What’s so great about choices anyway?

26 January 2008

It was Friday night and myself and Mrs. G decided to treat ourselves to a movie at the cinema (I take her on the best dates, I know). So we turn up early enough to give ourselves a bit of time to check out what is showing and choose anything that strikes our fancy.

And that’s when we hit a problem. Of the six movies on offer, three were Thai, (which I usually shy away from – there are good Thai movies, but in my experience they are rare), one was the amazingly over-hyped Cloverfield (and I was too recently burned by the Snakes on a Plane over-hype to take a risk on this one) and one was Enchanted, which looked very much like a kids film and therefore not my cup of tea.

The last option was Hitman. Apparently this is based on the video game, which was enough information for me to decide it was probably not going to be worth watching.

So we came home after eating dinner instead.

It got me thinking though. If just one of our friends had told us that any of those movies on offer were good (even the kids film), we would probably have got tickets for it last night and probably enjoyed it too.

This reminded me of a post I spotted on Bokardo (Joshua Porter’s blog), which talked about the Long Tail leading to too many choices leading in turn to social design. We only had 6 choices last night, but without a social context to help us make a decision, it was still 6 choices too many and nothing stood out.

In fact this gets to the heart of what we hope Snagsta will do for people. When you are faced with a number of different choices, Snagsta will use the opinions of your friends and like-minded people to help you make informed decisions.

I’ll close with a couple of lists that I hope might help you make a choice next time you are looking for a movie to rent (or not to rent!).

Five movies based on video games that you should on no account be tempted to watch:

1) Streetfighter – not only a Van Damme movie, but perhaps the worst Van Damme movie.
2) Mortal Kombat – there was better acting in my primary school plays.
3) House of the Dead – normally, I’m a big fan of the zombie genre, but in this one, I was rooting for the zombies.
4) Double Dragon – the game was bad, the movie worse.
5) Super Mario Brothers – I really have no idea how this even got made. This could in fact be the worst movie of all time.

Three movies based on games that are surprisingly good:

1) Tomb Raider – probably a guy thing, but this was a lot more enjoyable than I thought a game movie could be (although perhaps avoid the sequel).
2) Resident Evil – is there a pattern here? But these sequels you can watch.
3) Doom – made me jump and I like that in a movie.


T minus 7 days and counting…

18 January 2008

Things are hotting up under the Queenstown Road Arches. We’re a long way from the Golden Arches claim of over 100 billion served but big changes are afoot. Within a week our private alpha site will be up and there’s a real buzz in the air. And its not just the electrified railtracks overhead!

One thing that has really got us revved up is the fact that people have started asking us for lists! They know we’ve been collecting for a while now and so figure we’ve got some good stuff! And they’re right. I’ve just fired off a list of excellent suggestions for a chilled out weekend in Cape Town. And one person asked for a list of no-fail first date hotspots to take girls to in London. So if you find yourself sitting beside my brother Dave in a cozy nook of the Crazy Bear then make sure you keep your wits about you. Of course this warning may already be too late for some!

I was at the Imperial Entrepreneurs event on Tuesday night. Apart from providing the opportunity to drink beer with like-minded people they always seem to attract some great speakers. I am really starting to understand why setting up your own business is so addictive. Stephanie Bouchet, the Global Marketing Director for Joost, shared her 8 tips for an entrepreneur:

1. Think Customer: Integrate them into your organisation.

2. Passion: Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work again!

3. Timing: Like all things in life. As much as there is a bit of luck involved, you also need to trigger it.

4. Creativity: I don’t mean design; I mean creativity with respect to ideas and problem-solving.

5. Learn: Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to fail.

6. Network: In London try 2nd Chance Tuesday / OpenCoffee / EYP / MiniBar

7. Growth: Grow beyond your time spent at work and apply what you learn in the office to life.

8. Have fun!

Supporting the Writers Guild Strike

11 January 2008

The blackboard goes on strike

It has become quite “cool” to support the striking writers in the US these days and I think I will jump on the bandwagon.

Of course my reasons for doing so are not totally altruistic. I basically decided to support them when I read that online stats for a number of sites are flying through the roof now that there is officially nothing decent to watch on TV.

This is a golden opportunity to convert millions of TV addicts into Internet addicts (and hopefully then Snagsta addicts)!

In fact, I am going beyond supporting the writers and am actually trying to think of anything I can do to extend the strike through until the launch of Snagsta later this month, this quarter soon. It is this kind of extra boost in traffic that could really help us to “tip”, so no strategy is off-limits to me.

Ideas, anyone?

P.S. In perhaps another side effect of having no writers available for love nor money, Alex Moore has managed to convince someone to post his ugly mug online, together with a story about us.

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Predictions for 2008

4 January 2008
I was thinking about how to kickBlack Swan
off our first post of 2008. I thought
the year ahead would be an easy
topic to cover but shortly realised
it wasn’t. 2008 is going to be a big
year for us and Snagsta that’s for
sure but actually trying to
accurately predict how it will pan
out in any detail is a pretty
pointless exercise.

Phil’s reading a book about this very subject right now named Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb who defines the black swan concept as a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations. Life over here under the railway bridge has been full of those lately!

I’ll leave the last word on future gazing to former England footballer Paul Gascoigne who perhaps put it best when he said: “I never predict anything, and I never will”.

If it’s creative inspiration for the year ahead you’re after then you may like to watch this video clip below – thanks to Iain Tate for sharing this.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/12/PID_013220/Podtech_beating_the_little_hater.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/4760/beating-the-little-hater&totalTime=198000&breadcrumb=849e01183766481b83ead49b457cc7c2]