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Interesting facts from the future

Well, I say “the future”… that’s based purely on Gerd Leonhard‘s title of “Media Futurist”. I was recently lucky enough to spend a couple of days in the presence of him and Jeremy Silver at Future Music Labs, part of Creative Capital in Canary Wharf, London.

They both gave fascinating talks at the beginning of the first day, and I took lots of notes. I’ve just been looking back over them and thought there were a few snippits that are worth sharing. This will all appear in bullet-point form, as I can’t remember the exact context of each fact and wouldn’t want to misquote Jeremy or Gerd. Also, apologies if some of the facts don’t make that much sense out of context. They obviously don’t have the great slides that Gerd and Jeremy used to illustrate their points, too. You can see the slides for Jeremy’s presentation here, and Gerd’s here.

If they don’t make sense then let me know – I’ll improve my note taking technique!

Also, I’ll be adding news links to back up as much of this information as i can, when I can.

Jeremy Silver

  • The “value” in creative industries tends to be in digital media.
  • In 9 years the music industry has lost 40 percent of its value.
  • 20 – 25 percent of sales across the board are digital.
  • Games companies are making money!
  • Youtube‘s bandwidth costs $1m a day to maintain, and their daily loss exceeds $1m a day.
  • In the UK ÂŁ357 is spent on advertising per head of population (from memory, this is annually). 19 percent of this is online, the highest percentage in the world.
  • The UK has the highest per capita spend on music. $82 a year.
  • Consumers are very sophisticated and want to interact with music – e.g. see Rockband & Singstar, Radiohead allowing fans to remix tunes etc.


Gerd Leonhard

  • 92 percent of Google’s revenue is from Adwords.
  • Total fragmentation of the market is certain. Very few models work for everyone anymore. We’ll never see anyone having hits on the scale of The Beatles again. In TV Dallas used to get 70 percent of US viewers. Today the top show, American Idol, gets just 7 percent.
  • Physical Media and productised content is the past.
  • 1.7 million new mobile users in India every week.
  • 6.8 billion minutes a day are spent on Facebook. It is a broadcaster, as are all social network.
  • We’re living in an age of “Attention Challenge”. Distribution is now a default setting.
  • Brand magnetism is everything. If you love them, you’ll buy them.
  • “Money is just a type of information” – www.kk.org
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Passion, perseverance, and stuff


I saw the film Anvil a few nights ago. It’s a documentary about a rock band who, thirty years on from being on the verge of greatness, are living in near-obscurity and decide to give it one last push before giving up for good. It’s an absolutely brillant (and hilarious) film and I was incredibly touched by their perseverance, their passion and their lust for life. And it reminded me that perseverance is that rare quality that is usually the one factor that many people are missing out on when looking for success.

I often advise people on small business and creative industries, and tell them to look at the top DJs and producers in the world: Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Sasha, Roger Sanchez, Eric Morillo, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy etc – I’m fairly certain that not one of them is under 40, and I know that some of them are over 50. (edit – I’m reliably informed by Ian -see comments below- that Liam from the Prodigy is a spritely 37). The average age of the freshest, hottest 3 DJs in the world (Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk) is 37.2.

Being a DJ is usually considered to be a youngster’s game. These guys are clear evidence that if you’re good enough you might make it, BUT if you’re good enough AND you’re willing to stick at it long enough then you’ll definitely improve your chances of making it. I suppose it’s a case of having the talent, and using the perseverance to maximise the likelihood of getting your break…

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”. ~Albert Einstein


A few bits and pieces…

————————

We’ve recently announced details of Ignite Cardiff #2, and with that in mind I thought I’d link to this article explaining how to “Deliver a Presentation like Steve Jobs”.

14 Tools Of Highly Effective Twitter Users
– I particularly like the first tool. I’d be more inclined to find out how annoying I am though, rather than vet others before following….

This looks quite interesting if you’re based near South Wales and are in the creative industries, innovation, enterprise etc. I’ll probably be there.

This link is either the greatest link ever for a procrastinator, or a fascinating archive of the things that amused us over the early years of “the internet age”.

Very interesting take on what’s “killing” the music industry. Not illegal downloads, according to the author. Surprised to see that the value of music being shipped is more today than it was in 1993.

My Dad’s been very ill recently, and I’ve been “hanging out” at an online forum where people exchange experiences and support about the illness that he’s suffering from. One post struck me as absolute gold: A woman has become very housebound and insular in the last year, not wishing to leave the house. But in the recent snow her husband and kids persuaded her to go out and make a snowman with them. The phrase that convinced her to get out there? “Let’s go make some memories“.

Life is short, and all we really have at the end of it is our memories, so go make some.

* The pic at the top is of my girlfriend and I, mid-jump, making some snowy memories a few weeks ago. That blurry shot is the best of about 15 attempts to get a shot of us mid air in the snow, using a self timer!

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Twitter – What’s the point?

I admit it. I’m a twitterfreak. In the space of a few months it has become the single most useful business tool I’ve ever used on the web, and has also been great at improving my social circle.

Its growth has been astonishing. Just look at this graph that shows it’s percentage reach over the last 18 months:


Interestingly though, it’s barely made the faintest dent in Facebook’s dominance. And yes, Twitter does feature on the following graph. You just have to look *very* closely…


I can only assume that the majority of Twitter’s users access it through clients such as Tweetdeck and Twhirl, which don’t access the site directly, and therefore wouldn’t contribute to those graphs.

And yet it’s really difficult to explain to non-converts why they should be part of the movement. The following video gives an overview of the social aspect of Twitter. If I’m honest, I don’t see much point in using Twitter if you don’t have any particularly strong passions, or are “in business”. I may be wrong, but I’m not entirely sure how Twitter would be of much benefit on a social level, above and beyond what Facebook and forums currently provide…

However, if you are self-employed, a freelancer, a passionate indulger, or just want to get more involved in your own industry, then you’d be amazed at how Twitter will change your online behaviour. As @biggreensheep says in this Guardian article about Twitter: “If Dave be “the home of witty banter” then Twitter has got to be the home of intelligent social networking. While other social networks rely heavily on gimmicks and apps, the Twitter platform holds community and content in high regard.

Another interesting take comes from @bbmorph: “One (of several) ways I use Twitter is to communicate with people who might otherwise ignore me. As a community of ‘early adopters’, people who have joined Twitter for business reasons want to be seen to be in touch with the technology and the community. This makes it easier to talk to people further up the (imagined or otherwise) rungs of business hierarchy than one would otherwise be able to do.”

But the most succinct viewpoint comes from @digitalmaverick: “I use Twitter because it’s broadened the range of people I can interact with instantly and I get authoritative responses.”

But, if you haven’t already, there’s really only one way to truly grasp the point and scope of Twitter. And that’s to sign up and get involved. But before you do, the most important thing it’s vital to understand is that there are three methods of using Twitter for marketing, PR, and self-promotion.

1 – HowToUseTwitterForMarketingAndPR.com
2 – Just constantly write about yourself and don’t “follow” anyone else.
3 – Somewhere in between. Twitter is a dialogue. A conversation. It’s not about “broadcasting”. It’s about call and response, engagement, and genuine interest in a community. Like any self-regulating community, if you see it as an opportunity to self-promote and nothing else, you’ll very quickly find that no-one is listening.

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Agility

Here’s an article I wrote that’s just been published in Enterprise Magazine. Thanks to Rob and Dan for their insight. You can download the whole issue here, which includes a rather dashing photo of me! 🙂 And while you’re at it, keep up to date with tiptop news via their Twitter account.

It’s 5am and I’m wide awake. My mind is clearly more eager than my body to start the first working day of 2009. I’m thinking back over the last year and how I can improve over the next 12 months.

2008 was an odd year for me. I achieved a lot, bringing more people together through my networking events, and worked on some brilliant projects with some amazing people. Yet with my key “revenue generators” I often felt hamstrung by a lack of resources, both in terms of talent and finance. Needing to find people to carry out work for me, and sourcing the capital to pay for it all meant that things often seemed to move incredibly slowly. A lot of this stems from the fact that much of the work I do has the internet at the very heart of it, but I’m neither a web developer or designer. It would be technically impossible for me to build these ideas on my own.

I spoke to Dan Zambonini, technical director of internet development agency, Box UK. He thinks that being a solo entrepreneur isn’t the issue it once was. “Luckily, with the web now as it is, there are plenty of online websites that can match up idea people with doing people. Technical people love to do interesting things, so if you know the right people, you’ll often find someone who’s willing to help you out for the sheer pleasure of it.”

Dan believes that there’s a growing demand for smaller, smarter online services that do one thing well, rather than trying to do everything. The idea being to get them up online as soon as they work and improve them as they go along, using your first customers as your testers too.

“Especially now with online services….it’s easier than ever to realise sophisticated ideas with less effort. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr; all started off much simpler, and have added features as they’ve been demanded”.

For some, being agile isn’t a desirable quality but an absolute prerequisite. “Digital PR has to be lightening quick because that’s the way the web works – the window of opportunity in online media is so much smaller”, says Rob Mosley from boutique digital advertising and PR agency Nonsense. I asked him for a good tip on getting projects up and running quicker. “I think debate is the biggest enemy to getting stuff done quick. If you get into a habit of making decisions fast, so you can get on with making things, you’re 80% of the way there. Obviously our clients need to trust us a lot for us to do this, and they also have to accept that we’ll make the odd mistake… which is still better than missing the boat”.

So what are my new year’s resolutions? Find smart and quick people to work with who are keen to get involved in exciting one-off projects, turn my ideas around faster, don’t worry about them being perfect from the start, tweak them as I go along, and feel more fulfilled that I’m not constantly languishing in “development hell”.

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HMV buys into music venues


Not only is the traditional music retail industry in dire trouble, but there’s a huge global recession squeezing the life out of every high street store. It’s no surprise then that HMV are looking to diversify. It’s probably the only way they’ll survive the next five years and not “do a Zavvi”. They’ll spend almost 20 million quid investing in a string of venues (including the soon to be named HMV Apollo).

More details here.

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HMV buys into music venues


Not only is the traditional music retail industry in dire trouble, but there’s a huge global recession squeezing the life out of every high street store. It’s no surprise then that HMV are looking to diversify. It’s probably the only way they’ll survive the next five years and not “do a Zavvi”. They’ll spend almost 20 million quid investing in a string of venues (including the soon to be named HMV Apollo).

More details here.

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Wifi map – update

You may remember that at the weekend I wrote about a new wifi hotspot map i’d put together for Cardiff. It took me 30 mins, and zero stress. And I don’t have any particular technical web skills to speak of.

Well, within an hour or so of finishing and telling the world about it, two friends had set up maps in exactly the same way for their towns (Exeter and Bristol). It gave me an idea for a truly user generated, UK wide wifi map where the regional maps are owned by the people that set them up, allowing them to promote them independently, and take all the credit in their local web community. So I set up www.wifi-in-uk.co.uk to act as the portal, and have already had a Birmingham map added to the fold.

I’m looking for people to set up maps all over the country. If you’re interested, then head over to here and you could have a map for your town in a matter of minutes.

Just goes to show – with about 2 or 3 hours work in total, you can easily get web ideas up and running. Even without any technical know-how….

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The interwebs is, like… amazing!


Seriously. I never stop being amazed.

Before I tell you this story you have to remember that I have no technical skills in the coding department (I can just about make some text bold in HTML), but I’m a relatively heavy user of the internet and I like to think I’m pretty quick at picking up new apps etc. So what I achieved in a fairly short space of time could be done by my nan (albeit maybe a bit slower).

So, it’s midday on Saturday (about three quarters of an hour ago) and I need to find a place in a certain area of Cardiff that’s got free wifi. I’ve often been confronted by this problem before, and there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list anywhere online. Anyway, earlier in the week I’d written a piece for Enterprise Magazine about business agility, and how the web affords us the opportunity to turn ideas around very quickly (I’ll post the article up here once the mag hits the streets), and thought I’d put my learnings into practice:

Step 1: Used Twitter to ask for tips.

Step 2: Received advice from Oli Mould, who follows me on Twitter.

Step 3: Realised how insanely easy it was to set up a map on Google Maps that was publically editable so the world could share their knowledge about wifi hotspots in Cardiff.

Step 4: Set up map, putting a few of my favourite places on there.

Step 5: Make the map public.

Step 6: Register www.wifi-in-cardiff.co.uk (6 quid) and point it at the Google map.

Step 7: Tell my friends on Twitter and ask them to retweet (share with their Twitter followers).

Step 8: Watch Twitter start to buzz with “retweets”, and then marvel that the whole process took me 30 mins.

Thirty minutes from start to finish. Even I’m amazed. And very chuffed!

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that with you. If you’re based in Cardiff, please chip in and share your wifi hotspots!

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The interwebs is, like… amazing!


Seriously. I never stop being amazed.

Before I tell you this story you have to remember that I have no technical skills in the coding department (I can just about make some text bold in HTML), but I’m a relatively heavy user of the internet and I like to think I’m pretty quick at picking up new apps etc. So what I achieved in a fairly short space of time could be done by my nan (albeit maybe a bit slower).

So, it’s midday on Saturday (about three quarters of an hour ago) and I need to find a place in a certain area of Cardiff that’s got free wifi. I’ve often been confronted by this problem before, and there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list anywhere online. Anyway, earlier in the week I’d written a piece for Enterprise Magazine about business agility, and how the web affords us the opportunity to turn ideas around very quickly (I’ll post the article up here once the mag hits the streets), and thought I’d put my learnings into practice:

Step 1: Used Twitter to ask for tips.

Step 2: Received advice from Oli Mould, who follows me on Twitter.

Step 3: Realised how insanely easy it was to set up a map on Google Maps that was publically editable so the world could share their knowledge about wifi hotspots in Cardiff.

Step 4: Set up map, putting a few of my favourite places on there.

Step 5: Make the map public.

Step 6: Register www.wifi-in-cardiff.co.uk (6 quid) and point it at the Google map.

Step 7: Tell my friends on Twitter and ask them to retweet (share with their Twitter followers).

Step 8: Watch Twitter start to buzz with “retweets”, and then marvel that the whole process took me 30 mins.

Thirty minutes from start to finish. Even I’m amazed. And very chuffed!

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that with you. If you’re based in Cardiff, please chip in and share your wifi hotspots!

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Why you should give it away

Andrew Dubber has just written the most concise, brilliant post about why you should give away your music online for free (or more correctly, why you shouldn’t be scared of giving away your music for free). Of course, this applies to almost any creative works, whether it’s music, writing, video etc etc.

Read it here. I’ll certainly be pointing people in its direction constantly for the forseeable future….