Links – 17th January 2009

Aside from links, this blog probably won’t be updated for a week or so. I’m trying to stick to my quality over quantity aim, and my schedule is pretty full at the moment.

Marketing

Paul Isakson posits that weird and wonderful advertising works because of the prompt that our brain receives, irrespective of what the actual message is

Advertising has been about persuading people to purchase things they don’t need. So, with overconsumption being scaled back, Brian Morrissey wonders how the industry will react

Demanding a read/write city – why interactions such as graffiti should be encouraged (Anti-Advertising Agency)

The best and worst logo redesigns of 2008 (Brand New)

Fred Wilson predicts that display advertising will become so cheap that it will outperform search. I somewhat disagree – prices may fall, and effectiveness may improve but publishers can justify premiums due to the surrounding content and context. Network display is more likely to be filtered out. However, the piece is worth reading

Technology

The Feltron 2008 Annual Report – Nicholas Felton has collated a huge amount of data about his life, and published it.Are the benefits of this self-analysis worth the expended effort? I’m not convinced but the report is fascinating, and his interest has led to the development of daytum

CJR has a fascinating two part interview with Clay Shirky

Russell Davies has some excellent ideas in his new schtick

Graeme Wood’s post on the future of television and TV advertising dovetails nicely with my post on targeted TV ads

Business

Umair Haque has a brilliant guide to 21st century economics – he argues that we have to reinvent the global economy

The mistakes that are made in the hiring of NFL coaches (via Ben)

Music

Do the BBC’s Sound of 2009 and other such polls encourage a narrow and homogenised outlook on upcoming music? (Sweeping the Nation)

Interesting look at the remuneration (or lack of) with perceived promotions e.g. I didn’t know that US radio didn’t pay royalties as it claims it is free marketing

Websites

Stack – a great idea for magazine subscriptions – a pick and mix from leading independent titles

I Wear Your Shirt – another social media get-sort-of-rich quick scheme. Pay (fee rises at $1 per transaction) for a guy to wear your t-shirt and promote it online

For the time-pressed, particular recommendation goes to Clay, Russell, Umair and Graeme

sk

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ATP – always in beta

The Nightmare Before Christmas, co-curated by Melvins and Mike Patton was fantastic. Musically, it was the best of the 7 All Tomorrow’s Parties weekenders I’ve been to. There are few places where you could find a bill diverse enough to incorporate Mastodon, Squarepusher, Rahzel, Os Mutantes, James Blood Ulmer, Junior Brown and Monotonix (pictured below)

See my Flickr for some more photos from the weekend

Aside from the music, I came away hugely impressed by the organisation. Past events have come in for criticism, but by and large these have been addressed.

  • The venue was a bit small and tatty – so they moved to a larger one
  • This venue initially restricted alcohol to the room it was bought in – a “zone” of free movement and consumption was introduced
  • Some acts attracted big queues – a new stage was created in the pavilion with a larger capacity, and second performances were introduced
  • This venue wasn’t optimised for a good sound – the stage was dismantled and the overall event capacity was reduced
  • Security had been accused of being heavy handed – virtually all the security I saw were pleasant and approachable (they even let a chalet gig go on until 5am before shutting it down)

Now if only they could improve the road links to Minehead…

This is the idea of business as a service. This harks back to Russell Davies’ post on the lines getting blurry. Organisations should accept their mistakes but work with their stakeholders to continually evolve and improve.

This isn’t a new concept. Back when Japanification was en vogue, kaizen – continuous improvement – was the big buzzword. As epitomised by companies such as Toyota, a stream of small changes was the key to incremental performance gains. Success would be borne out by evolution and not revolution.

I believe that this notion is so crucial because it empowers all of us – whether chief executive, event organiser or researcher. ATP have shown what can be achieved with humility and dialogue. We should all keep the following question in mind.

How can we improve today?

sk

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Links – 31st April 2008

Quite a lot of links this week (I had a quiet weekend) but the highest quality update so far. Some really excellent articles in here – well worth a bookmark!

Blog-related:

  • Clay Shirkey’s widely blogged-about speech on social surplus NB: I have left comments on several blogs about this. I agree with his underlying point – there is a social surplus and creating great things like Wikipedia take up relatively small chunks. But social surplus is something that I think we are running short of already, and there does need to be a balance between active and passive entertainment. TV and gin are friends, not the enemy! A great, thought-provoking speech though – required reading for those yet to see it
  • The full Heroes media experience (Fast Company) NB: When the makers of Heroes say there is a 360 experience, they aren’t kidding. Transmedia in all its glory
  • Pre-experience design (Russell Davies) NB: Extremely thoughtful post on the importance of the entire brand experience – the product as the service and so forth
  • On a similar theme, attention-deficit advertising (Business Week) NB: Linking on from the product as a service to the advertising as a service. If a company can provide something useful and brand it, it is win-win. Research shows people are willing to accept advertising if they are opting in to receive something useful
  • Starbucks coffee at home NB: Brilliant new website, again linking back to providing something useful for consumers. Apparently, the Africa Fatula is the coffee blend for me

    Random

    • World’s biggest useless things NB: This really struck a chord with me. One that I can’t really describe. Both melancholic and uplifting. How something essentially meaningless can reward people with pride and achievement. An analogy to blogging??
    • Supermemo – the memory-improving tool recently featured in Wired
    • Is anti-virus software overrated? (Lifehacker) NB: I had a tremendous amount of hassle trying (and failing) to change virus-scan software last year. Seems anti-virus companies are monotheistic

    Among these excellent posts and articles, those I would recommend most highly are:

    Blog-related: Clay Shirkey’s widely blogged-about speech on social surplus, How Newton’s law works with brands, Pre-experience design, White paper on content marketing strategies, Wieden+Kennedy’s philosophy in illustrated format and Starbucks coffee at home

    Random: World’s biggest useless things, Guerrilla gardeners, 15 great Kurt Vonnegut quotes and The “Amen break” drumbeat and the golden ratio

    Phew!

    sk

    Classic blog posts #1: Russell Davies on how to be interesting

    This is intended to be the first in an occasional series.

    Unlike the links post that I aim to update every Thursday or Friday, there will be no schedule to this. They will appear whenever I am too busy/uninspired to write original posts. (the former is the case this time – I’ve just got back from a long weekend in Tenby).

    So, to keep my content ticking over, it seems sensible to populate my blog with the thoughts and musings of those high-quality bloggers out there who inspire me to have a crack at it myself.

    First up, Russell Davies’ 2006 post on “How to be interesting”. A must-read for those who haven’t seen it, and well worth a second (or third) look for those who have.

    sk