February 2011 Archives

Ealing Tweetup - could it be the end of an era?

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Since early in 2009 I have been hosting the semi-regular Ealing tweetups. I started this because I lived in Ealing (west London for the non-Londoners) and I noticed quite a few Twitter messages mentioning the local area, so one day I tried arranging a pub meeting for locals who use Twitter.

We filled out a good-sized table, had a good chat, found that even though we were from all walks of life there was a good connection because many of us had already been talking about the local area online. Meeting to talk over a pint was merely the next step.

As time went on, I found that the Tweetup crowd was getting bigger so I thought of getting some sponsorship from local firms. 1e were the first company to support it, and coincidentally they also supported the one that took place last week.

The Tweetup remains informal. I have never been the manager of the event, more like the person who started it off and then just started marshalling people into line to make it even better, but I do think that it has grown into one of the best social media events in London - though I guess I would say that... Last week we had a pub with a free bar, the London-Irish supergroup Biblecode Sundays playing live, and a great mix of Twitter users from across west London - the networking was superb, but also a lot of fun. For a more independent view on the Ealing Tweetup, take a look at what Neville Hobson wrote about the one we hosted last October.

Take a look at this video to hear Ronan MacManus from the band explain why they felt it was important to play live to the Tweetup crowd...

Now I have moved on to Brazil, so I'm no longer a west London local, but I think there might just be hope, as it looks like someone is going to keep on trying to pull the event together. I hope you can go and follow him so you can offer support when he does announce the next event...

NASSCOM promotes blogging at their own conference

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As I mentioned in my last blog, I was at the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum in Mumbai recently. For the past few years, NASSCOM has asked me to be one of their official bloggers at the event - something that has proved to be very useful because the bloggers get preferential seating in the lectures, front row with a power supply! 

Avinash Raghava was really the driving force behind the blogging initiative for NASSCOM so I cornered him in a Chinese restaurant and asked him what a big trade organisation like NASSCOM hopes to achieve from encouraging more blogging at conferences.

PA Consulting blog entire conference

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I know I've been quiet in the blog recently, but I've been travelling from Brazil to India via Germany and back to Brazil via the UK and when on the road so much, it's hard to keep contributing something sensible - so sometimes it's better to take a break.

I was in India for the biggest technology conference out there - NASSCOM. I met Alex Blues from PA Consulting and he was blogging the entire conference. Not something you might expect from a firm like PA, so I asked him what he was doing and what his company expects to get from it.

[Full disclosure on the PA reference, Alex had asked me to join him in India to help with the video production, but I was still interested in asking what made PA take the decision to video a business conference...]

Outrageous tweet about Egypt

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Need I write anything? Just outrageous... even with the "apology"...!

Kenneth Cole

Adversity breeds innovation

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At business school, professors teach eager MBA students that true innovation only ever happens in a time of crisis. Sure, companies can set up research labs all over the world and hire a bunch of smart people to sit around thinking of blue skies, but the really interesting stuff happens when a company is in trouble and needs to bet on a new direction, or go down a new avenue just to survive.

And though the crisis in Egypt has nothing to do with the survival of a company, there has been a remarkable innovation over the past weekend. Google, together with a company they recently acquired called SayNow, and Twitter, have worked together to offer a voice-to-twitter service that allows citizens in Egypt to circumvent the national ban on Internet connections.

People in Egypt can call an international phone number, speak their message down the phone line to a voicemail system, which is then automatically broadcast on Twitter with the hashtag #egypt added to the message.

Technologically it's all quite simple. People like SpinVox have offered voice to text services for years now - though with plenty of controversy around whether it's a computer or a low-paid contact centre worker doing the transcription. 

Now the technology has moved on. And this is not only a great cause, but it's an incredible way to stick a flame under the SayNow service, to see how it performs when used by ordinary people on not-so-good phone lines, as opposed to American celebrities calling from a Green room.

If Google makes this work then they will have just demonstrated to every despotic government on the planet that even shutting down all Internet connections and mobile phone lines is not enough. Every single possible phone connection would need to be broken to prevent citizens publishing live reports. Other world leaders should take note.

Text from music book


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