Sunday, December 28, 2008

Social Media Trends 09

the big ones for me are 'social search' and 'reducing noise'

Saturday, December 27, 2008

09+ TrendMap

more doom and gloom :-(

Monday, November 10, 2008

The price of failure?

"Amazon sells almost $12 billion each year. A design change that doesn't go right, even for a day, could be worth millions of dollars to them".

Friday, November 07, 2008

PM v's UE (Part 1)

"General consensus on top issues: managers, non-managers, designers and non-designers all had highly similar scores".
Why designers fail: the report

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"If you want to become the kind of person that any company would kill to have as an employee, you need to be the kind of employee that's really picky about who you align with".
Seth's Blog

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

JOG - New Concept Gaming Ltd

Two of my ex-colleagues at Voda have created an awesome new product for gaming. The JOG product is an innovative in-game motion-sensing controller that measures the steps you take in the real world and translates them to movement on screen. Currently supporting the PlayStation, the unit promotes more active participation in gaming and encourages previously couched-potatoes to move about and get energised. A Wii version is coming soon...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Push Facebook

A downloadable Facebook Push application from BlueWhaleMail, and in the vid, a nice example of Ambient Intimacy.
More here at ReadWriteWeb

BlueWhaleMail Interview with Michael Maguire - video powered by Metacafe

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mobile Survival Kit

A number of mobile start-ups have teamed up to offer their services to 'revellers' (i've always wanted to use that word) heading off to muddy fields for tunes and camping at this years calendar of music festivals. The Mobile Survival Kit highlights 3 services that are extremely handy:

"Texperts has a team of music and festival experts on-hand 24/7 to help you with all those burning festival questions!
What is the name of the singer from the Ting Tings?
Where’s the nearest clean loo?"

"Mobyko enables you to backup your mobile online, so if you lose your mobile dancing in the mosh pit your life doesn’t go with it. Snap away at the festival and share your mobile photos and videos using the Mobyko gallery". (You could also use my photo-blogging service Snapzone for the last bit ;-)

"Zygo gives you and your posse your own group messaging service that makes staying in touch a cinch. When any of you sends one SMS to your Zygo group then we send it out to everyone else - instantly".

The MSK site is a really neat way to package and promote a set of services that address real customer needs.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wifi Anywhere

A couple of months back, i mentioned a Series 60 software download called Joikuspot. Provided you have a Series 60 device that has WLAN, Joikuspot creates a wireless hotspot using your phones 3G connection, and you get wireless internet access on your laptop, pretty much anywhere provided you can get a 3G signal.
I was using Joikuspot for a while. but then came across another download; Walkinghotspot. Walkinghotspot from Taproot Systems is similar to Joikuspot, the main differences being that it's available for Windows Mobile devices, and it supports all internet services (not just Htttp as Joikuspot does). Walkinghotspot has proved to be more reliable as well, providing me with wireless internet access for my Mac, all included in the monthly contract price I pay to 3 for my X-series Nokia.

Wired: Google's Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web

Great article in Wired about Androids creation, plans and potential future.

Also, FYI, Google have recently created a Google Group for the mobile community here

Friday, May 30, 2008

Naked grief :-(

Techcrunch caught wind of what had happened at Naked and on Wednesday, Mike wrote a thorough post [Naked stripped bare,startup runs out of cash, enters liquidation] about what's been going on. David @ thenextweb wrote a follow-up to Mikes post [Why we did not publish The Naked Truth] , and Mike wrote back today addressing the points raised in thenexweb story [Disecting Naked, when and what to publish about a failing startup].
It's sad that Naked is unintentionally causing more grief, when so much has been created already :-(

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vodafone Station

Here's a great new product from Voda, recently announced by Vodafone Italy for launch this summer. An ADSL gateway with a detachable HSDPA dongle, it gets us one step closer to a personal connectivity solution from a single provider with a single bill.

It also has a huge USP in they way it solves the typical horrid broadband provisioning experience - you normally have to sign up to a provider and wait a number of weeks or months until your connected. The VF Station includes a detachable HSPA dongle so you can be up and running immediately with connectivity, and when the fixed-line connection is activated, the remotely-managed backhaul switches from HSDPA to ADSL. And when you need to be out and about, you simply detach the dongle from the gateway, and pop it in to the side of your laptop. Very neat, and a great FMC product solution.

More info here

via TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Naked update...

Naked has had a tough few days - we've run out of cash and are facing some very disappointing consequences. And all this comes at a time when we were literally a few weeks short of opening up the service as a full Private Beta.
I'm therefore exploring all options to see what can we can do. No-one ever said start-ups were easy ;-)
theNEXTweb appreciated our update to our current beta members.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Economist Special Report - Mobility

This week's Economist has a great report on the social impacts of mobile technology. There's a lot of ethnographic evidence to support various views on how we are adapting and changing as a result of the wide array of mobile technology available to us.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

10k images on Snapzone!

A couple of years ago, I set up a mobile-photo-blogging site. It was a (relatively) low-cost experiment to test offshore development, demand for moblogging, and something to keep me busy at weekends. I found a developer in the Ukraine and on and off over the course of about 12 months, Olexiy and I put together Snapzone. At one point I was toying with the idea of trying to raise some $ to grow it, but I then got involved in Naked, and Snapzone has been somewhat neglected. The encouraging thing though is that without any marketing (except for a mention in Mashup), a few people have found it and are using it. Today, it clocked up its 10,000th photo! Not exactly the big league, but not bad for a couple of grand and a few Sunday afternoons!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ofcom Social Networking Research

Ofcom have just released a quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes, behaviours and usage of Social Networking in the UK.
report here

CommonCraft Plain English Videos

I'm loving these animations from CommonCraft - they are such a neat visual way to desconstruct and explain complexity.

28 Million Mobile Subscribers Responded to At Least One Mobile Ad

"According to a new report from The Nielsen Company, twenty-three percent (58 million) of all U.S. mobile subscribers say they've been exposed to advertising on their phones in the past 30 days. Half (51% or 28 million) of all data users who recall seeing mobile advertising in the previous 30 days say they responded to a mobile ad".

Full article at The Center for Media research

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mashup* Innovate

We're demo'ing Naked at Mashup Innovate this afternoon - it's being held at the offices of Nesta, 1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE. Event info here

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zygo Hubs: Group SMS

Although text messaging has been such an enormous success, it could have been even bigger if it had been designed to support M:M messaging. The vast majority of the messages we send are to one person, yet so much of our non-mobile communication is in a group context - forums, bb's, group email, conf calls, etc etc.
The problem with M:M SMS has always been the economics. In Europe, i pay to send an SMS, but if it has multiple recipients, my operator wants to charge me x times as many recipients that receive the message. It gets costly and so i dont bother. What the outdated and simplistic mobile operator interconnect model misses is the financial echo of that first message. So i send a message to 5 people, I get two replies that also go to the other 5 people - my operator gets 2 x the interconnect receipt (assuming i'm the only person in that group on that one operator) + any revenue from any additional messages I send to that group. For an operator with 30/40% market share - this starts to look quite fruity as you increase the amount of originating revenue in accordance with your share of the group participants.

I looked at this in quite some depth at Voda and found a way to make this work. We conducted a social network analysis of SMSC data to understand the social footprint and fabric of messaging. Even though there was no 'product' in place, customers were already demonstrating this behaviour - i.e. a % of SMS was being sent to multiple recipients and there was evidence of repeat conversation. Productising and promoting this would surely have been profitable.

Anyway, I'm digressing, the point is there is a gaping opportunity in this product space and a company called Zygo Communications (which was founded by some of my ex-colleagues at Orange) have just launched a proposition to address this; Zygo Hubs.

The service allows you to set up a group with up to 20 participants, you get allocated a dedicated long number, and every message you send to the number will be forwarded to the other group members. You can set the group up via mobile or web, and the communication history of the group is accessible via a web interface. You pay your normal operator message rate for every message you send to the group, and for every message that is sent to group members, a credit is deducted from the group account. You get 50 free to start with, and can top-up via the web. SMS credits start at 7.1p each and decrease in price in accordance with the amount of the top-up. This seems a little pricey given the wholesale cost of SMS, and may not be cheap enough to draw users in v's what they have today (1:M SMS included in their bundle).
The site, brand and design seem targeted at the 'youth', who are the most price-sensitive segment of all, and who may be unwilling to swallow 7p per text given the relative pricing of bolt-on SMS offers on both PAYG and PM price plans. Despite this, there is clearly a market for this kind of offer within SME's, Education, Public Services and other areas - re-branding the site for these verticals will be cheap and easy.

"Social Advertising"

The corporate part of the Zygo site explains that the Zygo platform can be used by Brand partners to engage in targeted conversations with the groups that use Zygo. Presumably, the per message pricing can be subsidised with mobile advertising - this is neat, and a nice example of how mobile VAS can be funded through advertising. What impact this has on the customer experience (e.g. share of ads to group messages) has yet to be seen.

• Allows anyone to set up their own group messaging service (via the web at and provides that group with a single central telephone number through which any member can contact the whole group instantly.
• One text message sent to the group number and the ZygoHub relays it out to all members, similarly any reply goes back to the whole group creating an instant and true group text conversation.
• Is designed to be inclusive for everyone in a group so works on any network, any handset and is as simple as sending an individual text message.
• Has an easy to use web interface that allows the members to add profiles, send sms, manage their group and archives the group’s conversations.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mig33 update

A while back I wrote a post about the future of mobile voice and text. At the time, I was working for Voda and somewhat overexcited at the thought that flat-rate data plans would enable consumers to bypass the mobile operators messaging and voice billing mechanisms.

Today I read a PR release about Mig33 offering a pre-paid credit platform. I wasn't too interested in that, but what did capture my attention were the claimed stats;

"more than 11 million people in 200 countries around the globe have already signed on to use mig33's mix of free and inexpensive Internet
communication services, including VoIP calls, instant messaging, e-mail, text
messaging, photo sharing, and social networking features. With more than 2
million sessions per day, users are sending more than 45 million messages
each day and sharing more than one million pictures a month. mig33 enables
users to carry their entire social community with them wherever they go, on a
device they never leave home without, creating an instant global social

If the numbers are true, this is huge! 11m people, 45m msgs/day, 1m pictures/month!!! Most of these apps weren't around before 2006, so in 2 years quite a considerable category has been created.
What i'd like to know though is 1) what the usage motivation is - does the base use it avoid paying their operator, or are they drawn in by the community? 2) how this claimed usage maps geographically - i.e. do high usage territories correlate to high ARPU markets? and 3) what is the related SN usage/penetration in these geographies (are these mobile apps filling a need where PC access is low and as a result, web based SNs e.g. MySpace/Facebook etc haven't caught on) or are these apps being used in addition to web-based SNs?

So presumably the pre-pay platform is now an attempt to monetise the base. This may prove somewhat tricky if the answers to the above questions indicate that the motivation for usage is an allergy to paying their mobile service provider.

Others include Pica, TruTap, NimBuzz, and BluePulse

Friday, March 14, 2008


I've just been playing with the recently launched WeGlu. It's caught my attention because it purpose and mission sounds similar to naked. The team behind WeGlu say they built the site because they "wanted to create something that helps us stay close to our friends - the people we see all the time". They also talk about 'living in the moment' - i.e. you shouldnt be tethered to your PC, so they've the launched the web app at the same time as a J2ME version. (Jason Delport over at Paxmodept has an overview of the J2ME client).

The most striking thing you notice about WeGlu is the intentional move away from tradition UI and UE paradigms. The application presents elements in a very different way to other SN apps, and is comparatively quite complex. A status update or 'what I'm doing' message is now 'Currently doing', 'Location', 'PostCode', 'I'd love to', and 'I'm feeling'. The design does feel fresh and funky, and therefore is likely to be targeted at generation 'why' - something that is reflected in their marketing tie-up with the E4 show 'Skins'.

WeGlu enables you to send 3 types of messages in addition to the 'updates'; an Event, Place or Message, although all three types appear to use the same message format. Once you've created the message, you then choose who you want to share this with, presumably enabling you better control over what you share with who - so what you send to your friends, might not be visible to everyone.

There seems to be a strong community element to the app, where WeGlu members can check out what others are doing and saying. This seems somewhat in contradiction to the teams gripe in the 'about' that other social networks "were trying to get us to spend time on their website in the hope of meeting people we’d never really ever meet".

WeGlu is a bold move, and a neat re-combination of the SN experience. I've yet to check out the J2ME app, but their decision to include this from launch illustrates the need for closer and tighter integration of web and mobile. One to watch...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bebo acquired by AOL for $850m

more here

Guitars v's Art v's Wine v's Stocks

Sources – The Liv-Ex Index/, Mei/Moses All Art Index, The Vintage Guitar Price Guide, Bloomberg

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

US Mobile Access, Data & Info research...

The Pew Internet and American Life project have just released some results of a research project in to US use of mobile data, wireless, mobile phone usage by age, income, gender, education, region etc. go here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Naked Beta, Roll Up, Roll Up...

I would hereby like to cordially invite my regular blog readers (Feedburner says there's about 200 of you) to an early peek at Naked. Pls ping me your email address (mine is my firstname dot lastname at and early next week I'll add you to the Beta.
We'll have 1:1 and 1:M messaging working globally using a UK longnumber and the US shortcode will be added in a couple of weeks.
I'm hoping for a bit of honest and constructive feedback and some thorough feature testing. Thanks

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Graffiti Wall

I think one of these would go down a treat in our new offices..

Graffiti Wall from Alex Beim on Vimeo.

Microsoft acquires Danger

First Yahoo, now Danger.

MS assets now include device (Danger + [OEMs]), device OS (Windows mobile & Danger), Mobile Service Platform (Danger) and Services (LiveMail + Messenger). Now potentially add in to the mix Yahoo assets; device app (Yahoo Go), Mobile Service Platform (they've got one but it's not widely known) and Services (Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Portal, Search, Ads etc) and you have the ingredients for an end-to-end integrated consumer proposition across mobile and web.

Oms got the scoop here
Danger press release here

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mobile World Congress Blogs

With most of my peer group enjoying a grueling schedule of meeting and parties in Barcelona this week, I'll be in the Naked office, putting the finishing touches to our Private beta release. But I'll be following the news at:

SMSText News
Mobile Mentalism
The Nokia Blog
Vodafone's Mobile World Congress Blog

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wi-fi hotspot in your pocket

Download this and you can turn your 3G Nokia Smartphone in to a WLAN - neat ;-)

[via Lifehacker]

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I'm completely spooked. Today, the team at naked came across this article by Nick O'Neill in The Social Times titled; "Get Naked But Do So in Private". We've never met Nick, never been in touch with The Social Times, nor are we aware of them knowing us.
Over the last 10 months we've been quietly building Naked to provide people with a way to share, interact and communicate in a more closed, private and intimate way. It addresses a growing wave of net debate and concern over the privacy of social networks and introduces a contextual construct to communication which has to date, been missing. This is important because it dictates how and who I want to communicate with and respects my privacy rights over that communication, rather than assuming that what I want to communicate is with everyone and everywhere.
The irony in the article is that "getting naked" is assumed to mean that you want to open up and share everything on the net with everyone. But with our upcoming Beta, you will soon realise that it means something very different...stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


A friend of mine has just launched GadgetStylist to help UK consumers decide which mobile best suits their needs; "the Trinny and Susannah of the gadget world – without the prodding and grabbing".
The site helps you find the right phone, points you to where you can buy it, and then once you've got it, they answer any questions you have on how to get the most out of it. Currently mobiles only, but planning to add lots of other gadgets in the future.
Well done Chris ;-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Great creative...

saw this on socialnetworkingwatch - its for a chain of stores in the Netherlands

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

great ad

I like this new ad from Vodafone. Creative, atmospheric and clever.