Posts in Category: waffle

follower experiment

I’m conducting an experiment where I am following the recent followers of Twitter users who have a very high follow/follower count.

My hypothesis is that a large percentage of those that follow back to high follower/following accounts do so just to boost their follower numbers and don’t care for the content or opportunity to interact.

To prove this point I have setup a Twitter account for my dog ‘Tyzer‘. He doesn’t really tweet much except for the odd selfie and woof.

Lets see how long it takes to get some followers!

Don’t waste your energy going against Amazon..

An interesting debate started this morning on Twitter between Dealer group heads David Langdown (XPD) and Steve Harrop (OFDA). Steve was pressing that the industry should stand up against Amazon and their tax avoidance tactics.

Whilst there is no doubting that Amazon have a ‘creative’ approach to how they pay tax which allows them to pay less, it is not why Amazon are successful. The key to Amazon’s success is in their customer experience. Don’t get me wrong, good pricing is no doubt a part of that, but a company the size of Amazon could and would still be successful even if they paid higher tax than UK SME’s.

Ask yourself what the last thing you bought on Amazon was. Then ask why you bought it from Amazon? Was it because they came up first on the search engine? or emailed you about it? or because you know you always find great stuff on Amazon?… When you went to checkout the last item you bought did you pause and check the web for a better price? I doubt you did. The reason you’re buying from Amazon is because you know you get what you want when you want it how you want it.

The conversation I presume stemmed from the concern that Amazon who have a wide range of Office Products for sale on their platform are a major threat to office products dealers. That is a fair concern and one that should be clear for anyone to see. What is not seen as clearly by dealers is why they are a threat. A majority of comments I hear from inside the industry suggest that Amazon is a threat because they are selling at a low cost.

Amazon occupy the first 2 organic search results for '5 Star Lever Arch File' on Google.

Amazon occupy the first 2 organic search results for ’5 Star Lever Arch File’ on Google.


Clicking through on the first result shows the product being sold by a dealer called 'Fuzion' who's web site is here:

Clicking through on the first result shows the product being sold by a dealer called ‘Fuzion’. Any dealer can sell on Amazon if they make the effort.

“So what should dealers do? Stand by and let Amazon take over?” No of course not. Dealers should embrace Amazon the very same way that the book industry has.

If you look back 10-15 years ago the book industry was going through the same pains the office products industry currently is. Amazon was the big bad wolf that was coming to eat their lunch. They tried (and failed) to stand up against Amazon and those that exhausted their energy doing so are no longer around to tell the tale (Borders).

There's a close analogy between the actions taken by Meg Ryan in the comedy "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan's independent book store comes under threat by Tom Hank's 'Fox & Sons' giant book shop.

There’s a close analogy between the actions taken by Meg Ryan in the comedy “You’ve Got Mail” where Meg Ryan’s independent book store comes under threat by Tom Hank’s ‘Fox & Sons’ giant book shop.

Today Amazon has a thriving book industry within its platform. Independent book sellers have a platform to sell books online that ensure traffic directly to them. They just have to get 2 things right: Price and the Service. Amazon does the rest.

My opinion is that the office products industry should save their energy going up against Amazon and use it to improve the industries approach to Amazon. For a start lets empower the industry to ensure their product data is of a calibre worthy of Amazons criteria. Then lets create a need for a software provider to create a platform for dealers to manage their Amazon business. Outside of the office products industry there are hundreds of these platforms. So who’s going to make the step to bring one in?

Zero Success – How Coke’s new Coke Zero campaign backfired thanks to social media

Coca Cola, who need no introduction, have been running a tv advertising campaign to boost awareness of the ‘Great Coke Taste’ of their Coke Zero product.

The advert shows a food and beverage assistant at a cinema pouring drinks of Coke Zero and covering up the Coke Zero cup with a Coca Cola cup fooling the buyers into thinking they’ve got normal Coca Cola, when in fact they have Coke Zero. The ad then cuts to the cinema where the assistant comes back on screen to inform the audience that they are actually drinking Coke Zero and not Coca Cola.

The idea of the ad is to make people believe that Coke Zero is indistinguishable in taste to Coca Cola only it has zero calories.

However, this morning it has backfired due to a hashtag that appears to have been started by comedian Al Murray of ‘#CokeKnob’. Al and several other tweeters have taken displeasure to the advert and as a result are causing some publicity for Coke Zero that Coca Cola probably hadn’t anticipated.

There seems to be two main issues here:

1) People that bought Coca Cola and were served Coke Zero have been miss sold to. I know it’s obviously a staged tv advert but I think that is what gets on peoples nerves that Coca Cola is perhaps suggesting that they’re daft enough to believe it’s real.

2) Apparently some people can be allergic to the contents of Coke Zero and not Coca Cola so this sets a dangerous precedent that it’s ok to swap someones drink to test whether they notice.

On the surface this looks like a bit of a Coke’up (see what I did there?) by Coca Cola. But as is often the case with these things it could turn out that Coca Cola aren’t that bothered, as the saying goes ‘all publicity is good publicity’.

It’s all going off on Twitter. Below are a few select tweets that made me chuckle. You can see the rest here:





Why it’s daft to base decisions on headline statistics..

Two part post on why you should look deeper into data than just the headlines.

Part 1:

The tech industry has been kicking up a fuss about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer demanding that Yahoo employees who previously worked from home report into the office.

I’m not going to pretend I can offer any more insightful debate on why this is a good or a bad move by Mayer because frankly people with far more knowledge of Yahoo have definitely covered it. But, one thing that stands out for me is that apparently Mayer based her decision on how hard the tele-commuting employees were working on data from how often they were logging into Yahoo’s VPN. To base a decision on such high level data as that is in my opinion foolish.

My personal experience is that I work from home and there could be entire days that go by where I don’t log into my work’s internal system. It doesn’t mean I’m not working, it means I’m working on something that doesn’t require me to login.

If you aren’t getting the right results from your staff who are working from home it doesn’t mean you have a bad model it means you have bad people. There’s a difference.

As an employer you limit employing people who can commute easily to an office then you limit the pool in which you can hire talent. If you as an employee limit where you work to an easily commutable distance then you limit the type of company you can work for.

If Meyer had looked at the deeper analytics I am sure she would have found the problem lay with individuals and not the work from home model.

Part 2:

As with all things in tech what’s hot usually transcends into the mainstream, especially with business. Mobile & Social have been hot for years now and they are definitely hot topics in business now too.

That said I’ve lost count of the amount of businesses that have approached me requesting a mobile app for transacting purchases of their products to their customers. These business owners have been fed a diet of mobile buzz words at conferences and have come to the conclusion that they need a mobile app.

It’s important for me to point out at this time that I am not stating that businesses who sell products online shouldn’t be investing in mobile, or at least thinking about it. What I am saying is that these business owners always seem to use one headline statistic to base their decision and that is simply the percentage of World Wide Web traffic that is now made up from mobile devices. The percentage of course is always changing depending on how you compile the statistics but generally it always seems to be at least one 3rd of internet traffic is currently from a mobile device.

So as a owner of a business selling products online of course you are right to want to invest in a mobile app right? Not necessarily. What you should do is firstly base your decision on your own statistics of how many people are viewing your site on a mobile device. If it is as high as the other statistics you read or higher then you are right to consider an app but the big statistic you really need to be looking at is the conversion rate from mobile users of how many people actually buy your products on a mobile app.

If you’re a giant in eCommerce then of course mobile app development is for you. But if selling online is just a part of your business then you should really research whether it is currently a worthy investment carefully. Creating a mobile app will not only require heavy investment of resources to maintain it also. If it isn’t being utilised it’s a waste of resource and money.

I’d recommend checking deeper into your analytics, spot if your customers are buying on their mobile devices. Further still contact your customers and find out if they would use your mobile app.

A provider of software within the industry I work in launched a mobile app platform. The headline statistics they used were based on mobile traffic and not conversions. In the case of this software company they haven’t even perfected their main product let alone their eCommerce product. So to waste resources on an untested channel seems daft.

That’s why the statistics matter!

I’m massively proud of my big bro!

My big brother Roland and his wife Kate bought a beautiful home in the East Yorkshire countryside last year called Saltmarshe Hall. It is a grand house set within beautiful gardens with a tennis court and swimming pool.

As well as living at the house it also to be a business for my sister in law Kate who has 2 young girls and a little boy who is only weeks away from being born. The business is to be for corporate events and weddings.

They hosted their first event on the 23rd a Masquerade Ball in aid of the charity Headway. I attended with my wife Katie and had a superb time.

Here are some photos of the event:

my wife Katie and I

my wife Katie and I

Left to right: Me, Mum, Katie, Roland

Left to right: Me, Mum, Katie, Roland

My brother James and I

My brother James and I

Me, Katie and Roland

Me, Katie and Roland

My Mum and I

My Mum and I

Outside the Hall

Outside the Hall

It turned out to be an absolute fantastic evening and loads of money was raised for charity. I am so incredibly proud of my big bro and sis in law for pulling it off :)


back online..

So after losing control of my own domain name (long story) is back online.

I actually deleted all the old files thinking that I’d not bother with putting this site back online, but I thought I’d put something up as it can be a pretty useful resource for holding things online.

I’m trying to keep everything plain, let’s see how long that lasts :)