I’m excited about having a photo with — and meeting! — the HSG team. For now, me at my desk

I really loathed “content”. In many ways, I still do. In a former life as a journalist, and then a consultant, I sat through hours of wacky races to the bottom: indiscriminate and immoderate content production, entirely for content production’s sake: “everyone else is doing it; we’ll start at it, even if it’s bad, messy and downright inappropriate.”

This preoccupation with inputs still plagues content creation. People determine that they need a report, a white paper, to “start producing blogs”, with little emphasis on the other end. Focusing on outputs (and results) means defining the audience at the beginning, along…

A man sits at a desk in a book shop
A man sits at a desk in a book shop
Thank you to Taylor Wright for the image

Why should you curate content? Tommy Collison of Lambda School summed it up in this tweet (and why write when someone else already has?):

I want to expand on this, and suggest why companies not only should, but ultimately will, curate content.

Numerous creators earn money by bundling other people’s writing; the value-add is bringing it together in one place, saving readers time by sifting through and finding the good stuff for them.

Now is the time for businesses to follow suit.

In the paradigm into which we are fast heading — where any business is a media company…

A pile of letter presses, with “create” spelt out
A pile of letter presses, with “create” spelt out
Credit: Kelly Sikkema

I’ve been thinking about a TechCrunch article, published a couple of weeks ago, entitled Chief community officer is the new CMO. The reality fuelling these arguments is increasingly pronounced: it gets easier by the day to monetise communities on, and because of, the internet. The web started with niche communities; now, it enables anyone to build the same.

Why anguish over a marketing function and strategy when you can turn your customers into… enthusiasts, acquisition channels, owners. The long tail from a thousand true fans (Wired’s Kevin Kelly’s marketing insight) provides sufficient revenue for a creator to thrive.

How can…

Books stacked high in modern-day Iraq
Books stacked high in modern-day Iraq
Book mountains in modern-day Iraq (Photo by dastan khdir on Unsplash)

Humans started writing around 5,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia (and also in China, Central America and Egypt). For a good millennium, writing was a state-building tool. As people moved into cities, those in charge needed instruments of governance and control. Early writing is not emotional; it doesn’t tell stories. It’s bean-counting: bureaucrats writing down stuff too complex to learn by heart.

It wasn’t until around 2,000 BCE that we started writing down stories. And when that did happen, perhaps inevitably, facts and ideas were paired with morals — things happened for a reason; that’s what made them great stories.


In the first week of every January, an organisation called the High Pay Centre puts out the same jolly nugget of news: on the first Thursday of 2018, the average FTSE100 CEO will have already been paid what it will take the typical UK worker all year to earn. It then calls for pay ratios to keep CEO pay in check.

The issue is that leaders of public firms are paid what those firms think they are worth. If the High Pay Centre has a better way of determining value, I’m sure business would be keen to hear it. But failing that, it just looks green with envy. And pay ratios don’t work: they simply serve to drive out and deter the best people, which makes life worse for more junior employees and shareholders, who lose expertise and value.

That’s the largest average increase in five years, and it means that many commuters will see their season tickets, which are regulated and rise by the annual rate of inflation, increase by over £100.

Three-quarters of Brits favour renationalising the railways. The issue with that is that our railways were never really privatised. John Major’s botched job meant there was never any real competition, just regional franchise monopolies. Now, government wants to combine track and train provision, unifying private control — which is how rail works in Japan. …

2017 has been hailed as the year initial coin offerings (ICOs) went mainstream. In the first nine months of last year, over $2bn (£1.5bn) was raised via ICOs, which enable new ventures or startups to raise funds by issuing crypto-tokens.

OFF3R compiled a list of the UK’s top 11 ICOs in 2017, which saw increasing numbers of people pour in cash. And it’s easy to see what’s fuelling their popularity: a report from VC firm Mangrove Capital found that the average return, across 204 ICOs, is 1,320 percent.

Expect 2018 to be the year several things happen in ICO world…

This week, I discovered Daymaker, a two-year-old American company that allows kids to give to kids. Working with schools and charities to identify disadvantaged children who could benefit from, say, new school shoes, a birthday present or something to play with during school holidays, it enables other children to log in with their parents, find a reason to give, someone to give to, and make the donation. The platform is also being used by corporates as part of employee giving programmes.

I’ve written before about P2P evolving to “individual to individual” — where both sides, whether it’s lender and borrower or donor and beneficiary, can connect over shared interests, ambitions or outlook. This is what Daymaker allows kids to do via recipients’ profiles. Imagine if we did the same for adults.

There is a big battle commencing in the US over net neutrality — the notion that all data online should be treated the same, regardless of content.

The regulatory status quo has, to date, preferenced Silicon Valley. But Trump’s government is now set to repeal the net neutrality laws enacted by the Obama administration. Mud is already being slung: this week, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, accused Twitter of being politically biased. Meanwhile, the Valley-dominated Internet Association trade group has said ending net neutrality is an effort to defy the will of millions of Americans.


Bitcoin hit $10,000 (£7,450) for the first time, and then $11,000 (£8,170). It’s also now more frequently googled than Jesus. There’s a lot of commentary out there and, of course, the problem with discussion of bubbles is that that discussion invariably becomes quite binary: bubble/not a bubble; sell/buy? But here are a few things to think about.

Fund legend Michael Novogratz, who called $10,000 in October, has said bitcoin could hit $40,000 at the end of 2018. “What’s different about these coins than other commodities… there is no supply response here,” he said to CNBC this week. “So it’s a…

Harriet Green

Founder of HSG Advisory, a content consultancy that builds media platforms for the world’s most exciting companies

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