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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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Links – 14th June 2008

This is part 2 of my 5 part long-overdue link update. See the bottom of the post for links to the others in the series.

Interesting essays/Food for thought

China’s all-seeing eye (Naomi Klein) – Rolling Stone essay on Chinese/US cooperation in advancing surveillance techniques

The Million Dollar long bet (Kevin Kelly) – Warren Buffet bets $1m that hedge funds can’t beat the S&P 500 index

Why professional athletes go broke (Brian Cuban) – essentially, their skills are in their chosen field, not financial management

The striker that snubbed Hitler (New Statesman)

Bill Gates on creative capitalism (Gates Foundation)

Is Executive Function the new IQ? (Newsweek)

Interesting essay on gaming (Prospect)

How pure is your altruism? (Freakonomics)

Designing new sports (Wired)

The top 100 public intellectuals (Foreign Policy)

Questions on the Guinness Books of Records answered (Freakonomics)

Gladwell on Innovation (New Yorker)

On Solitaire (Slate) – I’ve just discovered the Klondike game on my iPod and my bus/tube journeys are now infinitely more enjoyable

Profile of the art dealer Larry Gagosian (More Intelligent Life)

Israel’s 60th anniversary (Avi Shlaim)

Trivia and lists

7 people fired for blogging (Mental Floss)

6 stunts in the name of science (Cracked)

15 fascinating historical events (Frikoo)

6 creepy comic book characters (Cracked)

The world’s most dangerous gangs (Foreign Policy)

25 strangest collections on the web (Neatorama)

7 more underground wonders (Web Urbanist)

Directors’ cameos in films (Cineleet)

Otto Rahn was the original Indiana Jones (Daily Telegraph)

7 unusual restaurants (Mental Floss)

10 deepest caves in the world (Environmental Graffiti)

18 insane journeys (OT Beach)

20 cities, islands and countries threatened by global warming (OT Beach)

10 problems solved by MacGyver (Mental Floss)

10 stars from Weezer’s new Youtube referencing video (Video Clips Review)

Among these I would recommend

Interesting essays/Food for thought: China’s all-seeing eye, The Million Dollar long bet and Israel’s 60th anniversary

Trivia and lists: 7 people fired for blogging, The world’s most dangerous gangs and Otto Rahn was the original Indiana Jones

The other posts in this series of updates are:

Friday: Marketing links

Sunday: Interesting websites, and useful tips

Monday: Technology and web2.0 links

Tuesday: Miscellaneous random links

sk

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Links – 13th June 2008

Due to the two ATP festivals last month, I made a conscious effort to take a short break from my link updates. Once the habit was broken, it inevitably became difficult to get back into the groove. Grand Theft Auto and Euro 2008 have not helped matters.

I did toy with the idea of dispensing with them altogether, but I like the idea of this blog as (partly) a repository of all the great thinking, reporting and happenings out in the wide world.

And so I present the highlights of my web reading from the last 6 weeks or so. I’ve included the news items as although they will have dated, they may have slipped through the net.

Rather than dump the hundred or so links into one unwieldy post, I’ve cut them up into manageable themes. I will split the themes up into one post a day over the coming 4 days. By which point I should be fully up to date and in a position to get back into the habit of weekly updates. Well, until I go on holiday in um… 3 weeks.

The first theme I present to you is…

Marketing links

Creating fast strategy (Adliterate) – excellent post on quick strategic planning/thinking

What every good marketer should know (Seth Godin) – originally written 3 years ago but recently updated

A day mapped out by brands (Jane Sample)

Ten ideas for conversation (Conversation Agent) – tips on how to create compelling content, with example links to some great blogs

Can there be too much of a good thing? – Academic study by Sheena S. Iyengar and Mark R. Lepper showing that people were more likely to purchase jam when there were 6 choices than when there were 24

Planners are adventurers (I’m Only Doing This Because I Have To)

Interesting look at the Net Promoter Score (CNN) – Personally, I like the NPS as it indexes a factor that can both be rationalised and be genuinely insightful. I’ve seen other indexes either based on emotional scales, and on self-evident truths that completely fail to convince

Billboards that look back (New York Times) – as mentioned, the lack of an opt-in may be an issue. See phorm.

Bookmarkable Advertising (Adverlab) – very thought-provoking

What makes an idea viral? (Seth Godin)

Is the Surface Unsigned new bands competition a scam? (Pete Ashton)

Very good review of the 4 hour work week (W+K London)

Why marketers shouldn’t create campaigns around fear or disgust (Fast Company) – I agree. No matter the product, the positives should always be highlighted. In my eyes, Obama did a better marketing job than Clinton (aside from the fact that he won)

Why Zappos pay new employees to quit (Harvard Business Leader) – a stroke of genius

Starbucks rolls out energy drinks (Seattle PI) – this seems like a rather ill-conceived brand extension to me

50 greatest commercial parodies (Nerve)

Portrayals of George Bush in international advertising (Creative Bits)

Email checklist (Seth Godin)

Expansion pack for an advertising spoof of World of Warcraft (Creative Beef) – very funny

Product placement rose 6% in Q1 in the US (Nielsen)

List of product placements in Sex & The City (Vanity Fair) – I assume this includes prop placement as well as paid product placements

Yet Andy Burnham indicates the government will block the loosening of product placement laws in the UK – while I am biased (working as I do as an advertising researcher for a commercial broadcaster), I think this is a terrible decision. It underestimates the intelligence of the general public, it ignores that we are generally exposed to it as it is (through US imports and the cinema), assumes that production teams aren’t capable of subtly integrating brands, and stifles a potentially new revenue stream that would provide funds for investment in quality programming

I feel quite strongly on this and may revisit it in a future post, though for the time being I am fully occupied with fleshing out a few different ideas in the limited “free” time I have

Of the above links I would particularly recommend Creating fast strategy, Interesting look at the Net Promoter Score, Why Zappos pay new employees to quit, What every good marketer should know and the comments on Product placement not coming to the UK though they are all worth reading, given that they represent the best of what I have read on the topic for the past 6 weeks

The remaining themes and the days I plan to publish them are (Hyperlinks will be included as they are published)

Saturday: Trivia, and Interesting/thoughtful articles

Sunday: Interesting websites, and useful tips

Monday: Technology and web2.0 links

Tuesday: Miscellaneous random links

I’m also planning to write another post during this time, but this will depend on how distracted I get by other events

sk