New Books Purchased in March

During the month of March I bough or pre-ordered the following new books – some are physical books, and others are digital. A compulsive buyer of books, I won’t read all of them immediately – or ever – but that doesn’t stop me from adding to my collection.

the-stopped-heart-coverThe Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson

Internationally bestselling author Julie Myerson’s beautifully written, yet deeply chilling, novel of psychological suspense explores the tragedies—past and present—haunting a picturesque country cottage.

Mary Coles and her husband, Graham, have just moved to a cottage on the edge of a small village. The house hasn’t been lived in for years, but they are drawn to its original features and surprisingly large garden, which stretches down into a beautiful apple orchard. It’s idyllic, remote, picturesque: exactly what they need to put the horror of the past behind them.

Continue reading “New Books Purchased in March”

8 Insanely Simple Instagram Growth Hacks

Instagram is finally being talked about in the same breathe as Facebook and Twitter, after long being mentioned (sometimes) as an after-thought. Still, growing your following on Instagram can be difficult – especially with Instagram advertising not being widely available – but by following these simple hacks, you’ll soon find yourself reaching a larger audience.

Have a Complete Profile


We all hope that the caliber of the images we share on Instagram is enough to convince someone to follow us, but this isn’t necessarily true when it comes to following businesses and brands. Think of your profile bio as a 150 character elevator pitch that has to convince visitors to follow you; and never leave the website field blank. Instagram treats links in status updates as plain text, so the only way for visitors and followers to click through to your website is via your profile. Experiment with linking to a specific landing page instead of your website’s home page.

Continue reading “8 Insanely Simple Instagram Growth Hacks”

A Personal POV About Facebook Pages for Businesses

Last Monday I linked to an article that referred to Facebook as being the new Excel. Some businesses still prefer to use Excel for managing and analysing data, rather than resorting to a more specialised piece of software or web app; and similarly, some businesses use Facebook (Groups, Pages, etc.) instead of a dedicated website, to connect with their audience.

A large number of articles have been written about why this is not a sound strategy, with the most common reason being that you are building your presence on “rented” space: any changes to Facebook’s terms of service (or algorithm) will most certainly affect you. And Facebook is always tweaking their algorithm, and many of these tweaks have already limited the reach of Page posts. If you don’t have a highly engaged audience, or pay to boost posts, fewer than 2% of your followers will see what you post. Not forgetting that only being on Facebook makes you all but invisible to search engines, unless you’ve heavily optimised your Facebook Page, and continuously tweak it.

Continue reading “A Personal POV About Facebook Pages for Businesses”

More tech stories, life learning, and the media

I’m the luckiest unlucky person in the world. No one wants to be the last man standing.

Peter Greene

A trio of tech articles, something on life learning, and a little bit on the media.

The first tech story is about how GE could be seen as reinventing itself as a startup; an idea that makes sense once you’ve read the article, especially if you’re already familiar with GEs storied history.

The second touches on Silicon Valley’s high-valuation/high-expectation problem, and a belief that rather than being on the cusp of a bubble, the industry is busy correcting itself – with casualties, of course.

Continue reading “More tech stories, life learning, and the media”

Donald Trump, Indiana Jones & Pablo Picasso

In typical criminal cases, victims do not raise their hands to collect money until closer to when defendants are sentenced; in this case, no one has been.

Rebecca R. Ruiz on FIFA

I forgot to wear green today!

Politico’s fact-checking of Donald Trump’s recent statements makes for some uncomfortable reading, even if you’re not an American. The Economist Intelligence Unit has added a Trump presidency to their global risk scale, with a rating of 12. No, that is not a good thing.

Continue reading “Donald Trump, Indiana Jones & Pablo Picasso”

Guns, Tech and Artificial Intelligence

Guns turn out to be just the kind of problem — controversial, person-to-person, sprawling across social and cultural boundaries — that Silicon Valley as an institution instinctively runs from solving.

Scott Rosenberg

Over the weekend we learned that fitness nut Richard Simmons may (or may not) have surrendered control of his life to his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles. Changing from a hyper-enthusiastic extrovert into a reclusive introvert is not impossible, but still it helps to remember Brian Wilson’s relationship with Dr Eugene Landy, as the NY Daily News points out.

We all know that more names will be added to this list.

Continue reading “Guns, Tech and Artificial Intelligence”

First New Books of the New Year

I’m a compulsive buyer of books that I don’t always read, but the fact that a Japanese term (Tsundoku) exists for this, means I am not alone. Below are all the new books I purchased in the first two months of the new year, some digital, some physical.

st-marks-is-dead-coverSt. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street by Ada Calhoun

A vibrant narrative history of three hallowed Manhattan blocks―the epicenter of American cool.

St. Marks Place in New York City has spawned countless artistic and political movements. Here Frank O’Hara caroused, Emma Goldman plotted, and the Velvet Underground wailed. But every generation of miscreant denizens believes that their era, and no other, marked the street’s apex. This idiosyncratic work of reportage tells the many layered history of the street―from its beginnings as Colonial Dutch Director-General Peter Stuyvesant’s pear orchard to today’s hipster playground―organized around those pivotal moments when critics declared “St. Marks is dead.”

In a narrative enriched by hundreds of interviews and dozens of rare images, St. Marks native Ada Calhoun profiles iconic characters from W. H. Auden to Abbie Hoffman, from Keith Haring to the Beastie Boys, among many others. She argues that St. Marks has variously been an elite address, an immigrants’ haven, a mafia warzone, a hippie paradise, and a backdrop to the film Kids―but it has always been a place that outsiders call home.

Continue reading “First New Books of the New Year”

How To Create a Welcome Email That Won’t Be Ignored [Client Content]

Snippet (link in text below loads full article)

Much as we hate to admit it, first impressions do count. This is no less true when it comes to marketing email, starting with that all-important welcome email. Ignoring or deleting an email is even easier than ignoring a phone call, and in this article we will guide you through each of the critical steps involved in creating a welcome email that won’t be ignored.

It Must be Mobile Friendly

Yes, mobile friendly is a phrase you see in almost every marketing article, but no, it is not a meaningless buzzword. While plain text email is, by default, mobile friendly, marketing email often includes HTML, images, and other components that are, by default, not mobile friendly.

Most of the top email marketing software providers, such as AWeber, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, already offer responsive templates and drag-and-drop email builders that are also optimized for mobile devices.

Continue reading “How To Create a Welcome Email That Won’t Be Ignored [Client Content]”

Why All SMEs Should Have a Company Blog [Client Content]

Snippet (link in text below loads full article)

Does your company have a blog?

It remains a question that, even with so much being written about content marketing, still generates debates rather than a simple answer. SMEs, particularly those without a dedicated marketing department, might scoff at the idea, citing lack of time, or topics to write about, as reasons for neglecting their company blog. If they ever started one in the first place. In doing so, they are robbing themselves of the benefits a well-managed company blog creates.

Admittedly, many of these benefits are only realized after some time, but long-term benefits are much better than short-term gains. In this article we will explain six benefits of blogging, before presenting 10 quick blogging tips your SME should be following.

Continue reading “Why All SMEs Should Have a Company Blog [Client Content]”

An Introduction to Email Marketing [Client Content]

Snippet (link in text below loads full article)

A few years ago businesses and marketers viewed email marketing as the ugly duckling of marketing. A lot has changed in the last 4 years, and now many businesses are reporting great success with carefully implemented email marketing strategies.

Over the coming weeks we will take a look at how any business can implement email marketing, and maximize the benefit.

Continue reading “An Introduction to Email Marketing [Client Content]”