Embrace the Love

Sometimes the fact that people don’t like you can be a catalyst for innovation.

A friend of mine, Terry, loves retro computer games. Well, I say "retro" but I really mean computer games that he liked as  a kid. What he likes about those old games was the attention to game play — the desire of the programmers to engage and surprise the players without reliance on advanced graphics.

As a programmer, Terry now creates Flash games that are a tribute to the spirit and style of these retro games. And, as is the nature of the web, he receives feedback from near and far — some good and some not so good.

Some, but not all of us, can take criticism. But Terry has taken this to a new level — he is embracing the love. He has established a new site to showcase some of the more negative emails. Does this prompt him to change his approach? Sometimes, apparently.

Most importantly, if you can get someone to go to the trouble of telling you how much they DONT like you, then I believe the advertising world calls this "cut through". Don’t they say there is no such thing as bad publicity?

A chilled out world?

I like the idea of a chilled out world – but I just don’t buy it. There seems to be way too many "chillin" types out there and not enough us frreeeaakin’ types. Either it is the time of day I visited, or the type of visitor that the site attracts, but the WorldChill site seems way too laid back for me.

At least there were pockets of "freakin" showing up on the interactive map of Iraq – but this simply appears to be protest voting on a world stage.

Visitors can choose where they would like to place their mark. By selecting a point anywhere on the world, and entering a user ID together with a reason for feeling, slowly a map of emotional energy is appearing across the world. You can even download a screensaver and desktop application that brings this information to you. And because we are all creatures of habit, it is more than likely that the data being passed through is statistically reliable.

You know, the more I think about this site and the information it collects, the more I am moving from "calm" through "bugging" and way past "freakin’".


Time to move!

Being a bit of a technology boffin I thought I could do it all myself. But even I have to admit defeat. I will miss the control – but I wont miss the frustration!

So from today, the Servant of Chaos blog lives on TypePad. I will move the previous posts over this weekend. Thanks for staying with me!

Bring Others Along With You

I was very excited to receive my copy of The Big Moo today. I had forgotten that I had ordered it sometime ago – but the good folks over at A&R reminded me, and duly shipped it in!

Of course, the day was busy with … well business, but this evening I have been able to cast a quick eye over the content. Is it good? I can’t tell yet. Is it inspiring?

Yes – from the first page.

Sometimes you need to be reminded. Sometimes you need another person to articulate your thoughts. And sometimes you need to feel validated in your beliefs.

I like the way The Big Moo (p xi) sets the scene:

    1. The only way to grow is to be remarkable.
    2. The only barrier to being remarkable is your ability to persuade your peers to make it happen.

Sometimes those you know best are the hardest to convince. Start close and work outwards. Take on board the criticisms, the challenges as well as the enthusiasm, then talk to a customer.

Is The Big Moo for you? Read 10 free excepts here.

Does Anyone Read a Blog?

Seems there is a long, long way to go before blogs really do begin to have an impact on the wider community.

John Moore over at Brand Autopsy shows the results of a Wall Street Journal online poll indicating that 62% of those polled DO NOT read blogs. I think this would be higher in Australia.

For me, the question is not really how many are reading blogs, but WHO is reading blogs?

The democracy of the web means that we do not need to be all things to all people. If you don’t like what you are seeing or reading, then you can click to the next site. But the interesting aspect of the web is that it also ATTRACTS a certain type of person – the impatient person.

It reminds me of a quote by Howard Barker (the great British playwright) – "Because you cannot address everybody, you may as well address the impatient" (49 Asides for a Tragic Theatre). This is what sets the web apart from other revolutionary communications platforms – it is both a catalyst for change and the method of transformation.

I agree with John Moore’s suggestion … tell 5 friends about the blogs that you read and encourage them to take a look. And the more impatent your friends are — the better!


iPod Conquers Earth (or not)

Is the iPod going to take over the world?

There is plenty going for the iPod. It has great design, feels nice to hold and certainly has a bit of that "made by Apple" funkiness that those of us in the PC world grudgingly like.

But for all its appeal it is let down by few things. One is the software and the other is the Apple service. Now there are plenty of things that the Wintel world could learn from Apple – but something that the Wintel crowd have learned is that you need to live up to your promises.

On the software front – that means that "user friendly" is not just cute – but also open. iTunes needs to be more open to other software … it needs to be able to read in a range of data sources, it needs more flexibility in the way it manages my very important playlists and song files, and it needs be more tightly integrated into the Windows environment.

It also needs to be more user friendly. Apple needs to realise that they are now making a mass market system – not a niche technology item that is the darling of designers. And then they need to back this up with good support and friendly servicing. The number of people who have experienced rude Apple staff is on the rise. Each week I hear more stories about Apple’s failure to replace iPods that have cracked screens (no they were not dropped) or poor quality batteries.

If you want to take over the world – you also need to listen to what the world is telling you.

Proust and DVDs

I was delighted by Seth Godins short blog piece on backing up and the question "what would Proust think"?

So much so that I ended up emailing him …

Most of us do not consider the shoes that we wear to be part of a collection (Imelda Marcos the obvious exception). But the music and movies that we watch, that we take pride in "owning", are more personal. They say much about how we see our place in the world and the tribe that we belong (or subscribe) to.

My guess is that Proust would see the beauty of the item in a collection. And that each item would embody the whole world — representing the small step of making the world one’s own.

Perhaps this is what Kevin Roberts means when he talks about Lovemarks.

Got something to say …? Add your comment!


I have been watching on and off, the new venture under way at Squidoo. I don’t fully understand it as yet, but it looks like a critical wiki. Interesting!

Squidoo appears to be a blogging-oriented platform that allows people with certain interests or expertise to provide opinion, commentary or (dare I say it) knowledge to anyone willing to read it.

They are currently in the beta phase of rollout … It could well be something to keep your eye on!

Have you had an experience with Squidoo? Comment and let me know what it was.

Learn More About Yourself

Just when you thought is was safe to ignore technology … Google have hit us again with a free and easy way to measure the effectiveness of your website.

Now Google Analytics brings the world of analytics to a browser very near to you. Does it matter? Well if you are interested in your audience (and let’s face it — why AREN’T you?), then this new tool will help you understand what your readers/clients are interested in, where they come from and perhaps even why.

Now there is NO excuse to live in a world-wide-web of ignorance!


The Antidote to Phishing

Brand Channel is hosting a debate on the damage that phishing is doing to big brands such as eBay, banks and so on.

In my view, the single strongest defence against phishing is to consistently match your company’s tone of voice with your brand promise. This matching should take place across all communications.

This way, when one of your customers receives an e-mail that solicits a response, your customers will be able to clearly differentiate between something that you send, and something that comes from the forces of darkeness!

Of course, this is easier said than done … but investing is the relationship between your brand and your customers is essential to longevity. A loss of trust could be devastating.

Start telling your story today.