Duran Duran were Gods in the eighties. Thirty years later they are a little long in the tooth and past their sell by date. Right? Sure they’ve had a few tunes over the years but how do you attract a new younger audience? How do you reinvent yourself without alienating your loyal customers.
Welcome to the world of social media and the power of celebrity in today’s age. Some clever Marketing person added two and two togther and came up with a very novel idea. It of course helps if you are married to a supermodel, but nonetheless this is powerful stuff.
Girl Panic features five of the biggest (former) supermodels posing as members of the band. It is very cleverly shot, brilliantly cast, (Simon Le Bon played by Naomi Campbell is immense), funny, sharp, pokes a lot of fun and shows off the DD brand very well. It’s cliche heaven in a spinal tap sort of way.
And the result?
4 million YouTube hits! That figure in itself is staggering! But the momentum and publicity that the band has now realised on their upcoming tour is immense. DD are now cool again. They are right on pulse and using the right channels to communicate to a global audience.
How can you reinvent your own brand?
Issued on behalf of eircom Northern Ireland and Digital Northern Ireland 2020
9 November 2011
Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster today (9 November 2011) called for businesses across Northern Ireland to engage more and utilise vital technology that could secure future economic growth.
Speaking ahead of this month’s Virtual ICT Week powered by eircom Northern Ireland, the Minister said that it was fundamental that companies, both large and small, leverage the world-class technology and communications infrastructure available in Northern Ireland, and urged businesses to take part in the innovative programme of events being delivered by Digital Northern Ireland 2020.
Arlene Foster said, “Northern Ireland has a world-class digital platform and local, national and international businesses have a fantastic opportunity to utilise this network to improve their businesses.
“Virtual ICT week is a great vehicle for Digital NI 2020 to raise awareness of the potential of this infrastructure. It is encouraging to see so many local businesses given freely of their time to collaboratively work together to help inform others.”
Digital NI 2020, funded by InvestNI, was set up in 2010. Its vision is to fully exploit the benefits of a digital platform for the Northern Ireland economy to maximise economic growth, and achieve social uplift and the consequent improvement in quality of life for all of its citizens. By the end of this decade, Northern Ireland will be the world’s preferred destination for knowledge economy investment.
Virtual ICT Week powered by eircom NI is the perfect platform for Digital NI 2020 to deliver an awareness programme to as many people as possible via the Internet.
Dr Sinclair Stockman, Executive Director of Digital NI 2020, said, “Free and practical advice on how businesses can use this wealth of technology to secure business growth will be discussed daily over a week long series of webinars.
“Five FREE webinars will give local, national and international businesses in addition to the civil sector, citizens and government the chance to ‘stretch for excellence’, learn about ‘smart cities and communities’, ‘building the cloud’, ‘business opportunities’ and ‘digital benefits to our citizens’.
“It is crucial that we fully embrace the information and communication technologies available to us.”
Darren Lemon, General Manager of eircom UK and member of the Digital NI 2020 steering group, said “Technology is a powerful tool in business today and can help companies be more effective, improve customer service, access new markets and achieve growth which is vital in winning new business and attracting valuable investment.
“Working together through a collaborative network such as Digital NI 2020, we can help businesses across Northern Ireland exploit technology to change the way their business is done and create opportunity and employment.
“At eircom NI we have seen how our clients have realised benefits from digital technologies. Virtual ICT week powered by eircom NI will allow us to collectively communicate to others how they should be using this technology.”
To register for Virtual ICT Week powered by eircom NI visit http://www.dni2020.com/virtual-ict-week
Good article in Newsweek. Well when I say good, I mean bad, in fact almost depressing.
It has come to this. A year after rescuing Greece from default, Europe is staring into the abyss. The bailout has proved insufficient. Greece needs more money, and it can’t borrow from private markets, where it faces interest rates as high as 25 percent. But Europe’s governments are reluctant to advance more funds unless other lenders — banks, bondholders — absorb some losses by writing down their debts. This, however, would constitute a default, risking a broader banking crisis that might torpedo Europe’s fragile recovery in France, Germany and elsewhere. There is no easy escape.
What’s called a “debt crisis” is increasingly a political and social crisis. Looming over the financial complexities is the broader question of the ability — or willingness — of weak debtor nations to endure growing hardship to service their massive government debts. Already, unemployment is 14.1 percent in Greece, 14.7 percent in Ireland, 11.1 percent in Portugal and 20.7 percent in Spain. What are the limits of austerity? Steep spending cuts and tax increases do curb budget deficits, but they also create deep recessions, lowering tax revenue and offsetting some of the deficit improvement.
Just how long this grinding process can continue is unclear. In Spain, the incumbent socialist party lost big in recent elections. Popular unrest persists in Greece amid signs — reports The Post’s Anthony Faiola — of a “resurgence of an anarchist movement” there and elsewhere.
Some causes of Europe’s plight are well-known: the harsh recession following the 2008-09 financial crisis; aging populations coupled with costly welfare states. But there’s also another, less recognized culprit: the euro, the single currency now used by 17 countries.
Launched in 1999, it aimed to foster economic and political unity. Economic growth would improve. Costly currency conversions would cease; money would flow smoothly across borders to the best profit opportunities. Using euros — and not marks or lira — Germans, Italians and others would increasingly consider themselves “Europeans.” For a while, it seemed to succeed. In the euro’s first decade, jobs in countries using the common currency increased by 16 million.
It was a mirage. The euro helped create the crisis and has made its resolution harder, as a new report from the International Monetary Fund shows. For starters, the euro fostered a credit bubble that led to booms in housing, borrowing and consumer spending. When each country had its own currency, the country’s central bank (its Federal Reserve) regulated local interest rates and credit conditions. With the euro, the European Central Bank (ECB) assumed that job. But one policy didn’t fit all: Interest rates suited to Germany and France were too low for “periphery” countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain).
“Financial markets” — private investors — compounded the problem by assuming that the euro’s creation reduced risk. Weak countries would be protected by the strong. Money poured into the periphery countries. There was a huge compression of interest rates. In 1997, rates on 10-year Greek government bonds averaged 9.8 percent, compared with 5.7 percent for similar German bonds. By 2003, Greek bonds fetched 4.3 percent, just above the 4.1 percent of German bonds.
“The markets failed. All this would not have occurred if banks in Germany and France had not lent so much,” says economist Desmond Lachman of the American Enterprise Institute. “It was like the U.S. housing market.” Both American and European banks went overboard in relaxing credit standards.
Now that the credit bubble has burst, the euro impedes recovery. One way countries revive from financial crises is by depreciating their currencies. This makes exports and local tourism cheaper, creating some job gains that cushion the ill effects of austerity elsewhere. But latched to the euro, Greece and other vulnerable debtors forfeit this safety valve.
Greece’s debt is now approaching an unsustainable 160 percent of its annual economy (gross domestic product). If it defaulted, investors might dump bonds of other weak debtors for fear that they, too, would default. That could send interest rates soaring and saddle European banks with huge losses. At the end of 2010, Europe’s banks had about $1.3 trillion of loans and investments — both governmental and private — in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, reports the Institute of International Finance, an industry research group. A banking crisis would imperil economic recovery.
So Europe is playing for time. It’s struggling to delay any Greek default long enough for other vulnerable countries to demonstrate that they can handle their debts. The very process makes the euro — contrary to original intent — a source of contention, as nations shift blame and costs to others. Given Europe’s huge debts, even the holding action may fail. It may merely postpone a broader crisis. “They may dodge this bullet,” says Lachman, “but not the next.”
A farm in northern Germany has been identified as the most likely source of many of the infections in the E. coli outbreak that has left 22 people dead.
Apart from the obvious tradgey facing Germans right now there is an interesting lesson to be learned.This story broke several days ago, linked to imported Spanish cucumbers and tomatoes.
Spain has made it clear it will seek damages for what it termed “serious and irreparable” damage to its market after Spanish produce were initially linked to the outbreak. Tens of thousands of kilos of fresh fruit and vegetables in the country are being destroyed as consumers across Europe and beyond shun these staples for fear of contracting the potentially deadly bacteria.
There are no official figures, but producers’ associations in Spain estimate that losses are running at around 200m euros ($290m; £180m) a week nationwide.
But as soon as Spanish cucumbers were given the all clear earlier this week, the desperate search for the origin of the outbreak spread across the continent. Spain’s problem immediately became Europe’s problem.
This fact was brought home in no uncertain terms when the Russian health service banned all vegetable imports from the entire European Union.
Total vegetable exports to Russia are estimated at some 600m euros a year, with Spain, France, Germany and Poland the biggest exporters.
Several other countries have also curtailed their imports of European vegetables.
And only when the losses are calculated can the thorny issue of compensation be addressed. This has led to the rather bizarre situation where farmers are continuing to harvest their produce even though they know full well it will be destroyed.
So here is the question? What do you do when this tragegy first arises, you need to close it down ASAP, but you also need to make a call based on concrete evidence, otherwise the knock on is monumental. Aside from the human life aspect, the economic consequences are disasterous. My guess is that you will shun German cucumbers for several months now, no matter where they are from.
There is no-one more disappointed than me to see Rory’s melt-down. He’s a young guy who will bounce back, but the one question that gets me is, where was the caddie when all this was unfolding? JP Fitzgerald is a seasoned bag-carrier. He should have been able to talk to his player, advise, settle him down. Even after his triple at 10, McIllroy still had a chance. With 13 and 15 offering relatively easy birds, he could have still factored. Instead he let one poor hole dictate the rest of his round. Any caddie worth his salt should have sorted him out. Maybe not, just frustrating!!
Just imagine the dialog between his and JP from the 10th tee..
From the 10th tee, player and caddie.
Rory - I fancy ripping the driver here JP.
JP - No-one else has hit driver here all day son. Maybe a 3 wood down the right side, wee touch of draw.
Rory - Nah JP, I fancy smashing it way down there. A wee sand-wedge in from there. Sure what have I to lose?
JP - You’re right Rors. Bomb away.
Rory shanks off 10…
JP (under his breath) Fxxx me!
Rory - What the Fxxx was that JP? Where did it go?
JP - Hmmmmm, left maybe?
Rory - Did it hit the Butler Cabin?
JP - Hold on I’ll check my GPS. Augusta, Georgia right? I’m not getting a reading for that part of the course son. I know your game, you fancy popping into the Butler Cabin to try on the jacket first. Nice one son. But I think you still have the play the back nine son first before they give you it.
Rory - Ha ha JP. Good one. Fxxx me, that’s embarassing. I’m going down the toilet now…
JP - Yeah, I know. But sure we can pick up a drink over there and check how Arsenal did in the footie.
Rory (from Butler Cabin) - Where’s the green JP? How far?
JP - Round the corner and up the hill, hold on that’s the 11th. No, right up the hill over there! About 390 I think.
Rory - Do you think I can hit the green? 3 wood?
JP - Sure, why not, give it a rip.
Rory - What about the trees?
JP - Ahem, good point, maybe hit out, sure you’re the man. You decide.
Rory - Right, I’ll snap hook it round those trees.
JP - Righto Rorio, you’re the man!
Rory (standing over his third) - So what do you reckon now JP?
JP - 310 to the pin Big lad. Your call…
Rory - How about I rip a 3 wood in there. If I slash at it I think I can reach the green and still make a four.
JP - Wow, that would be cool. Never seen anyone hit the green from here before. Remember you’ll have to take a full rip at her lad! No holding back now…
Rory (THRASH) - Ahh Fxxx JP, I hooked the arse off it!
JP - Never mind Rors. We’re getting closer to the green.
Rory (under the trees) - What do you reckon now JP?
JP - Fxxed if I know Rors. You da man! Hack it up there lad, nice high one and hope for the best. Ignore those overhanging branches sure.
CRACK off tree.
Rory - Fxxx sake JP, I’m going into melt down here. What do I do now?
JP - Fxxxed if I know lad. You’re on your own son, I just carry the sticks.
Rory (standing on 11th tee after triple bogey) - What now JP?
JP - Sure give her a lash son. I still get my 10% right? Sure I have plenty of balls in the bag, so no Tin Cup for you.
Rory - (after 3 putting 11th) Fxxx JP, that’s me. I’m shaking like a shitting dog now. What do I do now?
JP - Don’t worry son. Sure Tiger’s ripping it up and there’s a bunch of other lads that are playing great too. You’ve no chance now. See if you can squeeze a top 10 there. Where did I park my car?
Rory - Righto JP. Thanks for all your help.
JP - No worries Rors. You da man!
So we will run out of oil by 2050, or maybe 2060. Natural gas will be used up as well. What are we going to do then? Renewable energy including wind, solar and tidal will only scratch the surface of our ever expanding needs and it appears that nuclear is still not safe enough (as Japanese reactors are currently on the point of post-earthquake melt-down).
One wonders if the ever increasing number of natural disasters we are witnessing is a signal from our planet that it is reaching breaking point. The world’s population continues to grow at a quarter of a million people per day, increasing the consumption of energy. So as our hunger for energy increase our little planet is starting to creak and groan.
Collective governments are looking to impose carbon taxes and hike up fuel rates. As Ecologist William Rees states, “To avoid a serious energy crisis in coming decades, citizens in the industrial countries should actually be urging their governments to come to international agreement on a persistent, orderly, predictable, and steepening series of oil and natural gas price hikes over the next two decades.”
But in all honesty this is just a delaying tactic, because ultimately we will still run out. Sure we can get more efficient at conserving our energy usage. We can get better at storing energy. We can turn to economists to ration it. But that still doesn’t answer the biggest issue, where is it all going to come from in 30 years’ time. We need cheap, plentiful, clean and safe energy and we need it soon.
Is the answer nuclear fusion? According to some there is simply no other way to deliver the trillions of watts needed to make life comfortable for all the citizens of our planet. It’s complicated physics stuff but our scientists have made progress.
Essentially it means making our own stars, replicating the “sun in a box”. Jet, the Joint European Torus, routinely heats a cocktail of different forms of hydrogen known as deuterium and tritium to well over one hundred million degrees and initiates nuclear fusion at a rate far in excess of that in the centre of the Sun. It’s too small to produce meaningful amounts of electricity, but it is a prototype for a much bigger and potentially commercial design called Iter, now under construction in southern France.
It’s still some way away but it needs to succeed and we need to get behind it. Otherwise just imagine yourself in the year 2030 with no energy or energy so expensive it will start wars.
So the vacuum hose on the Dyson was knackered. And Mrs. Redsails was giving me earache to get it sorted. So the obvious place to go was online.
It was a DC-07 model, so by typing model number and part, I was presented with hundreds of choices on price. I even clicked on one site which played a 60 sec. vid on how to actually replace the hose, turns out it was very easy, even for me.
The official part from Dyson was £22.50, but I was able to source one for £6. Must be dodgy, right? Well I was able to read several review s of this supplier before deciding. Lots of people had bought the same part and had all had a great experience. The generic OEM part was an exact replica of the Dyson version. They were offering a full money back satisfaction guarantee.
So I paid on-line and got an e-mail confirmation of order and receipt instantly. The whole process lasted about 5 mins from start to finish. I ordered it at 1.30pm on a Friday, and it arrived with the post on Saturday (£3 P&P). It took me less than 60 seconds to replace. Job done. How cool was that?
So why am I writing about this? Technology has become such an enabler these days. I educated myself, sourced and verified a supplier with a specific part number, purchased it and received the goods all simply and effortlessly. My only concern was that the part wouldn’t fit, but even if I had bought it in a shop, I would have faced that issue (unless I had brought the vaccum with me!).
The £3 I paid for P&P was probably less that I would have paid in diesel and parking, there was no queue, no clueless sales person. All in all it was a good experience. This is the present, not just the future.
And another year comes quietly to a close. 2010 seems to have flown by. In fact if you blinked you could have missed the decade that will be known as the noughties. As we “moesy on into the Tens”, I’ll take a look at the year that was.
Let’s start with sport. Who can forget Spain’s performance in the World Cup in South Africa, deserved winners. And as for England’s performance in 2018 World Cup bid as they were out corrupted by Russia, who would have guessed that? The classic post match whinging was a given, “so unfair!” And as for Qatar for 2022, lets’ just stop the chat right there.
The Premiership must be the most open in years with five teams in with a shout. Even Man City have an opportunity to top the league for the first time in 88 years over Christmas. Refreshing stuff unless you are a Liverpool supporter. Well at least those bastards Hicks and Gillette are gone. Good riddance.
In terms of golfing highlights GMAC’s performance on the links, culminating in the first Irishman to win the US Open. As I type the US Open trophy is less than 3 miles from my door, classic. As Lee climbed to the World Golfing #1, we saw a winless Tiger at odds with himself and the world. It would be nice to see him roar again next season, the game needs him.
In politics this was the year that the Torries got back into power with a little help from the Liberal Democrats. And the timing was spot on. As Labour vacated the corridors of power, the UK found out that it was effectively bankrupt. New words and phrases like “austerity measures”, “swingeing cuts” and “the reality of the situation” were being bandied about by politicians in a cliché bingo while they themselves are being scrutinised and haunted by expense scandals. And the first axe to fall is on our students who are now set to get hammered, and for once we are not talking booze. Fees to go up to £9K per year will clean out most impoverished scholars for the next two decades upon actually getting a job. How many of us received our education for free on the back of our parent’s taxes. It doesn’t feel right as we spend billions on “crucial areas” such as defence.
And if you thought Northern Ireland was left on a sour note, take a look south of the border. Ireland plc is left destitute, as the wheels spectacularly came off the Celtic Tiger bandwagon. As bankers still count their bonuses Ireland has to reach out to Uncle EU for a bail-out. Seems to all boil down to collective greed, mismanagement and corruption. But I feel that this is a necessary correction, the country had sort of “got away with itself”. And did I mention the child abuse scandal that has rocked an entire religion and country?
Obama’s honeymoon as the New Messiah is now well and truly over. The domestic economy, healthcare and foreign policy are all dragging down the dream. And on the subject of “well and truly”, 2010 showed how a Blue Chip company can almost go under only two weeks after publishing billions of $s of profits. A Hannibal Lecter health and safety policy driven by greed mixed with a micro shallow Corporate Governance strategy was surely the tin of “wise up” we all needed. While the Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover, BP will continue generating multi-billion profits. And the spotlight will simply move onto the culprit of the next ecological disaster.
And as we sit snugly in our homes the weather once again is ravaging us. How wet was this summer and how cold is this winter? Record low temperatures and more snow than I can ever remember. The DRD and local councils fight it out over the meaning of liability to stop us falling on our arses as we try and negotiate the pavements. Surely we must turn the tide and break the cycle in 2011. We deserve a good summer!
This year we saw the growth of social networking. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn have surely changed our lives forever. Not having a mobile within 3 feet of our body feels like losing a limb. Tweating about the size of your poo or how many people you are connected to on LinkedIn are now accepted norms. The iPad and iPhone have set the standing for a next generation of devices. But where does it all stop? Connectivity inside the body?
And networks like WikiLeaks have sprung up to expose governments, nations and Jullian Assange’s sexual preferences for Swedish women. The web is merging with newspapers., TV and Radio. Information is now cheap and readily accessible. Where do we stop?
We had the Haitian and Pakistan natural disasters to remind us that there is life outside our front door and that we are generally in a better place than some of our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet, but who can forget the hope generated by the Chilean miners? The world focused on thirty three men in some obscure part of Chile stuck in a hole 3 miles below the surface for almost 70 days. Something we will remember for a long time. And the survivors are now enjoying celebrity fame running in marathons and attending Man Utd matches!
The media highlights were Corrie’s 50th birthday, Avatar’s bum numbing spectacular, Matt’s win in X-Factor and “Stuarts Baggs the Brand” in The Apprentice. The Jungle and Dancing gigs never got onto my radar. No new bands spring to mind, only the old ones with Take That. Merging back with the Robbie Williams empire goes down as a highlight of the year, really? As music is now measured by downloads it’s hard to take the #number 1 slot seriously. But has pop made a revival? Guitar / Rock bands have crumbled and artists like Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, Rihanna and Justin Bieber are stealing our kids’ pocket money. But it’s nothing to write home about.
And who won’t be around in 2011? A year that avoided major celebrity deaths, only ones that come to mind are Tony Curtis and Dennis Hoppa. Surely there were ones I must have missed. Looks like the Grim Reaper (sponsored by Hello!) had an easy time of it.
In scientific terms new stars were discovered, major progress in CERN might reinvent the way we thought we came about and advances in medicine continue apace. Apparently the world’s first ‘quantum machine’ - a device that moves according to laws that govern the subatomic world - has been named as the biggest scientific breakthrough of the year. The machine topped the list of the most significant developments in science in 2010 along with the sequencing of Neanderthal DNA, advances in HIV prevention and the synthetic genome.
In terms of stats there are now almost 7 billion of us happily living on this “wee world” of ours. There are twice as many people being born as there are dying,. We’ve made nearly 50m cars this year and nearly 250m computers. There are more overweight people in the world than hungry people. We have only 15K days until our oil runs out! Some food for thought.
And we saw Northern Ireland now being digitally connected to the outside world through a transatlantic pipe. There is more glass in the ground in Northern Ireland than you can shake a stick at. Will we be able to take advantage of this and become a leading digital economy? And can we convince the powers to be that dropping corporation tax to give us parity with Republic of Ireland is a good thing that will create much needed jobs? Hold on, it’s Norther Ireland politicians I’m talking about.
And will electric cars still be a vision of the future? As charging points make an appearance in Northern Ireland, the infrastructure starts to build but capital costs are still too high to own your eCar. Only 10% of the energy we use is generated from renewable sources. When fossil fuels run out, have we got a plan?
And what does 2011 hold for us? A royal wedding for starters. So have a good one and peace to all.
So it’s all about collaboration these days, right? But what exactly does that mean? I was talking to a colleague who mentioned that if you Tweet #uksnow and put a score in on your tweet such as 2/10 (not much snow) or 9/10 (its chucking it down) it gets fed live into a website www.uksnowmap.com. Very cool indeed, and I don’t just mean the weather.
So check out this site. You are getting a real time update on the weather across the country from users. Ok, so it is not perfect but with a little imagination you can quickly build up an idea of its potnetial.
So why do people collaborate. Well folk love to talk about the weather, usually by way of a moan. Too hot, too cold, too wet etc. So rather than just chat, they are now starting to use social media to voice it. So if there is a way to track that collective voice and look for patterns, trends, then you have a finger on the UK pulse.
Imagine peiople tweating on rail transport, elections, football scores, etc. Given the everyday access to mobile devices and the phenomena called Twitter, data harvesters can quickly spot ways to gather trending material and statistics.
Think of the music industry deciding on the marketability of a new artist. Sending people a track to listen to and then getting real-time feedback via Twitter on an agreed scoring mechanism quickly gets peoples opinions across regions, a powerful management decision tool.
Think about X-Factor, where regional voting makes a difference. Again using geo information researchers can quickly gather patterns across the country.
It’s an exciting time to see where this all takes us. Obviously there is the Big Brother Syndrome, but aside from the sinister paranoia, the marketing possiblities are endless.
I met Sinclair Stockman the other day for coffee. Sinclair is an interesting guy, former CTO of BT. He is going to chair NI’s latest steering group DNI2020. With backing from InvestNI this group will comprise a broad membership of representatives from industry, government, education and science.
Digital Northern Ireland 2020 will fully exploit the benefits of a digital platform for the Northern Ireland economy and the consequent improvement in quality of life for all of its citizens.
It’s mission is to engage with stakeholders (business, community, citizens and government) and focus the energy of key players and influencers to transform Northern Ireland into an exemplar of the 21st Century Global knowledge economy and make it a preferred destination for inward investment that exploit key elements of this initiative.
Anyway more details in due course, but Sinclair’s vision is interesting.With all the infrastructure that has recently been invested in “Norn Iron”, both externally with Hibernia’s Transatlantic fibre optic pipeline and internally with BT’s Infinity roll-out, all of a sudden we have got connectivity that is unsurpassed.
We could be the first country in the world where every citizen has access to broadband. Yes, that’s Northern Ireland!!
Sinclair has a useful analogy to this infrastructure. It is “the invisible infrastructure that makes things work”, the “blood system within our body”, “a global highway connecting the world”.
The question is how do we exploit this? How do we leverage it to the benefit of all the citizens of “our wee country”?
More to follow!