Monthly Archives: December 2006

Chinwag Live is people plus…

When a few weeks back I stumbled [via Hugh] across this quote lifted from a post by entrepreneur and VC Joi Ito, a whole lot of things started to fall into place:

“I personally think that people are trying to build Bubble 2.0 on top of Web 2.0. Instead of becoming a platform for the future of the Web, it’s possible that Web 2.0 is becoming the platform for the short-term future of greedy people. However, I do think that it is important to understand that the recent success and surge in innovation on the Web is due to a semi-new set of principles. Part of the principles are a return to fundamental principles. The innovation on the Web and the Internet is driven by what David Weinberger has called “Small Pieces Loosely Joined” – a network created by small groups working together around open standards. It is and was a community of people and projects trying to connect to each other.”

I saw Joi speak earlier this year at a SXSW Interactive panel on ‘Commons Based Business Models’, and his thoughts there and in this recent post all underlined for me one of the non-frothy aspects of recent “Web 2.0” developments – yes, the “people” bit that some still like to scoff at.

However, another response to the “people power” side of recent web innovations is the charge that this is mere techno-utopianism.

Social utility comes up trumps

But the view that technology is the answer isn’t what leaps out at me when I use and think about some of the best services around today: Flickr, eBay, Craigslist to name just three.

Rather it’s the view that if anything – technology, design, transport, prices, street lights, mobile phones, paths through the forest – makes it easier to connect, collaborate and trade more intelligently and efficiently with other people, all the evidence is saying quite clearly that I will likely use that thing and that seems to cause me to connect more with other folks, in various beneficial or useful types of transactions.

Plugging into “people plus”

This is one of the real, sustainable aspects of “Web 2.0”. APIs and web services are a prime example – they are just tools to help us connect data, ideas, needs and intentions together. Obvious perhaps, but in need of re-stating.

Want to take issue with this view personally or discuss it in more detail? Come along to the first Chinwag Live session on 6th February where speakers from Zopa, Skinkers, Carson Systems and the redoubtable Mr Butcher (also here) will be chewing over the questions raised by what we’ve termed ‘Wobble 2.0’.

When Web 2.0 collides with Bubble 2.0 what’s the result? Join us at Chinwag Live, and let’s band together to start working it out…

More details and bookings are here:

We’re also on Upcoming:

[NB. I’m moderating comments over the holidays from this evening. So please login if you want to comment. Thanks.]


Identity in question

My digital identity is on the line.

Well, it’s always been on pretty shaky ground, but it’s never plain sailing with this pesky blogging business is it? 😉

I can’t keep calling it ‘Beers & Innovation’ because although along with the help and support of Tom, James, Ingrid, Nick, Zoe and a bunch of other people I’ve been developing and running the B&I event, I’m not any more, and the blog is starting to feel like an odd space.

Innovation Eye seems like an overly grand claim as a title. If only I *was* paid to sit around and anaylse stuff and be mega-insightful…

… sorry, I drifted right off there.

Driving home the identiy crisis, blogger and author supreme Mr Delaney is taking up full-time Editorial duties at NMK  (congrats Ian!) so he’ll be one of the brand new trio hopefully taking the Beers & Innovation events (along with the ton of other events, courses and conferences that NMK do) forward in future as well as working wonders with the website (it really needs a miracle and I think Ian could be just the man) 🙂

Another thing is, I’m going to have another blog soon, on the soon-to-be relaunched Chinwag website. Cripes! It really is time to call in the cloning brigade…

So I’m not sure who I am anymore or what to do here… Any thoughts, crushing put-downs, related trivia..? I’ll mull it over during the festive period.

Tidings etc x

SXSW notes: What People Are Really Doing On The Web

This session at SXSW Interactive on Monday 13th March 2006 attracted an audience of over 200 to the main auditorium.

The big hitters of web stats and consumer / user analysis were there on stage, and there were a few nuggets amongst the factoids pumped out, but overall the session felt a little tame and the insights sparse. Guess that’s what happens when you parachute your stats and trend mavens into a conference of innovators  😉

Holland Hofma Brown (Harris International)
Dr Michelle Madansky (Yahoo! Inc)
Max Kalehoff (Nielsen Buzz Metrics – also own Blogpulse)
CHAIR: Joel Greenberg (GSD&M)

Establishing the types of market research deployed, Holland Hofma Brown of Harris International cited asking people, and “lead user theory” (Professor Eric Von Hippel, MIT ‘Democratizing Innovation’) as the primary methodologies (eg. power bars; Camelback; RSS usage). The lead users are solving the problems so look at them.

Hofma Brown of Harris International polled over 2,300 respondents between 16/2/06 and 23/2/06. Over a third would rather email a friend than call them on the phone he revealed; 55% won’t buy a product without first checking prices and researching online. Still, we’re not sure we trust the internet.

Catching the blog bug

How do we use the internet to connect to others? 10% of respondents had posted to blogs (contrast with 60% of SXSW attendees who were posting to blogs). Who is reading blogs? 54%/46% men to women. Young males dominate blog readership.

How many blogs are they reading? 61% have cited 1-4 blogs in the last year. Why do people read blogs? For most part it’s a passive activity.

What kinds of blogs are people reading? Personal diaries top the charts with 45% (compared to the SXSW audience, 70% of whom read tech blogs). What makes for a good blog? The way a blog looks is less important than what the writer has to say. Who is writing? Men and women bloggers are now equal in that respect.

The connected populace: US vs UK

We’re using the internet to connect and stay in touch with others. So what aren’t consumers doing online, asked Michel Madansky. Yahoo! Get 2 terrabytes of data a day, she explained, citing the ‘Truly, Madly Deeply Engaged Global Youth, Media & Technologies‘ report ( – all studies are posted there).

Computer – US 86% UK – 92%

Mobile – US 72% – UK – 97 %

MP3 – US 28% – UK – 63%

Email – US 68 % – UK – 86% (at least once a day)

IM – US – 49% UK – 63%

Search – US – 45% UK – 66%

Blogging – US – 17% UK– 20%

Texting – US – 49% UK – 95%

Games – US – 49% UK – 68%

Photos – US – ?? – UK– 75%

Search, peer recommendation and beyond…

Music, sex, shopping, others are the top searches in order of user preference. Search terms are consistent over time, Madansky explained, with MySpace (number 2 term), Limewire and Facebook being the big new entries. Music is the biggest search area for teenagers. Madansky also noted upcoming new arrivals podcast ( and Yahoo Answers (social search).

Max Kalehoff explained that Nielsen Buzz Metrics help marketers by analysing consumer generated media. Underlying factors he highlighted – media fragmentation, the erosion of trust in traditional institutional information sources, and the rise of interactive media, democratized publishing and social networks.

Consumer generated media upends marketing’s worldview

We’re moving into a phase of consumer generated multimedia – blogs, vlogs, podcasts, etc. Peer recommendation and consumer generated multimedia are by far the biggest referral source. Consumers (92%) now say they prefer or rely on word of mouth, they trust fellow buyers before they do other marketers.

The culture of information seekers and speakers, for example IAMs on Google two days ago – the third and fourth results were serious consumer critiques of IAMs. A new washing machine manufacturer looked at consumer evangelists. Surprisingly, 49% were men when 99% of their marketing had been aimed at women. Marketing programs that amplify word of mouth buzz can also be incorporated into sponsorships and event demos, he added.

Mistrust of UGC in the educational sphere

Kalehoff said we could look up his blog at and the Nielsen SXSW 2006 surveys at ( He also noted the issue of lack of trust in consumer generated media (CGM) as regards to academia and how to counteract it. Edelman PR did a trust barometer study [PDF].

Michelle Madansky was asked how Yahoo use their research in the innovation process. She replied that they have a piece of software called ‘The Idea Factory’ that anyone in the company can input to – new ideas to improve current products. They have also used research to develop the Yahoo Podcast beta.

Kalehoff observed that the food industry is currently being more impacted than any other by consumer power and CGM.

Trends to look out for

What’s the difference between a snapshot and a trend another audience member asked. Brown of Harris International responded that we should watch what the 12-21 year olds are doing.

What’s coming next trend-wise as indicated by the panel’s data another delegate asked. Buzz Metrics said we’re reaching a tipping point from an era where most content was produced by corporates to a point where the majority is produced by ourselves. As search spreads and becomes more advanced this will only increase, so it’s more of a discovery process. Proliferation of multimedia is another trend.

Madansky replied that “my media” is the next big thing as consumers are in control with TIVO etc. Cellphones are becoming more important she continued, with media moving across every device. The social web was an important trend, as the sterility of being served up with yet more questions becomes more acute, and Yahoo Answers was one of the answers to this, she reckoned.

Kalehoff noted that one of the emerging trends in the Web 2.0 space was that there are so many companies doing each thing that a lot of them won’t be around in 5 years.

All SXSW Interactive 2006 panels:

My other SXSW Interactive 2006 session write ups:

SXSW notes: What’s In A Title?

SXSW notes:  Beyond Folksonomies – Knitting Tag Clouds For Grandma

SXSW notes: Book Digitisation & The Revenge Of The Librarians

SXSW notes: James Surowiecki on The Wisdom Of Crowds

SXSW notes: Running Your New Media Business

SXSW notes: The Perfect Pitch

Next Beers & Innovation on agency innovation

A bit late to the party this time*, but thought I should let folks know that there’s only a handful of tickets left for Beers & Innovation 7 on 30th January.

And you know what that means… That unless you go and book pronto it’ll be sold out, in a day or so I reckon.

The event returns to the original point made in Tom Coates’ July 2005 post where he contrasted the (then) feeble indigenous start-up culture with the UK’s large and sophisticated advertising and marketing industry.

Beyond sparkly websites and illusory campaigns…

In turn, while Tom rated the British as (perhaps) the best in the world at this lark, he was none too enthusiastic about what they produced:

“The web industry over here is dominated by advertising and marketing because London is dominated by advertising and marketing…

On the web, some of the work is absolutely stunning – but it’s all bloody agency stuff – support sites, brochureware, Flash. There’s money all around the place to make things, but still such boring stuff gets made. It’s all just another shiny thing on a conveyer belt already groaning under the weight of shiny things – an environment where the only way to innovate is to get shinier and more illusory, rather than more useful.

All this work is churned out by the ton by great people (and not so great people) hired by marketeers – because apparently there is no one else out there who will harness them to make neat new things that the world could use.”

Innovation bug comes full circle

So coming full circle, what is the current state of innovation in the advertising and marketing sector?

To answer these questions, explore the nature of innovation in this field and discuss how they work with brands we have Managing Partner of Ogilvy One, London John M Baker, Creative Director of Poke (and Hulger founder) Nicolas Roope and Jamie Riddell, the Co-Founder and Head of Innovation at Cheeze.

[NB: Some users of Firefox have been experiencing problems with the NMK online booking system, so I would recommend using the Explorer browser when booking, thanks!].

Book your tickets here.

[* Apologies for the late posting on this but I was waiting until the chair was confirmed before blogging it. This still hasn’t happened and tickets sales have been brisk so I thought better late than never! I sorted the bulk of this event before I finished at NMK in October, but it’s been out of my hands since then.]