I Can’t Watch…

This is me presenting “10 Reasons Why Digital is ‘Better’ than Advertising” at the PSFK conference in London. I can’t even bear to hear recordings of my own voice so there’s no way that I’m going to be able to watch this… (I tried watching a few seconds from the middle and I’m absolutely certain that it isn’t me up there).

Especially after I’ve just had this email from Jim:

Hi Iain,

Couldn’t sleep last night and somehow found myself watching your 10 reasons vid on pfsk – you’ll be pleased to know it did the trick and I dropped straight off ;)



I’m going to call him ‘Mean Jim’ from now on.

Bike Rescue – Business Genius


In stark contrast to the Rail Network’s shunning of cyclists. London based Climatecars do something really great that recognises that cyclists sometimes need help getting places. Maybe you’ve got a puncture, or maybe it’s just raining really hard and you want to give up (like that’s going to happen)?

Here’s what they say:

climatecars text

And of course they do a nice line in eco-taxi services too (hybrid cars plus carbon offset type things).

These dudes are going on my list of ‘companies I like’. Visit them and love them.

Via: Springwise

Trains and Bikes

moronic rail idiots

Inside the brain of a rail company…

Right, there’s this massive cycle ride from London to Brighton, we’ve known about it for ages, it happens every year. What should we do about it?

Hmmm… Loads of cyclists are going to ride a long way from one place to another. When they get there they’ll be really tired and won’t really want to cycle back. Shall we put a special trains to support them in their charitable cause? Perhaps we could try and create some goodwill from cycllists, who by their very nature have made a lifestyle choice that shows they’re not alpha-motorists.

We could still charge them for it so we wouldn’t lose money.

Nah, sod it. Let’s not bother. Let’s just ban them all from the rail network. That’ll make our lives easier. They can get someone to come and pick them up in the car.

Trains should be so good. But they’re just not.

PSFK Today

psfkI’m enjoying the PSFK conference in London right now.

I just did my talk about 10 Reasons Why Digital Is Better Than Advertising. But you’ll all be bored sick of that by now. It was quite nerve racking. But I got through it.

Hugh MacLeod just did a really great talk about his Stormhoek adventures. Really inspiring. And a proper manifestation of some of the stuff in the Cluetrain Manifesto (one of my favourite books).

The rest of the day has been great too. A real inspiration.

Noise Map – A Great Idea Terribly Done

Noise Map

If I told you there’s a site where you can find out where to get a bit of peace and quiet in London, you might think “What a nice idea”. And it is.

I was dead excited when I read about Noisemapping.org. A government department, DEFRA, have put together the site (granted it’s a few years old, but I’d not seen it till just now). You can enter a postcode or streetname and see where the noise hotspots / coolspots are. So far so good, still excited…

But then you get there. The search is bad. The navigation is bad. The visualisation is bad.

Such a shame. Would be a really nice thing to do with Google Maps. Anyone work with/for a brand that should be sponsoring peace and quiet in London?

Rail Replacement Replacement

I stayed in London with friends on Friday night and tried to get the train back home to Brighton on Saturday. I knew there were ‘engineering works’ which meant that I’d have to brave the ‘rail replacement services’ (a euphemism for a massive scrum in some car park to get on a few 1950s style double decker buses) which filled me with a little dread.

It was all roughly OK until 1/2 way down the A23. We heard a massive bang and the bus started wobbling. Not particularly a nice feeling when you’re on the top deck. Anyway the bus pulls over and everyone gets off. Suspension was knackered.

We end up waiting by the side of the road for over an hour for a replacement bus to turn up.

Not exactly my best story ever I grant you. But I’ve not got to the point yet. I’m not commenting on buses or trains or breakdowns. My point is about what a huge amount of absolute morons there are driving on Britain’s roads.

Standing on the verge by a broken down bus makes you an attraction for sight-seers. I’ve never known what it feels like to have people rubber-necking at you. It’s just a bit odd really. I don’t begrudge people for being inquisitive, I know I’d be the same normally.

But the people I’m moaning about are the ones who felt compelled to shout humorous, witty, insightful and occasionally helpful comments from the windows of their cars, vans, lorries and buses. Or, when their vehicles were sealed tight, manged to communicate using gestures and signals. Here’s just a few of my favourites:

  • “Gutted!” from a generic wag-a-like in a hen-do minibus, her hair extensions blowing like a flammable nylon mane in the wind
  • “Want a lift” from a classic white van man as he sped by with little to suggest his offer was sincere
  • A poorly executed 1/2 moon from a bunch of teenagers in a convertible Mini that was clearly borrowed from one of their suburban mums (the Mini not the moonie)
  • AAAAAaaaaaaagh” from more than a few people who kindly felt that their expressions of sympathy were better without words in case anyone on the bus had limited English

It made me realise just how rife Schadenfreude is, and how much people seem to get out of it. I’d wrongly assumed that it was just famous people with loads of money that people get a kick out of seeing having a bad time. But no, it’s ordinary people standing next to a broken down bus too.


This is the second time I’ve said I don’t want to blog about what I had for breakfast. But in a roundabout way I’m doing it again…

This morning I stopped at a little stand called MOMA at London Bridge (I have to admit the first time I saw their sign I did a double take as I thought they were advertising MDMA which wouldn’t be usual commuter fodder at 8am).

They sell healthy breakfast things. Oaty-Yoghurty things as well as dried fruits and that kind of stuff. All looks very nice, and like a worthy way to start my day. So for the first time today I bought one. And here’s how the interaction went:

me: what’s that, and what’s that
stallholder: explains…
me: ok, I’ll have one
stallholder: puts pot in bag and pops in a little card, says: “hope you enjoy it, will you email us and let us know what you think

Here’s the card:

moma card

And you know what. I will email them and let them know what I thought. And not only that, I’ll write it on my blog too:

Really tasty. I feel satisfied but not over-full. And I’ll definitely go back for me.

And yes, lots of companies say: “tell us what you think”. But how often does someone actually ask you face to face to email them about whether you like something or not. Big companies with big customer service budgets (and marketing budgets for that matter) could learn a thing from a little stall inside a station.

You can find out more about them at: http://www.momafoods.co.uk

Evil Recruiters

Not all recruiters are evil, but lots of them are. In my inbox today I’ve got 3 unsolicited candidates from cold-mailing (i.e. spamming) recruiters. This is bad. And it’s unfortunate for the candidates as I’m not even going to look at them, and they could be great.

But this is the just the tip of the iceberg of recruiter badness…

There is one recruiter who I like: Eleanor went out and set up her own recruitment company Roome Consulting. We’d worked with her for a while at her previous place and she’d always been really good. She’d never pushed anyone to come and see us. And never told anyone (including us) fibs or even white lies about people or places. And over time she’s learned the kind of people that we like and she ‘gets’ the culture of Poke. Anyway that’s enough of an advert (disclosure: I may get a packet of peanuts and half a lager for this placement).

Anyway, Eleanor has had a bit of trouble recently and asked me what she could do about it. I’ve got no idea apart from things which are really bad and spiteful, which isn’t really the right course of action.

Her problem is this: She’s been writing nice recruitment ads (for Poke and other people) and a rival recruiter (who shall remain nameless) have been ripping off her ads almost wholesale and reposting them. Then going to her clients and trying to flog them the applicants. This strikes me as low, even for recruiters!

Example. Her original ad starts:

PROBABLY THE BEST ROLE OF 2007……… It may sound like just another SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR ROLE in just another digital agency in London but WOW what a role, what an account and HOLY MOLY what an agency.

Their rip-off…

DEFINITELY THE BEST ROLE OF 2007..It may sound like just another senior designer role in just another digital agency in London but WOW what a role, what people and HOLY MOLY what an agency.

Anyone got any thoughts as to what she could do? Apart from change profession?