Things I Learned This Week #5

1. The Internet bandwidth used by schools nationally is doubling every 18 months

This information snippet was included in a presentation on the National Education Network by Greg Hill, the Deputy Chair. So it seems that Moore’s Law is alive and well in schools too. What it made me wonder is how you allow for that if you’re negotiating a long-term ISP deal with your local authority, Regional Broadband Consortium, or another ISP. You need to make sure your bandwidth cost isn’t fixed for three years!

I also did some quick maths – if you’re currently using 25MB, then you’ll be needing 25Mb x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 200MB in 6 year’s time.

2. Bass was the first 'brand’ (they started to stamp a red triangle on each cask of ale)

I learnt this during a planning workshop I attended, where I was helping another team think about plans for the next year. It was at the offices of one of the big marketing agencies, and although there was a lot of internal things I can’t share, there was an interesting interlude where one of the advertising agency people talked about the “Three Ages of Brand”, which I hadn’t heard before:

  1. The age of trust
  2. The age of aspiration
  3. The age of 'ideas to live by'

The interesting point about this is that the third age means that people are looking for a brand to reflect a clear ideology (something unique, that they can believe in), which tells a simple story, and where the brand actually “walks the talk”. And why do I think it’s interesting to you? Well, what does your school website say about your school brand? I know many of you will be involved in working on your own school’s website – and thinking about “ideas to live by” might well influence how you tell your school’s story on your own website.

3. The Guardian is very popular in the US

Apparently, more people read the Guardian online in the US than have ever read the paper in print in the UK – even at the peak of paper distribution.

4. Hotmail blocks 5.5 billion spam messages a day

Spam fighting is an on-going battle, with the ISPs and email providers fighting against spam producers. The Hotmail team shared some of the story of spam fighting on the Windows Team blog. One of the other interesting statistics is that Hotmail now deals with 8 billion emails a day – of which nearly 70% is spam – and of the spam they block 98% before it reaches your inbox.

5. 32 million people use the Government Gateway

Government Gateway is an identity system which allows government organisations in the UK to allow individuals to complete transactions online with the government

6. “Businesses of tomorrow will be built in the dorm room, not the boardroom”

This quote (which I couldn’t find an online source for) was used at a meeting this week, in the context of some of the start-up businesses that have turned into international sensations over the last decade. The most obvious example is Facebook, which was literally created in a dorm at Harvard, but I think there are many other examples of technology businesses where all the trappings of business come along after the business has been created. Because for entrepreneurial students today, it is possible for them to create a business from a good idea – and the skills and enthusiasm to make it happen.  Today’s students are going to arrive in a world that’s completely different from the last generation.

7. Using the Internet re-wires our brains

And not always in good ways. Wired’s article “The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains” might make you think.

8. According to Mashable, Microsoft has the most “social employees”

NetProspex ranked the top 50 organisations for the social network usage of their employees and Microsoft ended up at the top. It’s an interesting methodology, and I’m not sure if the results mean much, but it does match up with what I see inside the business – thousands of bloggers and tweeters, including hundreds in the UK, who tell their own stories. I’ll let you decide your own conclusions.

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