You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

Today’s learn comes courtesy of “the show” from zefrank. Click the image below to learn about the “That makes me think of…” technique. Be warned though zefrank is just a little bit radical, which is why you should be watching him.

 the show with zefrank

writers block

Have you ever tried to brainstorm and found yourself with a symptom not too far removed from the fabled writers block?

Sometimes we just need a little kickstart and I have just the thing – the “A to Z” method.

It’s pretty simple really and just builds upon word association almost, where you find a connected word which just happens to begin with the letter you are thinking of.  Start at A and work your way through to Z until you have a list of stuff that you can run back through again to kick off more ideas.

Can’t think of an associated word?  No problem just think of any word, the crazier the better.  You never know what can be sparked off by the most bizarre things.


I’m getting all spiritual today… no not really but I would like to recommend taking stock of things once in while and getting out of that tired old body that you live in.  Looking through our own eyes we are limited to only half of the view, 180 degrees if you like.

This afternoon I witnessed a conversation between 2 people here in the office.  It was a bit like a game of ping pong with neither person sending the ball home or holding onto the ball in the first place.  

cameraman beach

As an observer did I have a solution to what was being talked about?  No, not this time but looking at it from a 3rd perspective did at least give me a view of the overall picture and an outsiders perception to reflect back after the conversation was over.

With computer games it was all the rage a little while ago to develop them from a first person perspective for 2 reasons; for the gamer to get inside the head of the character and because the computer/console wasn’t powerful enough to render you character as well as the background.  Now computers are more powerful many games have adopted the 3rd person over the shoulder view, which gives the player the benefit of seeing things coming up behind them too.

More often than not we should start looking at things from another angle, another perspective, another persons view, the view of the audience, the view of the user, the customers view, etc. etc.

As a film maker I often do it for my job as I can visualize shots from a different angle, but I need to start doing more as an everyday activity.

This week we are launching a regular series of posts on new techniques for brainstorming.

Let’s kick it all off with a visual.

brainstorm spider

We all know that a picture says a thousand words, right?  Well why not try brainstorming via the power of imagery.

I found this image on flickr but not by mindlessly trawling through the millions of pictures tagged with the word brainstorm.  Instead I used a tool called FlickrStorm, whose entire purpose is to help the user brainstorm by not only returning much more specific image search results but also throwing in a few wild cards.

Try it for yourself, it’s a great way to kick things off.

chav education

Marketing is targeted.  It has to be otherwise we could potentially blow millions on campaigns that incorrectly advertise products within the wrong niche/age bracket.

However when we analyze traditional methods of getting our message out we discover that for example TV advertising is now only effective with the 50+ age bracket as people of this age are more likely to be found sitting glued to the gogglebox.

So what happens when we want to market a product to a teenager?  It’s difficult to discover the easy route to this market but the 2 prime forms of inward communication come in the shape of the Internet and mobile phones.  Outward communication also differs here too with emails, chat rooms and text messages taking centre stage.  Or should I say txt msgs?

It is now too late to ignore the fact anymore that a new language has formed, a slang-based lingo that seems impenetrable to older generations.

The question is if we are targeting this market with a campaign should we be attempting to communicate the message in this new language?  Would it be more effective?  Would the receiver be more likely to read the message rather than immediately dismiss it?

What if we don’t understand the lingo, let alone speak it?  No problem as you can find a handy web translator here.

Below for your amusement is a lingo-translated version of the first couple of paragraphs from the above text.  Enjoy.


mrktg S targetd. It hs 2B otherwyswe cUd potentially blo millions on campaignsdat incorrectly advertise products witn drong niche/age bracket. hwevr wen we analyze traditional methods of getN r msg otwe discovA dat EG TV advertisn Snow 1ly efectiv W d 50+ age bracket asppl of dis age r mor lIklE 2B found sittNglued 2 d gogglebox. So w@ hpns wen wewn2 mkt a product 2 a teen?

Today we have a quote to share with you, which came from Edward de Bono of the World Centre for New Thinking.

The software of human thinking is based on information, analysis and judgement. This is excellent just as the front left wheel of a motorcar is excellent – but not enough.

Makes you think…

The image you see to the left was taken back in July 1931 at a secretarial  school in the US.  The large phone dial you see is actually a fully working telephone, hooked up to a loudspeaker.  The point being when the instructor was demonstrating the phone the class could see clearly how to use it and also hear the noises a phone should make whilst it connects.

Things don’t change much and we still advocate the use of props in workshops and training sessions, firstly because they are something tangible and hopefully fun and secondly why tell your class about something when you can just show them?

Also a prop is a great talking point, I recently went to a networking event and took a video camera with me which seemed to help gravitate people towards me.

Original story and image from BoingBoing.

We’ve been talking on this blog for over a year now so it’s about time you know exactly what we do here at Marton House.

Earlier today I was asked to compile a few clips of video together to send out to a prospective client and I came across the video you see below.  It’s an emotional insight into our business and how we work, delivered by our MD, Brian Broadbent.

If you want to know more about Marton House and our services just click on the About Us tab at the top.

Back of PC

The image you see above caused us a major headache yesterday.  In an emergency situation a colleague (Ilias), here had taken the photo on his phone to send to technical support at Dell and then discovered he had no way of getting the picture off his phone and onto his computer to send via email.  Yes he has bluetooth, yes he has infra red, yes he could hook it up via a cable but none of these things were available on his PC.

So he came to me as he knew I had a Windows Mobile based phone.  Via Bluetooth he sent the picture to me, pretty easy really.  I then had the picture on my phone.  My computers at work and at home are Macs. They have Bluetooth.  Sadly even though you can see the phone you need a special bit of software to be able to connect a Windows based phone to a Mac.

Head and brick wall come together once again in a not too happy union.

Then Ilias saw that my phone has a USB connection and came up with the idea of connecting it via USB to his PC.  Windows talking to Windows – we were on to a winner!  Windows Vista saw the phone, installed the drivers but failed to allow us to browse the device for the photo.

Whilst sat there Ilias came up with an idea which would cut out the middle man and suggested we try connecting his, much more Mac friendly phone to my Mac.  Brilliant!  The Mac saw the phone, the phone saw the Mac and they shook hands in a very civilized manner.  However try as he might he still couldn’t send the picture over.

Then I remembered my Windows phone had wifi, which meant I could connect to the office wireless network and send Ilias and email with the picture attached.  Sadly even though the phone could see the network it wouldn’t connect to it.

After a bit more head scratching we came up with the following ridiculous solution:


  • Connect my phone via wifi to a network belonging to another office in the building
  • Open up my internet browser and go to Google Mail
  • Send an email with the photo attached, via Google.
  • Wait seconds for said email to travel to a server in the US and back to our own mail server here in the UK.
  • Send email to Dell with problem photo finally attached.
The moral of the story?  Why give something directly to the person next to you when you can send it on a trip half way around the world first.


straight storyRecently we made a film about personal brand as part of The Platform.  In part of it we visited a business breakfast meeting where each delegate had 1 minute exactly to pitch themselves to the other business representatives in the room.

Some of these people were old hands and had practiced their pitch many times.  Others were new to the situation and hadn’t prepared at all.  

The great thing was it raised the question to us, can you pitch yourself or your company in one minute? Many people can’t it seems, when really it should be something that rolls off the tongue.

In The Gravity module within The Platform we created a whole new exercise based around this thought called The Elevator Pitch.  Imagine the scene; You’re riding an elevator when it stops, the doors open and Richard Branson steps in.  After a moment he asks who you are and what your business is.  This is your golden opportunity, your one chance to impress but the question is do you know exactly what you want to say?

Seth Godin also recently asked the question, what comes first the story or the work?

Have you got your story straight?

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