IT, Media ( like ucexpo ) and Recruitment companies start using Twylah

Posted by Chris on February 25th, 2012

IT and Recruitment companies are not always the first to use IT ( strangely ) and Twylah’s ” Featured Twylah Page’s ” makes you think that you have either got to be a pop star, rock band or fashionista to become a ” Twyp “. However a closer look reveals some technology specialists, media and recruitment companies using Twylah.

Hot off the press !! ucexpo put’s up a Twylah page for  it’s 6-7th March Expo. at

http://www.twylah.com/ucexpo

Website at: http://www.ucexpo.co.uk/

Robert Scoble , http://www.twylah.com/scobleizer , is a well known U.S. tech. news commentator who also works for Rackspace ( the hosting company ). The Next Web ( TNW ) are also on Twylah at http://www.twylah.com/tnw and Buffer App. ( the smarter way to share Twitter and Facebook posts ) is at http://www.twylah.com/bufferapp.

Closer to home we have CRN ( Computer Reseller News ) UK’s magazine  http://www.twylah.com/CRN_UK on the IT media side.

As an example of a Recruiter using Twylah we have Ask the Recruiter at http://www.twylah.com/ask_the_rctr.

I am talking with a number of ICT Media and Technology companies about adopting the use of Twylah pages and becoming ” Twyps “. So whilst some of the earlier Twylah customers were pop and fashion stars ( mainly from the U.S. ) and whilst pop and fashion stars globally will be adopting Twylah pages they are now being used by ” ordinary ” people and businesses like Lichfield based Coco Meli Bakery    http://www.twylah.com/CocoMeliBakery .

A pioneer of Twylah usage in the U.K. is Still Safe https://twitter.com/#!/stillsafe and http://tweets.stillsafe.com/ uses Twylah power Tweets almost exclusively now. Why ?? Well a Twylah Landing Page is produced for each Tweet and when connected to Still Safe’s domain this is acting like a blog ( one of the most powerful content generation actions you can take ) by producing page after page of Twylah pages.

In their own right the Twylah pages will come up on Google and other search engines for relevant searches. The Twylah platform will become very powerful very quickly ( consider how Google treats websites that generate lots of rich content ) and currently it’s Alexa ranking is increasing dramatically.

This is only the beginning for users of Twylah pages though.

The Twylah page is ultimately about the monetisation of Twitter Tweets. This means getting visitors to the Twylah page to sign up for something like buying GaGa’s latest download at http://www.twylah.com/ladygaga . ( In the trade this is known as a Call to Action ).

Once you have people taking actions like this then you are generating income from your Internet Marketing efforts.

Wahooliganism breaks out in Lichfield businesses

Posted by Chris on February 24th, 2012

Lichfield businesses have been subjected to an incredible outbreak of Wahooliganism. Wahooliganism first emerged in Minneapolis in the U.S. last year and then spread globally via highly connected individuals and internet influencers.

It gained serious Klout along the way but suffered a setback in early February. It is expected to re-emerge over the coming weeks stronger than ever and businesses in Lichfield and indeed globally are advised to prepare.

What is Wahooliganism ??

A short description proffered by Wahooly founder Dana Severson is  ” Accelerating Start-up growth through online influence.

There’s a good description of Wahooly in TechCrunch here:

http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/01/wahooly-launches-its-crowdfunding-experiment-with-first-3-startups-ready-for-social-capital/

Wahooly ( a start-up itself ) is helping it’s first 3 start-up’s ( actually on the website there are 4 now - http://wahooly.com/ ) to gain traction by having ” influential people ” invest time, effort and skills in them and promote them on a global basis.

Does this actually work ???

Well I think it does. Word of Mouth Marketing,Networking and Referrals are established ways of ” getting the word out ” and ” growing the business “.

For those of you who have read Gladwell’s ” The Tipping Point ” you will know that “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” These people are Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople.

According to Gladwell, economists call this the “80/20 Principle, which is the idea that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the ‘work’ will be done by 20 percent of the participants.”

The 20% are defined by Klout ( arguably ) as those who have a Klout score of greater than 45. ( Klout is only one company that is measuring Internet ” influence ).

This is not really rocket science – you get influential people ( in real life and virtual life ) to promote your company, products and services and this helps you grow your business.

Let’s take two examples:

Twylah ( http://www.twylah.com/ )

Twylah is a company that wants to take your Twitter Tweets and ” Tell your story and get you noticed ” by making an awesome looking website out of your Tweets. Twylah is based in San Franciso and is a start-up with co-founders Kelly and Eric Kim. Kelly is the community manager for Twylah and the marketing face of @Twylah.

Kelly Kim

Twylah has some VERY famous clients already ( see http://www.twylah.com/featured ) which include Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, Bon Jovi and Arnold Shwarzenegger !! This might give you the impression that only famous people need apply ! Here is David Skok of Matrix Partners Twylah page http://www.twylah.com/bostonvc/topics/matrix ( A Boston based VC investor  ) and here’s my Twylah page  http://www.twylah.com/cwindley .

From small beginnings Twylah has spread globally – mainly by using Twitter. Kelly has some 13,000 or so followers on Twitter. By picking certain people ( famous, influential, interesting ) Kelly has spread the word on Twylah and now Twylah users are spreading the word further.

Coco Meli Bakery ( http://www.cocomelibakery.co.uk/ )

More locally, Meli Nicolaou, of Coco Meli Bakery is using various means to promote her Artisan Bakery business and newly launched refreshments van at Trent Valley Railway Station.

Meli (  @CocoMeliBakery on Twitter )

Meli Nicolaou

has a relatively small ( well at least to Kelly !! ) Twitter follower base ( 500 odd ) but she has used this to help spread the word about her business. She now has a Twylah page http://www.twylah.com/CocoMeliBakery .

Again, physically and online she is spreading the word and others are spreading the word for her – some of them are influential people.

The involvement of influential people is having an actual positive effect on the growth of the business. What is the value of a new Twylah customer or a new Coco Meli Bakery customer ?? I don’t know but Eric Kim’s background is in the monetisation of Internet platforms and to him ( and the industry he has worked in for the last 10 years or so ) each follower, retweeter, circler, favouriter, liker and email address has a dollar or pound ( or part of ) value !!

Lichfield Trent Valley Railway Station Refreshments

Posted by Chris on February 19th, 2012

I always wondered how it was that Lichfield Trent Valley Railway Station was a portacabin and there was no cafe for refreshments !!  I sort of assumed that somehow the London to North rail line used to go through Lichfield City Station somehow but recently learnt that the old Lichfield Trent Valley Railway station burnt down in the 1990′s ( Apparently most of it was made of wood ) ?? Well I should remember that as I was around here then …..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichfield_Trent_Valley_railway_station

Apparently this ( above ) was the first station built in 1847 and the photos below were taken in 1962. Now either of these looks more like the sort of railway station that Lichfield should have !!

STOP PRESS !!!!!

Coffee and cakes from Coco Meli Bakery now available at Lichfield Trent Valley Station

http://www.cocomelibakery.co.uk/

Flounas!

See a steam train passing through Lichfield Trent Valley Station in 1955 here:

http://myrailwaystation.com/RAILWAY%20STATIONS/pages/LICHFIELD%20%20TRENT%20%20VALLEY%20%20STATION%20with%2046131%20passing%20through%20c1955_jpg.htm

See a trainload of troops at Lichfield Trent Valley in 1954 here:

http://www.search.staffspasttrack.org.uk/engine/resource/exhibition/standard/child.asp?txtKeywords=&lstContext=&lstResourceType=&lstExhibitionType=&chkPurchaseVisible=&txtDateFrom=&txtDateTo=&x1=&y1=&x2=&y2=&scale=&theme=325&album=&resource=6142&viewpage=%2Fengine%2Fresource%2Fexhibition%2Fstandard%2Fdefault.asp&originator=%2Fengine%2Ftheme%2Fdefault.asp&page=1&records=630&direction=2&pointer=611&text=0&exhibition=1297&offset=0

Instead we have the portacabins that you see on the left here ( looking North )

Lichfield Trent Valley

and in the photo below ( looking South ) you can see the ” High Level ” line that goes to Birmingham via Lichfield City Station.

As can be seen from the railmap below Lichfield Trent Valley Station is a stop for Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

from: http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/routes-stations/ltv/

Local Bus Routes:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/ltv/localarea.html

Parking at Lichfield Trent Valley ( N.B. Parking is limited – Don’t leave it until the last minute to park here. Might be best to get a lift/taxi !! )

http://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/carpark/lichfield_trent_valley_station/ws14/britannia_enterprise_park/

Get a Taxi

http://www.taxiregister.com/Lichfield

Full National Rail Map ( You can get to and from Birmingham via Lichfield City Station – which is just down the road – walk up to the High Level crossing at Lichfield Trent Valley for this)

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/maps/OfficialNationalRailmaplarge.pdf

To get to Derby ( by train )  you have to go to Tamworth or Burton on Trent ( preferred I think ) .

Little known fact:

The train line that passes over the top of Lichfield Trent Valley merges with the Tamworth – Burton line near Alrewas. So Lichfield and Burton are directly connected by rail.

More on Lichfield Trent Valley Train Station here:

http://www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk/Stations/lichfield_trent_valley.php

Old Running Photos

Posted by Chris on February 19th, 2012

Just came across these on my fried Peter’s Blog here:

http://arunningskeptic.blogspot.com/

Plymouth Marathon 1982 – I am number 086 and Peter is fifth from right.

024 is Jim Guy (a lecturer at Manadon at the time )
The guy behind him with hand to nose is, I think, John Burnip.
004 is Alan Lamb.
?31 is Ian Paley.
1723 I can’t remember
13?? is (I think) Paul Scivier

All those in Black tops with White stripes ( and some others – names to follow ) are from the Royal Naval Engineering College Manadon ( R.N.E.C. Manadon ) Running Club. We trained, ran X-Country and some marathons – for fun !!

Seven Sisters Marathon February 1982 – Peter and I are near the front ( stupidly ) with the police car behind us.

http://bdaugherty.tripod.com/running/SevenSisters.html

More on this some other time ..

Social Media Summariser Hootsuite shows how High Tech Lichfield can see growth

Posted by Chris on February 15th, 2012

Hootsuite is one of a number of applications that now exist for people to monitor relevant activity on a number of social media networks simultaneously like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google +. Competitors to Hootsuite include TweetDeck, PeopleBrowser and CoTweet. One of the major concerns for investors considering investing in HootSuite was it’s location in Vancouver, Canada.

You may know that Vancouver is  the home of many start-ups lots of which are ” high Tech. ” including HootSuite. HootSuite was ranked in the top 10 at the time of this survey.

Vancouver is a beautiful City located on the West Coast of Canada and a 100 or so miles away from Seattle, U.S. – the home of Microsoft and the original home of Starbucks Coffee . I have been to Vancouver a number of times – mainly to ski in Whistler. I sent my son David there to learn about Internet Marketing and I will also always remember it as the home of ” those otters “. You know the cute ones that float around holding hands and have over 17 Million hits on YouTube !! We tried to get David to visit the otters in Vancouver Aquarium but he never quite made it. He did however fly out to Vancouver and back on his own.

Anyway – back to HootSuite. One of the downsides identified with HootSuite by the venture capitalists, as mentioned earlier, was that it was based in Vancouver.  You can’t really believe that Vancouver is viewed ( by some ) as a backwater but it is. It’s vibrant start-up community is a drop in the ocean when compared with e.g. San Francisco, New York and Boston.

The biggest problem perceived ??? How would they get the talent needed ??

In fact this “disadvantage” turned out to be an advantage ….

“Up there, surrounded by quality dev talent with limited competition, HootSuite has been able to attract A+ people at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. This advantage has only grown as HootSuite now is one of the top tech companies to work for in Canada and can pull from across the entire country. ”

Similarly a ” Silicon Crossroads ” in Lichfield would be perceived as ” nowhere ” by the High Tech. community but it has major advantages in the talent pool, the location, access to transport and many other areas.

2007 article about Vancouver’s High Tech. start-up’s:

http://montrealtechwatch.com/2007/08/07/vancouver-canadas-greatest-start-up-city/

It sounds just like a Hubspot !

Posted by Chris on February 9th, 2012

You know that Golf advert – ” sounds just like a Golf ” well the other day I am having a conversation with someone and they are telling me that ” they have something that sounds just like a HubSpot ” . I’m saying to myself – well I don’t want something that sounds just like a HubSpot – I want a HubSpot.

Look – I don’t work for HubSpot, I ain’t getting paid by HubSpot and if you cut my head open you won’t find ” HubSpot ” written inside – it’s just that I can’t stand all this stuff that looks and sounds like HubSpot but isn’t HubSpot.

This web developer sort of guy is saying to me ” Yeah, well I can pull this app. to do analytics and this app. to do this bit and this app. to that bit and .. ” and I’m thinking right, so YOU are going to pull all these apps. together to tell ME what I want to know about my website and my Internet Marketing and so forth.

ok so that’s cool but I can go to HubSpot’s Marketing Grader and get a full analysis of any website at any time.

I can put my website onto the HubSpot platform ( which has an Alexa ranking of 702 in the world – I DO NOT have time to explain the value of platforms to you ) and get information about the performance and effectiveness of my website in a way that I can understand – as a business owner – easily OR I can let you pull together all these apps. and then try to explain to me what they are saying – because I will never be able to understand them myself.

Look – if I want something like a HubSpot I will look you up – in the meantime I will have  HubSpot please. ;-)

auto blog commenting software for backlinks

Posted by Chris on February 9th, 2012

ok so I am naive ! I have been reading all these stupid comments on my blog thinking ” THAT has got to be some sort of auto blog commenting software to create backlinks type of thing ” and lo and behold there are loads of them !!

Honestly, I should shoot myself !

But you know what – here’s the great thing…………. I have a delete button and when these auto blog thingies make a comment I ( a real person ) can choose to delete or allow, delete or allow

I choose delete….

Stupid auto blog commenting software for backlinks thing ….

The Biggest Lie I ever heard about Web Marketing in Lichfield !

Posted by Chris on February 7th, 2012

Well actually this lie about Web Marketing was not heard in Lichfield but received in an email from U.S. Marketing guru, Charlie Cook, whose blogsite and article with a title similar to mine is here . Hopefully Charlie will be o.k. with me borrowing from his email ( initially ) and blog post.

You really want to take the time to follow this link ( here it is again )

http://www.marketingforsuccess.com/blog/web-marketing/the-biggest-lie/

and read it before coming back to my blog post.

The gist of it is this: Business people realise that they have to invest considerable amounts of money, time, skill, knowledge and effort into” bricks and mortar sites ” like for example a new restaurant in a chain of restaurants or a new office location in an expanding company but they think that they can open up the Internet or online part of a company for nothing and in a short space of  time, with no skills or knowledge and little effort.

They then wonder why it has not worked.

Charlie says “ Isabela, a successful restaurant chain owner,  knows that when she opens a new restaurant, it’s a big investment. On average it takes, $494,888 to open a restaurant. Yes almost a half million dollars. Of course, within 18 months the typical restaurant is grossing $1,171,629 a year and making a profit of $91,103 – which isn’t bad at all.

How about Isabela’s online business? How much did she spend to get it up and running? Practically nothing – and no surprise it makes practically nothing. ”

I often say to people ” Treat your website like an online sales team ” . Now guess what – a successful physical sales team takes  all the things to build that I have mentioned earlier money ( and some ! ), time, skill, knowledge, experience and effort. Not to mention the fact that you need tools, processes and systems in place to monitor the performance and effectiveness of your salesforce. Those of you that have built a salesforce
( accountancy, law practice etc etc ) know that getting the right team is an extremely difficult and time consuming process.

Charlie reckoned that Isabela’s Internet business could be making $200,000.00 for her but was actually making virtually nothing. This is like a salesperson carrying a ( profit target ) of 2 restaurants worth. To generate $200K the investment would be huge.

I whizzed Charlie’s email off to one of the Director’s of a company that I work with and he came straight back with:

” I always say to the retailers I speak to that want to be e-tailers that the web store needs to be treated like any other store, and will require time and investment if it’s going to be a success on the same scale. “

So, maybe this will help ?? When you are thinking about starting an online business think about it like opening up a new restaurant, a new store a new branch or building a new salesforce and maybe you will get things into perspective !!



Could Lichfield become the U.S. high tech startup destination ?

Posted by Chris on February 6th, 2012

High Tech. Start-up’s are booming in the U.S. with Boston, New York and Silicon Valley all very active and there are many U.S. start-up’s looking at establishing a European office. Could Lichfield a.k.a. Silicon Crossroads in Staffordshire dare to dream that it might host some of these start-up’s ?

Friends of mine established Leap the Pond some years ago in order to assist start-up’s gain a successful foothold from the U.S. to the U.K. and vice versa and also from Asia to the U.K. and America and vice versa.

A while back I wrote this blog

http://mandarainmaker.co.uk/wordpress/2011/09/27/celtic-tiger-awakes-and-starts-tweeting-about-hi-tech/

as I was asked to suggest a suitable European location for a U.S. software company that I knew.

Right at the end you will see mention of an accounting practice called the ” Double Irish and a Dutch Sandwich ” fully described here

http://www.joe.ie/news-politics/current-affairs/irish-move-to-save-twitter-53-per-cent-in-tax-0016130-1

which describes the tax savings achieved by Google and to be achieved by Twitter by having offices in Southern Ireland and Luxembourg.

Like it or not the ” financial parameters ” are going to have a significant influence on where a foreign company bases itself in Europe.

Helmet cheek piece

Lichfield can do no better than London in influencing the tax position of the U.K. mainland. The so called ” Silicon Roundabout ” in London will have to put up with U.k. Tax laws although it is interesting to note that Google also has offices in London and is taking more space in Silicon Roundabout:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15088359

Recognised ” High Tech. ” areas in the U.K. include: London, M4 corridor, Cambridge, Oxford and Silicon Glen, Scotland. There has been an effort to make the M42/M5 corridor High Tech. and also Telford hosts a number of High Tech. companies.

When you look at Europe from the U.S. you probably have a different perspective and London, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and Barcelona in Spain all seem to figure high in Americans minds.

I.D.A. Ireland ( now known as the ” Silicon Republic ” !! ) is very active in the U.S. with ” salespeople ” based in Boston, New York and the West Coast yet it does not necessarily get considered despite having many high tech companies based there.

http://www.idaireland.com/

This video by the C.E.O. of IDA Ireland spells out a lot of the criteria

http://www.idaireland.com/news-media/videos/index.xml?bclid=66038357001&bctid=1148962666001

The Tax Environment

The Business offer ( Incentives to base your H.Q. there )

The Talent Pool

The Track Record

Proximity to other ” synergistic ”  businesses.

Transport links

Despite very tough economics in Ireland, or perhaps because of it, I.D.A. Ireland has got all it’s ducks in a row and does a massively professional job of getting inward investment.

Pectoral cross

Lichfield has to live with the tax regime, as does London.

The business offer would have to be very good.

The Talent Pool, whilst small is there.

It has little track record and not many existing businesses to be synergistic with. There is however a talent pool skilled in web design and S.E.O.

It has fabulous transport links.

It is a beautiful location, great lifestyle and has an opportunity with the ” Saxon Hoard ” to become much better known around the world.

With a lot of work and commitment Lichfield could become a High Tech base.

N.B. This post in the Guardian about The Lichfield Blog

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2010/nov/22/hyperlocal-media-blogging

shows the depth of the social media knowledge in the area.

Information about Tech City, London : http://www.ukti.gov.uk/investintheuk/sectoropportunities/ict/item/124866.html

The Cutty Sark – A witch in a short skirt !!

Posted by Chris on February 4th, 2012

I was just watching the tv program about the Cutty Sark which will reopen this year ( in time for the Olympics ! ) which is great, great news. The Cutty Sark – named after a witch called Nannie who wore short skirts, was afraid of water and was disturbed partying with her fellow witches and warlocks by Tam O’Shanter  - has a significant place in my life.

As the tv program stated no one has quite worked out why someone would name a ship after a witch that was afraid of water – short skirt or no !!

http://www.thesmalls.com/cuttysark/the-clipper/index.html

Cutty Sark was a ” racing ship ” built to race from China to England with tea and beat another ” tea clipper ship ” called Thermopylae. Her most famous race against Thermopylae started on the 18th June ( my birthday ) in 1872. She lost this race due to losing her rudder.

Later she became a  ” wool clipper ” bringing wool from Australia to England and clocking up a record time of 67 days ( and some hours ) beating the fastest steamship of the time in doing so.

This time of 67 days stood until a yacht that I sailed on, Great Britain II , beat it in 1975/6 in ” The Clipper Race”.

http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Volvo-Legends:-Great-Britain-II—Her-builders-story/90648

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain_II

GB2 was built for the first Whitbread Round-the-World Race in 1973/4 and was crewed at that time by Royal Marines. In the ” Clipper Race ” she was crewed by a combination of soldiers, sailors and airmen. Interestingly GB2′s main competitor Kriter 2 lost her rudder in the Tasman Sea on the Sydney to London leg of the Clipper Race. I can still remember looking across the stormy sea from GB2 to Kriter as the crew tried to work out what they were going to with no rudder ( which we had actually seen floating away on the waves but could not reach ). We sailed on and they rigged a jury rudder with a spinnaker pole or something. The French have some great sailors. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_de_Kersauson was the skipper )

I had joined the Royal Navy in 1975 and managed to get into the crew of GB2 – at 19 the youngest crew member. Although I didn’t think much of it at the time it was quite strange that a boy who learnt to sail and race boats on ” ponds ” in the Midlands got to race one of the most famous yachts in the world in a race against the time set by one of the most famous sailing ships in the world.

Even stranger to think that a year or so earlier I had been sailing on The ” Hellship Captain Scott ” ( now known as the Shabab Oman )

probably the closest thing that you could get to a Tea Clipper in modern days.

My trip around Cape Horn in Great Britain II gained me entry into a rather exclusive club

The International Association of Cape Horners ( I.A.C.H. ).  http://www.capehorners.org/history2.html

A club that once consisted mainly of officers and crew of ” tall ships ” or ” windjammers ” that had sailed around the Horn

but has been widened to include yachtsmen who have sailed around the Horn.

The Cape Horners usually had their Annual General Meeting aboard the Cutty Sark until it’s refurbishment began. Owing to the fire that broke out on the Cutty Sark it has been closed to the Cape Horners for the last 6 years and I don’t know if or when they will return to her.

In 2006 I took the family and my old Captain and his wife ( Admiral Geoff and Mary Marsh ) aboard the Cutty Sark for dinner. Amongst my family members was my Uncle Les who had rebuilt a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter called Marguerite T. See here for more on Les and Marguerite

http://mandarainmaker.co.uk/wordpress/2011/06/14/les-windley-of-marguerite-t-dies/

It’s interesting to wonder if Marguerite ever met the Cutty Sark at sea….


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