Birmingham Bloggers Meet: The value of offline networking

April 29, 2008

I finally managed to get to my first Birmingham Bloggers Meet tonight at Rooty’s in the Custard Factory. It was great to meet some of the people behind the blogs I’ve been following, and it did make me smile on the way home thinking that, all this online networking is great, but you can’t beat meeting new people, hearing about what they’re up to and sharing ideas face to face.

Highlights were meeting the man behind sneezecount, Pete Fletcher, who has been counting his sneezes since July 2007, and having a good chat to Nick Booth and Paul Bradshaw about potential fringe events for the Digital Film and Media Event that will take place in Birmingham in October. This is a conversation I hope to take further and widen out to Birmingham’s digital community as the official programme starts to shape up over the coming weeks. A process which will undoubtedly combine both online and offline idea generation.

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Paris in the Spring

April 26, 2008

Outside the Louvre

A bit slow getting this up, but I enjoyed a great weekend in Paris a fortnight ago for Tom’s 30th Birthday. Although the flight from Birmingham was easy and very quick, I’m definitely going to try the Eurostar next time. Negotiating the Paris Metro from airport to hotel at 11pm with a suitcase is not a brilliant experience!

The highlight had to be gawping at the huge Impressionist collection in the fantastic surroundings of the Musee D’Orsay. There is something quite indescribable about the experience of seeing paintings that have been reproduced a million times over, on everything from jigsaw puzzles to mouse mats, so closely that you can make out every brush stroke. When things become so common-place, they can start to lose some of their beauty, but seeing them in their original form brought all of that back to me.

We also spent an interesting couple of hours in the colossus that is the Louvre, and couldn’t resist watching the crowds that had come to watch the Mona Lisa. 

 Crowd Looking at The Mona Lisa


The public diary of a new business, aged 0 years and 3/4

April 24, 2008

I’ve recently been asked to be a guest blogger for the Birmingham Post. Having two blogs to think about has made me consider more carefully the content for this site. So for the time being, my general business musings will be kept for the Birmingham Post, and this blog will become more of a personal record of setting up my new company, with a few other bits and pieces thrown in for good measure.

So where do I start… I took the decision to leave Neon Communications last year, after three years as a director. It was a tough one, as the company was enjoying a good profile with some great clients, and I was working with a fantastic team. But it’s fair to say that I had reached a bit of a crossroads, and after much careful consideration I decided that – if I was going to make it on my own – it was now or never time.

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A little piece of communications history

April 5, 2008

Last month was pretty mind blowing for me, largely due to my trip to SXSW Interactive which has completely transformed the way I’m looking at communication. I still have a whole heap of ideas to get on this blog – but of course client work needs to come first, especially when you’re growing a new business, so I’ve set myself the challenge of getting them down over the next fortnight. I know that kind of goes against the point of a blog, but that’s the way it is for now!

In the meantime, something interesting happened today, which in a funny way sums up some of my feelings about the evolution of communication.

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When is a blogger not a blogger?

March 9, 2008

I took part in an interesting session at SXSW today, a group discussion designed to come up with 10 Easy Ways To Piss Off A Blogger. Led by Rohit Bhargava from Ogilvy, the group was made up of a combination of bloggers, marketeers and PR professionals. As someone who has recently started a blog (and has an increasing addiction to it), but who makes a living from PR and marketing, it was really interesting to find myself sitting somewhere in the middle.

The list of ten (and a few more) came out of the discussion, and is posted at Longstation, but the really interesting angle for me was a debate regarding the status of bloggers, and how they should be approached by those of us in the PR world. Specifically, there was some discussion around whether bloggers should be treated as journalists, and whether or not they wanted to be.

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Exporting the West Midlands

March 9, 2008

Shakespeare’s Pub

Seeing as I’m here in Texas as part of a West Midlands contingent, it was funny to stumble across this pub on my first trip into Austin. Is Shakespeare our region’s most exportable brand? Answers on a postcard/blogpost. I’m going to start a list. 


“We are all feeling our way in the digital world”

March 8, 2008

An artist's impression of the Opening Remarks session at SXSWisteven-johnson-henry-jenkins.jpgsteven-johnson-henry-jenkins.jpgsteven-johnson-henry-jenkins.jpg

An artist’s impression of the Opening Remarks session at SXSWi 

As a self-confessed newbie to interactive, this comment by Henry Jenkins at today’s Opening Remarks session at SXSW no doubt had a greater impact on me than the 100s of other live-bloggers sitting around me at the Austin Convention Centre. I came to this event expecting to feel three steps behind most other delegates and prepared to google every other word in each keynote session.

But today couldn’t have been more different. It’s really opened my eyes to the fact that everyone involved in digital is on a learning curve. I doubt that my posts from SXSW will be ground-breaking to those who are already immersed in the digital world. But hopefully they will be an interesting read for those of you, like me, who are just starting to feel their way.

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