I am 1!

It’s my birthday – yeah!!!

I turned 1 today.  Since then I have:

  • Written 173 posts (some good, some bad, some long, some short)
  • Had 4,801 visitors to the blog
  • Got 134 comments on my posts
  • On my busiest day I had 109 visits

Thanks all, love ya!


August’s awesome tunes

As with every month, here are the delicious sounds I’m listening to this month.

If you want any of these song, simply copy the youtube link onto fullrip.net and you can then get the MP3 of it. FYI, some of these will include some swearing, so discretion is advised if you are a particularly sensitive soul.  


  • Wugazi – Sleep Rules Everything Around Me (Fugazi & Wu-Tang Clan Mashup)

  • Cults – Go Outside

  • Bon Iver – I can’t make you love me

  • TV on the Radio – Province

  • Matisyahu – One Day

  • Manic Street Preachers – Let Robeson Sing

  • Friendly Fires – Hawaiian air

  • Counting Crows – Mr Jones

Now’s the time to get going

So the first six months of the year are gone.  How have I fared with my resolutions from the start of the year.

  • Blog once a week (at least) – July has been an embarrassing month for me… say no more
  • Tweet once a day (at least) – This one is coming along nicely.
  • Become more patient with the kids (if they let me) – Doing pretty well here – kids are behaving better, being less demanding and playing better with each other so this is happening with little effort from me
  • Make a concerted effort to reduce on the swearing – I think I’m doing pretty well
  • Film more family memories – I’ve been filming a lot more and taking photos of stuff we do so the 2011 family album should be decent
  • Get eldest riding a bike without stabilisers –he has refused to get on it since I took out the stabilisers so not sure how this is going to go
  • Go camping at least twice (now once) – done and such a success I may try to do it again and achieve my original target
  • Organise a reunion with friends from Portugal who I have not seen for 20 years –Managed to do this in May 
  • Become mayor of somewhere on Foursquare (my own home or workplace not included) – I’m currently Mayor of 25 non-home/work related places.  These include cafes, supermarkets, shops and a beach
  • Get to Wii Fit age of 37 – last measurement was 41 but this was taken in April!!! Not good enough really
  • De-clutter the house – House de-cluttering is done.  Conversely, the garage is cluttering nicely.
  • Sell something at a car boot sale – Actually did 3 to get rid of all the stuff
  • Move house – house on the market, just waiting for the right buyer
  • Get on a Segway (easy one as a ride on one was a Xmas present, but still valid I think) – Done in February
  • (NEW) Take kids swimming on a regular basis – Need to start this up again.  We did try martial arts in July but that was a huge fail
  • (NEW) Read a book a month – I’m just finishing a book by  Derek Sivers  and then I aim to move to a marketing/advertising related book – though I’m not sure which.  And that’s my main problem, too much choice on the book front
  • (NEW) – Limit myself to a maximum of two coffees per day – I’m achieving this, apart from when my mum comes over when my consumption rises.

Do you brief or direct?

As I see it there are two ways of overseeing a project.  You either brief the direction to the people under you or you direct the project.

Personally I’m a believer for direction (or vision, some people might prefer).  It is then up to whoever is delivering it to find the best way to get there.

The reason I prefer this is that it means I’m not blinkered by my own expectations, and it allows them to think for themselves, showcase their creativity and thought process and (in the process) increase their confidence, experience and understanding of how to create plans and strategies.

Now, I may not agree with what is developed, but that is the perfect opportunity for me to play devil’s advocate and ensure that the plan developed is the most robust possible.

If I wanted to direct how it should be done, I would leave no room for questioning even if it resulted in oversights.  And I understand that sometimes life dictates that projects be run this way.

However, IMHO, I think the former leads to better campaigns/strategies, better creative and also a more motivated workforce.

So next time you are briefing a colleague or an agency, think about how much freedom you are prepared to allow them?  You’re paying them for their ability to think as much as do, but by directing them,  you’re only allowing them to do.

To auto-tweet, or not to auto-tweet? Where do you stand?

The North Blog recently posted an entry about Guy Kawasaki‘s conduct and approach to Twitter and Facebook.

Whilst I appreciate Guy’s reasons for doing it – he wants to cut through the clutter and ensure people in different time zones get to see his posts and he gets more followers.  I get it, I really do. And it seems to work for him.

However, I don’t believe in it.  I don’t believe in it for a few reasons:

  1. Social is about being ‘real’ – whilst I don’t doubt that his tweets are genuine, there is an assumption that if you tweet you are there and ready for a ‘conversation’ (isn’t that the point of social media?).
  2. If your followers truly value your tweets, they will seek them.  You don’t need to pester them.
  3. You’re just adding to the clutter you are trying to avoid.
What’s your view?  Do you use automated tweets?  If you do, how and why do you use them?

It’s the little details that make the difference

This card and note are the culmination of one of the loveliest bits of service I received recently.

Let me set the context…

I subscribe to a lot of magazines – five monthlies and a weekly.  It used to be great, but right now I’m behind


Whilst trying to catch up (May edition) I saw something from the Monocle shop that I wanted – a ‘Support Japan’ bracelet. However, when I looked online I couldn’t find it which meant they had run out.  I decided to take a chance and email them in case they still had some left in the physical stores that they had.

Within an hour I had an email from Tim letting me know that they did in fact have some and that I could pop by and get it.  But, Basingstoke (where I work) is a long way away from Marylebone in London (where the store is) and I don’t go into London that often.  I thought I would try my luck and see if they could mail it to me.

So I emailed Tim back.

Again, he responded quickly (within 30 minutes) saying that absolutely it would not be a problem at all.  This time I decided to call.  Tim answered and we had a 10 minute chat where I told him I was behind and just having a general chit-chat.  Tim seemed like a great guy.  He took my details and said he’d get it posted straight away.

Up to this point I could not fault the service at all.

On Friday, when I got home it had arrived.  And inside were postcard, his business card and my bracelet nicely wrapped up.  I did not expect the personal note from Tim but it was a lovely touch because it showed that he’d paid attention to our conversation and made the experience very personal – and that to me is great customer service.

The result?  As soon as I get the chance, I’m going into that store to meet Tim personally and thank him and get some more Monocle goodies.

Favouriting Tweets

@briansolis recently posted this tweet


I had been thinking for a while about favourites and how that functionality can be used.

Personally, I used them in two ways:

  • Save to read later – sometimes reading long posts/articles on the iPhone is not the easiest, so I tend to save it until I’m on the iPad or when I get into work and can print it out. Also, with the amount of tweets coming through it is nigh on impossible to then go back and find it so much easier to do this.
  • Keepers – these are tweets that I want to keep because they’re funny, interesting or inspiring. They’re tweets I’m likely to go back to over and over again.

Doing a little digging around, it seems that most people use them in the same way. Favourites are important to use because they let potential follower know what you are into.  I often look at who people follow and their favourites before following them to give me a better understanding of whether they are likely to be someone whose tweets I will enjoy or not.

But tweets can also be used (particularly by brands) as testimonials – to promote particular positive messages someone has sent to other.  And now that you can export tweet and display them on your blog/site (as shown above) you can have that in two place rather than confined only to your Twitter feed.

What about you?  Do you use Favourites?  How do you use them?

Will Google+ bring down Facebook?

Unless you’ve been stuck in a cave over the last 48-72hrs you’ll know that Google has launched its Google+ project.  This is widely being seen as the real Facebook killer with its Circles and Huddles functionality.  If you’ve not seen or heard much about it, here is a short video explaining the project.

In ‘response’, Facebook has, only a few short hours ago, announced their joint partnership with Skype which has added video capabilities to its service.  Click here to see a video of it.

I’ve not actually tried either service but my first impressions are that Circles is a HUGE plus to the whole social interactions.  It is how people compartmentalise their friends and connections and now Google is offering that ability online.  I also think the Huddles functionality seems a lot better than Facebook’s.

Saying that though, I’m not actually sure that this will be the thing that sees the demise of Facebook.  With c. 600m there is bound to be some attrition but I think Facebook has more fundamental issues to take care of, namely:

  • Privacy – how secure is your data?  Why can’t you delete your account rather than de-activate it?
  • Boredom – people have been living with it for 4-5 yrs and the world has moved on, much like it did for MySpace
  • Displeasure – Facebook has done things slightly underhand, they’ve changed layouts, added new functionality which has changed the site from its original inception (selling rather than interacting)
The one thing it has going for it is that people are used to that ‘space’ for communicating, more so than they are for Google.  Also, more people have FB accounts than Gmail accounts, so they will need to create new profiles, learn new interfaces and ways of communicating.

I will be joining G+.  I would love to relinquish Facebook (with or without the advent of G+) but unfortunately the rest of my friends are Facebookers and use it to organise get togethers so, for my sins, I am still there.  But my activity is virtually zero.

I don’t think it will be the death of Facebook.  They will be impacted quite badly, but they will be around (and making lots of money) for years to come. However, they need to truly understand how people want to interact with others and their part in that process.

Coming to an app store near you

That’s right… this blog is about to become an APP. And yours can too with this site I found – appsbar.  You can create a variety of apps for free which they will the put onto the appropriate app store (iOS or Android).

The thought of having my own app sounds kind of cool, but it is also what this is potentially opening up small business who do not have the contacts/budget to spend on creating a high end app with bells as whistles.

Anyway, we will see what comes of it and I shall let you know when the official launch date is and some exclusive invites to get it!

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