I spent a good deal of the week seeing the family. It was great to have homemade soda bread and finish off my Mum’s Christmas cake. Yes, you haven’t read that wrong, my Mum specialises in making rich fruit cakes for Christmas. They keep for a good few months afterwards.
A good deal of that was spent watching Homeland and assorted films with my Dad. This included Accident Man – a pretty accurate remake of the Toxic! comic book character from the early 1990s by Pat Mills (of 2000AD fame) and Tony Skinner.
For a brief period from March to October 1991; the UK comic scene had a darker, more anarchic publication than had been previously seen. Toxic! was originally designed to address failings in 2000AD magazine.
The film is so anachronistic in its nature that its audience will be niche. That doesn’t reflect on the quality of the action in the film. It features Ray Stevenson, Scott Adkins (you’d recognise hime host of Hong Kong and Hollywood movies) and Ray Park (who played Darth Maul). Adkins is a bit lean to play the titular character Mick Fallon, which is a surprise given his Boyka role in the Undisputed franchise. Adkins to his credit manages to make it all work.
Both the director and the script writer managed to skilfully blend the unreconstructed misogyny of 1991 with with the great ‘unawoke’ attitudes of a post Brexit Britain.
Watching Wanted: Dead or Alive with Rutger Hauer shows how much the media portrayal of Islamic terrorism has changed over the past 30 years. The plot itself is a bit odd. Sex tape star Gene Simmons plays an Islamic terrorist looking to cause a Bhopal-type disaster as an act of revenge on the United States – where do you even start with that plot?
Hauer’s car has an early generation cellular phone and what seems like some sort of satellite navigation equipment with a monochrome CRT display.
Dated films weren’t the only things that I saw. Whilst I heard of a few people who had a Nissan Leaf; Merseyside is still firmly in the petroleum age. Most of the cars were a decade old on average and I didn’t see any obvious charging stations. Importation of secondhand cars from Japan is still a thing and both J60 and J80 series Toyota Land Cruisers seem to have a loyal following.
I think that we must be pretty close to peak-vape. I was in a Wilkinsons store and wandered past the cough and cold medicine section. Wilkinsons is a discount retailer that does a mix of food cupboard staple grocers, household cleaning products and over the counter pharmacy products. A good analogue for Hong Kong readers would be 759 Store.
On the top shelf of the unit above cough and cold remedies was vape fluid and e-cigarettes.
Cialdini’s Influence is now over ten years old and still stands up. It is a good guide on the psychology of why people say “yes”. The accessible style of Influence reminded of Douglas Rushcoff, or Malcolm Gladwell. Ok Malcolm Gladwell is a poor analogy, Cialdini’s work isn’t candy floss for the mind. This is deceptive as there is usually an inverse relationship between value and accessibility. Exceptions to this heuristic would be the likes of Sun Tzu – The Art of War.
Cialdini hasn’t been researched within an inch of its life in the same way Byron Sharp’s books have been.
Cialdini provides planners and strategists with starting points for customer experiences. The book isn’t a how to guide for digital journeys but provides first principles. Psychology is not channel-specific.
The Journal of Marketing Research described it as
…among the most important books written in the last 10 years.
The book’s style allowed me to pick it up and put it down, to fit in with my holiday schedule of train travel and family time.
Why should you have Cialdini’s Influence?
If your work includes marketing planning or strategy, your bookshelf should have this book. If you are thinking about customer interactions, this book outlines the first principles that you need
If you’re a consumer and want to know how you’re being sold to; read this book
If you want to get on better with people ( your kids or co-workers); buy this book
My copy is well-thumbed and stuffed with post-it notes around the edges as I go back and forth into it on a regular basis.
This video stands in sharp comparison to the Ayn Rand-loving frat-bro culture that seems to infect technology sector companies based in Silicon Valley.
Hoffman is cut from different cloth and represents a slightly older generation in the technology sector who pioneered the dot.com era.
He grew up in Berkeley, back when the technology sector was more hardware focused and Silicon Valley actually made micro-chips. Back then HP and Agilent made measurement equipment in the Valley and it was the centre of the cold war missile technology. The east coast from IBM in New York State to the Boston corridor represented a worthy adversary of Silicon Valley. The technology sector only opted to have Silicon Valley as its home during the move to personal computing.
Hoffman worked at Apple on eWorld – an early way of connecting Macs to the nascent public internet. He founded a prototype-social network and was part of the PayPal mafia before founding LinkedIn.
Reid Hoffman offers a more thoughtful considered viewpoint on the future of the technology sector.
How Technology is Shaping the Future of Human Society was filmed by the Aspen Institute.
Is Facebook Really Scarier Than Google? | Nautilus – worthwhile reading about the effect of Google – of course they both have an impact otherwise you wouldn’t advertise on it. The question needs to be does the utility justify the impact? I think search has a better case than a social network, but both have merits
China’s Huawei Technologies reshuffles board for first time since 2012 – I presume the reason why Mr Ren is getting back behind the wheel is that overall and smartphone revenue figures for 2017 was Huawei’s slowest growth in four years. I am not convinced that premium products will be the way forward when they are locked out of the North American retail system. I am also not sure why the management team at Huawei Mobile Devices hasn’t been refreshed
Cigarettes are the vice America needs | FT Alphaville – Cigarette smoking is essentially the anti-Facebook. While Facebook is a fundamentally misanthropic venture that pretends to be a community, smoking is a community activity for people who pretend to be misanthropes. The activity itself is fundamentally pro-social! It gives people reasons to interact with strangers (“got a light?”). And since it was banned indoors — undeniably a good choice — it gives people a reason to go outside and make idle small talk, all while pursuing a common activity. And unlike alcohol, cigarettes alone don’t often lead to property damage or missed days of work (paywall)
The Valley of Death: the students vying to be millionaires | Telegraph – In 2015 Oxford, the UK’s number one university for research, produced four spin-outs. Not per professor. That was for the whole university. The situation was not better elsewhere. Data on British university spin-outs is not in any publicly available league table. But it exists, via what’s called the HE-BCI survey (it stands for Higher Education – Business and Community Interaction). For 2015-16, Cambridge University recorded a total of two spinouts in the HE-BCI survey. Imperial College London, another of this country’s most vaunted research universities, listed three. Of 160 institutions, 59 officially produced no spinouts at all.
Alex Stamos, Facebook Data Security Chief, To Leave Amid Outcry – The New York Times – Some of the company’s executives are weighing their own legacies and reputations as Facebook’s image has taken a beating. Several believe the company would have been better off saying little about Russian interference and note that other companies, such as Twitter, which have stayed relatively quiet on the issue, have not had to deal with as much criticism
Millennials: you will not be quite so special in the ‘futr’ | FT – could it be that millennials, the most scrutinised, criticised and debated generation of our time, were not that special any more? “Millennials are still important as a customer,” Ms Ganatra told me later. But there is now a “millennial mindset” that has nothing to do with age, she said. In other words, millennials may have been the first generation to have grown up in a digital world but the rest of us are catching on fast. People of all ages are now so used to shopping with a click or talking to a chatbot that retailers need to think about the needs and desires of all their customers, not just those born between 1981 and 1996 – or an artificial construct in terms of their digital uniqueness
The Number of Counterfeits Seized in the U.S. Grew by Almost 10% Last Year — The Fashion Law – “The merchandise category with the highest number of seizures continued to be apparel and accessories, resulting in approximately 15 percent of all seizures in FY2017.” These products included both trademark infringing and counterfeit luxury products, including those posing as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and Hermes, are routinely some of the most heavily copied
Royal Bank of Scotland CMO David Wheldon: More marketing will go in-house – Digiday – I’m not sure there was ever a bygone era when agencies enjoyed a great relationship with the top of the house, but what the consultants have now is the C-suite relationships, a deep understanding of technology and a deep understanding of the digitization of our services. It’s not too much of a leap for them to think they can help with the advertising part of that mix