Golly, I've not written anything here in a month or so. Time for an update:
- After losing the mighty Mary Nolan to antipodean climes (if you are in Australia: hire her FAST), we're looking for a new Product Owner. The quality of candidates we've had so far has pleased us mightily, we're interviewing at the moment and it's going to be a tough decision.
- Did I forget to mention that we hired a new ScrumMaster a few months ago? After an 8-year break, Cori Samuel (FP Employee #1 back in 2001) has returned to the fold and taken charge of keeping our teams and process singing: two wheels of our cart.
- Two of our products are doing quite nicely, thankyou. Roulette Cricket has been featured in the "What's Hot" list by Apple for a little while now and has passed 80,000 downloads; the app is also now brought to you through sponsorship from BlueSquare, the gambling site. Meanwhile the Guardian Anywhere has now had more than 16,000 downloads with a retained audience of over 6,300 - and we've distributed more than 300,000 copies of the Guardian to this audience, with more than 50,000 in the last 3 weeks.
- We're heads down on a a couple of really interesting projects: new operating systems, new hardware, new design metaphors, exposing genuinely useful services to a new audience, and a pleasing physical/digital mix. I should be able to talk about one of these quite soon, and I'm looking forward to showing them off - they're looking gorgeous.
- I'm spending a bit more time than usual in London, helping some new friends lovingly kick in some doors (mainly advertising agency doors). Our Proposal Engine is humming nicely.
- Magazines and publishing are occupying a lot of neurons right now. With respect to m'learned friends at BERG (whose Popular Science is a thing of great beauty and gets lots of stuff right), I don't think that anyone has quite cracked this yet, and I'm hoping we get a chance to play here.
- Future Platforms will be 10 years old next month. This is both wonderful and terrifying, I'm hoping we can find an appropriate way to celebrate this.
Also - some interesting stuff I've been meaning to link to:
- I thought the Old Spice campaign was fantastic - the sheer frivolity tickled me, of coruse, but the live element of it also pessed a few buttons. For me it's another data point on a line we've plotted between Ghosty and Roulette Cricket. I'm looking forward to seeing the first mobile-first campaign like this. I'm hoping we get to do that one.
- The era of online anonymity as default may be coming to an end: "Standing behind your words, owning them and the consequences they have on others, is part of adult communication. And it’s time that communication on the Internet grew up a little."
- Fake, a tool for test automation on the Mac.
- How we built teleport, an intelligent counterpoint to the "price-em-low, shift units" mentality which dominates app sales today. It seems common-sense that there will be successes with many different pricing strategies.
- What an iAd looks like. I'm really curious to see whether the response rates from iAds will justify the much higher production costs, or whether Apple are going to carve out and own "brand" advertising and leave response to Google.
- Zero tolerance for latency: "For classical medias, we are just seeing the beginning of a vast catching-up phase. In doing so, the incumbents face digital native challengers that are way more skilled than they are in dealing with interfaces and with zero latency delivery."
This months favourite new blog? The Ad Contrarian. Favourite new Tweeter? The sadly-quiet Brignumeeja, who seemed to fall over just as they were getting started. A shame, some of the scene here would benefit from a bit of a dressing-down and taking itself less seriously.