Newsletter No.13

Books, newspapers and magazines are headed the way of film, television and radio where the words we use to describe what we are watching or reading no longer reflect the platform we are doing it on. I thought I’d take a look at some of the new platforms and their uses - including an exciting bit of news for me.

Ether Books

I had been relatively slow to get into eBooks until I got the iPad. Ironically having had the iPad break the ice I now find I read eBooks most on the Kindle app for the iPhone, iPad and Mac! However the Kindle app is a bit limited in its functionality with no search and few viewing options and the Apple iBook app has few books! So I was very excited when I was approached about doing a book with Ether Books. They are a UK  based firm who have developed a much more capable iPhone app and are exploring different types of writing suitable to their platform - including a piece by Sir Paul McCartney. They asked me to pull together my best blog posts from the last ten years and as result “Social Media For Grown-ups” will be published at the end of this month. I’ll send you the link when it happens!

Seth Godin and Stephen Fry

It looks like I am in good company opting for new ways of being published. The marketing “guru” Seth Godin recently wrote that he wouldn’t be publishing conventionally from now on and would only self publish electronically. Stephen Fry, having played with his free online newspaper FryPaper, is about to publish his second autobiography as an application on the iPad and iPhone. I still love the physical experience of reading a “real” book but things are certainly changing.

CafeScribe

Once you have given up the constraints of paper, or the current limited eBook readers, you can do some really exciting things - especially with non-fiction and formal text books. CafeScribe is a fascinating example of what is possible with the ability to not only annotate books but also share and discuss them with others who are  reading the book at the same time. One of the other things I liked about CafeScribe was the way it maintains sync with the pages in the real book as I have already found myself reading both a paper version and electronic version of a textbook at the same time.

Paper.li and Flipboard

In what to me seems like a bizarre move in the opposite direction apps are emerging that make online sources of information look more like paper ones. Paper.li allows you to take your favourite Twitter feeds and package them into a web page newspaper format which you can share with friends. Fliboard does the same sort of thing for the iPad recreating a glossy magazine format. I am not a fan of either but your mileage may vary. Let me know what you think.

Best Blog Post

As ever I have chosen a post from my blog that I have enjoyed and that has attracted a number of comments to reproduce here for those of you who don’t subscribe to my blog. 

Being "Anti-Social" Harms Business

Thursday, August 19, 2010 At 8:26Am

I am more and more convinced that far from damaging business efficiency, as is often claimed by naysayers, becoming more social at work heals so much of what goes wrong.

How often are people de-motivated by a manager treating them as a number or a statistic on their spreadsheets rather than relating to them as a person? How many costly misunderstandings occur because those burdened by responsibility are more comfortable with broadcast than respectful listening? How many projects fail because of the dominance of a powerful individual at the expense of the social bonds of a group?

We have disparaged the "soft" social skills of relationship building as being un-businesslike in favour of a dispassionate coldness. Maybe we should think again

You can find the original post and read the comments thread here.

Recommended Reading

I am aware of the irony of having a book recommendation in a newsletter that may be seen as heralding their demise but whatever format you read it  in I can thoroughly recommend the book I am currently reading - on my iPhone! In fact it doubles as a productivity tip because Conquest Of The Mind is a really interesting exploration of the benefits of meditation. I am often asked how people can cope with the unending tide of information coming at us ever faster and usually mutter something about climbing mountains and meditation. I have read loads of books on the topic and tried to stick at it over the years and mostly failed. What I am enjoying about this, my latest attempt, is the down to earth writing style and insights of Eknath Easwaran, which, despite the rather flowery description in Amazon, is proving to be a good read.

Thanks again for reading and as ever let me know what you think of this newsletter and do recommend it to others if you consider it useful.

 

Cheers

 

Euan