— On Comms Design. From London

I am definitely not the first one to say this but of course the reason the likes of Uber and Airbnb make shitloads of money is because they simply do not abide by regular taxation, safety and employment policies like all the other companies do. Even that is a mis-statement because, while other companies try creative accounting  (remember this? which is an interesting take on the original story, tax avoidance), the likes of Uber and Airbnb simply pronounce themselves a completely new and original way of doing business which is outside normal taxation and employment rules.

You know I LOVE Uber. I seriously do. I am less in love with Airbnb, mostly because I am a more fussy sleeper than car rider, so I like to only sleep in certain hotels with specific types of beds and sound proofing levels. But the way Uber and Airbnb have empowered millions of people to become small scale business owners tugs at my heart strings. So this will not be about how Uber should pay health benefits to its drivers. Because I don’t think it needs to. Most of the Uber drivers I speak to (and I speak to all the ones that drive me which still makes my 4.7 rating confusing to me :((( really Uber, really!) seem to have a very down to earth, common sensical way of looking at their relationship with the app. They know how much they need to drive to make a profit. They think about it like a business partnership. They should be informed about the need to pay tax and health, true, but Uber is free to decide whether they want to contribute to that.

The security of passengers and travellers, however, now that’s a different story. That Uber and Airbnb do not want to take responsibility for the drivers and landlords raping, locking in house and allegedly abusing clients is another matter. This is not about the relationship between you and a business partner and the contracts you BOTH sign when you enter into that partnership. This is about a third party which buys into your promise and you should, both company and driver/landlord business partner, be held responsible. The easiest thing to do is put in a place a simple procedure to make sure help is made available asap. Of course this might cut into your profits but, on the up side, regulators might look more kindly on you when they come a-knocking.

8 years ago I would not have written this post. Back then it was cool to wake up at 6 just to be the first one to find out about the latest start-up to get funded, it was ok to eat in front of the computer just to go through my 600+ feed articles during lunch time, it was expected that I would have time to do my job, blog every day, maintain both my Fb and Twitter accounts with different content strategies, know everything there was not know about anything marketing related, hang out with my cool entrepreneur friends. Back then having a car to take me to work faster, a flat closer to the city centre and all the devices and apps in the world was required because it fed into my lifestyle of being alway on top of everything.

The need for uber-productivity and the level it’s gotten to scare me a bit today. Read More

“It’s not just that it’s annoying to have 20 different conversations across 20 different apps. (Which it is.) It’s not that I mind remembering where I was already talking to someone or guessing which app they’re most likely to check quickly. (Which I do.) It’s that, by not picking a place to congregate, we’re missing out on one of the most powerfully useful new things in tech: the all-encompassing messaging app.”

Read it all here

 

Sometimes I think of the apps I could be making and I think I might be a successful serial entrepreneur. I spend about 0.01% of my time developing those ideas but love them dearly. I don’t do research but I am persuaded my insights are good.

So here’s today idea to share and I would love it if people could either point me to something that does that or, if there’s nothing out there, point me to someone who’d like to do it.

Insight: we live between a world of growing content and a world of growing pressure to be productive. As such, we try to squeeze any moment of “in between” time to add more to our brains and our bodies. We jog to work, we work standing up and doing glutes exercises, we do Kegels in the car (I heard that in a sitcom), we read on the tube, we listen to podcasts as we walk.

Problem: id you’re like me and you have a hard time getting meaningful results from minimal interaction (meaning I cannot read a novel 1 page at a time, it just does not make sense to me and if you think about you’ll also remember how you struggle with longer form). I find piecemeal interaction to be meaningless.

Solution: is there an app out there that calculates your “in between” time and selects the form of content you can consume based on two factors “increasing productivity” and “meaningful interaction”? This app will prepare a “menu” of things you can do as you walk to work and make sure they are completed by the time you get there or at least completed to a meaningful degree.

Is that out there already?

 

 

About a week ago I found that you could email Uber to see your own rating by drivers who’d taken you places. So I did, email them that is and I did. I found out that I was a 4.7 which turned out to be a life changing event because it set in motion a string of unexplainable emotions (PMS aside). I have been a fervent supporter of Uber although their brand of PR and lobby and even what I assume is the drive that sits at the heart of their business make me a bit queasy. I love Uber not because it’s cheap and convenient (that helps too) but because it allows people to be in control of their lives and their livelihood. I look at Uber drivers as small entrepreneurs who Read More

It’s interesting to gauge the stage a society is at through the concerns it has.

A couple of days ago I saw this commercial on YT and decided not to skip because it was the first time I had seen the concept of longer lives for pets. To me the pet category was always about care and maybe pampering (mainly cats :)) but it had never occurred to me that pet longevity was something people were actively thinking about. And yes I know the stories of the family dog who grew up with the family kid and, still, in all those stories the dog dies when it’s supposed to die.

It’s a sign of something different that we have placed the longevity of our pets on our radar. This means that our longevity is somehow ensured maybe, and we do not need to worry about it so much. We can start worrying about our pets. For us, maybe, the next step is immortality :) Like this.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 19.38.47

how-brands-grow1Retention is never cheaper than acquisition. It actually never has been.

And interestingly (and this is where I wholeheartedly agree with him), this IS one of the most often mentioned myths of marketing. People DO say and believe that retention is cheaper than acquisition. I, like many, took this at face value and never stopped to question it. The enormity of this misconception strikes you, though, the minute you do stop and think. The logic of the statement does exist: once you’ve established a relationship with someone, they are more likely to choose you. It kinda makes sense. But then you realize

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I hate writing “life advice” type things but I came across this phrase, “do the work, skip the party” and I thought it was nice.

All my life has been plagued by the annoying “work hard, play hard”, meaning that you did 110% at work and then went out and celebrated 110% more. The reality for me was that I, like, I assume, most people, only have 100% to give. It’s not just common-sense mathematics but also the reality of a normal human being’s abilities. You have been given 100% and to be very honest most medical research tells us that we can barely achieve that without some form of artificial enhancement. So to ask me to give 110 at work and then 110 more after work seems not only idiotic but also a bit like endorsing illegal substance consumption. Work hard, play hard for me has

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Jon Steel is one of the people who made planning what it is today. He started off in the planning department at BMP and was the youngest person to ever be appointed to the board of BMP at 26. He then moved on to lead strategy for Goodby, Silvertein and Partners in the US and is currently working in a global consulting role for WPP. I saw him last week speak at APG’s Nosiy Thinking and this is a summary of that speech.

Entitled Reasons to be Grumpy, Steel’s speech focused mainly on reminding the audience of what planning started as: a research-based skill within the agencies, meant to lay an information foundation to the creative process. He put significant emphasis on the importance of having enough information before applying common-sense and instinct to problem-solving which I think it something we should have etched in the walls of every meeting room in every agency.

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Answer here. And the bit I really liked:

“It’s very clear that people sometimes do look to brands to help make their lives a little better beyond the functionality and values of the brand. But sometimes they just want a great cup of coffee or a decent beer.”

 

 

a taster of the full thing here

“He gives you a number and a date. You know in your soul that the number is half of what it should be and that the project will go a year over schedule. He promises long-term efficiencies: The $85,000 in Oracle licenses will no longer be needed; engineering is moving to a free, open-sourced database. “We probably should have done that back when we did the Magento migration,” he says. Meaning, of course, that his predecessor probably should have done that.”

I see this in younger planners/strategists: the need to be in front of the client, to be heard, to decide on the big things. If you’re a planner and you desire those things, you’re in the wrong trade. Planners don’t ever get recognition from being the “source” of stuff. You will always be the “resource” for a lot of things but never the initiator of much, unless you’re lucky and you have a creative director who’s old enough and wise enough to understand the power of empowering people through recognition. But mostly you will work to support people whose most important desire, like yours, is to be also recognized. So you can either fight with your creative and client lead to get the recognition you deserve, learn to seek recognition in a more niche way (within your planning community or become bigger than your role and blog, speak at events etc.) or simply give up.

I’ve found that there is a more meaningful solution, though–> you can do the best work of your life and live with the quiet realization that you have contributed in a meaningful way to something great.  If that’s not enough for you, then you need to reconsider your career choice.