Five things on Friday #208

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 23rd, 2016.

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 23rd, 2016.

1. THE BUZZFEED ANNUAL MEMO

No, not a list of the top 19 Beano Annuals, but instead a look at the memo that Buzzfeed co-founder Jonah Peretti sends to his entire company every year.

Telling the story of 2016’s digital ups and downs, as well as explaining the drivers of exactly why we are where we are today, Peretti’s take is compelling. Example:

Attention has shifted to the web, but the ad industry still treats it as second rate, not deserving of the the care, attention, and creativity they reserve for other platforms. This creates a drain on the entire system by weakening the economics of digital content, making it even harder to support quality journalism and compelling entertainment. In fact, the ad industry’s slowness to shift to digital is at the root of the problems faced by news and entertainment. Social platforms can only optimize the content uploaded to their services, and when there isn’t a solid business model for content, the void is filled with fake news, cheap entertainment, and deceptive ads.

I do not embolden lightly: This is an excellent read.

Remarkably, there are still people out there that argue or even deny Buzzfeed’s success.

Send them this article.

See what they say.

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2. SPOTIFY 2016 PLAYLIST

Mine, not yours.

Just in case you like good music.

Here are some numbers about me/mine:

And here is the playlist itself.

Hope you like it.

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3. ZUCK’S CONNECTED HOME

You’ve probably already seen the hokey videos of Mark Zuckerberg’s results from his latest yearly challenge (they’re quite PR-y and while give an ideal view of what is possible, they’re not really that demonstrative of how interesting this actually is) however, some of you may not have done the reading.

So first off, this is a pretty good read and both explains exactly how hard it is to have a truly ‘smart’ home in 2016/17 and playfully reveals how much of a geek Mark Zuckerberg [still] is; I loved reading this.

Second, in one blog post, Zuck is at peak nonchalance here, seemingly dropping huge points / ideas / notions without even trying.

Want an example? Here’s a list:

  1. Zuck says: ‘I’ve seen Iron Man, I want to build JARVIS’. I’ve noted before that, in the movies at least, JARVIS is pretty much a glorified Google Assistant so this made sense to me but to just go ahead and decide he wanted to build one? SO CASUAL.
  2. Casual suggestions for new product ideas (aka ‘big opportunities’) for AI builders.
  3. Issues huge burns to all existing smart home attempts (common APIs are needed etc – this should be headline news)
  4. Casual Facebook messenger bot plug. SO CASUAL.
  5. Still codes – ‘I haven’t built an iOS app since 2012’ – Yeah, me too Zuck, ME TOO.
  6. Just happens to reveal global trends re: voice vs text across the world’s biggest messaging apps.
  7. Highlights how nice it’d be if Amazon Echo had a mobile/away-from-home interface (like JARVIS does, y’know, the one MZ built on his own this year). Bezos wasn’t on it before, I’m sure he is now.
  8. Plugs entire Facebook Engineering Team (good job).
  9. Casual self-depreciation re: Grey t-shirt cannon (brilliant)
  10. Oh, and done all in 100hrs.

Y’know, you could easily forget that he also runs the world’s largest media internet company.

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4. WESTWORLD + GAMING

Tom Bissell is a video game writer and author. He interviewed Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, joint creators-in-chief of the newly redux’d-for-TV, Westworld (if you’re not watching it / haven’t seen it yet etc – then do please fix it now).

With a few minor spoilers within (you have been warned) his is a fantastic read for any one who games, watches Westworld, or both (like me).

Go read.

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5. VINE IS BACK – KINDA

Twitter’s six second video platform that was recently, seemingly, consigned to the dead pool has been given a new lease of life.

Instead of killing the service completely, Twitter will be transitioning the Vine ‘app’ as we know it, to something called ‘Vine Camera’. With the new iteration of the app, you’ll still be able to snap six second videos however you’ll only have two options after that: 1. Save to Camera. 2. Publish to Twitter.

The platform is over but the app’s main product feature remains.

Interesting.

You can read more about this over at the official announcement.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

 

 

And that’s me.

I’m done.

Have a great Christmas, gang.

Bears, Squirrels, all of you.

Whatley out.

x

Five things on Friday #207

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 15th, 2016.

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 16th, 2016.

Hello, lovely.

There’s a lot to get through this week (and this first thing is MASSIVE) so let’s not dilly-dally.

Onwards!

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1. KEY DIGITAL TRENDS FOR 2017

If you’ve missed the myriad posts on all social channels, the Ogilvy Key Digital Trends for 2017 is OUT NOW. Penned by Marshall Manson and I, this is our yearly take on what we expect to see more of in the digital marketing year ahead.

Now that the standard – read it, share it around, and let us know what you think of it – part is out of the way, I thought I’d use this part of THINGS to talk a little bit about this year’s trends and the process we went through to get them nailed.

I don’t know about Marshall but this year’s seemed more difficult than ever before. A large part of that was down to workload – Marshall is CEO of one of the agencies in Ogilvy Group now and I’ve never known the man to be busier. I also got a promotion this year and, combine that with impending paternity leave (I say ‘impending’ – I’m on it right now, and yes, that’s exactly why this week’s edition is both a) on time and b) longer than recent weeks) meant we were both cramming like crazy to get things done.

But the other reason why, I felt at least, that this year was difficult was that a number of the trends themselves seemed so obvious. Here are the trends themselves, by title alone:

  1. The Chatbot Goldrush
  2. The Abdication of Ethical Marketing
  3. A Video First World
  4. Twitter Retrench
  5. Facebook Proprietary Metrics Problem

Highlighting particularly items 1 and 3, it will be nigh on impossible to find a trends presentation this year that does not mention either Chatbots of Video as a ‘trend’ to watch for 2017.

‘Video’ has been a growing trend over the past three years (I presented a working version of this presentation at Futurebook a couple of weeks ago and I made the point then, as I’ve started to make any time I present a trends outline of any kind: trends don’t just switch and change as the years come and go. It doesn’t get to New Year’s Eve and trends greet each other at the door: ‘Oh, hello! Goodbye!’ – it simply doesn’t work that way) and it still rumbles on.

In the case of  Chatbots, they’re everywhere at the moment. Already a multi-million dollar market (with specialist teams popping up all over the place – ahem) and everyone and her brother writing think pieces called ‘The Rise of Chatbots’, you can’t move for Chatbots being the next big thing in 2017.

For a yearly trend document that has an ambition to be a) being industry-leading, b) genuinely insightful, and c) unique from its competitor set – (oh, and traditionally only really covers three main trends) this was a problem.

So what did we do?

First, we agreed that we’d go higher than our usual three trends. Two of them are blindingly obvious and you’ll be able to read about them anywhere. Yes, our approach will be different however we’ll need something else to get people past the cover (I like odd numbers, so I wanted five).

Second, we knew we had the data.For bots, we’ve been developing a Chatbot offering since the summer. This work, combined with the frankly fantastic access we have to the global insights from around the Ogilvy (and the WPP) network, helped us underpin our thinking with the very latest usage numbers, client mindset, and consumer data.

When it came to video, it was a bit different. This trend had run and run (2015: The Video Royale, 2016: The Video Evolution) – what were we going to say that was different? We’d seen the start of the big battle, and we’d seen the platform evolve their offering – and because we had been tracking this one since the start, we were able to offer an informed POV on where it was going. Two key things stood out: the battle for LIVE and the collapse of traditional video formats. Telling the story around these two key points meant we were able to revisit the video trend once more, without fear of repeating ourselves.

Third and finally, we had to have faith in our approach. Every year we always ensure that each trend is made up of three parts: Background (or Drivers), Definition (outlining what the trend actually is and means), and actionable next steps (trends are great but what you, the reader, supposed to do with the information given). By producing the document in this way, we knew that whatever we did, the strategic rigour behind the approach would keep us honest.

I think we did an alright job. I’d love to hear what you think.

Read the Trends, and let me know?

 

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2. PATTI SMITH WRITES

In case you missed it, Patti Smith was in the news last week for seemingly stumbling or forgetting the words at the Nobel Prize ceremony honouring the Laureate for Literature, Bob Dylan.

If you missed it, it is an incredible watch, so you should do that.

However, that is not why I am writing.

I am writing because Patti Smith has been too. Published just a couple of days ago, Smith has written about her experience at the Nobel Ceremony – her feelings, the anxiety – and the thoughts that she has had since.

Moving reading – and my favourite thing this week.

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3. IN PRAISE OF MAHERSHALA ALI

Little White Lies writes:

“This year alone Mahershala Ali has lent his considerable talents to a staggering eight projects across film and television, including the Oscar-tipped Moonlight, the upcoming biographical drama Hidden Figures, the fourth season of House of Cards and Marvel’s hit Netflix show Luke Cage. If you weren’t already familiar with his supreme acting ability, you should be by now.”

A great read re: a great actor.

Check it.

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4. FITBIT BOUGHT PEBBLE

As regular readers will know, I am (was?) a complete Pebble convert (see my own personal user diary posts here). I had the original Pebble, I bought the Pebble Time Steel, I went to the Pebble party at SXSWi two years back, and regularly wear the Pebble Pajamas I picked up while I was there (yeah, I’m that guy). In short: I am (was?) a fan.

So much was my commitment that when it came to ponying up the cash for the next Kickstarter project (I was after the Pebble Time 2), I was first in line. But then bad things started happening. Pebble had lay offs, and then shipping dates started to move… without update.

Finally, the news came: Pebble had been bought, by Fitbit.

Which, on paper, you’d think: ‘Awesome! Fitness trackers and smartwatches go together, I can see that. This is a great deal!’ – alas, while the former is very much the case, the latter – for Kickstarter backers at least – was not true. Pebble Time 2 will never see the light of day and the tens of thousands of people that pre-ordered/back the watch, will get refunds.

Turns out this was a fire-sale. Pebble was going down.

Which is both sad and rubbish.

That said, what I can’t get my head around is why the existing orders won’t be finished.

Look at it this way: Pebble users and fans are huge loyalists. You’ve got a super-engaged fanbase and yet, upon buying the company they love, you make the decision to not ship any more product. I don’t get it.

You’d think, given this installed base of users (and super fans), it would’ve perhaps been prudent to have fulfilled those remaining orders and then perhaps roll out Fitbit-related software/app updates thereafter.

This would’ve both engendered the brand to Pebble users and brought those users on the journey of transitioning when it would, of course, have be shuttered.

I’m sure a lot of this will come out in the wash however killing a brand is one thing, killing the fanbase with it (and creating staunch detractors in the process) is another thing entirely.

There have been updates since but the comments from the community do not bode well.

Sad times

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5. BIG UP THE GVRA

Aka, the Global Virtual Reality Association!

Made up of pretty all the main VR players in the world, the newly established GVRA is a non-profit coalition setup to help establish standards for VR development, globally.

As they put it themselves:

The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association is to promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally. The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses. The group will also serve as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR.

This is very good news.

History is littered with technology revolutions that couldn’t quite land because the standards were all wrong or simply took far too long to align. The face that this is being addressed now means that our kids’ VR experiences are going to be ACE.

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Bonuses this week are as follows

  • Our Bots things is getting good coverage (which is nice)
  • For reasons that I shan’t go into, this made me laugh a lot this week
  • Somehow, I managed to make the list of the top 25 most influential people in the UK digital industry – aka ‘The Digerati’ – (somewhere between the MD of Twitter and the GM of Snapchat, would you believe). This is partially driven by readers of The Drum and curated thereafter by award judges as well as The Drum’s editorial team. Thanks, you guys. I try not to pay attention to these things too much (in fear of believing my own hype and completely disappearing up my own backside) however I’ve been told that this is a very big deal and I should be more appreciative and acknowledge it properly. Consider me chuffed
  • My President was Black
  • A subversive work of art, you say?

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And that’s me, I’m spent.

See you next time?

Whatley out x

 

Five things on Friday #206

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 9th, 2016

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 9th, 2016

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In the week that I got retweeted by Dwayne THE ROCK Johnson (why? the trailer for BAYWATCH THE MOVIE dropped and THE ROCK himself decided he agreed with my POV – so there), I say welcome.

Much to get through this week and little time. Let’s dive into my Twitter favourites, tagged up inbox, secret Chrome bookmarks, and find out exactly what I’ve been storing up for your sordid little hungry eyeballs this week.

Shall we?

1. FEATHERED DINOSAUR ADVENTURES

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Finding a feathered dinosaur tail (with primitive plumage) trapped in mid-cretaceous (that’s 99million years ago, btw) amber is one [amazing] thing – BUT going fully undercover and wearing face paint just to get into the region where this amber exists is something else entirely.

But that’s what Lida Xing, paleontologist based at the China University of Geosciences, had to do.

MOTHERBOARD has the rest.

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2. FEELING LIKE A S’LEB ON INSTAGRAM

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Remember a while back when Instagram had supposedly developed a tool for superstar celebrities to [tell their social media managers to] manage their nasty comments and trolls and stuff? Well, these features (or ones similar) are coming to (or have already arrived on) your favourite filtered photo app.

These features include:

  • Comment Filters
  • Disabling Comments on Elected Content
  • Ability to Remove Followers from Private Accounts

Also:

Finally, we want to continue to be a place where people can share deeply personal moments. From time to time, you may see friends struggling and in need of support. If you believe that someone you care about may be thinking about injuring themselves, you can report it anonymously, and we will connect your friend to organizations that offer help. We have teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, around the world to review these reports.

Which is excellent.

You kinda have to wonder: if Instagram can knock this stuff up and out in a matter of months, what the bloody hell have Twitter been doing all this time?

More, via Instagram.

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3. LIKE LONGFORM? YOU’LL LOVE THIS.

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Which pretty much tells you all you need to know. Well, aside from:

For the next couple of months we’ll be sharing some of our best longform or multimedia journalism, and some behind-the-scenes glimpses into the process of how our correspondents work. It’s a very different kind of journalism from the rapid-response news analyses we published in the run-up to America’s recent election. Some of this work will be produced exclusively for Medium, meaning you won’t even be able to find it on economist.com or in print.

And I think this is excellent. I mean, really. A publication like The Economist, tinkering with a [crucially] FREE to read digital publishing platform such as Medium. It’s HUGELY interesting. And definitely one to watch.

Go and follow The Economist on Medium.

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4. ALL THE TRAILERS

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5. MOBILE IS EATING THE WORLD

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Ben Evans is back again with another take on how Mobile [technology] is, how he puts it, ‘Eating the World’. If you know Ben’s stuff, you’ll know he updates this document fairly regularly. This is the latest take and it’s a doozy.

If you want to know where technology is right now then Mobile Eating the World is a must read.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

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Last thing, for those that care: Marshall Manson and I will be publishing the yearly Ogilvy Key Digital Trends deck early next week. I will of course link to it in next week’s edition but if you want to know about it first, be sure to follow us both on Twitter (@Whatleydude – @MarshallManson).

Laters, fam.

Five things on Friday (or Sunday or Whatever) #205

Things of note for the week ending Sunday DECEMBER 4th, 2016.

Things of note for the week ending Sunday DECEMBER 4th, 2016.

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YES, that’s right: DECEMBER.

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? DECEMBER, people!

1. PUTTING YOURSELF UNDER THE GRILL OF EXPOSURE

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Timely brilliance, via The Oatmeal.

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2. FACEBOOK CREATIVE HUB

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Do you do ANY kind of Facebook marketing or advertising? Then you need Facebook Creative Hub. In closed beta since the summer, it’s just opened for all and sundry and YOU need to be using it.

Want to know what your ad campaign might look like as a carousel ad? Want to actually make a mock up of a Facebook Canvas ad? FINALLY you can do all those things with Facebook Creative Hub.

AT. LAST.

You’re welcome.

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3. DEALING WITH GRIEF THROUGH CINEMA

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Cinema touches people in myriad ways. The visceral feeling of escapism that it can bring is unmatched for those that adore it so. But what if that place was shared with a loved one? And that loved one passes on?

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4. ‘MILLENNIALS’ IS A USELESS TERM

I’ve been saying it since about this time last year (slide 63 is what you’re after) and many others have said it before and since. That said, it is nice when someone else comes along and smashes the nail on the head so perfectly that you can’t help but share it.

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Step up, Sir Jed of Hallam.

This time taking the cultural angle, Hallam’s takedown of this blight upon account/brand/marketing planning is perfect.

Read it.

Share it.

Champion it.

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5. YOU GUYS, IT’S OK TO SKIP BREAKFAST

Really.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

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Other stuff:

I spoke at two things (actually, no – three things if you include a webinar) last week and there are write ups for both, here: Digiday and FutureBook. Much fun was had at both (thanks for having me, gang). This tweet re: something I said about bots I thought was v good. Speaking of which, I do love to chat about Roombot (oh yes, one other bot thing: we did an Ogilvy Webinar on it last week. Slides are here if you fancy them).

Overall, it has been a busy week. Next week though? That’s going to be a doozy.

And I’m done.

 

Night y’all.

Five things on Friday #204

Things of note for the week ending Friday November 25th, 2016.

Things of note for the week ending Friday November 25th, 2016.

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1. HOLY HELL, LET’S GO TO MARS FOR THE SUMMER

Well, not yet. But soon.

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This is the ‘EM Drive’ – or the ‘Impossible Drive’ – and it’s been floating around as a theoretical propulsion system for a couple of years now (I think I first read about it back in 2015). Actually, scratch that, apparently the idea of the EM Drive has been around for 15 years.

It transpires that people have been nay-saying it for years. Why? It fundamentally equates to propulsion without propellant. Impossible. Hence the name, I guess.

Anyway, the REALLY IMPORTANT AND EXCITING THING is that NASA paper on the EM Drive has been peer reviewed and published. And it shows that the impossible propulsion system works.

LOOK!

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2. ABOUT YOUR NEXT MACBOOK PRO

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so you’d be forgiven for missing the new Macbook Pro announcements that basically said ‘Hey look, here’s a Macbook Pro with a touch bar that does emojis and shizzle’ – and it hasn’t really gone down that well.

E.g.: The Verge, famous for its Apple favour, ran this op-ed:

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“Many of us have been talking our way around this issue for the past week without directly confronting it, so I feel like now’s as good a time to address it as any: Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops are not designed for professional use.”

Burn.

Where does that leave you if you want a new MBP? Ewan Spence, [one of a small handful of decent writers] at Forbes, has put together a decent argument on why Apple’s refurb marketplace is a proverbial goldmine for the 2016 Macbook Pro detractor.

If you’re looking to upgrade that heaving machine, read the above first.

Just in case.

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3. COLBERT & OLIVER

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“As the two late-night comedians sat across from each other onstage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center here on Saturday night, Stephen Colbert asked John Oliver why he had not yet been given a commitment for four more seasons. “There’s a clear road that you can put your foot out,” said Mr. Colbert, the host of “The Late Show” on CBS. Mr. Oliver, anchor of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” replied brightly but fatalistically: “The kind of road that ‘Thelma & Louise’ drove off.””

This meeting of satirical minds was booked long before the US Election result was announced and, if we’re honest about it, was probably setup to go ‘Well, thank God that’s over’ when it was indeed over. Alas, things didn’t exactly work out that way.

The New York Times has the write up.

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4. ZUCK THE POLITICIAN

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‘Facebook is the most influential commercial enterprise ever created, with unparalleled power that is yet to be fully understood. Mark Zuckerberg himself is a multi-billionaire in charge of a network that has intricate personal data on 1.8 billion people and counting. How do you define the checks and balances that need to exist for this kind of entity?’

It’s a HELL of a question.

In light of the fake news scandal currently enveloping Facebook, where does the accountability lie, if at all?

The BBC has more.

This is going to be one to watch in 2017 and beyond…

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5. RORY ON LIFE

I work in the same building as Rory Sutherland. Sometimes I see him around. I often see him speak. Very occasionally we work on the same project together. And once I even gave him a lift to the station (two weeks after I passed my test and I’m pretty sure I stalled it about seventeen times while we attempted to discuss the merits of an Apple Watch vs a Pebble – oh how we lol’d).

If you’ve never had the pleasure of knowing Rory (what? why? start here), then let me tell you he likes to provoke. He throws together interesting data points and together creates a new one to make you think. To wit:

“Whenever I wish to scandalise people, I have a sentence which works every time: ‘I would prefer my daughters took up smoking than started cycling in London.’ If my daughters take up smoking and find it impossible to quit, there is a fairly high chance of a fairly bad outcome. They may die early and very unpleasantly. Perhaps at 58 rather than 85 years old. But if they take up smoking and resist the seductive lure of the bicycle, well at least they won’t die at 22 beneath the wheels of a truck. The first outcome is a disaster, the second is a catastrophe.”

This, is standard Rory.

Go read the full article, via WIRED.

Much fun.

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Bonuses this week are:

Nearly there…Thanks for the birthday wishes, you nutcases. Bonus bonus items are things that you sent me as a weird kind of internet-based birthday gift. Brilliant.

And I’m spent.

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Bonus bonus bonus – I literally just finished reading this Aaron Eckhart interview.

It was great.

AND NOW WE ARE DONE.

YOU CAN CLOSE THE INTERNET NOW.

 

x

Here – Several things on Saturday (FtoF #203)

Things of note for the week ending Saturday November 19th, 2016

Things of note for the week ending Saturday November 19th, 2016

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1. THE STATE OF MOBILE VR

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The Google Daydream launched this month and while we’re nowhere near any kind of widespread consumer penetration on what Daydream is or does (I mean, it’s £69 Google – where’s your big Christmas push?) it’s still yet another stone in the foundations of a solid VR marketplace.

I’ve played with one and it’s alright: comfy to use, intuitive remote control, etc… but ostensibly it’s just a better Samsung Gear VR. Which in turn is a smarter Google Cardboard. And yet the one the thing they all have in common is that they all need a mobile phone to act as the main viewscreen. If you didn’t know already: we all have a VR screen in our pocket.

If all this is new to you (and even if it isn’t) and inline with the Daydream launch, Polygon has put together an excellent overview of the Mobile VR landscape, what it means, and what it looks like for the future.

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2. OBAMA CONSIDERS HIS LEGACY

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I was up late last night reading this wonderful long read from The New Yorker. Covering time with President Obama in the days before and after the recent US election, this is yet another insight into what it takes to be the leader of the free world and, in reality, another example of how much we will lose after he’s gone.

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3. LAUNCHED A THING

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See: ‘Ogilvy bets big on bots as messaging apps surge in popularity

By ‘launched a thing’, we mean ‘went public with an offering we’ve been working on since the summer’. There are three bots that we’ve built that we can talk about since then:

  • Roombot – a bot for Ogilvy London. We have 85 meeting rooms across 13 floors at Sea Containers and they’re not named that intuitively. So therefore you could spend the first ten minutes of any meeting yelling ‘Where the hell is Voyage?’ or ‘What level is Cluster on?’. Roombot solves that.
  • Stoptober Bot (now finished!) – a project for Public Health England to help people stop smoking. We’re looking at the data now and are hoping to publish the results later this month.
  • Mondrian Assistant – our neighbours downstairs at Sea Containers, The Mondrian, have come with us on the journey and our open beta has just gone live. Right now you can browse the main areas of the Mondrian’s facilities and make reservations for drinks and/or dinner. We’re working up new features and will monitor/change/grow depending on user interaction. Again, more to follow.

We have a ton of other work in the pipeline and I’m really excited about the future. When I was given my new role of ‘Planning Partner – Innovation’ back in the summer, my boss gave me one simple four word brief ‘New stuff made useful’. This is the first project we’ve launched under that banner and so far the take up – of the teams internally and the clients themselves – has been fantastic.

Will Godfrey (my partner on this project) and I will be writing some more in-depth pieces on this for Ogilvy soon. Will link them in a future edition when they go live.

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4.  SPACED

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VICE has a new and totally official oral history of SPACED with new interviews with some of the key players. If you spent ANY of your school/college/uni life watching this BRILLIANT show then you need to read this.

EXAMPLE:

Jessica Hynes (Daisy): I was living in my boyfriend’s squat at the time. Simon had a degree from Bristol University and could spell; I had an electric typewriter and some f****** Tipp-Ex. I’ve still got the very first thing that was ever put to paper for Spaced, which was a Marsha monologue – that was the very beginning.

OK?

OK.

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5. MY SON, THE PRINCE OF FASHION

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“I took my son to Paris Fashion Week, and all I got was a profound understanding of who he is, what he wants to do with his life, and how it feels to watch a grown man stride down a runway wearing shaggy yellow Muppet pants.”

I’ve had this story open in a tab to read for several weeks and finally got around to it this past week (due to being struck down by a colossal illness but that’s not for now). It is a beautiful read.

Please read it.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

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And finally, it’s my birthday on Monday.

Send me something nice.

THAAAANKS.

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Whatley out.

Oh Hello, Seven things on Sunday (FToF #202)

Things of note for the week ending Sunday November 13th, 2016.

Things of note for the week ending Sunday November 13th, 2016.

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Many things to cover off this week. Seven, at a minimum.

Shall we?

THING ONE: THE LONDON NECROPOLIS RAILWAY

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Ever hear about the train track for the dead? No? Allow me to enlighten you:

In operation from 1854 to 1941, the London Necropolis Railway was the spookiest, strangest train line in British history. It transported London’s dead south-west to Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, in Surrey, a cemetery that was built in tandem with the railway. At its peak, from 1894 to 1903, the train carried more than 2,000 bodies a year.

It also transported their families and friends. Guests could leave with their dearly departed at 11:40am, attend the burial, have a funeral party at one of the cemetery’s two train stations (complete with home-cooked ham sandwiches and fairy cakes), and then take the same train back, returning to London by 3:30pm.

Amazing.

And guess what else? The station still operates today (only with less dead people).

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THING TWO: FINNISH EDUCATION

This week in interesting education news, Finland is looking like the first country to completely abolish school subjects.

Look:

The head of the Department of Education in Helsinki, Marjo Kyllonen, explained the changes:

“There are schools that are teaching in the old-fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginning of the 1900s — but the needs are not the same, and we need something fit for the 21st century.“

Instead of individual subjects, students will study events and phenomena in an interdisciplinary format. For example, the Second World War will be examined from the perspective of history, geography, and math. And by taking the course ”Working in a Cafe,” students will absorb a whole body of knowledge about the English language, economics, and communication skills.

This I find thoroughly interesting. Especially as Finland’s education system is already considered to be one of the best in the world. Why rest on laurels?

Education. It’s important.

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THINGS THREE: BEAGLE 2

Remember Beagle 2?

Beagle 2 landing craft disappeared on Christmas Day. Space. Mars
Beagle 2 landing craft disappeared on Christmas Day. Space. Mars

The lost British Mars lander that failed to do, well, anything after attempting to land on our distant red cousin of a planet back in 2003? If you’ve been following the story you may even recall that ten years later, NASA spotted it on the surface and the little lander had finally been discovered.

Well, the work didn’t stop there. After studying NASA’s images, and recreating what they could see using 3D printers, it turns out Beagle 2 was much closer to success than we originally thought.

Really interesting reading.

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THING FOUR: CLOWNS

No image here. Just a link: the case for not being scared of clowns.

Related: my favourite clown-related joke ever.

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THING FIVE: STORIES OF USE

Work in social? Getting hassled by your clients to tell them / convince about Instagram stories [and why they should/shouldn’t partake]? Then you need this really useful help manual, from Instagram itself, that you should lift freely from and pretend your amazing overview deck is all your own work.

Go on, off you pop.

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THING SIX: SNAP SNAP

They’re heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeee….

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I said back in edition #194 that I thought the first hardware from Snap Inc., aka ‘Spectacles’, would be an interesting swerve for media creation and now, at last, they’re out for people to purchase. Alas, you can only purchase them in person and via Snap’s own travelling vending machine.

The Verge has a ton more on this (with a few good videos too), so you should go read that.

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THING SEVEN: SNAPCHAT / FACEBOOK FLASH

I’m not kidding. Facebook has made Snapchat. Like, actually and properly. WHAT.

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Bonuses this week are about the state of the world today:

  • Jonathan Pie is an acquired taste at the best of times. This on ‘Trump: How and Why?’ is actually really good. Give it a watch.
  • Azeem Azar’s always excellent Exponential View has a really good provocation this week re: Facebook’s role on the election. My favourite thing on this topic of Facebook’s ongoing mission to convince brands they can influence purchaser decisions through content / Facebook advertising is directly contradicted by its claim that they had no influence on the election result whatsoever (eloquently put in this tweet).
  • My writing partner at Ogilvy, Marshall Manson, put these reflections together – they’re well worth a read.