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That’s not the shape of my heart January 19, 2010

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
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Interesting video the magic that is The David Report turned me onto, looking at and thinking about the future of magazines. I am somewhat of a junkie for the form and don’t doubt it will continue (in some fashion).

This has me thinking also about devices as a whole, and particularly the arms race that is on in the mobile space.

Everyone is excited to have Google‘s skin in the game with Android, and are touting them as the challenger that can actually take on Apple and their much-loved iPhone. The problem facing Google and its partners is not developer support, of which there is plenty, but control over the hardware environment.

See an iPhone developer makes an app once, and releases it. They don’t need to deal with different specifications regarding screensizes, peripherals, keyboards, cameras, what have you. An Android developer has all of that, plus chipsets from Intel, Nvidia and others. The increased overhead in supporting multiple platforms will, I believe, lead us to a place where apps exist on one Android device and not another, leading to negative user-experiences which will directed partially towards the manufacturer, but more so towards Google. Contrast that with the iPhone, which while it has well-documented flaws, is a consistent experience for every person that owns one.

I’m in the camp of people who think Android is the platform that will challenge the iPhone for dominance of the market, Google to need to invest more in the hardware for this to become a race; right now they’re just running warm-up laps.

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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!


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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Everyone wants to be the man at the top (Commented on “Howard Lindzon”) October 26, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, storytelling, strategy.
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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.)

Originally posted as a comment
by David Gillespie
on Howard Lindzon using DISQUS.

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.

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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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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.

You were always on my mind September 30, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, strategy.
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In a meeting yesterday as I sat dreaming up ideas to make my wealthy clients even more money, someone blurted out “We need to ensure they stay top of mind” which I didn’t like at all. It sits alongside “the big idea” and “single-minded proposition” as a decidedly 20th century approach, and the reality is none of the brands people really want to be have anything to do with being top of mind.

The top-of-mind approach in fact is a challenger brand’s mentality. If you aspire to be top of mind you’re clearly not winning in your category, and you’re likely spending a good deal of time and energy just trying to compete. It’s the same as making a case for a piece of work focused around time with brand, while never pausing to consider just how much time is spent without.

The trick to both of those things is that the brands that are really thought of as top of mind, the Apples and Nikes and what have you, aren’t top of mind at all. In fact if they were to become top of mind, it would be a step back in some ways.

Those brands transcend any notion of “mind” and instead ingrain themselves in culture. I don’t just think of Apple when I’m shopping, and I don’t just think of Nike when I see someone run. They are the brands everyone else wants to be because nobody pauses to think about them.

So don’t bother with top of mind. Save that for the guys in second place, they don’t know any better anyway.

image courtesy of Esparta with thanks to compfight.

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Love & Marketing November 6, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, marketing, philosophy, work/life.
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So it seems Bob Dylan isn’t the most obvious place for a lot of people when it comes to great marketing quotes and thinking, I however think there are few better places to start (and let’s face it, it’s a hell of a lot more fun than mining the books everybody else is looking at.

There’s a short piece below expanding on why I think “You can’t be wise and in love at the same time” is a great marketing idea.

Also check out:

Love Jones (fast forward to 5:20)

And The HughTrain Manifesto

The Hughtrain Manifesto

The Hughtrain Manifesto

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Everyone 2.0 – Remember you’re unique; just like everybody else October 19, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, philosophy, web 2.0, work/life.
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This is the fifth post in my series on The A-Z of 2.0.

Needs. Need and wants. Things I desire that nobody else does, at least not the way I do, in the form I do, with the pre-conditions and checklists I have for them. Everybody has them, but we don’t articulate them quite into the detail they need to be in order to make them actionable. I could say I want to make music for a living; what I mean is I want to earn enough to be very comfortable from recording and performing my own songs; anybody with half an ear for music can go earn a couple grand a week playing covers, but that wouldn’t satisfy my criteria, regardless of whether I take the time to define it or not.

Andy Warhol‘s most famous quote is “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” At the time there’d only been a decade or two where it was actually possible to be famous just for being famous, prior to that you actualy had to be extraordinarily good at something for the word to spread enough and genuine fame to be acquired.

Fame in itself is a funny thing, one I feel, for most people, is entirely undesireable. To be endlessly recognised simply for being anywhere you went does not strike me as the kind of thing a lot of us would wake up in the morning with a burning desire to achieve, even though there are folk out there who do. With the assumption most people desire the money or lifestyle that comes with the kind of fame people find appealing, then I think, regardless of the dreams and desires you have for your life, people seek the conveniences being in that sort of position can bring with it; and in The A-Z of 2.0 a lot of those things are possible.

If you own a car, pause for a moment the next time you’re in the driver’s seat. Look at the dash, the airconditioning, the (if you have them) power windows. Seat adjustments, cruise control, airbags, CD, MP3, DVD players. All of those were once the province of the wealthiest of wealthy individuals. Movie stars and musicians and big business men and women had access to these features. They would be released in the top of the line Mercedes and BMWs, and slowly, via the wonder that is trickle-down economics, make their way into the lives of ordinary people.

This is true of most things around us. I have a Macbook Pro sitting on my lap as I write this, holding computational power that, in my father‘s lifetime has gone from being the sole domain of Government to an item available at the cost of a month’s salary for the middle-class. In our personal lives we seek the same thing in the automation of services; bills going out when they’re due, a cleaner every fortnight, a laundry where they will wash and iron 5 shirts for $12.50, the only decision I have to make being “Is two hours of my time on the weekend it would take to do that worth $12.50?”. I don’t know about you, but the ability to spend two hours on a weekend to do something other than washing is worth at least $12.50.

The ubiquity of products and services trading in an ever increasing commodity (money) to allow you more of an ever decreasing commodity (time) is an idea born from the same place as the DVD player in the backseat of an Audi. I can’t afford a full-time personal assistant, but I can set up an account at Remember The Milk which will automatically send me reminders and help me get through a to-do list. Get Friday takes it a step further, with staff on hand to assist with mundane tasks – I currently have them helping me roll all my superannuation into one account, we’ll see how that goes. For more on this though, read Tom Friendman’s The World Is Flat – you’ll be amazed at what you find.

There exists right now, in Everyone 2.0, an opportunity to provide products and services that were previously the domain of the rich and famous. It is commerce for the empowerment of others, as opposed to commerce for the empowerment of commerce itself. What we’re seeing right now in the global economy is the collapse of a system infected, at its core, with DNA doomed to rot from the inside out because it had blinkers on and couldn’t see how the world around was changing. Even if it had, there’s no evidence to suggest it would have cared, not when a bail-out for companies in need of it is, for all intents and purposes, socialism for the wealthy and capitalism for the poor. Everyone 2.0 is taking the personalisation the web affords us and moving it offline into the every day lives of every day people, where you don’t need a screen and a keyboard to feel the impact.

Capitalism, entrepreneurism, commerce as we know it hasn’t for a single moment meant that open beat closed, but in Everyone 2.0, it is the only way you win. Put the empowerment of others and genuine happiness at the core of your business model and watch as the opportunities for the life you wanted to live come to fruition.

Just like everyone else.

**Update** – October 25th, 2008

For those interested in thinking a bit more about Everyone 2.0, watch this fantastic talk by Paola Antonelli, Curator of Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Image courtesy of kygp, with thanks to compfight.
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I’m a rocker, baby I’m a rocker September 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, marketing, work/life.
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“Marketing must be one of those professions where salaries give you the best bang for buck as an employer.”

He was saying most marketers aren’t all that bright.

I can’t say I disagreed with him at the time.

The above quote was delivered to me yesterday at breakfast from a friend who heads up international business development at a company any Australian who reads this blog would be familiar with. I’d just finished telling him how a client had recently said to me “We don’t know about that technology stuff, we’re just marketers.”

When she said “that technology stuff”, she meant the Internet.

Give me strength.

I said last week marketing isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t. Unfortunately it’s also almost completely devoid of the courage required to alter the markets these people exist in (As an aside, they say no one is so sanctimonious as a reformed smoker, I wonder if the same can be said for anyone who walks away from jobs in marketing and advertising to something a little less transient?).

Of course the flip side of that is agencies who have those ideas clearly need to get better at articulating the more strategic paths forward, and in order to get there we need to prove we’re good for more than just the last campaign. I spoke to someone last night from the company responsible Coke’s new bottle debacle and reiterated my point: someone should have been fired for that nonsense.

Regardless, let’s forget all that marketing stuff today, go read this fantastic post by Umair Haque, What Apple Knows That Facebook Doesn’t. Be warned, it is loaded with “that technology stuff”.


Ok, almost 9am, time to give her a call. Serenity now…serenity now…

Image courtesy of Stephen Poff, with thanks to compfight.

The song remains the same July 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, marketing.
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...a story that is never completely told...

...a story that is never completely told...

A great brand is a story that is never completely told.”

I just clocked this over at TIGS, what a great quote. I was sitting having breakfast with a good friend yesterday morning and he was wondering aloud why some brands that couldn’t possibly have been bigger all of a sudden become tiny before disappearing completely. He was talking about a particular American beer (whose name I can’t remember) that was the Budweiser of its day (I couldn’t imagine saying anything more insulting about a beer, except maybe this).

This has me thinking about brand extension – do brands therefore extend themselves because they finish the story they set out to tell? Once extended, do they find their story wasn’t al that interested in the first place?

Thinking about the uber-brands, Cadbury certainly has story left to tell, as does Apple, Nike, Vogue, who else? Contrast that with brands that we perhaps know too much about, like Microsoft or McDonalds. Those are easy targets though, who else is out there that seems to have run out of things to say?

(This also has me thinking about luxury brands, how open would not beat closed in that situation, and how not knowing the story adds to their appeal…hmmm that’s another post entirely.)

Image courtesy of Mikey G Ottawa, with thanks to compfight.

Wanna be startin’ somethin’… June 27, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in work/life.
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Can\'t Fail CafeI started writing this yesterday and I wasn’t quite feeling it, think this will be one of those ones where I have to put it out there before I realise what I meant…anyway….it got quite long, so I’m breaking it up over a series of shorter posts around the same idea, we’ll see where it goes from there. I’d love your thoughts along the way to help shape it, so leave a comment or drop me a line. For reference, I’m thinking about about processes that are inherently flawed and the businesses attached to them.

I’ve spent the last hour (plus at least one more last night) getting music off my iPod. I’ve had it for a bit over a year, and I’ve noticed it is starting to act a little funny (as opposed to acting a little funny). There are plenty of stories around about Apple building product break-down into their life-cycles, but I’m not really interested in that; I’ve derived plenty of value from it and will in all likelihood buy another when it finally joins the big circuit graveyard in the sky.

The thing about getting the music off it though is I don’t want to have to add it all back to the next device. That isn’t a good brand experience. But Apple couldn’t get the music industry on board without making it at least somewhat difficult to do, so we wind up in this middle ground where an industry who doesn’t know enough about the medium thinks they’ve got a good deal, and in the interim everyone who bought one has a hoop or two to jump through before getting what they want.

My thoughts here: If this was anyone other than Apple, they would be out of business.