Thursday, 20 March 2008

The buck's gotta stop somewhere...

Trying to get my head around this issue - buck passing. Why does it seem more relevant than ever before in my career? Why do I hear phrases like:
  • It's not your/my remit
  • That's up to A, B, C to decide, not you
  • We'll have to get a workshop/meeting in to discuss that
  • I can't do that without buy in from the entire human population of Papua New Guinea

It's two things - a depressing "silo" mentality that any professional should, frankly, be ashamed of these days (and one i won't go into) but it's also so far away from the real-virtual world the "consumer" lives in, that the negative effect on business is unavoidable.

Defining possession and ownership of anything in the digital world, is a waste of time. By the time you've organised the brainstorm to sort out the meeting to agree the plan of who should run the project for your latest brand extension - some bloke in Derby's already done it and got it bought by A. N. Other rich b*stard in the States. Too late - back to that drawing board.

Problem is that big old school companies just aren't set up to work as quickly as we'd like - and getting them to that place is going to take some time. But that's not to say we shouldn't try - those big old school companies are just as full of passion, innovation and talent as the small .com millionaire start-ups. I genuinely don't think the problem lies solely within the organisation - although, I fear, a lot of current thinking is that if you fix that, you'll fix everything. Just getting rid of the red tape is not going to make it better.

The issue is the mindset...the fear that lies within us mere mortals who don't really understand the 1s and the 0s behind all this and therefore don't like to shout too loud. Making the big, gutsy, hairy, balls-out changes to an online business that will catapault you into true success is harder because there is a fear of "getting it wrong" by people who are used to being experts. In short - it's a fear of failure. So the buck passes more and more senior people who are further and further away from the consumer and much too busy trying to sort out the goddamn infrastructure to get involved with the guts of the business. The outcome? Without a maverick on your side who's prepared to get some backs up, cock up a bit and put thier neck on the're stuck.

My advice, no - my order - go and grow some. Excuse the phrase but I do really believe in this, and not least because I've wasted time myself worrying and wibbling around. Don't wait for someone else to tell you that you're right, you might not be, and if you are - who's going to be able to tell you? Anyone worth their weight is WAY to busy making their own mistakes and loving it. And so what, if you really mess up - least you can blog about it...

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Google never lies...

A quote..."Google never lies"...purloined from a colleague, purloined from someone else...however, an interesting concept. The quote came up in a conversation about a picture of said colleague that had come back to haunt him - nothing sordid, just silly I might add. So, however much you change or try to eliminate your past, it's now simply not possible.

What I can't quite figure out if its that a good thing or a bad thing. To be totally purist about it, surely it's a good thing. It's a way round the paradox that history, by it's very nature, is utterly subjective and unreliable. Any story or information that is still in circulation is there because somewhere, somehow, someone won...wrote the story...and so the "truth" is born. But what if every story told, never went away? What if the losers and the winners had exactly the same chance of getting their version of the truth in black and white? What if...oh, yeah, it's not "if"'s utterly real.

Fantastic - a truly inspired way of telling and presenting history. Because "Google" sorts by relevance and not by power, persuasion or threats, we're closer to the truth of the matter. Must be a good thing, surely.

However, what if the story, really is better left forgotten? What if relevance simply isn't a human enough way to sort through information? I suppose the clearest example I can think of is the way in which news was basically propaganda throughout the world wars within Britain. Yes, it wasn't right, and it depicted the opposing forces as monsters but in a world where people were losing sons, husbands, brothers and fathers...isn't it just easier to see the bad guys as exactly that? Isn't the truth just that bit harder to swallow? Isn't it sometimes just kinder to filter some of it out?

Maybe not - and it's not an opinion I'd ever push hard but I just wonder if the fact that as "Google never lies" becomes a truth, as consumers being producers of information becomes the norm, maybe it's not such a good thing...

Monday, 3 March 2008

Not that I'm getting obsessed with Facebook but...

Time was that a woman (I say woman merely because they are more likely to bother to investigate not less likely to stray) with suspicions would have to resort to some kind of under cover, eyeholes in the newspaper mission to know whether or not they were no longer the one and only. If the object of your affection is taking three buses, doubling back and changing trains while they are moving on the way to's probably not a good sign. It's the stuff that old movies are made of and that makes any sane woman laugh now - what an awful lot of effort to have to go through.

So, "The Scorned" moved on. Check receipts, check credit card bills, check the phone bill...check every bit of a paper you can find and you'll get to the truth. The paper trail was the key. Not so much the old movies but defintely the odd story line in almost forgotten episodes of EastEnders or Corrie. Either way, if your other half was binning his litter out on the street, you'd be worried.

Then came the mobile phone. Get hold of it, check the sent items and the inbox and the last calls made... They might not think of it all and it would be evidence enough to either put your mind at rest or call the lawyer. I remember once being warned by a particularly faithless man "if your other half ever starts to take his phone into the shower, toilet or're f*cked". Nice to know.

Then the personal email accounts came under fire. Scary stories of people hacking into email accounts of other halves to see what was going on. Not one of these stories ended well I'll point out. I suspect if you're looking there, it's pretty definite already. This happened to male and female friends of mine and although the one that makes my blood run coldest is the one that seems to happen most often.

And now Facebook has touched this long running story of deception... It's the worst thing in the world for a cheat. Facebook - the devil in technology. You can't keep your profile secret from you other half to hide what you're up to (how suspicious is that?!) and even have no control over what other people write on your wall. Disaster is sure to ensue. Images of "great night last night, big boy" on the wall of some lothario - funny for us, not so the lothario. So, you have to get out all together if you want to get up to know good. Remove yourself from Facebook under some pretention that you don't want to be on there anymore. Problem is - what pretension? There isn't one I can think of, seriously, i've tried but isn't it just so much easier to stop going to the site than to close it down? It's suspicious and that's that.

So maybe next time a friend of yours tells you their worried, maybe the first thing you should do is check Facebook...