1. "There are many in the technology world who dream of reputation as currency: the idea that a numerical reputation score on one system (such as Yelp) should be portable to other environments (TripAdvisor? Credit Card companies? Landlords?) A good score on eBay may indicate a “good reputation” that you could parlay into a better interest rate on a bank loan. It’s already happening to some extent, as Airbnb posts the number of Facebook Friends of each host as evidence of their trustworthiness. This kind of naive scoring system is a terrible idea. The only thing worse would be a sophisticated scoring system."

    Tom Slee - In Praise of Fake Reviews (my bold). Tom Slee’s work on “sharing economy” start-ups is consistently great. Significantly ahead of any actual paid technology writers both in terms of insight and quality of research. (via toffeemilkshake)

    Excellent essay. The core question here can be phrased as - if you can’t opt out of a game, and you get no say in the rules, is it OK to cheat? (This is also an argument used for all sorts of libertarian naughtiness, of course).

    But beyond the specific points on Yelp, the points on reputation systems and rating scales in general are solid - a flat rating system is indeed VERY BAD at indicating niche appeal, and this is a significant and hard to solve problem that Yelp et al basically ignore.

  2. This chart is quite funny, but it’s a good example of using one-preferred-option data to tell a particular story someone wants to tell. It tells you nothing about eg how many kids like to read, or how many parents like their kids playing videogames - just the relative priorities. Which are predictable, I guess.

  3. pointless-letters:

    WE ASKED: Are these poll results remotely reliable or believable?

    (via sexshooter)


  4. The Pure Ideology Personal Brand Workshop



    Oh my gosh I’m doing an event NEXT WEEK at the gallery Legion TV in east London. Please do come along, it will be a top laugh and features emoji-themed cocktails.

    The Pure Ideology Personal

    Brand Workshop

    Thursday 2 October 18.00 - 21.00

    A printing workshop party organised by Tessa Norton.

    Contributing artists: Michael Lacey, Kate Turner, Sian Murphy with DJ set by Bob Stanley.

    “In today’s competitive environment, you need a way to differentiate yourself from your peers. You need an “X” factor that makes you indispensable. In short, you need a personal brand. We created a personal brand experience to help you find and showcase your strengths so you can stand out from the crowd.”

    – Price Waterhouse Coopers Personal Brand Workbook, 2014

    Walking through Broadway Market in east London and countless similar streets worldwide, we’re confronted with a confusing barrage of images. Greetings cards, craft beer labels and cupcakes vie for our attention, communicating their messages through a selection of increasingly esoteric pictures. Whether owls, pugs, handlebar moustaches or the face of Slavoj Žižek, it is these images that function as logos for a no-logo generation, or the mascots of a gentrifying subculture.

    In this bewildering environment, communicating your unique personal brand can seem to be an insurmountable challenge. So what better way to differentiate yourself from your peers than with a cotton tote bag? In recent years the humble object has transcended its origins – the cotton tote is no longer just something to carry your coconut water and Moleskine, but rather a primed canvas for expressing your personal “X” factor.

    The Pure Ideology Personal Brand Workshop offers visitors to Legion TV a unique solution to these modern woes. You are invited to produce a unique bespoke tote bag to take home with you, guaranteed to give you that all-important competitive edge over your peers!

    Full details at the Legion TV website

    This event is part of The Art Licks Weekend 2014.



  5. "According to the researchers, the trend of decreasing communication before a breakup was strong and consistent. Specifically, the amount of tweets to the partner in question decreased, the amount to other users increased, and the amount of original tweets being sent from the account decreased overall. This is, in effect, the communicative “stonewalling” that the researchers were looking for to indicate a looming breakup….
    all this valuable knowledge about what breakups look like on Twitter just before they happen could be used to design a kind of “early breakup warning system,” which would certainly be equal parts terrifying and fascinating for our culture."

    What Our Breakups Look Like on Twitter | Motherboard (via internet-of-dreams)

    As well as being quite interesting, this article features the only good use of Wordles in the history of research.

    (via internet-of-dreams)


  6. Is Research Boring?

    There was a conversation on Twitter the other day – as part of the ESOMAR Congress hashtag – about making market research more attractive to people. It’s not a new conversation, of course. It’s quite an old one. Someone said that research has an image problem and that it was seen as dull.

    The assumption behind this is that if we could just correct this “image problem” people would see that research is, in fact, exciting. This is where I weighed in, perhaps without thinking it through. Research, I said, IS often boring, because it is about people and businesses, and sometimes people and businesses do boring things. There was a fair bit of disagreement over this, from industry veterans I like and respect a great deal. So I thought I’d expand on the idea. Is research boring?

    Read More

  7. OMG, that’s fantastic - I’ve got to know though, where within the Top 2 did you place exactly?

  8. flyingseraph:

    Why Ad research is like growing a pot plant

    Don’t get too excited. Not that kind of pot plant.

    Here’s a simple analogy - taught to me many years ago. It will help you spend your research budget wisely. As I watch what goes on in Marketing/Ad/Research land it seems many have forgotten, or simply never come across it.

    Think about growing a plant. You spend time and take care choosing good seed and ensuring you have rich soil – good chance of a healthy plant. Plant weak seed into poor soil and you have very little chance at all. Even if, late in the process, you bring in the fertiliser and weed killer, you’re unlikely to get lush growth from a stunted plant that stood little chance in the first place.

    Well, that parallels your choices in communications research.

    There are distinct stages in the development of communication when you can conduct research. Leading to 4 types of communication research.

    One is extremely useful almost all the time.

    One is pretty useful most of the time.

    And one is occasionally useful.

    The fourth – generally the most expensive - is most useful in lining the pockets of shareholders of research companies. It’s least helpful to marketers or their communication Agencies. Often, it’s downright harmful.

    In sequence - from planting to harvesting - they are: Strategy Research, Development Research, Advertising Evaluation, and Tracking Research.

    The 2 bookends – early and late are most useful:

    Early research to inform strategy i.e. well before the brief, is always useful. When conducted well. It’s the gardening equivalent of choosing robust seed and ensuring the earth is fertile.

    Tracking research – once the communication is made and in market – is very often very useful.

    Development research during the process is sometimes helpful. But there’s a gigantic caveat: it must be research to learn how and why people respond to the idea. And how well it communicates the core strategic thought. It is definitely not about testing. Not about winners. Certainly not about execution.

    But I despise – with a passion – the big, expensive pre-tests (a.k.a. copy tests). Pseudo-scientific, mumbo-jumbo mainly used for arse-covering. These big studies cost a bomb. They provide a sense of security because they’re big and bulging with numbers. Generally, they’re not much more reliable than the toss of a coin. And if our CMOs are no better than a coin toss – in my experience, they are – goodness help us all.

    (It’s at this point you’ll hear the squealing and gnashing of teeth of a few research companies. And it’s about now that a ‘validation study’ or two will appear.)

    If you do have a communications research budget, spend as much as you can afford getting the strategy right, then switch what’s left to tracking. Put a little bit aside for Development research – for the limited occasions it’s needed.

    If someone tries to sell you a big, expensive, ‘consistently reliable’ quantitative Evaluation study that ‘usefully informs communication development’, does a great job with emotional response, etc. ask them about their pot plant….

    The other kind.

    (Please follow me on Twitter: @MarkSareff - it’s a tomato plant in case you were wondering)

    I come across this analogy a fair bit, actually. It’s almost always posted by someone in advertising, and you can understand why. It’s essentially saying there is no possible way to usefully consult consumers about execution at any point in an ad’s development. The people who believe this are persuasive types who marshall interesting arguments (or, as here, elegant analogies). They are also, to a human, the people whose work is being assessed in this way. There’s a very strong sense of “you would say that, wouldn’t you”?

    It’s like an employee saying, “Look, make your job interview really rigorous before you hire me. And when I leave, conduct a pretty thorough exit interview. But when I’m on the job, don’t do performance reviews or assessments or anything, just trust me, yeah?”

    That sounds GREAT, of course. I wish employers thought like that. But I know why they don’t.

    (I am equally partisan, of course. Though tracking research is just as shitty, perhaps even shittier, than pre-testing, so I dunno why it gets a free pass here!)

    (via peterspear)


  9. I am speaking at this conference - which has a mildly gross title now I think about it, but should be good! The idea is that ten agency people talk to a mostly client-side audience about a TREND.

    I have, with enormous pretension and overreach, offered them “a field guide to the new culture wars” - I’ll be talking about pop culture in an period where so much of it exists below the line. The good - fan creativity, engagement and demands for better representation and calling culture to account. The bad - clickbait and churnalism. And the ugly - celebrity doxxing, gamergate, et al.

    As that synopsis probably indicates the talk will be unashamedly from a pro “social justice warrior” (or whatever) perspective. No objectivity asked or given. It should be fun to do though!