Saturday, 30 May 2009

Ready to catch the wave?

So google are going for monopoly status not only in search, but the whole of the internet. These guys just don't see limits. 'The Wave' promises to revolutionalize the way we communicate online. Yeah, yeah didn't Facebook already do that? Oh yeah this is how google do this:

Basically it will merge your email, tweets, IM, blogs, video and Facebook - and will kill Geekchart in the process! Damn!

Say you love this post; you share this post with friends, and your friends add content to it. They may write some more, add some pics, comment through tweets and so on. According to Google Blog, "A 'wave' is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more."

Thing is, google aren't shy when it comes to bringing out new stuff...who uses Knol? And remember when we all found where we lived on google Earth? You know what? I remember them shouting about Knol and I can't even remember what it does - anyone else?

So I don't know if 'Wave' is the real deal. They dropped the news the week Microsoft announced their new search project 'Bing' - and we know how successful Microsoft has been in search!

Smokescreen or my new favourite analytical tool? - let's wait and see....

Scratch this!

I have tried to do the whole guitar hero thing, but its just learning things - there's little or no scope for creativity. But I do love gaming and music so things got really interesting when i saw PS3s Ultimate DJ

The kings of DJ equipment Numark designed the controller with the buttons, a cross-fader and a touch sensitive wheel of steel!

The thing I really like about this hip-hop meets GH is that you can get by just by hitting the right colours in sequence but you make big points by transforming the song into something new. That is what DJing in hip-hop is all about

They say the game will feature everything from Kanye to Run DMC. Beastie Boys' Mike D had his fingerprints all over this and it will be yours in time for Christmas...make space under the TV!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Some things are just made to go together; fire and water, Fred and Ginger, pizza and beer and Jack and Coke. So when I came across I knew geekchart and analyticsarbitrage were written in the stars. This absolutely is my new favourite thing!

We find ourselves using more and more platform to share stuff these days...facebook, flickr, blogs etc. GeekChart shows how you are sharing in a pie chart it takes your user name across your Blog, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and and produces a chart of your last 30 days sharing.

Here is my chart -
Stevesimpson04's Geek Chart

I love this - I just can't wait to up my YouTube content...but i just can't bring myself to twitter!

Monday, 25 May 2009

All hail the king

A funny thing is happening in our business; those big brand advertising campaigns were all about 'Content is King' - and we really haven't changed a great deal from that model. More and more of those advertising dollars flooded online and of course you know what happened....two things:

1. The internet as Direct Marketing

That leads you to search and website optimization - lots of companies have made lots of money doing that - not very exciting though

2. The internet as a branding mechanism

That leads you to banners - remember when the internet became part of lives we were constantly closing down pop-up ads for - those were the days! Oooh, such lazy days!

It's only now that we are really getting what the internet can do for marketing. It's been said many times that 'marketing is storytelling' and the best stories are conversations.

The power of the internet is in its ability to share ideas and stimulate conversation and that occurs at high speed on the internet. That's why all our clients want to 'do' social - but how do you do that and make it credible?

That's the challenge for us right there; if we can help our clients find ways to help people share an idea or put forward a point of view we'll be ok - the question I think we all have is are our clients ready to embrace this?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Your soundtrack to the summer

I have been debating this informally with friends for quite some time, particularly as I am running a lot at the moment and this is perfect music for outdoor longer runs. I wasn't convinced i should post on this though- but I started to think of this as an analytical challenge in itself. So, as the summer sun starts to roll around... what are the top 10 feel-good house tracks ever?

So if you are in the party island of Ibiza, Boracay in Philippines or dropping it in the Bay Area (yes, you know who you are) you would have heard a few of these over the long weekend - hopefully with a long drink in your hand

10. Sean Escoffery - 'Days like this'
I heard this in Hyde Park today and squeezed it onto the list - perfect for the summer

9. Kelly Roland - 'Work' (Freemason's mix)
Love this track - especially at the lunchtime club at the gym

8. DeLacy- 'Hideaway'
I had to find a place for this - and was surprised I didn't rate it higher

7. Kings of Tomorrow - 'Finally'
Owned all dancefloors in '08

6. Frankie Knuckles - 'Tears'
Takes you back - and still as hot today!

5. Farley Jackmaster Funk - 'Love Can't Turn Around'
Where it all began - Summer '86

4. Angie Stone - 'Wish I Didn't Miss You'
For the LVPO party crowd and the Jeigerbombs!

3. David Morales - 'Needin' U'
It's Morales, he's a genius, need I say more?

2. Shapeshifters - 'Lola's Theme'
If you know me; you get this!

1. Masters at Work - 'To be in Love'
A Classic not to be denied...Always gets you out of your seat - I love it!

Now I am sure I made some glaring errors here - I want your feedback! Get involved!

Hope you are all enjoying the long weekend!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Murakami first look

I don't think I am about to offend anyone by saying Murakami is cool. He takes popular things from culture and then flips them into high end art. he has been spending the last five years conceiving “The Emergence of God at the Reversal of Fate” a large scale piece that will be officially unveiled in Venice on June 6th.

He sent this pic to Pharrell Williams (N.E.R.D) who promptly throw it up on his blog

This cannot be the the real piece, Murakami still appears to loving vivid colours but I can't help thinking he is teasing Pharrell and the rest of us with that blur...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

How do we make decisions?

We have been talking to all the big Business Intelligence (BI) vendors about decision support tools. Now before I get started I know that data is the new black - I bang on about that to the agency and clients all the time.

We got some guys in to run a workshop, they are good - they know how to organise data, and make it look nice (not as nice as some of the charts I have found but you get the idea) - problem is that it just sort of stops there. For me that data goes only as far as decision support.

Now, I agree that there's more data these days and that just getting it together so you can understand it is a huge challenge. However, surely all that data is completely useless if it doesn't lead to making a decision?

If you use that data to build a decision making system means that you hire some guys like us with deep analytical skills to put models into the decision making platform. This way you get more analytical bang for your buck - all of you marketers can make fact - based decisions without having to have any analytical skills themselves.

Must Read!

When I lived in New York Fast Company was one of my favourite magazines - i'm not sure if it is only available in online form now as I live in the UK.

The June issue leads with their 100 most creative people in business. Read the full story after the jump

Jonathan Ive leads the way (easy choice) and I love the decision of Shai Agassi at Number 3. Those electric cars are the future!

Each one of these guys gives us an exciting and inspirational story - read them ...i did and guess what? I am ready to break into that list with my ideas next year!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Video reinvented the TV star

I'm currently working on a client that has a clear delineation between 'branding' and 'direct response' - all that old direct response is going digital don't you know

You guys all know how much I love the internet. I met most of my best friends on there...only joking. Despite the fact that the 'current climate' has forced more and more Ad dollars online (its that accountability thing) that basically has led clients to use the internet as some sort of sugar rush for instant gratification.

In the traditional world, over 80% of the spend is for branding efforts, when you get to the internet the situation is might be changing this but the internet is basically a direct response medium. Whatever happened to winning hearts and minds through the brand?

We also have fantastic skills in production; one of my colleagues presented a beautiful short form video - the CMO loved it and stole his memory stick! Next thing we did was meet a really cool online video measurement company and now we are taking that company to that client - I can't tell you how much I really want to make it happen.

Remember all that research we did to understand media and TV with its combination of movement, sight and sound always made it come out on top? Well online video also has all those qualities and we are going to trying to figure how we could take those TV dollars, spend them online and prove its ROI

Sometimes I love my job!

Monday, 18 May 2009

The mantra for our business

Here's another @I could do that'. Very very clever thinking from Tim O'Reilly. Unnecessary to add anything else as this says it all

We don't know yet how problems in the overall economy will affect our business. But what we can do now are the things we ought to be doing anyway:

1. Work on stuff that matters: Assuming that the world does go to hell in a handbasket, what would we still want to be working on? What will people need to know? (Chances are good that they need to know these things in a world where we all continue to muddle along as well.)

2. Exert visionary leadership in our markets. In tough times, people look for inspiration and vision. The big ideas we care about will still matter, perhaps even more when people are looking for a way forward. (Remember how Web 2.0 gave hope and a story line to an industry struggling its way out of the dotcom bust.)

3. Be prudent in what we spend money on. Get rid of the "nice to do" things, and focus on the "must do" things to accelerate them.

These are all things we should be doing every day anyway. Sometimes, though, a crisis can provide an unexpected gift, a reminder that nobody promised us tomorrow, so we need to make what we do today count.

I put this here to reference it when I lose focus - I think we could all do a lot worse!

Is that it?

People who know me sometimes call me shallow, maybe its because I continue to find myself in heavy conversations and I just want to talk like I'm in a bar (minus the profanities)

It's like with art; the people who inhibit the art world and those 'serious' about it can be way too serious and self important. This is something I am acutely aware of as I thought that people took 'what they wanted' out of art or that 'it meant something different to everyone'

I love maths and art and that's why I love this from Craig Damrauer

Craig captures the spirit of modern art for me. Actually he captures the spirit of all the cool stuff out there. I really believe I could have invented Facebook, I could design a capsule men's collection and I could produce the next Kanye West album - but I haven't and that's what I do what I do

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Net Promoter in action

Verizon are big. Real big. They have a market cap in excess of $80bn and 61m subscribers. They must be doing something right.

If you sign up with Verizon Wireless they ask one question on their new-customer survey:

1. How likely is it that you would recommend Verizon Wireless to a friend or colleague?

Verizon have the best coverage in the US - and we all know that coverage wins

The "Thank You" screen that says, “may we quote you? And if so, how would you like your name to be written?”

That's it!

Pretty much perfect data viz

This is a fantastically simple chart that makes ugly reading. The US unemployment rate is at its highest for 25 years and that makes it all the more tougher for Obama to create that extra 3.5m jobs he pledged back in January

I bet the US will hit 10% unemployment by the end of the it a 'European' feel. Anyway loved the way that RAJ depicted the data - really beautiful stuff - inspiring!

Friday, 15 May 2009

This beats the Raddison Zurich airport

I recently flew Etihad Airways to Thailand. I have to say the 'experience' was nothing like this! No...not even the lounge!

The Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi has just been completed; lucky for all you people attending the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Maybe not...this hotel is so insane that the F1 track runs right through it. It cost $36billion to develop and is the most incredible motorsport venue in the world.

There are 500 rooms covered in 5,800 pivoting diamond-shaped glass panels. The lighting is set against a spectacular backdrop of blue skies, the sea and the desert of Yas Island. Its got to be on your list!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Is it worth spending time with "Time Spent"?

I have been working with a number of clients recently talking about their reticence to really embracing digital. Now, I don't mean messing around at the edges; I mean really really embracing digital. So I found myself standing up in front of a group of senior marketers including the global CMO telling them that despite people spending 30% of their 'media time' with digital, only 13% of advertising investment is allocated online

Here's the chart:

Suddenly I find my legs turn to jelly. If "Time Spent" is so important doesn't that make Google search unattractive? Google gives you quick and relevant results...they want to get you somewhere else - fast! Also, if I was a web designer wouldn't I just use all sorts of underhand tactics to slow down users?

So what should we use instead of time spent?

I think the answer has to be that there aren't any one-size-fits-all measures just because a brand exists on the web. Surely if you are using search that's different to if you are using YouTube or FaceBook (where time spent is a better measure i would expect)

So it looks like that, just like in the offline world, we start with the objectives and then define the measurement...just doesn't make for an easy first slide for the CMO

Saturday, 9 May 2009

My Shopping Psychology

I am a pretty good shopper...for a man! I like finding stuff that works for me, and I really love exclusivity. I will always always always pay a premium for exclusivity. Recession, credit crunch or whatever - you don't need to command a premium to be exclusive - you just need enough loyal customers buying your product. But with that loyalty, you can command a premium

But when you do that, you sign a contract with me. I don't want to see my favourite brands on everyone's wrist - schoolkids wearing gucci watches? You instantly assume they are fakes...i hope they are..because that is a brand with a point of view. You don't see Bang and Olufsen selling in Dixons or Best-Buy and that's why they will survive and thrive

Specialty shops are where premium brands thrive. If you’re Nooka watches you sell through the W Hotel or independent shops; if you are Nike iD you have your own retail space and website. Your own a premium environment where your customers can get the full experience of your brand.

Then, when your customer gets home and puts on that watch or those customised trainers, they feel them, smell them and give off an air of smugness when they look at them on. It's right there where value is created. The value is created though the loyalty created and they way they tell their friends in the know about it

What they don’t want is to get an email a week later telling them that the watch they just spent $200 on is now on sale for $70 on their website.

Remember that story about Levis being sold in Walmart? When you're for everyone, you're for no one.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Matthew Williamson for H&M

I know that a lot of you were waiting to scoop up this collection - the collaboration between Williamson and disposable retailer H&M doesn't immediately stick but this online only ad will leave your head spinning and make you click 'play again' immediately

It's got models jumping out of life-size magazines, pink horses, models in swimwear, the capsule shooting through the sky, a beat that wont leave until you hear something else bigger and oh, did I mention the models?

Maybe a little self indulgent for some. But whatever you think of this you won't be echoing Daria Werbowy and her "Always the same, it's boring"

Twitter Chatter

Everywhere I go it's twitter this, twitter that. Seems like its killing email, blogging and social networks. I don't buy it - Nielsen tells us that twitter has a retention problem; there is no multi-media experience and you can't build a network easily. Really, do you want to be listening to Stephen Fry and John Meyer all day?

But then again, who cares if I buy it or not? Even if I did try I'd be up against google and Apple. Twitter's real value is in search; people searching for information, brands searching for feedback - all in real time

So who has deep pockets and needs to build search capability, like yesterday? Surely the likely winner is Microsoft? Isn't that Yahoo posturing just today's search and a 20% share is not to be sniffed at...but twitter is tomorrow's search. If Microsoft lose out to google for twitter where do they go next?

There's a lot of you guys who know more about this than me and i'll love to get your views


Thursday, 7 May 2009

The 'C' Word

I don't know if you have heard, but the world is moving so much faster these days. It's that digital thing that's doing it...take a video on your iphone, upload to youtube and you could be famous like Cubby

Working in an big agency like me you get envious of these cool digital marketing companies; they all have Macs, play their ipods through their Bose speakers and have a much better office bar than us. Also they specialise - they only do viral or online video measurement or whatever. Thing is they are better than us because they specialise.

In the space race to become the client 'lead agency' I think that the winners won't be the ones who produce the ads, or the ones who take the CMO to the tennis. I'll hazard a guess that the ones who clients will want to talk to are the most collaborative. After all; the fast changing world is even more scary for them and they need help navigating it.

I'm not convinced that one agency can deliver on this promise; I can't even keep up with reading my RSS feeds, never mind applying that learning to my clients' business.

So the agency of the future will have specialisms - for fun lets call that 'consumer content and experience distribution' but will also deliver on being the best collaborator. What that means is sometimes foregoing short term revenues to bring in experts where necessary - but by doing so generating broader and deeper client relationships

In the world which we live and work, we can't do it all - but we need to find out who can help us complete the jigsaw and we'll put it together. But we do need help: telling the brand story coherently across all touchpoints and proving it works is tough. So if you know how to measure word of mouth; can integrate vast amounts of granular data; develop high quality widgets or you think you can help please get in touch

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

I wish i had thought of this!

Back in the 80s i loved video games, i got to the 8th key on PacMan (the monsters didn't even turn blue) and simply overdid Donkey Kong, jumping through the floor on the first level. I also loved Q-Bert, it was a little guy who had to turn a pyramid of squares to a specific colour.

I also really enjoy chess; I play it in-flight on planes and always read the puzzles in the newspapers. So this thing right here really did it for me

Designer Ji Lee re-imagines the chessboard as a real battle. The pawns are down low and vulnerable and you have to climb to the top to the mountain to knock the king over.

Given its only at design stage surely someone's got to make it for real. It's great, beats the 'Robin Hood edition' - let's play!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Is this for real?

Get this - you can live rent free, make and drink perfect wines and to top it all do it in Sonoma County California. If that's not enough you can get paid $10,000 a month for doing it!

Murphy-Goode is offering a 6 month contract to update Twitter and Facebook with your experiences. All you have to do is go to where you fill out an application form and create a video resume

Just so you know what you are letting yourself in for "Throughout the course of the job the successful applicant will learn about viticulture, winemaking, Sonoma County and Murphy-Goode wines. He or she will prepare and post dispatches on their experiences though social media tools such as Facebook, blogs, internet videos and Twitter as well as traditional media"

Is it for real? I guess it is...but the cynical side of me thinks it could be $60,000 advertising and PR campaign

Friday, 1 May 2009

I will be the first to get these!

It's been a terrible week, but once in a while you see something so covetable that it makes you want to jump and shout - and scramble online to find out who will stock them!

Nexus VII has collaborated with Stussy to produce a pair of glasses/sunglasses "Michael" - I have often thought a flip would be insane especially when you are as blind as I am. May 3rd is the date to look out for them - two colour-ways; black and my preferred olive

Running + Technology = A Better You!

I am really getting into my running - My 10k times are crashing and I can run longer than ever before. Combining running with technology is exciting - I don't have a Garmin yet but of course it's a matter of time.

Nike and Apple know how to give you the coolest stuff - Nike+ has to be one of the best pieces of technology for training ever....until now!

Apple has a pending patent application on the use of multiple sensors, a GPS unit and the Nike+ system in order to put it in a Nike running shoe - only Apple could do it!

It is going to give you your speed, gait and location. Where it gets more fun is that it will log your runs alongside other peoples and then suggest a location close by that might interest you.

Forget everything else - This is the future - place an order now!

Facebook vs e-mail

Nielsen have just released data that social networks and blogs are more popular than web-based email services. Apparently over 2/3 of all online users use 'member communities' as their first choice of communication.

Get the full report here:

Seems like facebook's here to stay then. What contributes to this and how has it happened so quickly? I think the easy answer is that your Hotmail and Yahoo! accounts are overflowing with spam; twitter is quicker and Facebook simply more relevant.

What I find is interesting is that Nielsen also found that 20-30% of people access their facebook or myspace account through their mobile phone. That's got to be the clincher right there. Aki-Aki is Berlin's (the world's coolest city) mobile social network - and its big!

Users of the service download an application on to their mobile phones free. The software uses Bluetooth, and when another member's phone comes within range, it pings. The user can then check who it is and choose to access that person's profile, message them and, if they want, go over and have a chat.

The idea of geek-dating aside, it doesn't look like its going to slow down and social networks will develop in their sophistication and popularity and, in time, will kill personal email.

Perhaps that $240m Microsoft dropped on 1.6% of Facebook wasn't such a bad investment after all?