Company, Interview, POV, Insight

BBC NEWS: "China orders Bitcoin exchanges in capital city to close"

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HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, was asked for his thoughts on China backing away from Bitcoin by ordering the closing of its cryptocurrency exchanges by BBC News: 

"China is shutting the exchanges down for good reasons - I think it's right they're being cautious at this time," Paul Armstrong, an emerging technology adviser and author of the book Disruptive Technologies, told the BBC.

"Bitcoin is by proxy unregulated and peer-to-peer, it's a very volatile currency."

However, Mr Armstrong does not think that this will be the end of Bitcoin in China for good. "They're shutting it down for now, but it doesn't mean that in six months or so they won't create new Bitcoin regulations like Japan and Australia did," he said.

"All the other countries have digital currencies and are making important decisions about it, so it doesn't make sense for China to dismiss it out of hand." He added that China's decision could prompt Chinese investors to seek alternative options to digital currencies, such as moving out of the country and operating exchanges or Bitcoin mining pools in other regions.


POV, Insight, Company

UK startup The News Hub raises cash, and questions [Digiday]

HERE/FORTH CEO and @themediaisdying Founder, Paul Armstrong, was asked by Digiday for his thoughts on The News Hub - an emerging startup that wants to pay writers for good content in similar fashion to BubbleWS and TSU.

‘The problem that many platforms of this ilk suffer from is a lack of focus and planning with regards to the network effect required for immediate and continued success,’ he said.

’Both [Tsu and The News Hub] are interesting properties and have a fair chance of seeing success with niche audiences but ultimately the model is risky, untested and will require a lot from both [investors and users] in order for favorable outcomes in the short or long term,’ he added.
— Paul Armstrong

POV, Interesting, Helpful

2015 Trend Reports worth reading

We thought we'd read and evaluate the trend wrap ups for 2015 so you don't have to but then we saw just how many there were and quickly back-tracked, randomly picked three and listed the best of the rest!  We've scored out of ten and ranked the individual themes level of likelihood of happening from 1-7 (1 = extremely unlikely, 7 = extremely likely) for the expanded reviews below.  

Look out for HERE/FORTH predictions next week.

FORBES (Jason DeMeyers)
Main themes: Ello success (4), Facebook ad price hike (6), Twitter ads popularise (4), Google+ will fade away (3), Instagram will become essential (3), LinkedIn will widen gap for B2B (5) and social media embraced as core pillar of content marketing (3).  
- Overall not a bad piece - some overreaching statements (Instagram / social media as core pillar) and some interesting points regarding ad focuses of major platforms.  5/10

CARAT (Multiple)
Main themes: Simplification (7), Video Ads (7), Voice (5), New News Sites (7), Emoji (7), Robots (7).  
- Mostly safe bets and some interesting nuggets (Paying-to-go-free) - the inclusion of smart data points to back up sections are well thought out.  7/10

FORD (Multiple)
Main themes: Health (5), Privacy (7), Carry-less (7), Millenials (7), Escapism (7), Failure (5).  
- Pretty self-serving but overall some new names, good cultural difference work and nice design .  7/10

Other round-ups, trends and prediction pieces (*=recommended):
JACK MORTON - What people will want from brands in 2015.  (General stuff here)
EVERPLACES - Mobile Trends for destination marketing in 2015.  (Good , specific read)
TRENDWATCHING - 10 Latin Trends for 2015 / 10 Asian Trends for 2015.  (Some interesting points)
*JWT - Future of Payments and Currency. (Good round-up)
SPARKS & HONEY - A-Z of Culture for 2015.  (More a round-up of 2014)
*GSW - 2015 Health Trends. (Some smart thinking an observation in here)
WEBBMEDIA GROUP - 2015 Tech Trends. (Interesting format but lacking new thinking)
*FUTURE FOUNDATION - #Trending2015. (Great stuff in here - fresh thinking)
TOMORROW GROUP - Retail : Now & Next. (Lots to gleam/think about here)
JWT - The Future 100. (Lots of interesting titling and observations) 
*LINKEDIN - Global Recruiting Trend for 2015. (Good insight and data)
BEYOND - 2015 Trends Report. (Interesting takes here)
*CIO - 5 Security Trends That Will Dominate 2015. (Smart thinking)
*GARTNER - Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2015. (Always quality work)
FORRESTER - Top 2015 Predictions. (Purchase report-bait)
*FORD - 2015 Trends with Ford. (Some savvy work - and [sigh] PPT fodder - here) 

Got one we missed?  We're going to update this so let us know!


Ello could be a liability for your brand [GUARDIAN]

HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, was recently asked by the Guardian for the advice he would give brands when it comes to the new social network - Ello.  An already interesting proposition, the network recently went the unusual route of self- imposing legislative measures so that it can never place advertising on the site or sell user data - partly as a show of faith to users but also some clever PR highlighting Ello's differentiation to sites like Facebook.  Growing at +35,000 members per day - Ello remains an interesting new platform but where does the latest move leave brands?


The issue for brands is scale. While it’s all well and good to have a popular network, if your message cannot scale quickly, the return on investment will be time rich and results poor depending on the strategy.
— Paul Armstrong

POV, Insight

5 Reasons why the Apple Watch won't take off. [Guardian]

HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, was asked for his thoughts on the Apple Watch and the hype surrounding the announcement by the Guardian.  It wasn't pretty...

In all seriousness, where is the future-facing, boundary pushing “this is Apple’s world you’re just in it” design? When you see prototypes created that riff on existing tech (and science fiction) to be left with the clunky, thick and blingy unit isn’t just disappointing, it’s mystifying.
— Paul Armstrong

POV, Insight

Why an algorithmic Twitter would be devastating for everyone.

HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, was asked by Digiday for his thoughts on the recent remark made by Twitter CEO, Dick Costello, following the Q2 Twitter results.

As the amount of information being input increases, the ability to manage it is not only important for the future success of Twitter but a critical factor. [...] However, without knowing what it is aiming for, Twitter’s future is unclear, and that will likely continue to worry investors and confuse both users and brands.
— Paul Armstrong

POV, Insight

Is Facebook too big to fail?

HERE/FORTH Founder, Paul Armstrong, was asked by the Guardian to discuss his thoughts about Facebook's current path and his time at Myspace. 

My concern for Facebook is that if it stays on its current “push them gently and see how far we can go” path we will get to a place where we (its users) lose more than we gain. I suspect it will take reaching this precipice before the question can be answered whether Facebook is too big to fail.
— Paul Armstrong


Are you creating "Brandfill"?

HERE/FORTHs, Paul Armstrong, was recently asked for comment by the Guardian about the emerging trends in Content Marketing and what brands should be careful of.  

Get ready for some harsh truth...

The theme may be newsworthy, but it will do little to build their brand values – and could even damage them, Armstrong warns. “Brands are jumping on the news of the moment and putting something out for clicks and engagement. But my worry is, what does it do for them in the long term? It stays in people’s minds.” He wonders whether some of the brand activity surrounding the Royal baby – he mentions ads by Oreo and Coke – really have enough synergy with the event to justify their activities. Oreo tweeted a picture of a baby’s bottle on a stately looking cushion, with an Oreo biscuit balanced beside it.
— Paul Armstrong