Last time I visited Lush in Westfield, there was a jug of Moscow Mules by the door and a bowlful of M&Ms to help yourself to. A few shops down, Rigby & Peller were handing out glasses of Prosecco to anyone who fancied a browse.
Now that’s my definition of “social” shopping. But a good few more can be found in From UK High Street to Networked High Street – Eva Pascoe and Niki Gomez’s 2013 response to the Portas Review of 2011. It’s a well-written vision of how technology can improve (save?) our high streets. Here are my takeaways (no pun intended):
1. We’re lucky in the UK to have rich diversity in our high streets: “Each of our High Streets is a mix of different patterns of retail, leisure and services,” write Pascoe and Gomez. “These patterns are like multicolour mosaics, they are very unique, steeped in the history and diverse in demographics.”
Talking to friends who live in smaller, newer cities like Sydney or Tel Aviv, this complex tapestry does not exist everywhere. Things that Londoners take for granted – having access to hundreds of cultural and networking events every week, for example – simply aren’t possible in many other cities. We should make the most of it, and build on that diversity – rather than moaning (as we Brits love to do).
As my mum would no doubt love to tell you, I organized my first free party aged 14: handing out flyers with our home address (and carefully drawn map) around my 1,800 strong comprehensive school.
Growing up in London through the 80s and 90s, there were plenty more free parties to go to (and organise). But at some point in the mid noughties there was a segue from after hours parties in secret locations to parties with a bit more purpose.
The best business events these days combine experimentation and inspiration with the spontaneity of the pop up movement. And yes, there’s often an element of 1990s rave culture (or 1960s hippy) thrown in.
Popped into Cass Business School this afternoon to have tea with the always entertaining Professor Clive Holtham (one of my fave lecturers when I did my MBA at Cass back in 2000-1). We chatted about lots of things including how great Moo stickers are – Clive has now printed off his very own sticker series for The Intelligent Exploiter, his latest book/ project with Nigel Courtney.
Clive also told me about long finance which apparently is the brainchild of Stewart Brand and Brian Eno and looks at factoring environmental and social issues into financial projections and therefore, as a consequence, business operations. Sounds like a Very Good Thing (but I have to go and do some research).
Clive also gave me the photos of the Monkeys with Typewriters book launch which were taken on his camera by the very wonderful Noam Sohachevsky. The best of these pics are now up on Flickr – including the above one of me signing books. Big belated thanks @ Noam!
I really REALLY enjoyed last night’s book launch at Cass Business School. Thanks again to everyone who made it down.
Despite the dodgy statements that everyone was forced to agree or disagree on (written by, ahem, yours truly), and the fact that we somehow *lost* £200 of the book takings (which later miraculously re-appeared in Matthew’s inside pocket) and the dubious (and hard to get hold of) food at All Bar One afterwards – it was a truly great night!
Thank you Benjamin Ellis for taking some fab pictures. As you can see in the one above, everyone is laughing. This kind of sums up the night for me (and that was even before the bubbly got flowing!)
Luis had the particularly tricky task of joining the debate virtually by phone all the way from Gran Canaria – a challenge which he completed successfully with aplomb! That crazy laugh probably helped. He he.
It was fab to see so many friends, colleagues and family (mum, little sister and brother in law) all in one place – possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience? My sis was particularly thrown by Suw’s remark that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” – what was that about the bug with all those eyes, she asked, a wee bit horrified. (Suw was referring to Linus Torvald’s rule that if you get enough developers on board, software problems will be sorted out quickly).
More than 100 people have signed up so far for the book launch on 9 December. If this is the first you’ve heard, don’t worry, there’s still space! The event takes place at Cass Business School (near Old Street) from 6pm and you can sign up here.
In case you’re in any doubt about how social media can improve your life, Luis Suarez, IBM’s infamous email refusnik, will be joining us live from his office in Gran Canaria to tell us why online collaboration works for him (I’ll give you five guesses).
The debate will be followed by cava, canapes and book-signing from 7.45pm. And if you’re unable to make it, it’ll be recorded and streamed on the Cass website afterwards. Details will be posted here as soon as I know them.
The event is another in the fabulous but irregular Cass Creatives series, produced by Cass Business School in partnership with iKnowHow.
And big thanks to Gorgeoux for the atmospheric pic.