Posts Tagged ‘ linkedin ’

May the Force be with you as you Tumblr your way though the Creative Cloud.

Posted on the Drum a while back, I’ve updated it a bit. 

Developing a sustainable customer value proposition today can be very difficult. In english that means matching up what you are offering versus what the consumers actually want. Most of us are familiar with the term ‘Value for Money’ i.e. it’s about price. However that’s only one factor in the equation. Whenever you see anybody use the word ‘Premium’ it means, we aren’t the cheapest, we are better than them in some objectively identifiable way, better fabric, better whooshing noise, go faster stripes etc. Basically about definable product attributes. When it comes to services you have a whole set of other emotional triggers – do you trust them, is it easy, do they help me, is it for me, did I enjoy it etc.

The relative weights of all the factors which make up your relevance to the consumer are constantly shifting and apparently insignificant tweaks can lead to complete failure if you aren’t careful. It’s one of these things you see every day and yet brands and services keep falling into the same trap, sometimes because of greed, others just circumstance

It’s worth reminding ourselves the Holy trinity of ‘Company’, ‘Brand’ and ‘Product’ have been mashed together in consumers minds now. Corporate behaviour influences consumers now in ways far more profoundly than could ever happen in the pre web world and so the value proposition goes far beyond just the product at hand.

I thought it would be interesting to look at a few current examples of how and why these changes occur and what the impact can be.

Adobe Creative Cloud

What did you used to get?

Every other year Adobe would release a suite of software (at various price points) which you would then ‘own’. This would be updated sporadically over that cycle, usually doing a feature bump about a year in. You would then be charged an upgrade fee for each 1.0 upgrade (and the odd 0.5 one too). If you are a business owner this model is bittersweet – you need enough licences for all your bums-on-seats. Too many it’s not efficient, too few expensive upfront cost. It should be noted that software can be depreciated for tax purposes over time so there is a bit of a break there.

What’s changed?

Recently Adobe created a great deal of noise when it announced the end of their ‘Creative Suite’ as a boxed product, moving to a subscription model instead. Microsoft have been doing the same, if a bit more cautiously, with Office 365. It makes a huge amount of financial sense for them to shift to these kinds of models as you can get more cash from the consumers, for longer, reduce their bi-annual big marketing spike in favour of drip feeding feature upgrades. The idea was also to curb piracy but given the newest edition of Creative Cloud was hacked within 24 hours not entirely sure it helped.

What do you get now?

  • Convenient access to most up to date software
  • A teeny tiny bit of space in a cloud
  • Some online services

What you give? 

  • An ongoing subscription
  • Your freedom of choice
  • The inability to just buy the suite or individual components like Photoshop outright
  • The inability to depreciate your investment against tax.

What’s the consequence?

Actually for the Professional set who use the tools everyday as part of their workflow there are massive advantages to the subscription model. However, if you use the applications infrequently it becomes a very real tax. Many out there are having a long hard look at their own requirements and realising that actually they don’t need the cannon when a peashooter will do. There are many alternatives out there in the market like Pixelmator, which costs a tenner, has many of the same features of photoshop, but squarely aimed at pro/amateurs. It opens up the ecosystem for a smaller players to sneak in as has already happened on IOS.

What could they have done better?

Followed Microsoft’s example and had a transitional period. Potentially stop selling the Suite but continue selling the individual applications.

Tumblr

With the recent tumblr acquisition things are very much up in the air as far as what changes are likely to happen to the service. The general tone from the new owners is ‘Keep Calm and Carry On, we won’t break it, we promise’.

What did you used to get?

Ease of use. Blogging for folk who be bothered writing loads.  Open and non-judgemental. No ads or any real explicit business model barring a sale or IPO. Young and independent. Not-Facebook. A way to collectively share interests / obsession without the underlying commerciality of Pinterest. Trust.

What’s changing?

High profile acquisition by a ‘legacy’ digital business who has a well documented history of ‘breaking’ their newly integrated services.

What you give (currently)

Cats. White men wearing Glass. More Cats.  Basically lots of content.

What’s the consequence

Significant but not catastrophic (yet) migration from the service – principally to WordPress. Unsurprising really as for many, especially the younger audience,  the content creation route has been Twitter –> Tumblr –> WordPress.

But still, why the panic? Let’s just give yahoo the benefit of the doubt and assume they won’t wall it off and kill it the way they did with Flickr and delicious and do in fact keep it exactly the same.  The key part of the value proposition that has changed right now is Trust. Yahoo didn’t spend a billion on it to let them just do what they do on perpitude. There needs to be a bit of commercial flavouring mixed in now or soon because its such a big bet on yahoo’s behalf they will need to show a return pretty damn quickly.  We know this, everyone knows this and poof, just like that trust earned is replaced with suspicion and revulsion.

This provides great opportunity for others in the space to hoover up the disenchanted. I’m actually really surprised that WordPress hasn’t launched an ‘ImPRESSion’ product yet using a simplified skin or app on top of their existing software. They could out Tumblr Tumblr in a heartbeat actually.

*UPDATE

Various reports with various reasons suggest Tumblr has cracked down on Porn and changed their policy on search. Most feel this is Yahoo’s influence although founder denies it.

What could they have done better?

They got a BILLION dollars. The owners don’t really care do they? If they did, they would have spent more time upfront working with Yahoo to agree a commercialisation roadmap and share it with their users. Would be more intellectually honest and in tune with the spirit of Tumblr. Time will tell whether the migration continues.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

About a year and a half ago, with great fanfare there was the launch of ‘the old republic’ a massively multiplayer game based on the smash hit star wars series ‘Knights of the old republic’. With over a million initial sign-ups it was the fastest growing MMO in history.

What did you get?

This was the first major licensed Star Wars MMO since Star Wars Galaxies, which whilst popular with the very hardcore didn’t really gain traction with the masses, especially in a post Warcraft World.  SW:TOR had High production values, multi-platform, easy to get into and even apparently fits within Star Wars cannon for the uber geeks.

What changed?

Whilst adoption was extremely quick, so was drop off. Everyone appreciated the ‘Star Wars’ but the content didn’t match the expectations of a typical MMO user. Instead of, as is often the case, killing it. They recognised they needed to engage a new audience. Whilst maintaining their subscription option they opened the game up as ‘Free-to-play’ charging micropayments to advance quicker and open new areas.

What’s the consequence?

As a result they went from half a million players to 1.7m in a few weeks and doubled their revenue at the same time.  It introduced a whole bunch of people who haven’t played MMO’s before but are susceptible to ‘get them hooked and jack up the price’. Nice one. Of course it’s not all roses, the hardcore players who have been paying the whole time are now inundated by ‘a bunch of noobs’ who are more likely to dip in / dip out, which can be frustration. Hopefully they would recognise that it will increase the longevity of the title and provide funds to create more content.

What could they have done better?

They probably could have moved to the new model sooner. Complaints about the game started appearing within a few months of launch and they had a hard time developing sufficient content to keep the hardcore amused.

So what does it all mean?

Again, what the business wants and what the consumers want can easily get out of whack. Every time you tweak your offering never mind transforming your model, service or general proposition it’s just worth having a chat with your customers first. It’s perfectly reasonable to prioritise one customer over another – you are running a business after all – however before doing that understand why they are actually engaged with you as opposed to what you imagine want them to feel. You may find your biggest payers are actually not your biggest advocates and all those quietly content folk can make an awful din when riled.

Jon Bains is a partner in Atmosphere

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Downsizer – to the MAX

Happy New Year and all that… major update a coming but I wanted to talk a little bit about the (other)  film project myself and a few others are trying to get made.

When I started the crowd-sourcing exploration almost a year ago one of the options was ‘Make a film’. When chatting to Marc Hawker (dir: Unwatchable) he said ‘so what film do you want to make?’

Given my state of mind I said ‘It has to take place in an office, it has to be a comedy and have a serious bodycount’. Nothing like a bit of cathartic violence to soothe a troubled mind.

Anyway I immediately enlisted my long time collaborator Stuart Barr who took the notion *way* out there. We started trying to make a full treatment for a feature film but realised, with the advice of Joe Pavlo who I roped in to direct,  that we’d be still working on it in 2015 if we tried to overstretch, instead decided to make a short which essentially introduces the world and *could* be the first 10 or so minutes of the film.

We’ve gone through a number of script revisions and still have a couple more to do but we are getting close.

Joe noticed just before Christmas that PepsiMax were running a film making competition with a 30k prize so he quickly ran out, made a little skate film and entered it – judging by the quality of the other entries we reckon we’ve got a shot but the closing date for voting is Sunday.

So what we need people to do (grovel grovel) is vote:

http://bit.ly/gGyL0J

Five star of course! If we win the competition we’ll have Downsizer made by the spring and I promise you won’t be disappointed by the results!

Feelings about ‘unwatchable’, 10:10 and the wonderful insanity of the Internet

As many of you will know, amongst other things, I’ve been working on a project with Darkfibre to raise awareness of the horror in the Congo, and the links between electronics manufacturers and the weaponised rape that happens there on a daily basis. It’s been an absolutely extraordinary experience, both frustrating and fulfilling in equal measures.

For who have read the various bits and bobs in Marie Claire – the campaign is due to launch at the beginning of February 2011.

In the meantime I thought I’d share a little bit about the campaign and how it relates to the current 10:10 debacle.

The campaign centres around a film, god forbid viral in nature. Anybody who knows me knows I’m as cynical as they come about the whole viral mumble, but in this case I read the script and knew immediately it would spread – whether for the right reasons remains to be seen.

It’s actually an incredibly simple idea: “What if what was happening there was happening here – wouldn’t we do something about it?”

As such it’s a straight transposition of a terrifying number of true stories. In brief, an armed group turn up, rape and murder a family in the Cotswalds.

So now you don’t have to watch it.

It’s an incredibly strong film. It illustrates the humiliation, dehumanisation and desecration that is a part of daily life – if you live in the eastern provinces on the Congo.

Given that I myself have had some misgivings about the film I sent out a rough cut to some close friends and family to ask their opinion on whether the ‘line’ which we are dancing with had been crossed.

One of the ‘best’ was from the girlfriend of a mate, and hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this:

I have watched this as someone who knows little about the making of films, but i am a consumer, a rights lawyer, someone who lobbies for these very same issues and a woman. My first reaction was to be physically sick (and i was)- my second was to say ‘the world needs to see this’.

Public denial is a deeply rooted problem in the educated West – we turn the channel over when adverts show the homeless, the hungry, the dying, the tortured, the victims of political and economic unethical practice – people tune into Comic Relief for the funny stuff and make tea when the images of starving children take over the screen… unless you force it, ram it, into peoples lives there will never be the reaction necessary to provoke the awareness that true change needs… It is no longer acceptable to be sugar-coated by a mainstream approach to these issues – when we dress it up in rock concerts and wrist bands… it means nothing to the general population unless they actually see and feel and have a visceral experience … and in 6 long painful uncomfortable minutes Unwatchable achieves this.

The danger is that it is indeed such a controversial way of illustrating the problem that people will relate it merely to their own lives, and fear for their own wives and daughters instead of contextualize it into the ‘show and tell’ it actually is. If this happens the danger may be that the subject will be eclipsed by peoples own private fears and this be talked about and shared for the wrong reasons. it would indeed by tragic if the film was known for sensational value rather than the issues it seeks to expose… but my personal view, and from my experience of lobbying for change through ‘conventional’ methods (which seldom works in the face of media spin and red tape) is that nothing short of horrific, unthinkable, fear and pity inducing images can achieve this. Whether this film is shared with the world or not, the horror in the Congo continues – 200 times a day no less – why the hell shouldnt we force people to sit uncomfortably for a while – on balance the change and awareness it will provoke will outweigh the shock value of those who are merely morbidly curious about such images.

be brave – someone has to be.

All the feedback has been incredibly useful, even from those who hated it. There was a common theme that if you are going to drag somebody into such a horrible place you need to have all the supporting information there – right there – when they watch it.

Tell me more they said, after they stopped crying or shouting.

I might sound flippant but given I can’t watch the film, or even talk about the reality, without bursting into tears I reckon somebody somewhere will forgive me.

Then along comes the ‘No Pressure’ campaign from 10:10, embedded here.

The campaign genuinely couldn’t have gone more wrong.

They made a film which wasn’t funny, with a message that was so easy to misinterpret, they blew up children for a giggle, then pulled the campaign and apologised inspiring both sides of the argument to denounce the whole thing.  You can see some of the feedback here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2010/oct/04/10-10-activism

Anyway this whole mess has had far reaching repercussions in the Charity/NGO world. Basically nobody is will to take risks now for fear of a major backlash.

Seems to me the trick is to be responsible about what exactly you are releasing so I’ve tried to put together a bit of a plan, outlined below, to avoid the 10:10 turbulence. This was written prior to the launch of their campaign and I guess the question is: Is there any more that we can do?

How do we prevent children from seeing it?

On the Internet it’s simply impossible to stop anybody from seeing anything.

However you can be responsible and there are steps that can be taken to limit exposure.

We are tagging the content as inappropriate for minors. Essentially we are voluntarily black listing it.

It means that it won’t appear in google (or other search engines) if ‘safe search’ is on.

It won’t turn up in any environment that has a ‘net nanny’ system, eg. every school, many work places and anybody who has opted-in at home.

We are creating a player to contain the film which will have age verification at the start (same as alcohol sites, etc). While this doesn’t really stop anyone it does make it perfectly clear what we are trying to.

How do we prevent people to whom it will cause serious upset from seeing it accidentally?

We want to include BBFC certification up front to make it clear it’s intended for mature audiences.

We have worked hard on the messaging included before the film to make sure that the viewer knows they are going to watch something deeply upsetting; We called the film ‘Unwatchable’ for a reason.

There will be NO mass email mail-outs. There are many lists which have demographic information attached so in theory we could filter out kids, however, what we don’t know is anything more specific about the individuals’ lives eg. The potential for the recipient to have been a victim of sexual violence, so therefore we will rely on a social distribution.

We are also working with a major NGO in the UK to make sure there is a help-line to support those who are affected by viewing.

How do we insure that they can ‘find out more’?

The main purpose of the interactive player is to be able to keep the facts about the Congo with the film at all times.

The extended content is a detailed FAQ about the background of the conflict in the Congo, Conflict Minerals, The Making of… (or more to the point: Why we made it), and ways that people can help and get involved.

We won’t be pushing out the film on its own.

How do we prevent people ‘mashing’ it up / editing out the context?

Realistically we can’t, however we can make it harder.

By embedding the film within our own player we can make it more difficult to get a full copy of the film out.

That being said, anybody who is technically minded will be able to extract it, but hopefully it will be enough to dissuade the casual masher.

However – forewarned is forearmed so if anybody reading this wants to take the film and abuse it so we can learn before launch. Please ping me and I’ll sort you out with a copy.

How do we respond to a backlash?

We are showing as many NGOs and relevant charities as possible, as well as journalists, prior to launch to make them aware and insure they don’t fuel any kind of media hysteria.  We want to pre-empt and respond as much as possible. We know there will be a backlash – we can but minimise the damage.

On the net the only thing you can really do is be absolutely open, honest and transparent. Unlike other campaigns there is no opposition here eg. Barring the crazies, nobody is going say that RAPE IS OK, and one would hope that the more rational voices on the net will challenge or simply ignore trolls.

However people will question our methods – the need to shock, the setting – and accuse us of sensationalism. As mentioned above, we have prepared an extensive FAQ (embedded with the film) which aims to address the most obvious lines of attack. The reality is we want to shock, challenge taboos, create noise, but we’re very much aware it is our responsibility to ensure anger, disgust, horror is channelled into useful action.

We will have twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc. manned to answer and discuss the issues and the film.

So have I missed anything? The campaign isn’t launching now till the new year so we have plenty of time to ‘get it right’. And we want to.

I’d really appreciate any and all suggestions of how we can behave as responsibly as possible with this.

Thorts?

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.

Projected attributes of social media.

Work in progress - a way of thinking about yourself in the context of social media

Did this a while ago for a conference, never really got a round to ‘finishing’ it but thought i’d share – might be useful to somebody.

The idea was to (err) simply visual the kind of attributes that folk out there expect of a brand when the brand is playing in various area of social media.

i.e. if it takes forever for you to respond to a tweet, then you probably shouldn’t. Green is ‘go for it’, yellow is ‘well you could but think it through’, and red is ‘not for the risk averse’.

Obviously this is more for the less experience clients and isn’t supposed to be ‘scientific’ in anyway, just illustrative to get a conversation going.

Love to know what y’all think.

and no I don’t expect to win any awards for design here, it’s a spreadsheet innit 😉

It’s not the answer, it’s the question

Had another frantic couple of weeks of meetings, the ‘New’ company idea seems to be taking shape, especially now I have a ‘picture’ to share (more on that soon). As I’ve been talking to people the most common question is – what questions are you trying to answer?

I should have a pithy one liner with outlines the problem but haven’t managed to work it out yet – perhaps some bright spark out there can summarise below

In brief and in no particular order and incomplete, questions I think which are worth addressing:

The Commoditisation of production

It is increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself in terms of production – most clients simply aren’t that discerning and so much of the world is being outsourced overseas by default. However there are many, genuine craftsfolk, pushing the boundaries in their respective medium who are marginalised due to size and lack of appreciation of the nuance of ‘good’. How can these people be harnessed?

Those who can’t do, teach

Ironically in the marketing universe it’s those who ‘teach’ who get paid the most. Basically the issue is one of translation, if you can speak marketing you are fine, if you can’t then you are screwed, regardless of talent or ideas. Is there a way to break down the  divides which jargon & status bring?

Marketing is generic

There is a basic assumption that if you understand the ‘disciplines’ of marketing that it can be applied to everything equally well. I simply don’t believe that, the more you understand the sector, the business, the audience not simply from a research POV but a point of participation, the more you are likely to come up with something ‘good’. How can you systematically engage at an extremely high level within a sector or passion area?

The power of hobbies

A hobby is something you do because you love it, because it engages you on an emotional and intellectual level, because you can do it with other people you like and respect or on your own, because you can always be better at it. Is it better to have a hobby or have a job?

Addressing ‘The Big Lie’

If you need to sell X to  Y regardless of whether they want or need it – then you aren’t a client partner. You are a salesman. That’s fine, just don’t lie about it. How do you become a genuine client partner – or perhaps – why have clients – just have partners?

Adding Value does not just mean Cash

Simply put companies, or more to the point large groups of companies only really live by one metric. The bottom line – everything is geared up for increase it. Alas that’s unlikely to change any time soon – however does that cash need to come from doing what the client says or could it come from origination of product in conjunction with the client?

Divided we stand stand

The bigger you are… and all that – for many small & decentralised has proven time and time again to be a stronger model than huge and encumbered. However, the majority of collectives collapse because they make the fundamentally incorrect assumption that everyone is in it for the group. The reality is that everyone is in it for themselves – hard as that may sound. Is there a way to forge a systems which doesn’t shun this behaviour but embraced and accommodate it?

A change is as good as a rest

Smart people know that finding other smart people is the holy grail. Unfortunately smart people have a tendency to get bored when confronted with repetitive tasks. Is there a way to let the smart people move around the eco-system to keep them around for longer?

Trust obviously needs to be earned but can it be spent?

How can I trust people I don’t know? What is the mechanism to (try) to insure that the long term gain through participation is more attractive than the short term gain of shafting somebody? Wouldn’t it be great if you had an internal economy which rewarded positive actions – random acts of kindness if you will – but that these rewards, these ‘trust points’  can be traded for goods & services or just plain cash?

Bit of a mess but going to post this now but will come back to it soon. Comments welcome.