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I never said that I told you so October 1, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
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I’m not one to revel in another’s misfortune (unless it’s James Blunt of course, he’s first to go when the revolution comes). I couldn’t help but smile however when I got wind of Glenn Wheatley’s Stripe radio network having closed its doors in June this year. For those that don’t know (and that would seem to be everyone given it has joined Pets.com in the place bad ideas go to die), Stripe was going to be radio you paid $10 a month to access on your mobile phone.

Long time readers may recall me writing about this last July when news of its impending launch first came out. Rather than re-word it, I’m just going to paste what I wrote:

  1. Why would I pay $10 a month for radio on my phone?
  2. Particularly me who does not listen to radio at all?
  3. Why in an age of increased personalisation will I believe you can satisfy me with someone else’s taste-making?
  4. Why create a service that relies on early-adopter up-take when the early-adopters do not listen to radio or value music in pure ones-and-zeroes terms?

Now, I imagine much of the VC money has already been sunk, unfortunate for those involved. If you guys with the money could just begin to understand that broadcasting in a one-to-many model is dying and being replaced with niche-casting and many-to-many, you might have a hope of creating something with lasting value.

This last quote from Programming Director Jarrod Graetz is killer:

“A great advantage of our service is that you don’t need a new device or gadget to hear us. If you’ve got 3G coverage, you can access your favourite music and programs from your (3G) mobile phone, and of course on broadband internet. No ad breaks, less interruptions, more music. We position ourselves as “What you want on radio” because we believe Stripe delivers what Australia wants.”

The bolding is mine (the lack of vision entirely their’s). I may not need a device to hear you, but I have a device anyway, it is called an iPod. It comes with NO interruptions and ONLY my favourite music and programs. See, it doesn’t actually matter if you do serve up what I want on radio, because I don’t want radio.


*ahem* All together now…


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I’ve got big ideas, I’m out of control (Commented on “A VC”) September 9, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation, philosophy, work/life.
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Fred Wilson has an interesting short piece up this morning on failure. After reading it, I left the following comment:

I was doing a review of a (young but brilliant) guy on my team recently, and as we were discussing the feedback he said to me “You know, the thing I worry about more than anything is making mistakes.”

I looked at him blankly and said “That is like fretting that the sun might come up tomorrow. Guess what? It’s going to happen! Don’t worry about making mistakes, worry about things you can actually have a positive impact on. If you spend your time worrying about the possibility of mistakes you’re not going to get anything done.”

Now, being Australian (living in Canada atm), there’s a fair amount of a “no worries” attitude that is ingrained in us, but Fred I think you hit on something really crucial about the States – the fact that success is rewarded and if you fail you are encouraged to give it another go; as fortunate as I feel to be from Australia we don’t have the latter as part of our psyche. I’ve benefited from tremendously from growing up in Hong Kong among other places, and I think a willingness to get it wrong is one of the best things any society can have in its DNA.

It’s probably also the reason I’m a long way from home right now 🙂

Originally posted as a comment
by davidgillespie
on A VC using DISQUS.

Now, I adore Australia and it will always be home. We do have an odd relationship with success and failure though, born no doubt from a myriad of cultural sources others I’m sure have written long and eloquently about, and which I don’t want to get into right now. Instead I’ll just say, as I did the other day when someone asked me what this blog was about, I said “big ideas”.

“Are they the right ideas?”

I laughed and said “That my friend, was never the point.”

So, here’s to the big ideas today. Wherever they lead us.

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Don’t believe the hype July 2, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
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Image representing Rupert Murdoch as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

I just finished working my way through a series of lectures given by Rupert Murdoch late last year on the future of media, something my good friend Jeremy Smart put me onto. The six-part series reveal a far more insightful and aware captain of industry than I think even Murdoch’s biggest fans would give him credit for. Waxing lyrical on everything from the impact of Craig’s List on newspaper classifieds to the educational needs of his birth country (Australia), Murdoch’s lectures show a man not wearied by age, instead acutely aware of where his media empire stands and thoroughly steadfast in his vision for a strong if dramatically altered future for news media, and for Western civilization itself.

Those not from Australia can perhaps skip the introductory lecture as it is fairly antipodean in focus; the remaining five though are candid and incredibly insightful, and will turn even the most hardened cynic into something of a believer in the boy who began his media career in Adelaide, one shoulder carrying the local paper, the other his father’s coffin. Do yourself a favour, and check them out.

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Creative Is Not A Departure December 3, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in work/life.
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(Yes I have been waiting to use that)

It is with great pleasure and some trepidation (along with a dash of in difference and a sense of humour) that I announce a shift of not the blog this time, but the person behind it (one of them anyway, you guys on the comments are doing brilliant work all your own).

11am on December 26th I will board a flight which will land 28 hours later in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Actually that’s a lie, it will land 3 hours later in Auckland, New Zealand. Then it will land 12 hours later in LA before making me wait 5 hours to fly on to Toronto. But the point is, I’m moving, leaving an Australian summer for a Canadian winter, and along with it almost everyone I know on this Earth. I’d tell you al what the plan was, except that there isn’t a plan, I just woke up and needed a change, so decided to change everything.

While the posting may become a little intermittent during the move, I look forward to getting it all back on board and regular when I’ve setup my North American HQ. At some point be looking for work so if you or someone you know is wanting to hire folk for their digital strategy offering, you should get in touch.

There’ll be more time for goodbyes and reminiscing in the next couple weeks, for now it is back to business as usual though. We resume our regular programming in 3…2…1…

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Seven worlds will collide May 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, work/life.
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This morning I drove one of my best friends to the airport. He was jumping on a plane back to Germany, he was heading home.
The Definitive Guide to Explore  by Timothy K Hamilton

I’ve been lucky to have an extraordinary bunch of friends here in Melbourne from all over the world. Canada, Wales, Germany, England, Switzerland, France, South Africa, Singapore – even the odd Australian from time to time. Having grown up in Hong Kong, I’ve really responded to the variety of culture and influence around me, not to mention the fact that they’re all incredibly passionate, intelligent and entertaining folk.

This got me thinking about the places we draw our influences from, the points we call on to stimulate thought processes and new ideas. Purely a coincidence, but my set of Method Cards from Ideo just arrived which I’m quite excited about. I’m not even sure what I will use them for, but if even a single insight is there to be garnered from them then it is worth the investment. If nothing else, it is a series of thought exercises from a completely different point of view to my own.

I’m a big fan of unconventional ports of call to find ideas that change the game. Speaking of games, when I was in the video game industry in the midst of ord of the Rings knock-offs, I was pitching ideas based on Shakespear – funnily enough none of those games got off the ground (yet).

The point is the games industry subsists on mediocre sequels and plenty of “me too” titles. So much so that when something like The Sims or Nintendo’s Wii comes along, it completely flips the industry on its head and changes everything we held to be true.

The same can be said for consumer products and marketing. Which is why Microsoft buy their way into the game each generation instead of being the innovator, and why the necessary changes to mass media won’t be brought about by News Corp or Viacom or the BBC. Corporations are more human than we give them credit for, they’re the sum of their parts and history just like us; thus they’re looking at what they already know in order to innovate.

We’re drawn to the familiar, to what’s comfortable. We’re naturally averse to change. But if we want to change the game for our clients, products, services and even ourselves, we’ve got to constantly find stimulation from a place we don’t natively have inside. The people I’m lucky enough to have in my life have made me a much better human being and a hell of a lot smarter.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people make a great living out of keeping the wheels turning. But if you want a whole new way of getting around, you’re going to have to re-think a few things…

Photo credit: Timothy K Hamilton, with thanks to Flickr Storm.