Friday, 29 June 2007

Gaming comes to Second Life

When I describe Second Life to people who've never heard of it, I say it's like a game, except it has no rules or objectives.

But that doesn't mean that individuals or companies can't introduce a little bit of game-fun.
Intel has introduced a treasure hunt into their island on Second Life - your mission is to find a jet pack, powered by two Intel chips.

Fantastic idea. If you've experienced Second Life, you'll know that simply exploring the world can while away hours. Add to that a "quest" and you've got high level engagement with customers. Nice one Intel.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Monday, 25 June 2007

I thought "folksonomy" was a nice word!

Apparently the word "folksonomy" is "most likely to make web users "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard".


Web words baffle the blogosphere -

How to get attention for a spec script in Hollywood (or anywhere)

Before a movie is made, you have to create a movie in the heads of the studio people: script readers, producers, directors.

Until now, you could only do that through phone calls, meetings and the screenplay.

But now...

Thursday, 14 June 2007

How's your competitiveness?

"the most important competition is between you and your own imagination"

Thomas Friedman, quoted in Idealog

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

This is hilarious if you're in advertising

Most turn to internet for jobs - 09 Jun 2007 - Marketing news - NZ Herald

The above news story on the New Zealand Herald directly contradicts the outdoor advertising recently done by the Herald, saying more people look in the paper for jobs.


Lovemarks gets it

See the comments on this old post. Great feeling.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

A CEO asks, "What would you do in my shoes?"

If you're a member of Facebook (and if not, it's free and easy to sign up) you can sit in the CEO's chair of startup company for a few minutes.

Jason Calacanis, former journalist and now serial entrepreneur, has started a discussion on Facebook to set the future direction of this nascent company.

A very smart move, and with social networking now ubiquitous it's fairly easy to get quality feedback from people all around the world. This is one of the things that the intarweb is really, really good at.

I don't get it

Editing's a little strange, but enjoy. You might get it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Another pointless but quite compelling web 2.0 app

Interesting how interconnectedness is built into this one: there are one-click links to add your celebrity profile to your Bebo, Facebook, MySpace and Friendster profile. And a Blogger link that doesn't work.

Not a bad bunch of people to look like, huh?

Plain English please - enter the Writemark Awards!

On my recent foray into Wellington I finally met Lynda Harris of the Write Group after years of email contact.

Lynda has an amazing operation, offering plain language writing, editing and training to organisations long held in thrall by the spectre of ancient tongues ... now I think I could put that plainer...

Write Group works with law firms and government departments, among other clients, to help them say what they mean, so it can be understood.

Not an easy task!

They also run the annual Writemark Awards, which recognise clear, concise communication - and also have a people's choice award, where the public gets to name and shame the worst obfuscators.

Now it may be puzzling that I'm promoting a competitor to SimonYoungWriters. But one of my goals with SimonYoungWriters is to raise the perceived value of writing in the marketplace. The Writemark awards are one very public way this is already happening.

It's early days yet. Many businesspeople and professionals still labour under the assumption that "everyone can write". It's a true myth in that yes, everyone can write, but not everyone can write well. And not everyone can write skilfully in specific circumstances - such as direct marketing, conceptual advertising, fundraising, technical writing, or search engine optimisation.

But writers in every field face ... not so much discrimination as ignorance. In film we celebrate actors and directors, but struggle to name great screenwriters. In the media, experienced journalists are being laid off en masse, while freelance per word rates haven't gone up in 15 years. Most branding consultancies have dedicated design staff, but nary a writer to be seen - unless one of the strategic people in the company happen to also write.

Enough of the rant now. Just get your entries in for the Writemark awards this year - there's more info here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Review: Making Black Harvest

"He is in great pain from the wound," said Tepra, "but glad you are both here. The arrow came out cleanly, or he would be much worse. Just a little to one side and he would have died."

"Can we film?" I asked.

What? Sitting here at my desk fourteen years later, I'm shaken yet again by the cold-blooded prioritising behind that question, and I can offer no defence. That's how it was, that's what we had become.

That's the segment of Making Black Harvest I saw on ABC during my last trip to Australia in 2005. It's compelling, and brings up questions that affect everyone who puts together stories.

Bob Connolly and his wife Robin Anderson made two films in Papua New Guinea in the mid-80s and early 90s. They followed the fortunes of Joe Leahy, son of a white Australian who never acknowledged him as his own, and an indigenous woman from a tribe who had met white people for the first time in 1935.

Leahy ran a profitable coffee plantation together with the local villagers - a precarious arrangement that was very lucrative when it worked, and an absolute disaster when it didn't. Black Harvest is the story of when it didn't work. Making Black Harvest is the story of the making of that story.

It took me a while to get into Making Black Harvest. There is a complicated web of characters, with undulating loyalties, perceptions and politics. But once the action started - more than half way through the book - I realised how well I'd come to know these real-life characters.

Every good story has conflict, and this story is loaded with it. Not only the obvious bits like tribal warfare, but also the tense battle faced by Connolly and Anderson as they had to choose between intervening and observing. The Prime Directive is for filmmakers.

Being a true story, Making Black Harvest is not about tidy, happy endings. In fact, the conflict begun during filming in 1990 continued until the end of 1997. Not only that, Connolly implicates himself as unwittingly causing the war - a conclusion that maybe doesn't reflect reality, but it reflects Connolly's mixed feelings about the time they spent filming.

Read Making Black Harvest. It will take you on a journey full of the harrowing tension and drama, as well as the touching humanity and beauty of Papua New Guinea.

Truth in advertising isn't a new thing...

Just have a read of this liquor ad from 1886

Air travel and branding

When I travelled to Wellington last week, I had a few observations about air travel and branding.

  • Air travel is a designed experience - mostly because of safety and regulatory issues. Service people deliver mostly scripted lines, and it has somewhat of an air of liturgy about it.

  • The purely functional design of airplanes and runways is iconic and, even though not designed as art (or maybe it is?) it comes across as art. To me anyway!

And yet there are a whole lot of things about air travel that meet the needs of the airline or the airport, but aren't customer-centred.

In an extensive ecosystem like air travel, how can one player make the difference? The article below sheds some light:

Climb Aboard The Plane Of The Future -