One of the truly wonderful things about the Internet is that although I couldn’t go to the Thinking Digitally conference (I wish I had now!), I am able to watch, listen and learn about a world that I’m interested in, but don’t know enough about. The Thinking Digitally conference is held annually at The Sage, Gateshead since 2008 and the latest was delivered from 19-21 May 2015 for those those curious about how technology is shaping our future. It’s an experience for those who have a desire to learn and who seek connection to a community of other innovators, inventors, leaders, makers and creators of our future. It is a feast of ideas and should open your mind to new possibilities as it did mine. The sessions are here:
For instance Holly Goodier, currently the Director of Marketing and Audiences at BBC Digital, and a member of the BBC’s Digital Board leading teams responsible for research, analytics, creative strategy and marketing across the BBC’s digital portfolio, speaks about the emotional web observing that younger people are watching less television. A younger audience prefer online to television, the preferred entertainment option for the older generation. She drills down into how younger audience behave connectively, meeting other people online as a form of entertainment. “Don’t spend time predicting the future; let’s make it what we want it to be” declares Holly Goodier from @BBC@ThinkingDigital#TDC15.
Tony Hey as former Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections, a division of Microsoft Research, talks about embodied applications such as a speeding company car emailing the boss! Ade Adewunmi is amongst the other speakers, who is Government Digital Agent at Government Digital Service. But….Sam Aaron who is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and codes music for people to dance to is a revelation. Do you know what a Raspberry Pi is? Sam will tell you if you watch the conference (from c.1hr 10 mins). Sam (who was compared to Mozart on Twitter during his talk) entertainingly demonstrates ‘experiment and play’ to the audience and how to program some music including how to include drum and bass and adding reverb. What may appear to be, at least on the surface an IT media conference turns into an amazing trance session! One member of the audience tweeted: ‘Watching @samaaron use Sonic Pi is one of be most mesmerising, gorgeous things #tdc15‘. Apparently a 10 yr-old can do music programming! Sam asks the audience at one point: ‘is this interesting’. The audience cheer in euphoric response. A full list of speakers is included here:
Philip Kotler gives the lowdown on Marketing, via the YouTube channel. Simply unmissable for anyone interested in business. Kotler’s book, Marketing Management, is the world’s most widely used graduate level textbook in marketing. The sixteenth edition of Phlip Kotler and Gary Armstrong’s extraordinarily popular Principle of Marketing is held at the University Library, like so many libraries all over world. In this lecture the man himself effortlessly talks about marketing at the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2012, a prestigious gathering which attracts today’s brilliant minds. The word ‘marketing’ was not even invented in the year 1900. The first department store was opened in Japan. The first newspaper ad appeared during the English interregnum period in 1652 advertising coffee, and the first ad agency NW Ayres appeared advertising Pears Soap in the Victorian era. The ancient Greeks had markets. The first marketing books appeared as economist books, but were written by ‘disillusioned economists’, so marketing is a branch of economics by association. Kotler’s famous mantra is place, price and promotion, potential, but what is marketing? ‘Marketing is everything’ and starts with the customer. Without the customer there is no business. Marketers rarely talk about ‘sane marketing’ like a brewery advising about not drinking too much, or the ethical use of pesticides. The public doesn’t tend to buy something that is a new idea. Even activist Noami Klein’s seminal No Logo is considered a marketing book even though it attacks brand consumption, because she informs the public that they are ‘paying too much’ for a product because of its received brand kudos. Kotler lists the best marketers like Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, who wanted to reduce the price of furniture. The late Anita Roddick of Body Shop said, somewhat elliptically, ‘not selling hope – I’m selling motion’. Richard Branson’s a great self-publicist using stunts to promote a new product. Kotler discusses the products of aspiration, selling compassion, improving the lives of people. He asks the audience if there is a company they like, and Apple is unsurprisingly the favourite, like so many of our students choosing to write marketing assignments on product placement of the Apple i-phone in an emerging economy . It emerges that the customer is the bona fide marketer of Coca-Cola, because the company created a love-affair with the consumer so it pays relatively little for marketing. It’s all about exposure, particularly around social media, but the firm needs to know its audience otherwise investment is a waste of money. But has the U.S. reached saturation point? Growth is the issue. Growth means jobs. Kotler discusses the death of demand, how does a firm grow and defend that business and hold onto their customers? His advice is astonishing: ignore the books! Go against the grain to succeed. I would recommend this video for anyone wishing to learn more about marketing from a certified expert.
YouTube, as you know as you’re reading this blog entry, is a treasure trove of lectures by notable figures from business schools across the globe. It is worth exploring and finding out about your subject in an age of democratising information.