- Being a good account man
- Hearing Hands by Samsung
- The 3 most manipulative things people say
- Obsession, distraction and destruction
- Introverts and social media addiction
- SxSW 2014: Final recap for Asia
- Bluetooth wanker: why I’m wearing the Jawbone ERA
- The walls between art and engineering exist only in our mind
- Everything I’ve learned about business travel, so far (part 2)
- Everything I’ve learned about business travel, so far (part 1)
- No one ever died wishing they spent more time on PowerPoint Slides.
- Analytics: The Signal and the Noise
- The simple truth of attitude
- Recruitment in the digital age
- Reborn on Responsive Workflow Design
- User experience and engagement
- Social CRM: Evolving social media
- Digital V Retail
- A few words on depression
- Mark Pollard: Stories about Manhood
this is bravery. Here's my attempt. Maybe it’s my own reality that let’s me know there’s not enough piss and pills in the world to escape myself. I wish I could let go and accept myself and accept my hate. Letting go doesn’t seem so hard once you’ve accepted you’re going to die. Maybe I panic just to live, maybe it’s really because I know the only way out is through the end. Why the fuck would I bring anyone with me, maybe you know not to come anywhere near me. Maybe that’s why I hold onto anything that anyone’s ever said to me. Just so I know that it was once real. Obsession, distraction and destruction.
addiction for introverts: anonymity; power of weak ties; and indirect communication. Every time I hear the word social media whore I'm reminded that the majority of any social media interaction is "just watching". Lurking. Voyeurism. Armies of 1%ers who keep connected to the rest of humanity through a pixelated screen of safe browsing. There are really two sides to this: those who think social media is making us _less social_. And those who think social media is _making the world__ smaller_. But what's social? I can remember clinging to chat rooms from the age of eight trying to sort out things in my head that I couldn't or wouldn't ask my friends and parents. Surely that's a good thing? Every awkward teenage friend I've had - unable or unwanting to speak up in the clique at school, but finding a world of friends and connections through a World of Warcraft server. Surely that's social. Not everyone can host a conversation in a pub, have the best parties, network like the jerks at SxSW, or even be able to ask someone on a date. For any introvert, or for anyone who is introverted about some things, the internet, and more specifically social media (in all its forms) has opened a gateway for inclusion, interaction and connectedness - we as humans are driven by instinct to connect with others. We're all here just to reproduce. So is it total bullshit social media is making us less social? Not quite. Just learn to put your phone away for a few hours a day, or like me and other agency dickheads, disconnect for a week and see the world with the person or people you care about. Write a letter to your parents or grandparents. Learn mindful meditation. Go out and make something. For someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression: the internet is a gateway to possibility and hope. Technology has more than once, talked me off a psychological edge. But honestly, I just want to find the next group of people I can cosplay with as a Hobbit.
innovation. With a plethora of ideas, prototypes and exhibitions it is an impossible task to see everything one would be interested in. While this year featured many contingents from Korea and Japan, the conference still lacks a truly Asian perspective. And that’s where we come in. The Asia Pacific region is diverse and rich in unique cultures and for organisations and brands it presents unique challenges when attempting to scale. Challenges include design, experience and access as a result of culture, language and digital capabilities. But the region also presents one of the greatest opportunities for any creative technologist or digital Jedi: the emerging markets and populous countries are yet to reach their apex in internet adoption. It was our mission to bring the bleeding edge to Asia. Here’s just a sample: THE SCARCITY OF ATTENTION DEMANDS NEW INTERACTIONS WITH CONSUMERS. Hyper-connected societies mean that attention – let alone engagement – is a highly valued resource. Innovation in ambient information technologies could be the key to overcoming technology-fatigue. For AP, brands need to ensure they consider their interactions (not just interruptions) with customers. USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN SHOULD NOT BE OVER SHADOWED BY TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION. Users have always been at the heart of great technology, but innovation can be distracting. Once again, Asia’s diversity presents a different challenge around the value of different user experiences for technology, web and content. DESIGN MUST PROGRESS AT THE SPEED OF TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS. Engineers have dominated the technology space and applications, devices and user interfaces are stuck in the middle. Similar to UX in Asia – design depends on the history of other interactions specific to that country or market audience. CONTENT PUBLISHING, RECOMMENDATION AND DISCOVERY ARE KEY TO ENGAGEMENT. In today’s hyper-connected media environment, consumers are exposed to more content than ever before. Data signals – search, social and history – combined with “serendipity-enabled” algorithms will be key to optimizing content publishing. Asia’s unique tastes and languages present an enormous task for any engineer! BIG DATA IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE INTERPRETATION. Asia Pacific will be one of the biggest sources of data for global companies – but it’s a company’s ability to interpret and utilize data as tool (not just pretty imagery) will be key. WEARABLES ARE A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE OF HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION. Wearable technologies are at the consumer forefront of new levels of data collection and health. The digital health space is set to explode, and Asia is quickly catching-up to the fitness trends around the world – but how brands interact with these technologies will be key to their success of failure.
This year there have been a few pieces of technology that have entered my life that I thought were worth talking about. After all, I think I started this blog about technology once upon a time, and not even I can waffle on about "strategy" any longer. Bluetooth headpieces, in my opinion, the most polarizing of all wearable technologies. In fact, they don't ever even enter the 'wearable' discussion. They are, for all intents and purposes, the dominion of absolute wankers from all walks of Western life. Or, you're a businessman in Asia and free from any stigma. I've recently picked up the Jawbone ERA - which is Jawbone's latest and greatest (and tiniest and mightiest) blue tooth device. It's discreet, beautifully-shaped and has some fascinating audio technology for audiophiles like me. Let's start with the bottom line, then you lot can geek out on the below. The Jawbone ERA is functionally amazing: full hand free access to your smartphone or tablet and for any ad agency solider, who spends a life time on the phone at the desk, in the airport or in transit should consider one. It has literally made my working day super smooth, mainly because the device knows which bluetooth device around you is currently engaged in a call: my Mabook Air, HTC One, Samsung S4 or my iPad Air. That's a lot, and when you average 6-8 conference calls around Asia a day, it pays off in spades. The features: * Awesome design, super comfortable silicon ear-shaped bud * "Military grade" whatever that means, noise-cancelling sensor * Sleek case that doubles as a second power-supply (another travelling life saver) * Useful app and customized 'voices' much like a GPS. I chose the British bird from MI6 And while you might have rocks thrown at you for the stigma around bluetooth ear pieces, I'm soldiering on because this tiny-mighty device is fucking awesome.
_This post is continued from part 1 - read here._ 6. DOWNLOAD MOVIES FOR YOUR LAPTOP No joke, I finished every move on Cathay Pacific in about 6 weeks. And while every month they had new releases and new additions to the collection, they don’t last long. And you mightn’t want to watch Bridesmaids again. Whether legally or illegally, make sure you get a stack of TV series and movies on your laptop. Although, if you’re watching Game of Thrones, expect to get a few people watching with you, or cringing at another sex scene. Pro-tip – get a two way (or I carry a 5 way) splitter so your better-half, colleague or most importantly, your boss, can watch with you. Reduces stress by taking your mind completely off the trip or off the 900 emails you got during your last flight. 7. CARRY-ON ONLY Should be an obvious one for anyone who has watched Up In The Air, but stick to carry-on. I’m heading to Europe for two weeks this trip and have taken carry-on trolley, small back pack and my laptop bag. That’s a suit, 4 shirts, two pairs of pants, underwear, exercise gear, toiletries and the rest. Pick for carry-on? Spend the money on a Rimowa. Beautifully designed and a five-year warranty makes it easy. Get four wheels – makes everything lighter through better weight distribution, makes moving down the cramped aisles of the plane easier and is less stress on the arm by wheeling ahead or next to you. Travel wallets are also important, I’m using a new Bellroy who specialize in making things streamline and slim. Get one. How’s this reduce stress? Can be the difference between frequent small frustrations and moving through taxis, security, airports, planes and airports differently – that’s what you’re putting yourself through. 8. BACK-UP POWER SUPPLY FOR YOUR CELL The back up power supply - is amazing! If you’re an iPhone user, grab one of the cases with an extra battery pack. For us HTC, Samsung or other users – grab one of the charging adapters. Remember to charge it whenever you can – don’t put it off. Buy a big one from a reputable brand. I have invested in a cheaper one before and the battery was shot after two months. Reduces stress by not having to worry if you’re going to miss that email, make that call or meet with your drinking colleagues. 9. STAY CONNECTED WITH WHATSAPP Travelling means some big bills for you or your company if you’re still using SMS. Asia has this hands down, and no one really uses SMS, unless you haven’t had the “which service do you use conversation”. I primarily use WhatsApp, but am also now using WeChat (China), Line (Philippines and Hong Kong) and of course Facebook messenger. Again, staying in touch with your friends and family will mean if you’re waiting in customs lines, airports lobbies you can always see what is going on. 10. JOIN BOTH MILES PROGRAMS, BUT STICK TO ONE Biggest rookie mistake I ever made was not instantly transferring my Qantas FrequentFlyer Gold Membership straight to Cathay Pacific. Rookie error. If you’re changing countries, then make sure you do your research into whether oneworld or Star Alliance is better. For instance, Singapore use Star Alliance. For Hong Kong, use oneworld. You won’t always be able to stick to the group. So make sure you use both, but try to stick to only booking in one. There plenty of people doing the hardcore math around which program and why so do your homework. Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club (Asia Miles) is great – I’ve connected both American Express cards, a Visa card plus a whole host of other partners like Travelex (money exchange) to rack up points quickly. Believe me, once you realize how many benefits there are, including upgrades and better lounge access it is all worth it. Lounges seem like a small luxury, but I got stuck in New Zealand once at 2am with no where to charge my phone, have a sleep or get 15 minutes quiet. You don’t need that kind of stress. Lounges reduce stress not only from having a better view, but the food is half-decent, there is always some wifi, power sockets, TVs and anything else you need to forget the fact you’re awake at some ungodly hour. 11. REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN Talk to the concierge of the hotel, they will know everything about the local scene. Talk to your colleagues and make sure you go out and have some fun. See a few sights, eat the best food and buy a bottle. CONCLUSION I really hope this helps anyone about to start a travel gig. It’s an opportunity I am extremely grateful for and look forward to continuing next year. Reduce whatever stress you can, and manage yourself in the process. Don’t forget it’s important to have a life at the same time.
Eat well – avoid white carbs, stop drinking on every flight and every hotel, stick to protein and high quality fats. If you know you’re going to get stuck with no good eating options (or a big client dinner), make sure you stick to your workout and avoid having to buy two plane seats in the future. Keeping fit and eating well reduces stress by keeping your body full of endorphins, oxygen and feeling focused. Pro-tip: drink as much water as possible: make sure you include a little sodium or vitamin mix. I aim for about 300ml every hour. 500ml when I’m off the plane. 2. READ MONOCLE Stay up to date with trends, not just the news, around the world with Monocle. Does what it says on the can: a global briefing of current events, business, design, government and more. Monocle is also thick enough to keep you reading one magazine for many trips over the month. Reading will reduce your stress, especially during take off and landing. Monocle will keep you from over-thinking about work, or about how awful Changi airport’s carpet is. 3. DOWNLOAD TRIPIT E-tickets are probably the worst case of information design. At least the ones I get are anyway. This could be an easy opportunity for an airline or travel agency to differentiate. Qantas send a page full of Courier New(that ugly email text) in huge bulk paragraphs in monochrome and expect you to decipher that rubbish. TripIt makes your journey stress free. You simply forward the email you receive from your agency or airline to a generic email and your phone will automatically update with all the information – including gates, seats, and baggage claim terminal. Pay about $50 USD and you can get automatic update information on points tracking, delays and scheduling. Great for managing multiple stop trips. 4. KNOW AND REQUEST THE BEST SEATS Flying economy is no problem as long as you know where you’re sitting (and maybe what you’re eating). Grab exit row seats wherever possible. Negotiate with your company get any additional charge covered – once you’ve reached the first tier of a mileage program it is generally free anyway. You get the legroom and easy-access chair that really can make the difference between and enjoyable flight or a nightmare. At all costs avoid middle seats, or seats down the back. Bring your own food to economy, it’s pretty ordinary on some airlines, and you want to stay healthy and fit. If you’re in business class, avoid the first row of seats which actually can feel more claustrophobic than normal. You – or your company – are paying the dollars, so make sure you get your value. Food here will make all the difference, in addition to being treated like a real person. For those employers out there considering what policy to put around business class travel: you’re not putting your staff in hostels, or making them catch buses to meetings – so work it out with your clients and finance team on how to make it work for your team. Seat choices can really determine stress levels. Too bad you can’t lose the spluttering, snoring and demanding creative-type next to you demanding to know why his wine isn’t from whatever region. 5. BUY SOME NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES I just bought my first pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones and I felt betrayed for having _never_ used these before. Honestly, they are so good that I will LEND YOU MY PAIR just so you can experience it. Light weight, compact and beautifully designed. They even plug into the airplane system. Whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music or just reading with no music, these headphones actively (battery powered) cancel out the back ground noise. I’m sitting in an airport lounge now of probably 100 people and listening to some very light EDM at 33% volume and it is clear, crisp serenity. For the plane ride, you may have never noticed just how loud an airplane is. For around $300 USD it’s an investment in your sanity that you can’t get with any other product. The quality of Bose is only second to Sennheiser for me – but the noise cancelling product from Sennhesier is twice the price (and the size) not to mention as ugly as hell. Reduces noise stress, which is a real unknown for most people until you take it away. _Read on to part 2_
We’ve been recognized with the Digital PR agency of the year. But it is no time to rest. My role, and what we colloquially call “the studio” must keep changing, must keep evolving, must keep adapting to ensure long-term success. Personally, the journey has been one of growth and some serious self-reflection. I won’t lie: my cynicism and jaded attitude was my biggest enemy. Exhausted, stressed and highly caffeinated at all times meant that managing our teams of strategists and agency account managers lead to some hard moments, and harder conversations. The stress of travel, relationships and friendships meant my usual sanctuaries were wiped. Music, CrossFit and film become duties – to manage the stress required more discipline before. My anxiety and lack of concentration was amplified to a scale I’d never experienced before. I’ve grown up in a culture where it’s good to work hard, have a stressful job and be successful – but when you’re wiped out on the bathroom floor of a hotel room in the middle of a panic attack, your body forces you to stop. There’s no prize for being the most stressed out. There’s not even a prize for coming first. Do what you love. Make people happy.
long list of problems associated with it. Here's my approach to social media monitoring: * Analytics should be about outcomes, not just outputs * We're looking for trends and not absolute values * Correlation is a dangerous notion * Reasoning and understanding is key And here's a man who puts all this better than I ever will.
Recruiting for digital, social media and technology based roles is hard. Really hard. Mainly because the majority of agencies "turning digital" are doing it all wrong. The most common mistakes I see? * No digital career path - they're not here to be your stop gap for the next 5 years * No thought on structure - how is this one 'digital' person going to integrate into your existing structure (politically)? * No thought for culture - digital folks and social folks come from a very, very different culture than say, PR * No support - one ring them to rule them? No way. That's why Frodo won. Support them! Financially, with teams and with direction and mentoring Recruiters - love them or hate them, they make a huge difference to businesses everywhere. I recently got a chance to talk to Dorota Dopierala - founder and managing director of Nuclei - who has been supporting the growth of our agencies across the region. Here's what Dorota had to say: In a job market where traditional marketing is considered old school and digital is the new black, candidates are chasing the biggest and brightest roles with gusto. Fortunately for us, plenty of our candidates actually know what they are talking about, they are passionate and excited about what they do. And that’s the group our clients are after. WHAT ARE CANDIDATES LOOKING FOR IN THEIR CAREERS, NOT JUST THEIR NEXT JOB For some it’s centred on a pay rise, stability, working hours or location. For others and generally the more passionate marketers it’s about their careers. They want employers with access to resources, tools, data, global or regional reach, so you can share the experience. They want large, exciting accounts, which are prepared to invest or have innovation budgets, allowing them to try new things, be at the forefront of marketing and allow them to make the difference. They also want an employer which is forward thinking, companies that are one step ahead of the latest industry developments. But what I believe they really want and need is true leadership. They want to learn, progress, be challenged and be looked after. WHAT ARE COMPANIES LOOKING FOR IN THEIR FIRST 'DIGITAL' HIRES Aside from the regular requirements, such as their technical skills and proven experience in a similar environment, companies really want to see passion and potential for growth. They want someone who loves what they do and someone who will share that love with the wider business. If this is their first digital person on board, they need to have a broad understanding of the whole picture and be able to help others to move into digital. Excellent communication skills, patience and ability to educate others are a necessity. It would be ideal if the candidate had either experience or “respect” for traditional disciplines as it would help them to implement the changes the company would be going through after moving towards and into digital. WHAT ARE EXPERIENCED DIGITAL COMPANIES LOOKING FOR IN THEIR NEXT DIGITAL HIRES? This would really depend on the level of the hire. For juniors, digitally focused companies would like to see candidates who are passionate about digital and hungry to learn from others. Not just to learn about digital but to learn the company operations or the brand. For senior roles, companies look for proven performance in previous roles. They still need to show hunger, passion and be able to help others grow. In a senior role you will be focussing on strategy, client retention and people management, so you are already expected to have these skills. It’s much easier to verify senior candidates’ previous experience and skills, hence it’s often the junior or entry level roles where companies experience the most difficulty bringing on a new hire. The hard part is how do you truly test whether someone is really passionate? WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES WITH ALL THIS Companies seem to struggle to define their unique offerings and or culture. They talk about their key clients, “work-life balance” or their brand. They seem to forget that their competitors use the same arguments. Everyone has their individual needs and you need to listen to them. There is no one unique reason why people would move. It might be that candidates don’t really share their needs or the employer doesn’t care. A lot of employers seem to think that it’s all about paying more and just using the next resource who would take your job. On the other hand employers struggle, as they want “ideal” employees. Everyone needs to have the perfect technical background, be an outstanding speaker and client manager, be able to educate others and have ‘passion’. They don’t think about what’s really important and what they could teach or coach. Maybe they are missing the true leaders in their current management? WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CANDIDATES AND COMPANIES ALIKE Be flexible – in a candidate short market, finding the “perfect” candidate is not always an option. The same thing should be noted for candidates, maybe your “dream job” isn’t really the best option you can have. Talk to others in similar roles, maybe pick a good recruiter and ask about their opinion and trends in the industry? Be patient – whether it’s waiting for the right candidate or waiting for the right job, take your time as you don’t want to be in the same position 3 months down the track you are currently in, simply because you jumped at the first option. Understand your value – employers should be able to describe how they are different from their competitor. Candidates on the other hand should be very clear on what they can bring to the company. Prepare for the interview – it’s a two way process, which often companies forget. It’s your chance to ask all the important questions, whether you are a potential employer or employee. And be passionate, candidates want to work for companies which love what they want! Dorota Dopierala is the founder and managing director of nuclei recruitment, a specialist digital media recruitment agency based in Sydney http://nuclei.com.au
Social CRM is the use of customer data and insights in a social media environment to create and improve delivery of a service or product or customer experience. But those companies doing it well know it goes well beyond social media: it takes into consideration existing CRM data, search engine data and of course surveyed insights from customers. This makes social CRM a combination of social analytics, traditional customer relationship management and practical application. The most important feature to note is that social CRM flows both ways. It starts with social media monitoring tools, search engine analytics and web analytics in order to understand how and why to approach customers in a certain fashion; but it continues on in how to make reactive decisions to changing customer behaviours and trends in real time. That's where the power is drawn from: research and understanding isn't in phases, it is on-going and fed through not only sales data but also a social context around the user. From a strategy point of view, social CRM a great planning tool to help discover pieces of information and develop new strategies, whether they are sales, creative or digitally orientated. The possibilities are only limited by your analytics. So where does social CRM sit in the company organisation? The short answer is that it belongs to research and customer service. The long answer is that all departments play a role (especially if your company does not have dedicated roles for research and customer service). It only takes a couple of internal advocates to make sure three things are sorted out: processes, people and products. Processes are important otherwise things aren't valued, efficient or optimised. People are important because understanding data is a discipline, which is probably why planners and strategists are strong here, and accounts teams are not (if you're talking agency side). And products should be optimised for social — especially when looking at feedback loops and post-sales functionality. Social CRM makes social media and digital analytics a relevant function of the business for all — not just the marketing folk or the kids of the CEO. While it is hard to pinpoint good examples if social CRM, because most of the time it is an internal process, the organisations we have worked with have all taken a few key elements away in terms of best practice: • Have clear goals in mind and make sure they relate to the business function implementing them (different functions will have different metrics). Then weight them according to the business • Upskill your people: nobody wants data without insights, and nobody wants insights without implications. The data is key to decision-making. It has to be interpreted accurately, so having the right analysts on board is key • Work with an equal share of both social media and CRM data and set-up processes to review and interpret regularly • Talk about the results: if you don't, the company won't understand their value. Agencies are becoming much more sophisticated. Certainly from a Weber Shandwick point of view, we've been recruiting more people from a social analytics point of view. The leaders of our businesses are generally grounded in strategic business strategy, and that hasn't changed. It's about introducing new tools, developing new processes and an understanding for multiple business functions. It has already gone well beyond PR. Originally posted on at Weber Shandwick
Tim Carmody's on the suicide and death of Aaron Swartz.
I was supposed to see Aaron the day before he hanged himself. Andy Baio had invited both of us to a small meetup at a bar on New York’s Lower East Side, and I was excited to catch up with Andy and other friends and to meet some new people. As it turned out, Aaron made it to the party and I didn’t; a late-breaking story kept me in for the night. Nobody thought that we wouldn’t have another chance to meet. Andy wrote that Aaron “was deep in conversation, smiling and chatting. I thought he looked happy. I was wrong.” After major depressive disorder threatened my life in my twenties, I knew how easy it can be to cover your exhaustion and anger to those around you. All you need is to keep people at arm’s length, keep them from wanting to look too closely, and hide in plain sight, like filling a hole in a cracked plaster wall with toothpaste. I knew how depression, at a chemical level, robs you of the rewards of being happy; how it turns the people around you into two-dimensional cutouts exactly when you need them most; how the disease makes you believe your good days don’t really matter and your bad days are the way the world really is.Seems to be a fitting theme for what I've been discussing recently.
Mark. Seems like a life time ago when we collaborated on A Perfect Gift For A Man stemming from sharing stories about the things that shaped out lives through Reach Out.