Your favourite magazines

I got the idea from from Jonathan’s post over at Middledigit.

I am not interested in the online version, what dead tree media publications make your day?

Here’s mine:

  • Wired Magazine – Ok so they don’t use fluorescent ink any more, the type is in a straight line and the redesign makes it look really bland, but its still probably one of the best guides to technology and the Silicion Valley zeitgeist that’s also accessible to the man in the street
  • DJ magazine – it has gone steadily downhill over the past decade and a half but still has the best record reviews for dj’ing
  • i-D magazine – the style magazine of the 1980s still has a lot of relevant content from the latest Supreme threads to up and coming indie artists that will disappear back into the cultural primodial swamp that counts for ‘hip and happening’ London nowadays
  • VICE – A magazine with the feel of a five-pound monthly glossy but for free. That’s right free. Usually there is one photo shoot and piece of journalism that’s half decent (usually not connected)
  • FACT – A good music magazine that is A5 size making ideal reading on the tube
  • ES magazine – The Restaurant Spy and horoscope make this magazine readable, otherwise its West London navel-gazing is stifling
  • Esquire – most of the time this magazine is exactly the same as its competitors Arena and GQ, however every issue there is at least one decent article alongside the editorial competitions, advertorials and product porn
  • The New Republic – I like to pick it up on newsstands when I am in the US, its thoughtful articles shame The Economist and it has a global perspective (something rare in an American publication)

The Golden Search and other internet trends

US investment bank Piper Jaffray put out some of the smartest publicly available thinking about the internet space at the moment: last week they issued a new detailed report called The User Revolution: The New Advertising Ecosystem and The Rise of the Internet as a Mass Medium. Piper Jaffray customers can get a copy from their representative, I am on their email list because of my long-term interest in this area.

Reading it at first, my initial reaction was that I thought that it was quite patronising, but then I realised that the document has to assume little to no knowledge because its main audience is going to be fund managers of all ilks.

The report has some great industry data points and articulates many of the key concepts that are shaping this market in an easy and articulate manner. In the accompanying industry note the technology analyst team pulled out those key points as an executive summary; some of which I expect to see being incorporated into PowerPoiint presentations at a meeting near you:

The User Revolution – consumers taking control of content consumption and branding. User-generated content as well as user indent driven services (like Amazon, Last.fm and Yahoo! Music’s Launch radio stations).

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Communitainment – The three areas that historically drove demand for internet services like Yahoo! and AOL of comunity, communication and entertainment are being directly addressed all at once by new services acting as an accelerant for for the market

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The Golden Search – ’search as the new portal’. When I used to work at Yahoo! search was described as the front door to the web. A much quoted statistic was that over seven out of every ten internet sessions was started from a search enquiry. Piper Jaffray thinks that search will be increasingly used in branding campaigns (marketers really need to crack this as contextual and search adverts have encouraged brand disloyalty – Kelkoo’s whole business was built on the back of Google ads with pretty much zero brand marketing, and you have a generation of online marketers who use quantative data from search marketing without any regard to brand value, instead focusing purely on transactional data).

Video ads will be the next thing – this is kind of counter-intuitive as ads have moved from banners and animation to text ads, but then services like YouTube facilitate in-programming ads a la television.

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I found the following section of the report executive summary particularly pertinent, and as a PR consultant it is the concept that clients I have spoken to find the most difficult to grasp: The Revolution Is About Control. The uprising by the users is over control – control of the type of content users want, control of the place and time content is delivered., control of the advertisements that the users are willing to take, and control of the brands they want to create. Unlike most revolutions, where the masses revolt because of major hardship and grievance, the User Revolution was largely driven by the proliferation of media options, the emergence of the Internet, and the growing sophistication of consumers.

I find the last point of particular interest, particularly when I think of the adverts that run on UK television for products like the now defunct Courts Carpets or Cillit Bang – perhaps there isn’t that much wisdom in marketing.

And finally just a couple of the business risks that I through of interest:

  • The loss of confidence by advertisers in the effiacy of online advertising and emerging business models.
  • A decrease in efficacy of online advertising including display and search advertising

I particularly like how they show the fragmentation of media over the past 40 years! ;-)

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Oprah Time: Nokia Smartphone Hacks

O’Reilly are known for their technical books and they publish some of my favourite reference books: Flickr Hacks, Mac OS X – The Missing Manual and Learning Unix for Mac OS X Panther.

At first I was skeptical, a book about hacking Nokia phones, what’s the point they’re so transitory as devices? I go through a new phone every 12 months or so.

Nokia has released a plethora of OS’s for their phones: Series 40, Series 60 (of which we now have the 3rd edition), Series 90: which is what powered the 9X00 series communicators.

To be fair most of the focus is on Series 60, the book provides advice on what hack doesn’t work with older Series 60 phones and highlights model exceptions.

Nokia Smartphone Hacks at first seemed similar to other O’Reilly technical books, but as I worked through it over the past eight weeks in between work and travel I started to realise that Nokia Smartphone Hacks was different.

The style and content of Nokia Smartphone Hacks has lots of useful content for the non-technically orientated users, this realisation slowly morphed into a realisation that Nokia Smartphone Hacks was in fact the manual that Nokia should ship with all their phones. It has a raft of helpful tips and links to really useful applications; many of them freeware and tips on how to get your phone to work with your Windows/Mac OS X/Linux box (delete as appropriate).

Now some of the downsides:

  • The performance of a phone relies on a symbiotic relationship with the carriers network services (like port access), most the data in book usually relates to US carriers like Cingular / AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile USA
  • Size- its quite a weighty read but the content is really good

Brand Oscars

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Brandchannel have released their Oscars for the product placement star of the silver screen. The results are based on their regular analysis of the latest films looking for product placements.

Some interesting take-outs from these brand oscars were that Apple did not get one mention – maybe that’s because a manifestation of a product that is a near-religious experience is not a mere product placement.

James Bond got called out as a brand whore. On the face of it this criticism of the Bond franchise is unfair because Bond only features slightly more brands than your average film. I personally think that the problem isn’t with the film itself but the crude way that marketers at Omega, Brioni, Sony Corp. and Sony Ericsson lose the value of the placement. Hint: say no to tacky cash-in products like the ‘limited edition James Bond Omega Seamaster’ or the ‘Sony James Bond Memory Vault’. Anyway you can read more here.

Talking of brand whores renaissance chambara is happy to be an even bigger brand whore than James Bond for a cutting edge streetwear label like Tenderloin, Supreme or aNYthing; and happy to endorse luxury goods like IWC or Mont Blanc. Offers can be emailed here.

Yojimbo

Yojimbo

Some of my blog posts are written on the fly often in reaction to something that has happened or something that I had as an idea and didn’t have the time to develop it fully. A couple of cases in point, my blog post on things I learnt to make long-haul business travel more palatable was created over two weeks whilst I was on the road and when I got back. My post on Spokeo was started in December, and I added a few bits and pieces while I waited for material from Harrison that never came.

Yojimbo is a kind of sketch pad for ideas and a scrap book where I can keep related links and images. There are other products out there like DEVONThink Professional, which is a great exceptionally thorough product in its design, performance and feature set: but too involved for what I needed.

I like the intuitive nature of Yojimbo and its light agile nature:

  • Not being too feature-rich to make working with it hard, which also plays into the creation of a clean user experience as you can see from the screen grab.
  • Being a small application that runs fast, even when my thinking doesn’t

Part of the approach that makes Yojimbo my killer app for blogging and organising thoughts is its heritage. Bare Bones Software have produced a number of lean applications that have been essential users for Mac uers over the past decade, in particular I can recommend downloading the free application TextWrangler which facilitates text manipulation without all the features that get in the way from even the simplest word-processors like TextEdit. I find it really handy for editing the HTML tags on my links of the day postings.