Archive | Innovation

Good Advice

The thing about really good advice is that you never really know how good it was until a while after. If you knew it was good advice at the time you probably knew the answer but were fudging the decision. It’s when you are in the moment, on a track hurtling in some direction when you just think you need someone to reinforce your position.

My old boss gave me a couple of great ones when I left the comfort of the payroll 6 years ago.

1. To be really great you have to make tough decisions when things are going really well

2. Make sure you pay yourself properly

Both fairly intergalactic in their own right. The first we could talk about for along time and something I really believe in, but its the second that I often come back to. For any new business its key that you get to a position where you start to pay everyone their market value. If you don’t its fairly easy to run a business getting a £100k plus people to work for £15k, it just doesn’t last very long. I fell into the trap with a business a while back – thinking I was “reinvesting”, but the reality was that I was becoming more and more detached from the value of the business and the products we offered. The “reinvestment” plan made it all a little make believe vs feeling every penny you spend which is what a small business should be feeling.

Where I see this happening more and more is not so much in small businesses, but big organisations who are looking to change, or innovate with their products.

The advertising industry historically grew by around 3%. Essentially it didn’t. This made most agencies  try and differentiate from the competition – you had to, it was about stealing. Then along came digital. the growth charts were phenomenal, it was the saviour. New products and services were launched things grew like mad, but the independents (media or creative) grew faster and innovated quicker. Why? They paid themselves properly. They charged clients properly, they paid their people properly, they paid their dedicated management properly and they had a crystal cler idea of their product and how to manage it and importantly grow it.

The “traditional” agencies, were trying to protect legacy revenue – TV media or production, the army of planners who sat in mild panic hoping they wouldn’t get asked a digital question by the client. Money was taken from digital to invariably prop up the old model. Why? because clients didn’t feel they needed to pay for this but agencies felt as though they should – so they took the money, thinking the strategic high ground would be safer than the commoditised trading or production. Clients want the job done, not save money on the money they give you. Its lack of belief in we do that makes it start to be about the money.

It all comes back to being paid properly. Having the tough conversation, being clear on what you are worth which makes you focus where you allocate you resource and why.


How to build useful niche social media communities

For the last four years I have been building social media platforms almost exclusively. I have reviewed and worked on some high profile social networking projects. What interests me is what works and what is a total waste of time. Prior to social media I have been working on mobile game, medical software, augmented reality systems etc. LinkedIn profile

Although Social media is different, its’ all about Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS), innovation, common-sense and not reinventing the wheel. Over the last few years the projects which have hit the  limelight are the ones which do one task well and then make it available to various audience in an easy to consume format. Examples:

  • WordPress Blogging (powers roughly 202 million blogs)
  • YouTube Embeddable videos on the web (average 12bn videos watched a month)
  • Foursquare Clocking in and out (More than 1 million check ins per month)

Decision making

The above platforms are social media superstars from yesterday, today and tomorrow. A lot of hard work has gone in launching these platforms and making them as popular as they are, although they just do one things really well. This is what any social media site should do, one thing but extremely well.

So if you are building a social network and want to blow everyone’s socks off, I would say don’t just get a whole range of blogging, forum, mobile apps together, instead take a stand. Ask yourself: Who are we? What do our members want? What is the one (or maybe two) feature which is a must. Then just build that, for the rest link it to their existing social media properties.

For instance as a knitting networking group, we will allow users to upload knitting patterns and organise coffee morning events. For everything  else we will use member’s existing social media platforms, like Facebook.


LinkedIn for recruitment #trulondon

A good debate last week hosted by @Mr_LinkedIn (Mark) and @jaccov (Jacco) on how LinkedIn is changing recruiters mindset in the industry. Apologies for the poor sound quality, although worth turning up your volume to hear what the gentlemen are saying. I must also warn you that there are bit where I am speaking and the volume is extremely loud.

Mark and Jacco had a very open mind to recruitment and how LinkedIn is changing the perception of recruiters, which was fantastic. They openly shared their thoughts on how recruiters are using LinkedIn. I personally was interested in how LinkedIn API (Application Programming Interface) could allow companies to bring some of the discussions into their ATS (Application Tracking System). @Andyheadworth felt that recruiters needed to change their perspective to LinkedIn before any of the APIs could make their way into the recruitment systems.

I believe as futurologist and technologist we need to predict the changes now and start developing the systems. So when the recruitment world is ready we can serve our customers


Debate Part 1

Debate Part 2


Buzz, an extension of Orkut, Google’s social network

Google Buzz which lauched yesterday on Google Mail (UK) or Gmail (other counties) has been in press on various sites Techcrunch, Mashable etc.

Many are calling it Facebook + Twitter = Friendfeed = Google Buzz. At first I agreed with general reaction of social media pundits, although on thinking further, it occured to me that Google has been used to doing it on their own social network, Orkut.

Google Buzz / Orkut

Above: (blurry) Screenshots of Google Buzz and Orkut respectively

Orkut is one of the biggest social networks in countries like India, Brazil etc. Orkut already offers social media aggregation to it’s users, mainly for Google owned services like Picasa (images), YouTube (video) etc. Time and again Google has attempted to integrate Google Fetures into Orkut, although on this occasion it has bought an Orkut feature to a major Google product. We will see more of this in the coming months/ Google Mail will become more social and users will consume social media without realising it.