It’s been an interesting time (may we live in, etc…) is live:

The Ingredients
– take one tried, tested & trusted speech-management software platform that’s been used on a corporate scale.
– blend with a deep and experienced transcription resource in Southern India
– add the web’s magical cost-reducing power
– now add sme’s and real people as customers.

For the first time, individuals and sme’s can buy the business benefit that’s only been available to corporates – affordable, accurate, time-saving transcription.

You’ll find morningpapers used on and by Ericsson’s Volvo ocean race team

You talk & we type

Acclaria & ProgramShop look like great opportunities for 2005 and beyond.

The Local Channel has been a three year challenge – to build a community platform, from scratch, that brings together online local government and the communities they serve.

ProfessionalSpirit is -perhaps – the first of a second generation of web marketplaces. Social software is big… the web is a natural tool for networking – and it can be the channel for powerful business management tools. Put them all together and you get ProfessionalSpirit. Targeted at professional-service sme’s and their customers, it’s up & running in 2004.

I’m delighted to be working with PukkaHerbs as their organic ayurvedice remedies and teas business grows through its next phase. Pukka are the UK’s largest source of  ayurvedic herbs – and you’ll find their teas in good healthfood shops, and Tesco.

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New Spin on the Music Business. A Harvard professor outlines a radical plan for compensating recording artists in the digital age. He wants to pay for music with taxes on Internet access and MP3 players. Katie Dean reports from Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Wired News] It’s a problem than needs cracking – and it’ll go one of two ways… 1) universal acceptance of an additional cost or 2) nowhere, sadly. But if the piper doesn’t get paid, the music can’t be free (pipers need to eat)… so we’ll end up with 3) encription & charges for music.
5:54:20 PM    

10 May 2004

1.67m Brits download films illegally. £45m cost to video industry By Lester Haines . [The Register]
If you were in the video industry, and illegal downloads had tripled in the past year, right now, would you be looking for case studies on Napster & its impact on the legitimate music industry?

5:53:02 PM    

Napster parent Q4, FY loss widens. But will sell $30-40m worth of songs this year By Tony Smith . [The Register]

$30-$40 million – before europe comes onstream.
😮 yikes!

5:50:58 PM    

06 May 2004

Music site Napster eyes UK launch. Music download site Napster unveils a UK partner, the high-street electronics chain Dixons. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

I’d have thought that Napster was strong enough on its own – it’ll be interestign to see this play out

7:53:13 PM    

Downloading Again. A survey has found online music downloading is on the rise again. Also: the most popular movies, TV shows, books and software. [New York Times: Technology]

So now that downloading is legal, is it hitting the mainstream?
[or are napster’s original customers just coming back, 6 years older, with their credit cards?]

7:37:16 PM    

Record companies forced by court to pay royalties. Record companies love to make a big deal about how file sharing deprives artists of their royalties. Too bad the record companies themselves must be forced, by court order, to pay the royalties they owe to artists instead of keeping it for themselves.

    A two-year investigation by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office found that many artists were not being paid royalties because record companies lost contact with the performers and had stopped making required payments.

The artists that were too hard for the record companies to find include unknowns such as Sean Combs, Gloria Estefan, and Dolly Parton. Link [Boing Boing]
7:33:28 PM    

05 May 2004

09 March 2004

I have illegally copied music here!

Music swappers face home invasion. The homes of online pop-swappers could be raided if a new European directive gets voted into law. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition] – it’s the cassettes under my desk – classic ’70’s rock & pop, copied & shared @ school & university. By this new directive, I’d have been breaking the law. But hang on, I was breaking the law anyway – why do we need another one?

Couldn’t we have a law requiring all new laws involving the interrnet to be a) scrutinised by folks who understand the internetwebthingy and b) have some common sense?

7:24:15 PM    Google It!
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24 February 2004

another brick in the wall
WH Smith dumps CD singles. Sliding sales mean the single is on the way out at the UK retailer, but the firm insists other entertainment products will fill the shelves instead. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
Another stpe towards the evolution of trad ‘record store’ into something very different – which could be as radical as Gap was with its original Levis & Music format.
9:47:57 AM    Google It!
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18 February 2004

yes, right, that’ll work…
US steps up online piracy fight. The US record industry sues another 531 people in its continuing campaign against online music piracy. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
Saw an interesting interview with the MD of Playboy – who’s encouraging visitors to help distribute/ share their content, and share in any cash that’s generated. Which sounds like a win-win. What was it we were saying about the porn industry working out how to solve issues before brick’n’mortar trad businesses?
4:37:04 PM    Google It!
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p2p + content = value

BBC ponders P2P distribution. BT and Auntie do lunch over Internet plan [The Register]
and in music too

logical enough… now who else has an archive of video footage/back catalogue of classic music (take your pick) & is worth investing in… Granada? ITN (if only…)

4:33:29 PM    Google It!
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13 February 2004

deja vu
The Fix. Is the FCC exaggerating the Jackson boobhaha? Plus: What intern scandal? []
We had the Timberlake grope in the UK last year with Kylie’s rear – if that was opportunistic (what red-blooded male wouldn’t?) then this looks like it’s the media that’s being manipulated.
6:44:27 PM    Google It!
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huge story-within-story

Copy-crippled CDs launch in UK, baffling Auntie Beeb. Borked by the BPI [The Register]
Towards the end of this Register story about cd’s not playing in cars are three revelations:
1 The BBC is considering file-sharing access to its arts & culture archive
2 That rights holders are looking for new payment models
3 That Kevin Kelley’s Less is More argument may yet come to pass in downloading music
a big story

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Mayor dispatches cops to bust blogger-critic. Loic says,

    Christophe does not like the way the city mayor manages the city, spends the public money and says it on his blog, every day. He has been very successful doing that, with hundreds of inhabitants of Puteaux reading and commenting his blog everyday and many national newspapers that talked about his blog.

    Christophe criticizes the city management so much that they have tried to stop him for months, the city mayor has even sent him threats over the phone that he recorded and blogged, of course.

    Today, he has been stopped in the street by the Police Municipale (the local French Police) who tried to arrest him for his blogging. Fortunately for Christophe, the National Police arrived immediately as they found what was happening weird, and let him go.

Link (Thanks, Loic!) [Boing Boing]
6:35:05 PM    

13 May 2004;mode=thread&order=0
Let’s assume for now the the upset had nothing to do with voting methods, and everything to do with voters. Which is how things should be 😉

8:22:44 PM    

06 May 2004

E-Voting Commission Gets Earful. In a tiny room packed with activists, reporters and concerned citizens, the Election Assistance Commission hears testimony from makers of e-voting machines and the people who oppose them. Michael Grebb reports from Washington, D.C. [Wired News]

I hea rthat there’s evoting going on in India right now – why is it good enough for them, & not for us?

7:55:19 PM    

05 May 2004

29 February 2004

last chance for now?
Electronic Vote Faces Big Test of Its Security. Super Tuesday will be a big test for new touchscreen voting machines. But computer experts are worried about security issues. By John Schwartz. [New York Times: Technology]
8:17:35 PM    Google It!
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26 February 2004
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how others see us

from the CIA World Handbook
United Kingdom
llicit drugs:
gateway country for Latin American cocaine entering the European market; major consumer of synthetic drugs, producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering center

train set
The British Secret Is Out: They’re Mad About Trains. The debate over Britain’s railways evokes deep and conflicting memories, reaching into the way Britons see the state of their nation. By Alan Cowell. [New York Times: NYT HomePage] According to this analysis, it seems that -statistically – our trains are no more or less safe now than before privitisation. So why not let things go back towards the way they were, with communities managing trains & track?
10:16:42 AM    Google It!
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the really useful website is (almost) from the horse’s mouth reporting of Number 10’s twice daily press briefings. Raw, & without the Press’ filters.
10:10:11 AM    Google It!
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19 February 2004

elections will never be the same again
Blogs Pump Bucks Into Campaigns. A Democratic candidate buys $2,000 of advertising on a blog and gets $80,000 in campaign donations in two weeks. Was it a fluke, or the beginning of a new campaign cash cow? By Chris Ulbrich. [Wired News]
9:21:42 AM    Google It!
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18 February 2004

oh dear…

Concerns over US e-voting. Two leading US experts on e-voting say the forthcoming presidential vote could be more chaotic than the last. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]… this isn’t really c21st progress, is it?

and it’s not here in California or here in Eire either.

3:37:42 PM    Google It!
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12 February 2004

is London going open source?

Er… MS UK sponsors open source deployment workshop. Satan sponsors pope? MS UK sponsors own P45s? [The Register]

Now that’s bold: sponsoring the opposition when your product is known to be under scrutiny.
These microsoft guys deserve to succeed with cohones like that.

6:17:08 PM    Google It!
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if the USA’s e democracy is in first gear, what gear is the UK in?

It’s very rare for me to quote so much from elsewhere – so this must be important!
The UK’s probably in a high gear – but low ratio. (4×4 or HGV analogy: the guys who build roads move as fast as they can – but it’s a heck of a lot slower than the traffic on the finished road. We’re going as fast as we can, but on low, slow, steep, sticky roads. The tarmac is right up ahead.)
I envy the USA’s primaries – it’s giving them a change to rehearse the ‘real’ election that comes later this year. We’re not getting this degree of activity or thought over our Local or European elections in May/June. If we did, the next general election (Spring ’05?) would make much more use of the techniques being learned in the Primaries.

Doc Searls wrote:
Are we still parked?.

Anybody who drives a stick shift knows the hardest part is first gear; because you’re trying to change a body at rest to a body in motion. In the rest of the forward gears, you’re just managing motion.

This comes to mind reading Micah’s reflections on the Digital Democracy Teach-In this morning.

    For all the intense discussion going on online and in the hallways about what the Dean campaign did or didn’t do right, and on how social software tools can empower people, I’m amazed by how little interaction this community seems to have with people who actually know something about social movements, political organizing and power analysis. Perhaps that’s a reflection of how new to politics so many of the people here seem to be, and that’s ok. After all, DeanforAmerica (my shorthand for the decision to try to run an "open-source"-style campaign, as opposed to Howard Dean the candidate for President) clearly inspired many people both in and outside of the hacking community and the A-list blogging community to get excited about personal political participation, and hopefully that will be a lasting thing.

        But people here talk like all that’s needed is better tools, and then people will pick them up and take back their country from the powers-that-be. There’s almost no sense of how hard organizing actually is, or why.

He also says,

    I have a clue

          Wondering what will happen next with the movement-in-formation that we’ve seen in and around the Dean campaign? One answer is to watch this url:

His point: we’re going to need a lot more than blogs and tools. We’ll need to be organized.

Bonus link: Gary Turner’s "Dotgov" Bubble Burst.
[The Doc Searls Weblog]
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11 February 2004

an interesting experiment in democracy

Munich Open Source Plows Ahead. A German city’s plan to switch to open-source applications has encountered some bumps in the road, but supporters say it will all work out. By Michelle Delio. [Wired News]

& let’s hope others follow & share the burden

Digital is different

Digital Communications change customer relationships in the virtual & physical worlds.
Digital Customers change the companies they buy from.
Digital Marketing works from the customer’s ruleset.

So wouldn’t you expect marketing to change, from the ground up?

"Direct marketing – love it or hate it, it works. Otherwise companies that have to make a profit to stay in business wouldn’t do it, would they? Most people like what they receive – making distinctions between the relevant information they receive, and the poorly targeted. The skills that make direct and responsive advertising work well are long-established. And they work even better on the web. If you’re reading something interesting, and you want to find out more, you’ll do something if the advertiser asks, and makes as simple as a single click.

"And the web gives instant gratification – far faster than a telephone or reply coupon. A well-constructed site will answer all the questions you have, better than even a phone operator. The distance – measure it as time or mileage – between customer and company disappears. The quality and recency of customer information available to the company improve dramatically – there’s no middle agent to filter or slow down the information flow. Many of the costs of acquiring and managing customer information will also diminish or disappear.

"Just how can you take advantage of these innovations to make it easier to manage your company’s resources, tailoring them to meet your customer’s needs?"

These three paragraphs were written in 1997, for the first release of this website. I haven’t found a good reason to change them – yet. can help you:

    * Understand your present customers – & which of them are more profitable.
    * Speak to customers with a single voice, at every point of contact.
    * Measure the return on every change that you make.

Web savvy
Marketing led
Business strategy

What can digital marketing do for my company?
Suddenly – and the change has been dramatic – it’s not enough to offer your customers a quality product. It may be the best ever available. But if it’s not sold in the right way, with the correct support, business can be slow.
And as the number of media available for promotions increases, and as your target audience – your customers – move away from the media channels where you used to reach them, it’s simply not practical to advertise to the whole marketplace and guarantee success. Telephone sales and web media are  reducing customer’s need to visit the High Street to buy products.

The paradox of our age
Products  with excellent quality designed in are the least likely to fail, have never needed less service support, but won’t be bought unless there’s a visible and significant service to support customers.The web’s transparency forces the issue.

The customer has never had more control.
It’s not all bad news though. Customers will pay a premium for a service, over their top price for a product alone. And those companies that direct their resources to give customers maximum support find that they have created more efficient business processes. And efficiency makes profit.