jump to navigation

Smoke on the water October 31, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment
Image representing Biz Stone as depicted in Cr...
Twitter’s Biz Stone (via CrunchBase)

At the recent Web 2.0 conference, Twitter search deals were announced with both Microsoft and Google, something I was pleased to see given about a week earlier I had made the prediction in Digital Strangelove (slide 178) that a deal was imminent with one of them – turns out it was both.

Twitter’s Biz Stone has gone on the record saying of all the options they are considering for a revenue model, advertising is the least appealing. My feeling on that statement is this: either they changed their minds, or they’ve done a deal to monetise the most natural part of their business while they think about the avenues they’re truly interested in pursuing. It’s akin to having a field of lavender and making a deal with local photographers to let them take pictures, all the while trying to figure out what you really want to do with all that crop.

I could be over-complicating things, an activity that is a favourite of mine as many an ex-girlfriend will attest. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is famous for saying he had little interest in a feature, such as video on an iPod, before revealing it the next quarter. I can’t help but feel the web is so eager to answer Twitter’s revenue question for them that they’ve jumped on the first clue that appeared and cried “Case closed!”

Call me paranoid, this one stays open in my book.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

On the road again October 29, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, intent, marketing, philosophy, work/life.
Tags: , , , , , ,
3 comments
Cover of
Cover of On The Road

I have had Jack Kerouac‘s On The Road given to me a gift to keep at least three times. I imagine some combination of traits my friends spotted in me (wannabe-philosopher mixed with restless-and-easily-distracted) focused their attention on this book. When people visit, they remark on the copies that line my shelf:

“You liked it enough to buy it twice?”

“No. I ignored it long enough to be given another.”

This is not about that book though. This is about perception (and a little intent).

Your friend and mine Mark Earls referenced a piece from Lynne Truss in the UK’s Sunday Times in which she states:

…I like to see what other people are reading on the bus or the train; how far they’ve got; whether they’re enjoying it. It seems to me that such information needs to be public for the good of us all and I’m sad to think of reading in public places ultimately becoming so private…

Lynne was lamenting the arrival of E-Readers and the disappearance of actual book and magazine covers from the parks and cafes and public transport systems of the world, along with the loss of a shared look or a fleeting conversation about the work at hand.

Lynne Truss’ worry stems from the removal of social identifiers in public spaces; it seems we don’t just judge a book by its cover, but the reader as well. I smile whenever I see another grown-up reading Harry Potter in public, because I remember being consumed by those books and also embarrassed to have them out in public without an 8 year old in sight. We use these things (and clothes, iPods, cars and holidays) to signal via the perceptions we assume others will have. My intent given my office wardrobe today of boho-cardigan and falling apart at the seams (but limited edition John Varvatos-collaboration) Converse sneakers, is to signal something true about myself; unfortunately that truth is little more than the clothing equivalent of the never opened copies of Kerouac’s masterpiece, or as I wrote in Everyone 2.0, you’re unique.

Just like everyone else.

I have friends (they shall remain nameless because I love them dearly) who have taken great pleasure in displaying tomes they have conquered in the name of enlightenment. These friends drew more pleasure from others seeing they had read (or at least bought) the appropriate books than perhaps they did from the work itself. On The Road is a book a selection of my friends feel I am supposed to have read, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, something someone says I am supposed to do instantly defaults to the thing I am least likely to do. Their intent is to help me appear a culturally astute and well-rounded individual; my intent is the equally pretentious attempt to thumb my nose at convention simply for the sake of it.

Now, my favourite magazine is British GQ as its collection of columnists is a veritable who’s who of the UK’s newspapers. They are regularly funny and insightful and it pains me when the publisher stoops to putting a scantily clad woman on the front cover, partly because the writing is better than that suggests but also because I then feel the need to explain to others, much as the joke about Playboy goes, “I read it for the articles.” Perception reveals, or so we would assume, intent. Perception is also said to be reality, and so given the option of tangling with the looks I imagine women might give me on the subway in the mornings, I opt for Wired and instead leave Heidi Klum in her various states of undress on my coffee table for next Sunday (sorry dear, you know how it is).

Back to the Kindle, on one hand I like where we’re heading as I could potentially just read A.A. Gill‘s column without wondering if someone’s nipple is slipping out on the other side for the rest of the train to see.

On the other hand I’m envisioning a birthday not too long from now, where a gift arrives as a download along with a note “Didn’t see it in your “Read Items” list on Amazon and thought to myself David is supposed to have read books like this!!

The identifiers are perhaps moving out of the physical world in some ways, I doubt however this will have much impact on the intentions we have for everyone else’s lives.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

I feel the earth move under my feet October 28, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, intent, social networks, strategy.
Tags: , , , ,
5 comments

There’s so much talk about platforms – Facebook-this, Twitter-that, more specific but no better than loose conversations about blogging or podcasts. I overheard someone say “It’s OK, there’s a slide on Twitter in the client deck”, which stopped me in my tracks. These tools are not the kinds of things that make sense when being described; who in their right mind would want to tolerate 140-character updates among a sea of people you barely knew? It in no way describes the vibrancy of using Twitter, nor the opportunities inherent in it.

Your friend and mine Tim Beveridge has a great saying: in order to understand change, you have to be part of it (it probably isn’t his saying, but I’m not sure where he got it from, so it’s his now).

The point is the best way to explain Twitter to somebody is to take 30 seconds to sign them up, another two minutes to follow some people they might be interested in, and then sit back and let them have at it. On the (often false) assumption you have a strategic reason for using Twitter, if your client doesn’t already use it then paying it lip service is not going to get you anywhere. Only by engaging  do people actually understand, or as I just commented over at AVC, being heard is not enough, you must also be understood.

Starting a strategy conversation by talking about a platform is a recipe for disaster. It is like deciding what kind of house you are going to be build based whatever hammer you have handy. It needs to begin with intent. Every. Single. Time.

For those who’ve just joined us here by way of Digital Strangelove, thanks so much for stopping by. We’re going to keep talking about intent for a bit, at least until the rest of the world starts to understand the power of it.

Image courtesy of onkel_wart, with thanks to compfight.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Commented on “A VC” October 26, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Shana,

Thanks so much for your thoughts. The point on McLuhan is one I’ve been wrestling with for a while. I got a great comment from Rob Long on this. Rob works in Hollywood, and his perspective was that we’re slowly coming full circle back to being around the campfire. Now maybe that is more semantics than reality, but I do think given the ubiquity of media, we’re living in a very different world to the one McLuhan occupied. I’m not proposing moving beyond his thoughts for the sake of it (indeed I have a lot of his stuff still to work through), but I think it is an idea worth grappling with.

I’m going to be pondering your comment for the rest of the day… =]

Originally posted as a comment
by davidgillespie
on A VC using DISQUS.

Everyone wants to be the man at the top (Commented on “Howard Lindzon”) October 26, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, storytelling, strategy.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

The conversation taking place around the web about Digital Strangelove is truly blowing my mind. All I wanted to do was move the conversation forward a little, the fact so many people have taken the time to work through it, comment on it, think about it and share it means the absolute world, and it’s great getting to visit a bunch of new blogs and engage with different audiences I would never have had the chance to find out about.

Below is a response I wrote to one post in particular on Howard Lindzon’s blog to an anonymous comment that had said (and I paraphrase) “The ultimate goal is to give people what they NEED”, to which I responded:

“Name” – appreciate your thoughts. And for saying I was smart, I wish my high school teachers could see! ;]

I would suggest the ultimate goal is not to give people anything, except for an easier way to spread their own message. It is entirely unquantifiable, but I would love to know how many people with no prior experience just had a stab at recording some music because of how easy it was to use Garage Band.

At the end of the day, I don’t think you should aim to give your customer something meaningful, you should create an environment where they can give something meaningful to you. To use the Apple/Microsoft example, MS is launching a campaign for Win7 based around having listened to its users, whereas I believe it is arguable Apple’s platform tries to facilitate being able to listen to each other. A subtle but crucial difference.

Now, off to find a cushy job in a Think Tank!

(Written, for the record, on a PC. With a Mac to my left.)

Originally posted as a comment
by David Gillespie
on Howard Lindzon using DISQUS.

The Think Tank comment was due to a wry observation on the part of the poster than I had taken so many slides to say something they thought was blatantly obvious. Maybe they’re right, though other comments had come in stating how concise it was.

Each to their own.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

You gave you away October 21, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
3 comments

A few days ago I posted a presentation on where I think this space is headed. On slide 191 (yes 191) I mention something called The Three Musketeers rule, All For One or One For All. The former is siloed value creation, the latter creates value for an ecosystem.

I realised in the shower last night (keep it clean people) I had actually been thinking about this since November when I drew the below image:

I believe the Internet is, on a DNA-level, structured to create value for an ecosystem, and I believe this is why we’re seeing traditional business having a hard time playing in the new landscape, with models being destroyed and a new kind of value creation making waves.

This is also why I’m still on the fence about Facebook over the long term. Nobody can deny their growth or do anything other than applaud getting to profitability. But I feel on an instinctive level the model is All For One, it’s old media dressed up in shiny new threads, it’s a system that creates value for Facebook alone, and it’s questionable if any value is created outside of its walls.

In the presentation I included a slide of companies who are operating with a One For All approach:

Looking for a model?

Looking for a model?

If over time it transitions into One For All it will be interesting to watch. As it stands now, I can’t help but feel it is organised against the natural order of the Internet, which is open and connected. We’re seeing what happens when you do that across all kinds of industries, and it being an Internet darling does not exclude it from the same principles.

Even Rome fell people.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

You light up my life like a polystyrene hat October 20, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising.
Tags: , , , ,
6 comments

I give advertising a really hard time, partly because I work in it, and partly because it is a collection of some incredibly insightful and creative people who have chosen to try and sell more soup. I know soup needs to be sold, but I feel like after 8000 or so years of it, soup’s proposition is fairly well established.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself loving the below TED Talk from Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy UK. I originally found it via the newly-discovered (by me) brilliance of Simon Kemp, and after bristling self-righteously that someone would argue for perceived value instead of actual value, I found myself giggling at Rory and remarking to a friend how insightful he was; his delivery is so desperately English, I love it.

Watch and enjoy.

*Update* The afore-mentioned brilliant Simon Kemp is also sharp and posted a link to a Q&A done with Rory after the talk he gave.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Digital Strangelove – or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet October 19, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, best of, business strategy, digital strategy, social media, social networks, storytelling, strategy, technology.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
37 comments

I mentioned last week I had been staying in on weekends and up at night trying to get everything I was thinking about out of my head. The space I feel was created in my head is amazing, leaving room to think about a bunch of other projects I have on the go but have also played second fiddle to this.

I’m not presenting the below presentation as gospel, if I may be so bold as to quote myself, I am not looking for right, just for least wrong, as one of the premises I state in the presentation is that so much of this space will continue to change for a long time to come.

The deck covers a lot of ground, mainly from the point of view of where we are right now in the evolution of the Internet and culture, and where I think we’re going. I welcome feedback of all kinds, from bursts of agreement to arguments against each and every slide.

If I have moved the conversation along in even the slightest way, I have succeeded. As always, thanks for reading, I really appreciate your time.

I need something to believe in October 15, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, strategy.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

For the last month or so, I have locked myself away on weekends and any week night I had free, which I made most nights, in order to get a dump of informatino out of my head. I feel like last year I had or at the very least made the time to get it all down ona  regular basis via this blog. This year there’s been a bit more going on, and trying to stay on top of it all, “all” being the job that pays me, the thing that I love and this place where I do my thinking, let alone whatever may happen in my personal life has been a bit much to digest.

So sometime in September I got a big stack of Post-It notes, a Sharpie and a glass of wine, and went to town, covering my loungeroom with notes, ideas, thoughts and pieces of things I was thinking. After that I left it for a few days, then came back and organised it into a flow that made sense. Then it was a case of pulling it all into a presentation that said everything I wanted in as few words as possible. I’ve perhaps wound up a little more verbose than I ahd in mind, but I feel like I’ve arrived in a place where I can say “Yes, this right now is the summation of everything I’m thinking and feeling about this space.”

There are still a few edges I need to round out, and some great questions posed by friends whose feedback I’ve sought. I’m looking forward though to being able to think about something else, I feel like while I’ve had this deck coming together I haven’t had space to think about anything else. I’m looking forward to your feedback too – call it perhaps the Gospel According to David, it is once again a testament to my innate desire to follow interesting lines of thought, regardless of whether they’re “right”. I feel lucky to be able to experiment publicly with thoughts, and I love it when the readers of this blog come back at me with an opposing point of view. In a few days when I post it up, I hope you’ll do just that.

Imagine courtesy of jannalauren, with thanks to compfight.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

We off that October 5, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, music, philosophy.
Tags: , ,
4 comments

While looking at Katie Chatfield’s blog last night and thinking about the various ways I’d like to be like her when I grow up (I’m sure she’d say she’d like to be like her when she grows up too), I stumbled back across a post she’d made in May of this year on “done”. I liked it so much at the time I printed it out and stuck it on the glass door to my office, though I’m not sure anyone else got it (complete aside, taking the time to turn something in bits into atoms surely has to be the most you can like something, ever).

Re-blogged below for the sake of further cementing its awesome-ness, here it is in full:

Something I preach and rarely practice is the importance of just doing, and not waiting for perfect because perfect never happens. My musical self, all nerves and insecurity, decided to make good on threats to be less hypocritical, and found once it started it was actually fine and better than expected.

Done is the engine of more, and the important thing is to have done it, not talked about it. If Nike’s slogan had been “Just practice and be ready to do it at some point”, then odds are they wouldn’t be the rock star brand that they are.

The point of done is not to finish, but to get other things done. Amen.

(and we’re done!)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.