Failure Swapshop at TEDxBristol

Failure Swapshop at TEDxBristol

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After  giving a short talk at TEDxBristol about the failure swapshop it was great to run one in the break, lessons learned:

Take a friend shopping
Relish the things you’re good at
Don’t be afraid to fail
Share your failure
If someone needs your help, give it to them
Listen to your inner voice
Ask for help
Remember – you’re just a guy
Doubt kills dreams
Follow your instincts
Always learn
Stand up on your own
Tests aren’t reality
Keep on shooting
Do things that scare you
Don’t worry what others think
Check it yourself
Don’t think too much
Turn your tank on
Just do it!
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel
If you fail, be creative
Learn to delegate
Ask for help
How success looks can change
Perseverence is good
Take ownership
Track everything – get a system
Don’t give yourself a hard time
Focus on the good stuff

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The Google plus pub test

The Google plus pub test

I continually see articles hyping Google+ and if you follow me on twitter you’ll hopefully know 2 things:

1) I actually like Google+ as a network, it looks good, it has some neat features like hangouts

2) other than reserving a presence and setting up authorship I don’t think it’s worth spending much time on, yet

I’m not going to rehash my points on misleading posts/statements that claim g+ is the 2nd largest network, in summary: usage is not the same as active users. If an expert doesn’t understand that they are very different, walk away.

That said there are a few things that I’ve been thinking about recently.

1) SEO benefits: At best guess it’s likely to help having links from g+ as they do pass page rank unlike other networks like twitter or Facebook. See this great Moz blog post, causation isn’t proven conclusively above the fact G+ creates links to your site.

2) Try the pub test: Go to a bar and ask anyone (non marketing/social media types) who’s used g+ more than twice this week to put their hand up – buy all of those people a drink – how much did it cost you?

UPDATE: With Google plus now being in use on YouTube, we’ll get another round of these “G+ is here” type headlines, there really will be no way of knowing the difference between YouTube use of G+ and actual G+ posts… especially when you have to uncheck the “share this on G+ too” box each time.

Log in to G+ who’s actually posting anything in there? It still won’t pass the pub test.

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Random acts of yumness

Random acts of yumness

Yesterday I was sat eating my lunch at lifeboat quay, pondering life’s mysteries (thinking about going camping actually but anyway…) when a guy approached and offered me an ice cream.

It was Mars one, he’d bought a pack for him & his girlfriend (at a guess) and had a spare.

Awesome! Free ice cream!!

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So my question is this… how do I pay it forward?

I can’t wander the streets giving out ice cream…

Suggestions below, or via twitter:

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Revising the bucket list

Revising the bucket list

This post is for my own benefit – you’re welcome to read it but I’m posting it here to make it more real for me.

I love holidays. I haven’t had enough of them in the last couple of years… partly through having a RIDICULOUS number of weddings + wedding related things to go to in the last couple of years… anyway… I just got back from a great little break to Lanzarote with 2 friends where I spent some of the time surfing, volcano exploring, eating great food and pondering my life to-do list.

The list has been a bit neglected recently, time for a refresh!

So, I sat in the sun and rewrote it.. my first decision being that it will only ever have 10 things on it maximum. This seems like a good round number to me.

I started by thinking about and writing down some of the things I’d like to change/improve and experience – this mission statement of sorts was in 3 parts: health, wealth and happiness.

It’s a very personal list, that I made SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-specific). From this and a few extras I wrote my to-do / bucket list:

  1. Go into space & experience weightlessness
  2. Own a campervan
  3. Travel more (inc. the pyramids, Machu Pichu, Paris, New York, Area 51…)
  4. Reach the BSA Silver level 1 in surfing
  5. Buy a second property
  6. Get married – any single Zooey Deschanel-a-likes out there? get in touch! :-)
  7. Finish and publish the YRNB book
  8. Cycle John O’Groats to Lands End
  9. Complete the 3 peaks challenge
  10. Be a world record holder
I also then wrote one specific action for each of these to do by June, to make sure I get cracking.
Game on!!

Do you have a bucket list?

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I made a Facebook and Twitter sharing link making app thing

I made a Facebook and Twitter sharing link making app thing

A couple of weeks ago I went to the brilliant HackBmth hosted at RedWeb and hacked together a little tool to make my (and my colleagues) life easier when creating Facebook and Twitter sharing links to be used in emails, blog posts or anywhere really…

You fill in some fields (without needing to manually UTF-8 encode spaces and special characters) then you get URL’s you can use to spread the word about something..

Try this Twitter link or this Facebook one*1 to see what happens… don’t worry it won’t post anything without asking!

Now I’ll be the first to admit it was rough around the edges but functionally it worked! Woot! In just one day of coding, some rusty cogs had turned in a cobwebbed corner of my brain and I had a working tool of sorts – I should also add that I haven’t coded properly for a very long time, so I’m pretty pleased.

Today I tidied it up and made a version that anyone can use.

The twitter one just helps you make a URL in the right format – still handy as it encodes any special characters into the right format.

The Facebook sharing tool requires you to make an app at developers.facebook.com first so that you can use the app ID to make a sharing URL -  there’s no coding required, fill in the minimum fields to get an ID… if you need help with this bit, leave me a comment and I’ll write up making an app at a later date.

Here’s the mostly finished product: http://alukeonlife.com/app/lufta/

Please be gentle with it… if you have any questions leave me a comment!

*1 The Facebook example uses my RNLI email links app as the sender, you’ll have your own icon and app name in here

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Facebook home

Facebook home

If you’re looking for a review of Facebook home this isn’t it… I’m thinking about how this could play out in the wider market.

>>> TNW – Facebook Home have quite a good round up or you could look on Facebook.com/home.

1) Android fans will hate it, they’ll whine about the loss of widgets, customisation and openness probably.

2) iPhone fanboys (and girls) will not be interested, they’ve likely moved to path or something far more hipster n cool.

So, with them out the way we have two main groups remaining: your average phone user (android but unaware, they think of themselves as a galaxy s3 owner etc) and the average iPhone user.

3) The average user cares about four main things (in roughly this order): messaging/calling friends, photos, Facebook and then apps (music somewhat, but I don’t think that’s the “killer app” anymore). Home quite possibly hits all of these bang on target.

By making it user centric, seamless conversations across text and Facebook messages will appeal, as will activity of friends being tied together.

Photos will be tightly integrated, what’s the app of choice? Instagram… who owns instagram… yeah, Facebook.

Apps are still there, they’re slightly hidden but I really don’t think that’ll phase most users.

What about people leaving Facebook/using it less? One of the main reasons people are leaving Facebook is that it’s not people centric, this largely changes that…. but also, the big question…

Ads – this’ll be the maker or breaker – the other thing users are pushing back against on Facebook is ads, if they feature too heavily on home it won’t fly. I’d expect them to add it later, hooking people in at first with a very light touch to advertising. It’s telling that the Facebook share price rose 3% after the announcement too.

Where does this leave your average iPhone user? I guess that depends on the uptake of home, if the iPhone app doesn’t develop, I think there’s a large chunk of users who could move to a Facebook phone that’s more people centric for all of the reasons above.

What about an iPhone 6? Who knows…!

2 final commercial considerations:

1) I’m expecting Facebook to crack down on companies using a person profile as their Facebook presence in line with a more people centric approach – those gaming the system in this way will initially, quite likely, have an advantage until this happens.

2) Reduced visibility of pages content – this is the big unknown, will this further reduce the visibility of pages without paying for promoted posts? Roll on April 12th to find out…

All thoughts, fanboy flaming, comments and paella recipes welcomed below:

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