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Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice February 11, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
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So I went on a wee tear the other day, and in response to Bud Caddell’s pondering if the future needed agencies, posted a series of points on what was and was not going to work for companies who sought to play the kind of role in business agencies have played thus far.

As part of that piece I wrote the following:

Agencies with big technical production capabilities need to send the work out to be done more cheaply, take the best and brightest they have and remake that department as a research & development arm. There is no reason Foursquare could not have been created by Zagat’s; but nobody was working on that kind of problem.

I bold the particular line there for the following reason: FourSquare have just posted this on their Tumblog:

And today we announced a partnership with Zagat aimed at rewarding foursquare users for discovering and experiencing Zagat Rated places in their city.  If you’re in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or Boston you can now “follow” Zagat on foursquare to unlock insider tips about nearby restaurants. And of course, we’ve added a Zagat “Foodie” badge that can be unlocked by dining at some of these Zagat Rated restaurants.

…I’m just saying…

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Let’s get together and do it again January 6, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, technology.
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JP Morgan’s Imran Khan (different Imran Khan) is tipping online display advertising to grow this year by around 10.5%. Which is obviously massive. He also cites a few trends that seem to be moving the industry away from naff executions – aka the banners that neither you nor I ever click on. Which, let’s be honest, is all of them. He is talking though of a trend more towards what Banner Blog exists to share with us, which is great.

That’s not what I want to talk about though. In the same article Khan talks about mobile growing 45% (!!!) this year, winding up with $3.2 billion spent on SMS, $253 million in mobile display, and $321 million in mobile search.

A few things:

  1. As the mobile platform improves, the notion of display as distinct on mobile from PC will disappear
  2. It will however give way to services sensitive to your platform and do other interesting things around location, and device-specific functionality
  3. I don’t understand what constitutes “mobile search” – maybe someone can explain it to me?
  4. Advertisers who invade the phone like they have every other medium are going to get smacked; it’s still too personal

Aside from all of this, it’s the same Mcluhan-esque mistake (slide 44) made in online advertising where we take what we did before and force it into this new shape because we don’t know any better. If anyone truly believes the best way to use a mobile phone is to send people SMSs, they deserve the rapid demise their business will receive.

Frankly it speaks to the lack of vision and general laziness that pervades the entire ad industry. With the simple days of TVCs and print long behind it, rather than thinking about how it can reinvent itself to be relevant in a new era, it consistently mines tired ideas that speak to the silo-mentality of 20th century media.

People, look at foursquare, get in and use it for a few weeks. That, right there, is a perfect storm of local marketing, small business marketing, and mobile. If you do not see it, either try harder, or find a job where you do not need to.

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This is what I sound like December 9, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, social media.
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I had the pleasure yesterday of joining Scott Hoffman on his Cliqology podcast to talk about all the madness around Digital Strangelove, and the ideas contained in it.

We talk about the presentation itself, the response it received, and how some of the ideas contained within are going to play out over the next few years, while also looking at some things that are emerging now that weren’t obvious when I first made the deck. WordPress is being difficult and not letting me embed the player, but Tumblr is giving me no such issues, so please go here to listen to it. I’d love to hear what you think, what you thought was on the money and even more so what you think completely missed the mark.

Regardless, I had a great time doing it, and will be rejoining Scott in the new year to do a special look at how small businesses can apply some of the thinking to what they do.

Hope you enjoy it, and thanks again to Scott for having me!

**Update**

I totally forgot to mention Digital Strangelove has been nominated for Slideshare’s Zeitgeist Awards. To vote for my presentation, all you need to do is go to the page, and click the Nominate just next to my picture. Your vote is greatly appreciated, I promise to lower taxes and serve cold beer at a reasonable price.

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Ch-ch-changes November 8, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in technology.
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I just got spammed by Glue, looks like maybe their notifications engine had a little freakout and sent me a bunch of messages I had already received. Which is fine. Part of playing in this new space (both as a producer and a consumer) is sometimes things go awry. Software (i.e. anything on a screen) is in flux, it is not right – just least wrong. And it gets less wrong as people find ways to improve it.

Seeing those messages suddenly arrive though, I’m wondering about the tolerance people have for that. Nobody expected those to arrive (least of all the developers I imagine), and if it had been a major brand, then it would have been annoying. But it came from a service trying to do something good – connect people.

They’re a start-up and still getting things figured out, and that is fine. Last year people were fond of droning on and on about Twitter having scaling issues. You know what? They’re supposed to!! That is part of building a popular service!! They had scaling issues because they focused on building something people wanted – their server going down on a regular basis meant they were doing their God-damn jobs. In turn you got a service you love for free.

Give. Me. Strength.

Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

I am fond of banging on and on about my mate Tim saying “If you want to understand change you have to be part of it.” And part of that, particularly when playing with services like Glue or FourSquare or whatever it will be tomorrow, is an understanding that this shit is in flux. And it will get better and it will get worse and that is the contract you sign when you join.

It is called the bleeding edge for a reason, things get broken.

And thank God they do.

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