Taking the leap of faith and joining Dare..

So there you go, I’ve said what I wanted to say for a reasonably long time now, I’m joining Dare. For anyone that knows me, a secret like that is hard to keep. As the ever wise Tom Fishburne shows above, we don’t always know entirely what we’re letting ourselves in for but isn’t that exciting. There’s obviously the fear of the unknown, the change of surroundings and the new people, but leaps of faith have to be taken to move forward, to better myself, to keep me on my toes and to take myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve had a fantastic time with my boss @pbizzle, so this was a tough decision but nonetheless the decision has been made.

Tom describes the image like so:

Most careers are not rung-by-rung linear paths. Instead, they involve a series of flying leaps, not knowing whether those leaps will take you up, down, or sideways. Or if you’ll miss the trapeze altogether. Or if there’s even a net.
It takes courage to take each leap. And patience when you’re not headed the direction you’d like.It takes courage to take each leap.
Thinking about your career in purely a linear way focuses you on all the wrong things and blinds you to the actual experiences along the way. Worst of all, it can make you risk-adverse.

It’s much easier to stand still and be happy where you are and doing what you’re doing. Hey, I am happy where I am and doing what I’m doing. But i’ve always wanted to be constantly developing, being adaptable, taking risks, moving onwards and upwards and making my own destiny. And I guess you only do that by taking leaps of faith.

Risks sometimes don’t pay off. That’s why they are risks.

‘To expose to a chance of loss or damage; hazard’

Here’s one example: The first ‘proper’ job out of Uni that I took didn’t work out. I naively accepted it while I was still at Uni thinking I was clever not to have to worry about months of job hunting. In hindsight I didn’t give myself the time to appraise whether it was the right thing to do. I had a week time difference from finishing Uni to starting work. Within months of starting I was desperately unhappy and found myself questioning what it was I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. I’d studied a Marketing degree for 4 years at University which lent itself to the job I was in, within the Marketing team of a large retailer, where I was told that jobs didn’t exist to do with social media. I disagreed. When 4 months later I had quit, I wondered if what I’d studied for my degree was completely useless. Of course it wasn’t but at the time I thought differently.

Licking my wounds I moved to London without a job, just before the economy imploded.  Everyone asked me what I was smoking. My parents said I needed to stick at it. But I knew it wasn’t right. It didn’t *feel* right. So I trusted my instinct and took a risk. To thrust myself in to uncertainty in the country’s capital. Even though the job didn’t work out, the life lessons it taught me were invaluable and accelerated my thought processes to get me to where I am now, I firmly believe that.

After a short and highly enjoyable stint at Splendid, working with some inspirational people, I joined the fold at Consolidated PR where I’ve been involved with some brilliant projects, which Paul mentions here in the inaugural company blog post over at Thatsgreatand.com

I’ll paraphrase the post:

In the last twelve months we’ve set up our digital and social media stall here in the Covent Garden office, commenced an agency-wide social media education and training programme and started integrating social media activity into project and retained campaigns for clients in both London and Edinburgh.  In this short space of time we’ve delivered digital and social media work for a whole range of brands and organisations – MTV, several parts of the Scottish Government, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, learndirect and Mishcon de Reya just to name a few.  On top of that we’ve got lots more exciting work on the boil with a number of other clients, and an appetite for more in 2010.

So as is evident, in a year we’ve made great progress.

However, I’ve always held a great curiosity and interest in adland. Paul gave me stick for having a subscription to Campaign magazine. But I always felt at some point I’d move in to it. Don’t ask me why, it was just one of those fate type things I felt would happen. Which leads me wonderfully to my next leap of faith. Dare, the digital agency of the decade.

I’m excited about the new challenge, settling in to the role of Social Media Planner and mixing it up with the web trendies.

Let’s hope it’s an upwards leap on the career trapeze. Wish me luck!

Jan Chipchase: Nine Trends Shaping the Future of Social Interaction

Reposted from janchipchase.com

The following notes accompany a presentation titled Future Social to the 2008 LIFT Asia conference and relates to this post. The slides can be downloaded from here 3MB

Watch a video of the talk Nine Trends Shaping the Future of Social Interaction

You’re tired, you’re looking for somewhere to sit and rest a while and you come across the space pictured below. What can you do here? Can you have a phone conversation? Could you take out a laptop? Do you think it’s OK to smoke here? If it’s hot – can you take your shirt off? What kind of services does this space support? Is it the kind of place where it’s OK to talk with a stranger?

Tokyo, 2007

What about this person? If you were sitting there how might his presence affect you? And you decision about whether to stay in this space?

But what if you knew more about him? What if you knew that he has very few friends? Or that he got top marks at a very prestigious university? That he has a poor credit history?

How does your perception of this space change depending on what he’s doing? What if you knew he’s a medical student and he’s revising for his final exams? He’s want to be a heart surgeon… and set up a charity to treat kids… whose parents can’t afford treatment. Or actually watching a adult movie? Or that he’s tracking the final stages of an auction on eBay? Or that right now he’s writing nasty comments about you on the LIFT conference web site? Or more likely that he’s multi-tasking and doing all of these things at the same time

As you’re standing there deciding what to do next – how would your decision making process change if you knew he was going to be there for another 4 hours? Or that he’ll be done in the next five minutes?

Tokyo, 2008

The rest of the presentation details nine trends that frame how to consider this design space:

  1. The first is that ever more of life is pocketable – that you will increasingly be able to carry the tools you use to communicate, entertain, that help you understand where you are, what you want to do next – the very stuff of life in other words. As soon as things become pocketable they end being carried and used in a wide variety of contexts. Within what time frame does what stuff become pocketable? How does allow new ways to connect, to what and whom? And what services can they access?
  2. With the exception of pure play socially driven services it will always be easier to design something for sole use rather than shared use. Even if sharing an experience through one device is preferred there will be numerous situations where people will end up having serial solitary experiences – being together in the same space, doing the same thing but experienced through different devices.A simple example of this is the way that Japanese mobile phone users add privacy filters to their screen – not only does it make shoulder surfing on the Tokyo subway impractical – it makes it more difficult for two people to watch the same movie. Yes there are exceptions to this – notably when it is desirable to save battery life or when sharing is as simple and delightfully close as sharing headphones.
  3. That so much more of what we carry is or will be connected – with people, services, the infrastructure around us and other objects we carry. Connected things talk – so what they will talk about? Currently the big shift in this space is whether and how we share location and other rich contextual information, with whom, and with what level of granularity?
  4. Whilst sharing music, video, intimate details is both inherently human and mostly positive – we have to recognise that when the default is to share then it creates significant social pressure on those that prefer not to since the question of opting out of adopting a technology becomes one whether to opt out of society. You can see it today with late adopters who are pressured by relatives or their employer’s into carrying a mobile phone, but the same applies to any mainstream connected technology.
  5. The connectivity, infrastructure and increasing sophistication of online services enables us to reduce the time between asking the question and having the answer and at some point we’ll have access to automated and real time associations of people, what they do, their history, and based hundreds of millions of lifetime’s worth of data sets a prediction of what they are going to do next. Of course not just want they want you to know, but all the other stuff that leaks around the edges.
  6. Technology is being adopted at a younger age by kids who don’t’ share your sense of the right or wrong way to use something. How quickly will your technological and social literacy become niche? How long before you are effectively illiterate?
  7. That the boundaries such as personal and work life that still exist today will continue to erode. For all our intent to maintain these boundaries the discipline it requires is usually overridden by convenience and to some extent social pressures. The photos show a commuter in on the outskirts of Cleveland answering work emails on the way to the office, and during a study in Iran a participant told us about how whilst women need to wear a headscarf in public – there was a significant leakage in that photos were taken in private without headscarf say on a camera phone and that these were then being handed around amongst friends – consequently eroding social norms.
  8. That the speed of technological change will continue to increase and that for some services the lifetime will be measured in days or hours.
  9. That pocketable is just a nano-sized stepping stone to becoming invisible – invisible not in the sense of the designer’s nirvana of a seamless experience, but simply that its technically possible to make objects that are too small or hidden for other’s to see. And that with this – the emphasis on social cues and how we plan to use them becomes even more important.

Related research here.

Digital Visions: Ten Ideas for the New Decade

In the video below I outline the big themes in the paper. My full introduction follows.

# # #

During the last decade, we’ve seen social and digital media move from being purely the domain of tech-savvy types into a mainstream phenomenon. All you need to do is consider one statistic: Twitter was mentioned on television nearly 20,000 times in 2009, according to SnapStream. As a result, companies are investing in it and – slowly – seeing results.

Given the hype, much attention has turned to guessing what will become “the next Twitter.” It’s ample fodder for tech and marketing pundits, the media and clients – especially at the beginning of a new year and a new decade.
However, in many ways this is the wrong question to ask. Where once it was hard to sleuth out emerging platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook before they grew, now they just seem to surface out of nowhere. You’ll know the next Twitter when you see it.
The bigger opportunity for clients, we believe, is to identify the global societal and technological trends that are reshaping how we think, act and buy – and to pivot into them early. Trends today tend to develop more slowly and are harder to see, allowing clients to take a more thoughtful, thorough and systematic approach.
In the following pages you will find 10 essays on such trends written by some of the smartest thinkers in digital marketing. These ideas, when looked at together, reveal four key themes:
  • The shift to digital technologies by both consumers and marketers is now global and pervasive across all aspects of our life and growing daily.
  • Our engagement with each other is migrating rapidly from computer to handset.
  • Companies (and organized interests) are just beginning to wake up to the engagement imperative – and how to fund and develop it over time.
  • And finally, the future is about carefully using the data people generate to make smarter decisions, while adhering to concerns over privacy.
We hope you enjoy our 10 ideas for the new decade. We welcome you to challenge us on our thinking. After all, that’s the only way we can grow.

The 5 types of social currency by @stevesponder

2009-12-08_1716

The social web has created a hyper-word-of-mouth platform that has tipped the balance of power away from brands. As a result, brands are now beginning to realise that engagement is the new communications. In order for a brand to achieve engagement with its stakeholders, it needs to consider the value that their content will deliver, or to frame it from the recipients perspective – what’s in it for me.
If the content has high value then not only will the recipient be more likely to engage with it, but they will be more likely to engage in conversation with the brand, compelling them to pass-along the content to their friends because it has social currency.
I have identified 5 core types of social currency value; Useful, Entertainment, Monetary, Information and Personal.

Before giving some explanation and examples for each area, it is worth pointing out that they are all channel agnostic, so for example ‘events’ are particularly suited for entertainment. In fact, an event like Barcardi’s B-Live can in itself provide a rich stream of social currency for the digital channel e.g. twitter announcements, flickr photostreams and YouTube channels.
1) Useful value is more commonly referred to as brand utilities, so although Nike+ is held up as the ‘daddy’ of brand utilities, there are also a huge numbers of mobile apps that would qualify for this category.
2) Entertainment value is more commonly referred to as branded entertainment and it’s interesting to note that typically this is the approach that an ad campaign concept would take. The ultimate proof of social currency is when your content is being remix ed and parodied, as happened with the Cadbury’s gorilla campaign.
3) Monetary value is the social equivalent of the conventional sales promotion or PR activity. So it could be a simple voucher like the infamous Threshers’ discount voucher or a competition run in conjunction with an influential blogger.
4) Information value, in the form of knowledge and thought leadership, can be produced in various formats e.g. video interviews, slideshare presentations and blog posts (like this one ;). More superficial forms of information, like gossip and conspiracy, can also be adopted.
5) Personal value is a particularly interesting currency, as it often provides social currency that is extremely compelling. The global success of reality TV shows, such as Big Brother, and the talent shows such as Pop Idol and X-Factor demonstrate the importance of fame.
As the above Venn diagram suggests, there are opportunities to blend various currencies together and if done correctly, produce in a more potent piece of currency. An example of this would be a game (entertainment) which has a leaderboard (fame).
It is possible to capitalise on social currency that has already gained momentum by adopting the concept in your campaign – maybe we should call this meme-riding? T-mobile did this very successfully when they rode the flash-mobbing meme with their ‘Dance’ campaign.
Key to successfully producing high-value social currency is setting out with the right mind-set at the planning stage and get the right multi-disciplined team together to work on the social currency idea.

Brilliant venn diagram and equally great write up by Steve Sponder.