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

Less than 24hrs in San Francsico

I mentioned in my last post that I felt like I had to write a little bit about very short stay in San Francisco.
After the madness that was CTIA in Las Vegas, stepping off the plane that Thursday evening at SFO was like a breath of fresh air…

I flew to Las Vegas (via Dallas Fort Worth), on Sunday March 31st.
Did a bunch of SpinVox things (worth a click through – great video) for them whilst I was at CTIA.

Lots and lots of fun.

I hung out with some cool folk, took part in some cool events and generally just had a good time… You get the idea.

The following Thursday however, I had to fly to San Francisco.

THANK YOU LORD.

I don’t think I can actually find the words to say how much I love that place. Really. It’s just… Brilliant.
Regular readers will know that this wasn’t my first trip to SF, so I kind of know my way around a little bit.. which was nice.

I landed at something like 9pm and I was scheduled to fly home the following evening around 7ish so I had :
*adopts film trailer esque voice*

“Less than 24hrs in San Francisco!”

πŸ™‚

So what did I get up to?

Well, after sharing a cab with some new friends that I met in Vegas, I must’ve got to my hotel around 10ish I guess?
Checked in, took my cases up, chilled out… I was gonna hit the sack then and I thought…

“Y’know what? I love the bar here. If I’m only here for a short amount of time, I best make the most of it. I think I deserve a Gin & Tonic…”

 

So off I trotted down to the Redwood, (beautiful bar this – it’s got Harry Potter Paintings on the walls… if you know what I mean), ordered myself a glass of Tanqueray & Tonic (extra lime) and just sat… and chilled.

Lovely stuff. About a half hour or so later I decide to go for a wander outside, get some air etc… and I end up chatting to this random guy, Tomas was his name, Danish chap, chatting to him about SF.. where’s good to go out etc.. He was in town on business with a couple of friends and had just been turned away from a club as they weren’t allowing large groups of men without any women. It happens.

Anyway – he and I head back into the bar and there are his (also Danish) mates talking to these women.

“Right, I can see where this is going…” I thought to myself “…I’m gonna have one more then head to bed”

I got it half right…

I was chatting away to Tomas just off to the side of the group when one of his mates called over to get the round in…

“Gin & Tonic!” I replied… and suddenly I had a LOT of attenton!

“Oi! You’re not Danish!”

“I never said I was!”

 

Que much laughter and explanations etc… These girls were in SF for a friend’s wedding. Great bunch they were too. The lot of us all ended up going clubbing together. (A place called ‘Slide‘ – Yup. It had a slide. Brilliant).

Fantastic night. Great company too.
Was really refreshing to be out with a group of girls who weren’t out on the pull or who weren’t looking for anything etc… They just wanted to have a drink and a chat and maybe a little dance and generally just enjoy their evening.

The Danish guys were mental. But we loved them for it. Hehehe…

All in all a great night was had Β  πŸ™‚
Friday rolled around so I went shopping… Bought LOADS of T-Shirts (more on that soon), some new boots, some DVDs and, surprise surprise, a new suitcase to bring it all home in. Heh heh…

Before I sign off – A blog post wouldn’t be complete with me adding in some relevant media…

First – some photos from SF.
A few from my recent trip but most from my trip in October last year… Hope you enjoy them.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Oh – and as a point of interest – ALL of the photos above were taken with a Nokia N95.
LOVE that phone! πŸ™‚

San Francisco

And second…

One of the great things about being in the States is you get to see some of the latest shows/films etc…

And you also get to see some of the awesome posters etc and you often get a hint for what’s coming too…

So for instance, last year, there were Heroes posters everywhere.

This year however I kept seeing things like this one —–>
And variations thereof…

Had no idea what it meant. No idea what it was about. Nothing.

For some reason I kept thinking of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Good thing is these posters became suddenly very clear to me upon my return, when my new (and actually quite cool) friend Sizemore invited me along to a ‘Blogger’s Screening’ of the new comedy, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘.

And bloody good it was too, (thanks dude).

Full write up to follow…
πŸ™‚

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?

πŸ™‚

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

Hey – I’ve been busy!

To paraphrase an old friend during a power outage:

Window Reflections“I’m holding a phone! I work with phones. That counts as work”

Anywhoo – if that’s the case then that’s me over there

———————————>

Being busy.
:p

Ok ok ok – so I’ve been neglecting my blog a little bit of late. I’ve had some good reasons mind. Most of which will hopefully become clear by the time you finish reading.

Er… that is if you finish reading at the end of this post. Not if you finish reading NOW for instance.
That’d be rubbish.

So let’s crack on shall we?!

Right – the ‘to-blog’ list from my last-but-one post read a little something like this:

So let’s address each one shall we:

First up:
My business trip to San Francisco
I’m going to duck out at this point at say that it deserves a post all to itself. So I’m going to cheat a bit and defer that to another post. Not the best of starts.

Next:
Social Networks through SpinVox
Again – saving this for a separate post – it’s a bit of a SpinVox love in to be honest – and I can’t wait to share it!
(the news and coverage falls into this too)

What else:
Mobile Geeks of London III –
The plan was to get this out and done by the end of November – but what with it being two days until December you and I both know that that just is not going to happen. However, the ONE PERSON who I was waiting for DID get back to me – and we’re making plans to get it up and running early 2008. So watch this space.

Finally:
The couple of other blogging projects that I’ve been working on – this is the thing that’s been taking up my time – hence the VOX neglect – but hey – I’m back now huh?

First up – Remember how I told you that you could Blog through SpinVox?

Well – NOOOOOOW – Yours truly is now officially ‘Editor-in-Chief’ over at the new SpinVox Blog.
Wheeeeee! Which is just cool.
(remind me to change my email sig – hehe)

It’s only been going for a little while now and, although I’m still finding my feet a little bit, I’ve got some great support from the team around me and hopefully it’ll go from strength to strength. Got some great ideas for the next three months or so…. so do me a favour and add the SpinVox Blog Feed to your RSS reader today!
(and if you don’t like the content – at least you know who to complain to!) πŸ˜‰

Ok – so now – onto my other blogging project – and this kind of ties into my last post too – in that you’ve probably been waiting for ‘part 2’ of the review. Well – sorry to break it to you – but part 2 isn’t coming…

What happened was my mate Ewan Macleod, Editor over at SMS Text News, saw my “Future of Mobile – Part 1” post (which I did, live, from my N95 – thank you VOX – haven’t done that for a while), and dropped me a sneaky text asking if he could have a full write-up.

“Sure thing” I said. So he wrote a leading piece and then I followed it up with the full write up.
πŸ™‚

All of which seemed to go down pretty well. Ewan’s a top guy and I’ve done some things with him in the past so it was nice to actually sit down and properly contribute to his, quite frankly, fantastic site.

Anywhoo – this lead onto another conversation which in turn resulted with the following question –

“How about doing it regularly? Not reporting per se, but more of a weekly opinion piece… ”

So with SpinVox’ blessing (thanks guys!) “Whatley Wednesday” was born.

Subjects covered so far: Flashmobbing and the Nokia N81 8GB.
Again – quite a new project – but regular Whatleydude content, week in week out?! You can’t complain!
πŸ˜‰

So where does that leave my personal blog?
My SpinVox-y chatter has found a home and now it seems my Mobile chatter has found a home too.

Well as I’ve already said – I’ve still got stuff I want to write up – but if you remember – I originally started this site so I could blog the Glastonbury Festival LIVE from my mobile.
And even though that had geeky overtones – it was still more of a personal thing.

So… I’m gonna try and take this blog back to its roots!

After all – the address is on my Moo Card so I best make sure the content is up to date!

Until next time….

It’s been a long time coming…

This is me, (in case you weren’t aware) trying to get to grips with, (read: NOT DROP), my N95 while hanging out the back of a yellow cab crusing the streets of San Francisco.

But the look on my face pretty much typifies the look that’s been on my face since the last time I blogged.

I have been at it non-stop.
Hence the lack of blog-love lately I guess…

So this is a quick refresher/breather – I keep looking at this post and realising that there is still quite a lot I need to cover off…

But I’m not going to do it here…Sorry. Still too much to do.

EDIT: Err… Reading this back through – looks like I have! Ha!

So first – a ‘to-do/blog’ list of things I need to get done…

Without a doubt I need to give up some more love to the guys at Mippin.

My dear friends over in Fulham have just released the latest iteration of their great product which now includes Twitter, Flickr and Facebook integration. Awesomeness…
Full lowdown and (completely unbiased) review coming soon. Promise.

Nex, I was going to blog about the FOWAs. But to be honest there were only a couple of things that came out of that that are worth mentioning – so I’ll do it here:

1) I got to meet Jyri, industry hero and founder of Jaiku.

Which was just cool.

2) I got to meet Vero – aka thatcanadiangirl.

She’s a great blogger, a great girl and best of all… a great geek!

And finally… The best thing about the FOWAs?

The themes of openess and web 2.0ness that I’ve been discussing with my close friends, peers and colleagues (ie that podcast I did for instance), well those themes (some of which I’m actually writing a paper on at the moment – more on that when I finally get off my backside and finish it) were all very apparent at this event.
Seems like the rest of the world.industry is finally waking up! Rock..

Ok – so that’s the FOWAs done. Tick that box…

Oh – and as an FYI – The FOWAs were put together by the uber smart guys over at Carsonified.
Who do a whole host of similar events…

One of which is coming up in a couple of weeks and is called: The Future of Mobile… or The FOM.
I first heard about this event when I was still working with Mippin and was particularly interested because my then CEO, Scott Beaumont (no link – sorry – where’s your blog gone Scott?) was scheduled to be one of the speakers..

I’m not entirely sure that is still the case at this time (and am currently awaiting confirmation) but either way it should still be a great event (it’s being held at The IMAX for crying out loud!) with some great speakers and a fantastic after-party too.. Hehehe
Someone who definitely will be speaking is my main man Dan Appelquist (whom I mentioned in my last post).
He’ll be talking about: Life Beyond WAP: Advance Browsing, Mobile Ajax, and the Future of the Mobile Web.

So yeah – I’ve got my ticket… Have you?

Now moving on from the Future of Mobile to the very future-looking Mobile Geeks of London who held their second group meet up recently. This poor boy had to miss the event but the guys made sure that I wasn’t missed..
As you can see below…

Bless ’em… Champers?! For me?! Ooo… Suit you sir!

Anyways – I must take a moment to extend much Whatley-Love to a few people who made sure that even without the host with most – MGoL will still meet & geek!

First up: Peter Romiszewski – or ‘Romek’ for short, big geek and a great Jaiku buddy to boot.

Next: Richard Hyndman – ex-colleague from Refresh Mobile and master of all things Mippin
(who doesn’t actually have a blog so I’ve linked you to his Jaiku – hope you don’t mind Rich!)

And Finally: Ed Cave – Txt2Lock Guru, nice bloke and attendee of the original ‘Geeks’.

Cheers guys. Much love and many a beer to be provided at MGoL III…
Something that is currently on my radar and my even sneak in before the end of 2007!
You heard it here first! Shh!

Now – that’s covered off everything that I wanted to write about in my last but one post…
But I still have to SO MUCH to blog:

  • My business trip to San Francisco, (well – everything that happened after the first 24hrs anyway)
  • Social Networks through SpinVox
  • And all of the news and coverage that followed that… Because it’s NOW LIVE folks! Go! Get it!
  • A couple of other blogging projects that I want to talk about
  • Mobile Geeks of London III (I’m waiting on ONE PERSON to come back to me before we move ahead)

And a whole host of other things too I’m sure…

…so keep checking back folks – more to come… very soon.

Until then.

WD signing off.

24hrs in San Francisco…

…and what a mission it has been!

I land and realise as I’m getting off the plane that I left my wallet next to the wifi hotspot at London Heathrow.

Whoops.

I check my emails and I have a converted voicemail – (cheers SpinVox) from someone who not only found it, but handed it in, got the details of the guy/department she gave it in to and then left her number too in case I was still around. Rock.

Go to customer services here – explain all, show them the email. They get on the phone. My wallet is fine but I have to pick it up in person.

Bugger. No money, no cards and no way of getting to the hotel.

The man standing next to me says:

“Where you staying?”
“The Clift”
says I.

“Oh, I used to run their Limo company. Give me two minutes…”

“But I have no money! I can’t pay you dude…”
“I’m sorry Sir, but you lost your wallet right?
“Right.”
“And how much was in it?”
“About $200 US.”
“And it’s been handed in and all the money is there and all is good right?
“Yes.”

“Well that’s some good karma right there Sir so that means you’ve
obviously done something to deserve it. So hey, have some more –
Take the Limo to the Clift Sir, and enjoy your stay San Francisco.”

F**k. Me. Wow.

I get to the hotel. Can’t check-in, no credit card.

“But I have my passport?”
“No Sir, we need a card, sorry.”

I call up a random US colleague who I know is down the road at the conference. Explain all. He turns up, checks me in, gives me $200 ‘to last me’ and then rocks back to the conference!

I then unpack, shower and stuff (my room is awesome) and head on down to the Nokia party I got invited to. Get given a whole bunch of free phone stuff as well as an invite to their exclusive after party. Which I went to, made new friends. One of which I got really drunk with and we passed out in the hotel lobby in the hours of this morning.

Later that day, I get an email from my friend and colleague Dan Appelquist (Great guy, from Vodafone, runs Mobile Mondays) – he knows I’m in town – says would I mind picking up a parcel for him which he forgot when he
was here last week..

“Sure…” says I.

Dan then says I should hook up with this girl,

“Cathy, you guys are both in the messaging / Web 2.0 cross-over space. I think you would both enjoy meeting up and you might find some synergy to what you’re both doing. You’re both out at CTIA going to various parties (not that I’m jealous) so I leave it to you.”

I look at the email. I read it again.

DUDE!!!!

The girl I got hammered and passed out with in the hotel lobby the night before? …Yup.

Cathy.

Brilliant.

Small world or WHAT?!
Unbelievable.

And I’ve only been here 24hrs. Ha. Let’s not even talk about today when I rocked up the conference and EVERYONE is wearing a suit. Apart from….

ME!

Flipflops, torn jeans, sunny gs, t-shirt… Like this in fact:

Very amusing.

Felt like that scene from Pretty Woman..
Love it.

More to come soon – promise. But this place is awesome. At the time of writing I’ve been here 48hrs and I wrote this yesterday but lost my connection before I could post! Grr… Ah well.

More stories to follow…

πŸ™‚