2010: A Capstone Year
A whizz through my 2010 calendar has reminded me just how busy 2010 was: a year of change; a creative year; a fulfilling year but, above all, a year of transition.
2010 was shaped by four things: curiosity, independence, connection and reinvention. So here, in reverse order, and with no further ado, are the 9 capstone elements that, despite the austerity of recession, made 2010 a very rewarding year for me.
In December I joined GreenWise, a specialist online publisher that focuses on helping UK SMEs “green” their operations and reduce their carbon footprint. The business, founded by Louise and Mark Fewell, serves the needs of four distinct business segments and has established itself as a premiere destination for “green” content, providing trustworthy information and resources to a growing tribe of subscribers and advertisers.
GreenWise is a pure digital player that relies on an integrated mix of online digital media to grow and sustain its online customer communities. The challenge in 2011 will be to diversify the revenue streams, leveraging its Audience, Brand, Content and Data revenues by further engaging and sustaining its community of users.
The decision in November to start iGlimpse came from the conviction that a proven segment of lifelong learners in the outdoor leisure and pursuit sectors could be served with better media. Hence, the content we will create at iGlimpse will inspire, instruct and interface with outdoor enthusiasts providing them with an entertaining experience on their handheld devices.
The overall aim is to quicken an enthusiast’s ability to master their chosen outdoor recreational activity wherever they are and whenever they need quality instruction. iGlimpse will combine new media technologies with the wisdom of leading outdoor experts to create rich bundles of convergent media that instruct, entertain and make a tangible difference to the lives of those seeking progression and proficiency. Making all this happen for time-poor and mobile enthusiasts will be a key focus for me and my business partner, Simon Jollands, in 2011. Website under construction.
3. Like Minds
Like Minds is an international community of business leaders, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers which emphasises innovation, learning, connecting and engagement on subject digital. There’s an annual conference in Exeter in the autumn. This year the conference theme was “creation and curation”.
The workshops and plenaries were blistering, the participants were tropical and the gathering of like minded people was thermogenic.
The founders Scott Gould and Drew Ellis have built a community with attitude. And, just as it did in 2010, Like Minds promises to float my boat again in 2011. Follow #likeminds on Twitter and see what I had to say about the 6 magic ingredients of the 2010 autumn event in a video blog here.
4. CAM / CIM Diploma in Managing Digital Media
The best way to learn about digital media is to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. But I’m a great believer in structure and discipline, which is why, in September, I enrolled on the CAM diploma course in digital media management as a postgrad professional student to undertake four modules covering digital campaigns, branding, online advertising and public relations. The course provides a solid framework and objectives to underpin strategic and operational work undertaken in the field. Studying the course and working on assignments whilst managing and implementing digital media campaigns will help me consolidate and strengthen my digital marketing and media competencies in 2011. All essential to doing battle in the ensuing digital media landscape.
I can’t talk about 2010 without mentioning Andrew Davies, Ed Barrow and the great team I’ve had the pleasure of working with at idio. This is a truly passionate and talented team of young semantic experts. They develop some great semantic software and they’ve been an inspiration to work with. We’ve got some exciting publishing projects in development and I’m really looking forward to my collaboration with Andrew, Ed and the rest of the idio team in 2011.
Twitter has undoubtedly been a major focal point for me in 2010. Whilst only starting to gain popularity in the UK, the micro-blogging platform has allowed me to connect to +250 of the most influential thought-leaders in my industry. It’s been like drinking from a fire-hose and I can genuinely say that without Twitter I wouldn’t have discovered nor assimilated 30% of what I’ve learned in the last six months, since June. Twitter has not just allowed me to connect with people in the virtual online world but to meet extraordinary people “irl” (tweet speak for “in real life.”)
My use of Twitter has been professionally focused and this has allowed me to build a tribe of just under 250 followers without distraction. Combined with this blog and my professional LinkedIn groups, Twitter has been a force unlike any other. In 2011 I will align my use of Twitter to ensure my content remains relevant and authoritative.
7. Professional Networking
I joined LinkedIn over 3 years ago and I have consistently updated and embellished my profile. And I’m so glad I maintained my profile because no other social networking platform has been more valuable in helping me connect with my primary network and extend my reach into my secondary and tertiary networks than LinkedIn.
I’ve discovered numorous specialist LinkedIn groups that have been powerful and engaging platforms to bring me into contact with people who share the same interests but who have different perspectives. The quality of interaction has varied widely from group to group with the best groups hosting open-ended posts to stimulate discussion and give users room to add their perspective. The best moderators have also thanked people for their participation to the group.
Joe Pulizzi (Junta42 and CMI) famously said “you can’t be taken seriously in social media unless you have a robust, consistent blog”. I’ve loved blogging and whilst my Google analytics won’t break olympic records, the results I’ve achieved across different metrics (unique visitors, individual page views, average time on site, new and repeat visitors) have all made my blogging activity worthwhile, providing me with a hub toward which I can point my readers whenever I discuss a subject dear to me.
I’ll admit I’ve sometimes struggled with the time and frequency of blogging but, through perseverance, I’ve found my voice and built my authority independently of any publishing corporation. Having my blog has forced me to be analytical and to ask questions about the changing nature of publishing. I know from direct feedback that my recommendations haven’t been in vain and that I’ve helped others make sense of sometimes complex challenges.
Above all blogging has given me a platform to engage in meaningful conversations with industry colleagues, prospects and customers, establishing my credibility and authority whilst having fun.
In 2011 I’ll be committing to blogging better and, dare I say, more often.
9. Family and Friends
Other highlights (non-professional) of 2010 include Louis, my eldest son, achieving the “A” Level examination grades he needed to read International Politics at Aberystwyth University (August), My mother’s 70th birthday on the Isle of Wight (March), A touring holiday with my wife and boys on the Basque Riviera (August), two magnificent stage performances managed by my daughter at the Bath Ustinov Theatre and my gruelling GR20 high altitude trek across the Corsican Alps (June). Oh, and the iPhone and iPad weren’t bad either
Happy New Year All