Spring Break!!

Or maybe that’s the more sober ‘Easter Holidays’? ‏Anybody familiar with Kevin Bridges will be aware of the last joke. Well its Easter weekend and very nice to be writing this from one of the Northern most towns in Italy, close to the Swiss border. The beautiful lake Como. It has been an absolutely breathless couples of weeks at the Loft with a number of project being worked on for a range of clients.

It really has been a ‘head down and get on with it’ kind of time this week. But along with being busy at work I have been able to meet with some very interesting people who each have great talent for what they do. But before I talk more about them, some of you who read last weeks post will remember me including a video of Steve Jobs Stanford University address. Well ironically Apple are at the forefront of my mind once again.

I-Phone 4 – “Changes Everything Again”

Now as some of you who know me, I don’t really have any Apple products, I love the company, its vision, most of its products but I personally value distinctiveness above everything else and just didn’t fancy being another creative hooked on Macs. Although after yesterday, that view might be slightly eroding.

My Blackberry Bold, which I personally think is a great phone, has decided recently that it would rather not take my calls and puts most of my friends/family/clients straight to voice-mail so it was time that I took it to the Vodafone shop to get it fixed. 15 minutes for a quick software upgrade. So, I decided to have a look round store, I really love my blackberry and I am due an upgrade in a couple of months time so I made a bee-line for the new Torch, it actually looked really good. Good interface, smart graphics, lots of features, hopefully all making the blackberry a bit more browser friendly. Not quite as pure or refined as Apple but mainly pretty good, and I am sure a more compelling product. And most of all I liked the contrast of touch-screen and the keypad. Definitely a blackberry’s best feature. For somebody that types a lot on the move (co-incidentally this blog is being written straight from my phone,) this feature makes any good blackberry a must have.

So the Torch looked like a perfect candidate for my next phone. However, I was a little perturbed to see a cheap looking white version right next to it. And then a multitude of garish looking multi-coloured BB Curves. Add to the fact that the new bold is not as nice as the old one and I am starting to worry a bit about where Blackberry really wants to be. I then had a look at a lot of other phones, it was funny to see the Nokia Blackberry rip-offs and the Samsung I-Phone rip offs but that is par for the course in design. I was quite impressed with the new Sony Ericcson’s and some other phones. But in terms of presentation they were all a little bit disappointing. HTC in particular have quite an interesting take on the next range of business phones but they’re advertising is dreadfully off-message with bright lime green being used in the ads to sell a business phone-please… Blackberry as well could up their game a little, with some rather poorly finished poster campaigns, however the promotional video for the torch is very good.

And then, I turned the corner, and there it was. Only one in the store, one phone, one simple poster but what a statement. Yes, the Apple I-Phone 4, “The Phone that changes everything.” Now the phone and the ad-campaign have been around for quite a while now but I was struck, when compared to the rest, how good it really is. Everybody knows what an I-Phone can do, but what most people don’t see is the quality of execution. The quality of the metal finish around the phone, the effort that has went into every graphic used for the interface, it really is a tour-de-force in design refinement and elegance. But it wasn’t until I stopped looking at the phone that I seen the poster up close. Now I have seen and liked this poster for a long time but this time after having seen the poor incongruous efforts made by the others that it really hit home how good Apple are. The photo of the phone on the poster is fantastic, great composition, interesting angle, beautiful gradient backdrop, great contrast etc. Then there is the type, the traditional Apple font, but this time- ever, ever, ever so subtly controlled with faint highlights and shadows with the tiniest and most subtle of chiselling on the edges. Along with the apple logo and the message itself- it was awe-inspiring. So pure, so minimal yet so clever and understated. The design along with the technology are all absolute vindications of why Apple are the undoubted kings of the phone market. Am I tempted to change? Hmmm, let’s wait and see, couple of months left before decision time.

Wheretonow App

On Monday it gave me great pleasure to meet an old acquaintance- Kenny of ‘wheretonow.’ A mobile-app that allows people of Glasgow to book into/get great deals on restaurants/bars and other related events around Glasgow. It really is a great bit of kit for anybody living in the city to get a gauge on what’s happening and also to maybe save a little cash in the meantime. Kenny has big plans for the business which involves expansion into other mobile platforms as well as an Edinburgh version all in due course. They have a beautiful website which can be found at http://www.wheretonowapp.co.uk/

So have a look and see if this app may be able to help you in the never-ending quest to choose somewhere to dine out.

Daniela Castrataro and the Twintangibles revolution.

I can’t hide the fact that ‘the social media revolution,’ which is a genuine one has also led to a thousand people jumping on the bandwagon. Supposedly if you can use facebook, twitter and blog every now and then. You too can charge businesses a fortune to do it for them. There are a lot of cowboys out there. However, not everybody.

On Tuesday night I had dinner with a girl that actually has a vision for social media. See Daniela, has a grip on all things ‘social media’ She has personal and in most cases business accounts for all of the following – facebook, twitter, linkedin, flickr, youtube and a whole host of others I don’t even know about. In addition she has a blog that she updates regularly, and when you multiply a lot of these accounts for her clients, you start to understand why Daniela doesn’t seem to sleep and has more than one phone. This is a girl that is ingrained in social media. But all of the things I mention are just beginning to scratch the surface, about where Daniela and her equally as impressive partner, Tim are going with Twintangibles and social media.

What sets Twintangibles apart from the crowd is that they have ideas, lots of them about how companies can use social media to properly engage. Any individual can post all the time on Facebook. That is making a lot of noise. But how many of them properly engage, it isn’t as easy for a company to build relationships online as it is an individual. It requires thought, foresight, making use of your staff in the correct way and many other ‘intangibles.’ Altogether it is a completely different proposition to posting as an individual.

Twintangibles offer training and very strong strategies that allow companies to engage properly. Furthermore, they have got a lot of interesting posts on their website/blog etc about things I had never even heard off. Interesting concepts such as social media through crowd-surfing being used to fund independent journalists in Libya. Cutting out the middle man of the news papers/channels. They really are one step ahead of a lot of other ‘social-media’ people.

They arranged the wonderfully impressive ‘Social Media Unleashed’ event a couple of months ago at the light-house in Glasgow. In the spirit of social media, nobody was paid a dime, but everybody that contributed would have gained something in terms of exposure. Twintangibles did not charge for tickets, they did not present themselves, the guest-speakers, including those from Cisco Systems and LinkedIn themselves, weren’t paid and the wonderful Light House venue was provided for free. All free but everybody was a winner in some way, a wonderful example of the power of social media. And a great testament to the talents of Daniela and Tim. Watch this space to see more about SMU2 coming in June.

Now for the fun part you can find out more about Twintangibles using any of the following.

Website: http://twintangibles.co.uk/

twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/twintangibles

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shinyslunce#!/pages/Twintangibles/105875239479780

linkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/company/twintangibles

They also have a good blog, flickr, youtube and many many more, we could be here all day…

Happy 50th Mum!!

As I said at the beginning of my post, I am currently enjoying the beauty of Lake Como on a brief long easter weekend. The reason for the trip, my mum, Anne Marie, was born 50years ago and unbelievably her special birthday fell on Easter Sunday.

My mum is an absolutely incredible lady in many ways. Its so nice to be able to spend this birthday with her and the rest of my family in a place as beautiful as Lake Como. Also being quite a private person, she won’t appreciate me saying any more. So I will leave it at that.

Happy birthday mum… We all love you!!!

I am sorry this post came out a little later than usual. We should be back to service as usual next week. Until then, a boat trip to the beautiful Varenna awaits…

Enjoy the long weekend and Buona Pasqua…


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