Every year I list my favourite gadget, book and app from the last twelve months, so here they are:
In early December my trusty Samsung S4 finally died. It had a few battle scars from daily use (read: abuse) yet worked well. One day it decided not to charge its battery any longer and despite changing a few components it was time to replace it. I had the offer of an iPhone but chose a Samsung S6 (you should have seen the look on my kids’ faces at the prospect of turning down an iPhone) – and I love it. It’s fast, big (almost tablet like) and stable. It’s the best phone I’ve owned.
Yesterday someone asked me a question which I’ve been asked before but never covered it on this site… “What company do I think is the most consumer-oriented, innovative technology company?”
The context of the question related to Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, who do I rate as the most innovative?
First we need to ask another question – “What is innovation?” To me, innovation is the skill to keep inventing new stuff, to keep redefining products and/ or business models. It’s the constant strive for change for the better, not just the sake of it. Continue reading Who is the most innovative Digital company?→
I am incredibly proud of our Top 10 achievement entering the eConsultancy Top 100 UK Digital Agencies this week.
I believe the eConsultancy Top 100 table is the most important award that we enter each year. Last year we came 17th, and were the top Technical agency, but this year’s entry into the Top 10 is even better.
Five years ago we moved across to Endava from IMG, and pretty much starting building a business, albeit with a good foundation, great staff and some impressive clients. We’ve now grown to compete against some of the biggest players in the industry.
At the end of every year, I’ve listed my highlights of the previous year. See the post from 2012 with links to previous years. Here are some of the highlights from 2013:
Favourite New Gadget
There are several contenders from 2013. After 4 years with my previous work laptop, I took the plunge and went for a new convertible tablet/ laptop, the Dell XPS 12. It’s good, in fact the speed is still as fast as the latest laptops in the office, but my original intention was to stop using my paper notepad, and the XPS with the touch screen just can’t replace it. If you are looking for a decent laptop and have the budget available, I recommend the XPS – but keep a paper pad close by.
Continuing the Google theme, in December we bought Google Glass at work, and I’ve used them as much as possible. Google Glass is the future without a doubt, however I think it’s a generation (of users) too early. After watching colleagues and some customers struggle to use them in the office, it’s fascinating to watch my kids use them so naturally.
The prize for my favourite between these three? Sorry to wimp out, but it’s a tie between the laptop and Glass.
I’ve been fortunate to read several good books this year. Removing the fictional titles (I rarely read fiction but my ex-manager at Endava guaranteed I’d like a particular author so much that he’d pay for the books if I didn’t like them), here is my 2013 reading list:
The Tao of Twitter provided inspiration, and results, of higher levels of engagement on Twitter.
I’ve recommended the SEO book to everyone I’ve met this year who has shown interest in natural SEO – it’s written in a simple, friendly manner with practical suggestions on almost every page.
The Arnie book caught my eye at Heathrow airport on one of my business trips this year. If you’re unsure about the book, just read the back cover – you’ll be surprised how much he’s achieved in his life.
However the award for my favourite book goes to Doc Searls. I didn’t like (or perhaps a more appropriate word is ‘appreciate’) some of his earlier work such as The Cluetrain Manifesto, and even in The Intention Economy I didn’t agree with all parts of the book (my major criticism is his firm view on open source – why isn’t his book open source if he believes in it so much?) If you need some inspiration for corporate digital transformation, this book will offer it. At Endava we are working with large consultancies who list The Intention Economy as mandatory reading for their senior directors.
Favourite iPhone/ Smartphone App
I’ve had to rename this since defecting to Android!
Strava is still my favourite. It’s the best cycling app available, mainly due to it’s implicit gamification. I sent them some suggestions for improvements which they implemented within a few weeks, so a big “Thank You” there.
A very close second is OneNote. I like how I can create a note in OneNote and it appears on my computer in OneNote. It’s quick to use, and comes with the Microsoft Office stack, so there’s no additional app to install such as EverNote.
Last year I wrote about my 2010 favourites and it was one of my most viewed posts of the year. So I thought I’d repeat it for 2011 too – and there’s a clear theme running through these favourites!
Favourite new gadget
One of the things I’ve really got involved with in 2011 has been cycling. It started in February when I was out of breath going up a local (yet very long and steep) hill, then got to June where a group of friends rode the BHF London to Brighton. I then started riding into work (13 miles, from North West London to the City).
Three rear wheels later, thanks to the Holloway Road, I decided to go for a new bike. My £27 eBay investment (see below) had had its day after almost 1,800 miles between May and December.
However my favourite gadget wasn’t the new bike, it was the base layer clothing. Base layers have been around for a few years and despite some literally freezing motorcycle journeys, I hadn’t used one until cycling this winter. They are fantastic and if you get cold easily, try wearing them under your clothes. There you go, a favourite gadget that doesn’t run out of batteries!
Without a doubt, it was Lance Armstrong’s autobiography. It’s a very easy read that is very emotional about someone’s battle with cancer, from denial through to winning the Tour de France afterwards. Thoroughly recommended.
I’ve started using Barclays Boris bikes to travel around the City if the meeting is only one or two tube stops from the office. So the BarclaysBikes app is really handy, showing how many bikes and spaces are at a specific location. The AR (Augmented Reality) view is genuinely useful to find the nearest bike.
A close second is the updated LinkedIn app. The previous version never seemed to work without wifi. The latest app is excellent for looking up contacts after a meeting or even in the middle of a meeting when we’re discussing a mutual ex-colleague.
For outside work, the Geocaching app is excellent. It shows the three nearest geocaches and makes a spare hour disappear quicker than you can say “Where on earth would someone have hidden it around here?”
Here is a summary of some of the best parts of 2010.
Favourite new gadget
I still think homeplugs are the best gadget for home. They are much more reliable than wireless, and feel quicker. They can’t win the 2010 award because I’ve had them for a few years now.
Best new purchase of the year was a new A3 network printer for home. The quality is so good that I’ve stopped using Photobox, and just print from home using original Brother inks on Photo Paper Direct (pearl) paper.
Future Files by Richard Watson. I’ve bought probably half a dozen times for different people, and bored many dinner crowds by talking about the future of education, consumer brands and commerce.
Favourite iPhone app
Perhaps Facebook in terms of usage, but definitely Evernote for random note taking whether its text, photo or anything else. And it syncs with the computer application and website.
Close second place is the BTFON app, which allows BT Broadband customers to connect to Openzone Wifi without needing to manually sign in all the time. Special mention to the eBay selling app which creates a listing in under 30 seconds – by far the best user experience on a mobile app.
Coming 16th in the New Media Age Top 100 Interactive Agencies award was a great milestone for Endava and makes me extremely proud of the team.
In the Sunday Times Tech Track 100, we came 17th. The Tech Track is a league table of the fastest-growing sales over the latest three years. Last year we came 24th, so our sales performance is increasing each year.
Last night we went to the NMA Top 100 Agencies, and were a brand new entry at number 16 overall. The top 100 is measured by revenue – and only our Digital Media revenue counts in the NMA. We are the third biggest Technical/ Build agency, and the most (as in #1 spot) Efficient Technical agency – measure by revenue per staff. The NMA 100 website will be available later this week.
These are two huge achievements for Endava, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our customers and very dedicated staff.