Archive for April, 2012

Fluffy Links – Monday April 30th 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Open Paths. Log all your location data, keep it safe, use it how you want to use it.

Kamori Studios have a blog. It can be read. For free. By humans. Free humans.

Doing some PR Workshops in Cork and Dublin. Sign up if interested.

Mr. Brand Ireland links to an agency called Huge. We’re motherfucking hipster creative motherfucks. Pivot! Creative! Dogs! Passionate! DanishDesignerEyewear!

Ouch. So Google did know they were scanning WiFi networks and intercepting data on those networks. They only got fined $25k for this.

Future of retail? Apple Stores perform 17 times better than the average retail store. Ask them.

If this, then that. Make your web tasks more efficient. Automate things.

Low – Lullaby

Kickstarting for startups

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Just a quick note more than a blog post. I’d like to see anyone that wants to draw down Government funds (EI, Enterprise Boards etc.) have to prove themselves by doing a Kickstarter type drive. We hear about embracing failure (once you learn something) and have the war scars from previous startups can be a good thing and something VCs might want to see.

Pushing the Kickstarter idea can be good for a few reasons: It shows that they can pitch their product, shows they have a network and can use it and also shows that they have some kind of business acumen. It doesn’t need to be a 6 figure kickstarter or even a high 5 figure sum but something that gets the public interested in a project but also not small enough that you get money just from savings and family.

Fund It in Ireland is great for the arts. Small and large projects are on it and there’s a great deal of learning after they’re run. A clone for startup funding could even be created for the Irish market with Government funds. The argument would be this service makes invested money have a higher chance of used well. Naturally scams would be attempted like they are everywhere else but let the crowd find the holes in it.

This was playing as I wrote the post. So there you go.

Fluffy Links – Saturday April 21st 2012

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Association of Online Publishers release a survey on online engagement.

The mp3s of the talks from are now online.

Netflix has a script that acts like a rampaging primate in their systems to train/prepare them for unexpected failures. Great idea especially if you like chaos.

Via Suzy. How hotels now making supremely sure that your first 15 minutes in the hotel are excellent. Damn that social media!

More on Steve Jobs, this time the “wilderness” years which we can see built the man that changed the world.

Mindfulness in Education.

Pinterest list of PR Stunts.

When in doubt, buy out the research company.

Amazing. Using mobile phone usage data to learn about society and relationships.

Not the best start to Open Ireland

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Update: As predicted by Pat Phelan and myself in private conversations, his Twitter follower account and mine suddenly gained 20,000+ each after our blog posts on buying followers. Comments like “well you also have bought followers” were then passed on. Also, thanks for the threatening text message over the below post. Screenshotted for posterity.


Seán O’Sullivan (co-coiner* of the phrase cloud computing) launched his Open Ireland initiative this week and miracle of miracles he gained 15k followers on Twitter in a few hours. As the numbers skyrocketed he bragged about it and attributed it to the Open Ireland coverage.


Until people pointed out they were “spam” followers. AKA they were bought. Seán of course claimed no idea of how that happened. He said at first he thought it was a hacker:


Then later he said at first he thought it was a celeb mentioning him:


Seán’s employee Bill Liao who claims to have co-founded Xing…


Tweet above from the founder of Xing.

… had the same issue with these “spammers” going from 30k followers to 110k in a very short space of time. He too doesn’t know where they came from:


If I saw myself go from 30k to 50k to 100k followers and noted they were all spam accounts I’d be worried about my account security and would report it to Twitter.

Bill instead will Tweet about you for cash to his 25k (when the ads were starting they were this) and now 100k followers. This is what he is saying on his Fiverr profile. Oddly, this is also the site where you can buy “spam” followers!


There’s been a lot of chatter on Twitter about faking follower numbers recently and also over on Pat’s blog. Experienced people can spot fakery but tell media people you are now followed by 80k people and they might not fully check, repeat it and one fake number makes you seem way more powerful than you are.

A conspiracy theorist though might suggest this was timed like that to do damage to the Open Ireland initiative. Or it might have been an intern going rogue. That happens a lot. Still, not the best start to this new intiative.

BTW, with past experience of blog posts of this nature I’m betting I’ll be classed as a bully, made people cry, I’m anti-Ireland, anti-jobs and more. I do admit to all of those and being anti-bullshit too.

* that’s a new one to me

Putting together a conference

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Been chatting to people of late about them running their own events, from conferences to awards shows, to annual days out. Depending on what kind of event you’re running, putting a conference together can cost from 8k to 15k, depending on the location, food and numbers of people. Venue rental and food are normally the biggest costs.

Might as well share some of the things I’ve learned (some at a stiff cost) about running conferences.

Headline sponsor
In terms of headline sponsor, try and have your headliner’s fee cover most of your infrastructural expenses. So venue, speakers, MC, etc. covered by the headline sponsor. If you also have other sponsors, their fee would go into these expenses too. Then ticket sales can pay for food and non-essential but nice-to-have items. Realex Payments, Bord Gais Energy,, National College of Ireland have all been headliners at events and I would mostly have had working relationships with them so when working on ideas for events, I would have sounded them out in advance. Getting commitment from a headliner before announcing and spending on an event is quite soothing.

Ticket sales:
I see ticket sales as where you see the profit. In theory anyway! It just makes it easier for me to calculate costs and revenue when I see x tickets means y profit. With headline and possibly category (if an awards) sponsor, you pay for all the bits that you need to run your event with no frills and then the Y bit is for fun stuff.

You then add in frills when your ticket sales come in. 500 quid in ticket sales = you can now buy cupcakes and sweets. A further 1000 and you can get funkier lights instead of just the venue supplied lights. (Did this with the Web Awards last year, waste of money) 500 in sales for allowed us to Livestream the event for example.

Have a list of what you “can’t do without” at the event and a list of what “you would like to have”. If you see ticket sales come in and everything in the “can’t do without” list has been covered, look at the “would like to have” list. Don’t go mad though as stuff you forgot about will occur and you will have to pay for that. (The sweet jars being nicked at the Social Media Awards last year ended up with me being fined a few hundred euros.) Ice cream trucks, bouncy castles and all of that are also great for PR for the next event.

Rick and his brolly

If you work with people you trust you don’t need to worry or check up on them. Rick O’Shea, Michelle McCormick, Ryan Whalley, Brian Greene, John Williams, Fran Hollywood are involved with most of my events, they turn up, do their thing, exchange nods with me and we’re away and fine. Aoife in the Mansion House is the same. “Usual?” “Yeah, usual”. People are the most important thing in your planning and if you have the right people in place, you can sleep the nights before the event.

Look after those people then. If the budget stretches, bring them out to dinner, get them good rooms in good hotels and remember to thank the shit out of them in front of others. (I always end up forgetting to thank someone so I have finally started writing my thank yous in advance)

Warm-up events
The Blog Awards always left me owing money to people but the experience allowed me to do the Web Awards and Social Media Awards. Running social media mini-events called Measure It! showed me there was an appetite for the event. Run some other smaller events to see how well you work with your team and see how the public reacts to the events.

Give complimentary tickets to business partners, media and those that you can’t pay for the help but want to thank in some small way. While you see comped tickets as being free, if there’s food on the night, you are paying €12-€15 a head for them so you do still need to budget for “free” tickets.

Work the room
The Web Awards suffered last year from ticket sales and sponsors because I was too busy with the day job. This meant less fun things on the night. You have to work hard on social media, email and phonecalls. Remind without bothering about your event. Share the milestones (50 tickets sold, 100 submissions so far, two new sponsors) Every time we tweeted about ticket sales, we got more ticket sales.

Hope that helps. I hope to run another event or two this year and add to the regular events stable next year too. If you want to be a headliner, you know where I am.

Who the fuck is Alice? The present and the future

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Saw Alice in Funderland last night in the Abbey. Ballsy move to host Alice in Funderland in the Abbey. In the Abbey! The Abbey!! Bad language gets uttered in it. In the Abbey!!! The Abbey is not a fragile little place that modern life could shatter if the word fuck is uttered on the stage. And it hasn’t, hurrah. But well done to the Abbey for breaking away from the usual stuff. Works like this should be in the Abbey.

I don’t have the language or education to appreciate arts and culture and particularly plays but I do often feel that even the “modern” plays in Ireland are just variations of what has gone before. We have a world of Beatles cover bands, yet we need hip hop. Alice in Funderland is the Wu Tang Clan. It’s real, it’s present and it is genuinely capturing life and culture in Ireland right now. Junkies, taxi drivers, homeless, politicians, TV3. Some issues are timeless. Some are not.


There are great songs, an amazing set and hilarious moments. I was crying with laughter at the taxi driver singing scene. It felt like Damien Dempsey was your taxi driver singing and uttering what we all have experienced from a Dublin taxi driver.

Dolores, the big bad is superb. The set rocks and the actors seem to have years of valuable experience behind them. Confident without being cocky.

Overall I think this is a piece of work to be proud of and worth bringing people to see. I’ll be going again.

Fluffy Links – Tuesday April 10th 2012

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I woke up one day, age 33, and realized I’d never been 23. He said this. Still a valid quote.

Letter to the troops from Google’s Larry Page. Mostly uninspiring and defensive but I like the philosophy of: work on something that is uncomfortably exciting.

A/B testing of ads on Plenty of Fish. Shitty MS Paint ad wins. Plenty of reasons why I’m sure.

Devloped countries Google the future, poor countries Google the past. A future orientation index.

Ballard – Invisible Literature. I wonder what aliens generations 100s of years in the future would make of our world if they just had to figure us out by instruction manuals, bills and Littlewoods catalogs?

We’re reading more these days, not less.

Collusion. Firefox plugin allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web.

Final Fantasy model Prada.

The other Final Fantasy

A chance for all of us – Rebooting RTÉ Investigates

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

RTÉ News/Investigations to get a revamp. As mentioned everywhere including a very insightful piece by Laura Slattery in the Irish Times.

“They will be broadcast when they are ready, not where everyone is working towards a date in the schedule that they have been given three months in advance,” he said on RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime on Tuesday.

Curran’s remarks confirm that the lessons of its libel will go beyond finger-pointing at individuals and “back-to-school” training on journalistic standards for everyone caught in the crossfire. He insists the broadcaster is “not shying away from challenging journalism”.

New training and methods etc. Wouldn’t it be great if all their policies and training material were put online for everyone? Why not push the standard and up the game of everyone in the field? Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out before that everyone upped their game when Tiger Woods came along, good for all. Better quality news may happen. The Government too have a policy of reusing information data/putting it to good use for all. Imagine if RTÉ did that?

One of the issues too with all media in the past few years/decades is not showing people the work that is actually done and the processes involved in putting programmes together. With that happening it is hard for people to value work when they are hopping from channel to channel and going from one cut and paste journalism “article” to the next “Are racists racist?” poll. In particular for RTÉ they get hammered for cheap television and also for spending money on television.

Media orgs need to open themselves up more to the public to explain how they work. If they don’t, they’ll be forgotten about, misrepresented and not respected. RTÉ did well many moons ago inviting us to the launch of their new News Studio but they need to go much further now. I know a lot of people that work in the media and the hours some put in, the work they do to ensure quality and sometimes just for a three minute news segment. We may not have to respect or like their work but we should still be informed before we do the usual: “Meh, dinosaurs that can’t be fired doing lazy journalism”. And I am just as guility.

Live minuted editorial meetings in the Guardian. The BBC editors defending their editorial decisions. I’m looking at you too Irish Times.

Of course even sharing and opening yourselves up won’t keep people happy. When every Friday you have the Late Late show baiting on Twitter with people saying the show is shit and others replying “Then stop watching it”, it shows you will get people that are not impressed. Yet the same audience or some of them watched the Nuala documentary and cried their eyes out. Same station, same organisation. So the argument that Twitter people are always knocking RTÉ isn’t fully true.

And why not listen? Why not take on some suggestions, make some changes, listen, respond and point out why things are they way they are. Vincent Browne got flack for having the same people on the show the whole time, got dug for gender imbalances and sought to rectify it by asking on-air for new contributors. Shockingly obvious.

So, share journalistic skills and knowledge, make yourself more transparent and take and respond to constructive feedback. I’m not sure to survive is ethics training and new editorial policies enough for any media organisation not just RTÉ.

The new oil

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Is information/data the new oil?

Those that own the rights to extract it and sell it can be worth dynasty-like fortunes. Those that are employed to drill or extract it can make huge money. Those that can predict or find a new source of information with their technology. Those that can build services or products that use this information (think cars or plastics). Those that can improve on those products. Those that lobby legislatures to ensure their safety tech must be used when these products are built, too can make money.

Facebook is the most public owner of rich data with lots of people exploiting and using it. The clubcard companies, the postal services. All data rich “fields”. Oil is made from rotting carbon entities. Data is made from our own usage patterns which we hand over in full knowledge or in full ignorance. Is data a natural resource?

Collusion. Firefox plugin allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web.

Using data to spot when the iPad 3 lands. Literally.

Seems that second sentence was in a draft post since October so pushing it live now.

And now for something completely…

See William Gibson on data and even rumour and the value of it:

Fluffy Links – April 5th 2012

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Congrats to NCI as their Digital Marketing Cert is now HETAC certified.

When your agent becomes your publisher. I like this idea if done right. Same way that TV stations shouldn’t just be about TV and newspapers should not just be doing print.

We’re looking for judges for the Social Media Awards.

Invisible book clubs. Are you actually in a book club with friends but don’t know it?

And the above was found via a link from a link from this Bruce Sterling piece on the New Aesthetic.

A Facebook share is worth £2.25.

The Magnum PI theme tune: