Google Firestarters 17 - Content Marketing & Complexity


There can be little doubt that Content Marketing has become a huge area of focus for clients of late. In the work that I've done over the past few years it's been evident that many clients have increased not just the time and attention that they give to content, but also the resourcing. Unsurprisingly, agencies of all types have followed suit and developed more sophisticated content-driven offerings.

Yet with everyone doing it, are we in danger of becoming awash with content? Is quantity trumping quality? Sturgeon’s Law cites that 90% of everything is crap - how do we stop that applying to advertising and content?

For our latest Google Firestarters we'll be considering content, complexity and everything in between with two of the most compelling speakers in advertising and content marketing. 

Dave Trott needs no introduction but is of-course the renowned Creative Director, Campaign columnist and the author of series of books on creativity and advertising including Creative Mischief; Predatory Thinking; and most recently, One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking. After starting his career at BMP Dave founded a number of agencies including GGT, Bainsfair Sharkey Trott and The Gate and is responsible for some of the most memorable campaigns of the last 30 years.

Doug Kessler is probably the best speaker I've ever seen on Content Marketing. He's described on his site as a displaced Yank who started his career at Ogilvy & Mather, New York. Soap and fabric softener bored him rigid so he jumped ship to specialise in B2B and is now a content marketing junkie running content agency Velocity Partners working with clients like Cisco and Kimberley Clark. 

Firestarters will be happening at 6.00pm on Wednesday 16th September at Google HQ in London. As always I have some free guest passes to give away to readers of this blog so if you'd like one, message me direct or leave a comment below.

Performance Firestarters 9: The Power of Feeds


For the ninth in our series of Firestarters events for the Performance Marketing community will be focusing on Feeds and APIs, which are changing the advertising landscape in a unique and potentially powerfully way. As well as talking about how the smartest agencies are using feed data to improve campaign results and bring new levels of contextual relevance to messaging, we'll also thinking about the future and where the application of this kind of data might lead us, including how AI and machine learning might be used to adapt approaches to marketing. So plenty of interesting stuff to talk about, and to help us we have three excellent expert speakers: 

  • Alistair Dent, Head of Product Strategy at iProspect (the UK's largest performance agency)
  • Visar Shabi, CTO at Brainlabs digital, the 'scientific' PPC agency
  • Kris Tait, business director for Croud, one of Google's fastest growing Search agency

The event takes place on September 2nd, 6.00pm at Google Central St Giles, London. I have some free passes to give away to readers of this blog so if you'd like one, message me direct or leave a comment below.

What Network Science Says About Career Success

Thanks to Peter for pointing me at this piece on 'The No.1 Predictor Of Career Success According to Network Science'. Like Peter I'm not a fan of the term 'career success' (nor of over-analysing Steve Jobs) since we might define success in so many different ways, but Michael Simmons makes a powerful point about something that intuitively feels right: being part of a small, closed network where you are connected to people who already know each other is distinctly limiting, whereas being part of a large open network, particularly where you are the link between different clusters of people, is empowering, and a good predictor of success.


Research by Professor Ron Burt at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business indicates that no other factor is more important in predicting career success. What the work shows is that simply having a large network of people you know is not enough - but being a 'broker' between different clusters is enormously powerful: 'What a broker does,' says Burt, 'is make a sticky information market more fluid. Great ideas will never move if we wait for them to be spoken in the same language'.

I think this is  a powerful idea for organisations. I've drawn a lot in the past from the book The Power of Pull, which talks about the idea of 'porous enterprise' - how innovation happens at the edges, how valuable connected employees are in bringing fresh thinking into a company, and how businesses need to focus less on protecting existing 'stocks' of knowledge and more on knowledge flow.

It's comfortable and validating for both individuals and companies to stay within the same groups. It's easy for businesses to become extremely inwardly facing and reward managing upwards rather than connecting outwards. But being able to draw information from diverse clusters, make new connections, introduce new information to different audiences or translate and re-apply knowledge has surely never been more valuable. We talk about the need to get out of our comfort zones as individuals, but companies need to do it too.

Dots Final Line Up


I'm biased (since I'm curating it) but I'm really excited by who we've got speaking at this year's Dots Conference. The final line up has been confirmed and it's ace. The theme is 'Transformation' and we'll be taking several different angles on that including learnings from those who are leading significant change in their organisations (the FT, BBC, Net-a-Porter), inspiring authors who've written about transformation, technologists speaking about how technology reframes our perceptions and our future, and people who've come up with transformational ideas and done something about it. So our line up is:

A trip to the seaside, an amazing venue, great lunch and great speakers. Quite probably the best conference you'll go to all year (but then I'm biased). Spaces are limited but I have some tickets available at a discounted rate of £150 for readers of this blog. Just go here, and use the code 'ODF'. See you there.