ToyotaSpace – I Don’t Like This

Toyota Blog Spam

To me this shows exactly how not to approach bloggers to get them onside. I’ve not put in a link to the site, and I don’t want one back from them. But if you do want to visit the site you can figure out the URL from the text above.

Reasons why this is bad:

1. It’s blatantly a mail merged email. And a pretty badly written one at that.
2. It addresses me as ‘crackunit’ – that’s not my name. It’s not hard to figure out my name.
3. Why would I want them to link me to my December 2006 archive?
4. It’s badly targeted. I don’t drive.

I’m guessing that they’ve just done a big search on blogs that mention Toyota (and I talked about a Toyota website, from a craft point of view, last December). What’s ‘interesting’ about this is that it shows how even a bunch of brand enthusiasts (or in this case a for-profit organisation) can muck about with perceptions of your brand.

Reverend and The Makers @ Concorde 2

Reverend and the Makers Concorde 2 Brighton July 2007

I don’t go to ‘gigs’ that much anymore. So much so that even the word ‘gig’ makes me cringe with it’s approaching-an-age-where-you-shouldn’t-be-going-to-gigs-anymore-ness. Anyway I was lucky enough to get to go and see Reverend and the Makers in Brighton last night (thanks to Toby for the ticket).

When trying to think how I’d describe them I realised how hard it must be to be a music writer. All I can think about is how they’re like mash-ups of lots of different stuff, which just shows my limited musical vocabulary.

Lead singer ‘The Reverend’ takes the poet and the rock godness of Jim Morrison and fuses it with the twitching intensity of Ian Curis, via the baggy swagger of Liam Gallagher or Ian Brown. Their sound draws from all kinds of places LCD Soundsystem-esque cowbell workouts but with the humour and wit of the Arctic Monkeys. The low slung lazy-manc-funk of the Stone Roses updated with an electro edge. Sometimes the beats are close to skittering drum and bass patterns, othertimes its more like punky ska. Street poetry morphs into the politicised bastard child of Billy Brag and one of the Daft Punk robots.

You’re probably none the wiser. So here’s the best live footage I could find (from their support slot with The Arctic Monkeys last year)…

I’m pretty sure that these guys are about to get huge – not because I’m a great predictor of trends, but because they’re awesome (plus the fact I heard them on Asda’s in-store radio on Sunday which suggests something).

Plus the (very little) kids like them:

More on MySpace.
Their own page.
Or there’s a very informative page on Wikipedia.

No Cameras!

On the bus this morning I spotted this guy taking photos of some police people pulling over a motorbike. After what looked like a brief ‘You can’t take photos here’ telling off, the policewoman started to check what the guy had been taking photos of.

In a world of public camera ubiquitousness surely this kind of things is a bit silly, after all we’re all on ‘their’ cameras everywhere we go.

police looking at cameras

So I figured I’d take a photo of her checking the photos he’d taken of her. Yoiks!

What I learned from ‘We Love Technology’

&tI promised to write some more about We Love Technology 2007, but I’m not going to write that much about the content of the talks. There are much better bloggers out there doing that kindthing.

Here’s some stuff I learned:

presenting imperfectly

You don’t have to be a brilliant presenter to present brilliantly. Julius Popp the artist who’d invented Bit.Fall was obviously hating presenting (if you’ve not seen Bit.Fall check it here), he was visibly nervous and struggling a little bit with English not being his first language. But you know what, it didn’t matter a single bit. The fact that he was struggling a little made people listen harder and more intently to what he was trying to say.

But why? In most presentations it’s not a struggle to listen, more of a struggle to stay awake.

A few things: you could feel his passion for what he was talking about, he made a story out of his journey, but most importantly he was being himself.

art

There’s something about art – I’m not going to get bogged down in defining ‘what is art’, but there was definitely a thread through the talks that smelled like art to me. I can’t describe why people making art is really compelling, it just is. I’m not even sure that it’s important whether it’s art or not. If the creator think that they’re making art as opposed to doing a job it comes across as far more passionate and potentially rewarding.

Maybe if I start to think about everything I do as being ‘art’ (in some kind of very limited form) it’ll have a profound effect on how I go about things. Or maybe I’ll just become a pretentious moron. But that’s the thing, the people who were ‘doing art’ weren’t pretentious, I was jealous of their dedication and their love of what they’re doing.

hacking

I care because I hack (or do I hack because I care?) – one theme that came up repeatedly although not always explicitly was hacking. There were people hacking old machines, hacking buildings, hacking Nintendos, hacking cells. Everywhere people were taking things and re-appropriating them in new, unintended, ways. I can’t put my finger on why this culture of hacking is so important.

From the outside you could suppose that it’s about having some kind of mastery over things (but it certainly doesn’t seem to be in a macho ‘I’m the daddy’ kind of way). But in all honesty it just seems to be that in a lot of cases it’s the most efficient and best way to just get things done. Which was a major thread through everything. All of the presenters were people who seemed to have a ‘just do it’ kind of attitude.

pointlessness

The usefulness of irrelevance – I left the day with a buzzy head. That could have been from drinking too much coffee and having been awake since 5am, but I suspect it was more to do with having lots of new information fired into my brain very quickly.

I’m guessing that lots of people would struggle to justify a trip to a conference with a line-up like this to their boss. It sort of looks like an irrelevance or a distraction. But it gave me an enthusiasm boost and taught me lots of things from very direct stuff about techniques and approaches to much softer things like what makes people compelling.

And from a very direct point of view I’ve already written a pitch that contains a big idea that I never would have had if I hadn’t been to We Love Technology. Depending on how it goes that could be my ROI proven ;-)

we love stuff

If there’s one thing that I took away it’s that loving stuff is cool. Love is a much overused word in our industry (as is cool), but when you see people who really love what they do it stands out a mile.

We Love Technologie

I’ve just spent a lovely, if rather long, day in Huddersfield at a conference called We Love Technology. It was really cool. Lots of great speakers and another event that I’ve left with a buzzy head.

I’ll write more about it later, but for now one thing I learned is that Technology looks much cooler when spelled with an ‘ie’. I also quite like mashines to be spelled that way too.

technologie

How to make unique Moo Invite Cards

MooCards

I love Moo Cards – they’re great.

But I’ve always wondered how they could be made more ‘useful’. This blog post on how Adegga.com managed to print unique invite codes on a bunch of cards shows how, with a tiny bit of imagination you can use bits of technology to hack together all kinds of things. And this is one even I can understand!

How to make unique Moo Invite Cards

(Plus it uses the concatenate function in spreadsheets which is personally my favourite function)