What a Beautiful Day

September 10th, 2008.
08:24

One year, to the day that I started my employment with a little company called SpinVox and… Wow, what a journey it has been so far…

The view you see before you is the view that I have right now, as I type this post from the departure lounge of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 1, (looks familiar huh?). As you know some time ago I got ‘the call‘ and lo and thusly I am on my way to Finland.

But we’ll come back to that…

What I want to talk about, if you’ll indulge me for a moment, is the amazing journey that I’ve been over the past year. Personally, professionally and of course geographically.

Working backwards, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been so well travelled, (although quite how you can be less travelled I don’t know – heh), with my work so far taking me to such places Barcelona (beautiful) San Francisco – twice (one of my favourite places in the world and a potential base for me the future for certain), Las Vegas (ugh)… and, as we speak, Helsinki.

There of course being no rest for the wicked, straight after this trip I’m headed out to New York then onto Las Vegas once again and by the looks of things Frankfurt too before the year is out.

I used to mock my friends when they used to get the work trips abroad, accusing them of ‘going on a jolly’ and basically being a bunch of work-shy sun-seekers. But guys, if you’re reading this, I take it back. I now know… It’s relentless! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it – wouldn’t change it for the world in fact. But jeeez… talk about taking it out of you! This time round I’ve prepared. Both physically and mentally.

Bring. It. On. πŸ™‚

Which dovetails nicely back into the professional part of my journey. So, as I said, one year ago I joined SpinVox. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for whatever they had to throw at me.
Having initially secured the interview after being told by a recruitment agent that I was ‘definitely a SpinVox person’ I was taken onboard to apply some ‘Digital Native’ thinking, if you will, to an already rock solid proposition…

Six weeks later I was on a flight to San Francisco after launching Social Networks through SpinVox.

Awesome.

I’ll never forget rocking up to my first CTIA in torn jeans, flip flops and my now trademark MASSIVE white sunglasses adorned across my brow and being told almost immediately:

“Oh, you’re ‘The Web Guy’. You’ve got the look for sure.”

HA!

You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve since smartened up my act somewhat (although the Sunny Gs remain) and I’m now ‘The Social Media Guy’.
Which kind of, in a sense, further demonstrates the journey: Starting with Social Networks through SpinVox, then getting Big Talk (the SpinVox Blog) off the ground, working on and around the digital propositions…
All of which meant that in February of this year I was part of the team that flew out to Barcelona to represent the big SV at Mobile World Congress (MWC – previously known as 3GSM).

This is when my entire world changed.

Suddenly, almost overnight, there was this paradigm shift in how I saw the industry around me… and it was changing. Mobile is my first love and always will be, but in Barcelona the power of Social Media and what it actually means really hit home.

Walking the floor at MWC, finally meeting some of the big names in blogging face to face… Shall I list them?

Nah. If you’re reading this and I shook your hand in Barcelona, then I’m talking about You πŸ™‚

I was saying; Meeting you guys and gals face to face made me understand the enormous sense of community that lives and breathes in this new world of ours… and the enormity doesn’t just stop there either, it also applies to the immense importance that we place on this community as well.

We, you, me, them, us… We are right here, right now. Carving out and pioneering a new digital age for our children to grow up into. What you think and say about this whole space will define how the rest of the world interacts with their digital media for the next 10-20yrs, if not more.

Social Media ‘happened’ (for me at least) this year; I’m going to be able to look back and say ‘Yep, I was there’ …well, you were there too. It’s happening Right Now.

And listen, without getting ranty, understand this – what I said up there – is paramount to any and every business today. It really is.

Arriving back from Spain after the conference finished, with the support of my boss, I got to work on a Social Media Strategy doc that, with the help from the team, would define how SV as a business and as a brand would operate in this space… and so far, it’s playing out nicely.

So yeah, we’ll see on that one shall we? πŸ™‚

Building that thing up and playing it out through the year as we have has been an awesome experience. Learnings on the way of course – some things took a while, some things took off straight away and some things you just can’t predict..

Hence the journey I guess. But I tell you one thing, in this job I don’t think I have ever been happier.

And in fear of being a complete link-monkey, ‘not ever being happier’ leads me quite perfectly into the “Personally” part of this little trilogy.

A few of you reading this may follow me on Twitter or even chat to me on Jaiku, in which case you know that most of the time I am of quite a cheery disposition and I take pride in the fact that I truly enjoy life to the fullest. Now I’m not big on sharing personal stuff online.
Not at all.

Gotta keep something back, y’know?

But anyway – the fact of the matter is, right now, for the first time in a long time I am happy.
Truly and utterly.

And I love it.

Thanks to you guys, for all of your kind words, support and just general awesomeness over the past year.
I’m looking forward to the next one with immense relish and I’m rubbing my hands with glee…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Bring. It. On.

πŸ˜€

Thanks for reading…

Oh yeah – and there was that small matter of being in Finland.
Guess it’ll have to wait until my next post, (tomorrow – promise).

πŸ˜‰

P.S. It’s taken me all day to get this post up, I’m now in Helsinki and a very happy Whatley indeed.

September 10th, 2008.
20:49

MIR: Nokia N-Gage: Possibilities & Potential

MWC – Wow. Cool. Loved it.

2260438012_d1ea0ec723_oI was there on official business with SpinVox and the one KPI I had was to make sure that the headlines on the SpinVox message board were updated constantly (see pic ).

So off I trotted around the congress to get the latest news and views and convert them, quite literally, into text.

And where did I end up? In all sorts of places! One of those places just happened to be the Nokia hospitality suite, on-hand and asking questions to the product managers of their new devices and services. The one I want to write about today? N-Gage – and what fell out of that particular session.

Here goes:

If we, the power users, (according to Jaakko Kaidesoja, lead director at N-Gage) define how future handsets will be created/designed then please, please, PLEASE allow us to DO MORE.

So – what do I want to do? Well, me personally? Not that much. I just want to have the option, the ability to do more with my devices.

Sitting in the Q&A with Jaakko, it struck me what was missing.

It was odd that, of the four Product Manager Q&A sessions that I was able to attend at MWC; OVI, N78, N96 and N-Gage respectively, the one I thought I would enjoy the least was the one that had the most potential.

Given that I went into the N-Gage Q&A thinking that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it that much, Ricky ‘Symbian-Guru‘ Cadden and I, have often traded blows about mobile gaming (he loves it and I hate it), I was immensely surprised at a) how much it got my brain going and b) how much untapped potential S60 apps as have as a whole.

Maybe it was thanks to the previous three sessions I attended that this one got my brain ticking over so much. Geo Tagging for example, something I wrote about recently and has been possible (thanks to ShoZu) for over a year, is now ‘as standard’ across Nokia’s new hero handsets (the N78 and N96) but – hey guys, why stop at images?

The three questions I put to Jaakko were as follows:

Forgive if I’m taking this a step too far but given that the geo tagging functionality has been announced recently, wouldn’t it be cool if I could geo-tag my stats? i.e.: Dude! I was HERE when I beat you!

Jakko: That’s not possible but a good idea

Can I upload my stats to my OVI?

Jakko: Not yet, but it is something we would look at in the future

Can I sync my N-Gage contacts with the contacts in my phonebook?

Jakko: Not yet, but it is something we would look at in the future

THIS is when my brain went into overdrive and I started systematically going through the applications on my handset to find which ones would make logical sense to link up. Starting with N-Gage, why can’t I browse my contacts, click on Ricky and send/book him a time to play [insert ngage game title here]? Ricky would then get an invite from me which he could accept, and in the background the handset would place an appointment into his calendar and link my name with my N-Gage username on his phone – synchronicity inside N-Gage and out – it just makes sense.

I can already attach images and suchlike to contacts; MP3s/Ringtones for example (which is great if you’re away from your phone; Imperial March playing? That’ll be Mum) so, let’s do more.

Given the functionality demonstrated by Jaiku’s presence information, and also some features which are disabled in the current client (but have been seen on the private beta – ie: direct to stream photo uploads and ‘what am I listening to?’ – Last.fm-esque scrobbling on the move).

If Nokia can build in Location tagging, (which, to be honest, is a big ME TOO app that everyone will applaud them for, and yet us early adopters will continue to thank ShoZu) then why not put presence in as well?

This whole stream of consciousness leads me into what originally got me worked up. Strategic alignment across S60 (and why stop there?) applications.

Why not link everything up?!

Only by enabling these things from the off and N-Gaging (heh) the consumer with simple and easy to understand education, will you benefit from mass-adoption.

And I’ll leave it there, for now.

I’ve got a lot more that will hopefully filter through over the coming weeks.

So, stay tuned!

Speaking Freely – Barcelona

“Greetings from Barcelona. I am loving Mobile World Congress seen a lot of cool stuff. Hanging out at the SpinVox stand and hanging out at the Nokia stand. Going out for dinner with the SpinVox crew now. Make sure you check out spinvox.com because we’ve re launched the website. I haven’t got internet access in my room so hence me blogging through SpinVox.”


spoken through SpinVox

The Readius

Sleeper hit of Mobile World Congress

Google it – it’s amazing.. If I could have one now, I’d get one.

Ewan’s written about it over on SMS Text News and on the right of this post there are two shots that I took next to my E61i for comparison etc…

Not soon after that I bumped into Jonathan Greene from Atmaspheric Endeavours – he  had heard about this amazing device too so I took him round to take a look.
He took liberty of shooting a Qik video…

You really do have to see this thing in action to believe it – It’s all kinds of awesome! πŸ™‚

Nokia Webcast – Live Post!

I’m sitting here RIGHT NOW at the Nokia Webcast in Hall 8 of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona…

Soundbites so far:

“35millions GPS devices to be shipped in ’08.”

“Nokia Maps 2.0 launched – Now includes ‘Pedestrian Navigation’ …Barcelona tours already planned via Nokia Maps…”

“Nokia N78 – follower of the N73 – shipping Q2 2008… includes FM transmitter.. Geotagging included..”

“The N95 user’s behavourial activities define the changes of consumers. The phone reinvented convergences… “

“N96 introduced. Iconic slider included… Kick stand included [like the N82] – shipping Q3… 550e.”

This last one is a bit pants if you ask me.
Looks too much like the N81, which is a horrid device… Meh… Full flash supported which is lovely but to be honest I’m not a fan…

More to follow…

Mobile World Congress – THAT WAY!

SpinVox and Me are off to Barcelona in about 12hrs or so for the biggest mobile event of the year, Mobile World Congress…

I’m going to be blogging all over the shop – a large chunk of it here, some more here, videoing a bit here and here as well as micro-blogging a little bit here too.

If you’re going – see you there! If you’re not – why not keep track of me here!

See ya!

πŸ™‚