Posts Tagged 'future'

Spanish Armada

So, the Spanish are finally conquering Britain. Through banking prudence. Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley, Alliance & Leicester… the Santander Group has picked them all up so that it holds the purse strings of middle England.

Check out this piece on the inspiration for their corporate HQ, housing 6700 employees on a campus 45 mins from Madrid. Impressive, scary and perhaps the shape of things to come..


LloydsTSB-HBOS – jumble sales and bottom fishing

So, my blog has gloriously covered the new-new opportunities in digital and media. I break into this editorial line with a comment on ‘other stuff that’s going to be big’.

Clearly, we are seeing tectonic shifts in the world markets – and this will impact the local economy and enterprise opportunities.

What do they say? When everyone else says ‘take cover’, it’s time to ‘take risk’. I bought Lloyds shares this morning at 265p, now standing at 290p. I had a long conversation with my stockbroker about the characteristics for calling the bottom of the market… kitchen-sinking, corporate failures, bad news epidemic… then a platform for returning stability. The market will react before the economy and may bounce.

So, 2009 looks to be a very tough year ahead – but with the re-rating of prices, labour forces and froth… there will also be great opportunities for the fleet of foot.

Boring ol’ Lloyds has just hit payback for years of caution while others have hit stella growth and over-reached themselves. Three cheers for the snails and not the hares, this week.

The digital economy is not in reverse either – it’s seeing switching from ‘old media’ and still some pretty tight labour constraints. How long this can continue? Who knows. Keep digging!

O3b Networks – African Safari

It looks like philanthropy to invest millions in Africa. But, it could also be one of those amazingly far-sighted early-stage investments.

A bunch of entrepreneurs is backing O3b networks to put up 16 satellites to provide a wireless backbone for Africa. That’s Google, John Malone of Liberty Global, HSBC, Allen & Company… on the road to $750m in spend.

This could be a path for linking up with consumers in a host of other emerging markets. Hence the name of the firm… which stands for ‘Other 3 billion’… the half of the world that’s not currently within reach of Wikipedia and Facebook…

And, for more links to Google’s multifarious ambitions, check out this blog from Unstung.

Beyond blogging – lifestreaming

Just when I was getting the hang of WordPress (and still wrestling to put a Delicious feed on my blog), I read that the world is one step beyond. While it’s mass market to do blogging – and 20,000 new blogs are starting each day – the bleeding edge has moved to the likes of FriendFeed. 


ReadWriteWeb puts it like this:

The Future of Blogging Revealed

There has been a lot of talk lately about the changing face of the blogging landscapeDarren Rowse of ProBlogger asked if blogging has lost its relational focus; Scoble explained why tech blogging has failed you; and even though not everyone agreed with his every statement, there was a renewed commitment in the blogosphere to return to blogging about what excites instead of just writing about “Apple’s newest gizmo or the peccadillos of tech personalities.” However, we’re wondering if people even need to blog anymore…at least in the traditional sense.

Once the main way to publish your own personal thoughts and opinions for the rest of the web to read, blogging started a movement that democratized the web. Everyone could be a publisher. But now, blogging as everyone’s preferred method of communication may be over. What’s taking its place? Lifestreaming. And don’t be fooled into thinking that we’re talking just about FriendFeed here – lifestreaming as a format for communication extends beyond just that one social site to encompass an entirely new way to establish your home on today’s social web.


Lifestreaming is a new way of documenting the activities surrounding your life using a chronologically-ordered collection of information. Bloggers like Julia Allison, whose internet activities and real-world attention-grabbing stunts made her “internet famous,” has used the format to rocket herself into stardom. That stardom even made her the subject of a recent Wired magazine article on the subject of self-promotion. Her method of communication? The lifestream, of course. Her blog is no more than a short collection of photos, videos, copy-and-pasted emails, random thoughts, links, and general over-sharing. The site even scrolls horizontally instead of vertically which makes it seem much more like a timeline than just another blog.

Julia Allison’s Site

The simplicity of a lifestream is ideal for our information overloaded age. Lifestreams are short and sweet, yet still provide the same insight into a person’s life as yesterday’s casual personal blog did. A video here, a photo there, and today’s web citizens can voyeuristically peer into anyone’s life and get a sense of who they are. Long-form bloggers, on the other hand (myself included) require time and attention to read, but with so many publishers out there, people just aren’t reading content like they used to – they’re just scanning text and moving on. For new bloggers, this means getting readers is harder than ever – your words are getting lost in a sea of noise. So to stand out, several are turning to the lifestream instead in order to get noticed.

The New Blog

But the Julia Allison method is only one option for lifestreaming. Over the weekend, I stumbled across this blog, if you can even call it that. This was no ordinary blog – it was a lifestream based on the social aggregation service, FriendFeed. Take a look:

The New Blog (Click To See It Larger)

What’s amazing about this site is that the elements of traditional blogging are mirrored here. Instead of posts, there’s a stream. Instead of “Recent Comments,” there are the “Recent Discussions.” And instead of an “About Me” page, there’s a link to the blogger’s Facebook profile. Could this be the future of blogging? For active social participants, the above site could certainly be the ideal blog as it highlights their participation instead of their thoughts and opinions.

But even though FriendFeed might be the easiest way to add a lifestream to your site (or turn your blog into a lifestream), it’s certainly not the only way. The Lifestream Blog keeps track of the many different ways that web site owners are self-hosting their own lifestreams. You can check out the galleries of these sites both here and here.

How You Can Stream Your Life

So, how are people doing this? There are several ways, but many people today are using custom code on their sites in order to produce the lifestream. However, if you already have a WordPress blog, you can set up a custom lifestream within WordPress with relative ease. In fact, there are a couple of options to do so:

We also told you about the much-anticipated Sweetcron, brand-new automated lifestreaming software for self-hosting your own stream.


Unfortunately, the developer has still yet to release the software, despite having originally promised a June release. These continued delays leave the door wide open for another developer to release their own software and capture the early adopter lifestreaming market. (Do you know of any others in development? Let us know!)

Lifestreaming Is The Always On Blog

There was a time when casual, personal blogging was your way to communicate with your friends on the web. Via posts, commenting, and blogrolls, bloggers formed niche communities on the web to socialize with each other. Today, new tools provide that same level of socialization – perhaps even better than blogging ever could. Via micro-blogging sites like Twitter, every quick thought or link can be shared with your community of followers and you can see theirs, too. You can join and exit the never-ending conversation at your leisure. Plus, other social sites like FriendFeed provide today’s new discussion boards where conversation occurs surrounding the items posted and shared, leading to even more of a community feel, and one that’s drawing more users every day.

Sites and social tools like these and many others encourage more participation on the social web than ever before. Although the social participants on these sites are often more active in socializing than they are in blogging, there’s still that need to stake out your own piece of real estate on the web. But we wonder: does that really need to be a blog anymore? Perhaps not.

Blogging Newspaper image courtesy of Annie Mole

Green is dead

I predict that Green and Socially Responsible will drop down the business agenda – as they have trickled down the G8 agenda – as the crunch starts to bite.

Bleeding Heart concern is still prevalent in Soho. And, it still plucks my heart strings to want to operate paternal, values-led capitalism. But, that’s not enough for the cash-strapped families of Rochdale who are getting squeezed by globalisation (and, more to the point, are voting in a marginal constituency).

Creeping reforms and conscience will still push the agenda ahead – as will lots of uber-wealthy philanthropists. And, ad-land will continue to Green-Wash everything so we feel better.

If you still want to change the world with good copy, BBH are running a gathering this Thursday. Info on the ridiculously slow website… Watering Hole.

Authentic 2

I recently posted that ‘Authentic’ will be a factor in the Next Big Thing. Here.

Since writing my earlier blog – even while I wrote – I was singing that brilliant Gil Scot Heron anthem, The Revolution will not be televised. (click that for the lyrics and more, but so good I pasted them below). The song came out in 1974 and has a huge rapping build-up to the final line ‘The Revolution WILL BE-EEEE LIVE!!!’

Simon Jenkins, just elected to chairman of The National Trust, uses his SundayTimes column to explore the rise and revolution of LIVE. He points to the trend for real experience. He describes this as a ‘reversal of history’ and that ‘People… will use the internet and iPod, MySpace and YouTube, but as a proxy for the real’. It’s a natty call for the man just charged with getting folk out to the stately homes of England. 

He even takes a pop at the likes of, well, the questors for the Next Big Thing (ie me): ‘Futurology seminars have long been obsessed with one question: what next after the internet?… Since the invention of the telegraph and gramophone, innovation is interested only in kit that yields profit… Futurology has a built-in distortion towards technological novelty, while ignoring the continued appeal of what has gone before.’

The point that Jenkins fails to make is that technology is a facilitator to the LIVE. You could even argue that with Gil Scott Heron. Without these new technologies, you couldn’t have the social revolutions… The pirate local stations of Radio Rebelde were used by Castro to take Cuba. Television halted Vietnam. Blogs continue to uncover the human conflicts of Iraq. And, Google’s RSS reader is allowing us to individually package up a host of thinkers’ threads as they blog to our themes.

In music, it’s the internet that is modifying the dynamics of recorded music and live. Firstly, internet provides global instant distribution. Secondly, it allows artists to capture the real value of their live performance – because gigs are now getting priced to approximate the secondary value of resell sites. Check out what they charge at the O2 these days and, if you’ve not been gigging recently, you’ll swoon. Equally, in marketing, the internet allows you to reach multi-niche audiences and keep that community informed of the next live gig, debate, workshop, training session or social. See the backers of Meet-up, if you want proof. (CEO Scott Heiferman, Esther Dyson, Andreas Stavropoulos (DFJ VC), U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, and Pierre Omidyar (Founder/Chairman of eBay – strapline: Real groups make a real difference).

It is ‘old school’ to argue that LIVE will cancel out digital. The phenomenon, though, is articulated in Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s book The Black Swan when he discusses the difference in Big Success these days. Success happens in Extremistan, rather than Mediocristan. With the potential to replicate anything online, people crave the reinforcement of the real. But, they aren’t going back to pre-digital days… (ask Lucy Kellaway, who wittily wrote on BPC – Before Personal Computers earlier this month).

Talent is, for sure, at a continued premium in our wired world. But, it’s talent that shows real depth of soul that will win in Extremistan – and only if it can use the new tools for mass appeal.

What I think we’re seeing is that the real cut-through comes from Authentic. Authentic means Personality. Witness Boris Johnson’s election to Mayor of London. He bumbles faux-pas, he back-tracks, he speaks his mind even if it’s not to everyone’s taste. You can somehow bottle up extreme personality or superlative performance or uber-luxury or that unique live moment and people will pay so much more for that (over the internet!?) more than they’ll pay for the polished, bland, repeated stuff.

Same goes for Barack Obama, I’ve got to assume – albeit he doesn’t ‘touch me’ because his micro-casting doesn’t need my sphere of influence or my vote. The point, Mr Jenkins, is that Barack is a pro in capturing the authentic mood, but also in ‘getting it’ online.

While I’m fascinated by the internet phenomenon of Social Networking, I’m obsessed by member organisations and their power – whether the UK’s biggest member clubs the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or The Caravan Club or the Royal Horticultural Society. And, if we don’t see the National Trust really embracing digital technology to pinpoint and leverage its member power, its estates will lose us as we all go gigging to little, crumblier, muddier country piles instead.



The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the 
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Well, poke my balloon

It looks like a Big Thing. Smells like a Big Brother thing… a real media phenomenon.

It’s a balloon race across the internet. It’s been invented for Orange telco by PokeLondon digital agency.

It’s a bit of silly season fun.

The story is on Poke’s website

And, you can actually play here

Design Week has done a nice piece asking ‘Is advergaming the future?‘ – which about sums up where I’d come at it too.

If only I was technically competent enough, you’d see balloons careering over my online real estate… but I can’t paste the HTML onto my page.  Instead, you could check out Ben Terrett’s neat blog Noisy Decent Graphics (Ben has just set up a collaborative business with Russell Davis, codenamed Punkagram). Nice combo of strategic thinking and quirky fab graphics.

Charlie’s Twitter status

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