My five fives of 2015

Previous lists for 20142013201220112010 and 2009.

Top 5 Films

(Released in UK cinemas in 2015, which I have seen. Links point to IMDb)

  1. The Lobster
  2. Amy
  3. Spy
  4. Carol
  5. Whiplash

Top 5 Albums

(Released in the UK in 2015, which I have heard. Links point to Spotify)

  1. The Most Lamentable Tragedy by Titus Andronicus
  2. To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  3. No Cities to Love by Sleater-Kinney
  4. Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
  5. I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty

Top 5 TV series (non BBC)

(That I watched in 2015. Links point to IMDb)

  1. Fargo series 2
  2. The Americans series 3
  3. The Leftovers series 2
  4. Broad City series 2
  5. Hannibal series 3

Top 5 Books

(That I read in 2015. Links point to Amazon)

  1. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  2. Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir
  4. Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  5. Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Top 5 Live performances

(That I attended in 2015. Links point to the act’s website)

  1. Sleater-Kinney @ Roundhouse
  2. Deafheaven @ The Scala
  3. Titus Andronicus @ Village Underground
  4. Russian Circles @ Assembly Hall
  5. Fucked Up @ Shacklewell Arms

sk

My five fives of 2013

Previous lists for 201220112010 and 2009.

Top 5 Films

(Released in UK cinemas in 2013, which I have seen. Links point to IMDb)

  1. Gravity
  2. Blue Is The Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle)
  3. Before Midnight
  4. Lincoln
  5. You’re Next

Top 5 Albums

(Released in the UK in 2013, which I have heard. Links point to Spotify)

  1. Sunbather by Deafheaven
  2. The Bones Of What You Believe by Chvrches
  3. Reflektor by Arcade Fire
  4. Yeezus by Kanye West
  5. Days Are Gone by Haim

Top 5 TV series

(That I watched in 2013. Links point to IMDb)

  1. Breaking Bad Series 5 Part 2
  2. Game of Thrones Series 3
  3. Broadchurch Series 1
  4. The Returned (Les Revenants) Series 1
  5. Orphan Black Series 1

Top 5 Books

(That I read in 2013. Links point to Amazon)

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  3. The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Top 5 Live performances

(That I attended in 2013. Links point to the act’s website)

  1. The Postal Service @ Primavera Sound
  2. The Book of Mormon @ Prince of Wales Theatre
  3. My Bloody Valentine @ Hammersmith Apollo
  4. Chvrches @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire
  5. Blur @ Primavera Sound

And as a bonus, here is a Spotify playlist of my top 13 tracks of 2013.

sk

My five fives of 2012

Previous lists for 20112010 and 2009.

Top 5 Films

(Released in UK cinemas in 2012, which I have seen)

  1. The Artist
  2. Amour
  3. The Imposter
  4. The Cabin In The Woods
  5. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Top 5 Albums

(Released in the UK in 2012, which I have heard. Links point to Spotify)

  1. channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean
  2. Celebration Rock by Japandroids
  3. The Idler Wheel… by Fiona Apple
  4. Bloom by Beach House
  5. Put Your Back N 2 It by Perfume Genius

Top 5 Gigs

(That I attended in 2012)

  1. M83 @ Somerset House
  2. At The Drive-In @ Brixton Academy
  3. Robyn @ Pitchfork Festival, Parc de Villette
  4. Explosions In The Sky @ Brixton Academy
  5. 65daysofstatic @ Highbury Garage

Top 5 TV series

(That I watched in 2012. Links point to IMDB)

  1. Breaking Bad Series 3
  2. Sherlock Series 2
  3. Game of Thrones Series 2
  4. The Hour Series 2
  5. Community Series 1

Top 5 books

(That I read in 2012. Links point to Amazon)

  1. A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin
  2. From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
  3. Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

Bring on 2013.

sk

Recommending Reading – 4th April 2010

If you have a spare 15 minutes this weekend, you could do worse than read the following:

Jonah Lehrer looks at Costco through his Neuroscience prism. I’m not quite sure it adequately explains why people choose to pay a subscription to enter the store, but it is still interesting reading.

Two sides of a similar coin: Tom Ewing’s latest Poptimist post considers the options of a Foursquare for music, while Paul Lamere considers a Last.fm for books. The underlying point – the more metadata collected and used, the better!

Clay Shirky’s blog postings are sparse, but always incredibly valuable. This preview of his next book – on cognitive surplus – is no exception. It prompted Kevin Kelly to announce the Shirky Principlecomplex solutions  can become so dedicated to the problem they are the solution to, that often they inadvertently perpetuate the problem

Diane Hessan has some provocative thoughts on the next generation of market research. As always, the solution depends on the problem, but I liked the points made.

This link in particular is a hard sell, but I wholeheartedly recommend you read why Bill Simmons has fallen back in love with Sabermetrics. Advanced baseball stats may not be to everyone’s taste, but it shows the power and beauty of numbers. For a more gentle introduction, you might want to read my review of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, in which Simmons heavily features.

sk

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Recommended Reading – 26th March 2010

These five posts got me thinking over the past week:

Justin McMurray from Made By Many has laid out a manifesto for agile strategy. I particularly like the idea of simplicity of purpose over the reliance on a mystical “insight” (which may well rest on top of a house of cards)

Gareth Kay points out the flaws in Millward Brown’s latest “viral” research. I don’t want to get into the semantics of viral versus spreadable, but there is an interesting debate in the comments where both Gareth and Duncan Southgate from MB defend their different viewpoints on the nature of “viral”.

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting take on blog commenting. He believes that they are an inferior form of discourse to other social media commentary, but also that the host has a responsibility to maintain a certain level of quality – such as fully framing an argument for feedback rather than relying on the crowd to spot the flaws for you

This HBR piece on the cost of being omniscient looks at how the feedback from passive data collection can influence our behaviour (think eco:DRIVE or Nike+)

And finally, this Marketing Week feature looks at online research, specifically “real-time” research and neuroscience. I find “co-creation” techniques can be useful in certain circumstances, but I am still yet to be convinced by the benefits of neuroscience techniques.

sk

Recommended Reading – 26th February 2010

I’ll try to make this type of post a weekly occurrence. My previous link updates were quite unwieldy, so I’ll try to limit these recommend reading posts to around five items.

Ten movie recuts – because it shows how perspective is dynamic and how, through editing or otherwise, we don’t necessarily see the full picture

A couple of posts on Google caught my eye – this book review looking at Google’s business practices (One thing they don’t do is ask for permission) and this Wired piece on their famous algorithm, and how it gives them their competitive advantage

87 cool things is a presentation that Google made last year, showing innovative ways that people have used their video and maps services – both entertaining and useful.

I admit to being pleasantly surprised, but the OK Cupid blog is very informative, and has some great posts on analysing the information it receives from its users. This particular post looks at profile picture myths to see what type of picture is more likely to prompt a response from another user. On a data note, this website is packed full of really useful MS Excel tips

Similar to a post I linked to last week, this post on job interview questions to ask planners is applicable beyond the advertising industry – the questions are penetrative and potentially very illuminating.

sk

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Two years old, and recommended reading

It’s been two years since my first, tentative, blog post at this address. I’m pleased that it is still going strong but I have been a bit neglectful of it. So, over the coming months I’m going to attempt to do the following

  • Refresh my blog roll – something which is long overdue
  • Post more regularly – I don’t want to commit to an artificial schedule, despite the recent regularity of my Sunday posting. The content on this blog is the most valuable thing – certainly to me, since it helps me formalise my thinking – and it shouldn’t be compromised for the sake of frequency
  • Start a blog project/series – due to a rather hectic start to the year, my news-gathering is on hiatus. However, there are a couple of things I think would work as part of an ongoing theme, rather than a single entry blog
  • Investigate porting the blog over to a hosted domain – I bought a URL and hosting a year ago, and then did nothing with it. There is no overwhelming need to have my own website, and I’m slightly concerned about porting over links and the RSS feed, but it should be something I look into to
  • Resume my link updates

And this last bullet is where I am going to start. We are who we know, and I am regularly educated and inspired by a whole range of content across the web – both “professional” and “amateur”.

When posting new content on my blog, my priority will always be to first be selfish – write content I want to, that can help benefit my understanding or thinking. However, I haven’t been generous enough recently, and I want to resolve that by sharing my inspiration.

My link updates stopped around a year ago, pretty much when I changed jobs (draw your own conclusions) but I’m going to attempt to resume them on a weekly basis.

I’m also going to be changing the names of the posts to “Recommended reading”. “Link updates” sounds too automated. What I am trying to do is curate the best things I have recently read, and convey why I think they’re so good.

So, without further ado, here are eighteen posts I’ve read over the past month that I’d recommend (future posts won’t be this long, but I’ve got some catching up to do:

Learning and working

I loved this Wired article on how athletes are increasingly turning to video games in order to help them learn their strategies. It makes sense, since the Madden series is arguably the most complex game on the market. Technology democratises information, and augments and improves our talents in our chosen fields.

This article struck a chord with it. In striving for perfection, the Duke Nukem game has been in development for over a decade, and indeed has just shut down. There is a point where we have to say that something is “good enough”.

This is quite a short Havard Business blog post on setting goals but I liked the notion that they tend to promote mediocrity rather than excellence. Should we be looking to improve where our skills are lacking – to be well-rounded but average – or should we be looking to push ourselves further in the areas we excel in.

This great post on how to hire programmers is applicable for all industries. Are they smart? Can they get stuff done? Can you work with them?

I liked this New Yorker piece on the reviewers for the Michelin Guide, and the inherent tension there is between objectivity and subjectivity when assessing.

Business strategy

Suw Charman-Anderson has written the best refutation of Google Buzz, and its privacy implications, I have seen. I continue to be amazed that Google just launched this on unsuspecting users, without either a gradual roll-out or a beta label.

I read Venessa Miemis’ post on the Apple iPad after I had posted up my own sceptical viewpoint. A shame, as she offers a comprehensive summary of the different views and issues surrounding the product, with regard to design thinking

Wired has a piece on how a Monopoly online game, intended to be a quick promotional tool, became far more popular than anticipated. Should they end the game as intended, or take advantage of its success and continue to operate it?

It has already made several circuits of the blogosphere, but if you are still yet to read it, I would thoroughly recommend Bud Caddell’s views on what the advertising agencies of the future should be

Julie at Brandtwist says that we need a brand building strategy rather than a social media strategy, and I completely agree.

Consumer understanding

I mentioned Doc Searls’ Vendor Relationship Management concept in a previous post, and this blog post conveys how it can be of benefit to us

An interesting article on the confessions of a book pirate. It is vital to understand people’s motivations, rather than simply castigating and criminalising them.

Village Voice looks at the decade in music hype. I find it fascinating how large swathes of culture can be completely transitory, yet remnants remain and get repurposed by subsequent generations

Marketing and advertising

Helge Tenno’s expanded version of his seven actionable marketing trends presentation is extremely detailed, and packed full of inspirational ideas and quotes on how marketing is and should be evolving.

This Big Spaceship post has some excellent thoughts on why we should move away from trying to create a “viral”, in order to understand how people share and why things spread.

Chris Heathcote looks at all of the different types of screen available, and puts them into context for advertising.

Blogs

Rather than a single post, I urge everyone to visit Roger Ebert’s blog. Ebert is a widely respected film critic who has been suffering with cancer and can no longer eat, drink or talk. He has put a great deal of his energy into his writing, and it is wonderful.

And for those that want yet more reading, Rex at Fimoculous has linked to his thirty favourite blogs of 2009.

sk

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boxercab/427774884/

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