Thursday, October 31, 2013

Digital nomads, Google revolutionizes shopping and the Internet of everything: What I'm reading today

After a bit of a hiatus in the last week as I got Donegal Holdings started up (for those that missed THAT development you can read about my departure from Valpak and the start of my new adventure HERE) and while I haven’t been writing these past few days there’s been plenty to read and as a result there were a number of pieces that were worth mentioning in today’s edition.

So I wanted to start today’s edition with a piece that spoke to me directly… in particular as I’m in the process of launching a completely new business.  A blog I've followed off and on for some time is written by a guy who quit his job and has spent the last two years wandering the earth while he works on his businesses from any number of locations.  As those of you who've read me for some time know, I’m a fanatical follower of Tim Ferris and his 4 hour workweek methodology (still working towards that particular goal BTW), but this piece has a number of practical pieces of advice for us all… in particular in regards to time management…. even if we haven’t sold everything we own and moved to Indonesia.

Of course the reading I was doing wasn't just about ways to make my new business more efficient and in fact there was a terrific piece in Forbes this past week about an issue that is near and dear to my heart…. That of course being shopping and the impact that technology will have on that part of our lives in the future.  One of the biggest players in this space is likely going to be Google and in one of the first pieces published around what Google’s long term vision of both the Wallet product and others, this piece is a ‘must read’ for anyone curious about how clients are going to deal with reaching consumers and subsequently converting them into paying customers…. Via a variety of platforms.

Finally, a topic that I continue to be fascinated by is the so called “Internet of Everything” and last week Hack a Day published a fascinating piece about the one missing piece in the puzzle to make this a reality…. A computer chip that will drive everything.  For an extended period of time, there has been plenty of rumor, innuendo and outright misinformation about these chips, but as this article indicates we may well be nearing the point at which the “Internet of Everything” moves from the realm of pure vaporware to a potentially usable future.  Why does this matter to marketers?  It’s all about the data.  I’ll explore this concept further in future editions, but the fact remains that the more data we have about what does and doesn't work from a marketing perspective, the better decisions we have the ability to make.  In short, a world in which the “Internet of Everything” is an active player.. is a world where ‘wasted coverage’ will finally be a thing of the past.

As always, thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.  I can be reached either directly via email – or by leaving a comment in the blog section below

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Marketing terminology, ubiquitous computing, & the fight for your television: 3 links from the week that was....+1 more

This past week was an interesting one from a content perspective and while the Twitter IPO continued to be a part of the news (along with the craziness that was the political brinkmanship in Washington), I chose to focus my thoughts on several pieces that got me thinking about broader issues both in terms of marketing itself as well as the ‘connected’ world that we seem to be headed for.

The first piece in today’s edition comes courtesy of HubSpot (which I’ll pause to say is one of those resources that if you’re not taking a few moments each day to check you’re certainly missing out) and takes the time to define some of the key terms we all hear thrown around in the online marketing business and that you may have wondered ‘what does that actually mean’.  The fact is that every business has its own jargon but having a clear sense of what some of these key terms actually means… can make the difference between a successful campaign and one that leaves you thinking what could have been.

Another topic that I've been thinking and reading a great deal about recently (both in the non-fiction and fictional realms – more on that in the coming days) is the concept of how we are truly moving into the era of a ‘always connected’ world.  This is having a profound impact on us as human beings from a sociological perspective, but the piece enclosed below (from the superb outlines 10 things we might expect to change in our world… once we reach the predicted future… where we experience true ubiquitous computing.

One of the most interesting phenomenon I've seen recently is what I like to call the renaissance of live TV.  For years it’s been predicted that live television would go away and in recent years it appeared that might actually take place.  Between DVR/TiVo, the concept of time shifting or the power of what has come to be known as ‘binge watching’ (which with my travel schedule I’ll freely admit I've engaged in often – especially during the Game of Thrones season on HBO), live TV looked to be changing in a fundamental way.  It has changed, but as you’ll see from the attached piece below, both Facebook and Twitter are now engaged in a massive brawl to help these same providers to gain access to even more screens (namely those of your computer and mobile devices).  I strongly believe that we are only seeing the beginnings of this ‘multi-screen’ engagement methodology and its impact on both advertisers and those that help them reach their audiences is only beginning to be understood.  Certainly a trend to keep a watchful eye on.

And finally, as my +1 for today, I can’t leave today’s edition without a heartfelt recommendation for a book that I finished several months ago that has completely changed my thinking for the better.  I've always been a planner and goal setter (more on that in the coming months as I'm expanding to a second blog - A Life Well Led - the first postings of which you can find HERE), but I started reading “The 12 Week Year” by Brian Moran in late June and as I’m now fully involved in my second '12 week Year' I can report that this book… and this methodology will alter your life and your work forever.  I always felt that I was able to get more done than the average person just through spending more hours doing it… but Moran’s book not only took me to another level, but it convinced me that I was only really reaching a small portion of what I was capable of.  Watch for a more complete review of this amazing book in the coming days, but more importantly, follow the link below and pick up this book!  Your life (and the next 12 weeks) will  never be the same.

I hope you’ll find something of interest in today’s edition…. And as always – thanks for reading

Friday, October 18, 2013

Embrace the 'squiggle': Farewell Valpak

One of the terrific parts about reading a great book is the fact that it stays with you long after you close the last page and the recent book by Mitch Joel (Cntl, Alt, Delete which I reviewed several months ago – you can find my thoughts HERE ) is one of those books.  One of the key concepts that Mitch covers is that each and every one of our careers follow a path… and it’s rarely a straight path – in fact it’s often what Mitch describes as a ‘squiggle’.  That said, the same is true for the advertising campaigns that we create for our clients.  

Have you ever set out a campaign and had each of the elements perform exactly the way you had intended?  Me neither and one of the most powerful ways that we can ensure that we get the most ‘bang for the buck’ out of these efforts is to ensure that we go into them with our eyes wide open.  One of the most powerful things that advertising provides online today is the ability to flex (and more importantly adjust) as conditions warrant - who is ever going to forget Oreo doing a real time ad during the blackout at the SuperBowl right?

Speaking of ‘squiggles’, today’s edition is a bittersweet one for me as it will be the final edition that I publish as a member of the Valpak family.  These last 7 years have been an unbelievable journey for me and as I embark on the new adventure of running my own firm, I can tell you that the my life and career have been enriched beyond measure as a result of the relationships that I’ve had with all of you both online and off.  I’ve included my new contact information below and would invite you to stay in touch (and of course continue to follow my adventures on a variety of social platforms - LOL)…. As the next phase of my ‘squiggle’ begins.

Never forget to embrace your own ‘squiggle’ and I look forward to what the future holds for us all.

James R. Buckley
Founder & CEO (CTM2G)
Donegal Holdings
8374 Market Street #464 | Bradenton, FL 34202
941.350.4436 – mobile
Skype:  jrbuckley_99
Instagram:  jrbuckley99
The Intersection – Marketing & Technology Blog:
A Life Well Led – Personal Dev. Blog:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Top content marketing trends, the "godfather' of Apple and a networked future : What I'm reading today

As I work my way through my morning reading, I’m often struck by trends that seem to develop.  Whether it’s caused by the so-called ‘filter bubble’ phenomenon that I wrote about late last year (which you can see HERE ) or just driven by the fact that the Web has a tendency to take you down particular paths I’m not certain.  The reason I mention this concept today is that this morning’s content all tended towards pieces that looked closely at the future and more importantly where technology is going to move both in the immediate term (specifically 2014) as well as more broadly over the course of the next five years or so.

The first piece in today’s edition is focused on the near term, but just as importantly is focused on a topic that you've seen me talk about in this space for some time now… and that is the idea of content marketing.  While this concept has quickly caught on online (almost to the point of losing its usefulness), the fact is that nearly 60% of companies today report using some kind of content marketing to promote their businesses.  The link below is not only a primer of ‘what is content marketing’, but more importantly lays out some specific strategies that I’d encourage you to review not only from the perspective of encouraging your clients to utilize this methodology… but should also be something that each of you assesses in terms of its utility as you continue to build your own personal brand.

As I mentioned at the outset, today’s theme is all about the future and no discussion of that would be complete without including Apple.  That said however, this morning’s second offering is focused on someone I hadn't heard of  before this today…  Harmut Esslinger.  Working with Apple since 1982, Harmut was the founder of the design consultancy Frog (which I had heard of - @frogdesign on Twitter), and is credited with many of the leaps in design change that Apple made over the years… all while contributing to differentiating the company from so many others in the PC (and now mobile) spaces.  The link below is to an article about him in the recent Wired UK edition and is important for several reasons.  Initially the piece gives you an opportunity to ‘get inside the head’ of what is arguably the best industrial designer of our generation, but the piece also articulates some critical changes that companies of any size should consider as they look at their products, their Team and their future.  One quote in particular stands out: 

"But look back 40 to 50 years, and make a model of what happened from then until today. That's what compresses into the next 10 years. Then you know what to expect."

Regardless of your position, who you  work with or what kinds of companies/clients you’re talking to… knowing that this kind of accelerated innovation is in the horizon should be a true wakeup call!  I've not only enclosed a link below to the Wired piece, but also included an Amazon link (non-affiliate of course) that will make it easy for you to order what I’m certain will be a fascinating book.

Finally this morning, is an excellent essay by Vish Nandlall (the CTO of Ericsson – North America and one of the top thinkers today on infrastructure) who wrote this terrific piece on Monday.  I've written in the past about the so-called “Internet of Things” (you can revisit that piece HERE ), but Vish takes that concept a step further by expanding the discussion to cover emerging issues like ‘hyperscale models” and ‘software defined networks’.  So why does this kind of jargon filled piece matter to marketers and those that they serve each day?  Our world is changing rapidly.  As I mentioned above, the ‘time compression’ in terms of technology cycles is only increasing and as technology gets more powerful, it will only become more complex.  But there is significant opportunity to be found in understanding what these trends mean… and then being able to assist those we work with/for in understanding why instead of being threatened by the changes – we can embrace the opportunity that they afford us.

I hope you’ll find something of interest in today’s edition and as always would love to hear your thoughts and feedback either directly by email - or in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hummingbird, Twitter IPO details, disruption & How to Die Empty - 3 links from the week that was... +1 more

It was another busy week in the technology business and we continue to learn more about the impact (or apparent lack of) of the recent Hummingbird update from Google.  One of the consistent challenges that typically appears from a Google update is attempting to ‘figure it all out’.  My experience has been that the best updates are the ones where little impact is seen and Hummingbird appears to fall firmly into this category.  That said, it continues to be important both to marketers and anyone trying to reach consumers that they understand what the potential implications are and published a terrific roundup of the most important changes…. I've enclosed a link to that piece as first of today’s offerings.

Another topic that you’ve seen me return to on a number of occasions in this space is that of disruption.  For businesses of any size and shape (and I’d argue as well that this applies to each of us as individuals pursuing a career path), being disrupted is something that is now as  commonplace as breathing.  No corner of the economy is safe and frankly no industry is exempt from the ever evolving technology in the world in which we live….enhanced by the ability of new players to enter almost any business with almost no barriers to entry.  The most recent example of this is the ongoing (and now apparently nearly over) saga of the once powerful brand/company that was RIM and Blackberry.  Nowhere is there a better object lesson of how simply sitting still and ‘resting on your laurels’ results not only in competitors taking market share from you… but in this case…. Blackberry’s fortunes degraded over time…. And then quickly worsened.   Or as Hemingway puts it so eloquently in “The Sun Also Rises” – ‘How did you go bankrupt?  Two ways.  Gradually.. then suddenly.’   There is an important object lesson here for all of us regardless of our business or position.  What are we doing every day to ensure that we’re not only staying ahead… but in fact disrupting ourselves for the better… before someone else does it for us

Another major news story from last week was the release (on Thursday via the publication of Twitter’s S-1 filing) of the details surrounding the upcoming Twitter IPO.  One of the key highlights from the release was the fact that mobile appears to be a major part of the company’s future plans (no surprise to readers of The Intersection) and more importantly sees a number of risk factors facing the business going forward…. Not the least of which is slowing user growth over time.  With an estimated valuation in the $10 billion range this is certainly a development to watch… and as Twitter deploys the funds that they derive from the public offering, it will behoove all of us involved in the advertising business (whether as providers or users thereof) to keep a close eye on where this important company goes next.

Finally, as my +1 this week, I’ve enclosed a link to the weekly podcast produced by Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel on Twitter) as he interviewed Todd Henry (@ToddHenry on Twitter) who just released an excellent follow up (entitled  Die Empty) to his superb debut book The Accidental Creative.  As if often the case with interviews that Mitch conducts on his podcasts each week, this is a wide ranging discussion about a variety of issues, but I’d encourage you to take the time to listen and think hard about how you can use creativity more effectively to get the most out of what you are doing each day.  I’ve enclosed both a link to the Podcast on Mitch’s site as well as a links to both of Todd’s books on Amazon

The Accidental Creative:  How To Be Brilliant At A Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry

I hope you'll find some pieces of interest in today's edition and as always... I'd love to hear from you.  You can reach me directly via email - or feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below... thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Top trends for 2014, Google resources & Why you shouldn't take things personally : What I'm reading today

One of the things that I find amazing is that each year it seems that prognosticators (in particular those around digital) continue to produce their thoughts for the coming year earlier and earlier and today’s first offering is a great example of that.  Published by Forbes Magazine last week, it makes a series of predictions about where the marketing business will go in the coming year and while it makes a well-argued case… the first two fall into the category of ‘I told you so’ as the author believes that social and in particular Google+ will grow in dominance in the coming year.

As all of you who’ve read these materials over time know, I’m always on the lookout for new toolsets to make my life and the life of marketers that I work with easier and my second offering today is a terrific breakdown of a number of useful tools from Google that both individually and in combination I’m certain you’ll find useful as you explore the plethora of marketing channels that are available to marketers today.

I’m a sales guy and at the end of the day one of the key things you need to be able to overcome in your own mind each day is that more folks are going to say no to you then are going to say yes (hard to believe I know).  I include this piece in today’s edition because I think it’s important for sales / biz dev folks reading this to understand that today more than ever ‘multi-touch’ sales are the wave of the future.  In fact the “7-12 touchpoints” that the author refers to in this piece, while daunting on the surface, are actually easier to reach with our current tools than they ever have been before!  For those of you who read this and say “I don’t sell so this doesn't apply to me”… don’t skip over this piece.  The fact of today’s world is that we are ALL sellers today (whether it’s our ideas, things we care about or just in our daily interactions with others) and the sooner we learn not to take the reaction of others personally… the better off we are!

Finally, I’m breaking my own rule about ‘long form’ content this morning (I usually include pieces like this on the weekend) and have included the latest version of one blog that I await new editions of with baited breath – which is Occam’s Razor written by Avinash Kaushik - the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google.  Avinash only publishes occasionally (sometime putting out a piece only once every 6 weeks), but when he does they are not only high quality pieces, but they invariably change the way many on the Web look at the world.  Be warned… this is a LONG piece, but if you take the time to read it, I think you’ll find as I have over time that these are truly insightful and powerful pieces that will impact how you think about marketing and our role in it.

I hope you find something in today’s edition that you’ll find useful both for yourself and those you work with and as always… thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Google #hashtag search, the 'Hummingbird' algorithm & a conversation on great design - 3 links from the week that was... +1 more

It was a rare week for me without any traveling, but as has been the case for most of the year, the steady flow of news and innovations in the technology space made for some challenging decisions to what to include in this week’s roundup of the best that the Web had to offer.  Apple consumed last week’s news ( and it would appear rightfully so as the early sales figures indicate that this will be the best selling iPhone release of all time and it’s nearly impossible to get the coveted Gold iPhone), but this week saw some important news from the other major player in the technology world… and that of course was Google.

For those of you who've read this offering over time, the critical nature of having, maintaining and growing your Google+ presence is something that I've been talking about every chance I get… and to everyone who will listen.  This past week, published an excellent analysis about the impact that Google’s new #hashtag search feature will have on a variety of online advertising efforts.  Now before you say what we’re all thinking (yes, this is deeply self-serving on Google’s part) the fact is that this is Google’s world and we’re just living in it.  I’d encourage you to not only read this piece closely and share with others you are working with, but also take the time to follow the links embedded in the piece (including the link to the official Google announcement of the changes via a Google+ posting).  This continues to be an evolving story, and should be something that you keep a close eye on as your ability to reach consumers effectively… is now most assuredly tied to not only being on Google+… but ensuring that you are optimizing that effort for this ever-evolving platform.

A second major change that took place this week at Google (on Thursday September 26th in fact) was the announcement of the so-called “Hummingbird” algorithm update.  In their announcement Google indicated that this change had been up and operating for a month before being announced (shocking I know!), and the link below is to an absolutely superb analysis from  NOTE:  I’m going to digress for a moment and tell you that besides Google itself, this site is the single best resource online for this type of content, and more importantly for analysis about what changes of this type actual mean to you and your advertising efforts  (besides The Intersection of course).  That being said, this article is written by Danny Sullivan (who is the founding editor of the site - @dannysullivan on Twitter) and both from my point of view and most of the rest of the Web, Danny is the absolutely best source for information of this type.  In a nutshell… no one is completely sure what this kind of algorithm change will mean (the last time Google made a massive alteration to its search algorithm like this was in 2010), but in my book - forewarned is forearmed.

As is my practice on the weekend, I also went looking for a ‘Long-form’ piece that I thought would be useful for all of you to read with all the extra time you've got on the weekend.  In all seriousness, I've become something of a student of design in recent years (as the separation between what constitutes a  good design vs. a poor one continues to shrink) and the margin for error – as well as the damage that error can wreak on your business increases.  Built around an interview of Dan Norman (who wrote the seminal book on design – The Design of Everyday Things – which you can find on Amazon HERE), this wide ranging discussion not only covers the thinking of one of the best industrial designers out there (with the exception of Jonathan Ive at Apple), but also got my thinking cap working about where mobile devices and design go in the future.  ALL issues that will directly impact both advertising and the methods in which we reach consumers.

And finally as my +1 for the week, I’m ‘resharing’ a TED Talk that has had a profound impact on me.. and led me directly to a book that I’m currently reading.  In 2009 Simon Sinek gave a speech at TED that talked about how great leaders inspire action.. but also drove home a critically important point about life in my book… you need to ‘Start with Why’.  As you enjoy your weekend, I’d encourage you to not only watch the video and look into the book (links to both are included below), but also ask yourself what you can be doing both now and going forward to make sure you are getting the most of your business and helping your clients and consumers to do the same!

Hope you find some of today’s edition useful…. And as always – thanks for reading!