Neil Perkin

On the Decline of Magazines

People love a good a good funeral (and as David Hepworth put it "in the digital age they don't even have to dress for it"). In only the past few days I've read two articles that pronounce the 'death' of marketing (only to then go on to explain how marketing is still very much alive, albeit changing. *Sigh*). So it is not without some disheartenment that I read articles about the troubles of a medium which is close to my heart: magazines.

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When Algorithms Go Wrong

"The stock market today is a war zone, where algobots fight each other over pennies, millions of times a second...inevitably, at some point in the future, significant losses will end up being borne by investors with no direct connection to the HFT world, which is so complex that its potential systemic repercussions are literally unknowable." Felix Salmon

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The Meaning Trap

I really liked what Jack White has to say in this short clip about how inspiration and a good work ethic "ride right next to each other" (and how on stage he likes to deliberately make things harder for himself because all those little things build a tension that forces you to create). It's an important balance.

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Off The Grid

This chart published over on The Atlantic shows how out of kilter the US is in not requiring companies to give their staff paid annual leave. Almost worse than that is the fact that, according to a JetBlue/Harris Interactive study, no less than 57% of Americans ended up not using all the holiday time they were actually given in 2011.

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Small, Frequent, Fine-Grained Interactions

I really liked this post by Graham Oakes over on the Econsultancy blog describing the challenge organisations face in adapting to the 'small, frequent, fine-grained' patterns of interaction that characterise mobile. He talks about how they erode organisational boundaries ("each one chips away at the edge, breaking up the clean line that many organisations like to place between themselves and their external environment") by breaking transactional boundaries and cycles and bringing an informality to interactions.

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On The 'Death' Of Online Advertising

I've lost count of the number of articles I've read over the years declaring the death of online advertising. The reasons cited usually touch at some point on banner blindness, falling click-through-rates (the average CTR having dropped to less than a tenth of 1%), and the uneven distribution of clicks (Comscore's 'Natural Born Clickers' study for example showing that only 8% of Internet users account for 85% of all clicks).

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Robo-Pricing

There was something of a kerfuffle recently when it became public knowledge that travel website Orbitz were recommending different price ranges of hotels based on the user's operating system. Data mining had told them that Mac users typically pay a premium of upto 30% on a night's stay so they were using data to improve content recommendation, and in the process their chances of selling products at premium prices.

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What Facebook Knows

"This is the first time the world has seen this scale and quality of data about human communication" Cameron Marlow, Facebook

Social Networks are of-course giant data gathering machines, and Facebook is the bucket-wheel excavator of data. I wonder if we're even coming close to imagining the potential of how it all might be applied.

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Organised Complexity

This is an image from the Blue Brain project, showing a network of 30 million connections between the 10,000 neurons that make up just one neocortical column. Our brains contain around ten million times this many neurons in total. Manuel Lima (a senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing) uses this as illustration in this wonderful RSA lecture in which he explores the idea of network visualisation as a way of navigating the complexity of our modern world. The RSA have done another lovely Animate film of it below which is worth watching.

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Distributed And Destination Thinking

When I talk to clients about getting into a 'digital mindset' I often end up talking about the differences between distributed and destination thinking. Destination thinking is the kind of media approaches that have been with us for many years. We create content, attract (or 'drive') users to that content in order to keep them there for as long as possible, serve advertising at them, or make money from them in some other way.

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