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set the tone June 12, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in creative, Inspiration.
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Most opening things start in a dull fashion. Take meetings. An agenda. Usually on paper. Usually not enough to go around. Trying to reach into the middle of the table to get the coffee (that you can’t actually get out of the jug and it tastes like pap anyway) that is usually tantalisingly out of reach and you usually knock something over or drag your jacket into the already stale Pret (they’re always Pret) platter in your quest. You then settle back into the usually overly-chilled room. And then someone usually says, “OK, cool. So, thanks for coming. We’ve got a lot to cover…” Etc. Blah. Imagine if every meeting started with a performance like this.

Or took inspiration from it. Then perhaps there would be no need for a knowing smile when you see merchandise like this.

organised me May 28, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in app, productivity.
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Lists. In my notebook. On my phone. On my desktop. In emails. In various notebooks at home. Failing to get to inbox zero. Trying to wade through gmail and work email to find crap. Or poorly organised folders on my desktop.
Stuff. Lots going on. Busy at work. Ideas bubbling over. Have just moved house. Have just had another child. Interrupted sleep. Lots to do. Getting lost. Not doing things. Missing things. Forgetting things. Losing track.

So I’m trying to be more organised. Like this:

iCloud: using our calendar for home stuff. So my iPhone tells me when stuff is happening. House viewings, when kids are at pre-school, their various clubs and activities, doctor and immunisation check ups etc. Less hassle of checking between emails, texts, scraps and home diary.

Notes on iPhone: useful for sharing to do’s and lists across iPhone, iPad and iMac that we can both update.

Evernote: I’ve had Evernote for a while but not really indulged properly. Reading up, it strikes me you have to commit. So I have. Links, a few documents, stuff I always forget, documents I want to grab easily. As a result, I now have 0 emails in my inbox. Gmail is also empty. I know I could do more. I need to read up. It’s quite liberating.

Easily Do: I’ve been looking up smart assistants for some time. Easily Do takes care of a lot of things automatically such as letting you schedule Happy Birthday posts on Facebook to be delivered on the day. I know, sounds really dim doesn’t it? But checking the Birthday notification has become a daily habit. It also brings you popular and important posts. I probably need to stay away from Facebook to see how valuable this is as I’ve seen most of them by the time it tells me about them. It sends a text when I’m on my way home. I just hit “Do It”. Easy. The receipt filing is sweet. It could be better integrated to Twitter though as that appears to do nothing right now. Same with Linked In. I tweeted them to ask if they were planning on developing a To Do list addition to the service. this would make it really useful to me. I haven’t heard back. If they could also incorporate a digest of Twitter feeds and incorporate some kind of Virtual Assistant into it then it really would be a great app. As is, I’m not so ingrained that I couldn’t swap – recommendations requested?

Any.Do: I’ve tried a few reminder/task apps recently and this one not only looks super cool but is really easy. I like the daily reminder to “take a few moments” to plan the day. The aesthetics and usability make it really easy to like and use. I disliked the way a few of the other apps appear suited to hardcore project manager types, I just want to try and get things done.

Magnetic shopping & meal planner: Bits of paper can work. This one especially. Left hand side, every day of the week with space to put meals in. On the right, a shopping lists with various sections. With a pencil holder (and pencil) and a magnetic stripe so it sticks to your fridge. It’s amazing. It makes shopping a breeze rather than a random list that means you criss-cross the shop and take forever. Yes, I know we could save time doing online shopping and for the best part of two years we have done that. But we live near a Waitrose now. And it’s quite nice to go in there. Even the kids prefer it to Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

I’m sure there’s more. I’ll keep this post updated. Do let me know any recommendations.

planner hangout May 14, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in heather le fevre, pedro aires, planner, planner survey.
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Pedro Aires

Some of you reading this will know of Heather Le Fevre’s Planner Survey. If you don’t, find out all about it on her blog. This time, as well as the usual content that is always useful and informative, Heather (and her team) wanted to get the planning community together. So, if you wanted to participate, you got teamed up with a buddy and made a Skype call to say hi and chat about things.

I got hooked up with Pedro Aires, Planning Director at La Despensa in Spain. After a few missed meetings – mainly my bad due to meetings and things – we finally caught up in January. Yes, I know it’s May now! (See my forthcoming post about getting organised). Pedro is a great character. His agency is young and vibrant and new to using planning. We had a lot of similar experiences and issues. Right down to the fact that we both really dig sitting with the creative team and being part of the creativity process rather than just being a stage in the process. We’ve not caught up since but I would like to stay in touch. It was a great initiative so thank you, Heather.

email étiquette – five sentences or fewer April 22, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in email, productivity.
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——————————————–
Q: Why is this email five sentences or less?
A: http://five.sentenc.es

We all suffer from email overload. There’s been lots written about how it kills productivity and ruins holidays.

While zero inbox and zero tolerance policy is not for everyone, Five Sentences is a gentle introduction and a step on the rung to better email etiquette. It’s not a tool or a plug-in or anything; just a state of mind. A personal statement of intent to make email less hassle and more productive (all told in five sentences).

Smartphones for seniors April 17, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in mobile.
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This is just such an amazing idea. Silverline: making smartphones for seniors to help them stay healthy and in touch in what can be a confusing, fast and quite often too nimble to operate world. It also happens to be a project that a long-time friend from way back when, Daryl Arnold, has been involved in. Take a look and be part of it.

Over the past 18 months, my team and I have been pouring our hearts into a new project called Silverline: Smartphones for Seniors. We recently launched worldwide to the public via an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Now thousands of seniors can join the smartphone revolution – helping them stay healthy, happy, and connected to their loved ones.

kickstarter handbook January 10, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in crowdfunding, kickstarter, social media roi.
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book

Kickstarter has gained a huge amount of publicity of late with some amazing projects kick started into the consciousness of most people in the digital space. In 2012, over 18,000 projects were funded with over $300m. Which is even more amazing when most of this funding comes from regular people like you and I, not moguls with billions to invest or dragons to sit and sneer while you pathetically flog your wares. It’s also not a gold mine where you just turn up and get free cash to make your ideas a reality. Which is why there’s a new book out called the Kickstarter Handbook. On the upside, it’s got a great deal of help, advice and walk-throughs to make your campaign a good one. On the downside, it uses only a handful of campaigns repeatedly. Overall, it’s a handy resource if you’re planning to use this route.

(Thanks to Mat for sharing the advance copy of the book with me. I have not been paid for this blog post.) 

Pheed me January 2, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been hearing a lot about Pheed of late so thought I’d better check it outPheed is aimed at making your social media life a lot easier and simpler. Rather than having Twitter for texts, Instagram for photos, Viddy for videos, Soundcloud for sound, etc., Pheed allows you to do all of the above, in one simple and easy-to-use platform. I’ve not Phed the Pheed* yet myself but I’ve snooped around and I like it. I especially like the built-in subscription to channels to monetize from the off. Not that anyone would pay for my shizzle but for brands and the trend to becoming content creators, owners and distributors, this could be one to watch. 

*I’m sure there will be other Ph related terms much as there was much Twonking about with Twitterisms. Would love your Pheedback on what you think. See what I did there?

Image Source.

(Thanks to Chrysta for the heads up. I have not been paid for this blog post.)

I am certified January 2, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in Uncategorized.
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I am certified. Some of you may have thought I should have been long ago but for different reasons. You may also remember the Just Ask Gill project. Well, since I pressed pause on that, I still find myself helping out folk informally and on one of my frequent work-related trips to the ‘dam, I saw an ad about training to be a mentor. And you could do it online. For free. So I did. And now I am a certified Mentor and a member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs as a result. I now have to help someone formally through one of the mentor channels on the IOEE or MentorsMe. I’ll keep you posted.

does social media destroy productivity? November 6, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in social media.
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Every time someone at work gets an IM, a Facebook message or a tweet, it takes them a whopping 23 minutes to get back on task. Here’s a nice infographic to illustrate how social can affect productivity.

Thanks to Kayla for sharing.

the future is uncertain October 12, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in Economy, Knowledge Peers, Morgan cars, social business, social media.
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Last week I attended the Knowledge Peers Exchange 2012. Some of you may remember I presented to a select group of members a while back (just over a year ago having checked – yikes!) on social business so this was my chance to sit back and learn some things. Here’s some stuff and things I found interesting:

Challenges for business heading into 2020

We’re working against a backdrop of constant change, where knowledge/information workers make up over 80% of the salaried workforce.

Where IT/enterprise driven choices have created silos that are damaging business agility.

Where Europe is an ageing population and the emerging BRIC economies are flush with youth.

Where the US and European debt situations will take greater than 10 years to resolve.

Where the continued demand for energy will result in a supply gap.

Where greater consumerisation and socially savvy employees place business at a junction. Do they enable these new employees or do they hinder them with their current working practices?

The business of 2020 will need to:

  • Adapt to a changing world.
  • Understand the market evolution and composition (particularly emerging economies and SE Asia)
  • Exploit and harness the collective knowledge of the information wrorkers
  • Understand and balance the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.
  • Deliver value-add.
  • Invent and innovate.

Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) is un-managed

57.1% of FTE’s globally use their own devices to access work data. This is not skewed to any geography (although Asia/BRIC is higher) or vertical.

Only 11.9% have a managed BYOD policy or guidelines leading to an opportunity where over 70% of BYOD are unmanaged. While clearly this is a consultancy opportunity, it also shows just how mobile has infiltrated our every day lives so seamlessly that we think nothing of accessing data on on our SmartPhones. Clearly the younger, agile businesses that are not held back by swathes of servers and IT rules will be ahead of the game here. While the panel talked about the security elements, a lot must come down to common sense too. As well as who owns, maintains and replaces the device if it is “personal” but being routinely used – and therefore an essential too – for business use. All this was wrapped under a banner of “Enterprise Mobility Management” which sounds very consultancy and clearly an opportunity to make money. Where’s my CV?

Morgan Cars

You can never repeat the past but you can be inspired by it

The quote is from the Cartier Chairman but one which Charles Morgan has adopted to explain his car company. Considering I work with one of world’s leading automotive groups in Fiat, I found Charles’ discussion incredibly interesting. How does a small player compete against global giants? The answer is not easily. Not when a typical safety testing programme sets you back £10 million. It would essentially be impossible if it weren’t for alliances. Morgan partner with BMW for engines, for example, and would not consider building their own engines because, as TVR experienced, it’s the way to ruin. But why would BMW be interested in a small, British car brand? Because German’s love British car brands. Remember they bought Rover. Charles said they do it because 1) they love it and 2) they learn something by placing their engines in smaller, lighter and more agile automobiles. Their leading engineer even screamed in delight on a race track that “I can hear my engine!!!”. Which given the excellent sound proofing and refinement in a BMW is something they’ve clearly missed. Morgan lets the engineers be petrol heads again.

Another key part of the Morgan business model is exporting. They make 1,500 cars a year and over 70% are exported. Nice that a British marque is appreciated abroad but sad too that we buy so much homogenous automotive design now that we don’t appreciate our own iconic marques as much. I loved Charles’ observation that modern cars are pretty much an extension of your living room; a car should excite you and put a smile on your face.

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Which is why they’re investing in social media. Not only does it cut across the stuffy old Morgan image that some may have but allows them to express that desire of driving excitement.

This is a nice video of Morgan.

Social Enterprise

The key theme here was that there’s still a lot of fear about moving to a more social business and adopting the cloud. What if? Why? Some examples included swapping email for social collaboration tools and just getting more noise back. The answer is (scroll back through previous posts on this) about context. Email is bad when used poorly. The same goes with any social platform. But they have the advantage of control, filtering and collaboration.

The link between social, mobile and the cloud is still unclear but companies like Salesforce.com are stealing a march with their offerings here.

The UK economy outlook

Barry Nesbitt, the Chief Economist of Santander UK, gave us an overview of the current and future state of the economy. There is no magic wand. The recession started in 2008 and the conditions are still challenging. It’s the longest recession we’ve faced where by this stage we haven’t got back to the levels of GDP output pre-recession.

2013 is predicted to show some growth but before you get excited, it’s small.

But they key theme was one of uncertainty. As the chart below shows, the economists have a huge range of expectations for the coming years for both GDP and inflation. It could be OK (although the growth is still small) or it could not be. Trouble is, the uncertainty causes subdued expectations. And with inflation still higher than our earnings, none of us are spending any money because we’re uncertain. There is a subdued outlook in the services industry and construction and manufacturing which traditionally drives GDP output.

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So, heads down.

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