Measuring Worth?

16 April 2009

measuring-tape-v2

A long time ago, a clever man once said, “A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions” (the Roman Emperor Philosopher, Marcus Aurelius).

This may have been true in AD150 but is it still relevant in the always-on world of AD2009? These days a more common measure of worth is your connectivity. Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder) summed this up nicely when he said, “Your network your net worth.” One of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Top Life Tips is to, “go to more parties”. The express reason for this is to expand your network and expose yourself to more positive Black Swans.

A couple of weeks back we received an invite to a London networking event. The speakers were sold on the basis of the number of Twitter followers they had. This made me smile as it reminded me of recent conversations about the pressures and politics of maintaining relationships online.

Is the number of followers a true proxy for how valuable someone’s opinion is? I give you Britney Spears (903,274 followers).

My stepson Newton (694 Facebook friends) loves the fact he’s “more popular” than his younger brother Richard (389 Facebook friends). Phil (646 Facebook friends, 433 LinkedIn connections, 244 Twitter followers) and I (232 Facebook friends, 431 LinkedIn connections, 251 Twitter followers) regularly pull each other’s legs about how ‘popular’ we think we are.

To finish off this post, here’s a list of people we’ve either met or hear about regularly who are attached to the Internet scene here in London. We’ve used Twitter followers to help us measure their worth. Not sure old Marcus would agree with our methods but here you go anyway:

London’s 50 Most Networked Internet People by Twitter followers (As of 14th April 2009)


1. Jemima Kiss

10,568 followers

http://twitter.com/jemimakiss


2. Mike Butcher

8.888 followers

http://twitter.com/mikebutcher



3. Nick Donnelly

4,329 followers

http://www.twitter.com/nickdonnelly



4. Paul Walsh

4,094 follower

http://twitter.com/PaulWalsh



5. Paul Carr

3,551 followers

http://twitter.com/paulcarr



6. Amanda Rose

3,436 followers

http://twitter.com/amanda



7. Michelle Dewberry

3,360 followers

http://twitter.com/michelledewbs



8. Hermoine Way

2,431 followers

http://twitter.com/hermoineway



9. Sam Sethi

2,189 followers

http://www.twitter.com/ssethi



10. Nick Halstead

1,847 followers

http://twitter.com/nickhalstead



11. Michael Acton Smith

1,757 followers

http://twitter.com/acton



12. Richard Morross

1,246 followers

http://twitter.com/stewarttownsend



13. Mat Morrison

1,424 followers

http://www.twitter.com/mediaczar



14. Nathan McDonald

1,362 followers

http://twitter.com/nathanmcdonald



15. Joff Arnold

1,253 followers

http://twitter.com/toodlepip



16. Joshua March

1252 followers

http://twitter.com/joshuamarch



17. Stewart Townsend

1,246 followers

http://twitter.com/stewarttownsend



18. Basheera Khan

1,098 followers

http://twitter.com/bash



19. Andy McLoughlin

1,069 followers

http://twitter.com/robertloch



20. Benjamin Ellis

1,007 followers

http://twitter.com/BenjaminEllis



21. Sam Michel

1,004 followers

http://twitter.com/toodlepip



22. Ben Way

936 followers

http://twitter.com/benbpway



23. Sophie Cox

890 followers

http://twitter.com/sophiecox



24. David Terrar

883 followers

http://www.twitter.com/dt



25. Bindi Karia

803 followers

http://twitter.com/bindik



26. Alex Hoye

765 followers

http://www.twitter.com/alexhoye



27. Stephanie Robesky

756 followers

http://twitter.com/nerdgirl



28. Luke Razzell

736 followers

http://twitter.com/weaverluke



29. Bastian Lehmann

683 followers

http://www.twitter.com/basti



30. Elizabeth Varley

660 followers

http://twitter.com/evarley



31. Robert Loch

656 followers

http://twitter.com/robertloch



32. Sokratis Papafloratos

652 followers

http://twitter.com/sokratis



33. Nic Brisbourne

643 followers

http://twitter.com/pmross



34. Mario Cacciottolo

629 followers

http://twitter.com/mariosotm



35. Andrew Scott

626 followers

https://twitter.com/andrewjscott



36. Danvers Baillieu

610 followers

https://twitter.com/danversbaillieu



37. David Langer

602 followers

https://twitter.com/langer



38. James Cherkoff

600 followers

https://twitter.com/cherkoff



39. Nick Bell

593 followers

https://twitter.com/nickbelluk



40. Barry Vitou

557 followers

https://twitter.com/bazv



41. Steve Kennedy

499 followers

https://twitter.com/stevekennedyuk



42. Chris Osborne

422 followers

https://twitter.com/chrsoz



43. Emma Haslett

415 followers

http://www.twitter.com/emmahaslett



44. Fabio De Bernardi

399 followers

https://twitter.com/fabiodebe



45. Meriem Aissaoui

375 followers

http://twitter.com/mernas



46. Robin Klein

375 followers

http://twitter.com/robinklein



47. Dug Falby

349 followers

http://twitter.com/dug



48. Nikhil Shah

344 followers

http://www.twitter.com/nikhilshah



49. Stephanie Bouchet

328 followers

http://twitter.com/rougefrog



50. Paul Mackenzie Ross

325 followers

http://twitter.com/pmross

The master version of  this list appears on the Snagsta website. View it here to share it with your nearest and dearest.

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Jaw-dropping Innovation?

23 May 2008

I attended NESTA’s Innovation Edge conference this week. Despite the title apparently the only thing jaw-dropping about it was Gordon Brown (who was doing that thing with his chin so quickly even Rory Bremner would have been impressed).

As with all such events it’s a bit hit & miss and one has to make a cost-benefit call. Can an entrepreneur trying to launch his site afford to spend the day nodding sagely in agreement with keynote speakers, nancying around making small talk and drinking lukewarm coffee? Well, the answer is ‘sort of’. At my decisive best I elected to attend the more targeted afternoon sessions and so unfortunately missed Gordon Brown, Bob Geldof & Tim Berners-Lee. But I have it on good authority from the effervescent Meriem Aissaoui from Smarta that they were in fine form.

By the way, Smarta is a fantastic business resource and social networking site for entrepreneurs and small businesses that launches officially in November.

The first seminar I attended was called ‘Are online social networks the new cities?’ Unfortunately the topic was too high level to get the crux of matters the same way blog conversations do but at least it was fairly entertaining. Here’s an extract of the dialogue between the facilitator and Michael Birch (founder of Bebo):

Facilitator: So Michael – why did you move to San Francisco? Was it Silicon Valley?
Michael Birch: Because of my wife – she’s from San Francisco. There just happened to be a small thriving internet community there too.
Facilitator: Lucky she wasn’t in Utah. That would have been interesting.
Michael Birch: Probably not that interesting.

The second seminar, ‘Entrepreneurs v Investors: Can the relationship ever really work?’, was better. Saul Klein (The Accelerator Group) highlighted honesty, self-awareness and the ability to face issues sooner rather than later as critical ingredients for an effective relationship and Jon Moulton (Alchemy) provided a list of habits that help you spot Bad Managers & Entrepreneurs that I have paraphrased below:

  1. They don’t know the numbers, don’t care about them
  2. They don’t have any customer interaction
  3. They are often arrogant and dismiss questions from their staff
  4. They are little too focused on the material things (talk about pay & bonus schemes in the first meeting)
  5. They don’t have a TO DO list – no signs of structured organisational skills
  6. They don’t visit their businesses
  7. They make stupid acquisitions (double or quits)
  8. They isolate themselves
  9. They work 9 to 5 – lacking passion for their business

Investors – if you’re reading this – it’s midnight and I’m still in the office testing the site. This post only took a few minutes. PS: did you get my email about a payrise?

Another interesting point from Jon was that good presenters aren’t necessarily good managers, but people always make this assumption. But on the contrary: good managers are very often good presenters.

The lesson I draw from this is: if you know you’re a crap manager take a course in presentation skills.

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Trust me I’m a blogger

18 April 2008

After Phil’s underwear post last week I thought I would try to drag our beloved blog out of the gutter and back up on to the pavement where it belongs.

We were lucky enough to snag another excellent list from marketing guru Seth Godin this week (with his permission of course). We like Seth over here at Snagstaville, because he:

1. Likes lists and likes sharing them with us;
2. Sports a stylin’ shiny bald look;
3. Has his own plastic doll forged in his image; and
4. Knows an awful lot about viral marketing

He recently wrote an excellent list about how to improve your writing skills by thinking like a blogger (more about that later).

The list fits nicely next to a post he made a few days later about how blogs can help you build trust. You can read it here but if you want the 5 second summary here’s what he had to say.

Building a foundation for whatever you want to do next in books, blogs or “twits” on Twitter is the way to go. It must be done with patience and over time. He goes on to say that the best time to look for a job next year or a sale in three years time is right now. And that:

“…you must build trust before you need it”.

Smart guy that Seth.

Here’s his list about how you can improve your writing if you start thinking like a blogger:

1. Use headlines. I use them all the time now. Not just boring ones that announce your purpose but interesting or puzzling or engaging headlines. Headlines are perfect for engaging busy readers.

2. Realize that people have choices. With 80 million other blogs to choose from, I know you could leave at any moment (see, there goes someone now). So that makes blog writing shorter and faster and more exciting.

3. Drip, drip, drip. Bloggers don’t have to say everything at once. We can add a new idea every day, piling on a thesis over time.

4. It’s okay if you leave. Bloggers aren’t afraid to include links or distractions in their writing, because we know you’ll come back if what we had to say was interesting.

5. Interactivity is a great shortcut. Your readers care about someone’s opinion even more than yours… their own. So reading your email or your comments or your trackbacks (your choice) makes it easy to stay relevant.

6. Gimmicks aren’t as useful as insight. If you’re going to blog successfully for months or years, sooner or later you need to actually say something. Same goes for your writing.

7. Don’t be afraid of lists. People like lists.

8. Show up. Not writing is not a useful way of expressing your ideas. Waiting for perfect is a lousy strategy.

9. Say it. Don’t hide, don’t embellish.

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Favourite blogs of 2007

19 December 2007

The Blackboard’s favourite blogs

Under the bridge here in London we
usually start our day with a nice
cup of tea and a Skype call with
Alex G in Bangkok. We then usually
have a look at various blogs to
find out what’s happening online.

So we thought that one of our last posts of 2007 should pay tribute to one of these morning institutions – our favourite: blogs, teas or parts of Alex G.

We decided on blogs because we don’t know that much about tea and couldn’t agree on a favourite part of Alex G.

So here are 7 to kick off with:

1. The Equity Kicker – This is one of my favourites and is run by an insightful VC chap named Nic Brisbourne. Nic has kindly sent us a few of his lists to use as start up content.

2. TechCrunch – this is a very difficult blog to keep up with due to its huge number of daily posts. But it helps us keep up to date with new online developments and is a must read for all internet startups. Thanks to Monu for telling us about it.

3. How to Change the World – This is Guy Kawasaki’s excellent “practical blog for impractical people”. Guy has kindly allowed us to re-publish his lists on the various lies people tell each other in business. Compelling and useful stuff.

4. Bokardo – Social Design by Joshua Porter is an excellent resource for thought-provoking conversation about social web design. What Joshua doesn’t know about this topic isn’t worth knowing.

5. A Donkey on the Edge is the brainchild of Dug Falby an old colleague of mine from TMW. As Dug puts it, his blog contains the content’s of Dug’s head, in no particular order. This was one of the first blogs I started reading and have found it a great resource for usability, information architecture and much more.

6. Modern Marketing – Blog by Collaborate PR & Marketing and run by James Cherkoff. Don’t be put off by the name, this is a cracker of a blog and is full of wisdom and useful insights. I saw James speak at a chinwag event earlier this year and he was so impressive I decided to check out his blog. I’m very glad I did.

7. Iain Tait’s crackunit blog is also well worth subscribing to. Iain’s tag line for it is random nuggets of things and stuff. This sums it up pretty well. Can’t remember where I found it but have been a regular reader for a while now.

The last blog I was going to tell you about today was Blognation – however they unfortunately went under earlier today – sad as it was an excellent site.

Til the next post.