Mobile …and then some

Published on 15 July 2011 by in blog


From our work with W+K to devise and produce the Nokia Pitch ‘n’ Win competition and event in Birmingham to being invited to talk at the Cross Video Days conference at the Stade De France, Paris, we’ve been highly mobile in more ways than one.


The Paris event was an interesting one. If anyone has a spare hour or so to kill, then feel free to check out the video of the Public Policies for Digital Production Funding panel, (Yeah …I know. Don’t think the server is in too much danger of crashing from an ensuing mad rush to view).

Following the panel talk, I was asked by the organisers to offer one-to-one mentoring advice for businesses from across Europe pitching transmedia projects at the event. Although I still squirm a little at that ‘transmedia’ word – purely because, like ‘gameification’, it is so overused these days – there were some great projects discussed here… and some that Teebster will be looking to help launch in the UK, (watch this space on that one). Some really terrific international documentary projects with a strong cross-platform element that are right up our street.

Likewise, the Nokia pitching event was a resounding success. We’ve been involved in running a hell of a lot of panels and pitches and competitive funding bids over the years and it’s often the case that you end up congratulating the runners-up for strong entries but you know, in your heart of hearts, that there was only ever one clear winner. But in this case there was a genuinely impressive field of entries and the panel had a tough choice picking just one winner … so much so that they actually picked two on the day. As for the other entrants and the overall project, I’m delighted to say that W+K have maintained our services to continue working on the Nokia Developer Engagement programme nationally, part of which will involve continuing to build on the relationships with all who pitched at the Birmingham event.

So the month ahead looks like another busy one for me personally and for Teebster. Lots more work to do with Nokia, planning for a major relaunch of Game Central and also an exciting new project of our own. Broadly speaking, it’s all about what we call ‘Social Cinema’ and the project is called FlixFixer. But more on that next month 😉


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£25k mobile app development funding

Published on 09 June 2011 by in blog


Nokia announces £25k development funding and support through Pitch ‘n’ Win Birmingham event

Mobile app developers and creative businesses throughout the Midlands are being invited to apply for a unique one day workshop with Nokia and top international creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy, for a chance to win £25,000 to develop a new mobile app for Nokia’s Ovi store.

The workshop, set to take place in Birmingham on 30th June, will include support from key Nokia personnel and marketing pointers from Wieden + Kennedy. One winning attendee will receive £25,000 to have their app idea brought to life, with further marketing support from Nokia’s Ovi Store and Wieden + Kennedy.

The Challenge
Whilst there have never been more opportunities for developers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get noticed on app stores with anything up to 500,000+ applications. Nokia has designed Pitch ‘n’ Win in recognition of development costs and a need for developers to benefit from platform support and increased visibility.

The Opportunity
With over 5 million downloads per day, a user-base of over 225 million Nokia Symbian mobiles, and 75 million touch screen smartphones in the market today- the Ovi Store presents great opportunities for developers. More than 158 developers in 41 territories have already earned more than 1 million downloads for their apps. Although Nokia has announced a switch to Windows Mobile operating system in 2012, it’s committed to shipping 150 million more Symbian devices, and developing the Symbian platform until at least 2016.

Announcing the scheme, Nokia’s Keith Varty said: “With a package including development funding and platform support, Pitch ‘n’ Win is the smart developer’s route into the smartphone market.”

How to Apply
Approximately 8-10 developers and creative businesses will be chosen to attend the one day workshop following a simple online application process, with applicants outlining their app idea and brief details of the team behind it. Deadline for applications is 17th June and invitations to attend the workshop will be issued to successful companies on 22nd June. To download a copy of the full brief and to apply online, please visit


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Breaking the retrospective habit

Published on 04 June 2011 by in blog


At a recent visit to the British Library’s excellent Out Of This World Sci Fi exhibition, the real stand-out piece for me was an audio recording of H.G. Wells, talking in the early 30’s, about the need for ‘professors and faculties of foresight’. He was talking specifically about how the world had seemed to him to be entirely unprepared for the impact of the motor car, yet all of its effects and consequences on our society were entirely predictable – from issues around city planning to impact on hospitals through road accidents or the issues for the police when robberies can be committed in Brighton in the morning, with the thieves having lunch in London that afternoon.

This really resonated with me – especially in the same week that the Ryan Giggs privacy issue illustrated once again how our media, judiciary and legislative bodies are struggling to keep up with the implications of new technologies, (specifically twitter, in that case). But, really, there are examples of this everywhere – from media and content rights holders desperately trying to cling on to defunct business models to education establishments still teaching according to 19th century classroom practices.

I later found this brilliant piece from HG Wells, written for the New York Times as far back as 1913, in which he asks:

“Though foresight creeps into our politics and a reference to consequence into our morality, it is still the past that dominates our lives. But why? Why are we so bound to it?”

He describes this clinging to the past as ‘the retrospective habit’. It’s a brilliant piece, and its contemporary relevance explodes the myth that our struggle to adapt to technological change is at all connected with the current pace of that change. Wells suggests that it actually goes much deeper than that – that it is something encoded within our very natures:

“Man has acquired the habit of going to the past because it was the line of least resistance for his mind. While a certain variable portion of the past is of serviceable matter for knowledge in the case of every one, the future is, to a mind without imagination trained in scientific habits of thought, non-existent. All our minds are made of memories … but the imagination, unless it is strengthened by a very sound training in the laws of causation, wanders like a lost child in the blankness of things to come and returns empty….. it is our ignorance of the future and our persuasion that that ignorance is absolutely incurable that alone gives the past its enormous predominance in our thoughts”.

So what we’re looking at here is not a world where technology is moving too fast and is out-of-control, (which is very much how twitter was portrayed in the Ryan Giggs case), but one where a certain amount of re-education and rewiring of ourselves is required to make better sense of the world we live in … today and tomorrow.

And for what that world looks like, let’s turn to Wells again – this time writing in his 1932 essay, ‘Wanted: Professors of Foresight”…

“Tonight we are confronted with two facts, one bad and one good; the first, which has only been hinted at, that acts of war have become hideously immediate and far reaching; and the second that the whole round world can be brought together into one brotherhood, into one communion, one close-knit freely communicating citizenship, far more easily today, than was possible with even such a little country as England a century ago.”

Of course, these two facts are even more true today than they were 80-odd years ago. Let’s hope we’re not still remarking on how little has changed 80 years from now.

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