Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just what is twitter anyway?

Twitter is the buzz word of the moment, its the big new thing that's going to change all the rules or so they say. Don't get me wrong I love Twitter and everything it stands for, no ads (yet) and freedom to post what you like (for the time being).

But there seems a fashion for just dropping Twitter into a conversation because its a new word. Although in Sheffield, my home city, its been used for years to describe 'to witter', which to be honest is a pretty good description of what most people do on it!

The question most asked is 'Just what is Twitter anyway' followed shortly by 'I just don't get it'.

My take on it is this: Twitter is no new thing, it's just a new website which is a really easy way to communicate with people and spread ideas. People are very used to texting, which means for most people that you keep your messages short and to the point, Twitter forces you to do that by restricting your message to 140 characters, including spaces.

So you use Twitter like any other communication tool, make sure your messages make sense, are polite and to the point.

As to who you follow, well that up to you. If you just want to follow your friends great, if you want to follow Stephen Fry (everybody does) that's fine too. Who follows you well that's up to you as well. Like any online community there are plenty of spammers and plenty of people just wanting to collect followers but ultimately if you don't want them to follow you then you can block them of if your such a private person then you can allow only certain people to follow you.

Really Twitter is no big deal, its definitely nothing to be scared of, in fact I think its a lot of fun and has loads of really great uses. Best way to to find out 'just what Twitter is' is to sign up and see for yourself.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Be better not bigger

The reason lots of the larger household names have gone under recently (in my view) is that they lost their way completely. If you asked anyone what Woolworths was for they couldn't tell you and neither could Woolworths. They just had loads of stores and no idea what they were doing with them.

They concentrated all their effort on being bigger and forgotten to be special. What Woolies ended up doing was selling a bit of everything and ended up selling nothing at all.

If you running a company and you're worried about the future, then concentrate on the customers you have any giving them amazing service and products. Don't go trying to be the biggest in the market, it'll rarely work.

Here's Seth Godin's sage advice on being better not bigger.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Please stop spamming comments

I love comments on my posts, I don't get many so I get excited when I see I need to moderate them before they are published.

I started moderation after I got spam comments and I still moderate. So please don't get my hopes up only to annoy me and waste your time if the comment is spam I'll delete it. If its genuine I'll happily publish regardless if you agree, disagree or think I'm an idiot.

Winning the Chips War

I've just returned from Wales with my children. As you can imagine on holiday all kids want to eat is fish and chips, ask most kids and it's their first and last answer. Walking around Tenby it got to that time when they start pulling on your leg wanting something to eat.

Tenby is a beautiful seaside town and is full of restaurants. However they all seemed to omit Fish and Chips from the menu and my kids insisted on fish and chips.

The first place I found watched me struggle in with three kids and a buggy, sit down find a baby seat and ask my what the kids wanted while the staff all stood around and waited. I went to the counter to order and was told in a very bored way that the "friar is broken we can't do anything other than cold sandwiches" it wasn't their fault to be fair but they could have intercepted me, offered 1/2 price sandwiches or a million and one other things, Tenby was packed and it was lunch, we left and struggled back through the door.

After a short walk we found a chip shop which looked open but didn't look ready to serve. My little boy was getting really hungry at this point and asked the shop owner "are you open?". The man said that they'd be open in a few minutes as they were waiting for staff. This is at 11.55, so 5 minutes to dinner time.

I thought about waiting but then spotted another shop around the corner. This was open, had a working friar, friendly staff, spare tables chairs and high chairs, was easy to get in and out of.

We sat down and a waiter took our order, they took notice that I'd a baby with me and gave me a spare plate to put his food on. They served quickly and the food was hot as well as delicious. While we ate I spotted that they had won awards for their fish and chips over several years didn't take much to see why.

On the whole the last shop didn't do that much more, I'm sure all the other place's food was just as good, but they let me down before they'd started.

I think the point is that when times are hard and choice is wide and almost endless businesses have to go a little further. Just sitting back isn't good enough any more as some of the bigger businesses have found to their cost. If you want to succeed then make the effort you'll be rewarded.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Very excited got a picture on the BBC

I found this a few days ago and was excited and maybe a bit embarrased.

A few months ago I sent in one of my photographs to the BBC, they asked for images of curves and as I'd taken some a while back I thought I'd have a pop. Well blow mw down if they didn't use it!

The shot was taken in my back garden with the help of my friend. Basically it's a piece of wood which had been in the fire. My friend waved it and I took the shot. There wasn't any digital messing about with it this is exactly what the camera took.