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Even Google feels the pinch?


In these dark days of the so-called credit crunch it appears that even Google is having to tighten its belt, shutting down a number of services. Although several of them never got out of invite mode, it’s sad to see the likes Jaiku and Notebook being given the boot.

Hat-tip: Paul Bradshaw

Categories
creative demos developer free geek google interesting internet media networking productivity silicon valley technology web 2.0

Even Google feels the pinch?


In these dark days of the so-called credit crunch it appears that even Google is having to tighten its belt, shutting down a number of services. Although several of them never got out of invite mode, it’s sad to see the likes Jaiku and Notebook being given the boot.

Hat-tip: Paul Bradshaw

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cardiff creative industries entrepreneur free free wifi home working internet laptop productivity remote working startup technology uk wales web 2.0 wifi

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!

Categories
cardiff creative industries entrepreneur free free wifi home working internet laptop productivity remote working startup technology uk wales web 2.0 wifi

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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advertising bands creative creative industries entrepreneur Entrepreneurship free interesting marketing media mp3 music Music Industry myspace web 2.0

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….

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business chamber of commerce creative creative industries entrepreneur Entrepreneurship free geek interesting internet marketing media music Music Industry startup web 2.0

Pollen is dead. Long live Nocci.

I’m really proud and pleased to announce the “re-launch” of Nocci, the network for the creative industries. It started in a small way in Cardiff last year, but now we’re rolling it out across the UK and beyond. It used to be called Pollen. But now it’s not!

The site is still a little bit of a work in progress, but I’m so chuffed with it as it stands. I have to thank the brilliant Marc and Milen for putting in such great work on it. I can’t recommend both of them highly enough.

Please check out the new site, sign up and get involved with the forum. We’re also looking for people to run Pollen events in their part of the UK/world.

Also, I have to say that I am *stupidly* excited by the news that Stevie Wonder is doing some dates in the UK in September. I’ll do whatever it takes to get tickets!

p.s. If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “nocky”.

(This blog’s picture was taken at The Big Chill festival a few years ago, by the side of one of the ponds)

Categories
business chamber of commerce creative creative industries entrepreneur Entrepreneurship free geek interesting internet marketing media music Music Industry startup web 2.0

Pollen is dead. Long live Nocci.

I’m really proud and pleased to announce the “re-launch” of Nocci, the network for the creative industries. It started in a small way in Cardiff last year, but now we’re rolling it out across the UK and beyond. It used to be called Pollen. But now it’s not!

The site is still a little bit of a work in progress, but I’m so chuffed with it as it stands. I have to thank the brilliant Marc and Milen for putting in such great work on it. I can’t recommend both of them highly enough.

Please check out the new site, sign up and get involved with the forum. We’re also looking for people to run Pollen events in their part of the UK/world.

Also, I have to say that I am *stupidly* excited by the news that Stevie Wonder is doing some dates in the UK in September. I’ll do whatever it takes to get tickets!

p.s. If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “nocky”.

(This blog’s picture was taken at The Big Chill festival a few years ago, by the side of one of the ponds)

Categories
creative developer entrepreneur Entrepreneurship free future geek home working internet media planning san francisco silicon valley startup web 2.0 working from home

Developer trouble….

I was chatting to a friend from America recently about the problems I’ve had over the last couple of years with web developers. I’ve worked with a couple who’ve both let me down really badly and put me back to square one with my web-based startup. Admittedly much of this was my own fault for not being tough enough with them when it seemed like they weren’t committed to the project. And also my lack of capital meant that I had to engage the developers with equity stakes instead of cold, hard cash. The problem with this, as I wrote about in this post, is that developers don’t often see the potential future value of things. So giving them a share of the company didn’t excite them into action in the way I thought it would, and I slowly drifted down their priority list until I wasn’t hearing from them for weeks at a time.

I understand that a freelancer’s gotta eat, and so therefore will have to take other jobs that offer to pay upfront. But if you have been given a substantial stake in a potentially very lucrative business that you would find the time to make it work. Where are all the programmers out there that have developed the sites for the multi-million dollar businesses out there? I don’t believe that all of those were funded by entrepreneurs backed by Silicon Valley funders. Surely some of them must have been started by geeks in their bedrooms with groovy ideas – like these guys who had to quit the UK and head to the States?

So what’s the solution for cash-strapped entrepreneurs like myself?

Sadly i can’t say I can think of many ways other than using shares / equity as “payment”. A good chat to my developer friend Paolo (who’s one of the rare breed of “geeks” who’s also a great creative entrepreneur – check out his spendamillion.com project) has clarified a few possible steps to consider in the future:

  • Networking events to bring geeks and entrepreneurs together – but will the geeks still be as potentially unreliable? Maybe I should organise one…
  • Using sites such as elance and getafreelancer to find cheap labour – quality and reliability an issue?
  • Break the design, wireframing, development etc into smaller chunks so that it’s less daunting for the entrepreneur, plus developers are less likely to go AWOL at any given stage. Especially if you give each stage to a different developer.

Sadly I think the ideal solution is to find a good, well-respected freelancer or small company, pay them for however long you need them for and make it clear that for that fortnight, or whatever, they completely belong to you and you expect twice daily updates. Now, finding a freelancer with the necessary skills and time….. That’s another matter!

I’d be really interested to hear from anynoe who has any thoughts on how best to get quality web work done with as little capital outlay as possible. Any ideas?

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The Demise Of Facebook…

Of course Facebook isn’t facing demise. That would be ridiculous. But for the first time since their launch their audience number in the UK has dropped. While they’re still hitting a staggering 8.5m unique visitors a month, this might be the first sign that there might be a saturation of the market. I know I’m certainly finding it difficult to stay on top of everything (4 email addresses, a blog, 2 social networks plus some business networks and a bunch of casual forum memberships). I’ll be deleting my Myspace account shortly (I never use it and find it so clunky in comparison with Facebook) because I just seem to be the target for being a new friend of millions of bands. But despite us reaching this stage there seem to be more and more social networks every day, with platforms such as Ning.com offering everyone the chance to build their very own networks for free.

So, what’s the future? Either people will retreat to ever more specialised networks according to their personal interests, or more sites such as Moli.com will spring up. Moli allows you to manage profiles on various social networking sites from one place. Sounds like a dream for those network addicts. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m looking for a little simplification in my life. Shame I’m a sucker for signing up and trying uot every new site, app, service and technology!

It’s worth noting that despite my moderate predictions of doom and gloom AOL (a branch of the Time Warner juggernaut) has got into the social networking game by spending $850m on Bebo. Not a bad deal for the 3rd biggest social networking site in the US (after Facebook and Myspace), especially when Microsoft would only have got about 10 percent of Facebook for that when they invested in a small 1.6 percent stake last year. But Youtube sits at the top of this tree. It’s latest figures show it as the world’s most popular social media site , with a massive 10.4 million visitors in January alone.

2008 Rank….Website…………Unique audience (m)
1……………YouTube……………..10.4
2……………Wikipedia……………9.6
3……………Facebook…………….8.5
4……………Blogger……………..5.1
5……………MySpace……………..5.0
6……………Bebo………………..4.1
7……………Slide……………….3.4
8……………Yahoo! Answers……….3.3
9……………Windows Live Spaces…..3.1
10…………..TripAdvisor………….2.4

Categories
bands business creative demos entrepreneur facebook free future media music Music Industry startup

1000 True Fans

Just a couple of quick things for you, as I’ve got a backlog of things I’d like to tell you all about but they’re building up and I never have enough time to blog as it is!

Those of you that read my last blog about Chris Anderson may know of his seminal work “The Long Tail” – the business model of supplying niche products, rather than targeting the obvious products that sell in huge amounts* – which, while really just a re-explaining of already-understood concepts within business practice, has described how a lot of people are making money off the back of the internet.

Anyway, I digress. Kevin Kelly‘s latest blog argues that as a musician/artist/whatever that The Long Tail makes life difficult, but that if you’re clever you only need 1000 “true fans” to make a living. It’s a really interesting read for anyone wondering if they’ll be able to survive in the creative industries. It all kind of depends on your definition of a “true fans”, and whether an artist can generate enough “product” to in turn generate enough sales to keep those particular fans spending on you. It’s easy enough to get 1000 “friends” on Myspace, but as a singer-songwriter who’s only just releasing his first album, would you be able to create box-sets, DVDs and online subscriptions? Or would albums, singles and t-shirts be enough. It’s a question that each individual needs to answer themselves, but I think it’s a very important one to ask. Read the article and get thinking. It should give you a much better understanding of what exactly you have to do to live off your passion.

Also, if you’ve ever worked for, or been involved with a major label you should check out this article from FT.com. It starkly lays out how the music industry as we know it is changing (as highlighted in my last entry), and A+R men are under massive pressure to deliver the goods with a fraction of the budget. As I’ve told many of my clients and friends over the last few years – even if you get signed by a major, the chances of being unceremoniously dropped like a hot potato within a year or two are huge. To the label you are a gamble, and until you go platinum your costs will be subsidised by the likes of U2, Coldplay and the like. And until you make up, as in EMI’s case, one of the just 3 percent of artists that generate a profit (yep, only three percent!) then you’ll be a liability and prime for the chop.

So maybe it’s time to work on those 1000 “true fans” yourself and cut out the desire to sign to an unweildy and outdated major…

* This is a gross simplification, but if you know anything about marketing you’ll be able to relate to it as a different aspect of the Pareto Principle. I’ve actually just found a better description from The Long Tail website that reads: “The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.”


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