Screencap from Module 9: Pricing — The Van Westendorp Model

From September to December I was enrolled in Mark Ritson’s Mini MBA in Marketing. I had considered a Mini MBA (mMBA) for a while but even after reading brochures I had reservations of parting with the money. So here are five things I learned during those three months. Hopefully this will help anyone else who has the same uncertainty, hesitation or even skepticism that I had beforehand.

1. Legitimacy

The primary thing that held me back from doing this sooner was not really understanding and therefore respecting what a Mini MBA is. I was concerned by anything “fast-track” in learning. A Mini…


Flow is a term that has been gaining in popularity over recent years but what is the science behind it?

Whilst people tend to just know what you mean when you say you were/are in “flow” and whilst I (and hopefully you) have experienced flow many times, I’ve always wondered what it really is.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s 2004 talk, Flow, the secret to happiness reveals a great deal…

During Csikszentmihalyi’s research he interviewed a number of people from different professions. …


At first the launch of streaming services in late 2019 / early 2020 seemed very serendipitous. What better time to capture an audience than a global lockdown? Apple launched with a handful of shows leaving viewers at risk of going right through them and being left with little else to keep them paying and subsequently leaving. Apple doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers let alone turnover but a recent report from Variety shows that recent use is low amongst subscribers with its “must-have” rating suffering, leaving the service in a weak position for retention.¹ Based on its Emmy performance, the quality of…


Instagram has now turned on its advertising API but we’re still seeing advertisements and gimmicks on a platform built entirely for something else.

When the first cars hit the road in the age of horse-drawn carriages 125 years ago we could not quite understand these new automotors without comparing them to their predecessors. Whilst car manufacturers replaced the horse with an engine, they did little to change the form of the “carriage” with the result that early cars looked almost exactly like horse-drawn carriages. Little suprise that the public took to calling them “horseless carriages”.


Source: Sugarscape

Instagram started as an app for mobile photographers. Yes our phone’s cameras were rubbish, but Instagram filters brought them to life as part of a community of mobile photography.

As selfies invaded the stream Instagram was at risk of losing its core ethos

Traditionally, Instagram was part of the interest graph — it was all about what you found interesting. As the community grew, and more friends joined and soon it became led by the social graph — who you found interesting. …


(But not very well)

As an addendum to my previous article Instagram has added an algorithm; it’s better for you & brands, Instagram has now started to explain why it shows you certain posts in the Explore tab. Each post has an annotation under it and so far I have seen two different annotations:

  • Popular in your country” aka trending locally. This is a step in the right direction away from posts that have little cultural significance to you.
  • Based on photos you’ve liked” this seems to be a misnomer. I think what they mean here is “based on photos your friends…


A few weeks ago I noticed that the images I was seeing in my explore tab on Instagram had changed. Instead of teen Thai sensations or vacuous model selfies, I was seeing what I can only describe as normal photos. These looked like photos from the same normal world I inhabit. Except I didn’t know who they were from. I wondered, Why are these photos in my explore tab?

When I looked closer these photos had far fewer likes than the previous collections — some had as few as 3 likes — and looking at who was liking…


Facebook has agreed to buy WhatsApp in a deal potentially worth $19bn (£11bn). The appeal is clear: the instant messaging network now boasts 450m monthly users, with 1m new users registering and half a billion photos being shared every day.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1bn people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an official statement.

“WhatsApp is the only widely used app we’ve ever seen that has more engagement and a higher percent of people using it daily than Facebook itself.”

The acquisition is the largest in the company’s history, dwarfing the $1bnpurchase of Instagram in 2012. But with no established model for monitisation, speculation is rife as to the future of the platform in its new guise.

The issue may run even deeper than that. It…


How the proliferation of social communication channels presents the next brand challenge.

When I tell people I spend my job studying social communication channels like Facebook, often it is met with derision —

“Ugh… What’s wrong with just talking to people any more?”

Last week I experienced such a reaction talking to a new acquaintance. Whilst discussing “social media” he mentioned Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp:

“I mean, why don’t you just text? Why bother with Whatsapp?”

In this sort of situation I normally just go quiet. I’ve learnt the hard way that, more often than not…

Stephen Pirrie

Brand strategy lead working with the c-suite to grow brands with award-winning strategy and creative execution.

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