The Monday Morning Quote #391

“Direction is so much more important than speed.

Many are going nowhere fast.”


Ads and Blockers

Online Advertising On Laptop Shows Websites Promotions And Ecommerce Strategies

My friends are fed up of hearing me bang on about digital advertising and (to a certain extent) digital marketing generally. I believe that much of it is smoke and mirrors sold to the unwary with promises of subsequent success which, like all advertising is impossible to measure. The old gag that only half of advertising works the problem being that nobody knows which half, is still as true as ever, except I am not convinced the figures for half working don’t greatly exaggerate its efficaciousness.

Perhaps I am outlier, I mute TVs when adverts appear (including the BBC’s repetitive self-publicity) and I do have ad-blockers on most digital devices. Ghostery has opened my eyes to the extent to which we are followed by people trying to flog us any and everything, most of which I neither want or need. I enjoy looking at ads in magazines but rarely remember what they are promoting. I have been chuntering on for several years to anyone who will listen that, “the world is full of two sorts of people, those who have ad-blockers and those who don’t realise that ad-blockers exist.”

From Private Eye issue 1429 14-27 October 2016.

“Despite repeated assurances by ad agencies to their clients that customers are craving branded content with which to “engage”, it seems consumers are increasingly inclined to avoid digital marketing wherever possible.

Recent findings by market researchers TNS suggest that over a quarter of people online “actively avoid” sponsored content, while a third feel they are “constantly followed” by online advertising. Even better, data from the Internet Advertising Bureau show that when asked why they block ads on-line, the most popular response is”[I] found out ad-blockers exist” – or, put more simply, “because we can”.

Case rested.

PS John Hegarty’s book on Advertising, Turning Intelligence into Magic, is a must read for anyone who has an interest in the subject of advertising.


Pharmacists – another endangered species?


The Minister for Community and Social Care (Alistair Burt) spoke in Parliament on 24 May 2016 a few days before he silver tongued the BDA conference with similar words after which I wrote, “Much of his speech we have heard before and it did little to convince me that (NHS) dentistry is anything other than an irregular irritation in the big picture of health. There will be no more funding in the foreseeable future, no matter what sort of contract is produced, be prepared to deliver it with a tighter belt.”

Hansard has the full transcript of May 24th here but I have selected the phrases (reminiscent of Bullshit Bingo) that chimed with me, thinking back to his speech in Manchester.

We want to empower primary care health professionals to take up opportunities to embrace new ways of working with other health professionals to transform the quality of care that they provide to patients and the public. In particular, we want to free up pharmacists to spend more time delivering clinical and public health services to patients and the public in a range of settings.

I have seen at first hand the fantastic work that pharmacists are doing from within community pharmacies, such as in healthy living pharmacies and other settings, and colleagues have also paid tribute to that work. Pharmacy-led services, such as the recently recommissioned community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination programme, can help to relieve pressure on GPs and A&E departments……

The fund is set to rise by an additional £20 million a year. By 2020-21, we will have invested £300 million in addition to the £31 million that NHS England is investing in funding, recruiting and employing clinical pharmacists to work alongside GPs to ease current pressures in general practice and improve patient safety.

The chief pharmaceutical officer, has commissioned an independent review of community pharmacy clinical services to make recommendations on future models for commissioning pharmacy-led clinical services. Clinical pharmacists will offer complementary skills to GPs, giving patients access to a multi-disciplinary skill set, and helping GPs manage the demands on their time and provide a better experience for patients. This is a great opportunity for pharmacists wanting to make better use of their clinical skills and develop them further.

Sweet words indeed, after Alister Burt, who seemed to me to be a pragmatic and likeable (unlike his boss Mr Hunt) moved to the back benches post Brexit vote, the words are transformed into reality.

Pharmacy plan ‘could lead to High Street closures’ BBC website (October 20th 2016)

The Department of Health said it wanted to reduce the £2.8bn a year pharmacy bill by more than £200m over the next two years.
…It has been suggested cuts on this scale could lead to up to 3,000 of the 11,700 pharmacies being closed.
Currently, the average pharmacy receives £220,000 a year from the NHS.
This accounts for between 80% and 90% of their income and includes a flat rate of £25,000, which nearly all pharmacies receive.
The changes being announced scrap that and put much more emphasis on performance-related funding, with ministers understood to see the current system as outdated and inefficient…

I repeat….There will be no more funding …. no matter what sort of contract is produced, be prepare to deliver it with a tighter belt.

World class?

Use of the term world-class.

Usually means one of the following: you are lazy, corrupt, or deluded.

Rarely, it means something else that in almost all instances does not need saying. 

from reestheskin

Alun Rees new logo 3 v small

The Monday Morning Quote #390

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.”


The Monday Morning Quote #389

“We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking fast and Slow


Nigel Lawson and hubris

The former UK chancellor of the exchequer writing in the FT in a patronising piece about Brexit. (Sept 3rd)

“I was a member of the Thatcher government of the 1980s that transformed the British economy, an achievement acknowledged throughout the world at the time.”

Like many I acknowledge that the economy was transformed. Like many my spectacles aren’t nearly as rose tinted as Lord Lawson’s.

This is the man who said in the run up to the Brexit referendum that he hoped, “Ireland would recognise its mistake and rejoin the U.K. after Brexit”.

It’s sad how the humility learned from experience helps some people see a bigger picture as they get older but others become more entrenched trying to convince themselves and anyone who will listen that they never made a mistake.

Lest we forget Nigel Lawson was one of the loudest deniers of climate change.

The Monday Morning Quote #388

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

L.P. Jacks


via Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

I am not a physicist but I know one…

5100The news that three British physicists have been awarded the Nobel prize gives me some pride by distant association, my son is a physicist and understands the field infinitely (though he would probably dispute my use of that word) better than I do. I am trying to reacquaint myself with the subject that I studied through three examining boards at A-level by reading Carlo Revelli’s recent book.

Read all about the winners here.

What I did note was Sir Martin Rees’s comment, he is no relation but I share his views. The galloping scientific philistinism of politicians continues to make me despair. My son’s PhD studies are conducted in connection and co-operation with other European universities. He works alongside people from other countries who are contributing to increased knowledge and understanding. His department head is a professor who had the temerity to have been born beyond the White Cliffs of Dover.

Sir Martin Rees, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Cambridge, and the Astronomer Royal, noted that all three awardees were Brits who had “defected” to the US in the 1980s, when university budgets were being squeezed by the Thatcher government. “The UK scientific scene is now much stronger than it was then – thanks in part of the strengthening of science on mainland Europe,” he said. “But there is a serious risk, aggravated by the tone of Amber Rudd’s deplorable speech today, that there will be a renewed surge of defections, weakening UK science and causing us to fail to recoup our investments over the last 20 years.”

Amber Rudd at the Tory conference here.

and in its entirety here.

 ..and if you want to know more about the picture go here.

Today’s Twitter Rules by Bob Lefsetz

authorBob Lefsetz writes the Lefsetz Lettter (compulsive reading for we ageing music fans). Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.Never boring, always entertaining, Bob’s insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music’s American division and consultancies to major labels.


Nothing will get someone to unfollow you faster than constant links to your appearances online, trying to bolster your brand. We already follow you, we believe in you, we want to bond with you, but when you keep selling to us it’s a turn-off.


First and foremost, Twitter is a news service. Informing your followers is the number one thing you can do. Turn them on to stories that give them insight into popular topics and expand their horizons. You’re a courier, your personal curation skills are your calling card. We’re all hoovering up information, we’re looking to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you come across a brilliant analysis, tweet it, if you stumble upon a story that fleshes out a popular topic, tweet it, we’re following your intellect, your curiosity, more than your shenanigans.


We want to bond with you. In a cold world of endless messages we want to have friends. Just don’t tweet links, add some spin. Either your opinion or your emotional reaction.


Those trying to appeal to everybody appeal to nobody. Your edge is your advantage. Don’t worry about alienating some mythical segment of the population, everyone is never gonna follow you, there’s a huge tribe with similar viewpoints if you can just find it.


If you’re tweeting all day it shows you have no life, that you’re trying to become famous, and that’s a turn-off. If you’re at an event, feel free to go on a tweetstorm, as long as it’s informative and not just “look at me!” Otherwise, limit your tweets to four or five a day…certainly fewer than ten. If you’re thinking about your online life, about what you’re going to tweet next, you’re doing it wrong. You should encounter something, whether it be online or in real life, and be so inspired you want to tweet about it.


If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. There’s someone who’s gonna hate everything you say, if for no other reason than you have followers and they don’t. In an anonymous world, haters just double down. Ignore them. Don’t even bother to unfollow them, that shows they’ve gotten to you.


Sure, post your cat videos, other heartstring-pullers, but know it’s a low, gutter activity, he’s who’s trolling for love is ultimately unlovable, because they don’t love themselves.


Only matter if you’re not trying to rally support. Twitter is very intimate. We want to know what’s going on in your head. If you’re trying to build a movement… That had better be your main goal of being on Twitter. And never forget, further fame for yourself, or furtherance of your artistic career, is not a qualifying movement.


Jammed up in traffic? In the midst of a natural disaster? Tweet about it! Skilled users search for keywords. Forget hashtags, that’s for those looking for fame, a false enterprise. When I’m stuck on the 101 I search that highway and the Hollywood Bowl and I find out what’s slowing me down. As for those too ignorant or unskilled to do this? Forget about them. Online is for those who’ve learned on the fly, who are curious, who want more. Twitter is the land of power users. But you can enjoy the site quite a lot without being one, it’s just a different experience.


Full article continues here

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