Monday, June 7, 2010

I am a client

A couple of years ago we started something completely different. Just for the fun of it. And then we lost interest and simply let it freewheel to nowhere in particular.

It's was a bartering website. And we lost interest because other projects took over and we simply didn't have resourses to PR/market the site.

A couple of weeks ago my 18 year old brother-in-law called me to ask if I had any work for him to do. Last September he took a year out to help my father in law with his property business. After a few months he realised he had nothing much to do except run errands. Now he wants a real challenge. So I'm throwing him the bartering site, with a slight twist:

Take the website and turn it into a free iPhone App. Monetize it too. I want £3,000 a month revenue from it within 12 months.

We had an interesting conversation last night. He wants to do some research about bartering, what it means to people and how often they do it.

"I thought I'd go and ask people in London."
"Who in London?"
"Random people..."
"In the street?"
"Well, yes."
"How many Facebook friends have you got?"
"Wait, you have one thousand six hundred friends??? Why don't you ask them?"
"Could do..."
"Download a polling application and poll them if you want to."

I sent him a 3 page brief last night and am waiting for his proposal. I will keep you posted on his progress.


Key concepts in anthropology

OK, here is the request to end all requests. The question to end all questions:

Below is a list of key concepts in anthropology.

1 Agent & Agency
2 Alterity
3 Auto Anthropology*
4 Children*
5 Classification
6 Code*
7 Cognition
8 Common sense*
9 Community*
10 Consciousness*
11 Contradiction
12 Conversation*
13 Culture*
14 Cybernetics
15 Dialogics and analogics
16 Discourse
17 Gender
18 Gossip*
19 Home and homelessness
20 Individualism*
21 Individuality*
22 Interaction
23 Irony
24 Kinship
25 Ritual & Routine*
26 Power*
27 Belief*
28 Space*

I would like to invite you to choose a concept, or two or three and set out explain them in more detail. Detail which is relevant and comprehensible to researchers who are not anthropologists. The asterisked concepts are ones we tend to deconstruct everyday life events with the most, the ones we feel most comfortable with.

In return, I will find appropriate films/clips from our archives to bring each definition to life.

Is that a fair transaction?

Shouldn't transaction be a concept? If you think I have missed anything, please let me know.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

The death of depth

A few years ago I was in a rather large meeting room in Louisville, Kentucky, presenting findings from an appliance study to GE marketers, researchers, designers and innovators.

It was an all morning presentation and we were showing quite a lot of films, some filmed by respondents themselves. In between the thematically divided films we were to present key learnings, insights and possible actions. So far nothing unusual.

About 10 minutes into the my presentation half a dozen senior looking people knocked and walked in. They had all been in another meeting and were running late.

"We'll sit in on this workshop so we can dip in and out..." one of them explained

They walked to the back of the room and sat down. All opened their laptops and all began to work busily away. There were occasional observations and questions from the senior group and although at first it felt odd to have people working away while I was talking I got used to it.

Through out the workshop I was surprised by how sharp their questions were. As sharp as the group at the front who were all eyes and ears from the start. But they never stopped working.

This article made me think a lot about that senior group, the way I work now and how much I might be missing out. But there is a pattern emerging. I think. And it's this: The more I multi-task, the more I also rely on collaboration to ensure depth, different perpectives and potential solutions or outcomes.

Do you multi-task? How?