intention economy

A revolution in the making

“Data is the new oil.” So said Clive Humby back in 2006. “Data is the new soil” said David McCandless in 2010.

In between, in 2009, Meglena Kuneva, European Consumer Commissioner, said: “Personal data is the new oil of the internet and the new currency of the digital world.”

I’ve long been excited about the advent of big data, and started posting about visualising the stuff back in 2008. If anything distinguishes the modern professional – in marketing, PR, HR, R&D, operations, etc. – from her predecessors, it’s the facility to work with data.

I’m asked increasingly often to define big data, in particular how it differs from the normal sized stuff. The technical answer is simply when there’s so much of it that traditional data storage and database technologies aren’t up to the job. The more interesting answer is this: data helps us answer questions; big data also helps us conceive new questions.

Dublin Samuel Beckett Bridge

Influence – the use and abuse of the word in social media

The AMEC European Summit is taking place this week in Dublin. It’s a really vibrant event, a credit to AMEC’s Barry Leggetter and the delegates’ enthusiasm. (Actually, perhaps it’s a little less vibrant this morning after the visit last night to the Guiness brewery!)

I’m here representing the CIPR in a couple of sessions, and this morning I’m speaking in my own capacity… my slidestack is embedded here.

It’s an old theme of mine, the misrepresentation of the idea of influence, and the stack I presented on the topic back in March 2010 has now been viewed some thirteen and a half thousand times – Influence, the bullshit, best practice and promise. It’s now 2012 and I feel that we’re starting to make some progress towards addressing the complexity of the business of influence. Onwards and upwards.


Image source.

The Business of Influence

Q&A with Influencer Marketing Review

This is the third installment of our ‘Q&A with the Review’ series in which we talk with prominent members of the influencer marketing community about their work and thoughts on the industry. Amanda Maksymiw and Duncan Brown helped us get the series started, and now we’re grateful that Philip Sheldrake, author of The Business of Influence, is joining us for our third Q&A. 

IMR: Thanks so much for joining us, Philip. And congratulations on the book. We know that’s no easy feat.

Philip: Thanks for the invitation to chat here. And thanks for having my book cover on IMR’s homepage 🙂

IMR: Oh yeah. It’s probably about time we change the image, huh.  

You’ve stated in the book and elsewhere that “the business of influence is broken.” What do you mean by that exactly? Some might think there wasn’t much of a “business of influence” in the first place. 

Philip: A definition of influence: you have been influenced when you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done, or think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought. There’s influence in everything an organization does, and sometimes in what it doesn’t do, and yet despite this we often apportion responsibility for influence to marketing and PR departments. The 2012 organization looks incredibly similar to the 1992 organization, which is crazy when you consider the impact of social media and related information technologies.

Social graph

The complexity of influence is a challenge – and an opportunity

If media is interesting because it facilitates communication, then communication is most interesting when it facilitates influence.

You have been influenced when you think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought, or do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done. Simple as, although you wouldn’t think it now that influence is the hot word.

Guardian Media Network

Originally written for The Guardian Media Network.

The capacity to change hearts, minds and deeds is considered the mark of the great communicator, the compelling personality, the charismatic politician, and ultimately no one wants to communicate without influence; that wouldn’t be a good use of the communicator’s time and energy, or indeed that of those on the receiving end.

The focus on making sure you’re influenced back is vital too. Individuals (and organisations) that best absorb the zeitgeist are heuristically more able to respond in ways their audiences (stakeholders) might well appreciate.

Influence is complex, and I mean that in the full “complexity science” sense of the word. Complexity is the phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects. The interacting objects could be molecules of air and the phenomenon the weather. It could be vehicles and the phenomenon the traffic.

Oakland Bay Bridge

Influence: Socializing the Enterprise – my presentation at Dreamforce 2011

Salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff is excited that there are 45,000 delegates registed for this week’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. It sure is one helluva a show, and I particularly appreciated the Metallica and Will.i.am gig last night.

The theme for this year’s conference is the socialization of the enterprise and the reason for my invitation to present to the Executive Summit yesterday and delegates at large today. [Disclosure: Salesforce.com is paying me to be here.]

There can be no doubt that Salesforce.com is on a mission to help its customers make the social transition with as much emphasis placed on increasing the social exchange with employees and partners as customers and prospects, and this mission entailed the acquisition of Radian6 earlier this year.

When I spoke at the Radian6 Social2011 conference in April, I felt the excitement at the opportunity to meld the Radian6 and Salesforce.com worlds, but I hadn’t appreciated how fast this integration would take place. Simply gobsmacking.

spider and web

The Web this decade and what it means for your organisation

I’m a fortunate geek. I got to chair the 6UK launch back in November, with keynote by Vint Cerf – fondly referred to as one of the fathers of the Internet. And on Monday this week, I chaired Profiting From The New Web at the Royal Society with keynote by Sir Tim Berners-Lee – inventor of the World Wide Web. How cool is that?!

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, New Web, London, 23rd May 2011

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, New Web, London, 23rd May 2011 (courtesy Intellect)

I worked with the Web Science Trust and Intellect (rebranded techUK) to design this week’s conference, and we set ourselves this mission:

Discover new and better ways to do business, run our countries, and lead fulfilling and sustainable lives via the intelligent, innovative and diligent development of the New Web, and to make progress faster than otherwise.

Web Innovation

The term Web 1.0 is applied retrospectively to a Web of documents and ecommerce. The term Web 2.0 has come to describe social community and user-generated content. The New Web – the Web of Data or the Semantic Web, and sometimes Web 3.0 – entails the Web itself understanding the meaning of that participation and content.

A component of the Web of Data, known as Open Data, encompasses the idea of freeing data so that others may query it, check and challenge it, augment it, and mash it up with other sources. Sir Tim is particularly motivated by this vision given its potential to drive scientific breakthrough, enhance delivery of public services and open up new frontiers for competitive advantage.

You might like to watch Sir Tim Berners-Lee deliver a 5 minute update on Open Data in a 2010 TED Talk: