Smoke on the water October 31, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
Tags: Biz Stone, Google, Microsoft, Steve Jobs, Twitter, web 2.0
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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.
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.
On the road again October 29, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in branding, intent, marketing, philosophy, work/life.
Tags: Amazon Kindle, British GQ, Heidi Klum, Jack Kerouac, Lynne Truss, Mark Earls, Public transport
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).
…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.
Commented on “A VC” October 26, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in Uncategorized.
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Thanks so much for your thoughts. The point on McLuhan is one I’ve been wrestling with for a while. I got a great comment from Rob Long on this. Rob works in Hollywood, and his perspective was that we’re slowly coming full circle back to being around the campfire. Now maybe that is more semantics than reality, but I do think given the ubiquity of media, we’re living in a very different world to the one McLuhan occupied. I’m not proposing moving beyond his thoughts for the sake of it (indeed I have a lot of his stuff still to work through), but I think it is an idea worth grappling with.
I’m going to be pondering your comment for the rest of the day… =]
Tags: Apple, Howard Lindzon, Microsoft, Personal computer
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The conversation taking place around the web about Digital Strangelove is truly blowing my mind. All I wanted to do was move the conversation forward a little, the fact so many people have taken the time to work through it, comment on it, think about it and share it means the absolute world, and it’s great getting to visit a bunch of new blogs and engage with different audiences I would never have had the chance to find out about.
Below is a response I wrote to one post in particular on Howard Lindzon’s blog to an anonymous comment that had said (and I paraphrase) “The ultimate goal is to give people what they NEED”, to which I responded:
“Name” – appreciate your thoughts. And for saying I was smart, I wish my high school teachers could see! ;]
I would suggest the ultimate goal is not to give people anything, except for an easier way to spread their own message. It is entirely unquantifiable, but I would love to know how many people with no prior experience just had a stab at recording some music because of how easy it was to use Garage Band.
At the end of the day, I don’t think you should aim to give your customer something meaningful, you should create an environment where they can give something meaningful to you. To use the Apple/Microsoft example, MS is launching a campaign for Win7 based around having listened to its users, whereas I believe it is arguable Apple’s platform tries to facilitate being able to listen to each other. A subtle but crucial difference.
Now, off to find a cushy job in a Think Tank!
(Written, for the record, on a PC. With a Mac to my left.)
The Think Tank comment was due to a wry observation on the part of the poster than I had taken so many slides to say something they thought was blatantly obvious. Maybe they’re right, though other comments had come in stating how concise it was.
Each to their own.
You light up my life like a polystyrene hat October 20, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in advertising.
Tags: advertising, Ogilvy, Rory Sutherland, Soup, TED
I give advertising a really hard time, partly because I work in it, and partly because it is a collection of some incredibly insightful and creative people who have chosen to try and sell more soup. I know soup needs to be sold, but I feel like after 8000 or so years of it, soup’s proposition is fairly well established.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself loving the below TED Talk from , Vice-Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy UK. I originally found it via the newly-discovered (by me) brilliance of Simon Kemp, and after bristling self-righteously that someone would argue for perceived value instead of actual value, I found myself giggling at Rory and remarking to a friend how insightful he was; his delivery is so desperately English, I love it.
Watch and enjoy.
*Update* The afore-mentioned brilliant Simon Kemp is also sharp and posted a link to a Q&A done with Rory after the talk he gave.
I need something to believe in October 15, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, strategy.
Tags: Post-it note, Sharpie, Stories and Thoughts, wine
For the last month or so, I have locked myself away on weekends and any week night I had free, which I made most nights, in order to get a dump of informatino out of my head. I feel like last year I had or at the very least made the time to get it all down ona regular basis via this blog. This year there’s been a bit more going on, and trying to stay on top of it all, “all” being the job that pays me, the thing that I love and this place where I do my thinking, let alone whatever may happen in my personal life has been a bit much to digest.
So sometime in September I got a big stack of Post-It notes, a Sharpie and a glass of wine, and went to town, covering my loungeroom with notes, ideas, thoughts and pieces of things I was thinking. After that I left it for a few days, then came back and organised it into a flow that made sense. Then it was a case of pulling it all into a presentation that said everything I wanted in as few words as possible. I’ve perhaps wound up a little more verbose than I ahd in mind, but I feel like I’ve arrived in a place where I can say “Yes, this right now is the summation of everything I’m thinking and feeling about this space.”
There are still a few edges I need to round out, and some great questions posed by friends whose feedback I’ve sought. I’m looking forward though to being able to think about something else, I feel like while I’ve had this deck coming together I haven’t had space to think about anything else. I’m looking forward to your feedback too – call it perhaps the Gospel According to David, it is once again a testament to my innate desire to follow interesting lines of thought, regardless of whether they’re “right”. I feel lucky to be able to experiment publicly with thoughts, and I love it when the readers of this blog come back at me with an opposing point of view. In a few days when I post it up, I hope you’ll do just that.
We off that October 5, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, music, philosophy.
Tags: business, Katie Chatfield, Nike
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!)