Why I’ve Pre-Ordered Tiles

August 6th, 2013

OK. I’ve put down money on a product which isn’t even made yet.

Brave, rash, maybe even foolish.

But when I get my Tiles I know they’ll be good. If you don’t know, they’re little tags which use Bluetooth Low Energy and can report their location remotely. You can also locate them on a map via an app, in much the same way that iOS finds lost devices.

Here are just five reasons why I’m excited about these little slivers of plastic.

Tile hero shot black

1. I lose things. Whether it’s the fact that I’m male, approaching the age where I have “senior moments” or having a permanent cognitive deficit, I’m never sure where things are. Tiles fulfil a need - the universal and everyday need to find things. For that reason I’m admitting them into my personal space.

2. Tiles fit in with my digital life. The app will enable me to access information about their location in a way I’m used to accessing info.

3. Tiles will crowdsource the location info. The Tiles network helps find other lost tiles without compromising your personal info. That has to be a great model for collaborative services in the future.

4. The founders Mike Farley and Nick Evans are also self-starting the funding. Going direct to potential backers and buyers they’re selling the first batch direct and raising the money direct. Not a VC or hedge fund in sight. Just Amazon payments and a direct route to the customers. There’s nothing to stop anyone doing this. These guys did it.

5. Tiles bridge the physical /digital divide. So far most of the great ideas and disruptive plays have been in the digital space, notwithstanding a few funky players such as Evrything which connects products to the web and social. This is the start of the internet of everyday things for everyone.

Bottom line – Tiles will change my life, but I’m betting on the launch of Tiles to be a moment which will change the way we view the connection between real world objects and digital.

In the meantime the nice people at Tile are going to update me on the progress and I should get my batch by Christmas. Until then I’ll be leaving my keys in a place where I can find them, or as usual, “crowdsourcing” location info the traditional way by calling “anyone seen my keys?”

Shelfari – Reading as social capital

July 30th, 2013

Must have been on another planet or doing something really useful earlier this year as I missed the removal of Amazon Reading list from LinkedIn in one of the revamps early this year.


This little LinkedIn app let you share on your profile what you were reading, have read and would like to have read. While I’m not pleased that Amazon and LinkedIn quietly withdrew this (and left a broken user journey on the way), a bit of judicious googling produced a link from Jonik on StackExchange leading me to Amazon’s Shelfari which the online giant bought in 2008.

Screen Shot 2013 07 30 at 14 47 53

One quick and painless import later and I now have my reading history visible and shareable on blog, web and social networks.

What we’re reading and what we’ve read gives us huge social capital in meatworld (that’s real life to you and me). Shelfari takes a huge step towards enabling us to demonstrate this publicly – and nowhere is this more valuable than in the career-oriented LinkedIn. If the product team there has any sense, they’ll enable a Shelfari widget in the same way that Slideshare can be seamlessly embedded.

Meanwhile, now all I have to do is actually pick up and *read* the books I’ve bought and publicly committed to reading…

Enforced Intimacy and Reading Room

April 18th, 2013

This #midiblog was originally posted on my Tumblr back in February.

There are few situations like the London Underground where an individual shares the same personal space with others.

In a nightclub or a mosh pit, we come together and share an enclosed space because we wish to. We choose to come together, unified by a common affinity for the artist or a shared desire to groove.

On public transport the only unifying force is a loose desire to get to a series of common destinations on the line. Apart fom that, we have little in common with those with whom we crush and jam up against in a compartment.

As humans we instinctively spread out, seeking our own space but never too far from each other. Enforced intimacy is stressful at the best of times. Think of those awkward elevator silences and you’ll understand.

Some cope by trying to dominate and defend their own personal space while others cope through denial and ‘cocooning’ with noise cancelling headphones.

Add now to this the almost universal usage of mobile devices, phablets and tablets and we add on another need for defensible space – the desire to be far enough away to read our books and newspapers, see our sudoko puzzle or watch a movie.

So with wifi now rolling out in London’s underground, enabling a host of new behaviours, the battle for personal space is about to reach a new intensity. Where we used to have the basic need for breathing room, we now – thanks to devices, connectivity and our addiction to services – have the new need for reading room in our crowded transit systems.

(Not Typing) Talking

December 7th, 2012

The future – or the a version of the future as presented to us by Star Trek, Space 1999 and their equivalents – would see us interact with our computers by talking to them. They would understand, respond in a positive and soothing tone then effortlessly comply with a request to change course, run a query on alien life forms, or perform internal diagnostics.Micro Mini Midi Maxi

How great then, the gap between this vision and our interactions with our present day computers. Most of the planet remains tethered to the keyboard, locked into this paradigm set down by the typewriter, a clumsy 19th century mechanical way of putting ink on paper.

So when Apple brought us the promise of dictation in its latest Mountain Lion update, here was a chance for a sizeable population – not just early adopters – to get a taste of the seamless voice interaction we were promised by the vision of the future.

Micro Mini Midi Maxi

Rather than review its performance (it works fine by the way) I’ll instead share a few thoughts on how it changed my interactions while creating a substantial report for a client .

-first, talking is not typing. Self-evident as it may seem, written words on a word processor offer a chance to delete, rearrange or otherwise tweak or finesse. By contrast, spoken words, once uttered, remain spoken. The part of the brain which connect the brains to the mouth are different from those connecting thoughts to fingers.

-speaking the same words out loud uses a different part of the brain from typing. Typing means ideas go from brain-to-finger-to-screen without being verbalised. Brain-to-mouth-to-screen is a different dynamic which we’ve yet to get used to.

-lastly, we are locked into the paradigm of fingers on keyboards. This is nowhere more evident than when an urgent response is needed to a mail or a skype chat. Yes, it’s easy to double tap a button and dictate, but over 30 years of muscle memory for hitting keys is hard to escape. It becomes the default way I interact.

But now voice recognition is built into every new Apple device – and doubtless in everything else by 2015 – we may yet see a new way of interacting with machines which might even begin to deliver on the futuristic promises of yesterday, and which could transform beyond recognition the power of written communication.

Here’s a couple of other blogs on the same topic


Vodafone Australia: Inspired by Star Trek – Part 2

Disclaimer: Nothing in this blog should lead you to believe that I am a Trekkie.

Introduding the #midiblog

October 23rd, 2012

First we had blogging. Then came Twitter and its long-forgotten microblogging contenders such as Jaiku and Pownce. We all know what happened next; Twitter lowered the barriers to self-publishing in every sense, allowing anyone with internet access to share a constant, real-time stream of consciousness.

Yet the real barrier to blogging was less about access to publishing tools and more about thought processes – Twitter actually removed the need to invest any significant thought in the output. The beauty of Twitter is in the immediacy – you can tweet first, think later.

It’s easy to rely on Twitter alone as a convenient curation tool – on average The Sound Horizon sends between 10 and 15 tweets each week with links to articles of interest and relevance to clients. Deep integration with Flipboard, Hootsuite and other tools make it almost instinctive to share when reading. Yet blogging has fallen by the wayside, partially because it’s either too time consuming. We’re not alone – see Simon Kendrick’s thoughts on from last month on the same challenge at Curiously Persistent.

Micro Mini Midi Maxi

So here’s a plan. The midiblog (no ™ or capitalisation in sight) is a halfway house between a tweet and a “proper” blog post. Where punk brought three chords and an attitude, the midiblog will be five ‘grafs and an interlude. Seth Godin can often nail it in three sentences, so there’s a challenge to rise to here. And it should take no more than 20 minutes, minimising impact on the working day and bringing the immediacy and spontaneity of Twitter. It might even be fun!

The advice we provide to clients includes encouraging them to adopt social media, curation and thought leadership as outreach and engagement tools. We’ll be trialling the midiblog ourselves as a way of getting maximum content marketing impact for a minimal investment in time. Let us know how we’re doing.

Dominic Pride, Founder, CEO