Illegal downloads: it’s not about free, it’s about fair
20Jun14

pirateThe finale of the recent season of Game of Thrones has opened up debate about illegal downloading in Australia.

File-sharing website TorrentFreak reported Game of Thrones set a new record for illegal downloads this week, with about 1.5 million file sharers downloading a pirated copy of the season four finale of the show in the 12 hours after it was released in the US.  Data was released showing Australians have increased their lead as the world champions of piracy.

The outcry, of course, was led by the company most affected by the downloading of the program, Foxtel.

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Internet Trends 2014 by Mary Meeker
29May14

Every year around this time Mary Meeker, from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, releases her Internet Trends study. I personally saw Mary present this in San Francisco a few years ago and was fascinated by her insights and knowledge. The whole industry stops and listens when Mary Meeker delivers her annual report.

Which brings me to the 2o14 Internet Trends report Meeker has just unveiled. As usual it is packed with great information, plenty of perspective and a few pointers to what is next. It’s long but it is worth the time to read.

The Economics of Netflix: How to Make a $100 Million Show
24Apr14

There has been a lot of buzz about Netflix in the last year, even here in Australia where the video streaming service hasn’t officially launched (yet is watched by many who find ways around the geo-blocking).

Award-winning new programs like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Lilyhammer, created and aired on Netflix have transformed the one-time DVD mailing service into a new media force to be reckoned with, causing yet more anxiety amongst TV networks and subscription television and acting as a pointer to what could soon trouble the major movie studios.

Netflix is now so popular that it gobbles up a third of peak internet traffic in North America.

So how does this brave new world of streaming content work and how does Netflix make money? This new infographic explains the economics of Netflix. Read the rest of this entry »

The power of a focused community
15Jul13

In the last few years I have witnessed something remarkable. A broad community of “digital enthusiasts” has gradually banded together realising that the sum is always greater than the parts.

These people were originally only connected online via social networks but then they started meeting at coffee mornings and soon the conversation drifted to “what else can we do”.

Before long there were monthly events where this community could meet, socialise and learn more. More coffee mornings also sprung up allowing even more people to connect in real life.

Naturally, many in this community started doing business with each other and introducing others to the group.

The potential of this community began to be seen and so a taskforce was formed to help harness its collective power. This served to place decision makers and influencers at the same table with the same broad goals for the community.

Others began to take notice. Big initiatives became realistic. Things started to happen.

Which brings us to today.

The community I am referring to is in my home town of Newcastle. What has been for years referred to as “Steel City” or “Coal Town” is now mining nerds. What began as a loose collection of “digital enthusiasts’ now constitutes a serious digital ecosystem.

  • A growing collection of small tech start-ups and digital agencies.
  • An industry taskforce at HunterDiGiT with a strong agenda for the region.
  • An Open Innovation event connecting major organisations with the local innovation community.
  • An ambitious annual industry event, DiG Festival, which aims to attract participants from throughout Australasia.
  • A University and TAFE who are increasingly embracing change and engaging with the community.

You really get the feeling that this is just the beginning. There is so much more to come.

And its all the result of a bunch of passionate people working together to focus on the big picture. Its not about the individual or personal reward, instead its for the collective good of the region. It relies heavily on collectively supporting any initiative that will benefit the wider community.

If you live in this region, get on board, get involved and support those who are trying to make a difference.

If you live elsewhere, be reassured that this can also happen in your region. Change isn’t easy but there’s no denying the power of a focused community.

4 digital marketing trends in 2013
14Jun13

Digital marketing is evolving at an incredible pace. There is a wide range of effective tools, technologies and platforms delivering exciting changes to the digital marketing world this year.

The infographic, The Top 4 Digital Marketing Trends for 2013, provides a comprehensive analysis of tools and technologies defining the digital marketing landscape this year. It traces the impact of the digital revolution on consumer behavior and highlights key trends that marketers need to focus on in 2013.

It provides insights on optimally utilizing various elements of a digital marketing strategy like mobile marketing, social media, content marketing and author rank, to offer greater reach, better relevancy and higher customer engagement. Thanks to the team at DCI for this excellent piece.

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How to create the ultimate customer experience online
7Sep12

A focus on customer experience can result in vastly improved metrics for any company. We’ve seen it for years in traditional retail where companies such as Nike and Apple have created amazing customer experiences in order to maximise sales and profits, but can this work online?

The team at Monetate have designed this excellent infographic to demonstrate how excellent customer experience can impact key online metrics like web traffic, referrals, conversion rates, average order value, revenue and customer lifetime value.

The Ultimate Customer ExperienceMonetate Marketing Infographics

Infographic: How mobile technology is changing world travel
26Jul12

Is there an industry more affected by social networks and mobile technology than the travel industry? Possibly not.

When I first traveled overseas postcards and the weekly letter were the main means of communication. These days we’re rarely disconnected from home, our next destination or the people and places we visit.

Mobile technology has turned travel on its head. Now 3 in 4 travelers use a mobile device while on the move. We can check in with our airlines, search and book accommodation with AirBnB and much much more.

The following infographic is by the team at MyDestination.com and has some excellent stats for those researching travel and technology.

How Mobile Technology is Changing World Travel with My Destination

Digital Newcastle launches to help grow the local digital economy
19Jun12

Digital NewcastleThe rapid advancement of technology, especially online technology, presents a multitude of challenges and opportunities. Its something I am keenly aware of as I do business with a wide range of organisations whilst also trying to launch new ideas and applications into the marketplace.

I consider myself to be pretty conversant in the latest happenings in the digital world, but even I have to ask around at times or risk missing opportunities. So I can’t even imagine how the average business owner, marketing manager or government agency must feel trying to keep up with such a rapidly changing environment.

The roll-out of the National Broadband Network only increases the need for knowledge in order to understand its implications and opportunities.

What we desperately need is someone who can help connect the dots.

  • Someone neutral and knowledgeable who can point us in the right direction.
  • Someone who is talking to government agencies and knows where funding is available.
  • Someone who can help advise organisations about putting together good tenders and inviting the right people to pitch.
  • Someone passionate enough about the industry and region to identify opportunities and help them to fruition
  • Someone who can help provide training options to those who need it.

Fortunately in Newcastle we now have that someone, Gordon Whitehead aka @the_git.

And that brings me to a significant announcement. After 6 years at Sticky, Gordon is moving to a new role that has evolved from his founding of The Lunaticks. The project is called Digital Newcastle and Gordon will be doing all the above and more.

He’ll be connecting the dots between government, government agencies, local business, education, start-ups, digital agencies and services providers.

To be clear: this is a new role with a different organisation and totally independent of Sticky.

I’ll be signing on as a sponsor of Digital Newcastle and I encourage other agencies to sign on as well. Collectively we’ll all benefit from this initiative and it will only be truly effective if the right dots are being connected.

I’d like to congratulate to Gordon on this exciting new role. Already he has garnered considerable support from local government and business groups, and I urge all Newcastle and Hunter businesses and agencies to support him so he can help the entire region flourish in this burgeoning digital economy.

 

The winners and losers in the digital economy
15Jun12

A few weeks ago I posted that no industry was immune to the rapid pace of change in our modern interconnected society. I strongly believe that some current industries will be turned upside down by the arrival on the National Broadband Network and borderless labour.

Now a new report by IBISworld’s Phil Ruthven, A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050, lists the winners and losers of what it calls “the new utility” – ubiquitous high-speed broadband.

Ruthven says Australia must shift from exporting its natural resources to exporting so-called “developed resources” – health, education, tourism and business services, and identifies seven broad industry sectors that will benefit from this “hyper digital era”.

The main beneficiaries appear to be government and public safety programs such as emergency and disaster response services, followed by online retail and the mining industry.

However, Ruthven also says that of 509 industries in Australia, 15 – nearly all in traditional media, publishing and broadcasting – are likely to disappear unless they can reinvent themselves.

The industries he identifies as facing “extinction” include: book, magazine and newspaper publishing and retailing; radio and television broadcasting; reproduction of recorded media; and film processing.

Its a trend we’ve seen for the last 15 years. If the medium is easily digitalised then the industry is at risk. It started with music, then moved onto books and movie and TV downloads. Its one of the reasons Fairfax is trying to cut costs and job losses are an unfortunate symptom of these changes.

A recent presentation by Mary Meeker which explained the “re-imagination of everything” is a great pointer to what has happened and who will be affected going forward.

The report says that traditional retailing will decline in the coming decades and much wholesale trade may also disappear.

Mr Ruthven says that Australia has been slow to adopt high-speed broadband and benefit from the digital economy, and the major obstacle is scepticism.

“Because I think there’s been so many naysayers out there suggesting we don’t need it, which is it a bit like saying ‘dirt roads were quite adequate 50 years ago, who needs a sealed road and a four-lane highway?’” says Ruthven.

The report also predicts that one in four people will be working from home at least part-time by 2050, something that futurist Mark Pesce elaborated on.

“The idea of employment, as in a job that lasts for more than a few days or a few weeks, is going to be this very weird term by 2050. Our grandkids will go up to us and say, ‘You had a job and you did it for years at a time?’”, says Pesce.

“That much connectivity in the economy creates this enormous capability for fluidity, and so jobs are going to start to become gigs and those are going to start to become tasks, and eventually we’re all just going to be doing a little bit here and a little bit there and it may not be until we get up in the morning and check the smartphone that we’re going to be knowing what we’re going to be doing that day.”

Pesce feels that the employment market of 2050 is “going to look a lot more like eBay then it does like Seek.”

 

All are expected to be replaced by their online or digital equivalents.

 

The price of bad advice
11Apr12

by [me]

I came across three pieces of mind-numbingly bad advice today, all from experts in their respective fields, all to prominent organizations. Each of them have caused me to question:
A) the quality of expert advice
B) the lack of digital knowledge in the business world
C) how organizations can determine which advice they can trust.

But let’s start with the bad advice. These are clangers.

The first company, a prominent industry leader, wants to get more search traffic for a new service they offer. Whilst weighing up an organic search engine optimisation strategy they’ve received advice from an Adwords specialist. The response: spend the budget on an Adwords campaign because the clicks from the traffic will increase your organic search results.

WRONG. There is no relationship between paid results and organic search results. Organic search results come from a combination of inbound links (indicator of popularity) and on-page optimisation for targeted terms.

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