Remembering 2010

As part of my new year’s resolutions I want to make sure I get more memories, thoughts and ideas down on paper (or in this case, my blog). Having seen the Daniel Kahneman video on the two kinds of happiness – (1) the experience and (2) the memory of the experience, I know that dwelling on the past is the latter, but still, I can’t bare to think that when I’m old and grey I will have to rely on my foggy memory alone when remembering the good old days. So here goes, 2010 in a nutshell:

Started the year off in Bulgaria with my family, with an unexpected 19 degrees on New Years Eve. Only 2 weeks later it was minus 10.

Got onto the Manchester Masters graduate programme after a video selection process… luckily they didn’t choose us based only on our video making skills; there was a gruelling two-day assessment centre in March as well. 

Went to Seattle in April (my first time in the States) and had the most amazing two weeks – a highlight of my time at university. Thank God for the volcano erupting in Iceland – which kept us there for another week.

Wrote my final exams as an undergraduate and then took my lovely Vaivara to Venice on our way to Bulgaria.

Graduated in July with all four of my parents there to see it:

Started the Manchester Masters programme in July and and have so far worked for Love Creative and Expotel.

Lived with 8 of the Manchester Masters in a city centre flat, doing “come dine with me” nights, X-box marathons with Tom and a trip to Amsterdam during our break.  

In terms of social networks, since starting the programme, most people I meet have lead to an increase in my professional network on LinkedIn with very little growth on Facebook. I wonder if this means most ‘friendships’ are made while at school and university?

Spent a lovely white Christmas in Manchester with some of my closest friends (more like extended family):

HD version here
Merry Christmas to everyone and may your 2011 be prosperous, healthy and happy!

How NOT to Promote Your Brand at Christmas

Do not make an advent calendar with codes you have to enter everyday onto your special website where after 24 days of opening 2 calendars with 24 windows each, I win nothing, AND, on the last day you display the message: “sorry try again tomorrow”… there are no more windows!

Dear anonymous hotel chain brand that I shall not name, your efforts to promote yourselves through the festive spirit have failed and I my feelings towards your brand have gone from neutral to negative. Even if one in every thousand calendars is a winner, the structure of this competition means you are making 999 people unhappy for every one person you make happy – not because we all lost, but because of the effort we had to make to find out we lost.

Chocolates would have been better.

Some Interesting Discoveries

During the past two weeks I have come across several interesting discoveries on the Internet – new sites that are either in BETA or have only just launched (some of these you will not yet be able to sign up to without an invite):

Here’s a 10 second overview of each one and why you should check it out:

Datasift

Take all that data out there on Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and loads of other social services, then “sift” and extract only information that is useful to you. Quick Example:

“Datasift can present you with a stream of the Foursquare check-ins at every Starbucks around the world, and then filter them down to everyone with a Klout score of 50 and saying something positive.”

Suddenly social media becomes much more measurable, useful as a quick market research tool and data from various sources can be combined to tell one story.

Memolane

Take you entire social media experience and document it on a timeline, which you can then quickly scroll through to find: trips, posts, photos, tweets, videos and links you have shared in the past.

A fantastic tool for storing, sorting and quickly finding anything you have ever shared.


About.Me

One page, a snappy bio, your picture, cool url & all your social networks in one plae. Its the perfect link for your e-mail signature to replace having all your social networks listed.

Think of this as “the profile” – a virtual snapshot of you.

My profile: http://about.me/nivoda

Quora

While the above sites are pretty cool, Quora has so far been most useful. This is a site for asking and answering questions and while there are now a few such sites out there, Quora is perfect if you want to find answers for very specific kinds of questions.

All the early adopters and techies that basically keep sites like Twitter going are on here, answering questions about start-ups, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, funding and other related topics. This site is heaven for anyone interested in technology related businesses and innovations.

Within one day of asking, here are the answers to my first question.

North West Fund

There is nothing technically interesting about this site – just the message its putting across. After a long recession and funding cuts to the North West Development agency (NWDA), the North West is once again providing funding for entrepreneurs in the region. Unfortunately no more grants (like the amazing Innovation Voucher) but still, good to know the taps are open once again. Time to submit the business plan!