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What more can I say? February 2, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation.
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That is all.

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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Smoke on the water October 31, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
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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.

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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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You gave you away October 21, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
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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.

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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.
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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 just called…to say… August 26, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in social networks, technology.
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I have Skype running pretty much constantly on my computer due to being a long way from home. I like being able to talk for free to any of my friends back home, or indeed any friends in other part sof the world, and I look forward to a day when ubiquitous Internet access makes ridiculous carrier plans a thing of the past and blows the communications space wide open, with access for all.

Until that day however, we make do with what we have. And as I was doing this last night a message came in over Twitter from my dad back in Australia. We went back and forth and then I asked him why I never saw him on Skype. He responded with this:

dad-twitter

Now, you can argue Skype provides an entirely different service to the above or you can argue that it crosses over in a few really key places. It isn’t hard to imagine Facebook implementing its own video chat service, and this was heavily rumoured back in May. Add to this ongoing concerns about the future of Skype’s underlying technology, and what we have left is a legacy of arguably Europe’s biggest VC success story (in 2005 eBay ponied up ~US$3.3 billion) winding up in the hands of a company that had no idea what to do with it (and may soon go the way of Pets.com).

The ultimate take-away is, for me, about sticking to what you do.

Or put another way, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

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Let’s give them something to talk about July 6, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, technology, work/life.
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So while waiting for Toronto‘s subway system to get its act together this morning, I caught Clay Shirky‘s latest online lecture, given as part of the TED series. The title, “How Twitter, Facebook and cell phones can make history” does a lousy job of conveying the depth of information and the ideas contained within. Back in November I touched on issues around social media and the gross misunderstanding of what was important in this new revolution, making the following statement:

It is a period that will forever be known as a time where it became as easy to create content as it was to consume it. THAT is the important part of what is going on.

Now, I’m on the record as being a fan of smart people agreeing with me, and in this case, Clay’s latest talk is bang on the money.

The moment we’re living through is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.

He says it far more eloquently than I, granted, and the rest of his talk is loaded with fantastic insights and examples of how technologies, once ubiquitous, develop interesting uses (and not the other way around). The TED Talk is below. Enjoy, then go change the world.

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Best digital work this week – June 7th, 2009 June 7, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, digital strategy, social media, technology, Video Games.
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Hi,

This is an ongoing series I’m doing rounding up the most interesting digital work I’ve come across in the past week. Sometimes it won’t necessarily be new, it’s amazing what can slip under the radar. If you find something you think is worth checking out, please leave me a note in the comments!

Cheers,

David

P.S. This post is best enjoyed with some Motown on in the background and a glass of wine/ice-cold beer.

—-

This week has been somewhat of an odd one, I’ve been fixated on augmented reality (henceforth referred to as “AR”) and have thus been scouring the web in search of the latest and greatest while trying to concoct ways to foist it on clients. Aside from just geeking out over it though, I really think there’s an opportunity to tell some interesting stories in ways that have previously eluded marketers. Mini started off with a cute but ultimately shallow AR spot, I like what Ray Ban have done though, upping the stakes ever so slightly and making sure to use the medium to do something others can’t (THE rule of ANY advertising: what can we do here that our friends in other disciplines can’t?).

As has been called out in other places however, not offering the option to “BUY NOW!” is a wasted opportunity.

In the interests of pushing things forward, I also came across a mad genius Russian raising the interactivity stakes, creating an environment virtual characters could interact with and makign it accessbile from your mobile (if your mobile happens to be a Nokia N95).

And I couldn’t bring this up without of course pointing you in the direction of a video I found and lost a long time ago, bless the Japanese for all they have brought us:

Experiential markteters: take this and run with it. Please.

Now, as I am a big proponent of brands getting more into the facilitation of experiences and services in more of a sponsor sort of way, I was a big fan of this new webservice, Supercook. The premise is simple: punch in the ingredients you have lying around and let Supercook display recipes that match what you already have in the pantry.

Dear Heinz,

Why are you not all over this?

Hugs and kisses,

Gillespie.

Moving on, in a great example of transparency, however cultivated I’m sure it is, I had no idea the Obama White House was running its own Flickr photostream. All companies who sell people-powered service please take note: putting a human face on what you do will always, always bring your customers closer to what you do. Next thing you know there’ll be a Get Satisfaction feedback form on the official White House page.

Adding another section to platform cold war going on right now, a game called Spymaster has launched a closed beta. “What is so special about a game being in closed beta?” I hear you ask. Well, not much, except it has been built on and is to be played using Twitter. Mashable have a great round-up of it, and while this shouldn’t be all that surprising given the myriad of web services already available, it’s interetsing to see people extend Twitter’s platform into a realm of sheer entertainment.

Last but not least, I couldn’t help but share this Brazillian site encouraging people to…errm…urinate while in the shower as opposed to the toilet. I can’t say it’s a practice I’ll be indulging in, and while I risk exposing myself for the hypocrit I am by including this site even amidst the lack of meaningful interaction between the site and its visitors beyond obligatory links out to various social networks, the execution is lovely and put a smile on my face.

Really, what more can we ask than that?

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Saddle up your horses, we got a trail to blaze May 27, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
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Over at Mashable I caught site of a service called RT2Buy (from company Twitpay) which is hooked into Twitter and PayPal, allowing purchasing and money transfer over the space of 140 characters. In exposing platform upon which people could build services early on, Twitter made a very savvy move which puts it head to head with the likes of Facebook, Microsoft etc. in more ways than one.

While people continue to duke it out at a site level, I’m super-bullish on the browser-as-platform. Instead of waiting for traffic to reach a site before it is meaningful, the experience remains with you regardless of where you travel to online.

I commented over at AVC acknowledging the barrier to entry that exists for browser extensions, and said perhaps application developers for Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will find interesting ways to extend the experience into the browser.

My thinking is a popular game on Facebook could potentially be extended into the browser and played when not actually on the site. Yes it is the long way around, but I think the fix will arrive via a combination of it being relatively easy to do AND having it heavily incentivised. Games, photo-sharings apps etc. already with a large audience on Facebook seem to be like the most direct path at this point.

This ties back to my whole thing about seeking out great digital work that is uniquely digital; that is to say, taking advantage of the things you can do with digital platforms that you can’t do with any other. There are ways we can open the browsing experience up that will appeal to a mass audience.

Whoever figures that one out is going to have a handle on a wide open space that leapfrogs everyone.

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Image courtesy of Eduardo Amorim with thanks to
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