Practicing What You Preach

June 25, 2010

From Daily Markets:

Despite all the supposed lessons learnt exercises, managements of major firms are still taking some decisions which cannot be judged prudent,” said U.K.’s Financial Services Authority Chief Executive Hector Sants…

Most major institutions have a ’set of values’ to which they ascribe, Sants noted. But there exists a gap between what they claim to believe and what they actually do. He said, “These values also tend not to be aligned or ‘lived’ by the employees meaning the firm does not ‘practice what it preaches’.”

Plus ça change (plus c’est la même chose).


Microsoft Has A Sense Of Humour?

June 23, 2010

Spotted at Yourdon Report:

“Microsoft had the most amusing give-away toy: a flying pig, which could be launched in a slingshot fashion, and which “oinked” as it flew through the air. I brought one of them home, and our dog has been looking at it suspiciously ever since he laid eyes on it.”

Picture credit here.

Who Are You Trying To Please?

June 20, 2010

Another concise but thought-provoking post from Seth Godin, this time on “trying to please”:

Who is your marketing or your product or your effort trying to please?

Every campaign that I’ve ever seen fail has failed for precisely the same reason: it pleases the wrong person. Think about it… it wouldn’t have launched if it hadn’t pleased the boss or the client, right? Pleasing the wrong person meant failure.

The same thing is true on a deeper level in your career choice or what you write or what you say or what you sell or how you sell it: if you are working hard to please the wrong people, you’ll fail.

Does that critic or that buyer or that spouse or that girlfriend or that investor really matter as much as you think they do?

I’m reviewing my business plan at the moment so this comment is very appropriate!

Picture credit: here.

Twitter And Real-Time Search

June 16, 2010

Although I have a Twitter account I don’t tend to use it much, mainly because I focus my time on the two blogs I run. However now and again I’ll post something if I think it’s a bit different from the usual ‘interesting links’ and the (more mundane) ‘what I’m doing right now’.

One example is that a few months ago I posted that I’m about to start investigating Huddle, which is an online project management system.

Investigating for cloud-based bid and project management, free for charities…

Very quickly back I got

RuthJayBlog @davidpottinger might want to look @wizehive for collaboration & proj management. free plan for 1workspace

I was quite surprised – fast, concise and relevant personalised information! It was also genuinely helpful as I then started to look at the link and related ones.

On this occasion, Huddle still seemed to be the best choice but the rapid feedback was really helpful and made me realise that tweeting what you’re doing can sometimes be useful for accelerating or broadening your decision making.

On this theme, there’s an interesting recent article in Macworld on search marketing and Twitter:

They aren’t simply searching Twitter for users that mention their company and then responding to them. “That’s easy to do and very effective,” but it misses out on some greater opportunities, said Danny Sullivan, editor of the blog Search Engine Land.

The smart way to use Twitter is to search for more generic words or phrases, he said. For instance, a company such as Domino’s could search for “anyone know pizza” and find queries from people asking their friends for pizza recommendations in their area. The company could reply to that customer with a nearby shop and include a coupon code, potentially winning a new customer.

Twitter search offers a unique opportunity for marketers, Sullivan said. “You know exactly who’s asking,” he said. That’s compared to search engines. “Imagine if everyone who clicked on a link, you got a picture of them and their name as well. That doesn’t happen on Google but it happens all the time on Twitter.”

As an aside, I’ll be writing about our experiences with Huddle in the future.

Picture credit: here.

How Scientists See The World

June 11, 2010

Noticed here and picture credit here.

Jackson Browne With David Lindley At Bristol

June 11, 2010

Recently I caught the first gig of the 2010 tour of Jackson Browne with David Lindley which was at the Colston Hall in Bristol.

The concert opened with Browne and Lindley doing a couple of songs together, then Jackson went off and we then had the treat of an hour of David Lindley virtuosity. This was a particular pleasure as, although he has an extensive concert schedule in his own right, this never seems to include the UK. I emailed him once about this quite a while ago and got the reply that there was no demand! Anyway, he was very warmly received and it was clear that that a fair chunk of the audience knew him and his work (probably through his strong partnership with Jackson in the 70’s).

Particularly outstanding was his cover of Springsteen’s Brothers Under The Bridge (slightly wobbly video from Ottawa Bluesfest 2009 here).

After the interval, Jackson and his band took the stage. They comprised Kevin McCormick (bass), Mark Goldenberg (guitars), Mauricio Lewak (drums) and Jeff Young (keyboards, backing vocals) together with two backing singers Chavonne Morris and Alethea Mills.

The set started with some of his new material although personally I didn’t find this very compelling and Jackson at one point seemed to forget the words of one song himself and needed the band to fill in – first night nerves? Slowly the atmosphere built up after going through some of his album highlights such as In The Shape Of A Heart.

Relative to other, similar concerts, the acoustics were really good – they apparently had a 3 hour setup and sound check in the afternoon which was obviously well worth it!

David Lindley joined them later on both guitar and violin and this gave added impetus as there was a certain lack of vitality up to then. Towards the end, the tempo was increased again and there were some rousing versions of Running On Empty, The Pretender and Take It Easy that eventually got most people on their feet and dancing. The concert ended with a version of Mercury Blues, a David Lindley oriented number.

In spite of some minor criticisms, a good concert overall, highlighting Browne’s impressive catalogue of work ranging over 35 years, excellent acoustics and the added bonus of a wonderful opportunity to see Mr Lindley perform in his own right. I’m sure the glitches will get sorted out!

Gigs at Sheffield (4th June), Gateshead (6th) and Hampton Court (8th) followed. They return to the UK for some further dates from 20th June onwards.

Recent reviews of tour: BristolSheffield, Hampton Court and Gateshead (preview).

Lyrics to Jackson Browne songs here.

Picture credit: here.

The Social Flight

June 7, 2010

Interesting, short post by Seth Godin on using the Levy Flight to help understand social marketing:

Someone finds your restaurant. They love it. They return with friends. They hang out and become regulars for a while. Then they get bored and start browsing again.

Adding the Levy flight to your understanding is a much more nuanced representation of consumer behavior than solely thinking about the ideas of brand loyalty or random web surfing.

In another context, it’s interesting that this approach can also be used to ‘understand’ some of the paintings of Jackson Pollock (fractal expressionism)! There’s a bit of a debate about this though.

Picture credits: top and bottom.