Thursday, 15 November 2012

Potato Washing Monkeys

Researchers in Japan in the fifties observed that a few monkeys on the island of Koshima, with a taste for sweet potatoes, began taking the mud-caked delicacies they excavated down to the sea to wash before eating. The researchers then observed this custom spread quickly among the monkey population of Koshima and soon to neighbouring islands.

This research was popularized by various writers in the seventies and eighties, including Rupert Sheldrake who saw it as evidence of his theory of morphic rensonance. This he described in his book The New Science of Life as ‘the basis of memory in nature… the idea of mysterious telepathy-like interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species’. An idea similar in many respects to Jung’s “Collective Unconscious”.

Personally, I’m a believer – especially in light of our recent software development experience.

About six months ago, our technology director and I were kicking some ideas around and became very excited about developing a mobile app for exhibitor lead retrieval. Using their mobile phones, exhibitors at events would capture information about attendees who dropped by their stand simply by scanning a QR code on the visitors’ badge. No more charging scanning devices, renting them out, collecting them at the close of the event and downloading data.

Great idea.

We proceeded to design a slick and sophisticated mobile app to run on both i-phones and android devices and oversaw the development of this app alongside a myriad of other tasks.

Finally, the app is ready to launch. We are still excited, but we also note that in the intervening six months, a number of other apps have appeared on the market that do a similar job to ours.

There are both negatives and positives here. On the minus side, we have a lot of competition (though we would like to think that our app has several advantages over those of most of our competitors – such as being multi-lingual and providing automatic synchronization with our registration server).

On the plus side, we feel our vision has been fully vindicated. Without sharing our ideas with others or gleaning theirs from them, we are somehow fully attuned to the direction in which the market is heading.

In short, we are washing our potatoes along with all those other monkeys!  

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Inspiration from the Departure Lounge?

LCD screen showing newly scheduled appointments on a rotating loop

A TV screen in an airport departure lounge makes pretty dull reading. Unless of course, you are waiting for information about your flight and then you can’t take your eyes off it.

Perhaps this was a source of inspiration to Elite, a UK-based international careers firm, who organize career fairs with a difference.

How different? First, their career fairs generally take place in distant lands and their event web-sites and communications with participants are in a foreign language. Second, at many of their events, pre-screened candidates engage in face-to-face interviews with hiring companies and contractual arrangements for employment can take place there and then. Third, they use technology brilliantly.

Elite’s whole process can be summed up in one word. Smooth.

The technology behind their process is supplied by us, Delegate Select. If you want to do things differently at your events and are looking for a supplier that can make this happen, drop us a message!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Old Cars and New Websites

Old vs. New

Websites are a lot like cars. No, I’m not talking four wheels and an engine, but rather style and fashion.

We might love our car. We’ve been driving it for quite a number of years. It still runs great, sails through its annual health check and gets us from A to B no problem. In short, it’s entirely fit for purpose.... well, almost.

It’s just that over time it’s become, um, a little dated. Somehow, fashions have changed and our car, once a smart shiny eye-catcher, no longer looks the business. We still drive it happily, but are increasingly conscious of other vehicles on the road with their youthful good looks and smooth contoured bodies. Our eyes are involuntarily drawn to their number plates: BG12, RH60, ER11, KL61... Our FV51 is now a decade away from the action. If the scrappage scheme was still going, our little runner would be a prime candidate.

Websites date in a similar way. It’s as if there is an unwritten consensus of what a modern website should look like. Just as cars benefit from new technologies that reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, websites have their own champions with names like Ajax, JQuery and XML. Add to these technologies the proliferation of some excellent design templates and such powerful content management systems (CMS) as Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla and Expression Engine, and it’s no surprise that one finds a certain conformity out there.

So, the time has come for Delegate Select to shed the old website that has served so well over the years and build something new. With the recent addition of a talented and creative young designer to our team, we decided not to go the CMS route but opted for an original hand-crafted product. We think it looks modern and distinctive, communicates the scope and strength of our offering, yet remains true to our core mission – the unyielding desire to provide our customers with a bespoke service at an off-the-shelf price or, using our car analogy, the quality of a BMW with custom trim at the price of a sub-compact.

We hope you like the result!