Faux Metrics

April 17, 2016 in Essays, Uncategorized


Vanity Metrics

Faux Metrics

Singular Focus

My Kind of Thinking – July 2009

August 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

1. The limits of control

Studies show that people feel more confident they’ll win at dice if they toss the dice themselves than if others toss them, and that they are likely to bet more money if they make their wager before the dice are tossed than afterward (where the outcome has been concealed). They’ll value a lottery ticket more if they can choose it than if it is given to them at random

2. Some of the comments on that article are well worth reading.

3. Seth Godin – The Confusion

4. Mike Masnick discusses The Psychology Of Externalities and it’s implications in a digital economy – how people perceive a situation to be unjust if another person benefits “too much”, even if it has no material impact on them.

5. Also from Techdirt – Is It Cheating Or Is It Collaboration?

In NO industry is collaboration considered cheating. Only in SCHOOL is this a problem. What are we teaching our kids?

6. A video, for anyone interested in future business models for the music industry.

NARM 2009 Keynote Interview With Ian Rogers from NARM on Vimeo.

Sounds Like Advertising

July 27, 2009 in Essays, Uncategorized

In a similar vein to my last post about “Content as advertising“, I’ve been thinking about how this concept could be picked up on and used by the music industry. Think “music video as advertising“, but hopefully without the corporate-sellout overtones!

The Pirate Bay

These days, a lot of artists are realising that the free distribution of digital music, which the internet provides, is more advantageous than it is damaging (think “Youtube viral” rather than “Napster file sharing”) and that obscurity is a much bigger threat than piracy.

Given that this is the case, and many artists are using free music to create and grow a fanbase, they should try keep their costs as low as possible to start off. But they also want a good music video, something that compliments the track and that people can watch on Youtube. So why not let a company create your music video? This way the company can get some genuine content to help them advertise (not just some old jingle) and the band get money, exposure and a free video.


Have a look at the YouTube stats, a huge proportion of the top videos are music videos – with the top spot going to Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend with 122,399,477 views. On the other hand, the advertisements with the best songs are generally the top viewed, e.g. O2’s most popular Irish youtube video is the one with the new Florence + The Machine song Cosmic Love. The ad was released a month before the single, making the ad the only place people could go to hear it, and quick skim through the comments (e.g. “i love this song :)”) shows that people are watching it to hear the song. It’s a win-win: Great exposure for both O2 and for the song (now in the Top 10 in the Irish iTunes chart).

I Want My AdTV

The next step up from “great song meets great ad” is an advertisement as a music video. I know that to some this will sound like a very ugly combination, but I’m sure it can be done in a way that is tasteful and doesn’t compromise the integrity of either the artist or the song. In fact, that’s the beauty of this approach, if it was too corporate or all about the advertisement then no one would want to watch it! It is in the company’s best interest to leave the art as uncompromised as possible.

As before, I can’t find any good example of this having being done yet, but I think this video below (found via a fluffy link) could have been a perfect example, if it was slightly more music video and slightly less advertisement.

Three Wise Men

July 5, 2009 in Essays, Uncategorized

I’ve taken three interesting posts, from three wise men, and combined them to ask one very challenging question. Each are well worth a read, but I’ll do my best to provide a quick summary if you don’t have time.

1. David McWilliamsExposing the lie of the land

The real fair value means that, in a world where house price speculation is over, Irish house prices will have to fall on average by 50 per cent from where they are today to be worth buying. Madly, even after a year of house price contraction, the P/E for the average Irish house stands at over 29 times – twice the historical average for property.

2. Seth GodinIgnore sunk costs

You have tickets to the Springsteen concert. They were really hard to get…… On your way into the event, a guy offers you $500 cash for each ticket….. If you wouldn’t be willing to PAY $500 for these tickets then you should be willing to sell them for $500. Spend $250 on dinner and go buy better tickets for tomorrow night’s show.

3. Ronan LyonsIs it cheaper to buy or rent?

Taking the three posts together we are presented with these observations:

  • Property prices are most likely going to continue to fall
  • If you sell your house now and rent for the next few years, you won’t be significantly out of pocket cost wise.
  • If you chose not to sell your house now, and agree with David McWilliams, then you should treat the drop in house prices as a real cost. As in Seth’s example, if house prices are to drop by 50%, the question you need to ask is “would I be willing to pay 50% more for this house than I did?”

Which leaves us with an almost uncomfortable conclusion – If my house could sell for €400,000 today, and I assume that the drop will be only half as bad as David’s estimate (25%), am I willing to PAY €100,000 for the luxury of home ownership over the next 3 – 5 years?

My Kind Of Thinking – May 2009

June 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

1. Tweenbots – where robots meet science meet art (found via digitology)

Could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.

2. “Pirates” buy more music than those who don’t engage in filesharing.

3. An old article from the NY Times – What a Terror Incident in Ancient Rome Can Teach Us.

4. How David Beats Goliath – A fantastic tale of innovation by Malcolm Gladwell

5. The Credit Crunch of 1294. An interesting historical comparison to modern day events.

6. David McWilliams thinks there could be a further 50% drop in house prices in Ireland, I think he may be right.

Video: Larry Lessig talks about Culture, Networks and Copyright:

Social Media

May 9, 2009 in Essays, Uncategorized

Facebook, Bebo, Youtube, Twitter… you know what I’m talking about when I use the term “Social Media”, but how accurately does it describe this collection of online spaces, sites and applications?

I Hate It

Part of me hates the term, because I know what it implies and how so many marketers use the term. When we think of “Media” we think of newspapers, TV and Radio. Media have always been broadcasters of information with large captive audiences, and because of this they’ve always been a brilliant medium for businesses to communicate their message to consumers (via advertising).

There have always been other channels of communication, such as word of mouth or customer service, but they’ve never proven as powerful as traditional media. In a disconnected world, word of mouth was rarely as powerful, and never had the reach of traditional advertisement.

This created some unfortunate economics – once a product reached an adequate level of quality, it was usually more efficient to invest in a good advertising campaign than in improving the product further. Leaving morals aside, it was often a smarter move to plaster “David Beckham uses this product” all over the TV and papers, than it was to invest the time and money into making your product truly remarkable.

Because of this, when many marketers hear the word Media, they think one way communication and mass market advertisements, rather than conversations with people. As we’ve all seen, when this thinking is applied to “Social Media”, the results are hideous – boring ads on youtube, using twitter to spam followers and using social networks to fling marketing materials at users.

I Love It

Word of mouth“, recommendations from a friend and plain old conversations with customers have always been a medium of communication for companies, but for the reasons laid out above they were never considered to be part of The Media.

Nobody (on either side of the company/customer relationship) has ever loved advertising, but with communication channels being what they were, it was the most efficient way to get messages to large amounts of people.

With the advent of the internet, other mediums of communication, such as talking directly to customers, or customers talking to one another, have become much more efficient, more economical and more wide spread. These channels have always been media of communication, (even if nobody called them The Media), and that’s why I think the term Social Media describes them so well.


I’m going to keep using the term Social Media. Mostly because I can’t think of another term that describes it better.

In an ideal world business people would see Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. and realise their power and potential, and then, upon hearing the term Social Media, would fundamentally re-evaluate their concept of “Media”, realising that it’s no longer as limiting as it once was, and that communications are becoming immensely richer.

In practice, however, I assume the opposite will continue to happen for the next while. Marketers will hear the term Social Media and will use all the same practices they’ve used with traditional media – by communicating at people, by assuming one directional, mass advertisements are still the most efficient way to convey a message, by presuming that listening to customers is still too costly and cumbersome –  and will taint our lovely Social Media term in the process.

But not to worry, it just means a bigger advantage for the people who understand what Social Media really means!

note: obviously with all media any message can be communicated. Social Media could be about bands talking to fans, or politicians to their constituents, or even just friends and family talking together, but this is a blog about business and marketing, so that’s what I talked about.

How to Get Free Twitter Notifications to Your Mobile

March 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

Following the recent announcement from Twitter and Vodafone in the UK, I thought it might be useful to share a tip for how I get free text alerts when some one @’s me on Twitter. I only know how to do this with Vodafone Ireland, but I’m sure it should be possible with many other operators in Ireland and worldwide.

1. A Vodafone.ie email account

Vodafone Ireland give all their customers a free email account. By default it’s you’re mobile number @vodafone.ie, e.g. [email protected]

To set yours up, log into vodafone.ie, and click on Vodafone Mail:


This should allow you to chose your own username (e.g. [email protected]).

2. Email Text Alerts.

Under the preferences you should see a “notification” option which offers to send you a text each time you get an email. Switch that on.


3. Notify.me


Visit notify.me and set up a new account using your newly created @vodafone.ie email address. You can skip through most of the set up proccess until you get to the sources tab.

notifyme-tutorial-sources Now you’ll need to open up a new window or tab and go to search.twitter.com. Search for replies to you. For example, my username is petertanham so I searched for @petertanham.

twitter-searchpetertanham-twitter-searchOnce the search results appear you should see a box on the right hand side with a link to “feed for this query”. This link is the feed that will update anytime someone sends you a tweet on Twitter, and this is what we need as our notify.me source. You can right click on the link and select “copy link location” or click through and copy the url from the address bar.

Now go back to the source page on notify.me and paste in the url for your twitter feed. Once the feed is added make sure to click the email icon to activate email notification.


4. Fin

And that’s it! Now anytime someone replies to you on Twitter, you will get a text notification so you can log in and check it out. Personally, I leave this switched off most of the time because I’m always on Twitter (addict!), but when I know I’ll be away from a computer for a while I log into notify.me and toggle the email notification back on.

Other countries/networks

I haven’t got any login details to try this on other networks, but if you do please leave a comment letting us know if it works!

This also works for any service, for example Facebook or Bebo. For those just change your registered email address to your vodafone.ie address and you’ll get text alerts for new friends, comments on your profile etc.

That’s My Kind of Thinking – January 09

January 30, 2009 in links, Uncategorized
Stephen Pinkers Genome

Stephen Pinker's Genome

I’ve given up on the weekly “Pete’s Picks” post of links. There’s many other people that do it faster and better than me (Alexia, Damien, Joe, Stephen and others), so I’m only be creating a latent echo! What I’ve decided to share instead are examples of thoughts I really like. Innovative and novel ways of looking at something, or new ways of addressing old problems. “Thinking outside the box” for want of a better term. Because these will be long posts in general, I will try not be too frequent.

Where Sweatshops are a dream – What if our outrage over sweatshops is misguided?

Love doesn’t scale – On how communism fails to recreate the community effect on a large scale

What Robert Ingersoll wanted for Christmas – I’m a month late, and it’s 111 years old, but it’s timeless.

My Genome, My Self – Stephen Pinker disscusses the mapping of his genome, and the practical, psychological and philisophical implications of knowing your own blueprint.

Video: Queerer Than We Can Suppose: The Strangeness of Science. A TED Talk by Richard Dawkins

Hello world!

August 19, 2008 in Uncategorized

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!