Idealpeople Blog: September 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Employer Branding - Simple Tips

Idealpeople are evangelical about Employer Branding (AKA Recruitment Branding). We help businesses who don't know why or how to get it right, and we have been fortunate enough to work with worldwide winners who are already doing it right. It's this combined learning and advisory experience which has helped us to develop pretty hot skills in the whole subject area.

So, here are our first in a series of several tips, targetting employers who lack the time or resources to undertake a large scale, multi-channel recruitment branding excersise.

Do you actually know WHY people joined your firm, despite countless offers from your competition at the time of joining up?
How about what makes them STAY despite the stress, the grind of commuting, long hours, headhunter calls....?

What makes employer branding different to product branding (or your other related marketing/corporate literature) is that it's about something much more intangible, dynamic, and harder to fathom. Yep - That'll be Your People. Positioning your company as an employer of choice in the context of this global war for talent is absolutely key to get right if you want to compete. Seriously.

Recruitment Branding (Employer Branding) is hard to initiate, manage and develop, as very often, HR, Line Managers, Board Directors are "too busy to contribute" to what they may see as pointless, cheezy, or unrelated to core business activity.

What's everybody else doing?
The purpose of this is not to plagarise. Employer Brand should be an individual thing, and it's important that you don't just steal the good bits of someone elses external PR. If you do, you will have loads of people happily sign up contracts of employment and then quickly leave as they discover your 'commitment to personal development and training' brand-bite, actually means that you get to sit next to someone more senior than you who just says "watch me do this, and don't let me have to explain it twice" There's loads of training, but it's all on the job - our external budget was shot in 2002..."

Start With Your Starters
When you next hire someone, for any post - ask them WHY they joined your business rather than another.
You may think you know, but the chances are you will be surprised. Make sure this information is documented, and refreshed every time you have a new starter.

Get the Story from the Staff
Ask your existing staff the same question. Identify what it was that they identified with, whether it was about company mission, values, people, tech stack, whatever. Again, I can garuantee that it was nothing to do with your Marketing Brochures, and probably very little to do with the Coffee they had at the interview, your big logo stuck to the side of the building, and very often, not even the money that sealed the deal. Make it a priority to find out why they stay with you (Especially the long serving/suffering - the 'lifers', if you have any who have been constant performers or resilient to change. Once you know why your current staff joined and stay, document, and keep.

Surprisingly, so few businesses make the time to do this. Aside from providing you with a very basic/simplistic overview of the qualities you aleready have which make you desirable as an employer, this will also make the staff feel involved. Involvement is key to staff engagement, motivation... or so a wise HR pro' once told me. So, before you ask them, explain the purpose of your questioning.

Explain that you are trying to take some steps to refresh the image of the company to prospective employees in order that you can continue to hire people as talented and brilliant as those you already have. This garuantees to make them feel all warm and cosy inside, and they will then (over 10 mins or so) be able to give you tangible reasons for them being happily stuck with you. Patterns will emerge.

Stay tuned for further actionable ideas on how to take your company forward through employer branding.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Sad Demise of an old Foe

We were saddened to hear the news this week that Veritas-IT ( have gone into administration.

Whilst they were a technology recruitment firm based not too far from us, we haven't ever really considered them to be a competitor, although in many senses they weren't too dissimilar to us in terms of the types of companies they were looking to work with. It came as something of a shock to us that they had gone under.

This might, to the casual observer, sound like pretty uninteresting news. However, the ramifications of any recruitment business going under are far-reaching: particularly so when, like Veritas, a lot of your business is Contract business.

As a bit of background to non-industry readers, Contract IT recruitment is big business, and it works a little like this. Technology companies often have need to hire someone to work on a particular project for a relatively short time. This normally happens when they win a new project themselves, but don't have the internal skill resource to do the work. The solution is to hire a contractor, pay them a daily (or hourly) rate for a fixed period, and then - when the project is complete - not have trouble getting that person off the payroll. Agencies supply these contractors, and pay them for the work completed on the back of timesheets submitted. The agency will then invoice the company in question, by adding their charge onto the money owed to the contractor.

So, when a company like Veritas - who had hundreds of contractors working for them on various client sites, do go out of business, the major problem is that, generally, contractors are owed money. According to some who have been commenting on Contractor UK's bulletin board, some in this particular instance are owed as much as £10,000. What we've seen in other recruitment companies going bust is that most of those with money outstanding will be lucky to ever see even half of what they're owed - a truly sad situation. The problem for many is that, ultimately, they'll be treated as unsecured creditors, who are well down the liquidators' list when it comes to paying the debt they are owed (behind the liquidators' own fees, the staff and the secured creditors - i.e the banks). We have heard some horror stories down the years, and we cross our fingers that we don't hear any more in the fall-out of this.

According to this, Veritas were a £14million turnover business at the start of the year. They moved into new (bigger) offices, and went on a recruitment drive internally. This was, it appears, in spite of losing over £750K in 2006 (see here), and making an acquisition (also see here). Whilst outwardly they seemed a successful company, inwardly they were losing money, working to unmanageable margins and, unfortunately, it's the contractors who are set to lose out the most.

Veritas aren't the first and won't be the last recruitment company to go out of business, but it does beg a question - as a contractor, what steps can you take to stop this from happening to you?

There is a real need to check out the financial stability of the agency who are going to be responsible for paying you. Companies House is a good start, and cheap financial information can be easily and quickly obtained from UK Data Ltd ( or from Dunn & Bradstreet ( You don't need to be an accounting expert to understand these reports, and it's well worth the investment before you sign anything. If a bank were to lend a company money, they'd be doing their homework - it's imperative that you protect yourself the best you can.

Of course, to all those candidates looking for a permanent job, none of this is relevant - an agency going bust won't affect your chances of getting a new job.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Recruiters Never Respond to Job Applications!

Searching the web the other day, we came across the following feedback regarding one particular Recruitment company:

As usual, I had no acknowledgement and no contact. I doubt that the job advertised even exists. Recruitment consultants are pond life and even lower in the food chain than estate agents. It is unprofessional to not even acknowledge applications.

I have heard nothing from them as yet, after 2 weeks. I have left a phone message and still heard nothing. The feedback, so far, is negative purely because they have made no contact to date.

Useless, no contact, no continuity, wouldn't bother with them.

Who are they talking about? Say it quietly, but they're talking about us.

These quotes come from a service offered to candidates who apply for jobs via one of the major job-boards in the UK. It's a chance for them to give their feedback on various aspects of services offered to them by particular agencies.

To be fair to us, most of our feedback is positive, and all of our negative feedback comes from candidates who never had a response from job applications. Generally, it seems, candidates who never receive a response are particularly cutting. Calling us pondlife because no response was received is pretty harsh, as is calling us useless.

So what can we learn from this? Firstly, we can draw the conclusion that not receiving a response to a job application is a serious gripe that most candidates have with recruitment companies.

We take feedback very seriously, and we've thought about our policy towards job applications many, many times. The first thing we have to point out is that, as much as we'd like to, it's impossible to send a personal response to every single applicant we hear from. Our consultants frequently receive in excess of 100 applications per day, many from people whose backgrounds don't match the advert at all. Given that it takes about 15 minutes to assess an application, and write a personal e-mail outlining exactly why the candidate has, on this occassion, been unsuccesful, it would take 1500 minutes - or 25 hours - to respond to them all. Despite the long hours we work, we don't have the ability to change the number of hours in any given day. We have in the past tried to reply to as many as possible. You might notice as well that we're one of the few recruiters out there who encourage phone calls and publish direct lines in our adverts.

Despite this, there are in theory a couple of actions we could take in order to ensure that all applicants receive a response - and therefore eliminate this "no response/no feedback" issue. For instance:

- We could set up an "autoreply": every time an applicant applies for a job they receive a non-personal response saying something along the lines of Dear candidate, thanks for applying, if you haven't heard from us within X number of days then you've been unsucessful.
- We could make it clear in job advertisements that if you hear nothing then you've been unsuccesful.

The reason we've never done this is quite straightforward: what would it achieve?

The really frustrating element of not getting any feedback is the fact that you don't know why your profile wasn't selected. If you receive an automated response, would you feel any happier? Would that give a reason to leave positive feedback? In all likelihood, frustration would stem from the fact that all you got was an automated response rather than anything personal, and you'd still have a negative experience.

Anyway, given that we care about our candidates service an awful lot, we'd like to throw a question out there. What can we do about this? What would candidates and potential candidates like to see us doing?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why is it so hard to get a job in the Games Industry?

It's well known throughout the technology world that the games industry is an especially difficult career path to take. For the statisically-minded amongst you, a brief piece of research we've done using one of the major on-line job boards suggests that whilst there's 310 jobs currently being advertised with the word "games" in the title, there's also some 8800 candidates interested in a job in Games. That's some 30 potential candidates per position, on just one of the major job boards.

An e-mail we've had from one jobseeker in the Games industry has shed some light on just what it's like to be a jobseeker in the unfortunate situation of looking for a job in Games. Here's the bulk of it:

Sometimes companies think the work's not up to scratch, but I find that difficult to believe after applying for a CG Generalist's position in acommercials studio in Toronto and being offered freelance work by the owner. The only reason I didn't take it was I lacked the 2 yrs. production experience neccesary to go over to Canada to work.

I'm not perfect, but I am employable.

Then there's nepotism. A Trainee Artist's position in an Architect's studio I chased for weeks came to an end when the recruitng agency told me in a depressed tone that the owner ended up hiring someone he already knew over somenone he didn't, wasting everyone else's time in the process.

A brick over the head is the only response to such moronic behaviour.

Once you're done with that, there's the classic, "Your work's great, but we're looking for someone with commercial experience." To which you reply," How I am going to get any experience unless someone gives me a job?" This happened today when I applied to an events agency which wanted an arm and a leg in terms of skills for a 3D Designer's position.

And I had them, but not the commercial experience to get the job.

And finally, the worst scenario of all. Someone more experienced than you gets the job. I applied for a Graphic Technician's job in an automotive company applying texture maps to basic moulds (easy peasy and full time with a very good salary) but lost out to a guy after my interview with slighty more experience than myself.

Plain bad luck.

Sometimes, the powers that be can be finicky, fussy, corrupt, and just plain unfair.

But there is a plus to this. I'm starting work next week as a Matchmove Artist on a short Horror film for 3 weeks. At the same time- job hunting.

So things are happening. Just painfully and slowly.

I do need a job- right now and in 3 weeks time. £55 a week not being enough to live on whilst on the dole.

I am employable, I am skilled and I am getting work.

Lady luck I think, just needs to wave her magic wand.

It's our guess that almost anyone who has been in the situation of trying to "break" into an industry that they really, really want to work in has been faced with similar problems. So what advice can we give? Well, we can't wave the magic wand that appears to be needed, but we can suggest the following:

1) Get your showreel (or portfolio, or even your CV for non-graphical/art-based positions) on-line. Savvy recruiters, the ones being bombarded by the same candidates via the jobsites over and over again, will find it. It also means that you can get examples of your work over to potential employers quickly. Publicise your showreel, even do some SEO work on it.

2) For would-be animators out there, think carefully about the content of your showreel. Feedback from the industry suggests that companies are interested in Animation examples which are harder to pull off, such as lifting/pushing heavy objects and realistic walk & run cycles. Try and keep examples to things which show animation as close to real life as possible.

3) Work Experience. Even getting work experience can be tricky, but it's such a powerful tool that it's worth writing to every potential employer and asking to do some voluntary work.

4) Personal projects: Keep working, keep creating and publicise your work as much as possible.

5) Think outside of the box. Don't rely on the on-line job-boards to get you a new position: this is the most obvious job-hunting tool available, so if it's all you're using, then it's probably what everyone is using as their first port-of-call. Don't assume that companies won't hire you because the job pages on their site are empty.

We have a specialist Games division over here at Idealpeople, so feel free to get in touch with any specfic queries or requests for advice. Happy hunting!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Meet the Candidate: Change Management and Software Development Management

Welcome to part two of our User-Generated Content. Today, we’re hearing the views of a candidate, Ed, whose primary background is in Software Development / Software R & D Management as well as Operations / General Management for technology companies. Hi particular expertise is in leading change and transforming the capability and productivity of the teams he’s been responsible for. His exposure to technology includes Conditional Access Software, PCs, Peripherals and Storage Software. He’s been directly responsible for strategic leadership, change management and thought leadership, and his management efforts have been at the heart of some great success stories – with one former employer improving market share from 3% to 35% as a result of the software produced under his management. Now seeking new permanent employment, we invited Ed to write an article for us on the complexities of Change Management within Software Development, and here’s what he had to say.

“Organisational Change takes longer than you think” but don’t get depressed.

The biggest mistake made by any beginner trying to lead their first organisational change is to underestimate the time taken to complete the change. Just attempting organisational change means you are probably a skilled and experienced operator in your field. You recognise that there is a problem, you believe you know what needs to be done and you believe you have the capability to do it. So finding out that you underestimated the time needed to make the change by a factor of 2 or 3 can be devastating to your career and personal esteem.

The kind of change I’m talking about is adopting a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system like SAP, adopting a new product lifecycle or project management process or introducing defect or change management. Often these changes will be accompanied by a new Computer System, and the second biggest mistake, after underestimating the time the project will take, is to assume that the majority of the change is the new system rollout.

Often you will be under intense management pressure to make the change and improvement quickly. So like a good leader and manager of change you turn to MS Project and create a project plan for the implementation of the change. This is where the rot starts to set in. It is always possible to map out the change like a project and demonstrate that it can be completed in maybe 6 to 12 months. WHAM your boss has a plan, your commitment and the worst months of your professional life, so far, start here.

OK so you think you are a good project manager and you’re not going to fall into this trap. Well the truth is that most project plans get their accuracy from the ability of the PM to compare the individual tasks to ones that the same teams have done before, and the big problem is that, by definition, you never made any of these organisational changes before. So until you have completed three or four organisational changes you won’t have a good feel for how long the tasks take.

The truth is that in a sizeable organisation changes like the ones I have described above take 2 to 3 years to make. Here comes the tirade……….. “Our market moves too quickly”, “We can’t dedicate people to process work for that long”, “We just don’t have time”, “Our business cycle is 4 months, 3 years is 12 business cycles”. In any modern industry which is going places, some or all of the above are true. So below you will find some pointers to help square this circle.

1. Understand the reasons for change. Are they idealistic or operational?
An idealistic change such as “Our largest customer won’t buy from us any more unless we get ISO9001 certified” or “we need to move all production offshore” can require fundamental change in many areas of the business. Operational problems like “80% of our software releases require rework” are more likely to require several small operational changes. Both require a good understanding of what you do right now and what is considered best practice in similar businesses, but don’t approach operational problems with fundamental business change. Cumulative or persistent operational problems can identify a need for fundamental change, but it’s important to recognise the difference.

2. Don’t fix the parts that aren’t broken.
Make sure no ‘nice to haves’ or ‘pet projects’ make it into your change project. Markets aren’t dominated by nice to haves, and competition aren’t annihilated by pet projects.

3. Don’t be frightened of introducing the process before the system.
If the change needs a new IT system, introduce the new process using paper-based processes, Excel spreadsheets or existing systems with paper or Excel covering the cracks. This will iron out the new process and simplify the system requirement and design phases.

4. Getting the most out of your pilot.
Don’t be afraid of using the most urgent and deserving project as your pilot for the new processes. If the project is the one that really needs the organisation to work differently then it will help people to understand why they have to change what they do. Getting that understanding and support will drive a swift change. Don’t let system introduction delay this (see point 3). Systems add lots of risk. Processes that are well designed to meet the needs of a project should not add much risk to that project. Caveat: This is not the right approach for safety critical systems.

5. Take the people with you
New systems take a long time, but for many change projects the longest tasks will be “people do something different” ones. Involve affected groups from the start; listen to their input. Model the new process against what they do today. Package the required changes into understandable, justifiable and saleable chunks. Don’t compromise on time spent ensuring staff understand and agree with the change. Staff have to be both willing and able.

6. Process serves the business, not the other way round.
There are no prizes for uniformity. If one part of the business can work differently without damage to the business as a whole then let it.

If you follow these pointers you will get change started earlier, apply change where it’s needed, improve system design and get excellent buy-in from staff. One last point: You may find that the pilot works well, but you have trouble proliferating the change across other projects. If so you need to keep reviewing the reasons for change and the need for uniformity.

Change does take time, but don’t get depressed, find the best pragmatic route through the people, processes and systems, and you will be doing the best thing for the business as a whole.

If you agree with Ed and would like to find out more about his background, or would like to set up an interview with him, please contact us here.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

CV Tips Part One: Lose the Adjectives

Over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing you all some sensible strategies for putting together killer CVs.

CVs themselves are under a bit of fire at the moment - there’s an emerging school of thought that says that they are the worst way of selecting someone to hire (or even of distinguishing between candidates who should be interviewed and candidates who shouldn’t). This, in part at least, is down to the fact that pretty much everyone writes them in totally different ways: and a lot of people write really bad CVs.

Some great candidates write terrible CVs. Some weaker candidates write brilliant CVs. Love them or loathe them, for now at least they’re still the primary means for securing your dream future job and it’s vitally important to write a great CV if you are to get yourself to the interview ahead of the weaker candidate with the great CV.

The good news is that writing a great CV is relatively easy, provided you’re willing to follow a few simple steps.

Step One: Lose the Adjectives
It probably seems a little bit crazy, but one of the key principles of writing CVs is to use as few adjectives as possible.

A great CV, you see, is able to convey what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved and what you’re capable of. These three things are all completely and entirely measurable.

Adjectives mean description. Description means opinion. Opinion never won an argument.

Measured facts mean proof. Proof always wins arguments.

Consider the following:

I am a reliable, articulate, professional individual able to pick up new ideas and concepts quickly. I have significant ITIL expertise and a long background in delivering smooth change processes.

We see this a lot. What does it actually mean? It means the author thinks they are reliable, and that they think they are able to pick up new ideas and concepts. And it means that they think they are an ITIL expert.

Unfortunately, so do the other 400 applicants for this particular job.

Now consider the following.

In my last role, I managed the implementation of ITIL, saving the company over £10 million the following year.

Which is more impressive? Which of these statements stands out as being able to add value to a new employer? The £10 million candidate, or the articulate, reliable expert?

For all we know, the person writing the first statement might well have their company £20 million a year. But all the first person did was claim to be an expert. Indeed, for all we know, the first candidate might be just as good as the second candidate, yet the second will get interviewed long before the first purely on the basis that their CV is more compelling. And this is purely because it’s written from the point-of-view of fact and not opinion.

This is, of course, a simplistic example. However, if you go through your CV and try to take out every single adjective, you force yourself into talking about what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved and what you’re capable of in measurable terms.

And you’ll have a far, far more powerful CV.

Getting rid of adjectives isn’t easy. Even if you can’t physically take them all out, don’t despair: the practice of trying will force more measured detail, and less subjective statements.

Keep your eyes peeled for Step Two...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Where are all Those Great Developers?

This blog was supposed to be the first in our series of Book Reviews. The plan was, and still is, relatively simple: Read a book about Technology Recruiting or Technology itself and write a review.

However, the first book on our hitlist was so good that we haven't even got to the end yet and we still want to talk about it. Smart & Gets Things Done, by Joel Spolsky is a presentation of the Author's view on how to run a successful software company. Part of this is an interesting take on hiring Software Developers.

As a bit of background, Joel is the Founder of Fog Creek Software (, and the Author of a very popular blog on the Software Development Process ( He's been responsible for hiring many, many developers over the years, but is not and never has been a Recruiter.

Rather than tell you all about it, let's show you what he says in his own words (kind thanks to Joel and Julie at Apress for their permission to use this):

Where Are All Those Great Developers?

The first time you try to fill an open position, if you're like most people, you place some ads, maybe browse around the large online boards, and get a ton of resumes.

As you go through them, you think, "Hmm, this might work" or, "No way!", or, "I wonder if this person could be convinced to move to Buffalo." What doesn't happen, and I guarantee this, what never happens is that you say "Wow, this person is brilliant! We must have them!" In fact, you can go through thousands of resumes, assuming you know how to read resumes, which is not easy...but you can go through thousands of job applications and quite frankly never see a great software developer. Not a one.

Here is why this happens.

The great software developers, indeed the best people in every field, are quite simply never on the market.

The average great software developer will apply for, total, maybe, four jobs in their entire career.

The great college graduates get pulled into an internship by a professor with a connection to industry, then they get early offers from that company and never bother applying for other jobs. If they leave that company, it's often to go to a startup with a friend, or to follow a great boss to another company, or because they decided they really want to work on, say Eclipse, because Eclipse is cool, so they look for an Eclipse job at BEA or IBM and then of course they get it because they're brilliant.

If you're lucky, if you're really lucky, they show up on the job market once, when, say, their spouse decides to accept a medical internship in Anchorage and they actually send their resume out to what they think are the few places they'd like to work in Achorage.

But, for the most part, great developers are, uh, great, and, usually, prospective employers realise their greatness quickly, which means, basically, they get to work wherever they want, so they honestly don't send out a lot of resumes or apply for a lot of jobs. Does this sound like the kind of person you want to hire? It should.

The corollary of that rule - the rule that the great people are never on the market - is that the bad people - the seriosuly unqualified - are on the market quite a lot. They get fired all the time, because they can't do their job. Their companies fail - sometimes because any company that would hire them would also hire a lot of unqualified programmers, so it all adds up to failure - but sometimes because they actually are so unqualified that they runied the company. Yep, it happens.

These morbidly unqualified people rarely get jobs, thankfully, but they do keep applying, and when they apply, they go to an on-line job board and check off 300 or 1000 jobs at once trying to win the lottery.

Numerically, great people are pretty rare, and they're never on the job market, while incompetent people, even though they are just as rare, apply to thousands of jobs throughout their career. So now, Sparky, back to that big pile of resumes you've got. Is it any surprise that most of them are people you don't want to hire?

Astute readers, I expect, will point out that I'm leaving out the largest group yet: the solid, competent people. They're on the market more than the great people, but less that the incompetent, and all in all they will show up in small numbers in your 1000 resume pile, but for the most part, almost every hiring manager in Palo Alto right now with 1000 resumes on their desk has the exact same minority of 970 incompetent people that are applying for every job in Palo Alto, and probably will be for life, and only 30 resumes even worth considering, of which maybe, rarely, one is a great programmer. OK, maybe not even one.

It's clear to us that focussing your search purely on active candidates is an ineffective tool. And it's fantastic to find such a well reasoned explanation from someone at the sharp end of recruitment.

Readers interested in the title can find it here.

And we promise to post a full review soon...

Monday, September 3, 2007

"Meet the candidate" - Industry insight from the "Idealpeople"

Could Mobile Advertising go the same way as LBS?

We know a lot of people with exceptional levels of knowledge across a number of technical/industry areas. We figured that we could start sharing some of this knowledge with the wider public. With this in mind, welcome to the first instalment of our User Generated Content: an article written especially for us by a candidate whose experience encompasses stints developing and delivering technology marketing programmes for leading vendors in the Mobile Advertising and Location-Based Services space. Having developed and led product insertion strategies across Europe and been responsible for driving multi-million-pound revenues into the companies he's worked for, we felt he made a great opening guest author. Enjoy.

Where's my nearest Advert?

Technology continues to evolve faster than consumers' abilities to adopt, presenting them with endless ways to communicate and express themselves, numerous options to connect and a wealth of opportunities to share their lives with others. Yet, making sense of these market factors, and translating them into high margin, repeatable business is proving difficult.

In this landscape, the mobile industry continues to show promise and opportunity, but managing discovery and consumption on small devices continues to challenge both the core mobile, and mobile-enabled industries.

Building on this premise, this article asks whether today's mobile darling, Mobile Advertising, is likely to suffer a similar fate as the once much loved LBS.

At first glance the similarities between Mobile Advertising and LBS seem few and far between. But take a look at market forecasts, press releases and industry expectations. Anyone that lived through the early years of LBS will undoubtedly begin to feel nauseated with a sense of déja vu, as they compare and contrast the actual vs. predicted LBS revenues and the $14bn Mobile Advertising forecast.

Today LBS is being reborn simply as Location, and as an enabler, or enhancer, rather than a product in its own right, and it still attracts significant analyst attention. Like most innovations in mobile, Location may live up to its promise almost a decade after the hype began, and again, like most, it's likely to triumph in areas that it was never designed for in the first place - just think back to the short messaging tool designed to help radio engineers in the field.

Looking deeper into the history of Location, we can find more lessons to be learnt. Subscriber location information was seen by the Mobile Operators as proprietary network technology that could be sold at a premium. Why anyone would use it was not really known, but there was an "if you build it they will come" attitude that drove operators to spend millions developing over-engineered solutions to manage the extraction, control and sale of this valuable data.

Hundreds of man-years were spent defining the technology, business model and mark-up for Location but, without any basic understanding either of how it would be used or why anyone would pay for it, the models drifted towards architectural excellence and commercial infeasibility.

If you throw into this mix an industry that was moving from being technology driven to market driven, with an immature technology and a lack of marketing experience, you have a service that can tell a user they are near a landmark that they're can't find, and charges them a princely £0.50 for the privilege.

That's the kind of experience that attracted, and subsequently repelled, thousands of users.

At last, thanks in a great part to the awareness and education given to both the consumer and the industry from the likes of Nokia, TomTom, SiRF and Qualcomm, Location is being seen once again as something of value, and with the benefit of a decade of experience is being packaged into propositions that make sense, are relevant and add value to the consumer.

So the question is, can we wait ten years for Mobile Advertising to begin making its impact? If not, what can we learn from experiences like that of Location?

Right now there are two well-established industries colliding with each other, desperately trying to make sense and money from the promise of Mobile Advertising, but often completely misunderstanding each other's markets and objectives. Technology is offered by hundreds of companies, large and small, claiming to enable nothing less than clairvoyance, for a minor infringement of personal liberties.

The short term casualty of this collision could well be the consumer - if this happens let's reconvene this discussion in 2017 - however, in the meantime, it's of utmost importance that these industries spend time developing an understanding and capability that sits in the hybrid world of Mobile and Advertising to deliver relevance and value to the consumer.

Whilst, in the future, we may very well be able to offer discounts on headache medication to supporters of the England football team forty-five minutes before the end of their historic world cup victory. Until that day comes, we must focus on the small, simple steps that add immediate value to both the consumer and industry, carefully balancing market needs against the lure of clever technology.

Unlike Location, Mobile Advertising has sponsors that do understand consumer needs and desires, so I have no doubt that Mobile Advertising will happen. The question is: Who stands to take control of, and therefore dominate, the value chain?

Scott (our author) is currently available for Permanent and Contract work, please click here if you're interested in more information on this candidate.

If you've got something to say about up-and-coming developments in the world of technology and would like to contribute to our 'User-Driven' Industry Insight, get in touch here