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[daily dobbie] what GM did next September 11, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in automotive, content, GMNext, social networks, thoughts, user generated content, web 2.0.
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Join the conversation on the fuuture of the automotive industry with GM Next.

Reach out and touch me:

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn |nr_gill@hotmail.com


[daily dobbie*] bolt could have run 9.55 September 3, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in athletics, daily dobbie, science, thoughts, usain bolt.
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The only question other than “did you just see that?” after Usain Bolt’s simply phenomenal 100m in Beijing was this, “how fast could he have gone?”. Well, some scientists in Oslo reckon it could have been 9.55. OMFG! I also love Simon Barnes’ writing in The Times so here’s his take on the original achievement.

* I’ve decided to overcome my inertia in writing posts (witness the recent decline in output caused by workload and procrastination) by plopping out a quick daily (ish) post on something I find interesting. In the interim I’m calling this the daily dobbie after the helpful elf character in Harry Potter. I’m happy to take suggestions. I make no apologies for this changing frequently.

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improving online experiences – the gap between users and designers September 2, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in IDEA, information architecture, Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement, thoughts, usability, web 2.0.
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My summation from this research by IDEA is that an Information Architect is vital in the digital process to bridge the gap between users needs and creative beliefs. This isn’t mentioned in the report but there’s a clear yawning gap where designers feel they have a great solution and consumers don’t. Having worked with and without an IA in current and previous guises, the end product is far better for having a true usability expert involved in your project to ensure the creativity is enhanced.

The report is worth a bit of bedtime reading and some key take outs:

  • 70% of designers believe visitors can maintain orientation on a site compared to only 10% of users who are able to always know where they are on a site. Navigation, intuitive labelling, breadcrumbing. Basically, no surprises.
  • This ties into users having a greater need for local search on a site conflicting with designers views that users should know where everything is.
  • Current and updated information is more valuable to users than fancy graphics and multimedia. Give them what they want and reduce the barriers to get there.
  • Effectiveness equals being able to complete your goal. This requires you to understand those goals beforehand.
  • Speed is critical even in broadband times. No big flash loaders, chaps.
  • Deep linking to content beyond the main nav and modulising it is paramount. This comes back to having a flexible creative template structure at the front end and a stable, customisable CMS at the back end.
  • Users are less interested in tone of voice than a designer which is galling considering the amount of effort we agency types put on the skills of a copywriter. As long as it has good grammar and no typos, they don’t care it would seem.

Image link

Reach out and touch me:

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goodbye geek boy, hello geek girl April 2, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in blog, facebook, females in advertising, five by five, gaming, internet, thoughts, trends.
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girl web

Computers, web n stuff. All geeky, spotty boys, right? Wrong. The girls have caught up and overtaken the boys, at least in the US. Read this article in NY Times for interesting insight and more nuggets like this (thanks to Mel Ferguson):

…among Web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog (35 percent of girls compared with 20 percent of boys) and create or work on their own Web pages (32 percent of girls compared with 22 percent of boys).

emarketer stats

Stats backed up by a recent eMarketer piece on more females than males online in US.

You probably also automatically think guys and gaming go together too but not so. In another show of support for the ladies, here’s a thought provoking post about how profanity and general insults have altered the “outsiders” perspective of gaming. There’s also a quite shocking video of someone gaming and basically sounding like he has Tourettes.

And is it any wonder the broad church of the advertising industry struggles to have senior females when repulsive opinions like the one in the image below are held. Very wrong. Full article here.

times article - suckle

But that’s quite a miserable end to a post so let’s have some amusement by being wedgie-free from Hanes (via Daily Candy).

hanes no ride up

And if that wasn’t enough… I work with the no.1 (Kadri – on the right) and no. 3 (Katrina – on the left) hottest singles in the industry according to Revolution mag. Here they are (thanks to Katie White’s facebook).

kad and kat

one year on March 13, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in blog, ewarwoowar, greg verdino, social media, spam the monkey, thoughts, twitter.

spam and nick

Who better to interview me than my good buddy Spam the Monkey…

Spam: You started this blog a year ago this week, tell us why you started?

Nick: [bluurb] stuff and things started about 2.30am when I couldn’t get to sleep in an odd period in my life. I’ve always been inquisitive and liked to collate and share information and reached my own tipping point to start blogging after meeting and seeing the goatee’d legend that is Greg Verdino in action while at Modem/Digitas and reading his words and also being inspired by a former colleague Professor Emmel. I chose wordpress as they’re free and I’m a tight get.

Spam: give us the headlines…

Nick: 268 posts, 108 comments, 808 spam comments (that’s junk, not comments about you), c.25,000 total hits. Unknown feeds as WordPress don’t track these anymore and I’m not geeky enough to know how to find this another way. I have no idea if these are good or bad or ugly. I enjoy doing it though.

Spam: last year was pretty shitty for you wasn’t it, huh?

Nick: yeah, that’s why your mum, Sue, sent you over from Boston to cheer me up. My dad died unexpectedly in April last year so that’s not going to be a happy anniversary in a few weeks. It’s still so hard to describe without falling into cliches. I’m just amazed how strong my mum has been through it all. And then my brother did his best to scare the shit out of us with his serious car accident in September when with slightly different circumstances he may not have been with us either. Through it all it makes you realise what’s important. I’ve also changed jobs twice which has been interesting and met some great people and learned some new things too but I’m hoping where I’ve landed will be all tickety-boo as Billy Connolly says. I think and hope 2008 will be better on many levels and you’re going to be Uncle Spam soon. Better tell your Uncle Brendan and your mum too otherwise they’ll be pissed with me for not knowing.

Spam: Damn straight mo fo, you don’t want to upset the Philly boy, Uncle Brendan. Anyways, what have you learned through being a member (fnarr, fnarr) of the blogosphere?

Nick: that it gives you confidence and credibility in talking about social media, web 2.0 etc. with your clients and colleagues alike. It’s a bit like homework and showing desire to know your subject. I’m amazed at how many people still have out-dated opinions about blogs, flickr, facebook etc. when they don’t actively participate and experience and be part of the conversation. Why aren’t you? I’ve also “met” a great deal of people, made new contacts and found some incredible sources of new inspiration. I like the fact that you can take a few different viewpoints from both seasoned and respected guys and some completely unknown chaps and enhance your own views and perspectives. I like the fact you can never stop learning.

Spam: and what’s not so great about it?

Nick: because you constantly find new stuff it’s easy to suddenly have a reader that’s way over 1,000 unread items. You have to continually refine your reading otherwise you just get swamped. There’s also the temptation to sign up for every new thing that’s out there (the next big thing or shiny box syndrome) and suddenly you’re having to update your status across many different applications. I’ve tended to stick to the blog and facebook with a smattering of Twitter.

Spam: we could go on for ages but I’m desperate for a pint… Ringwood Brewery pint of course. Shall we?

Nick: Yes, lets. You’re buying you tight f…

Thanks for being part of this adventure. Here’s to the next year!

say hello, wave goodbye March 10, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in blog, career, lawton, ogilvy, social media, thoughts.
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They say change is good and everything is changing for me right now so it’d better be good. Having a child is a momentous occasion in itself and made me realise that I want to work closer to home but still have an exciting, challenging career. So for the first time in about 12 or so years I won’t be getting on the commuter express anymore and travelling into London town.

I will be starting at Lawton Communications Group in Southampton today. Don’t be mistaken that this is swapping bright lights, big city for afternoons by the Solent supping G&T or watching tractors go by. No chance. Lawton are a thriving business doing some incredibly creative and exciting digital work packed with some serious artisans and professionals. And I hope to bring my alleged talents to the mix in the planning team at Lawton as well as further learning my craft from and being inspired by those around me. Sitting in a centralised planning hub means I will get to work across a number of the group businesses including FivebyFive digital providing variety and constant challenge. I was sad to say cheerio to the people I got to know at Ogilvy and the clients I worked with, especially after such a short time, but this is the right choice for me, right now and gives me great opportunities both at work and at home.

I’m also still amazed and impressed by the way we found each other last year. They had been doing some web research for some presentations and came across my ramblings on these very pages. And liking what they saw and seeing I was available having left Modem/Digitas, got in touch speculatively. How cool is that? I got my new job because of my blathering in the blogosphere. And my new boss, like my old one (good luck @ Iris, John), has a blog too. I also love the phrase they use on their site which sums up the passion of the people I will be working with: we love the smell of digital in the morning. I can’t wait.

smell of digital

As an aside: in a slight departure from some Bowie-inspired ones, this headline taken from Soft Cell lyrics which is far better when Marc Almond sings it with Jools Holland and his rythm & blues orchestra.

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