Posts Tagged 'Opportunity'

Recession watch – things you can buy for £1

I was amused to see an article last week in Rupert Murdoch’s thelondonpaper entitled ‘Things you can buy for a pound’. Given the paper’s rivalry with Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail Group, owners of the Evening Standard, this may have been a dig.

Thelondonpaper points to edible g-strings, lottery tickets and Ryanair flights. It didn’t headline it, but it did point out that a Russian oligarch has bought the whole of the Evening Standard for £1.

Another Quality Headline from The Evening Standard... by Big Marvin.

Graham Norton had a gag in this vein about their office secret santa presents – the limit was £5 and he managed to buy a whole street in Bradford for his PA for £4.99. He was surprised and delighted that she returned the favour and bought him the whole of the Woolworths chain for £1!

I gather you can take your pick these days of regional newspapers, buy-to-let blocks, premiership football clubs, bust dot.coms, mid-market fashion chains, gift shops, car dealerships, Michelin star restaurants and anything that’s been in a sector that got a bit frothy over the Noughties.

But, wait, the government will soon be paying you to take businesses off their hands: car manufacturers, steel firms, coal mines… My prediction that 2009 would be the year for the vulture is coming true. But, vultures are naturally lazy. Don’t jump off your perch just yet because things have got a way to go. Double L


Obama is the real thing – global positivity is just what we need

I see the FTSE 100 dropped by 100 points to 4530 as the UK soaked up the Obama news. That’s coming off last week’s biggest ever rise, presumably as the surge for Obama became an inevitability.

With Bob the Builder’s catchphrase: Can we fix it? – Yes, we can. With certainty in the vote. And, with masterful oratory. With near global approval. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

It’s a spine-tingly 17 minute speech of acceptance. There is hope. There is opportunity. There is a world statesman picking up for us all the positivity that planet earth needs at this very moment.

I think we’re all feeling better now. Onward.

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

No recession 2

Keeping the spirits up on the gloom front comes today’s FT comment piece by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill. Good on ya, Jim.

He writes that Boom time for the global bourgeousie is here.

He’s predicting that 70 million people a year globally will be entering the middle class. And that this is set to continue for the next 20 years – powered by the BRIC econimies of Brazil, Russia, india and China (and that, even with out them, the ‘next eleven’ will produce 20million bourgeouis families).

So, while Northern Rock and bad summer weather may make us feel gloomy, the global outlook is rosier than the London orbit. There’s a market of moneyed consumers the size of the UK population arriving at the checkouts globally each year to stock up on all the toys.

I take heart from this because it compounds an analysis done by David Smith in the Sunday Times some months ago about the engine for world growth. In the 1930s, said Smith, it was the hungry US. In the 1940s it was the rebuilding of WW2 Europe. In the 1990s, it was the fall of the Iron Curtain. In the 2000s, the rush for higher living standards is coming from a much wider mass of emerging free market economies… all wanting what Europe’s had for years! QED Dave Smith

(Can’t find the earth-shattering article I wanted to believe then – and moreso now, to prove that there is a consumer willing to power us away from the downturn misery around us in London tonight).

So, from headline-grabbing wobbles… look beyond…

Opportunity facts: Energy-savings in IT

So, it takes 2 watts of power in a data centre to cool computers that take 1 watt of power to operate (75% of which power is used on the computer’s own fan system).

How to design a way to use the heat from computers to heat buildings? It costs an estimated $4.5 billion in utilities to power US server farms. Do they relocate to Iceland which has a cooler ambient temperature? 

Or, statistically, 30% of all data held on computers is redundant. How to design a system that turns off the computers guarding this data?

Welcome to Opencast

The world is full of opportunity. There’s a credit crunch putting the squeeze on. There are turbulent stories in the pink pages about banks and estate agents, house-builders and retailers.

But, economies around the world, outside the UK and inside specific sectors, continue to chug along nicely or even rocket away. And, everywhere there are entrepreneurs starting new ventures with ambition and an idea. You don’t have to, necessarily, change the world. A simple tweak of an old idea will do, springing things to life like YouTube, or

I’ve set myself the challenge of finding the Next Big Thing. Is it a mirage? Is it fool’s gold? Can it exist as an absolute – or is it all relative to every individual?

A few definitions…

The Next Big Thing is a livelihood. Though, this doesn’t mean it has to be un-creative or uninspiring. I see today that Cirque de Soleil has just sold out for $2billion. And, I was blown away this weekend, in the same mould, by 

The Next Big Thing is going to be big and influential for many. It’ll change our focus – like digital transformation of traditional industries, or the march of China and India with populations that cover two-fifths of the world.

The Next Big Thing hasn’t quite arrived yet, so there’s still time to get on the band wagon.

I’ve spent a fortnight pondering, but my main source of inspiration is a collection of meetings with brilliant people.

I’ve also set myself the goal, alongside the blog, to pull together a live event to debate the challenges and opportunities of the way ahead.

Innovation meets cashflow. Start-ups meet fast followers. Fair Trade meets the Credit Crunch. Online video continues to batter television – or is it replacing TV with, erm, TV? Or, in the famous words of the song… The revolution will not be televised… the revolution WILL BE LIVE…

Where is it all going? Join me to find out.


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