14 Nights Late(r)

Ok – so I am a bit late on the old blog front – 14 days late in fact. As opposed to simply offering the usual excuse “I’ve been busy” I thought it might be amusing to have a look at the last couple of weeks of my offline social media activities and name drop a bit.

13. Friday 21st – Marc Hawker @ Strongrooms

I’m generally found at the Strongrooms in Shoreditch on a Friday night – mainly due to the fact there are tables with umbrella’s outside allowing my continuing nicotine addiction to be suitably fuelled. I met up with a mate Marc Hawker from Dark Fibre films. Dark Fibre recently completed a documentary about the cult of the Living Goddess in Nepal which got worldwide attention when Goddess herself was stripped of her title for visiting the US to help promote the film. They eventually managed to not only sort it but improve things substantially for the fallen deity.

Anyway we were talking about the usual Friday night fare – films, comics, politics and after many a beer realised that our respective other halves haven’t met and we should do dinner…

Both being of vaguely of Scottish descent (neither of us are actually Scottish but we both grew up there) we decided to do the Burnsish night of haggis, neeps & tatties.

What can I say – it was late and we were trashed.

That night I got home (now very trashed) - decided that the Sainsbury’s haggis wasn’t good enough and found somewhere in Scotland who would deliver me a ‘proper’ one - or actually ‘proper’ two since that was the minimum order. I also had the choice of 1 or 3kg haggii – having never actually seen a ‘proper’ haggis I went for the 3kg option figuring I can always freeze it.

Any ‘proper’ Scot out there should be laughing their ass off right about now – but more on that later…

I then spent an hour making sauce for the lasagne I would be eating the next evening – yes it’s the middle of the night – the logic was that it’s more pleasant to cook inebriated than with a stinking hangover…

12. Saturday 22nd

I spent most of Saturday ripping DVD’s and finishing off the lasagne. The wife and I had Lee Coomber who is the former tech director of Lateral (now senior developer at our sister company LShift. Had a very pleasant night and tried and failed to convince Lee that consoles were good – tho he was impressed by Bioshock I think.

11. Sunday 23rd

Managed to get my ‘High Flyer’ achievement point in Crackdown on the 360 – which involves climbing to the highest building in the game which took me about an hour. It really should have taken about 10 minutes but I was pretty damn useless. The decent from top was a most gratifying 20 seconds followed by a loud thud tho’.

10. Monday 24th

Actually made it home at a reasonable hour to discover that my replacement PSP (Slim & Lite) had arrived (you know the one that got nicked with the rest of my bag). It really is quite a nice bit of kit – it really is slim and and really is bright. I spent most of the evening researching how to hack the beast – not to pirate games, but so I could continue running PSPComic (and finish reading the wonderful Transmetropolitan). I discovered the wonder that is ‘Pandora’s Battery’ – one of the most amusing hacks I’ve ever come across on any system. It works by putting a bit of code onto the firmware of the actual battery to force the machine into diagnostic mode which can be then ‘upgraded’ (I am still wondering how the hell did they worked that out). After reading the various guides on how to do it I wimped out and decided to wait until I was feeling a little bit more confident that I wasn’t going to ‘brick’ the thing.

I got a text at about 10.30pm with the wonderful news that Casper Jordan Bambach (the son of Laura & Dan Jordan Bambach – Glue & Lateral respectively) had entered the world at 8lbs 6oz without a hitch. They are two of my best friends and collegues and we’ve been riding this whole ‘baby’ thang together for the last six months so I was over the moon when it all went well. Hopefully it will work out for us too…

9. Tuesday 25th

I’m working on a project with the (legendary) John Grant – one of the founders of St. Lukes, saviour of Ikea, writer / thinker / sustainer(?) extraordinaire. Unfortunately can’t tell you what it is or I’d have to maim you – suffice to say we had a quick meeting at ‘the Hospital’ in Covent Garden (Dave Stewarts private members club).

While there we bumped into Paul Bay who is both an ex-client and good mate, he has a very nice start-up called CitizenSound which help brand, bands and fans connect in a ‘meaningful’ way. It’s amazing how many brands out there want to basque in the reflected glory of the music industry, spend lots of money and get it spectacularly wrong – largely due to not appreciating or respecting the human factor sufficiently. Citizensound specialise in ensuring the social/emotional contract between artist / audience and corporation are mutually benefitial and do a bloody good job of it.

Anyway John G was going on to 2nd Chance Tuesday and having not been in a while I decided to tag along / blag it. For those who don’t know – back in the old dodgy dot com days there was an event called First Tuesday. It was a networking evening where entrepreneurs, investors and suppliers could get together – pitch to each other and facilitate the oh so successful (not) digital landgrab at the turn of the century. Given the ‘boyant’ nature of the market right now they rekindled the night to carve out the next batch of dot coms. The main event was the first interview with Martin & Felix from Last.fm since they sold to CBS for silly money.

Turned out to be a really interesting night. The Last.fm lot were great speakers and it was genuinely inspiring hearing their incredibly worthy rags to riches tale and meeting some of the next gen investor luminati who seem a bit more on the ball than last time round.

John and I ended up at the Adams Street bar (another dodgy private club) with Paul Walsh (the head of BIMA) and his crew. BIMA has gone through a pretty rough time over the last few years. As one of the oldest ‘new media’ related associations there have been many questions as to its relevance from many parts of the industry – not least the small independent crowd. It’s a pretty tall order these days to have one organisation that can in fact represent such a diverse group of people and skills so I don’t really envy them. Paul has been chair of BIMA for the last couple of years and has tried to bring it back to the masses – whether he has succeeded or not is pretty subjective however my own feeling is that they are going in the right general direction and should be supported but the pressure should be kept on!

8. Wednesday 26th
To coincide with Adtech:London, New Media Age were having a party to celebrate the launch of their top 100 in Soho somewhere. Since we actually advertised in it I figured it might be worth showing up. We generally don’t do ad’s but we’re in the process of rebranding and thought it would be a nice opp to show off our new logo. Feel free to comment on whether y’all hate it or not. (www.lateral.net obviously)

Turned out to be a great do – not only did James ‘Tango Zebra’ Booth make it but the legendary Ajaz Ahmed from AKQA – who notoriously never comes to anything!

Both of them are what I would describe as ‘Old Skool’. Mr. Booth managed to provide a series of advertising formats that have now fully adopted internationally providing an alternative to the like’s of the remarkably well-funded Eyeblaster. They are pretty much the only British company to have held it’s own in that fiercely competitive market. Kudos!

Ajaz always irritated the hell out of me – why? Not because AKQA was such a great success but whenever NMA did their ’Top 50 most influential people in New Media’ his name was before mine. Petty I know ;-)

Anyway the top 100 represents a pretty major shift in how the industry is going – the cut off point is around £1.4M these days illustrating we really are coming of age. Of course we were towards the bottom, tiny independent that we are but at least we’re there!

I was glad that the NMA editorial staff were very happy with the turn out as I know it was a chore all round getting it out and drumming up the interest – good on ‘em.

7. Thursday 27th
I was supposed to go to a ‘Top Cat’s’ event on Thursday evening. This is a newish networking thang for New Media company owners – I was actually looking forward to it but after three days out on the trot was feeling less than perky and decided going home to see the wife was in order.

I arrived home to discover… the Haggis…

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