Posts Tagged ‘advice’

The one lesson I learned that The Nightly Show needs to understand

Monday, March 13th, 2017

After the first year of hosting my daily chat show at the Edinburgh Fringe (which is still running thirteen years later), Brian Luff gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have had in my broadcast career. It went something like this:

“I listened to the Fringe podcasts, but now I’ve met you I have to ask… why is the ‘you’ that I see in front of me not in the podcast? I want to spend time with that person.”

You can have the latest names, the greatest guests, and the biggest world-changing ideas, but these will only get people to engage with a show once. If they are going to engage a second time, or become regular viewers, they will only come back if there is something consistent that they want to spend time with. I took Brian’s advice, and came up with a rule that I have relied on ever since…

People come once for a guest, but they stay for the host.

Tonight, ITV will launch the third version of ’The Nightly Show’. The first version launched two weeks ago with David Walliams hosting. The second version launched next week with John Bishop. Tonight’s version belongs to Davina McCall. Next week will be the fourth version with Dermot O’Leary.

There is nothing consistent week to week. The second a viewer starts to get comfortable with a host’s style and decides that they’re happy to spend time with them late at night, the host changes. You can’t start building up a reputation for guests, for games, or for viral videos until the foundation is in place. Choose a host and give them a long run to build a relationship with the audience.

That’s why the US late-night shows are as powerful as they are. Every host has been given the time to settle in to find their own footing and their own audience. Stephen Colbert has taken close to a year to understand ’The Late Show’, Trevor Noah is slowly moving out from under the shadow of Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’, James Cordon’s routine has evolved over time on ‘Late-Late‘…

I don’t buy the argument that ITV can’t do a daily chat show, but it needs to understand the unique demands of the format does not always line up with the ‘celebrity guest’ culture that has developed in the UK scene over the last two decades. Find a host, find a team, and let them work through the problems for at least a six-month run.

And if you need proof that a long-term commitment will slowly grow into a daily success story… look at ‘The One Show’.

Trivial Posts #6: Boston’s Budget, Chocolate And Creme, Leap Seconds To Disaster

Monday, January 12th, 2015

A busy week for me with CES going on and lots of news to stay on top of, but that does’ mean there’s no time for some fun posts! Once more, here’s the weekly collection of interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye online

Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list so you never miss anything trivial!

Faster, Better, Stronger, More Expensive…

Boston is rather upset that it’s getting to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. The small committees, politicians, and planners are going ‘this would be a good thing, we can build new public transport links’, before being stuck when asked ‘why do you need the Olympics to build a new public transport link?’ And various other issues. If it was up to me it would be run ever four years in the same venue, at standing facilities, and that would be the end of the frankly poisoned bidding process.

Back to Boston, and Chris Sampson has summed up the thoughts of many. Start there.

The Olympic (Non) Ideal

Nul Points For Economy Cattle Class

With the Eurovision National Final season under way,every country is running a ‘Song for Europe’ process to choose their song for the Grand Final of Eurovision in May (that’s the bit you all watch on television). Me, I spend most weekends in the first third of the year flying around Europe to sit in the studios of these National Finals – follow it all online and through the podcast at ESC Insight.

Anyway, I know seating charts and airline routing that you’ve never even dreamt off(and when you should take a bus to the next country to get a better return flight). Still, I’ve not found anything as scary as Delta’s new seating chart.

Winter 2014 via The Cooper Review

When you’re a kid all you want to do is be somewhere else

The great thing about Amazon is I don’t have to remember to check my favourite author’s bibliography every week to see if there is a new book, the carousel at the bottom of the Kindle App will give me a nudge. Maybe not on launch day, but soon.

So this week I have raced through John Scalzi’s ‘Lock In‘, and a fine slice of science-fiction and techno-political-thriller it is as well. It’s a short, fast, read (which is Scalzi’s style), but it’s thoroughly recommended.

Lock In on Amazon.

This is not the Crème Egg you were looking for.

So Kraft would respect Cadbury’s when it took over the Birmingham based confectioner? Sure does’ look like it today with the news that the Crème Egg is going through some cost-cutting exercises to boost profits by reducing the raw cost of the egg. The chocolate shell will now be “standard cocoa mix chocolate” stuffed with palm oil (as opposed to using Dairy Milk chocolate), and the six-pack of eggs (designed to mimic hen’s eggs bought in a supermarket) will be reduced from half a dozen eggs to a prime-numebr-tastic five eggs in a packet.

This. Is. Wrong.

A nation in shock as Cadbury’s change the crème edge recipe

Tick, Tock, Tick… Tick…

Wired’s Robert McMillan takes a look at the tricky issue of the leap second. As I mentioned in the blog last week, the world is getting an extra second (58… 59… 60… 00…). That’s easy enough for humans to understand, but how do you explain it to a computer. Every computer. At the same time? The short answer is you can’t do this very easily, so programmers are looking at this leap second as an interesting challenge.

The leap second is about to rattle the internet

Everything Is Awesome

At least, it is awesome now. Lego sailed very close to disappearing as a company, but pulled it back. How? Jonathan Ringen finds out for Fast Company’s latest profile. What works, what doesn’t, where do the new ideas come from, and more.

Lego, The Apple Of The Toy World

This week’s long read: Let’s

Drew Hoolhorst writes about the decision to become a parent, and manages to throw dust in your eye, with this delightful statement of intent. I wish I had that cape…

On becoming a parent, being fallible and always remembering to wear a cape.

What have I been up to?

With all the focus on CES, wasn’t it handy for Apple that Mark Gurman leaked so many details about the new MacBook Air with a twelve-inch screen and just one USB-C port? Some thoughts on the ‘rumours’ over on Forbes. Also, why should you think about websites and email newsletters instead of Facebook Pages?

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Why do prospective artists need a plan B when lawyers don’t?

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Musiciain Blake Morgan, writing about his time at a school’s careers day:

The students’ faces lit up with curiosity. I added, “I hope you don’t listen to those other voices. I hope instead you listen to your own. That voice from inside you that guided you here today. I hope you go for it, with abandon and furious joy, and that you do so without a Plan B.”

Immediately, the teacher stood up and said, “No, no no…that’s wrong. You should always have a Plan B. Don’t listen to him, that’s not right.” She walked towards me to cut me off from speaking, and I said, “You see? Even here, in the arts and music room on career day, you’re being discouraged from answering your calling. From fully and freely going for this as a career choice.” I looked at the teacher and asked her, “Do you think the kids in the ‘doctor room’ are being told to have a Plan B? Or the kids in the ‘lawyer room?’ Or the ‘marketing room?’ No, they aren’t. And by doing so here, you’re telling these kids that this is a profession less deserving of pursuit. Less deserving of hope. Or necessity. Or respect.”

A quote is not enough here, go read the whole article.

A lesson in deadlines from Medium

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

The reason we did our preview launch in August was simply to getsomething out the door. As soon as we picked the date and a minimal feature set, we got rid of loads of other features we were playing with (some of which we’ll bring back, some of which we won’t). We also identified and built a bunch of infrastructure we’d need to host real users. And we got more done in less time than I’d ever seen any team do. It was magical and fun. Before we had the date, frankly, we were drifting.

More real world advice on Ev’s post at Medium.

John Naughton on one possible new direction for the BBC

Monday, April 1st, 2013

So here’s what the BBC should be doing next: orchestrating the creation of a new kind of unwalled online garden, one which gathers together all of the nation’s cultural heritage in digitised form, together with: the metadata which enables things to be discovered; open access for all; and and permissive licences that allow citizens of Britain — and the world — to access, enjoy, consume, learn from and remix the great things that this society and its people have given to the world.

Looking on as someone who pays the licence fee, but outside of the BBC family, this makes a lot of sense to me.

Directing the conversation during a podcast

Monday, August 8th, 2011

More of my practical thoughts and examples on podcasting at the Blogworld blog.

Keep [these] three elements in mind while you are recording your podcast, and you’ll keep the interest up in the audio or video, you’ll stay engaging for your audience, and your skills will continue to improve.

How to deal with a bad review at the Edinburgh Fringe

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

(Or anywhere else) Fringe Review holds you hand:

If you have faith in your show and believe it to be quality work, a bad review will probably be a rogue review and you’ll get better ones coming along soon enough. Be calm and patient. In Fringe festivals, many reviewers are young would-be journalists cutting (and sharpening) their critical teeth at your expense and there’s little to be done about it. If you invite them in…

How to write a book, by people who have written a book

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Mostly for "if I ever need to find this article again", but also partly as inspiration.

But now comes the hard part. It’s one thing to work up a 4000-word magazine feature and another to sit down and write a 100,000-word book… I’ve chosen to deal with my anxiety by tapping into the wisdom of the hive mind. I recently sent email to the authors in my social network and asked them, “What do you wish you’d known about the process of writing a book that you didn’t know before you did it?”

Top Tips To Survive During The Day At SXSW

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

There’s a bundle of top tips out there for SXSW attendees, so it’s time for me to add to this. I’m going to look specifically in how to survive during the day at SXSW, along with some practical advice.

Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be walking a lot, be on you feet for most of the day, and that goes on for five days.

Keep up your fluid intake, and I don’t mean the alcohol. The Texan heat may or may not be a surprise to you, but you’ll be sweating, and likely not notice the fatigue thanks to the adrenalin. If you get the chance to drink water, take it. Your body knows how to deal with excess water without damaging your health.

Don’t trust your electronics: The maths is simple. With thousands of delegates, and laptops carrying maybe three hours of battery life, most people will be searching for power throughout the day. You’ll recognise the little pools of life clinging to the wall sockets, hoping that they have the holy grail of power and wi-fi. Paper, pen, business cards and Filofaxes (or Moleskeins for the modern hip with it kids) will help you get through the day with little stress.

Consider carrying a second shirt as a courtesy for half-way through the day. Deodorant as well.

Accept that you will not see everything (and everyone) that is on your list. That doesn’t mean your SXSW will be a laid back affair, it just shows how large SXSW is, the number of people attending, and the simple fact that everyone has interesting stories.

You’re not going to get in to the Digg party, it’s too popular. Even more popular than the Daily Mail’s love of Fearne Cotton.

A lot of people will talk about the Salt Lick. This is a great place for BBQ, but be aware that it is some distance out of town. So if you do pay it a visit (and it is excellent food) you’re going to loose a lot of time on and around the Convention Centre. Consider carefully who you’ll be spending the quality Salt Lick time with.

No, really, you won’t get into the Digg party (unless you’re like Steve McQueen jumping the wire in The Great Escape).

There is a bag of stuff. A lot of stuff. So much stuff I can record a podcast, with lots of guests, just on the contents. Ask nicely (and be n the right place at the right time) and you can join me. As you can pick up the bag at any time, near the end of the day, or just as you head to your hotel would be a good time.

Have fun! Yes it’s busy, yes it can be overwhelming, but it’s meant to be a good time, to meet new people, catch up with your friends, and discover stuff! And if you see me hanging around (look for the kilt), do come up and say hi. I might have some stickers for you…

More Tips on How To Travel Without Loosing Your Mind

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Vero’s posted some great tips on how to travel; I assume as the UK to USA flights for SXSW (yes that gig again) starts to prey on her mind, as it may well do on others. I’ve had a post here for a long time on surviving long-haul flights, but let me add some more tips on how to get through your flight (by lifting Vero’s categories).

Before You Fly

Register for your airline’s frequent flyer program, and check if they have a fast-track qualification program for their status levels.

Log onto the airline website, and consult Seatguru to get the seats in Cattle Class with the best legroom and facilities.

Servisair runs a number of lounges at airports, so for under £20 you can get a comfy seat and open bar before you fly.

Buy a really good set of headphones. This close to SXSW may I suggest a pair from Ultimate Ears? The Metro Fi 150 at £27, with £6 next day delivery from iHeadphones would be a good place to start.

Load up an iPod, PSP or other little media device with some films, TV shows and decent music.

Tie a bit of coloured ribbon on your suitcase to help you spot it on the luggage belt.

During The Flight

Make sure you have your passport, mobile phone, some cash, and a pencil and paper in your pockets during take-off and landing. If (big if) your plane crashes, you‘ll need these

Keep hydrated, a bottle of water from the drinks machine in the departure lounge is a good idea.

Take the occasional walk around the plane if you can to stretch your legs.

Be nice to the air stewardesses. If you;re nice to them, there’s every chance they’ll be nice to you.

After The Flight

Get out and leg it to Customs and Immigration. There’s a lot of people on your plane, and not as many officers as you would hope.

I still like to travel with everything in carry-on, which means no waiting in the luggage claim halls and you can head straight out for your connection. You can do a split here, and have the luggage in the hold for the transatlantic, and ignore re-checking it for the domestic leg. Your call!

If you can, grab some more water for any connecting flight and some carbs if possible.

How To Do SXSW Interactive On A Budget That’s A Close To Zero As Possible

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

There’s a lot of talk online at the moment about the big Austin conference, South by Southwest. Naturally with the online crowds I hang around at online, the Interactive part of SXSW has gained credibility over the last few years.

Let’s be honest, taking out 5 days for the conference, and a day or two extra for travel, is not a small undertaking. With a Film conference running side by side with Interactive, and the Music people coming into tow, it takes planning to a good hotel and all the other paraphernalia sorted for an easy trip.

But what if you want to go and you’ve got no plan, no reservations, and no budget? Let’s have a ponder…

Decide You Need to Be At SXSW

This is the most important call. If you have to be there, you have to be there, and you’ll do almost anything. There’s no point jumping through hoops if it’s not for you. Now do you need to be there? If you work online, and especially if you are ‘Social Media’ then yes, be there.

Get There

Which really, given it’s America, means you need to fly there. Jet Blue and Southwest fly to Austin, as well as the legacy carriers. If you were looking for a late attendance at Music, fares would be tough, but Interactive is a bit easier (unless you’re flying from the SF bay, in which case be prepared to look at flights from SFO, Oakland or San Jose, probably with a change at Dallas, Chicago or LA). Head to the airline sites to check as well as Expedia.

Will You Sleep?

This is a tough call. To be honest you could probably arrive on the Friday (and sleep on the way), power your way through Friday, Saturday and Sunday with caffeine and all night diners, and then fly home on Sunday (and sleep on that flight). That also takes care of your Hotel bill.

Looking to stay longer? Then you will need either a Hotel (probably in excess of five miles out of town and a $17 taxi ride) or find a buddy with crash space. And no you can’t share my floor. Try asking on Twitter.

Are You Going To Conference or Lobby Con?

A SXSW Interactive ticket is around $500. With so many people at the Conference, there’s every chance you’ll be able to meet everyone in the halls of the Austin Convention Centre. Do you really need to head into the sessions or witness a keynote? If not, then that $500 might not be needed. Okay you’ll need to be a touch brazen and work at making sure you meet people, but it’s an option.

How To Party Like A Pro

Whether you have an interactive pass or not, there are a huge number of official and unofficial parties going on. More than enough for all your schmoozing and promotion needs. start on Upcoming, ask your Twitter friends, or just keep your ear to the ground when you get to Austin.

No matter what you do, get yourself to SXSW – I’ll see you there,

What is the Secret of SXSW?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Apart from those people who will be heading to the scrum of Barcelona the Mediterranean shores for the GSM World Conference, many of us in the online world have SXSW Interactive marked in our calendars. Why you don’t have SXSW Film and SXSW Music marked as well I don’t know…

Anyway – more people are asking around for advice about the Austin based conference; why should I go? What should I expect? What will I be able to do there? Where are all the really cool parties going to be? How do i make the best use of my time there?

And most importantly, who else is going?

I shall address these issues, and my tips to improve your SXSW experience nearer March (so you’ll just need to subscribe to my site or keep reading), bar one piece of advice, which you might want to act on now.

You will be walking a lot in Austin, so make sure you have a comfy pair of shoes or boots. And make sure they are broken in before you leave! My first SXSW my boots were only partially broken in, and I spent the last half of the conference walking on a cushion of plasters and raw flesh.

But the title of this post was not advice for SXSW, but the secret of SXSW. Okay, if you promise to be quiet…



See you in Austin!