Tag Archives: business

Recommended book: The Black Swan

It took me a really long time to finally read this 2007 book (not related at all to the current Natalie Portman movie of the same name).

The whole point of this book is to make a long, winded argument about why the impact and occurrence of the highly improbably is consistently underestimated, with huge consequences for everybody. While it is a rambling, philosophical book whose point could have been put much more succinctly in half the amount of paper, it is also a very interesting (and some would say prophetical) way of looking at the world as one can see from the interview below.

Reactions to SIME Helsinki 2010

One of the best aspects of attending industry events is the opportunity to exchange points of view with other participants.  This was brought home during the last panel I watched at SIME, where some of us in the audience didn’t necessarily agree with the panelists in one small point.

Don’t get me wrong: great creative is fundamental to a well-run campaign.  However, as a former sales guy I’m a little tired of the intense focus we have as marketeers on the creative and winning awards. Cannes Lions are a beautiful thing and definitely don’t do you any harm as a brand or an agency, but when evaluating a marketing activity I’m more interested in understanding four aspects:

  • Will the activity live after the first or second  push (is it built to live, or built to die?), or are we just thinking about separate, ephemeral campaigns?
  • Are we measuring impact, and what were the results? Are we focused enough on ROI instead of bells and whistles?
  • Are we prepared to engage with our audiences once they come across this?
  • How is this communication adding value to our audience? Why should they care other than because it’s really cool?

As mentioned, I was not the only attendee thinking about these topics after hearing the panel, and we had an interesting chat later on.  Funnily enough I found a very relevant presentation of his on this topic below:

SIME Helsinki 2010

Warning: this is quite a long post about marketing. If you’re interested, get a big cup of coffee and a comfortable seat

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Scandinavian Interactive Media Event, SIME Helsinki for short. You can follow the real-time notes of the attendees in Twitter.While there was no streaming of it, I did take quite a few notes I’ll share with you below.

Introduction – Business as unusual (Ola Ahlvarsson)

  • Evolution of digital from Windows 98 & Wolfenstein 3D to MacOS & blogs to… the Matrix 😉
  • Facebook is the big opium of the people, growing faster than any web service ver.
  • Google branching its business into physical, mobile
  • Rise of apps
  • Traditional media mixing with new platforms: BBC on the PS3
  • Listening is more important than ever
  • Vision-based augmented reality emerging as a trend
  • Cloud computing
  • Cheap iteration
  • Easier access to international markets
  • Internet of things: robotic internet
  • Old industries (books, records) totally disrupted, but content is more alive than ever in the digital world
  • Games going social (sharing gameplay clips an emerging activity)
  • Branding is dead, or isn’t it? Originality more appreciated than ever.
  • Owned, bought, earned media model intro.
  • B2B going B2C

Measurement panel

  • What to measure, what not to measure, how they combine: good discussion but inconclusive.

Voddler presentation:

  • Free movies online.
  • Disruption on three fronts: Business model, film industry, technology.

Rovio presentation

  • Discussion of the Angry Birds case. Best sold app ever, growing to other platforms as well.
  • Best quote of the whole conference:

Because we’re from Finland, we’re so good at branding and marketing.

Social Media panel

  • Intra-organisation Social Media opportunities
  • Forget tools (Facebook, Twitter), identify goals and practices first.
  • Think which ecosystem you want to target: reach out where your audience is.
  • Don’t lie, you can’t shine shit.
  • Know how to engage your audience and channel the energy of your fans.
  • Claim your space

Performance-based marketing

  • Automatically retargeted banners.
  • Relevance is king: ka-ching!
  • Getting numbers are not a problem, making sense of them is.

Blocket (Tori.fi)

  • Classifieds & Marketplaces
  • Expanding globally by challenging Ebay. Growing also in Finland.
  • Measurement based on community interaction.
  • Relevance to community is king (again).

Contagious magazine trends

  • Campaigns need to be useful, relevant or entertaining
  • Entertaining: Durex campaign vs. Old Spice: one-time virals vs. engagement with the campaign reaction (responding to user suggestions)
  • Useful: Carlsberg where’s the party. Find & Share.
  • Useful: Best Buy customer care via Twitter. They archive the request for help for further reference.
  • Relevant: Dentsu iButterfly (augmented reality coupons)
  • Relevant: Ikea Facebook photo tagging
  • Convergenc: Remember what you develop is for real people. Be brave and willing to make mistakes to learn from them.

Mobile marketing panel

  • From ringtones to apps & video ads.
  • Mobile CRM shall not equal spamming.
  • Ingredients for mobile take off are there, ready to get going.
  • Mobile gives timing and location to the relationship.
  • Mobile is intimate.

Qualcomm innovations

  • 5 billion wireless subscribers worldwide.
  • 1 billion are 3G users, will be 2.8 billion by 2014.
  • Chips developed on two dimensions: integration and/or size.
  • New displays: reflective technology with low power consumption and great viewing.
  • Health sensors: pulse, blood pressure, glucometre, ECG, temperature, posture.
  • Visual-based augmented reality: games, toys, promotions.


  • 70% of teenagers would rather go without sex than music.
  • Bring together music & lovers.
  • New bands sign in, get listeners and fans.

Social media workshop

  • Social media is a diffuse, container term
  • Engaging with as many people as possible… really?
  • Mass communication coming to an end.
    • Quality, not quantity communications
  • Number of communication messages everyday increasing times 10.
  • Internalise social media practices in your organisation.
    • Keep on developing, things never get out of beta.
    • Participate, don’t just enable if possible.
    • Sociology know-how important.
  • Aggregate & summarize (widgets, RSS, etc)
    • Package but allow unpackaging.
    • Data is owned by users, make it portable.
    • Absolute clarity for licenses and permissions is vital.
  • Monetisation is possible & can be planned for: make it free first, charge for additional services later. Made me think of the growth of SMS in the Philippines.
    • Segment product on different layers: Spotify basic vs. premium
  • Presence / status update important, becomes social currency.
  • The combination of social media and mobile has the potential of becoming very powerful, especially with its links to location (& even more, proximity).
  • Recommendations for companies getting started:
    • Start with content calendar.
    • Basic listening tools (Tweetdeck, Google Alerts).
    • Authenticity crucial: you have to be close to the essence of your brand/service proposition.
    • Customer care can be a great way of getting started if you do a good job.  Look at it as cost vs. opportunity.
    • Don’t do external-facing communications if too stiff, but internal blogging/comms are also a great opportunity.
    • Don’t experiment, commit to do it well.

Marketing communications workshop: From one-night stands to meaningful relationships in marketing

  • The full talk from Hasan & Partners. Please make sure to check it first before reading the rest.
  • Heineken Milan Champions League case: One night stand using earned & paid media
  • Gatorade replay: Huge ROI, much more than a one night stand. Concept can be scaled up or down, and continue even if the brand is no longer behind it.
  • Livestrong, Nike Chalkbout: Post-digital executions. It’s all about you (reminds me of that Time cover)

Wrap-up and Conclusions

  • Change is not a choice, it’s a necessity.
  • All marketing is performance based.
  • Social media must be entertaining, useful and/or relevant.
  • Finns can make world-beating services if their vision is big enough.
  • E-health will be close to your heart 😉 .
  • Innovation is definitely accelerating.
  • Creativity in communication is more important than ever.
  • The ones who can connect the dots will win!

Tunas de 140 pesos el kilo

Mientras en México se preocupan por que no exportamos ni siquiera nopales y tunas que crecen de a gratis en el campo, me encontré los “higos de cactus” (como los llaman acá) arriba de 140 pesos por kilo como se ve en la foto.

Tunas a más de 140 pesos el kilo

¿Cuándo nos vamos a dar cuenta que hay más mercados que el estadounidense en este mundo para conquistar, y más productos que el petróleo y la maquila con los cuales hacer dinero?

The movie industry is killing itself with regionalisation

I love watching movies, especially at home. I have a Sony full-HD TV & home theatre system at home and am planning to get a compatible Blu-Ray player of the same brand at some point.  My efforts to go HD with my movie collection have hit a snag, however: I don’t buy all my movies in Europe so I need multi-region players.  Sony doesn’t seem to sell multi-region Blu-Ray players, only DVD players.

Why wouldn’t I get all my stuff here? Simple, they don’t sell many Mexican or Asian movies here, and for Disney movies especially I like Mexican dubbing, just as for anime I prefer Finnish dubbing instead.  I don’t download movies nor buy pirated goods, so am especially annoyed by all the warnings in the movies I buy every time I play them.

Why would the movie industry punish me by treating me like a delinquent instead of a customer?  Why can’t enjoy media I pay for? Don’t they understand I’m a paying customer asking for a product, if they would only provide it to me?

Don’t accept pirate products part II: Crédit Agricole, it’s time for greenwashing

You’ve probably seen the ads if you watch the Beeb or CNN: a dreary-postindustrialised world in CGI that is thoroughly transformed into a tree-hugger paradise when Sean Connery pronounces the magic words “Back to common sense, it’s time for green banking” in that lovely Scottish accent of his.

I’m terribly sorry to say this but if you don’t explain to me properly why would I believe you as a bank stand for sustainable development and a reduced carbon footprint, even if I have no chance of becoming your retail customer I’d say you’re full of it (and quite some people agree).  These are the kinds of campaigns that give marketing a bad name, really.

The three things I’d change in the Finnish education system

I am a proud product of the Finnish educational system (as well as the Mexican and Belgian ones), but as much as I think it gives you a great preparation, there is a few things that I’d like to see changed:

  • Knowledge of the world: While they focus a lot on the technical foundations of your chosen subject, cross-cultural, geographical and historical awareness outside of Europe seems to be lacking.  Funny given their strong focus on foreign language education.
  • Presentation skills: I’ve mentioned it before, but I think it’s crucial to know how to communicate and sell your ideas.  You only learn through practice, so it is very important to get started early. I remember I was doing English-language presentations already in 3rd grade.
  • Financial skills: This is something that would be necessary not only here in Finland, especially with the proliferation of express loans.  Knowing how to handle your money is a basic skill for life.