Category Archives: 在线 | online | 온라인으로

Moves on social platforms

Over the past few years things have been set in motion that are changing social now:

  • The rise of smartphones. I have owned a smartphone for the past decade and a phone / PDA combo for a decade and a half. Originally I had a Nokia 6600 smartphone that nestled in the hand and used a joystick for navigation, but it took the touch screen of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy to really blow up the smartphone market
  • The rise of mobile messaging. By 2006, I had used Skype and Yahoo! Messenger on a mobile phone, but these were legacy networks that moved from the desktop on to other devices. At the time, messaging was more about presence, was a person accessible or not when I would go to call them; rather like Novell’s directory was used with early IP telephony office networks
  • The pitfalls of truly open social. Blogging had warning signs of what could happen with social that was too open. Heather Armstrong of dooce.com had been fired in 2002 for saying the kind of things online that would have made typical Facebook wall content. Secondly, Facebook moved from being the preserve of your classmates to including: parents, grandparents, siblings, work colleagues or curious HR people

Younger and not so young people are seeing the benefit of instant messaging that is designed around mobile devices. OTT messaging services like Kakao Talk and WeChat allow for group discussions allowing ad-hocratric decisions like what film to watch at the cinema to be made on the fly.

Probably just as important was that the lack of a legacy base in the applications allowed them to be designed mobile first, providing a focused elegant user experience.
engagement
All of this provided a compelling use case, which also meant increased engagement at the experiences of desktop-orientated social networks.

In Korea, Facebook has made slow steady progress, helped mostly by a security breach at local network Cyworld. In comparison, KakaoTalk came from nowhere to 90% penetration of the Korean market. This change has also happened in China, it is hard to understand how fast traditional networks like Sina Weibo and Kaixin001 have been left behind by Weixin (WeChat).

“This is a new phase for social media in China,” said Hu Yong, a journalism professor at Peking University. “It is the decline of the first large-scale forum for information in China and the rise of something more narrowly focused.”

In reality Sina Weibo hasn’t been social media in the way we understand it in the west. Most of the accounts tend towards passive consumption, Weibo acts like a stream of news. This makes it hard to estimate how many accounts were ‘real’ and how engaged the audience was. Anecdotal evidence suggested that riends still used Sina Weibo to get celebrity gossip and news but moved to private channels for interaction.  The New York Times considered this shift in China to be one of an issue to do with freedom of speech rather than a broader social movement towards conversations closer to the ‘email’ age.

More information
An Online Shift in China Muffles an Open Forum – NYTimes.com

Google I/O: who is Google trying to disrupt?

Google I/O this week played out like a science fair trying to be an Apple keynote. It was interesting for me to watch to try and discern how this will affect commercial rivals.
Made it to Google I/O "extended". Now what do those guys in Mtn View have to share? #google
The most obvious casualty of this move is not Apple or Microsoft but the Java language that Android’s application language is very similar to. Java was touted in the mid-1990s as a write-once, run-anywhere development language and pops up in surprising places. A variant of Java ran most of the pre-iOS smartphone games. It provided a development environment for early web applications including those used in the enterprise. Java had developed a strong footprint in consumer electronics that Android is now looking to usurp. Oracle had worked hard to support Java for embedded devices ever since it released the first Java development kit for OSX a couple of years ago.

Microsoft has already failed in mobile devices, having spent billions of dollars to maintain a toe hold – this situation may change over time, but for now Microsoft isn’t a relevant player in mobile devices. So Microsoft would be more threatened by Google’s integration of its internet services into Android, than by Android itself. Gmail has become a development platform in its own right and Google is providing enterprise users with unlimited storage for $10 a month. Microsoft’s web services business has been growing rapidly to challenge the current market leader Amazon. Every part of that business from Azure cloud computing to hosted Exchange server functions are threatened by Google’s recent announcements.

Google’s announcement of a smart TV come games console would threaten neither Microsoft nor Sony will be particularly worried by Google’s plans for an Android-powered games console, at least for now. It is interesting that Google thinks there still a market for games console casual gaming rather than just for the zealots. This could be a winner if Nintendo became a developer and abandoned the Wii U – similarly to SEGA’s retreat from the games console market after the Dreamcast console.

The expansion of Android and related web services puts Amazon squarely in the frame as a competitor – however this is not a pushover for Google. Amazon has a strong position in digital goods and is the number one player in web services. In addition, Amazon (unlike Google) isn’t restricted in China, which will be one of the main makers of, and main markets for the products that Google is looking to put Android inside. Amazon has crashed and burned as a traditional e-tailer in China with just over 2% market share; web services and digital content could give the company a second wind. Outside China, Amazon already has the payment details of more high-spending consumers than Google, which gives Amazon the edge in the living room.

Whilst Google probably hasn’t set out to ‘kill’ players in the wearables sector, wearable hardware companies are likely to face rapid commoditisation as Android makes it easier to design wearable hardware. This hollowing out of the market will be similar to what happened to handsets before Samsung managed to prevail through the scale of its resources. The challenge will be if they can differentiate on superior industrial design and maintain a premium price, or move into providing web services that support compatible devices –  a direction where Nike seems to be moving with its Nike+ Fuel Lab.

The closer integration of Samsung and Google’s development efforts was probably the most interesting movement at Google I/O. Google’s divide-and-conquer strategy works when you have a number of evenly competitive players, but Samsung rapidly built scale and used its vertical integration to its advantage driving Motorola and HTC to the edge. Sony consolidated its hold on Sony Ericsson and LG have been grimly hanging on against its rival chaebol. Samsung tried to expand control of its eco-system with new applications, services and two new OS over the years – Bada and Tizen. Samsung partnership announcements including the integration of KNOX, represented a degree of detente between Samsung and Google – at least for the moment. This alliance puts other Android handset manufacturers like LG, Sony and HTC at a further disadvantage. It is less clear what this will mean for those developers who Samsung has persuaded to support their Tizen platform. Will that work have been wasted?

The integration of KNOX will also affect the core enterprise business of BlackBerry, providing yet another reason for not purchasing BlackBerry devices or server software.

The further expansion into the home is Google trying to hammer the nails into the cross that consumer electronics companies like Sony, Sharp, JVC and Panasonic are already attached to. However, Google would need to build rapport with Chinese companies like TCL; yet companies TCL is less likely to want to get on the Google train for a few reasons:

  • China is one of the largest markets for home consumer electronics, yet Google can’t play
  • Many of these companies are vertically integrated and already have lower-tier handset manufacturer within the group who aren’t getting much love from Google already and some of these manufacturers are already playing with other Android-based distributions. They may even create forks from the open source distribution that is the basis of Google’s Android
  • A tighter relationship with a content provider will be more important than tying into Google – particularly as Google services face an increasing crackdown in China
  • A tight relationship with a payment provider will be more important than tying to Google – Tencent or Alibaba

Google needs to find a way to address these issues, or partner with another player like Tencent which would take a lot of corporate manoeuvring; any partner maybe careful (if not leery) after they can see how Google’s relationship with Apple went south. Google may not be the barbarian Microsoft of the 1990s, but the organisation is now so big and complex that it could easily crush a partner thoughtlessly.

More information
It’s A Java Embedded World | Dr Dobb’s – I guess I am showing my age, but if feels strange that it isn’t Dr Dobb’s Journal or DDJ anymore
China Top B2C Websites Market Share in Q1 2014 | China Internet Watch
Android TV hands-on: Google makes a new play for the living room | The Verge
Google announces Drive for Work with unlimited storage at $10 a month | The Verge
Google Opens Gmail, Making It More of a Platform for Developers | WSJ
Google previews Android apps running on Chromebooks | TNW
Razer’s making a gaming ‘micro-console’ with Android TV, available this fall | Engadget
Google Introduces Android TV, Its New Platform For Smart TV Apps And Navigation | TechCrunch
Google Unveils Ambitious Android Expansion at Conference | New York Times
Nike+ Developer Portal

Pushing the reset button on heavy web pages

I am continually gobsmacked by site with ludicrously long page load times because the web page is so big, often 50MB+. This takes an appreciable time to load even with a good broadband connection. On a wireless connected tablet, a mobile connection or in high latency fixed networks like China, consumers are incentivised to click away.

Taking a mobile first approach, encourages lean web design. On a fast network, these pages will load almost instantaneously.

More information
Not addressing the “Chinese Firewall” can haunt luxury commerce | Luxury Daily
18 pivotal web design trends for 2014 | Econsultancy
A Guide to Understanding Page-Speed Tests | WebMonkey

Connection planning: rebooted

Marketing as with most business disciplines oscillates in terms of its fads. For instance, brands like Coca-Cola are looking to move away from regional marketing management infrastructure to doing more from the centre with the local countries.

I felt however that rebooking at what has gone wrong in many respects with connection planning seemed to be particularly resonant, particularly when developments like programmatic media-buying, whilst having a number of merits propagate the assumption that media is merely a container for marketing messages.

How should connection marketing be rebooted? As a process, with a set of values  rather than a separate discipline and job title. Learning from our own and other people’s prior mistakes and making new ones.

CML Earth: the sudden disappearance of a social network in the night…

Yesterday Novartis Oncology sent out an email to the subscribers of a small global community called CMLEarth.

Dear Subscriber,

Since the launch of CML Earth in December 2008, the mission of the social network has been to provide members of the CML community with a place to give and receive support, make valuable connections and share personal experiences, and connect with members for further support.

At this time, Novartis Oncology, sponsor of CML Earth, has decided to close the social network. The platform is not optimized for current technologies (such as mobile devices and tablets), which compromises the user experience and lessens the value of the platform.

Thank you for your participation, dedication, and support of the CML community.

Sincerely,
Your CML Earth Team

CML Earth was designed to support a small global community of patients, healthcare professionals and patient families – all of whom were dealing with a rare form of leukaemia (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia).
novartis
What’s interesting about this is:

  • How sudden the shutdown seems to have come
  • Where was a migration strategy?
  • That there wasn’t an opportunity to hand the community over to the members, nor a migration strategy articulated to say form a Facebook group, there are a number of existing groups on there

It also is a classic example of the transitory nature of platforms. What seemed hip just a few years ago is now a technology that is no longer supported (Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight – not that Silverlight was ever hip outside Redmond, WA).

It was even odder, that this decision was not shared on the home page of CML Earth, here is a screen shot that I took this evening
CML Earth

Great primer on Chinese social media platforms

Imagination has put together a great presentation which is an ideal primer on the Chinese online environment.

A CliffNotes-style guide to The New York Times Innovation report

The internal Innovation report by The New York Times leaked widely and has been reported on, mainly in how it reflected the internal politics that led so the departure of Jill Abramson from the paper. It has also been heralded as document of importance in the industry. Given the nature of the document I decided to do page-by-page commentary on the report (so that you don’t have to read all 96 pages). I read it once first of all to get an overall picture of it and then made notes on a page-by-page basis as I read it a second time in more depth. Below are the notes that I made on the second pass through the document:

Page 3 – The memo starts by outlining its faith in the quality of the journalism at The New York Times. I think that this may be their first flaw as later they compare themselves unfavourably to outlets such as Yahoo! News which implies general news coverage is a commoditised product and The New York Times isn’t providing enough analysis of sufficient value to share.

Page 4 – This is an executive summary of recommendations, most of which are quite prosaic. Develop the audience, strengthen the news room through working with other parts of the business and develop a newsroom strategy team. First up, developing the audience focuses on growth; there isn’t a mention about the quality of the audience – which would matter to advertisers. Strengthening the newsroom as described shows a willingness to bend the journalism / sales Chinese wall to breaking point.

Page 5 – A graph of what I presume is monthly unique visitors under the headline of “…But Many Competitors Are Growing Faster” calls out Huffington Post and Buzzfeed as competitors who are outstripping The New York Times in reader traffic. There are no qualifying demographics for this; in the print space would The New York Times compare itself with The New York Post? Both are newspapers but both have different demographics.

Page 6 and 7 - “Our Proposals, In Brief” basically reiterates pages 4 and 5.

Page 8 – “Our Mission (And How It Evolved)” explains the methodology behind the report. Having read it, there were a couple of knowledge sources that didn’t seem to have been tapped, but that would have been useful.  Interviewing some of the media agencies to get their takes on media consumption trends, looking at external data sources such as comScore, Nielsen Net Ratings and academia such as the MIT Media Lab, Annenberg Journalism School and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society to peer further into the future.

Page 12 – the start of the “Growing Our Audience’ section starts with a users guide to the report which basically explains the filters they used in writing and presenting the report in order to dumb it down for the readership.

Page 14-15 – contrast moves in the news media industry with moves at The New York Times.  The three big NYT moves were:

  • Redesigning nytimes.com
  • Ravaging and rebranding The International Herald Tribune as The International New York Times (this alone would have precipitated a need for a redesign or reengineering of the nytimes.com).  The report itself calls The International New York Times a launch
  • The rollout of native advertising described as a ‘new world’ giving it a romantic heroic quality rather than it having been demanded by media buyers and becoming the norm

The New York Times is facing the classic disruptee problem, trying to re-orientate itself for the digital age whilst change churns around it. The report treads lightly rather than scaring the bejesus out of its readership  (who are likely part of the problem and need to get on board with a radical attitude adjustment and become part of the solution).

Page 17-18 is interesting as the document sets out “A Competitor Cheat Sheet”:

  • Buzzfeed
  • Circa
  • ESPN
  • First Look Media
  • Flipboard
  • Vox
  • Yahoo! News

Here was a few of my takeaways from that list:

Circa and Flipboard are aggregators with a bit of smarts behind them. These are disrupting the editorial process. I would argue that this goes back further than Circa to email newsletters like Dave Farber’s Interesting People or conferences on The WeLL. Neither of these are new and a news room should have recognised and evolved with this years ago.

ESPN is particularly interesting as this is a traditional media company that has embraced digital particularly well, highlighting a failure of imagination and gumption in management.

I think that First Look Media is less about the disruption of news media by digital technology and more about younger consumers being hungry for a reboot of news journalism. This is the reason why Shane Smith and company have moved style and culture magazine VICE successfully into news journalism; showing up major news organisations on their coverage of North Korea and the situation in Ukraine.

Again there is no questions about whether these companies have the right type of audiences, merely the size of the audiences attracted.

Finally a good piece of news for Marissa Mayer at Yahoo!. At least The New York Times thinks that her efforts are delivering business difference, I was surprised to see Yahoo! cited as a competitor news source due to the brand positioning. Yahoo! has been experimenting with original news on-and-off for the best part of a decade such as The Hot Zone which featured reportage from journalist Kevin Sites back in 2005/6.

Page 23 – highlights three graphs under the heading “Tough Trends”. In contrast to the soft soap language that accompanies the charts the data is displayed in a manner to ‘cut to the chase’ and it is important to bear this mind when reading a chart.

Home page visitors had almost halved over three years. This could be due to changing usage patterns has The New York Times introduced its paywalls. Overall page views showed a less aggressive rate of decline. Time spent on the site dropped by a third which I suspect again is a function of the digital paywall The New York Times introduced. I try and only pick my 10 articles a month carefully to maximise the utility of it.

It was also interesting to see a drop in mobile readership using the iPhone app.

Page 24 – there was one quote that stood out for me:

“The hardest part for me has been the realisation that you don’t automatically get an audience,” said Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of The Guardian’s website. “For someone with a print background, you’re accustomed to the fact that if it makes the editor’s cut – gets into the paper – you’re going to find an audience”

I think that this rationale is based on a logical fallacy, that if a paper is put into the hands of a reader it will be devoured cover-to-cover. I would flicking though a paper analogous to skimming past links without clicking.

Digital now makes this more apparent which is where Gibson had her satori that content needs to be promoted to an audience on digital platforms.

The authors of the report split their view of competitors into content and delivery mechanisms:

But BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and USA Today are not succeeding simply because of lists, quizzes, celebrity photos and sports coverage. They are succeeding because of their sophisticated social, search and community-building tools and strategies, and often in spite of their content.

I think that this division is particularly interesting. Firstly, content is complementary to and indivisible from search and social strategies that these people may have. Secondly, the last bit of the quote dismisses the ‘snackable’ nature of these content formats, when in reality this might be part of their success.

Page 25 – features a bit of future gazing on how with the right contextual information available, content could be serviced just-in-time to a mobile device from the paper’s news section, alongside archive content like restaurant reviews etc. There is also an ongoing challenge in managing that data to keep the context fresh and relevant – for instance knowing restaurants close or move location.

Page 26 – “Our Proposals, In Brief”. I am shocked that the current technology used by the paper to support it’s newspaper seems to not used to tag or structure the vast amount of data published to date.

Page 27 – is an explanation of ‘deep linking’ without mentioning that terminology once. The concern about readers not going to a home page or a section page is interesting, these are print paradigms put into pixels; yet on page 26 the authors had pointed out that one of the paper’s CMS limitations was that it was structured to reflected just this kind of print view.

Page 28 -30 – talks about using curation to highlight older relevant content that can be used to provide context for a newer piece or timely collection. This raises the lifetime value of archive content because of the increased option for ad inventory to be viewed. I know this might sound obvious, bit it was obviously a revelation for the authors.

Page 31-32 is a basic schooling in the scientific method  of experimentation – presumably to inspire innovation in the report readership.

Page 33-35 look at how clustering coverage around common interest collections can increase readership

Page 36 “Balancing Act: One-offs vs. Replicability” compares and contrasts The New York Times blockbuster approach to big digital projects versus competitors who build tools that they can use again and again; in order to maximise technical investment. An example of this would be Quartz’ Chartbuilder.

Page 39-40 – The New York Times reimplemented a function to allow readers to follow columnists. Some of the data on the page would make me question the value of a prominent journalist in terms of the amount of loyalty and fan base that they can build. This is basically advocating that the journalists cultivate fame and a fan base. It would have been interesting to explore a bit more the dynamic between the newspaper brand and the journalist brand.

Page 41 – talks about structured data and tagging. What I am surprised didn’t come up was the topic of folksonomies which could have been an answer to the ‘tag famine’ that they paper seems to suffer from. For instance, no tag for Benghazi despite the fact this was a story that would run-and-run.

Page 43-44 – “Promotion” talks about social. Here’s what it says about email newsletters:

Other competitors, like The Atlantic and Politico are also using emails as direct channels to readers. This basic tool has become one of the most popular and efficient ways to cut through all the noise of the social web and reach readers directly.

The New York Times already does use email marketing. This us and them view of journalists and the audience lacks subtlety. It neglects to take into account that some of their readers are tastemakers or curators that their friends tap into. Influencing people who can propagate content links even further is a relatively easy win. RSS seems to be the Rodney Dangerfield in this picture getting no respect. Whilst there aren’t prolific RSS usage amongst the masses, it is often used by curators and as pipework for aggregators like Feedly or Flipboard.

Page 45 – what becomes apparent is that linkages such as social sharing analytics isn’t being used to drive editorial decisions. The twitter metric of engaged fans in a chart that compares The New York Times to other media outlets is interesting. What does ‘engaged fans’ mean in this content?

Page 49-54 – “Connecting” is about The New York Times getting closer to the reader as a corporate brand:

  • User-generated content
  • Expand Op-Eds
  • Events
  • Using reader data to know them better

Page 55-59 – “Strenghtening Our Newsroom”. I was gobsmacked reading this section. The New York Times seemed to be way behind peers like The Telegraph in terms of using data for the news room. Secondly, they have a consumer insight group yet didn’t have this expertise to help drive editorial decisions as a proxy reader’s champion.

Page 60-70 – discuss what the authors call reader experience. This touches on content but also goes into how the content is manifested and the user experience. In a world where data journalism is freely bandied around, I can’t understand the gulf here. Back when I used to work at Yahoo! tweaking user experience was a major part of the creation process across the Yahoo! network properties.

Page 71-74 – The New York Times editorial team don’t seem to network with peers and keep abreast of industry developments. They hadn’t been thinking about how to change news reporting to remain current and relevant.

Page 75-77 – is a simple explanation of the ‘fast failure’ model of innovation.

Page 78-80 – outlines the cultural challenges that the editorial team need to scale in order to be able to change the organisation. A lot of this mirrors what reporters would have written about businesses in mature economies adapting to change. Integrity seems to have been interpreted institutionally has embracing a luddite philosophy.

Page 81-87 – “Digital First” isn’t exactly a new concept it has been the clarion cry of news media groups for years.  It is concerning that they even have to have a boxout defining what is means to be digital first on page 82.

Page 88 -90 “In Their Own Words: Digital Departures” looks as the reason why digital journalist have been leaving the paper. These outtakes from what amounted to be exit interviews reflected the need for a flatter structure and more agile business.

Page 91 – One quote said it all for me when they talked about talent “Winning The Talent Wars”:

We need makers, entrepreneurs, reader advocates and zeitgeist watchers.

How can you have a news organisation that is that lacking in curiosity amongst it’s journalists that the above statement needs to be said?

More information
The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age | Nieman Journalism Lab
Mondo Vice: going backwards to bring news media forwards
Quartz Chartbuilder on Github

Algorithmic Accountability and other Big Data issues

In the past, what is now included in the envelope of big data resided with just a few organisations. The story of big data started with the US government. The government used a young company called IBM and their punch card technology to help tabulate their census data. Punch card technology started in the textile industry, where industrial revolution-era jacquard looms manufactured complex fabric patterns. Punch cards also controlled fairground organs and related instruments. It was with early tabulating machines made by IBM and others that started to change the world as we know it.
Computer History Museum
When the mainframe came along governments used them to manage tax collection and to run the the draft for Vietnam. It came a key part of the US anti-war protesters to destroy machine readable draft cards. (The draft card destruction didn’t affect the draft process. But burning the draft card was still an offence and some people underwent punishment.)

Also around this time, the credit agency was coming into its own in the US. Over a period of 60 years, it had gradually accumulated records on millions of Americans and Canadians. The New York Times in 1970 described the kind of records that were held by Retail Credit (now known as Equifax):

…may include ‘facts, statistics, inaccuracies and rumors’ … about virtually every phase of a person’s life; his marital troubles, jobs, school history, childhood, sex life, and political activities.

These records helped to vet people for job applications, bank loans and department store consumer credit. It was like a private sector version of the J. Edgar Hoover files. Equifax moved to computerise its records. One reason was to improve the professionalisation of its business. This also had an implication on the wider availablity of credit information. Computerisation led to the Fair Credit Report Act in the US. This legislation was designed to give consumers a measure of transparency and control over their data.

Forty years later, mainframe computers are still used to process tens of thousands of credit card transactions every second. New businesses including social networks, search engines and online advertising companies have vast amounts of data; unlike anything a credit agency ever had.

The recent The Social, Cultural & Ethical Dimensions of “Big Data” event held at New York University by the Data & Society Research Institute was important. Events like these help society understand what changes to make in the face of rapid technological change.

The Algorithmic Accountability primer from the event highlights the seemingly innocuous examples of how technology like Google’s search engine can have far reaching consequences. What the Data & Society Research Institute called ‘filter bubbles’. Personalisation of search will change that consumers see from individual to individual. This discrimination could also be applied to items like pricing. Staples has produced an algorithm that based pricing on location of the web user; better off customers were provided with better prices. One of the problems of regulating this area is first of all defining what an algorithm actually is from a policy perspective.

Algorithmic systems are generally not static systems but are continually tweaked and refined, so represent a moving target. During my time at Yahoo! we rolled out a major change to the search algorithm every two weeks on a Wednesday evening US west coast time. I imagine that pace of change at the likes of Google and Facebook has only accelerated.

The problem with many rules based systems now is that we no longer write the rules or teach the systems; instead we give the system access to large data sets and it starts to teach itself – the results generally work but we don’t know why. This is has been a leap forward for what would be broadly based artificial intelligence, but makes these systems intrinsically hard to regulate.
concern with data practices
Given all this it is hardly surprising that research carried out  on behalf of President Obama by The Whitehouse showed a high level of concern amongst US citizens.

More information
Jacquard Loom – National Museums Scotland
Separating Equifax from Fiction | Wired (Issue 3.05)
Data & Society | Algorithmic Accountability primer
This Landmark Study Could Reveal How The Web Discriminates Against You | Forbes
Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information | WSJ
The 90-day review for Big Data | Whitehouse
Data & Society | Alogrithmic Accountability Workshop Notes
Digital Me: Will the next Cringely be from Gmail? | I, Cringely

My digital tool box

There are new useful sites springing up all the time so this is just a snapshot of the things that I use:

Service/category Description
Analysis / measurement
Domain Tools Paid for service site with some great free features including DNS look-up and the SEO browser, which allows you to see your web page the way a search crawler, would see it. This is really handy to use with clients who currently have a visual site or to just as part of a website audit.
Google Trends Google Trends is a cornucopia of data to inspire campaign ideas and provide insight into a brand truth. The best bit about it is that its free and unlike other Google tools like Adplanner it hasn’t been crippled as the company got mean over the past few years.
Mention A freemium product that augments the reduced service that Google Alerts now provide.
SocialMention A great free service to grab a snapshot of social activity. The most useful aspect of the service is getting an idea of the aggregated volume of conversations and most active accounts.
State State is a self-described social opinion network where you can see what consumers think about brands or products often represented by a handy sentiment curve. Ok so the data will be skewed because the audience is self-selecting and tech forward, but it’s also a handy gut check on a brand.
Sysomos MAP Ok so the agency subscribes to MAP, but it is such a useful part of my life. From new business to PR messaging and everything in between MAP is a major tool in our work. I found it more useful than Radian6 in terms of the quality of the information it provides
Tfengyun.com Get some basic research and analysis done on a Sina Weibo account. It is all in Chinese so be sure to break out Google Translate as well!
TwitterCounter Does what it says in the name looks at the change in followers over a 90 day period of an account, which gives you an idea of performance. Handy for benchmarking against competitors or seeing how effective their activity has been.
Communication
Buffer Buffer allows you to preload updates for Twitter, a Facebook page or even Google+. It is simpler to use than Hootsuite and allows inputs from IFTTT
IFTTT IFTTT allows you to build simple workflows based on a web input for instance a post tagged on Pinboard.in with a tag or an article in an RSS feed with a particular word. I have found it invaluable in my Twitter workflow. It is much more robust, but less sophisticated than Yahoo! Pipes
Jego Jego is a VoIP application brought out by China Mobile. Despite the payment mechanism being very clunky the service is really useful. It is what powers my Hong Kong number and I get a bundle of call minutes with it rather like Skype. The call quality can be very rough, but I suspect that they Chinese will lift their game over time.
Skype So the user experience of Skype isn’t as good as it used to be. The NSA now listens into all of your calls that don’t get dropped or leave you ending up sounding like a dalek. But Skype’s premium account does allow you to do a WebEx-type webinar on the cheap including multiple callers and sharing a presentation.
TallTweets Indonesians have a very distinctive Twitter culture. High profile account holders are often paid to tweet a long form message by brands. This is called a kultwit. TallTweets was one of the tools that they used; it slices long form messages down into a series of 140 characters that are transmitted one after the other to produce a continuous stream.
WeChat I can’t emphasise enough how useful WeChat is. It can be used on both a desktop and a mobile device, you can form groups on there; share content, do video calls. It is much better than the likes of Whatsapp or Viber in terms of functionality and quality of the service.
Inspiration
Flickr Flickr is one of the digital services that I have probably used the longest. At first I used it for image hosting for my blogs and I still do use it for that. But it is also so much more. It is a source of visual inspiration for ideas, brainstorms and even visuals for presentations. Flickr Creative Commons is one of the best examples of good stuff about the web.
Pinterest Apart from the copyright nightmare that Pinterest represents it is really interesting to search a topic and see what comes up as a kind of instant mood board.
News
Hacker News by Y Combinator Not exactly news, but a great set of curated content that taps into the web zeitgeist. It saves time so you don’t have to be trawling Stack Overflow or Reddit.
Newsblur I am a massive advocate of Newsblur. Since Livedoor closed down it’s English language RSS reader I have been using Newsblur instead. The service has a great iOS client (which is better used on an iPad if I am honest), and has native support of numerous sharing / social bookmarking tools including Pinboard. There is also an Android client and a third party Windows Phone client for those of you who are mobile masochists. Newsblur takes RSS in a number of clever new directions, you can train it to show you only the content that you want to see and provides the content in a number of views including the original website design (for when you want to understand the context of the coverage), or just text (which is handy when you are on the go). Newsblur costs a very reasonable $24/year.
Techmeme Techmeme is an aggregator that collates the mainstream news; it replaced Google News for me since it was more the zeitgeist than Google managed.
Twitter lists Twitter is a great tool, but you need to slap a filter on the fire hose. I do this through using lists to give me a pared down view of what I need to know between the links to Buzzfeed articles and yet another cat picture from my friends.
Productivity
Basecamp Basecamp offers a cost effective way to organise / upwardly manage clients and share content. You just set up a different account for each project stream or discrete client relationship and off you go. It is free for 30 days if you are looking at something short term or $20 / month
DownForEveryoneOrJustMe A single page site that does what it says in the title, really useful
Google Drive I am not necessarily a great fan of creating a document within Google; it can sometimes feel unresponsive, particularly over a corporate network or where you are collaborating on a document. It is however great for building surveys, customer service question databases for managing social media accounts or holding a common set of passwords.
Hemingway Hemingway is like having an extra critical set of eyes go over your copy. I have started to use it for blog posts as a way of forcing me to look more critically at my writing and move away from my previous stream of consciousness approach.
iCloud Apple’s web services have been a part of my life since 2001. Apple at the time offered the first advertising-free IMAP email account, syncable address book and calendar based on WebDAV and hCard standards/formats. It has become less useful since Apple did away with iDisk
Mendeley If you’ve ever had to do some serious writing like a book chapter or a bylined article, having an application like Mendeley makes the process a lot easier. It is a mix of an application and cloud service that allows you to store citation materials, share with other writers and automatically build a bibliography within a Word document via a simple plug-in. Pretty much a must for journalists or corporate copywriters. Mendeley has a freemium model and at the top end, for just 11.99GBP/month you can have unlimited storage space
Noisli Noisli is a text editor designed to free you from distraction and is an essential part of my blogging workflow now. It’s white noise generation is also handy for when you want to get to sleep, I often leave my laptop logged in playing their rainfall noise when I am away and trying to get a good night’s sleep.
PDFEscape Online editing of PDF files
Pinboard Back in the day there was a service called del.icio.us that allowed you to store all your bookmarks in the cloud and put labels on them called tags rather than having to put them in folders. This allowed your bookmarks to exist in multiple categories. del.icio.us allowed you to search these categories. Unfortunately del.icio.us became delicious.com and got crippled in a spectacular bout of shareholder value destruction overseen by numerous managers at Yahoo! who understood the price of everything and the value of nothing as Bill Hicks would say. Pinboard was created as a home for del.icio.us refugees like me and works as an augmentation of my memory and as a hopper for me to feed content into IFTTT.
Ribbet Ribbet is a basic online photo editor that does everything that I need a photo editor to do. Usually I use it for altering images for use in presentations.
Skip Skip is the app formerly known as ClipPick, it is basically multi-device / multi-screen cut and paste. Simple, easy, instantaneous. Like it or not the current mobile/tablet systems and PC systems aren’t particularly open, they tend not to work together well unless inside a particular vendor walled garden like Samsung, Sony or Apple.Skip breaks down those walls, it’s kind of like Google was in that once you start using it you couldn’t imagine life without it. Some really nice people in South Korea make it; show them some download love.
WeTransfer The simplest handy way of shipping files around. A lot of people find it hard to grasp the concept of Dropbox so the one-click approach of WeTransfer is really handy.
Planning tools / research
AcronymFinder Clients love TLAs and FLAs as professional shorthand, use AcronymFinder to work out what they are actually saying (TLA: three-letter acronym; FLA: four-letter acronym)
Archive.org Need to understand a former organisation? The Wayback Machine becomes particularly handy in understanding an organisation that has acquired or merged other businesses together.
CIA World Fact Book Surprisingly useful almanac of economic and infrastructure data from the Central Intelligence Agency. Everything from time zones to what the flag looks like.
Dogpile Dogpile is a meta search engine. It trawls a number of search engines rather than just Google to present you with potential answers
Eurostat database The European Commission pulls together a lot of research every year and gives it away to the likes of you and me for free. You can get some real gems that come in handy for campaign planning and ideation.
Federal Election Committee financial reports and data Handy when you are doing a search on likely reputational risks of clients. See whose campaign they donated to and the kind of issues that these people support.
Follower Wonk Probably one of the most useful Twitter tools out there which allows you to look at third party Twitter accounts and see which have common followers or not. Really handy for doing influencer mapping incorporating competitor thinking. It is part of the Moz series of products so costs, but is worth it.
Google search box Baidu talks a lot about the concept of ‘box computing’ where the search box is actually the gateway to other services, but Google has a lot of inbuilt services that people don’t realise. These services came from its competition with the likes of Yahoo! as it grew to be the online oligarchy that it currently is. More information on Google’s hidden features can be found in my Grokking Google series of posts
Infomine A handy augmentation to searching for research papers on Google Scholar
IPL2 An old school search engine a la the Yahoo! Directory of old that is curated by US librarians so is full of high quality links.
Ixquick A surprisingly useful and fast search engine, pull this out of the bag if Google isn’t giving decent results.
Similarsites Really handy for looking at influencers in a given sector once you have one, Similarsites can then be used to suggest others within a ranked system based on how close they are to the seed site you have used
The Economist World in Figures This used to be a free to access website and is now bundled up as a free iPhone and iPad application as an ideal counterpart to the CIA World Fact Book
WordPress.com A surprising recommendation for research, but a quick search of WordPress.com is worthwhile as people will often have an email address on their profile. Either using a domain specific search on Google find someone’s WordPress.com profile or by exploring the tags.
Travel
Foursquare Foursquare’s explorer function allows you to search an area by category for people driven recommendations. I have found it useful because of the map driven interface. Foursquare replaced Dopplr in my travel folder after Nokia shut it down.
Open Rice Detailed restaurant recommendations for Hong Kong. Hong Kong locals are some of the most exacting food critics I know which means that the Open Rice database is uncommonly useful. I recommend downloading the Open Rice mobile apps.
Skyscanner and OnTheFly Booking flights can be a bit of a nightmare Skyscanner and OnTheFly provide background information to help you make the right choice of flight.

What services do you use that you would recommend, pop them in the comments section below

The Amazon Dash post

At the end of last week Amazon unveiled Dash an accessory to aid ordering from its Fresh grocery service. Fresh promises free same-day delivery on orders of over $35 of more than 500,000 Amazon items including fresh and local products; including products from respected restaurants and coffee shops. It has been rolled out in three major US markets: San Francisco, Seattle and Southern California.

Fresh has a mobile application on both Android and iOS to aid in shopping – which makes the launch of Dash much more curious. Dash is a piece of dedicated hardware which implies a failing in terms of ease-of-use for the smartphone application. Amazon obviously thinks that Fresh customers will be heavy high-touch, high-value consumers in order to spend this much trouble engineering and manufacturing the hardware and supporting services to make Dash work.

Dash is a product that wouldn’t be out of place in a collection of Braun kitchen appliances. It’s hardware interface so simple it looks really intuitive.

The Dash can be seen as part of a wider movement from converged general purpose devices to dedicated hardware. It is interesting to compare and contrast the Dash with the :CueCat; how just over a decade can make such a difference to a product.
Web 1.0: Cue Cat
Back in 2000, Wired magazine sent out the :CueCat to US subscribers of their magazine. The :CueCat was a barcode scanner that allowed readers to augment the print content with a link to web content. Think a prehistoric QRCode. It didn’t work that well for a number of reasons. The codes were proprietary, partly due to consumer privacy requirements and intellectual property around barcodes. In order to use the :CueCat one needed to be connected to an internet-enabled PC via a wired USB or PS2 connection. Using the :CueCat was no easier than typing in a URL or searching via Google; a search engine on the ascendancy at the time. The :CueCat was a spectactular failing for the media industry looking to get to grips with digital media.

Moving forward to the Dash, the equivalent computing power of that desktop PC has been squeezed into a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Wireless connectivity provides a more flexible connection that removes contextual restrictions on the Dash compared to the :CueCat. The web extended computing so that the website and the PC or mobile device in a symbiotic relationship where it isn’t clear to consumers just were one starts and the other finishes.

The Dash takes inputs via a product barcode and voice memos. Despite the technology advances over the past ten years with the likes of Siri and S-Voice; there will likely be some sort of human intervention required to make these voice memos work. This is at odds with Amazon’s warehouse robot systems and lack of a human customer service face over a telephone line.

This voice memo challenge is not trivial, it was a contributing factor in SpinVox’s failure. The Fresh programme because of its logistical challenges will be hard to scale, and the economics of the Dash have to be carefully balanced between existing products that are repurchased via barcode scan and new or fresh products that would use the voice memo. Acquiring basket growth becomes incrementally more expensive. Over time the system may learn voice commands rather like Google’s old telephone-powered search; on the one hand local area focus is likely to limit dialect variations, on the other sample size maybe hard to scale to be statistically significant for machine learning.

Amazon Dash
More information
Same-day delivery’s for suckers – now a Chinese ecommerce giant has three-hour delivery | PandoDaily
AmazonFresh
Amazon Dash
SpinVox: The Inside Story | The Register
The 50 worst fails in tech history | Complex

Messaging’s middleware moment

Back in the mid-1990s Microsoft missed out on the web as a nascent platform. In fact the first edition of The Road Ahead that Bill Gates wrote alongside Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson saw the Internet as one of the “important precursors of the information highway…suggestive of [its] future” (p. 89); he noted that the “popularity of the Internet is the most important single development in the world of computing since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981” (p. 91) but “today’s Internet is not the information highway I imagine, although you can think of it as the beginning of the highway“, the information highway he envisioned would be as different from the Internet as the Oregon Trail was to Interstate 84.

One reviewer noted that

World Wide Web receives just four index citations and is treated as a functional appendage of the Internet (rather than its driving force)

And for a while Netscape had a clear run at the browser market, building up to one of the largest IPOs ever. One of the things that made Netscape so dangerous was that the browser became the gateway to applications like sales orders, email or looking up a database and the browser became an operating system substitute. It no longer mattered so much if you had a Mac or a PC.  The browser and web effectively became middleware.

I realised last year that messaging services like KakaoTalk, WeChat and LINE were moving beyond messaging to becoming something more. By becoming platforms they could provide a richer experience to users, the integrate:

  • Gaming
  • A blogging-type platform
  • Payments
  • Social commerce
  • Travel information

This looks eerily close to Netscape’s web of middleware positioning in the mid-1990s. Ted Livingston, CEO of Kik outlined just this scenario in an article on the messaging landscape for Techcrunch last week.

Where this gets interesting is when think about what this means for the likes of Google’s Android operating system or Microsoft Windows phone, where the raison d’être of these operating systems is as a gateway to web services (and an audience for mobile advertising). The more functionality that happens inside the messaging application, the less opportunity there is for the likes of Google and Microsoft to direct the consumer towards their advertising inventory.

It corrodes the very reach Google tried to achieve by having its own smartphone operating system and competing with Apple. Google is already under assault in the operating system itself as Chinese vendors like Xiaomi and Oppo alongside Amazon have customised their own operating systems based on Android.  Google services are not provides on a third of Android devices sold already, messaging applications as a platform exasperate the situation further.

More information
After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging | TechCrunch
`Road Ahead’: Gates And Our Pc Future | Seattle Times
After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging | TechCrunch
Netscape’s Internet OS | Dave Winer
US versus Microsoft: proposed findings of fact | U.S. Department of Justice
Chrome OS: The ghost of Netscape rises to haunt Microsoft | betanews
Netscape complaint | Harvard University Berkman Center Openlaw site
Rise and Fall of Netscape Browsers | Strategic Computing and Communications Technology class archive University of California, Berkeley
The Browser Is The New Operating System | Techdirt

Eight trends for the future: web-of-no-web

The web as we know it was built on a set of underlying technologies which enable information transport. Not all information is meant to reside in a website to be surfed or queried.  Instead much of the information we need relies on context like location, weather or the contents of your fridge. Web technologies provided an lingua franca for these contextual settings and like most technological changes had been a long time in coming.

You could probably trace their origins back to the mid-1990s or earlier, for instance the Weather Underground published Blue Skies; a gopher-based graphical client to run on the Mac for the online weather service back in 1995. At this time Apple were working on a way of syndicating content called MCF (Meta Content Framework) which was used in an early web application called Hot Sauce.
hotsauce
Hot Sauce was a web application that tendered a website’s site map in a crude 3D representation.

A year later PointCast launched its first product which pushed real-time news from a variety of publications to a screen saver that ran on a desktop computer.
PointCast screenshot
The key thing about PointCast was it’s push technology, covered in this edition of the Computer Chronicles

The same year that PointCast launched saw the launch of the XML standard: markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. This meant that there was a template to provide documents and stream information over the web.

Some of the Apple team responsible for MCF had moved to Netscape and worked on ways of importing content from various media outlets into the my.netscape.com portal; they created the first version of RSS (then called RDF) in 1999. The same year, Darcy DiNucci coined the term web 2.0; whilst this is associated with the rise of social networks, it is as much about the knitting of websites: the provision of services online, integration between websites taking data from one source and melding it with another using a web API formatted in an XML type format or JSON – which does the same job.

By the early noughties applications like Konfabulator (later Yahoo! Widgets) launched their first application to ‘put a skin on any information that you want’.
Konfabulator

Major web properties started to license their content through APIs, one of the critical ideas that Flickr popularised was that attribution of the data source had its own value in content licensing. It was was happy to share photos hosted on the service for widgets and gizmos so long as users could go back through the content to the Flickr site. This ability to monetise attribution is the reason why you have Google Maps on the smartphone.

So you had data that could be useful and the mechanism to provide it in real time. What it didn’t have so far was contextual data to shape that stream and a way of interfacing with the real world. In parallel to what was being driven out of the US on the web, was mobile development in Europe and Asia. It is hard to understand now, but SMS based services and ringtones delivered over-the-air to handsets were the big consumer digital businesses of their day. Jamba! and their Crazy Frog character were consumer household names in the mid noughties. It was in Europe were a number of the ingredients for the next stages were being created in meaningful consumer products. The first smartphones had been created more as phones with PDAs attached and quicker networks speeds allowed them to be more than glorified personal information managers.

The first phone that pulled all the requisite ingredients together was Nokia’s N95 in early 2007, it had:

  • A good enough camera that could interact with QRcodes and other things in the real world
  • Powerful enough hardware to run complex software applications and interact with server-side applications
  • A small but legible colour screen
  • 3G and wi-fi chipsets which was important because 3G networks weren’t that great (they still arent) and a minimum amount of data network performance is required
  • A built-in GPS unit, so the phone ‘knew’ where it was. Where you are allows for a lot of contextual information to be overlaid for the consumer: weather, interesting things nearby, sales offers at local stores etc

All of these ingredients had been available separately in other phones, but they had never been put together before in a well-designed package. Nokia sold over 10 million N95s in the space of a year. Unfortunately for Nokia, Apple came out with the iPhone the following autumn and changed the game.

It is a matter of debate, but the computing power inside the original iPhone was broadly comparable to having a 1998 vintage desktop PC with a decent graphics card in the palm of your hand. These two devices set the tone for mobile computing moving forwards; MEMs like accelerometers and GPS units gave mobile devices context about their immediate surroundings: location, direction, speed. And the large touch screen provided the canvas for applications.
Halifax homefinder application
Locative media was something that was talked about publicly since 2004 by companies like Nokia, at first it was done using laptops and GPS units, its history in art and media circles goes back further;  for instance Kate Armstrong’s essay  Data and Narrative: Location Aware Fiction was published on October 31, 2003 presumably as a result of considerable prior debate. By 2007 William Gibson’s novel Spook Country explored the idea that cyberspace was everting: it was being integrated into the real-world rather than separate from it, and that cyberspace had become an indistinguishable element of our physical space.

As all of these things were happening around me I was asked to speak with digital marketers in Spain about the future of digital at the end of 2008 when I was thinking about all these things. Charlene Li had described social networks as becoming like air in terms of their pervasive nature and was echoed in her book Groundswell.

Looking back on it, I am sure that Li’s quote partly inspired me to look to Bruce Lee when thinking about the future of digital, in particular his quote on water got me thinking about the kind of contextual data that we’ve discussed in this post:

Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Lee wrote these words about his martial arts for a TV series  called Longstreet where he played Li Tsung – a martial arts instructor to the main character. Inspired by this I talked about the web-of-no-web inspired by Lee’s Jeet Kune Do of ‘using no way as way‘.

In the the slide I highlighted the then new points of interaction between web technologies  and platforms with the real world including smartphones, Twitter’s real-world meet-ups, the Wii-controller and QRcodes.

A big part of that context was around location aware applications for instance:

  • Foursquare-esque bar and shop recommendations
  • Parcel tracking
  • Location based special offers
  • Pay-per-mile car insurance
  • Congestion charging
  • Location-based social networking (or real-world avoidance a la Incognito)
  • Mobile phone tour guides

And that was all things being done six years ago, with more data sets being integrated the possibilities and societal implications become much bigger. A utopian vision of this world was portrayed in Wired magazine’s Welcome To The Programmable World; where real-world things like getting your regular coffee order ready happen as if by magic, in reality triggered by smartphone-like devices interacting with the coffee shop’s online systems, overlaid with mapping data, information on distances and walking or travel times and algorithms.

What hasn’t been done too well so far has been the interface to the human. Touch screen smartphones have been useful but there are limitations to the pictures under glass metaphor.  Whilst wearable computing has been experimented with since the early 1970s and helped in the development of military HUDs (head-up diplays) and interactive voice systems, it hasn’t been that successful in terms of providing a compelling experience. The reasons for this are many fold:

  • Battery technology lags semiconductor technology; Google Glass lasts about 45 minutes
  • The owner needs to be mindful of the device: smartphone users worry about the screen, Nike Fuelband wearers have to remember to take them off before going and having a swim or a shower
  • Designs haven’t considered social factors adequately; devices like Google Glass are best matched for providing ‘sneak information’ just-in-time snippets unobtrusively, yet users disengage eye contact interrupting social interaction. Secondly Google device doubles as a surveillance device antagonising other people
  •  Many of the applications don’t play to the devices strengths or aren’t worth the hassle of using the device – they lack utility and merit

That doesn’t mean that they won’t be a category killer wearable device or application but that they haven’t been put on the market yet.

More information
Fragmented Future – Darcy DiNucci
Data and Narrative: Location Aware Fiction – trAce
William Gibson Hates Futurists – The Tyee
The future of social networks: Social networks will be like air | Empowered (Forrester Research)
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Welcome To The Programmable World | Wired
A brief rant on the Future of Interaction Design | Brett Victor
The Google Glass post | renaissance chambara
I like: Sony’s Smarteyglasses | renaissance chambara
The future of Human Computer Interaction | renaissance chambara
Consumer behaviour in the matrix | renaissance chambara
Eight trends for the future
Eight trends for the future: digital interruption
Eight trends: Immersive as well as interactive experiences
Eight trends for the future: Social hygiene
Eight trends for the future: contextual technology
Eight trends for the future: Brands as online tribes
Eight trends for the future | Divergence
Eight trends for the future: Prosumption realised

Eight trends for the future: Prosumption realised

The idea of consumers being the producers, or at least being part of the process within a modern industrial context was envisioned back in 1970 with Alvin Toffler’s book Future Shock. Toffler was influence by technological  as consumers started to be more involved in the delivery of their own services and products.

The first ATM machine appeared at the beginning of the 1960s and  started to be rolled out seriously in the late 1960s, this revolutionised access to money which previously relied on counter service to access their money.

The ability to make phone calls without operator intervention was technically possible since the early 1900s but it was a leap forward in electronics that saw a surge in the widespread adoption of automatic telephone switches by the likes of Western Electric, Northern Telecom and Ericsson.

The internet has extended it further, from companies delegating services to us:

  • Printing your own bill
  • Arranging you own payments to other people
  • Answering customer service questions on a brand’s behalf (Get Satisfaction, GiffGaff)

Even the job of product manager and financier has been moved over to the consumer.  Businesses like Threadless used consumer votes to decide which t-shirt designs they then manufactured and sold to those who showed interest.

Crowdsourcing platforms built on top of Salesforce are used by major corporates like Dell and Starbucks to filter new product ideas and service improvements. Crowdsourcing has been taken further with the likes of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Demohour which allow the consumer to fund the manufacture of their product upfront. Something that Jolla copied on its own website when it launched it’s first handset.

Even marketing has been outsourced services like Buddy Bounce have the potential for fans to be a largely self-organising marketing organisation. At the moment you can see the way One Direction fans use social media to rally around their band.

More information
Eight trends for the future
Eight trends for the future: digital interruption
Eight trends: Immersive as well as interactive experiences
Eight trends for the future: Social hygiene
Eight trends for the future: contextual technology
Eight trends for the future: Brands as online tribes
Eight trends for the future | Divergence

TrustyCon 2014: Bruce Schneier talks about information security

Great video of Bruce Schneier talking about the current information security climate. The scary bit is the democratisation of exploits, what the NSA does today – will be commercial grade tomorrow. The idea of data havens doesn’t work either according to Schneier.

Schneier talks about interesting game theory going on as one gets to ‘choose one’s enemy’ depending where you base your cloud services.