Recommended Reading

Here’s a list of some of the most useful and inspiring books I’ve read in recent years.

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

“Seth Godin is on a mission to change the face of publishing with ‘The Domino Project’ and I think he’s onto a winner with this book that encourages you to Go Go Go! Instead of waiting for someone else to pick you to do something great, this book will help you realise that it’s time to pick yourself.”

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to Drive Your Career and Create a Remarkable Future
by Seth Godin

Working 5 to 9: How to Start a Successful Business in Your Spare Time
by Emma Jones (Enterprise Nation)

“Easily one of best guides to starting a business from home that I’ve come across so far! Written in a fun and informal style, I think this is essential reading for anyone thinking of, or already running a business in their spare time whilst still holding down a day job - something that lots of people do, but few other books or enterprise schemes seem to acknowledge. The first part of the book is devoted to inspiring case studies of real life ‘5 to 9ers’ whilst the rest is full of useful and up-to-date tools, tips and resources. Highly recommended!”

The Start Up Kit: Everything you need to start a business by Emma Jones (Enterprise Nation)

“Another fantastic resource from one of my favourite business start-up authors Emma Jones. Not only does this include a 200 page book full of bang up to date advice and resources, but also £400 of offers from leading brands including Google, Barclays, BlackBerry and Well worth a look.”

Get Off Your Arsealt by Brad Burton

“Brad Burton’s awesome book ‘Get Off Your Arse’ is essential reading for anyone starting a business or at a crossroads in life!

Working for Shell LiveWIRE (the UK’s biggest online community for young entrepreneurs), I read A LOT of business, management, marketing and self-help books, but this is one of the most enjoyable, funny, practical and useful ones I’ve come across. Unlike many ‘business gurus’ Brad’s no-nonsense approach to telling you EXACTLY how it is and calling a spade a spade is really quite refreshing.

He’s been there, done that, worn the t-shirt and is still doing it not only for himself but for the many people he helps support through his motivational speaking gigs and 4Networking Business Breakfast events.

Online he can come across as outspoken, brash and controversial but I love that about him. He’s 100% true to himself. Having had the pleasure of meeting him and experiencing the ‘Brad Grenade’ first hand - a whirlwind of excitement and energy when he walks in the room, I wish more people in business and life were like him.

Highly recommended! Also, check out the excellent sequel Get Off Your Arse Too!”

Get Off Your Arse Too by Brad Burton

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-line Dispatches from the Advertising War by Jerry Della Femina

“Awesome book from advertising legend Jerry Della Femina in the 1970s. Inspiration for the show Mad Men which Della Femina worked as a consultant / adviser on in series one.”

Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life (Quick Read) by Richard Branson

50 Ways to Make Google Love Your Website by Steve Johnston & Liam McGee

“Essential reading for anyone building or managing a website. The best I’ve seen so far. Easy to read, yet packed full of practical tips and advice to make your site truly great. Awesome stuff!”

Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business""
by Larry Weber

Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web by Brian Solis

Free: The Future of a Radical Price: The Economics of Abundance and Why Zero Pricing Is Changing the Face of Business by Chris Anderson

The Domino Project: Start. Now!

Slides from my 5min Ignite presentation first delivered at the Codeworks Connect ‘Think and a Drink’ event at the Vermont Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne on Thursday 29th September 2011.

‘Barriers’ stopping people from producing ‘Great Work’ and achieving their dreams in Newcastle. (I got people to write them down on a piece of paper, scrunch them up into a ball, and throw them at a target on stage during my ‘Ignite’ presentation at the Codeworks Connect ‘Think and a Drink’ on 29th September 2011.

Contact me via @plandigitaluk, @lordlancaster, [email protected] or call +44(0)7734 722 716 if you’d like to know more or get me to deliver this presentation again for you.

‘End Malaria Day’ - help save lives by helping yourself

If you’re a fan of Seth Godin and other motivational, inspirational writers then you will find the new book from The Domino Project ‘End Malaria‘ a real treat.

Packed full of short essays, tips and insights from over 60 of the world’s leading thinkers and business brains, the purpose of this book is not only to inspire and engage the reader to bigger and better things in their own life but to actually participate in a much higher purpose by saving the lives of others.

Released on 7th September 2011 as part of ‘End Malaria Day‘ - $20 dollars (around £12 GBP) from each physical copy sold (and the full amount of each Kindle version) will be donated to ‘Malaria No More‘, an international advocacy organisation on a mission to end malaria-related deaths by 2015.

The money raised will be used to pay for mosquito nets which are proven to be one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce deaths and increase life expectancy in malaria-ridden countries. (Watch Bill Gates’ legendary TED talk from 2009 below in which he announced his campaign to end malaria).

Please buy this book and play your part in saving lives today. To find out more about the project and people behind ‘End Malaria Day’ watch the video below and visit:

7 little videos you will love [by Derek Sivers]

Received this email from Derek Sivers this morning about some cool animated videos he did to promote ‘Anything You Want’. Brilliant stuff and well worth a look 🙂

Paul -

If you haven’t seen these already, they are definitely worth a few minutes of your time. An animator made a little 1-to-3-minute animation for some of my articles.  They’re really well-done.

A Real Person, a Lot Like You

Obvious to You. Amazing to Others

Hell Yeah or No

If it’s not a hit, switch

I Miss the Mob

Don’t punish everyone for one person’s mistake

Start now. No funding needed

Feel free to download, copy, share, edit, alter, broadcast, or anything else.


Thinking Digital Conference 2011 - Summary of Gerd Leonhard Presentation

“Everything is moving online into ‘The Cloud’ but we still need to work out how to monetise products and services that can’t be replicated digitally.”

Read below for my summary (and personal comments) of the fantastic presentation delivered by Gerd Leonhard ( on Day 1 of the Thinking Digital Conference @ Sage Gateshead on 25th May 2011.

‘The People of the Cloud’ / ‘People of the Screen’ expect things to be digital first, physical next.

You can no longer ‘force’ people to buy - you now need to ‘attract’ people to buy/upgrade from the free version once they’ve used and grown to love/need it (a classic Freemium model like LinkedIn).

“When copies are free, you need to sell things that can’t be copied”, Kewing Kelly (Better Than Free).

If people expect digital copies to be free (or very low cost), it’s down to you the ‘content creator’ to work out how to sell things that can’t be replicated or copied digitally. For example, although video footage can be streamed live or broadcast after an event, you can’t digitally recreate the actual physical experience (sights, sounds, smell and touch) of being at a live music gig, conference or training session and all the feelings of excitement and interactions before, during and after which take place.

‘360o Deals’ in the Music Industry

As physical record sales continue to fall, they are increasingly seen as merely a ‘calling card’ or marketing tool for artists and bands. At the same time, live music gigs and festivals are on the up. Therefore, record labels now seek to sign new artists and bands up to ‘360o Deals’ which means that they make money on live performance fees, merchandise, advertising endorsements, mobile ringtones, tv and movie deals , not just physical and digital download record sales. People can now even pay for a recording of a live gig immediately after a gig has ended.

Authors like Seth Godin understand this. They realise that some people want exclusive, advance copies of the latest titles sent directly to their Kindle or other eReader device (either for free in return for writing reviews, helping to spread the word and creating a buzz, or for a fee which ensures they get it quicker than all ‘normal people’ (see my earlier post about ‘The Domino Project’ and ‘Rise of the Information Jockey (IJ)‘.

Meanwhile, others will still prefer the look and feel of a physical book (hardcover or paperback which both have a different cost and speed at which they can be obtained/delivered. Further still, ‘superfans’ will happily pay much higher prices for limited editions which offer something unique and special. It’s all about offering choice and giving the user/consumer what they want.

Can you divide your products or services into digital, hardcover, paperback or limited edition-type versions?

Locking stuff behind a paywall or asking them to pay upfront is a deathwish online. It doesn’t work or make any money (or as much as you want). Sharing is the default mindset of the digital generation and if you don’t share you will be toast! Spotify rocks but their latest move (limiting the number of times people can listen to music for free) could signal the end.

“Data is the New Oil”

“Data is the new Oil” says Gerd  - a more succinct version of the original quote by Meglena Kuneva (EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner) in Brussels on 31st March 2009 in which she said “Personal data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world”

Both are great quotes which perfectly sum up the way things are heading (or have already headed) in the digital world. However, just like oil, the true value (and money) only comes from the myriad of products and services that can be derived from the raw material!

Social networks are broadcasters spreading news and information faster than traditional media channels. For example, “It takes roughly 41 seconds for ‘old media’ (i.e. tv) to report a breaking news story but just 28 seconds on Twitter!” New media then has the added bonus of being instantly ‘shareable’ - passing along far wider and more random patterns around the world.

We are moving away from providing digital copies which people can download and keep (MP3s, PDFs) to content they can stream so long as they continue to use the service (like the aforementioned Spotify).

The Future?

The future is all about;

• Bundling (content provided pre-loaded onto hardware devices like mobile phones)
• Freemium
• Up-selling
• Streaming

3 ways for creatives (or creators) to get paid;

• I pay (as a creator, you can get others to write a blog entry about you in return for payment)
• They pay (consumers are forced to watch adverts before accessing the content, i.e. at the beginning of a music video or computer game)
• You pay (consumers pay a subscription to access premium content & unlock additional features - classic Freemium model)

Find Out More / Discuss Further

If you’d like to read more from Gerd Leonhard (@gleonhard), visit where you can download free ebooks (the hope being that you will appreciate his work so much that you will go on to pay for a physical copy).