Sunday, 8 July 2007


A rule of thumb for presentations I am using a lot at the mo:

10 slides  MAX

20 minutes MAX

30 point font MIN


Try it - it works !

Shamelessly borrowed from Guy Kawasaki

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Philosophy for 7 year-olds

These bright, young pupils have been asked to consider "whether it is possible to step in the same river twice?".


One  says: "You could step in the river one day and then go home. Then the next day you could come back to the same river - as long as you know the way - and do it again."

In a flash of inspiration, one of the boys who has been waggling his hand impatiently says : "If you step in the river on Saturday and then you went to step in the river on the next day - where you stepped on Saturday would be gone because the river keeps on moving."  

Einstein says, once a mind has been stretched over a new idea - it cannot be stretched back

One of the teachers says  "Philosophy teaches you how to think things through, solve problems and deal with moral dilemmas."

The head teacher adds: "Our children are going into such a changing world. We can't predict what they're going to need in terms of knowledge, but one thing we can give them is confidence and a sense of how to learn. Philosophy gives them those skills."

CONFIDENCE and a willingness to QUESTION  - key skills in an ever changing world. I think it's a great idea ....I wonder if they take challenging 4 year olds.....?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Speaking as a Performance

Doug Lawrence has been a singer, music director and speech coach - singing in places such as Carnegie Hall. He suggests singing and speaking have a lot in common. The main goal is to engage your audience and make them listen to you, so everything a singer does, a speaker ought to do too.

Not totally convinced on all points but this is what he says. Take the best - leave the rest.

  1. Circulate with your audience.

  2. Command attention.

  3. Snarl.

  4. Bite your tongue.

  5. Always perform a sound check before you speak.

  6. Use your eyes all the time.

  7. Move away from center to make your point.

  8. Get quiet.

  9. “Underline” certain words with a pause or repetition.

  10. Take a risk and be vulnerable.

  11. Tee it higher.

  12. Know when it’s time to go.

  13. Use Q and A as an “encore.”

  14. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

La Vie en Rose

From the slums of Paris to the limelight of New York, Edith Piaf’s life was a battle to sing and survive, live and love. Raised in poverty, Edith’s magical voice and her passionate romances and friendships with the greatest names of the period - Yves Montand, Jean Cocteau, Charles Aznavour, Marlene Dietrich, Marcel Cerdan and others - made her a star all around the world. But in her audacious attempt to tame her tragic destiny, the Little Sparrow - her nickname - flew so high she could not fail to burn her wings.

 That's the official blurb. Just go and see one of the most incredible female performances for decades. If you want to see what passion looks like - look no further.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Is Paris burning?

This is worth a look - a News Anchor who doesn't agree with the running order and rips up the Paris Hilton story. I would have loved to do the same. Go girl !

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis.

Monday, 25 June 2007

EUDAIMONIA - "creating happiness by doing what you’re best at for the good of others".

“Life is for living. Go find what you’re good at and do more of it for the good of us all ….” Nicki and I concluded after attending a St Nicholas’s Hospice fund raising leadership seminar in Suffolk.

Charles Handy and Richard Olivier took us beyond the breach .....

So what was the over-riding theme that came across? Envisioning the future? Building the team? Finding the strategy? Communicating the strategy? Knowing your customers? No. The over-riding theme was: “Life is for living. Go find what you’re good at and do more of it for the sake of us all, please”. Or, as Aristotle put it way back when, “eudaimonia”.

We’d heard about “eudaimonia” – thanks to our colleague David Criddle whose holding company for his various businesses and investments shares that name. But many people hadn't.

So how was this theme communicated? Powerfully and by stealth.

When Charles Handy took to the stage, we knew what to expect and we were not disappointed. Charles used his new book The New Philanthropists, co-authored with his wife Elizabeth (Charles and Elizabeth pictured above)  whose incredible photographs lead the narrative, to express his perception of the essence of great leadership. So what is that essence and who are these New Philanthropists?

“The secret to great leadership? It’s simple: 1. Know yourself. 2. Know and trust your people. 3. Know what you’re about and make sure your people know what you’re about,” advised Charles warmly, yet with a hint of irony. Irony, not because it isn’t true – it is. Rather because it’s one of those eternal truths that is “easier said than delivered”.

And Charles – what is he about? This is a question he had to ask himself when writing his autobiography. Aristotle had the answer apparently - “eudaimonia”. Translated by many as “happiness”, the true translation of this concept according to Charles is “creating happiness by doing what you’re best at for the good of others.” Makes sense to us.

On hearing the building fill with soulful applause, we turned to each other and asked. “How on Earth do you follow that?” Luckily the next speaker, Richard Olivier, founder of Mythodrama and author of Inspirational leadership, Henry V and the Muse of Fire, knew exactly how.

His passion may also have been ignited thanks to the video St Nicholas’s Hospice showed before setting him loose on us. The overwhelming message we received from this and our various conversations with The Hospice’s staff was:  "HOSPICES ARE ABOUT CARING FOR THE LIVING.”  Living, and how great leaders do work that makes them feel alive, is a theme Richard picked up on later.

Awesome. That’s one word you could use to describe Richard’s performance, Inspiring, magnetic, moving, memorable would be others. Using the plot and some of the Bard’s narrative from Henry V, not only did he take us to the breach once more, he took us beyond.

A former theatre director talking about leadership lessons from Shakespeare’s Henry V. He sent waves of energy, inspiration, charisma and wisdom crashing through the room. He was on fire.

He explained how before opening Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre with Henry V in 1997, he bought in a group of City leaders to do a workshop to analyse which parts were still relevant to leadership today. They concluded “all of it!” He then talked us through the play and its eternal wisdoms.

Picking up on Charles’ theme of “in the service of others” and the difference between inspiration and charisma, he talked about great leaders having the ability to reflect accurately back on their life and to sow the ‘Golden Seed’ Charles had talked about earlier (also known as The Mentor’s Nudge) within others. He talked about being fully alive and connected to your work and how to orient yourself towards the thing that brings you alive and then do it. He showed how Henry V did it and told us how he did it. He talked about vision being about quality not quantity. Mission being measurable but vision being about core inspirational values and he quoted Henry V again to illustrate the difference, tears filling his eyes (and most of the audience’s too).

He concluded that great leadership was about finding your inner sense of purpose and the inner conditions you need to produce inspired work. For him it’s working with wisdom stories and people interested in self-development. He has certainly found his niche.

What about us, what did we get out of it? The gift of humility – here were two masters at work, “spreading the word” and “getting it heard”. They did not simply appeal to the head. They reached out to the heart using words, pictures and performance to captivate us all. As Richard put it “Some people see the light. Some people need to feel the heat”. Our light bulbs were switched on and our internal fires were well and truly stoked. As Mentor Mike Pegg regularly reminds us “it’s not just about the words – it’s about how they’re used to engage the other senses to achieve a goal”.

Consider us well and truly nudged and on fire…

Friday, 22 June 2007

Digigirlz day

WOW! what a day.... 200 teenage (13 - 15 yr old) girls descended upon Microsoft HQ today.

We had a great line up of speakers. We didn't have much time. Everyone spoke for about 5 mins and the girls themselves asked lots of questions about careers and the technology itself. Lots of whooping and hollering just before that when I asked them all to stand up and stay standing if they had, a pc, a mobile, an mp3 player, they were on Facebook, my Space, Bebo or Spaces, they had bought or sold on ebay, had visited second life, had a blog ( yes a few still standing) and had used a wiki. Luckily I didn't have to do the "who knows what RSS stands for?" - but there were 3 girls still standing and that was good enough for me.

The afternoon challenge was for them to create a 2 min ad for either the XBox 360 or the Creative Zen ( Zune not arrived on these shores yet). They were asked to shoot moving pictures and stills, source music and additional visuals and do a final edit on Movie Maker. ( will link to the winning 2 vids in the next few days)

These are the lucky generation of digital natives ( don't like that phrase but seems in common use now). They have never known a world without perpetual connectivity. The photo above is Geek in Disguise Steve Clayton showing the girls just how simple making a movie really is:) Many thanks to all the organisers and especially to Eileen Brown who got me involved.

A high energy - thought provoking (for both teenagers and adults) day. I ended it by asking them to email just one thing they are going to do as a result of the day - again will feedback.

Ahhh - we have so much to learn from the young.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Idea Volcano

 My mate Oli has set up new site called Idea Volcano.

He says it for ideas to be posted that people dont have time to work on - so why not throw them out there and see what happens?

He was interviewed on the Chris Evans radio 2 show today - Chris asked him what was in it for him and did it pull in the women? Oli said he was ok in the women department but that one of the team behind Idea Volcano maybe looking.....any ideas?


Looking forward to Friday when I'm hosting the first Microsoft Digigirlz day.

Just the small matter of 200 ( yes 200!) 13 - 15 year old girls. How exciting eh? We have a great line up and quite a demanding assignment for the afternoon. I for one, am going to learn something .....keep you posted :)

Eileen Brown has her take on it - now SHE has a story to tell....

As a faithful Prius driver for 2 years now - I was attracted to a new scheme that Google is pushing....

RechargeIT is an initiative within's Climate Change Program aimed at accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles ("plug-in hybrids") and vehicle-to-grid ("V2G") applications. As a "hybrid" philanthropic venture itself, can apply a broad mix of resources - investments, grants, policy, public engagement - to addressing the climate crisis. 

Check out the video -selling power back to the grid?  All my friends with flashy cars will want one.....ok - so call me an eternal optimist I don't care.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

rethinking the news

Jeff Jarvis reports that the National Union of Journalists in the UK is planning a Europe-wide day of protest against cuts in journalism.

He wonders whom they’ll picket: the Internet? the economy? their readers? reality? He says;

But what are they going to do about it? Perhaps instead they should have a national brainstorming day to find and invent new ways to serve the public in all media. Or perhaps a national training day to show all these keyboard addicts how to use and make audio, video, blogs, wikis, search, social networks, and more. Or I’d like to see a national networked journalism day in which the pros share the tricks of their trade with the public to encourage more and better acts of journalism. Or maybe even a national efficiency day, in which the journalists find cuts that can be made instead of reporting. Or maybe a national entrepreneurial day to find ways to create new sustainable journalistic businesses that will not only pay those journalists but give them a piece of the equity.

Media are changing and so are their business realities. Not much — not anything — one can do about that but find new opportunities and change alongside.

Change is always difficult. It brings to mind a quote attributed to an American Army General who said:

" If you don't like change - you are going like irrelevance even less".

 I love some of Jeff's suggestions. Lets embrace the change and lead the way.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Speaking from the heart

This speech is the best 6 minutes you will spend for a very long time.          A message delivered from the heart. To the UN. From a 12 year old.

I coach execs to "talk from the heart" - some find it very difficult. Maybe its because they choose not to get over excited or passionate about what their product or service can do to help people.

We can learn a great deal from children. Look at the way they talk. Their bodies say the same things their mouths do - they are AUTHENTIC.

Children make great teachers.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Vote "The Members Project"

Got this request from David Catzel following my BBC Click report on social lending. Please support if you can.

Use the leverage of American Express’ “The Members Project” to make a difference.

 "US Student 3rd World Micro Credit Initiative"

Its an opportunity work with US students to do a really good thing that can really make the world a better place ....
A partner and I submitted a US student drive Micro Credit to the American Express "Member's Project" Program Committee where finalists, and ultimately the winning initiative, will be selected based on the voting of other card members. AmEx will donate up to $5,000,000 to the winning cause.

It was approved as Project ID# 4256 and has posted to The Members Project(SM).

I'm asking that you all register online with American Express (Unfortunately AmEx card holders only) by following the link; . Our Program is located under Community Development and is titled: "US Student 3rd World Micro Credit Initiative".
The Idea

Our idea for the program is to educate US students (Youth Awareness) and enlist them to be better Global Citizens. The program revolves around modest cash resources available to young adults that cumulatively can change the lives of 3rd world families and entire communities. The concept that spending $100 on a family dinner doesn’t seem like much to American kids, but, that amount can actually be successfully applied to forever changing the lives of less fortunate people in under developed countries. Our emphasis will be on supporting women,  creating economic impact through highly sustainable means like: computing, mobile phones, crops, fresh water, small businesses etc.
Read more about what we are proposing via our listing … share your voice, vote and please spread this around to all of your trusted contacts and comrades and lets get everyone we know to vote (5 stars of course!).
On July 3, an Advisory Panel will get together with American Express and announce the Top 50 projects.  Then it's all up to you. Over a few rounds of voting, Cardmembers will narrow it down to one winning idea. What will it be? Just about anything's possible.
Remember to spread the word. For every Cardmember that registers, American Express contributes $1 — up to $5 million total.
David Catzel

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Howstuffworks "How Women Work"

This is a very clever site that does what it says on the tin. Tells you how stuff works. I really liked the section marked "How women work".

If you believe what you see on TV, women are inscrutable, conniving, hysterical and apt to change their minds without reason or warning. Some women's magazines perpetuate these stereotypes by offering advice on how to entrap men or keep them guessing. And some of the basic differences between men and women can seem a little confusing, depending on your point of view. So it's not surprising that one of the most requested articles in the history of HowStuffWorks is "How Women Work."

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Seduce your way to a beautiful site

If you want to see the future of innovative web design look no further. Mindflood will quite literally seduce you to let them make you look great. They have just won a "Webby" (web equivalent of the Oscars ).

Take a look - very clever and leaves you wanting even more....

Monday, 4 June 2007

The future of NEWS.....

How to stay relevant in a changing world? With the BBC announcing more job cuts in its news depts - the future of news is closer than we might think. Tip to Blaugh.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Marketing technology to Women's simple


Went to an interesting all female ( well a couple of token males ) evening at a very well known ad agency talking about marketing to women. Lots of chat and light hearted banter. But the essence of what people were saying was, what I have been saying for a couple of years now.....

"Please tell me how this product or service is going to improve my life".

Please make sure it does what it says on the tin. Clear instructions would be nice.

Please give us great design.

And not all of us with breasts want it in pink ( some will and that's ok )

That's it - job done - sold.


I've just bought a great heart rate monitor. Told me it was going to get me fit and lose weight if I worked between 70 and 80% of my maximum heart rate. Told me what my max HR is and how to easily set the alarm on the watch part if I worked too hard or not enough.  Went out on my new bike today and worked perfectly. Not only that, it is so cool that it only has one button - if you want to get time, stop watch and HR - you just bring the watch bit really close to the chest strap and it just changes - you don't touch anything! At the end of your workout it tells you your average HR. Brilliant. Easy. £29. The only thing it doesn't do for you is the exercise. Go buy one today!

Oh - did I mention its blue?

Hoax TV kidney competition

Even I thought the idea of a reality show whereby a terminally ill woman got to choose who she would donate her kidney to - was going too far. In fact,  it was all a hoax to highlight the fact that 200 people in the Netherlands die each year while waiting for a kidney. The average waiting time is more than 4 years.  


Everyone filming the stunt was in on the hoax - but the three "contestants" are indeed all in need of kidneys. Does it matter? NO because no one really got hurt as such and the shortage of kidneys and donors was highlighted. But also YES because it erodes our belief systems about who we can and can't trust. We can trust our friends and family but how much do we trust the world outside of that cosy ring? It makes people more cynical and it's a stunt that can't be pulled too many times. 

Maybe the real winner in publicity terms is Endemol.?

Technorati tags: , ,

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Hang up your troubles

I'm really loving Gimundo at the moment. They are trying to spread a little happiness and positive thought in what can be, a cynical world.

This latest video reminds us what we already know but sometimes choose not to do. Its 2 mins - go on jump in! You know you want to.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007


There are many beautiful partnerships in this world but just take a couple of minutes out of your grinding schedule to appreciate a real super team in action. Stunning.

thanks to Oli Barrett :) 

Monday, 28 May 2007

TV - your flexible friend.

Sony has released footage of a 0.3mm foldable display which, it says, could be used to install television in clothing

Very cool. Very Sony. Very interesting.

4 billion mobiles by 2009

yes folks - you read that right. From Auntie - it must be true.

By 2009 more than 4 billion people in the world - out of a population of 6.3 billion - are expected to have a mobile phone connection in their lives.

Hugh usually has a card for all occasions and think this one neatly fits the bill.So where is mobile phone design heading? Will they get ever smaller, perhaps becoming part of our clothes rather than as a single unit?

Jan Chipchase, principal researcher at Nokia Design says :   

"the important consideration is how people behave, not what the latest technology can do."

 "Human Behaviour changes very slowly; technology very quickly"

Two thirds  of the entire world population....just think about the possibilities. Does your product or service have a mobile element?

Sunday, 27 May 2007

What is a strength?

Reading the wonderful "Go put your strengths to work" by Marcus Buckingham.  Apparently just 17% of the workforce believe they use all their strengths on the job.

"A strength looks like consistent, near-perfect performance"

Marcus says people don't work on their strengths because they believe certain "myths":
1. Your personality changes with age.
2. You will grow most in your areas of greatest weakness.
3. A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team.

"Truths" are : you grow, you become more of who you already are

2. you will grow the most in your areas of greatest strength

3. a good team member deliberately volunteers his strengths to the team most of the time.

A strength is combined of several ingredients:

1. Talents - can be found via personality profiles such as Myers-Briggs.  Talents are innate.

2. Skills - are learned.

3. Knowledge - is learned.

More importantly, a strength is when you do it - you feel effective. Before you do it, you actively look forward to it. While you're doing it, you feel inquisitive and focused. And after you've done it, you feel fulfilled and authentic.

Some online materials including a video and an interview with the Today Progamme about how the strengths approach was being taught in schools.

lots more to come on this subject....hope you're playing to your strengths most of the time....

Friday, 25 May 2007

Yoof Media

Caught up with DK from MediaSnackers at a recent Ch 4 youth education event In the Wild.

Great day and great presentation from DK  and Ewan McIntosh about the benefits of IT for the younger generation. Thanks guys for talking to me ....

Oli has a great post on the event - it was a day of happiness or indeed how we attain happiness. Its all about beautiful partnerships apparently.

"Beautiful Partnerships.  By that, he means the space between two people.  Real connection, and space in which they can touch, kiss and hug each other.  And on a day when several hours were given, quite rightly, to the future of technology and the web, this came as a breath of fresh air.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Nine Big Workplace Myths

I like the sentiment behind most of these so called "myths" but would feel much happier if they were phrased in the positive. "Job hopping will help you to learn valuable skills and gain experience quickly".

  1. You’ll be happier if you have a job you like.

  2. Job-hopping will hurt you.

  3. The glass ceiling still exists.

  4. Office politics is about backstabbing.

  5. Do good work, and you’ll do fine. .

  6. You need a good resume.

  7. People with good networks are good at networking.

  8. Work hard and good things will come.
  9. Create the shiny brand of you!

From Guy Kawasaki. Worth a read

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Better Blogger Relations


Do you know any PR people who know that social media is important and want to get up to speed, but don’t quite know where to start?

Lloyd went to the last Chinwag Live called PR Unspun (podcast here) and could see an opportunity for talking in more detail to PR folk about how to move from relating well to the press or the public to relating well to bloggers. His suggestion of Better Blogger Relations seems to work with people, so he designed a half-day workshop. The basics and then cover:

  • Finding people who are talking about your clients.
  • Monitoring online conversations methodically.
  • Engaging with an online community.
  • How to be interesting to bloggers.

First one on this Friday (25th May).  It’s £95+VAT and limited to 12 places. Please do point your favourite PR people to the booking page or buy a ticket yourself. UPDATE: Venue confirmed, it’s: CCT Venues Barbican, Aldersgate House, 135-137 Aldersgate St, London EC1A 4JA

Friday, 18 May 2007

Good News... Served Daily

 If you like your news to be positive with just a whiff of edam - check out gimundo. I think I know what they are trying to achieve. The Dash is worth a look - either it will uplift your spirits or your dinner. Sorry :)

Thursday, 17 May 2007

The interview game is changing....

"Who says reporters should set the conditions when they are the ones seeking information and when the interviewee no longer needs the press to reach the public?"

Jeff Jarvis on the thoroughly modern game. 

Alan's all a twitter


So blogging for politico's is now passe. They simply don't have the time to do the job properly ( blogging that is, not being a politician). Step forward twitter. The Guardian , that great bastion of all that is new and shiny in our online lives says he's been at it 50 times since March 10th. Hardly an addict. But times change. Who would have put money on a story about a high profile politician openly bragging about how much he twitters on?

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Burn and learn?

Walking while you work can help shift those extra pounds, say scientists. But can you really work and exercise at the same time?


The answer is "NO" - even if we could. Exercising is where I get all my best and most crazy ideas and thoughts. Its the time you give your brain to go create, explore, dream and believe.

What brilliant thought or idea did you have today?

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Rainbow years....

My good friend Dr Barrie Hopson is working on a new version of his book Build Your Own Rainbow especially aimed at the 50+ market.

Baby boomers hold something like 80% of the wealth of this country, more leisure time and are a unique generation that may well outlive some of their children (think about it).

a few quotes on the original BYOR:

 Helps you figure out what you want, 28 May 2006

 Practical, Useable, Action Oriented, 14 May 2003

Excellent for people at a life/career crossroads, 2 May 2003

So not sure where life is leading you? Want to take more control? Is 50 the new 30? All these and many more questions will be answered when Barrie and Mike Scally finally pull their fingers out and get tapping. Watch this space....

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Love is the answer

Been away to a land which time and broadband access forgot. It was wonderful. Actually been reading books ( they are the paper ones with the shiny covers - no buttons ) so no apologies for any way off scale blog posts  and silly photos.


"Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person: and even more, that which is the potential in him, which is not yet actualised but yet ought to be actualised. " 

V. Frankl -  "Man's Search for Meaning".

Friday, 4 May 2007

Excited by your work?

Stuck in a rut? Can do job with one eye closed? want to chance direction but don't know how to do it? Then careershifters could be the site for you. Inspiration, confidence and connections for your career change.

Thanks to Oli Barrett

Thursday, 3 May 2007 lend, borrow or exchange

Been busy this week with BBC Click taking a look at how the web is changing the way we lend, borrow and trade currencies. My report can be seen on BBC News 24 on Sat and Sun morning EARLY - 6.45 ish ! But of course you can see it on Click On-line from Sat I think.......also on BBC World from today.

Some great sites featured in this weeks report: - Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back. - is the marketplace for Social Lending. People lend and borrow money with each other, sidestepping the banks and - The first user-friendly marketplace for exchanging foreign currencies and reducing the risks and costs of international transactions.

Please let me have some feedback and think about the possibility of helping people via Kiva. As The Huffington Post says :

" allows people the very American satisfaction of both helping someone and getting their money back."

A win - win.....

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Toilet humour

Slightly off topic but I laughed. Thanks to Johnnie Moore. 

Monday, 30 April 2007

Only the paranoid survive?

Interesting post from Rick Segal.

A good friend of mine works at Google.  On my last visit to the campus, he said some interesting words which have stuck with me.

"How do I like the job? I'm scared shitless cuz we are a one click and they are gone kinda company with other apps that have to really compete."

 I don't agree you have to be paranoid. I do believe you have to be acutely aware of what is happening in the market but also be prepared to listen to feedback from your customers and innovative ideas from the shop floor. Ideas plus excellent execution. We are all in a game without rules today and we have to make it up as we go along.

You can choose to see that as a constant threat or you can see change as a positive way to move forward. Yes its scary sometimes but you won't just learn about your business - you will learn much more about yourself.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Social media - let your customers do the talking

From Debbie Weil :

Look at the mock-up below of a typical Amazon product page (this one for an iPod) and you'll get an idea of what social media looks like on a Web page. The schematic was created by Web designer and writer Joshua Porter. Shows 16 different ways that Amazon is including links to other related content, much of it created by users. [via Brian Oberkirch]


Of course - lets not forget its about creating great products or services that people actually WANT to talk about.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

How's your Crog going?

No I didn't know this one either but it seems a whole new web lingo is building. Luckily Business Week is here to explain it all to us - until the next silly words are invented. Who actually makes this stuff up? Is it all geek led? And how are we to keep up? WE should be told.

p.s Crog is a carefully researched blog. No sarcastic comments please :)

Friday, 27 April 2007

Did your TV work?


Have been on the road this week with a well known mobile phone operator helping to facilitate a series of mini conferences. We were at the beautiful Lowry Hotel in sunny Manchester - bodywork hanging from ceiling ( see above).  Unfortunately the Man U team were staying there before the big game and no rooms were avail for us to actually stay. So we marched down the road to The Travelodge ( see below)  Umm. We had spent virtually the whole day talking about customer service and  it was a bit shocking to be presented with a very sloppily photocopied feedback form ( with a spelling mistake ). The one question that finished me off was

"did your tv work?"  Y/N

I know its a "value hotel" but it wasn't that cheap. That one question immediately lowered my perceptions of the organisation. If that is the level at which they set the bar, it should have been considerably less expensive.  

Impressions - real or perceived are hard to change. Made me think.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Empowering Women

 Unitus is a great site - innovative solutions to global poverty.

I am seeing a lot more sites like this. The web is transforming how we in the wealthiest nations can help people in developing countries and we can actually see and have feedback from the individual directly. I'm filming a report for BBC Click for next week on Social Lending - will post more details then.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

No Pressure.....

I'm sure many of you are acutely aware of the need to perform well under pressure. In my former business of selling news – editors and presenters thrive under pressure particularly as a big story breaks when you are presenting live on air. Most of the time and I repeat most of the time – all is well and you sail through like the proverbial swan – calm and serene on the top and paddling like hell underneath. But sometimes and they always seem to be on big nights – nights where we got several million viewers – things don’t follow the plan. One night – I was presenting from another studio as ours was being redecorated. It was 10pm and the first night that Five was to announce the winning lottery numbers – we were told the big cheeses would be watching.

We did a quick rehearsal and everything went fine – then at 30 seconds to air the lights started to dim, the autocue showed complete tosh and to top it all I couldn’t hear the director unless she shouted very loudly– which she promptly did to ask Five if they could run something else. They said “no" and started counting down from 10. At times like these – the adrenaline kicks in and you start to think about self preservation – you might not mind looking an idiot in front of a few of your best mates but in front of 2 million television viewers it starts to look positively ( as one of my editors says “CAREER LIMITING”).

At times like these printed scripts are useful. I just went for it and kept reading (slowly) everything I had because we also didn’t have any pictures or any interviews that would play! The studio lights took some time to totally go out but I understand that at the end of the 3 minute bulletin I could just be seen in silhouette. "That's it from all the team - hope you'll be able to see us tomorrow" - my sign off.  It wasn’t my finest broadcasting moment but one that many people delight in reminding me of. The next day, we found out the ITV News Channel had flicked a switch that had taken over all the controls for pictures, autocue and lights. Heads rolled. And my presenting skills got better. 

I now help Exec's to deal with the pressure of presenting and often advise them to "roll with it". If something goes wrong -  make a virtue out of it. Make 'em laugh. They will remember how you dealt with it and THAT is the key factor.

Take a leaf out of Sir Trevor McDonald's presenting technique. His coolness when he muddled the two words “Kent Countryside” is now legendary.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Keep the change

Thought this was a neat idea:

"Customers who sign up to the Save the Change scheme will have their debit card purchases rounded up to the nearest pound, with the difference deposited into a nominated Lloyds TSB savings account, enabling consumers to save unconsciously. This is ideal for people who don't carry cash but still want to have a coin jar".

Could work with other purchases or payments. Imagine if everything was priced in whole pounds or dollars - with the penny going to a charity/social benefit?

Monday, 23 April 2007

"Go and help people"

When I first decided to set up my company I asked Mentor Mike Pegg how I should go about it.  He said "go and help a few people using the skills you have".

That's exactly what I did. I went and listened to people telling me about the challenges they had personally or at work regarding communication. I asked  a lot of questions and then finally started to say what I could do to help. I have found this is really useful for the potential client in that they get exactly what they want and also allows me to do my best work. Its about being honest and saying what you can and can't deliver. Its not about trying to get someone to buy something they don't want.

Below is part of an interview with Mike about his MAGIC OF WORK book. I hope you find it useful. It tells you a great deal about the man.

* What prompted you to write this book?

Encouragers have given me a lot during my life, so I wanted to give other people encouragement. Looking back 35 years, perhaps the hardest step for me was to move from working in a factory to doing work I loved. The process took around 6 years. Encouragers helped me to make the transition. Let’s hope the book helps people to shorten the period it takes them.

Anybody can do work they love, the art is getting somebody to pay you for it. People want three things from work: Money, Meaning and Magic. Money feeds the stomach, but meaning and magic feed the spirit and the soul. A key challenge facing people today is: “How can I balance my mission and mortgage, my finances and fulfilment? Do I start from my joy and create a job around it? Or do I find a job and try to weave joy into it?” The book focuses on how you can follow your vocation, find the right vehicle and do valuable work.

* How can people best use the book?

Depends on their Agenda. When doing Career Mentoring, for example, I find that people come with many different challenges. The Chief Executive of a company may want to explore how they can return to doing what they do best---and give most benefit to the business---rather than get locked into being a cop, chasing others to do their jobs. The 22 year-old who is a self-starter and has just left home, for instance, may want to explore how they can be creative and yet retain their integrity in a commercial world. Think it is a good idea for people to clarify ahead of time what they are looking for in the book…then take the best and leave the rest. The book also suggests other reading that people can follow up to pursue their particular interests.

* Is focus really more important than flexibility?

Both are important. Great performers balance apparent contradictions. When performing superbly, for example, they picture the overall vision whilst also seeing the details. They are good finishers and deliver on their promises. They are both focused and flexible. How? They build on their strengths, do a few things and do them brilliantly. Within this niche, however, they are able to be agile, customise and help the customer to achieve success. By the way: Focusing on strengths does not mean that you ignore the ‘fall out’ from your weaknesses; it simply means that you find ways to compensate for them. World class performers are extremists: they make extreme use of their natural talents.

* How do you see the world of work changing?

Great employers will always want to hire great contributors. If you want to stay ahead of the game, build on your strengths and do superb work, but still think like a freelancer. Why? There are no safe jobs anymore, so stay in charge of your destiny. Successful businesses will want two kinds of players in the future. They will want ‘Soul Players’ and ‘Star Players’. (They will have little time for ‘Semi-Detached’ Players.) Soul Players will embody the spirit of the company; Star Players will bring their unique talents to add that ‘little bit extra’. Enlightened employers are already taking steps to retain key people who want to be creative. They are encouraging them to take charge of their future and craft fulfilling roles that benefit both themselves and the business. Whatever path you choose to follow, keep taking initiatives, rather than become institutionalised.

* What do you think makes the difference between a company that keeps innovating compared to one that has a single innovation and milks it for years?

Pacesetters are different. They take the lead, maintain the lead and extend the lead. They make the new rules for the game.  Pacesetters create ‘Positive Prototypes’ that work. They create the rules that others copy and follow in the future. People, teams and companies often follow five steps towards making breakthroughs in particular fields. They focus on their:

Passion: They follow their passion.

Purpose: They translate their passion into a clear purpose.

Professionalism: They do highly professional work.

Peak Performance: They achieve peak performance.

Pacesetting: They make the new rules for the game.

* How important will leadership be in the future world of work?

 Good to remember there are different kinds of leadership. Great leadership teams, for example, have people who fill the roles of Energiser, Environmentalist and Executor. Energisers provide the inspiring vision. Environmentalists provide a nurturing climate that encourages people to grow. Executors make sure the work gets done. Everybody may be a mixture of all three, but teams work best when there are clear demarcation lines. (Energisers who dip down into executing every detail can cause chaos.)

* Have you any thoughts on the subject of leaving a legacy?

People like to do worthwhile work and leave a legacy. Sometimes they only move onto the latter stage after achieving their original picture of ‘success’. Why? They embarked on their professional lives aiming to achieve an ‘external purpose’, such as gaining riches or climbing the corporate ladder. Later in life, however, they focus on an ‘inner purpose’. They concentrate on ‘doing what they were meant to do.’ As they grow older, people also find ways to pass on their wisdom. They may act as a positive model, be a mentor or find others ways to share their knowledge. As the old saying goes: “We have no choice as to the talent we are given. But we do have a choice as to what we do with that talent.” People who find and follow their vocation have a gift for life…and they frequently want to pass on the fruits of this gift. Providing they are able to follow this journey, they often echo Noel Coward’s words that: “Work is so much more fun than fun.”

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Roaming romance

Romance brand Mills & Boon will launch some of its books on mobile, to combat the “embarrassment factor of carrying your Mills & Boon around".

There are four ways to read the books: “As autocue-style text moving from right to left across the screen, a scrollable text block moving up and down, single words flashed up in quick succession, or a full page of text. “Teenagers prefer reading one word at a time, but most adults prefer the horizontal scrolling style”. 
Apparently,  it’s women who will drive take-up of this particular mobile content. “Japan is normally 18 months ahead of the UK. They are finding that it’s women who like reading on phones and romantic fiction that’s rising to the top".

Who ARE these women?? and can they be stopped?

Meeting "outlook" could be better?

Was chatting to the wonderful Eileen Brown from Microsoft yesterday talking about how meetings go on too long.  She suggested that people just schedule for 30 min's or an hour out of habit or software? You decide.

Seth Godin hates meetings. Has some good ideas.

TIPS: I think most of the time, most meetings should be held without chairs. People standing up think more quickly and get distracted less often. And the meetings don't last as long.

All day meetings should be banned. Meetings that attempt to accomplish more than one of the tasks above should be banned.

Bonus tip: Last person to walk in the door pays $10 to the coffee fund.

Extra bonus tip: hire someone to come in and videotape a few of your standard meetings. Watch what happens.

 Worth a try methinks.

Saturday, 21 April 2007


Bill Owen from Southwest Airlines on how they listened and learned.


"Talk about sticking your head into a hornet’s nest! We got 274 replies, and from the tone of some of them we quickly realized that, at least for some of you, a few of our policies were out of step with your travel needs. So…..we’re changing! We heard, from both Customers and Employees alike, that you didn’t like our policy of not publishing the dates on which we plan to extend the schedule. No problem! We now make the tentative, planned date of the next schedule extension available to our Reservations Agents, and in short order this information will be prominently displayed at "

Does blogging work? Ask Southwest, Dell and Microsoft......

thanks to Craig McGinty

Friday, 20 April 2007

One laptop per child

LOVE this project!  And now its finally becoming a reality. I know there will be challenges along the way but the scheme aims to bring the benefit of computing technology to the remaining five sixths of the world's population, who currently live without it. Microsoft software will sell for just $3 in some parts of the world if Governments agree to buy the computers.  

It's a massive vision but one that I hope will succeed.

Customers tell Dell sell "what we know well"


Well you couldn't make it up could you? The much maligned computer manufacturer Dell has been told by 11,000 of its customers that they are not Vista ready yet and would like to buy pc's with XP rather than Vista.

Some people don't like change. It reminds me of  a saying often used by Management Leader Tom Peters, quoting an American General .

" if you don't like change - you are going to like irrelevance even less".

I know technology can be frustrating but we are living at a time of great opportunity. I believe if we embrace change and are not frightened by it - we can more easily start to live the sort of lives we really want to.  

Technology in itself I can't get excited by but the fact that it has enabled me to reinvent myself in new and exciting ways, most definitely can.  Long live the revolution !

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

No Careers - just lives

“You don’t have careers anymore, you have lives”.

A friend of a friend wrote these notes about Charles Handy. If you have never heard him talk - then do yourself a favour and go see him. You wont be disappointed.

Charles Handy - Management guru and respected thinker on people and organisations at a management conference promoting his new book, ‘Myself and other important matters’.On the subject of teaching and learning, Handy was clear about the need for lifelong learning. On degrees he said, “a degree is only proof that you can learn. It is irrelevant for any other purpose. All it proves is that you can adapt and that you have potential.” “By the end of this lecture you will have forgotten 80% of what I have talked about.
By tomorrow morning, this will be 95%… I remember all of it!”
“What this shows is that if you want to learn anything, then you need to teach it. If you have children, then you need to get them to teach you. They will learn faster this way.”
Drawing on his studies at Oxford, Handy talked about happiness, commenting that it is good to see this being given attention. “It is not new however, Aristotle talked about this many years ago”.
Handy commented on the term coined by Aristotle, “Eudaimonia”. [u-dai-moany-ah] “This has been commonly translated as ‘happiness’, but this is a mistranslation. A much better translation would be flourishing. What it means is doing your best at what you are best at … for others”.
“It is about feeling bloody good about yourself. Because after all, that is all that is left. It is not a state. So how do you find this out – you need to work that out for yourself.”
“Education should therefore be about finding out what you are good at. We have a problem today with young people leaving education too early. If we followed eudaimonia we would allow them to understand what they were good at and then allow them to do it”. 

Personally, I couldn't agree more. School should largely be about helping our children to discover their strengths / what they are good at. It doesn't matter what academic achievements people have - ( see Tim Marshall story ) its the A word that means the most - Attitude and bloody hard work.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

What next for TV News ?

Jeff Jarvis has been getting his camera out again at the Radio Television News Directors Association panel. An interesting observation from Michael Rosenblum - who knows a thing or two about VJ movement.

Jeff goes on to say:  

Zadi Diaz of JetSet doesn’t want to be a journalist. She doesn’t want to be called a journalist. Neither does Amanda Congdon, who says she never called herself a journalist but a video blogger and actress and producer. We journalists keep thinking that everybody wants to be a journalist and that it is our precious title to mete out. But these talented, creative, popular women want none of it. Note again that they don’t want our label. Which says something about the label and what we’ve done to it, eh? We’ve made it exclusive. We’ve weighed it down with pretense and presumptions and rules. We’ve made these women assume that being a journalists stops you from doing what they do. Beware.

Got me thinking. Not sure what I am at the mo. I spent 12 years working as a Broadcast Journalist and Presenter. I now work occasionally for BBC Click as a reporter. I also help business people to communicate confidently. I host conferences/debates/corporate videos.  I write a new media blog and shoot/post my own videos. I also hope to create a weekly internet show - helping people to see the web as a fantastic place to live, learn and love ( in the widest sense of the word - not in a second life sense). Thoughts?

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Monday, 16 April 2007

The Working Journalist in the Age of the Internet


 Mark Glaser is MediaShift.  A blog that will track how new media—from weblogs to podcasts to citizen journalism—are changing society and culture.

Loved his post on doing work you love. He says:

First things first: The most important thing for you to do is find work that you love, that you have a passion for. Don’t take a job because it’s what your parents want or for the money. My dad and uncles are all lawyers, and they assumed that when I was in journalism school that I would just eventually become a lawyer later. Uh, no.

Mark tells a great story. You could do it too. I'm doing it right now. It's called re-invention.

Many thanks to Craig McGinty.   He offers some great hints and tips to small business owners, writers, self-publishers and anyone else interested in getting the best out of the internet.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Techno tots

One for the youngsters and I do mean young.

Computer literacy is increasingly seen as an essential skill for children. But what is the best age to introduce them to computers and does it give them a head-start?


This is a story I did for BBC Click - text story and video. In my experience - I have seen such an interest and excitement from my children ( 4 and 2 ). They love singing songs, playing games, printing out characters, doing puzzles and having a story read to them. Yes I know I  should be reading and playing with them and I do but as long as they don't spend more than 30 mins then I'm cool about it. Just wondered if anyone had any great sites for younger kids to go to?

Blogging may damage the nations health

Over at The Guardian there seems to be two distinct schools of thought. One which tells us how great the digital world is ( Guardian Unlimited)  and another where nothing is right ( Guardian extremely limited?)

Johnnie Moore rightly pointed to Jonathon Freedland's whine this week.

Right now, the internet is too often like a stuffy meeting room on a bad night. It needs to change if it's to live up to its democratic potential.

This weekend Tim Dowling has a go in his piece "Comedy of Manners".

Marina Hyde writes "New technology, new lows for our political discourse".

On the launch of Labourvision she agrees with the comment

 "New Technology, same suck up".

Now depending on which box you tick on the ballot paper - you may agree. But surely that's up to the audience. Either they watch or they don't. Why do these rather full of themselves "real journo's" get so worked up about it?  The Web is not perfect and neither are some of our national newspapers. Freedom of Speech anyone?

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Wanted - new Bush Speechwriter


This is marvelous. If like me, you have ever wondered how George W has consistently been able to deliver great speeches - then wonder no further.  This new Presidential aid(e) could be just the thing if you're struggling to find a creative way to deliver your own marvelous monologue.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Radio presenters wanted


Brilliant idea ! Stowe Boyd has started BlogTalkRadio - here's the blurb:

BlogTalkRadio is a platform that extends the blog, allowing any individual to host a live blogshow online. Our service is free to all users, whether you host a blogshow or listen in. Plus hosts earn half of all revenue generated by their blogshow and Host Channel page.

Why do you say you extend the blog?

The blog has changed the face of media and communication. But unfortunately, it has its limits. Primarily, the blog does not allow for real-time interaction between the blogger and his or her readers. At BlogTalkRadio, we extend the blog to allow such live interaction, as well as allow users to generate and consume content in audio format as well as in written format.

You have "radio" in your name. But isn't your site different from regular radio?

We allow every individual the freedom to become a blogshow host, similar to a radio talk show host. That is why "radio" appears in our name. However, because we are on the Internet, your potential reach as a blogshow host far exceeds the reach of a radio talk show host because your audience is global rather than regional. Additionally, as a listener, you have access to far more content than you would on your local or even satellite radio station.

Who would qualify as a host?

Any individual, anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection, any kind of phone, and something to say! We welcome hosts who have passions and interests they want to share, opinions and information they wish to disseminate. Whether your audience is 10 or 10,000 people, we have a place for you here at BlogTalkRadio, and we'll even help teach you how to expand that audience.

thanks to Euan for the info :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Little IT man wanted..

The Beeb says 2007 is shaping up to be the year of a new media revolution - and one family in Gloucestershire, in the UK, is going to be at the cutting edge.

So auntie is fitting out the Boston family with the kind of kit you might need to take full advantage of a world where all the media you want arrives in digital form down your phone line. The aim is to find out whether this changes the way the family uses media. The Bostons goodies are:

Samsung 37inch HDTV

Belkin Wireless router

Acer Aspire iDea 500 media center PC

Apple TV

Apple MacBook

Sonos wireless music system

Kodak wireless digital photo frame

Umm - having spent far too long getting to grips with the complexities of my so called smart phone - I can only hope they have a little IT man. Every home should have one.

Flogged and fired in 60 secs

David Brain of Edelman PR - Sixty Second View Blog - when I couldn't get to his newest blog entry.

Oops. Sorry. 404 Not Found

Hmmm ... Not sure what happened to this page.  The slaves, err employees must have screwed something up. Please be patient. When we discover the culprit he or she will be thoroughly questioned, then flogged, then fired. In the meantime, just click the "Home" button above.

Wonder if he has any jobs going?



Tuesday, 10 April 2007

My other car's a Bentley, admits "green" M & S chief

Stuart Rose the chief executive of Marks & Spencer, who is spearheading a £200m plan to reinvent M&S as one of the UK's greenest companies, has been driving two gas-guzzling Bentleys on his days away from the office - The Guardian tells us.

I'm reading Christine Arena's new book "The High Purpose Company". In it she quotes Paul Hawken,  "Real corporate responsibility involves systemic change. It requires a business to carefully evaluate every aspect of itself, and very few want to do that".

Marks and Spencers high profile campaign states "there is no plan B".    Some one should tell Mr Rose.

Blog slog beats land hog

or how two journalists used a website to defeat planners and save a rural idyll from a £1bn development. David Hewson took on Goliath and won.

Reminds me of the quote " create a cause - not a business". Feel optimistic we may well see more David Hewsons in the near future. 

Poo Poo PowerPoint

Garr Reynolds on that hairy chestnut called Powerpoint.

"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."   — John Sweller

Garr sums up what I think and have been banging on about for some time:  If your “PowerPoint deck” can be perfectly and completely understood without your narration, then it begs the question: why are you there?

Monday, 9 April 2007

Ethan's vision .....


Following on from my last 2 posts. Thanks to Jeff Jarvis. Meet Ethan Bodnar. He's a junior in high school planning on going to college for graphic design. Here's his take on the future of newspapers. Ethan Bodnar .

The Future
"When I get out of college I would love to have my own design shop in a big city. I have many big ideas that I would like to do someday, when I am not so busy with school. Furthermore, I want to change the world by breaking the rules and doing what I love."

I want to change the world by breaking the rules and doing what I should he include that on his CV? or with thinking like that maybe he wont need one.....