Wednesday, November 30

Shanghai Shanghai

Move over NYC, Shanghai is in town.

I'm on my first visit to Shanghai, the craziest of world cities. Peering out of the hotel window I can count twenty skyscrapers without even trying.

It's a city full of contradictions; both communist with the most capitalism you are ever likely to see, more human enterprise happens per square foot than anywhere I've seen. The city is incredibly ugly yet beautiful at the same time, at first glance the landscape looks like something from Bladerunner yet give it a few moments and it has the charm of NYC.

Zai Tian

Saturday, November 26

The Future of Media : My Media

I presented "The Future of Media" to the executives of The Times and Sunday Times newspapers this week. Presenting the digital future, as well as the digital "now", to one of the world's oldest and most respected newspapers required some serious thought. Not least because Rupert Murdoch's digital empire is rolling out.

Now there's a lot on this topic on the web (and what I presented was corporate stuff, so its confidential) so try Rebecca MacKinnon's blog

I used minimal powerpoint in favour of demonstrating everything 'live'. Flipping between different sites, video and audio. It's rather like doing a live cookery show, trying to present and type and operate a mouse all at the same time. There's no other way to show the potential impact of RSS, geo tagging, social networks...

The next time you present about the web, use the web. You'll need to choreograph everything in advance but it's worth the effort. It gives real impact!

Thursday, November 24

European Consumer Marketing Forum

A truly brain crunching week of marketing thinking and innovation started with:

This years Forrester Consumer Marketing Forum proved to be a really worthwhile few days of discussing the latest trends in technology and their implications for marketers.

Nikesh Arora gave us his vision of the (near) future. The overriding strategy appears to be freely available information for all. Sounds simplistic but is far from it. When you look at Google's implementation of this concept it is clear that free means free. And that "free" means finding better, cheaper, faster ways to bring you the world's content - audio, video, books, magazines, notes, cars for sale...

Watch out blue-chip businesses, this is the age of disruption and Google, along with others, are coming your way. By the way, I don't buy the 'evil Google' sentiment that's circulating. Google have been pushing the boundaries for us all at a time when Microsoft was running out of steam.

Following this theme Saul Klien described the world of Skype. A world where phone calls are free - almost - and voice becomes an integrated part of the web, not an awkward bolt on. Perhaps, in a few years, the VoiP push will lead to the break-through in real and effective use of audio on websites. Currently everyone is using audio/video online to do what old media does - the web has many more possibilities...

Forrester's Head of Consultanting, Jorgos Achtsivassilis, wrapped up the conference with recommendations on business structures to cope with consumer innovation. Putting consumers at the heart of the business. The overriding principle is that the value chain is shifting, that consumers are 'touching' sales, marketing, distn, accounting functions in a non-linear way. So simply producing a product and pushing it like a sausage factory through the company and out to the consumer is not working.

We can see these value-chain shifts all around us, from EasyJet and RyanAir to Airlines and Technology businesses. Dell was one of the first scale innovators in its space to realign its company around the consumer. Gore is another incredible company:
Since 1958, Gore has avoided traditional hierarchy, opting instead for a team-based environment that fosters personal initiative, encourages innovation, and promotes person-to-person communication among all of our associates.

If Ventures in PIXELS emulates just 10% of these outstanding companies we will all be very happy:-)

This blog is being written to the tunes of "Look UP" by Zero 7

Tuesday, November 15

AOP Content Trends

I sit on the content trends group for the Association of Online Publishers.

We've had an interesting discussion this afternoon on social tagging and how this might affect large scale publishers. Amongst other Chris Osborne from, Dave Killeen from Associated New Media and Karl Schneider from RBI shared views, ideas and latest news. View the AOP content working group's page

These are exciting times in the publishing industry. Huge brands, like The Times (plug), would seamingly have the lead in transferring consumer trust and awareness from offline to online. But without giving up the publishing roots in favour of technical delivery how can these brands compete with tech upstarts... Old publishers are in the content creation business, not content manipulation.

If you're interested in the developing market for 'presenting' news (rather than its creation) here are some interesting sites (not all brand new I must add): - Darwinian content - readers vote for content live - the best stories go to the top. - two french guy's and AJAX - a fantastic example of putting users in control of what they look at

Annotated NYT - take New York Times articles, match them with blog's talking about those topics, encourage debate -the NYT takes a life of its own

When you start to combine personalised content, social tagging and bookmarking, citizen publishing with mainstream media you get a new type of news delivery. Where users proactively segment themselves by letting them have the tools to do so (who needs behavioural targetting - let the reader form their own communities)

Most of these tools have not yet reached tipping point into the mass market - us netophiles may know about them - but its when they leap onto the average guys desktop we'll see the next big shift.

Will the big publishers be there? Do they need to be? Should publishers make their website interface open-source - and allow tech savvy users to develop better interfaces.

Now there's an idea...

Saturday, November 12

Raw Talent

A large crowd was gathered by the mesmerising sounds of four guy's and their instruments by the Thames today. They were creating the most incredible tunes and literally stopped hundreds of people in their tracks.

They weren't there to be noticed, they didn't sell CDs and they looked genuinely suprised at the size of the audience. With raw talent like this, there's no need to go looking for success, it will find you...

Click on the image to download a sample

Friday, November 11

Eleven - Eleven - Eleven

Viet Nam

HMS Belfast, London, 2005

Wednesday, November 9

You know you've got a Vietnamese Girlfriend when...

You're studying a topographical map which displays icons for wild boar, crocodiles, monkeys, crabs, shellfish, lizards have to point out the key three times before she accepts that the icons refer to the real living creatures as opposed to restaurants.

You need to have the Vietnam connection to 'get' most of these...

Monday, November 7

Global Warming: The People vs The Environment

Anyone looking for a ought to look at the weather..

Walking through London early this November morning, the bright sunshine and clear blue skies, my thoughts turned to (sort of).

Thanks to fluffymark on

You see isn't normally this warm, and most Londoners are quite happy with the extra few degrees of heat. But now it's getting out of hand. How do we change it?

Firstly, people need to think it's personal. Woody Harrelson the actor said "if i do my bit then at least i have a clear conscience." The problem is, most of us wont do our bit, we'll keep driving oversized four by fours.

So here's the start of a not-for-profit web idea to drive awareness:

- Team up with government environment agencies in developed countries

- Each business is awarded a rating for it's enviro friendliness - this happens already - see Carbon Trust in the UK

- Businesses are given a link (aka technorati) to add to their website which authenticates them. The links clicks to a unique certificate for that business and a GEOurl tag to give it a real world connection.

- Then team-up with Google, Yahoo, MSN to give higher to websites which are the most environmentally friendly * A massive incentive for companies (making it personal)

- There could be lots of spin-off applications: search engine for only environmentally friendly sites/business, a blogger version (where private individual must rate themselves - raises awareness if nothing else) and add it to their blogs. This might be self-policing as fellow bloggers could report you if your honking around in a Hummer!

I'll leave you with those thoughts on this sunny day. Please develop the idea if you think it has merit, share your thoughts here or team up with my company Ventures in PIXELS to put this together.

Bring back cold mornings

Saturday, November 5

Making of Clarkson & Gill in Iraq Film

In the 'day job', marketing , I made movies this week. Well, one at least.

I secured unique footage of Jeremy Clarkson, the much loved presenter, and A A Gill, the food critic and writer, on their hair-raising jaunt in Iraq. And it wasn't much of a jolly ride.

The raw footage, much of which ended on the editing suite floor, showed real fear in Clarkson's commentary. But the need to keep the film short for the web meant we had to lose a lot. If it wasn't for the tank racing, yes! they lined up two Abrahm's tanks for a sprint race, their trip showed the grim realities of life in Iraq from commentators that are used to fast cars and fine restaurants.

Read the article first and then watch the to get some context.

The Sunday Times this weekend publishes the article in full - it's a great read.

The some good coverage of the trip.

Thanks to Dan Leonard for helping to produce the film.

Better late than never

Well. I've been in the internet business for eight years and using the web for around thirteen years. And I've only just got around to blogging.

Let's see how this thing works.