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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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Eco-clubbing at Bar Surya

discoballClub4Climate recently announced the launch of (according to their press release) Britain’s first eco-nightclub. It is located at Bar Surya in Kings Cross, with the press launch occurring next week on the 10th July.

Among their initiatives include the use of poly-carbon cups, charitable donations, low-voltage lighting and a recyclable water system. However, the most eye-catching element of the scheme is the energy generating dancefloor. The Daily Mail have a diagram of how it will work here.

Due to the costs involved in getting this system up and running, this is more than a mere marketing stunt (though as the Mail story alludes to, you wonder how eco-friendly printing 200,000 Boris Johnson leaflets is). In spite of this, the club will need more than its eco-outlook to survive. I’m tentatively in favour of the idea, but there are several elements of this particular scheme that make me sceptical

  • The initiative will get people in the door once. But the primary choice of clubbing venue revolves around where you will have the most fun. The website doesn’t contain any details on the styles of music or the DJs involved.
  • People don’t want to be preached at on a night out. Making people sign a pledge (no. 8) before they are allowed to enter will turn people off
  • Free entrance to those that travel via public transport, walk or cycle can go one of two ways. Firstly, unless they are targeting the upper reaches of society, the vast majority of clubbers will travel via tube or bus to get there (taxis are for the journey home only) and so few people may pay. However, how do you prove you have walked in? And getting a receipt for Oyster card journeys can be a hassle
  • Sadly, the credit crunch means that people will start thinking about the now rather than the future. Will this disrupt eco-projects?

So as far as the PR goes, the venture is a hit. But i think the details may need to be adjusted for it to take off.

If the owners are looking for another PR move, perhaps they could stock some Booty Sweat – the fictional drink in the new Ben Stiller film that Paramount are licencing as a real product during the marketing campaign.


EDIT: I’ve just noticed that Club4Climate have used the Cheeky Girls in a previous PR stunt. Looks like they won’t be going for that more affluent level of clubber


Is too much information a good thing?

sensory overload

Well, no. By definition. But despite occasional thoughts that I am suffering from sensory overload, I’m grateful for the sheer amount of information available to us – TMI or not. I believe it makes me a better researcher.

However I can fully understand the concern some have over the sheer volume of knowledge available to us. Articles on the subject are appearing all of the time. We are infomaniacs. We now squeeze 31 hours into a single day. Google is making us stupid.

The root of this trend is of course the Internet. The democratisation of information means that our sources have multiplied. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but it becomes a challenge to distinguish the signal from the noise.

Extending the sources of our knowledge can widen our understanding, but the returns are diminishing. At what point do we reach an optimal point? When is the incremental benefit of an additional piece of information outweighed by the costs?

I’ve recently experienced this dilemma on a report I have been writing. After the first few pieces of research, the key themes begin to emerge. But rather than write up my findings, I continued to delve deeper into the data. My report was ultimately more thorough, but the key themes remained the same. Was this additional time spent worthwhile? Or would I have made better use of my time by moving onto the next project?

Ultimately, I believe it was worthwhile. There may be specific reasons when this isn’t the case, but generally I would argue that all information available should be considered because of NEEDS:

  • Nuance: Comparing and contrasting different sources allows you to put findings into a better context
  • Expertise: The more you take in, the more knowledgeable you are. It builds a solid platform for further work to emerge from. More work at the first stage can reduce the workload at later stages -in a similar way to new teachers writing lesson plans from scratch in their first year, and then honing existing plans in subsequent years
  • Experience: Following on from expertise, greater knowledge allows a greater understanding of both normative and emerging trends. In aural reports, this informed opinion is often as important as the data itself.
  • Depth: My themes may have remained, and so the breadth of my report remained the same. But I was able to expound on each with much greater depth of detail and understanding
  • Simplicity: This final point is counter-intuitive but also crucial. Accumulating information is easy; synthesizing and condensing isn’t. More information may make this task longer, but it will ensure greater quality and accuracy. For instance, the Net Promoter Score may be only one question, but a lot of work (and a 210 page book) went into the formulation of that question. As Mark Twain famously said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”

If ignorance is bliss, does that make knowledge miserable? In my opinion, no. The best insights come from a complete assessment of the available information. This requires focus, dedication, excellent time management and an eye for detail, but the effort will be rewarded with the results.


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/biancaprime/

I can now learn all about marketing

marketing by paul baines, chris fill and kelly pageOUP kindly donated a couple of signed copies of their new title “Marketing” to a competition held by Research Talk.

I was fortunate enough to win a copy, which I have just received. It is a large, colourful introduction to marketing, split into bitesize sections and aimed at students and interested parties alike. I definitely fall into the latter category and look forward to reading through the many case studies included.

Ultimately, I will review the book fully on this blog, but as the book is over 700 pages and as I’m going on holiday for a fortnight next week, it may take me a while…


Links – 27th June 2008

Selected links from my del.icio.us feed:


danah boyd’s research on social networking sites

Questions about target audiences for newspaper websites (Guardian) – a more coherent and focused article than I managed here, where I raised several questions about the measurements and content for newspaper websites

Collection of podcasts and videos on the future of journalism (Guardian) – an excellent collection here. Kudos to the Guardian for the excellent quality of guests and debate.

Marketing wheel of misfortune (Armano) – a fantastic post of aspects to avoid/be wary of in social marketing

Photos are being taken from Flickr and sold on eBay (Guardian)

Colour psychology in marketing (Branding Strategy Insider)

Why USPs are still important (Branding Strategy Insider)

Traditional media not dead yet (New York Times)

How is the Internet changing literary style? (Steamthing)

Modelling the real value of social networks (Techcrunch)

The Petabyte age (Wired)

40% of viewing of the Mighty Boosh is done via the iPlayer (Guardian)

The power of consumer generated reviews (Amazon reviews of an overpriced product)

Is this the future of TV? (Mobayboy)

Dan Rather says American journalism is in crisis (Adbusters)

Will the Beatles be the next Guitar Her/Rock band expansion pack? (FT)


Profile on Nelson Mandela (More Intelligent Life)

Graph Jam – excellent site where pop culture is displayed in graph format 

Will killswitches become standard features on technology? (Wired)

Rich people spend more time working (Washington Post)

10 breeds of inner boss (Any Wired)

The 20 most powerful celebrity makers (Observer)

Best desktop media players (Lifehacker)

Outcomes from all Mythbusters episodes

Photoessay of poverty in India (DeviantART)

Literature condensed to 3 lines or less (McSweeney’s)

Internet Movie Car DataBase

The life journey of a tick (Slate)

Custom receipt maker – for all those expenses needs

19 cinematic scene stealing cameos (AV Club)

I would particularly recommend

Blog-related: danah boyd’s research on social networking sites, Questions about target audiences for newspaper websites, Collection of podcasts and videos on the future of journalism and Marketing wheel of misfortune

Random: Graph Jam, Outcomes from all Mythbusters episodes and Literature condensed to 3 lines or less


Radiohead setlists

Radiohead at Victoria Park: Tuesday 24th June (when I went)

15 Step, Bodysnatchers, All I Need, National Anthem, Pyramid Song, Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, The Gloaming, Dollars & Cents, Faust Arp, There There, Just, Climbing Up The Walls, Reckoner, Everything In Its Right Place, How To Disappear Completely, Jigsaw Falling Into Place
– – – – –
Videotape, Airbag, Bangers and Mash, Planet Telex, The Tourist
– – – – –
Cymbal Rush, You And Whose Army?, Idioteque

Radiohead at Victoria Park: Wednesday 25th June (when I didn’t go)

Reckoner, 15 Step, There There, All I Need, Lucky, Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Myxomatosis, National Anthem, Faust Arp, No Surprises, Jigsaw Falling Into Place, Optimistic, Videotape, Everything In Its Right Place, Idioteque, Bodysnatchers
– – – – – –
House of Cards, The Bends, Bangers and Mash, My Iron Lung, Karma Police
– – – – –
Go Slowly, 2+2=5, Paranoid Android

Tuesday was incredible, but is it right to feel annoyed at not going on the Wednesday?

I’d rather go into a gig with that element of surprise – not knowing what is going to be played in what order – but that does leave one open to disappointment at what has been missed out. Justified or not.


The smallest touch can make a big difference

glastonbury rain

Walking home last night, I noticed that Snow Rock had a Glastonbury “five day weather forecast” posted on a board outside.

It won’t matter to most customers; but it will mean something to some.

It shows that Snow Rock listen to their customers, and that they care.

This should be the default thinking for everyone, in all walks. Pitching ideas, report writing, gift choosing.

What are the little things that show you listen?


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntiep/

Links – 20th June 2008

Blog related

How we read online (Slate)

100 personal branding tactics (Chris Brogan)

5 principles to design by (Bokardo)

Hierarchy of social marketing (Duct Tape Marketing)

Visualisation of the “blogopticon” (Vanity Fair)

Where are the original dot com entrepreneurs now? (The Standard)

How to fix the mess the Associated Press have created (Jeff Jarvis)

Lessig on the right to privacy

The rules of Internet celebrity (NY Mag)

How Google apps can each be improved (Web Worker Daily)

On NY Times attempts to get social (Mashable)

Brand and communications in the age of media democracy (Slideshare presentation)


A wooden mirror (Design Boom)

Top 10 Firefox 3 features (Lifehacker)

5 obsolete storage formats (Wired)

Creative ways to use ordinary objects (Lifehackery)

Brutal review of the Happening (includes Spoilers) (TNR)

Book Rabit – tag your bookshelves, review your books and get recommendations

100 great movie posters (TCCandler)

Office speak phrases (BBC)

The Apprentice rendered in Lego (Youtube video)

Crazy concept cars (Jalopnik)

I would particularly recommend 100 personal branding tactics, 5 principles to design by and Brand and communications in the age of media democracy from the blog-related section and Top 10 Firefox 3 features, Book Rabit and Office speak phrases from the random section