Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Turn and face the strain..ch-ch-changes...

Arnie never had to worry about changing. Not in his acting career.

Having posted countless times about this blog's rapidly changing purpose (from online cv, to conversation, to random musings interspliced with conversation), I thought - in a moment of introspection - it'd be a good idea to ponder just what I'd like to change.

Not just in blogging, but in the wider world as well.

A sort of resolution, if you will. And I'd like to ask you (the lurker/reader/blogger/person who just stumbled across the site looking for photos of Herbie) to have a think, and write about your resolutions, or plans for the future (without getting too personal).

It occurs to me that this is like Paul's Let's See What Happens, but sod it - I feel like making some resolutions:

1) Get a job. Rather obvious this one, and fairly self explanatory. Means I can do the things below. All being well, it'll be sorted sooner rather than later.

2) Start doing some creative writing (not just blogging). As an ex English student, I'd dearly dearly love to be published. It's part of the reason why I get so excited about advertising - being able to see something I've contributed to, but hey - I love to write. So why haven't I done it before? Well, simply because I have a tiny, weeny creative ego. So small in fact, that whenever I write something creatively, I dismiss it a few hours later. Well, this must change. I'll get up earlier if I have to. It'll be slow at first, but I'm sure I'll get into it.

3) Play some more organised sport (particularly 5-a-side). Self explanatory this one. I go to the gym a fair bit now, so the next step is to chase after a ball like a headless chicken again, and prove that I can do more than just juggle a football for a little while. Finding a golf course near my flat may also prove to be a bit difficult, but I'll have a scout out.. I was a 17 handicap before getting frustrated with the game.

4) Learn the guitar/piano. No, I haven't decided which one (probably guitar, but there's something cool about being able to sit down and tinkle the ivories).

5) Get better at listening. Bloody difficult, this one. Especially considering that I love to talk far too much (it's the sound of my own voice, honestly). It's not that I don't like listening, it's more that I love to contribute. Can be a bad thing, and easily misconstrued if I'm not careful. So that's going to be improved. NP is my role model. A great listener.

6) Read more random books (and more classics). This is definitely one for when I have more wonga, but it's following Richard's advice. I'm sure this will help me in my profession, and improve my lateral thinking.

7) Do more cultural things (not just the Tate Modern and gigging). Self explanatory. Need cash for this as well, but it's really about not getting into a routine, or closing your mind to other things - and God knows, we can all be closed minded.

8) Keep up my repositionings of brands. Buying a moleskine really helped me do this, as did working alongside Richard.. but I must keep it up, to have a strategy in my pocket for any random question I may be asked. It also keeps me sharp.

9) Take more photos. It's getting better (and I have stacks of pictures not on my Flickr yet), but I must continue doing what I'm doing.

10) Reconnect with some old friends. In this hurly burly of moving to London, I've not been as good as I should have been with some good mates of mine. This must be rectified.

There are others, but they revolve around buying things - a better sound system/Wii/as many CDs as my bank balance allows - and not really about furthering myself or actually improving my life - well, they might...

We'll see how many of these I manage to do in a few months time. Hopefully the first happens soon.

Thoughts, readers? Do you have any resolutions of your own?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Web 2.0 Goldfish Bowl?

Picture belongs to Michelle_Bower. Usual rules apply.

In the past week, I've signed up to CoComment (manages my conversations online if I want it to), MediaStarz (pure networking, but hey - I was invited, and it looks like good fun) and finally Wink (to track what I've signed up to and where I am on t'internet).

And it may yet get worse - what about WeFi? OrMyCyberTwin?

Tempted to sign up to both of them, to be honest (especially the latter - closer to realising my dream of auto-blogging).

And I'm just not sure where I stand on the ever increasing types of web 2.0 social networking. I do know that I can't stop signing up to the blighters - if they look vaguely useful. I do worry about the overlap, to some extent.

As ever, in times of need, I decided to visualise it. Trust me, when you click below, you'll realise why it's often a last resort. Needless to say, it explains in my mind how things are constantly changing, overlapping, and why.

It also provides most of the similarities in my mind:

NB: I would suggest clicking on it and viewing it full size.

But yes, this does link to Faris's post a little earlier on continous partial presence (read the comments as well - they are excellent). The rate I'm going, there will be no more Will to spread around. At the moment, my Facebook is largely populated with my old mates, as opposed to my newer advertising/work friends (though the ad community is trying to usurp that - I think half the plannersphere who weren't members of Facebook joined in the last month - and God knows, this article sheds a bit of light).

And with the comparable measures some of these social networking sites are trying to implement (Technorati's WTF being a prime example - it's a wee bit like Digg), it may not be long before they are all linked together, as I've expressed in my Powerpoint slides.

However, is this a bad thing?

Certainly, more of my communities are mixing together than ever before - some ad folk now know some of my other mates, some are doing social stuff with me away from work, and some even go to the pub with me (poor them - even more rubbish talked).

As Amelia outlines on Faris's blog, the mystery is in danger of being lost, and like her, I worry about this. But then, take the this week, and some of the discussions I had:

I met Helen for a very pleasant smoothie at Angel's Breakfast Club, where we had a chat about (amongst other things) how people are different offline, to how they are online. Online, you feel you can get a sense of someone's personality, only to meet them, and to be astounded about how introverted or extroverted they are. OR.. they can be precisely as you think. I like to think I do the latter, but eh, could be wrong.

We concluded that the mystery is still there, a point I (sort of) alluded to in my post about thin-slicing people. You can meet someone on an off day, or in a new situation - and you never truly know how people will react unless you're right there with them; and even then it's not always completely clear.

So that was one discussion - and one airing of views Helen and myself would never have been able to have without the medium of bloggery and our overlapping Web 2.0 ways - I tweeted whether she'd be keen to meet for a coffee, and voila. Helps that I only live 15 minutes from the Breakfast Club and she works in Islington, of course. So there's a point for the t'internet - and of course, we each know different bloggers - and we both got more of an insight into our respective disciplines, which was great. As a result of our conversation, I'm not sure whether I'm introverted or extroverted though. Got to do a test...

Anyway, today I met Lauren (Sheseesred) at the Tate Modern. We took this discussion on in a slightly different way (note - I only have 3 actual lucid conversation topics - the rest are about taxidermy, badgers and maypole dancing - not fit for human consumption), by wondering what some of the bloggers we'd not met were like (are you reading this Rob? ). Neither of us could be really sure, but could make educated guesses, as you'd expect - any blog friends of ours who were willing to do a bit of Ipod singing (see below) had to be a bit different and interesting in the flesh:

Above: Proceed with extreme caution...

And yes, no amount of transferable identity could stop us reminiscing about that particular moment of blog history.

But it got better (and this is material for a separate - long discussed - second part post about the Tate). Due to Lauren's background, my uncultured arse got to learn a bit about art.

Yes, more than 'I know what I like'. Actual background on the artists/movements themselves. Hot damn. She also learnt a bit of bollocks about history and the writers of the English Renaissance (I know what you are thinking - good trade on my part). She did parallel me with 'Where's Wally' (on account of my tremendous sartorial choices) though, so I didn't get off that lightly...

And without my 'Goldfish Bowl', if that's what it is, I would never, ever have been able to learn about some these things (short of paying people to tell me - which would never happen).

If it does exist, it's constantly shifting, and, inevitably, there will be crossovers. But to claim that my Facebook profile will always contain the same in jokes, in my limited experience either doesn't matter, or won't happen - social networks are for making friends, and whilst it does promote a bit of 'us and them' (those who participate, those who don't), it allows interesting overlaps (just this week I met someone via Mediastarz who knew a mate of mine from University) and most importantly, new and interesting conversations.

And if the mystery is lost, for the most part.. well.. I don't agree completely. I like to think I'm always changing. You can't ever know someone so well both online and offline that you can predict their every move. People continue to surprise you, and that's great.

What do you think readers - is there a goldfish bowl in web 2.0? And is it a bad thing? And DO I look like Where's Wally?

Monday, May 21, 2007

WAM is One. Happy Birthday to me..

Picture belongs to ra_fiki. Usual rules apply.

Happy birthday to me, squashed bananas and wee.. happy birthday to meeee..

On the 18th of May, I decided to blog. Truthfully, it was borne out of frustration - feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere in this advertising malarky, and it was basically going to be an online CV.

But as time has moved on, things began to change. I posted about hedgehogs, England's football failings, music, built a squidoo and told people who read the blog more about myself than I thought I ever would do.

Along the way I decided planning was for me, and via planning and the blog I've met a variety of interesting people, been published by Campaign and got a job. Finally, I lost a job. And here I am now.

I've had a bloody good time so far. Thanks to everyone who reads this/enjoys my ramblings.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Monkey Island taught me everything I know..

Monkey Island 1 - A legendary game.

Anyway, in an forlorn attempt to move away from my traditional, Godin esque posts about marketing and advertising, I thought I'd spoil you, dear reader, with a nostalgic saunter down memory lane.

It concerns point and click adventure games - chiefly the Monkey Island series - and how they help you and get you thinking (I bet you're wondering how I'll work advertising into this...) in strange and different ways.

Well, for the uninitated (and any planner aged between 18-40 who hasn't played these games should immediately down tools and go and play them now - you heard me), they are what's described as a 'point and click adventure game', where you click on objects/use them/talk to various people.

In the first game, you play Guybrush Threepwood, a young wannabe pirate who seeks to earn his spurs in the fast paced world of pirating. As the games progressed, you went on all forms of random quests (including insult sword fighting, monkey kombat and all sorts of peculiar things).

For more information on the series, check out the Wiki page on it.

Anyway, it probably sounds fairly dry stuff. But, trust me, it was glorious. Bloody funny (and it's very rarely any sort of writing makes me laugh, let alone a computer game - which are historically bloody po faced) and just very very random and peculiar. Check it out below:

Pirates of ill-repute from Monkey 2 - animated for your pleasure.

But the most important thing it teaches is lateral thinking. Yes, so do games like Civ 4, and a case could be made that as those are less linear than the MI series, they are better. But I disagree.

Your average Monkey Island puzzle (or for that matter - Grim Fandango, DOTT or Sam & Max), though only having one solution, required you to use items in very strange ways - look at the second Monkey Island for examples of that - banana on a metronome anyone?

Yet they were all rooted in some degree of common sense, unlike some other adventure games, which just involved you clicking on random objects until they worked together.

And it's this skill, this ability to think laterally whilst having your eyes set on the overall goal which I feel the communications industry has never required more of (aha, got a cheeky reference in there).

So.. why are you reading this? Go and buy them all (1+2 are hard-ish to find.. but look around). Be prepared to lose many days of sleep wondering how to get across chasms with only a rubber chicken to help you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

PSFK Conference...

You may have read about this on other blogs, but I'm going to write about it as well.

Should be a cracking event, and (all being well), I shall be there - I'm particularly looking forward to seeing what Hugh McLeod/George Parker have to say, as well as all of my blogging/planning friends.

Anyway, here is the blurb from the official site (follow the link and have a look):

PSFK Conference offers a morning of trends and inspiration and an afternoon of new marketing ideas. Speakers and panelists include Russell Davies, George Parker, Hugh MacLeod, Regine Debatty, Iain Tait and Faris Yakob.

As I said, for more information, follow the link and check it out - and be quick, tickets are selling out fast.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Traipsing around the Tate..(Pt 1)

Juan Usle - Bilingual. NB: This was before I realised the Tate doesn't allow photos. Oops.

Had a very interesting day last week; met up with Lauren (sheseered)at the Tate Modern. A good time was had by all - I recommend the cafe at the Tate Modern, even if it IS a mite pricey and chock full of 'art' food; it was tasty, and just enough for a light lunch.

Anyway, I had a few observations about the Tate Modern, seeing as it was my first time round the place, and how they tie into communications. Lots of these are highly tenuous, but hey....just bear with me.

Now, bear in mind that before going round the Tate, I was someone who regarded much modern art as...well.... not really art, to be honest. Happily, that's changed - some of the pieces really struck me. Usle, Bacon and Giacometti in particular.

It is such that the thing which really, really struck me (and why I'm happy I was able to take that photo of Juan Usle's 'Bilingual') was the need to be intuitive and to be true to yourself.

Usle's painting is all about the balance between two differing languages, expressed visually. It's the thing which unites the two. Everyone, regardless of language, can judge it - and have an inkling into how Usle thinks.

Creatives (and increasingly planners and account handlers), are being called upon to 'know what's right'; what constitutes good creative work. It has never been more important in this age of information in tap, where everyone's opinion can be just as valid as the other. No more top down messages. It's far more circular now.

As Cynical Rob rightly points out in his APSOTW assignment, there is no wrong answer; just different ways of doing things.

Yet you try quantifying intuition. Can't be done.. but the best account men/planners/creatives have always been able to sell magic. There's some truism that suggests magic should just be shown, and not sold. Bollocks. Selling is the name of the game, and selling brilliance can be just as hard as mediocrity, if not moreso; you have to get people to understand someone's intuition, which (frequently) has never been seen before.

Claude Monet - Waterlillies. The last naughty pic.

Consider Monet's painting. It's now considered a stone cold classic by all. But in its day, it was radical. How has this shift occurred? Well, history moves on, and people react to the paintings in different ways, and things get reappraised. This has happened because Monet had the balls to continue ploughing his furrow. Though he may never have directly sold his work, he knew that what he was doing was right.

Quoting that Wiki entry:

"The critical response was mixed, with Monet and C├ęzanne bearing the harshest attacks. Critic and humorist Louis Leroy wrote a scathing review in the Le Charivari newspaper in which, making wordplay with the title of Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), he gave the artists the name by which they would become known. Derisively titling his article The Exhibition of the Impressionists, Leroy declared that Monet's painting was at most, a sketch, and could hardly be termed a finished work."

God knows what would have happened if ol' Claude had just listened to the critics.

These artistic pioneers helped to reawaken the debate about high and low culture in my mind. Who says what's brilliant, and what's crap?

Personally, I think it's down to individual intuition.

Take David Patton being appointed as Chief Exec of Grey, for example - he's clearly someone who has a great deal of intuition, given his commission of award winning Playstation and Bravia spots. He just 'gets it'. That can't be taught, but knowing a brand inside out certainly helps. Knowing what's art and what'll sell x number of televisions is clearly immeasurably important in this business.

Indeed, it poses the question: Before you slag off that ad you've seen in Campaign, who is to say whether you fully understand it? Have you lived the brand in the same way?

Yet, even to that, there is a counter argument... if you are too attached to a brand, it can often lead to people not being able to see the wood for the trees. Sometimes thin-slicery DOES work very well, and is just so.

It's what I think Jon Steel was driving at in his talk about chucking your Blackberry away. Taking time away from the daily grind of living the brand clears your head, and gets you thinking away from the conventional.

There is a very palpable lesson to be learned from the Tate Modern's art. Keep your objectivity and subjectivity (so often Yin and Yang to each other) balanced. It's crucially important.

I think everyone involved in communications would benefit (if they haven't already) from a jaunt around the Tate Modern. It certainly led to me reappraising my thoughts about a lot of modern art.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Green or Gone?

Photo belongs to Dianna. Usual rules apply.

Couple of posts by other people have got me thinking.

Thinking? Me? I know, I know. Hard to imagine. But suspend that disbelief. I've been thinking about green issues and how they tie into responsibility.

I recycle, and am aware of the need to reduce my carbon footprint. But, I must confess, it becomes a little bit more blurry when we factor in big businesses. Considering this blog is dedicated (partially) to thinking about advertising and communications in general, it's worth noting that we as an industry have become ever more aware of our responsibility to the public.

Yet, our responsibility is to sell things to people. Directly in opposition to the green issues, or so it would seem at first glance.

But what happens when companies unite to sort out problems in society? Childhood obesity, for example?

Well, as Innocent may find out, it could be damaging or wonderful, depending on your choice of partner and the consumer's point of view.

Do we now put up a barrier between those companies which are mindful of ethical and green issues and those which don't appear to be (and McDonalds in this instance are taking steps), or do we acknowledge that these companies do exist to make money, and all the good will in the world won't change that (yes, it's an ultra-cynical view)?

The world is never that black and white, as this debate on Amelia Torode's blog shows. I've put my two pen'north in, and you should too, if you haven't already. Class, emotive responses, green thinking, uncomfortable bedfellows and snobbery all feature.

The thing which struck me on the Innocent site was the depth of emotion in some of the responses; some of these people could seriously fuck the brand, if not managed carefully. I'm still of the view that it is a good thing (albeit something which has to be handled with the utmost attention), but it's a divisive issue.

And indeed, it brings us to the bigger issue, which I sort of touched on above - as consumers, where do we fall? All companies will have to get greener, but will there be a capitalist backlash (not now) against anyone that besmirches the environment? I doubt it, but the pendulum seems to be swinging a little more in that direction.

There is definitely (at the moment) still room for two fingers, fuck it, we are going to produce this luxury item for people who can afford it thinking. But whether that'll last remains to be seen.

And oh, I've stumbled along a brilliant (green) blog. Check out Little Green Dot. And if you haven't already, read John Grant's new blog, Greenormal. He's done some proper thinking into the subject.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Returning heroes and the soundtrack to my summer..

The Manic Street Preachers have returned to their roots. About time too.. I liked Lifeblood, but this is power chord/melody driven. It seems all of their London venues have sold out, sadly. Sigh.. still, I saw them a few years ago - it's really worth it.

Listen to a track here:

And buy it here. Damn good stuff. 9/10.

While you are at it, check out my Last.FM to see if I listen to the sort of stuff you like (or some stuff you don't know..even better).

Thin slicing my way through life/How Angels get their haloes..

Thanks to HeatherShade - usual rules apply,

One of the reasons I like blogging so much is that it completely bypasses that potentially awful thing - that of false first impressions.

There's trend (and it's perfectly natural) of meeting someone during some situation - where they are stressed, tired, hungover or whatever...and getting a completely inaccurate impression of them and what they are like.

Personally, I tend to find that I communicate much better in the written form - I talk too much when I'm in a pressure situation, or just generally.. I find it so much easier to organise my thoughts in written form (and you lose all of those strange little body language things which can be misread).

And it's curious (and another one of my bug bears with a lot of agency grad schemes) that there can be those who really perform on the day, get a mild halo effect, but turn out to be damned incompetant/bloody useless.

And yet, this pre judging will never quite stop. We can't stop thinking instantly. We think 'oh, that person is incompetent' because they're a little bit scruffy or mal-coordinated. You can't turn off your mind.

We all character assassinate (and some have a great deal of fun doing it - who doesn't enjoy making back stories for people whilst they are looking out of the window?), and so..though blogging goes some way to helping, first impressions will continue to dominate, but hell - just be aware of them.

At least, I hope this blog provides a bit of a window into how I think. Comments made in real life whilst under the influence of alcohol aren't quite so useful. Nor those when I'm trying too hard to impress.

Quotes on this I happen to agree with - 'The problem with first impressions is that you only get to make one'.. and a Brendan Benson quote (whose song you can listen to below): 'I've always been this way. Never known any other way to feel':

And if you've never met me before - I'm the overly talkative one who should learn to listen better. But give me time...I do listen (most of the time).

Funnily enough, thin slicery (and it's just occurred to me I've just summarised part of 'Blink'.. heh) is what people have been doing to McDonalds and Innocent. So beware that you don't do it too much.

And oh, on the topic of someone else who sometimes thin slices - check out Charles Frith's new blog. Long time commenter, first time blogger. Welcome on board Charles.

Monday, May 07, 2007

How a death rattle helped raise money..

A very good friend of mine died the other day.

He only ever finished one painting, to help raise money for Mountain Rescue:

But don't worry, you can help him. Click to find out how.

The customer is not a moron. The customer is your wife.

Anyone of my bloggy readership read The Guardian?

Personally, I don't. But I heard about this story.

It's more interesting for me personally, considering it concerns somewhere where I used to work, and I heard discussions pertaining to this event.

Now, how do you feel about it?

You read The Guardian, and it's all doom and gloom. But is it branded content revealing itself to be cheap and underhanded, or is it just a good laugh that some silly sod has taken too seriously? Personally, I'm undecided.

There are many tracks that I like from ads, and (because I'm a big music fan) buy on the strength of an ad (yes, I'm a tremendous saddo). Artists like Jose Gonzalez (Sony Balls) and Oh Laura (new Saab ad) have received my hard earned wonga as a result of advertising. Indeed, using and choosing music is one of the most brilliant things about the business for me personally. The right track can be the missing link in the creative execution. Certainly helps sales.

I don't like the notion that it's underhanded, but then.. it was released by a record label called GUM (Saatchi's branded content arm), as this link indicates, and coincided with the launch of rebrand for Shockwaves, and indeed.. the fictional band had already been revealed many months prior.

In this web 2.0 age of transparency, surely the agency and client have done enough to reveal their intentions. But it still seems to leave a bad taste in the mouth. I just don't know.

All I do know (and no, I've not heard the final version of the song) is that if it has a good beat - I'll dance like a muppet to it - whether it has branded affiliations or not.

And part of me is pleased that Saatchis are regaining their 80s vigour; balls to the wall, and let's be contentious. More agencies should brand themselves in this way (though you could argue that Mother sort of have). They need to be careful not to alienate people - but sod it, no matter what you do, you'll alienate someone. But as Richard says, in his post, tread with caution.

And on the subject of good music; check out The Hold Steady. Fucking brilliant front man, and check out the single 'Stuck between Stations'. I'll be trying to see them in the UK.

What do you lot think?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Surprise me..

Picture is Walsh_Kelley's. Usual rules apply to this one.

I miss being a little child sometimes.

Christmas was always more fun when you didn't really ask for what you wanted, when Santa was coming down the chimney, and when (or so it seems for me), your imagination was seemingly unlimited.

And I think that it's these things which we are in danger of losing as people. We bemoan kids growing up quickly, but do we really do anything about it? Not really. Quite happy for 18 rated movies to be slightly edited and stuck on at 8pm.

And it makes me sad. Life's no fun if everything is grim reality.

But surprises aren't always fun for some people. Like the recent Innocent and McDonalds posting, which riled an awful lot of people - and let's be fair, some of the comments were bloody stupid.

But the surprise that Innocent is (shock!) an actual business, that exists to make profits has surprised people somehow - and partnering with the 'great Satan' has bemused quite a few people.

To me, the trial makes sense - why not see if kids will get their fruit via McDonalds? It'd improve their diets and so forth. At least McDonalds has shown some desire to change, and I think Innocent have realised this - and good for them.

If it stops people trying to make their own (though my flat mate's weren't bad in fairness), it's probably a good thing:

Anyway, like I say, not all surprises are a good thing - you lose some of your child like behaviour, and grow up a little. But I don't think Innocent have lost their voice, betrayed their principles or any other such nonsense. I think they genuinely want to help improve the world in their own way, and I see trialing their smoothies at McDonalds as a natural step. But, it would seem, not everyone does.

Hopefully they haven't lost enough of their sense of humour to find this funny (click on the pic to see it full size):

And before this post gets too long and too rambly (too late), I've got to say that it would do more brands good to do what Innocent have just done. Dip your toe in new areas, surprise us all. God knows that branded entertainment, digital, ATL and all the channels allow you more opportunity to do this than ever before. So use them.

Here endeth my soapbox posting.

Have a good weekend all - I'm going back to sunny Worcestershire, and may walk along this beaut:

Thanks to HoughtonAbout (usual policy applies)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Claude Hopkins (or 'To not know your history is to remain a child forever')

Horribly misquoted from the great man's seminal text, but it makes the point.

Advertising seems to be the only industry where history is ignored - for example, way before Second Life, HHCL were pioneering online technology. Yet there is a massive fuss made that time round.

Garland Compton, CDP, BMP.. these are agencies which have irrevocably shaped how we see advertising today. And we try and deny it, constantly moving on and ignoring some of the lessons of the past.

I think it's fair to see that as advertising is, to a certain extent, like an extended magic trick (got to amaze and show 'em something they've not seen before), it predicates this problem of forgetting what you were.

Indeed, as certain clients seem to have a circular model of not really passing knowledge down (I wonder how many of my readers have heard 'ah, Aroma! That's what the modern x is after these days' from a few generations of the same client), it doesn't help either.

Well, sod it. I think if we knew our history, we could be proud of our heritage, and what advertising has done for modern culture.

So in this spirit (and you may already have this), I give you Claude Hopkins' seminal text 'Scientific Advertising'. Yes, it predates David Ogilvy; real 'old skool' advertising thinking.

It's in the sidebar, but if you can't be arsed to click on it, go here. Yes, you have to sign up. But you should.

Here endeth my history lesson (and God - read E H Carr's book.. well worth it)
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