Reflections on TedxTuttle


Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to attend the TedxTuttle event in London. The event featured a host of great speakers, mixed in with some Ted Talks and an opportunity to meet some great people.

The keynote speech was presented by Maggie Philbin, who presented a series of great clips from the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World program. This was a real treat, as I was avid fan of the programme and even today, the theme music still brings back many happy memories of the programme. The clips centred around three decades (60s, 70s and 80s) and showed a number of technologies that became popular and others that did not. Incidentally, the BBC are now presenting an archive of Tomorrow’s World clips which can be accessed here:

Maggie also presented “Philbin’s Fact File”, which touched on a number of points, the she believed would make a business successful. Nothing new here, but all good stuff nevertheless.

Communicate as if person to person
Be outstanding
Innovate, don’t imitate
Go beyond "just enough"
Create an experience
Exceed expectations

In all, it was an excellent keynote and it is great to see that she is still so passionate about science and technology.

The next talk was presented by Rachel Armstrong and discussed the future of architecture. Rachel, is a TED fellow and presented a fascinating talk, which at times was a little above my head, but interesting nevertheless. Rachel’s interest in architecture surrounds the materials that we choose to build structures. Her ongoing research examines how low tech biotech technologies could be used to build sustainable structures for the future.

Next up was Tuttle founder Lloyd Davis, who described the Tuttle experience to the audience. The Tuttle Club meets every Friday at 10am at the ICA in London and has been running for eighteen months. This is remarkable, since many social media networking meet-ups, disappear after only a few months. Lloyd, mentioned that there was no real secret to Tuttle’s success. However, he believed that ‘diversity and inclusion’ were important factors. Anyone is welcome to attend Tuttle and judging by the slideshow of photos that were presented, the event is growing with ever increasing numbers of people.  Tuttle exists and is supported by social technologies such as Twitter. However, many argue that online social networking lacks opportunities to actually meet people in the flesh. Tuttle is the antidote to such thinking.

I grabbed a quick chat with Lloyd during one of the coffee breaks. I last met him during the Blue Monster Coffee morning, at a time just before Tuttle started. It was a great to catch up and I’m going to do my best to get along to the next Tuttle meet up.

Next up was Ben Walker, who delivered a great talk (mainly in song) about the value of Twitter.  Babble+Context=Conversation!  Conversation=Value!  Ben is known for the viral Twitter Song, which you can see below.


The last of main speakers was Mat Morrison of Porter Novelli who delivered a very interesting talk on social media metrics. Mat debunked the traditional held view on viral marketing that person tells everyone in a cumulative fashion to spread and idea, instead he proposed that great ideas don’t spread evenly. In other words, not everyone in a network is equal. If, you take Gladwell’s theory from the Tipping Point, you get the idea here. He also, focused on Clay Shirky’s recent points that we are currently experiencing “social media overload” – We need adequate social media filters to reach out to people, to enable a great OTS (Opportunity To See).

He also shared with the audience some interesting words in relation to social media:

“Eigenfactor” – A Page Rank  for people

“Betweeenness – Someone who is very well connected

“Egonet” – A relation where size = popularity

“Homophily” -  A term relating to people who hang around other people who are most  like them. (Birds of a feather that flock together)

Mat is conducting some very interesting research into the area of influencers and has some great examples here.

Mat summed with the following excellent point, 

“We tend to associate ourselves with people who are like us, allowing us to judge people on the people they follow”.


Photo credit – @maggiephilbin’s twitpic

He ended his presentation with remarkable honesty, “insufficient evidence for a real conclusion”. His research into this areas continues.

Between, each of the speaker talks, there were a number of excellent Ted Talks that were shown. You can view each of them below. Overall, TedxTuttle was excellent. Great speakers, inspiring talks and a great venue.  Congratulations to Alan Patrick and his Broadsight team for delivering such an excellent event.

Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation

Clay Shirky: How social media can make history


PW Singer on military robots and the future of war

Twitterville – A Book Review


I was fortunate enough* to receive an advance copy of Shel Israel’s – Twitterville recently. The premise of the book is an examination of how businesses (of all sizes) can thrive in the digital space with the micro-blogging tool – Twitter. This is Shel’s second outing as an author, after co-authoring the highly successful book, Naked Conversations with Robert Scoble. After completing the book, I felt strongly that Twitterville was the spiritual successor to Naked Conversations.

If you are looking for a book about how to use Twitter, then unfortunately Twitterville is not designed for you. In my opinion, this is a key strength and helps to separate it from the many other Twitter books already available. Shel’s book contains a number of case studies on how individuals and companies have used Twitter to extend their reach out to lots of people, unlike any tool that they have probably used before.

The case studies featured within the book describe, how both large and small businesses have successfully used Twitter to connect to wider audiences, and the interesting results that they have achieved. Companies such as Dell, Comcast, Evernote, Starbucks and Zappos are all featured among others. Shel does a great job of sharing the insights that each company has learned during their own Twitter experiences. The chapters make great reading and contain a good blend of content versus size. Shel interviewed many people for the book, and I’m surprised at how he managed to keep the book’s size so relatively small!

My only criticism of the book is that Shel often presents an overtly positive Twitter story, while passing over some of the negative aspects of the service. For every positive contribution, there are hundreds of examples of random chatter or shameless promotion. However, Shel does present a chapter that does detail the effect spammers. Therefore, at times the book can appear to be a little one sided. Putting this point aside, if you are looking for a good business book, and are interested in how social media can be applied within a practical commercial setting. I would highly recommend that you buy Twitterville. The book is sure to become a great classic.

My good friend, Steve Clayton sums up the book with a great quote, which you can find on the back cover.


I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Twitterville is available to order from Amazon here.

*With thanks to Maureen Cole at Portfolio