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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…

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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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Two things…

1 – Interesting article in the Financial Times this morning* about how big companies (and I mean Shell, Procter & Gamble – that kind of big) are taking web 2.0 tools seriously. Worth a few minutes of your time, definitely.

2 – I put a message out on Twitter a few days ago for some thoughts on personal branding on the web, as I’m writing an article on the subject for Enterprise Magazine. One of the things that came back was this video from my good friend Carl. I’d never heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, but he’s the CEO of the very successful WineLibrary. Now I’m not sure if he’s terrifying, brilliant, inspired, hilarious or straight-up bonkers. But I do know that he comes up with some great, simple truths that we should all be aware of. Highly recommended viewing, for a number of reasons.

* I don’t actually buy or read the Financial Times. I just get an email update from them once a day. I don’t want you thinking I’m a stock-market analyst, or something….

Categories
brand branding business entrepreneur geek interesting internet marketing networking productivity silicon valley web 2.0

Two things…

1 – Interesting article in the Financial Times this morning* about how big companies (and I mean Shell, Procter & Gamble – that kind of big) are taking web 2.0 tools seriously. Worth a few minutes of your time, definitely.

2 – I put a message out on Twitter a few days ago for some thoughts on personal branding on the web, as I’m writing an article on the subject for Enterprise Magazine. One of the things that came back was this video from my good friend Carl. I’d never heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, but he’s the CEO of the very successful WineLibrary. Now I’m not sure if he’s terrifying, brilliant, inspired, hilarious or straight-up bonkers. But I do know that he comes up with some great, simple truths that we should all be aware of. Highly recommended viewing, for a number of reasons.

* I don’t actually buy or read the Financial Times. I just get an email update from them once a day. I don’t want you thinking I’m a stock-market analyst, or something….

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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

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 geek interesting internet media Music Industry remote working technology wales

Convergence

I love taking photos, and I’ve got a very decent compact camera that I used to take with me everywhere. But it hardly ever leaves the house now. Why? Because my mobile phone takes photos like this over Sunday breakfast in a cafe:

Don’t get me wrong. The camera on my phone is very limited, and can’t compete with the sort of pics I take with my “proper” camera:

But in 99 percent of cases it’s more than good enough to record a moment in time. It got me wondering about technological convergence, and how portable items such as cameras and phones are slowly and steadily merging into one thing. My first digital camera (circa 2000) wouldn’t have been able to take a picture as good as that one at the top. But my phone now has GPS, web and email facilities too. All of which I use on a regular basis. I even subscribe to podcasts on it too, which I download via my home network using the phone’s wifi capabilities. So, where will it end?

I pondered this as I ran across the clifftops of Penarth before dawn this morning (not a regular occurrence – I couldn’t sleep). I watched the sleepy, blinking lights of England across the channel and wondered about the tankers in the shipping lanes. How would they benefit from convergence? Nothing sprung to mind, but then I know absolutely nothing about shipping. I realised that convergence is driven by portability. It’s about making stuff smaller, and reducing the amount of items to save our overwhelmed pockets and bags. Tankers, by their very nature, have plenty of space aboard. I suppose it’s not such an issue….

My phone is smaller than a pack of cards, but in most cases it means I don’t have to carry a laptop, camera, satnav, gaming console, radio etc.

As I mentioned recently we live in incredible times. And we’re seeing the world change right in front of our eyes. My good friend John Rostron pointed this out yesterday, as he wrote about the slow, inevitable decline of CD sales. Technology is moving very, very quickly. We are literally watching the world change day by day. It’s a fascinating time to be alive!

Oh, and big thanks to Mr Rostron (who’s also co-organiser of the Swn festival) for my brilliant Swn t-shirt. It’s a doozie, and a Howies one, too. I really must remember to pay him!

p.s. Play a musical instrument?

Categories
cardiff creative industries entrepreneur geek interesting internet media Music Industry remote working technology wales

Convergence

I love taking photos, and I’ve got a very decent compact camera that I used to take with me everywhere. But it hardly ever leaves the house now. Why? Because my mobile phone takes photos like this over Sunday breakfast in a cafe:

Don’t get me wrong. The camera on my phone is very limited, and can’t compete with the sort of pics I take with my “proper” camera:

But in 99 percent of cases it’s more than good enough to record a moment in time. It got me wondering about technological convergence, and how portable items such as cameras and phones are slowly and steadily merging into one thing. My first digital camera (circa 2000) wouldn’t have been able to take a picture as good as that one at the top. But my phone now has GPS, web and email facilities too. All of which I use on a regular basis. I even subscribe to podcasts on it too, which I download via my home network using the phone’s wifi capabilities. So, where will it end?

I pondered this as I ran across the clifftops of Penarth before dawn this morning (not a regular occurrence – I couldn’t sleep). I watched the sleepy, blinking lights of England across the channel and wondered about the tankers in the shipping lanes. How would they benefit from convergence? Nothing sprung to mind, but then I know absolutely nothing about shipping. I realised that convergence is driven by portability. It’s about making stuff smaller, and reducing the amount of items to save our overwhelmed pockets and bags. Tankers, by their very nature, have plenty of space aboard. I suppose it’s not such an issue….

My phone is smaller than a pack of cards, but in most cases it means I don’t have to carry a laptop, camera, satnav, gaming console, radio etc.

As I mentioned recently we live in incredible times. And we’re seeing the world change right in front of our eyes. My good friend John Rostron pointed this out yesterday, as he wrote about the slow, inevitable decline of CD sales. Technology is moving very, very quickly. We are literally watching the world change day by day. It’s a fascinating time to be alive!

Oh, and big thanks to Mr Rostron (who’s also co-organiser of the Swn festival) for my brilliant Swn t-shirt. It’s a doozie, and a Howies one, too. I really must remember to pay him!

p.s. Play a musical instrument?

Categories
cardiff creative creative industries developer entrepreneur free wifi geek ignite internet oreilly startup technology wales

Ignite, Gratitude and Erotic Squirrels

My last post, which was basically about having gratitude for the amazing technology we are surrounded with and not taking it for granted, came back to bite me a few hours later. I found myself in a cafe with my friend Steve, both of us moaning and complaining that we couldn’t get onto the free wireless there. I’d become a hypocrite in such a short space of time!


But that’s beside the point. I’m currently sitting in the office, watching the rapidly fading winter light outside, absolutely shattered after hosting the latest Nocci event. It was a “co-production” with Cardiff Web Scene, and was an Ignite event. As explained in one of my recent posts, Ignite is a rapid presentation evening. We had six speakers, all of whom had just five minutes in which to get their idea/passion/thoughts across to the audience.

We had a great turnout of over 90 people, all of whom seemed to enjoy the free beer (thankyou Skillset!), had a great laugh at the presentations, learned some genuinely fascinating stuff, threw paper airplanes (see video below) and networked and chatted late into the night. Check the Nocci site over the next 24 hours for all the pics.


Thanks to everyone who came. We hope you had as much fun as we did (but without the stress about getting a microphone to work!). If anyone has any thoughts/feedback/ideas then please let us know, as we’re already starting to think about the next one. And if you’d like another presentation on “erotic squirrels” then you really should drop that particular presenter a line…. 😉

Before I finish I must particularly mention my co-conspirator, Claire Scantlebury, for being a joy to work with. And Wayne Full from Skillset for all his help. He’s a star.

Oh, and if you’re having a tough week then maybe you fancy slapping someone around the face with a fish…? Or you might prefer to go water zorbing with some glamour models. Anyone fancy buying this one for me?

Categories
cardiff creative creative industries developer entrepreneur free wifi geek ignite internet oreilly startup technology wales

Ignite, Gratitude and Erotic Squirrels

My last post, which was basically about having gratitude for the amazing technology we are surrounded with and not taking it for granted, came back to bite me a few hours later. I found myself in a cafe with my friend Steve, both of us moaning and complaining that we couldn’t get onto the free wireless there. I’d become a hypocrite in such a short space of time!


But that’s beside the point. I’m currently sitting in the office, watching the rapidly fading winter light outside, absolutely shattered after hosting the latest Nocci event. It was a “co-production” with Cardiff Web Scene, and was an Ignite event. As explained in one of my recent posts, Ignite is a rapid presentation evening. We had six speakers, all of whom had just five minutes in which to get their idea/passion/thoughts across to the audience.

We had a great turnout of over 90 people, all of whom seemed to enjoy the free beer (thankyou Skillset!), had a great laugh at the presentations, learned some genuinely fascinating stuff, threw paper airplanes (see video below) and networked and chatted late into the night. Check the Nocci site over the next 24 hours for all the pics.


Thanks to everyone who came. We hope you had as much fun as we did (but without the stress about getting a microphone to work!). If anyone has any thoughts/feedback/ideas then please let us know, as we’re already starting to think about the next one. And if you’d like another presentation on “erotic squirrels” then you really should drop that particular presenter a line…. 😉

Before I finish I must particularly mention my co-conspirator, Claire Scantlebury, for being a joy to work with. And Wayne Full from Skillset for all his help. He’s a star.

Oh, and if you’re having a tough week then maybe you fancy slapping someone around the face with a fish…? Or you might prefer to go water zorbing with some glamour models. Anyone fancy buying this one for me?