Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity– A Book Review

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Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity is based upon the hugely successful, Change This Manifesto, entitled “How to be Creative”. Building upon his earlier work, Hugh MacLeod brings together his collective wisdom of thoughts on creativity.

As Steve Clayton describes, there are a number of stand our chapters in this book. In particular, the following chapters stood out for me: 

Chapter 8 “Keep your day job” with the excellent description of Hugh’s Sex and Cash Theory.

Chapter 11, “The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props”. This chapter serves to remind us that the tools aren’t important. True creativity comes from within, regardless of the tools used.

Chapter 3 “Put The Hours In” stuck a particular chord, where Hugh states “Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. Ninety percent of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina”.

And Chapter 18, “Merit can be bought, Passion can’t”. In this chapter, Hugh states that: “The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does”.

Absolutely. Sometimes, being passionate about something and wanting to change things is great. However, it is important to remember that not everyone may feel the same way.

Overall, the book is an easy read, with Hugh’s unique blend of wit, genius and dark humour. Though his cartoons have been available on Gaping Void for years. It is a real treat to finally have some of them available in book form.

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Ignore Everybody is a book that can be summed up with one of Hugh’s own cartoons (see above). It enriches your understanding on ways that creativity can prosper. Whilst at the same time Hugh simplifies the process, with tales from his own experiences.

I wouldn’t just recommend this book for people seeking new ways to be creative. This is a book I would thoroughly recommend for mums, dads, friends, lovers, co-workers and neighbours. Ignore Everybody is a book for everyone. We all display creativity in our everyday lives and Hugh’s book helps us to remain focused.  A common sense book for modern times.

If you want to get a flavour for the book, sample chapters are available here.

Ignore Everybody is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be published by Portfolio on June 11, 2009.

With thanks to Maureen at Penguin Books for the advance copy of this book.

Ted Talk: Seth Godin On Tribes We Lead

Last year I reviewed Seth Godin’s latest book called Tribes. I enjoyed this book and  Seth’s talk at TED is a great synopsis of the book. In a “Twitter world” where we follow others, Tribes empower individuals. The book serves as a good reminder that by starting a movement, it is possible to change the world.

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Twitter Guide for Marketers

A nice presentation from Mojave Interactive for Marketers looking to use Twitter.

Hat tip to @Twitter_Tips

Web 2.Over?

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Meg Pickard recently updated the iconic ‘original Web 2.0 slide’ of start-ups. It is interesting to see which companies have survived and which are now long forgotten. Of course many more start-ups have now been born. But the above picture was the original Web 2.0 collection and has been a classic feature of many presentations over the last few years. 

Click on each picture to enlarge the view.

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Save and Archive Your Tweets!

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If you have used Twitter search before, you may notice that you can only go back a certain amount of time and/or number of tweets for a given search. In fact, if you read the Twitter search documentation, you’ll note that the folks from Twitter say, "We also restrict the size of the search index by placing a date limit on the updates we allow you to search. This limit is currently around a month but is dynamic and subject to shrink as the number of tweets per day continues to grow."

Thus was born The Archivist, a Windows application that runs on your local system and allows you to archive tweets for later data-mining and analysis for a given search. The Archivist allows you to start a search and will get as many results as it can on the initial search.  If you leave The Archivist open, it will update with the latest results every 10 minutes.  You can also close The Archivist and open it later. The Archivist will save the tweets and get all the tweets it can since that search.

The Archivist will display a chart that shows the number of tweets per day for a given search, so that you can quickly assess traffic for a given search. For more comprehensive data analysis, The Archivist lets you export Tweets to Excel. It also natively saves tweets in an XML format, which could also be parsed  for deeper data analysis.

Install The Archivist today!

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Print Websites Easily with Print Friendly

 

Print Friendly is a nice site which helps to correctly format web pages for printing. The site also optimises your printing, by removing annoying ads to.  If you print content from the web, Print Friendly is definitely worth checking out.

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Visible Tweets

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H/T to Steve

Hot on the heels of sites such as Twistori and Twitterfall comes Visible Tweets.

Enter in a search term and watch the results display as an animated display on your screen. Very cool.

Keynote Videos from The Next Conference 2009

You can watch the Jeff Jarvis keynote below from The Next Conference. The title of his talk is called The Great Restructuring of our times (fuelled by the Internet and now accelerated by the financial and economic crisis). Now, if only Jeff’s book from Amazon would arrive 🙂

Jeff’s slides can be found below.
The second opening keynote was delivered by Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab and a strong advocate of a radical changed capitalism. Like Tim O’Reilly did with the web, he calls this Capitalism 2.0. Maybe we’ll see Capitalism 2.0 Conferences soon?
 
 
 

According to Haque, capitalism is fundamentally broken. But he has some ideas on how to fix it. In a recent blog post he writes:

It is no coincidence that so many industries are in trouble simultaneously and so fast. The growth of the Zombieconomy is a Jupiter-sized wake-up call to today’s leaders.

Here’s the real problem.

Capitalism 1.0 is built on an obsolete set of ideals. What the 21st century needs are better ideals, to build a better kind of business on.

Fundamentally, we need organizations that can behave very differently. Telcos are a great example — they’ve been fighting tomorrow for decades. And the bill is now coming due.

That’s a tough set of lessons to internalize. Recently, I gave a talk on Constructive Capitalism to a bunch of senior guys at a major international organization. They debated with me for close to an hour whether a better kind of capitalism was really necessary.

Frankly, I thought it was a bit funny that the debate was necessary at all. Hey, look — it’s the simultaneous collapse of significant portions of the manufacturing and service sectors. Convinced yet?

 
Andrew Keen’s talk at the conference, with some interesting insights from his forthcoming book  Digital Vertigo.
Nice to see Andrew doesn’t use slides for his talks!
 

 

Click – A Book Review

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“Click” follows in the tradition of books by Malcolm Gladwell and the authors of “Freakonomics”, by analysing modern day trends and extracting meaning behind society’s behaviour through the use of data and statistics. There a number of different topics discussed in the book ranging from porn and fashion to phobias and rock bands. In that respect it’s readable by anyone who uses the internet and wonders what we – the collective "we" are doing online. The uniqueness of the book is that Tancer’s findings are based upon search engine data and all of his conclusions are drawn from how people spend their time on the internet. He is well known for telling his audiences, “I love data”. In fact, it’s a clever plug for his Hitwise blog, http://www.ilovedata.com.

The downside of the book is that Tancer covers a lot of ground, he also chooses to focus on very specific examples and doesn’t always provide enough of the bigger picture. Overall though, I enjoyed “Click” and would recommend it for anyone who is curious about how online data can teach us about our society as a whole and in some cases why it fails to lead to accurate conclusions.

Click is published by Harper Collins and is available from Amazon by clicking here.

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Zappos – Five Seconds To Wow!

 

Up until now, most of what I knew about Zappos was that they were passionate about selling shoes. Selling shoes with a personal touch. I also knew that they were famous for paying off employees to leave the company, if they were not prepared to live and breathe the company’s values (see picture below). However, I recently read Scoble’s blog post which made me go Wow! I’ve shared the Wow! moments and key messages coming out of Zappos below.

What can all businesses learn from Zappos? Scoble recently found out the following:

1. Focus on culture and build something for the long term. Tony’s first company, Link Exchange, was sold because it wasn’t fun anymore.That’s why he focused so much on culture when he got involved with Zappos. I see so many companies who focus on growth and get exactly what they want: an unfun fast growing company that falls apart later.

2. Get rid of assholes. Zappos has a filtering system before, during, and after hiring to make sure they get rid of people who “don’t fit the culture.” That is the nice way of saying they get rid of assholes and they get rid of them quickly. They even pay candidates $2,000 after they go through training if they can admit they don’t fit into the culture.

3. Get a coach. Zappos has its own coach. His name is Dr. Vic. He meets with every employee. Takes their picture. Learns what they are about and helps them get their career moving. Plus he writes a blog for everyone else’s company.

4. Share with others. Zappos gives tours to everyone to share what they’ve learned. You can take the tour too, I highly recommend it if you are in Las Vegas. tours@zappos.com will get you a date and a time. Oh, did I mention they pick you up from the airport? And that they carry your bags? And that they are, well, um, nice?

5. Train, train and train some more. Zappos has a whole department that puts together classes. Your pay goes up the more classes you complete. Plus they have all those free books in the lobby.

6. Enable all employees to be spokespeople. Every single new hire at Zappos is asked to start a Twitter account and post a few times to it during training. After that they don’t care if you keep it up. Why do they do that? They want to rub it in that EVERYONE in the company is a public spokesperson for Zappos, not just the CEO or PR team.

7. Everyone lives by same rules. During Scoble’s tour he heard of a new hire that was fired during training for not showing up on time and giving some lip. This was a high level technical person that they really could have used. Silicon Valley companies would put up with that kind of behaviour. Not at Zappos. Everyone, from executive recruits on down are expected to live to the same rules.

8. The CEO’s office isn’t sacrosanct. Tony encouraged Scoble to throw peanut shells on his office floor. Why? That happens every day, we learned, as tours come through. But it’s a subtle message that Tony isn’t above anyone else in the company and that his door isn’t just open, but that you can come in and mess up his work space.

9. Create a welcoming culture. Every department, as we walked in, said “hi” in a different way. Here’s the casual department who waved these little clappy hands at us. Other departments had other kinds of noise makers. The Fashion department took pictures of us while they played music.

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Picture Credit – Robert Scoble

10. Everyone is a VIP. Both internally and externally everyone gets the VIP treatment. This means all sorts of little things all across the company. Vendors, when they come to Zappos, get their bags carried. That wins them accounts. In our case we had our tripods and cameras carried and our every need catered to.

11. Create an atmosphere for both goofiness and brilliance. Every conference room was decked out with personal touches. It gets you in the mood for creative discussions. Here Rackspace employees are meeting with Zappos employees and learning more about Zappos. Notice all the weird touches on the table, the walls. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously there.

12. Root out hubris and kill it. This is mostly a note to myself, but I know lots of San Francisco companies who this could apply to just as well, too.

13. Follow your employee’s and customers’ passion. How did Zappos get into clothing? Their customers and employees were passionate about it.

14. Don’t be religious about what’s working. Having 400 employees on Twitter is clearly working for Zappos but Tony, at one point, told his employees to talk to me about friendfeed. They are always looking for the next idea. By the way, here’s everyone who is saying something about Zappos on friendfeed. I love this quote from Forrester’s CEO, George Colony (Tony is speaking at the Forrester Conference today): “When asked why he was on Twitter, Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO said: “People relate to people, not companies.”

15. Be religious about taking care of customers. Tony loves telling the story about when they got pizza ordered for them by Zappos help desk (they didn’t know who was calling). Every employee is empowered to take care of customers and get their problems solved.

16. Reward greatness. Every employee can give a $50 bonus to any other employee. Does it get misused? Not often and when it does it’s easy to solve.

17. Remember most policies are to take care of edge cases. They resist writing new policies at Zappos. When they do write a policy, they make sure it really is needed across the company. Usually policies get killed.