Five things on Friday [on Saturday] #125

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 22nd, 2015.


This isn’t a thing to be a big enough thing on its own but I’m super interested in what Hillary Clinton is doing with her Twitter account in the run up to the Presidential election.

Worth keeping an eye on.

OK, shall we?



So yeah, I saw MAD MAX: FURY ROAD this week (Thursday) at the IMAX (obvs) in 3d (natch) and it was pretty awe-inspiring. Admittedly it should be called MAD MAX: FURIOSA ROAD or even just ‘FURIOSA: THE ONE WHERE SHE MEETS MAD MAX’.

But whatever. The film is EXCELLENT. The cast is fantastic. And the visual spectacle of it all truly is something to behold.

See it big. See it loud.

A true wonder.

After a short hiatus at the end of 2014 and a time-zone enforced attempt at publishing monthly, the five-star rated mobile tech news podcast, The Voicemail, returns to its usual ’30mins, weekly’ schedule this weekend.

If you like a) mobile tech, b) the sound of my voice, or c) listening to two mates chew the cud about one of their favourite topics; then The Voicemail is for you.

And if you’re not a mobile tech head but know someone that is, be a darl and pass it on x



Know who this man is? (sit down at the back, Rocky Horror fans) Or what the little thing in his hand stands for/means? No? Then where the hell were you during the 90s?!

If however, the the very sight of this man makes you think of the phrase ‘START THE FANS PLEASE!’ then you’ll understand just how important this awesome piece of reporting from Buzzfeed truly is.

Entitled ‘The Inside Story Of “The Crystal Maze”, The Most Epic Game Show Ever Made’ this piece is a great read for anyone who literally raced home from school to catch the utter randomness on their TVs that was The Crystal Maze.

crystal f

This quote, from Richard O’Brien himself, is wonderful:

“On the first series we had five cameras, two outside the cells and three looking at the game. And the producers weren’t watching the ones outside because they were too busy seeing how the game was playing out. One of the camera operators outside said, “What are we supposed to do, Richard, are we supposed to shoot the backs of their heads?” And I said, “No, no, come over here.”

I just started talking into the camera, about anything. I was just trying to make the cameraman laugh and as soon as I saw the camera shaking on his shoulders I’d look back at the clock and say, “OK, half a minute to go.”

They didn’t know they had any of these asides until they came to edit the series together, and once they did, they realised how that worked – a quick cutaway of me saying, “They’ll never manage this”, or I’d pull out the harmonica, and unknowingly it added a complicity between me and the audience at home because I was looking straight into the camera. I never did it when the contestants were there, only when their backs were turned.”

Go read the whole thing.

This post, by my friend and colleague, Daniela Badalan, is a write up on the accuracy of self-reported data vs third party.

So how do you test social data accuracy and how do you decide if third party data might be a better choice to reach your audience across a social platform?

To answer those questions, we’ve done a little test of our own at Social@Neo recently to analyse the accuracy of employment data specifically – as offered by LinkedIn vs. Facebook, against a known data set.

When Daniela told me she was working on this research I was really excited (as the process and the findings are really interesting) and I said ‘You have to blog this!’ and Daniela has. So hurrah and hurrah again.

To me this is the first scratch on a much broader itch of research that could be triggered across our entire group both at a regional and global level.

Check out the methodology and findings yourself, I’m sure Daniela would love to hear from you.


story influence

The headline above is taken from a piece that appeared on Vox earlier this week. We’ll come onto the specifics of the article shortly but reading it prompted me to return to a broader theme that I’ve been noodling on for a little while now; that of the influence of real world events (and the subsequent hopes and fears they bring about) on both the story telling industry (read: ‘Hollywood’) and moreover, popular culture as a whole.

After watching TRANSCENDENCE, EX_MACHINA, and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON in the space of about a month, I read up on artificial intelligence (see more at item three back in FTOF #112) and, while ‘killer robots come to earth/get invented by man and then attempt to destroy the world’ isn’t exactly a new trope, the prevalence of the theme on today’s science [near]-fiction cannot be ignored.

So it was with great interest that I ‘discovered’ the article in the above image. Analysing everything from Sam Raimi’s 9/11 adjusted original SPIDER-MAN through to the destructo-porn of MAN OF STEEL, it is a well-constructed critique of our recent obsession with the superhero genre and overall probably the best thing I’ve read this week.


Bonuses are all in the medium of Medium -


Whatley out.



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Five things on Friday #124

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 15th, 2015.

the things - put them in your eye-holes

Why not read these things while listening to Sia cover California Dreamin’?

Great stuff.

Shall we?

It’s been Digital Shoreditch (#DS15) this week and as part of the (hugely successful) Ogilvy sponsorship, each of the digital heads in the Ogilvy group was tasked with submitting a talk that could possibly be given at said event. Lucky for me (and you?), mine made the cut.


The talk was entitled ‘Seriously, what now?‘ and it was pitched as a bit of a reality-check-cum-rant on the state of social trends in the industry today.

Watch the video (around 14mins of silliness) or read the slides (65 thereof), and maybe let me know what you think?


Here’s a double whammy of interestingness from Life Hacker. Click it, open it, bookmark it for later.

It could prove useful one day.


No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky is set to be a very exciting game indeed. Using a mixture of old and new coding techniques, a small team from Guildford has [very nearly] created a virtual world of an unbelievable size.

Even if you’re not into gaming, this New Yorker report, entitled ‘World Without End‘, is a fantastic read.



I read this great article earlier this week (thanks JG) and it reminded me a lot of the social media ‘industry’ back in the late noughties. As the article goes:




Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film has a proper trailer and everything now and it looks ACE.

That is all.


Your bonuses this week are as follows:

  • Museum nights are on tonight and tomorrow night all across the UK. If you’re free, you should go. They’ll be back in October too. Check it.
  • I wrote an article for The Drum (also part of the Digital Shoreditch festivities) about the state of social content in 2015 (consider it a companion piece of the talk at the top – I’d love to know what you think).
  • The Guardian asked me for 700 words on Net-a-Porter’s new social commerce platform, ‘The Net Set’. I gave them 708.
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Five things on Friday [on Saturday] #123

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 8th, 2015.


I don’t like to apologise too much for this update going out late. The fairly loose ‘terms of service‘ do say that it’ll sometimes arrive late so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve been travelling this week and genuinely got my dates mixed up. In fact, this week in general has been fairly epic. As I write this [in my moleskine] to you now, I’m somewhere over the Atlantic on my way home. I’ve just left Boston where I’ve been for some amazing work-based things and, well, aside from a minor brush with a dangerous health issue (all is fine now), this week has been ridiculously positive.

If you know me well enough, you’ll know that positivity is my thing. My blog is called ‘My Happy Place’ for a reason, y’know; I am a terminal optimist.


I mean, when you see a BACON TRUCK, how can life not be amazing? :)

Right then, shall?



Carl Sagan once envisioned a universe where humans travelled through it in massive super-amazing solar-powered spaceships. In just over two weeks from now, a company known as The Planetary Society (co-founded by Sagan himself) has scheduled the first test flight of such a vehicle.

This is nothing short of amazing.

Baby steps forward.

But forward we go.

AKA: Live-Streaming vs [live] Sports events.

Stephanie Wei is the brains (and words) behind ‘popular’ golfing blog, ‘Wei Under Par’. A couple of weeks ago, Wei posted a few video clips of one of the player’s practice rounds on Twitter’s live-streaming service, Periscope. Given the strict rules around video content rights specifically around sports events, you might be unsurprised to learn that the PGA subsequently threw the book at Wei and stripped her of her press credentials for the rest of the year.


There’s no case pleading ignorance on Wei’s part, alas, as a similar issue came up before at a different Tour but this time the platform of choice was Instagram. Wei got a telling off and the videos removed. Sharing unauthorised video content is a big no no. And Wei knows this.

So when it happened again, you can see why an example has been made.

The commentary since has been very interesting. On one side you’ve got a push back on the rules themselves (are they out-dated? Who do they actually apply to) and on the other you’ve got traditional sports broadcasters saying that Wei had it coming.

With Live-stream going Mainstream, this issue is going to keep coming back. Perhaps even press credentials themselves perhaps need to be reviewed, allowing for impromptu sharing such as this. For now, the industry will safe-guard its revenue first, and the favoured platforms of its fans and reporters second.

Interesting times ahead.

Did you play with He-Man when you were a kid? Remember the figures? If words like ‘Stratos’ and ‘Orko’ mean nothing to you, then please do skip onto the next item. This thing is not for you.

Still here?


The geniuses over at iO9 have just published the definitive list and ranking of He-Man action figures – AND IT IS AWESOME.


Covering Skeletor, Kobra Khan, Ram-Man, Fisto, Ninjor, Evil-Lyn,and MORE they’re all here and more.

PS. Major geek points to the first person who can email me/comment with the names of those pictured above. I’ve already given you two of them…

Go nuts.

Minor excuse for an update on a few things from me:

  • If you’re coming to see me speak at Digital Shoreditch please note that the timing has changed from 12:35 to 17:25 (on May 14th, btw). On a related note, if you’re yet to purchase tickets – here’s a kick-ass discount code.
  • The Pebble smartwatch has changed the way I interact with my smartphone again – in a good way.
  • My employer launched an FGM-awareness campaign for 28 Too Many this week. It’s hard to look at but holy hell does it land the message. You’ve been warned.

Big deal. So what. If you’re a geeky face like me, you might like this deep dive into some of the data behind their usage leading up to the hashtag integration that was rolled out recently.

Good read, this.


Bonuses this week are all video game related:

  • Destiny: House of Wolves drops in a week. If you’re a player, this is a great round up video of everything you’ve got to look forward to.
  • Arkham Knight is out soon, and you’re going to be able to play as Nightwing, Robin, and Catwoman. Nice.
  • I’m thinking about getting a Wii U for the sole purpose of being able to play the latest version of Mario Kart. Question for you, do you have a Wii U? Do you enjoy it? What games do you have? I’m listening.

go go go

Whatley out.


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Pebble: 14mths later

Discovering an invisible benefit form the long term usage of wearable tech.

Pebble choices

With all the Apple Watch news of late, it has never been easier to file all smartwatch content away under the umbrella term of ‘wearable tech’.

The man has a point.

Thing is: all Pebbles are wearables, not all wearables are Pebbles.

When I wrote up my ‘Pebble: two weeks later’ thoughts back in January of last year,  I said:

Almost like a mini personal assistant, it fields incoming alerts from my phone so I don’t have to. I choose when I pick my phone up, not the other way around; reminding me that the phone is there for MY convenience NOT everyone else’s.

And that has remained true.

‘Yes but’, my friends said in unison ‘all you’ve done is replace one addiction for another. Instead of looking at your phone every ten minutes, you’re forever checking your watch instead!’ – they had a point.

And I didn’t ignore them.

At the turn of the year, I started experimenting with switching the Pebble to ‘phone calls only’ mode – as in, please only buzz and alert me to incoming phone calls, those people that need to talk to me right now. In the six weeks I’ve been back from SXSW, I’d say that my Pebble has been on Phone Calls Only mode around 90% of the time.

The thin layer that Pebble has placed between my phone and I has thickened and now I no longer have the fear when I haven’t checked, seen, or even been near my phone for anything longer than seven minutes.

I thank Pebble for that.

That’s not to say that I no longer enjoy the benefits that Pebble brings. I can still browse and view the ongoing notifications, I just choose to opt-in to them instead. By that I mean, I scroll to the ‘notifications’ section in the watch and click through/dismiss/reply as and when I remember. It’s a good system.

It’s funny. I guess in the same way that nicotine patches help ween smokers from their addiction, Pebble has taken the form of a mild intervention; helping me simultaneously both remember and realise that my phone is there for my convenience, and not everyone else’s.

As I type this now, my phone is to my side, face down, and on silent. My Pebble is in on ‘Phone Calls Only’ and I haven’t looked at my phone for nearly 300 words. When was the last time you could say the same thing?

These days I find myself ignoring my email inbox for hours, sometimes days. It’s just not important enough. SMSs? I’ll reply when I can. It might be now, it might be in an hour. But it’ll be when I want to, not when my watch told me I should. That change is powerful.

Some of you might read this and think ‘Yeah, I was right all along – wearables are not for me!’ but I don’t think you can genuinely form an opinion on their benefits (short and long term) without trying them for yourself. This recent shift hasn’t changed my opinion of wearable tech – in fact it’s only served to make it more positive. I’ve backed Pebble’s next iteration of the watch (Pebble Time Steel – if you fancy Googling it) on Kickstarter and I’m really looking forward to the next layer of benefits that’ll bring to my life.

My smartwatch helped me crack my smartphone addiction and my life is better for it. Which I guess makes Pebble the equivalent of mobile phone nicotine patch – who knew?




Five things on Friday [on Saturday] #122

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 1st, 2015.

the things, there are five of them



My two-year old daughter, dance recital. Pink tutu. Cat ears on her head. Along with five other two-year-olds, in front of a crowd of 75 parents and grandparents, these little toddlers put on a show. You can imagine the rest. You’ve seen these videos on Youtube, maybe I have shown you my videos. The cuteness level was extreme, a moment that defines a certain kind of parental pride. My daughter didn’t even dance, she just wandered around the stage, looking at the audience with eyes as wide as a two-year old’s eyes starting at a bunch of strangers. It didn’t matter that she didn’t dance, I was so proud. I took photos, and video, with my phone.

There is so much relevance here I feel like copy and pasting the whole article word for word. You wanna talk about neuroplasticity?

Try this:

So, every new email you get gives you a little flood of dopamine. Every little flood of dopamine reinforces your brain’s memory that checking email gives a flood of dopamine. And our brains are programmed to seek out things that will give us little floods of dopamine. Further, these patterns of behaviour start creating neural pathways, so that they become unconscious habits: Work on something important, brain itch, check email, dopamine, refresh,dopamine, check Twitter, dopamine, back to work. Over and over, and each time the habit becomes more ingrained in the actual structures of our brains.

How can books compete?

This is a recurring theme [for me] at the moment. I saw the amazing neuroplasticity talk (#neurobrand) at SXSW (y’know, the one I mentioned during item number two last week) and ironically enough, it’s been playing on my mind ever since.

Neurons that fire together, wire together – right?

Email is bad.

Digital dopamine is bad.


I’ve recently signed up to Headspace (cheers Jed) maybe you should too.

Also: read the whole article quoted above.

All of it.

In one sitting.


Jeroen Akkermans is an RTL News Correspondent for Holland. With the still-under-investigation MH17 air disaster on lockdown (dubbed ‘the biggest crime scene in the world’) Akkermans decided to do some investigation himself.

It’s unbelievable that no one, thing, or group has been held accountable for this crime.

If you know anything about the theories behind this ‘accident’ then you’ll know where the main evidence points – and reading Akkermans’ words serves only to underline them further.

MH17 Crash: my revealing fragments from east Ukraine

This slideshare document, from one of London’s better looking plannery-shaped pessimists, is really on point. What does the future of influence actually look like?

There be gold in these slides.

This is worth reading: back in Five Things #119 I stated that The Verge had written the definitive review of the Apple Watch. I take it back.

This beats that.

Oh, and this is fun too.

The premise of this photo shoot is simple: ‘What would cities look like if they were lit only by the stars?’ – and the photographer, Thierry Cohen, nails it.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 19.48.23 Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 19.50.41 Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 19.57.04




Bonuses this week consist of three awesome videos.

  • Video 1 is one man’s attempt to save a falling drone. Watch this one to the end.
  • Video 2 asks the question: ‘What if Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL’ was in colour?’
  • Video 3 demonstrates how dangerous ‘one click’ purchase can really be.


Hope you’re having a gorgeous weekend, until next time..

Whatley out.


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