Left-Handed Astronaut

Did you see the adverts and trailers for the Ridley Scott film the Martian some time ago, which stars Matt Damon as an Astronaut stranded on Mars?

This got me thinking about ‘Left-handed astronauts’ in the Digital Media sector.  This may not be a term you’re familiar with, so let me enlighten you. For all practical purposes, there are very few trained astronauts in the world; there are only 6 in space today and NASA, the largest astronaut employer only has 46 currently qualified and even fewer left-handed ones circa 4 presumably.

‘Left Handed Astronauts’

It is a metaphor used by head-hunters to identify the unrealistic expectations of a client company.

Throughout my years of finding top talent for the Digital Media sector, I have worked with a number of businesses who had a very specific number of boxes that they felt needed to be ticked, when looking for their ‘perfect’ candidate, in some cases more than 15 boxes. They would not even consider an interview if all the boxes hadn’t been ticked.

It’s important to remember that whilst a perfect candidate would be ideal, a perfect human being does not exist.


The absolutely perfect candidate doesn’t exist, many people embellish their experience on their CV (63% contain lies or discrepancies*) to appear perfect and interview questions can be predictable, with the interviewee having a predetermined set of answers to expected questions.

Here is what you must do to save yourself a head-hunting headache

If you want to find the best senior talent for your business, you must be open to imperfections.  Look at your current, most successful employees and try to remember how they started and how they have evolved and flourished.

What are their main qualities and flaws?

This way you are more likely to be open to finding the perfect, imperfect candidate for your business.

P.S. And in case you were wondering about Mr Damon – he’s a right-handed astronaut, $25m (his fee for the film) still doesn’t get you a left-handed one.

*From the 2015 survey by Risk Advisory Group of 3,000 CVs.

Have you seen the numbers?

Unemployment tumbling makes it difficult for your business

Britains labour market powered ahead between June and August, with the unemployment rate tumbling to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck in 2008.   Continue reading


From Google to Facebook these two companies have adtech at their core and they continue(and most likely will continue) to dominate our internet experience. And now more than ever technology looks to be a vital role in the monetisation of mobile content.

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What is AI?

Recently there has been a lot of talk about AI (Artificial Intelligence). From Siri to self-driving cars AI has been producing at very rapid pace and shows no sign of slowing down.

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The Workplace Throughout Time


Like most things, the workplace has seen its fair share of changes. It’s definitely completely different to what is 30+ years ago.With the introduction of new technologies and tools the workplace (specifically the office) has had to adapt in numerous ways in order to accommodate to these changes and meet the needs of employees. So how much has the workplace changed over the years?

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Demand Generation


As any business knows (or should know) customers are what help drive the business forward. Therefore in order to ensure customers are always satisfied with the service they are getting, it comes down to people like communication specialists, content  strategists,marketers and others of the sort to optimise brand-to-consumer relationship.

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Online Retail Sales in Europe 2015

E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. Sales in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain are expected to grow from £132.05 bn [€156.28 bn] in 2014 to £185.44 bn (€219.44 bn) in 2016. In 2015, overall online sales are expected to grow by 18.4% (same as 2014).

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Dmexco 2015

Dmexco took place last week and it was a tremendous success. With attendance of more than 30.000 people the event saw another increase of 10% maybe as a result of global advertisers looking for new insights into the digital marketing.  Continue reading

BIG data

Over twenty years ago marketing was very straightforward. There were not as many channels to reach the consumer, the main forms were TV, radio and print. Reaching the consumer on a wider scale was simply a matter of purchasing either airtime or ad space within the right markets. Continue reading

#Dmexco 2015

Dmexco 2015 is just around the corner (September 16/17) and although unfortunately we will not be attending, many of our clients will and hopefully we can convince you too as well. Continue reading

New Vacancies

Dream job

We currently have an array of vacancies available at Saul & Partners. Ranging from sales manager to director roles. Have you been looking for that sign to progress in your career? This may be it.

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Business Intelligence vs. Data Scientist [Infographic]

With the growth of digital data and the ever-growing tools to analyse it, it has resulted in a budding interest in the quite recent field of ‘Data Science’. An eclectic selection of organisations have begun to turn to these ‘Data Scientists’ in order to translate different amounts of data into insights which could potentially aid in business value.

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Mobile Marketing [Infographic]

At Saul & Partners no one client is the same, therefore we find it extremely important to stay on top of the new up and coming Internet trends. In this simple infographic we aim to inform you a little on the ‘Mobile Marketing’ scene and how consumers engage with different mobile devices.

With this data you can gain a better understanding on what are the consumers preferences and apply these to your own business to attract a larger audience.

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Personality: Indicator for Job Success?

The technology sector has the highest turnover rate amongst all other sectors due to its fast and dynamic nature.

Given that we operate in a candidate-based market, an organisation needs to ensure that it is able to attract, hire, and retain the best talent and avoid high attrition rates.

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Europe is targeting Google under antitrust laws but missing the bigger picture


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Europe is targeting Google under antitrust laws but missing the bigger picture” was written by Julia Powles, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th April 2015 15.47 UTC

Google it today and you’ll see that the European Commission has turned up the heat in its long-running probe into anti-competitive behaviour by the web’s most popular search engine. EC competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, issued formal objections alleging that Google abuses its dominant position in the market of “general internet search”. In particular, the EC claims that Google artificially boosts its own products in returning Google comparison shopping results in its service “Google Shopping”, even if those products aren’t the best or cheapest – the “most relevant”, as the Commission puts it – for consumers.

Since taking office in November 2014, Vestager has made the Google inquiry a top priority, signalling a willingness to consider court battles and hefty fines if Google and other digital giants don’t fall into line with European competition law. In this, she has displayed a distinct shift from her predecessor, Joaquín Almunia, whose multiple attempts to achieve private settlement with Google fell apart a year ago, before descending into a political and economic boxing match.

Vestager’s announcement comes amidst increasing restlessness by European policymakers that “something must be done” about Google. Identifying with precision the source of that anxiety, and the appropriate focus of action, is rather more challenging. And it forces us to ask: what does the artillery of competition law offer? And is it gunning for the right target?

Accelerating complaints – or at least some of them

The EC’s current accusation is extremely narrow. It focuses on the first and clearest of a number of complaints filed in 2009-10 by various Google competitors – from other giants, such as Microsoft, to small, struggling or defunct web businesses. These complaints range from the EC’s current focus on Google’s prioritisation of its own products within vertical search services (currently, shopping, but this extends to maps, flights and news), to issues with Google’s scraping and fencing of datasets, often exclusively and at unmatched scale.

It is this sheer volume of data, matched with the self-reinforcing effect of Google’s market share (the more people search, the better search becomes), that makes its de facto monopoly such a concern, but also such a challenge to combat. Vestager’s announcement falls short of these broader concerns. She was at pains to point out the preliminary, fact-driven, legally-focused, apolitical nature of her inquiry. Such an approach is safe – it falls clearly within the domain of European competition law, and it accelerates Google towards addressing some real competitor concerns, even if some of those competitors are now more interested in backward compensation rather than forward innovation.

But while strategic for the track record of the Commission, this new development is rather less strategic for the broader digital landscape.

You can’t Google your way out of a power vacuum

Let’s return to the market in which Google is dominant: “general internet search”. This is a market that didn’t exist 20 years ago. And it is a market that cannot be underestimated. It is the marketplace of human knowledge, queries, anxieties, ideas, journeys, hopes, sorrows and dreams. The sociopolitical problem with search engines and, in particular, the search engine, is worthy of deep Foucaultian analysis. Search engines are not officially-sanctioned maps, nor old-style phone directories or broadcast services – all of which may be privatised, but are subject to oversight, transparency requirements and regulation. Google is our contemporary maker and breaker of truth, commerce and the stuff of life. But it shapes our lives silently and without oversight and reprieve.

As Maryland law professor Frank Pasquale writes in his acclaimed new book, The Black Box Society: “Google is not really a competitor in numerous markets, but instead serves as a hub and kingmaker setting the terms of competition for others.” For Pasquale, the solution lies in greater transparency. “Google’s secrecy keeps rivals from building upon its methods or even learning from them,” he writes. “Missing results are an ‘unknown unknown’: users for whom certain information is suppressed do not even know that they do not know the information.” The irony of the situation is that Google knows so much about us, and we know so little about it.

The transparency conundrum

The core of the problem with competition law is that it seems a poor and ill-adapted game of mudslinging, and it is only peripheral to the real problem: power. At best, the European Commission’s initiative may require some marginal reconfiguration of Google’s algorithms and presentation of results, and possibly some payouts, with no equivalent benefit in engendering the flourishing of new innovation.

Very few policymakers have cottoned onto the broader implications of what society loses when we lose variegated search strategies, information sources, and publicly-owned datasets that permit a variety of services to flourish, favouring instead the creation of black box systems, tailored to predicting collective behaviours. Such predictive capabilities, at scale, are not only harmful in terms of how they dictate economic winners and losers, but in terms of the potential for price-discrimination and, worst of all, impairment of individual choice, autonomy and free will. The total opacity of search and its interventions make manipulation invisible from the point of view of users. All users see is the supposedly objective final results, not the interventions by the gatekeeper.

That’s why another initiative this week, likely to be overshadowed by the EC’s announcement, shows particular promise. Three members of the French senate, led by Catherine Morin-Desailly, one of the fiercest critics of mass surveillance and tech monopolies, have a proposal for Google to make its search algorithms (or the communications that inform it) transparent to the French telecomms regulator, Arcep, a body of 170 digital experts. While Google will likely claim that its algorithms are so complex that even its own engineers do not understand their Heath Robinsonesque machinations, the bold French proposal recognises that Google search did not simply emerge of its own accord. Algorithms are human creations, and they need to serve human needs.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Don’t ruin your career in 140 characters: Social media job hunting tips

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Don’t ruin your career in 140 characters: social media job hunting tips” was written by Chris Smith, for theguardian.com on Monday 13th April 2015 06.00 UTC

Who could have predicted a decade ago that social media would have such a grip on our lives? The rise of social media can be seen as both a godsend and a threat to jobseekers. Why? Because not everyone is sure how to use it.

HR departments no longer have the time or resources to plough their way through hundreds of CVs. They want to be able to see if the applicant is worth bringing in for an interview. Social media, if used correctly, can propel a job application to the top of the pile – simply by being different and innovative.

Social media makes it very easy to see what makes a prospective employee tick – giving employers a view of that candidate before they actually meet them.

How to do it right

So, how do you make sure you create the right impression? The first thing you should do is set up a profile on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to give yourself a better chance of being noticed. Get your name out there. You may find that you connect with people who end up on your interview panel or who have the power to shortlist you for a position.

Facebook and Twitter can also reap great rewards if harnessed correctly. Don’t be afraid to show your personality, comment on industry trends and news, and follow the right people in that sector to try and attempt interaction.

While the majority of employers don’t like CVs with photos, it makes sense to get a shot done for your social media platforms that looks professional.

Lastly, be prepared for the echo chamber that is Twitter. Don’t be downhearted if you’re not followed by those you’re following, or if your attempts to start a conversation with an industry bigwig are ignored. Interaction through social media will happen, but don’t try and force it.

How to do it wrong

Facebook and Twitter can be great when it comes to showing off your talents, but there is nothing more stupid than thinking employers won’t check you out before deciding whether or not you’re worth an interview.

Take these things into consideration: there is a difference between showing personality and pushing out photos of you and your mates partying. They might not go down so well with your potential future boss. Clean up your profile – it’s a given that companies check social media these days. Use the internet to promote yourself and your talents. Don’t let stupidity scupper your chances of success.

Similarly, offensive language is a no-go. Any keyboard warrior can mouth off at others online, but it’s there for everyone to see. Do you really want to lose sight of your dream job just because of a risqué, off-the-cuff remark to one of your friends on Facebook or Twitter?

Depending on what role you’re after, it might also be wise to steer clear of posting anything too political. While no employer can discriminate against you on political grounds, everyone has different views on what goes on in the world, and they might not want differing opinions to disrupt the office.

More employers are using social media to screen prospective employees, with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn being among the most popular. So, before you post ask yourself: do you really want 140 characters ruining your career?

Chris Smith is chief executive officer at MyJobMatcher.com

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