Links of the day | 在网上找到

The market’s most crowded trades could be causing dangerous bubbles – Business Insider

First QQ-themed KFC opens in Shenzhen | Marketing Interactive – interesting brand collaboration

Here’s How Snapchat Might Be Beating Facebook | TIME – relative engagement rates and popularity with millennials desirable for marketers

Pentax K-1 Hands-on First Impressions – Bokeh by DigitalRev – I really like the look of it

Google takes aim at Microsoft and IBM’s enterprise clients (GOOG, GOOGL, MSFT, IBM) | BusinessInsider – probably not what IBM needs at the moment

Is Apple starting to rot in China? Top level thoughts – SocialBrandWatch – It is less about ‘what the phone projects externally’, and more about “does the phone allow me connect digitally, if so, I am open to what fits me best” – interesting cross platform commoditisation as app layer becomes OS. Also smartphones in trough part of innovation

How Facebook’s Stock Split Lets Mark Zuckerberg Keep Control | Fast Company – getting out ahead of things to prevent a future Yahoo! situation

Twitter now bills itself as a news app, not a social network | Digiday – ok, but where’s the revenue and user growth?

Google just pissed off the entire TV industry | TheNextWeb – hahahahahaha really, lets see reach curve data across different consumer groups and CPMs

The Guardian bets big on VR: ‘We’ve jumped in the deep end of the pool’ | Digiday – feels more like an experiment or a PR stunt rather than a meaningful media exercise

Yahoo’s $8 Billion Black Hole – Bloomberg Businessweek – My own take is Mayer had a nearly impossible job as a turnaround, but a manageable job as an optimise and shred. The products launched just weren’t up to standard and those that were aren’t monetised well

This is one big example of the market conditions that are holding Apple down (AAPL) – lengthening upgrade cycles

Kaiser Kuo on Baidu, Foreign Reportage, and the ‘Paradoxes’ of China | Asia Society – great interview

The Shape of Things — Welcome to Thington — Medium – interesting vision thing on the IoT by Tom Coates.

Traffic to Wikipedia terrorism entries plunged after Snowden revelations, study finds | Reuters – The traffic dropped even more to topics that survey respondents deemed especially privacy-sensitive. Viewership of a presumably “safer” group of articles about U.S. government security forces decreased much less in the same period. 

Penney’s results, subjected to peer-review, offer a deeper dive into an issue investigated by previous researchers, including some who found a 5.0 percent drop in Google searches for sensitive terms immediately after June 2013. Other surveys have found sharply increased use of privacy-protecting Web browsers and communications tools. – I am not terribly surprised as an Irish child growing up in the UK during the Troubles I saw the community around me self-censor so they couldn’t be accused of anything.

Apple iPhone, Once a Status Symbol in China, Loses Its Luster | – “None of the brands do really great,” he said. “But while I might sell one or two Huawei phones in 10 days, I may not even sell one iPhone 6s.” (paywall)

The rise of China’s millionaire research scientists | South China Morning Post – A total 1.4 trillion yuan was spent on the sector last year, according to the government, more than the entire GDP of New Zealand

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week

Probably the biggest thing that happened was me rediscovering Quora the question-and-answer network. I replied to a question ‘What are the major reasons behind Yahoo’s drastic downfall?‘ and then republished it as a blog post with a few more bits and bobs. Traffic blew up on the post when Dave Farber published a link to it in his Interesting People email list. I read Yahoo’s $8 Billion Black Hole – Bloomberg Businessweek on Thursday and it felt like part two of my piece on Yahoo! which looks to now and forward whereas I looked at macro factors and heritage.

Great video mash-ups plugged the gap post the Game of Thrones series launch

I got to see Keith Weed present an aggregate view of social as it pertains to Unilever’s brands and whilst on stage he revealed that they had an inter-agency war room set up to steer the media spend around Knorr’s #LoveAtFirstTaste campaign. Short of Tinder integration I don’t really know what else they could have done. I do wish that it wouldn’t keep recommending chicken dishes to me though. Check out the campaign site here and the ad below.

Really nice creative driven by MullenLowe.

Pepsi went big with a digital OOH augmented reality campaign in Singapore. Most AR projects tend to be smaller rather than going for giant screens.

Hasbro who own the Monopoly board game, posted this surreal live stream on their Facebook page. It is strangely compelling like some bizarre form of performance art.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Google and Microsoft bury the hatchet | Techeye – this is potentially huge. Especially if Microsoft is considering itself to be less of an OS business and more of an enabler.

10 forces that threaten to tear the internet apart | World Economic Forum – really nice read

How Traditional Storytelling Is Ruining Virtual Reality Film – not really that surprising, it took years for the craft of cinema storytelling to

Nokia to buy digital health firm Withings for $191 million – Nokia said Tuesday it is buying French fitness gadget maker Withings to kickstart its re-entry into the consumer market and boost its move into digital health. Smart buy, Withings design some the nicest wearables out there

Daring Fireball: The Encryption Farce – interesting read of WSJ coverage on Apple vs. FBI legal issues

Top risk expert says Apple could be shut out of China | South China Morning Post – more likely to be about helping domestic brands as China understands the need to defend against foreign attacks , more so than US politicians Leaks Very Private Data of 1.1 Million ‘Elite’ Daters — And It’s All For Sale – Forbes – but its a handy database for identity theft and blackmail

Why Facebook and Baidu Are Becoming Fast Friends — The Information – in addition to Chinese e-commerce businesses looking to sell abroad

Operational WhatsApp (on iOS) — Medium – tweak the security settings on Whatsapp

Three ways behavioural science can identify the best messenger for your campaign | PR Week – ok op-ed, it reminded me a lot of the narrative around Edelman’s Trust Barometer in past years

Reject Parochial Nationalism for Sake of Continued Progress_英文频道_手机财新网 – interesting, however seems very out of step with the government position

The Internet Really Has Changed Everything. Here’s the Proof. — Backchannel – As we discuss other apps on his home screen — YouTube, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo  – we forget the draw that Yahoo! Sports is

Microsoft Android patent-licensing revenue falling – market is skewing to cheaper handsets and not all (Chinese) manufacturers are paying licensing fees. I also presume the razor thin to no margins mean Microsoft legal action wouldn’t be worthwhile. And if it was done in China wouldn’t be likely to succeed

What are the major reasons behind Yahoo’s drastic downfall?

I came across this question on Quora and decided to post my answer with additional data points and information here as well.
Yahoo! star
This is a big question. In the answers that it will receive you are likely to see:

  • Difference of opinions about the reasons of the decline
  • Differences of opinion  about when the decline actually set in. Which begs the question was the downfall that drastic?

Before we get into the why, lets think about the nature of businesses.

Public listed companies generally don’t last forever

The AEI said that 88 per cent of the companies that made up the Fortune 500 in 1954 are gone. Yahoo! is between 21 and 22 years old depending which way you count its age.

Yahoo! has outlasted many of its peers:

  • Excite – merged with @Home Network in 1999. It went bankrupt in October 2001. It was sold in December 2001. By 2007, the business was broken up by territory.
  • Lycos – was sold three times, each time for a fraction of the purchase price
  • Hotbot – bought by Lycos
  • AltaVista – minority stake sold to CMGI in 1999. Bought by Overture in February 2003. Yahoo! acquired Overture in July 2003

Only MSN remains of the original brands that it competed against. If MSN wasn’t a Microsoft business, its survival would be questionable. Microsoft’s online services lost money from 2006 through 2010. By comparison, Yahoo! has kept making a profit – despite its issues.


The technology sector has become a hunting ground for active investors. Back in the 1980s, American publicly listed brands were attacked by investors:

  • RJ Nabisco – leveraged buyout by KKR
  • Gulf Oil & Unocal – T. Boone Pickens had failed bids for both oil companies but made a large profit on his holdings
  •  TWA – leveraged buyout by Carl Icahn. Icahn’s business practices were responsible for its bankruptcy in 1992 and 1995
  • Revlon – acquired in a hostile takeover by Ron Perelman, much of the business was broken up to pay for the deal

In the 1990s, factors changed:

  • Credit lines for deals dried up as some leveraged buyouts proved to be bad for investors
  • Businesses developed more effective defences including poison pills, golden parachutes and greater debt
  • Overall value of the stock market increased. This reduced the amount of opportunities to get companies on the cheap

Moving forward 20 years, the technology sector became in a similar place

Historic technology businesses have moved from being high growth to value businesses. This changed the nature of investors interest in them.

  • Microsoft gave a seat on its board to an activist shareholder ValueAct Capital
  • Apple started paying dividends and raising the debt on its balance sheet to fend off Carl Icahn

Google’s unique two-tier shareholding structure has proved to be an effective defence so far.

A business like Yahoo! looks like a classic corporate raid target as its value is less than the sum of its parts. It has a regular cashflow that could service a lot more debt at current interest rates. It has assets that can be quickly sold.

Capital has become much cheaper. This is partly a result of low interest rates set to keep the economy out of trouble in 2008. But there is also a lot of foreign capital and pension fund money looking for a home.

Missed opportunities

Given that we have the perfect vision of hindsight, Yahoo! missed key opportunities. Here are some of them.

Yahoo! failed to buy Google

Yes, Yahoo! did fail to buy Google. And their competitors failed to buy Google as well. Excite rejected the opportunity to buy Google for $750,000 in a deal arranged by Vinod Khosla. By comparison Terry Semel, then CEO of Yahoo! failed to buy Google for $5 billion. At the time Yahoo!’s entire market value was roughly $5 billion.

Yahoo! failed to buy DoubleClick

While Yahoo! was playing catch-up with Google on search. Google outbid the online industry to pay $3.1 billion for DoubleClick. DoubleClick provided advertisers with more opportunities to place banner ads than Yahoo! did.

Yahoo! failed to buy Facebook

Terry Semel offered $1 billion for Facebook in 2006. Semel wouldn’t go to $1.1 billion Facebook’s board wanted.

Yahoo! failed to sell to Microsoft

I don’t think that the Microsoft deal was a serious offer. There are  reasons to be suspicious:

  • Microsoft couldn’t make its own online business profitable at the time. The deal was unpopular with shareholders
  • Yahoo!’s contribution to the open source community would have been an antitrust issue
  • It would have to get through approval by Japanese competition authorities
  • It would likely have to get through Chinese antitrust authorities

Yahoo! didn’t communicate these risk factors to shareholders. Which then left the door open for the Microsoft-funded Carl Icahn coup later on.

Yahoo!’s board has failed the company

I think that there is a stronger argument for this when you look at their selection of CEOs over the years

  • Tim Koogle – led Yahoo! on the upcycle of the boom. He resigned and replaced by Terry Semel during the bust that followed.
  • Terry Semel – was a senior media industry executive who bought the business out of the bust. He never got the product and never used email. He never managed to build a media company despite his Hollywood heritage.
  • Jerry Yang – history will look with more favour on Jerry Yang in the future. He did the Yahoo! Japan  and Alibaba deals which are the most interesting parts of Yahoo! today. As a CEO, his time was consumed by  Microsoft’s hostile bid
  • Carol Bartz – Bartz was a Microsoft approved appointee. Her deal on Facebook Connect saw the social network build its business on the back of Yahoo!’s user database. Bartz does the Microsoft search deal badly. She also launched mobile apps that were bad. The one thing she needs respect for is her approach to marketing. Bartz realised that she needed to promote the entire Yahoo! brand. Although there was a buzz marketing team in the US, most marketing was based around products. Unfortunately the execution of the brand campaign was poor. This was partly because it was led from the US with little engagement of regional and national marketing teams.
  • Scott Thompson – stayed for five months. Allegations were made about his education, better due diligence on his recruitment required.
  • Ross Levinsohn – Ross served as interim CEO after Thompson left. It is hard to know what CEO he would have made. But his successor seems to have borrowed his strategy.
  • Marissa Mayer – Despite the goodwill Mayer had going into the job she hasn’t managed to change Yahoo!’s current business. That the company’s strategy is being driven by activist shareholders says a lot.

Problems in execution

Yahoo! had its fortune hitched to brand display advertising. Growth has dropped in this for the past ten years. Yahoo!’s declining advertisng revenues started in Q2 of 2006. Part of the problem was that Yahoo! had been too successful to begin with. Yahoo! sold its display advertising for way more than it was worth.

Yahoo! failed to monetise search as well as Google. And then handed its search business over to Microsoft, who failed to do as good as job as Yahoo! managed on its own.

Yahoo! failed to execute in mobile, despite some smart early efforts. Photo community Flickr was the default photo app on Nokia’s N73 blockbuster smartphone. The N73 launched at the end of April 2006. It was was one of the last things I worked on before leaving. Given that headstart Flickr could have been Instagram. Instead its a more specialist community of ‘proper’ photography enthusiasts. Yahoo! Messenger and Mail both worked on Nokia handsets from the mid-2000s. Yahoo! Go was an app which provided access to services including:

  • Flickr
  • Address book
  • Calendar
  • Email
  • Maps
  • Search
  • Content: news, weather, finance, sports, entertainment

It could have provided the same function that Android provides for Google, but Yahoo! considered as ‘beta software’ right up to is finish in January 2010. Yahoo! has been providing Apple with weather information and stock data for the iPhone. Yet it hasn’t managed to build a successful iPhone app.

One way of illustrating the decline of Yahoo! in mobile is to look at the user numbers of Yahoo! mail, which seems to have peaked around September 2011.
Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and Gmail users over time
Hotmail shows a linear increase over time, likely due to organisation changes as it has moved to the cloud and Gmail takes off, presumably on the back of Android – though iOS users also have Gmail accounts.

Yahoo!’s acquisition process was broken. Ever since Yahoo! wasted 1 billion dollars buying Mark Cuban’s the business slowed down. was a scare on the collective memory. Capital decisions took longer, acqusitions took longer. The cheque book was harder to open. Under Marissa Mayer, it was finally let loose, but the purchases seem to have made little difference.

Yahoo! failed to become a media company. Back when I was at Yahoo! we launched Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone – a sort of proto Vice News in 2005. Despite Semel’s Hollywood background, he and following CEOs never made it work. Despite the fact Yahoo! had joint ventures with TV networks in Australia and Canada. When Marissa Mayer finally managed to get talent in the door, audiences had moved to other sites:

  • Gawker Media
  • Buzzfeed
  • Daily Beast
  • Aol’s blog network
  • Huffington Post

Yahoo! failed to make social work. Yahoo! owned pioneer social brands:

  • Yahoo! Chat – chatrooms were the Facebook Groups of yesteryear. Yahoo! was doing social before it was a thing
  • Delicious – neglect, internal politics and corporate interference meant that Yahoo! never capitalised on Delicious. Despite its tribulations there are some people who still use it, though I am not sure why
  • Flickr – corporate interference and neglect destroyed the potential growth of photo sharing site Flickr. The site is kept going as a photographic enthusiasts community. It could have been Instagram. Thankfully, Yahoo! only spent $30 million on it
  • Yahoo! Messenger – Yahoo!’s Messenger had a poor mobile client, but could have been WhatsApp. Facebook dominates the sector along with Tencents WeChat, NHN’s LINE and Daum Kakao’s KakaoTalk
  • Tumblr – Yahoo! was forced to writedown the value of Tumblr to nothing. The company failed to monetise the popular blogging and curation platform. Tumblr is one of Yahoo!’s few products that attracts a millennial audience

Yahoo! products had a poor experience. I launched over 14 products at Yahoo! in just over a year. I only ever used 2 of them on a regular ongoing basis – Delicious and Flickr. Other products like Yahoo! 360, Yahoo! Answers or Yahoo! MyWeb 2 – fell into three categories:

  • Dogs to use – particularly in the set-up part of the process
  • Not particularly useful – Yahoo! Answers, great idea in prinicple but poor cultural fit. That poor fit meant that it filled up with noise, Yahoo! Answers isn’t as useful as Quora
  • Strangled soon after birth – so it became frustrating to commit your time to them as a user

Politics paid a part in this process. The Communications group (responsible for Messenger and Mail) had a lot of duplicate products. Yahoo! Photos was a bad version of Flickr. For storing your bookmarks there was:

  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! MyWeb
  • Yahoo! MyWeb 2
  • Delicious

This all bogs management down and sucks away resources. There were also so many projects that never saw the light, due to constant changes in priority.

More information
Fortune 500 firms in 1955 vs. 2014; 88% are gone, and we’re all better off because of that dynamic ‘creative destruction’ | AEI Ideas
Microsoft’s Bing/MSN Results Truly Horrifying — Loss Rate Balloons To ~$3 Billion A Year | Business Insider
Stupid Business Decisions: Excite Rejects Google’s Asking Price | Minyanville 
A Microsoft First: Activist ValueAct Gets a Board Seat – WSJ
How Yahoo! Blew It | Wired
Yahoo! Could Have Bought Facebook For 2% Of Today’s Valuation | Business Insider
Sorry Microsoft, Yahoo — Google Just Got Bigger | Ad Age

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Dan Grover | Bots won’t replace apps. Better apps will replace apps. – great analysis around conversational UIs and the designs of OTT messaging platforms from a a product manager at WeChat

Chinese Conglomerate LeEco Wants To Give Away Its ‘Tesla Killer’ Electric Supercar For Free – Slashdot – going directly into zipcar type offerings

Google Preps New Corporate Incubator — The Information – Google does Yahoo!’s Brockhouse model, even with Bradley Horowitz onboard again (paywall)

Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers by cheap switches, no firewall: police | Reuters – did not have a firewall and used second-hand, $10 switches to network computers connected to the SWIFT global payment network

Business Forecasting & Planning Software | Quantrix – best spreadsheet ever

The top 100 most expensive keywords in the UK: new research | Search Engine Watch

Evolution of search by Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan did a talk a few years ago on the evolution of search, it’s worthwhile taking 9 minutes out as he plots it:

library/librarian > electronic catalogue for library > LexisNexis database > Yahoo! > WebCrawler > InfoSeek > AltaVista > Ask Jeeves > Google

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Coal redefined for thin film electronics | Electronics EETimes

Web Summit 2016 | Approach to marketing – it does beg the question why should a marketer support this and go to their conference?

The VR idea maze — Benedict Evans – worthwhile read. I think the point made on content is particularly pertinent. We may have the hardware but it could take decades for the craft of content creation to come to full fruition

China’s government sounds out international PR agencies about how to polish nation’s image overseas, sources say | South China Morning Post – A spokesman for WPP, which owns Hill+Knowlton declined to comment. Ketchum also declined to comment. FleishmanHillard Inc, Ogilvy Public Relations and Edelman did not respond to messages requesting comment.  Weber Shandwick attracted negative attention working for China during the run up to the 2008 Olympics and Ketchum had a similar experience working for Russia

Microsoft’s Silver Lining Is Shrinking — The Information – not surprisingly moving a cloud model disrupts Microsoft’s margins in comparison to package software (paywall)

Off the grid – Official site of Stephen Fry – interesting essay on the perils of social media

China Unicom bets on turnaround as net profit plunges 85pc | SCMP – 4G network capital costs and increased marketing costs

“Overpaid and underperforming”: An anonymous investors’ letter lashes out at Nikesh Arora — Quartz – there are other shoes to drop on this. Looking that the shareholders hold ADRs rather than SoftBank shares – this is a US led charge. It is also interesting that this happening right before the Yahoo! shoe drops. SoftBank,  and its Yahoo! Japan joint venture are a key part of Yahoo! Inc’s value

Korean TV Dramas Are the Best Export Since ‘Gangnam Style’ | Digital – AdAge

Pirate Bay Founder: Streaming Model Could Ignite New Piracy War – TorrentFreak – really interesting essay. I had a similar experience with Apple’s iBooks. I bought James Michener’s Mexico for a long flight and trip, tried to download it a week later and it was no longer available. I now buy mostly paper books

Brands rip up media plan in the face of disruption – it decided last September, in consultation with MediaCom, to take more radical action. Tesco slashed its media budget for newspapers to practically zero and shifted most of the money into online and social media. TV and other traditional media have also been heavily cut (reg wall)

Can audio go viral on Facebook? Here’s what happened when NPR ran an experiment for a month » Nieman Journalism Lab – Sharing audio on social media is hard to do. Stan Alcorn documented many of the struggles two years ago in a widely cited Digg story

Elisabeth Murdoch’s Vertical Networks creating ‘Brother’ Snapchat Discover channel – Business Insider

IRIN | Spies Sans Frontières? – the ethical conundrums around this are particularly interesting

Is Programmatic Expertise Moving In-House? – EContent Magazine

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

WeChat brought payments and wallet function to the international version of WeChat with its last version update, but I only noticed it this week. Does this mean that WeChat is now putting all the pieces in place before they get serious about an international market push?
WeChat wallet now for louwai
TfL brought back its experiment for having people stand on both sides of the escalators. For those of us who live in London this is quite a change to our usual routine.
Stand on both sides - people living outside London won't realise what a paradigm shift this is
A comparable shift would be say, New Yorkers suddenly becoming unfailingly polite and accommodating.

Japanese producer TOYOMU reimagined Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo based on reviews and a list of the samples used. Japan hasn’t embraced streaming music unlike western lemmings music buyers. I think what he came up with is far better, see for yourself.

Forthcoming Russian superhero film Guardians looks even more intense than the Night Watch and Day Watch films. Apparently the bear packs a chain cannon a la Jesse Venture in Predator.

Luxxury releases Greg Wilson remixes of the their track on yellow vinyl, have a preview of it here

Links of the day | 在网上找到

How Hong Kong crime has changed over time, and what that says about the city | South China Morning Post – interesting social changes

Confusing Google’s self-driving cars — Eightface – I love that hipster practices fuck with the AI of Google’s self driving cars – goes to show that machines don’t have a clue about why fixies either

The man in the van — Eightface – great story ‘There he is at night, wearing a spelunking headlamp to go with his unkempt beard, writing in his “thought journal” or rereading Kerouac

US-China Today: China’s WeChat better than Facebook: Advertising CEO – CEO of Havas on CNBC

Why Olay’s choice of male ambassador for China is a stupid move – Campaign Asia – insightful essay on why male brand ambassadors won’t work well for female orientated brands. Based on a negative perception that Chinese women can be ‘baited and placated with male eye candy

Google’s Package Tracking Card – great new Google shortcut

Viber adds end-to-end encryption and hidden chats as messaging app privacy wave grows | TechCrunch – end-to-end cryptography now a hygiene factor

Hennessy 8 Encompasses the Brand’s History in One Spectacular Bottle | Wine, Spirits & Cigars – the packaging design is nuts, however I can’t see that many being given away in China

Foursquare Predicts Chipotle’s Q1 Sales Down Nearly 30%; Foot Traffic Reveals the Start of a Mixed… — Foursquare Direct — Medium – interesting trending data despite the source (Foursquare themselves)

EU’s Google Probe Focuses on Preloaded Apps | WSJ – could allow for greater diversity in Android phone experiences, IF phone manufacturers get their act together. In reality likely to drive more bloatware

Verizon, Hearst Agree to Buy Complex Media | WSJ – interesting how Verizon are becoming a major media company. Complex makes a great fit to Aol’s blogs business

Watch: Martin Sorrell on how the industry can deal with ad-blocking | Campaign – interesting comments on Havas (paywall)

Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic – The New York Times – “In the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook, said Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst” (paywall)

Chobani and Yahoo: Yes, Search Ads Really Can Lift Sales | CMO Strategy – AdAge – interesting use of search as brand advertising

‘We would not invest further in our UK business’ after Brexit, says Ogilvy global exec Paul O’Donnell | The Drum – an honest assessment

Korean Drama Gets American Twist With Viki’s ‘Dramaworld’ | Variety – interesting that Viki invested in original content that would feature their target demographic, given that they have built their brand on the ‘otherness’ of hallyu content

3 Things You Need To Know Today To Better Serve Your Millennial Customers Tomorrow – Forbes – email isn’t the dead medium that others thought it would be

How to Manufacture Desire — Psychology of Stuff — Medium – I got this via Paul Armstrong

This is what renaissance chambara has looked like through its various incarnations

Whilst looking at something else I decided to do an animated GIF showing what my blog had looked like in various incarnations over the years. Disappointingly flickr doesn’t host animated GIFs so had to use another service instead.
renaissance chambara since 2004

make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif

The website moved from Blogspot to WordPress on Yahoo! Small Business Hosting – which was a disaster (despite the fact that I got staff discount) and then on to WordPress on Media Temple.

Something old school for you

Digging through my digital archive I came across an old mix CD I had done.

Two Technics SL-1200 decks, vinyl records, a no-brand mixer with bass and treble levels on each channel that I had picked up at Maplins (think Radio Shack in the US) and a HHB CD-R 800 recorder to take it down in one take.  (For hi-fi heads, the CD-R 800 was made for HHB by Pioneer based on the respected Pioneer PDR-99. The differences were in the rack mount capability on the HHB in place of the wooden side pieces, HHB branding and some additional balanced connections on the back for recording in a studio.)

It was sent out and given to friends as a CD in an A3 sleeve that folded down to CD size designed by Stephen Holmes at bloodybigspider.

Track listing (as best I can remember) – if you recognise any of the other tracks let me know so I can plug the gaps

  1. Unfinished Sympathy (Nellee Hooper club mix) – Massive Attack
  2. Reality (main vocal version) – DJ Spinna featuring Rich Medina
  3. Marscarter (BLHIII original) – Bernard Leon Howard III
  4. Inspirations From A Small Black Church On The Eastside Of Detroit – Moodymann
  5. Unlabelled white label
  6. City People (Migs Dubpusher Rub) – Miguel Migs
  7. Jazz 2 B U (Johnny Fiasco’s after midnight mix) – Chris Simmonds
  8. Saxomus Bill – Jay Tripwire (you can find this on Beatport as Saxamus Brown – presumably because the original namechecks Bill Clinton)
  9. Hypnose (Tony Hewitt remix) – Phil Weeks
  10. Unknown white label
  11. Unknown white label
  12. My Dusty 303 – Dano
  13. I go back (main mix) – Harry Romero featuring Robert Owens
  14. The Love Scene (Henry Street remix) – Joe

Links of the day | 在网上找到

I, Cringely Is IBM guilty of age discrimination? – Part two – I, Cringely – this could get very interesting

Why New York Subway Lines Are Missing Countdown Clocks – The Atlantic – if you look at the lifespan of the equipment deployed, how would Intenet of Heavier Things last as long?

Copyright fight club – POLITICO – Hollywood in one corner, internet companies in the other

Has Desktop Internet Use Peaked? – WSJ – Data from the research company indicate overall time spent online in the U.S. from desktop devices—which include laptop computers—has fallen for the past four months, on a year-over-year basis. It dipped 9.3% in December 2015, 7.6% in January, 2% in February and 6% in March (paywall)

6 Reasons BuzzFeed’s Revenue Miss Is OMG! – BuzzFeed’s supposed to be the media company that holds the answer to the media business’s future in a post-banner world

The CIA Is Investing in Firms That Mine Your Tweets and Instagram Photos – (paywall)

The return of the QR code? | The Digerati – the QRcode never really went away, what is interesting is how Facebook has gone for something proprietary in its code design for Messenger

A Japanese guy remade The Life of Pablo without hearing it | Dazed – I think its better than the real thing

UC Davis pepper spray: PHOTOS – Business Insider – interesting case study of online PR clean-up that didn’t quite work out

FBI hasn’t learned anything from unlocked San Bernardino iPhone, says report – CNET – quelle surprise, I can’t even believe that this is news

Rocket Internet Vows to Limit Losses After 2015 Cash Burn | BoF – just wow

Daring Fireball: Motherboard: How Canadian Police Intercept and Read Encrypted BlackBerry Messages – basically if you aren’t running your own Business Enterprise Server, your BlackBerry messages and email are up for grabs. If the police have the key you can bet other people can get their hands on it as well – a la the criminal record database access that is acquired by private investigators through nefarious means

企鹅智酷 | Tencent Penguin Intelligence – great online research resource in Chinese

Why aren’t more agency wins integrated?

Asda appointed Publicis after a short pitch process this week.
What was notable about the win was that it covered both creative and media briefs. Notable enough to become a conversation topic when I met up with industry friends for coffee. Integrated wins are not that common.

WPP has managed to win global single agency accounts:

  • Ford Motor Company
  • HSBC
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • News International
  • Bank of America
  • Miller Coors
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Mazda
  • Huawei

Then there was Enfatico for Dell.  Enfatico struggled with personnel changes at the client and client culture.

The Publicis deal is is more modest in one respect, it only affects Walmart’s UK business, but is still £95m.

On the face of it, integrated appointments have a lot to offer, so why aren’t they more common?

Let’s first look at the pros of an arrangement:

  • Better chance of not getting silo-ed thinking from the agency. Both creative and media can be part of the ideation process.
  • New ways of audience targeting as part of the creative process. The concern is the combined profitability of the account. Rather than a focus on media profitability

Barriers to adoption:

  • Current contractual timings don’t allow for pitching media and creative business together. It seems so obvious, but there may not be a convenient break clause in place
  • Pitches are often driven by procurement teams; who look at better value in continuity, rather than a more holistic approach

Weakness of a combined media and creative agency arrangement:

  • The marketing group may not have strength in all areas. I worked for a large marketing group which held the global account of an FMCG company. Despite being part of a global marketing group, we couldn’t execute in two markets for the client. This affected the social media marketing work we did for them and they weren’t happy
  • Dependent on the marketing team, they may not want to work with a media agency that:
    • Operates an arbitrage model. Having bought the ad space from the media, they then sell it on to clients with targeting data
    • Operates a model that isn’t media neutral to meet wider internal goals
  • Clients often think of the arrangement only as a way of cost reduction

There are also weaknesses with the single client agency model as WPP has done it:

  • Set-up costs are usually shared across clients, but where there is dedicated infrastructure. This cost will have to be borne by the client, upfront or salted in the fees
  • From a client perspective there is moral pressure to maintain the agency relationship. This complicates the client’s ability to ensure cost-competitive rates
  • Less opportunities to cross-pollinate ideas across categories. This is because the agency is focused on one client only

While Asda have taken an interesting first step, hiring an integrated offering. The hard work is only now starting:

  • Putting in place the right working practices client and agency-side
  • Changing the creative process to take advantage of integration
  • Have a proven positive effect on Asda’s sales figures in the face of competition from Lidl and Aldi

More information
Asda hands £95m media and creative to Publicis Groupe in double coup | Marketing Magazine
WPP Folds Ill-Fated Dell Agency Enfatico Into Y&R Brands | Advertising Age

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that have made my day this week

Facebook launched a new live streaming service (a la U-Stream and YouTube) this week. You can stream on your page or in-group. There is a map to discover streams going on in realtime. I found one seminar by Nu-Skin a multi-level marketer of wellness and beauty products in Hong Kong as an example of where it was being used from a commercial perspective.

The Stanton Warriors embraced it to promote further fan interaction whilst they were in the studio. It will be interesting to see the best and worst that brands do with this medium. From a piracy point-of-view I would imagine that it is likely to be used for streaming live sports coverage – expect the Premier League to be very unhappy.

Not exactly the same sound but J-Pop act lyrical school’s debut track RUN and RUN has a really clever smartphone optimised video with amazing breaks of the fourth wall.

UPDATE: Our James pointed me in the direction of an even better link for the RUN and RUN video on Vimeo that I hope works here

RUN and RUN / lyrical school 【MV for Smartphone】 from RUNandRUN_lyrisch on Vimeo.

If you can’t see anything point your browser here.
Japan’s king of all monsters, Godzilla returns from chilling out on Monster Island for his 31st outing in the Japanese cinema. This new trailer is interesting as the visuals evoke Fukushima Daiichi  nuclear disaster and the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011. Check out the Cloverfield-esque shots in the 30 second trailer below. There is a longer trailer where Godzilla appears fully in shot leaving no mystery to how bad ass he is this time. This means that the film is likely to go beyond his usual mayhem and might touch on contemporary issues.

Last, but not least; a vintage show reel by 1980s CGI shop MAGI Synthavision in its full neon wireframe magnificence and southern country rock soundtrack.