Friday, February 24, 2012

The Best of British Apps

You can’t move these days for mobile apps. There is an app for everything and sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. But never fear, Stuart Dredge, journalist and app fanatic has just done a report on the Best of British Apps and it’s rather good too. As you can imagine, many of my friends and colleagues are included as being Best of British which is very gratifying.

Well worth a read anyway. Enjoy.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Swedish Beers–the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival Edition

As some of you know, I do like a good party, and the annual road trip to Barcelona is a great excuse to have one. So Swedish Beers is back with a vengeance and is now part of the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival too. It seems to be a lot of people’s favourite networking party of the week and so we’re back to bring you more beer, more cheer and more chat. We’re in danger of this year being better than ever thanks to our very generous sponsors. I know for a fact there’ll be even more beer for starters. So let me introduce them to you…

Millennial Media logoOur lead sponsor this time around is Millennial Media. They're big fans of Swedish Beers and sponsored our London come back party in the summer. And in return, we’re big fans of theirs too. The company is really going places and the team will be on hand to chew the fat about mobile advertising and will have a bountiful supply of free beer tokens. As lead sponsors, it really will be a bountiful supply! You couldn't be in better hands with Gavin, Stephen, Mack and the crew. They definitely know how to have a good time.

AQL logoNext up is AQL. So good they had to sponsor us twice. And we're very glad they did. Adam Beaumont and his fine team will be there to talk all things mobile messaging and voice communications with you . There's not much he doesn't know or can't do with mobile messaging. Oh, and yeah, he'll have one or two beer tokens in hand too.

Pearson logoNewcomers to Swedish Beers are Pearson. Yes, that's right, the parent company of, Penguin books and much more besides. They're exhibiting this year at Congress and are particularly interested to talk about mobile technology in emerging markets as well as innovations in eBooks and the like. The team will also be on hand to tell you about their adventures in HTML5 and their dealings with the behemoth that is Apple. We're also very pleased that they're sponsoring the overall festival too.

Up next is Apadmi. Fans of Swedish Beers for many years and now it's their turn to join the party as a sponsor. Garry and the team build mobile apps and solutions and very experienced at it they are too. They're also great fun and have kick-started the mobile networking scene in Manchester by taking the lead in setting up Mobile Monday Manchester.

Madmaker is launching very soon and is a do-it-yourself mobile ad maker - you see what they did there with the name? I've seen the system in action and it's really very neat. Oystein, Andy and the team from Boost are behind this new product and will be at Swedish Beers to give it a proper Nordic vibe as they hail from Norway. Oh, and they know a thing or two about mobile marketing as well so will be happy to chat away about that with you until the wee hours about what's hot and what's not in the sector. You'll also find them at 2F33 in the MWC exhibition too.

Like our previous events, this is a relaxed evening, no formalities, no presentations, no business cards thrust in your face as soon as you arrive. Just come with an open mind, be prepared to see friends old and new, talk nonsense, enjoy a drink or five and have yourself a good time. Oh, and leave the ties, the corporate personas and the sales spiel at the door please.

The Swedish Beers crew will be on hand – Helen, Jenny, Gabriel, Shafiq, Cat, Sarah, Russell - and the friendliest bar staff in town at our regular haunt, Dos Trece, are all waiting to welcome you. The venue holds about 300 or so folks at any one time so there’s plenty space for everyone. There will be bars upstairs and downstairs so please make full use of both floors so that more people can enjoy the fun.
No need to RSVP unless you want to. There's no guest list, no tickets and there's no guaranteed entry. Just come and go as you please. But if you would like to RSVP, you can over here on Facebook. You'll see some familiar faces there I'm sure.

It is likely to get a bit busy at times. But don't worry, people will be coming in and out all evening. That’s kind of the point as we know there’s always a lot going on and you might want to check out more than one party. If it's very busy, there's no need to queue to get in. Just check out one of the other bars nearby and come back a little later when it's a bit less frantic. Dos Trece is where the action will be. We'll be open from 7pm until the wee hours so there'll be plenty time for you to drop in and say skål.

We don't have a cloakroom so we don't recommend you bring your laptops or briefcases with you - it's a liability in Barcelona I'm afraid – especially at this time of year and they’ll just get in the way of your enjoyment of the evening. Drop them at your hotel or apartment first. You won't need them anyway what with this new fangled thing called the mobile phone ;)

So just to recap:
What: Swedish Beers Mobile Networking
When: Wednesday 29th February 2012 - 7pm until we run out of steam
Where: DosTrece, Calle Carme 40, 08001 Barcelona

DosTrece is behind La Boqueria market and the nearest metro station is Liceu. Just walk up La Rambla, walk past La Boqueria and Teatro Grec, then take a left at Calle Carme (or Carrer del Carme) and DosTrece is at number 40 (Google map here). (They also have free Wi-Fi if you want to demo your latest phone app.)

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mstr_twitter_stampSwedish Beers is proud to be a Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival event.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A *must-read* for anyone doing any kind of PR

This one isn’t just for professional PR people. It’s for people who have to do their own PR for their website, their mobile app, their charity, their hobby project, or whatever. I don’t know why people find this PR stuff hard, it really isn’t. It’s thinking about the other person instead of you and following some very simple rules. Mike Butcher of Techcrunch Europe fame has nailed it with this slideshare and video of the presentation he did of it at Startup Week 2011 – and it’s relevant for all media and PR, not just technology. Read it, watch it, absorb it and share it.

And if you’re looking at this on a device that can’t read slideshare, here are my tips…

1. Assume your recipient has no time and communicate accordingly
2. Make sure you have news. No-one really cares about your company/charity/project in and of itself. You have to create the story and the reason for them to care. An iphone app launching is definitely not news. A business starting is not news. A new hire is unlikely to be news unless it’s an absolute coup that you got them working for you in the first place or you stole them from under the nose of a competitor.
3. Embargoes are pretty much worthless.
4. Don’t send attachments. Definitely don’t attach large pdfs or image files. You know busy people read their mail on their phone a lot of the time, don’t you? Adjust your style accordingly.
5. Plain text emails please with key messages up front. Bullet points make it easier to digest. Especially on a small screen.
6. Don’t bug the recipient about writing the post about you. They’ll either do it or they won’t. There are 100s of reasons why they might not write about you. The main one being they probably don’t have time with everything else on the to do list. Bugging them probably won’t help you.
7. Getting press coverage isn’t the only goal and it isn’t the only way to get visibility. Relationships and active participation in relevant communities of interest, be that face to face or online, will probably get you further in the long-run
8. Sending everyone the same press release isn’t interesting. You need a personalised approach – especially with mainstream media and larger blogs.
Any tips to add here?

Update: Here's a great slide deck from Mike Maney from Alcatel Lucent with his tips on influencing the influencers. Well worth a look too while we're on the topic of PR.

Beware the ides of March

As if there isn’t enough to do in the run up to Mobile World Congress and the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival, some months ago I auditioned to be in Julius Caesar. It was one of those chance things. I used to do a lot of acting when I was younger, but gave it up when I moved to London aged 21. It has always been on my mind to get into it again, but somehow never found the time or the right opportunity. Anyway, a chance tweet in my timeline one afternoon and a couple of days later I was at an open audition in Balham. And lo and behold, I got a part. Well, three small parts actually. That was in October and the twice weekly rehearsals or so didn’t seem to be that much of a commitment.

It is now February, and we’re two weeks less one day from opening night and we have Mobile World Congress at the end of the month too. Oh my word. Lines need to be embedded in my brain. I’m doing a crash course in learning to be a soldier. I’ve learned how to be in a realistic crowd and I’m having to learn to not smile so that I can be a thug. Oh, and I have to find my inner citizen photographer in riot-torn London. The latter is much easier as I happen to know my way round a smartphone.

Crowd workshop video:


It has been an interesting process to get back into acting. I can’t say that I’ve ever been particularly drawn to Shakespeare so I saw this as a challenge. I did it at school of course, but at youth theatre, we never did any Shakespeare, favouring musicals and comedies for our main annual shows. I think the most literary we got was with Under Milk Wood. I was in it three times, with three different directors and cast as Polly Garter each time…

We’ve set Julius Caesar in modern London with the backdrop of riots, political unrest and disenfranchised youth, but with the same script and the added bonus of twitter interaction. The words and meanings are tough to get your head around sometimes and we spent quite a lot of time discussing the scenes and what was actually meant by getting to know the historical context. That definitely helped. Learning by rote is hard though when it’s not your natural conversational language. But we’ve been off-book now for a couple of weeks so it’s all good.

We got featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme recently as we’re part of the RSC’s open Shakespeare project and also got a lovely preview in SW London’s Time and Leisure site.

So, friends, Romans, lovers, lend me your ears and buy a ticket for Southside Players production of Julius Caesar. Even if you’re not familiar with Shakespeare, this is the one that is chock-full of lines and phrases we use every day so much of it will be familiar to you. So for the ones of you who can get to Balham in SW London on 15 to 18 February 2012, come on down and make our day! We won’t even ask you to turn off your phone as you can join in with the show on twitter too. Tickets available online at and are just £10.