The Extensible Self


I'm somewhat biased (since I curated it) but last Friday's Dots Conference, run by the smart folk at Brilliant Noise, was excellent. One of my favourites out of a whole bunch of inspiring and insightful talks came from Stuart Turner, founder of Robots and Cake, who talked about the transformational power of robotics. 

Stuart began losing function in his arms and legs over ten years ago and became a complete quadriplegic when he was 31. But he refused to accept the shrinking world that seemed to present itself to him and hacked together a wide variety of different technologies to help him use his computer, take pictures, create a smart-home and even control a drone remotely through micro-movements. He made a lovely point about how APIs and making technology scriptable and hackable had left the door open just wide enough for him to be adapt technologies to transform his entire life. Technologies that weren't designed with disabled people in mind but that had allowed enough wiggle room, just enough of a crack to let the light in.

Stuart described how flying drones had started to change the way he thought about technology, giving him the feeling of space, control and movement that his body denies him. Something he called the 'extensible self'. The idea of physically interacting with the world remotely. The fact that visiting the National Museum of Australia by using their robot can be easier than going to the end of his road. Disabled people, he said, have grown used to living as disclocated selves, but the idea of interacting remotely with the world, extending ourselves through robots, is something that far more of us will need to get used to in the future. It's a fascinating thought.

Post Of The Month - August 2015 - The Vote

Thanks for the nominations. So our vote this month is between:

Energy Beats Talent by Nils Leonard

Advertisers Want Your Attention by Faris Yakob

You Can't Fix Services With Engagement by Russell Davies

3D Experiences by Gareth Kay

Ways to Think About Cars by Ben Evans

Projects and Companies from Sam Altman

And you can vote below:

Post Of The Month - August 2015 - Nominations


Early in the new month means it's time to open nominations for Post of the Month. If there's a great post that you've read over the past month and would like to put forward, please do so directly or in the comments to this post. As always I have a short starting list but please do add to these and I'll stick them all up for a vote. OK, my starting are:

Energy Beats Talent by Nils Leonard

Advertisers Want Your Attention by Faris Yakob

You Can't Fix Services With Engagement by Russell Davies

3D Experiences by Gareth Kay

And you can nominate your own favourites below.

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.