Everything Else

The big idea: Meetings, the ultimate time-suck, and how to fix them

When great minds meet, everybody benefits. So, when meetings are good, they’re great. But if they’re bad (as most office meetings are, be honest with yourself), they’re anything but beneficial. You may say to yourself, or quietly argue to this article during your sad desk lunch: “But I am doing work. I’m sitting and talking and brainstorming about work, thus I am working.” Yeah, not really.

As Jason Fried (TED Talk: Why work doesn’t happen at work) points out, “Meetings aren’t work. Meetings are places to go to talk about things you’re supposed to be doing later.”

Read the full article…

Would you pay £129 for this ? A story of Behavioural Economics in action on eBay

I have to admit that I am going through a phase. This is not unusual. At the moment it’s Blakes 7. And it’s taught me a nice little Behavioural Economics lesson.

I found this on ebay recently – priced to buy at an amazing £129. Wow !

That’s a lot of money for what is essentially a rubbish publication from the late 1970’s. The average going price for a mint one of these is a little over a tenner.

So, what is going on I wondered ?

Then I found another for sale by the same seller for £30

Still three times the market value.

What could be going on?

Is the seller in some way unhinged ? Is it coming back to our  TV screens? Is Blakes 7 suddenly an investment opportunity that I’ve missed ?

In point of fact, it’s a nice example of Behavioural Economics in action – one particular technique called Price Anchoring.

Clever though our brains are , they are also lazy. This means that they never evaluate anything in isolation, we compare everything. Quite often to the most recent thing or number we’ve seen.

So, by showing a very expensive price, the lower price now seems to be great value.

Even if it isn’t.

Think it only happens on eBay ? Well, go and buy yourself a nice bar of milk chocolate.

Green & Black’s milk chocolate 100g for £2.00 or Tesco 100g Everyday Value for 30p or Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate 120g for £1.50

I’m also going through a chocolate phase !

Creative? Let’s be the judge of that

Creativity is an innate human characteristic, born out of the compulsion to compete. And in a world of oversupply, marketers need to be creative in order for their brands to survive, let alone thrive.According to The Economist, we are bombarded with 1,600 selling messages a day. About 1,595 of these are filtered out almost straight away so the importance of great memorable creative has never been more important. But what makes good creative? Read more

Free email conversion rate checker!

Free email conversion rate checker!

If you have an eCommerce website and you are thinking of driving traffic with an email marketing campaign, why not use our free email conversion rate checker to see what sort of numbers you can expect. Read more

The price of a pair of leggings

Where does our responsibility begin and end in this age of austerity and tighter budgets?

35 major western brands used the factory that collapsed last week in Bangladesh.
The death toll currently stands at 386 but will rise as bodies are still being pulled from the rubble.

After cracks had been discovered in the building’s structure, workers were sent back in to complete an order of leggings, as the factory owners feared they would lose the business if the delivery were late.

Is the true cost of our obsession with buying everything for the cheapest possible price misery and death for the people in poor countries who make the things we use?

Another 117 people were killed just five months ago in a Bangladeshi factory also producing clothes for major western brands.

Bangladesh has the lowest minimum wage in the world, but workers are often illegally paid even less.

The country’s politics have been corrupted by donations from the $19Bn garment export industry.

There is no enforcement of Health & Safety.

There is no right of freedom of association.

We all know budgets are tight, but shouldn’t we, on principle, try and buy products that are produced in countries where workers are paid a decent wage, and are free, and safe?

As Bill Bernbach said,

‘A principle’s not a principle until it costs you money’.

Flash in the pan?

Within the mobile market there has been much talk of HTML5 being the new Flash killer. But, before we kill Flash off completely, it may be worth a quick recap on where we are.

It’s true that the recent high-profile negativity around Flash is largely centred on mobile technology. Since 2008 Adobe has repeatedly claimed that a stable mobile Flash plugin is coming. In April 2010 Apple’s former CEO, Steve Jobs, famously made his distaste for Flash very public and posted his thoughts at http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

However, it’s fair to say that users don’t consume content on a mobile in the same way as on a desktop computer. They don’t necessarily need Flash. There are many app stores offering a plethora of choice. Apple’s trademark, ‘There’s an app for that’ has culminated in over 500,000 available apps for iOS devices alone, many of which are free.

Some might say that killing off Flash is the tail wagging the dog, and there is a big debate in the web development community about its place in the future. We all knew Flash wasn’t going to work with mobile. It would fry your legs trying to watch a video on a MacBook Pro so not a great prospect of it working with your phone’s processing power!

But in the desktop market, if we continue to have a need to develop highly interactive cost-effective rich-media applications, Flash still has a place – at least until everyone has upgraded to an HTML5 compatible browser (http://html5test.com/results/desktop.html) and until the HTML5 standard can better cope with more complex animation.

No doubt about it, HTML5 is the future. However, when we’re turning ideas into reality, our solutions are never led by end-point technology per se: they’re always about delivering the best possible experience true to the initial design concept. HMTL5 where we can, but occasionally we need to go a bit old-school, see www.keyparker.co.uk/how-we-do-it

The importance of spelling

I cdnuol’t blveiee that I cluod aulacity uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinervtisy, mnaes taht it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcusease the huamn mnid deos not raed evrvey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig, huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

From John Hunt’s fantastic book ‘The art of the idea’.

Should we give in to the left?

The human brain is made up of four cortices and two hemispheres – left and right.

It is generally thought that the left hemisphere processes information logically and sequentially whilst the right processes information intuitively, holistically and randomly.

Everybody uses both parts of their brain; however, in the same way we have a dominant hand, so we have a dominant side of the brain.

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Investing in tat is short-term thinking.

In all aspects of our daily lives we are presented with choices. Perhaps too many choices?

It is logical to think that choice is good and that the more choices we have the better our lives will be.

And, whilst some choice is almost always better than none, too much choice can clutter our thinking and lead us to accept mediocrity.

So how do we go about creating a choice filter that can cut through the clutter and help us only make choices that will enrich our lives?

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Why customer service is so important

The art of good customer service is about knowing what your customers’ wants and needs are before they do.

Allow us a comic example: there’s a scene in ‘Coming to America’ where Eddie Murphy asks a waiter in a restaurant to taste his soup.

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