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Give me something I can write about January 25, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, philosophy.
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From the It’s-been-sitting-open-for-a-week-just-write-about-it Department, this great short video called Making Is Connecting from David Gauntlett, Professor of Media and Communications at Westminster University. In it he argues tools that exist to facilitate expression of one’s self are inherently more powerful than tools that exist only as an expression of someone else (think the rise of social platforms versus the dominance of 20th century media) as this connects us to the world around us.

Gauntlett backs up his ideas not with the latest digital media thinkers such as Charles Leadbeater or (my hero) Clay Shirky, but with quotes from Ivan Illich, a philosopher from the 1970’s, and William Morris, a textile designer from the 1800’s. The examples point to something I’ve been banging on about for quite some time: the rise of social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. are an interesting development, but they are successful due to facilitating expression of self, and conenction with like-minded others.

As I wrote about Posterous last March, tools will continue to rise that make it easier and easier to express yourself, creating content for others to consume in the process. Making is connecting indeed, and as the world gets radically smaller on a daily basis, understanding this becomes ever more crucial.

(found via altnytterfarlig)

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Tell me that you’ll open your eyes January 24, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, creativity.
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From the desk of Iain Tait, who wrote about this video simply saying “Best. Lecture. Ever.” My vote there goes to Sir Ken Robinson’s excellent TED talk on how schools kill creativity, but on the proviso I won’t have the chance to repeat childhood and not go to school, then this is certainly the next best thing.

The speaker in question is Professor Barry Nalebuf, author of a book called Why Not?: How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small. I only assume the ideas in the book are the same he expresses here, it’s earned a spot on my Amazon Wish List and it’s probably worth a spot on yours too.

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What time is love? January 13, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, creativity, technology.
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From the equal parts genius/niceness that is Andy Whitlock and the team at Poke.

In December, we had a hack day at Poke. In a nutshell, we had 24 hours to come up with an idea and make it an online reality…Our team’s idea was to create an egg-timer that served up a Youtube video to match the exact length your egg needed to be boiled for. No staring at the egg. No staring at a boring timer. Just watch the video and you’re done. And it dishes up different videos depending on how you like your egg. Have a look for yourself over at eggwatchers.com.

<3. Srsly. The importance of this sort of thing perhaps won’t be immediately apparent to anyone who still wants to make TV commercials. For the rest of us, we can be thankful places like Poke exist.

And dream of working there.

P.S. I’ve tagged this in the “branding” category of this blog to make a point – it’s activity like this that builds Poke’s own brand. The same way traditional agencies built their names on their work, so too do the modern shops, the difference being only one of those groups is still willing to run with the bulls.

We off that October 5, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, music, philosophy.
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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!)

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You’re invisible now August 17, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, digital strategy, technology, work/life.
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I was going to title this “Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people” but that was too obscure, even for me. 5 bonus points to the person that picks the song without using “The Google“.

So my motivation has been a little lacking lately (alliteration = triple word score), and try as I might I hadn’t been able to rekindle it. I chatted long into the night with your friend and mine Matt Granfield who pointed me to his recent piece on sourcing the appropriate place to express a particular thought. I read it and it rang true, though it uncovered another thought of mine, that being a general wondering how long we will maintain digital identities we segment into neat boxes as if our own lives existed in a similar fashion.

And that’s when it occurred to me that something had recently clicked inside my head, and all of a sudden I realised that even using the word “digital” felt utterly redundant. When it permeates so much of what we do on a day to day basis it ceases to make sense in drawing any distinction. Having an afore-mentioned neat little box for it has worked until now, because for a long time it existed in a way we could separate and escape from. Now however we’re in a place where it no longer makes sense to segment it, and to not include some sort of digital element to a campaign, a product, a service, whatever is to commit commercial suicide (extreme viewpoint I know, prove me wrong!).

While this thought was buzzing around my head I swung by TIGS, as Faris had posted plenty while I’d been sunning myself in France. He, of course, had gotten here a little bit before me but along the same line of thinking, having said

Increasingly I’m finding the work ‘digital’ more of a hindrance than a help. It’s too broad to mean anything.

in the same post he linked a great Slideshare presentation from Helge Tennø, Strategic Director of Screenplay, an Oslo, Norway-based agency. Helge’s presentation is simply titled “Post-Digital Marketing”, and while I’m loathe to attach a new name to it, it seems to make sense. Have a look at the deck, it’s really quite lovely.

Of course Iain Tait beat us all there, telling me early in ’08 “digital is not a thing anymore”. I didn’t get it at the time, but I do now. My only concern is having canned UGC, social media, and now “digital” itself, I’m going to need to invent some new things just to shit on them.

And I’m quite OK with that. And I’m OK with not writing about “digital”, in fact I’m excited about it.

“You’re excited by a blog ostensibly about nothing?”

Yes.

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Show me the way July 15, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, technology, work/life.
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From the “I-have-too-had-girlfriends!” department, Japan’s Information Architects released and delivered straight to my door their latest Web Trend Map, an ongoing series mapping the Internet to various public transport systems. Version 4 which has just been released is the Internet mapped onto Tokyo’s Metro System. If I’m at Wired and I want to get to Digg, I have to take the News Line to The Huffington post, get on the Domain Train to Google, then switch onto the Filter Line to wind up at Digg.

One part document of how far we’ve come, one part time capsule for us to look back and say “Remember when…?”, the poster is shipping now, and even the most laid back of hipsters in the agency have swung by my office, stood back and said “…that’s actually quite cool.”

At just under 3′ by 4′, it is a fine addition to, well, any surface you care to put it on.

Get yours today.

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This is the great adventure April 13, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, business strategy, conversation, creativity, storytelling.
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Every time I play a gig, people ask me if I’m nervous, which I almost always am. And I think that is the way it is supposed to be – if I’m not nervous then nothing is at stake. If nothing is at stake then why am I here? What am I going to learn I don’t already know? What will the audience experience if I’m not pushing myself to some place I haven’t been before; if I know I’m not going to fall, there is simply no elation in flight.

Your friend and mine Sean Howard touches on these points in a recent post, The Scariest Thing I’ve ever Done. In it heleverages an eBook he published called The Passion Economy (rockstars Gavin Heaton and Katie Chatfield contribute as well). It’s a candid assessment of his work, and he’s honest about fis failings. More to the point though, he makes a case for purposefully putting yourself into those awkward and unknown territories. He’s preaching to the choir with me, and, I hope, you as well.

If he’s not, then why are you here?

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Up where we belong March 30, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, digital strategy.
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Since the demise of social media (in my head) I’ve been struggling to get excited about something again. I was sitting thinking about opportunities for a client this morning, and I was reminded of the enthusiasm I talked about the potential of browsers with. This stems from a beautiful execution last year by Poke London on behalf of Orange called Balloonacy, which purported to be (and who is going to argue) the first Internet balloon race (I just noticed they won an award for it too, as it should be!).

The (thoroughly sexy) idea here is Balloonacy didn’t quite exist anywhere, rather it played out over the pages of people who took part, and, flying left to right over the screen you would land on new web pages when you went off the right-hand side. It was an app that didn’t require Facebook or an iPhone, it was a campaign that didn’t require a media buy. It was in fact an execution that could only have been done online, and there is so little work out there we can really say that about.

I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to get something in the browser off the ground for this client, let’s be honest there’s a barrier to entry, not to mention compatability issues, but in the same way processing is getting faster, the walls around technology are getting lower, which means more people participate, which means we get where we’re going faster than we did before.

As I said over at Socialized when the web was abuzz with Skittles nonsense, we’re all leveraging each other’s work, and getting there together.

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Do androids dream of these electric sheep? March 19, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation, creativity, Viral.
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Just found the below via Crackunit, which is a lot of fun. Watch.

Your friend and mine, Julian Cole, said the key to going viral is friendship. Which is nonsense. Even if Jules and I are friends (which we are).

The key to going viral is having something interesting to share, and finding it interesting or amusing regardless of whether you’re somehow attached to it or not. And as we all find different stuff amusing and/or interesting, that is harder than it would seem.

For instance, if you had told me yesterday I was going to blog about sheep with LED lights strapped to their backs, I would have assured you you were quite mistaken.

And there you have it.

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The end has no end March 17, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, social media, web 2.0.
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If you haven’t seen the incredible work of Kutiman yet, make it your bid-ness to do so today. His remix of not only music but words and vision, all taken from YouTube clips is nothing short of amazing. Faris dropped some science around this the other day, delivering the following quote which sums it up (equal parts nicely and awkwardly):

It’s because media has become much easier to reproduce thanks to the radical decentralisation of the economics of cultural production [which is the phrase I'm backing as a substitute to social media - I'm not very hopeful it will catch on.]

We all know how I feel about social media. I think Faris “radical decentralisation” is more easily summed up by simply stating it is now as easy to create content as it is to consume it.

Perhaps we need to extend that to being “recreate” content?

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