— blending the mix

May, 2009 Monthly archive

I had been watching a lot of the tweets coming out of the Somesso conference earlier this month and was amazed at the speaker line up.

There’s something authoritative and factual about Susan Kish that I could drone on forever, but instead, just look at the video below.

SOMESSO London 09 – Trailer from somesso on Vimeo.

I think it was @wadds who said that the future of social media wasn’t B2C, it was in the commercial sector – changing work practices and mentalities. (wadds, I apologise for the dramatic para-phrasing, but I recall that this was the gist of it!).

Social media and their tools are a very personal thing and as such, are difficult to get everybody to use from a commercial point of view too (project management, idea sharing, innovation etc.).

There’s a couple of (perhaps surprisingly!) PR firms up here who do it especially well, where all members of staff contribute to the company blog, twitter account, company tv channel, company delicious account amongst others – willingly (or so it seems!).

So how do you encourage it in a way that doesn’t cause rebellion?

And then along comes Google Wave

Goole’s open-source, browser-based, collaboration platform enables people to share content and stories in a way that is entirely new and common sense way – replacing conventional email with real-time chat and sharing.


Could this be the change that truly collaborative working needs?

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I like the idea of Pertuity Direct’s fuelmyblog competition – what kind of online business would you open up if you had $25,000? It’s always nice to dream, but on this occasion, you actually win something for your efforts – a Kindle no less. Cool. Just wonder if the surrounding publicity would actually ensure the funding arrived too?!

My idea? Nothing revolutionary in concept to be honest but something which in these hard times would be a big help to a lot of people:

I would use the money to open up a co-working office in my home town of Manchester (UK).


Manchester has a thriving, talented digital industry, made up of lots of mid-small sized agencies who rely on the services of an ever-growing army of digital nomads/freelancers to get by. Such is the size and skill-set of these freelancers, they inevitably end up working with all or some of the aforementioned small agencies at some point.

Currently there are a few meet-ups occasionally put on by those who want more contact, but I don’t think these occasional meet-ups are necessarily conducive to idea inspiration, development or problem-solving – innovation basically.

A Low-Cost Creative and Technical Community Centre

My goal would be to create the much-used US idea of creating a drop-in shop for these people. Create a “creative community centre” so to speak. Give them the kind of low-cost working environment in which they and their ideas could thrive – spare bedrooms and shoebox offices only appeal for a small amount of time!

Members (of whatever level) could come to the space to work and, at a turn of a chair ask for a coding problem to be solved, an idea to be sense-checked and an API to be recommended.

The space could also be used for community events – geek-ups, social media cafe’s, etc etc. giving the various local communities somewhere they can call and make their own.

Community-Generated Employment

Peer-to-Peer technical/creative help aside, the community can help itself too. It is frequently the case that freelancers take on or are involved in a project that requires more skills/time than they alone can handle. Mates can help (sometimes), but what if the community could recommend or commission work to the people at the co-working space? Capacity, skills and awareness of work out there is in abundance.

A Talent Pool

Unless agencies are very well connected, they frequently find it difficult to find the right freelancer available at the right time for the right price. Having an ongoing, growing “register” of freelancers, free from recruitment fees ensures the agencies can have a wider pool of talent from which to draw.

So there you have it $25,000 to create a creative and technical communities drop-in centre! Could it work? Would you be interested? Would it work? If not, why not?

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I wanted to share this video below from Honda, not simply because it is a great ad, but because of the way they have used the Vimeo channel “skin”. The background to the channel changes as you nove through night-time to dawn. See the images below:


The vid is below, but I do urge you to click through to the channel to enjoy the full effects.

Honda Insight – Let It Shine from Honda on Vimeo.

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So, it’s May 13th and Thinking Digital opens it’s doors once again! Yay.

I’m only here today, but, for those who weren’t fortunate enough to get to it last year OR this year, i’ve added a few highlights from 2008, Tara and Jonathan’s presentations in particular.

Here’s an overview of last year’s event

Thinking Digital in Under Three Minutes from Herbert Kim on Vimeo.



Tara Hunt – Happiness as Your Business Model


Jonathan Harris – Digital Artist


We Feel Fine:

A work of art detailing human emotion. A bot trawls the web looking for the phrases “I feel” or “I am feeling” and presents the findings in the most stunning ways.


And a great video explaining all about it:


I want you to want me:

A project that needs to be seen (and touched) to be believed!


And the video:

Twistori does a little of the same thing, but uses twitter as its content source. Congratulations to Amy and Robby.

Give it a go, it is fascinating:



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Cool stuff I was readingApril 9th toMay 6th:

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The Guardian reports on the launch of  LES’s rebirth strategy. Will it work? I hope so. I love the fact that they have decided to be humble about it. I’m sure taking into account the decline the newspaper industry LES couldn’t afford to be arrogant with its re-launch, but this is a great example of a conventional institution showing that they genuinely care about the opinions of its audience.

granted touch

negative complacent


Whether it all comes off I think is entirely down to the ongoing editorial policy, but as I pointed out in a comment on my blog yesterday, listening to conversations, both external and internal (within your community) is a great way to ensure your content is relevant and continues to be so. Be guided by what conversations are taking place outside of your bubble, but also look at what is underneath your nose.

When we look at things like http://twitter.zappos.com, www.mystarbucksidea.com, and (sorry!) Dell Ideastorm, these companies are tackling customer negativity head-on, solving problems in public and making the necessary changes in public too – customers can see that their complaints and problems are being dealt with.

Very few businesses are doing this, so it is exciting to see such a traditional company be very noble, nay humble.

Humility is a crucial aspect of this “new web” and one of (in my opinion anyway) Obama’s greatest qualities. He can openly acknowledge errors yet lose none of his authority.

“True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be.”

I think we’d all do well to remember that! Humility is not a sign of weakness, quite the opposite in fact.


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I caught wind of this tonight and though it might provoke an interesting discussion amongst UK social media peeps. I’ve embedded the document below, but the link is also here.

I’ve long been a believer that social media is nothing, if not measurable – all we need to be is consistent over the metrics that are available, what they mean and how we might use them. Only then, might social media metrics receive the same degree of credibility as the equally dubious (at the time!) POSTAR and RAJAR audience ratings.

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Rather than using the standard Dell Ideastorm case study in many presentations, I have preferred to use Zappos – and not just because they heavily use Twitter, but because of the type of people that use it.

To put such emphasis on the tools themselves is to miss the point – something which I have been banging on about for a while. Tools are simply a means to get a job done or message across. What you do with the tool or what you say with it is the hard part – and not many people can get that right.

From the day Tara told me about the “seconds to wow” metric and the paying off of new employees in training who want the money rather than the job, you quickly realise that the culture of the company and the people within it are the real story of Zappos.

Zappos are always happy for you to take a tour of their Robert has been lucky enough to get the kind of insight into the business that I am sure not many people do. Check out the video below and his post here.


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Stunning. Innovative. Very BMW. Augmented Reality (to the uninitiated!)

Oh, the website is pretty good too:


Social Media Checklist:

  • Z4 Facebook Fan Page: Yup!
  • You Tube Channel: Yup!
  • Facebook Z4 pictures on Facebook: Yup!
  • TV Channel: Yup!
  • Bookmarking: Yup!

BMW are fast becoming the Social Media Poster Boys for the motor industry. Can/Dare anyone else compete with them?

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I was looking around some of the UK’s best blogs thanks to James but also wanted to check out Ewan’s blog, following a brief conversation with Justin(who I think may be on to something interesting – ask him not me!).

All the context aside, Ewan posted this video which made me stop everything and watch it. We have talked about the use of social media in schools to encourage interaction, but, as this video shows – content will ALWAYS be king.

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