Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Interesting idea: Angel funding a fashion designer, starting at €14

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

The website Catwalk Genius is a site where the independent fashion designers sell fashion directly to the public. Some lovely stuff on it. What piques my interest though is you can basically buy shares in a designer and once they reach a certain amount of funding they can design and produce a new range, you’ll get an item from it and then a share in the profits.

The blurb from here:

Pay 14 Euros (plus 1 Euro processing fee) to secure 1 of 5,000 ‘elements’ in that designer’s adoption. You can adopt multiple elements in any number of designers…

Once all 5,000 elements have sold, your adopted designer will hit their fund target of 70,000 Euros. Within 6 months of that point, they’ll create a new collection with the costs covered by the adoption fund.

Once the collection’s ready, you’ll get an exclusive limited edition design from your designer as a reward for your confidence in them.

Then, for each item that is sold from the collection, all profits will be split so that 30% goes to the designer, 30% goes to us and 30% goes to the supporters (split proportionately according to the number of elements owned by each).

Would this work for a tech company? Finding 5000 people or a 10th of that might be tough, no?

Photo owned by mari.francille (cc)

LazyWeb: LinkedIn Answers notifications via Twitter, Facebook, blog

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I’m been told my blog posts on tech stuff are too techy. I’ll try and change that.

So for those not familiar with it, LinkedIn is an online networking site based around the equivalent of a CV. It’s very handy for storing business contacts and see what contacts they have. One of the really useful features of LinkedIn is LinkedIn answers where you can write a question and send it to all your contacts and the question is put on their site too and all LinkedIn members can respond to it. From feedback from those that use it, it’s a great resource. But you can only send the question and get a reply from those that are connected to you.

95/??? fingers
Photo owned by artifishall (cc)

What I’d love is the ability to send that question to my blog, my Twitter account, my Facebook status and more. It will get the question seen by a lot more people and probably get a good deal more responses too. It could also get more sign-ups for LinkedIn too and increase the number of people that connect to you. And I think it can be done thanks to LinkedIn releasing an API.

Of course that’s exporting from LinkedIn but is there anything stopping you from writing a blog post that gets turned into a LinkedIn Question or a Twitter message that does so?

Bank of Ireland: Do we look bovered at your data loss?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

My predicition: The Data Protection Commissoner will “investigate” and do sweet fanny adams. Which apparently is their job really. The same Data Protection Commissioner that did nothing when Talk Talk harassed people for weeks. They said they did wrong but it was the first time so they let them off. The same Data Protection Commissioner who said there was no data loss when the Blood Transfusion Service lost 170,000 records. See the records were encrypted so that’s fine. Not like encryption can be broken. If it really was encrypted.

So now we have 10,000 records that contain financial details, medical records, names, addresses. Gold for someone that wants to assume your identity and siphon money from your accounts. Hell, depending on your medical history, they could blackmail you too. But Bank of Ireland says nothing was accessed and nobody was conned, so move along here. Uhm. You only told the public yesterday, how do you know the data wasn’t used for another con?

The spokesman said there was no evidence of any fraudulent or suspicious activity relating to any of the 10,000 customers’ accounts since their records were stolen.

Actually, the DPC were informed but BOI says they’re just wanting to hear how things go, wow, proactive:

The spokesman denied reports that the data protection commissioner and the financial regulator were investigating the bank’s loss of customers’ records.

However, he said that both regulators had asked to be kept informed of the bank’s investigation into the matter.

Update: Seems the DPC is investigating now.

Remember when Clarkson got scammed?

It’s time for Data Breach Notification laws here. We can’t let banks and comapnies decide whether to tell us or not about these breaches.

SEX! Now that I have your … Facebook fan pages

Monday, April 21st, 2008

So in case you missed the memo, Facebook allows companies and individuals to basically create profiles for brands which they call pages. Instead of friending them like you do on Bebo or mySpace you “fan” them. What’s really clever (or maybe awful depending on your viewpoint) is that when someone friends a brand it shows up in the newsfeed of their friends. A nice viral way of spreading the world. BUT you can also run ads based on this action. Sinéad mentioned it before when a friend of hers became a fan of Phantom.

This is what it looks like:
Phantom Fan Ad

So anyways, I thought it would be a hoot, yes a hoot, to create a page called Cock so that you could see “Mary has become a fan of Cock” on news feeds. Alas, Facebook have a naughty filter. BOO!

Facebook no likey Cock

So screw it, I created the fanpage for Gnéas, the Irish word for sex. Aren’t I almost clever? Why not become a fan of Gnéas?

And this is how it’s seen in the Newsfeed:
Facebook fan of Gnéas

As well as that I have ads running too so when someone you know is a fan, you’ll see an ad like the one for Tim above, though it’ll look something like this:
Facebook Gnéas

Yes, it’s accepted I have too much time on my hands.

Chambers of Commerce of Ireland in cluelessness shocker

Monday, April 21st, 2008

To extend broadband to more of the country they want schools to open classrooms in the evenings and weekends so the greater community can avail of the broadband the school has:

In the context of leveraging resources, in particular technology for all of our benefit, Dr. Coughlan continued “One way to equip communities with the skill sets needed in the global economy is to extend the schools broadband service to enable all community stakeholders to enjoy the benefits of technology out-of-hours, thereby extending the footprint of broadband services throughout the country in a cost effective manner.”

Most schools have a satellite dish to provide broadband. It’s got a speed of 512k download. It’s almost useless. In areas where schools have proper broadband people themselves can get it at home. Why open the schools? It’s not as if there is a problem with convincing people to use broadband. The issue is availablity not demand.
Most schools don’t have good computers, the public adding wear and tear will make things worse.
Most schools don’t have the resources to pay someone to come in out of hours to supervise the public.

This would be the same Chambers that I met the EU with who were smug enough to suggest rural dwellers can always move into the cities to get broadband and rural dwellers should have to pay higher line rental because it was unfair on city dwellers to have to subsidise them.

And then the Chambers jumped on the Collison bandwagon:

Citing the example of the Collison brothers from Castletroy, Limerick who recently sold their web based start-up to Canadian company Live Current Media, Dr. Coughlan continued, “It is vital that we invest in communities to ensure that they achieve the very best of their abilities. Young people such as Patrick and John Collison remind us of the talent that there is in Ireland,” Dr. Coughlan concluded.

Hey Ican, I Better

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Bertie, Take Enda With You Facebook Group – 302 members
Iron Man Competition to go to UK Premier Facebook Group – 204 members
Mr Tayto for President – 296 members
Dear L drivers, shut the fuck up and take the damned test – 587 members

Hi Ican!

Photo owned by hownowdesign (cc)

It’s not fine and Dandy, it’s spammy

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

No no no no nooo. Marketing is NOT encouraging people to email 10 of their friends about your Café and sending the addresses to you in order to win something. That’s not viral. That’s very dodgy. STOP! Read what Salubri has to say on his blog.

Gossamer Dome
Photo owned by jurvetson (cc)

The Dandelion Café doesn’t seem to get that this is poor manners online. Shame.

Community Managers – Room for them in Ireland?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

So what is a “Community Manager”? From what I see and what I read, my definition of a community manager is someone that looks after the community that can develop around the company blog, wiki, social networking profile or discussion forum and also go out further than that onto the net and (if the company permits) engage with people on their personal spaces. Gone is the time when you must wait for the email or phonecall to engage with a customer. A community managers is the point person for the company for the company’s public facing endeavours on the wild wild web. In a hotel analogy the PR people are like the front desk while the community manager is, in a way, like the concierge, able to route around officialdom and get the customer what they want. A concierge that again can also go walkabout.

With the rise of companies getting into blogs, wikis, Facebook profiles and discussion forums and actually understanding the Cluetrain idea of “markets are conversations”, there are now companies who “get it” and want to try it but don’t know how. Some will still try. Some do well, others not so much. So some hire in an “outsider” as a community manager. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that if it is made clear to the public that this is their role and their standing in the company and they’re real.

Reverend Billy in Vallejo,CA
Photo owned by Brave New Films (cc)

A good community manager is both a member of the community (and remember communities are everywhere not justa round the company assets) as well as someone that’s inside the company with some influence. It can be a tough job and some people are not suited to be able to clarify matters on behalf of the company to the customers without starting a war and also defend the (sometimes very strong) views of the community to the company. A very good community manager is probably someone that should be aiming to make their own job obsolete by trying to turn some existing employees into community managers too. It’s all well and good to be writing blog posts and getting data from the company and making them enjoyable blog posts but the company is totally screwed if you are headhunted or run over by a bus. Therefore a community manager should ideally be trying to find some potential staff members who can take over and then prodding and pushing them to dip a toe and then a foot and eventually immerse themselves in the community interaction work.

Photo owned by Joe Shlabotnik (cc)

Jeremiah Owyang put it like this:

Part of the Community Managers role is to:

1. Listen: Use listening tools like Technorati, Talkdigger, read blogs, forums, wikis, to find out what customers are saying
2. Respond: Depending on what’s being said, respond quickly when appropriate
3. Inform: Tell the right stakeholders in the company what’s happening, this can range from Engineering, Product Management, Product Marketing, PR, Marketing, Bloggers, or forums moderators.
4. Shut up and sit back: One of the most important jobs of the CM is to connect the right internal people with customers and let them work it out, stay out of the way if you don’t understand the problems.
5. Listen more: Keep on listening, responding, informing, and connecting the right folks. A community manager is an odd looking being, big ears and eyes, and a small mouth.

So is there a need for them in Ireland and is there room? I think if more companies go for blogs and social networking, then yes, definitely. The only person right now that I know of is Sabrina Dent who does work for Lucky Oliver. Are there any more? I would think that the Interaction forum on has a community manager. I’m sure we do have more and in time we might even have a lot more if the recession hits and offline spend goes down.

Some people object to the term manager as it suggests controlling the community. Lighten up. Course they could be also called Social Media Managers but I despise the term social media.

Are community managers here for the long-term or just until web 2.0 is hung, drawn and quartered? Are they a worthy resource for a company? Are you one?

Meanwhile, a cynical take on some of the words I used in this post.

Looking for a conference venue in Ireland? – Talk to Ciara

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I met Ciara from when she came along to one of my business blogging training classes. She kindly volunteered to find me a venue for the 2009 Irish Blog Awards as well as the Irish Web Awards (which take place in October this year).

At Gramma
Photo owned by Alana Elliott (cc)

She’s had her work cut out as I’m a fussy so and so. I must say it’s much much easier to just let someone else go off and come back to you with a list of locations, prices, availability and so forth and she also has the experience to negotiate prices down moreso than I could ever do.

I’m pretty thrilled with what she’s done so far and soon she’ll be blogging too, so it’s all good. (She didn’t ask me to blog this by the way) If you want someone to find you a good venue for a conference or large event, give Ciara a shout or do the search via her own conferencing site. I highly recommend her service. moments

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Staying on the movie theme for today. Congrats to who are apparently going into movie downloads as well as DVD distribution via post. Been thinking about a bit of late, mainly because they came along and offered some wonderful goodybag vouchers at the blog awards as well as 30! dvd players too. DVDs by post is a new enough concept in Ireland but it seems to be doing very well in the States, probably because of having so many armed postmen or something. I heard they shoot to kill if you try and rob them.

DVD rentals, a la NetFlix. So isn’t the core business of to keep people indoors? Are their main competitors the cinemas and the pubs? Possibly not the cinemas and maybe not the pub either. Are RTE and Sky competitors I wonder? Maybe every one of the above is a competitor and maybe an ally too.

None of my business, but…
What would I do with Not that it’s any of my business but I’d definitely set up a group blog and ask some of the totally obsessive movie bloggers to come on board and blog every now and then about DVDs that are in the Moviestar catalog. There are gems in there, even for the movie fascists some of us are. A blog is good for generating a little interest and a good bit of Google rankings to draw people in. What else can be done though?

Complimentary to our lives
Well I think could compliment life with sets of DVDs. Christmas movies around .. Christmas. Romance movies around Valentine’s, the best of horror around Halloween. Getting me? Movie marathons. Box sets and weekend long marathons of TV shows are the norm now, so why not exploit it? Don’t send a single DVD but a whole set. What about tie-ins with cinemas and upcoming movies? An example? Well how about watching all of the existing Rambo movies before watching the latest in the cinema? Same for Rocky, Die Hard etc. etc. Sequels could be a great business. Birthday party DVD specials too for kids. Imagine having a personal shopper for movies or a bluffers guide to gangster movies, cowboy movies etc.?

DVDs and cinemas compliment each other in my view. Perhaps there could be tie-ins with the cinemas with cross-promotions for upcoming movies or maybe with the movie distributors themselves since there’s an existing relationship. It would pay for distributors to do something like this with Moviestar to boost an upcoming film. Sequel out, get Moviestar to promote the previous movies and do offers for people to watch them. Build some hype. Then there’s the offies. Get the beer, the chips and the Evil Dead movies. Or the superhero collection. Corona and a cowboy movie or two.

I love the idea of social objects and creating something that could gather people around to enjoy their time together. Whether it be to act as ambassadors or just community building.

Any other “none of our business, but” suggestions?