Free software

Worth remembering: if you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

Perhaps the biggest problem: In many markets, especially online, software is free. And free software built by corporations turns us from the user into the product. If you’re not paying for it, after all, you must be the bait for the person who is. Which means companies spend time figuring out how to extract value once we’re locked in and can’t easily switch.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin on why software must get better.

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Podcasts, Google and how much your time is worth

reading

It’s been a while since I last shared a selection of interesting articles I’ve read, so hopefully this bunch proves that curation should always be about quality over quantity!

The Value of Time: How Much is Your Time Really Worth?
James Clear

Understanding the value of our time- and how to calculate it accurately to make informed decisions about time going forward.

Read more

The podcasting scene will explode
Rex Sorgatz, Nieman Lab

“Media companies will continue adapting their franchises to podcasts, agencies will empower brands to create new shows, podcasting networks will devise new aural experiments, and even more independents will pop up from unexpected places.”

Read more

2016 Google Tracker: Everything Google is working on for the new year
Ron Amadeo, arstechnica

A look at every ongoing project (that is known) happening inside Google.

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If you answer emails after work, you should be getting unlimited vacation
Travis Bradberry, Quartz

An interesting look at the pros of unlimited vacation – and the lengths companies go to in order to get employees to take paid leave.

Read more

(You might also like to read a few social media predictions for 2016)

Social media trends and predictions 2016

social media trends 2016

Happy New Year!

I recently asked a few social media experts from a range of backgrounds what their top social media trends from 2015 were – and what their social media predictions for 2016 are.

Meet the experts

Brid O’Connell is the Social Media Manager at Zoopla, one of the UK’s most popular property portals.

Julian Miller is Charity Lead at Hootsuite, a social media management system.

Kirsty Marrins is a freelance digital communications consultant and trainer.

Social media trends in 2015

Live streaming

“A big trend in 2015 was live streaming, with apps such as Periscope, Meerkat and Blab all launching in 2015. Periscope was named iPhone App of the Year by Apple and I think that is the one that will stand the test of time and really explode in 2016.”

Brid O’Connell

Native video

“2015 was all about native video as Facebook took on YouTube. Twitter soon followed and the result is a seamless experience for users and an easier way for marketeers to keep their content on one platform.”

Kirsty Marrins

Mobile

“We all have one and we all want websites to be mobile optimised. Mobile is more effective than any other channel as it enables brands to create and take advantage of their existing customers. So now, digital marketers can connect social engagement to purchasing actions – especially as many social networks are integrating buy buttons on their mobile ads.”

Julian Miller

Emojis

“Emojis were another hot trend with Oxford Dictionaries announcing the emoji ( ‘Face with Tears of Joy’) as its word of 2015. WWF ran a hugely successful #EndangeredEmoji campaign and Instagram launched an Emoji search function.”

Kirsty Marrins

Social media predictions for 2016

Customer experience

“There is massive potential to engage audiences of all industries with Periscope – fashion brands taking you backstage, tech companies doing product demos, property companies bringing you virtual tours, celebrities hosting Q&A sessions and the list goes on. For 2016 it will be interesting to see if companies bring this into their customer service offering for a next level customer care experience.”

Brid O’Connell

Instant messaging

“More businesses will tap into apps like WhatsApp and Kik. This phase is in limbo at the moment but I suspect progress towards the end of the year.”

Julian Miller

Content

“I predict that brands will invest more in social listening and create content based on what people are talking about/interested in or even what they’re saying about them. I also predict that content will become more personalised, in the form of videos or photos.”

Kirsty Marrins

Utilising staff

“More businesses will enable staff to integrate social networks into their jobs, using employees to raise awareness of products and services. Additionally I expect more sales professionals to utilise LinkedIn and Twitter to help them achieve their goals.”

Julian Miller

What are your social media predictions for 2016?

Thunderclap

wrap up london 2015

I’ve just launched a Thunderclap campaign for the first time to raise awareness of our annual coat collection for Wrap Up London.

Thunderclap describe themselves as the first ‘crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together’. Everyone from large corporations to small charities and passionate individuals can use the service to create a wave of attention for their message.

The basic package is free and requires you to reach a supporter goal (minimum of 100 people). Once that goal has been met your message is shared through your supporters networks at a specified date and time. A digital flash mob if you like.

This is our fourth Wrap Up London campaign so it will be interesting to compare our Thunderclap reach alongside the social media reach we’ve achieved in previous years.

Help spread the word (and skew my results!) in five seconds when you join our Wrap Up London campaign.

Hearts trump stars on Twitter

hearts

Twitter has made numerous small changes to their platform over the last couple of months, including removing the 140 character limit from direct messages and introducing a new poll feature.

The latest change is swapping a star icon for favourites to a heart one for likes. Personally I’ve been using the favourite star icon to ‘like’ a tweet for a long time. I haven’t ‘saved’ a tweet by favouriting it in years (I tend to use other services like Evernote to do that) and used to click the star in the same way I click ‘like’ on Facebook.

What are your thoughts on this latest change?

Company culture

company culture

Really like this quote by Francis Frei and Anne Morriss from Harvard Business School about company culture:

Culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems.

Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.

(h/t Econsultancy)

Myers-Briggs, WeWork and altruism

reading

Today I want to share a few more features I’ve read recently about business that you might be interested in.

Uncovering the secret history of Myers-Briggs
Digg

It’s the most popular personality ‘test’ used in the world with 89 of the Fortune 100 companies routinely using it. But does it deserve to hold as much weight as it does?

“Behind all the pseudo-scientific talk of “instruments” and “indicators” is a simple, but subtle, truth: the test reflects whatever version of your self you want it to reflect. If what you want is to see yourself as odd or original or factual and direct, it only requires a little bit of imagination to nudge the test in the right direction, to rig the outcome ahead of time. I do not mean this in any overtly manipulative sense. Most people do not lie outright, for to do so would be to shatter the illusion of self-discovery that the test projects. I mean, quite simply, that to succeed, a personality test must introduce the test taker to the preferred version of her self — a far cry, in many cases, from the “shoes off,” authentic you.”

Read more

WeWork used these documents to convince investors it’s worth billions
Buzzfeed

WeWork lease office space, divide it up and market it to a ‘new generation of young workers’. But can a real estate business that doesn’t own any real estate really be worth $10 billion?

“Its business model is atypical for tech, but the economic and cultural practices that made it a $10 billion company pervade Silicon Valley. To its detractors, at least, WeWork is the poster startup of a funding climate fueled by FOMO and driven to extremes, where valuations can double in a matter of months and where investors who are so “desperately afraid” of missing out on the next unicorn will slap a horn on a horse.”

Read more

This couple lives on 6% of their income so they can give $100,000 a year to charity
Quartz

How one couple have made altruism a core part of their identity.

“Psychologists have done research into the link between money and happiness. They’ve consistently found that for those of us living in affluent countries, additional income simply does not increase your well-being very much past a certain point. On average (pdf), people in the US on an income of $32,000 rate their life satisfaction as 7 out of 10; an income of $64,000 only increases the rating to 7.5. That’s a pretty small difference for a (comparably) large sum of money.”

Read more

A few more interesting articles you might like to read. Alternatively, follow me on Twitter for a more consistent drip-feed of content I’ve read and loved.