Wednesday, June 17, 2009

this blog has moved

You can see the new blog @

Read about the changes in the welcome note or the about section of the new blog.

Bye bye Blogger.


My blog is being reborn. It's going to appear somewhere else, looking different.

As with all births, things could get messy. Like, for instance, the logo disappearing from above. Hmm. not sure where that went.

Anyhoo. A few more pushes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

threadcaking, anyone?

There's something very 'internetty' about this lovely idea. Threadless are asking fans* to make cakes of their favourite T-shirt designs.

*[Is 'fans' a reasonable term to use? Fans feels passive. But people that engage with this kind of thing are anything but. I suppose these days the word fan means something very different.]

That cake is an accepted 'medium' for T-shirt advocacy speaks layers (sorry) about our effortless participation adoption of recombinant culture. The fluidity of ideas and media has reached a point where we can instantly accept the metamorphosis of an idea into an unusual new form with no explanation necessary.

I love it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

philosophy by bicycle

On Saturday I cycled around London with a group of other people, sporadically indulging in light philosophy.

It was a 'holiday' created by The School of Life, an organisation I mentioned last week.

Signing up for this was an unusual thing for me to do and while it might sound a little pretentious, it really wasn't. Unless the idea of a light lecture on philosophy is pretentious to you. In which case, this was as well.

Here's the route we took:

Although the 'philosophy bits' were interesting, they ended up being merely lubrication for simple, human interaction. The reason I type that with a sense of surprise (if you can detect the force and speed of my key-tapping) is because I'm not someone who thinks of doing 'activities' with 'strangers' simply to socialise. I have - you know - friends and that.

I only realised retrospectively that the best part of the day was mixing with interesting, nice people. (Is this like the part where Pinocchio realises he's a real boy?) The philosophy thing ended up being just a prop or excuse for chatting. Bringing people together and giving them something to do. I suppose the unusual event structure pulled me out of my comfort zone and plonked me somewhere I didn't expect to be - and wouldn't have thought of pursuing. But I'm glad I landed there.

OK - In an attempt to drag this post out of being just a bit of dull psycho-self-analysis - a lovely phrase was mentioned during our outing that I will share with you. Next time things aren't going well for you just think of it as "the resistance of the world to your wishes". I quite like that.

Friday, June 12, 2009

droga's millions

I was just looking at D&AD's four black pencil winners and discovered (for the first time) Droga 5's 'Million' project.

For the life of me I can't find a video to directly link to. But you can see it at the link above or on Droga 5's website.

It's basically an incentive scheme for less-privileged, under-performing students that rewards performance with a shiny phone. The better they do in school, the more minutes they get etc.

I love ideas like this. This is exactly the sort of way problems should be tackled - with solutions, not messages.

[I actually believe that this kind of thinking is over-lauded - mainly because it masquerades as a lateral approach to an 'advertising challenge'. In my mind it's only an advertising challenge if someone (perhaps wrongly) decides to ask for advertising. Anyway, that's an entirely different post.]

Props to Droga for actually making this happen. Coming up with ideas like this isn't the hard part. It's getting everyone on board and seeing it through. All the while dealing with the big, inevitable client question: "Will this work?"

Of course, no one knows if things like this will work. So we stand looking across the chasm of uncertainty and ask ourselves: Do we try something new which could be amazing or could equally fail? Or do we stick with something dull and safe that at least will get a few eyeballs and have a pop at some gentle psychological persuasionism?

I know which I'd rather be involved in.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

why you should make excuses

If you're in the business of trying to motivate particular behaviour, this thought might oil your kippers.

Jamie and I went to Breakfast Club at The School of Life last week. In a nutshell it was a group of people chewing over both muesli and light philosophical musings, all hosted by Robert Rowland Smith.

It hit me a few days later that although this was a new experience, it wasn't actually an invitation. It was an excuse.

It was an excuse for me to do something that I was already predisposed to doing but normally would not. It was an excuse because my usual reasons for not doing it were removed.

Here were my excuses for going:

1. It wasn't my idea to go - it was Jamie's idea
2. She goes to lots of interesting events, so it's probably not as pretentious as it sounds
3. It could be valuable for my line of work - it's "research"

Of course I loved it. Because it's exactly the sort of thing I would enjoy. A guilty pleasure of sorts that I would normally not act on because of the effort it would take to find out about and subsequently the message it would send out about me.

I have a point to make.

Rather than think how you can make people do stuff. Think who would like to do it and then give them an excuse to do so. Like, I don't know.. hand out microphones in Trafalgar Square and play one of the most popular songs of all time?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

how to start a party

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

stress isn't good for anyone

Monday, June 01, 2009

a post about why I'm not posting

Very self-indulgent I know. But I'm missing posting regularly. Here are a few reasons:

1. I've been redesigning my blog
It's nearly ready and it will be hosted at, finally. It's also really BIG. I got rid of the side column and pretty much made it massive. Goodbye blogger. Awesome.

2. I've been working on I Feel Earth
I'm very excited. We're close to a beta launch. It's taken ages - and will continue to be a slow burn - because Nilesh and I are, well, employed full-time.
But it's far, far more impressive and exciting than I dreamed of when I first uploaded I Feel London etc. *must resist.. doing.. smiley.. face...* Too late - :)

3. I've been planning my wedding
Which meant designing our website and invites, going to the States. All kinds of things. I won't lie, Wrisley is doing most of the organising, but still, weddings are an excellent example of Parkinson's Law I can think of.

4. I'm working on a pitch
Which I'm very keen to win and I'll explain as and when we do.

5. The weather is amazing!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Robots learn to fall gracefully

There's something that really tickled me about this article in New Scientist.

When I first read that "soccerbots in Chile are learning to fall" I couldn't help but think of Didier Drogba. There's something amusing about the idea of robots learning to cheat.

But there's more to it of course:
"The aim of the RoboCup project is to have a robotic team in place by 2050 that can beat the best human side - an impossible goal unless soccerbots can learn to fall over without damaging themselves."

But the research potentially has an even more worthwhile use:
'Giving a large robot the ability to fall over gracefully could greatly extend the role of humanoid robots outside soccer, including cybersuits and robot legs that assist walking in elderly and disabled people."
Read the whole article here.