Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sneak preview: 10 Principles of Open Business cover design

You'll need to visit Amazon to look inside...
Here's a first look at the final draft of the cover of The 10 Principles of Open Business.

Hope you like it. I'm interested in hearing all feedback though, of course.

The book is already available to pre-order on Amazon.
It may take a few days before the cover will be added there.
It is officially released on January 28 in the UK and a month later in the US.

We're running a panel on Open Business as part of Social Media Week (London) next month.

For more on that - and to book your place - please see here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

SMW London: Open Business and the Future of Community

Fire up your diaries - Social Media Week London looms and with it three events I'm taking part in - and more that I'd like to recommend.

First, I'm chairing a panel on Open Business (which given the forthcoming book makes a lot of sense).

On the panel (which starts at 1pm on Monday, September 23 at The Johnson Building, Hatton Garden, London) are:
Mark Earls (Author of  Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature, I'll Have What She's Having, and Welcome to the Creative Age – Bananas, Business and the Death of Marketing). Mark is also winner of an Emerald Insights Award and a significant contributor to the chapter on Purpose in The 10 Principles of Open Business,.
Dave Coplin (Author of business bestseller “Business Reimagined: Why work isn’t working and what you can do about it” also joins us. He is Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft & The Envisioners).
Grey (London) CEO Chris Hirst will be there, too (Since his appointment as CEO in Jan 2010 Grey London has been the fastest large agency in London driven through significant new business success, strong organic growth and acquisition. In addition to the core business, comprises four business units: GreyPossible, The Social Partners, Dialogue and GreyWorks. Grey (London) is built on Open Culture.
The line-up is completed by Dorothy Mead (Commerce innovator. Head of Marketing at Blur Group) and Stuart Harrison (The Open Data Institute). Grey (London), Blur Group and The Open Data Institute all feature in the book, I'm pleased to say.

UPDATE delighted to say Andrew Hill, Management and Associate Editor at the FT will also be joining this panel.

If you'd like to join us, follow this link. Entry is free.

I'm also joining two panels on The Future of Community which are on at 3.30pm on Tuesday September 24 and 1pm on the 25th. Both are at The Johnson Building on Hatten Garden.

To find out more about them and other events organised by The Social Partners for Social Media Week London, click here.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Why are so many culling their follow counts?

I thought it time to trim out the deadwood among those I follow on twitter today:: Those who have stopped tweeting, or who have shifted channel, or turned out not to be the interesting folk I thought they may be initially, etc.
image via
In the process I spotted a disturbing trend. Using one of the many twitter management tools I found several people who I follow and quite regularly engage with, who don't follow me.
I'm not talking about the 'too much attention to cope with' folk, the @stephenfrys  or @bbcbreakingnews of this world (for example), I'm talking more the moderately interesting or those who may have done a lot of conference speaking, or (heaven forfend, and trust me, I'm aware of the risk in every word of this, those who have puiblished a book). It's not that they aren't simply following me back (quelle domage), it's that they appear to be following almost nobody.
I mean if you are following sub 500 and your follower level is closer to 50,000, well something seems to have gone wrong there.
For a start, that doesn't happen organically. You take the decision to cull.
Some may do it for ego and aesthetic reasons - look at the ratio on that!
Most would wrap this in the reason of 'signal versus noise'.
Which is just so much bs unless you happen to be using twitter 24/7 and have text alerts pinging on your phone each time you get an @message. I need back up in case I miss the thing that's important to me being tweeted or retweeted. 3000 folk gives me that cover. Always has so far.
It also gives me diversity. If I don't open up to outliers, how will I see the extreme moments that often have the most impact on our world (the Black Swans for those of an Anti-fragile bent).
I've always tried to follow back pretty much everyone who follows me. But even  in this I have started to hit a limit. Mine is around 3000. If I start following more than that I go seeking to clear out some deadwood - the folk who are not, or hardly ever, contributing to my time line.
And this is where I find it odd that folk with big follower numbers to feed (for surely their's is a broadcaster-audience relationship) feel that they can learn enough about their world from following less than 500 folk to provide a credible curation.
I salute their ability to select. I salute their trust in those they choose. I salute the trust their audiences confer on them.
But I can't help thinking they are helping to accelerate Twitter towards being the place where broadcast and self-promotion dominates rather than a place where adhoc communities of purpose form to get things done (which remains its promise).
Culling those you follow is - in extremis - like limiting your view to that from a prison cell. Why volunteer for that?
I would be delighted to hear from people who have taken this radical approach (culling those they follow) to reduce their exposure to noise or for whatever reason they have, and how it'
s working for them.
But until I hear a very good case I'm going to stick with the theory that one extra node on your network doubles its value: and that this 2n proposition can only happen if the connection between nodes is two-way.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

It is done! My book is complete - and here's 20 per cent off

Last night, just before midnight, I hit a major milestone. I sent the manuscript for The 10 Principles of Open Business to the publishers.

We're still finalising the cover - though there is a draft in circulation. When I get an update I'll share it here to get your views. The preface is still to be done - but we've set a word count. Matt Atkinson, the CMO at Tesco PLC is planning to oblige. But that's pretty much all that's left.

I completed the last part of the last chapter late last night - after finally bagging an interview with Alan Rusbridger, the editor in chief at The Guardian, on the theme of open data and open journalism.

So, like all deadlines (mine was to deliver 60,000 words by July 31) there was a rush to the end. But the job got done.

Working on that chapter last night - which encompasses Open Data (with an interview with the CEO of Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Open Data Institute, Open Government (with an interview with Tom Watson MP) and Open Journalism (with Alan) allowed me to finish on a real high.

I'm really happy with the result.

It's been a long journey - not least the journey to formulating and formalising the 10 Principles in the first place - but also the actual process of writing the book.

Writing a compelling synopsis won us three keen potential publishers in the summer of 2012. At the time Jamie Burke (with whom I founded 90:10 Group where the principles were forged in the white heat of direct experience) and I were to be co-authors. Thanks to their enthusiasm and very complete international marketing plan for the book, we went with Palgrave Macmillan.

Our paths have taken us in different directions since. Jamie has founded a new business based on the principles and that left him with pretty much zero spare time.

I have stayed in consultancy - with The Social Partners - and have had to use pretty much every day off, weekend, evening, train and plane journey in between to write, arrange, interview, transcribe, edit, seek permissions, chase, herd cats etc.

Now that it's done I can reflect on how lucky I've been: Lucky to meet and connect with amazing people over many years as the ideas behind the principles were shared, challenged and gelled; lucky to be granted access to so many brilliant and usually extremely busy people; lucky to have worked with both colleagues and clients with imagination and belief; lucky to have so many great connections prepared to take a look at early drafts for me.

I really hope I've done you all justice.

The book is due out in January next year in the UK and February in the US.

I will be chairing a panel on Open Business during Social Media Week London in September with some of the contributors on the panel, so please keep an eye out for that.

And for a limited period there is a 20% discount available on the book if you use the following link (note the blurb you will find there is a little out of date. For a full and up to date contents list go here:

To get the discount, go here: and quote "WORLDPALGRAVE20"

Second Update: I've just tested this myself and it worked (Aug 1, 4pm BST)

UPDATE: One kind early adopter has reported this route is failing for them. I have raised with the publisher and hope for a very swift resolution.

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?