Gremlins in the ether and other strange happenings……

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When the very nature of business today has morphed to ‘mobile and immediate’ it comes as a hammer blow to hear that strange things are going on in the vacuum of space. In the UK there are around 70,000,000 people all on an island that is 620 miles long 
(at its longest diagonal) and about 250 miles across (at its widest), heck you could almost carpet it! Now I mention this because of those 70,000,000 souls there are about 70,000,000 mobile phones as we call them, that’s right as many phones as there are people but not a phone for every person.

So some people have more than one phone, reality is that practically everybody who is able to leave the house and work (or not) has a mobile phone. This then underscores the reason why here in the UK most things are done via websites and digital means before we have to actually communicate to a live warm blooded (tax inspectors excepted!) human.

Imagine the consternation then this week when the O2 (UK version of T mobile or AT&T;) network failed…… completely failed for around 7,000,000 people or as the CEO of O2 put it ‘about one third of our customers’ in an attempt to minimize the problem. This huge swathe of previously mobile addicted humanity was cut short in its prime unable to make or take a call, read or send and e-mail, surf the web or and here is the ‘kicker’ ….. do any business while ‘mobile’! This type of incident does little to engender loyalty, watch this blogger’s take on the problem…..

The issue here is that we have become so terribly dependant upon on-line and computer based information and business models that we are impotent without them. There were many businesses which literally ground to a halt this week with no way even to communicate or work around the problem because…..they could not access the Internet and did not have the ‘old fashioned’ skills to compensate. This is all bad for business in more ways than one, having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. We have seen banks try it, power companies, as we mentioned a few weeks ago Sony is trying it…. all in all any strategy like this is only as good as its weakest point. In these cases the weakest points vary but they all ultimately lead to the same conclusion….failure.

Add to the mix the news that Yahoo admitted that it had lost control of some 450,000 passwords last week and we start to see the dark clouds amassing on the horizon. Yahoo said that the bulk of the passwords were obsolete but that is no consolation to those who were breached and no real consolation to the wider community. This time they were lucky, next time they may not be…oh such a fine line between success and failure!

After all this terrible confusion happening around me I retreated to my daily news website, the BBC, where I knew I could ground myself and get some order back into things.

But no!

Some clown had caused a malfunction in the website system which then, for two days, presented news that was one month old!!!!

I had to read again about how British Prime Minister , David Cameron , has accidentally left his 8 year old daughter behind in the pub after a family Sunday lunch….. I thought he had done it again!

Bad enough to be drowning in rain here this summer but in the space of one week see all this happening it makes you think how fragile the system really is. Demands will only get bigger, can it cope? Time will tell…. but here is a thought; there is a moral here somewhere or at least an analogy to be drawn. As we can clearly demonstrate, the digital system is fantastic but it is also fragile and we depend upon it to a degree that is not healthy. Perhaps we should be more circumspect when deciding to put everything on the ‘system’ when everything is not needed. Many people could not function this week not because they had lost access to the O2 network or their Yahoo password was compromised but because they had no ideas to steal or content to pass on……

My realisation this week was that when we talk about authenticity in content marketing we mean being able to actually contribute with some level of original thought. I saw so many businesses and people become inert because they were taken out of the stream of someone else’s consciousness , too many blank faces with nothing to say.

Good content is like a good telephone network in many ways, it connects, it informs, it inspires, it motivates, it opens new doors, it listens and it stays relevant.

see you on the long and winding road……. Patrick

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