Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No….it’s Heroes of the Mobile Screen!

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Heroes of the Mobile Screen

Heroes of the Mobile Screen is an event i, as part of IF Communications, am helping to put together (you can see our leading lady Helen Keegan’s post about the event here) , taking place on December 7th at London’s BFI on the Southbank. So firstly, make sure it’s in your diary. Better still buy a ticket here (£99), without hearing anything further about it….

But, on the off chance you need a little persuasion before being part of one of the mobile conferences of the year…..

The team behind the event is Helen Keegan, Carlo Longino, Dominic Travers, Izzy Fox and myself.

It’s in association with Mobile Monday London and it’s the the premier event for 450 of the mobile industry’s top thought-leaders, innovators, investors, marketers, stakeholders and media/analysts. Throught the day we’re going to have some fantastic speakers, including Kei Shimada, JP Rangaswami, Kevin Marks, Juliat Shalet, Doug Richard, Belinda Parmer, Harald Neidhardt and Paul Berney.

You can keep up to date with all the latest speakers here and take a gander at the agenda for the day here.

Along with special keynotes there’s going to be a number of panels discussing everything from what’s making money in mobile? Where are the next opportunities going to be? Why are attitudes so markedly different in the US and Europe? When will the value of the services really stimulate the very public conversation that needs to take place before people will adopt them? Which mobile services will provide a truly compelling reason for a majority of customers to share their location with providers and each other? Who is the mobile consumer an what do they really want?

Uniquely we’re also going to be talking to some of the heaviest users of mobile. No i’m not talking about Ewan MacLeod (although we’ll probably catch up with him too). I’m actually talking about teenagers. The mobile industry comes up with some genius ideas for applications and services, some of which specifically targeted at teenagers…..but will they actually use them?

Julia Shalet, The Digital Youth Project, has come on board to help us put on a panel of ‘Teenage Dragons’, who will hear pitches from four different companies offering, applications, services or devices and then give their honest and potentially brutal feedback.

This is the kind of direct response that the industry loves, usually a company would have to pay through the nose to get information like this, but at Heroes of the Mobile Screen, it’s all part of the ticket 🙂

All in all, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic event, even if i do say so myself. Please check out the details and get in touch with me if you want to know more about it, or if you’d like to be part of the event as one of our sponsors.

In the mean time, please be a fan of the event on our Facebook page, interact with us on Twitter and tell your friends!

Thanks and see you on December 7th!

Cue the training montages…

•August 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

So, i’ve started my training.

In case you haven’t read the previous posts, i’m due to run in the Great Gorilla Run on September 26th and although it’s only 7km, i have to do it in full Gorilla outfit. So i need to get training a little.

Rocky Marciano skipping in training

Anyway. The last couple of days i’ve been getting back into my skipping. I’ve been doing it in 20 minute stints (6mins, 1min break, 6mins, 1 min break and then finishing with 8mins). Say what you will about skipping/jumping rope, it provides for a great overall work out and because my rope is weighted, it makes it that bit harder.

In preparation for wearing a gorilla outfit, i’ve been wearing hoodies etc to help get used to the kind of heat. Obviously i’ll be going out on a few runs very soon and will also be training in the gorilla outfit (when it gets delivered), so please, if you see a gorilla running round a park in Earlsfield, don’t be alarmed, it’s probably just me…probably.

I’m going on the sponsorship offensive very soon again, so be warned, i may well be dropping you a quick email/tweet/text to ask you to be so kind and donate some money …or you could skip the middle part and donate right HERE! Thanks

In the mean time, i’m looking to put together a good “training playlist”, which will also double up as my actually running playlist for the run. If you’ve got any particular suggestions (here’s what i’ve put together on Spotify so far) or any advice on the best way to structure such a playlist, it would be gratefully received 🙂

Cheers

Neil

PR and You

•August 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I wrote this piece a while ago and it was originally going to published elsewhere but, i’ve brought it to life here. To be honest, i’d almost forgotten i’d written it and i thought it might be good to whack up for all to enjoy.

Hopefully if you’re looking into PR but don’t know whether you’re ready or if you have enough budget, this might be of some use to you.

So please, make sure you’ve got a tea/coffee and biscuit or two as this will be a long one.

———————

It’s always good to get something for free and with cash a little short to hand at the moment, hopefully what’s below will help a few people out.

What I wanted to do here is try to help people who are unsure if they need PR right now and offer some advice about what they can perhaps do on their own and what PR can do for them.

Who am I to be giving advice? Well that’s a good question. My name is Neil Robertson and i’m the other key consultant at IF Communications. We’re a small London-based agency, specialising in mobile and venture capital. A few of the mobile companies we work with are Flirtomatic, Fjord, Mobango and Sharpcards; all awesome companies doing very cool things….even if they weren’t my clients, I’d still say that, which is exactly why I enjoy working with them every day. We also worked with Trutap, which by the way, is STILL winning awards (The Graham Bell Award for Best Communication Solution at the SPIFFY awards in February) and signing up around 400 new users a day.

What can PR do for me?

PR may not be for everyone and there are companies out there doing a fantastic job without it. There’s a lot you can do yourself within your own industry, after all it’s fairly easy to preach to the converted, but what about the rest of the world out there? How do you go about reaching the important people who don’t really run in the same circles?

Along with good branding and marketing, PR can help to dramatically increase the value of a company. It’s not rocket science, but it does take certain skills to do it successfully and make no mistake, good PR really can make a difference. Trutap’s initial funding for example, came through from an article in The Economist….no joke.

Some might argue that in difficult times, PR is often one of the first things to be cut, however it’s perhaps the one thing that can really make a difference. In a downturn it becomes even more important to make sure your company is being talked about in a positive way. If you cut the PR and stop reaching out, people tend to have short memories and you may get forgotten about, at a time when you need the right level of visibility to get funding, find strategic partners, get sign ups or find a potential exit.

Anyway, as promised here are few tips for those considering PR.

Focus on you

Messaging – It might sound a little wanky, but have you done a messaging session yet? If you’re not sure what that means, no worries. It’s just getting down to some core statements that really sum up what your product or service does….without the BS.

What audiences are you trying to reach? Joe Public, VC’s, corporates, mobile network operators – it doesn’t matter, the main point is to keep things simple and clear. You need to make sure you cut out all the jargon, which might not be as easy as you think, especially if you’re used to explaining your business to your industry peers. A basic test you can do is to explain your company or service as if you were talking to your grandmother. It’s even better if you actually have a grandmother to practice on.

Think about the language you’re using. You might think that your audience will have a grasp on certain terms, but you could actually be giving them too much credit.

Before you call in the PR however, start doing it yourself. Get some friends in to the office and run it past them to see what they think. I’m sure the lure of a couple of free beers will have them banging at the door.

One thing you don’t want to be doing is confusing people. Confused people will do one of either two things:

1)   Make the effort to clear things up by delving deeper and asking tricky questions

2)   Not waste any more of their time trying to figure you out and move on to something else.

Standing out

You need to take a look at those around you. What makes you different? Why should someone pick you over a rival?

Whether we like it or not, the human species is relatively lazy. If we can use science and technology to make life easier, you can be damn sure we’ll find a way to do it. Just look at how we get from A to B now. How many people still carry an A-Z of London on them anymore?

How does your product/service really make someone’s life EASIER?

If there’s really no one else doing what you’re doing, then you’re either lucky enough to have spotted a lucrative niche, or you haven’t done your research properly and realised the reason you might be the only one in your field.

At the end of the day it’s your product or service that should be doing most of the talking. If you find yourself sitting there, trying to explain it to people, showing them how to use it time and time again, it needs more work.

Listening

It’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse and find out what people in the industry are talking about, what’s being discussed and what’s hot.

It’s an obvious point, but a serious one. If you’re not up to speed on what people are talking about and don’t have much to say about it yourself, you may find important conversations short lived. It’s not just your immediate industry though, what about issues outside that could have a knock on effect to your business and industry?  How can you expect to get coverage outside the industry if you don’t see the bigger picture? Have you got the time to do all this?

Talking

The power of one-to-one conversations should never be underestimated. Companies and CEOs today should be striving for this type of contact. Of course this is a two way thing right? The other person has to agree to a one-on-one conversation. This is where it pays to know who’s been reading and writing what and how best to get their attention.

One-to-many conversations may feel like your hitting a lot of targets in one swoop, but it’s a matter of quality over quantity. It’s important to acknowledge everyone, no matter how big or small.

Imagine it like speed dating…stay with me on this.

By just turning up and shouting information about yourself to a room full of people and then leaving, if you’re lucky might get you a few results, but seeing as there are other people in the room to talk to and lets face it, you were a little one sided, you could easily be forgotten. Taking the time to sit down with people is a whole new ball game. Sure, you still do that spiel you practiced in the mirror before you came out, but with every person you meet and the different questions you’re asked, the conversation evolves each time. You’re tailoring each conversation in order to be relevant to each person. It’s not anything complicated or new, but putting in the time to get to know these people, will give you a shot at that second date.

Press releases are, if done properly, a good way of getting across information, but so is a personal email. If you want to get information or news about your company in industry blogs or news sites, it’s important to know how the people your contacting prefer to hear about news and to give them a unique perspective if you can.

What makes a story?

You have something that you think is newsworthy…but you’re not sure. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash, right? So how can you tell?

There might be some research you’ve been part of, which has seen some interesting trends that you can discuss with people. News on funding will always get the industry’s attention, as will partnerships deals but to a lesser extent. Numbers are something that will always help to make a story, but how can you gauge what’s big and what’s small? It all depends on the context of your audience. For instance, in terms of the web and something like social networking, a couple of million users is perhaps an every day occurrence. Not a big deal. If you’re applying that to mobile though, a couple of million users is a massive number.

Similar stuff applies if you’re doing something new and untested. No one is really sure of what’s going to be popular or big, so if you’re pioneering something, a couple of hundred/a thousand is definitely something to shout about. Make sure the numbers are there though; don’t go shouting about it when you’re just rolling it out. It could come back to haunt you if whatever you’re trialing flops. It’s an absolute must to be honest and upfront about numbers from the beginning. It’s much better to be honest from the start than be caught out in the end.

Just given your website a bit of a refresh? Sorry, but depending on what you’ve actually changed, you’re probably not going to set the world alight with that one. It might be nice to point a few people towards it in conversation to get some general feedback, but unlikely to warrant a news release. In which case, sure by all means blog/Tweet about it, but don’t expect anyone to take much notice.

Participate

Listening is only half the battle. It’s all simple stuff but if you want to start getting your name out there, you need to start joining in the discussion. It doesn’t need to be anything Earth-shattering, but it’s important to participate. I don’t just mean online conversations on forums, Twitter (you’re on Twitter right??), LinkedIn, Facebook and the rest. get along to Mobile Monday, Chinwag, Mobile Geeks of London, Open SoHo, local Tweetups, Tuttle Club, TechCrunch talks and MIR Mixers. Get in front of people and make sure they know your face. These are all fairly easy things to do. You’re more than likely to be familiar with at least one or two of these events, not to mention the people who attend them.

There are shitloads of conferences and events around the world that you could be looking at, thinking “well, it sounds kinda relevant to us”. Unless you’ve got the time do the research and make it worthwhile by entering awards, pitching to be on a panel or for a speaking slot, organising meet-ups with the media or potential investors, you could spend your entire year trying to find out and then realise you don’t have any money left at the end of it.

Keeping up appearances

There are a lot of companies out there who are either looking for funding, looking for partnerships or looking for exits. Use PR to your advantage and remember to keep a steady flow going. Not just news, but opinion pieces, profiles, features, awards etc. That’s one of the keys – keep the dialogue going. Don’t waste time, money and effort on the wrong activity or a bad agency.

A good PR agency should, among other things:

  • Truly understand your industry and the trends – few do because they spread themselves over too many sectors
  • Have the contacts to add value to your business, more than just your own immediate industry – media, VC’s, potential partners etc
  • Get you coverage that matters – quality over quantity
  • Free up your time so you can focus on your business.

Good luck!

The Great Gorilla Run

•July 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

So i signed up for The Great Gorilla Run today……I’ve never really done any long distance running before, but i reckon i’m in reasonable shape and i think i wanted something to focus on.

I’ve always thought about doing a charity run of sorts and i reckon this is a good starting point and here’s why:

1) It’s 7km – so nothing too mental to start with. It works out at about 4 miles.

2) Everyone runs dressed as a gorilla –  It’s not taking itself too seriously

3) I bloody love those gorillas – So any chance to raise a bit of money to help them out and get them some ‘narrnas is ok with me.

4) I get to keep the gorilla suit afterwards -Yep not only do i get to do something good for an endangered species, i also get a gorilla outfit for doing it! Brilliant!

Of course as with any charity run, i need to raise some sponsorship. My minimum target is £400. Not a lot to be honest, but if the 1000 people running each raise the minimum, it means that those furry little things get around £400,000.

So please if you think you can give even just a couple of quid, please check out my donations page. Any money you might be able to give will all help and i’d be extremely grateful.

Like i said, i haven’t really done any distance/charity runs before, so i’m intrigued to find out how i’ll do. I’m going to try and keep this updated with my progress and any training i decide to do….. i really should probably start going for a couple of runs i guess.

Here's a map of the route

Please, please check out my donation page and give whatever you can. I’m going to customise my gorilla suit so i’m open to ideas.

It’s time to cue that Rocky montage music and get myself into training!

MoMo London – Mobile Entertainment Applications

•July 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

Tonight was another Mobile Monday London session and despite the fractured thumb, i went along to take some notes and hear what some of the thought leaders in the industry had to say about mobile entertainment applications.

All my notes from tonight are below, you’ll have to excuse them as typing was a little hard……..my thumb hurts. The plus side is that a quick trip to Boots and a fistful of pills, meant i was feeling fine again 🙂

Enjoy!

Patrick Mork –GetJar

The European landscape

Who’s downloading what and why?

  • GetJar est 2005
  • largest independent app store
  • 1.25m downloads per day
  • Apps 4 everyone. Anything, everywhere, anytime.
  • 200 countries, 1/2 bn downloads.

Who is typical Euro customer? – 75% under 25.

Mostly male’s who download content – 70-80% are men.

Frequency: More from symbian and blackberry than average java phone.

Monetizes service through relationship with developers –> small % of developers bid for visibility. Keeps experience free for consumers.

Critical to keep things free to get people to test things. Same as free tangible goods as trial. Building a risk free environment. Repeat usage is v high on GetJar. Downloading content at least 1 per wk.

Built network through viral marketing & word of mouth.

June top 10 downloads

  1. Ebuddy
  2. Nimbuzz
  3. Google Maps
  4. Oprea Mini
  5. Change ringotne
  6. Magic Bluehack
  7. TV 2 go
  8. GetJar (wrapper/bookmark)
  9. Qeep
  10. Facebook (wrapper/bookmark)

Games growing in double digits – mainly on iPhone.

Most of downloads coming from Java (70% of downloads). If user experience is simple enough then people wil have enjoyable experience.

App are not about smartphones. About everyone, no matter handset/ location.

Nokia 6600 is most popular handset GetJar see in India.

Trends coming from older demographic and women in emergingmarktets too.

Email and IM are top downloads, but games are catching up quickly.

————————

Life cycle of apps becoming shorter unless you become integral part of user’s life like Google Maps. Users are using mobile apps as bitesize entertainment.

70% of users say they play mobile games compared to 30% on console BUT timings are different. More time on console etc.

GetJar is becoming a distribution centre for apps but more and more for mobile sites too – launched mobile site shortcuts.

GetJar app in list is shortcut to mobile site – as is Facebook. Bookmark for homescreen. Facebook getting more shortcut downloads than app downloads.

—————————————

Panel discussion:

DM – David Murphy – Mobile Marketing Magazine editor (Chairman)

MC – Mark Curtis – Flirtomatic

JH -Joachim Hoffmann – Fjord

AC – Andreas Constantinou – Vision mobile analyst

PM – Patrick Mork – GetJar

DA – Daniel Applequist – Vodafone

Mobile entertainment industry worth an estimated $32bn. Is that true?

How do u make money?

PM – depends on factors. We see ad based apps, ad funded, freemium services. Intertesting was virtual currency – essentially app is free then sell credits/currency for user to do certain things online. Similar to Flirtomatic. Developers being innovative and realising free is a good way to get content into consumers’ hands. We’ll see an acceleration in micropayments.

AC – We’ve all seen different revenue share schemes, interesting combinations e.g. iPhone/Apple. Ovi sharing  with operatorss. Sharing of cost, people co-developing products together, sharing risk and cost of development. Underlying effects is sharing cost/revenue. Used to talk about walled ownership, customer is shared. Now it’s walled sharing rather than walled ownership.

Always going to be longtail of disgruntled developers. Look at the stats. Mobile advertising doesn’t really work.

JH – You can have free like BBC iPlayer, but in reality it’s funded through license fee, or you can have something through a  subscription fee which means apps need to be sticky, either through design or content. We see a whole range of business models but there’s not really one main one.

MC – Hate the word freemium but that’s what we essentially are. We managed to identify…somehow the points at which people are willing to pay. Revenue side comes through extra fun. You can go to the park and meet with people for free, but if you want an ice cream, that’ll be extra. We do that through flirt points and sometimes we give users free flirt points and whenever we do that we see an upside in spending across the site.

We make moeny in four lines across the service:

  1. Virtual goods – sold 5k ice cubes that melted on arrival (about 50p each)
  2. Visibility – users are very clever and are prepared to pay to be seen. The top ones spend £20-£30 per night to get seen. Whenever we increase inventory to users over advertisers, spending again increases.
  3. Ego services – Deleting poor ratings, sending ego boosts
  4. Alerts – sending messages when favourites log in.

DM- Think Flirtomatic is considered one of the success stories of mobile. It provides a cheap start to a date.

What’s the operator perspective?

DA – We’re trying to be dynamic in the space about what the future is going to be. Web? Apps? We’ve been spearheading widgets. Over used term perhaps but the difference in how we’re using it, is creating a standard meaning for the word and building out standard versions of the web. Creating standard widget that people can sign up to and refer to as a standard. Operators/Manufacturers/devs etc. Allows you to take mobile web app with great interactviity and package it up as an app that can be sold/downloaded etc. Interaction is key. It’s the same technology web developers are using on desktop but on mobile. Lowering of time to market & broadening of skill set.

Commercial initiative, inc ap store where will be compettive rev split. We’re launching in app/Widget billing events for buying dig goods/upselling.

DM- What’s the difference between Widget and application?

DA: Our widget proposition will be to call it an app. Consumers now thinking of apps. From a developer’s perspective it’s all about mobile widgets. Favourtie mobile entertainment widget is Flight Control. Casual game with social component and location element. Top scores of people around you. AND then hooks into Twitter and auto tweet scores.

Competitiveness brings you back to an app/game.

AC- Why develop for Vodafone and not for Nokia.

DA- Widget’s give you the chance to develop once and have it running across different frameworks, cross platform.

AC – special framworks? Obviously there are costs involved.

DA- We’ve been working a year on widget standards. Next step is to get people to converege on single API set. This year we will still see fragmentation but in a couple of years we’ll see standardisation in Widgets.

Q – What kind of app stores are there? Independent? Walled Garden? Are we going to continue seeing them? Losing out from iTunes though?

PM – Think the question is what’s best route to market. We are on iPhone. If we say we’re on everything, we have to be on EVERYTHING.

MC – But you’re not losing out. If i’m a developer i just want someone to deliver my app, it doesn’t matter who.

Q -Heading towards API driven access to device.Where do widgets sit? Are they stepping stone to clear mobile web apps? Or a third way?

DA: Think it’s a third way. A way of getting web apps onto the phone. Widgets give more flexibility and it will be possible to auto update.

Q – Not conivnced that this is any different to what’s out now.

DA- Happy to share docs but in my view are differences and part of a set of technology that will make up the web. Extending the web with offline capabilites. Taking an app and making it part of the web.

Q- Flash capability for widgets?

DA- No, using HTML, javascript and SVG.

MC- Taking this back a little, we were surprsised to see the top handset on Flirtomatic was Nokia N95, which was only 6% of handset hits. After that it was a massive string of handsets barely getting over 1%. Developing apps for most of those will be a nightmare. IF Vodafone solves this and i can hit a substantial proportion of the user base, then that’s worth doing.

DA – Trying to engage with developers in longtail to get them to build across range of handsets, cross-platform.

DM – Is the future of mobile, apps or web based access?

PM – Going forward, i think it’l be a mix. Experience has to justify actions. It comes down to what you’re offering? What handset users are using and what’s the profile of the user? Successful developers cover everything.

JH – It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. A service needs to be used with one hand, interactive, interrupted, concise, it needs to be to the point. For example, Nokia sports tracker is a service that simply wouldn’t work in mobile web, so must be an app. Flirtomatic works best as on the web rather than in an app.

I need functionality offline, which means the best way forward would be an app.

DM – Apart from greater reach of browser, what are the advantages? App based for Flirtomatic?

MC – Trying to make Flirtomatic work offline was a nightmare. Don’t want to see apps ever again. Speed of development on mobile web is brilliant, we’re able to change things very quickly, rather than implementing changes across different handsets. The ability to change this quickly is vital for startups overwise you’re dead…out of money.

AC – Why does there need to be single perfect developer environment. Just choose the platform best for you. There will never be a perfect platform. The industry thought leaders are betting across the board.

Q -unless you know your market , is it not better to launch mobile web to go cross platform and then figure out what works best for your audience?

AC -yes if dating, no if a game.

PM – It depends on app. Apps not necessarily best way to build  brand. If just going to build an app to please board, it probably won’t work. You’ll spend too much money and won’t get the results to show to the board.

DA: One thing talked about at Mobile 2.0 is that apps are like songs. Just because u downloaded an app doesn’t mean u didn’t enjoy it. There’s been a change in way people are thinking of apps, single use experience still has use in marketing.

JH: There’s a need to have a free hook and then have the capability to charge in future. That’s something you need to figure out before launching. What’s you USP?

PM: One business model we found good was Loopt. Provided mapping service of friends. Works closly with operators, selling service and monetizing with operators to sell bundles.

MC – Widget is just another form of discovery. It’s another way for our users to find us.

Q – Encouraging to see Flirtomatic experimenting with pricing. Do you see a time where auction based model will supplant everything else?

MC – 25 of our revenue is advertising, 75% is premium models of that about half is coming through the auction method.

Q – curious about where you think mobile entertainment is going? Augmented reality?

DA: Talked about entertainment apps, and see them playing a huge part. Casual gaming especially on iPhone. Augmented reality making lots of noise but think it’s in infancy, too early to tell impact.

AC:  Interested by inclusion of sensors in things. Only become possible through a single sensor which allows apps to know where phone is and in what kind of environment. Opening up whole new realm. Sound/heat sensors working out locations.

DM: Isn’t there a danger of getting carried away with technology? Don’t we just need to keep it simple.

PM: Critical to not forget this. Can’t help to be frustrated when i can’t get basic signal from my operator. Why are consumers using apps? When? The opportunity to use a mobile phone is when people are on the go or last thing at night. Make sure that whatever you’re making is going to be useful to people.

MC – I think there’s going to be a massive market for therapists for people suddenly disconnected from the digital world, if they’ve just dropped their phone down the toilet or something for example.

Near Field Communications is going to be very interesting. Look at Oyster card and the mass market pick up. When that converges with the phone, it’ll force operator margins down. There’s no way TFL wil take that hit like many start ups are at the moment.

JH: Think it’s a great opportunity for various things in augmentaed reality. ultimately the need for elegant simplicity. Whatever it is, it needs to work straight away, simple and consistent! These exciting things will come eventually, but first it needs to be of value, it needs to be interruptable. Content needs to find me and then it’s useful.

Q – Why is the future always about technology. People in the street don’t know what GetJar is. The people who actually download content is a very niche market. Shouldn’t the future be getting the remaining 95% interested?

PM: Yes, but mobile apps evolution has been fast. 18months ago no-one was talking about apps. We’ve come a long way in that time  as an industry.  What Apple did not just with a device, but they were the first people to advertise apps to the mass market. It’ll come. It’ll happen quicker than we think.

DA: Social and gaming apps are really driving the market. So many people looking for Facebook are discovering new apps. To me sensors and tech are enablers of cool experiences. Sometime developers can really take us by surprise.

AC: Interesting when thinking about communcation modes. Voice has been primary for the last 100 yrs. Then SMS. Now the whole phone is being opened up e.g. turning phone to silence a call. It’s about communicating with people around you.

Easyjet text service – something to smile about

•June 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

So i’ve just come back from holiday, but don’t worry this isn’t going to be a post gushing about how good it was to get away to some real sunshine, lazin’ by the pool or beach. No. This is a post about three text messages i received on the day i flew out from the airline i chose to fly with. EasyJet.

The email i received from Easyjet

I’ve flown with Stelios a few times now, more due to the fact they cover a load of routes around Europe and offer a nice cheap deal. This time, things were a little different though.

A few days before i was due to fly out, i got an email from EasyJet asking if i would like “free flight updates and reminders, sent directly to my mobile?”

“What the Hell”, i thought, “I’ll give it a whirl.”

The deal was that i sign up to the service and receive three text messages from EasyJet (powered by StreamThru) on the day i fly out:

Texts 1 and 2 from Easyjet

1st text: 4hrs before i’m due to fly out, i’ll receive a ‘Booking reference reminder’ with details of my flight number, booking reference, when and what terminal my flight will depart.

– 1st text received perfectly. Flight number, North Terminal of Gatwick, booking reference and check in times. Good so far…

2nd text: 2hrs before i’m due to take off i’ll receive up to two promotional codes for shops in the terminal i’ll be in, waiting for the plane.

– 2nd text is actually an absolute blessing. I hadn’t changed up any money before hitting the airport and so was going to have to take the plunge and suffer at the hands of the air-side Bureau de Change. However, EasyJet came to my rescue with a discount on buying currency plus no commission charge. BONUS! A text that actually saves me money.

Texts 2 and 3 from Easyjet

3rd text: 40mins before i’m due to fly out, i’ll receive my personal boarding call, telling me the gate number and what time the boarding gate will close.

– 3rd text did pretty much what i said it would do, although didn’t send me the gate number, just the closing time. Bit of a shame as the gate number would have really been useful, but on the other hand, there are a shed load of screens to check things on.

So all-in-all i would have to say that the Easyjet text service was well worth the effort in signing up. Which, by the way, only took me a couple of minutes.

There were a few more options i could have added on to service, which would have come at a cost . Stuff like, weather forecasts, traffic updates, ‘Destination Assistance’ – which is where if you don’t speak the language and get into difficulty, you can reply ‘HELP’ to any of the EasyJet messages and an operator, who’ll be able to speak the language, will call you back to help – which sounds pretty God damn awesome.

Come on, i had to sneak in at least one holiday photo 🙂

Gorgeous sunny day by the pool

McG…I’m not angry….just disappointed

•May 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

McG This is McG. It’s a silly name i know, but lets not judge him on that. He’s a producer/director in glamourous, glorious Hollywood.

His name had come up a couple of times in my life while watching tv. He’s a producer on a few shows i’ve seen before. Nothing really hard hitting and engrossing like perhaps The Wire or The Sopranos. He seems to be on the other side of the coin. The fluffy, pop culture side. TV you don’t really need to think about or anything that really challenges you. You just seem to absorb it by osmosis or something.

He did direct Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Which is where the franchise ended. The film made enough the first time round so Hollywood does as Hollywood does and commissioned a sequel. Sigh.

Anyway. Fast forward six years, a film, a tv series and a music video collection and McG is unveiling Terminator: Salvation. A film i have literally been praying for since i heard McG was going to be at the helm. Don’t get me wrong, James Cameron is a hard act to try and measure against. After all, the Director of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Jonathan Mostow, hasn’t had a film come out since. There could be a number of reasons for this, but lets just go with the fact that T3 was terrible.

For me, things for Terminator Salvation got brighter when Christian Bale came on board. Although i thought at the time, “how the fuck did McG get Bale to come onboard??”. My only thought is that Bale must have a slice of the revenue. That or he thought, “Yeh lets go blow some shit up for 18 months, i don’t want to be known as Batman for the rest of my life”. To me Christian, i think you’ll always be Patrick Bateman.

Bateman

Well….the initial reviews have started coming out for Terminator Salvation and i’m sorry to say, it don’t look pretty.

34% on Rotten Tomatoes?……OUCH.

Paul Carr from The Guardian has perhaps come up with one of my favourite reviews so far.

I will probably end up going to see it, being the cat with an eternal death wish. It also looks like i’ll be coming home and watching T1 and T2 straight afterwards to help ease the pain.

THERE IS GOOD NEWS!

Yes good news to follow the doom and gloom that Terminator Salvation looks to be bringing. It seems that Ghostbusters 3 “may start filming in the winter” according to the LA Times, with the original cast!! Fantastic! Yes they’re all a bit older and Bill Murray is probably still a bit of a dick, funny though he is.

So with all that in mind AND the video game coming out soon, what could possibly go wrong??………….

***update***

I’ve actually watched Terminator: Salvation now, and can safely say that as i was expecting ABSOLUTELY nothing from this film, it wasn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong it was bad, the line recycling from previous films, the acting, the story, the ending – oh dear God the ending…..but…to be honest it was passable, it was ok, it was….meeh. It was things that a Terminator film shouldn’t be, but i’m afraid that as time passes there’ll be more bad Terminator films than good ones.

Ghostbusters