Recipe for the longest possible life

A recipe for the longest possible life:

  1. Don’t laugh or cry
  2. Don’t visit foreign countries
  3. Don’t shake hands
  4. Don’t kiss
  5. Wear protective clothing at all times
  6. Don’t swim in the ocean
  7. Don’t swim in a pool
  8. Stick to basic foods
  9. Don’t take risks
  10. Keep your thoughts to yourself


A recipe for the happiest possible life:

  1. Laugh often and make others laugh with you
  2. Cry in sympathy, cry in sorrow, cry in joy
  3. Embrace friends, embrace strangers
  4. Love everyone and be loved
  5. Travel the world and see as much as you can of it
  6. Wear what you want, be who you want
  7. Swim in every sea and bask on every beach
  8. Sample new flavours every day
  9. Take risks without reward
  10. Share your wisdom and treat everyone you meet as a teacher.


mucky baby

WhatsApp – what’s up??

WhatsAppNo matter how hard I look at this, I still can’t see a justification for Facebook paying $16b for WhatsApp.

The media speculates that it’s to acquire 450 million users, many from emerging countries who aren’t using Facebook at all, but many of them will be (which makes them worthless) and even if all weren’t that would equate to $35 per user, which is a massive acquisition price.

How can Zuckerberg have stood up in front of the board to justify paying that amount? If the issue really is that in emerging markets more people were using WhatsApp than Facebook, then spend more on promoting Facebook! The cost of running campaigns across all major media in those territories day and night for a year wouldn’t have topped more than $1b with change to CODE WhatsApp from scratch! In any case if Zuckerberg is true to his word, Facebook won’t change WhatsApp – which means those users won’t be exposed to Facebook or its advertisers any day soon. Go figure!

Putting this into some sort of meaningful context; if you were to combine the gross box-office takings (adjusted to today’s money taking inflation into account) of ALL the 60+ movie back-catalogue from Steven Spielberg (valued at $9b – that includes movie gold such as ET, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters, Private Ryan, War Horse, Schindler’s List, etc etc etc., – you would still have only spent HALF the money that was spent on WhatsApp!!!

Within the hallowed halls of Facebook Towers there is undoubtedly some amazingly sound and considered reason for purchasing WhatsApp Messenger (to give it its full title) – but my suspicion is that history will show this to have been the apex of Silicon Valley folly.

UPDATE: Meanwhile later that day…

Following on from the recent purchase of WhatsApp, and my blog post above, Facebook have now released an unbelievable set of financial reports with advertising revenues up 82% on the previous period and regular users now exceeding well over a billion. Over half of Facebook’s revenue is now coming from mobile – that in itself is an astronomical achievement given that just 12 months ago working out how to monetise mobile was seen as Zuckerberg’s biggest challenge.

To continue the mind blowing figures further, 80% of users are now OUTSIDE North America and this gives us the biggest clue yet as to why WhatsApp was seen as such a valuable prize. In India for example, due to high cost of SMS texting, WhatsApp dominates with the majority of smartphone contract holders using it all the time. On top of this in a recent interview Zuckerberg stated that Facebook was changing tack over previous mobile policy and breaking up the ‘blue app’ into constituent parts (messenging, photos, news etc) whilst at the same time ensuring access across all their mobile assets to the user’s social network – because this had proven to be what users wanted.

Does that justify the high price tag of WhatsApp? Only time will tell as its value will take some time to truly be seen – but given Facebook’s ongoing success few in the camp are going to stop to question it right now.


Embracing the head hunter. Or how to no longer fear direct approaches on your staff.

My team of project managers at Rokk Media recently experienced en-mass an approach via LinkedIn from recruiters within a tech company new to the region looking to lure them across.

My first reaction was fairly ambivalent but after I heard of yet another approach I felt sufficiently angry to send their CEO an email outlining why I thought this was not a great move given how closely knit the local business community is in this city. It was light-touch and professional but left no doubt that I was unimpressed with the tactic.

How dare they send a raiding party in to poach in my ‘territory’?!

Interestingly a few days later a news story emerged from the States of the uncovering of a ‘clandestine’ pact among the biggest names in Silicon Valley instigated by Apple’s founder Steve Jobs some years ago to agree not to head hunt staff between the signatories. That is now subject to hefty lawsuits as an act of ‘anti-trust’ and heads are already beginning to roll – to carry the metaphor forward! The argument is that it should be up to each to decide whether to accept or decline a direct approach and by seeking to prevent this from happening it is essentially taking away their rights as an individual.

This made me think again about the interlopers, and my, approach. Although arguably on the fringes of good business ethics (but not necessarily bad business practice), I began to view this from a different stance.

I now believe wholeheartedly that the better way of dealing with head-hunting approaches like this is simply to accept that they will happen, particularly if your business is growing and the quality of your team developing also. In some ways it’s quite flattering. The only truly practical way to counter these approaches is to make the decision easier for your team – to stay with the company they love working for.

So by making sure you provide your team with the best working environment, exciting regular incentives, genuine and clear motivation and of course, a competitive – even market leading package, the decision will always fall massively in your favour. Why would they want to move? At Rokk Media we have always sought to do this, and continue to review on a very regularly basis. Your business is only as good as your team after all.

When all said and done, loyalty is ultimately earned, not bought, sold – or imposed.

A look at what makes the best leaders in business

I was recently asked by Corporate Coach Group, one of the UK’s most successful management and leadership training companies to give my thoughts on what I believed make a business leader which they have included within this infographic:


Wait – don’t unfollow that account!

I’ve noticed recently a lot of people unfollowing followers in Twitter who haven’t struck up a conversation with them. Now of course they are entirely within their rights so to do, but before you use mass-unfollow tools, or even do this manually, I’d recommend just thinking whether those users are the ones you really should be ditching.

Statistically there are a proportion of social media account holders who simply like to browse. Just as in any social situation there are people who are naturally interactive and enjoy a natter, there are others who prefer to sit quietly in a corner and observe. This doesn’t make them any less welcome at the party – and in fact very often in their quiet way they deliver the most eloquent and sensible contributions when encouraged into a discussion.

This is no different in Twitter and we shouldn’t assume that just because someone hasn’t tweeted for a few days they haven’t been listening. There is also no penalty to your account in having followers who don’t say a lot – in fact I’d argue it’s those we follow who chatter incessantly who are the greater burden, and even worse those who are self-obsessed about themselves or their businesses, services, or products and clearly have an agenda that doesn’t feature you in it other than to spread their message that are the better ones to drop!

So, before you weed out the quiet followers on your account bear in mind that they may read every single word you post – and who knows may even have been a future customer or colleague!

A quiet friend is no less a friend 😉

For more marketing ideas or help in devising a successful web marketing or social media strategy, please get in touch…