A big future-gaze to 2020

"The Wedding at Cana", Paolo Veronese, 1562 "The Wedding at Cana", Paolo Veronese, 1562
​Ustwo founder Jules Erhardt has written the third in the series of the company's  ​State of the Digital Nation ​ tomes on what life would be like in the (near) future. It's all about agencies, clients, and the marketing sector in general, so many of you will find something in it. (And, at 69 minutes long in Medium read length terms, it's chun...
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The Internet of choice paralysis

The Internet of choice paralysis
​You can now do pretty much everything you ever wanted, and learn anything, and meet anyone, online. But does that lead to a paralysis of choice, and that scarcity invites luxury - the ability to waste time on just a few known sites? In the decade since I took that computer class, the web browser has taken over the entire computing experience. Ther...
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DJ Roomba: fun with the Internet of Things

DJ Roomba: fun with the Internet of Things
The Roomba has had a bad press ( some would say rightly ) for a while, so hacking it to bits seems like the best course of revenge... in the nicest way possible. Taking its cues from the DJ Roomba device in  ​ Parks & Recreation ,  This is a cracking, fun article: tinkering, failure, and finding fun things to do with IOT devices. ...
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Is marketing ruining the English language?

Is marketing ruining the English language? Lukabon via Wikipedia
​Calvin once said to Hobbes:  ​" Verbing weirds language " ​. What their creator, Bill Waterson, would make of the absolute nonsense that purports itself to be contemporary advertising slogan writing is a mystery. However, here's a general view: it's bullshit . Look at some of the examples in this article: Baffling slogans have become the new ...
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Back to basics

Back to basics
Anil Dash on the base technologies and services underpinning the web as we know it: At a time when millions are losing trust in the the web's biggest sites, it's worth revisiting the idea that the web was supposed to be made out of countless little sites. Here's a look at the neglected technologies that were supposed to make it possible. Anil ...
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Cambridge Analytica’s closure is a pyrrhic victory for data privacy

Alexander Nix, former CEO Web Summit, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/websummit/37576109284
Just 46 days after revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook profiles to predict and influence voters in the US election and Brexit referendum, the data analytics company has announced it will close. So too will its parent company, SCL Elections. Some may see this as a victory in the fight against covert or unacceptable me...
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Martin Sorrell leaves WPP with stormy waters ahead for the ad industry

Sea Containers House, London Gareth Kegg
The abrupt news that Martin Sorrell will step down as head of his advertising empire raises many questions for his 200,000+ staff, but also for the advertising industry as a whole. Anybody who has dealt with Sorrell (myself included) will be in no doubt of his ferocious grip on numbers, his ability to rapidly read and retain the bigger pictures eme...
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The world of the Pi-Hole ad blocker

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Pi-Hole is a network-level ad and tracking software blocker. Rather than a package such as AdBlock which sits on the client (ie the user's web browser), Pi-Hole intercepts any attempt at calling an ad from the web page back to the ad server, thus preventing an ad from being shown. It's prevention rather than cure-level. Anyway, Bloomberg has writte...
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The effects of virtual reality

The effects of virtual reality
Marco Gillies is a researcher and lecturer on virtual reality at Goldsmiths. He has written a long and considered piece on the effects of VR on children, but there's enough in there that anyone interested or involved with VR should have a read. Enter your quote here...VR has been touted as an " empathy machine " because it allows us to experience w...
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Why anger is good for advertising

Why anger is good for advertising Nathan Keirn
Jim Carroll, the former Chair at BBH, has written an excellent piece about why slogans are good for advertising, citing contemporary politics as a comparator for their effectiveness. Like any well-crafted copy, the best political slogans define how we feel about an issue; compress it into something clear, precise and strong; find fellow feeling wit...
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The shady world of Amazon reviews

The shady world of Amazon reviews Domdomegg
This should really come as no surprise to anyone, but people have been making money from a grey market which has sprouted up around writing and gaming Amazon reviews. Groups have been started where their writers take a cut from every review posted. All of this seems rather obvious and shoulder-shrugging, until one remembers that sole...
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Google wants to tidy up online election advertising

Google wants to tidy up online election advertising © Bwag/CC-BY-SA-4.0
Google has announced that it is making media buying for US political organisations much harder. The buyer will need to be a government-registered US citizen, with the ad itself containing information as to who is paying for it. There's more to come. This summer, we'll also release a new Transparency Report specifically focused on election ads. This...
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Surviving the pace of change

Surviving the pace of change
What happens to our physical, social, and cognitive load when the pace of change gets even faster? This RAND article contains the inevitable futurist crap (3D printing) alongside some cut-out-and-keep  ​Harvard Business Review ​-esque tidbits.   As we go faster and faster, the opportunities to take control are dwindling. But they're not a...
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Tim O'Reilly does some future-gazing

Tim O'Reilly does some future-gazing
​"Why simply adding an app doesn't change the game for taxis" is the subtitle of this one. Presenting a couple of weeks ago at a PWC conference, O'Reilly talks through the next steps for the networked economy, including market dominance by the incumbents (and in this case we mean Amazon, Facebook  ​et al ​). There are 95 slides, so there's ple...
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Pricing lessons from startups

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First Round Capital's Tyler Gaffney talks about B2B startup pricing, from the point of view of running a VC which has funded over 30 companies: When it comes to your first paying customers, these folks represent much more than income and validation of your early work. Each of these, Gaffney points out, is an invaluable data point. "If you're trying...
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The slow death of linear television

2873745549_315e833fee_b R Barraez d'Lucca, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/rahul3/2873745549
GroupM has launched a report entitled  ​The State of Digital 2018 ​. We'll report on its multifarious other statistics in subsequent articles but the standout one is that, globally, watching television online will surpass watching linear programming within the year GroupM also examined programmatic trends: on average across reporting countries...
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A gender decoder for job ads

This is an excellent piece of work from Kat Matfield:  Without realising it, we all use language that is subtly 'gender-coded'. Society has certain expectations of what men and women are like, and how they differ, and this seeps into the language we use. Think about "bossy" and "feisty": we almost never use these words to describe men. This li...
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Yanis Varoufakis on the state of the nation(s)

Yanis Varoufakis on the state of the nation(s) El Desperttador / Wikipedia
​There's so much in this article from Varoufakis that it's pretty much for everyone, irrespective of which sector you work in. It used to be an axiom of liberalism that freedom meant inalienable self-ownership. You were your own property. You could lease yourself to an employer for a limited period, and for a mutually agreed price, but your propert...
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Facebook: you'll never leave

Facebook: you'll never leave Iwan Gabovitch
In a very well-produced long read for  ​The Verge ​, Sarah Jeong talks about the cognitive and emotional load put upon her by even attempting to do something so simple: quit an account. In this case, however, it was Facebook, and leaving it detached her from her social circle as well as from the service itself. I experienced a severe bout...
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How Airbnb scaled 100x

How Airbnb scaled 100x Open Grid Scheduler, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/opengridscheduler/19915395410
Former Airbnb director of product Jonathan Golden has written a post on Medium on how the business scaled and experienced considerable, rapid growth. Marketplaces are notoriously hard to start, but amazing if they work. In my six years at Airbnb, I watched it scale over 100X on every metric: listings, users, revenue, employees, and, yes, sometimes ...
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