Archive for July, 2011

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dream

Time to blitz Ebay!!

Well, it is with many mixed emotions that I say goodbye to so much. Many ask what prompts such a move, after all emigrating to Australia with wife and 3 kids on tow is no mean feat. And whilst it didn’t seem quite so drastic just a few weeks ago, the scale of our next chapter is starting to dawn on me, as plans turn into reality. After all, nothing smacks of reality more than packing up your life (and seeing how much crap you’ve accumulated along the way). Yup, it’s been a roller coaster ride with the past few months in particular mixed with hectic handovers, sad goodbyes, planning, planning and yet more planning.

Reflecting back, I’ve enjoyed and even cherished my time at View. There have been highs. Adding BA, Schroders and Beazley to the client list during my last month there has been a great high to end on … and a testament to the degree in which View has changed during my time there – the credit being far from all mine of course. I’ve had the benefit of working with some truly dedicated, professional and above all passionate people at View and have learnt shed loads from them. The clients deserve a mention too as they’re the ones who constantly challenged (you know who you are!) and pushed the agency to the heights that View is comfortable soaring at today.

And if you’re looking for some heartfelt honesty, there have been lows too of course. Managing the business in this recession has been tough. Looking back, I can still find myself bemused at the countless haggling over rate cards, often with procurement departments who don’t know the difference between an Agency and a supplier of loo paper! Or the difficulties of delivering great creative solutions on shoestring (noose!?) budgets. And even the heated, at times irrational, internal discussions (putting it mildly) regarding the agency’s strategy for managing in these times of ‘austerity’.

But in all, if I look back and see that we got through the past 2 years with some of the great wins we have to our name and without making a single redundancy, I think that those who are in the industry will understand the extent of our unsung success.

Reputationally, View is on the map today more than it’s ever been. And in an environment where revenues are harder to secure, I’ve learnt that the value of your reputation, staff and clients alike, should not be underestimated or taken for granted (and certainly shouldn’t be victim to lack of strategic thinking).

So, as I take this hiatus, I bid you goodbye but not farewell. For any of you who wish to stay in touch, I would be only too happy to hear from you. Needless to say, this blog will continue, albeit with a slightly altered twang. Slightly more Australian. Slightly more consumer marketing focussed. And above all, hopefully from the hands of a slightly more tanned MD!

I’ll resume normal updates when I’ve resurfaced down under – take care for now.

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Dad, what are those 2 little doors?

Dad, what are those 2 little doors?

I remember waving goodbye to my parents through teary eyes when I was 13, as they drove off leaving me standing there, in my new and completely unfamiliar home to be – boarding school (no sympathy though please, it was more Eaton than Oliver Twist!).

As I walked through the long dormitory corridors for the first time (making sure to swallow that lump in my throat), it became clear to me that there were a few fundamentals to getting along in my new environment 1) new comers stood very little chance and 2) a ghetto blaster counts – the bigger the better (to wow the crowds and drowning out the competition). Yup, it was a strange world I had been left to fend for myself in.

So no surprise then when 20+ years later, I came across a pristine fully functioning ghetto blaster at my mothers house which she had been using as a radio (not to win friends I’m pleased to report), that I became somewhat nostalgic. Wanting to share the moment, I found myself struggling to conjure up a suitable comment to associate with the photo to share on my wall, that the poignancy of Paul Adams research ‘The Real Life Social Network’ on social networking (and how it clearly needs to adapt) hit home.

The premise of Pauls presentation (which I urge anybody in the industry to read) was that we’re just at the very beginning of a very long road in the evolution of social networking. His main point being that the single bucket ‘Friends’ solution is simply inadequate to truly reflect the way we interact and socialise in the real world.

Did I want all my contacts, which includes friends, colleagues, clients and yes, my mother to know about how I felt? The answer is no – if at the very least because I didn’t want to make my age sensitive even more sensitive thinking I was poking fun at her choice of radio publicly! But more so because it was only a small handful of friends that would have appreciated it’s relevance.

Looking back, I realise that the association between ghetto blasters and popularity is as deluded as the association between number of friends and social networking success (whether personally or for business).

All this alludes to the problems that have yet to be solved. Extended to the world of business, what good is a following of 10,000 users on Facebook if as a business you fail to understand the nature of the relationship you have/are forming with them? I think it’s a great question and without answers being offered (yet) from smart people like Paul Adams, it leaves the road ahead wide open and if anything, Google+’s plans for business (as stated by Christian Oestlien from the Google+ team) or Facebook 2.0 interesting things to lookout for.

In the meantime though, have a read of Paul’s thought provoking work…

The Google+ experience

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Usability
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[tweetmeme source= “jsnrss” only_single=false]Whilst the inevitable “Google+ fade away like a Wave or troop on like an Android?” debate gets under way and countless blogs start attempting to predict Google+’s fate, my attention gravitates to a slightly different area of the Google+ experience.

Take a look at the Google+ tutorial here www.google.com/+/demo. Without getting too technical it’s a pure and simple showcase for how far non Flash based interfaces can be taken (in this case it’s a custom hack of the Google Maps API). Not that we needed a better showcase for what can be achieved without Flash following the fantastic http://chrome.angrybirds.com but the Google+ team have pulled off some even greater things (as far as web based UI is concerned) within the Google+ interface itself.

With everything from seamless drag and drop features, animations and other nifty tricks (see video below) it’s not too difficult to see how the Google Chrome OS might evolve by looking at what has been achieved with the Google+ UI.

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Wave on the iPhone

Wave on the iPhone

The interface enhancements extend to mobile too (curious that currently Google seems to have invested more in making the iPhone experience better than it’s own Android experience). Using the Google ‘suite’ on mobile is becoming ever more enjoyable. So on that front, it will be interesting to see uptake of Google+ on mobile.

As to whether Google+ will succeed or not!? Well a) that’s not for this blog post and b) who cares… one thing’s for sure, there will be benefits to be had by understanding it; and love it or loath it – we have to understand it if only for the sheer amount of Gmail users that will soon have immediate access to it’s features.