Every year there are a range of conferences I’d love to attend. There’s nothing like hearing from some of the best in the business to fuel your creative fires or pick up some excellent ideas that could take your work to the next level.
I try to get to at least one major international conference each year; SXSW in Austin, the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, iStrategy in Sydney are just a few on my radar. The problem with many though is the time and cost involved, especially when you’re based in Australia.
But now we have the opportunity to attend a world class business conference without leaving the office or couch. Best of all, it includes many of the people I’ve flown across the world to listen to. These people are all leaders in their field with some valuable insights into modern business practices.
The Business Growth Summit is a free online event featuring over 30 leading experts sharing strategies on how to grow a business, leverage opportunities, and increase profits.
Speakers include Guy Kawasaki (international bestselling author), Chris Brogan (top 5 ranked blogger), Amy Cosper (editor at Entrepreneur Magazine), Jon Gordon (bestselling author), Ryan Blair (multimillionaire serial entrepreneur), Tim Sanders (former executive at Yahoo!), Michael Hyatt (chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers), and more.
I’m very proud to have been invited to join these leading identities to be one of the presenters at The Business Growth Summit. I’ll be discussing The 5 Ways to Turn Your Website into a Marketing Machine.
See www.TheBusinessGrowthSummit.com for details and to REGISTER today!
Recently I have been proposing a festival for Newcastle along the lines of SXSW in Austin,Texas. We’ve had some really good discussions about it at The Lunaticks Society events and Newcastle Coffee Mornings.
I am proposing that we call it The DiG Festival (Design, Interactive and Green-tech).
I have told anyone who will listen that Austin during SXSW is one of the most exciting places on the planet, and it’ be great to create some of that excitement here too.
I just came across this excellent little video that really illustrates how exciting SXSW really is. The Interactive section runs fro about 1.45 to 4mins but the whole lot is worth a look and could be inspiration for a larger event in the future.
Could you DiG a SXSW in Newcastle? I know I could.
I have long argued that Newcastle radio suffers from the commercial duopoly of NXFM / KOFM (one parent), and 2HD / NEWFM (one parent). To make matters worse half of the duopoly is totally ineffective and barely competes for audience or advertising share.
The result is NXFM and KOFM run away with the ratings and the bulk of the money and can afford to charge high advertising rates, while 2HD / NEWFM take what they can get.
Even worse, listeners really are left with very little quality to choose from. Lack of competition results in lack of innovation, little talent development and a general laziness. Its the same in any industry.
Steve and Kim on NXFM have been doing basically the same show for over a decade. David and Tanya have been working together for 20 years now and have done the breakfast shift on KOFM for over a decade. They’re all good people, but that is hardly an environment for innovation and excitement. Honestly, its a credit to them that they can continue to wake up early and put a show on after so long with so little competition.
Meanwhile the playlists between NEWFM & KOFM are interchangeable and half of NXFM’s music fits well with those two as well. How much 80′s rewind can we withstand?
I fear the problem is only getting worse after seeing the latest radio ratings for Newcastle. NXFM (20.8 share) has leapt out to a massive lead over stablemate KOFM (17.1), while 2HD has hit new lows (11.9) and NEWFM has dropped back down again (7.6). The disparity is alarming and bad for Newcastle.
I’ve been pretty interested in the launch of Google+. Not because I’m a social network nut but because in my opinion G+ sends a very clear signal about how social media and search are inevitably blending.
Now it seems every second day Google’s big plan seems to be revealed a little more.
The latest news is that Google+ profile images are appearing besides search listings, although seemingly only when you are logged in to your Google account.
This is a significant change to search. Having an image turn up in the search results attracts your attention and could definitely lead to improved click-through-rates even if the listing is not at top of page 1. Combine that with the +1 results showing up in your search and you start to see a very different vision of where search is going.
Search and social media and merging folks and those who understand this will have a big advantage.
In recent years our multicultural broadcaster has upped the ante by introducing live coverage of the race, initially on key stages and now every night.
This year they’ve taken it a significant step further again. Not only can you watch the Tour live every night from 10.30pm (AEST), or 10pm if you want some recaps and Gabriel Gate’s food segment, but now you can follow the race via the SBS Tour de France website, Tour Tracker or iPad (update: plus Android and LG connected TV) apps with latest stats and high resolution streaming video. It is wonderful.
But wait there’s more…..
Rather than detract from the audience’s attention to the TV screen these various options enhance the overall experience. We can watch the SBS coverage anywhere (no audio), get some real-time insight from various experts and commentators and have bit of fun comparing your stage picks versus the experts.
Google Plus is two weeks old now and early indications are that the Google team finally have a social media winner. In fact, I’m prepared to bet that Plus will be huge and I wasn’t remotely interested in their previous social efforts.
(By the way, feel free to chat with me on Google Plus)
Currently everyone is trying to work out the best ways to use Google Plus, or asking what the “rules” are? The thing is…its new, its evolving and there is not right or wrong. In the end its the community who tend to set the rules of engagement. I doubt the guys at Twitter had no idea that it would look like it does now, or be used the way it is now when they launched a dicky little SMS based service back in 2006.
So far the early adopters are the usual suspects from the IT and social media industries and community. Early stats from the first million users show that 73% are male, over 70% work in IT / computing fields with “engineer” being the number one career, 49% live in the USA, the leading city is San Francisco and there are 16,500 men “looking for love”.
Yes Google Plus is almost entirely inhabited by geeks.
But that will change, and fast. Its is estimated to hit 10 million users this week and be the fastest social network to 100 million users.
I intend to look at the benefits of Google Plus soon, but in the meantime the most obvious one is the use of “Circles” to sort or categorise the people you are following.
The Circles are a great way to both filter and share information. My original circles were like “Family”, “Sticky” (Ie my office), “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, “Following” etc. In other words, degrees of separation from my own world.
Since then I have added geographic circles radiating out from my own world again: Newcastle, Australia, North America, Europe etc.
And finally I have created some subject or industry circles: Media, Tech Media, Industry Leaders, Advertising etc.
Most people I follow end up in a few circles. Ie. Friends + Newcastle + Australia, or Acquaintances + Industry Leaders + USA.
The reasoning is that some information or discussions are only relevant to some groups. So, if I am discussing the New Lunaticks events or Newcastle innovation I can keep it in local Circles. Switching to “Australia” instantly broadens my Circle. If I wish to chat with or follow conversation by Industry Leaders I can filter out the other noise.
Jason Berek-Lewis tells me his circles are all based on themes but he’s not sure if that will be sustainable. Time will tell.
Like I said, its only been two weeks and there’s no right or wrong because we’re all trying to work it out. What I do know is that Google Plus is going to be big and how we use it will be important.
How are you using the Circles on Google Plus? Any good suggestions?
My last 3 posts have had a pretty strong theme running around innovation; Think Like a Tech Start-Up, What is Your Gateway Drug? and My Plan for Creating an Innovative City. So its pretty easy to see where my thoughts are at the moment.
As an agency that likes to work on innovative side projects, like NLYZR and Urban Insider, my team and I are often questioning the role of agencies going forward. I mean, we’re all supposed to be highly creative aren’t we? So why aren’t we getting more involved in creating more new businesses and revolutionising industries instead of just trotting out another 30 sec ad?
Then along comes the always clever Neil Perkin with a new post on his Only Dead Fish blog titled Agencies as Incubators. In it Neil looks at the Cannes Lions (formerly advertising awards), an amazing program supported by Wieden & Kennedy called the Portland Incubator Experiment which has some parallels to the excellent Y-Combinator concept in Silicon Valley and how Apple fund and secure new technology breakthroughs.
You must read this if you are interested in innovation or if you are going to be at the next Lunaticks event Smart and Innovative City Part 2. THIS is the sort of thinking we need in our industry, not more self-indulgent award wankfests.
It seems to me that the time is ripe for agencies to start challenging their clients to think beyond business as usual and use that creativity to radically interrupt industries in the way new technology is reshaping the landscape.
Last night we had a forum in Newcastle discussing the desire for this once heavily industrial town to become a center for innovation. Unfortunately much of the panel discussion, and subsequently the audience questions, got bogged down in discussing the past, the limitations of council and old technology. It was a lost opportunity for what is an important and exciting discussion.
Near the end of the night I couldn’t help myself and grabbed the microphone to offer my simple plan for creating an innovative city. Here it is in writing for anyone who cares to take the discussion further or help expand and act on the ideas.
Incremental examples of creeping innovation from existing players won’t be enough to launch a town like Newcastle to national or international prominence as a smart and innovative city. A couple of major initiatives are required to create that catalyst for a dynamic leap forward.
Firstly, universal access to high-speed broadband is essential for a community to compete and indeed lead the way in innovation. In the digital economy we must be connected. It is not good enough to wait for the National Broadband Network to finally arrive in town. It doesn’t give us an advantage, it just puts us on par with the rest of Australia when (or if) it finally arrives.
What is your gateway drug?23Jun11
Is it possible that drug dealers are smarter marketers than many multinationals?
Consider the two. Multinational pharmaceutical companies sell drugs. They spend a fortune on expensive media to convince us we need their drugs. Their cost per acquisition is high.
Illegal drug dealers also sell drugs. They often start with a free sample of their “goods” to a few key locals in their community. This gets the potential buyers “hooked”, creates a sense of loyalty and obligation and leads to strong word-of-mouth for their product. Their cost per acquisition is low and conversion rate is almost 100%.
Now, while I don’t suggest you move into distribution of illegal goods, I do recommend you emulate drug dealers with your marketing. Make a good product or service, make it addictive and give away a small amount for free in order to generate ongoing sales and word of mouth. Anyone who has ever watched The Wire has seen the sophisticated marketing and distribution of street level drug dealers.
Think like a tech start-up10Jun11
I live a secret life. By day I’m a mild mannered advertising agency exec (the manners might depend on who you ask) whilst in my spare time I am building a start-up tech business.
The start-up is NLYZR. Its been around for the last 2 years in various evolving forms but now we’re getting down to brass tacks as it’s large scale commercial release is nearing launch phase.
The interesting thing is that while we’ve been using our knowledge at Sticky to create NLYZR as a business, we’re actually learning more from NLYZR that is helping the agency and our other clients. We’ve learned to think like a tech start-up and its been incredibly liberating.
Tech start-ups require a totally different mindset to that used in the day-to-day running of an agency, or any business for that matter. In fact, tech start-ups are radically different from other (non-tech) start-ups. But, importantly, we’re learning that the defining characteristics of a successful tech start-up can be applied to most industries to create something much more exciting.