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. 🙂

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 🙂

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.
20:49

Mobile Geeks of London IV

It’s fast approaching…

– IT’S TONIGHT DAMMIT-

…and can you believe there is currently, at the time of writing, 119 people down as confirmed as coming?!
(don’t even ask me about the ‘maybes’)

Amazing.
Really.
I am completely and utterly overwhelmed.

Who’d have thought it huh?

It’s been just over a year since our very first meet-up way back when, upstairs in the Bricklayers Arms…

– Dodgy Lookin’ Bunch –

20 of us or so, all gathered round a table, drinking beer and coo-ing over the first generation iPhone.
What a sight we must have been.

From there Mobile Geeks of London, (or ‘MGoL‘ as it has become to be known) has gone from strength to strength. The MGoL facebook group is now 354 members strong and, as you can see – as time has gone on there has been a really lovely increase in the turnout for each event –

17 <> 61 <> 73 <>119

Just – awesome – really, really awesome 🙂

This year of course, also marked the first time we took MGoL: On Tour.

Starting (and ending – hehe) in Las Vegas and timed to coincide with the start of the CTIA Wireless Conference – MGoL, along with some help from the team at Brilliant Expos, set a new precendent in the history of the Mobile Geeks and laid down the template for any future events that take place under the ‘On Tour‘ banner. Of which, I can guarantee, there will be more coming soon… Watch this space.

So.. Here we are… Let’s do it shall we? 🙂

Ladies & Gentlemen… Presenting:

Mobile Geeks of London IV

The Time: 6:45pm – 11:30pm
The Date:
July 31st – Today!
The Place: All Bar One, New Oxford Street
Nearest Tube – Tottenham Court Road
Google Map: If You Must

“I don’t wanna buy it, I don’t wanna sell it; I just wanna play with it and use it…”

See you there folks!

🙂

Things to make and do…

So I’ve kinda got the blog-bug back again.

I don’t know why it’s back, or where it’s been etc…
All I know is that I’ve got a bunch of stuff I want to write up.

I could just mass-post the lot, like I did last time, but I think too much content is a bit of overkill.

So here’s just a quick list of things I’d like to write up:
(thanks to Mr Lloyd Davis for the photo too by the way)

  • I was in a cabaret show the other day. Must blog it.
  • The BBC interview I did. Must blog it, (properly).
  • Some general life things, 6mths with SpinVox etc.
  • The (self-imposed) T-Shirt Challenge
  • San Francisco (I covered Vegas already)

And I think that’s it…

I’m going to try and cram everything in over the coming days. But it won’t be more than one post a day… Can’t suddenly increase the words for my loyal readers!

Thanks by the way – whoever you are…

On that note. I’m painfully aware that only VOX members are able to comment on my posts. Which is kinda sucky. So I’m moving… not yet, but soon… to a decent blog-hosting page etc.

A good friend is helping me sort it out at the moment, once we’ve got the template finished, then starts the massive (again, self-imposed) job of consolidating.

I’ve been blogging all over the place for the best part of three years now. So I’m going to go way back to my very first blog and pool all my posts together under one roof…
Like a back catalogue see?

Cool. Expect that sometime before the Summer… (hopefully).
In the meantime – if you want to comment and you’re not a member of VOX, then just drop me a text and tell me what you think… my number is +447774898681.
Looking forward to hearing from you…

And finally…

I got my ticket to Glastonbury! Wheeee!

Kinda has some special resonance on this here VOX as Glastonbury was the reason why I started here, remember?

🙂

EDIT – This is a re-post from VOX so you’re looking at my new home now -Woo!

Catching up through the fog of jetlag

Greetings one and all! I’ve just got back from the States and I am shattered.

UK –> Dallas –> Las Vegas –> San Francisco –> UK

…and breathe…

Had to fly to Las Vegas for a work thing see
via Dallas.

Rather amusingly, it being the first ever flight from LHR (London Heathrow) to DFW (Dallas, Fort Worth) the Boeing we travelled in was given a welcome ‘hose down’ by the airport’s fire trucks…

I didn’t get a picture of that – but I found another example

Anywhoo – Vegas.
Woah…

Nice place to visit and wotnot but I’d never wanna live there. Jeez.

I stayed at The Palms Hotel/Resort/Casino… The one where we held Mobile Geeks of Las Vegas… aka Mobile Geeks of London ON TOUR. What a fantastic night THAT was. Huge props to Mr Jeb Brilliant of Brilliant Expos for making that happen… and for also swinging it so we could just walk straight into the club/bar in the next tower. Nice work.

So yeah – What else did I get up to?

  • Took part in the ‘Mobile Web Jam Session’ – That was cool. Good people in the room. Same old same old problems mind…
  • Hung out with some cool folk – Namely: Darla, Amir, Jeb, Carlo, Rafe and Ewan. Carlo is actually insane enough to live in Vegas. But you wouldn’t think of it to know him. 🙂
  • Joined a Blogger round table regarding the future of mobile; thought about a Facbook Phone – I’ve already written up my thoughts on that.
  • Broke my shoes. Twice. Fixed the first pair, replaced the second.
  • Saw ‘some’ parts of Vegas. Not loads. Well… I saw the outsides of some of the more elaborate hotels.
  • And that’s kind of it really…

This was me, on the last day of the show, having just sat down and relaxed for the first time in about five days…

Not soon after this pic was taken I flew to San Francisco…
There’s more to come soon, I just need to get some shuteye…

Night night.

Zzz…

Mobile Geeks of London: ON TOUR!

We’re bringing the MGoL to Las Vegas!

So – You may or may not know that a while back I set up a little facebook group called ‘The Mobile Geeks of London‘. Basically a place where I could meet people like me I guess…
Hehehe…

And well – it’s grown.. and grown.. and grown! …last count, 294 members!

We had our 3rd official meetup a little while back and it was great.
(I’ll do a larger post on MGoL in general sometime soon – yeah – should do that)

Anywhoo – I mentioned the other day that I as headed to Las Vegas with SpinVox for CTIA and within 24hrs I had an email from my friend Jeb Brilliant (no really – that is his name – and yes, he is Brilliant) telling me that he loved the MGoL idea and had been waiting for a chance to get one stateside…

And so….

HERE WE ARE!!
The stuff below has been taken from the facebook group. If you’re not on facebook then drop me an email at yahoo do co dot uk and Iet me know you’re coming… Looking forward to it already!

🙂
___________________________________________________________________________________

It’s CTIA next week and on the evening of Monday 31st March at The Playboy Club in Las Vegas the Mobile Geeks of London are having their first ever OFFICIAL ‘overseas’ meetup!

The Time: 8pm onwards
The Date: Monday March 31st
The Place:

The Playboy Bar
Palms Casino Resort
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103
52nd floor of the Fantasy Tower
http://www.palms.com/playboy_club_1.php

(note – it ain’t a strip club – I checked)

Also – it being the first ever overseas event – I have to break my self-imposed ‘no sponsor’ rule…

The upside of this being that

a) We get a fantastic venue thanks to Yougetitback.com

and

b) Your first drink is free thanks to SpinVox

So:

Mobile Geeks of Las Vegas brought to you in conjunction with SpinVox.
Sponsored by Yougetitback.com and organised by Brilliant Expos…

AND FINALLY!

I know most of the Mobile Geeks of London on this mailing list are, by definition, NOT based in Las Vegas.

But next week… some of you may be.

Either way – Hope to see you there!

(and if you know anyone else who might be in Vegas – let them know too)

http://www.spinvox.com
http://yougetitiack.com
http://www.brilliantexpos.com

Life is good…

Yesterday I had one of the best conversations, EVER.
It was only when I had this conversation did I realise how good life actually is at the moment.
An old friend called me up and it went a little something like this…

“Hi James, s’been ages! How are you?”

“Me? I’m good man. Yeah, it’s been SO long! We should definitely catch up sometime soon.”

“Great idea, you free tonight?”

“No mate. Not tonight, going to see R.E.M. at The Royal Albert Hall.”

“Oh. Nice!”

“Yeah. I thought so. Random ticket appeared in my hands from up high. Can’t say no. Got a box and everything!”

“Cool! Ok, how about we do lunch one day this week? When are you in London next?”

“I think I’m in town tomorrow…”

“Ok, we’ll do lunch tomorrow. Sushi or something?”

“Oh. No. Can’t mate, sorry. Bugger. Got an interview at the BBC.”

“WHAT?!”

“Yeah! I know! Cool huh?! Rory-Cellan Jones, Technology Correspondent. Should be good!”

“Right then, the weekend? We could have a lazy pub afternoon on Sunday. A few beers, roast dinner.. proper Sunday y’know? How’s that sound?”

“No can do mate. I’m flying to Las Vegas on Sunday…”

“WTF?!”

“Yeah! Flying out with SpinVox on Sunday afternoon for a big Wireless conference called CTIA. Looking forward to it, should be cooool! Never been to Vegas before….”

“Ok ok ok! When do you leave Vegas?”

“Thursday…but…”

“Ok! We’ll go out Friday!”

“No, I didn’t finish. Thursday I fly to San Francisco to host a lunch for some west coast bloggers… Fly home Friday night. Land Saturday afternoon.”

“Jeez, you’re gonna be knackered!”

“Yeah man, I know. Then I’ve got my show on the Sunday at Madam Jo Jos!”

“Right then. I’ll come see that then.”

“Hehehe… Yeah! Ok, do that!”

🙂
On top of ALL that, found out today one of my dear friends (who has NOTHING to do with the mobile industry) just so happens to be in Vegas at exactly the same time as me!
So we get to hang out and stuff which is just all kinds of cool…

This, by the way, isn’t some massive brag of a blog post. Life is going well at the moment. And I’m loving it.
Had my 6mth review with SpinVox this morning.

SIX MONTHS!

It seems like only yesterday that I was handing in my notice at Refresh Mobile…

How times flies when you’re having fun eh?
Speak soon folks..

🙂