Archive for the 'work' Category

Thinking in paperback

June 17th, 2010

I found myself thinking a lot about books today, those rectangular things with their covers artistically crafted to lure us in, our noses stuck in them, eventually to be found mysteriously at the bottom of a bag or box with scruffy corners but no less valuable to us because of their contents and what they mean to us.

Our whole media world is busy going digital, we’ve seen this have a huge impact on some industries, especially the music industry which has been slow to adapt to the changing way that consumers behave. If the consumer wants it, they want it immediately, so digital music makes a lot of sense as a platform.

Logically it should be the same for books. Amazon released the Kindle, Sony followed closely behind with the Reader which has been heavily backed by Waterstone’s in the UK, Apple are late to the party but are claiming to revolutionise the way we read books with the iPad (who wants to travel with lots of books when you can take a sliver of aluminium and glass that you need to charge constantly).

On the London Underground this morning a business man was sporting a flashy new iPad, I was half expecting that he’d be nose deep in a novel or checking his email or some such, but no he was heavily stuck in a maze of menus, quickly realising with a pained expression that he had no connectivity to the Internet so anything that he didn’t already have on his iPad, he couldn’t get access to.

In the digital industry we’re always chanting content is king, and we’re always going on about the importance of simplicity, so at the very basic level I think those are clear reasons that the trusty paper book could continue to beat it’s electronic equivalent, but I can’t help thinking there is something just a little bit magical to them as well.

Books seem to have personalities of their own, they’re compact and happy to be carried around with you, letting you dive into the world they create for you whenever you want. They’re try not to be complicated, other than the alluring cover it’s no frills and no distractions.

We can’t seem to part with our books when we’re done with them. What is it that makes us cling on to them even though we might not read them again for years? We’ll might lend them to our friends, we might go as far as swapping them for other books, but we just won’t part with them for money alone.

Maybe they have some hidden cosmic value that we simply can’t put a figure on once we’ve been taken in by their story, or maybe I’m just crazy. Either way you have my colleague Ray, the random business man on the tube, and a client I’m working with at Waterstone’s to blame for this rambling!

Come back when you’ve got some data

April 2nd, 2009

I’ve been planning and building web sites and services for clients within the media industry for almost nine years now, reflecting back over that time I think that most of the clients that I have worked with may have had some pretty interesting ideas of what they’d like to achieve, but more often than not they don’t have the data needed to enrich the functional elements behind any of these ideas.

Most digital agencies probably follow a similar process of discussing strategy and going through a discovery phase before launching head first into a build; I believe that it would be incredibly beneficial to both clients and development teams if a greater emphasis was placed on data definition during discovery phases to establish whether data is already available from existing systems or sources from your client.

If data isn’t available from existing systems or sources there is always the option to get data from 3rd parties, or for the client to gather new data, but it’s important to factor in what impact this may have on their internal teams who probably already have hefty workloads of their own, just like the rest of us.

My advice to developers, the important thing is being sure that from day one launching into build, your  team is 100% aware of what data they are going to be working with, where they are going to extract this data from, what transformations they may need to apply to the data to work with it, and which functional elements of the project require the data.

My advice to clients, if you’re seeking consultancy from a digital agency on how you can leverage the Internet to build up and interact with a customer base, then come prepared with as much data as you can and they’ll be better geared to creating fantastic ideas that take advantage of what your company already has to offer.

A change (for the better)

June 11th, 2007

The past year I doubt anybody has really seen me out and about much, I’ve invested most of my time in decorating my new flat, my career, but socially I’ve been a bit of a hermit (I hate that word).

Over a coffee in Soho square not so long ago a friend of mine told me a story about some Russian friends of his family that were visiting the United Kingdom; they had some ‘interesting’ views if not a little rude on the way British women present themselves and how they considered the average British person’s priorities to be wrong. Are they right?

I got promoted earlier in this year to be technical co-ordinator at one of our company offices, it’s an awkward title and an even more awkward role; essentially it was meant to be my task to transform the way project managers and account managers thought about the technical requirements for projects and ensure that technical architects and developers are engaged at the right time to be able to plan and deliver projects successfully.

An excellent opportunity, but one that requires a great deal of trust and respect from senior colleagues before you can give a respected opinion and start changing peoples mindsets. This is one opportunity that did not turn out as planned, unfortuantely I ended up being spread into the resourcing system gaps like wood filler.

I’m one of those people that likes to learn whatever I can and solve problems, so I’m good at filling the gaps… it just got too stressful though with no sign of anybody actually wanting to plan for the future or take any weight off of me.

At my company due to our size we are broken down into smaller teams called ecosystems, and thankfully my management have listened and I am now being moved into another of these smaller teams where I will most likely be on much larger projects and have a lot more that I can contribute to.

I also benefit from the fact that the office this team is based in is thirty minutes closer to home. So that’s less stress, and a shorter commute, not to mention summer is right around the corner. I’m just going to hold that thought for a while.

Save the Children! (and your feet)

July 7th, 2006

Save the Children flip flopBit of a plug for the charity work we’ve been doing back at the office; none of that web design lark, one of our very own creative team has been responsible for the design of a pair of flip flops for Save the Children in the UK. We’ve also been responsible for some promotional design and also the email marketing (which I had to code today, with like… tables and everything, a sin to web standards!).

If your feet are aching to break out of those stinky trainers over summer and have their chance to breathe, then the funky red flip flops are for you.

Priced at only £9.99 the proceeds will help in the fight against poverty, disease, injustice and violence against children both in the UK and globally.