Showing posts with label My Musing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Musing. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Dimension Of Personal Balance

Contemplating Twitter the other day, as one must, and listening to people whinging on about "what's the point of it?", I got to thinking that there is no point until you give it a point. Find yourself an agenda and then speak to it. But that, of course, doesn't just apply to Twitter. It applies to all conversations wherever they're happening.

I'm also not quite achieving an optimal work / life balance of late, primarily due to increased online pervasiveness. For example, I use Google Reader primarily for work purposes and access on my iPhone has meant that work RSS feeds are now infiltrating areas previously reserved for offline "life" time. This annoys my wife tremendously. And that is not conducive to a fulfilling life!

So I drew this to represent the new balance that I need to manage.
Now this all gets highly personal and subjective. I know you can argue the validity of the online and offline distinction. And also, for some, work is life, life is work and everywhere in between.

Here's roughly where my life sits on this chart - I can clearly see where my use of Facebook, Twitter and various blogs sits within this.
I'm not convinced this is right, useful or relevant. But it seemed interesting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

adiZone: Marketing by Being Useful

Well done Adidas and whoever else has been responsible for the adiZones built in parks in some of the less well-off parts of London. From a tiny bit of Googling it looks like an initiative with London 2012 to create a meaningful legacy from the Olympics. I spotted this one near where I live in Charlton Park.

It's a place for young people to let off a bit of steam - robust outdoor gym equipment, a "street" style basketball court and a climbing wall.

Tremendous initiative adding value to the local communities. A genuinely useful addition. The only grumble I've got is that the launch wasn't that well promoted, so I missed seeing the All Blacks!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Still Not Getting It Automotive Style

After the much derided decision to turn up to Washington in private jets, it seems our American car industry friends still haven't got it. World Car Fans reports that Chrysler have used some of their money to fund an ad campaign to say thank you. Doh! Stop wasting money, even to say Thank You.

Proposition for Troubled Times

Hot on the heels of Flybe's "redundancy cancellation insurance" emails (see Herd for details), comes this from Hyundai - a no strings attached deal to hand back your car if you are made redundant.

Hat tip to World Car Fans.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Still Not Getting It

Warner is threatening YouTube again. Take down those videos of Warner artists or we'll get you! Yawn yawn yawn.

The below image is a screen grab of the wonderfully interesting Digital Bites (found via TIGS).

The quote, from a BBC interview with Chad Hurley (one of YouTube's founders) is:

"The people that they are trying to go after are their biggest fans".


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Innocent Newsletter (no planning cliches, I promise)

Think what you like about Innocent, but without question they get the need for being interesting. I subscribe to their newletter, not to learn about their new smoothies or latest kerazzeee marketing ideas, but for the links at the bottom.

Every week you get 5 or 6 links to weird and wonderful things on the internet. Here's this week's "And finally..."

And finally...

  • Squid with elbows.
  • Huge hula hoop.
  • Veg art.
  • Leaf mimic.
  • Whack-a-mouse
  • Monday, November 17, 2008

    Whether to own-up or not?

    A year and a half a ago, the wife and I purchased a Quinny Buzz for our first born. We were very happy with it and recommended it to a couple of friends who bought it too.

    Now that our little one is a bit bigger and winter is drawing in - we noticed that the straps were getting very tight, without any visible means of lengthening them. A quick Google search found this link, and several others with the same story. There was a production error on the 2007 models meaning the straps were too short. Dorel, the UK importers of Quinny, were matter of fact when I called them and they've ordered some new parts for me. No trouble at all. (Call 01842 763 281 in the UK).

    Now Dorel / Quinny must have sat around a table and decided what to do when they realised this problem. And in my opinion, they've picked less than wisely. Their options were:
    1. Keep as quiet as possible, hope no-one notices and sort out those that do efficiently. (Which is what they've done)
    2. Shout loudly that they've made a mistake and get all the products sorted.

    Option 1 minimises the shock. The shock that sending out all those extra parts means to profit and resource. But it also alienates your tribe (visit Seth's blog for more on tribes). For those that find out, they tell the same friends as before and so the parts are still required, but you've lost some love and trust. Others will suffer in silence, ultimately not using their pushchair anymore and certainly not recommending it to friends.

    Option 2 keeps your tribe of recommenders, keeps everyone happy, keeps the Buzz visible in all the smart London parks, keeps your business going in the future.

    It seems to me that Quinny / Dorel forgot the Cluetrain. Forgot that their customers move a lot faster than they do, forgot that they can talk to each other (a lot).

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Community and Antisocial Behaviour

    The video in my previous post has got me thinking a bit on how the changing nature of community could be impacting on (antisocial) behaviour.

    So here's another unsubstantiated hypothesis.

    Community used to be defined by geography and the people contained within your personal catchment area. Now it's about who you're connected to via whatever means you have available. Geography is irrelevant.

    As you're getting your sense of community and belonging from elsewhere, perhaps you care a bit less about your physical location and its populace. Because you're uber-connected to people and ideals that resonate strongly, you don't need the people and places whose only relevance to you is physical proximity.

    Link this to a lack of emotional intelligence or mind-blindness, and you can explain quite a bit of what appears to be antisocial behaviour.

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    Mind-Blindness & The Yoof of Today

    Another week, another teenager murdered in London.

    Fingers are being pointed in all sorts of directions - the parents and their lack of involvement, the government and their too soft policies, teachers and their inability to control, violent video games, poor behaviour of the football-playing role models. The list of suspects is very long indeed. And the solution is, no doubt, not as linear as people would hope - with the cause most-likely being the summation of genes, events, locations and relationships that forms the context in which these teenagers are learning their world view.

    There seems to be plenty of solution-hunting going on without true appreciation of what the problem is. Yes, teenagers killing each other is the obvious problem, but we need to get to the root of why this is occuring rather than trying to solve things which ain't necessarily broke. I won't labour the obvious analogy with much marketing / advertising.

    The seemingly psychotic behaviour, with the perpetrators apparently lacking any care or insight into the victim's suffering reminded me of a theory of autism, mind-blindness. Initially described by Simon Baron-Cohen, mind-blindness is where a person has an inability to develop an awareness of what is in the mind of another human. (I suspect there is a link to the more well-known Emotional Intelligence which describes the ability to understand emotions of the self and others).

    Perhaps the problem is that these teenagers simply can't comprehend other people's feelings. Perhaps they don't have their own feelings to project onto others, therefore lacking the ability to empathise.

    Just a thought.

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Environmental Sense In The Media

    An Article written by Lionel Shriver (the author of "We Need To Talk About Kevin") in The Telegraph that has a bit of a pop at the mindless world-view the majority of our race has succumbed to.

    "Greenies continually badger us with their lofty edict that we must care for "the planet". But "the planet" is happy as Larry at any temperature; we're the ones who can only abide within a narrow band. "The planet" will adapt to and recover from whatever we do. If we foul the air and water we need to survive, the last laugh is on us. Green policies are all about self-interest - albeit enlightened self-interest. "The planet" doesn't need us; we need it. The improbable aspect of the programme's premise is that our species clears off overnight."

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Polite notices

    Polite notice
    Originally uploaded by Mark Charter
    Truly polite notices don't need to tell you that they're polite. It's the old adage about telling jokes not shouting about how funny you are. Also reminiscent of Dickett's finger.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Science & Policy

    On a similar track to my recent rants about thinking non-linearly about environmental issues, here's an article from New Scientist. The following excerpt highlights some of the key issues:

    "I was struck by the fact that we were doing a lot of research into the environmental effects of GM crops after policy makers had made their decisions – it was just the wrong way around," Sutherland told New Scientist. He notes that the future supply of biofuel is already becoming a political issue because a thorough environmental assessment has yet to be carried out.

    The European Union has been criticised for backing biofuels too hastily, by scientists who argue they raise food prices and threaten food security.

    Offshore wind and wave power might be a solution to the growing energy crisis, but Sutherland and colleagues warn that it could also affect marine ecosystems.

    And they call for research into the potential environmental impact of releasing manmade viruses. In Australia, researchers have developed a novel way of controlling the invasive red fox – a virus that infects and sterilises it – although it has not been released into the wild population.

    "What happens if the virus spreads outside its target range?" asks Sutherland. "Could it sterilise other foxes? Could the virus combine with another and infect different species?"

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Linearity & The Environment

    A few weeks ago I posted about the dangers of linear thinking on caring for the environment.

    I found this article today on World Car Fans. It claims that Science Magazine has reported about the bigger picture impact of using Ethanol as an alternative fuel source. The problem lies not with the fuel per se, but rather with the production process. (I've not been able to find the original report as yet).

    I'm with Seth Godin - there's no such thing as side-effects. Just effects that you don't want in addition to the ones you do.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Mattel, You Are Being Stupid.

    Mattel is grumbling that the Scrabulous application on Facebook infringes its copyright on the game Scrabble. It probably does.

    However, Scrabulous has meant that thousands more people are playing the game across the globe than would be otherwise.

    Why doesn't Mattel sponsor the site? Make Scrabulous legit? Wow, they could even find a new way of making money from their board game. I'm assuming that board games are not exactly all the rage these days, so a new revenue stream would be good, surely? Mattel could even put a link on the page for Scrabulous users to buy a copy of the board game direct.

    Why don't they make some of their other board games available on Facebook?

    Mattel's luddite, "this is how we've always made money so it's how we'll always make money", "let's not change the game", "let's not react to new opportunities", thinking makes me mad!

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    We Don't Need To Save The Planet

    We don't need to save the planet. It will be around a lot longer than humans.

    We don't need to save life on the planet. Life finds a way.

    We don't even need to save human beings (in the short term). We're bound to be able to survive somehow. Dinosaurs are still about, albeit as dinosaurs 2.0.

    When people say "save our planet", do they really mean "save my current lifestyle"?

    On the Linearity of Carbon Footprints

    I don't care about my carbon footprint. I care about my footprint.

    Current thinking (and associated media frenzy) is too linear. Nature is a system. Changing one part of the system impacts all of it. Nature has frequently demonstrated its ability to counterbalance events - the basic predator / prey dynamic for example.

    Human attempts at controlling nature are riddled with disasters that resulted from linear thinking. Releasing myxamitosis in 1950s Australia is just one fine example. Killed off the bunnies admittedly. But also endangered the predators that eat the bunnies. How on earth could someone think that introducing an incurable virus into an ecosystem is a good idea?

    If we are to stay living our current little existence, we need to think more generally about our impact on the ecosystem. Yes, please reduce your CO2 output. But that's only part of it. In a few years time we'll no doubt learn how some of our CO2 reducing tactics have damaged the ecosystem in another, equally disasterous, way.

    And please go and speak to a geologist to get a proper perspective on climate change through the ages.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Rackspace's Service Mentality

    I came across Rackspace from a Seth Godin blog post about attitudes to customer service. So you visit Rackspace and the first thing you see is a live chat box "Welcome to Rackspace. I'm a live Sales Assistant. How may I help you today?". Whether you use the service or not, you certainly know (assume?) that you're going to be treated damn well by this company.

    (p.s. I only got the pop-up window on my first visit to the site).

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    Where Next For Car Advertisers?

    It seems the advertising industry is up in arms about proposals to mandate the inclusion of 20% of an ad's space to messages about CO2.

    Two comments from me...
    1. Get over it adland. Find ways to advertise without buying adverts. I'd be surprised if the evil European Parliament can find ways to enforce the proposals on "word of mouth".

    2. Help to change the debate away from purely being about a CO2 story. The myopic current worldview focussing purely on CO2 emissions needs to end. Instead, whole life impact needs to be considered (from extracting the raw materials to recycling). When studied through this lens, cars such as the oh-so-green Toyota Prius are not as shiny as you may have thought - although naturally there's counter arguments to this (news report looking at both sides, view of the Pacific Institute think-tank).

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Bubble 2.0

    Here's a completely unsubstantiated thought that I'd love some opinion on. Perhaps even a little evidence here and there may help!

    As far as I can tell, a major cause of the first dotcom crash was limited access to affordable, high-speed internet connection. There were lots of good ideas, but they couldn't scale because hardly anyone could experience them.

    Research group of one here! I remember being all excited about new websites cropping up but soon settling to a repertoire of favourites. Websites kept turning up, but they didn't offer anything new or interesting - that leap of innovation, or rather the mass acceptance of that innovation, was seemingly impossible without corresponding availability of high speed internet connection (imagine the success of You Tube with a dial-up modem?).

    Broadband (etc.) enabled bandwidth hungry applications to thrive - not only to exist but also to spread and grow. The ideas that existed pre-crash could now work. This brought us "web 2.0". Multi-media experiences and connectivity that we (at least most of us) couldn't have imagined with a dial-up modem.

    But are we now experiencing a second glass-ceiling - where the ideas are starting to be better than the delivery to the (mass) end-user again? Most of the new websites I've seen recently seem to be (more-or-less) copycats with frills on - they are operating within the same framework as the existing sites, limited by the same end-user parameters.

    I'm sure some VC is funding a new video sharing website , a new social networking site. But why? People have settled into their favourites - Google, Facebook, YouTube etc. and it will take a massive leap in functionality to get them to change. And I doubt that this leap is possible without a significant increase in readily available connection speed.

    So potentially we're heading for another crash, or at least a levelling of innovation and investment. Any views?

    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    The Conundrum of Exclusivity

    In the spirit of reviewing the content of one's moleskine, I found this quote from the gruesome "Haunted" by Chuck Palahniuk (he of Fight Club). This is from the chapter "Slumming, a story by Lady Baglady". The theme of this mini-story is how a group of ultra-rich try to find new kicks by becoming homeless for the night in order to lose their identity & the social trappings of their lifestyle.

    "Mrs. Keyes's best friend, Elizabeth Ethbridge Fulton Whelps, "Inky", used to say there's only one "best" of anything. One night, Inky said, "when everyone can afford the best, the truth is, it does look a little - common."

    How true. Burberry etc.