I recently had the wonderful experience of watching Russell Davies present on “blogs, wikis, RSS and podcasting”. I get the feeling it wasn’t a title he chose, because his first comment was to point out that presenting on those technologies was like presenting on steering wheels, seats and tyres. He wanted to talk about the car. And he did. Russell is quite the most powerful and engaging speaker on what’s going on in internetland (while managing to never once use the phrase “Web 2.0”) I have ever heard.
My Moleskine came out immediately, and I didn’t stop writing for the whole of his talk. Here are my the condensed notes. He said…
- Imagine trying to describe TV to someone who had never seen it
- I’m not evangelical. If you don’t like it, I don’t care.
- A new generation thinks paying for music is just odd
- The interestingness test: 1.) what’s interesting about your business? 2.) blog about that. 3.) if nothing, you’re screwed anyway
- Not having a blog is like not having a phone. It’s not bad, it’s just.. eccentric.
- Surrender control to win influence
- If you can’t be interesting, be useful
- Parable of a ceramics teacher: He splits his class in half, saying he will grade half on quantity (as many vases as you can make) and the other half on quality (one amazing vase). Guess which half created the best vases at the end of the year? The ones that had been doing it all year, improving their process. Get started.
- “Brand gardening” (ongoing interaction, rather than a one-off launch. Reminded me of tag-gardening)
Throughout all of this he interspersed great examples:
- A Comcast Technician Sleeping on my Couch (and they had no idea how to react)
- Starbucks Gossip
- Innocent blog ($30 p/a. Big reach)
- McChronicles. (McReg’s first instinct: sue.)
- PenguinWiki – a million penguins (collaborative book authoring project)
- beautiful and/or sad (example of letting go on his own blog)
- Kuler (I asked if the swatches shared there are licensed, or belong to Adobe. Not because I’m a legal git but because I wanted the answer to be that the submitters agree to a CC license or something)
- Flickr camera browser
- zefrank 7-11-06 “washington, ideas, brain crack”
- Darth Vader being a smartass (“your consumers are funnier than you”)
- Flickr: our tubes are clogged colouring competition
- Nike football tricks video: the chain
And finally, he offered some advice to brand owners:
- If you’re reading feeds, use a feed reader such as Bloglines
- Search Flickr and YouTube for your brand. Find the best content. Email those people. Give them samples, and be nice to them.
- When searching for yourself, don’t just use Google. Use Technorati.
Unfortunately, when I congratulated Russell on his presentation afterwards, I think I made an arse of myself. Note to self: never again should you start a conversation with a famous blogger using the words “I must confess, I don’t read your blog”. Idiot. At least I was able to exchange Moo cards, but I couldn’t help spent most of the journey home thinking of a better opening line.
In summary, a great presentation from a nice chap with a great style. Russell sounds a bit like Dave Gorman, which is always a plus too. On reading his blog it looks like an updated and overhauled version of his ‘interesting things that are going on’ presentation which he mentioned at the end of last year. I’m finally a subscriber.