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Ignite!


Well, in an attempt to re-ignite my blogging (I’ve honestly been sooo busy of late) I’m going to talk about Ignite.

It’s a “constrained presentation” format, much like Pecha Kucha. It’s a way of making Powerpoint presentations more dynamic, more interesting and more fun. And Nocci, my network for the creative industries, is co-presenting the very first one in the UK alongside our friends at Cardiff Web Scene.

The presenter has only 20 slides, and they rotate automatically after 15 seconds. Ignite was started in Seattle in 2006 by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis. Since then hundreds of 5 minute talks have been given across the world. There are thriving Ignite communities in Seattle, Portland, Paris, and NYC and it is an internationally recognised format for producing dynamic, high energy and engaging presentations, with topics as wide ranging as “How to produce a low-budget horror movie”, “Did today’s architecture cause the financial crisis” and “How to use public transport without going mad”.

If you would like more information then just come along on 3rd December to the fantastic new Sodabar in Cardiff at 6.30pm to watch some cool presentations. If you’re on Facebook then please let us know you plan to attend by clicking “Attend” on this Facebook event. And you can find more information about it, or how to apply to do a presentation on the Nocci news pages here.

Hope you can make it. It’s going to be really exciting!

p.s. If you like the sound of it then have a look on Youtube for examples. There’s tons there….

Categories
business cardiff creative creative industries entrepreneur Entrepreneurship future ignite interesting laptop marketing media oreilly technology web 2.0

Ignite!


Well, in an attempt to re-ignite my blogging (I’ve honestly been sooo busy of late) I’m going to talk about Ignite.

It’s a “constrained presentation” format, much like Pecha Kucha. It’s a way of making Powerpoint presentations more dynamic, more interesting and more fun. And Nocci, my network for the creative industries, is co-presenting the very first one in the UK alongside our friends at Cardiff Web Scene.

The presenter has only 20 slides, and they rotate automatically after 15 seconds. Ignite was started in Seattle in 2006 by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis. Since then hundreds of 5 minute talks have been given across the world. There are thriving Ignite communities in Seattle, Portland, Paris, and NYC and it is an internationally recognised format for producing dynamic, high energy and engaging presentations, with topics as wide ranging as “How to produce a low-budget horror movie”, “Did today’s architecture cause the financial crisis” and “How to use public transport without going mad”.

If you would like more information then just come along on 3rd December to the fantastic new Sodabar in Cardiff at 6.30pm to watch some cool presentations. If you’re on Facebook then please let us know you plan to attend by clicking “Attend” on this Facebook event. And you can find more information about it, or how to apply to do a presentation on the Nocci news pages here.

Hope you can make it. It’s going to be really exciting!

p.s. If you like the sound of it then have a look on Youtube for examples. There’s tons there….

Categories
2008 developer free wifi future geek interesting internet live mesh mesh microsoft silicon valley technology working from home

Another fine Mesh!

I think I’m in love with Microsoft’s Live Mesh. It’s made things a lot more easy for me.

For those of you that have not heard about it, it’s a program that sits on your laptop/PC/phone/whatever and automatically syncs your files and folders across all those devices. Or, to quote the Wikipedia page on the subject: “Live Mesh is a data synchronization system from Microsoft that allows files and folders to be shared and synchronized across multiple devices. Live Mesh consists of a software component that allows synchronization relationships to be created among different devices. Once a folder is set for synchronization, it will be available in all devices, and any changes made to the content of the folder will be reflected across all devices.”

So, this morning I was working in my office. I made some changes to a document in Open Office (not Word, sorry Microsoft!) and when I saved them Live Mesh sent the changes over the internet to my account in the “cloud”, which were then very quickly downloaded (in the background) when I logged on via my laptop in my local cafe. Meaning I didn’t have to do any file transferring before I went out to work remotely. It was done quietly, quickly and silently in the background.

A few important things to note about Live Mesh*:

– All the files are stored locally, on the machine you’re working on, as well as online so you only ever download any updates to files. The files open instantly and normally. You don’t have to wait for them to download.

– This is basically like having a local network where you can access a folder from any computer on that network. But it’s done over the internet.

– You can invite other people with Live Mesh to have access to particular folders. So collaborative, remote working is a breeze.

– It’s done really, really well. Once I’d uploaded all the files I needed to be available from anywhere (and then downloaded them to the other machines too), I was pretty much ready to go. It’s been a dream for me because I work from a couple of different machines and often find myself in a cafe, realising that the document I need is sat on my machine at home.

Many thanks to Microsoft’s Steve Clayton for highlighting it. For more info on Live Mesh you should check out all his posts on it. There’s loads of writing and videos about it on there. And it’s a cracking blog, full-stop. Ideal for people like me who like to think they’re techie, but they’re not really! Sign up at the Mesh homepage for a chance to preview it. Or nudge me for an invite. I haven’t found them yet, but apparently I have them…

*It needs to be noted that I’m making assumptions about much of this stuff. I really have no idea how it works technically!

Categories
2008 developer free wifi future geek interesting internet live mesh mesh microsoft silicon valley technology working from home

Another fine Mesh!

I think I’m in love with Microsoft’s Live Mesh. It’s made things a lot more easy for me.

For those of you that have not heard about it, it’s a program that sits on your laptop/PC/phone/whatever and automatically syncs your files and folders across all those devices. Or, to quote the Wikipedia page on the subject: “Live Mesh is a data synchronization system from Microsoft that allows files and folders to be shared and synchronized across multiple devices. Live Mesh consists of a software component that allows synchronization relationships to be created among different devices. Once a folder is set for synchronization, it will be available in all devices, and any changes made to the content of the folder will be reflected across all devices.”

So, this morning I was working in my office. I made some changes to a document in Open Office (not Word, sorry Microsoft!) and when I saved them Live Mesh sent the changes over the internet to my account in the “cloud”, which were then very quickly downloaded (in the background) when I logged on via my laptop in my local cafe. Meaning I didn’t have to do any file transferring before I went out to work remotely. It was done quietly, quickly and silently in the background.

A few important things to note about Live Mesh*:

– All the files are stored locally, on the machine you’re working on, as well as online so you only ever download any updates to files. The files open instantly and normally. You don’t have to wait for them to download.

– This is basically like having a local network where you can access a folder from any computer on that network. But it’s done over the internet.

– You can invite other people with Live Mesh to have access to particular folders. So collaborative, remote working is a breeze.

– It’s done really, really well. Once I’d uploaded all the files I needed to be available from anywhere (and then downloaded them to the other machines too), I was pretty much ready to go. It’s been a dream for me because I work from a couple of different machines and often find myself in a cafe, realising that the document I need is sat on my machine at home.

Many thanks to Microsoft’s Steve Clayton for highlighting it. For more info on Live Mesh you should check out all his posts on it. There’s loads of writing and videos about it on there. And it’s a cracking blog, full-stop. Ideal for people like me who like to think they’re techie, but they’re not really! Sign up at the Mesh homepage for a chance to preview it. Or nudge me for an invite. I haven’t found them yet, but apparently I have them…

*It needs to be noted that I’m making assumptions about much of this stuff. I really have no idea how it works technically!

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creative Entrepreneurship future insight out internet media startup web 2.0

Thinking Friday….

Today’s a day for some thought-provoking stuff. I came across “The Port Huron Statement” a few days ago. It was the manifesto of an American student activist movement. It’s very long (and i won’t pretend to have read it all) but this little section caught my eye. It’s (predictably?) Utopian, but noble nonetheless:

Men have unrealized potential for self-cultivation, self-direction, self-understanding, and creativity. It is this potential that we regard as crucial and to which we appeal, not to the human potentiality for violence, unreason, and submission to authority. The goal of man and society should be human independence: a concern not with image of popularity but with finding a meaning in life that is personally authentic; a quality of mind not compulsively driven by a sense of powerlessness, nor one which unthinkingly adopts status values, nor one which represses all threats to its habits, but one which has full, spontaneous access to present and past experiences, one which easily unites the fragmented parts of personal history, one which openly faces problems which are troubling and unresolved; one with an intuitive awareness of possibilities, an active sense of curiosity, an ability and willingness to learn.

But here’s the bit that really spoke to me. It talks about economic principles, and this is pretty much my philosophy on my “work life”:

“…work should involve incentives worthier than money or survival. It should be educative, not stultifying; creative, not mechanical; self-directed, not manipulated, encouraging independence, a respect for others, a sense of dignity, and a willingness to accept social responsibility, since it is this experience that has crucial influence on habits, perceptions and individual ethics.”

In other words, work is too big a part of our lives to just do it for the money. In my opinion, anyway. I’ve done mundane jobs I’ve hated throughout my life. But always as a means to an end. I can’t tolerate the possibility that I’ll be waking up 5 times a week for the next 30 or 40 years with a sense of dread…

In other news, I had an ace meeting with fellow Insight Out graduate, Louise Evans (known as “Business Lou” on the occasions when she’s not attending stupid amounts of gigs). Insight Out is a NESTA funded course for creative entrepreneurs and businesses which gives great opportunities and a chance to pitch for bundles of funding at the end. They’re looking for people in Wales to attend the 2008 course. Highly recommended! Drop the super-cool Claire Heat an email for more info.

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2008 business cardiff creative entrepreneur Entrepreneurship future geek interesting internet media planning san francisco silicon valley startup technology uk USA wales web 2.0

Innovation

So much to write about – so little time!

A couple of cracking articles from the BBC about the future of the web: One points to the second web boom (as I highlighted with examples in a post about the huge amounts of money being spent on new companies). And the other asks lots of top thinkers and innovators what they think will happen to the web in the coming years.

And speaking of innovation, I went to a great talk last night by Charles Leadbeater, a world authority on innovation and creativity. His talk was mainly about how immigration is a positive thing for innovation in this country (did you know that Triumph cars, Moss Bros, ICI and ice cream trucks were all founded in the UK by immigrants?). His argument is that complex problems are better solved by a diverse group, and immigrants into a society provide massive diversity. Catering for the differences inevitably comes with higher costs, but the lesson for entrepreneurs and businesses is clear – don’t just surround yourself with people exactly like yourself.

Thanks to Richie Turner at NESTA for hosting it and providing the nice veggie canapes!

p.s. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur in the web or technology fields then you should probably read this….

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Silicon Valley Envy

My ex-business partner Maf and his wife Tara came over from LA this week and it was fantastic to spend an evening with them reminiscing about getting drunk in various cities around the world and talking about the various business pursuits we’ve both been involved with since closing the record label down.
I had a real burst of “Silicon Valley Envy” (although it was strictly speaking “California Envy”). I’ve written before about the superior environment and attitude that exists for entrepreneurs in the States. And while I’m in the enviable position of having good contacts at the likes of Creative Business Wales, nothing really makes up for the general positive atmosphere that exists over there. I run a network for creative entrepreneurs and businesses in South Wales (new website being built as we speak!) and as far as I’m aware it’s the only one of its kind. And yet in pretty much any area surrounding San Francisco, Silicon Valley or LA that’s an equivalent size to South Wales there will be countless networking opportunities for those of us that sit outside the mainstream of business. I’m not a huge fan of networking (in the traditional sense) but, provided there’s an opportunity (online or offline) for people to get mutual support and ideas, I think it’s essential to business success.

In related news, Project Pinewood is “one of the most unique and ambitious projects ever undertaken in the UK for the creative industries. It’s a living working media community, set within a collage of permanent film and TV locations”. Apparently it will have permanent sets of all the world’s major locations. I just hope it fosters young talent and gives opportunities to up and coming film makers, and doesn’t just become a playground for the big studios. I also hope it avoids the curse of the beleaguered Valleywood. More projects like these (and smaller ones like the fantastic hub DigitalCity) are just what we need to keep the creative industries growing at a faster rate than the average for the UK economy.
p.s. The last Bond movie was shot at Pinewood studios, hence the Daniel Craig pic…. 🙂
Categories
2008 creative entrepreneur Entrepreneurship future interesting los angeles marketing media san francisco silicon valley startup uk USA wales

Silicon Valley Envy

My ex-business partner Maf and his wife Tara came over from LA this week and it was fantastic to spend an evening with them reminiscing about getting drunk in various cities around the world and talking about the various business pursuits we’ve both been involved with since closing the record label down.
I had a real burst of “Silicon Valley Envy” (although it was strictly speaking “California Envy”). I’ve written before about the superior environment and attitude that exists for entrepreneurs in the States. And while I’m in the enviable position of having good contacts at the likes of Creative Business Wales, nothing really makes up for the general positive atmosphere that exists over there. I run a network for creative entrepreneurs and businesses in South Wales (new website being built as we speak!) and as far as I’m aware it’s the only one of its kind. And yet in pretty much any area surrounding San Francisco, Silicon Valley or LA that’s an equivalent size to South Wales there will be countless networking opportunities for those of us that sit outside the mainstream of business. I’m not a huge fan of networking (in the traditional sense) but, provided there’s an opportunity (online or offline) for people to get mutual support and ideas, I think it’s essential to business success.

In related news, Project Pinewood is “one of the most unique and ambitious projects ever undertaken in the UK for the creative industries. It’s a living working media community, set within a collage of permanent film and TV locations”. Apparently it will have permanent sets of all the world’s major locations. I just hope it fosters young talent and gives opportunities to up and coming film makers, and doesn’t just become a playground for the big studios. I also hope it avoids the curse of the beleaguered Valleywood. More projects like these (and smaller ones like the fantastic hub DigitalCity) are just what we need to keep the creative industries growing at a faster rate than the average for the UK economy.
p.s. The last Bond movie was shot at Pinewood studios, hence the Daniel Craig pic…. 🙂
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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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2008 advertising business creative entrepreneur Entrepreneurship facebook free future internet marketing media microsoft web 2.0

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