Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

O2 I be done with you?

a straight forward data plan is all I desire

When quizzing O2 my incumbent supplier

As my contract ended and you called in excess

To convince me I didn't want an iPhone 5s

 

Hung up they did having interrupted my flow

Upsell or cross sell a distant after glow

 

the valiant and misguided said

'That's not till next year –

I have a Samsung S4 which is

way pucker gear!'

An obsession with apple
For this or for that
Is redundant, with the power of
A Kit and a Kat

That's oranges I cried and at best an untruth

I know you trying to maximise my ARPU

 

Yet your clear desperation to convince me to stay

Assumes my IQ has nose dived the wrong way

 

so with requirements clear

And tariffs far fromnear

Your endless interruptions

An ill conceived faff

Has swayed me to engage

With a healthy Giff Gaff

The irony of course that you all share the same pipe

Illustrates the contempt for those who worship

The byte.

So, Goodbye O2 you good natured dope
And hello O2 you MVNO

How did Evernote handle the hacking crisis?

This is the second piece for the drum and first in a series. Posted last week here: . The next one should be live on the Drum later today.

Leadership in this digital age comes with plenty of new challenges. Business decisions that in the past would have been easy to predict and manage, have become a lot more complex in the ‘always on’ world we now live in.

‘We won’t make a drama out of a crisis.’ Well you might not, but consumers can and will given half a chance. Social media makes it not only easy for us to engage our customers, but it’s also made it easy for them to tell you, and everyone else, what they think. Especially when things go wrong.

Over the coming weeks we will try to reverse engineer the reasoning behind of some of these decisions, and with your help look at whether the approach stands up to scrutiny, and what can learn from it.

What’s the story?

Hacking is one of the most misused and ubiquitous terms on the net. There are plenty reasons why people do it, and not all of them are malicious. However this weekend, one of the more respected online services Evernote was ‘properly’ hacked, and hence is as good a place to start as any. Nobody barring the hackers themselves know exactly the scope of the damage, but from reading the company’s response it sounds like significant amounts of data was acquired, especially since we (as a whole) still tend to use the same passwords for multiple online services.

However before going public, management were faced with some difficult decisions to make. How do we?

  • Be open, but prevent panic
  • Lose as few customers as possible
  • Prevent long-term damage to brand

What went well?

On March 2nd at 6 a.m. Evernote tweeted and provided a link which explained clearly and concisely that they had been hacked, why they were taking precautions, and threw in a bit about best-practice when it comes to creating passwords. Within twenty-four hours they had updated (at least their Apple iOS app) to focus everyone on resetting their password. And they have for the most part been open, upfront and conciliatory. 

As you can imagine there were a fair number of irate folk on their site. A nice chap called Andrew from Evernote carefully explained what was happening and was attentive when responding to users. Meanwhile co-worker Stefanie, who would probably have failed the Turing test, simply repeating the same statement ad nauseam.

About 10% of the posts on the blog were ‘stop whining they are doing their best’.

About 30% complained they didn’t get the notification email because they no longer had access to the email account they use to sign-up with service! While some folk might have been less diplomatic (including me), many of Evernote’s supporters redirected the hard of thinking to the company’s support page.

The rest were split between helpful suggestions and ‘I’ll never use you again’.

What could have been handled better?

There was no communication on the Evernote homepage itself (and if they did the users certainly didn’t find it). That’s a no brainer – it costs nothing to do and saves a lot of aggravation from those whose sole purpose in life is to complain. There is currently a reference to the original email however it talks about ‘resetting your password’ as opposed to ‘we’ve been breached, find out more’.

Initially many users asked about implementing two-factor authorisation, which Google uses to provide extra security for its users, although precious few people seem to use it apparently.  There was no immediate response on the blog. It’s a fair question that a simple ‘we’re looking into it – thanks for the great suggestion!’ would have gone a long way to help. By the end of the first week they had come out in public saying that this was now a top priority.

As of Friday 7th of March there has been no blog update or any further emails about the ‘event’. I appreciate they are no doubt busy trying to understand what happened. But it would make sense to create a new post explaining; what they have subsequently done to improve security, answered some FAQ questions, and actually diffused any on-going comments. Having said that the majority of comments and complaints dried up after two days, which is pretty good going frankly.

Reverse engineered strategy

Be honest, transparent, and really, really fast.

Tactics:

Empower your staff to:

  1. Establish and communicate the severity as best you know it – immediately (ideally via Twitter)
  2. Reiterate and reassure using language that is as human and as easy to understand as possible
  3. Allow people to comment where possible and have somebody standing by to answer questions. Don’t rise to unhelpful posts from disruptive folk, commonly known as trolls, and let the community help where it can
  4. Talk to the media – nothing is worse than radio silence to set off the blogosphere in a outburst of speculation and negativity
  5. Make sure channels internally and with your customers remain open – informing everyone what has happened, and why they should be cautious
  6. Provide additional guidance i.e. restating common sense password etiquette when it comes to the breach in a practical and in an un-patronising way
  7. Make sure that you keep everyone up to date.  Watch what questions they are asking, and create a crisis FAQ which responds to their actual questions. Not your perception of what they might be
  8. Perceptively being slightly hacked is like being slightly pregnant it’s pretty black and white. It happens, deal with it.
  9. If you are in management ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure it gets fixed. I’m afraid you can’t blame Robot and Andrew for that.
  10. Keep calm and carry on (and fix the hole)

So was Evernote’s response common sense, or a stroke of genius?

How else could they have handled it?

How would your organisation have dealt with this?

Does this count as a win, or a fail?

If your answer to the question How much do you know about how digital can help your business? is Not enough, our workshops are for you. They provide business leaders, senior marketers and strategists with a jargon-free exploration of the impact that digital is having on both marketing and business, and tools and tricks to help you keep up. To find out more and book you place click here.

Blogsy seems pretty cool

Hmmm. Might start writing again!

Jake is off nursery again today…

Bad Dad part 5 – doing the light year dance

It’s late, i’m ‘tired’ and now we are really screwed. Copyright and Patents are converging. Part 0.1

Right(s) Based on an execution of an idea.

Patents: Based on a description of an idea.

One is music, art and film etc The other pharmaceuticals, tech, software etc

Given the confusing international legislation going on you might as well admit that one equals the other equals a law suit.

So could Kraftwerk ‘patent’ the inspiration they gave or owe JG Ballard coin?

Could band x argue that even though Band Y sound nothing like each other that the other was inspired by the idea of having, well, a band.

Somebody invented Ketchup. Now any tomato based condiment is fucked,

The world of copyright monopoly and patent monopoly are converging – rapidly.

#copatents

bad.

How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Stop Online Piracy Act

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have heard about the legislation that they are trying to rush through in the States right now to curtail the rise of online piracy using methods which really are best described as draconian. I’ve been deeply concerned about this as it looks potentially to be the death of user generated content and innovation within the tech sector – something I’ve been part of for over twenty years.

Well I’ve had at attitude readjustment, I’m going to go with the flow and embrace what i just realised is the future of business models for the content world.

You see the the anti-SOPA lobby have assumed that the MPAA / RIAA (collectively known as the MAFIAA) weren’t willing to adapt and viewed folk like Anonymous as a threat. That sending letters to individuals a-la ACS-LAW wasn’t a viable strategy. Turns out we were wrong. They actually saw an opportunity. They watched, they learned and are proposing a new model even more impressive than the good old ‘Denial of Service’ attack the hackers use.

introducing…

D.o.S.H

(Denial of Safe Harbour)

This new ‘model’ is fantastic especially as you need virtually NO technical, creative or legal skills to play. It’s truly open and democratic.

Here’s how it works and how I plan to make millions! (so don’t tell anyone!)

STAGE 1 – A&R

  1. Create some ‘music’. Highly recommend GarageBand autoplay instruments. Since a 4 year old can use it, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to make a tune.
  2. For a one time fee of $35 dollars register your opus with copyright.gov – you can do it online so no need to move off the couch/stool.
  3. Go to Tunecore and get it popped on iTunes for 99c . Make sure you come up with a cool sounding name for your band and label – I’m going with ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ for the band and ‘RogueDoSHRecords’ – am thinking my first track will be ‘Legalise Extortion’ again please don’t steal it as I haven’t registered it yet.
  4. Go to WordPress (if it still exists) and create your label site – to be honest you don’t have to do much more than say ‘welcome to… XX records home of YY’ and pop some copyright notices everywhere and a link to iTunes.
  5. Have a cocktail – you are now in that elite group – the Content Owner!
  6. Enlist some friends to help out and repeat 1-5 with them – I’m guessing 10 mates/labels would be enough for most situations – a mini Anonymous if you will.
  7. At this point you *could* try and get folk to buy your tune but frankly it isn’t worth the effort instead each of you upload the others tracks to YouTube and/or create some torrents.
  8. So far I reckon they should have taken about a day of ‘real’ time, some hangover recovery time plus however long it takes to get the copyright approved.

STAGE 2 – Exercise your Rights

  1. All you have to do is find a bunch of blogs ( any site on any subject will do these days that allow comments) and get your mates to pop some links to your track on YouTube or to the torrent.
  2. Send the site owner an email accusing them of being ‘Dedicated to infringement’ – and that you will NOT report them to their ISP, payment partner etc if they hand over I dunno – $1000 bucks sounds fair.
  3. Now at this point you would expect the site owner to take it down, if they do just pop it up again ( or even better pop one of your mates tracks up to confuse them. )
  4. After you’ve done this a few times you announce that you have got a some class-action from a bunch of legacy sounding labels including ‘Phonographic Memories’, ‘The Long Tail Players’, ’8 Track Marks ‘, ‘Tape me up, Tape me down’, ‘Cassette My Ass’ and of course the hip-hop label ‘MP3some’.
  5. Give them one last chance to pay up (it’s going to cost them $5k now btw)
  6. If they DO pay up – wait a couple of days /weeks and repeat with some new labels until they just give up and shut down
  7. If they DON’T pay up shop them to their ISP and Payment partner who are so inundated with these claims that they’ll have no choice but to close the infringing scum down, just in case it’s legit. Don’t worry about needing legalese I’m sure you will be able to find a form letter online to help you out – no lawyers required!
  8. Repeat on as many sites as you feel like, the smaller the better of course. I’m thinking of going for gardening blogs myself – the poor dears won’t know what hit them.

I imagine a motivated team of ten could manage a few dozen each a day while sitting in the pub. Even with a 10% conversion rate you’ll make a load of cash, secure in the knowledge that those who didn’t play ball won’t be able to make any money for themselves! Win Win!

You can of course do this with anything that can be copyrighted so feel free to make some films of you and your mates celebrating in the pub (Dogma movies are due for a resurgence anyway) and copyright them – go for it! You’ve even got the soundtracks ready made so you can pop a compilation out. Even Better! You are now ‘Multimedia Copyright Owner’ – diversification is everything in this day and age.

And there you have it – as far as I can tell under SOPA its totally legal – we as Copyright Owners and we are entitled to get paid without having to sell even ONE bit of content, attract ONE fan or play ONE gig. Superb. We truly have entered The Golden Age of Copyright.

If anybody says ‘Conspiracy to defraud’ just say ‘The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing’ or better yet ‘the tea-boy is going to lose his job UNLESS we do it’.

Go on – try this at home!

D.o.S.H.

the business model for the post-modern creative!

And that’s why I’ve learned to stop worrying and love SOPA, it’s going to make things so much better.

‘Sneakers’ even more prophetic than ‘Network’

Cosmo: Posit: People think a bank might be financially shaky.

Martin Bishop: Consequence: People start to withdraw their money.

Cosmo: Result: Pretty soon it is financially shaky.

Martin Bishop: Conclusion: You can make banks fail.

Cosmo: Bzzt. I’ve already done that. Maybe you’ve heard about a few? Think bigger.

Martin Bishop: Stock market?

Cosmo: Yes.

Martin Bishop: Currency market?

Cosmo: Yes.

Martin Bishop: Commodities market?

Cosmo: Yes.

Martin Bishop: Small countries? —

IMDb Quotes: Sneakers (1992)

Utterly Unwatchable?

Not so much!

Yep – it’s almost there – not just the film, but the accompanying campaign.

Definitely the most intense bit of work I’ve ever been involved with – ‘highlights’ include

How do you deal with Advanced NGOitis? (don’t ask)

Is it ok to put an amazing woman from the Congo who was the inspiration for the film front and centre and risk her being raped or worse again?

What do you ask the public to do knowing that ultimately there is no ‘silver bullet’ which sorts the situation?

How do you reduce the experience down to the essential without making it – well – fluffy?

We are sooo close to getting it right, and unlike many of the commercial projects I’ve worked on prior – this is *entirely* about getting it right. Even if it has meant taking a bit longer to get there.

I am under no illusion that our campaign is going to sort out all of the problems in the Congo – it’s a big place with problems going back hundreds of years.

However I am feeling much more confident that it will motivate many to help iteratively sort bits of it, at least the bits that we are complicit in anyway.

Only last week I got to see the film, now graded with a proper mix of David Arnold’s soundtrack. Made me cry – again.

@Foolscap and I spent two days last reducing the interactions and clutter to the absolute minimum whilst still maintaining the necessity for a soft shoulder and from initial feedback we seem to have done a good job. More on that in the next week or so.

As for a release date – our most recent aim was end of march – given a few things going on – for the good – I’m guessing mid april.

Anyway – that’s the update more soon.

Rush Towards 2012

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time, and actually is – just slightly problematic on the execution. Decided tonight that i’d lobby for Rush – Spirit of Radio for Christmas No.1 2011.

Created a facebook group and invited a bunch of folk only to be bang in the middle of a spamfest – which actually the group creator can’t control. Reminded me of the old days of mailing lists actually and whilst I may have been somewhat amused – many weren’t and for that I’m sorry.

Anyway – needs must so tomorrow will sort out a dull ‘i must put things where they are supposed to go’ facebook ‘page’ instead of the group.

I will of course i’ll keep the group open for us fanatical types to help invoke the new world wotsit ;-)

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_171107852933252&ap=1

j

Thoughts on the Ipad

Thoughts on the iPad

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had an iPad for a month now and am so far amazed. I can’t remember the last time a bit of hardware has had a profound impact on my day-to-day life.

‘A Big iPhone’

Not. Anybody who says it’s just a big iphone/touch misses the point entirely -  it’s the other way around – the iPhone is a small and cramped iPad. You simply can’t dismiss the feel of it and the thought behind the gestural language that was seeded on the trackpads and phones but blooms on the glorious screen.

the ‘I’ Pad

One of the less reported traits of the iPad is that it redefines ‘Personal’ computing. The fact is – an unsullied iPad is literally a blank slate – pretty but dull – a soul less hunk of metal, glass and plastic. There is no way to talk about ones experiences of the iPad without living with it for a while and making it your own. The day it arrived my wife asked me “what are you going to do with it?” and to be honest I’m still not entirely sure but I’m going to share how I’m using it right now.

Video

The media side of the iPad was something I was extremely excited about – I’m geeky enough to want to a £500 portable telly and for my sins I got one. Using the wonderful Air Video I can connect to my network media drive and stream pretty much any video format with no waiting and no iTunes. It absolutely rocks. With the addition of Elgato’s Eyetv app (still not iPad native but works well enough) gives me live TV, wherever.  The elephant in the room with  video is the aspect ratio but I’d be happy if they simply let me choose how much I wanted to zoom because at the moment it’s either overly letter-boxed or cropped at least in Apples own video app. I imagine that would be fairly trivial to implement but what do I know!

News & Browsing

They really weren’t kidding when they talked about how great an experience browsing is – it’s just stunning and works. Everything just feels ‘solid’  and when browsing in portrait mode sites just look so much better than they do with ‘the landscape ‘fold’. I hadn’t actually noticed the ability to create bookmarks on the home screen on my iphone because frankly I didn’t browse very much but instead of waiting for linkedin and facebook to be updated to the ipad I’m perfectly happy just going to the sites themselves.  That said I still don’t actually surf that much, I prefer feeds and Newsrack is currently the best on the ipad and works a treat.

Kids

My two year old immediately picked it up and started playing. Not all together unexpected as he’s had a iPod Touch for about a year so it made perfect sense to him. The potential here for education is truly amazing. It’s here where you really feel the ‘personal’ bit tho’. On his touch I’ve simply removed all the other apps and left the kiddy stuff but now he has a million and one icons to navigate (and delete arbitrarily as is his want). I’m hoping that the folders in next version of the OS with help a little.

Work

From a day job perspective it was an exciting prospect. I work in planning and strategy and the key tools for me are sketching, organisation and presentation apps.  I’ve played around a fair bit with Omnigraffle which even though it’s very very much a version 1 it is fantastic for pulling together those little ‘planner charts’. This experience is extremely marred almost to the point of being useless by having to then plug in the iPad into Itunes to retrieve my sketches for further development. That’s not Omni’s fault – that’s Apple and to be fair something which I suspect will be addressed, across the board. Sooner the better. also worth noting is Sketchy -  a sweet little app for pulling together wireframes, doesn’t have anywhere near the flexibility of omnigraffle but if all you need to do is bosh out a few quickies in a meeting it does the trick.  The poster child for usability and portability is mega-todo list Things which wi-fi syncs between desktop, Ipad and Iphone absolutely seamlessly. Alas as I don’t have a U.S. iTunes account I haven’t been able to try out the iWork applications but in the mean time happy to be able to take notes, sketch and present as PDF’s pushed over from keynote on the mac.

Ipad & VNC

Thanks to iTeleport I can now remarkably easily remote control all the other machines I’ve got in my house. I used to screen share from my laptop into my media server and player respectively whenever I wanted to do anything more than changed the channel (which I do through my iphone). The ‘touch’ mode in iteleport works perfectly and the refresh rate is not so bad depending on atmospheric conditions in my home network. In fact I recently started helping out on a screenplay using Adobe Story – which of course is flash based and hence an Ipad no-no. However, I’ve been simply leaving the app open on a mac mini at home and vnc’ing to use, write and review – not quite as neat as a dedicated app but a nifty work around for now.

Jailbreaking & Ipad 3G

OK, I admit it- I did it. Didn’t have a good reason other than to check out what the ‘scene’ was up to and it’s now ridiculously easy with the ‘Spirit’ app. Yes I can now run apps in the background but have realised that Steve was largely right in that you generally don’t need it. I’m sure there will be some great apps out soon (especially looking forward to wi-fi sync working on the ipad which is imminent apparently). If you are brave it’s worth checking out Full-force – it forces native iPhone apps into iPad resolutions – didn’t work on most games I tried –  but on tardy apps it’s a workable stop gap – Ocado and the Guardian for instance.  However it’s actually the iphone/mywi setup which impresses – it simply allows me to tether my iphone to my ipad when I *really* need to get online. Which is rarely at it turns since all my mail, news and social stuff is being pushed to the iphone anyway. As such I genuinely haven’t missed having a 3g Ipad at all!

Designing for Ipad

From my experience so far I don’t actually see the necessity to design ‘specifically’ for the ipad -  but its definitely an opportunity. I can pretty much guarantee that if you make it look good on the ipad it’ll still look good on a desktop so there’s an argument that you might as well.

Orientation

It’s astonishing to see just how ‘traditionally’ well designed sites work on the ipad. If you stick to the current standards around navigation and page structure most things look great. The main consideration is that you now have multiple ‘folds’ depending on orientation. In Landscape mode is unsurprisingly near enough identical to a normal desktop or laptop – most sites are designed for 1024×768 anyway.  The gag is that you actually get back about 30 pixels due to the fact there are no menus and it’s not in an unsightly window.   It’s the addition of the portrait view which adds extra opportunities. In portrait it feels like and is almost double the viewable area. Obviously all they are doing simply scaling to the width of the screen so if you do the maths your fold will be at  (1024/768)*1024 = 1365.  Given this – If I was designing specifically for the ipad  and don’t need to scroll vertically it’s a logical place to ‘hard’ position a footer to frame a page and remove scrolling entirely and give the site itself much more of an ‘app’ feel.

Depth

Additionally there is a fantastic opportunity to design sites with ‘depth’. Since all you have to do is double tap to zoom you could cram in a huge amount of content – you simply would never do on a mouse based browser – and then simply zoom in and out to read.

Sideways

It occurred that since you are always swiping, that horizontal scrolling might be fun. I’ve had a play around with some sideways scrolling sites for a laugh and to be honest it doesn’t work terribly well. The ipad is optimised to condense and scroll vertically and whilst it’s obviously easier swiping than dragging mice around it’s slightly counter intuitive and clunky. I wouldn’t design like a shop for instance where you want to insure that folk actually see what you want them to see. There’s also the other fundamental problem of orientation if you designed something which was no doubt incredibly pretty at 1024×1365 to be viewed horizontally you’d of course be 4 ways scrolling in landscape mode (plus the ipad would probably get all confused about how to scale stuff although haven’t tried that yet)!

Navigation

One of the other considerations when designing for the ipad is navigation positioning – the tradition of the left hand nav is counter intuitive if you are holding the ipad in your left hand and using your right hand to navigate as your hand now covers the entire screen. (The lefties finally got one up on us!). It does beg the question for the future – do we need to start making the nav location entirely customisable?

Irritations

It’s heavy, it wants a camera and some of the interface elements haven’t been well enough thought through – but it’s version 1 so I forgive all of that. What I don’t forgive and what nobody seems to want to talk about is iTunes. It destroys an otherwise fantastic experience. It’s about time that Apple bit the bullet and ripped the bloody thing apart and rebuilt it from scratch. The iTunes store and anything to do with video or managing applications is just awful. I didn’t mind it so much with my iphone but then I wasn’t having to sync all the time. It’s slow, it’s buggy, it’s bloatware and it needs some major love.

The Game-Shifting Paradigm-Changer.

Being a 1.0 digital dude I miss that days we used to talk about paradigm shifts and I believe that this is one of those. Everything we knew or thought we knew about the relationship between a carbon and silicon based life forms is in flux and the iPad is the catalysing expression of a frustration with technology you didn’t know you had.

At least for me, you will probably think differently, but that’s the point.

Resuming activities

One week in and one week to go, really enjoying being a dad again but also getting itchy to get back to work. Much to do, many projects stacking up and decisions to be made.

So as of May 3rd, back out into the world ;-)

In the meantime doing a keynote at internet world next week about some of the discussion points here which should be interesting. At very least it’ll focus the mind. Will be popping up the presentation as soon as it’s written.

Option: Trent Reznor is god, Nine Inch Nails ftw!

Was reminded tonight that actually, all things being equal interviewing trent reznor in 1991 was my reason for being. Never mind the 19 years subsequently which I kind of did OK stuff

http://www.obsolete.com/convulsion/

Anyway adding working with Trent to my list – donating 6 months of my time to him

Pro’s- Well he still aint done nuffink wrong yet could probably still use bright folk like me I hope.

Con’s-Limited access to New York cos of the kidlings

j

Day One

Today I am mostly thinking about leaving drinks hangovers, potty training and word press.  Thinking is probably too grand a word. Lets try muddling since muddled is how I feel.

Much to do over the next few days. Going to be interesting.

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