25+ apps to make your everyday life easier

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 by nickejones

TED Blog

Favorite_appsAt our small, fast-moving nonprofit company, everyone does a couple of jobs — and productivity apps help us manage roles that shift between coding, writing/designing and running a full-scale conference twice a year. We asked the TED staff what apps they can’t live without. And beyond the classics—Instagram, Google Maps, Spotify, Uber, Seamless—we found some great apps that might help you too. (A star denotes that the app is free, or at least has a free version.)


For random life stuff…

Dark Sky
A weather app with startling accuracy, its interface tells you things like: “Light rain starting in 22 minutes.” It also shows you beautiful weather maps that let you play local-news weather expert. “It’s like a wizard,” says our CTO, Gavin Hall. “If this app were available in the 1600s, it would have been burned at the stake for witchcraft.”


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3 things to help with your online marketing efforts

In Digital Marketing on September 11, 2014 by nickejones Tagged: , ,

For the last few years I have been part of a revolution. Actually we all have. I’m talking about the prolific use of data, and personalised content targeting. And it’s our participation that has caused this marketing evolution – 1.28 billion people joining Facebook, 200 million searches every month, and 30 trillion unique URLs every month. Everyone is part of the movement whether you’re a carpenter, scientist, doctor, broker…. EVERYONE.

Yet marketers often treat data as the Tryion Lannister of the family (Game of Throne reference). Like Tryion the imp, the data often gets overlooked, little credit for the success, and its importance is frequently understated.

Consumers are happy to be a customer to Google, FB, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and any other online service – practically if it’s free. But free is a misconception. No monetary transaction takes place, instead, we exchange our data for their service, turning people into a “product” on sold to advertisers and marketers. For these services, the intricate details into our behaviour is a gold mine. Online data brokers make millions on selling your search history, purchasing habits, consumer preferences, marriage status, and much more. 

If Facebook was a Westfield shopping mall, what would it look like? Would I be directed to stores based on my profile preference? If Google was a Bunnings (Australian equivalent to Walmart) would billboards be filled with Adwords? Its fun to image but in reality, the same concepts apply. No matter what channel marketing is delivered today (multi-cross-omni), unless marketing is targeted with appealing content, it’s impossible to attract people. You cannot force content to appeal to the individual, it must be relevant to them. This is why data plays a significant role in today’s successful marketing.

The key to being a successful marketer on new advertising and marketing platforms is to be relevant and delight your audience. I’ve listed 3 things every online marketer must think about before actively marketing online. Remember these 3 things and it will help you be successful attracting customers and gain meaningful insights in the process:

1.Content is King but only if it’s at the right time, in my preferred channel.

A successfully online marketer isn’t just thinking about content, they’re thinking about context. Your customer is bombarded by content and they’ll only read meaningful, and helpful content.

2.If you’re a marketer, know what channel, device, content is most successful in converting leads online.

Your customers may prefer to read blogs over watching videos posted on Facebook. Spend your marketing budgets on where your customers live and you’ll maximise your ROI on any marketing and advertising expense.

3.Don’t be a dataminer, be a Smart Marketer

Pick a few key metrics that are important to YOUR business, then test and optimise. An online marketer is allowed to fail. But fail fast and you’ll succeed.






Quick look at the crystal ball in 2014

In Digital Marketing on January 14, 2014 by nickejones

Quick look at the crystal ball in 2014

What’s on the minds of marketers in 2014?

As customers are bombarded with data, I predict in that Australia, big efforts will go into making sense of all the information being collected from digital marketing solution.

The complexity of the marketing mix is greater than ever whilst the technology stack to support marketer is vast and costly to maintain. For an organisation, high importance is put onto people their investments to prove ROI online. In more and more organisations the marketeer is stepping up in the boardroom to present growth, retention, and online engagement ROI. Yet measuring across organisation, across channel, and across technology silos, the challenge still faced by many enterprise customers is optimised customer experience. Big data aims to solve this and help the market predict and execute through single interface of aggregated data, without becoming a data analyst to do so.

More often than not, customers require more than one system to orchestrate their marketing strategy.  BI and web analytic will converge in the rise of ecom. For solution vendors to be successful they need to be more than technology nuts and bolts. These digital marketing solutions have business critical impact to deliver customer experience and conversion through critical online channels. Solution vendors will have to support the marketing department with front line support. Through consulting support, this enablement will lead to successful outcomes on relevant digital projects and help early adopters take a competitive advantage in emerging trends throughout print, location based services, and interactive screens.


Social virtual reality – EA’s Sims saga comes to FB

In Games on August 28, 2011 by nickejones Tagged: ,

So you have probably read about the new game in town for Facebook. Yes its back, Sims. This EA franchise could tell a fortune of unlimited success. Personally, i’m not a Sim gamer (except its original form SimCity) but this beta version of the Sim is bound to be a hit.

Take virtual reality (VR) games, website, or apps for example. When most people think about VR examples, Second Life comes to mind. It is hugely popular in the online VR socially orchestrated gaming space. Second Life is where you create an avatar and interact with other avatars on the web – the perfect cure for those with split or multiple personalities.  Despite how popular these VR platforms can potential be, with the virtual currency and profile purchases marketed, it falls short because of it fails to appeal to the mass’s for reasons such as time, emotional affiliation, and users trust.

Where the Sims will succeed is in the ability to create avatars that truly represent a person, and consequently their Facebook profile. In doing so, not only does the vanity of individuals transform into a desire to enhanced their avatar (translating into dollars) but it would be quite easy t become emotionally attached as it is socially orchestrated events with your friends.

The implications are unclear. Probably an increase of bullying, sexual inclinations, acted out inhibitions and blocked friend accounts. Likely too is a truck load of money that EA will make from their in app purchases.

All in all, I love the idea. I hope that it is a hit but am scared of the repercussions. I don’t want VR avatar Jim to be visiting my partners Facebook Sim house whenever he feels like it.


New media consumption – Part 4

In New Media on January 7, 2011 by nickejones Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Social networks, media, user profile, and user data are key elements of the social web in creating ties between objects and resources on the Internet. The challenges of providing relational content distribution to enhance media consumption are privacy and fragmentation. Privacy is major issue concerning sharing and tracking personal information for relational and contextual distribution of media. Fundamentally, users evaluate the risks and opportunity on social networks. Although, there are complex relations between opportunity and risk, online activities require critical judgment, trust, social values, and expectations all of which shape social networking privacy behavior (Livingstone, 2008, p.379). The risk of having personal information stored on the Internet verses the opportunity to have relational content distribution. The pressure for the latter option is the product of the information revolution, facilitated by the Internet. Currently, if content is pushed to a user that has a weak relation, it is considered spam, yet if content is pushed to the user that is highly relevant, this could constitute a breach of privacy. The full implications of profiling users and their activities have not yet been fully realised. Nevertheless, the public has little control over these activities that plague the online social networks.


More and more responsibility and onus on privacy is deflected to users. Although there is a tendency for users to be less concerned with privacy issues as relational media distribution has higher value than the perceived privacy risk. The volume of information requires more effective models of information retrieval. Successive and dictionary searchers are no longer effective methods of retrieval with the vast composition of media online. The adoption of the social web will support the distribution of niche, contextual information and media. Supporting this initiative presents unprecedented value to the consumer as it will enhance the attainment of “experience, attainment, and understanding” in the digital environment (Adams, 1997, pg.947). Ultimately, the social web leveraging personal information enables more proficient filtering, which is necessary for improved web services.


New media has a shorter lifecycle and rapid production. Accessibility to relevant content is high priority and will enhance a user’s experience.  Evens et al (2010) says media including digital television require new strategies that apply interactivity, and the long tail-based business model to tailor content specific to the user. The increased impact of niche content is consequently reducing the impact of blockbusters (mainstream) media. This is facilitated by the Internet and “by applying the long tail principle, the provision of digital niche content aims to suit all tastes, including minority interests” (p.1009).  Although there is more verity of media, the methods of distributing are still evolving. The recognition that tailed content across the long-tail can be facilitated by the social web has yet to be explored or applied entirely. A barrier to distributing media is the fragmentation of Internet resources. Media and data are fragmented over the web with very little unity in structure.  The massive migration of users to social networks leads people to believe that innovation in media distribution will come from these platforms. Utilizing the semantic web and metadata “descriptive” methodologies, will be the key to link personal profiles and network ties, facilitating the retrieval of relevant media.

Facebook has the third largest population in the world. The platform provides a standardised experience (network connections, and data structures) that will enhance the delivery of content, based on complex contextual reasoning using individual’s personal information and data. The 2010 partnership of Bing and Facebook could be revolutionary to the social web ideology, by reorganizing the distribution and consequently the consumption of new media.  Other social networks such as Linkedin can mirror this activity in the future to provide media that is more specific to their platform genre. For business professionals, leveraging their personal Linkedin profile to retrieve contextual industry and business media has profound value. Nevertheless, the professional networks continually scrutinize the privacy of sensitive information as these issues potentially have serious adverse financial and social impacts.