Trackback, Pingback, Webmentions…

Looking at the palo alto post that first reported on the XcodeGhost compiler malware infection my eye was drawn to the “pingbacks & trackbacks” at the foot of the page.

Novel Malware XcodeGhost Modifies Xcode, Infects Apple iOS Apps and Hits App Store

The palo alto website is a WordPress site that implements Trackbacks. Anybody that has run a WordPress site is aware of the spam overhead when Trackbacks are enabled.

A trackback is an acknowledgment. This acknowledgment is sent via a network signal (ping) from the originating site to the receiving site. The receptor often publishes a link back to the originator indicating its worthiness. Trackback requires both sites to be trackback-enabled in order to establish this communication.

Webmention is a “modern update” to Pingback which “superseded” Trackback.

Trackbacks are dead but as Jeff Atwood says:

I still believe in the concept of trackbacks. I want to read your response to my posts, whether it’s on your site, or mine as a comment.

The “problem” being addressed is simply: “discovery”. Sounds simple enough but with increasing “Balkanization” of the web or “splinternets” leading to fragmentation and silos where the platform operators hold the opinion that “their system is the only one anyone will need” makes solving this problem increasingly hard.

On the open web side a simple google or bing URL search also provides a simple means of discovery, but only if the source is accessible in the robots.txt file and “microblogging” platforms like Twitter are not.

On the social side the Twitter URL search (via website or API) provides a simple means of discovering how a URL is being shared and what is being said about it within the Twitter platform, although, this is prone to “break” when different URL parameters have been added.

And as for discovery via Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat et al? who knows…

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The Peace One Day McWhopper–”pick up the phone next time”

Peace One Day, an NGO founded by an actor who lobbied the UN to establish a “Peace Day” on September 21st, has worked with McKinsey this year to create a potentially risky and almost passive aggressive campaign proposing peace and a one day “hook up” between Burger King and McDonalds in the form of a “McWhopper”.

From the Peace One Day welcome page:

In 1999, Jeremy founded Peace One Day, a non-profit organisation, and in 2001 Peace One Day’s efforts were rewarded when the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day.

Peace One Day’s objective is to institutionalise Peace Day 21 September, making it a day that is self-sustaining, an annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known.

The Twitter numbers for @PeaceOneDay and founder @JeremyGilley are surprisingly low for what is primarily a marketing organisation at 24K & 18K respectively.

In 2012 Jeremy approached global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company to support Peace One Day in analysing the results of Peace Day that year. This process resulted in a report that found, across the world, approximately 280 million people in 198 countries were aware of Peace Day 2012. For Peace Day 2013, due to activation on the day by every sector of society around the world, McKinsey & Company recorded a 68% increase in the number of those aware of the day – that’s 470 million people.  Of that number, approximately 1-2% (4-8 million) behaved more peacefully in their own lives as a result, improving the world for thousands of others.

In 2014 the Peace One Day Report supported by McKinsey & Company found that over 1 billion people were exposed to Peace Day messages. Of those exposed, 610 million are now aware of the day, with an estimated 10 million people behaving more peacefully on the day as a result.

This progress has created a solid foundation for taking the message of Peace Day to 3 billion people by 2016. Through our own initiatives and collaborations with various parties, Peace One Day continues to encourage organisations and individuals take specific actions to reduce violence around the theme:Who Will You Make Peace With?

In 2014, due to the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Peace One Day launched a 3-year project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region of Africa for Peace Day, 21 September. The goal of project is to raise awareness of Peace Day and encourage all sectors of society in the region to stand together in the name of peace on 21 September. We hope to see a significant, measurable reduction in violence in the region on Peace Day by 2016 at the latest.

Key sponsors on this page include:

So, from a McDonalds “peace point of view the Burger King focus appears clear, along with their beverage supplier Coca Cola and without looking too deeply I kind of guess that Unilever brands are more aligned with Burger King than McDonalds.

The website has a lot of information about “impact” with data collated by McKinsey illustrating, but maybe not evidencing, the “impact” that the Peace One Day NGO has had.

On the “NGO” front Peace One Day appears to be UK based and a Ltd company together with an LLP that does not appear to focus on grant giving or other financial support to areas where peace is promoted. The awareness raising NGO appears to be just that, awareness raising – awareness raising for the day and for the brands supporting that day.

Here’s Jeremy raising awareness for Peace Day supporting Burger Kings proposal for a one day “peace burger”.

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Brand reinforcement–Hellmann’s recipes on your receipt

“If there’s Hellmann’s in your shopping cart, there’s a recipe on your receipt.”

From a 2012 campaign by Ogilvy Brazil:

via “Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland makes a rational case for brain science

There’s a case from Ogilvy Brazil. There’s been a very considerable effort to persuade people that Hellmann’s can be used as a recipe ingredient as well as just a conventional mayonnaise. One of the first rules that you learn from brain science is that we make decisions contextually. Our ideas of value and our appraisal of things varies, according to moment and context. So there’s a beautiful idea from Brazil, where if you bought Hellmann’s, let’s say you’ve also bought beef and onions, the software will take what you bought and it will print on your shopping receipt a recipe that involves beef, onions, and Hellmann’s. So it formulates a recipe from your shopping list. That’s the kind of moment-of-truth intervention which absolutely delights me.

Can’t believe that this has not taken off.

“The Fat Jew” backlash and notes on attribution

A Conversation With the Fat Jew: ‘That’s Not Who I Am or What I’m About’

I must admit that I had not heard of “The Fat Jew” until a couple of weeks ago but he seems that he is an influencer and advocate for many brands that may be regretting jumping on the viral Instagram liking bandwagon.

Vox, of course, has a good explainer: “The Fat Jew’s Instagram plagiarism scandal, explained” and Vulture published an interview with Josh Ostrovsky a couple of days later.

Most of the backlash against Ostrovsky started around the time he got serious about “scaling up” his celebrity beyond Instagram and signed with the Hollywood Creative Artists Agency. The main accusations against Ostrovsky (who calls himself a “joke aggregator”) were concerned with reposting jokes and images without attributing the original authors – a cardinal sin amongst professional comedians.

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The Expert and the Influencer

John Doerr in conversation with Sal Khan at the 2013 Summer Celebration in Aspen, CO

After receiving his BS (Maths), BS (Computer Science) and MEng (Computer Science) from MIT and then MBA from Harvard Business School and a brief summer internship at PARC, Sal Khan worked as a hedge fund senior analyst at Wohl Capital Management (the only employee for 5 years – “I use the term “hedge fund” very loosely – it was me, my boss, and his dog. (The dog was the chief economist.)”)  – before it wound down prompting him to start Khan Capital mid 2008, which did not really get off the ground due to the financial crisis leading him to take on a short analyst role with Connective Capital Management in 2009.

From 2004 Khan had been tutoring his cousin in mathematics using Yahoo! Doodle and moved some of the tutorial videos he had created to YouTube in 2006 to share with other family members. By 2009 Khan had amassed over 900 videos on YouTube with 6 million views covering everything from basic arithmetic to calculus, chemistry, and physics. After winning a Microsoft Tech Award in education in 2009 Khan quit the analyst role and went “all in” with “Khan Academy”.

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Influencers and advocates–where does the adTech or marTech fit in?

“Influencer Marketing” appeared to be developing traction in 2013 with Tapfluence (connecting bloggers with advertisers) raising a Series B and Traackr extending reach to Hispanic-American audience for US advertisers by adding support for Spanish.

Since then IRM or Influencer Relationship Management is at risk of becoming a thing…

Social engagement with influencers even has a “ladder”:

Social engagement with influencers

But, I must admit, I still feel uncertain using the term “influencer” as it can mean many different things to different people.

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LUMAscapes for the digital media economy

I’m finding these “LUMAscapes” really useful as a quick overview and reference tool for various aspects of digital media.


Some of my favourites/most referenced “landscapes” for Display Ad Tech, Content and Native Ad Marketing and Marketing Technology are embedded below.

Also embedded at the end of this post is Luma’s “State of the State in Digital Media” for 2015.

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So what is FinTech anyway?

The definition from the “book of knowledge”:

Financial technology, also known as FinTech, is a line of business based on using software to provide financial services. Financial technology companies are generally startups founded with the purpose of disrupting incumbent financial systems and corporations that rely less on software

In 2014 UKTI was bullish about FinTech:

The UK is fast becoming the destination of choice for any fintech company. The UK government is committed to supporting fintech companies. About 1.1 million people work in financial services in the UK, with two thirds of those employed outside London. Start-ups or early stage companies can also benefit from setting up in the UK. Tech City (London) attracted more than 15,000 new companies in the year to April 2013.

The 2015 Budget embraced FinTech:


…whilst at the same time the US tech press was considering the FinTech “bubble” following the “Unicorn” Wonga’s £1.6 billion + valuation.

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Circa, structured but dull journalism?

I really liked the concept of Circa from a number of different angles.

I liked the structured approach to each story, the ability to follow and receive notifications when parts of a story were updated, the provenance of all elements within a story linking to the many points of view from different journalists and publications within the same story and the future potential to build your own stories on top of the Circa technical platform and summarised content.

Lego by Leonardo Melo

Circa showed potential, heralded the “future of news”, was loved by many, received many post mortems, but at the end of the day what “killed” Circa and what essence of Circa lives on?

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Preparing and delivering the perfect pitch, now, that’s a “Unicorn”…

A quick Google search for how to “pitch a VC” will yield plenty of links to advice, mistakes, secrets, tips, guides, lessons, examples, videos and so on that can eat away at your time whilst also being a source to inspire, confuse and contradict.


The HBO series “Silicon Valley” TV series sums up a number of approaches to pitching in a nice 2 min parody of TechCrunch Disrupt.

To me, pitching is a fluid thing, there is no “perfect pitch”: no perfect deck; no preferred approach; no killer elevation pitch. Pitches are contextual; an Angel or seed round is different to a Series B, a pitch for user acquisition funding is different to a pitch for scaling up product sales, a pitch at a startup event is different to a pitch in an enterprise.

Everybody has their own preferred approaches whatever side of the funding fence they are on and I’m pretty sure that there is no magic formula that has been followed by “Unicorns of Tech”.

Most pitch advice is related to early stage where the need to quickly articulate the problem, solution, market, team and potential revenue is the main focus and then there are gems like this from Reid Hoffman re: LinkedIn Series B.

Below is timeline of resources that I have personally found interesting. From this curated goal there are tips, how to’s, things to cover, mistakes to avoid, contradictions, and even a 5 week Coursera course.

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