Recommendations, word of mouth and the stuff we love to talk about.

Since I read Dave Boulter’s Word of Mouth Manual Vol. II (see here) I’ve been thinking about recommendations. Dave says that each of us has a Top 40 list of things that we’re just keen as a bean to recommend to our friends. And breaking into that list is a marketer’s idea of Nirvana (the place, not the band, you understand). The trouble is, it’s constantly changing. We humans are fickle, and our attention spans are getting shorter by the day. So that Top 40 is built on shifting sands, buffeted by the winds of fad and fashion. So what’s in my Top 40? I’ve spent some time thinking about this over the last few weeks, and have come up with the answer. But don’t worry – it’s not 40. I can’t even think of 40 things without getting bored, distracted or frustrated. So here’s my Top 10 – in no particular order.
  • Phone: Nokia N73. It’s small, easy to use, and has a 3.2 megapixel camera that takes great photos (Don’t believe me? Check out my personal photoblog).
  • Blogs: there are two I read regularly and wouldn’t be without. For great copywriting tips, check out Copyblogger. And for tell-it-like-it-is marketing know-how, try Seth Godin.
  • Business book: what do you mean, you haven’t read The Tipping Point? Malcolm Gladwell’s book launched a thousand me-toos, but the original is still the best.
  • Non-business book. Heading off on holiday? Make sure you take The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society with you. It’s a quirky and amusing book (with a tragic real-life story behind it).
  • RSS reader: for ages, I just couldn’t see the point of RSS readers. Yes, they aggregated feeds in one place – but you still had to remember to go to that one place. Then a friend recommended Newsgator Inbox, a nifty program that’s installed inside Outlook. Cue RSS heaven. (And it’s free, by the way.)
  • Mobile browser: for browser heaven on your phone, there’s nothing better than Opera Mini. It even synchronizes with the full version on your PC, so there’s no duplication. Pure bliss. (Make sure to check out the shortcuts on the Opera site – and the ones the forgot to document here.)
  • Mobile phone provider: sorry, but this is a UK-specific recommendation. 3 (at are offering  free SIM cards, with free texts, free Skype-to-Skype calls, and 150MB free internet usage. Not bad for £5 every three months.
  • Firefox add-on: if I could have just one add-on in Firefox, it would have to be the the wonderful FireGestures.  It makes navigation a breeze, and if you’re a closet techie, you can even customise your own shortcuts.
  • Time-saving tip: learn to type – with all fingers, and without looking at the keyboard. It’s called touch-typing, and it’ll transform your life. (It did mine.)
So there we have it. My Top 10. What do you mean it’s only nine? Oh yes. You’re right. Well number 10 was going to be this great little place deep in the heart of France. It’s an old cottage by a lake, five minutes’ walk from a town untouched by modern life. The ancient bell of a Romanesque church counts off the hours as the locals go about their business in an unhurried way. Rolling hills stretch out under powder-blue skies as another long, lazy day begins. Can you see it yet? It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax. Totally undiscovered. And I want it to stay that way. I’m sure you understand.