The Tao of Charles Darwin

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world.

False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science , for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.

How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.

I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.

If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence.

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.

The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.

We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.


GREEN's credentials


My thoughts this month...

We're all social media experts now

Over the past five years tens of millions of consumers have been flocking to social media sites every day – and during that period most of the advertising and marketing community stayed away.
The only sector in the communications mix to embrace social media – first with blogs and now, most recently with Twitter, were those operating in public relations. The rest of the marketing community sat on the side lines and looked on uttering snide remarks about geeks and claiming there was no money in social media.
They either didn’t understand how to join the conversations - without sounding like suits - or they were frightened away by the prospect of associating their brands with questionable content and the great unwashed who make up the vast audiences the internet attracts.
That’s all changed now and a lot of cut-out-and-keep so-called social media gurus (some guy with a week-old Twitter account and three blog post to his name) are emerging from the old deadwood marketing agencies and embracing social media. Why’s that? Simple – the smell of money.

According to the “The ROI on Social Media Marketing” report from the Aberdeen Group, sponsored by Visible Technologies, marketers have developed the tools and methodologies to drive marketing ROI by listening to and learning from customers and prospects.
As eMarketing points out: “The money is following the methods. Aberdeen found that 63% of the companies in their survey (defined as best-in-class) planned to increase their social media marketing budgets this year.
“Companies are learning how to leverage social media and tap into the rising tide of consumers participating in social network sites, blogs, wikis and Twitter,” they note.
“Companies use multiple approaches to identify the individuals who wield the greatest amount of influence in any given topic area and to track changes in their influence over time,” said Jeff Zabin of Aberdeen. “Best-in-class companies engage these top influencers as brand evangelists, and then track the impact of their words and actions in terms of return on marketing investment.”
So here’s one prediction to go alongside Aberdeen’s forecasts – expect the number of social media experts to grow exponentially over the next nine months. What do you think?


My colleague Thomas with client Jasmeen from the Institute of Occupational Health & Safety raising money on Red Nose Day. I love this picture... and full marks to Thomas for sheer chutzpah... good word


Print is dead. Long live journalism

Regional newspaper journalism is in meltdown and there seems no way out of the decline. There was a very depressing article in today's Media Guardian by Jon Slattery headlined Where the hell do we go now? Where, indeed?
Meanwhile, another online Guardian piece on strikes at the BBC underline the pressure on journalists at the moment - check it here: BBC journalists to strike for two days.
National Union of Journalists chapels across the UK seem to have no answer to this. They can shake their fists and take the moral high-ground - but from up there, in one's indignation, there is not much that can be achieved. In Yorkshire the good men and women who make up the editorial teams of the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post and countless weeklies are currently striking - see previous entries - and I wish them the best of luck. DISCLOSURE: I used to work as a journalist there.
A lot of the big publishers are using the Credit Crunch as an cynical excuse to ditch valued editorial people - when there is a lot a bad news around what better time to put out bad news and not be criticised for doing so? Particularly by your own titles and rivals.
However, one has only to look at the state of regional and local journalism in the US (60 titles closed in the past six months) to realise that a lot of the regional titles we cherish in the UK will not exist in five, ten, 20 years time. I really do fear the Yorkshire Post which began more than 300 years ago has a shelf life of less than ten years. I follow a guy on Twitter who chronicles the collapse, demise and slow, slow death of print media - it's depressing.
So what's the answer? Well clearly the consumers of the traditional deadwood media are dying off. They don't go online - that's for sure. But then a lot of journalists - particularly those in the regions don't too. Because, like their owners, they saw the web as an amatuerish, slap-dash approach to journalism and publishing. No-one, they thought, will use these services...
But here lies their salvation. However, regional newspaper websites are shite. They are shite because the bean counters couldn't work out a business model for them so they threw away content without thinking about how they could moniterize the whole process. And they didn't invest. And they didn't ask the editorial teams what they thought. And this was ten years after the internet took over. Ten years!!!
Journalism is in denial - your medium is dying. Print is dead. Long live Journalism.
I believe that a group of journalists in any city could create a news website in a day - yes a day - and make it work. Would it pay salaries? Probably not. But it just might...


Take a pop at bubblewrap bureaucracy

Over at GREEN the ‘Bubblewrap Bureaucrat’ will be having his suit ‘popped’ to raise money for Comic Relief in Liverpool on Thursday 12 March. Editors are welcome to send photographers/TV crews/reporters from 11.00 – 11.45am
‘Wear something funny for money’ is the challenge for this year’s Comic Relief appeal – and as outfits go, they don’t come much funnier than that of the ‘Bubblewrap Bureaucrat’.
In fact, his get-up of bubblewrap suit, with bureaucratic bowler hat and briefcase accessories, looks so silly that Merseysiders are invited to ‘pop’ the bubbles on the suit, for charity. Anyone who spots him trying to lord it around Liverpool city centre, between 12.00am and 4.00pm, on Thursday 12 March, is invited to hand over £1 for Comic Relief for the privilege of popping one of his bubbles.
The Bubblewrap Bureaucrat is a creation of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Europe’s leading body for health and safety professionals, which is holding IOSH ’09, its annual conference and exhibition, at Liverpool’s BT Convention Centre, from 17-18 March.
IOSH President, Nattasha Freeman, explained: “We, as health and safety professionals, are tired of health and safety being used as a bogus catch-all excuse to ban fun activities. There are also those who, misguidedly, seek to over-protect us from everyday risks by trying to wrap us all up from harm, as if in bubblewrap.
“It’s great that Red Nose Day falls just before our main conference because it gives us a chance to highlight this issue through the Bubblewrap Bureaucrat, have some fun with it, get out into Liverpool before our big event and raise some money for good causes along the way,” added Nattasha.
“We’re looking forward to tapping into the well-known sense of humour and generosity of scousers, helping Comic Relief, raising awareness of what health and safety is really about… and hopefully, by the end of the day, we’ll get to see our bubblewrap friend walking around in some very flat, sad-looking plastic rags!”
For further information contact Thomas Atcheson on 0845 4503210, or Twitter:


Climb every mountain

Very puzzled about all the brouhaha about the C-List celeb's climb up Kilimanjaro as if they have conquered Everest for the first time. Well done them. And all for a good cause too... Red Nose Day.
No seriously, well done them. They obviously struggled through the whole experience and it is a big mountain to climb, but it's not a climb - no ropes, no crampons, no traversing etc. Did any of them carry an ice pick? Basically, Kilimanjaro is like a very long walk - think Whernside times 12.
What effects you most is the lack of air. At altitudes in excess of 10,000ft the atmosphere becomes so thin you have to literally suck air into your lungs to keep going - not pleasant, and neither is altitude sickness. Altitude sickness = nose bleeds, vomiting, lethargy, muscle spasms and in extremis, the shits.
But I know at least 20 people who have done the Big K for charity and completed it in a modest, grim, cheerful mood with no executive jet home. And by the way they paid for it themselves. I know of two friends who, once they completed Kilimanjaro, walked the Rift Valley and then... climbed Mount Kenya too... They did it for charity too but then, they were not C-List celebs and did it be cause they could.
Am I being Mr Grumpy? Yes probably - but sometimes I think credit should be where it is due with real people and not on a "look-at-me-celeb-wank-fest". Sigh.