Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Join the team at 90:10

London-based social business consultancy 90:10 Group (UK) is seeking to recruit a new Executive to help us change the world - niche by niche.

The role is a first step on an exciting career path for someone with a passion for the tools and techniques of social media and the desire and ambition to join a vibrant, fast-growing organisation in a sector bursting with innovation and opportunity.

During your first year you'll receive exceptional training and guidance, preparing you for promotion within 12 short months. We recruit into this role with your long term development very much front of mind.

We expect the successful applicant to be capable of becoming a share-holding partner within three short years and a director of their own arm of the business within 5-6. On joining you will have a clear career development path mapped out with rewards and incentives marking the way.

Our career structure is designed to recognise and reward the work and experience our employees gain at 90:10 and give each member of the team more to inspire and aspire to.

The role:
The Executive role functions as the one-year entry point into the 90:10 Group business.

The Location:
Our London office at 88 Kingsway, Holborn.

Function: You will provide vital day-to-day support to the London office and its team while gaining an understanding of how the office / business operates. You will gain hands-on experience in community culture - the 90:10 platform approach to delivering business efficiencies through social technologies and techniques of co-creation.
You will be trained in the best online community auditing/monitoring and data processing tools and techniques with expert leadership. You will also be supported in responding to day-to-day client management issues.
You will be required from time to time (with any necessary training) to update our own web resources, take notes in meetings and support the senior team in a variety of administrative roles.

Essential: Excellent written and communication skills in English. Computer and web literacy. Business and client focus. Excellent eye for detail and accuracy. Must have the right to work in the UK (you will be based at our office in Holborn, London, right next to the tube).

Advantageous: As a multinational, multilingual business, additional languages are a clear advantage as is evidence of effective personal participation in social media. An MBA in Business, BA in Research or Communications OR equivalent working experience will make you stand out, too.

We intend to appoint to this role rapidly - there is work waiting to be done! If you or anyone you know would like to discuss this rare opportunity please email me david@ninety10group.com with your CV, current salary details and availability as soon as you are able.

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Join 10,000 of us and Fix The Web for all

I'm happy to say I have some small involvement in the Fix The Web campaign that is being launched today - and I hope you'll be able to say the same when you've finished reading this.

Fix The Web is a platform for making the web a better place for all of us by making it a better place for disabled users.

To make that seemingly daunting task a do-able one, we're turning to the crowd to join us in identifying where the issues are and in helping by working together to fix them.

The web is a wonderful place but it places obstacles in the way of millions of disabled people. They are being excluded by unfriendly navigation and other poor user experience issues.

Every person lost to the network halves its value. So it's in all our interests to remove the barriers to participation for as many as possible.

To compound the problem for disabled users, it is often difficult to complain about the offending sites. Fix the Web (http://ww.fixtheweb.net) offers a quick and easy way to register complaints. AND it introduces a volunteer-led process for those complaints to be reported back to website owners to get them fixed.

And there are big financial incentives for site owners to get them fixed - with £50bn-£60bn of spending power in disabled people's pockets in the UK alone.

With Fix The Web process of reporting an offending url is easily done in under a minute:
Fix the Web is an initiative of Citizens Online a national charity, of which I am a Trustee, which campaigns for internet access for all.

Citizens Online believes disabled people should not be expected to fight for a better web alone. So Fix the Web is recruiting a taskforce of tech-minded volunteers to champion the cause and report problems back to web owners. The project aims to have 10,000 volunteers dealing with 250,000 websites within two years of launch.

You or someone you know can help. So please join in or share - or join in and share.

To offer your technical or other support to Fix the Web visit: http://ww.fixtheweb.net. Maybe someone would like to offer to design a logo...

And if you can do nothing more than pass this on, please do that.


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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cuts this deep require model change - and a platform approach

There is much talk within UK Government of using digital means to reduce costs. Reducing costs is what this government does. Or at least attempts to.

When the discussion is about the use of digital means the focus is usually on delivery of existing (or reduced) services or benefits - providing a replacement, lower cost customer interface when compared with bricks and mortar offices. (Image courtesy sjsharktank)

Essentially what they are seeking to do is deliver the same old same old at a lower cost. Efficiencies. Hopefully.

But as those with long expertise and experience in business will tell you, the kind of cuts, the kind of savings our current Government is trying to make don't happen without a significant change to the model, too.

So it's time they stopped looking at driving people online to do what they used to do in offices and instead use the advantages of online to develop new models in keeping with the network.

A great example. Fellow Twitter user @siliconglen and I were discussing 'the cuts' this morning when he suggested there should be some kind of site where the 500,000 public sector people who will be put out of work by these cuts could be helped - where they could pool resources and skills.

This is a very different kind of digital thinking than applied by the Government in its channel management focus. This is platform thinking.

Imagine a site where users register their all important meta data - ie their skills, their interests, their location, their resources - where users pitch ideas to each other, aggregating support, pulling together teams with the right key sets and who, thanks to redundancy payments, may even be able to provide seed funding for the idea. Augtomated cross matching could bring together new groups focused around their shared purpose.

Self-organised, self-starting, highly-motivated businesses launched from the ashes of job cuts - perhaps supported with matching funds by the Government for those ideas reaching a critical level of support. People building things they believe in - and which others believe in, too.

Yes, I appreciate there are elements of this model distributed here and there throughout the web. Places where seed investors are matched with entrepreneurs. Places where ideas are pitched and communities vote. Places where people log their interests and skills. Places where their assets are listed.

What may be necessary is a selection of the essential elements and a distillation into one functioning whole. Hell, some of those cast aside in the spending review could probably do the build. People could share skills and retrain each other through it, too.

With a relatively small investment and a grip on the realities of our self-forming future, the Government could inspire a new self-organising style of entrepreneurial business - contributing to the economy, creating new things and new value - matching real needs. Instead of standing by and keeping fingers crossed that the existing private sector will take up the slack - or even watching helplessly as the unemployed become a long term cost.

Of course this would become valuable not just to the 500,000 public sector folk at risk - but also to all those whose jobs may tumble in the cascade around those public services. In fact, any one could join.

That's Big Society, Dave. Writ large
As I've often said, the future isn't digital - it is self-organised.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why the ASA can't regulate peer to peer

Marketing Week has published a cover story on the ins and outs of the ASA deciding it should have some kind of regulatory jurisdiction over the behaviour of brands using Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
My comments are included in the piece - which you read in full here.
But here's a link to the blog post I wrote on the subject when the idea was first floated.
An extract:
"You have to ask how they expect the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to police this?
And more importantly, why they think they are better placed to police this than those they seek to protect?
It's another example of the advertising world attempting to place a broadcast, centre-out solution on a peer-to-peer space. You ain't in Kansas any more, Dorothy.
They make the assumption that the act of setting up a page or account and filling it with dishonesty is equal to broadcasting that dishonesty to unsuspecting audiences. Which is to fundamentally misunderstand how distribution happens in social media."
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Monday, October 04, 2010

Singing lessons

If you want to learn how peer-to-peer works; how the absolute dominance of the social self asserts itself; how none of us is cleverer than all of us; about the fluidity of influence and how we distribute knowledge within groups... just go and join in and a good old sing song.

I found myself at a 123 Sing Session (It’s sponsored by Classic FM, I believe – but that’s not how I heard about it...) at my local church on Saturday morning – part of a nationwide effort to get the UK singing more.
Importantly (and influentially for me) this was not an X Factor style individualist approach to singing; it was communal. (Image courtesy Mrs Logic)

I know (as do you) from experience that we enjoy doing things together – from dancing to chanting to singing to learning and playing, we feel better when we do this together not apart; a truth that speaks to the dominance of the social in our lives.

It was this, and the fact my peers were inviting me and attending themselves (friends and family) that got me into a church on a Saturday morning with wife and child.

There were around 25 of us. None of us had ever sung together. Some folks sang in amateur groups. Most of us rarely sang out loud at all. But within 5-10 minutes we were sounding pretty good in four part harmony.
So how did that happen?

Imagine if we took the view that knowledge (indeed messages of any kind) is learned, held and regurgitated by the individual. Each of us would have gone off to learn our part. We’d have done our best to remember our starting note, the timing, the phrasing, the intonations.

And on reunion we’d have delivered a cacophony.

Instead we learned together. None of us learned our own parts in one go. We learned a little. And so did the person next to us, and the person next to them. The musical director didn’t tell each of us which part to remember best. No one listed who should remember each line best, or which phrase of the music best. We self organised and self distributed with nothing spoken.

Yes the musical director gave us the version to copy (he sang it, once or twice) – but each of the four groups learned together. If I couldn’t recall whether the next note was up or down, or when the next word should start or end I didn’t go back to the source (the musical director) to verify. I relied on the distributed learning within the group. I listened to the monkey next to me. And the monkey next to me listened to me.

And we mirrored each other. Nothing spoken. Nothing particularly ‘rational’ even. We self organised an agreed version of ‘the truth’ – in this case the way this piece of singing should sound.

We transmitted the agreed version one to another, adjusting it interaction by interaction – the group agreeing each time through its responses to each interaction what the collective version would become.

Influence shifted moment by moment – those holding the needed-now piece of the puzzle of our distributed knowledge, coming to the fore as required – leading for a moment, falling back when they needed to follow.

In order to perform this task in the allotted time we had a musical director. He ‘knew’ how each piece should sound, and the role each part had in the overall four-part harmony.

He provided the 'purpose' - the common goal we all strove for. But once he had set the framework, his interventions were few and far between. He gave the structure in which the peer to peer interaction happened – a kind of community manager.

That in a very short time we were acting together so cohesively was of course due, in no small part, to the structure. But the most significant drivers were that we are social beasts; we mirror each other’s actions (we are mimics) and we like acting together – we do better together.

The power and value of our ability to distribute knowledge and tasks so intuitively (as in this example, without a word said) is becoming increasingly important as we assess the impact of the web on how we know.

Where once holding a silo of information seemed key to our life success, today our ability to know how and why to access the distributed knowledge we all share is becoming a dominant factor in success both for individuals and for organisations.

And if you ever need a reminder of the truth of that - and our willingness to work together toward a collective goal, go and join in a sing song.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?