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Posts by Gordon Fletcher

Kickstarter is turning into eBay as shoppers play investor

31 July 2014
Gordon Fletcher

Dr Gordon Fletcher

Crowdfunding has come a long way in its short history. Today, it is even changing the way we consume. What was once a way to give a largely ready product a helping hand on its final push to market has become a means for consumers to get involved with something still on the drawing board, or simply to buy innovative new products before they’re in the shops.

However, as with so many seemingly new ideas there is a longer history that stretches back prior to the presence of the web. The concept of seeking public patronage and multiple sponsors for projects has existed for many centuries in the arts, erecting statues and in publishing.

Just opening the front cover of any book of English local history published in the Victorian period will reveal a list of subscribers drawn from the local great and good who funded the project. Shakespeare’s earliest success arguably also comes from support similar to modern crowdfunding.


The $10 billion Japanese app bringing Candy Crush tactics to messaging

23 July 2014


A Japanese messaging app called Line has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) valued at nearly US$10 billion.

For an app almost unknown outside Japan it’s an audacious move. However, messaging is there simply to suck you into Line’s mobile world, where the real profits are made. Unlike its rivals, it is already making good money, and its potential is obvious.

Last year, Line was the world’s highest grossing mobile app aside from games such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds. Considering its revenue comes almost entirely from Japan, this is an impressive achievement.

So what does Line do differently?


Creatively prototyping the future high street

16 July 2014

By Soupspoon (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Soupspoon (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Creatively prototyping the future high street is a workshop hosted by the University of Salford at the MediaCityUK campus and organised by colleagues from Salford, Manchester and Liverpool Business Schools.

During the one day programme a variety of innovative and engaging hands-on methods will be used to identify and understand the big challenges facing high street retailers, town managers and planners and everyday consumers.

The aim of this workshop is to identify and address current issues facing the future of our high streets. Using innovative methods (including Serious Play Lego and Science Fiction Prototyping) we aim to identify the issues and challenges being experienced by key stakeholders and work towards creating solutions and inform policy.

Findings from this workshop will be reported back to a network of practitioners, academics, and policy makers as a proactive outcome.

Why should you get involved in this workshop?


The right to be forgotten is fundamental in the digital age

15 July 2014
Right to be forgotten

Image (CC) by snickclunk

The current debate over the right to be forgotten, spurred by a European Union ruling that allows people to stop certain web pages from appearing in search results, is proof – if further proof was required – of the distinct form of public life that is being created by the internet.

Our digital identities are shaped by how, when and where we interact online with each action leaving a tiny but permanent digital footprint. The permanency of these footprints is so unlike the presence in public life imagined in 1789 in a central document of the French Revolution called the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”.

So different, in fact, as to almost contradict the 12th article which includes the declaration that “every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom.”


Prince Philip, Cargo Cult island – Tanna and Survivorship Bias

30 April 2014
Prince Philip cargo cult island - Tanna

Tanna (CC BY 2.0)

The recent release of a book by Matthew Bayliss concerning the South Pacific tribe who worship Prince Philip echoes my own experience and observation of cargo cults at Salford Business School in reverse and, consequently, draws me to an alternative set of observations and conclusions.

For example, there is the Prince Philip cargo cult island – Tanna. I travelled to Tanna over ten years ago. On reflection my hope was to at least witness the cult and to perhaps somehow ‘discover’ something new about these Vanuatuan islanders.

Once on Tanna, the guide – helpfully supplied by the hotel – was very direct…

Without realising, the persistence of previous tourists and recent volcanic activity had already dashed my hopes of witnessing any living cargo cult.


Universities should ban Facebook before punishing Dogecoin mining

9 March 2014

Dogecoin logo

Universities are facing a dilemma now that students have been discovered mining cryptocurrencies using campus facilities. Are these students displaying entrepreneurship or unacceptable behaviour?

Harvard has decided it’s the latter, permanently banning an unidentified person from using its computer research facilities after they were found using a supercomputer to mine dogecoin. It is not known if the punished miner was a student or member of staff.

Imperial College London now needs to choose a side in this argument after a student – who also remains anonymous – revealed that they had been using campus facilities to mine around £20-worth of the cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin is like a real gold rush: it’s the miners who are exploited

6 March 2014
Gordon Fletcher

Gordon Fletcher

The recent crash of popular bitcoin exchange MtGox has given some commentators the opportunity to hint at the collapse of bitcoin itself.

There are historical comparisons to be drawn here with the 2001 dotcom crash or the South Sea Bubble of 1720. However, these examples can only offer a partial explanation of recent events.


What is Bitcoin?

20 January 2014
Bitcoin image

Bitcoin logo

Over the last few months this seemingly simple question has crossed the minds of academics, reporters and many others. In the Centre for Digital Business our discussions have focussed on the real impact that bitcoins will have on mainstream eCommerce.

For the moment we have no definitive conclusion. However, the technology press picked up on the rapid increase in the exchange value of these things called bitcoins and, slowly, ripples of awareness have spread more widely. The enthusiasm is explainable.

The exchange rate for bitcoins has risen from around $US100 in recent months to as much as $US1,000.