Friday, December 12, 2014

New Ofcom Research Reports are out

Ofcom is an incredible resource for marketers and those working in any kind of media. They keep track of what UK customers are up to in terms of media and telecoms consumption. And not only that, they are now looking across Europe. And all this is free.

So if you fancy some light reading over the weekend, or need something for that train or plane journey home for Christmas, then you could do worse than download these latest Ofcom reports.

Ofcom’s International Communications Market Report (ICMR) 2014 examines take-up, availability, price and use of communications services across the world's major countries.

Some highlights

The UK is leading in many aspects of communication. The UK’s internet economy is one of the strongest in the world, driven by record online advertising, spending and entertainment consumption, new figures from Ofcom reveal. The country also leads the EU’s five biggest economies for broadband take-up, usage and superfast broadband coverage.

Ofcom finds that the UK has the highest e-commerce spending among the major nations surveyed in today’s research, with consumers paying almost £2,000 on average online for goods each year. This was significantly higher than the next-highest valued market of Australia (£1,356 per head).

Two-fifths (40%) of advertising spending in the UK is online - more than any of the other countries analysed. And the spend has doubled on mobile advertising.

The UK also has the highest coverage of superfast broadband among Europe’s five leading economies (the ‘EU5’ - France, Germany, Italy Spain and the UK). Nearly eight in 10 UK homes are now able to access superfast broadband, which provides connection speeds of 30 Mbit/s or above. (Note to self – I must upgrade my service!)

Interestingly, social networking usage has declined. I’ve certainly noticed that myself amongst my own contacts, particularly the younger ones. I expect they’re connecting via Snapchat, Whatsapp and Instagram rather than Facebook and Twitter.

The proportion of online adults in this country accessing social networks each week fell from 65% in September 2013 to 56% in October 2014. This was the steepest fall of any of the countries surveyed. That is quite a drop. And I wonder if it’s a blip or if it’s the beginning of the end of the social network as we know it?

Social network use also fell in the USA, Japan and China. However, it is still increasing in some other countries - including Italy, which is now the leading country for social networking, with three quarters of Italians using such sites at least once a week.


The other report that was published is the European Broadband Scorecard, which compares internet coverage, take-up, usage and choice between EU states. The reports underline the importance of the internet and broadband to UK consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

It’s good to have reminders like this from time to time.

Thank you Stephen Sutton.

The future of communications

A random email popped into my inbox this morning asking me my thoughts on the future of communications based on the questions below. I thought my answers might warrant a blog post as I’m interested in your thoughts too, dear reader, so please feel free to comment.

I thought I’d start the post with a little video from 1999 or thereabouts, from Motorola. It was their vision of the future of mobile communications. It’s easy for us to criticise the bits that are missing from the video, but at the same time, there are aspects of it that are spot on.

The future of mobile communications as predicted by Motorola back in ~1999.

And now for the questions posed…

1. What do you predict will happen/change in the communication sector in 2015?

I think my answer to this depends in how you define the communication sector. We are seeing a further decline in SMS and voice calls and I expect that to continue. At the same time, we are using our phones more and more to connect on social media and messaging apps – be that Twitter, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WeChat and many more.

Email is also not going away any time soon. Despite the fact that many of us are drowning in email, it is still an effective communication channel. The major change here is that we are accessing our email on a mobile device first.

Companies and organisations need to respond by being flexible in how they communicate with their audience and customers. That means email has to be mobile friendly – with links going to mobile pages, with email content including words and not just pictures and for it to be quick to download and access. There is also an additional need to allow easy options to unsubscribe with one click or one reply of an email.

On the social media side, companies have to adapt their communications strategies for dealing with customers. And it’s not easy when you’re dealing with multiple channels and many people demanding your attention much of the time. Keeping track of conversations with the same person over multiple channels is not easy. But more and more, customers are expecting this level of continuity.

2. How do you think people's behaviour will change in 2015?

I am currently seeing more people saying they’re uninstalling Facebook Messenger or other messaging apps or social media channels and telling people to contact them via a specific channel such as email, voice or SMS, or whichever their preferred method is.

It has always been true that people have different preferred communication channels – in the old days it was face to face vs telephone vs letter. It has got a whole lot more complicated now when you add in the plethora of messaging apps, social media and more. If you’re on the other side, it’s hard to always remember your friends’ preferences – the ones who never do Facebook, or don’t read their email, and even harder to always accommodate them. Add in the scale of any kind of business and their audience and their individual preferences and it gets a whole lot more difficult. Nevertheless, there are benefits in understanding these nuances and acting accordingly. There’s no point forcing someone to talk on the phone if they don’t like voice communication. Equally, there’s little use in getting frustrated when someone hasn’t responded to your email. For all you know, they may never have seen it in the first place. It could be one of  200 emails received that morning, or it could be languishing in their spam folder.

I’m also seeing a rise in protecting privacy and an increased level of understanding (and misunderstanding) of what personal data you’re giving away in return for using all these services. There have been attempts by the likes of Ello to hand back the power to the consumer but with limited success. At the moment utility still outweighs everything else, but not for everyone.
And video is on the increase. There have been many attempts at video-based messaging, but services like Vine seem to be a real hit. I think we’ll see more of this in the next year or two.

3. How will communication platforms respond to these changes?

I think companies running these communication services will respond more to the privacy issues, or at least, I hope they will. I’d like to see better explanation of what data is used, where it goes and why it’s needed. I’d like to see more companies working harder to protect the security of consumer data – even if that means we have to pay for the privilege.

From a marketing perspective, I think it’s likely we’ll see more types of advertising creeping in. After all, these services have to make their money somehow and if it’s not through premium or paid-for services, the only other model that I can see is advertising. I hope we see some innovative solutions here that work for both customer and advertiser and that we can get beyond the banner ad.

4. What excites you in the communication industry?

It’s dynamic. I’ve been working in mobile marketing and advertising since 2000 and back then, we had voice, SMS, voicemail and WAP on our phones. On our laptops or desktops, we had email and Instant Messenger. It’s amazing to think of how many more ways to communicate we have now. And I’m sure there are more to come. It taps into a basic human need to share and connect.

5. And which companies or apps do you think will be doing exciting things in 2015?

I really like what Swiftkey is doing to speed up mobile communication. The way it learns how you write, the words and syntax you use, is impressive. Their recent project with Professor Stephen Hawking is also impressive and shows that these tools can improve life and productivity for those with accessibility issues too. Something we often overlook in tech circles.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Farewell Mobile Entertainment Magazine

And out of the blue, ME announced it was closing this week. And not only that, they’ve taken down all their content.

I have fond memories of Tim Green and Stuart Dredge’s great work at the magazine. I was quoted a fair few times and was honoured to feature in their Top Women in Mobile List several times. It was a good read about apps, games, videos and the like. And their awards ceremonies were fun!

Even though they’ve taken their website down completely, you can still view the archive on Feedly. I don’t know how long Feedly holds on to the content, but it’s working at the moment if you want to take a look.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A fitness band update–Fitbit Flex vs Sony Smartband


I am a lucky girl, really I am. I was given a Fitbit Flex to try to compare with the Sony Smartband I’ve been using. They both essentially do the same thing – measure sleep patterns, record steps and have some software to help you keep track of it all. They’re both around the same price. You can get the Sony Smartband here and the Fitbit Flex here.

Style and comfort

There’s not a lot in it, they are both lightweight and they both have rubber wrist straps and a similar fastening. The Fitbit Flex wins out in comfort – it’s slightly smaller, you can wear it in the shower without worrying about it and it buzzes to tell you when you’ve hit your 10,000 step goal without having to synch to the app.


They both have a battery life of about 5 days. Charging the Sony Smartband is easy – it takes the same kind of connector as any smartphone so it works with any phone charger. The Fitbit Flex, in order to keep it waterproof I guess, has a special casing to put it in to then plug into your computer or a plug. That adaptor will be very easy to lose as it’s small and a bit fiddly. I did buy an additional adaptor to keep at my Mum’s house so that I can keep the one at home, at home and in the same place all the time.

The strap clasp on the Fitbit Flex is more fiddly than the Sony Smartband. That means it’s not going to come off easily, but it also means if you lack manual dexterity, you will struggle to get it on and off. That rules it out for elderly people. Equally, having to place the Flex device into the special charging adaptor is also a bit fiddly if you’re not as good with your hands as you used to be.

The Sony Smartband can be set up to do other things with your device, but I didn’t set it up that way. I would never remember what you’d have to do to use it. And it’s not a big deal to get my phone or tablet out to move to the next track on my MP3 player, for example.

The Fitbit Flex has a very nice feature where you can tap the light bar to see how near (or not) you are to reaching your step goal. I found that useful. Even more useful would be a watch and/or timer but I guess that’s coming with the next iteration.

Step counting

I wore both bands for a couple of weeks to see how closely (or not) they matched on step count. I wore them on the same wrist so that they were registering the same movements with that arm. They came out differently. The Sony Smartband routinely came out at a significantly higher step count than the Flex – like a 15 to 20% difference. That’s quite a lot. My conclusion is that neither is probably recording terribly accurately so to use the step count as a guide rather than a fact. And the fact that the Fitbit comes in at a lower count means you have to move a bit more to reach the goal. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Annoyingly on both devices, neither registers a step count when you’re cycling on a fixed cycle in the gym. And on the treadmill, you need to be using it with your hands moving rather than on the rail, otherwise your steps won’t be counted. The steps are more based on arm movement than they are on leg movement. This also means you can up your step count by moving your arms around from your arm chair. And I admit, I have done this to get to my 10,000 when I was close to it! Dancing and marching or running on the spot also works for step count as long as you move your arms.


The Fitbit Flex has the edge for me on the software now because I can link the app to MyFitnessPal which is where I’m recording what I eat. I am sort of interested in the calorie counting, but what I like most about MyFitnessPal is the nutritional value. This is of much more interest – it helps me see if I’m lacking in iron or a particular vitamin, or if I’m over my carbohydrate goal for the day. I find that much more useful than calories per se. The Fitbit Flex does have its own food diary element, but I much prefer MyFitnessPal and connecting that up to the app.

I haven’t yet explored the online community for Fitbit Flex. There are all kinds of challenges, tips for exercise and more. Right now, I’m happy with how I’m using it and I think delving more into the online stuff would be a distraction until I am set in my new patterns.

Sleep Patterns

Neither is perfect on this. With the Sony Smartband, you set the time you typically go to bed and the time you want the alarm to go off and it calculates your sleep quality based on those times – even if they weren’t the times you actually went to bed. I never quite got the hang of turning it from day to night mode.

With the Fitness Flex, you tell the app when you went to sleep and when you woke up and it makes the analysis from that. I’m not sure it’s giving me more insight, but at least there’s a record there.


Neither is perfect. And because of that, I can’t say one is better than the other. They’re both flawed.

The Sony Smartband allegedly uses NFC or bluetooth to synchronise. Except, I couldn’t get the NFC element to work consistently. I also had to download two other apps to get the smartband synching properly and that seems excessive. The bluetooth synching did work, but not consistently. It took too long to synch most of the time, and in retrospect, that was a waste of my time.

The Fitbit Flex uses bluetooth to synch and when it works, it works really well. The trouble is, the Fitbit system is very often down for maintenance. Also, your back data isn’t stored locally so you can’t see it offline. That seems a bit daft to me.


One of the things that made a difference to me in terms of my own health and fitness was the ‘add your friends’ feature on Fitbit Flex. This means I can see how a couple of my close friends are doing in their weekly step challenge. I didn’t want to be shown up, so it did get me moving to keep up with them. And that has been a very good thing. If you’d said to me that the competitive element would be attractive to me, I’d have said no, not at all. But I’ve actually found it useful and relevant. It’s about giving me a benchmark to work from and to see others like me and what they’re achieving.

The other impact this process has had is that I’m paying much more attention to my diet, I’m paying much more attention to how much I’m moving and I’ve rejoined the gym. I don’t suppose I’m ever going to have six pack, but if I can stave off future ill-health by working on my fitness now, then that’s great. A friend turned me on to the Julia Buckley book ‘The Fat Burn Revolution’. I’m not one for fitness books, but I’m enjoying this one and it has helped me rethink how I structure my exercise regime and what it’s actually doing for me. It’s very readable, the exercises are doable and Julia has a very down to earth approach which appeals to me.

So, if I had to choose one over the other, it would be the Fitbit Flex.

Will I still be using this device in three month’s time? Honestly, I have no idea. But I think maybe I will.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

A short history of proximity marketing

A couple of months back, I took part in Mobile Marketing Magazine’s Making Sense of Proximity Marketing event. Some of you reading this will know that I first got into mobile marketing by way of joining a start-up called ZagMe back in 2000, with Russell Buckley, where we sent promotional text messages to shoppers at Lakeside and Bluewater shopping malls (two of the largest malls in Europe at the time). In this video interview, I explain how ZagMe worked and what I learnt in the process and how it applies to our current world of proximity marketing.

If you’re interested to know more about ZagMe, what worked, what didn’t and best practice recommendations, download Russell’s free white paper here. It was written 10 years ago, but it’s still relevant.

There are also more videos from the event from some of the other speakers which include some useful case studies if you’re looking at implementing beacons, indoor GPS, local couponing or other location based initiatives, these videos may prove useful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dear Mary Portas…

I had a bit of a rant on Facebook earlier today when grappling with Mary Portas’ latest report on the High Street – essentially an update on her Portas Review from a couple of years ago. She states that digital is one of the solutions to keeping our High Streets alive. There is some irony around her championing digital as part of the solution but then having a 40+ page document pretty much unreadable in a digital format. Suffice to say, I haven’t managed to read much further as I’ll have to print the document to read it properly. If someone else has read it, feel free to share the key points here!

You can read the full post here. The comments are also pertinent about why our High Streets are still important (or not). Feel free to add your point of view.

Download the free Mary Portas ‘Why our High Streets still matter’ report here (links straight to the pdf).

Download the original Portas Review here (links straight to the pdf).

Wearables–Part 2–What about the data?

sony smartbandWearing the Sony Smartband more or less every day for the last 5 or 6 weeks has got me thinking about wearables. It’s a constant reminder that my data – my activity levels (or lack thereof), my location, my sleep patterns, and more, are being tracked by this tiny little device. I’m trusting that Sony hasn’t included any backdoor into this and is tracking anything other than what they say they’re tracking, but they could be. And there are more sophisticated devices tracking body temperature, your pulse rate and lots more besides.

To have any utility for the Lifelog application, you have to upload your data and all of this is being stored and managed in the cloud. That means Sony knows a lot about us. And Sony is fairly new to this game – think about how much data there is courtesy of the Nike Fuelband or the Jawbone devices that are already popular and out there.

I’m not even sure what terms and conditions I’ve accepted with regards to using this device or whether it’s even possible to use the device and monitor all this activity at a local level. I’m surprised at my own ambivalence about the data privacy aspect. This is very personal health and wellness data being collected and is in the hands of corporate servers, outside of the UK and probably outside of the EU (I’m guessing the US, but I have no idea). Am I placing too much trust in Sony to keep this data safe and secure? Do they even know what they’re doing with it? I can only see some of the data as I can’t extract it to use or visualise it anywhere else. And I actually don’t know what is being collected or saved at the server level.

So three hypothetical scenarios are running through my head -

1. What if a rogue Sony employee or corporate spy were to hack into the system and extract my data? What’s the worst they could do with it? Would that impact on my life? Does it matter? In what cases does it matter?

2. What if the government got hold of the data? Would it affect my chances of getting access to specific healthcare? Would it improve or worsen the healthcare in my local area? What’s the worst that could happen if the government got hold of the data?

3. What if AN other big business got hold of the data (say through a partner data-sharing agreement)? If it’s a marketing company, how would that affect the adverts that I see or how I get communicated with? What assumptions (right or wrong) could or would be made? What if an insurance company got hold of it? Would they withhold insurance from me? Would it affect the pricing of personal health insurance?

In the first scenario, I’m not sure what the worst is that they could do except sell the data to the government or to a big business. And in the latter two scenarios, there are pros and cons of large organisations having access to this data.

The trouble is, life is complicated enough already. I have a hard time keeping up with daily life as it is. Do I want the added responsibility of having to keep up with my data life as well. Yes, I am bothered about who has my data and what they use it for. But the practicality of the matter is that I probably don’t have the time to do much about it unless there’s a crisis. By which time, it will probably be too late.

What are your thoughts on this?

Want to read my review of the smartband? You can do that here: Wearables Part 1 – Sony Smartband review

Wearables–The Sony Smartband–Part 1

sony smartbandI don’t normally get round to doing reviews, but I’m going to make an exception today as I think it will give some insight into product and service development and how important it is to be thinking about your consumer.

I spoke recently at an event at LBi in London. As a thank you, I was given a Sony Smartband, one of these. I’m not one for gadgets. This is my first so-called wearable. A wearable fitness band wasn’t even on my wish list, but since I’d been given it as a gift, I thought I’d give it a go. I was also given this just before heading off to Glastonbury Festival so I thought it might be interesting to know about how much walking I actually do there (it’s a lot!) and compare that with my normal life.

It’s one of the less expensive wearables. It uses a normal micro usb port to charge it up so I can use one of the myriad chargers I have and it’s light and relatively comfortable to wear. It does look odd though as it’s just a black band. I’d like it better if it also had a watch face on it – digital or analogue, I don’t mind. But something that would give it a more regular purpose than simply being on my wrist would be helpful.
Allegedly, this band uses NFC as one of the mechanisms to update the proprietary software – Lifelog. Despite having a lovely Google Nexus 7 tablet, I couldn’t get it to work consistently so I use the low-powered Bluetooth instead. It’s not perfect, it takes a little while to update and a few refreshes, but it gets there eventually. It also means I don’t have to actually have the two devices touching in order to get them to sync up. The touching thing is not terribly convenient when one is in a wristband and the other is in a hard case.

Because the device doesn’t have a screen, I’m sure I don’t use all the functionality correctly. I sync it, I charge it up and that’s about it. I don’t have the patience to be fiddling with the button presses – press once for this, press twice for that – and remembering what that actually means. So I have it on the same mode all the time and I have it on automatic nightmode. I really wanted it to just, you know, work. Is that too much to ask?

I’m still wearing the device, although I’m not entirely sure why as I don’t love it. Here’s why I don’t love it…
The alarm is really annoying. The idea is that the band will wake you up between a certain time interval at the point where you are sleeping the most lightly so it doesn’t come as a shock to the system. Except that the buzzing alert feels like a small electric shock to me and it’s so horrid, that I switch it off as quickly as possible and go straight back to sleep! Something that started more gently and rose in intensity would be much better. The vibration thing is just a bit too harsh. That was disappointing. I had high hopes of being woken up gently and feeling refreshed! Tis not to be.

I don’t know when the battery is running down. I think it’s supposed to emit a light, but if/when it does, I haven’t noticed it. So the device has run down its battery on a few occasions which means I’ve skipped some meaningful days of data when I actually was doing a lot of walking or exercise or whatever. Maybe a visual alert on my tablet would be more useful. Or, you know, if it was also a watch (even a really simple one), it could show me something there.

The nightmode is weird. I’ve managed to switch it on at times when it’s not night (I don’t know what I did) and other times, it hasn’t kicked in. Your sleep is only measured when it’s in nightmode so if you’ve had a very late night, and you’re still dancing in your nightmode hours, those steps aren’t being counted. And then when you sleep your day away, your sleep pattern isn’t measured. I’m sure there is a way to switch it on and off but I haven’t worked out or remembered how to do that.

The Lifelog app is a bit rubbish. Yes, I can see some nice graphs of how many steps I’ve taken by day, week or month, but there’s no context to it. I can’t annotate the data, e.g. adding a location – Glastonbury Festival, or my Mum’s house. And I can’t extract the data either. And it doesn’t link in with any other apps such as myfitnesspal, which  I might use more if they synched with each other. And I can’t keep the lifelog app on for any length of time as it’s a massive battery drain so I only monitor activity on the smartband (you can also monitor your online activity).

There’s also no real meaning… what does it mean if I’ve done 5000 steps or not. Should I be doing more? If I do less, what’s the consequence? How does this compare with other women of my same build, height, weight and age?

The good thing is that I now know what 5000 steps looks like (it’s basically a walk to my local supermarket and back). I also know that I spend a large proportion of my time sat at my desk. And my sleep isn’t as good quality as I thought it was.

So maybe it has its uses. And I am still wearing it, so at some level, I must be getting something out of it otherwise I wouldn’t bother at all. But would I pay £70 or so for it, nope. And why would you when the new Xiaomi Mi Band is just £8 for more or less the same functionality and a 30-day battery life? Oh, and it’s prettier than the Sony Smartband too.

Read Wearables Part 2 - What about the data? 

When not to have a meeting

I met Hugh MacLeod many years ago at London Geek Dinners when he was living in London and just getting into the whole social media thing. I have one of his limited edition posters too from his time at Stormhoek wine. More recently, I’ve signed up to his Gapingvoid newsletter. Yes, it serves to promote his artwork and business services that are both for sale, but I really enjoy the pithy commentary and the cartoons that he shares. It’s one of the few newsletters that has escaped And today’s really struck a chord with me. It’s about when not to have a meeting.

  • there's no clear solution and the problem requires speed, not consensus
  • more than half the people in the meeting will end up spending most of it playing with their phones
  • no one is leading the meeting
  • no one knows the agenda
  • there aren't enough constraints
  • you're holding the meeting just because you've always held a meeting at this time
  • most people are in it for the snacks
  • you don't really need anyone else's ideas i.e., it's not for brainstorming
  • you're facing down a dragon

These are all good tips for when not to have in-company meetings. And even for one-to-one meetings, or ‘catch-ups’, I think it’s clear to know the agenda – i.e. what’s in it for either party. Sure, it’s nice to catch up now and then, and that can be reason enough (as long as that’s clear), but if you have a lot of contacts (and some of us have met a lot of people along the way), catching-up with even 5% of them is simply not feasible. So next time you think you need a meeting, think on whether you really need a meeting or not!

Source: Gapingvoid newsletter

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Glastonbury Goes (even more) Digital

IMG_20110626_164602In case you hadn’t heard, it’s the annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts next week. And it’ll be my 7th visit. It is the largest green field festival in the world and has over 175,000 visitors.With that many people, there’s a lot of infrastructure to put in place – sanitation, water, waste, food, parking, camping, entertainment, power, connectivity… those last two are important for the administration of the festival but also to us lowly festival-goers.

Even though one of the delights of the festival is going back to basics and, if you spend your time in the permaculture garden, the green fields, or the tipi fields, then it’s also rather lovely to spend time in nature and living ‘off-grid’. However, you still need to find your friends, find out what band is next on your ‘to see’ list, when and where your woodworking workshop is on, or when your appointment with the reiki healer is. We also use our phones for telling the time. When you don’t have a mirror, the front view camera is also useful to check you don’t have mud smeared across your face! Over the last 15 years or so, our day to day behaviour has been subtly and not so subtly changed by the mobile phone. And because of that, at the very least, we expect to be able to power up and to have connectivity. We also expect our favourite festival to supply us with an app to fulfil all our festival line-up needs.

So connectivity – it’s always been an issue at Glastonbury. So many people, in a small amount of space, all wanting to connect at the same time. It’s fair to say that coverage has been flaky over the years, SMS turn up days later, if you get a call, you can’t hear what people are saying anyway as there’s always a lot of noise, and if you get a text or email, and it’s sunny, you can’t read it anyway. Still we try. And we expect it. How else are you going to find your friends?! We are so unused to saying ‘I’ll meet you at 4.30pm by Gandhi’s Flip Flop (it’s a rather good veggie curry stall) and sticking to it. We’re reliant on SMS and other messaging services to keep our friends and colleagues updated as to where we are and how far away we are from them.

The festival has had on-going sponsorship from Orange, and now EE since the merger with T-Mobile, so for me, connectivity has never been much of an issue. And EE does have exceptionally good coverage on the site, including 4G and also, there’ll be Wi-Fi too. We allegedly had Wi-Fi last year but I never spotted it in action. I can’t say that coverage for O2 or Vodafone customers is as good.

Then there’s battery life. Oh what a joy to have the very basic phone last year with a battery that lasted for several days! At best, you’ll get a day out of your smartphone. A lot of phones these days do not have replaceable batteries so you have to either have a charged up battery pack (extra weight in your backpack – albeit small) or you have to queue for hours to sit by your phone that charges up way more slowly than it ever would at home.

This year, there’s a solution. You can buy an EE Festival Power Bar and swap it for a fully charged on on the site each time yours is drained. Well, you could… they sold out a while back. Hopefully people will be nice and share theirs around but who knows. Fortunately, I’m volunteering this year and at our camp we’ll be able to charge up our phones without queuing for hours. I’ll still be taking my extra batteries and battery pack.

And now for apps… there’s a Glastonbury app. There’s been a Glasto app for at least 7 years and it’s never been much good. It has improved somewhat, but there are still usability issues with it. I think they’re probably trying to get too much into one app. And the app is only any good if you have a higher-end smartphone with plenty memory left. It’s a chunky old file. And it’s only Android and iOS. So for BlackBerry or Windows Phone users, erm, tough.

There are a couple of new digital innovations this year. First up, the 100 page programme is now available as a free PDF download or as an interactive app for iPhone or iPad. I can’t imagine the PDF rendering particularly well on a small screen but we’ll see.

Download the programme here.

More interesting is the fact that they’re using contactless payments on site this year. This can be with a contactless card or with the Cash on Tap app. Of course, this will only work if the connectivity holds up for the terminals and you haven’t drained your battery or lost your phone in the mud on your way home from Shangri La at 4 in the morning!

More about EE’s Glastonbury services here.

Last year’s post in the same vein: 2013 is the year of Glastonbury Mobile.

Right, must dig out my wellies and give them a bit of a clean before I head off next week!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Mobile and media linkage for a Friday afternoon

It’s Friday afternoon, so maybe you’d like to line up a bit of reading for the weekend? If news and media are your thing, here are a few links that may be up your street. And a few other ones besides. Enjoy.

An Empirical study of factors that influence the willingness to pay for online news – I’ll be honest, I haven’t read this yet, but it certainly looks interesting. It’s on my reading list for my journey up to Manchester tomorrow.

Publishers just don’t get mobile. This is a piece by Jez Walters who wonders why publishers just don’t get mobile. It’s well worth a read. I would argue that it’s not just publishers who don’t get it, but they probably have most to lose right now by not getting it. I meet media owners all the time and some do mobile better than others and some put more resources and effort into mobile than others. Interesting times indeed.

Who killed magazines? Another piece looking at the demise of the mobile magazine app. It’s from a US perspective, but there are some good insights here as to what could kill your mobile app strategy before it has even started.

Decline of newspapers hits a milestone with lowest print revenues since the 1950s. Print ad-dollars are not being replaced by digital ad-dollars. As if we need telling again, but just in case you do….

Native advertising works at treat but is dependent on platform and device: ‘native advertising – where an ad matches the form and function of the user experience and feels less intrusive – is pulling up trees in terms of reader engagement and click-through rates (CTRs). Hearst Publishing, which has 300 magazine titles to its name, let the cat out of the bag with its disclosure that a native ad campaign within Harper's Bazaar achieved a CTR of up to 1.5%; that compares with the US industry average of 0.1% on traditional display ads.’ Read the article for more.

Nine lies we tell ourselves about mobile (especially pertinent for those who are newer to the sector). An excellent read.

Measure for measure, the difficult art of quantifying return on digital investments. This is an interesting read from CapGemini Consultants, but the irony is not lost on me about on their choice of medium to share this report. This e-book is unreadable on my laptop screen, let alone a mobile device. It’s easier to handle if you download the whole thing as a pdf rather than struggling with their ebook format. If you can bear to work through that, there are some nuggets in there.

We can’t escape that the World Cup is looming and as part of that frenzy, the IAB and OnDevice Research have created a rather lovely piece of work looking at the global mobile perspective of the World Cup 2014. If you are doing anything in sport and mobile, or your customers are, this is worth a look.

This week’s Mobile Fix from Addictive! is a cracker as usual. Well worth a read.

The New York Times innovation report is still on my reading list. Hopefully I’ll get round to this one at the weekend too.

Mary Meeker’s annual slidedeck of key internet trends is out. Essential viewing for anyone with even a vague interest in digital and mobile technology. Plenty ammunition in this deck to convince your boss to go mobile sooner rather than later.

And now for something completely different… LJ Rich, who some of you may know from BBC Click, has written up about what it’s really like to live with perfect pitch. It’s totally fascinating. ‘For me, a laugh is almost always in a major key – crying is almost always in a minor key, regardless of language’ and other gems. A must read.

What I’m up to next week…

It’s a busy time at the moment, what with consulting projects, speaking gigs (including a recent trip to keynote a conference in Norway) and plotting my own events. And next week is particularly busy. If you’re in Manchester or London, you may want to join me.

momomcr logoMonday 9 June – Mobile Monday Manchester demo night. I’m chairing the event and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the different companies have to offer. It should be a good night and I’ll report back on proceedings next week. Tickets have sold out, but if you’d like to come, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can get you in. Or contact the lovely Sabine directly (she’s in charge you see!). If you’re in Manchester and fancy a catch up before demo night, I have some time on Monday afternoon for a coffee. Get in touch if you’d like to meet.

the europas 2014Tuesday 10 June – The Europas! Mike Butcher and his team have put together an unconference by day and an awards ceremony by night. There are just a few tickets left if you’d like to come by. I believe there are some open mic spots as well as different sessions to delve into during the day. I’m interested to see what the conversation is around mobile.

Vogue-magazine-British-iPhoneWednesday 11 June – Responsive advertising briefing with Brand Perfect and Elizabeth Line of the Studio, Condé Nast, New York. It should be a really interesting discussion over lunch getting some insight into how Condé Nast operates in our new digital world. Tickets are £30 or free if you’re a member of the Brand Perfect community (it’s free to join). Details here.

what's next lbiThursday 12 June – What’s next in mobile? is on at DigitasLBi and I’m doing a session with Rafe Blandford, Ilicco Elia and Sergio Falletti talking about apps vs. web amongst other things. It starts at midday and goes on for the whole afternoon with a variety of sessions covering pretty much all aspects of mobile as it pertains to brands. It’s also free to attend but space is limited. Message me if you’d like to come or get in touch with Julia Conroy at DigitasLBi to request a place.

And then on Friday, it’s back to my desk and catching up on a week’s worth of emails and the like….

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

12 Reasons to love Wychwood Festival

wychwood_festival_js_140214I was lucky enough to be able to attend Wychwood Festival for the third time at the weekend. It was their tenth birthday to boot. Due to commitments at #Regenttweet, I was only able to go for the last day but it was a great day and I still got to camp and do all the things I wanted to do. Plus I got up close and personal for Sunday’s headline act, The Boomtown Rats, which was one of my main reasons for going. I last saw them a very long time ago and although Johnny Fingers is now enjoying life in Tokyo, the rest of the band were definitely up to the mark and Sir Bob was on top form.

But that’s not the only reason to love Wychwood Festival. If you’ve never been to a festival or not sure about the whole camping at a festival lark, let me reassure you that Wychwood is a great place to start, especially if you have children. It truly is one of the best festivals in the UK for children as my friend Jane has written about over on her blog.

Let me give you 10 more reasons to love Wychwood Festival

1. Clean toilets. No really. They were kept really clean, fully stocked with toilet roll – even on Monday morning as we were leaving, and they had plenty of flushing toilets too if you were so inclined. Seriously the best festival toilet experience ever.

2. It’s a manageable size. You can pretty much see where everything is, you’re not far from the car park, the stages are just a few minutes from each other so there’s no tramping for an hour in mud between stages to see your favourite bands. It also means it’s a quick nip back to the tent or Happy Camper, in my case, to pick up a sweater for the evening or drop off purchases made at one of the many stalls.

3. Free lock-ups. They have these at Glastonbury Festival and I volunteered for them there one year. They’re great. You can leave whatever you like there – whether that’s money you don’t want hanging around your tent, spare phone, your bike, your rucksack – seriously, you can leave anything there. They’re open 24 hours a day so you can drop off and pick up at any time and all they ask you for is a donation to charity. £2 is probably about right. No more worrying about leaving your valuables in your tent or your car.

4. It’s the easiest camping ever. Also accessible if you’re in a wheelchair. There’s lots of space for starters so you’re not sharing tent nylon with your neighbour and you can really make it home for the weekend. Not only that, as the festival is on a racecourse, there are concrete paths everywhere so even if it has been raining, you don’t get the levels of mud that you get at other festivals. I even brought my suitcase and could roll it along the paths rather than lug my backpack out of mothballs for the night. I also spotted a fair few people in wheelchairs. As the terrain is so flat and there are lots of paths, it makes it that much easier if you’re in a wheelchair. Brilliant all round!

5. Arts and crafts – there’s stuff to do for grown ups as well as kiddiwinkles. I made myself some enamel earrings, joined a drumming workshop, and if I’d been there the whole weekend, I would also have done some yoga, ukulele playing and maybe even some wood-carving and had a massage afterwards to boot. As it was, there’s only so much you can fit into one sunny afternoon in Cheltenham.

6. Hot showers – this isn’t such a big deal for me at a festival. Why queue when you could be doing something else so a combo of a folding washing up bowl and a ton of wet wipes is how I usually manage. But it is nice to be able to have a hot shower to revive yourself. And if you pick a time that isn’t 9am in the morning, the chances are you won’t have to queue at all.

7. Excellent range of food – and it’s well priced too. Whether you want festival favourites like Pura Vida (Tex Mex), Asian, Lebanese, pizza, chips, crepes or a bacon butty, it’s all there and it’s all very well priced.

8. Beer – for those reading this who like proper beer, then you’ll be delighted with Wychwood Brewery and their Hobgoblin Beer Festival at Wychwood. They had all kinds of beer, pale ales and bitters on offer so for beer fans, it’s really rather good.

9. Superspa DJ Festival Hot Tubs – I wish I’d known in advance they would be there (I’d have brought a swimming costume) and I wish I’d had more time so I could participate. Basically, there was a big chillout tent of hot-tubs with DJs, bean bags for relaxing, a stint in the hot tub, with a drink in hand, and a hot shower afterwards. Nice one!

10. The music – There’s a really good mix of music genres and a great mix of old-timers and new-comers. Despite its relatively small size, there are several music stages, each with a full line-up across the three days. That means there’s plenty to choose from. Here’s my best shot of Bob Geldof.


11. The comedy – when the music is finished in the Hobgoblin Bar, it reverts to a comedy venue and it’s brilliant. It’s always a blast and to be highly recommended.

12. Bonus for the mobilists amongst you. Mobile payments were spotted in the wild. I spied one of the stalls advertising that they used iZettle

. IMG_20140601_161938100

And you could also donate to the lovely people at charity Toybox via SMS text:

Text ‘STREET WEB’ to 70555 to donate £3.
Text Costs £3.00 plus network charge. Obtain bill payers permission.

And what an interesting charity they are – I had no idea that not having a birth certificate could cause so many problems in countries like Brazil.

So if you fancy going to a festival next summer, then I can highly recommend Wychwood. They’ve even set up a special price for ticket sales for next year and you can pay in instalments. It’s currently £99 for an adult weekend ticket including camping and there’s a 2 for 1 offer for disabled visitors – details here. Not only that, you can spread your payments and never pay more than this year’s ticket price with the innovative Ticket for Life scheme.  Pay 25% deposit and then 9 monthly payments by direct debit. What a great idea.

So well done Wychwood. Another great festival under your belt and looking forward to 2015.

p.s. could we have some more female artists please? Thanks ever so.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Changify Raval

I am very pleased to have been part of this project with Priya Prakash and Changify. It was fun to spend a morning exploring La Boqueria in Barcelona as part of the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival 2014 It was interesting meeting some of the market traders and the management of the market and understanding some of the issues both residents and traders face. It’s no surprise that there is no simple solution, but there are ways of adapting digital technologies to meld with the traditions and culture of the market. This is just the first step on the journey.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why wearable technology is a bad fit

A good read from the FT (registration required) looking at what’s not working about wearable technology from journalist and pundit, Kate Bevan. Well worth a look if you’re looking at internet of things, wearable technology and the like – be that as a consumer or a marketer.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Small changes, big impact

A good read here from Stuart Reid. Click through to the article for more.

If your organisation needed to save £300,000, would you think about making people redundant? Re-structuring? Business process re-engineering? Or would it occur to you to cancel the olives that you are serving with lunch? - See more at:

The Decline of Newspapers hits a milestone

One for my media /newspaper followers and digital/mobile advertising types. Yes, it relates to US figures, but the figures are telling. I think there's also some more thinking required about digital advertising and why that's not growing for media outlets.

Click through to the comments and further reading.

What it’s like to live with perfect pitch

This is such an interesting read from BBC Click’s LJ Rich.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A potted history of Nokia

and in fact, a potted history of mobile phones. I expect many of these handsets are familiar to some of us of a certain age.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creativity, collaboration and chickens

I went to an interesting talk last night, Creativity and Collaboration, at The Purcell Room in London. It was a discussion, demonstration and performance on the power of collaboration with writer Margaret Heffernan, surgeon Roger Kneebone (what a brilliant name for a surgeon!) and musicians Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard.

Our culture is fixated on winning – whether that’s TV shows turning hobbies into competitive sports (think baking, allotments and dressmaking) or corporate organisations who routinely measure performance to weed out the weakest and focus attention on the strongest or ‘Hi-Per’ as in ‘High Performance’.

During the discussion, each panellist shared their ideas about the value of collaborative working – essentially the antithesis of our current culture of winning – whether that’s a surgeon in the operating theatre, an entrepreneur putting a team together or musicians playing and improvising. The best performing collaborations worked in such a way that mutual understanding becomes instinctive and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Tacit knowledge of each other, built through years of trust, respect, conflict and osmosis, seems to be the key to successful collaborations. But why collaborate at all?

Margaret Heffernan, author of A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn’t Everything and How We Do Better, explained how competition is actually destructive by relaying the story of an experiment with chickens.

Happy Hens in a FieldWhile studying natural selection, William Muir, a geneticist at Purdue University, ran an experiment measuring the egg-laying productivity of two flocks of chickens. The first group was a free flock, the birds could roam and mingle as they pleased, while the second comprised only the most productive birds who were specially picked for their ability as the best egg-layers. The two flocks of birds were then left alone to their own devices for a few generations. When they looked at the birds again, the free flock birds were laying eggs at a furious pace and were healthy. But for the descendants of the ‘high achievers’, it was a different story. Most had been killed by hens that saw them as rivals, and the few survivors were in a sorry state, harrying and pecking at one another unforgivingly.

Does this sound like your workplace? Margaret alluded to the fact that it does sound like many workplaces. I hope it doesn’t sound like yours, but I fear for many that coming top, being the best, is at great expense both to one’s own health and the health of those around you and the health of the business you’re working in. We talk about pecking order, being hen-pecked, being a chicken (i.e. a wimp), headless chicken, chickens coming home to roost, to chicken out. I’m sure there are more. Maybe there’s something in this…? It certainly resonated with the audience as there were gasps as Margaret relayed the story.

I didn’t take notes during the session (perhaps I should have done), but I came away with some thoughts…

Competition isn’t the be-all and end-all. Collaboration is a much more successful, if more problematic and difficult strategy. Egos get in the way. The chemistry might not be right. Timing might be out of kilter. Life throws a curve ball at you. There are lots of reasons why collaborations fail but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

I’ve always enjoyed collaborative work. Perhaps that’s why I still remember my years at Swan Youth Theatre so fondly – we joined together with a common goal, we had limited resources, but found a way to make a production happen, we fought and we argued, we got tired and fraught, but we helped and supported each other, we learned new things and we had a great time doing it. The majority of my early work experience was in stark contrast to this and was much more dog eat dog and much of it was very unpleasant as a result. And pretty much all my schooling from the age of 9 upwards was about ranking in class and being in the top stream. I’m not sure what good it did any of us. I’m quite sure I learned much more during my time at youth theatre.

The panel were also supportive of failure. Our culture hasn’t given much credence to failure, yet we learn most from our failures. All the panellists reiterated that failures (things not going as expected, bum notes, things not going to plan) gave them more agility to deal with change and difficulties in the future. It strengthened the bond of the collaboration in many instances. Margaret explained that failures should be more than tolerated and that we need to learn from them. She said the only failure that she would reject in the workplace is repetition of the same mistake which shows a lack of attention.

The other key thought I had coming away from the talk was about the length of time needed to forge strong working relationships in teams – whether those teams work together from time to time or more frequently. A lot of time needs to be spent in each others’ company in order to build up the trust, respect and knowledge of each other in order to work well together. You have to find ways to overcome conflict too and in doing all of that, you’ll be able to work in harmony – the kind of harmony Roger Kneebone described when sharing a story about the surgical team who had worked for decades together. He brought the team back together for a surgical simulation to try to get to the bottom of how surgical teams work. The simulation was filmed and when you slowed the film right down to see the interaction between the nurse and the surgeon, you could see that the nurse actually passed the instrument to the surgeon before he actually asked for it. That’s tacit knowledge at play. And takes years of practice.

Yet in our current work culture, it’s very common for employees to change jobs every year or two. Research in the US suggests that the average number of jobs an individual will have between the ages of 18 and 44 is 11. That’s a lot of job changes. And that means that these strong working relationships don’t have time to be fostered. Very often when I work with a client from a large company, I’ll know more people at that company than they do. People simply don’t have the time or don’t take the time to get to know their work neighbours. I wonder what we’re missing out on because we’re not forging strong enough connections with each other?

I’ll be adding Margaret’s book to my reading list.

Monday, April 21, 2014

This resonates with me today

It’s not my job to fix your pipeline problem.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Things that make you go hmmm

Publishers are afraid of Google…

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A good article on mobile game monetisation

Banksy is on to something


The latest Banksy via Kirsty Styles.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Plus ça change…

change next exit croppedI’m lucky to be born with a curious mind and to have plenty of opportunity to exercise that curiosity as part and parcel of the consultancy work I do. And because of that curiosity, I tend to notice more of the new stuff and because of my experience over 25 years in sectors ranging from retail, the arts, construction, public transport, media, advertising and mobile, I can put some of this into context for my clients when it comes to working with them on their mobile strategies and planning.

Last week, I was thinking about insurance and financial services and mobile. This week, I’m back at one of my regular stomping grounds of news media and mobile.

Both sectors are rooted in their ways of doing things. Neither has adapted that well to the digital world. Both sectors are aware that change is happening, but neither seem to be aware as to how fast that actually is (hint – it’s faster than any of us can imagine). Neither sector are clued up about technology beyond what they already know and use – in insurance and backing there are legacy systems from the early days of computing and in newspapers, it’s about print production and the technologies around that. And neither sector consider technology to be core of what they do. Maybe they’re right, but my hunch is that that may be holding them back as they’re not able to attract the right people to their organisations.

Interestingly, both sectors now seem to be embracing some developer culture in organising hackathons, opening up APIs for those hackathons and wanting to engage more with the start-up and tech community. It’s tricky though. When you’re not used to sharing, when you’re not used to open dialogue with external parties and telling them what’s actually going on rather than what you want them to know, it’s difficult to start doing that now. And there are so many hackathons going on in London right now, it may well be too late to join that bandwagon and a new format or approach may be required. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to be seeing collaboration activities happening.

I’ll be honest. I was disappointed last week at the FinTech event I attended last week. Nothing wrong with the event per se, but I didn’t see anything new or exciting or noteworthy. The discussions were sensible in many respects and the Aviva CIO was very interesting to listen to. But there was no leadership or real vision for what the future holds in how our daily lives are changing, especially in relation to the internet of things, big data, privacy and therefore what that might mean for the future of insurance or banking for those people.

The global media industry fares a little better although there are glimpses of hope from the UK. Yesterday, I heard some very interesting case studies from Hearst and how it’s tackling new digital properties and how The Times is moving from having readers to having members. And today, the’s story, as ever, is a strong one when it comes to digital leadership and actually trying new things (car interfaces, smart TV apps) and having its eye on what’s coming next. The majority of media owners I talk to outside the UK are still very wary of making these leaps of faith as they’re not sure what the next thing might be. Most media owners think their competition is other media owners. I imagine it’s not – look at the rise of The Young Turks, Bleacher Report and Jamal Edwards’ SB:TV empire. Bedroom media moguls all of them. No-one saw them coming (except maybe Google, Twitter and Facebook).

Well, I’d love to be able to tell you what that is. I don’t know what it is. I think it would be fair to say that no-one really does. Not even, The Times, Hearst et al. None of us are fortune-tellers. All those companies are openly experimenting, investing in systems, people and processes that are adaptable to change. Another thing they all have in common is really understanding their customers – bringing the experience back to humans – what we want, how we use our devices, when we use them, the content we want to read, the content we enjoy and share the most – that data driven insight then drives the thinking behind new products, services and revenue streams.

Ultimately, what needs to happen is culture change. Getting the right technology system or platform in won’t save your business. Rethinking your business in relation to the digital age just might. Will we still need car insurance with driverless cars? And what does the future of news look like? It certainly doesn’t look like a printed newspaper.

I’m going to leave you with some quotes that have kept popping up on my radar in the last few days:

Jack Welch — 'If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.'

John Kotter – ‘The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon’

and finally

Karen Lamb – ‘A year from now, you may wish you’d started today’

I don’t need to give you more stats on how mobile is eating the world or the exponential growth of mobile media and advertising. You can use a familiar search engine to find that out. Hey they even have a whole section dedicated to telling about that with Our Mobile Planet. What I would urge you to do is to do *something*.It may not be the right thing and it won’t be the last thing you do either. Don’t be afraid to experiment, to fail, to learn and to start again. Don’t be left behind though. Create a future you, your family, your friends and your customers will want to be part of.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

How to get featured on BBC Click

Courtesy of the lovely LJ Rich.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Youth App Consumption

An interesting word cloud from Michael Acton Smith of Moshi Monsters fame. What is your favourite app? Word cloud showing how kids answered (March 2014)

youth wordcloud march 2014


Which UK retailers pay garment workers a living wage?

Marks & Spencer, Zara come out well. Timberland, Vans, North Face, Mango not so much.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Anything interesting happening in mobile and insurance?

The crowd responds. Some useful nuggets in here.

Cognitive Lode

A lovely read from my friends at Ribot. A free resource for research gems about the curious ways in which we think.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Where are the women in the creative department?

Dear Sue Unerman, are you really advocating that women need to do all the adapting and changing of behaviour in order to make it in advertising (or any business for that matter)?
Click through for an interesting discussion.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

On in-app purchasing

A very interesting and pertinent read. I wonder if the new UK ruling about in-app purchases will make a difference or is it too little too late.
Click through for comments.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Garamond or Helvetica?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Swedish Beers–Barcelona Edition 2014 are Go!

swedish beers 2014

I must be a glutton for punishment or something! It’s almost 13 years since the first ever Swedish Beers party in London and this will the eighth party in Barcelona… Oh my goodness, doesn't time fly?

Here we are again in February which means only one thing - it's time for Swedish Beers! It’s all systems go for Mobile World Congress and Heroes of the Mobile Fringe. And as part of that, your favourite networking party is back to bring you more beer and more chat.

We do have some lovely sponsors lined up for you but there's room for one or two more if you fancy getting involved. Get in touch with Helen to discuss. More will be announced over the coming days and weeks.

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 to welcome you as well as the friendliest bar staff in town.

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. If you do register, it does mean that you can add the event to your calendar and search for it in your email and easily share with friends. Fill in the form below or go direct to the eventbrite page.

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.

There is a small cloakroom area at the bar, but it's not secure so leave the laptops in your hotel room or apartment where they will be safe and won't get in anyone's way.

The venue is our favourite haunt with the friendliest bar staff in town, Dos Trece -
We'll be open from 7pm through until the early hours.

AQL is our first confirmed sponsor - more tbc. I’ll introduce all our sponsors over the coming days and weeks.

See you in Barcelona!

This is a Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival Event



Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top Tips for Public Speaking

I do a lot of public speaking. I always have done. At primary school, I was given the good speaking parts because I had a clear voice and a good memory. As a teenager, I acted my socks off at my local theatre and as an adult, I’ve been speaking in public in every job I’ve had – whether it was running a training course, hosting a fashion show or giving the keynote at an international conference. It’s very much second nature to me and something I enjoy doing. Don’t get me wrong, despite years of practice, I still have to prepare – including rehearsing out loud. But I don’t have stage-fright or nerves in the same way that others have it. That element of stage-fright for me is excitement rather than fear and the cue to go on with the show. And I see public speaking as being a very important way to communicate your story and market yourself or your business, whether you’re in a panel discussion or on stage showcasing your latest wares.

It doesn’t always go right though, as this video shows. It’s from CES just a couple of weeks ago and it’s Michael Bay talking up Samsung on the main stage.

It looks like he’s under-prepared and under-rehearsed. I expect Samsung paid him a lot of money to come up on stage and say nice things about their kit, but without the teleprompter, he had nothing to say. I guess that’s also why he’s a movie director rather than an actor.

Don’t let this happen to you. And don’t let this put you off either!

Here are some resources I’ve come across recently which may help you if lack of preparedness, stage-fright or just sheer dread thwart you.

Zach Holman has put together a lovely website with everything you need to know about preparing and delivering a conference talk. You can find it here I don’t have much to add to his advice as it’s great except that it’s well worth watching and listening to other speakers. Sometimes it’s hard to take an objective view as you’re listening to them for the content and in a different context. But if you can, also check out their performance and see what you like or don’t like about how they’ve done it and have a think about how you could improve on that yourself. I find listening to panel discussions on Radio 4 quite helpful for this too as you’re not distracted by any slides or visuals and you can really tune into someone’s personal style.

Mary Portas tweeted this link the other day. It’s a short article about the one phrase you ought not to say. I concur and I’ve been guilty of this one in the past. You have been warned…

Of course, in order to do any public speaking, you need the chance to speak. Most commonly, this is about being accepted to speak at a conference. Here’s a link to some sound advice about putting that conference proposal together. It has a technical bent, but the advice is valid regardless of topic. There’s some more advice here too.

Public speaking is not rocket science. I’m glad that it’s not something that everyone’s good at as it leaves plenty of openings for me to do my thing. But it’s also clear to me it’s the sort of thing that you get better at the more practice you have. So don’t be shy. Have a go.

Good luck.