Monthly Archives: March 2008

Vodka + Orange Juice = Clarity and Friends

The key to the drink is quality vodka and quality orange juice, bad juice and bad vodka is just not good.

To finish this off I enjoy having a large segment of fresh orange in the glass, skin included, typically a large glass with about 3 shots of vodka.. ahhhhh a long long screwdriver.

One of the reasons I enjoy a Screwdriver it that the more you drink of these the clearer your thought seems to become, its a good alcohol buzz, it’s not a groggy beer haze, or a demon head spin, it’s pleasant and crystal.

The other reason this combination is perfect is that you are drinking large amounts of pure orange juice which is rammed with vitamin C of course. Hang-overs are often never present due to such a high intake of vitamin C.

So if we meet up and have a drink you’ll know what I’ll be having.

Update: A twitter follower mentioned it might be vitamin B which aids hang-over cures. If you know please do comment.

Social Media Is Not The Holy Grail

It’s an interesting title but if you are working on the Internet, and have had your entry point from a social media frame of reference, you are not doing yourself any favors (USA spelling there) unless you consider that to be only ONE tool in your tool box.

To give you an example of that I have pasted in here a list of areas (I grabbed this from InternetWorld, see you there?) that you should probably give just as much time to as your social media campaign, if not you are missing the bigger picture of web marketing.

Some items in the list might not be marketing per se, yet they are related.

  • Online advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Paid for search
  • Web analytics & reporting
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Mobile & SMS Marketing
  • Rich media
  • Advertising networks
  • Ad serving tools
  • Usability/accessibility
  • Web design
  • Pod casting
  • Blogging/Vlogging
  • Web 2.0
  • User generated\social networking
  • Streaming
  • CRM
  • eCommerce
  • Secure payments
  • Hosting\managed solutions
  • Leased lines\broadband
  • Domain registration
  • VOIP
  • Security & anti-virus
  • Digital signatures
  • Web content management
  • Knowledge\doc management
  • Personalise\translation
  • Content provision/creation
  • Intranets/extranets
  • Web development
  • Search & Navigation tools for websites
  • Behaviour targeting
  • IPTV
  • Media Planning/Buying
  • Mobile Internet/Commerce
  • Marketing Resource Management
  • Digital/Media Asset Management
  • Social networking sites
  • Viral Marketing
  • Ecommerce Fulfilment/Logistics
  • IPTV
  • Raise venture capital

Anything there that you’ve never heard of, or anything that should be added to the list?

Study Something Open It Works

It’s been a while since I reflected on my education, but the conversation came up recently over lunch with friends.

I have a friend who is considering a career change (let’s call him Charlie). Charlie is an instructor, and an instructor in every sense of the word. He works in an environment where training or instruction takes place in a way one manner. It’s the classic “sage on the stage” approach, the “font of all knowledge” where the primary task is to transfer a package of knowledge to the audience. “I have this knowledge and I am an expert, and I will now transfer it to you”.

Excuse me while I stop smirking, due to understanding various other far more empowering methods.

Now Charlie is not necessarily an advocate of the instructor led approach, it just so happens that is the environment he works in, and in fact he would make a diamond educationalist in a more liberal, or open environment.

But what does “open” mean here?

Many years ago I used to “train” or “instruct” just like Charlie, that’s the system we grew up with, that’s what we thought “education” was suppose to equate to. When we go to a conference, that’s the experience many of us still expect, we expect to be talked to by an “expert”. Well guess what? That approach is so old school and educationally limiting it’s time we changed our values, or our beliefs on how education can be delivered, and general information.

I’m speaking as a convert mind, if you read my blog a bit you’ll know that I am primarily an educational technologist, ok so one who has had to learn online marketing, branding and SEO through running a successful online business, but at the heart my core is one of an educational technologist.

Sometimes we reach milestones in our lives, or crossroads where significant experiences change our direction forever, and one of those crossroads for me was completing my Masters of Open and Distance Education way back in 2000, abbreviated to MA ODE (Open).

I studied that programme with the IET over three years part time, and in an online mode. So back in 97 we were a buzzing virtual community located globally and sensing something big was coming, and of course it did. We studied concepts years ago concerning social networks and knowledge nodes, we read material which challenged the very notion of what education should be, we debated social interaction in cyberspace (as it was known then), we enthused about the transparency that technology can yield, and the changing dynamic of teacher and student, the power shifts in a learning relationship.

We did so much brain buzzing that it had a fundamental impact on me which changed my outlook forever, and more importantly enabled me to “give-up” the notion that I had to be an “expert” delivering knowledge. We invested brain energy and practise into words such as “constructivism”, and “heutogogy”, all beautiful words which place the learner at the centre of discovery and the teacher as a “guide on the side” a person who creates scaffolding for the learner, but never “spoon feeds”, never has a notion of having to transfer HER opinion, NO the learner must construct their own learning and assumptions.

It is with background that I enthused to Charlie, in the hope Charlie will also find great richness in “giving-up” the teacher power struggle. It is with this background I tell you that study is a good thing, providing you find an “open” approach.

Have you experienced the open approach, maybe you do it every day of your life but just never assumed it was open education?

Dont You Like Meeting People

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk recently that some people think it is hard to meet people they chat with online, in the real world, or to use the correct term Face To face (f2f).

I disagree with this, providing you are yourself online and offline and make no disernable distinction between the two, if you do this may not work.

Here are some ways you can in fact get off your arse and meet people.

  1. Join the Social Media Mafia, it has a presence in three places currently:
  1. Using a social network create an event, a local event close to you and invite a handful of your online friends, if they live an extra long way away make the effort and travel an hour or so on the train, it will be worth it.
  2. If you do not have friends in your social network who are local, search for them, actively seek out people in your geo area and make them friends.
  3. When creating your event give it a theme, give it something everyone can relate to, a commonality if you will.
  4. Document your event with blogs and pictures turn it into a “club”

Ok, so not everyone is a doer or a leader to organise such things, but if you are not that way inclined have a look around at some of the online tools, Upcoming is a great one for starters.

Break your comfort zone, everyone is a little shy, but by being that little bit bolder you will reap dividends and make lots of new friends, I know I have.

I used to be so shy.

What Does Chris Hambly Do

Some of you already know some of this but not all of it, and some of you do not know this but may have had some clues, I have been excited at times and have been dropping hints. It’s time to “spill the beans” and share exactly what’s going on.

I received an unsolicited approach in the last quarter of 07 for a possible partnership/merger between my established distance learning portal Audiocourses.com and the global face-to-face educational provider SAE Institute.

After various negotiations we have now struck a deal and I have signed on the dotted the line, so to speak.

SAE was established in 1976 and now operates over 50 institutions in 21 countries around the globe. SAE has an exceptionally strong brand name in the field of sound engineering and music production, and also more recently, film making, games, and other media related disciplines. If you are a musician or budding sound engineer/studio technologist etc, this is unquestionably “the” brand, SAE is in fact also the world’s largest media education provider, fact.

Audiocourses.com is a pioneering distance learning portal working at the cutting-edge of educational technology since 2000. The portal has graduated students from most corners of the English speaking world, it is a specialist e-learning internet school, with vast experience and proven results. Considerable credibility has been established and the site is dominant in most areas of its core business.

Putting these two cultures together then and you can imagine the possibilities, exciting times ahead with enormous potentials.

Personally I am very excited by this deal, it is the coming of age of my company, something I started on the kitchen table and have shed pints of sweat over, uncountable sleepless nights and all the rest of that stuff you need to get your baby going. I’m chuffed!

So what will I be doing?

Primarily I will continue managing Audiocourses.com and with that comes the integration of the SAE Graduate College. I will also be engaged in helping restructure the SAE network of websites and market the online presence of the SAE brand worldwide.

These are huge projects requiring heaps of project management along with various milestones and launches and exciting strategies. Naturally I hope to share some of this with you as I work through it.

All of this will be carried out by my new-media web marketing consultancy company Audana, which some of you may recall carried out work for Crayon and Coca-Cola as well as other great clients through 07. Audana will grow steadily and aggressively extend its client base through 08.

Watch out for the official press releases soon.

Can’t wait to get stuck in, wish me luck!

10 Things That Will Aid Your Web Business

These are my 140 characters or less web bizz tips for the week, that I first post on Twitter, then blog here.

Let me know if you want something expanded by leaving a comment.

1. A prospect needs to sense credibility before making a buying decision, credibility is built up overtime, no short cut.

2. Build mechanisms to bring prospects back. Newsletters and free courses work well, so do forums and other interactive social elements.

3. Use persuasive copy which reinforces the user benefits, not how great you or product is. How will your product benefit a persons life?

4. Get a dedicated IP, forget shared hosting. Make sure your ISP gives you an IP address which is not appearing on blacklists or such.

5. Build own email lists, social media sites are good but you need your OWN, with your own privacy policy in place, own your data.

6. Check your site load speed, if it is less that ultra rapid you will be loosing surfers period.

7. Have more text than pretty pictures, search engines can’t understand pretty pictures, but they love text, like a hungry pac man.

8. Actively seek out in-bound links, make it part of your weekly routine, ensure the target keyword phrase is in the anchor text.

9. Don’t waste your time with time wasters, are you here to work or fuck about?

10. Publish content daily ensuring that the url, title and H1 are the keywords you are targeting.

Stay tuned for more tips, you can always subscribe to my feed with your email address, put it in the wee box on the right.

10 Steps To A Successful Web Business

Ronna turned me on to this idea of posting some tips about how to be successful without launching a marketing blog. I twittered these really quickly and it seems they were popular, which means I should blog that and share it with you too.

1. create an infinite responder series of tips.. as a means of capturing a prospects email address.

2. Visit on topic forums in your niche(s) and become an authority in that channel.

3. actively take part in helping people find job through networks like LinkedIn, especially in your field.

4. publish a few ebooks which a price of zero attached, and encourage them to be distributed.

5. email is still THE method for the masses and will be in future. Run a newsletter, targetting your prospects as tightly as possible

6. pay close attention to SEO, and sift through your site access logs, build content around what people are searching you for.

7. say NO a lot to link exchanges, out-bound links to bad neighborhoods will cripple you

8. invest in a dedicated server with 24/7 live support

9. have tiered products and prices, and up-sale all the way from the free ebooks to the crown jewels.. slow buy in.

10. don’t become a snob or fool yourself into thinking you are an expert, you are not. Influence doesn’t carry far.. google does

Eight Random Things About Me Part 1

This is a post which I picked on from from Thayer and as she tagged and made me accountable I had to oblige.

I like the idea of stating a few random things about, the indulging with you, and sharing, so here we go:

1. I’m not a fan of dogs. It might be selfish, it might not be, but I don’t “get” the whole dog-love thing. Why would anyone wish to be tied to taking a dog for a crap every day? What’s the return, what’s the benefit?

2. I love to run. I have run all my life sometimes miles and miles a week, though these days I tend to go about 3 times a week and about 5 miles at a time. I did start recording many of my runs recently and called it Running Man Radio, though I’m getting bored of that and I’m enjoying my own space again without you listening.

3. I use to play rugby semi-professionally. Yeah I know, rugby, real mans sport!

4. I do most of the cooking within my own family. This comes from having a VERY good cook in own my mother and sister (both amazing) and also having lived in Italy for a total of about 5 years, where eating is a religion, and eating slowly with friends.

5. I’ve been working on the web since about 95, and would consider myself very conversant at using tools to build a virtual community, that’s been my core business since 2000. Social media has been what I’ve done for that long.

6. I’ve played guitar in many bands ranging from punk to jazz and some candy pop in between, I also love my nylon string hand-built Spanish guitar.

7. Whilst I speak some practical Italian I excel at swearing in the lingo and I’m a dab hand at Italian gesticulation too.

8. I’m not very hairy and it is all dead straight.

And there you go.

As I’ve enjoyed that I will repeat the process, do enter your email address and subscribe to get my blog musings in your box as and when.

UPDATE: Here is where I tag people, chop chop now your turn, and leave a comment when you#ve done it!

SAMISMAIL
Eaon Pritchard
Jason Jarrett
Nicholas Butler
Julie Joyce
Gary Day
Julia Roy
Doug Haslam