The trending theme at this years SXSWi was ‘social discovery through mobile’. Emerging apps, give context to the typical location-based app model, telling users about relevant people, based on mutual friends and interests, in the vicinity and offering a way to connect with those people to discover new things around them.

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Highlight App ”gives you a sixth sense about the world around you” by notifying users to the nearby presence of others with similar connections and interests. After users connect their Facebook profiles, it pushes their basic information to other people who use the app. The app only makes the connection if the two parties have something in common.

This stole the show at SxSWi and firmly rooted the idea of SoMoLo (social, mobile, local). According to it’s Founder James Davidson, “It’s a number of things coming together, smartphones are everywhere, Facebook is ubiquitous, all this data is in the cloud and it’s all highly recognizable, the ability to run mobile apps in the background is fairly new, push notifications, battery life is just now barely good enough and it’s only getting better.”

With the rise of smartphones, the behaviour of LBS will become more relevant. Apps like Highlight seem like an obvious progression for social mobile. In the same way Facebook taps into our human voyeuristic urges, SoMo apps tweak your curiosity to engage with new people around you wouldn’t otherwise meet. It’s useful. It’s an antidote to Internet bedroom culture. Now, go out and actually meet people for real, that you have loads in common with. Remember, there are is only 3.74 degrees of separation in the world (according to Facebook)

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With the amount of media content that is now available, there is a growing need for new services that help curate people’s entertainment libraries. By identifying and analysing individual’s interests, conversations and peer recommendations,  new platforms are creating personalised entertainment channels that streamline existing content, and help the user discover new things. Interestingly, as more of our content moves off our computers and onto the cloud, people will be able to access this content anywhere and on any device.

ROQBOT: Roqbot allows users choose what music is playing in various venues via their smartphones. By checking in to the location, their musical preferences (such as their Facebook likes, profile listings, and the music on their smartphone) affect the soundtrack. They can also use the apps to vote for tunes and add them to the queue. The Gap store, San Francisco has become the first retail partner for Roqbot, allowing its customers to decide what they listen to while they shop.

SHELBY.TV: is an online platform that aggregates all of the videos being recommended by family and friends on Facebook and Twitter into a single video channel (like a personalized YouTube). Instead of redirecting users to multiple sites, the service offers a continuous stream of content that’s both effortless and relevant to what individual users are interested in.

CHANEL 4SEVEN: Launched later this year, Channel 4seven will give viewers more chances to catch the most popular and talked about Channel 4 shows from the last seven days. It will schedule the main channel content that is creating noise – amongst social media, bloggers, commentators and of course via contact our viewers have directly with us – and incorporate this buzz into the look and feel of the channel.

As we see more of our attention taken away from the ‘ad break,’ we need to adapt. More and more, we’re looking less at the TV for guidance on what to buy, and getting this information from our friends instead. Channel 4od is one of the first examples of how this is becoming mainstream.

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Homeless Hotspots. In an attempt  to modernise the Street Newspaper, BBH have controversially given homeless people their own hotspot at this years SXSWi. The participants wear a shirt that says “I am a 4G hotspot”,  you then pay them whatever you like, and sit next to them and check your email. This has caused a huge debate online, where, the digital divide has never hit us over the head with a more blunt display of unselfconscious gall.

Although seen as many as demoralising to homeless people, is it more demoralising than having people ignore you day in and day out? And, actually, this is useful. Another approach would to have a custom built connecting web page when you join the hotspot. You could then fill this page with content directly from the homeless. Teach them IT skills to do this and help them find jobs in the future.

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‘Tell your life story with a new kind of profile.’
Timeline is the new Facebook profile which has gone live for personal pages, and is now rolling out to brands. Zuckerberg’s dream is that our profiles will becomes our stories, a place where our children and grandchildren will learn about our lives and history. You can tell your life story through photos, friendships and personal milestones. Timeline is about visual richness and easy navigation.

Burberry uses timeline to highlight it’s place in pop culture. For example. a picture of actor Humphrey Bogart wearing a Burberry trenchcoat during the 1942 movie, “Casablanca.

We need to start having fun with this. It’s all about stories, relationships, and being interesting and provocative. That should be like a dream come true for this agency… and something every brand here should be creatively concepting. Remember Timeline goes into play on March 30th.

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Twitter’s functionality is about to have a big refresh. In the old days of Twitter, tweets were text only so all links were outbound. For example, a YouTube link kicked anyone who clicked on it to the YouTube page. Recently that changed when Twitter announced their embed partners and developed their own native photo service. The result was tweets that housed content within themselves, like this.

Twitter are now working on an SDK that will allow brands (or anyone presumably) to develop custom in-tweet content. That content would be completely up to the developer and could include e-comm and contest opportunities.

This represents a pretty big change for Twitter. They’re continuing to develop methods to keep users on a URL by expanding their functionality (as opposed to kicking users elsewhere). Brands will certainly love this as it’ll allow us to utilise Twitter in potentially more effective ways. Some users will love it, but others will complain and want to Twitter to retain their simplicity. How exactly it’ll play out is unknown at this point, but as long as they roll it out responsibly (as in not allowing anyone to just create anything with it) I think it will be pretty well received.

“This will allow app developers to build experiences on Twitter, much like they do Facebook. Again this gives us new opportunities to embrace the Twitter Platform. This immediacy will enable brands to surprise and delight their followers with new creative opportunities. Also important to note is the idea of e commerce on Twitter. American Express recently started a program which it sends offers to Twitter users in exchange for actions like using a #”

15 March 2012


It’s clear that Google+ as a social network, is not really working. However, (according to Google) it was not designed as a social network, but a social layer.  The perfect illustration of this is a very small feature it announced this week, the ability to see the recent places you’ve searched for on your desktop machine, on your mobile device. It’s a small tweak, but it’s an integrated experience. That’s all Google+ really is, an integrated experience among all of Google’s properties.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

Google Play is a web-based system for buying and consuming content, from e-books to music to movies to apps to games — basically anything you’d want to run on a mobile device or in a browser.

Google is struggling to stay relevant by trying to do things other people are already doing - but not very well. ‘Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.’

15 March 2012


As Apple are about to launch its third-generation iPad (Called, er, ‘The New iPad), Apple has now pipped Exxon Mobile to become the most valuable company in the world, at $337 billion. Unbelievably, they now also have more cash in the bank than the US government, at over $100bn. Apple’s meteoric rise really does seem unstoppable.

What about the new iPad? Launching tomorrow, Friday the 16th of March, It’s killer feature is a high resolution Retina display. “Until you see it you can’t understand how amazing it is”, said CEO Tim Cook. Also launching tomorrow is a new 1080p Apple TV.


Apple predictions for 2012: The New iPad - retina display new industry display benchmark, the end of the pixel. Airplay, Airplay Mirroring huge for content playback, gaming, in car entertainment. New Macs Pros / Airs - ‘Macbook Pro Airs’, MBPs ditched. iPhone 5 / iTV / iPad Mini / 4G

Sad people who just brought the iPad 2

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Raspberry Pi is a bare-bones Linux PC that costs a pittance, and it’s designed to help encourage kids to code - It is also powerful enough to handle everyday tasks such as spreadsheets and word processing. It is  the work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charitable organisation that is supported by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. There are two versions of the Raspberry Pi hardware: the £22 Model A and the £16 model B. Neither one will break the bank - but you do need to provide your own keyboard and TV.

From the worlds most premium and desirable post PC devices, to the world’s cheapest. Iphone and R Pi have a lot in common. System on Chip - tiny computers both use an arm based processor. For computer hobbyists and geeks, RPi is exciting because its so versatile. Where you might have previously used a full computer, you can now use a RPi. And because they’re so cheap, you can have lots of them. Imagine RPis all over your house, in your car. Another of a step towards Ubiquitous Computing.

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Best new music this month, featuring: Chairlift, Soko and home grown favourites 2:54

Beach HouseLong anticipated first single ‘Myth’ from their new release ‘Bloom’ due this May on Sub Pop.

I have been talking about Kindness for a while, with his brilliant video “Gee Up” World, You Need A Change Of Mind is out next week.

Rose Dagul is back with some early demos, set to create waves later in the year.

Lil B
"Lil B is one of the most revolutionary artists in music, all he has to do is walk and they follow - Lil B"

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Vijay Kumar used his recent TED talk to show some serious ways in which aerial robots will change our world.  Kumar, envisions aerial robots that can fly themselves and carry out their tasks, on their own, or with minimal human input beyond initial design and programming. See them perform the James Bond Theme Tune.

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Draping is a photo fad based on a still from the opening credits to the TV series Mad Men. Named after the show’s main character Don Draper, it involves sitting with the back facing the camera and the right arm draped over the object the subject is sitting on.

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