Five things on Friday #81

Things of note for the week ending July 18th, 2014


– OakOak street art, via Web Urbanist

1. Drone Photography
The results of the first annual Dronestagram Photo Competition came in this past week and, of course, they are all pretty stunning. The image below, by Dronestagram contributor, ‘Capungaero‘, took first prize but the others are well worth a look too.


2. ‘I don’t recognise the British Image of the EU’
My general guidelines for creating Five Things on Friday every week tend to fit around a couple of rules. One of those rules is ‘Never share anything you’ve seen posted 2-3 times elsewhere’.

I’m breaking that this week because I really think you should all watch this video of Finnish Prime Minister, Alex Stubb, talking to Channel 4 News about Britain and the way it approaches its own internal EU debate.

Alexander Stubb Channel 4

I may make no secret of my love of all things Finland (the people, the produce, the cities, the festivals) and it seems that love now extends to the Prime Minister too.

Engaging, charismatic, and articulate, Alexander Stubb is definitely worth six minutes of your time.

3. Sex Lives of the Humanitarians

When you introduce yourself at a party as a former humanitarian, people expect that your field experiences were shaped by witnessing suffering, violence and displacement. What they don’t expect to hear is that your day-to-day management challenges also included arguments over what time your colleagues could watch porn in the common room, and negotiating how staff could get to and from a brothel. Yet it is often a reality of the job and it is time we talked about it.

After that opening paragraph, I wanted to read more. You might too.

4. Snapchat in The FT
This past week, ephemeral media platform and darling of all brands who want to get at ‘the yoof’, Snapchat, starting experimenting with ‘geofilters’. That is, filters for its self-destructing images that only appear when the user is in a certain locale. Said place could be a city (eg: Malibu) or a big sprawling metropolis of a living, breathing brand (step up, Disneyland).

FT Snapchat

The Financial Times asked me what I thought of this development – so I told them. Basically, talking about what this means for brands and of course, does this mean that Snapchat might have a business model? Maybe.

You don’t need to pay to read it [but you do need an account] and it’s actually quite a good read. Worth your time if only for finally getting around to setting up that FT account you’ll know you’ll appreciate in future.

5. The best comic redesign of the week
A bunch of stuff got announced in comic book land this week. Everyone is talking either about either Captain America now being black or how a woman is about to become THOR. Big whoop.

Screw those people, the coolest thing that happened in comic book land was the epic redesign of Batgirl.

Batgirl Stanley Lau

So. Good.

Details, and more, over at Comics Alliance.


Bonuses (all podcast related):

Whenever I try to talk to people about podcasts I get one of two responses. The first one is ‘Yeah, what do you listen to? I’m really into [insert awesome podcast name]’, which is fine. The second response is this ‘Yeah, I’m not really a podcast person’, which, to be frank, is a pile of crap. You’re an idiot. Go and download a podcast app and just start listening to stuff. My friend Stefan has a pretty comprehensive list of good stuff that he listens to. That’s not a bad place to start.

Y’know where else is also not a bad place to start?

The following bonus items.


The things I saw @FlowFestival 2013

Quite simply: the best weekend I’ve ever spent in Finland.


After the intense theatre-going antics of the Edinburgh Fringe, I hopped on a plane in Glasgow and flew my tired behind over to Finland for what is their biggest and best music festival, Flow.


For the past six years, behind this former power plant in deepest darkest Helsinki, the people of Finland have laid host to musicians many, and fearless festival fashionistas too.
But we’ll come back to that one shortly…


Arriving on the Thursday meant that I’d missed the opening party on the Wednesday (featuring The Knife) however, not to be perturbed, I embraced Friday’s antics like there was no tomorrow.

In fact, instead of just reeling off what I saw on each day – I’m going to list the, quite frankly, AMAZING bands/singers/acts that I managed to see over the course of the three nights I was there. Before I start talking about just how awesome the festival is, you need to understand the breadth of musical talent available to you, via FLOW. Ready?


  • Kendrick Lamar – ‘Good, but not as good as I hoped it’d be’.
  • Cat Power – ‘Really bloody good’.
  • Alicia Keys -  Ahhh Alicia! I actually met Alicia Keys back in 2001, when she was doing the circuit promoting Songs in A Minor (I’ve got the copy that she signed for me knocking around the flat somewhere) and I really wanted to see her again. She was… AMAZING (of course).
  • Moderat, never heard of them, turns out they’re amazing. We danced. HARD.

It was an amazing day.

And it ended with a random house party somewhere in south Helsinki at a converted loft apartment with our host serving champagne and salmon until the early hours. No, really.

I bloody love the Finnish.

Sidenote: Look up Huotron


  • Lieminen. A Finnish sensation which basically culminated with every Finnish person I knew leaping around shouting – ‘Party time! Excellent!’ – like this, but with a stronger beat.
  • Tim Sweeney, with his Beats in Space radio show – SO good.
  • Space Dimension Controller (MENTAL). With trippy inter-galactic chill out tunes and voice-overs such as ‘Flying through space and meeting a robotic prostitute that wasn’t mentioned in the tour guide’, SDC was certainly a festival highlight.
    Sidenote: The RBMA Backyard, where I heard the last two acts mentioned, was my discovery of the day on Saturday. With myriad electro-beats from Tim Sweeney and then into the mind-bending acid-tripping storytelling from the Space Dimension Controller, it all got pretty weird, pretty quickly. Great vibe though)
  • Cody Chestnut. Everyone had a really good dance to this stuff. A really good dance.
  • My Bloody Valentine. The signs said ‘WEAR EARPLUGS’. The Englishman said ‘Don’t be so daft! You Finns worry too much!’ My friends said ‘JAMES. WEAR EARPLUGS’. I said… ‘AAAAAAAAARGH MY EARS!!’
  • Circuit Des Yeux. This was our attempt to see something random at the The Other Sound stage. It was pretty random, definitely. Imagine soft folk music, with a dash of whale song. Now strangle that whale and beat it against the kitchen table. Yeah, that’s what it sounded like. Still, they had bean bags. Which was nice. After three songs we got up and left, took a stroll past Nick Cave and wandered off for…
  • Mount Kimbie. Another recommendation from my host, Robin. I don’t know how we ended up in the tent where they were playing, but they turned out to be bloody EPIC. And the perfect way to end the Saturday night. Must look them up some more when I hit home turf. Similarly to Moderat, a really good dance discovery.

Ended back at Siltunen for dancing til 4am.
Blagged my way in.
Danced like a maniac.
Job done.

Bonus from Saturday? Regular readers will know that I’m currently reviewing a neat little gadget called the Autographer. On the Saturday I decided to clip it to my friend Ville just to see what happened. Not only did Ville (with the Autographer) end up taking nearly 1800 photos(!), but he also threw them all together into one awesome little 3min video. Check it –

How awesome is that? Scratch one up for ‘useful applications of wearable tech’, right there.


  • Public Enemy. It’s a bold man that dedicates a set to both trayvon Martin AND Michael Jackson but that’s what Flavor Flav did. Legend. That plus Mixes, raps and crowd runs. Full on, rubbish and yet brilliantly bonkers all at the same time. Towards the end of Public Enemy I was encouraged to leave a bit early and head to…
  • HAIM. So I did. My reward? A damn good spot for what was probably my performance of the entire festival. Even though the lead singer had a throat infection (and yet refused to cancel – like oh so many others) the set was re-organised, tracks rearranged, and everyone had an epic time. Seriously, I loved them –

After that we wandered back to find our friends and watch some…

  • Of Monsters And Men – Hey! – that’s all I need to say really.
    (…then we skipped Disclosure for…)
  • Bat for Lashes! YES! MAD as a March hare but oh so amazing with it. I really enjoyed this, as did my guests and friends. I think BfL was one of the few ‘full’ performances that I caught all festival. And I was glad for it. After that, we donned our glasses and sought out ourselves some…
  • Kraftwerk………
    AUTOBAHN in 3D, bitches. IMMENSE.


Much laughter ensued. Post-dicking-about here, we went off to catch the..

  • Opening tracks from Goat (mental) seriously, WTF-levels of AWESOME. And then, last but not least —
  • Grimes, who must’ve been hammered. She couldn’t get her sound right and then had these random dancers.. it was just, strange. Give me a repeat of HAIM any day.

And that, was that. Well, I say that, I mean – that was all the MUSIC that we saw. IN THREE DAYS. Amazing. I know I’ve used that word a lot over the past several hundred words or so but seriously, Flow Festival was amazing. My original plan was to just list the music and then talk about how much of an awesome time I had. However, I think I’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone with the above descriptions…

However! One thing I do know though is —

Next time anyone asks me, ‘What is FLOW?’ I will answer:

  • Flow is the best festival I have ever been to overseas.
  • Flow is the most fun I have ever had in Finland.
  • Flow is the best place to find the widest selection of popular, random, esoteric, and world music.
  • Flow is home to some of the best-dressed festival-goers in the entire world.
  • Flow is where I’m going to be this time next year.

I’m serious: if you’ve never been to Finland before, go for Flow Festival.

You’ll have the best time ever.


PS. Early bird tickets for 2014 are on sale NOW.
PPS. Want to see more? Check out my Flow Festival Flickr album!




What a Beautiful Day

September 10th, 2008.

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. 🙂

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.


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.”


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 🙂

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? 🙂

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.


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).


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.

So I got the call…


…I’m off to Helsinki to talk Social at Nokia with some of the best in the business.
If you’re one of the lucky few who are going, I guess I’ll see you there.

If not, watch this space – no doubt I’ll write some of it up 🙂

More to follow…