Reflections from the Social Media World Forum


On Monday (15th March), I attended the first day of the Social Media World Forum at London’s Olympia. The next series of posts, will be my reflections of the talks presented. I hope you find them insightful.

Keynote – Kevin Eyres of LinkedIn Europe.


Kevin Eyres, Managing Director of LinkedIn Europe, started his talk with a paraphrased quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of being Earnest, where Social Media and business come together as a marriage.

He stated that in his opinion, “…anyone who desires to understand Social Media should know everything or nothing”.


Kevin went on to discuss, that businesses need “Lenses”. Lenses can help to make better social media decisions. Businesses need to think about how Social Media can be adapted to their local businesses. Lenses also help us to examine “Universal Truths and Human Needs” (both social and knowledge). Humans are social beings, that are inherently designed to be part of a tribe where they connect with other members.

He went on to discuss how the “levelling of the playing field” has a created a Global economy with a new set of problems:

  • Hard to identify? [Global Economy]
  • Who do I trust?
  • How to collaborate?

Kevin’s talk them focussed on the following areas:

1. Innovation – will be driven by knowledge and information. (Incidentally, Linkedin had over 1 billion people searches in the last year).

2. Overloaded – (Information & Command). How many people go beyond page 2 on a search engine?

3. Social Media Facts – We are in “Infancy”. As a business, are you innovating or following someone else?

4. Voice, Identity & Filter – everyone has a voice today. A two-way dialogue is creating a lot of noise. What tools can we use to filter out the useful information?

5. Sharing Knowledge is powerful – It’s no longer what you know, but who you know. “Knowledge is Power” is dead.

6. Socially Aware Apps are the “game changers”. They bring efficiency for users, they help us format, filter and socialise knowledge.


The Global economy brings new opportunities and the birth of “The Accidental Entrepreneur”. Kevin talks about the case of Henk van Ess, who asked on a LinkedIn group, if there were any ways to extend the life of his iPhone battery? A representative from a Chinese manufacturer replied to his post and after some discussions, Henk has created a new online business that now sells long life iPhone batteries to consumers.

Empowered employees at the US electronics retailer BestBuy, solved surplus inventory problems. Shop floor staff created a forecast model, which was more accurate than the company system and was based on customer feedback. Empowered employees also use Twitter, @Twelpforce successfully as a customer support channel.

Before embarking on such initiatives, businesses need to ask themselves, what problems are they trying to solve? Don’t use social media because others are using it, use it to solve a business problem.

Reflections on FOWA 2009


FOWA Highlight Reel 2009

It’s autumn here in London, and this means it is time for the Future Of Web Apps (FOWA) conference! This year’s venue has changed from the Excel Centre to Kensington Town Hall. A smaller venue than the Excel, but much easier to get to. The Carsonified team led by Ryan Carson, put on one of the best conferences in the UK. FOWA is targeted towards Developers, Designers and Decision Makers. Though, many attendees don’t fit into any of these boxes. In this post, I offer my reflections from the event with some details of the stand out talks.

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users – Kevin Rose (Digg)


This year’s event kicked off with Digg’s Kevin Rose, on how to take your website from one to one million users. Kevin offered ten top tips for budding web entrepreneurs on how to stroke your visitor egos, avoid analysis paralysis, attend event parties and woo key influencers and even how to hack the press (my favourite). You can watch Kevin’s keynote talk below.

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose


Introducing Atlas: A Visual Development Tool for creating Web Applications – Francisco Tolmasky (280 North) 


The next stand out talk was by Francisco Tolmasky from 280 North. Francisco talk focused on how true web applications can be used with the richness of desktop applications. 280 North has launched Cappuccino, a JavaScript framework inspired by Apple’s Objective C language. Cappuccino uses a visual development tool called Atlas Tolmasky’s featured a demo called 280 slides, a presentation web based application which was amazing. it looked superb. Take a look at 280 Slides here.

Francisco provided an interesting insight. Developers provided feedback that their companies were unwilling to trust pure web based. Therefore his company had to produce a desktop version of Atlas, which allowed the creation of local computer based applications. You can watch Francisco’s presentation below.

Introducing Atlas: A Visual Development Tool for creating Web Applications by Francisco Tolmasky


 The Future of HMTL5 – Bruce Lawson (Opera)

IMG_0880 IMG_0883

Bruce Lawson provided a very interesting overview of HTML 5.  In particular, how it would make life easier for developers. He demonstrated some media demos working in HTML 5 and he made two standout points during the talk:

  1. “HTML 5 is in direct competition with other technologies intended for applications deployed over the Web, in particular Flash and Silverlight”.
  2. “The web is too important to place control in the hands of any one vendor”.

Two very important points, with the latter gaining a loud applause from the FOWA audience.

Bruce’s presentation is available to watch below.

The Future of HTML5 by Bruce Lawson


How The Guardian is using APIs, Frameworks & Tools to Build a "Mutalised" Newspaper – Chris Thorpe (The Guardian)

IMG_0890 IMG_0892

The Guardian’s Chris Thorpe delivered an interesting talk on how the Guardian newspaper looks to weave itself into the fabric of the internet, through its open platform. Chris introduced the idea of a ‘mutualised’ newspaper’, a society in which each person has the means to produce content, either individually or collectively. This journalist and the reader work together to tell the story. His presentation is available below.


How People will use the Web in the Future – Aza Raskin (Mozilla)

IMG_0950 IMG_0964[4]

Aza Raskin of Mozilla, delivered a talk on the role of the browser in the future. A fundamental shift is occurring, where the  browser forms a “you-centric” view of the web. A future where the browser understands your interests, and the interests of your friends by tapping directly into your “social graph” . His talk touched also on HTML 5, in particular how tomorrow’s browser could even hold a SQL database! His talk particularly touched upon:

  1. YOU-Centric browsing
  2. How browsers will manage your identity
  3. Browsers with native natural language processing
  4. Built-in payments in browsers

You can watch Aza’s talk below.

You-Centric: The Future of Browsing


The Future of The Cloud – Simon Wardley

     IMG_1029 IMG_1093

Simon’ is an excellent orator and his talk focused on the future of the cloud. He discussed the confusion that surrounds cloud computing. Experts disagree even on the definition of it. Vendors define the cloud, as “their product”. The big surprise to me, was the number of different cloud protocols that currently exist. The situation is similar to networking protocols in the the early 1990’s, IPX/SPX vs TCP/IP. Simon ended his talk with a thought provoking point:

Either the cloud is based on open source or you’ll risk losing internet freedoms".

 Basheera Khan, formerly from TechCrunch Europe caught up with Simon after his talk. She asked him to explain exactly why tech startups need to pay attention to how vendors are shaping cloud computing frameworks and standards, and why open source is the way to go if you don’t want the rug pulled out from under your cloud-based web service. You hear Simon’s comment on the audioboo below.


A modified version of his presentation can be seen below:

Marketing your Web App – The Future of Brands Online – Alex Hunter

Alex Hunter discusses the DOs and DONT’s of developing a powerful and positive brand. Nothing particularly new here for people who are familiar with online brand building.

However, Alex is a great speaker and delivers his talk with passion. His talk is available to watch below.

Branding and Marketing Essentials for Your Web App by Alex Hunter from Carsonified on Vimeo.


The Q & A Keynote with Gary V – Gary Vaynerchuk (Wine Library TV)


Watch Gary’s keynote videos below.

Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk


And Finally…

I made a small cameo appearance in a CNET video of FOWA with @natalidelconte. The video has some great interviews with various FOWA speakers including Kevin Rose.

Web 2.Over?

image   3528372602_b6a6ae3c10

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.

Technorati Tags:

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.

Technorati Tags:

Do Something Worth Talking About


I loved this recent post from Paul Isakson. There’s a big danger for businesses of all sizes to look for “shortcuts” into the world of Social Media.  Here is some gentle advice for businesses of all sizes:

  • Quit trying to "join the conversation."
  • Stop trying to be everyone’s friend.
  • Don’t shove your marketing messages at people.
  • Just listen to what people are saying about your product or service and apply what you learn to making it better. (Feedback is King)
  • The same goes for your marketing.
  • Make your message worth talking about.

Focus on your key messages and less on jumping on the bandwagon!

How I became a New Media Douchebag

What is the Future of Social Media?

One question with a great range of great answers. This video was shot by Christian at Amplified 08.

What is the future of Social Media?

I think the future of social media is mass adoption by the masses. In recent weeks we have seen UK users jump on the Twitter bandwagon following celebrities such as @wossy and @stephenfry. I see this trend continuing. However, as the number of followers/friends increase for everyone, I see a dynamic shift.

Traditional principles of networking and word of mouth become energised once again. Real people – Real Recommendations – Real Time.  I see a future where crowdsourcing becomes the norm, we won’t rely on search engines such as Google, rather we will rely on the ‘wisdom of the network’. This won’t be a single network but a complex social graph of people we know and people we don’t know.

A focus on technology will be less – devices and services will just work, connect and fade into the background. Just as we carry our phone numbers and emails today on our mobiles. In the future, we will capture ‘conversations’ and take them everywhere.

The Network of Hope


With just under 24 hours to go till the American Presidential Campaign, I thought it apt to review how Barack Obama’s campaign has been using social media technologies to raise funds and to engage with younger voters.

Obama has taken grassroots campaigning into the digital age by embracing Web 2.0 and using it as a central platform of his presidential campaign. From YouTube to social networking, Obama has navigated Web 2.0 and turned it into a major force within his campaign.

Obama and Social Media

The first rule of social media marketing is to put yourself “out there”. This can be achieved by becoming an active blogger, establishing a presence on the major social networks, and embracing new forms of communication. Obama has done just that. From social networking to his blog to his Fight the Smears campaign, Obama has made his Web 2.0 presence known. Obama is using a number of tools including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter

At the time of writing, Jeremiah Owyang compares Obama’s social media presence with that of John McCain. The statistics make interesting reading.

Obama: 2,379,102 supporters
McCain: 620,359 supporters

Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain

Obama: Friends: 833,161
McCain: Friends: 217,811

Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain

Obama: 1792 videos uploaded since Nov 2006, Subscribers: 114,559 (uploads about 4 a day), Channel Views: 18,413,110
McCain: 329 videos uploaded since Feb 2007 (uploads about 2 a day), Subscribers: 28,419, Channel Views: 2,032,993

Obama has 403% more subscribers than McCain
Obama has 905% more viewers than McCain

Obama: @barackobama has 112,474 followers
McCain: @JohnMcCain (is it real?) 4,603 followers

Obama has 240 times more followers in Twitter than McCain

This personal activity in social networks allows Obama to quickly get the word out across multiple platforms.

It’s clear that Obama is dominating the social media activity, this could because of two reasons: 1) Obama campaign moved quicker to social networking and social media, McCain only recently launched his own social network with KickApps. 2) The Social Technographics (behaviours to adopt social media) skew heavier towards demographics, yet these percentages are far greater than the margins shown in technographics.

Obama and YouTube

Barack Obama has done an amazing job of making sure his speeches sound as good on YouTube as they do on the evening news. Obama’s campaign has also gambled on YouTube’s audience by creating a strong presence on the website. Historically, younger voters have been high on enthusiasm but low on voter turnout. But Obama has been able to utilise the power of social media to challenge that trend.

The popularity of YouTube gives a global audience access to the entire speech, not just a brief segment chosen by the news editors. This allows the full power of the entire speech to resonate with the audience.

Obama and Social Networking

Obama’s social networking success can be attributed to Chris Hughes. Hughes, was one of the founders of Facebook and with Mark Zuckerberg. Hughes has the knowledge and the experience of building social networks and may prove to be a major factor in Obama’s Presidential success.

Obama is not the first to politician to use social networking. Presidential contender, Howard Dean used to become a serious contender for his party’s nomination in 2004. However, Obama also decided to build his own social network. which was simple to use, rally supporters and proved vital in fundraising. The jewel in the crown is My.BarackObama.Com

As a fully fledged social network, My.BarackObama allows users to create their own profiles, friend lists and the ability to write their own personal blog. They can also join groups, participate in fund raising, and arrange events all from an interface that is both easy to use and familiar to any Facebook or MySpace user. is Obama’s initiative to address the many rumours that circulate the internet about him.

Here’s an example:


If Obama continued to let these rumours spread and grow, they would become facts in the eyes of the voting public. By hosting the conversation, the campaign can respond to rumours on individual blogs and forums.

 Obama and the iPhone


Obama’s campaign also released a free application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The application allows the user to organise contacts by key battleground states, and measures statistics to see how the user is doing compared to other leading callers.

The application provides information about the campaign via text messages and e-mail, offers coverage of national and local campaign news. The application also helps the user to find local events, share information by e-mail, view campaign videos and pictures.


Win or lose, there is absolutely no doubt that Barack Obama has changed the face of politics in America today. Now it’s up to the voters to decide if he will win the election.

Obama on the Web


12 Viral Videos from the 2008 Campaign


Technorati Tags: ,

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin – Tim O’Reilly’s Keynote


Tim O’Reilly’s keynote at this week’s Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin brought a firm focus back to reality.  At recent conferences, the mood has been dampened by current economic conditions. Funding for web start-ups is vanishing rapidly for businesses without sustainable business plans. However, responding to critics suggesting that the Web 2.0 bubble was bursting. O’Reilly asked the rhetorical question, "Do you really think that we’re done yet with exploiting this huge change [of disruptive technologies]?"

O’Reilly suggested that the ‘web winners’ in the years ahead are those businesses that are involved in:

  • Cloud computing
  • Software as a Service applications like Google Apps
  • Open Source software
  • Companies delivering value added services to consumers or businesses
  • Breakthroughs in collective intelligence (harnessing the crowd)
  • Entrepreneurs who innovate and concentrate on delivering value

Using the example of the PC industry in the early 1990’s. O’Reilly cited the early years when there were hundreds of PC manufactures. However, through a ‘natural consolidation’ process, the number today is greatly reduced.  He then made the conclusion that the current economic problems accelerate the consolidation process – The business with robust business models will survive. Those that do not will die.

O’Reilly advocated the use of building business that deliver value, concluding with the strategy:

"Work on stuff that matters"

Citing the example of the Berlin Airlift and the innovative efforts required to achieve it, he stressed that his point that:

"Great challenge = Great opportunity"

O’Reilly finished the keynote, urging the masses to use Web  2.0 innovations to address today’s important problems. The world doesn’t need another another “Me too”  application. However, web applications that deliver “real value” are the ones to lead the industry out of the doldrums.

Keynote Video and presentation slides follow below

Hat Tip

OReilly Radar

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web2expoeu08 web2expo)

Interview with Tim O’Reilly at Web 2.0 Expo 2008 Berlin from DigiRedo on Vimeo.

It’s FOWA time again in London!!

Confirmed. I will be attending the FOWA conference again in a few weeks time.  This year’s speaker list looks impressive as ever. I’m particularly looking forward to Jeff Barr’s talk on Amazon Web Services and talks from Jason Calacanis from and Blaine Cook, formerly of Twitter.  Of course, it will be great to watch the live filming of Diggnation once again!

  • You can expect live Twitter coverage, so don’t forget to follow me.
  • Photos, videos and blog posts from the both of the two days
  • I’m going to be armed with my Flip Video camera, so expect the odd impromptu interview.

If you are planning to attend FOWA, leave a quick comment to arrange a meet up?

What, you haven’t signed up yet?  Click on the banner ad above.

    * Special thanks to Jo and Natasha at Carsonified *