Book launch

Thanks for the interest and support I have been given over the launch of my own book, Consumer Kids, co-written with Agnes Nairn.consumer_kids_jacket2

We launch this, this evening, at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. This is alongside its exhibition on fashion and clothes for children through the ages. I am doing a seminar earlier in the afternoon too for the Young Foundation.

The scientist Susan Greenfield has sent in a lovely comment after reading Consumer Kids. She says it is “vital reading for all concerned with how technology is shaping the minds of future generations.”

The support economy gets going

Do you tend to prefer the book…or the film? I was bowled over by meeting Andrew and Rob from the company Ten as they are the living archetype of my absolute favourite consumer book of the last five years – The Support Ecobook_support_econnomyby Shoshana Zuboff and Jim Maxmin

The core idea of the book was that in a world of complexity, customer service needs to adapt to start from the needs of consumers rather than pushing what companies want to sell. Ten is taking this out in a myriad of ways, including some upcoming attempts to pilot a G10 low-carbon lifestyle support service.

The book, which wants to change the world, or the business that is starting to do it for a few? I can’t quite make my mind up.

Fighting back on intellectual property

The music and film industry have their mitts all over ministers when it comes to setting the rules on intellectual property and I am personally outraged that the public interest is being signed away.

We did have good news today after we put together a coalition campaign – joint_statement_final – to put a stop to this in the European Parliament – and they responded by failing a first reading

More on Consumer Kids / Energy cuts

The Telegraph runs a front page article on my book today – charting how schools are paid up to £4,000 to get children to do market research for companies and how children like Sarah, who we feature in the book, are paid to sell products to their friends. Harry Wallop who wrote this was nice enough to say the book “has a touch of the polemic that made Fast Food Nation such a brilliant rage against the worst excesses of the burger industry. Parents should take a look.”

But today in fact was all about British Gas cutting their bills by 10%. Now you need to know that for an average user, British Gas was the most expensive by some whack. So a 10% cut is not as radical as it might seem – they are simply now close to the cheapest. But it is better than a poke in the eye for seven million people. Some commentators have called it token, but I think we should all praise the company for doing the right thing – and the double the pressure on other companies to do the same and all companies to cut prices for electricity.

books and bananas

The Times, which bought the serialisation rights for Consumer Kids, has published a wonderful splash today on the book, with a two page feature, a news story and a leader comment. Agnes and I were on the couch for BBC Breakfast this morning. My son’s question was ‘do they give you breakfast then?’. The answer was the BBC’s finest bananas.