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Right on time January 21, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, technology.
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Looking at yesterday’s post on Conan O’Brien’s situation within traditional media, this announcement from Boxee comes right on time:

Image representing Boxee as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

…users will be able to make purchases with one click on the remote. The content partners we launch with will offer shows, movies and channels that were previously not available to Boxee users. The content owners will be able to package and price as they wish, including pay-per-view and subscription. Content partners will have the flexibility to decide what they make available, whether it’s premium content, content from their existing library, or extras that will never make it “on air”.

…The Internet represents a great opportunity for the major media companies and for the independent content producers to create more engaging and immersive experiences around their content and for them to be paid for more eyeballs on yet another screen.

Now Boxee itself is a service not too many people know about. And while it is now relatively easy to hook a computer up to a TV, there is a mental barrier Boxee have to overcome, as they’re pioneering an open source approach to this.

The flip side of this is something I got at in Digital Strangelove – we’re moving from a place where the type of media has been defined by the medium (a TV show versus a movie, which happens in a theatre) and is now in a place where we’ll just talk about video, text and sound as the environment in which it is consumed ceases to have anything to do with what type of media it is.

Boxee moves that agenda along in a fairly dramatic fashion; it will be interesting to see how content producers respond.

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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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Beersphere comes to Melbourne on Thursday, November 13th! November 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, work/life.
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Your friend and mine, Faris Yakob decided to organise a get together in New York of Planners, social media folk, general riff-raff the kind of which your mother warned you about. Obviously we can’t all attend that gathering so instead November 13th is International Beersphere Day, where a gathering just like that goes on in your own backyard (if your backyard happens to be one of the places it is being organised.)

Those who call Melbourne their backyard should come along to Red Hummingbird, 246 Russell Street, just up from the corner of Lonsdale from 6:30pm. We’ll meet on the rooftop as I’m banking on the weather being lovely (currently predicted to be 29 degrees!), if you haven’t been there before you will see a red birdcageover the entrance.

My friend Tim will be there, as will a bunch of others whose blogs I do not know the addresses of. Wait I can probably steal them from Jules…here we go, I am pleased to offer an extra-special invite to:

Pigs Don’t Fly, I Hate Ads , Simon Says , The Gruen Transfer , ProBlogger, Brand DNA , The Wayfarer , PR Disasters , Pixel Paddock, In my atmosphereThe Zeitgeists, Current Issues in Marketing Strategy , FRANKthoughts, Wonderwebby , Marketing Today, Gen Y Marketing Podcast, Marketing Geek , Marketing Easy, A blog about digital media, The Body Shop Activist

…as well as anyone else who’d like to join. Pre-requisites for attending are a) you are not an asshat and b) you like alcohol.

If you’re not in Melbourne, take a look below to see if a gathering is happening near you, otherwise you can organise one! Get in touch with Faris or myself, we will steer you in the right direction.

View Map

The Date: Thursday November 13th 2008

[That’s next Thursday]

The places – well….

New York [with me]: Obivia, 201 Lafayette Street from 6pm. [Happy hour runs until 8pm and there should be some free Ketel One splashing about too. Don’t say I don’t look after you.] MAP.

London [with Rachel and Co]: Will meet 6.30pm onwards at the Commercial Tavern, 142-144 Commercial Street, London E1 6NU. We’ve got the upstairs bar. See you there! Details.

Toronto [with Jason and Dino]: 6:30pm The Bedford Academy, 36 Prince Arthur Avenue. [Featuring interpretive dance by Dino, and late evening partial nudity by Jason.]

Sydney [with Julian]: Sydney Beersphere at 6:30pm, at The KB, 26 Foveaux St, Surry Hills right next to Central Station so there is no excuse. Details.

Berlin: [with David]: Berlin Beersphere is from 7pm at PonyBar (alte schönhauser strasse 44 10119 berlin-mitte). MAP.

Boston: [with Conner and Gareth]: Bukowski’s @ 50 Dalton St, Boston, Map.

Shanghai, Brisbane, Bucharest also going to take part hopefully – will update you once I have details confirmed.

See you Thursday, call me on 0404078686 if you run into trouble. I look disturbingly like the guy in the Facebook link to the right of this post.

Oh, and drop me a line if you’re going to come along and I’ll add you to the list of blogs above.

A open letter to Stephen Conroy October 31, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, philosophy, politics, social media, technology, web 2.0, work/life.

Many international readers will not be familiar with the goings on of the Australian political landscape. Back in January I wrote about some unfortunate measures Australia’s recently-elected Government was planning to introduce, suffice to say our elected officials are engaged in a well-meaning but ill-informed program of censoring the access Australians have to the Internet. While looking in to the issue I’ve come to learn I reside in what is by law the most heavily censored Westernised nation, something I find rather ironic considering Sex & The City ran free-to-air here while it was confined to cable State-side.

Regardless, I have written an open letter to Stephen Conroy, the honourable member behind the intiative. Let it be known his intentions are good, but in practice his methodology is flawed, and imposing unnecessary (not to mention ineffective) rules upon the lives of ordinary Australians will achieve few, if any, of the aims of the program.

To read my letter to Mr. Conroy, please head on over to Marketing Magazine. If you feel as strongly as I do, please also visit Keep Your Filter Off Our Internet to learn how you can get involved.

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How low can you go? August 26, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, industry news, marketing, strategy.

Here’s the thing: companies don’t need strategies (even digital ones), they need a fundamental reason to exist. Having arguments about which discipline should lead is like entering a three-legged race with you and your partner on your knees; by the time you figure out something is wrong, everyone else has long since finished.

One thing I’m trying to move the folk I deal with away from is the desire to be so channel focused. While I’m a passionate advocate for digital, I’m not blinded by the channel (or even the myriad of channels that make it up). Depending on your audience there’s an argument to be made for using traditional media, and some of the most innovative movements in marketing business strategy at the moment are tapping in to as many different channels at once as possible.

I said a couple weeks back things will get (really) interesting when we get down to a level where everyone functions as a single organism, and that can happen as a joint venture as Marcus advocates, but I imagine it can probably happen a few other ways too.

Whatever form it takes, it is about getting so deeply involved with companies that you do move as one. That will take a lot more trust on both sides than either client or agency is prepared to invest right now. But I believe we’re headed there, and I find that pretty exciting.

What’s that? How deep?

How low can you go?

Image courtesy of lolodrake, with thanks to compfight.

Minute by minute by minute by minute August 24, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, industry news, marketing.
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And now for something completely different...

And now for something completely different...

Marcus’s piece is thought-provoking.


Because he advocates a joint-venture between company and client over either an agency or doing it in house.


Because in house has too many political hurdles and an agency doesn’t get deep enough in the business.


Because there are too many other distractions.


Because there has to be; it isn’t their job to focus on it, and that is what they require.

I was with a client on Friday who told me, in no uncertain terms, that they didn’t do technology. “We’re just marketers” she said. “We don’t understand that stuff.”

Jesus. H. Christ.

“We’re just marketers” was quote of the week for me, strong contender for quote of the year. Another boffin from an agency I work with had asked aloud what Flickr was, which in itself is maddening. What really frustrated me though was the lines these people were willing to draw around what they did and didn’t do. Apparently being “just a marketer” means you can float through on ignorance and leave “teh interwebs” up to the geeks in the corner.

Can you imagine 50 years ago talking about TV to have someone turn around and say “Oh, I’m just a marketer, I don’t understand that TV stuff”?

The mind boggles. Let’s get it straight: nothing is off the table. Not digital, not analogue, not experiential, not bespoke, not DM, not TVCs, not PR, not ambient, not out of home, not print, not word of mouth, nothing. Marketers who opt for a career with blinkers on will find themselves swept aside in the eternal race for consumer’s hearts and minds. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but you should at least be aware of where everything fits.

And you should also be aware that every waking minute of your day, you are marketing something.

We all are.

Image courtesy of M J M, with thanks to compfight.

Is it me you’re looking for? July 17, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, web 2.0.
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Clearly it hasn’t been as long for everyone.

As Twitter‘s Chief Architect, Blaine Cook caught the brunt of the Twitter community’s frustrations over the micro-blogging service’s frequent downtime. He left the company earlier this year and has now joined Yahoo! to work on a service called FireEagle, apparently similar to Twitter but focussed on user-location.

Twitter’s issue was a popular service which struggled to scale. Yahoo! already has scale, but struggles with services that offer value. Perhaps this is a perfect fit?

(By the by, if you’re on Twitter, so am I)

When was the last time you went Yahoo!? July 15, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, web 2.0.
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Paraphrased from this film.

You know, I can’t remember what I did before I googled (by the way, can we agree Google is the company name, google is what you do? Noun, verb, cool?). I think I used Alta Vista, but I really can’t be sure. Regardless, I have never been a Yahoo-er, it never grabbed me.

A friend sent this to me the other day, and all I can say is I feel sorry for the team who had to produce the below, it is such an obvious goal to kick. No doubt directives were ordered from on high, “the focus groups said we need 45% more wonder in our offering”, not realising if that if they just provided value and a campaign based on relevance they would likely grab more market share by simply executing their core properties in an effective manner.

One thing I do find curious is in the hierarchy of dot points the home page design is up top. Yahoo! came to life as a portal where your online experience began, but I don’t know anyone who browses the web that way. There’s an interesting notion here around destination entertainment, of having to go somewhere to experience a certain thing, but without a compelling pull, the traffic just doesn’t show up.

Do you Yahoo?

Other points of note:

  • Australia’s most extensive online news provider – don’t tell me you’re extensive, show me! Give me service names and validate that claim, I won’t believe you otherwise.
  • A new search giving me a better answer the first time. Again, better than what? Yahoo!’s last search offering?
  • By the world’s no. 1 email, they mean the most popular over all.

Email in particular is a funny thing, a good friend who is in a position to know remarked to me recently that Google knows a lot more about email and your inbox than they are letting on. The below data from Hitwise (dated April ’07) paints an interesting picture.

Google popular among middle and upper-class Gen Ys? That isn’t exactly the kind of news that makes you shout “Stop the press!”, it does lay out an interesting road map for the coming years if you make some assumptions about user behaviour -but this is already a long post, so we’ll save that for another day.

Back to the question in my title though; when was the last time you went Yahoo!?

It’s in the way that you use it July 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, industry news, web 2.0, work/life.
New media trumps the old guard

New media trumps the old guard

In thinking about switching jobs recently, one move that was suggested to me by a few people a sought advice from was to get into bed with companies in traditional media (in order to further the night job). I didn’t go for it though, I didn’t even breathe in that direction, largely because I don’t believe traditional media is going to get any of us where we need to go. Blame it on too much time spent playing video games if you want, but I don’t like media I can’t engage in and interact with, a steadfast rule, the only exception coming in the form of Saturday afternoon, a magazine or newspaper, and my couch.

Music, movies and publishing are all such behemoths taking in so many stakeholders that they’re all 5 to 10 years behind their markets (markets being conversations, conversations occurring between the people who buy or engage with their products – or used to any way). For the most part, the people with the power to affect change in those industries won’t listen to reason, and so the gradual decline continues.

While comfortable with my decision, we all seek vindication for the choices we make, and it arrived from one of my favourite sources. Readers joining from Wide Open Spaces would be familiar with Umair Haque, I’ve mentioned him a few times. Fresh into my reader comes a post from him talking about digital media’s cannibalisation of traditional media, and how slow they’re being to react.

…unless media owners, advertisers, and, yes, agencies get together to engage in meaningful business model and strategic innovation, old business models – especially those dominated by brands – will continue to be “cannibalized” by this shift in consumer behaviour, because consumers are too busy talking to each other to pay much attention to industrial-era brands.

This only serves to re-inforce a talk I saw JJ Abrams give (last night form the comfort of my kitchen as I cooked), talking about how the barrier to entry into creating entertainment is increasingly lower and lower. Abrams is a great speaker and very engaging, his talk is entertaining but also poignant and very, very timely.

Happy Monday everyone, and welcome aboard.

Image courtesy of ktommy, with thanks to compfight.

RSS feeds added to Marketing Magazine site June 26, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in industry news.
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This is a bit of an admin post (1, 2, 3 – “Boooooooring!!!”). Marketing Magazine have added RSS feeds to their site for particular bloggers (including me). So, if you’d like to subscribe to my posts on Marketing Magazine you can now do so.

Additionally if you don’t subscribe to this site currently but would like to, please go right ahead! It is free, easy and guaranteed to do many ill-defined and vague things.