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Category Archives: Data

What we’ve been reading | April 4 2014

The SourceDoug Aitken
A comprehensive public release of the artist Doug Aitken’s ongoing series of conversations with the creative individuals shaping contemporary culture | 4 min video

How Tesla is driving the new purpose economyCo.Exist
The electric car company is slowly reshaping how people think about driving. Following the same pattern can help any social entrepreneur get people excited about world-changing products. Here’s what Tesla is doing | 8 min read

Ex-Googler invents a better way to buy bras | Co.Design
San Francisco based startup Thirdlove is trying to revamp the awful bra-shopping experience by letting women size themselves int he privacy of their own homes | 5 min read

This Little-Known iOS feature will change the way we connect Wired
A new iOS app called FireChat is blowing up in the App Store. But it’s not the app itself that’s causing such a stir, it’s the underlying networking technology it taps into | 4 min read

This is what Candy Crush Saga does to your brain | Guardian
The Candy Crush game app exploits some well known weaknesses in the human brain to keep us playing | 4 min read

The rise of the API economy and consumer-led ecosystems Wired
Just a few years ago, application programming interfaces (APIs) were largely viewed as an easy, functional way to make applications work together, a digital adhesive of sorts. Today, the value of the API has evolved into much more than a simple bridging mechanism | 4 min read

Principles of good data analysisGreg Reda
Data analysis is hard. In this article, Data Analyst Greg Reda shares his top tips for making sure you don’t fall down the analytical rabbit hole | 5 min read

Human uniqueness | Nautilus
Shining a light on the spark that separates man from beast | 7 min read

15 common mistakes designers make | Creative Bloq
All designers make mistakes. Designer Craig Minchington examines the most common ones, and how to avoid them | 9 min read

D&AD names the best design projects of the year | D&AD
D&AD, organisers of the world’s most prestigious design award ceremony, reveals this year’s nominations | 5 min read

Embrace empathy – it’s good for you and your people | B&T
‘Employees will often forget what you say. They will often forget what you do. But they will never forget how you made them feel’ | 4 min read

25 Fascinating charts of negotiation styles around the world (Part 1) Business Insider
By focusing on the cultural roots of national behaviour, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate how others will react to our plans for them, and we can make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us | 5 min read

24 Charts of leadership styles around the world (Part 2) Business Insider
Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm | 5 min read

Here’s why you’re not hiring the best and the brightest First Round
‘Call me crazy, but I think if we’re going to talk about hiring the best talent available, we should actually try to do that. This means letting go of the idea that people need to be physically present for any meaningful work to occur’ | 10 min read

PR agencies will not exist in a decade | mUmBRELLA
Is that shocking enough for you? Well it’s true. Too many PR agencies are outdated, the traditional media landscape is shrinking, and with increasing numbers of advertising, social media and even SEO agencies getting in on the action, we need to smarten up’ | 5 min read

April Fools 2014 roundup | mUmBRELLA
April 1 brings out the fool in many of us and this year has been no exception. Here’s a wrap-up of the April Fools gags we’ve spotted, courtesy of the folks at mUmBRELLA | 5 min read

Why syncing into social values is important | MarketingMag
Ad agencies have been banging on about it for years. Marketing 101 lecturers are catching up and market researchers shy away from it. But the truth cannot be ignored: we just don’t think as much as we think we think | 6 min read

Spinach wins Karcher, Ledified, South Melbourne Market and more | B&T
The five wins utilise Spinach’s full suite of services, with the agency looking after media planning and buying, digital, creative, strategy and more for the new accounts | 5 min read

D&AD: Yellow Pencil Noms for Droga5, GPY&R, Havas, Leo Burnett, DDB, BMF and Jamshop | CampaignBrief
Australia ranked #4 behind UK, US and France | 3 min read


What we’ve been reading | 14th March

Silicon Valley’s youth problem NYTimes
In start-up land, the young barely talk to the old (and vice versa). That makes for a lot of cool apps. But great technology? Not so much | 12 min read

The truth about speed reading Lifehacker
Last week, we showed you Spritz – a new app that promises to help you read novels in minutes. Here’s why it might not work | 8 min read

How to build a digital strategy ready for artificial intelligence | BRW
Digital strategy is still siloed away under ‘marketing’ by most Australian corporates. But only an integrated approach can properly exploit advances like social media monitoring by artificial intelligence | 5 min read

Harvard is looking for a ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ | The Atlantic
The school’s Houghton Library is seeking someone to help make its collections as accessible as possible | 8 min read

My brain has no space for your user interface Josh Timonen
‘I imagine this ‘UI storage’ area of my brain is like the box in my closet containing a nest of computer and cables. It retains most of this UI knowledge—and I can get at it—but I have to detangle it from fifty other UI assumptions I’ve gathered over the years’ | 6 min read

How this startup turned financial advice into an algorithm and made $200M | QZ
Imagine if poring over your finances were as easy as using your favourite app, or smartphone—or any of today’s crisply designed technologies that make life easier, smarter and more efficient | 5 min read

Emotions are viral | QZ
The mood of your Facebook updates is directly influenced by the moods of those in your newsfeed | 5 min read

Japan just realised that it’s now the centre of the bitcoin universe | QZ
Japan has become perhaps the world’s most important locale for bitcoin, the digital currency that was supposed to liberate its users from the tyranny of geography—and its government is playing catch-up | 8 min read

How actors create emotions: A problematic psychology | The Atlantic
Fully inhabiting the mind, mannerisms, and reality of a fictional character can be as alienating as it is rewarding | 8 min read

100 Years of Design | Second Story
Second Story has collaborated with AIGA to create a centennial microsite that celebrates the profound impact design has had on our society over the last century | 10 min experience

Why songs have choruses | The Atlantic
The secret lies in how your brain processes sound: People love repetition | 6 min read

There are 16 leadership skillsBRW
But you only need two or three | 8 min read

Square-shaped is the new T-shaped | Medium
What’s better than knowing a little about a lot and a lot about a little? Knowing a lot about a lot |10 min read

70% of time could be used better | First Round
How the best CEOs get the most out of every day | 10 min read

Officeworks selects DesignworksB&T
STW’s strategic design agency Designworks has been appointed to Officeworks following a competitive pitch | 3min read

AFR journalist Emma Connors joins Ogilvy PR | mUmBRELLA
Ogilvy PR has appointed Australian Financial Review journalist Emma Connors as the Senior Media Strategist for the company’s PR Health and Corporate division. | 10 min read

Designworks buys New Zealand’s The Church | B&T
The Church team will move into the Designworks Wellington campus on March 10, and have already begun collaborating on a number of joint projects and new pitches | 3 min read


What we’ve been reading | Friday 7th March

This demo of a real-life Hoverboard is incredible to watch, even if it’s fake.

Young people are angry and leaving TV in droves The Guardian
Vice chief executive Shane Smith on video journalism, North Korea – and why he won’t be taken over by a big rival | 10 min read

What branding means in the experience design era | TNW
How experience designers will fill an increasingly critical role in helping brands to determine how they translate and transfer themselves into a world where the virtual and the physical are one | 15 min read

This app can help you read up to 1,000 words a minute Time
Who says the Internet is making us less effective readers? ‘Spritz’ is devoted to turning you into a super-powered book devourer, conquering novels in a single bound | 2 min read

The tech industry is gloriously ridiculous TechCrunch
Shining a light on Silicon Valley as the new old Hollywood with VCs as producers, founders as directors, with most everyone desperate for blockbuster hits | 5 min read

Why England still builds Victorian prisons | Co.Design
In a word: control | 5 min read

Why teens are the most elusive and valuable customers in tech | Inc.
From Facebook to Snapchat, everyone wants a piece of the teen market. Here’s an in-depth look at what they want and why they’re so damn tough to hold onto | 15 min read

Mandela was right: the Foreign Language Effect | Mapping Ignorance
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” | 8 min read

A review of Her by Ray KurzweilKurzweil
“If she can have a voice, she can have a body” | 10 min read

David Lynch on consciousness, creativity and the brain | YouTube
How meditation can aid in the creative process | 8 min watch

ALT TXT | Seizure
Language is changing – and we are changing with it | 10 min read

Asking for of giving feedback? | 42 Floors
Try the 30% rule | 10 min read

The job after Jobs | Wall Street Journal
From the moment he became CEO of Apple, Tim Cook found himself in the shadow of his boss | 8 min read

How to make yourself work when you just don’t want toHBR
Can you imagine how much less guilt, stress, and frustration you would feel if you could somehow just make yourself do the things you don’t want to do when you are actually supposed to do them? | 5 min read

24hrs, 6 teams, 1 technology, 1 charity | Lifehacker
Over the weekend, six teams from DT Sydney and Melbourne competed in a hackathon to build a Google Glass application for the Red Cross. This is what they learned | 5 min read

A story of values | Inside Retail
While activism has been a defining characteristic of sub-cultural groups forever, lifestyle activism is now mainstream | 5 min read

Twitter Australia moves PR account from Thrive PR to Ogilvy | mUmBRELLA
Social media platform Twitter has moved its public relations account from independent firm Thrive PR to Ogilvy Australia | 5 min read

JWT Sydney wins The Smith Family account | IBB
Australian children’s charity The Smith Family has appointed JWT Sydney as its lead creative agency, following a competitive pitch conducted late in 2013 | 3 min read


What we’ve been reading | Friday 21st February

The Vice Guide to Engagement | Google Think Insights

House of Cards is built on Big Data | Salon

By analysing its subscribers’ preferences, Netflix can be sure its original content will find an audience. But is that a good thing ? | 15 min read

Machine Language | The Verge

How Siri found its voice | 15 min read

When hardware acts like software | Ideas Lab

Digital fabrication — the ability to instruct a machine to create a form defined on a computer — is blurring the line between software and hardware | 10 min read

Invisible money | Fjord

The transformation of money will affect commerce at every level | 5 min read

The death of expertise | The Federalist

Exploring the Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers | 15 min read

Why people trust online reviews for dinner but not doctors | Quartz

‘I’d give you five stars if your hands were warmer’ | 5 min read

Why I left advertising to become a software designer | Co.Design

There’s a war for design talent between technology and advertising companies. Marc Scibelli of Infor explains why he left the ad industry after 18 years to focus on the UX of business software | 10 min read

Haven’t made it yet? Don’t stress. Big breakthroughs come in your 30′s | The Atlantic

What the ages of Nobel Prize winners tell us about creativity  | 10 min read

How technology makes creative more intelligent | Google Think Insights

Google’s Creative Platforms Evangelist talks about how new tools and platforms can help marketers create “intelligent” ads that are engaging and meaningful to consumers in the moments that matter | 8 min read

How the internet uses nostalgia | The Atlantic

Long-lost memories pop up in music recommendations, personality quizzes, and ads. Why? | 10 min read

Brand building in a digital age | Martin Weigel

Old thinking for new times | 18 min read

When Yahoo Reigned Supreme | Priceonomics

In the 1990′s, Yahoo was a really big deal. What can we learn from that? | 15 min read

A mobile content marketing strategy just became essential | Forbes

What Google’s latest algorithm update means for your content strategy | 10 min read

From foodstamps to fortune| Forbes

How Jan Koum Built WhatsApp into Facebook’s new $19 billion baby | 10 min read

Getting to the bottom of the top end of town: 5 myths about engaging execs | Marketing Magazine

It’s easy to make assumptions when marketing to senior executives. They’re impossible to reach. They don’t read marketing. They’re humourless money-men, who just need the bare facts laid out in short, sharp, staccato fashion. Interestingly, the evidence suggests the opposite | 5 min read

Your story of experience | Smart Company

In today’s connected world, consumers can navigate their own way through a brand experience and buy anything and everything at the tap of a key | 5 min read


Is Facebook still worth it?

The secret is well and truly out. The age of Pay-to-play social is very much upon us. Today’s guest post is by Adam Noakes at Switched on Media.

There’s no need to talk too much on the recent algorithm change by Facebook; a thousand blogs have covered that already. In short, Facebook recently made a significant change to how it determines how many people see content from brand pages. No longer can you rely on the fact that a fair portion of your ‘fans’ will see your content. In fact, brands have seen organic reach drop as low as 0.5% of their total fan base.

Mark Zuckerberg now answers to shareholders and making money sits atop his priority list, somewhere alongside connecting the world and user experience. Make no mistake, Facebook is now a juggernaut corporate entity in every sense. This means that brands are left with a few extra things to consider when thinking about their Facebook marketing efforts.

Pay-to-acquire and pay-to-reach is leaving marketing managers with a bitter taste in their mouths, and some would say rightfully so. Brands have invested significantly in social strategies, community management and acquiring fans through advertising, giveaways, campaigns and competitions. Now they have to invest even more to get their message in front of people.

In terms of audience and engagement from users, Facebook still leads the way by a considerable margin. Here are a few simple tips for maximising your Facebook marketing spend in light of the recent changes to the algorithm.

1. Using your own data will save you money

Time and time again I notice a significantly reduced cost-per-acquisition when uploading a custom data set for targeting purposes. Facebook allows you to upload email addresses from your database into the advertising module, which then locates those people based on the email address matching a registered Facebook account. Serving these users an ad this way is typically far more effective given they already know at least something of your brand.

2. Find look-a-likes based on your data

Once you’ve found users from your database, you can build out a look-a-like pool of similar users – based on demographics and interests, with the goal of attracting people similar to those you already attract – making the barrier to acquisition somewhat lower than that of less specific manual targeting.

2. Go hard or go home

Saying ‘Happy Friday’ and posting a cat meme is all well and good for business-as-usual content, and if your aspirations are to just be one of the pack – but if you want Facebook to work hard for the dollars you’re spending, equal investment in quality content production and planning is needed. Custom and branded images, content pillars and key themes should be developed and revised on a regular ongoing basis

3. Identify what purpose Facebook serves and build around that

Does your page act as an efficient alternative to in-house customer service methods? Did the recent offer you promoted give you a viable alternative to using Groupon or similar? Does the insights gained from interaction and engagement provide your sales team with a new target market to focus on? These are the type of questions you should be considering when figuring out exactly what purpose Facebook serves for your brand.

5. Consider what would happen if you stopped using Facebook

Look at your website analytics to measure Facebook referrals in the past 12-months, apply an attribution model to determine the effect Facebook has on brand term search and direct traffic. Measure your brand sentiment online, and determine the part Facebook plays in that. In most cases, brands taking Facebook seriously will see that it impacts many facets of the branding and marketing mix.

That’s just five essential points to consider right now. In an ever-changing social media landscape, using Facebook and other social channels to promote to consumer and prospects is only going to get more expensive. Making sure every dollar spent is spent with the confidence it’s working hard is essential.

Is Facebook still worth it? It’s only worth the dollars you spend, based on the effort you spend on making sure every dollar counts.


Narcissism and personal data: a future of less sleep and more sex.

by Nextness published September 19, 2012 posted in Data

 Photo from fashion blogger @CarolinaEngman
Today’s guest post is from Athan Didaskalou (@ath), Strategist at DT Digital.

Narcissism. [narh-suh-siz-em] {noun}

Excessive interest in or admiration of oneself.

Narcissism usually has negative connotations. However, I see it as a positive. Loving thyself means knowing more about thyself. I look at people like Nicholas Felton who use their fascination with themselves for good, for betterment, for data.

There is a trend these days of collecting information about web users. In other words, you. And you can be assured that your favourite websites do this— Amazon know how many times you read that sex scene in your e-book version of 50 Shades, ASOS learn that targeted emails about specific products you like trigger you to click more, and of course Google get whatever they can get. Companies are constantly looking for new ways to quantify the actions of their users. The adage of ‘knowledge is power’ has never been truer.

Not too long ago, when most things were analogue, such measurement didn’t seem to be possible. But now that we’ve moved to a digital lifestyle, everything is open to the opportunity of being measured – we are capturing data from any action we do in an attempt to quantify all things in our lives.

But what do we do with these tidbits of self-absorbance? We end up collecting a constant trickle of detailed knowledge about ourselves only to find that we don’t really know what to do with it. We pride ourselves on the ability to look at big data sets and understand trends on scale, but what do we do with the data based on a sample of n=1?

Forget “big data”; all the juicy stuff happens at ground level.

The big one this year: Nike FuelBand. As a mate puts it, “seriously, it’s the most f*ing over hyped pedometer ever”. He’s right. But why do we love it so?  It feeds our hunger (note: obsession) for knowledge about ourselves. No one knows your body like you do, yet you still don’t know as much as you would like to know, and you never will. We’re drawn to knowing our outputs.

We want to be able to measure and define what has previously been instinctual. The rise of personal measurement apps is a testament to this. This, and this, and this are great examples of what’s happening right now in personal data measurement. One of the best examples of a company capitalising on the trend is Withings. They created self-measuring blood pressure tools and smart weight scales that all connect to the internet and offer a unique way to monitor and adjust your data for the betterment of your health. This is only the tip of the infographic. In Canada, they have apps that gamify pain monitoring for young cancer patients. But my favourite is a start-up in San Fran. that has coined their developments as “the API for the bloodstream”.

The well-being of our bodies today is thanks to the medical advancements brought about by R&D and technology. New cancer drugs, better scanning machines, mobility tools, etc. We’re using the density of the web to help some of the best scientists in the world fold proteins. Things look bright for medicine and tech. However on the individual front, we’re subjected to smaller tools to assist in diagnosis and betterment, and overall innovation in this domain has gone down the path of PPC (I’m looking at you, WebMD).

Optimisation: a series of trial and error.

An opportunity lies not within a diagnosis given based on the subjective inputs we give it, but by collecting data on our habits and testing what does and doesn’t work with our bodies. Everyone is different, and often require different solutions to the same problem. A classic example of this is asking the question “How much sleep do you need?” Some tell you a solid 8 hours, others will have you believe that less is more. The crux of the question is that there is no right answer. We can judge it by a lifetime of how we feel when we do one thing over another, but there are so many variables to factor in that most of us don’t know the optimal amount we need. We use trial and error to attempt to solve it. The next step in our evolution is to self-optimise through the utilisation of personal data.

Testing data like this is likened to A/B testing our bodies; we understand the cause and effect of everything we do, every little thing we consume, to make sure we function efficiently and effectively. In a world of personal data, we can find out what sleep patterns can make us day ninjas, which household chores release the most endorphins, and which foods act as the most efficient aphrodisiac! (I’m ahead of the curve – I’ve found it to be oysters). The practice exists already. Elite athletes have doctors, physicians and dietitians on hand to analyse every movement and morsel in their lives to determine their optimal approach. The next wave of medical technology to the masses is about the democratisation of personal data tools that give us the ability to understand and learn from ourselves.

This type of self-optimisation is what will be the most exciting surge in the next few years. How will it affect relationships? Our workplaces? Our insurance premiums?!

Medical tools on a personal level already exist. Recording personal data is already an emerging trend. The opportunity lies within making them both relevant by giving us the data on a personal level, and providing us with the tools to learn and optimise the data collected for our individual needs.

To better ourselves through data is seeing narcissism have the positive spin it deserves. But until then, stick with the oysters.

Athan Didaskalou (@ath) is a Strategist at DT Digital who’s been known to take his top off to pitch ideas to COOs. This post first appeared on the excellent DT Digital blog.


A Venn for everything.

by Nextness published August 23, 2012 posted in Data

Today’s guest post is by STW’s Ella Campbell (@ella__campbell). Late at the office one night, Ella and the team were finishing off a presentation. It was a strategy; three components, three circles. As they magically moved into strategic perfection, it hit her – there’s a Venn for everything.


Via Bud Caddell.

If you have a job that involves a) working with people, b) a computer or c) all of the above, you should probably make friends with the venn.

But for those of you that aren’t convinced, here’s five reasons to reconsider.

1. Client recommendations look simple and compelling.

Read Zurb for more info.

2. Stupidity becomes intelligence. Sometimes.

Via Vennoid.

3. Sweeping generalisations appear analytical.

Via Vennoid.

4. LolCats.

Via Indexed.

5. Out of the long grass, a wild business strategy appears.

Via AlexAitken.

Bonus level | 6. Cat + bird = owl.

Via Society6.

If you need further convincing, you should be fired. Or alternatively, promoted, depending on which way you look at it.

Thanks for letting us repost this from your Tumblr, Ella! If you liked this, you might like Adventures in data with David Pountney.