere. And yet new content keeps coming out
    • Free newspapers – my Dad loves the two free newspapers that come through the door of my parents house each week. They protect the carpet when he is painting, wrap apples from the garden that he puts into storage around about this time of year and act as packing material for the parcels that are sent back to the family in Ireland. But he doesn’t read them. The Tower Hamlets council-published paper I receive goes straight into recycling unless I have something to sell on eBay
    • Film archives: a quick glance at iMDB shows the amount of content that was created and wasn’t transferred on to laser disc, DVD, Blu-Ray or digital video files. It is a similar pattern to music libraries, yet YouTube has some 100 hours per minute being uploaded

    Psychologists have found that even small decisions around consumer choices require energy and add to fatigue. The content surplus only exasperates that psychological process.

    When we look at social platforms we see the decline in reach for a mixture of reasons:

    • Maximising revenue by encouraging brands to use advertising to put content in front of their communities
    • The sheer volume of content driving brand content out of feeds as a ‘firehouse’

    When I started in PR I often heard Elvis Costello paraphrased that ‘yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper’. But now that flow is generally much shorter. This means that there is less of a chance to get a return on investment on a given piece of PR activity. It will reach less people and relevant for a shorter time.

    There are extreme effects at the end of the bell curve. Google ‘BP rig disaster’; there are about 2,400,ooo results related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Look up ‘Kryptonite lock’, and on the first page you find a video about opening the lock with a Bic pen. This is some ten years after Benjamin Running’s famous video demonstration. Both brands still have their reputational crises.

    A secondary aspect of the content over-supply is the effect is had had on the media industry. Many ‘traditional’ media brands have struggled to make a profit. The Guardian is one of the most progressive publications, in terms of the future of media. The Guardian has been at the forefront of technological development and still doesn’t make a profit. It has tried to improve by getting bigger with its US online edition.

    Other publishers like News International experimented with varying degrees of success around paywall models. At the time of writing, The New Yorker has introduced a metered paywall, which is watched eagerly as the media industry still can’t agree on a successful business model. Economics have disrupted the influencers that PRs most cared about.

    The reach issue now means that we consider using advertising to gain more traffic to the best pieces of coverage that we get for some of our clients. From a marketers perspective, PR starts to look less attractive. It also means that including PR in their bag of tricks makes more sense for other marketing disciplines.

    I went to the IAB’s session during Social Media Week London. Advertising and media agencies presented back PR campaigns. These were done using social channels, promoted with varying degrees of advertising on social platforms. This PR activity was described as social media marketing or content marketing. PR becomes a small increment on the existing advertising spend. When PR agencies branch into other areas they look like a riskier risk as this often represents multiples on their previous budget.

    Finally there is the business of PR and that’s where I think it gets a bit post modern. How many PR agencies are really PR agencies any more? Richard Edelman talks about his company still being a PR agency. Yet how many clients who would think that, given the company’s flagship work for clients like the Chipotle?

    The scarecrow film was done in conjunction with Creative Artists Agency. Work like this positions Edelman much more like an advertising agency.

    In my own agency, I have colleagues that do a lot of media and blogger relations. I support their work through insights but the the bulk of my work is around media buying. From straight-up search pay-per-click ad campaigns to promoted social accounts.

    I have just finished a new business pitch, a key tenet of our big idea was to publish their own sector media outlet with light branding. This was because there was a void in their sector.

    As you can see on the introduction to this post, we don’t even bother calling ourselves a PR agency. We have done this because that is the business reality that we have to live with. So in some respects even the PR business has given credence to the idea that PR is dead.

    And I am ok with this. In some cultures, you have a ‘true’ name that you never use or give out widely. There also have a given name that used during their everyday interactions. The true name has power, a magic of its own, that can be used to harm the person. For the PR business; the true name has a negative power and many of use will shrug it off despite what professional bodies may want.

    Others may stumble into doing PR work and not even realise that they is the case, are they then part of the PR business? I am happy for my industry to become post-modern, for PR to become it’s secret ‘true’ name as a marketing singularity pushes agencies towards a mix of paid, earned and owned media. I am even happy with the ‘white’ lie that PR is dead because then I can just get on with what I do for a living. I can move between agencies without silos and advance my career further. Give me a shovel and I will help bury the PR business.

    More information
    The media is dying, does PR have cancer? | renaissance chambara – an old post of mine from 2009, much of what I said in it I still consider to be valid, but it now has an added sense of urgency
    YouTube Statistics
    PR isn’t dying, but PR agencies might… | Jed Hallam
    The future of PR starts with you | Stephen Waddington on LinkedIn
    The public relations industry’s confidence problem | Stephen Waddington

Links of the day | 在网上找到

No easy fix for China’s massive foreign reserves | SCMP – China’s huge foreign surplus (paywall)

Richemont H1 profits down 23pc – Luxury Daily – looking at this they were hit by a slowdown in APAC and the increase in Japanese sales tax

China’s 24-hour online shopfest explodes into life with $2 billion spent in first hour | Techinasia – 11/11 is remembrance day in many western countries but in China it is singles day, a made up festival to drive online sales

Foreigners buying from Japan get free stuff?! But not all buyers are impressed | Rocketnews – the UK is too cynical and jaded

Michael Douglas | Canali – I love this content that Canali have done with Michael Douglas

Masque Attack: All Your iOS Apps Belong to Us | FireEye Blog – iPhone users, enterprises are a security weak spot for you

Obama says FCC should reclassify the internet’s regulatory status – Vox – this is huge. Seriously.

Meet Shingy, AOL’s “Digital Prophet” | The New Yorker – how the fuck haven’t I managed to blag a job like that?

Uber is recruiting 50,000 veterans as drivers | The Verge – the sub header is ‘are they being taken for a ride’ as sub prime Uber driver debt mounts

HKTV eyes second test after problems in first round | Hong Kong Economic Journal Insight – reading this gives you an appreciation of how much of an achievement the likes of RTE Player and BBC iPlayer achieve

A major misconception about Facebook visibility – Campaign Asia – tips: mirror audience language and semantics, have opinions

We’re seeing a very different Microsoft — Gigaom Research – a very different Microsoft: one that is willing to partner, willing to accept the new economics of mobile, and learning how to coax customers to its web services with premium features instead of absolutist tactics.

Juniper shrinks its MX monster router onto a USB stick • The Register – really interesting development, I wonder what’s the minimum hardware it could run on?

Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists’, claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett – odd the way this is a consistent message from politicians, it feels like softening up for regulation in the UK that will look more like China’s harmonising the internet. It could be good for PRs involved in reputation management – only a matter of time before censorship is a service purchased like media relations. Expect innovation and digital competitiveness to suffer as the UK loses out to other EU countries. Google HQ in Germany or Ireland anyone?

prosthetic knowledge — ABB Robots Katana Fight – we’ll look back on this clip as history when we’re all cut down to size by katana wielding terminators

Adidas China Social Campaign Report | Resonance China – interesting work done including trying to encourage behavioural change amongst groups of young women’s social interactions in the real word – positioning sport as a competitor activity to spa treatments, eating out or shopping

‘Smart factories’ could revolutionize production | Shanghai Daily – interesting move as China tries to move up the value chain and deal with the demographic time bomb

Parallel car imports | Shanghai Daily – interesting action. This will be competition for imported and made-in-country but foreign brands of cars like Mercedes. Will the parallel cars be looked after by the dealer networks? I remember in the UK, BMW disliked servicing parallel imported cars from Belgium and other countries

Middle East authorities are cracking down on audio that gets you “high” | Quartz – like something straight out of a William Gibson novel

GT Bankruptcy Provides Rare Look at Apple’s Relationship With Suppliers | Re/code – can imagine ‘put on your big boy pants’ being quoted in business schools for years to come

CBSN – Live Streaming Video News Channel – CBS News – interesting direct from TV to online transfer of news, I wonder if the ad revenues will stack up?

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Laura Branigan – Self Control remix was my soundtrack of this week. It’s available as a free download

I love this modern dance performance that integrates with a digital experiential artwork

I have been working long hours on a new business pitch over the past couple of weeks and this video by Canadian agency UNION resonated more than it probably normally would

The John Lewis ad sparked a discussion in our team today, was it just excessively twee or really bad? I am inclined to go with really bad. John Lewis don’t seem to have learned from their previous years adverts that get picked apart for some form of offence like say animal cruelty – like the dog left in the kennel. This year you have a child that largely seems neglected by his mother.

Finally CBS News new 24-hour streaming news channel is the closest manifestation to TV advertising on the net I have seen, there is no clickthroughs or interactivity.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Court Orders John Galliano to Pay Dior 1 Euro — The Cut – how could he have won that case?

Bronte Capital: Nu Skin results | Bronte Capital – Nu-Skin attracted attention due to their MLM model and have had a hard time of it

Crowd Analyzer::Contact | We’d Love To Chat With You About How We Can Work Together – interesting Arabic language specific social media listening / monitoring tool

As mobile usage grows, China’s traffic jams aren’t just a problem for car owners anymore | Techinasia – mobile networks not coping

New EU Digital Chief Floats Tough Anti-Google Regulations – WSJ – Google is going to love him

With Magazine, CNET Tech Site Makes Jump From Screen to Page – – interesting move into print

Chloé creates ecommerce link with handbag feature | Luxury Daily – interesting use of personas, manifest them directly to the consumer

Nokia deal created anti-trust issues for Microsoft and Samsung | Channel EYE – this could get really interesting

Xiaomi dominates China’s smartphone market | RTHK – where is Huawei and Lenovo?