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I love it when we do what we do because we do what we do until it’s done January 14, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in intent.
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Can I get an “Amen!”?

Found via the lovely Conversation Agent.

Tell the whole world the truth is back November 15, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in intent, work/life.
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Doc Searls
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve spent the last couple years talking about intent in various guises. Sometimes related to marketing, sometimes to business, but always, always at the heart of what anyone is doing. It has become an intrinsic part of what I write about, as anyone who has been with me for a little while will attest.

In February 2008 I penned a piece looking at Facebook’s advertising ecosystem (things have changed dramatically since) and referenced a piece by your friend and mine Doc Searls on The Intention Economy. This phrase showed up again in a presentation I did called Digital Strangelove, and I realised just today, after stumbling across Doc referencing that presentation (tremendous honour and incredibly humbling) that despite spending a long time making sure the appropriate references were in place and credits given, I had not tipped my hat to Doc and his original article which clearly made an impression on me.

Thankfully the medium within which we work allows for easy retraction, correction and re-dissemination of correct information – if we choose to take advantage of it. I have updated my deck with a link to Doc’s original piece in the credits, and wanted to take the time to acknowledge the source of that phrase. Additional credit I can only add by stealing from Sir Isaac Newton: if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Thanks Doc.

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On the road again October 29, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, intent, marketing, philosophy, work/life.
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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.

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

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, intent, social networks, strategy.
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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.

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I’m a New York City man March 17, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in intent, storytelling.
2 comments

“I am trying to draw every person in New York.” – Jason Polan.

A few thoughts:

  • I love a big, hairy, audacious goal, and this is exactly that
  • Faber Castell, Caran D’ache, Canson, etc. should be all over this
  • It’s a nice extension of Jason’s own brand as an artist
  • This feels like a visualisation of Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
  • The trick is going to be in catching the moment rather than the person, the intent rather than the outcome.

Found via Andrew Cafourek’s tumblog. I struggle to think of a better way to pass the time.

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Intent = stuff white people like March 13, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, intent, philosophy.
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“People have a really good  ability to see through you projects on the Internet that are just done to try and make you famous.”

Great quote. This is why I bang on about INTENT!

Watch this Google talk, from Christian Lander, author of brilliant blog Stuff White People Like.

Strategy | Intent | Persistence (and tigers and bears OH MY!) December 8, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, business strategy, digital strategy, industry news, intent, philosophy, work/life.
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Digital strategy is a business decision, not a marketing decision. That doesn’t mean your marketing team shouldn’t be in the room, it means everyone else should be there with them.

Julian Cole wrote a piece a few months back saying “Don’t trust an agency with your digital strategy.” It does then beg the question (if I may, for a moment, speak client-side) “Then whom shall I trust in your festering cesspool of sharks, narcissists and hopeless egomaniacs?

Good question.

A single unit needs to own a company’s strategy, and they need to be able to talk about each channel with authority. That sounds like a no-brainer I know, so I’m going to put this out there and see how it feels: you won’t find it anywhere where the last name of an ad giant from yester-year hangs their name on the front door. That isn’t because they don’t have intelligent folk from all disciplines working for them, that is because their business models and internal practices will not permit the structural changes required to achieve genuine innovation and next-generation creativity for their client’s businesses, let alone their own.

If anyone is hearing that for the first time, I promise I’m not the first.

I can’t say I know all of the answers, or even any of them. But not enough people are asking the question. Or questions; you can phrase them in a myriad of ways, let’s maybe start with something like this: why does Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne now have four people in its planning department, none of them digital natives? Tim, who worked there as a member of the planning team up until a week ago, had this to say:

I’ve been arguing for a long time now that as product, advertising, sales and service, all get closer together, advertising agencies really need to become creative marketing consultancies…some drastic restructuring needs to take place.

Drastic restructuring then did take place, though perhaps not along the lines he was thinking.

David Armano has talked about a move away from the silver bullet, much like Tim has. I took a personality test recently that told me I rated close to 0 when it came to perfectionism, but was a polar opposite when it came to creativity and a love of thinking. Call me biased (I won’t argue), but that sounds like something very different to where we’re currently at, and given that test it is no wonder I’m a fan of this new direction. I’m also a fan of offering substance, something advertising doesn’t do very well at all.

I’ve talked a lot about intent, and I think this chart speaks to the heart of the same thing I’m on about. It is also the same thing Seth Godin means when he says the following:

Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying.

Persistence is having the same goal over and over.

My friend Michael Hewitt-Gleeson calls it SDNT: Start Do Notice Think.

I call it intent, and when I talk about it, I talk about constanty refining the work we’re doing to ensure the outcome is matching the intent; if it isn’t we change it until it is.

Intent is at the heart of everything we do, and the group that owns your strategy should have it etched onto their brains, directing nothing less than strategy that delivers the intended result tomorrow better than it did today. Starting here I’m advocating a move away from the single-minded proposition to the statement of intent; it is fluid and flexible, and it ensures the goal is forever just over the horizon. It will keep you and your organisation passionate and motivated and restless.

And that is how it should be.

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New businesses reside in the linked economy November 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, creativity, intent, strategy, technology, web 2.0.
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4 comments
Threadless

 

Image via Wikipedia

I spend a lot of time with friends thinking about where tomorrow’s businesses lie, and I’m on the record that great content with good intentions and an open philosophy will be at the heart of the real money-makers in the next decade.

With that in mind, I’ve just read a fascinating post from Mark Ury who is an Experience Architect at Blast Radius. Mark ties together a few loose strands of thinking and comes out with something entirely his own. I particularly love the below principles he borrows from Jeff Jarvis

Can applying “link economy” strategies work for “traditional” companies? Here are Jeff Jarvis’ four principles. And below is a modified version, applied to companies in pursuit of innovation:

1. All companies must be transparent. Your talent base and IP must be exposed and connected. They’re not useable unless they’re linked.

2. The recipient of IP and talent is the party responsible for monetizing them. The more you enable the flow of IP and talent AWAY from you, the more it comes BACK—with greater value and skills to monetize. Just watch how Hollywood operates.

3. A porous organization is the key to efficiency. In other words: do what you do best and link to the rest.

4. There are opportunities to add value atop the IP and talent layer. This is where one can find business opportunities: by managing abundance rather than the old model of managing scarcity. The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity.

…which he applies to Threadless during the course of the post…

The result: a business that manages abundance (t-shirt ideas), provides value through transparency (the audience becomes both editor and consumer), and values the flow of IP and talent through them—rather than by them. (Doc Searls calls this kind of value “a shift from “making money with” to “making money because.”)

Great piece. And it contains some links to some other fascinating reads on “the linked economy”. Mark also takes the time to talk about opportunities that exist around monetising the aggregation of information and content, of which Threadless is a prime example (as is Flickr, YouTube, MySpace etc.).

The idea here is this: find the verticles in seemingly well-mined markets, and you will open up doors the rest of us never knew existed.

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As she rises to her apology August 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation, digital strategy, intent, social media, web 2.0.
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2 comments

Somewhere early Sunday morning (sober, I swear Mum!) I was talking to a friend about intent, and the revelation of intent through actions. She suggested action wasn’t enough, that consistency was required. Consistency then perhaps becomes the actual revealer of intent – or at least of priorities.

You can have the best intentions in the world, but your priorities will always one-up you with a slow reveal (or sometimes not so slow) of what your true intentions were.

This is no where more prevalent than corporate intrusion into social media spaces, where increased sales is the intent, revealed by the lack of consistency (which itself a form of consistency I suppose). I’ve actually been talking clients down from the social media ledge recently on account of so many other aspects of their online being fundamentally flawed. I’m always amazed at an organisation’s willingness to drop $50,000 on a “viral” campaign while being happy to ignore things that are fundamentally wrong with their main website.

The fact is we used to call social media “community management”, and much the same way that had a dedicated employee playing that role, social media requires the same. Companies who want to get involved have to ask themselves how much they want to get involved, and how much they’re willing to invest in it. It will only work if you are consistent, you can only be consistent if it is somebody’s job to handle every day.

If you’re not willing to hire someone to do the day-to-day on your organisation’s social media, to deliver consistency, you need to pick a different game to play.

Tomorrow we’ll look at why the barrier to entry is more than a 30-second spot (and why that’s a good thing).

Image courtesy of spud murphy, with thanks to compfight.

More thoughts on intent… June 18, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, digital strategy, intent, marketing, web 2.0.
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When people talk about campaigns being exposed, what they’re seeing is the revelation of the intent behind the activity. Julian Cole talked about a Ford ad last week which summarised this perfectly. Ford had made it reasonably clear their ad was fake and they were just having some fun, prompting Julian to write.

people enjoy…content for what it is…This is a great example of why full disclosure works in the social media space.

The intent here was to entertain, not to fool. The result is engaging and hats off to Ford for having the stones to do this, and not have an intent to deceive at the core of what they were doing. The added bonus here is they get blogged about for All The Right Reasons(TM), and what could be better than that?

So, we’ll refer to it as intent, but what is at the core of the campaigns you’re building for the brands you work with?

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