Guy StephensMy good friend and fellow IBMer Guy Stephens (@Guy1067) is well known as a pioneer in the social customer care space, having been involved in the early days of social while at Carphone Warehouse.

I was delighted to read that the has just released a collection of the views from 16 leaders in the social customer care space.  You should download the report and set aside some time to read it.

5-years-of-customer-care-cover Read more…

vpn-securityAs regular London Calling readers know, I travel extensively for my role heading up Social Business Consulting for Europe at IBM.

You can read how I save on international roaming costs via this blog post, and the other thing I never leave home without is my Virtual Private Network (VPN).

I have been using a VPN since 2009 as a way of protecting my online security when using public WiFi at coffee shops, conference venues and hotels.

You may think I am being slightly paranoid, but wanting to always be ahead of the curve, when the Firesheep FireFox plugin was released in 2010, that lets you sniff all of the traffic from nearby public WiFi hotspots, I felt vindicated that I was being smart in protecting my online activity. Read more…

halo_effect-femaleAs social media is becoming more prevalent, and people and companies are using it to make purchasing and hiring decisions, the role of social eminence is becoming critical.

Almost on a weekly basis at IBM, I am being asked to speak about social eminence to groups of IBMers and clients.

They all want to know how to become personally eminent, and how to maintain this position once you are.

I estimate that since I joined IBM, I have presented to over 5,000 IBMers on this topic, sometimes in large groups of between 300-700 people at a time.

I am very flattered that I am asked to present on this important topic, and I see the role of education in this space invaluable, and also one of IBM’s competitive advantages.

So how do you become socially eminent?

The quick answer is that it doesn’t happen overnight. My own journey started some 31 years ago, when I started using bulletin boards (BBS) in 1983 in my hometown of Adelaide, Australia.

I knew that I was hooked on this “online” thing back then when my Father had to install a second phone line at home because I was always using our single phone line to dial-up (using my 300bps analog modem) to the Angle Park Computing Centre’s bank of 5 modems to connect to their “Nexus” BBS.

Years later, in 2006 when I arrived in London, I had a very small professional network. I had to do something to stand out from the crowd, so I started this blog. Read more…

boardroom-bellwether-coverAccording to the latest FT–ICSA Boardroom Bellwether report, 47% of respondents reported that their board have never discussed a social media policy, and 39% had only discussed it between one and three times. Just 7% responded that their board had discussed social media more often.

The Bellwether is a twice-yearly survey which contacts FTSE 350 company secretaries to gauge the sentiment inside UK boardrooms, and this survey was conducted in June 2014.

Perhaps more worrying was the statistic that only 26% of respondents described a social media strategy as important (or very important) to the board, with 33% as describing it as neutral and 32% even describing it as ‘unimportant’. Read more…

gtld-worldMany London Calling readers may recall that while at Kred, I was involved with their generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) strategy around the three domains .CEO,.Kred and .Best.

I already have thanks to the generosity of the dotCEO team.

I can’t do much with this domain as I have no idea how to access the settings and add my email etc – so it will stay as an “” page until I figure out how to do this.

Being the early adopter, I thought I would purchase a brand new gTLD to go through the process of grabbing one of these domains. Read more…

made-with-ibm-squareFollowing on from my previous post about the new “Made with IBM” TV spots shown during the US Masters, you can now view all of the spots on YouTube.

A number of publications have profiled the new spots such as the New York Times, Forbes, and AdAge.

The 1:19 spot below sets up the series well.

Read more…

made-with-ibm-squareI can finally announce the “secret project” I have been involved with over the past couple of months.

This week during the Masters Golf in the US, IBM (my employer) is launching a new TV campaign called “Made with IBM”.

You can read more about the campaign in an article from the New York Times.

“To introduce a new campaign, “Made with IBM,” the company dispatched three filmmakers to 17 countries to document its technology in action. About half of the spots, which are 30 or 60 seconds long, feature businesses, public agencies and other IBM customers.”

My contribution can be seen below, and I even get a name-check.

I love the ending and my daughter Madeleine wants to know what happened to the big chair at the end.

Some may have noticed I was hinting about my involvement with the campaign on twitter over the last few weeks – while in Austin at SXSW when I recorded 2 hours of video interviews, then a couple of weeks ago when I was recording the voiceover that appears on the video in London.

With all that content, who knows where I might turn up next ;-).

Having only just celebrated my first 6 months with IBM this week, I was very humbled that they asked me to take part in this new and very public TV campaign.

The strap line for my vignette is “Collaboration made with social. Made with IBM”.


The campaign highlights other IBMers, Customers and IBM technologies in the multiple TV spots and is the next phase of @SmarterPlanet campaign that IBM has been running for some years now.

More videos can be seen on the dedicated site and also on the IBM YouTube channel.

IBM’s CMO Jon Iwata also has a great blog post about the reasoning behind the campaign, as well as a making-of video – embedded below.

Apparently I was one of just 20 IBMers who appear in the spots – must be my Aussie accent they liked.

The NYT article also talks about the process that Ogilvy and IBM used to shoot and edit the ads.

Jeremy Kuhn, a global group account director at Ogilvy, said that the campaign about IBM technology relied, appropriately enough, on IBM technology, namely Aspera, software for large file transfers that allowed hours of video to be transferred quickly.

“Traditionally when the footage is shot, you wait for the team to come back to load it all in to begin editing, but we had something like 13 different shoots between the three main crews and if we waited until everyone got back to New York, we never would have made the Masters in time,” Mr. Kuhn said. “We were reliant on Aspera, an IBM technology, to do that, so this very production was kind of a case study.”

Back at Kred, I was involved with promoting the new top level domain dotCEO (.ceo), and now you can grab your own dotCEO domain name via a number of registrars.

More on this below, and I’m also one of the first to have my own .ceo at, which at the moment is set up a little like my page.


Read more…

ibm-logo-small Big news! IBM (my employer) is investing $100M and will employ 1,000 people in their Interactive Experience business.  Importantly, they will be opening regional Interactive Experience labs around the world.

Some really interesting tools have come out of IBM Research, and we’re already using them in our Social Business practice – see the video below, and see my own Psycholinguistic Analytics on @AndrewGrill Read more…

At South by Southwest this week, I caught up with a number of really intelligent voices in the social world.

One of these was Mark Schaefer author of Return On Influence about the role of an influencer in a B2B company, Klout’s alleged sale to Lithium, and Millennials.

It was a really interesting discussion and runs for almost 16 minutes – worth watching the whole interview.

Recorded at the Austin Hilton during the South by Southwest Film, Music and Interactive Festival on March 9th 2014.

As many know, I have been in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, representing IBM this week.

It has been an interesting congress, my first since 2009 and you can watch a quick video with my thoughts on day 1 and day 2 below.

Tonight at 5pm GMT, Ginni Rometty, IBM’s CEO will be presenting a keynote address, and this can be viewed live at the Mobile World Live site.

imageTonight , 24th February 2014 at 6pm Barcelona time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will present the opening keynote at the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

You can watch the keynote (17:00 GMT) at

Why do I think he is brave?

Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest mobile industry conference. Hosted by the GSM Association, it brings together some 80,000 mobile industry professionals each year to look at the latest mobile products and trends.

This year, I am representing IBM at MWC. You can see what I will be doing in Barcelona on my dedicated MWC page.

With the ink only just dry on the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp, Mark is being very brave to walk right into the heart of mobile operator territory.

How will he address the disruption WhatsApp is causing operators? Will he mention it at all given the pain it is causing mobile operators?

Some would say it is like walking into the lion’s den, albeit with $19Bn of protection.

SMS revenues are falling fast

Back in 2012, I wrote on this blog about the massive digital disruption hitting Operator SMS revenues.

Quoting from my post…

Interesting report just out from Ovum which predicts that global telecom operators are expected to have lost $US23 billion ($22.58b) in SMS revenues by the end of 2012 as smartphone users shift to free messaging applications.

They go on to forecast that the cumulative losses would reach $US54 billion by the end of 2016 as the traditional Short Messaging Service (SMS) gives way to internet-based platforms such as WhatsApp.

Interesting that the WhatsApp purchase price is actually 35% of the forecasted SMS messaging revenue losses by 2016.

The rise of WhatsApp has caught mobile operators on the hop. SMS was for a long time an amazing cash cow for operators. Sub 1 cent costs to deliver an SMS priced at single and double digit cents kept the operators in the black for a long time.

Now with Facebook owning the hottest mobile messaging app on the planet, WhatsApp has the resources to do just about anything and scoop up that $54 Billion of lost revenue by 2016.

Be sure to follow me @AndrewGrill as I will be live tweeting from the keynote here in Barcelona, as I will have a front-row seat to catch the keynote.

What do you think Mark will talk about here in Barcelona – feel free to leave your view in the comments below.

wadds-smallMy friend Stephen Waddington has collected the thoughts of some well known bloggers such as Richard BaileyHeather BakerStuart BruceJudy GombitaNeville HobsonChris LakeRich Leigh,Rachel MillerMat MorrisonLee OddenDan SleeHeather Yaxley, Philip Young, and myself.

He wanted to see if blogging was still alive and well. Initially he had planned to write a blog post with all the responses.

As Stephen explains at the start of his e-book… Blogging is 20 years old. It took off in the late-90s with the development of consumer broadband in Europe and the US. By now it was predicted to be a dominant form of media, and in Europe at least, it isn’t.

Why is that?

I sought out the opinion of respected bloggers in my network and asked them about the future of blogging. I also asked them to share the benefits they’d experienced from blogging.

The responses were varied. The business of blogging involves learning, professional and personal development, networking and profile.

It is evolving but for those individuals and organisations that are prepared to invest the effort it has a strong future.

Below is Stephen’s snippet of my contribution.


You can read Stephen’s e-book below, or download as a PDF.

Download (PDF, 1.53MB)

Today’s 48 hour London Tube Strike is about digital disruption.

Take the politics out of the argument (London’s Mayor Boris Johnson wants to close a number of ticket offices and redeploy London Underground staff elsewhere), and the reason the RMT union has called a strike today is because technology is changing how Londoners buy train tickets. Read more…


I was fortunate to have been invited to attend the IBM Connect conference in Orlando Florida last week.

The conference started in 1993 as Lotusphere, and in 2013 was re-branded as IBM Connect.

It is one of IBM’s major conferences, with guests and IBMers travelling from all around the world to discuss the latest in email solutions, social business and workforce solutions.

Below is a quick roundup of the highlights from the conference from my perspective, along with photos and videos taken in Orlando. Read more…

An interesting debate was held at IBM Connect in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday 28th January 2014 around the value of Klout and influence platforms in general, and the value to employers and brands.

Chaired by Louis Richardson, the debate featured Andrew Grill (former Kred CEO), William Tincup, Pam Moore, Jeanne Meister, Mark Fidelman, and Matt Ridings.

It was a very lively debate – watch the full hour below.

Michael Bay exit stage right at CES 2014 photo:APBy now, many London Calling readers will have seen the video of Transformers Director Michael Bay fluff his lines on stage at CES in Las Vegas and literally “exit stage right”.

In his own words …

“Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES – I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.” Read more…

rewindOver the Christmas break, I experimented with how I could share some of the 650+ posts (some of them actually quite good) that I have written over the last 10 years of blogging with an wider audience than I have now.

Looking at my blog traffic using Clicky, I could see that I received a flood of traffic each time I published a new post, but only reasonable levels outside that time. Read more…

waitrose-logoIn the UK, the competition between High Street chains is intense.

Not only are the 5 large chains looking for a larger share of a consumer’s wallet or purse, they also want the data that goes with it – linking each purchase to the individual profile of a shopper.

Two competitors are taking a very different approach to loyalty and consumer data.

The leader in both fields for some time has been Tesco. Not only are they the largest UK retailer, and are number 3 in the world behind Walmart and Carrefour, they were also one of the first retailers to really understand the power of big data. Read more…