system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Wobbly bridges, marching bands, traffic jams and 21st centruy marxism (aka "The charitable hedge fund")....6

Looks like we'll end December around 400 points up. Took a bit of a bashing over the Christmas period, and after some analysis it looks like trading over the festive system isn't such a clever thing to do....the model is based indirectly on volume and momentumn - relatively few people trading means indicators were triggering, when under normal circumstances they've have remained within range.

January we go to £1 a point. 8 markets now in play.....

Very long - but very good

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The brilliant Juliet Schor...

A devastating and brilliant analysis of our profoundly dysfunctional society

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Dell and twitter - they aren't doing it for the money...

Why is it perpetually reported that because Dell makes money from Twitter everyone else can?

Dell is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. As a proportion of revenue - their Twitter income is farting in a thunderstorm. If you took that ratio and applied it to a "normal" - sub £100m business - it wouldn't be worth getting out of bed for - certainly wouldn't provide any sort of return on capital.

Twitter is the best PR tool Dell ever had - but that's all it is....

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Copenhagen isn't the answer

We came from small, local communities. It is to those that we are returning. The climate issue (amongst others) will only be addressed successfully in these forums.

Forget Copenhagen and its grand people with their grand plans. We'll find no answer with them.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Wobbly bridges, marching bands, traffic jams and 21st centruy marxism (aka "The charitable hedge fund")....5

Looks like December will be the first month the charitable hedge fund turns a bone fide profit.

We're some 300 points up this month. From a further modification at the end of November - the traders are now working 24hrs - trading 8 different markets. In January - with some time off over Christmas I hope to expand that number to 16.

All means - come mid next year - we should be in a position to be handing out the cash for real - and for me to retire....

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

3 scenarios - all bad...

The 3 most likely scenarios for our economy over the next 3-5 years.

1. As the fiscal stimulus is rolled back, we realise we've created a massive asset bubble in commodities and stocks. Gold goes to $5,000 and ounce, the stock market tanks, economic growth falls back - standards of living start to decline.

2. As the fiscal stimulus is rolled back, we fail to realise we've created a massive asset bubble in commodities and stocks. Consumers keep spending (a bit). Due to the value of the pound we start importing inflation even in a low growth environment. Gold goes to $10,000 an ounce, the stock market tanks, economic growth falls back, standards of living start to decline.

3. As the fiscal stimulus is rolled back, we fail to realise we've created a massive asset bubble in commodities and stocks. Consumers keep spending - quite a bit – economic growth picks up to reasonable levels - inflation goes nuts. The government of the day, keen to be perceived to be acting early, lift interest rates. Everyone realises no real recovery had taken place. Gold goes to $10,000 an ounce, the stock market tanks, economic growth falls back, standards of living start to decline.

sCRM - social customer relationship management

A sensible post on something vaguely related to my proper job....

I've been looking into social CRM and community research tools for a new business unit we're setting up at Dig called Demograph.

Jeremiah Owyang's blog provided some great background research into the topic and a matrix of the main players in the space here. In fact there seems to be a weird synchronicity between what he posted about and what I need. Another article on listening strategy here came at a perfect time for a client in the Healthcare space.

A 15 min video, on a particular social CRM product here which, although a little dry - gives a good overview of the practical application of these types of technologies.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The biology of self deception...

Very interesting clip here on self deception.

Chomsky seems somehow deflated these days. There is a resigned ambivalence to him, where once there was real passion.

Sad but inevitable I guess, when you are the only sane person in the world!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wobbly bridges, marching bands, traffic jams and 21st centruy marxism (aka "The charitable hedge fund")....4

Wow! It's working....

Nearly 3 months in and what was happening on an excel macro appears to be happening in real life...

Not been totally plain sailing - have had to rebuild / tweek things several times to cope with the live trading environment - IG index keeps pretty quiet about the additional spread you pay on every trade that rolls over - GGRRRRR - but on the whole though - we're looking good.

Still a long way to go - but the principle appears to hold. In the New Year once we come out of this alpha phase - I might migrate these posts to a separate blog. But in the meantime - watch this space....

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Losing control...

When I see posts like this I find myself part excited, part fearful.

The web, like a large urban metropolis, is now so vast, so densely populated (and so integral to life) - that traffic can now move within it, without fear (on any practical level) of being noticed, intercepted or stopped.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Good consumers pt2...

An individual can apparently be genetically pre-disposed to apply for credit. Who could have imagined?

More here.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Mind changing...

Interesting piece on Stephen Fry's blog here - which, amongst other issues, tackles changing one's mind.

Fry worries his inconsistent deliberations may prejudice a cause with which he is involved. In a separate section he ponders the power of the collective – and particularly in recent times - its manifestation in the phenomena of social media.

What he doesn’t appear to consider is the possibility of the 2 concepts being complimentary and intimately linked. (and to my mind, inversely correlated).

To put it another way, the stronger the group dynamic, the more important it is, that we as individuals, are allowed to vacillate….

As separate entities within the group, our predisposition to procrastinate, is the logic which shapes an overall trend. The swarm shifts in a direction when a balance of views "tips" a particular way. Procrastination is the mechanism which ensures a new direction is continuously challenged. As the balance of views change, the direction of the swarm is amended. The collective doesn’t merely “allow” individuals to vacillate – it is the basis of its success.

More importantly, as the pace of the decline of individualism increases, and the group once again emerges as the dominant societal form, this power of procrastination is likely to be more important than ever. The individual who, for 500 years or more has arguably been conditioned artificially, to stick to a position regardless, must rediscover her right to change her mind change.

This smoothing of averages through freedom of thought, is the foundation of collective intelligence. Nature, communities, groups – all living organisms - have learned to rely on the individual is to court disaster. When we see Autumn colours – this is averages. The chemical messaging system within plants which ultimately causes the fall, doesn’t get turned on over night. The risk of disaster triggered by a cold snap in the middle of summer is too great. Slowly, over a matter of weeks, the relevant hormone builds in the leaves. Only when a critical threshold is reached – do leaves fall. Wildebeest move in herds, ants work as a colony, ships in the Great war moved in convoys. Nature has learned to hedge. There is a reason one of the most powerful groups of financial institutions in the world use that word in their name. This thinking permeates every aspect of our lives. Look around us and we see decisions made through the massed, blind “intelligence” of the group. It is the simple average, based on individuals changing their minds, which has got us to this point in our evolutionary development - not the will or insight of the individual.

There is no evidence in history to suggest we humans are anything other than contradictory, impulsive inconsistent creatures. The real issue, I suspect is, as newly individualistic humans (see 20,000 year bubble here) because it doesn’t prize the individual, we have become skeptical of the power of the group. The single member is, in the final analysis, expendable, and we as individuals ourselves, quite understandably, don’t like to acknowledge this. Lloyd George took months to convince the admiralty to try the convoy system in 1917.

One might even go further and construct an argument that it is precisely this fear of vacillation that informs modern psychotherapy. Certainly our less than linear decision making process is at the heart of the humanist psychotherapy movement. Carl Rogers’ one of its founding fathers, in his book “A Way of being” tries to help his reader understand and accept their conflicting feelings. Ignoring them he argues is the root of psychological dysfunction.

Ironically then, once again Stephen Fry appears to be leading the pack. By honestly confronting his concerns over deliberation and delay, he has stumbled upon a hugely emotive issue. One we are all likely to be wrestling with for decades to come.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

We are all human in the end...

I find Rupert strangely reassuring - sad, angry and confused as he is. We discover that he is, after all, human.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Ab King Pro...

Shopping direct and BBC News. Both sell a product and spend millions trying to convince me they're right.

The only difference this morning?

Shopping direct seemed considerably more convincing.

After 20 minutes of Ab King Pro infomercial I found myself surprised at never having considered the necessity of rock hard abs – but daring to believe their product could provide me with them. Whereas coverage of the Afghani elections on the BBC seemed so contrived, I felt faintly embarrassed for the pretty girl with the symmetrical face having to read the crap out on air.

How is it that infomercials now seem more entertaining and more convincing than the news?

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Last "c

I've just completed the final installment in a series of articles I was writing about social media for DFF clients

"Our scoot around the boundaries of social media marketing is nearly complete. Our last “C” stands for control. And like any good estate agent or a climate negotiation – we have left the most contentious issue till last….

Digital networks take control out of the hands of the few and hand it over - abet often in a clumsy and contradictory manner - to the many. Social media is part brand therapy, part populist revolution and part return to a norm. The mighty changes taking place in political institutions, the media and the wider economy are in no small part, down to digital networks enabling far more of us than ever before to talk to each other, more easily than we’ve every done in the past.

But control is about more than just the standard horror stories from the web (Untied airlines breaking guitars here (their share price took a 20% hit when the story broke in old media), Habitat exploiting death to sell cheap sofas here or Motrim’s young mother misunderstanding (was there anything really that bad with this viral?) – hit delicious for a complete disaster-paedia).

PR disasters will be with us whichever form of media a brand chooses to use. When we talk about control we’re thinking bigger – and more we like to think - more positively.

5 years ago a blogger called Jeff Jarvis started a thread called “dell hell” in which he berated the company for its lacklustre customer service and after sales support. The blog and its effect form the basis of social media folklore. Discovering that their “share of voice” (how much talk online they actually controlled) was effectively 0 – Dell realised instead of trying to ignore or kill the conversation they had better act more positively. The result was a transformation in Dell’s marketing strategy. Not only did they address the specific issues Jeff Jarvis raised – they began to reengineer their business model to make sure it couldn’t happen again. Years later, 17 people sitting in a room talking to customers on blogs twitter and through other social media channels is Dell’s online marketing strategy. They are said to sell $250,000 worth of linx computers through their Twitter channel every month.

More recently Obama’s presidential campaign pushed the control envelope still further. For the first time (possibly in history) a politician did a u-turn, and havign done so made it clear instead of closing the issue down, he was happy to host the debate about it - on his own time - spending political capital in the process.

As in all good herpay - he understood he needed to “own” the problem to be authentic.

Many people didn’t like u-turn but he was widely credited for the leadership he showed in accepting criticism and over time, with the specifics of the issue long forgotten, what people were left with was a residual feeling of openness and transparency.

The message for other brands is becoming clear. Participating, openly and honestly in the debate that is your brand online (see Cluetrain Manifesto for more details) is the only approach that makes sense in an interconnected world. Brands can no more hope to beat their customers into marketing submission than the Iranian government could hope to stop twitter traffic about the aborted election, or the Chinese government could manage people’s discussion of their response to earth quakes in Xinjiang province. Whilst it is entertaining to watch power and ego in the age of the “mad men” - their reign in the real world appears to be over – for now.

Control then is a brand “state of mind” – not a policy, or strategy. The brands that succeed online are those that, at every levels of their business accept their customers being part of their everyday lives – more than this - actively embrace their involvement as the quickest way to a closer - more mutually beneficial relationship. Whether it is customer service responding quickly to issues that arise in social media channels - or product development launching crowd sourced applications - or marketing nurturing the key people talking about the brand online – the understanding of the balance of power in the relationship with the consumer is critical online.

So there it is. “The 5 C’s” – what we have begun to refer to as the “understanding” section of our new digital planning framework. In total there will be 3 sections:

Understanding – The 5 C’s
Strategy – 10 Questions to a social media strategy
Engage – 15 tactics to action your social media strategy

The 5 C’s then is a start - an aperitif. The main course – the “10 questions” you’ll find as a sketch on our slideshare account here This is where you can take what you’ve learned here and start to make more concrete plans.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Social Media Engagement....

This report has been doing the rounds for a while. I just got to read it. Not convinced about their research approach - and the correlation between social media and RIO seems a little tenuous - but nevertheless the findings are interesting.

In a nutshell - for brands using social media - the more channels you use - the deeper your overall engagement.

"there are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises."

Under the stress of an imminent violent death, we are told soldiers actively adopt an ideology.

Bankers, on the other hand, who have already subscribed to one, abandon it in the face of extreme psychological distress.

The quote is contradictory and illogical. When the chips are down, do we abandon faith or adopt it?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A 20,000 year old bubble...

Bubbles are not the preserve of financial markets. One of excess cognitive capacity, unique to our species, has been growing for the last 20,000 years.

For millennia as we evolved, base emotions - fight, kill, f**k - drove our development. The result was perfect adaption to our evolutionary niche. Our small, but elegant brains became brilliant at constantly weighing up the options of fight or flight - sifting the odds, assessing the dangers.

Incessant thought and cognitive capacity expanded proportionally.

What this balanced system couldn't have predicted (or adapted us quickly enough for) was an era of plenty, and the exponential speed at which our brains developed as primitive farming practices, collaboration and culture took hold. This virtuous circle of improved nutrition leading to improved IQ, took our already impressive brain capacity, in evolutionary terms, from 0 to 60 in record time – too fast. Like so many species before us - we began to outgrow our evolutionary niche.

What do I mean by this?

We as a species, are programmed to think incessantly. This capacity was critical to our survival in a world of scarce resources. Now, in a world of plenty (at least for those of us who live in the developed world) instead of switching incessant thinking off, we mistakenly use it to obsess over the trivial - and in the process unconsciously create situations where it appears to be useful. This vestigial capacity - the mental equivalent of the coccyx - leaves the wheels of our minds spinning. Dysfunctional behaviour ensues.

But this isn’t the whole story.....

Incessant thought bore a second, altogether more trans formative fruit. As man’s intelligence reached a tipping point, from boredom and the increased awareness of the monotony and toil of a pre-industrial existence certain individuals - Jesus, Mohammed and the many history has chosen not to record – began to question the certainty of pagan dogma, their place within their group and the parameters of world they knew.

Those early outriders of independent, individualistic thought, sooner or later arrived at existentialism – the realisation of the ultimate meaninglessness of life. As the crisis of this questioning took hold (and at an individual level the panic of lonely despair set in, something we now call a mid-life crisis), a few leapt a chasm of understanding, and instead of despair, discovered peace – or “god” as some of them called, this new way of being. They discovered their ability to turn off their minds.

Penicillin, gravity the bomb – none of these come close to the significance of this discovery.

On the uncovering of such a monumental truth, a flourishing of healthy, rational, mental well-being might be expecteded to have taken hold. Having learned of this psychological escape hatch, civilisation should have evolved along these participatory, free thinking, humanitarian lines. The generosity of spirit, which this thinking prizes, should have been the foundation of a modern world order.

Instead, seeing the power of the discovery at first hand, and its ability to erode central authority, elites stepped in. There was a reason why most Christians were killed, hanging upside down. The message was pretty clear – don’t go anywhere near this way of thinking.

Out of this short term crisis was borne organised religion. The idea of "god" was co-opted and the real discovery of peace of mind - a holy grail or sorts - was buried.

This way of being. This joy of living. This is the real grail scripture talks about. This is what is unhelpful to a consumptive society, and ultimately, an elite which rules it.

The warped, half breed of the truth that was disseminated, contained enough of the original thinking to still be attractive to the human mind, and because of this it has created carnage. Unable to tame their rabid minds, man created rules, institutions and assumptions he considered “normal” and "moral" - which when viewed through a clearer lens of a calm, nonthreatening mind, appear ludicrous. You don’t have to go far into any aspect of culture or society - our foreign policy, our attitude to money, the IMF or “Western Democracy” to find bizarre contradictions at every turn. As a species we have internalised dysfunctional behaviour to such a degree the lunatics now rule the asylum.

So although we have an antidote - we ignore it for the poison that is modern living.

And yet, and yet.....this crazed movement bears the seeds of its own ultimate demise. Desperately, unconsciously, inadvertently, we are clawing our way back to the niche we fit. Collectively our conscious mind is destroying itself. Darwin’s laws remains in force.

By dowsing our world in toxic chemicals, destroying the very habitat that supports us and vilifying groups of people who could help us – we are recreating a world in which our incessant thoughts are useful. The 20,000 bubble of heightened consciousness is bursting.


This on BB which seemed interesting here

and this

and this 

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Why I read Vanity Fair

David Armano recently posted a video of Bruce Nussbaum on the future of newspapers here.

It mirrored a conversation my partner and I were having about print media. As a former deputy editor on the features section of the Daily Telegraph, she has a better view than most about what could revive the fortunes of old print media.

Our conversation revolved around why I still buy Vanity Fair.

I get my news via RSS, I haven't bought a CD in 10 years (file sharing ain’t killing music kids here) or a daily newspaper in 5 and yet I still spend (I don't even know how much - but its a lot) every month on the magazine. I'm as committed and loyal a reader as they have - but why Vanity Fair particularly?

Much of the reason lies in content. Pretty much everything it cover,s resonates with me (politics, economy, arts) - and the stuff that doesn't, I read because my loyalty has bread trust

But enjoying the content is only some of the story. If it stopped there, like music, over time I would have migrated to free – I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers creating equally compelling content I could have for nothing.

I buy it because I love the editor. Through his editorial and the content he commissions, I feel a human connection to Graydon Carter. He’s not everyone’s favourite of course. But he is mine. He is the sensible dad I never had, and the mate I always agree with. He has created a tribe out of his magazine readers. Being a part of that group defines me. I use it as social capital and it tells me who I am.

If there is a future in print media then it is this. Human, local and tribal. Focused around particular personalities with short budgets and long editorial reigns, who filter the world for their particular constituencies. Our current obsession with machine based, learning algorithms for content is yet another giant mis-allocation of capital.

In the final analysis, it might be strange to suggest it, but we humans care less about what we're reading and more about who is telling us to read it.

wagging tales....

At the moment, in the US the (sector) tail that wags the (economic) dog is the military - for good historical reasons. 50 years ago we needed tanks and planes - a lot of them - and the government didn't need a dodgy dossier to back the argument up - bombs falling out the sky were all the persuasion anyone needed to agree to fund the armaments industry.

In other words there is no inherent conspiracy to the status quo as we find it today.

Rich people simply find themselves owning weapons manufacturing facilities and they want to make themselves richer – so they push for wars so they can make more weapons - its human nature.

Presumably, if rich - powerful - people owned as many wind turbine manufacturing plants as they do bomb factories, they'd insist on green “interventions” in random parts of the world, on a decade by decade basis, in order to plaster the countryside with windmills instead of cluster bombs.

$250,000,000,000 (5% of GDP) is spent on defence in the US. In 50 years the same proportion will likely be spent on green energy, because that's where the mandate for change will be – and the world will happen to be a safer, happier place because of this – but it will be by coincidence not design.

Monday, 28 September 2009

A stupid tax....

To my mind - the lottery is a tax on the stupid.

Statistically impossible to win, there is no logic in playing an unwinnable game.

With a £1 of disposable income a week, the only sensible thing to do is put it in a savings plan. 2 people doing this from birth would accumulate somewhere in the region of £10k at the age of 30 - enough for a deposit on a modest flat in many areas of the country.

Outside of the practical benefits - regular saving teaches the lessons of thrift, prudence and the importance of being happy now (not relying on some unattainable goal to "make" you happy - American dream anyone?)

We digress.

The point is I'm wrong. Whilst marveling at my partner’s 85 year old grandmother watching the lottery, and being genuinely disappointed she hadn't won, I realised at some stage in life, a tipping point is reached and it becomes logical to play.

The utility one derives from the cumulative effect of compound interest decays with age, whilst the tiny amount of pleasure derived from the (admittedly incredibly unlikely) anticipation of success, presumably remains fairly constant

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Don't make me print...

Print media designer have no more time to capture the attention of their readers than their online cousins. But while most of us online abide by the laws laid down by the brilliant Steve Krug - too many offline designers come up with ads which demand more time (and brainpower) than most readers are prepared to invest.

Online we have 8 seconds to grab attention - do offline marketers really have any more?

Time and again I see offline creative I want to put lines through - reams of boring, unreadable, ugly text. Colourful boxes, superfluous lines, weird icons and inexplicable motifs - this isn't creative - the visual hook is where print advertising starts and ends. If you’ve forgotten to be creative and bold at the photo shoot - all the KSP's you like on a page won’t make anyone take notice of your ad.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Shock in reverse....

I enjoy Naomi Klein's books. Plato it ain’t, but Fences and Windows was a particularly interesting read – the literary equivalent of the difficult second album delivered in an understated, thoughtful and well researched way. Her example of the Zapatista rebels has lived with me for many years.

So although I buy the basic tenant of her new book, The Shock Doctrine (I bought it from Chomsky 30 years ago but it bears repeating) - she’s wrong about this particular economic shock. Or rather, she’s wrong about outcomes.

What we are witnessing in the US is the shock doctrine going awry. The angry, spasmodic, almost primal reaction to Obama, like that first tickle in your throat before a flu, just doesn’t feel right. As it loses shape, for the first time in many years, the military industrial complex appears to be genuinely rattled.

This shock, whether orchestrated by design or negligence (although of course initially welcomed by elites) has resulted in unpleasant, disappointing and unforeseen outcomes for them. Whether because of the sheer scale of the upheaval, the time since the last or because of the transformation of everyday lives by digital, social technology – things have not gone to plan.

Having weathered the storm, printed money and safeguarded the interests of the rich, the alternative political colour is meant to get all hot and bothered, question the status quo, champion the cause of the disgruntled majority and then do noting until the storm had passed.

Instead an aberration. A glitch. The most leftfield of presidents, tolerated as a token also-ran to the safe pair of Clinton hands, storms the barricades. Poor minorities deciding to vote – this will never do….

Having dropped into the white house on a black swan of genuine populist feeling, this anomaly, this messiah to the majority, now looks, frankly ridiculous to many Americans. We are living through the political equivalent of the awkward morning after a one night stand, taking a shower and finding your underwear. This guy actually wants to change stuff. Shock is meant to drain, not charge political batteries......

No Guantanamo – well ok, was bad for business anyway.

Green issues – ditto.

UK style healthcare – well, kind of but we’ll tear the guts out of it in committee.

No European Missile shield - hang on a moment!

A wide ranging review of all military spending? Are you mad? You stop that Boy and you stop America - that $623,000,000,000 a year defines us....

This is shock gone wrong. We might hope it is a precursor to a new 21st century. One molded in a more human form, around sustainable, connected, diverse, balanced lives. But we shouldn't hold our breath....

Wobbly bridges, marching bands, traffic jams and 21st centruy marxism....3

End of the first week of trails and I'm glad to say - everything seems to be going well. All trades behaving normally and my outsourced company in India (who act as my equivalent of a real hedge fund DMA system - they actually place the trades) being excellent - as usual.

Spent friday working on finalising plans to roll the first layer of the system out to 2 new markets. In theory - increases average yield from 5 to 15 points a day (whatever pips you make (or lose) - multiply that by the size of the bet - and that's how much you make (or lose) in real $$$ each day).

Each layer will trade 5 different individual markets:

3 forex (Dollar / pound, Yen / Dollar, Aust. dollar / Yen)
1 commodity (Light crude)
1 Index (Dow)

Aim is to have 5 layers in place within a year. At that rate, I should (in theory) average 125 pips a day (the more layers I put in, the safer my averages and the better my sharpe ratio).

At £100 a point at full tilt (£100k pot) - that should bring in around £3m a year for whichever charities ask for the long of course, as my thinking is right...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


I'm in Revolution Magazine this month - talking about meme's....

Monday, 14 September 2009

Wobbly bridges, marching bands, traffic jams and 21st centruy marxism....vol.2

Following on from my post a couple of months ago about my "charitable hedge fund" - I'm pleased to report we started trading yesterday.

We've begun opening positions at very low levels - and it will probably take at least 6 months to a year to build up a trading record, iron out practical issues and convince me that the theory holds weight in the real world - but we've begun - a small hop in the dark has been made.

Watch this space for more details. If anyone has a view as to which charity should benefit from the first chunk of cash if / when it comes - drop me a line.

And if anyone else was wondering - as of a couple of minutes ago - we were aroud 30 points up.....!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

So where's the bruise?

The latest Murdock rant against democratically assembled media here in the UK, saw the BBC take another punch, below the belt, from the billionaire media tycoon. Sky's never been good with democracy....

Outside of the fact that public satisfaction with the BBC rests at record highs, why, if this issue is so significant for you Jame,s is the example you come up with not from within the same channel? Instead you give us radio! We know the humble wireless has been dying since Freddie sang about it. Is this eclipsed format really the biggest threat you face?

Or, is the truth, that your business model has been hit by file sharing and digital technologies - we might say, the democratisation of media - and you have no convenient body to attack?

Murdock's problems have got little to do with the BBC and everything to do with a management team, out of their depth in the new world.

When someone hits you hard - the blow usually leaves a mark - and I don't see any bruises on the Sky business model inflicted by the BBC.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

makes you stink, makes you think

Is the online world being driven by a vocal, disruptive, opinionated minority who share what might be considered a collective world view?

Previously I’ve wondered whether certain character types are disproportionately represented in the active, online community. More recently I’ve been struck, in much of my reading, something of a “Makes you stink, makes you think" sentiment – whiffs of that haughty mantra of the confirmed, intellectual smoker type - ergo – the burden of awareness is borne only by those, of a slightly depressed character, who, self medicated on nicotine, see the world for what it is, through a cancerous haze.

In fact, I’ll go further and bet a statistically significant percentage of bloggers, either smoke, or smoked for long periods of their life.

failing to succeed....

I'm beginning to wonder whether the less than perfect technical record of Twitter isn't in fact as asset.

The whole falling over every couple of days "thing" seems to do the service little harm.

Constant talk of the fail whale "meme" keeps the brand in the consciousness of a competitive market and in many ways, the lack of stability only reinforces non corporate, home spun, local, community credentials - key brand values in a networked world.

Being way below average as a way to garner online love...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

This is a rich man's recession....

In a post recessionary environment, the interests of the rich and the middle class often align, on one critical issue - inflation.

Both tacitly accept an inflationary environment on the basis that creating real value is never going to be a realistic way of jump starting a stalled economy (it rarely is in the boom years so it sure as shit ain't going to work when the power's out!).

Inflation becomes the lesser of 2 evils.

But this time things are different. For the first time, pretty much since the emergence of a middle class, they have no savings. They have less to lose in a hyper inflationary environment.

Money in the past that was squirreled away (and then partially eroded by a prolonged period of inflation) simply isn't there. Those rainy day stores our parents or grandparents might have had, have long been spent on foreign holidays, school fees and new bathrooms. Forget the pension crisis of people like me in their mid 30s. Its the near future I'm worried about!

Without savings a shift occurs. The interests of the middle class become decoupled from those of the rich. Inflation is the friend of the indebted and will be greeted as such this time, not just by the poor, but by the middle classes as well.

Frankly, the middling classes have little to lose. The school systems in the funky urban hotspots they moved to, turn out to be zoos and as unemployment rises, the crime rate ain't looking too pretty either. We're not going anywhere. We may as make the debt we're in smaller....

My prediction is by caging their demands in altruistic terms, morally insulated from the cries of feathering their own nests, we'll see middle class commentators increasingly calling for hikes in interest rates to be postponed.

Unfortunately - the rich, who at least finished this crisis off, are likely to avoid a long overdue comeuppance - they have little political mandate to counter this drive - but their money is mobile - we may well see the effects of a downturn magnified as they move what's left of their capital east.

At the very least, we must assume an inflationary environment in the west is not an impossibility now.

Bemused by the news...

So we're fighting terrorism - but we release people if there's oil up for grabs...

We send our troops, on foot, into Sanguine - but as any GCSE politics students could tell you, our commitment to the Afghan people will never outlast embedded warlords and extremists.....

The labour party talk up "efficient government" - and yet with a deficit at £180b we know our standard of living is only going 1 way....

Why is it that everything fed to me as news just seems more and more like a crock of shit

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

James Bond and moral ambiguity....

There didn’t used to be moral ambiguity in the 007 movies.

Bond never dilly dallied around solving side issues - if there was a nuclear bomb going off - he prevented disaster - if there was a war being started - he stopped it. He focused on the issue at hand - he didn't f**k about - he confronted an issue.

Why then, do we have a government minister in Quantum of Solace, making the excuse to M of doing business with sociopaths, "because the world's running out of oil". Go and bloody find some then you dozy, privately educated numpty - or drive a prius. You’re James Bond for gods sakes, not Magnum f**king PI.

We in the West have always been rather more practical in our support of the wrong people when it has suited us. From time to time we've had to turn a blind eye to inexcusable behaviour because a more significant issue exists we can’t be bothered to solve - African poverty, US religious extremism, climate change etc.– but James Bond....he's meant to be different.

Monday, 10 August 2009

where's the downside?

For a lot of us long lunching Europeans the debate raging about healthcare on the other side of the Atlantic all seems a little odd.

My over-riding sense is - "what have you got to lose?"

Is "socialism" really a worse scenario for the majority of you? Might being a bit more "French" actually have some upside? What is it about the system you've got, that so many of you can't do without?

Outside your healthcase system - a shattered economy, a deficit bigger than most of us can comprehend and by all measurable criteria, a falling standard of living (and well being and happiness) - it doesn't exactly add up to a well balanced, 21st century society. So why not shake things up a bit given the majority of people want it?

I mean, when there's a majority who want something, generally it should happen right? That's what democracy - the thing we in the West are so keen on spreading - is all about right?

Oh I see......

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

is apple's business model broken?

3 small pieces of news which have caught my attention in the last couple of days which give me a sense that apple might still have an issue long term, with their (relatively) proprietary business model.

The first is chat about flash on the iPhone. It seems bizarre that a piece of technology such as the iPhone could exist without flash - but it does - and is likely to do so for the time being. Adobe and apple don't mix - but will users vote with their feet once the allure of the iPhone's core touch technology becomes ubiquitous?

The second is Spotify's launch on the iPhone. An obvious move but one which is in direct competition with apple's existing music business model (although of course they are hardly wedded to the per track music model).

Lastly - we have today's news about google voice here.

A gazillion iPhones sold means a lot of people view apple's market position as unassailable - but it doesn't take much to destabilize a business these days - and if a sense grows within the early adopter community that apple's walled garden approach is constraining freedom of development - it won't take long for the herd to adopt android or another key mobile device as its poster child.

Monday, 27 July 2009

the moon is made of cheese...

"Virals" - don't exist.

Spanking £60k of your clients' hard earned cash, to have a load of 14 year olds in Nebraska and Moscow watch it for less than 2 seconds before they realize your wry, post modern masterpiece isn't Jemma Jameson in her next to nothings, isn’t “viral” - its just conventional "push" TV style advertising with less reach.

The grubby little secret of the "viral" world, is if your content isn’t genuinely brilliant (and therefore garnering enough views itself), little can be done to artificially manufacture buzz - to believe its possible is to fundamentally misunderstand the point of the web. It is a sad fact that many viral marketing agencies “accidentally” put clients' content on the end of other popular links to get numbers up. Even when you see "viewed by more than 500,000 people", the reality is, if you're a UK company, wanting UK eyeballs, less than 2% will be genuine views.

It is incredibly hard to predict when something (an application, a picture, a piece of music, a community or a video) will infect people's heads - turn into a meme – and go “viral”. Capturing the zeitgeist and having your brand lifted on a wave of global support takes a brilliant idea, masses of trial and error and not a small amount of luck. It cannot be replicated on demand - and anyone who says it can is lying to you.

Rolling, thoughtful and useful, time sensitive content - close media monitoring and engagement - combined with a range of community development ideas, brilliant SEO, usability, a dash of conventional push advertising (and a whole lot more besides) – is what makes a great always on marketing mix - the lottery of "the viral" shouldn't be ignored completely but it isn't a substitute for a balanced plan.

soap in the bubble bath...

To remain healthy - media based communities need to remain in the same type of "people soil" in which they grew.

Bottom up tribes cannot be assimilated by top down organisations. One kills the other. Like soap in the bubble bath. The psychology is wrong.

Xfm, Delicious, EMI,'s, Myspace's, OD2 - the list is without end....

So what does this mean for Zappos? Will it grow, or decay?

The reason we loved Zappos was because it was perceived to be "owned" by the community. It genuinely seemed to gave a shit about its customers. With this key differentiator now lost - it now feels like its part of the ordinary, the mundane, the pedestrian, the mainstream.

Can any asset like this survive outside the community from which it was borne? I'm not sure....

Thursday, 23 July 2009

open source loo roll...

This is the new loo roll holder that's just been installed in the Dig for fire toilets.

Aside from pointlessly reinventing a piece of technology that didn't need to be made exponentially more complicated – and, ignoring the fact that this plastic monstrosity, not only visually pollutes my toilet visiting experience, but massively increases its carbon footprint - its proprietary.

I can only use this loo roll holder with the manufacturers loo roll. The makers have  designed the spindle (and presumably patented the design as it if were some sort of leap in scientific understanding) in a star shape – to force the user into a lifetime of loo roll monogamy (their loo roll incidentally is significantly less soft that the stuff we used to have).

So at a time when many of the worlds more progressive brands are going “open source” and adopting open standards - here is a one that is actively grabbing back idea "real estate". It might appear trivial - but nevertheless iIt is in congruent, anti-competitive, backward and inhuman – in short – everything that mega brands are always being accused of being.....


Recently we've been talking to record labels again about a piece of technology I built many years ago as a prototype for Ministry of Sound. In a nutshell - we're proposing the Bloomberg and Nasdaq of music - the idea that labels will eventually evolve into highly differentiated, boutique investment funds. More details in the presentation...

Friday, 10 July 2009

brands and smelly fridges...

In my strand of psychotherapy we've recently learned about a concept called a "condition of worth".

The thinking goes in formative years - and beyond - other peoples' values are often foisted on us - sometimes we're conscious of them - sometimes not. Sometimes they are useful - in as much as they resonate with our own, core beliefs - but if we internalize those that don't sit with us - then it is said we have adopted a "condition of worth".

"Oh Johnny, you’re brilliant at football" (when Johnny is a bit crap - and knows it) is a condition of worth. Johnny is likely to attempt to fulfill the condition - or rebel against it. In either case the condition hasn't resonated with what he "really" knows. A conflict is established.

It follows of course, that negative conditions "you're stupid, you're not attractive, you're thick" are equally damaging - but these are usually more obvious than those that appear - at least on the surface - to be well meaning and "positive" - these are the ones I'm particularly interested in from a brand's persepective.

Are overtly positive messages made by brands distorting society’s own sense of self?

"Your Asda" - it may well resonate with you - perhaps you really love Asda - but for those of us who believe them (with a mountain of good evidence) to be exploitative, money grabbing and ultimately bad for the people who make their products and consume them - it jars. It makes our lives less colorful when we are told something is ours when it is not (and we don't want it) - but it sets up a conflict, all of us, as a society, may eventually need to resolve.

For the majority of us who don't believe £2 t-shirts, being made by 6 year olds in sweat shops on the other side of the world, is a good idea (whilst acknowledging that by no means all manufacturing in the developing world is a bad thing) this mismatch is like something smelly in the fridge. We can ignore it for a while, but sooner or later, we’re going to need to clean it up.

Take any metric, any measurement of happiness since the 1970s and it has fallen. Is angst within western societies deeper these days because we don't have the tools to resolve the psychological conflicts brands create?

When I see "your Asda" - my own reaction is to think - you're nothing to do with me, I don't support or endorse your way of doing business. I go home - I have a rant - maybe I write a post on my blog. In some small way I have a means of partial resolution. I invite myself to try and square the conflict between my core values and those being forced upon me. But it's not easy.....

Perhaps there's a body of work on this - I'm certainly going to look into it. In the meantime I have a new client...Nestle....

Monday, 6 July 2009

morons buy (and sell) activia...

The reason you have a "bloated" feeling is cos you've just eaten your body weight in chips and gravy love - its got f**k all to do with the bacteria in your gut...

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

the dead girl.....

Why the the f**k is there an Iranian girl, coughing up bloody and dying on my computer screen as I sip my coffee this morning?

Does anyone linked to Iran - that most fascist and backward of Islamic states - truly believe that this is an acceptable way of behaving towards it citizenry in the 21st century?

Of course they don't - but (as with all religious people) those within the Iranian regime who give orders to fire indiscriminately at their populations - are burdened by guilt. And guilt corrodes our humanity.

Aside from the fact that the historical story of the Christian faith (and that of all the other major religions) is so obviously just a mash up of different superstitions and pagan rituals – guilt is what I truly despise about religion – both the presumption and tolerance of it. Such a heavy burden, when trying to figure out who you are.

Yes we all know religious people have a lower IQ than atheists, yes we know that religion is just a device to keep rich people – well rich – and yes of course we know the Catholic Church and all other “faiths” have been buggering, slaughtering and humiliating their customers for 2000 years – but its guilt that makes religion such a deadly poison in our modern society.

If we are ever to consign religion to the dustbin of history, we will not do so with rational, Dawkins style belief. We will do it by figuring out a way of helping vast swathes of the world's population come to terms with their guilt.
From bible bashing red neck racists - to misogynistic mullahs - to tight lipped, “church going” middle England. If we can figure out a way of helping those people come to terms with the guilt they cherish - then there is a chance we can rid the planet of religion - the world's most destructive meme.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Clay Shirky Talk...

Best I've seen since Dawkins I reckon

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Wobbly bridges, marching bands, traffic jams and 21st centruy marxism....vol.1

I've been working on a project for several years relating to  algorithmic trading - computer controlled hedge funds.

Much of my free time has been consumed by it. It has the potential to make money - but it also represents a contribution to the debate on how turbo-capitalism and the dogma of the free market are impacting our society.

By crunching a mind boggling amount of data (3 old PC's sitting in my office running macros pretty much constantly for 3 years) I am some way to demonstrating, that at certain times of the day, in liquid markets, you might need to do little more than place a trade in the prevailing direction of a market, and in aggregate, never lose.

Markets, like biological ecosystems, have participants - speculators and investors - who up until the beginning of the last decade, achieved a balance (of sorts) between their competing interests, based on limited liquidity and superior returns in other, non-equity investments.

After 2003 - the ecosystem began to become visibly disturbed (you can see it in the data). The phenomena of "algo" hedge funds exploded on the back of super cheap compute, cheaper money and dissatisfaction with post industrial, low growth, western markets. The effect on the FTSE has been considerable. At specific times of the day, hedge funds (speculators) now account for more than 70% of all trades.

My hypothesis is that these funds are now devoting so much capital to speculative trading they are beginning to create their own momentum. Momentum which at specific times of the day is disrupting random walk.

(this post was written before the phenomena of the flash crashes became common parlance

To put it another way, aggregated behavior is leading to otherwise innocuous trends becoming magnified. It is the financial equivalent of armies failing to break step marching over a bridge - where hundreds of small steps, when made together, create a powerful momentum which can destroy the fabric of the structure on which they are impacting.

London knows a thing or two about wobbly bridges here. This article on the phenomena of traffic jams, with its identification of “"sonic points” also seems like a useful analogy.

Liberalisation of financial markets, an oversupply of money, the emergence of cloud computing and some very bright Phds could be starting to prevent markets working efficiently. The more participants who know about these specific time periods the worse, in theory, it’s likely to get. A small group of people discovering a casino always pays out on black at 11:45 doesn't stay small for long.

Could the market be dying in the digital age? Was the concept of a free exchange of risk, only a stable one in analogue times - checked by imperfect information and quasi-moral limits to speculation and greed? It is certainly interesting to ponder whether fewer asymmetries of information, which should lead to a more “perfect market”, have the opposite effect.

Imagine if this were true....

A world forced to re-adopt an inclusive, non-beggar my neighbour model for co-existence, not out of choice, but because the principle methodology of defining price – the market – was broken by digital technology and good old-fashioned human greed.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

In 100 years this will be a crime against humanity..

Uniforms for £1.50?

Who gives a shit that some poor 5 year old in some 3rd world sweat shop made it right?

This is our generation's holocaust.

our grandchildren are going to look back and think - what the f**k were they doing?

they knew billions of kids were living in abject poverty, they knew their entire way of life was based upon the misery of others - and they did nothing about it.

A scar on our generation.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Could newspapers be the new ad agencies?

Newspapers are setup to generate, filter and talk about new ideas - they just happen to be ones around the concept of what we think of as news.

This role of meme collectors / distributors seems awfully close to what a lot of people are thinking conventional ad agencies will become - collectives who immerse themselves in "the stream", picking up memes relevant to the clients they represent, and developing conversations to create visibility in the digital world.

Perhaps as well as mining his databases here - Murdock should also consider whether he couldn't re-tool his businesses to become ad agencies.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

banking risk.....

Santander seem to be taking a hell of a risk by ditching well established brands such as Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.

Do users really have any sort of emotional connection to Santander? To me Santander sounds like a dodgy Spanish developer.

In a market which is seeing increased competition from more local - human forms of banking- going with such a bland, meaningless name feels like a big mistake.

And while we're on the subject of banking marketing mistakes - a word to Aviva - you'd better make sure you mean what you say when you spend millions telling us we're "no longer numbers".

My pension happens to be with Norwich Union - and it turns out according to moneybox on radio 4 - over the course of the next 30 years - if I stayed with you - because of your higher fees - I'll see upwards of £250k less in my pension pot....

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

economic permafrost...

Is the economy like permafrost?

Permafrost (as far as I can remember from my school geography) is a fragile lattice of delicate, icy connections - it is extremely delicate. It regenerates very slowly.

I have a mental image of a diagram of how they built oil pipe support struts to sit above it - so it could remain undisturbed.

Once crushed - it takes years to regenerate and grow.

I wonder whether western consumer economies aren't like this. The leverage on which they were based, a fragile network of trust.

Will they ever regenerate? Given the lack of appetite for credit risk, the pension black hole and long term government debt?

Trust is such a human emotion. The FTSE continues to rise on the assumption that we're through the worst and that this belief can be artificially restored. It could take a generation. And if it does. Then the FTSE should be closer to 3000 than 5000.

Friday, 22 May 2009

a stretched skin of contradictions...

World War 2, Vietnam, Thatcherism, The bust and now the financial catastrophe - all disasters  where rationalism made no space for man's, far from perfect, mind.

Peace of mind is more often than not based on finding a balance between the competing forces in one's head - the desire to consume and to be frugal, to run and to take responsibility, to create and to destroy, to be peaceful and be loud, to be solitary and to be part of a community.

We are a stretched skin of contradictions across a drum of opposites.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

borrowed relevance...

Josh Bernoff published a report recently here talking about "boring" brands.

It resonated with me - a lot of the brands I work with at Dig for fire are what he'd define as "boring" - healthcare providers, banks, government departments, building supply merchants and educational institutions - brands that certainly aren't going to be adopted by users just because they're "cool" (I'm aware just using the term "cool" - means I'm likely to be anything but...)

As someone at the coal face of always on marketing, tasked with getting these sorts of brands to exist online, I can attest to the fact that a lot of the issues on a day to day level, come down to brands not being comfortable with "borrowing relevance".

Its not about "cool". Its about convincing brands to get involved with what people are actually talking about, as opposed to what the brand would like them to be talking about.

In other words - there is possibly too much getting stuck up on the relevance of the marketing tactic and not enough understanding, that so long as whatever the application or technology employed (the application, viral, widget, newsfeed, weird bit of technology) resonates with the brand essence - in most cases, that's enough to start.....

So long as they're contributing in a positive way, a brand in unfamiliar territory is something users probably take more notice of, at least initially. Removing friends from your facebook account has got precious little to do with eating burgers but it reinforced Burger King's playful, cheeky brand values. On the other end of the scale, Keep Britain Tidy publishing data in RDF format has nothing directly to do with picking up litter, but being seen at the cutting edge of web 3.0 means the brand can have conversations it could never have had, had it stuck rigidly to its push messaging plan and segmentation model.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

a mid system crisis....

Are the issues in our print media, in our democracy and economy linked?

Like the extreme weather events in the movie the “day after tomorrow”, each seems to be gaining momentum. Should they all peak simultaneously; one can imagine a tear in the fabric of our collective minds which recent history teaches us is not a good thing. Like a collective mid life crisis we appear to be unable to muster the energy to keep the contradictions inherent in our lives at bay.

The problem is one of visibility. The "man in the street" (of which I count myself one) doesn't really understand the mechanics of the world around him. He knows as little about the underlying forces that influence politics, as he does about those which shape the economy and the society in which he lives. He never did. He likely never will. We all pretend we do – but of course, secretly, we don’t.

It is this ignorance, and the appalling liberties sections of society have taken because of it, that is at the heart of the problem. When lack of understanding went hand in hand with the ability to easily ignore - all was well. Now, even though we desperately want to, we simply can't ignore the structural deficiencies in our societal model.

Lets be honest with ourselves. No rational argument in politics, religion or economics can deliver anything like a coherent reason as to why anyone poor should support the status-quo. By anyone's measurement - the inequalities within our societies are shocking - and incredibly, for the last 20 years at least - they seem to have been getting worse. However hard writers on both sides of the political spectrum have tried to justify it, since the death of absolutism, no one has come up with a solution that really works. For my money Marx came close - very close. But unfortunately, practical application was an issue.....

Bottom line - the way we manage society is fundamentally broken, has been for centuries and everyone in real power of course knows this. It is the base from which they govern.

This paradox, this “crisis postponed” is surprisingly well understood. We frequently study it and allude to it in our literature and films (Animal Farm, Chomsky’s life's work, The Matrix, A Scanner Darkly, Fight Club etc). Up until the birth of the web, most of us were happy to mortgage reality, to continue the fiction of a “free” world just to get us through the day.

A juicy steak is a juicy steak - right? here

You were a hard cynic, if for instance, you explicitly accepted the deaths of a proportion of your countrymen in terrorist attacks, and the deaths of millions more in the third world, as a by-product of your need to consume - but in effect that was the decision you made, every day, just by getting out of bed. We have always had the option of facing up to the contradiction - but frankly - there's a Magnum re-run on TV tonight...

Now, with the advent of the very human web, where the sins of the powerful live undiminished, truths – previously avoidable - are increasingly difficult for us to ignore. Contradictions so large that no head burying will prevent them from being noticed, are continually rammed in our faces. Ever wondered why you can only read Private Eye for a couple of plane journeys before you stop buying it?

Newspapers, politics and the economy are being pulled apart by an asymmetric anger of implied understanding. Forget charging for content, or reforming the expenses system. Liquidate all assets and head for the hills….

Friday, 15 May 2009

the 6 c's of social media marketing...

This is something I wrote as the first in a series of articles for our company blog / email

The C’s of social media…

Social media is hot. Everyone wants their campaigns to be social – their advertising to be viral - but what do we actually mean by social media?

Social marketing is a phenomena quite unlike any other that the web has seen. Its effects will be felt throughout our society for years to come. We as a species are rediscovering our connectedness and some would argue our humanity. The late, great Douglas Adams put it very well…

“We are natural villagers. For most of mankind's history we have lived in very small communities in which we knew everybody and everybody knew us. But gradually there grew to be far too many of us, and our communities became too large and disparate for us to be able to feel a part of them, and our technologies were unequal to the task of drawing us together. But that is changing.”

For the full text click here

This epoch busting change will affect everyone. The old media (record labels, film studios and newspapers) are already feeling its full force. Many household name brands – EMI, the New York Times, ITV and The Daily Telegraph are fighting for their very survival. Some will not make it into the second decade of this century. These businesses have felt the effect first because of the ease with which their products can be shared. But make no mistake. All businesses in this next phase of the web’s evolution will need to meet similar challenges. It is by no means too late, but it is certainly time to give social marketing some serious time and thought. Take a very simple for instance.....

Right now, it is possible, by using a technology called “facebook connect ” to see in real time, which of your friends (or your friends’ friends) have bought a particular product, and what they thought about it. Yes the technology is in its infancy, no one is using it very well – but its coming - and the effect of this single application alone will be extraordinary - think how powerful the recommendation engine is on Amazon – now image the person writing the recommendation on every ecommerce site you visit is someone you know and trust.

The age of push marketing – where we tell “consumers” what to think about our brands is coming to an end. Have a read of this excellent blog called post advertising to find out more

So it’s a “big” topic – both in terms of scope and impact What I’m going to do over the next couple of month is to introduce you to a few of the pillars of social marketing – the 6 C’s (in a Dodgeball style…). Over the coming weeks we’ll take a look at them, see how they work in practice and what they mean for brands, they are, in order of importance:

- Communities
- Conversations
- Control
- Content
- Continuity
- Context

For anyone wanting to read more widely pick up copies of - Net Gain, Small is the new big or the Cluetrain manifesto - all essential reading for marketers of all ages and creeds.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

economic charlie....

The media is reporting the end of the recession - or as near as damn it - are we all crazy?

the government has just printed half a trillion pounds and is throwing it around like its not worth anything (cough...)

of course the economy is looking rosie - its the economic equivalent of a the biggest, fattest line of charlie you've ever seen!

might make us all feel good for 6 months - but its not going to make the next 5 years any easier.

conditioned to fear

this is just nonesense!

most well adjusted, intelligent people living outside the US wouldn't even recognize the world Tim O'Reilly talks about and microsoft builds products for

depressing and scary in equal measure....