Water Changes Everything

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet | Posted on 24-04-2011


One billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. But working in the water sector, it sometimes feels like less than one in eight people even realize the world is living a water crisis right now.

To address this, my team at charity: water enlisted the awesome animator Jonathan Jarvis to produce alongside us a brief, entertaining video that can explain the breadth of the water issue in a few short minutes. We were also lucky to have the support of a great friend of charity: water, actress Kristen Bell as narrator.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video on how Water Changes Everything – and if you love it, share it anywhere you can!

We launched this a few days ago and are nearing 100,000 views thanks to great support on Twitter from the likes of Jamie Oliver, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Twitter itself. Will Smith shared it with his 16 million Facebook fans, and some of the top tech blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable also posted the video.

And if I can make one ask of YOU – I would love nothing more for you to share this video on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or even via email! Every view counts as we battle to tell the world about the one billion people living without life’s most essential need.

Check out Bnter

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Humour, Internet | Posted on 05-04-2011


Take 5 minutes in your lunch break today to check out Bnter – a new social site created to curate and share interesting conversations.

It looks a little something like this:

Sign up. Follow some people (follow me!). Have a laugh. Add your own.

I’m an early user, and a fan, of the site. Founded by Lauren Leto here in NYC it has some serious brains behind it, and a small but loyal (and growing) following. Bnter right now reminds me of Twitter back when having 100 followers was a HUGE deal.

Google, Obama & the Power of Data

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, Internet | Posted on 03-04-2011


All hail the power of data.

Today’s Politico email shared a great anecdote fromĀ “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives” by Steven Levy:

“Google was Obama territory [during the campaign], and vice versa. With its focus on speed, scale, and above all data, Google had identified and exploited the key ingredients for thinking and thriving in the Internet era. Barack Obama seemed to have integrated those concepts in his own approach to problem solving. Naturally, Googlers were excited to see what would happen when their successful methods were applied to Washington, D.C. They were optimistic that the Google worldview could prevail outside the Mountain View bubble. … [A]nyone visiting the Google campus during the election year could not miss a fervid swell of Obama-love. While some commentators wrung hands over the Spock-like nature of the senator’s personality, Googlers swooned over the dispassionate, reason-based approach he took to problem solving. … ‘It’s a selection bias,’ says Eric Schmidt of the unofficial choice of most of his employees. ‘The people here all have been selected very carefully, so obviously there’s going to be some prejudice in favor of a set of characteristics – highly educated, analytic, thoughtful, communicates well.’ …

“[O]ne of the company’s brightest young product managers, Dan Siroker [the Chrome browser], … got permission to take a few weeks off. … At [Obama] campaign headquarters in Chicago, Siroker began looking at the web efforts to recruit volunteers and solicit donations. … [H]e returned to Google to help launch Chrome. But over the July 4 weekend, he went back to Chicago to visit the friends he’d met on the campaign. Barack Obama walked through headquarters, and Siroker was introduced to him. He told the senator he was visiting from Google. Obama smiled. ‘I’ve been saying around here that we need a little more Google integration.’ That exchange with the candidate was enough to change Siroker’s course once more. Back in Mountain View, he told his bosses he was leaving for good. He became the chief analytics officer of the Obama campaign. …

Just as Google ran endless experiments to find happy users, Siroker and his team used Google’s Website Optimizer [tool for testing site content] to run experiments to find happy contributors. The conventional wisdom had been to cadge donations by artful or emotional pitches, to engage people’s idealism or politics. Siroker ran a lot of A/B tests and found that by far the success came when you offered some sort of swag; a T-shirt or a coffee mug. Some of his more surprising tests came in figuring out what to put on the splash page, the one that greeted visitors when they went to Obama2008.com. Of four alternatives tested, the picture of Obama’s family drew the most clicks.

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