Archive for October, 2009

Damien Offline

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

For the first time in maybe 7 or 8 years I’m going away and I will not be checking my phone or email the whole time I’m avoiding thunderstorms. No Twitter, no blogging, no leaving dumb comments on YouTube videos as Jake256ard. I think I might become smarterer from being away from it all.

I’ll see you all in 12 days.

Fuji Provia 100F - Canon EOS 1n
Photo owned by (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.

Fluffy Links – Monday 19th October 2009

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Creativity pool a bit shallow? Status suggestor for Facebook for you.

New blog from S.

Denis O’Brien’s attack website on the Moriarty Tribunal.

Michelle Obama action figures. We all need one, right?

A whole host of innovation and business links:

How do innovators think?

Best advice I’ve read in a long time: On the money advice on starting startups including ideas to try.

What is excellence?

Short deadlines are good.

Innovation elasticity.

Cool guys don’t look at explosions:

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.

Fluffy Links – Friday 16th October 2009

Friday, October 16th, 2009

G’wan Cavan. Love this.

‘Crisis Correspondent – Reporting from Uganda’ competition for third level students.

Whip out your mobiles… ZozzyTV will be streetcasting your videos onto massive screens on Grafton St, Henry St and Temple Bar.

Interesting stats on the lack of clicking on ads and how clicks are going down over time.

Refresh Dublin is looking like a nice mix of webby stuff.

Android training courses in Ireland now. Imagine if Three/Meteor actually sponsored them

Princess Bride the game.

Us Now. Free to download docu that looks at user participation and the potential for change from this.

Us Now follows the fate of Ebbsfleet United, a football club owned and run by its fans; Zopa, a bank in which everyone is the manager; and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members share their homes with strangers.

Colour Shift. There’s an app for this: pretty colours moving across the screen looking like changing wallpaper. are getting into the Augmented Reality game with their listings. Saw their demo on an Android Phone. Very very very cool.

Florence + the Machine – You’ve Got The Love (The XX Remix) (via Unarocks)

Good Mood Food – The book launch on Oct 21st

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Wednesday the 21st of October, Dubray Books on Grafton St., Dublin.

Donal Skehan from The Good Mood Food blog is launching his fantastic book on healthy eating/cooking next week. If you’re about pop in and say hello to him.

Mercier Press invite nicked from Donal’s blog:
Good Mood Food

Fluffy Links – Thursday October 15th 2009

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Fantastic photos of the Liberties from Phil.

What changes would you make to the Irish Times? They want to know.

Tesco’s Irish price guarantee: We’re putting them up!

Not Another Mulley Award. NAMA.

Cybercom want you: Actionscript expert. Designer.

Time since Last Contact. TLC. A very interesting and beneficial business metric.

Restaurant? Some Facebook Pages tips for you.

Coca Cola bottles, designed by Italian designers (shape unchanged)

Alan the Guitar Hero

Emergency Broadcast Network – Get down (More famous for the We Will Rock You George Bush bit)

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.

Fluffy Links – Wednesday October 14th 2009

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Caption competition for this Web Awards pic. This is hilarious.

Diamond in your mind and now on a blog.

No, I did not link to this list cos I’m on it. Marketing blogs in Ireland.

Fantastic idea. A blog dedicated to stupid YouTube Comments.

Get a load of Donal’s legs and win some.

Wel done First Direct. Aggregating good and bad things said about them online.

Via Neville’s Twitter Tool to allow you to turn a Powerpoint slide into an aggregator of questions from the Twitter audience.

Radiohead “All I Need”

Fluffy Links – Tuesday October 13th 2009

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Are the Web Awards over yet? Ah yes. Some thanks.

Nice list of expenses of John Gormley. By nice I mean nice for some.

Conor gives his thoughts on a CIO for Ireland. The person will have to be corrupt from day 1 to get such a job. When a Govt makes it policy to not mention broadband in speeches you can bet the CIO will have to be superpositive about the piece of string people have to use in order to check email. Having a good CIO in a poisonous Government and connected to the sinister Civil Servants who are complicit in all of this will mean nothing good happens.

New blog from Hugh Linehan of the Irish Times.

Touchscreen rubik’s cube.

Johnny points out a social network in Ireland for keeping fit.

Lovely review of Donal’s cookbook.

Will McInnes is back in Ireland soon for the Content is King conference. I’ll be in Qatar though 🙁

Innovation in the sports industry.

New RTE TV show?

The Who