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Moving day February 14, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging.
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An oh-so-short note to say I’ve just finished moving this blog to a new location. I’d love you to click here; it will add the new RSS feed into your current reader, and you only need to do it once. I decided to move as WordPress wasn’t quite giving me the flexibility I wanted, and the new platform, Tumblr, simply facilitates easier expression. As those of you who’ve been with me for a while will know, this revolution we’re in right now is driven by the increase in expressive capabilities; it’s not the technology that is interesting, but what people do with it.

Thanks for your time, and as always I look forward to continuing the conversation at the new Sw’ei Industries blog: Notes From The Revolution.

All the best,

David

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Standing on the rooftops, shouting out June 4, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, branding, conversation, digital strategy, technology, work/life.
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I think I need to start a competition amongst readers to see who can pic the song each post’s title is from. Here’s a hint:

Anyway, your friend and mine Tim is fond of saying “To understand change, you have to be part of it.” Now, he perhaps didn’t come up with that himself, but I am always reminded of him whenever I think of it, which is as good an exercise in branding as you’ll find.

With this in mind, I have spent some time this morning trying to bring my own silos of conversation together. My marketing self tends to exist only on this site, but my musician self is spread across Facebook, MySpace, iLike, YouTube, and God knows where else. Oh, not to mention another website of his own. Now, I do my best to keep my two selves separate, but bear with me for the purposes of this conversation.

It goes without saying that nobody working full time has the means to update all of the above sites, let alone engage the way we all insist we should. On top of that, there’s a requirement for authors who establish these sites to get a little more versed in the nuances of the technology than they’re otherwise compelled (or able) to do. What it means is more time spent tweaking the various underpinnings of a site or service and less time doing the things you started a site for in the first place. Cue frustrated creators and audiences in silos.

David Jones (a person, not the store) is a guy I’ve come across here in Canada. I spotted him tweeting one day “Don’t tell me what you would have done, tell me what you did.” – and that really struck a chord. Talk of best practices is all well and good, but evidence of how you’ve implemented it for yourself and others is much better. For the time being, until the big players in this space decide to make their platforms talk to each other, we all get to take part in a zero-sum race to a dead end.

Now I can understand each platform’s desire to control the artist dashboard, as the eyeballs are currently what gives them value. The reality however is if the smaller players don’t make it easier to pick up syndicated content, they’re going to see a reduction in usage.

I want to make it easy for people to consume my content in whatever manner best suits their existing habits. Turning that into a reality however currently means an ultimately unsustainable adjustment to my own. Something’s gotta give.

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I could never take the place of your man May 11, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, conversation, strategy.
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When I made games, every now and then I’d see a project underway where all the code was written by a single individual. That individual would invariably write it in such a fashion that it was only decipherable by them. This became an issue when the project got sufficiently far along that there wasn’t time to re-write the core code (it became, in other words, “too big to fail”. Har har). The company would then be in an interesting position – they could fire the programmer and lose the work, they could assign someone else to work along side the programmer who would no doubt have the most miserable job in the whole building deciphering and documenting the spaghetti or they could…? I don’t know.

I was thinking about this as I reviewed the top 100 brands on Twitter. Upon investigation there should be a massive asterisk which leads you to “In April. Over a few days.” – but this is not the point. The list itself is a collection of the usual suspects, and where possible their Twitter name is included and linked to.

What I find interesting here is at #21 Ford appears. Not just Ford though – Ford’s social media evangelist, Scott Monty. Nowhere else on this list does an individual appear alongside a company listing, in fact nowhere else does an individual appear at all.

Is Ford or Scott Monty doing well here?

Is Ford or Scott Monty doing well here?

We can assume, at some point, Scott won’t work for Ford. This creates an interesting dillemma wherein an individual not tied to the company potentially takes the good will built up with them when they leave. We’ve seen this previously with community managers, but it has for the most part remained within the confines of tech companies. Less risky strategies have been seen from the likes of Southwest Airlines where they encourage their employees to blog and engage in social media, but do a good job of tying it under a single site.

Personally, I’m a big fan of putting a human face on this sort of initiative, in fact I don’t think it works without it. It will be interesting to see however how it plays out once Scott no longer calls Ford home.

I really believe you can’t pay someone to engage, you can only reward them for it. In this case, the reward is a job.

But this is why you can’t just pull in the new recruit from the marketing team to take up the mantle. If they don’t already engage, they’re not going to do it because of a paycheque, not in a way that resonates.

Because that can’t be bought.

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I send a message March 9, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, social media, technology, web 2.0.
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Image representing Posterous as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Those who know me know getting under social media’s skin is one of my pet projects, only because the current discussions (I feel) miss the point, which I believe is the democratisation of platforms from which people have the opportunity to speak on a mass scale. More simply put, with the advent of easy blogging tools (like WordPress which runs this site), I get to spend my time thinking about what i want to say as opposed to how the infrastructure underneath it all works.

I wondered aloud last August when and how this sort of thing might come to impact the creation of music. Along came MelodySphere which had a simple shot at creating loops collaboratively but in a browser. Nice, but awkward to use. While the newest kid on the block (my block anyway) doesn’t get us there, it takes us one step closer to the removal of publishing barriers. Posterous allows you to email text, video, music and pictures to an address and then automagivally does the rest. You don’t even need to sign-up as you can see from my simply created Posterous page. It gives you a URL (which you can alter later if you wish) and instantly publishes whatever you sent. In my case, I shot them an MP3 of a song of mine and a minute later got a reply with the URL.

I love this, seriously love the removal of yet another barrier to people raising their voices, and while the geeks out there might bemoan the approach of the madding crowds, I believe the revolutions that will lead us out of economic nonsense will be born of the work being done by folk who are trying to make it easier for ideas and thoughts to be spread, and taking down anything that might stand in their way.

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Postcards from the edge January 5, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, work/life.
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I think this is what they call coming up for air.

So it’s a little less than -10 outside, though the sky is blue and I am warm as I sit banging away on the keyboard from Cafe Latte, a cute little coffee shop run by an old Italian couple who emigrated a long time ago to teach sociology (him) and engineering (her) at a university in Edmonton. Funny how things work out.

In the rush to get off the island, I missed a few things which I need to rectify. I wanted to thank Julian Cole for a great time in Sydney, and for being the fine human being that he is. Scott Drummond who is one of my best friends and biggest sources of inspiration, because of rather than inspite of his incredible fro. Also the man who is primarily responsible for this little site of mine, Simon Chen, someone who was endlessly encouraging of my meager efforts in the space and who taught me a valuable lesson; that it was almost impossible to be too opinionated.

As I move from the Australian marketing community and start to ingratiate myself with the Canadian one, I’m noticing a few things as I walk around town:

  • Western culture is western culture.
  • It’s remarkable how different things aren’t.
  • It’s not the thinking that is lagging in Australia, it is the clients (who are slowly but surely catching up anyway)
  • The world over the problems are the same, we just pronounce the words differently.

I’m enjoying having the time to breathe right now, it’s something I didn’t do enough last year, though it’s possible I was just waiting on the right air to breathe in. In the words of the great philosopher F. Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Happy new year everyone.

Break’s over.

Tools for the linked economy November 26, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, business strategy, social media.
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Last week I was talking about business opportunities that exist around the aggregation and sorting of information, something Fred Wilson just wrote about:

This gets me excited. Because someone could do so much more with this idea. We have a few companies that are trying to extract meaning out of content on the web. Adaptive Blue recognizes pages about things (books, music, film, stocks, wine, people, etc). Outside.in recognizes posts and articles about places (neighborhoods, schools, parks, etc). And Zemanta recognizes concepts in blog posts and recommends content to add to your post.A VC, Nov 2008

I’m digging this notion of building a business around the curation of content right now – not that I’m looking to start one, but there are opportunities to leverage this moment with the right execution and the right brand(s).

Which of course means the race is on to see which ad agency fucks it up first.

(Incidentally, I use Zemanta in regular posts as well as having used it to re-blog the above quote from Fred. It is a fantastic service, any blogger reading this should go check it out – you’ll see the little re-blog image in the bottom-right corner of this post)

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The company and kindness of strangers October 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, social media, web 2.0, work/life.
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A month or so ago I was interviewed by Brad Howarth on social media and blogging for an article he was writing for B&T. That has just hit the news stands, which is great. You can find the article on page 34 (it’s also available online).

Brad also contributed an article to Smart Company and I’ve been included in a list of 15 of Australia’s best business blogs. A couple friends such as Julian Cole and Gavin Heaton are included, along with a great new blog I’ve only recently discovered, Get Shouty which is written by The White Agency’s Katie Chatfield. In addition there’s a collection of other blogs I haven’t had the chance to read yet, but I’m looking forward to getting into them.

One thing I’m quoted as saying in the B&T article which is absolutely true is the comments on this blog at times have been far more insightful and valuable than the post they were attached to. To everyone who stops by and shares their two cents, it is really appreciated.

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You can’t hurry love August 18, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, music, web 2.0, work/life.
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What if people knew what this moment felt like?

What if people knew what this moment felt like?

We’ll get to the stuff I was talking about yesterday in due course, it ain’t goin’ nowhere baby. And what I have on my mind is much bigger than that.

So I was reading this piece on movement through the web which touches on notions the web having made creativity itself more accessible – mind you it does this in a fairly esoteric fashion wherein a bunch of stuff does straight over my head).

It got me thinking about how the advent of blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, TypePad etc. gave people the ability to express themselves, or at least opened other avenues to express themselves. if like me, you believe creative is not a department and we’re all inherently creative as a by-product of being human, then that’s pretty exciting.

YouTube, Vimeo and a bunch of other video services (such as Seesmic and Oovoo) have allowed people to express themselves in a similar fashion via video. What I’m thinking about though is something that enhances people’s ability to express themselves musically. Yes we have Last.fm, Pandora, what have you. These all function around recommendation engines, I’m interested in tools that allow people to make music more easily.

I hear you saying “But I can’t read music.” You know what? Most people with a blog couldn’t spot the difference between a verb and an adjective without the help of Wikipedia, I’ve played guitar for 15 years, I’m less good at reading music now than I was when I was 13, which is much more than The BeeGees ever could.

The issue is this: people love to construct barriers to entry. They love to put up walls around things they have achieved in a move towards exclusivity; if everyone can do what I do, then it isn’t actually an achievement.

How does that relate to blogging? In terms of raw self-expression, blogging has enabled more voices to be heard than any other publishing medium in the history of the world. The individual impact may not carry that of Tolstoy or Goerge Bernard Shaw, but that makes it no less valid a form of expression, and the collective voice is far greater.

Being a musician myself, I’m wondering how music can be made more accessible – not the acquiring of other people’s music but the actual creation. Maybe part of the equation of putting value back into the 4 megabyte files everyone is downloading is sharing more of the experience of creating them in the first place. Maybe that will only serve to drive down the value further, but as the perceived value continues to approach zero, what do we have to lose?

I’ll happily acknowledge this post is a complete shot from the hip, but I really believe theres something in this.

My only question is: where to from here?

It’s hard to say you love someone (and it’s hard to say you don’t) July 17, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, web 2.0, work/life.
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I am currently crunching out my latest column for Marketing Magazine’s…hmm…September issue I think, I tend to lose track. So my thoughts are preoccupied with telling the offline marketers how to get the conversation started while delivering a few home truths, we’ll see how that goes.

But I’m also grinning ear to ear as I type this, so much good work out there this morning, and rather than talk about one thing, I want to point you in a few directions.

1. Gaping Void – a recent post from Hugh Macleod which really hits home for me at the moment:

It’s good to be young and full of dreams. Dreams of one day doing something “insanely great”. Dreams of love, beauty, achievement and contribution. But understand they have a life of their own, and they’re not very good at following instructions. Love them, revere them, nurture them, respect them, but don’t ever become a slave to them. Otherwise you’ll kill them off prematurely, before they get the chance to come true.

2. My good friend Julian Cole has a social media framework which is a great piece of thinking, it should be read and pondered and then executed. No questions.

3. Lastly, because I’m in a goofy mood, XKCD. It is a regular web comic, often bizarre, rather amusing.

OK, back to the column. Happy Friday everyone, let’s go light on the marketing today and put a little bit extra into the stuff that really matters. Deal?

Deal.

Twitter; the new talkback? January 30, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, digital strategy, web 2.0.
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Twitter Logo

A good friend just asked me if I really thought Twitter was going to take off, and I guess around that are a host of questions on the value it offers to its users. Maki has some great thoughts on ways it adds value to its users (thanks to Jennifer Laycock for the link), but one thing that just occurred to me as my friend asked the question and I glanced at my laptop to see the conversations roll past is that it seems to operate the same way talk-back radio did (or does for those who still listen to radio).

My Dad pointed out to me years ago the things the talk-back guys were discussing were invariably the things that made newspaper headlines the next day. In the same fashion, the conversations on Twitter revolve around other newsworthy pieces of information. They may not make the front page of the New York Times, they may not even make the front page of the New York Times website, but they will invariably make it up on somebody’s blog, read by any number of people from one to a million.

In this fashion, I love Shel Israel’s notions of global neighbourhoods. I am not American but I am about as interested in the US election as a foreigner could be, and because of this I can discuss the goings on today in Florida with people actually State-side and engage in a discussion about it; I doubt there’s an audience for US politics large enough on Australian talk-back radio to make it worth anybody’s time to take the subject on. It also reminds me of something I think I read in The Black Swan, but I can’t quite remember; you can have only three readers for your blog, but those readers are the presidents of America, China and Russia, your influence out-games the raw numbers…there’s more there I think…

So with the understanding that a blog readership, no matter how small can have a significant impact on the (on and offline) world around the writer, and for a percentage of those posts to have origins in conversations on Twitter, then I think there is a role for it to play as a topic is started by The World™, discussed on Twitter, generating a blog about that discussion which incites further discussion and winds up any number of places. Or as James Governor ironically pointed out (via Marshall Kirkpatrick), if markets are conversations then Twitter is money.

*After-thought* I went back over to Twitter to think some more and saw a note from Loic about Seesmic. If Twitter is the start of a new talk-back, Seesmic is where it is going (additional thoughts on that as I get more into the service…)

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