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Philip Wilkinson
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I think this sums up the customer service differences of @HailoLondon vs @uber perfectly.  To put it into context - Hailo at no point showed me a £10 min. fair applied to my £6 ride (confirmed with the taxi driver).  Uber's on the other hand wasn't actually about surge pricing which I was fine about - but rather that the driver had taken a long route round as he had gotten slightly lost.

Worth noting that it took from 6pm to 11am the next day for the arsey Hailo reply yet just over 1hr for the Uber one.
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My answers to a journalist for some very interesting and unique questions about a t-rex and a household appliance!

Q1: You have acquired a pet T-Rex and are now morally obliged to look after it. It is 13 ft tall at the hips, eats half a ton of raw meat a day, and likes taking long walks. What would you call it and what would you do to keep it entertained and housed?
Well first I would want to understand why I’d be morally obliged to look after it - was it that I knew the T-Rex’s parents and I had perhaps eaten them mistakingly in a burger?  I have to assume the T-rex was a baby or junior one else we could just let it loose somewhere in the wilderness to fend for itself.

Taking that into account and that I need somewhere with a high ceiling, an easy supply of meat, and lots of space for walks and entertainment.. I’d do a deal with Tesco where we could put it in one of their large packing facilities and let it eat all the returned horse meat that had to be slung out of their stores.  For exercise you could smear some interns in the meat and get them to run around a bit.

Q2: If you had to be transformed into any kind of household appliance, but retained your memories, ability to speak and personality, what would you pick?

It would have to be something with mobility and a bit of variation as I’d be very frustrated if I had to stay in the same place and do the same repetitive task over and over again like boil water or harden bread!   The only mobile household appliance I can think of is a vacuum cleaner and one of those robotic ones too.  I’d like to be a combo unit that could also mow the lawn so I could go outside too.    That way I can still see the world, earning money for a useful service, and with the advent of electric car charging stations along the road - I could even stay fully powered while exploring new places.  
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woo hoo - vanity url tastic - I'm now
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Has the Affiliate Industry grown up and not for the better?

So I was at the Affiliates4U Conference today which is now confusingly called  +PerformanceMarketingInsights  (eh?!) and held at the new venue of the Park Plaza hotel near Waterloo.

Over the years, my experience of this event has been quite favourable with lots of fun characters representing small 1-3 person companies and big ones alike.  Everyone having stories to tell, new innovative tactics to drive sales through affiliate networks, and lots of money splashing around with champagne and beer flowing.

This time - it was SO different and felt pretty corporate.  It's almost as if the industry has grown up and now represented mostly by agencies and tech companies trying to sell their new super-duper tracking solution.    As soon as you walked in, you weren't sure whether you were at a formal corporate event with a whole security-laden floor just for meeting rooms and the other area that couldn't quite decide if it was a cheap showcase for small companies, a fun internet marketing gig with a small air ball machine and the odd ping pong table, or a big corporate sponsorship do.   All just very strange.

Obviously, long gone are the days a small person could set up a performance marketing company (I mean specifically a small site that can get traffic from google and sell it to a publisher as opposed to a tech startup).  These days you have to market cross-channel, cross-platform, and build a huge content marketing team and probably a whole team just to understand what a massive feature-fuck-fest +Google Analytics  has become.

The talks themselves were uninspiring and shallow - you know what I mean.. the outline of the talk sounds great but once you're in there you get the same old boring introductory talks that go on for a while but actually say nothing.   In the "good old days" they used to be led by affiliates doing cutting edge thinking and strategies about what was working and not working for them - actual concrete things you could go away and explore more.  A good example of this type of talk is always done by the +Distilled guys with their SEO conferences; they understand the audience knows all the foundations and jump right in to advanced techniques and thought provoking material, from only the best people in the sector.  I wish the Affiliates4U, sorry Performance Marketing Show Thing.. did that.

I remember one talk was a panel entitled "How to stop voucher code sites skimming the last sale" (or similar) yet just turned into a love-fest on how great the quality of the traffic is from the voucher codes and how big their sales are, while simultaneously saying that you could only stop relying on them if more publishers and advertisers shared data with each other - hmm..  There was only one instance where someone suggested that if Attribution was done correctly and not just relying on the "last-click" then more affiliates could be rewarded for doing something different like product research or branding..   Personally, I feel that the lovefest between voucher code / cashback sites and publishers is bad all round and short-term thinking.  By only rewarding this last stage of the buying process - you stop any other affiliate from being motivated to do anything else and that's BAD!   Anyway - point being that they skimmed over this purely because "no one really understands it or how to fix it"..  

Just because a topic is difficult to solve and complicated does not mean that's it's a valid excuse not to try and delve into it and explore together.  After all, that's why most people really go to these events - to learn new things, push the boundaries and challenge the current thinking of what everyone is doing.  

One guy in the crowd had the best quote "I've been coming here from years and you always say the same old things and nothing changes!"

And you know what.. I completely agree.   Sure, the industry might have grown up and everyone has had to become a proper business - but that doesn't mean that innovation has to end and that conferences have to be filled with shallow, uninspiring content that doesn't challenge anything.  If this is how all sectors grow-up - I want out!

Any opposing views out there?
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Are Magazines Taking off on Tablets yet?

This has always been an interesting topic for me and after attending an event at the AOP earlier this month, thanks to +Paul Lomax ,I got talking to a few people about the space.

Google Panda hit a lot of publishers hard
A large number have spent the last year going back into their content archives for the last 10 years (!) and deleting not only weak content but content that hasn't had a lot of engagement.  That's a vast amount of work.

It's only now that they've gone back to try and work out how to create more engaging (read more expensive) content to start building back some of their rankings.   Luckily, they all have strong brands in their favour to support this work.

Tablets aren't big business for them yet
Most money is still made through advertising revenue through print editions, as any subscription revenue is done at virtually cost in order to get the eyeballs.  On tablets like the iPad, they make a bit of cash from the subscription or ad-hoc issue purchase but make much less on the advertising side.

This is backed up by an article I read today "Who Killed the Magazine App?" 

While tablet sales are rising to 128m this year, and people love the experience of reading on them (count me in that group), it's just that they're not getting read enough as they compete with other activities on the devices such as browsing the web, facebook, and playing games.

It doesn't help that the Newsdesk app on iOS hides away the magazines from view which is why many seem to be switching to creating dedicated apps to release, and background auto-updating them with the new iOS7 functionality.

I'd also add that a lot of magazines have 200mb+ downloads because they are full of large video and animated ads / pages - I'm looking at you +Wired Magazine which are just plain annoying and add nothing to the experience.   Some even make you sign up for their own service and software system - argh!  I actually had one magazine called +All About History that has great content but requires me to zoom in on the text by pinching and then scrolling.  WTF!

Attention Span
I really do think it comes down to our level of attention these days and how we consume media.   Mobiles are for snacking of quick articles and content so not suitable for a magazine style environment (not including Flipboard which is arguably just collated articles anyway), so it leaves tablets such as the iPad and Nexus.   Here though, it still takes focus to make a conscious effort to go and check the magazine app (in newsdesk or directly) and download the latest edition and set aside valuable time to read through it all.  If the content is poor or takes ages to load - I'll switch off.

In fact, the one I do try and read regularly is +The Week Magazine which is updated every week (no kidding!), with interesting curated content from around the web, and is optimised lovingly for the ipad and kept nice and simple.   Quick to download and browse.  

Is there a solution?
I'm not sure yet.  _Have I gathered all the right facts?  Any insights from people in this sector?_

If i was to make a hypothesis and had to launch my own magazine tomorrow - I would start with:
* Adapting to the medium - making it look great on the device
* Quick to download and simple to browse and read
* Bring in more interactivity that can be loaded if desired:  embedded videos, interactive diagrams, links to related content that adds to the story - but completely optional which gets out of your way if you don't want to engage with these extra bits
* Take out all the ads until I get a readership base that is really engaged - and then think about what the native ads could do better
* Make it short (say 20-30 pages max) with regular updates

What do you think?  Along the right lines?
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Exciting day as Big Cup Little Cup launches to the public!
15% off your first purchase with this link:

----- has just launched as the "first real alternative to Nespresso", entering into the $17bn marketplace for capsule based coffee.

You'd never be happy if your toaster only let you put in a special type of bread, or if your car had to go to a special gas station to fill up - which is how Nespresso coffee machine owners have had to live for the past 10 years.  Nestle, the corporate giant behind Nespresso have lost a series of patent cases which opens the way for some real challengers to produce their own capsules which are 100% compatible with Nespresso machines.

Now Big Cup Little Cup, a new, young UK brand contender, has arrived to give people a real alternative in choosing a different range of premium origin coffee, a wider range of capsules designed for the longer coffee drinker (cappuccino, Americano, latte), and more affordable prices.  

The trend for better coffee has mirrored the growth that the wine sector went through 20 years ago - where consumers are looking for higher quality drinks and want to know more about where they come from and how they were made.  Every coffee in the Big Cup Little Cup range has been lovingly sourced from premium beans from premium farms around the world, with great stories and provenance, and fairly-traded ethical backgrounds.

Unlike Southern Europe which predominately drinks short, intense espressos, Northern Europe has a tendency to favour the bigger drink (latte, flat white, americano, cappuccino) which is why Big Cup Little Cup has 65% of it's range dedicated to this longer drink compared with Nespresso's 15%, making a perfect coffee every time for us big cup lovers while still catering for the little cup espresso drinkers.

All at more affordable pricing with prices up to 30% cheaper than Nespresso, without any sacrifice in coffee quality or convenience (order from your mobile phone in 3 clicks), Big Cup Little Cup is on a trajectory to be the new, modern way to drink coffee in a capsule.


For more information, and images / logos to quickly download:
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If you get 2 mins, please do check out our new premium nespresso compatible capsule home page and answer 5 quick one-liners on it..  Many thanks
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How Barter Really Works:

bob has some socks but they've developed holes in them.  The true value of his socks are now 1/2 what he paid - so £5 for the pair
Jane needs to get an amazing boutique dress to go to the ball but can't afford the £5,000

Sam is a salesman in the middle who wants to help them both out, so he gets Jane to pay bob in Pizza's worth £10 and takes the socks off him, all done via Sam who eats one of the pizza's in transit because he was hungry and needed payment.    Bob is happy because he has £9 worth of pizza he can eat later and doesn't have to buy them himself (remember Sam ate the other one), and got rid of his old socks.

Jane now takes those old socks and trades them for credit with Sam who then gives her the brand new dress she wanted.  Jane is happy because she has the new dress.

Sam now has some credits he can trade in for magic beans with the giant down the road who then gives him a cow.  The giant is happy because he got rid of the magic beans he didn't want and gets credits to trade.  Sam can now take the cow and go back to the person he got the dress from that he gave to Jane who had given Pizza to Bob for his old socks.   The person is happy taking the cow as payment for the dress because they always wanted free milk instead of paying for it and can get the value back on their dress within about 6 years.  She is so happy that she kisses sam and offers to take him out for dinner…   

Sam is happy because he is now not hungry anymore.
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