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social postcards from the edge of wherever you are October 31, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in app, social media, travel.
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The world’s leading social travel site, Gogobot, has just released a new app that makes your travel more social. It does a lot of what the site offers already but using the geo-location abilities of a mobile device it lets you find nearby restaurants, hotels and attractions, recommendations from friends as well as access personalized trip plans.

But the really nice thing is sharing real-time postcards using the app to your friends on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a smart way to tap into the discovery of new experiences through travel and the desire to share those experiences instantly. The app also acts as a digital holiday notebook where users can rate and write reviews of all the places they have been to, creating a lasting memory all of the places they’ve visited.

stuff and things 18.03.08 March 18, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in adidas, blog, corporate blog, data, design, diesel, digital advertising, flash, futurology, my space, questions, travel, twitter, website.
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adidas diesel

Diesel & Adidas bring you 83 ways to waste your time (via Damiano on Twitter)

best sites

International web design and flash showcase

Times article on how to make the most of a corporate blog with lots of links for examples and reports.

quaker blog

Quaker Oats join the digital conversation

Cyberpsychology and Behaviour research paper entitled “Distress, Coping, and Blogging: Comparing New MySpace Users by Their Intention to Blog” via Bnox

HD video in ads

stuff and things 07.12.07 December 7, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in marketing, money, south africa, travel.
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salary survey

The EMR Group have released their 2007 salary survey. Download it here. Some highlights which will sound familiar if you’re in the industry:

  • Only 6% of marketers had been in their current role for 5 years or more
  • 73% had been in their current role for 2 years or less
  • 69% of responders claim they work over 40 hours a week compared to 39% who think they should

And of you’re thinking of moving, check out how much or little extra you’ll get.

Cartoon image above found here.

And here’s some pictures from where I was staying and where we had our meeting in South Africa this week. I will write more on the various experiences, observations and learnings when my head doesn’t feel like travel-mush but in short it was a great trip on many levels.

beverly hills hotel, south africaendless horizons, south africa

spam the monkey show | episode 8 November 28, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in big ben, buckingham palace, london, london eye, spam the monkey, travel.
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spam and police

Continuing the adventure of Spam the Monkey: SPM LDN

Video extra at Buckingham Palace

Previously on Spam the Monkey: episodes 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

spam the monkey show | episode 7 October 24, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in spam the monkey, travel.
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 spam the monkey vacanza tuscany

Vacanza! Continuing the adventures of Spam the Monkey who arrived from Boston earlier this year. This time, Spam goes on holiday to Tuscany.

Previously on Spam the Monkey: episodes 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

is it early or late? September 8, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in digital advertising, thoughts, travel.
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train

What a pitch does to you.

la mia vacanza in Toscana* August 18, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in language, thoughts, travel.
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*My holiday in Tuscany

[update 21.08: thanks to Martina for the correct translation. Damn those Google language tools] 

spam tuscany

map

In July, we had a frankly fantastic holiday in Tuscany and for the first time ever, Jude & I seriously contemplated how we could live out there. Here’s my snaps. Here’s some highlights:

On the Friday before we left

I was up at 3am to finish a presentation that needed to be delivered that day. Yes, 3am. I considered staying up late but then I’m better in the mornings. I finished it by 8am and then had to do most of a days work. Not recommended. However, the evening brought much cheer as we went to see Ricky Gervais at the Portsmouth Guildhall. I quite like the Guildhall as it has good acoustics and the staff seemingly completely comprise old dears replete with blue rinses. Anyway, wasn’t quite sure what to expect as although a big fan of the Office and a latecomer to Extras, I had never seen him live. But I laughed my ass off. Very funny with a great observational style. Wish he’d have been on longer.

Saturday

For once not having to get up at death o’clock for an EasyJet flight as we didn’t leave till 11. A quick trip to Gatwick and then the tedium of airports, the highlight of which, was the new Dyson hand dryers in the traps. Like having g-forces applied to your hands. Does the job better than anything else though.

Anyway, short little bus ride from Pisa airport to the car hire terminal next door and the proud recipient of a key fob stating nuevo croma. We’d ordered a Volvo S40 or equivalent as there were 4 of us and when there were 3 of us on the Amalfi Coast last year it was a little too snug in our funky Alfa 147. A little more space would be good. But had no idea what a Croma was and suspected a Fiat (and was right) so I located the car hire company car park and sought out the number plate. My heart skipped a beat and the desire to stomp back to the desk started to well when I thought the registration matched a poky Fiat Cinquecento or similar. Only to have a moment of huge relief when I looked opposite and discovered I was one letter away. The car was suitably big enough, akin to a Ford Focus estate. More than took the luggage and the 4 of us. Quite comfortable. OK in straight line. But take a corner and it steers like a ferry. Bloody awful car.

A two hour drive ensued which went fairly quickly thanks to most of it being on motorways at plus 90/100 which makes you wonder why we can’t legally travel at these speeds. Highlights of the journey were a) only having one argument about directions (we went wrong only the once and this was probably my impatience with hindsight) and b) being overtaken by a Golf with the numberplate CCO 000 CK (i shit you not, I may have the wrong number of digits but it definitely spelt cock). Continuing that theme, here’s some chicken we didn’t buy in the local supermarket.

cok chicken

The instructions from the holiday company were spot on until the very last when it curiously told us to turn left after a dustbin. OK, which dustbin? Anyway, we finally deduced it and found the villa at the end of the lane where we were greeted by Marta, Giancarlo and Theresa. Who spoke no English which made for some comical exchanged involving lots of “si” and “grazi” and hand gesticulation. We worked it out. Suffice to say the villa was amazing. Here’s some shots.

view from villagarden

Sunday

A bit of orientation to the nearby towns of Castigliano di Fiorentina and Arezzo. And Giancarlo came by in the evening to tend to the grounds and surprised us by offering us some of his own home made wine from the vines in the grounds. Italian red is good at the best of times but oh my god this was bellissimo!!!! And he offered us some more as the week went on. And some vegetables and salad from his plot. He was such a lovely, kind and generous man. I wish I could have understood what he was saying but we managed to communicate enough to know that he gave us these gifts from his heart. Bless!

Monday

After figuring out the route the day before we set forth to Arezzo as the regional home of jewellery. And found none. But I did find some beautiful buildings and a sculpture exhibition at the top of one steep hill.

arezzoarezzo 2sculpture

Tuesday

Siena, the home of the Palio. Architecturally stunning and such a lovely maze of streets and shops. I bought some business card sized paper with a hand printed “N” on them from Il Papiro where they hand-make the paper. Quite nice if one day I decide to do my own thang.

sienasiena 2siena 3

Wednesday

Discovered that Giancarlo had about 20 hams hanging in his store room as well as his never ending vat of red wine. And I helped my mum start to learn to swim. By the end of the week she wasn’t doing too bad and could just about manage a width using a float. Lets hope she keeps it up. I seriously contemplated a career in teaching about 8 years ago, perhaps I may even have been good at it after all.

Thursday

Can’t remember so here’s some sunflowers.

sunflower

Friday

Pienza. Had a belt made by a local craftsman. Such passion and precision for his work.

belt manpienza door

Saturday

Came home. Bugger.

For ref, we booked with Cottages to Castles

books to read by the pool August 17, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in books, management, though leadership, thoughts, travel.
1 comment so far

waugh

A little later than planned but I finally get to blog about my last holiday in Italy when I’m on my current holiday pootling around at home. First up in the holiday season: the book review.

Steve Waugh – Out of My Comfort Zone

waugh book

The first of a few cricketing themed books for this holiday. I’d wanted to read this for months but managed to keep it hidden away for the week in Tuscany. Some autobiographies are just a sprinkling of magic dust on a few weeks in the sun (think Wayne Rooney’s “life story” when he’s just about out of school trousers), but this is different. Waugh’s is a fascinating tale of a guy who just doesn’t give up, makes himself better through perserverance and hard work and is incredibly human and humble. At nearly 800 pages, it’s not a quick and easy read and a bit like Waugh himself, you need to grind it out and discover the gems. And it’s not just a book for cricket lovers. If you have to manage people, you should read this. A real account of someone who took a good Australian team and made them great. How great? Just look at the history books. Some of the management lessons in the pages are as good as any you’ll find in the business and management sections of the book stores. Here’s an example of his 12-point blueprint for success:

1. stay a strong unit and enjoy each other’s success

2. play each game as if it’s the most important of your career

3. don’t hesitate, always back yourself

4. never believe the game is lost

5. aim to be man of the match every time you play

6. improvise – think on your feet

7. learn something from every match

8. do the little things right and the big picture will fall into place

9. enjoy the fact you’re representing your country – have pride

10. the best fielding side nearly always wins

11. know your own game and what your role is

12. have fun – have a laugh

Simple and straightforward but when executed with 100% convinction, unbeatable. Try taking these into your work on Monday morning.

James May – Notes from the Hard Shoulder

james may

I bought this because I enjoy Captain Slow on Top Gear. I didn’t realise he had a column in the Telegraph mainly because I don’t buy the Telegraph. Like Jeremy Clarkson’s column collections, they are fantastically short allowing you to chew it in bite size chunks, deliciously funny and completely in tune with the tone of May on the TV. After the seriousness of Waugh, a welcome chuckle.

Michael Simkins – Fatty Batter: How cricket saved my life (then ruined it)

fatty batter

Back to willow and leather with this very funny tale of how a fat kid useless at sport discovered cricket on the TV one summer and then became obsessed by it to the point where every weekend and spare moment is spent organising and playing in friendly matches. I haven’t laughed so much from reading a book in ages.

David Mitchell – Black Swan Green

black swan green

I didn’t quite finish this on holiday but a I love Mitchell’s evocative writing style that brings alive characters and places. Black Swan Green has huge nostalgia for 1982 in a typically English suburban town and deals with a child who has a stammer and therefore social acceptance problems in a difficult 13 year old’s life which is set against the backdrop of the Falklands War. Although somewhat personally disapoointed that the 1982 World Cup wasn’t even mentioned but then the main protagonist wasn’t really sporty so it wouldn’t have fitted at all. Perhaps I should write my own memoirs? Quite different to the other three holiday books in style and content but that’s the beauty of books: every one is different.

OK, I didn’t read these on holiday but some recent memorable reads:

Nick Griffiths – Dalek I loved You

dalek

If you like Dr Who and were born in and around the 1970’s this will make you laugh and cry. Although it’s not wholly about the Doctor so don’t be put off. More a case of one man’s quite surreal life against which the Doctor is interspersed.

Harry Thompson – Penguins Stopped Play

penguins

Not unlike Fatty Batter in that it mainly covers a friendly playing cricket team but it covers their fantastic travels to play cricket in all the world’s continents. Incredibly entertaining, witty and articulate as you’d expect from one of the script writers of Have I Got News For You.

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

potter

At first I did think they were kids books. Then I read the first few on holiday last year and became hooked. And I managed to be patient while my wife finished reading it before I started. A bit of a Hollywood ending but like other Potter fans I did enjoy it. What I like most about Potter is that it’s got children reading again and inspiring their imaginations. Whatever your own personal views on the merchandising etc., surely getting kids reading and enjoying picking up a book and using their brains is better than sticking them in front of the TV or the PlayStation or educating them through free toys with Happy Meals?

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