Interview

Company, Interview, POV, Insight

BBC NEWS: "China orders Bitcoin exchanges in capital city to close"

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HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, was asked for his thoughts on China backing away from Bitcoin by ordering the closing of its cryptocurrency exchanges by BBC News: 

"China is shutting the exchanges down for good reasons - I think it's right they're being cautious at this time," Paul Armstrong, an emerging technology adviser and author of the book Disruptive Technologies, told the BBC.

"Bitcoin is by proxy unregulated and peer-to-peer, it's a very volatile currency."

However, Mr Armstrong does not think that this will be the end of Bitcoin in China for good. "They're shutting it down for now, but it doesn't mean that in six months or so they won't create new Bitcoin regulations like Japan and Australia did," he said.

"All the other countries have digital currencies and are making important decisions about it, so it doesn't make sense for China to dismiss it out of hand." He added that China's decision could prompt Chinese investors to seek alternative options to digital currencies, such as moving out of the country and operating exchanges or Bitcoin mining pools in other regions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Interview, Insight, Helpful

9 Predictions for "the next billion" [Memeburn]

HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, recently wrote about his experience at Quartz's conference 'The Next Billion' for Memeburn.  In the piece he interviews several CEO and top execs from some of the world's more innovative companies including Uber, frog design and Kano (amongst others).  Read the full piece here

Interview, Helpful

INTERVIEW : Brian Eden - Creator of 'Tell Us Your Story'

We instantly loved 'Tell Us Your Story' when we came across it on Twitter - it's an impressive and passionate rage against a trend we have seen emerge over the last few years...the tell us your story campaign.  We grabbed the creator, Brian Eden who is a Copywriter in New York.

Why did you set up 'Tell Us Your Story'?  

I started the blog last year after noticing that every brand suddenly wanted to hear my stories. The cat food wanted to hear my cat food story. The bleach wanted to hear my bleach story. The disinfectant wipes wanted to hear my disinfectant wipe story. The more I started paying attention to it, the more I started to see the humor and absurdity in these requests. Because, when’s the last time you heard a good disinfectant wipe story? 

What is the problem here?

As long as there’s been advertising, there have been trendy executions. From side-by-side taste tests, to “your family will love you for giving them [insert product here]” to jingles and flash mobs.  It seems the newest advertising trend is that brands want us to tell them our stories. But most products - especially the more ordinary ones - don’t lend themselves to being the centrepieces of especially compelling stories.

Why do you think brands do this? 

It’s easy to see the appeal of “Tell us your story” for a company, because it seems like a good way to create social media content, generate conversation with customers, and collect a bunch of testimonials all in one.   And for some types of businesses, that might actually work out. Travel, sports, hospitals, charitable causes - people actually do have stories to tell about these kinds of things, so it’s not as strange of a request coming from a brand like that.

Where it starts to get funny is when the more mundane, everyday kinds of products ask us for our stories. Kitty litter. Iced tea. Nose spray. They’re funny because they’re so socially awkward. Who actually has a nose spray story? 

What do you wish brands would do? How can they be better?

There are a lot of companies that are using social media really well - Oreo, GoPro, Old Spice and Honey Maid to name a few.   Social media offers brands big opportunities to do great work. But the work has to be rewarding for the customers. The more time and energy you’re asking people to give you, the more worthwhile it has to be for them to give it. The work can’t be totally self-serving (at least not overtly).

Interview, Company, Insight

ITV News at Ten - Paul Armstrong, HERE/FORTH Founder, Talks about Meerkat & Periscope issues

HERE/FORTH Founder, Paul Armstrong, was asked about the issues surrounding new live streaming apps such as Meerkat and Periscope. While the technology is certainly not new, the ease of use and low barrier to entry make these apps appealing but there are serious business concerns due to copyright, privacy and other issues.  

More from Paul on the subject can be seen in the piece he recently wrote for the Guardian.

Interview

INTERVIEW : Nicholas Lovell - Author of "The Curve"

[[[ NOTE : This is the first of many interviews with people HERE/FORTH think are interesting, worthy of your attention and who have impacted our thinking recently.  Get in touch if there's someone you think we should be considering. ]]]

Nicholas Lovell (@nicholaslovell) helps creators and brands to make money in a digital world. For the past ten years, he has focused on the video games sector, helping companies such as Rovio, Square Enix and dozens more to be highly profitable while giving their games away for free. He is the author of The Curve (Portfolio Penguin) which shows how all creators and brands can make money from free.

THE BOOK:

Explain "The Curve" in a way you've never previously done.

The Curve comes in three parts: find an audience, probably using free; earn the right to talk to that audience again, probably using technology; and enable superfans, by letting those who love what you do spend lots of money on things they really value.