Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Social Media Bullshit Bingo Card (for conferences/presentations)

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Inspired by Mat Morrison’s tweet on the same aul case studies used again and again at conferences.

Totally guilty of many of these myself, please do add your own. Maybe this could be a drinking game instead? It’s good to reference some events but there are billions of people online. I think we can find more “stories” then the same ones we nick from Slideshare each day.

Social media
Social Business
Markets are conversations
Viral videos
User generated
iPhone App
ComCast Cares
Age Profile of Twitter, Facebook, Blogs

x amount of hours are uploaded every hour, day
Link to the laughing babies
Rollerskating babies and viral nature
That bloody dancing down the aisle video to Chris Brown
Will It Blend?

Barack Obama
Hudson Plane Crash
The Big Switch
Ashton Kutcher racing CNN
George Hook on Twitter
Michael Jackson death

Motrin Moms
Dell Hell (bonus points)

Guest Post: John Peavoy – Work, work, work

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I was meant to be in Qatar this week attending the World Innovation Summit for Education but ended up staying in Ireland. While planning to be away I asked some people if they wanted to do a guest blog post here. People who don’t blog themselves or haven’t blogged in a while. John Peavoy has volunteered this post:

Work, work, work

The recent videoblog from Chris Brogan really struck a chord with me, and not all in a positive way. It is certainly our choice, but entrepeneurs and “career persons” frequently spend many days and nights far away from home and our families. One of my first bosses – a man of 30+ years in the sales business often wondered aloud if this was the main reason his first marriage failed.

So what am I trying to say here? Is balance possible where workaholics are concerned? Well, I’m a 110% dedicated individual – don’t do things in half measures, and sometimes that can be difficult to control. Work can get all-consuming and if I don’t do it, then no-one will… Many of us know that feeling… Is being a workaholic a personal trait, or is it cultural? I think it’s a combination of both.

20 hour days where necessary; weekend working; early mornings and/or late nights; stress; always striving…. I’m sure many of you see yourselves in this model, no matter what your business. And it’s even more pronounced when you’re self employed and/or a business owner, and don’t have the regular monthly corporate salary.

So balance is difficult.

What’s the cost? Less time with our families and friends; health concerns; stress; less time to enrich our lives with reading, culture etc.

Sometimes we need to stand back and evaluate.
Sometimes those 3 hour lunches (thanks @loic & @arrington) are needed. And shock/horror, you may even develop a strong business relationship out of it.
Sometimes you just need to say “No” to work.
Sometimes you need to make a choice and put yourself and/or your family first.
Sometimes we need to smell the roses…..

Life is short enough.

And now FourSquare has an API

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

FourSquare has an API out. Never knew there already existed a WordPress Foursquare plugin. This FourSquare API is going to make things a whole lot more fun. As Drew points out, it was the API that helped grow Twitter and do all sorts of weird and weirder things (and business productive things!) and with all things Internetty now, the network you are connected to is/are more intelligent and creative than you.

Still referencing Drew, I like his suggestion about unlocking bonus/points discounts if you try something different on the menu. Game theory like I mentioned in the last FourSquare post. Perhaps too have secret menus for FourSquare. In and Out burger have a secret menu (though not so secret) and mixing rewards with special actions could be a good way of utlising the API.

I’d love to see maps of caffeine flow and see how far people travel for food and what places people travel most too. Lots of fun and also a stalker’s dream.

Using game theory to build a business

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Foursquare launched in Dublin towards the end of last week. Foursquare is a service that allows you to share what your location is to people you are connected to on the service. Most of it is done via a mobile phone. Smartphone or ordinary phone It has a prepopulated list of businesses for each city they’re in. So far so what. To encourage people to use the service it rewards you with a points system and a leaderboard to see how well you’re doing. The person that checks in to a location the most becomes a Mayor and they can be ousted etc.


A cool enough way to build a network and they’re already tieing in with businesses. Encouraging them to reward frequent users etc. They are also trialing hyper localised advertising which is going to be where the money is in the next few years, thus Google’s purchase of Admob yesterday for 750Million. Right now they seem to use data from Yelp but maybe we’ll see them tie in with a local provider like hmm perhaps?


One of the founders Dennis built Dodgeball a few years back and sold it to Google and was quite blunt at the crap way Google treated them after acquisition. Looks like this is everything Google could have done with Dodgeball. I’ve only been on it a few days but I love it. Right now it appears that there’s just around 100 people in Dublin using this. Tiny numbers but watch how it grows.

Maybe I should have done this as a top ten post and riddled it with keywords for traffic? Ah well.

Comfort zones

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I did a media interview last week talking about the web and of course Twitter and what it means. Preaching to the converted is actually unrewarding. It’s more a thigh rub than anything that stimulates parts above the neck.

I’ve done a few interviews with “outsiders” to web media and it’s through their grounding in a different environments that actually allows me to understand this web area better. Lots of questions were asked and I found myself considering this area using factors that never came into my head. I found what I was saying to actually be quite interesting. Hopefully they’ll have a recording of what I’ve said. I blabbed for 45 mins straight so who knows what was in there.

Last evening a college student asked to interview me for a college project, I get about 2-3 requests a month from college students wanting to talk about blogging or social networks or Twitter or the future of news and bits in these areas. Some of the questions I get each and every time but some are nicely nuanced that they make my greymatter buzz. So I might bitch and moan but generally I like doing them from what I personally learn each and every time. (Please note this is not a reason to email me asking me for interviews)

I think only from being outside can we see things in a better light besides always being on the inside developing our own exclusionary language and ettiquette. And it only took me 3, 892 blog posts to get to here…

My inverse library

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, Free by Chris Anderson, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, anything by Seth Godin. Just some of the books I’ve decided to not read given everyone else is extolling their virtues. Finite time and infinite words mean that for every one of these I read, there is another book I won’t. Shirky’s book in particular I should think is fantastic but with everyone in tech and online media talking about it and pushing the ideas of it on their blogs, on Twitter and at conferences I’d like to be influenced by different perspectives. I’m sure there’s a degree of Chinese Whispers to this but without reading Shirky I’ve heard most of the examples from his book already. Subtleties might be missed but this being modern times and modern media the ideas will come around and around again.

Even if all in these books are sound, these books with mass appeal push industry down one route. Perhaps another form of cognitive dissonance at the expense of underlying theories. With everyone sharing the same reading lists it feels like that the influences on business are homogenising. Just another version of the top 10 shelves in Waterstones. Sociology, philosophy, antropology are all being mashed into pop sociology/tech books. If we all look at the world with the same set of collective lenses then will we more or less see the same thing or get pushed along the same lines? Only when differing and opposing (but considered) views happen and smash together do we begin to see things properly. 3D instead of 2D or 1D.

I’m off to read the Communist Manifesto (hey, I was in Cuba!), Hidden Culture, Being Good and Beano Christmas Annual 1987.

Reading Room
Photo owned by Karen Roe (cc)

Embrace failure, reject losers

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

A while back I had lunch with fellow blogger (and Twitterer) Frank Gannon from Science Foundation Ireland. Another state body working to reach out to people that mouth off a bit too much perhaps… 🙂 We talked about SFI, innovation, R&D, demarcation and all the rest. I pointed out what I knew about the organisation from media coverage and it seemed that all their time in the press was justifying the money they spent. SFI gets a regular kicking by all quarters for what they do. Under the 2000-2005 National Development Plan SFI was responsible for disbursing €650M on ICT and Biotechnology. Some say they “blow” money on R&D (some amazing figures on spend) while others point out that R&D is not just about spitting out a new iPhone at the end of it all but it’s all the other industries influenced by the spend.

R&D is always going to be expensive as it is training and upskilling industries not one company. My view on R&D and innovation is that you can’t as a country and an industry get good and then become the best without laying the foundations. Successful companies form out of companies who form out of other companies. Many of the successes in the Valley were formed by those who were guided and influenced by colleges who built up massive knowledge from trying every variation of something out. Edison getting the lighbulb right spent thousands of hours on the problem trying everything as an ideal filament. So if we want to be the best we have to build a whole community or (overused word) an ecosystem. Everyone around brilliant companies also have to be brilliant to work them harder. Kind of the popsport ideas in Outliers by Gladwell. Be around brilliant people and their influence can inspire and train others.

However firing money at R&D and saying “we spend X per GDP on R&D” is not enough. Beancounter measuring of innovation and R&D is bad bad bad. It’s lazy and encourages corruption. Right now the SFI do not seem to be showing us all the benefits of what they do either because there’s not a lot or because they are failing at communicating it. That mission to the moon had great PR, even today we learn about all the tech created from it.

I think a lot of this is a communications issue. The general public do not know the story of R&D and how it affects us all. It’s not the public’s fault, they’re bombarded by enough stories and messages as is. But but but … there seems to be a fear of asking those doing R&D and especially academics to show what they’ve done for the cash. When in college and off record chatting to postgrads, there seems to be an awful lot of tickboxism happening. Exaggerate, lie or fog stuff to get the next drawdown. Parents, some anyway, ask their kids what they did and learned in school today. We’re not asking those we give 100s of millions this question. The endgame in funding research should not be a yoghurt with flu fighting aspects but the researchers and their team around them now having the knowledge to be able to do this again and again and educate everyone on it. And to share and train the wider community on this. If they don’t want to do this don’t fund them with our money. It’s ok to be shy. It’s ok to be a shit communicator. It’s ok to be anti-social. On someone elses dime, not the taxpayer’s. All R&D should be transparent and the general public should have the option to question it. FOI R&D. TLAs!

Photo owned by Eljay (cc)

And failure is an option. It should be an acceptable outcome if the journey wasn’t about someone faffing about and rigging stuff in the last two weeks. I’m reminded of the various feasability studies out there that are seen by some (not all) companies as a way of extracting money out of the state and where blind eyes are turned or help is given unofficially to say the right thing while doing the other thing. Afterall some state bodies have to send money out and have to get their numbers up. It’s stupid in a way that we have a system in Ireland where if a company fails and dies we are meant to keep quiet about it and not wish the person luck on their next go at this and this actual state means that others can use this veil of silence to squander and waste money and will inevitably get away with it. Our hiding away from failure instead of embracing it allows the jokers to become professional losers right now.

What brands don’t advertise in Ireland but still sell?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

I’ve asked this before on Twitter but I’ll ask it here too to a larger reach of people. Besides tobacco brands who can’t advertise in Ireland, are there any products in Ireland that don’t advertise but still sell well? I’d guess for a lot of chocolate the instore display might be enough to live off and perhaps some personal hygiene products that are just the default to use would also sell well. Just trying to figure out some things with advertising and marketing.

The great blogger ligger list

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Oct 2010: This list will no longer be shared with any PR or Marketing companies due to abuse of the list.

Photo owned by unusualimage (cc)

Every week there appears to be events where bloggers are invited to come along, be they briefings, parties, product launches etc. All fair enough but it now appears to be the same old faces again and again at these. At this stage I’d rather see others and not me invited to events or sent beer, chocolates and magic beans by post. So I’m putting a list together that I’ll share with PR/Marketing people so that a wider and more diverse group of people might get invited along to events. If you want to get invites or get sent products to review or try out then fill out this form. For this list to be shared with companies they’ll agree to not add you to mailing lists of any sort.

Growing your online business

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

The Internet Growth Alliance which I have the smallest of small parts in has come out and launched their Internet Growth Acceleration Programme which is all about teaching companies how to scale and expand and providing them with advice from people who’ve been there and done that. It’s modeled and inspired by the Stanford Leadership for Growth programme.

IGAP is exactly what so many web companies in Ireland need in order to move from being a minnow to fish to big fish and the mentors on the programme are real deal Irish and International people who have walked the walk. The Internet Growth Alliance is comprised of some of the best and brightest web people in Ireland, many of them selfmade multi-millionaires who have a wealth of information to share.

I’ve seen some negativity with some Irish companies complaining that they have to pay to be part of this, ignoring the fact that Enterprise Ireland takes the biggest hit on this and the people involved are doing this because they want to help. Thank goodness not every Irish web startup runs their life with this kind of entitlement syndrome going on.

Apply here.