Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Fluffy Links – Wednesday 11th 2012

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Social Media Measurement conference on February 15th. Cheap tickets for now.

PROC, the app. Quite handy functionality.

National College of Ireland are now running a Digital Marketing Course.

Getting Things Done. The philosophy. Want to sort your inbox and your business/personal life? The methodologies from GTD and other areas to calm the noise and get quality work done is being taught by Keith Bohanna on February 7th. Full details. Tickets. 15% discount for code: choochoo15

Great comment from Lar Veale on the importance of social media and the “ROI’.

Great slides on mobile marketing in the UK.

This Google video on how websites treat customers is very very true.

Modern World

but in the end the man they commemorate is the builder

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Jacob Bronowski

The hand is the cutting edge of the mind. Civilization is not a collection of finished artefacts, it is the elaboration of processes. In the end, the march of man is the refinement of the hand in action. The most powerful drive in the ascent of man is his pleasure in his own skill. He loves to do what he does well and, having done it well, he loves to do it better. You see it in his science. You see it in the magnificence with which he carves and builds, the loving care, the gaiety, the effrontery. The monuments are supposed to commemorate kings and religions, heroes, dogmas, but in the end the man they commemorate is the builder.

That quote is from about minute 42 of the below. The whole video is worth watching and the whole of the series too.

Ones to watch in 2012

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Here’s the ones to watch in 2011 list. Not bad a list, right?

The usual excuse I’m using in recent years gets another outing. i just don’t have the time to meet as many people and read and keep up with what people are doing. So this list is, like others before it, one done with a very blinkered take as only what I see, can I view.

Des Traynor
Des of Contrast and has over the space of the past few years gone from the amazing user interface expert everyone was advised to talk to, to the guy that shares so much about building amazing web products. Des has a quiet confidence when sharing knowledge that’s sustained through the years and has now turned into wisdom, something that only time can do. Given the rapid appreciation of by people, it’s only a matter of time before investing in Des will give you a nice return on that investment.

Martha Rotter and Stewart Curry
Martha and Stewart are working on Idea magazine at the moment and I expect 2012 to see them fleshing their work on this out to more places. The idea of write only once, publishing to lots of places is ancient in terms of the web but the actualisation of this idea isn’t properly happening yet. Hopefully their collaborations on this will bring this more to life in 2012. Martha also featured before.

Dylan Collins
I know Dylan Collins a few years at this stage and he’s someone I respect and admire. Actually, a line like that is normally an excuse to initiate a personal attack on someone. When you talk to Dylan or just listen to him talk you realise that he has a way of viewing things that allows him to see patterns and movements in things that if he gets involved he can change and accentuate. A fascinating quality and one that has allowed him to have an obscenely successful track record. Dylan has been working with other companies in 2011 but for someone with his personality structure he’ll need to be working on his own projects in 2012.

Enda Crowley
I know Enda since he was a kid. So that’s like 3 months or something. 🙂 Enda has wanted to be in a start-up for a long while like so many others but changing colleges, working with some gifted people and persistance might see 2012 being a good year for him and his very bright co-workers. There are plenty of people circling around young programmers hoping they can feed off them but if they keep their heads down, don’t resort to doing press to talk about how awesome they are and release a product, there’s great potential. Then they can do the celebrity young tech startup media circuit…

Willie White
I know Willie White via Project Arts. You need to sit down and have a cigarette after talking to Willie. Multi-layered, full deep conversations are the norm. A whole history of art and creativity in each sentence. With Alexia and Willie, we worked on the Dublin Tweasure Hunt which was a nice bit of fun. Willie is now the big kahuna burger for the Dublin Threatre Festival so I expect he’ll have even more people to reply to my emails with “As per the court order Mr. Mulley”. If the work he and his crew did to help new artists is anything to go by then the 2012 Theatre festival will be great. More tech involvement Willie!

Adrian Weckler
Adrian is now Digital Editor/Assistant Editor in the Sunday Business Post and piloted the new website, paywall and lots of digital conversion work in the past few months for the Business Post. The Sunday Business Post may well be the first Sunday to go digital-only if the rumours are to be believed. Adrian is going to be the head man for this change given he’s Mr. Internet in there. Maybe this is why he’s rocking a rockstar haircut these days? 🙂

Gina Bowes
I first met Gina via her work in eircom in the social media team there. In a world of corporate bullshit it was refreshing to hear someone directly call something bullshit and lots of other reality based words. Gina is already a star, a clever and hard worker who has moved on now to help other brands in the area of social media. 2012 should definitely be her year and let’s see what she can blow up/change.

David Scanlon
I could link to all the posts that show I’m not a fan of Enterprise Ireland but I’m sure we’re all sick of that bleating. EI has changed quite a bit in the past few years from the way they communicate to the way they are changing to what marketplaces want. The change from middleware or bust to cloud and games was in fact a screeching lurch more than a glacial pace but changes finally happened and lots of changes are still to come. EI are now actually a model for semi-state usage of social media and even they can whack their client companies on the head as they are walking the walk. One of the people in there doing this is David Scanlon and David and his colleagues are bringing people together, external and internal people and showing the positive outcomes of using online media. 2011 has been a year where EI got deserved attention for their work and i would think the efforts in 2011 will pay off even more in 2012.

Fluffy Links – Thursday 29th December 2011

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

A lunch will be held in Chapter One on Monday 30th January 2012. Executive chef Ross Lewis, who cooked for the Queen on her recent visit to Ireland is holding this lunch and all proceeds will come to Barretsown. Tickets are limited, and are priced at €100 per person to include food and wine. Bookings can be made by contacting

Investment checklist from Dylan Collins. A very very handy checklist.

Monster list from Robin Blandford on areas of data analytics that real companies have real issues with. A whole industry of data play right there for you. Data wizards will be massively valuable in companies in the next few years.

Jersey-shoreification of programming. I’m reminded of some irish people with this.

I like this from Marc Andreessen about online shopping, up to now it’s been very clinical and now at all like the social experience of shopping in a shopping centre or city centre. How do you change that?

The new generation of e-tailers are much more appealing to normal people–people who like to go the mall, have fun with their friends and try on clothes and compare clothes, and go home and brag to their roommate what they got on sale, and all the rest of it. A lot of new startups are not only very viable but also growing very fast because they provide a very different experience.

This ain’t going to help websites at all. Encrypted search results on increase, means a website doesn’t know how they were found…

Atlantic Conference, Ireland 2012.

Speakers at the 2012 conference include Leena Gade, Chief Racing & Test Engineer with Audi Sports, Ward Van Duffel, Managing Director of LEGO® Education Europe Ltd, Tony Hill,Director of the Manchester Museum of Industry & Science … keynote speaker is Carol Lynn Parente, Producer of Sesame Street. The winner of 11 Emmy Awards, Carol Lynn Parente will be talking about Sesame Street’s work to bring STEM education to its young audience.

Read outside your bubble.

the background sound to every nerd’s house

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

24 hours of ambient sound from the Starship Enterprise.

Ban Itchy and Scratchy

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Record sales of violent video games very worrying – Mitchell O’ Connor

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today described reports of records sales of the new ‘Call of Duty’ video game in the lead up to Christmas as very worrying.

“In a week that saw needless bloodshed, both at home and abroad, the high sales figures of this violent video game are very concerning. Sales are estimated to have generated €1 billion in just 16 days. It is being lauded as the fastest selling entertainment product of all time, ahead of films such as the Harry Potter movies and Avatar.

“I really fear we are entering an age where such violence will be commonplace. Undoubtedly, society has become desensitized to acts of violence. There are a number of reasons for this, but violent video games certainly play a part. Life is precious and such games present people as obstacles and violent acts as having no consequence. Over exposure to such violence, be it in video games or otherwise, can distort reality.”

“Having worked as a teacher and as a principal, I am aware of how impressionable some young adults can be and I think it is really important that rules governing the sale of such games are enforced. I also think it is important that parents are mindful of buying adult games in situations where younger children might gain access to them.
“These video games provide no educational or social benefits. For me, the gift of a book will always provide real and lasting benefit. In Ireland, we are very fortunate to have exceptional authors both for children and adults and we need to support them more. It is also hugely important that literacy levels in this country dramatically improve. The Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) shows our literacy levels have fallen from 5th in the developed world to 15th.”


Fluffy Links – Saturday December 10th 2011

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

12 bottle wine hamper giveaway on Competition closes on the 16th of December.

I’ve been compiling a list of Cork businesses that are on social media. Are you one and not on the list yet? Sign up so.

Lovely idea. Want Steve Blank to teach you about startups? Yes. Ok then. And free? Here you go.

Funky Christmas Jumpers, the app.

Future predictions using the Internet and specifically Twitter.

Get your essential Christmas gadgets.

Silicon Valley and racism. Direct, indirect or otherwise.

Build 3D paper letters from a nifty font.

How do you get more women to tech events?

Very Sonic Youth sounding:
Wye Oak – Holy Holy

Dislike – 16 +17 December in Project Arts

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Colm O’Regan is doing his standup show Dislike in Project Arts on December 16th and 17th. Colm did a mini-version at the Web Awards this year and it got a great reaction from the web savvy crowd. It’s worth a look if you’re a Facebook addict, someone that loves the web and/or someone that finds the bailout and financial crisis to be sad but also darkly funny. Or you will after. Tickets are the same as a packet of cigarettes after the next budget. (€12/€10)

Colm O'Regan Dislike

Fund It – Self funding for the arts, lessons learned (Part 3)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

This is the third interview with people who have run Fund It campaigns. Fiona Kearney ran the Mixtapes Fund It. Previous interviews: Philly McMahon, Ebby Brett.

Mixtapes Fundit

You’ve used Fund It for Mixtapes, why use the Fund It route?

1. Curiosity about trying a new way of fundraising (was aware of Kickstarter in US)
2. opportunity to reach new audiences
3. Create ownership of project among a large set of investors

What would Fund It allow you to do that you couldn’t do previously?

Good to be part of bigger cultural fundraising framework. Enabled migration of investors across artforms Greater impact possible as part of wider online and print media conversation

Is there much work involved in running a Fund It drive?

Treated it as part of our social media conversation so kept it informal and hopefully informative. Didn’t overload the updates as I got a bit frustrated with overly keen fundraisers constantly in my inbox.

Had fantastic advice from FundIt administrators on how to pitch campaign – they helped us to make it more punchy and appealing to general audience.

Had investors lined up from family and friends at start of campaign to ensure initial investment. Sought support from board throughout. That was pretty much the plan.

What were the main lessons learned from using Fund It, would you have advice for those thinking of using Fund It themselves for the first time?

Our project was a genuine make or break. No funding, no book. Not sure if that is case for all the FundIt projects – some seem to seek funding for things that would happen anyway. I think the new creative projects are more compelling.

Any other thoughts on Fund It you’d like to share?

I’ve been really pleased to see projects I’ve funded succeed and particularly appreciate those that follow up with rewards well. I think it is a great way to give people a taste of the delights of philanthropic giving and the possibility of creating an impact with quite modest sums.

I think I could see myself giving people gifts from Fund It – that’s perhaps something that could be developed by the admins of the site

Fund It – Self funding for the arts, lessons learned (Part 2)

Monday, November 21st, 2011

This is the second interview with people who have run Fund It campaigns. Ebby Brett is working on his Wires project right now. Previous interview: Philly McMahon.

Ebby Brett Wires - Fund It

You’ve used Fund It for Wires, why use the Fund It route? What would you have done previous to using Fund It?

Previously, I’d been involved in the recording of an independently released EP, and a lot of home studio recording, but when it came to starting to decide to record my own record I knew I would need to use a studio. Honestly, I’m pretty crap at recording myself, and I wanted to be sure that if I was going to sell something that it was going to be a decent quality recording. Any of the home recording I had done just wasn’t giving me something I was happy with. Over the years I’ve spent a fair bit of money putting together a decent home studio set up, and in the end I just had to admit that the problem wasn’t the gear, but rather that I just didn’t have that talent for recording myself. I can’t split my brain in two and think like an engineer as I’m trying to also be a musician recording a track.

The costs of recording a full record in the studio are pretty high for a self employed music teacher, so I’d already been looking at sites such as Kickstarter, who were facilitating some very successful crowdfunding campaigns. I knew that roughly half the projects on that site manage to cross their target, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy one.

My plan from the outset was to try and cover half the costs myself, and half the costs some other way. I’d already been investigating various crowdfunding options when I heard Fund:it was being launched, which grabbed my interest immediately as it is aimed at projects based in Ireland. I had a few days of studio time behind me and a good sense of how quickly I worked, so I was able to work out a pretty accurate budget.

The appeal of a crowdfunding project to me, was the fact that you weren’t simply just pre-selling the album for a set fee, or going into debt hoping sales will pull you back out, but more that you were giving people a way to feel that they were involved in the creation of the album in some way, as opposed to just being customers or fans. I’ll have to look up the link, but one soundbite that stuck in my head from someone at Kickstarter was about how people were getting more out of feeling involved in the creation of the project than just the outcome itself.

I waited a while before submitting a proposal to Fund:it, and I took the time to look at other projects from all sections of the site. I played things rather cautiously, and reworked my proposal a few times, and ran it by other people before submitting.

Is there much work involved in running a Fund It drive? Setting up seems ok. There seems to be a lot of work in doing frequent updates/reminders about a campaign, did you have a plan of action for this?

Setting up is ok, that’s true, and in many ways, that is the easy part. But you also can’t change the wording of anything after it is submitted, so you really need to be sure that what you’re submitting will read well, look well, and represent your project well. I had some great feedback from some friends, and then after submitting the project, it was sent back to me twice with further suggestions and helpfully pointing out some things I had overlooked. That was brilliant feedback to get. It was straight to the point, completely focused, and spot on.

But, you are right, after then, there is the constant promotion of the project, and trying to get people to hear about it. The folk at Fund:it were very keen to make note when the project was submitted and going to finally be live on the site, that you really had to work to get it across the line. You couldn’t just throw a project up there and expect it to succeed. I had another level of that myself already, as I knew I was an unknown newbie Irish singer-songwriter trying to get money to record an album. It’s not an easy sell.

I had a very rough plan of action for how to promote it: daily status updates on Twitter & Facebook at different times. Blog posts in more depth, cross-posted to LiveJournal. Forums and other online communities I’m already a member of. However, I was constantly looking at how I could be promoting it better, how I could word things better, how to reach specific groups of people and so on. In short, I was trying to make sure everyone I interacted with online over the last decade and a half had an opportunity to find out about the project.

I was posting a link at least once a day on my twitter, personal facebook account, and music page on facebook. I was also keen to vary up what I was posting in these links, alternating linking to the project directly with a link to the list of people who had already pledged to the campaign. I varied what times of day I was posting the links, as everyone has different online reading habits. As it happens, my funders stretch from Alaska to Sydney. I didn’t want to just post a link at lunchtime Irish time every day, for example, and just piss off the same people who check their twitter at lunchtime every day. It was the driving influence in how I updated those sites, and when – I took stock of what annoyed me the most as a reader, and avoided it.

I made missteps early on, and changed my mind about a few things – for example, I took inspiration from thisispopbaby who endeavoured to thank as many funders either on twitter or facebook as possible, which I thought was a wonderful personal touch. But I just didn’t handle it as well as they did, and ended up tagging people in thank you status updates on facebook which felt a bit spammy to me. But I just reworked what I was doing, and turned every update into a thank you of some kind instead. I was keen to not go down the “give me your money” route, or come across as begging in any way. So instead, I made the conscious choice to use any updates to thank people who had already become involved in the project, give an update on the positive amount pledged so far, and stay away from saying things from a negative or needy point of view as much as possible.

On top of those social networking updates, I was also running a few small facebook ad campaigns for the facebook music page, targeting specific groups of people based on music artists similar to my own style of music. I ran a few that were Ireland specific, and a few that were targeting other countries. I kept the budget really low, and was surprised by the reach of some of the campaigns. These were a bigger success than I imagined, and I saw a significant impact over the fortnight that I had them run. It also translated into pledges more than expected. Some facebook friends hadn’t known of my music page, and it was a way for them to find out about it, and that I was trying to record an album. Others were complete strangers who discovered my music, and saw the link to the fund:it campaign and ended up pledging almost right away.

What I think was key at that point was that I’d already done 5 days in the studio, I’d tracked the piano and vocals for about three quarters of the record, and I was able to edit together two lots of clips giving 30secs or so of the work on each track to date. People could hear the music, and hear how it was sounding in the studio, read that I needed funding to help finish off what they were listening to, and make the decision based on something more tangible than a project description or a short video.

From watching some of the other fund:it projects, and even afterwards again now, you can see that people are more likely to back a winning horse, as such. If they see a lot of people getting involved, or that a project is getting close to its target, they’re much more likely to throw a bit of cash at it too.

I also had my website, which cross-posts to my old livejournal account, and to my facebook page too, so I was trying to post updates on the fund:it campaign as well as other posts about the days in the studio prior to the campaign kicking off. (I should probably point out that I wasn’t in studio at all for the duration of the fund:it project, as I couldn’t allow myself to take full days off from promoting it.) I knew I had still a small audience of readers on livejournal, and people I’d interacted with back in the heyday of my posting on that site did get involved with the campaign and did pledge, much to my delight, to be honest. My aim with the blog posts was to give more of an insight into the work in the studio, and a more detailed update on the fund:it campaign.

The final places that I was targeting were forums that I was a member of. I didn’t use that much, as I’ve never really used those forums much, and I figured if I read posts from a member with under 30 posts in 5 years, who was looking for people to go give them money, I’d probably ignore it too. So, I just posted a thread in the musicians promo forum about my music, linking to the site and social links. But, I’ve been a member of a vibrant forum community for over a decade. There’s a thread there devoted to the musicians and musicmakers on the site, so I was updating that with what was going on with me, as well as simply linking in my sig to the fundit campaign. And the support from members on that forum was far more than I had anticipated, with members of that forum actively sharing the fund:it link on their facebook and twitter accounts, multiple times a week. That kind of support is unreal, as I’d see one of them would have already posted the link on facebook by the time I’d logged in to go and post it myself, for example, and that was really heartening.

On top of all that, I contacted a few people aiming to run a competition to randomly reward pledgers to the campaign at certain points. I was thrilled when the Galway Film Fleadh got back in touch and offered me tickets to give away, and wishing me luck with the campaign. That was wonderful – I had to sets of tickets to give away, and I was keen to reward the people who’d gotten involved early in the campaign, so gave away one set after two weeks, and the other set a week later – a whole week before the project was due to finish. I figured that way, even if I didn’t reach my target and the project failed, I was able to say thank you in a small way to some of the people who were pledging money in the very early stages.

I did also email music bloggers, and all of that stuff, but I knew I was an unknown running a similar project to a few much bigger names, and the chances of getting any coverage were going to be slim. I also sent messages directly to some friends who I knew were quite influential in their friend circles, to ask them in person if they wouldn’t mind helping me out with spreading the project around.

What were the main lessons learned from using Fund It, would you have advice for those thinking of using Fund It themselves for the first time?

You will always be surprised by where support comes from.

Reassess everything you’re doing to promote it. Every few days I was looking at what I was already doing, and what else I could do. Getting advice from friends, looking at what other projects were doing, reading up about musicians who were successfully promoting themselves online, and following their twitter feeds to see how they worked, and adapting that for my own personality.

Don’t just expect your fans, friends, family, or followers to just give you money because the fund:it project is running. One of my favourite twitter followers, who I’ve met IRL a few times, and interacted with a lot, didn’t even know about my fund:it campaign until the last few days. You can be promoting the hell out of something, but it can slip some people by, or get lost in the surge of updates on twitter or not be included in the “top news” feed on facebook. Just because you’ve posted it doesn’t mean anyone has read it. I emailed a friend about the project, but he was heading away on holidays, and even after he came back it took him two weeks to get through his email inbox and discover the project a day too late.

Have some other ideas to fall back on if your project doesn’t reach the target. Try to have something that gives a good idea of what the project is. I noticed a bigger interest after I had sample clips available that gave an idea of what the album was going to sound like.