Simon Julian


Thoughts, caffeine and other bits

AIMIA Digital Services Index

Australian Interactive Media industry Association (’AIMIA’), IBM Australia and Hyro Limited have released the 2009 AIMIA Digital Services Index™ Online Survey.

Get it here

Industry Codes of Practice and some thoughts on that

Not long ago on mUmBRELLASimon van Wyk, MD of HotHouse (and an ex boss of mine from quite a while ago) wrote an excellent piece on the state of play of Australia’s interactive industry. The piece was thought-provoking, but the bit that provoked the most thought (and which Col and I discussed in some detail) was the idea of an Industry code of Practice. After a few conversations on this with Col and some discussions with other friends in the industry I had some other thoughts on this that I wanted to add.

Industry Code of Practice:

“I will always propose the least expensive, simplest solution to any problem”

Now while I understand this point of view I also think that our goal as consultants should be to propose options and educate our clients on the positives and negatives of each. It is VERY important to note that cheapest and simplest a lot of the time is not BEST. At Areeba we attempt to take a long-term view, something that I think is missed sometimes in the race for a solution to the problem at hand. Clients need options – they need to understand what they get and don’t get with each and they need to understand how each option is going to ensure that long-term they get the return on investment that they need

“I understand Google is the homepage and I will ensure everything I do is sensitive to this fact.”

I can only agree on this one – everything has to be built around a smart SEO strategy that takes into account the fact that many and potentially most of your users are going to find you via Google

“My job is to facilitate business. When I start talking brand dialogue it’s only because I can’t find a way to really add value.”

Okay, have to slightly disagree – our job is to facilitate value, and if discussions on Brand and Brand dialogue assist in that process then we’re happy to have them (as long as they are helping us get to where we think that we (and you) need to go. I hate to assume anything and generalist statements of this nature are assumption, not fact. Sometimes, surprise, surprise, the discussion on Brand dialogue might actually get you to where you need to be.

“My job is to help you with the interface between your company and the customer on the web. They are using the web for utility; my job is to find that utility wherever it may exist.”

I get scared when people use the word ‘utility’ without any discussion on aesthetics or design. I envision a wonderful world of Jacob Neilsen websites…

At the same time the kind of evil flash sites that you get out of ad agencies sometimes are not what I am talking about! Happy medium is what I mean and it is entirely possible to get utility, ease-of-use and aesthetics at the same time. I promise.

“We’ll be clear about the returns.”

You got that right!

“We have a chance to do things better to improve from our learnings.”

Back to my point on options and consulting – keeping a long term view and working towards that means being able to continually improve on what you provide to clients – sometimes the cheapest and simplest does not give you the ability to do that.

“The Internet has changed the world; let’s make sure we treat it with the respect it deserves.  It took us many years of TV to develop the technology to skip ads.  Let’s not clutter our communities and forums with useless messages that add no value. Consumers want to hear from companies who are relevant to their circumstance; let’s work with that.”

I can only agree :)

“Our job is not to sell our ideas to the client.  Our job is to sell the clients product to their customers.”

Col and I particularly talked about this one as I really feel that we as consultants are here to enable our clients, not to sell their products for them. They are there to sell their products, that’s what they’re good at. We’re here to arm them with whatever they need to get that done – our job is to understand their business goals and make sure that we provide the options (yep, those options again!).

All of the above said, Simon’s piece was great and is worth reading in its entirety (comments are all pretty good too!)

Original Article for you:

Guest post: Interactive agencies need to stop being advertising agencies
Simon van Wyk, MD of HotHouse, is over advertising agencies

One Trillion Dollars will not fit in your back yard

Was talking to Colin on Friday about the financial crisis and he pointed me to this on PageTutor.

Impressive as it might be to get an idea of the true scale of the bailout, I find this a little worrying – getting a physical sense of how much money we are talking about here makes it all that much more real as far as the true amount being spent.

I’m particularly impressed with the final image, which is the scale of one Trillion dollars (on pallets).

Yes, this is a trillion dollars

Yes, this is a trillion dollars

See that little tiny guy on the bottom left of the stacks of cash (he’s to scale). Note that he is not to scale of the tiny fairy people that my daughter likes watching on DVD.

The important thing to take out of all of this is that it takes a lot of money to even think of trying to bail out all of the toxic debt that has been created in the lead-up to the current crisis. No guarantees of course…

As a useful way of trying to assist in describing this, Kirk’s Market thoughts puts it in drinking terms, a useful analogy for most of us (well, me anyway!). Quick last one here obviously involves the financial doyen of our age, George W Bush and his sidekick Dick Cheney, who apparently had nothing to do with the crisis and couldn’t have done anything about it if they saw it coming thanks very much…

The one thing to note on all of this is that even though I’ve titled this ‘One Trillion Dollars will not fit in your back yard’, I’m willing to try if someone out there still actually has one Trillion dollars to provide for the experiment (and wouldn’t mind me keeping it afterwards).

Contact me here if you’re interested…


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Simon Julian
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