The tech industry, some unedited (and brilliant) thoughts from Gizmodo

You totally care more about design and user experience than any other major tech company in the world, and, by and large, make the best products for real humans... But I promise that you can be 20 percent less of a dick and still make great, beautifully designed products. Also, there's this thing called the internet; I hear you discovered it recently, and I'm really happy to hear that. I hope it's true. Oh, and iTunes really sucks balls. You should fix that.

You're incredibly adept at collecting and sorting massive chunks of the world's information. I'd probably die before going back to life before your mostly excellent internet services—namely Search and Gmail and Maps. They make my life better, for the most part. But why can't you fucking design a phone or tablet or anything social that's actually easy for real people to use? If I had to choose between giving my mom an Android phone or a fucking pair of tin cans with a string behind them, she'd be stuck carrying very large purses for the next 5 years. Let some living, breathing people design your products. Just once! It might blow you away. Like Google+!

The most mindblowing thing in technology right now is your inability to make products that people love (with very few exceptions). Brilliant, creative people work for you, and they have seriously incredible ideas. You have more money than Jesus Christ's rich uncle. I have these crazy high expectations, these hopes that you'll blow me away and you totally let me down. Just try making something other than an Xbox that I can fall madly in love with, and that more than 5 other people will buy because you didn't wait until 3 years after the rest of the market to launch it? Please?

The only thing I haven't purchased from Amazon Prime is a house. And blow. But using your video or music or apps service is like hunting through a bag of dicks for the movie I want to watch. Hire like a designer, or six.

You know more about technology than anybody else, and anybody who knows less than you is a total dipshit. I love you for that. But normal people deserve wonderful technology too. And half the shit you call computing—running custom ROMs, reinstalling OSes, fucking with network settings—is like a chef sharpening his knives over and over and calling that cooking. Real computing is the actual stuff you do—cutting videos, editing photos, writing. Or at least it should be. Not the shit people do to make all of that work.

A lot of other companies
I really fucking hate the way you cede so much ground to Apple. You just let them do the shit they do. Why couldn't you launch a decent tablet before the iPad? Why are your tablets still shittier than the iPad, for the most part? Why do your laptops still, by and large, look and feel crappier than MacBook Pros? (Exception: ThinkPads.) Why are most of your phones the same fucking way? Does Apple have some secret monopoly on making well designed, well constructed, easy-to-use gadgets? I want to love your products. I really really really do. Just make amazing shit. That's the only rule. Make. Amazing. Shit.

Original here. 

Steve Jobs back in 1996

Steve Jobs in an interview with Wired (prior to his return to Apple) talking about the Web, computing and creativity. 

Wired - The Macintosh computer set the tone for 10 years. Do you think the Web may be setting the tone today?

Steve Jobs - The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased… The most exciting things happening today are objects and the Web. The Web is exciting for two reasons. One, it's ubiquitous... and anything that's ubiquitous gets interesting. Two, I don't think Microsoft will figure out a way to own it. There's going to be a lot more innovation, and that will create a place where there isn't this dark cloud of dominance.

W - If you go back five years, the Web was hardly on anybody's horizon. Maybe even three years ago, it wasn't really being taken seriously by many people. Why is the sudden rise of the Web so surprising?

SJ - Isn't it great? That's exactly what's not happening in the desktop market.

W - Why was everyone, including NeXT, surprised, though?

SJ - It's a little like the telephone. When you have two telephones, it's not very interesting. And three is not very interesting. And four. And, well, a hundred telephones perhaps becomes slightly interesting. A thousand, a little more. It's probably not until you get to around ten thousand telephones that it really gets interesting.

Many people didn't foresee, couldn't imagine, what it would be like to have a million, or a few tens of thousands of Web sites. And when there were only a hundred, or two hundred, or when they were all university ones, it just wasn't very interesting. Eventually, it went beyond this critical mass and got very interesting very fast. You could see it. And people said, "Wow! This is incredible."

The Web reminds me of the early days of the PC industry. No one really knows anything. There are no experts. All the experts have been wrong. There's a tremendous open possibility to the whole thing. And it hasn't been confined, or defined, in too many ways. That's wonderful.

There's a phrase in Buddhism, "Beginner's mind." It's wonderful to have a beginner's mind.

Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

You can read the rest of it here. 

Coming to America

'Progress' in question. Especially so when you have 3 young men who've fled wars in Sudan to get to the US who find it so unfriendly and the food so bad (from a film, God Grew Tired of Us, from 2006).


Janelle Monae

Probably the performance from this years Galstonbury. Amazing.


History of Marketing Channels

Useful timeline of marketing channels through the history. Probably slightly simplified but does show nicely the huge growth in marketing opportunities now...

From here.


Everything's connected

I can't remember where this is from but I really like it...
In a world where everyone is connected and constantly flowing information feeds back on itself, linear comms are becoming redundant. Brands need to be actively interesting (creating media) or useful (creating software) to be picked up and transmitted in this conversational flow. Agencies need to help brands generate a stream of marketing and retail innovations that connect with the individual passions of consumers in fluid and fragmented communities. 
Marketing has always needed media technology skills (radio, TV, film, print, etc); new digital channels and media technologies with radically different characteristics to traditional media (immersive, interactive, connected) are exploding so marketers need new skills. Agencies need to build, buy or partner to get interactive content and software development skills which can help brands be engines of culture – creating it, transforming it, constantly working with the flow of it. E.g. product placement, active sponsorship, ad-funded applications, in-game marketing, new branded media or products and services. 


Great site that takes definitions from and places them over a Google image result. The results can be quite random... I had no idea about this. Pronounced sp-a-rk-E, must always look sparkled, the E stands 4 EnErGy. Time to spark this event up Sparke. This party is Sparke-licious. Sparke is planning this event? 


Apple, the iCloud & Google

Yesterday, Apple launched the future of iTunes, iCloud a hub which stores all your media, email, calendars etc. The service will provide a long necessary response to Google's great web services. In both cases, your data will be in the cloud, accessible from anywhere with a network connection. Beyond that there are some quite noticeable differences about the companies 2 visions: 

Google’s vision is about software you run in a web browser.

Apple’s is about native apps you run on devices. 

Google’s frame is the browser window. Apple’s frame is the screen. That’s what we’ll remember about today’s keynote ten years from now. 

What Apple is also offering is access from the cloud alongside downloads to your devices. Everything will be available even if you don't have network access. I have a hunch this will be what most consumers would prefer.  

The BBC has a good summary of Apple's announcements here. 

The Internet changes everything (apart from 4 things)

Super post on what's changing and what's not changing about business when it comes to the Internet.

In brief: A McKinsey study estimates that Internet economic output is bigger than Spain and growing faster than Brazil. Web-intensive SMEs grow twice as fast, export twice as much, and are more profitable than non-Web-enabled, the McKinsey study concluded. eBay employs 17,000 people but 1.3 million earn a living from it.  
With all this talk of revolution, disruption, and really big change, struck by the things that are not changing.

1. A great customer experience differentiates winners from losers. Winners are differentiated not by the technology but by the quality of the experience they offer customers. 

2. The human side is critical to the use of technology. The biggest barrier to the spread of promising technology is the professionals. The same issue was raised about education. Adoption of new tools and incorporating new technologies into business or organizational models requires visionary, responsive leaders willing to change and to use the tools themselves.

3. Money needs to change hands. The Internet spreads faster when content is free but creators need to be paid. For all the freedom and ease of the virtual world, people still need to earn a living from what they produce.

4. The winner-take-all nature of Internet businesses poses risks of new monopolies controlling everything. That was one of many reasons that government officials want to protect citizens from Internet risks, from piracy to child pornography. For every problem — piracy, bandwidth, security — others argued that a private sector technology solution would be better, faster than a government solution. 

According to McKinsey telecoms are capturing most of the wealth being generated from the Internet. For all the new world hype, the old world has a major role to play. And sometimes focusing on what is not changing help us figure out how to best master changes. We still need to find, delight, and excite customers. We need business models that pay people fairly for their work. Businesses must make a credible case to government that they act in the public interest. And the best asset for mastering change is still that old classic: leadership.



Technology and social media gives brands the ability to listen to customer feedback better than at any time in history.  This gives companies the ability to listen to and respond to our comments. If they're really smart they can use them as R & D and create products based on our conversations. Listening and responding is one thing, interrupting us on social platforms is another. In a session I was running a few weeks back someone asked 'isn't advertising just a virus? People just don't want brands interrupting them on social media?'. Ignoring the ads that people actively like and share, most of us understand, when we get stuff for free someone or something is paying for it. We become the target and in many senses we become the product being sold.  

Now that brands have a superhero-like ability to listen to everything said about them, how to respond? Listening is a good start and when people are irate it's often worth responding. It's a tricky line to tread and all too often companies take these new open channels as a blueprint for all their new future marketing. Suddenly everything should involve co-creation and every communication has to consist of a dialogue. And  participation (or engagement) marketing becomes the holy grail.

As Tim Malbon said "suddenly digital is *everything* and everyone believes that social media has the power to turn boring crap into gold. Every product and every single brand wants to 'engage' users in a massive participatory experience. Especially if they're utterly dull. Obviously, you've got a Facebook page by now so you can 'be part of the conversation', but by now you've discovered there's very little to say if you're a brand people don't care much about or a product you put on food to make it taste better.

Never mind all that, there must be a way to engage with, by now, billions of web users who love engaging and participating, this is what they've been waiting for, and if you make the experience engaging enough they'll forget you're boring and love you and go out and buy your product instead of your slightly less participatory competition."

There's no point in boring brands trying to engage us on social media. They need a position, a passion, a point of view. Malcolm Gladwell was asked by GQ 'If you had to choose would you rather be interesting or right?" He said it entirely depended on what you do. If he was president of the United States or a CEO, he'd rather be right but he's a journalist so he'd rather be interesting. Advertising's closer to journalism than CEOs and presidents. We have to be interesting. If you're interesting, interesting things tend to happen. Have a position. Ikea's about everyone deserving the right to good design, Dove and the campaign for real beauty, Method about cleaning products which don't harm the environment, Nike wanting to encourage people to stay healthy. Having a position on culture helps them seem less self-obsessed and allows them to build a bridge between what they're good at and what we're interested in. This gives them a natural ability to exist in social spaces.  

So let's consider why people participate in things?

1. To get something useful. Tools, apps, rewards
2. To give something useful. Build communities, get group discounts
3. To bond with others. To improve social context
4. To gain status. Recognition, points, levels and rewards
5. To define themselves. Personalisation

If we are to use participation, we should be realistic about how people engage with brands. Here are two approaches:

1. Mass Participation - where it is so easy, relevant, or product related, that a significant number of people will want to get involved, and every interaction will have a direct positive marketing effect on the person interacting (Walkers Do Us a Flavour).
2. Mass Viewership of Participation - where the content that the few participators produce is of such enormous interest that masses of people will want to see the output and be positively influenced by the marketing message inherent within. (Burberry Art of the Trench).

If Clay Shirky has taught us anything, it's that people want to create primarily for themselves - their ideas, their expressions. Now and again, this might dovetail with the communication or marketing aim of a brand, but it won't most of the time. If you as a brand owner, are going to going down the creative participation route, you need to be damn sure that actually what you're doing is allowing individuals a platform to create.


Science fiction legend Issac Asimov writes to kids on the opening of their new library.

(this is the internet, of course).