Monday, 27 October 2008

Blog 08 / #Blog08

Back to the office this morning and there’s a bit of time to reflect on the past week and in particular catch up on where we’ve all been and who we’ve been talking to.

Scott has already reported on Mippin’s coffee social at the Tuttle Club last Friday morning, where we announced the launch of some very nifty Social Content Discovery tools for Mippin mobile users. See below for more info.

Now it’s my turn to talk about Blog 08 (#Blog08) over in Amsterdam last Friday. With a history of alternative thinking when it comes to government, Amsterdam was probably the perfect backdrop for the Blog 08 conference, which was billed as an introduction to the Rockstars of the Web, with the Great and the Good and the deliberately Bad (Mother Vlogger GabeMac) from the blogging world on stage.

The conference was organized by Patrick de Laive, Ernst-Jan Pfauth and others from TheNextWeb, who seem to have a lot of experience and passion for blogging, web entrepreneurship, marketing and events, and a track record possibly as infamous as any of the speaking Rockstars. Patrick and Ernst’s skill for putting on a great show came across right away, as the live band kicked off the day just after 9 am and a succession of speakers and panelists chosen for their uncompromising and original stance on blogging and its future talked about their own successes, their experiences of building blog businesses, and what they’d learnt when things didn’t go to plan. It was encouraging stuff and at times felt like a Rock version of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra (or a more comprehensible Sex Pistols version.) In any case the crowd definitely seemed to appreciate the presentations, as the “woops” were pretty constant and the live interactive commenting boards via Twitter never stopped turning.

Thankfully the Rockstars at Blog 08 only resembled their name sakes in spirit, so we were treated to some articulate and occasionally intense discussion about the current state of blogging and its evolving role in relation to established and user-generated media (both complementary and a threat, as consolidation is only just getting started), blogging’s accepted importance as a communications platform (with blogs about Chinese human rights abuses through to Hollywood gossip reporting more available and much improved thanks to bloggers), and other essential considerations facing each blogger seeking to preserve independence and creativity (namely should they monetize? Yes they should and Mippin Mobilizer can be part of the monetization solution because of its simple, effective way to reach new readers and generate incremental revenue). In fact opinion was often polarized though most topics seemed to return to the same main topline points; that blogs in general will continue to be a democratizing influence on the web; that there should be more women bloggers; there should be less blogs about tech (though more tech blogs posts about Mippin!).

In summary I think Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten’s speech about the parallels between bloggers and God provided the most insight at Blog 08 on the future of blogging. It was that there was a general agreement that something fantastic started 3 – 5 years ago with the unbounded enthusiasm of hundred million or more international voices suddenly vocalized thanks to a clever bit of enabling technology called a blog platform, and with it the ability to tell people the world over about their interests and experiences, to share, learn, improve, enjoy and potentially make money. I don’t know if bloggers are God but I got the impression most of the ones attending Blog 08 were at least singing from the same hymn sheet. It’s great that Mippin can be part of the next step forward for many bloggers.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Who's that girl?

Well.... can we do a drum roll?....

It has been a long time coming (or so it seems to us, being delivered across three separate three-week release cycles) but we are now in live beta with our social content discoverer.

What is it?

We have enabled you to find and discover new content relevant to you through interaction with other Mippin users.

We had a recommendation engine working in the background before. What we have done is to take a step back and introduce you all to each other rather than suggest things to you ourself.

We could now add a lot of further blurb about how we think this is a real advance in the use of the community in discovering content on mobile and how this could be the beginning of a new way of surfacing content on mobile.

We do believe this but we'd far rather you spent your time typing in into your mobile web browser and trying the service yourselves. See if you can find Teri and the random things she is recommending at the moment (e.g. haunted broccoli from just this morning).

To make the concept even easier to grasp try this (we've had fun this week):

(The track for the anoraks is: Black Rebel Motorcyle Club, Shuffle Your Feet)

And, our other videos are here:
Make your site mobile in 60 seconds
The Mippin iPhone [Pepsi] Challenge
Mippin: The original launch video (Director's Cut)

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Tuttle appreciation

Thanks to everyone at Tuttle this morning for your feedback and insight. We enjoyed it. Looking at the image here from the next room at the ICA, we'll say what the airlines say "thanks for [listening] to us, we appreciate that you had a choice this morning"!

Please do explore the Mippin Mobilizer and the new social features from Your feedback is welcome.

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Some publishers do get it.....

.....actually, the number of publishers that are beginning to ensure that mobile is part of their core proposition is growing nicely. I would have many good words to say about New York Times, ESPN, The Times, BBC and a growing number of others.

One in particular worth highlighting is Reuters who are one of the leaders in the mobile space, developing and expanding their brand not just in the UK and US but worldwide with a quality offering. Their approach to Mippin was also pioneering - using it as a platform for its mobile specific RSS feed to drive people through to its existing mobile site. It works well.

The images below show a really simple but effective implementation which should take little or no effort internally and should be a lay-up for every publisher. There is no excuse. (You just know though that some mobile evangelist in every organisation is having to work far harder than you might imagine to make this happen).

These are photos taken in the back of a NYC Cab on a recent visit.

Most appear to have TVs in the back for passengers featuring content from a small number of publishers. Reuters get top marks for making clear that I can find out more by going to ''. Perfect marketing to my mobile context.

A tip of the hat for a job well done.
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

We tuttle, you tuttle, everyone tuttles.....

We are buying the drinks at the Social Media Cafe in London this Friday. Otherwise known as the Tuttle Club it is a meeting place for anyone and everyone interested in... well..... social media. It's a really laid back event where people of like minds come together and keep each other briefed on what's happening, what's new and exciting, what's recommended and what's not.

We are demoing and hoping to get some feedback on our big release this week which - we hope - makes Mippin even more fun to use - you can now see who else is using the service and view their shared stories and sites. Our aim is to increase the value of the service to you based on recommendations from people you trust. More soon.

The Tuttle is FREE and we are buying the coffee's. You find it here (map) anytime from 10am onwards. If you make the effort please seek us out and say hello.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Happy Birthday Mippin!

A year ago today Mippin left the nest and began its flight to people's phones all around the world.

Mippin is now being used in over 170 countries worldwide, on over 2,000 individual types of phone.

Nokia is the most numerous manufacturer, though the Motorola RAZR and KRZR occupy the top of the device lists. Blackberry users are the most active and loyal. The iPhone is catching up fast.

The country with the most users is the US - by a mile - followed by UK, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Bangledesh.

An average user in the UK and US consume over 100 pages a month and visit Mippin between four and five times. Some of you are already far more active.

Our record single visit was from an American who spent four and a half hours reading 750 individual pages. Bless you!

We currently have over 37,000 sites indexed, of which 2,000 are categorised into over 60 content channels. All sites are indexed and available through our internal search engine which has over 80m indices.

There are over 22m stories and counting.

Each and every user has their own bespoke homepage and hundreds of thousands of you have been active in the last 30 days. Thank you.

There is plenty more to come - including a monster release at the end of the month. We love your feedback so please keep it coming, it really helps us focus on the important stuff.


Carnival of the Mobilists

The latest Carnival is up over on Xellular - check out the latest about the mobile space. I particularly liked the detailed write up from Andrew Grill of a recent Advertising Roundtable.