My first iPad wasn’t in fact mine. I merely had it on loan from the office. We danced and we played together but eventually, I had to hand it back. However, a couple of weeks ago (and thanks to some smart upselling from Vodafone), I picked up my own one.

This time an iPad2. Glorious.

This is the first time I’ve had an iPad ‘full time’ so to speak, and being a part-time student and observer of how technology influences human behavioural change, I’ve been keeping an eye on its influence on me.

The results so far? I’m reading more.

Allow me to explain: last year, I wrote about how the iPad did not mean the death toll for the publishing industry – and I stand by that. But, recently, I happened to come by an issue of The Economist’s lifestyle and culture quarterly, Intelligent Life (IL). It was my first encounter with said publication and, hidden deep within its pages, it featured a rather fantastic article entitled ‘Digital Africa‘. A super-relevant piece of writing and a subject that is dear to my heart. With that article alone, the magazine had found itself a new subscriber.

Later (and I don’t know how I discovered it, one assumes there must’ve been an ad somewhere inside), I soon learnt that IL had its own free iPad app. Even better. I thought, I know a lot of people with iPads and I know a lot of people that would enjoy that Digital Africa article. So… I’ll tell everyone who fits both those descriptions and that’ll be great.

I do, and it is.

Weeks later, my iPad2 arrives and the first app I download? IL. On top of the Digtial Africa copy, there’s a new issue available. I download that and read it, cover to cover, over the course of an afternoon.

‘Interesting’ being the key word here.

Confession time: I don’t read (in the traditional sense) as much as I’d like. It’s not a healthy admission to make, but it’s true. The, what might be seen as, usual time for reading – on the tube to and from work in the mornings and evenings – is usually taken up by writing. My Moleskine is my best friend when I’m travelling and I use the dead [read: ‘disconnected’] time to jot down my thoughts. Failing that, if my mind is bare, I catch up on email or just sit and listen to music. My daily reading habits tend to be made up of my Google Reader and that’s it.

However, upon finishing my second i-issue of IL, I then figured I’d give the Kindle a go. My sister and I bought one for our Mum recently and a few other friends have also extolled its virtues. I’ll get the app I say, that’ll do it.

I did, and it did.

The Kindle app is sitting quite nicely on my iPad as I type with ‘The Psychopath Test‘ by Jon Ronson (thank you Amanda) and ‘The Black Swan‘ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (thank you Jed) both sat ready to be read.

We’ll see how this goes, shall we? New technology, encouraging me to read. This I’m going to enjoy.

Before I close off though, there’s one last thing I want to share. Back in January 2010, mobile thought leader and visionary, Christian Lindholm, wrote these words about the iPad.

It may seem like a small change, but a generation which has instant access, quite literally, at its fingertips, will be a quite different generation to that which did not. We used to consider that someone was erudite if they had spent a number of years accumulating knowledge and expertise which they could deploy at the precise moment which it was required.
Given that this information is all now on hand, people will come to rely more on an ability to recall data from the system. Ability to focus, and knowledge of the best places to look, will become the most important facets to consider. These are fundamental changes.

It’s still one of my favourite blog posts to date and I think that, in this age of the information rich, the sentiment stands true:

Irrespective of your thoughts on what the iPad is for, these shifts in the way we store, recall and interact with knowledge signify a human behavioural change that we – in our lifetimes – will probably never be able to truly quantify.




Relationships. Matter.

If you’ve clicked through in the vein hope of finding my next post on why ‘relationship marketing matters to brands’ then sorry, not today. Today is about something else.

Relationships matter.

Your relationships matter. Your family. Your friends. Your loved ones. Your other half. Your soul-mate. The relationships you have with the people that matter, matter.

I would’ve quit my job last year if it would’ve meant saving my relationship. Alas, for me, it was too late. I heard a story today of someone else going through a break up because of work and just last night someone else told let me that, after a particularly bad period, they introduced a work veto; if at any point work gets too much, and has a negative impact on their lives together, then it stops. The work, the fighting. Everything.

Life is too short, too damn complicated and far too sweet to spend it working every God-given day and night on something that – if it really doesn’t make a difference to life or death – really isn’t worth it.

To top it all off, thanks to the endless source of knowledge and amusement that is Stefan Constantinescu, I’ve just seen this

If this is you, then stop. Right now.

It isn’t worth it.

Relationships matter.

Not the one between you and your client. Nor the one between you and your customers. But the one between you, the love of your life and your kids.

Life is short, make the most of it.


Yes, I’m talking to you.


More iPad thoughts

I’ve been using the iPad for around two months now I guess and, although my thoughts on the device have been percolating since February… I think, at last, some words have finalised themselves in my head;

The iPad is a high-end, luxury disposable device. An oxymoron. Social, yet non-committal.

Social, is the key word here and it’s this, as well as the whole damn anthropology of it all that brings me to our conclusion.

  • The mobile phone; hyper-personal. Unique. Yours.
  • The laptop; still personal, but inclusive. At times, socially unacceptable. Effort.
  • The iPad; social. Open. Socially acceptable.

Flat and, like table top space invaders of old, it just works. Around the home, in the pub or even in the office – the iPad is handed ’round like it’s always just been there.

I like the iPad. It’s a social consumption machine and there really is nothing else like it.



– – – Drawn, written and posted,  from my iPad

We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines.

I repeat, the iPad will not be the death of print.

Props to Rolling Stone, Steve Waddington and Jon Mulholland; three voices of sanity in a sea of madness.

Technology is a wonderful, wonderful thing. But people always seem to forget the practicalities. The feel of a good book in your hands, the smell of a fresh off-the-shelf comic book, the joy of being able to pass on that knowledge-imbibed article to the next suitably eager set of hands.

I think it was Russell Buckley, now a VP at Admob, who quite rightly pointed out that although mobile vouchers were indeed ‘the future’, nothing could prevent the person behind the till forgetting their glasses that day. The iPad overheats, it reflects poorly in bright light and it, just like every other new piece of media technology of recent years, is just another medium.

As Steve puts it quite rightly in his blog post:

The iPad will no more spell the end of print than any previous generation of technology. Radios, TVs, PCs, CD-ROMs and the internet were all at one time set to hasten the demise of print.
The iPad is simply another device in the ongoing narrative of an industry reeling from the shift towards advertising online, the internet as a low cost real time distribution platform, and competition for consumer attention from screen based media.

For the record, I quite like my iPad. But the death knell for all paper-based ocular consumption it is not.

This is my iPad post

Last week I was approached to write a piece about the iPad. But if you read here regularly, you’ll understand that it’s not something I’d typically do. However, I’m not proclaiming to have uncovered something new or shocking about the product, I just fancied putting a few thoughts down about how I feel about it because someone asked me to.

The original piece I wrote is now up where it should be available here (after said someone changed their mind at the last minute), and is a reasonable assessment of my thoughts on the subject. However, the very idea of writing a piece about Apple (a company about which I have never had any interest in writing about), forced me to look at the brand in a whole new light.

I am, as you may guess, no Apple fan. I have never owned an iPod and I will never own an iPhone. Though the keys I’m currently tapping away at belong to a MacBook Pro, a lot of the posts here were first written in my moleskine (my true creative pallette) then transferred to this page at a later date.

A zealot I am not.

iPods enforce iTunes. iPhones enforce iPods. I don’t like the iProducts, because I like to do things my way. Mine. Not Apple’s.

I digress.

When I was eight years old, my father bought my sister and I the complete Encyclopedia Britannica; appendices, indexes – the lot. This was before the Internet, before the Web, before Wikipedia.

The Encyclopedia Britannica got me through school. I used to sit and read through the pages, sometimes just for fun. ‘Let’s see what I can learn today’ was my daily motto. It was a thing of wonder.

When I look at the iPad, that is what I see.

Not a great big iPhone, nor a simplified MacBook Pro. Just a small boy, spread out on the lounge floor. With his school books on one side and the iPad on the other, he’s laying there, doing his homework.

For that reason and for that reason alone, I think I might get one.