Over the past few months I noticed I haven’t been exposing myself enough to what I would consider ‘smart reads’. Working for Christopher Berry I would occasionally get what he coined ‘waves’ of articles, many of which I still have in a make shift digital library. As an exercise and a means of getting some content up on here I figure I would start up my own version of this and try to get these ‘waves’ together as a means to summarize my own top reads for the month. The Goods:
Truthfully I need to sit down and give this a full read (perhaps a blog post is in order…) but the data set analysed on this one is massive! An analysis of 700MM words from 75,000 social media users is probably one of the largest studies of online text out there. What was done on here is pretty awesome as well. Looking at demographic and personality influences , the study takes a look at what common trends occur within these different subgroups . I figure I would group these together.
- First there is this a research paper from JWT on The State of Men which is a quant/qual analysis of the state of Western Men ( the sample is 500 American and 500 British guys) and shared knowledge from a select group of international experts.
- A great follow up to the above article is Ad Week’s “The Millennial Male is Not Who You Think He Is“. I think first it’s a great analysis of the not so rosy picture of the millennial guy, but it also highlights the importance of working off of actual research vs. personal perception in regards to audience insights and planning.
Next up is the article Analyzing bias in opinion polls using R which looks at whether there is bias in political polling . This blog post looked through 14 years of German polling data and did what I feel is a good job at visualizing and doing a comparative analysis of all its sources. To finish this off I’ve included two articles that are a bit more timely rather than deep. The big players online (Google and Microsoft) have started to reveal how they plan to combat the growing ineffectiveness of the tracking cookie in getting you customized ad results. The articles below share a glimpse of their individual plans:
So this was done in a bit of an ad hoc manner but here are the articles that were top of mind for me over the past while. As I mentioned earlier this is a project that I’d like to keep going on a monthly basis. I’ll likely release the next wave in mid November. If you want to join in on this, feel free to share your own top reads for the past while in the comments below.
After being without my family in Toronto and now Montreal I’ve learned that that there are certain places and activities that make living somewhere more comfortable.
I’ve now been 8 months in Montreal and having a week off has made me realize that there are certain things that make me more comfortable living out here. Recently my biggest discovery is that knowing the location of a good book store is important to me. Back in Toronto it was Swipe Books and now here in Montreal its Drawn & Quarterly. Having good quality books available to big creature comfort to me…. yup I’m a nerd.
There are other things that give me comfort. Whenever I’ve needed to think I find myself going to the Vieux Port/ Old Montreal to check out the old cobbled streets or have a view of the St. Lawrence seaway. I also have two bakeries that I tend to frequent and a Thai fast food place I go to when I don’t feel like cooking. In terms of person to person contact I’ve also discovered the Montreal New In Town Meetup where I can go and grab beers with people who are in a similar spot to where I am.
Rather than just living in a place, I think connectedness is important and that’s where knowing things are comes into play. We aren’t just people who go from home to work and then home again. Having a feeling of familiarity and comfort in your surroundings helps with your state of mind.
What is important (for me at least) to do when you live in a new place?
- Explore your neighbourhood. Knowing what is around in your immediate vicinity makes you feel more comfortable and as a side benefit can give you places to check out later for activities.
- Find places relevant to your interests. Not having access to activities that you previously had can be a bit of a downer. Find a comfy coffee shop or seek out a place that provides access to the activities/classes that you’ve enjoyed. This provides you with a feeling of continuity.
- Find a group of like minded people. Going to a place alone can be tough. Having a group of people that you can talk to and share experiences with makes things a bit easier and can relieve feelings of frustration and isolation.
So while I’ve been unpacked for a few months in Montreal I’m still sort of still settling in and understanding my surroundings. In another 8 months I’ll have to see where things go!
If something is new, more technologically advanced or simply has more moving parts we tend to generally think that something is better. Simple means that someone hasn’t been thinking about something hard enough about making it better right? Well I’ve learned in at least the case of shaving that this isn’t necessarily true.
First thing out of the way, I am one hairy dude and my hair tends to sprout up like weeds. If you were to do a poll of men to ask how often they shave I’m sure you’ll generally hear that they shave every two to three days. Well for me it’s almost every day with the exception of weekends and holidays where I tend to give my face a rest and just generally look like a hobo otherwise.
The downside I used to experience with growing in a thick mane is that multi blade razors would clog up and become ineffective. Of course this then means that you’re constantly replenishing your razor supply. This changed about a year and a half ago when a fellow co-worker of mine suggested I try out shaving with a safety razor (not so much like safety scissors) of which afterwards I was hooked!
After getting the metal handle ( a Merkur razor) and a 20 pack of blades I was set. It was a bit of a bigger upfront cost ( about $60) but it felt really good having the metal handle in hand when I shaved. Outside of this my experience was generally the same as usual. I would wet my face, plaster on some shave gel or foam and then begin gliding the handle across my face.
In general, a clean blade netted me a really smooth experience. It feels like having the single blade results in a more accurate shave with less need to return to the same spot. With my face unfortunately nicks and cuts still occur but they’ve been less painful and much less unsightly which is a plus. All in all its an enjoyable experience.
Getting Sucked In:
Learning recently that a buddy of mine straight blade shaves as well has gotten my thinking of exploring my other options in shaving. Recently I’ve picked up a shave brush and soap package and have been experiencing a different way in how my face gets prepped and lathered up. Something about getting myself an antique razor handle also draws me in. Seeing the old pop open razors has a bit of an allure for some reason.
For something that men do fairly often in life, shaving is something that has become very casual and routine. What was once a social experience of going to the barber and getting a hot shave, has now become more of a commodity. For myself, noticing the small community of those who invest more into their regular shave I’ve started noting new products and to potentially add to make my daily morning routine even better.Getting the parts I need may not be as easy as going around to the corner store but I’d consider that another part of the overall experience.
Well its been a while since I’ve written in here. A lot has changed since my last post. Over the last 3 month’s I’ve moved to Montreal to test my wits (and language skills!) at Edelman Digital as a Senior Analyst reporting into their New York Office. Getting used to a new location/job…. I think that is reason enough for a bit of a blogging hiatus!
Anyways,on to the meat of this blog post. Since starting in the Marketing/Advertising/Digital (or however you would call it) industry I guess you could say I haven’t had very much interest in the mechanics of the different social media channels but was more so interested in how people react to actions on these channels and simply why people do the things they do on the net. After reading “Truth,Lies & Advertising: The Art Of Account Planning” I hit a bit of a ‘AH HA!” moment in so that to do well in marketing you need to have an understanding of what your customers do and why they do it. Particularly in Digital this is a combination of understanding online conversations and actions along with your audiences offline actions and feelings. Through reading the book I came to an understanding that while my reporting on the numbers side of agregate online actions was strong, to truly be good at what I’m doing I need to get a better understanding of the whole picture.
Stumbling quite randomly on a tweet from @Robertc1970 I came across the “A[P]SOTW Assignment” which peaked my interest in so much that its a challenge to look at the whole picture of online and offline consumer interaction. The intro to the assignment is found below and the full spec can be found at Rob Campbells site.
So in general why am I posting this here? Well I figure by blogging about my process and research I can piece together my thought process. Also simply by making my process public it forces me to go through with this, rather than say I’ll do it and push it off.
Anyways, wish me luck with this! I think my big challenge will be balancing time as perhaps I already have a lot on my plate as it is ( new city, new language, new job… yikes!) I really want to give this a go as even though I probably don’t stand a chance at winning this it will be a good exercise in stretching my brain a bit.
This week Google had its big I/O conference where it announced many of the new products it has coming out in the next few months. Two of the big surprises of the conference were the Nexus 7 ( a 7 inch tablet) and the Nexus Q ( a cloud powered television media system). Most puzzling is that these products don’t particularly add anything to the Google’s core competency which is selling advertising but digging deeper you’ll see that this is part of a larger play to stay in the game against two other big rivals.
Android, IOS and soon Windows 8. What do they all have in common? Initially they were all platforms (or in Microsoft’s case based off a platform) for mobile phones that have since expanded into tablets and now television set top boxes. All three firms are making pretty heavy investments into products that most likely do not have high profit margins. But in addition to this, products along all three of these company sets will be connected to a central content system where users can buy apps, video, audio and image (books/magazines) based content.
Ah ha! So essentially what the plan for these three is owning the media distribution system and making profit off of any royalties generated from the sale of media content. Where previously the war was over which computer operating system a person used or their search engine now the fight is over where they consume their content from. With content moving away from traditional sources such as cable providers, book stores and news-stands, being able to own an ecosystem that allows people to purchase media where ever they are is a big move with potential for a lot of profit.
Where will things go from here? So far Apple has the strongest foothold with iTunes entrenched as the first to launch. Can Microsoft and Google catch up being later into the game? Absolutely! Microsoft has the advantage of being a leader in the console gaming market which places them in a strong competitive position to Apple TV. As for Google, they are currently # 2 in the smartphone market using an open system where as long as it’s an Android powered device it will work with Google’s content distribution systems. The big marketing move for all these players will be to get consumers to purchase into their whole line of products making them the primary content provider.
It will definitely be interesting to see where things go for these three firms and how competitive factors will come into play. Will cable providers and the big studios choose sides like in the fight for Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD? Or will they move to limit things all together? What will happen to single device manufacturing firms such as RIM ? With the technology industry moving so fast the next year or two will be ones to watch to see where the cards land.