Facebook cafe with free drinks and privacy check-ups?

https://twitter.com/wearesorryfor/status/1162346869017763853

When I saw Jasmine’s reply to Claires tweet. I thought exactly the same thing. Its the ethical dilemma cafe, only 5 years out too late.

Facebook is looking to take the initiative in the social media privacy debate by opening a network of pop-up cafes around the UK. Each will offer patrons free drinks and a privacy checkup, to help assuage consumer concerns about their privacy online.

Facebook Café will run from 28 August to 5 September in a bid to encourage Britons to get on top of their digital footprint, helped along by free-flowing caffeine.

One of these will be located within The Attendant on Great Eastern Street, London, in response to surveys indicating that 27% of Londoners have no idea how to personalise their social media privacy parameters.

Free coffee (what kind) and teas in exchange for? Privacy advice from Facebook, Wifi snooping like most, a honeypot, or maybe a bit of social engineering from FB staff (Scientology style)?

Is it worth it? I very much doubt it but it would be fun to mess with the FB cafe staff and systems. Don’t you think?

Petiquette in coffee shops

Petiquette at Ezra & Gil

As you likely guessed from previous posts, I’m not a dog person at all. I’ve been bitten too many times and are generally nervous around them. But I get there are people who love their dog like its their family members (ok I do find that odd).

But I find dogs in cafes questionable.

I have seen dogs on seats, chairs and table tops. Witnessed and left as they have barked the place down, attacked each other, seen them walking around loose with no lead. Its seriously not a place where I feel comfortable and I’m sure others feel the same; even the dog lovers.

This is why I was impressed to see Ezra & Gil’s #Ezrapetiquette (even if it looks like Ez-rape?).

  1. Ensure your dog is housetrained.
  2. Your dog is well behaved & can sit, stay & come on command.
  3. Your dog is kept on a lead at all times.
  4. Make sure your dog doesn’t disturb other customers.
  5. Your dog is kept on a floor & away from food.
  6. Your dog is not anxious & uncomfortable around people.
  7. Pack waste bags incase of any accidents,
  8. Dog Lovers – please ensure you ask owners permission before petting their dogs.

This might seem very obvious, but like many conferences include a code of conduct. Some people need a little reminder and theres got to be a clear expression of whats accepted and not. Dogs on tables and chairs wouldn’t be accepted if I was writing one.

Following my partners dog bite in the hotel, I re-read the dangerous dogs act again, and found this part very interesting.

Under the Act, it’s illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ or to bite or attack someone. The legislation also makes it an offence if a person is worried or afraid (the term is ‘reasonable apprehension’) that a dog may bite them. So it’s important to ensure that your dog is kept under control at all times and in all places.

Something to remind dog owners of as I head for the door next time.

What a difference a year makes… Vivid LoungeUK

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Fran of Vivid Lounge UK welcomes you with that warm smile, while Sam hides in the Kitchen (maybe to keep his head from exploding)

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post which made me one of the most hated people in my apartment block (islington wharf). It wasn’t deliberately made to piss anyone off but I guess no one wants to hear the truth, specially when things are on the line. Some said I was in-sensitive and my timing was very bad. No matter what they think, I wrote a number of points which I suggested could be to blame for the rapid shutdown of Vivid Lounge.

  1. Engagement with the residents and residents committee…
  2. Get Decor
  3. Environmental factors
  4. Taking feedback on the chin
  5. Celebrate every moment
  6. Its not just about us…
  7. Whats on the menu?

Each one I backed up with some of my own thoughts….

Anyway over the last year or so, I’ve witnessed a place go from closed to busy and delightful.

So what happened? Well frankly they did most of the things I suggested in the blog post. Of course I’m not suggesting I was directly responsible for the transformation but the owner(s) did read the post at least.

So whats changed?

Wooden Tables throughout

The decor of the old Vivid lounge was too plastic and white. It didn’t feel homey and because of that it suffered deeply. Well now the white plastic table/chairs are gone (good thing because they were falling apart anyway) and we have wooden tables and benches. Ok from Ikea but to be honest I and others couldn’t care less. Every single customer who has come in has said great things about the new look. More wood is planned and I’m sure it will be a similar effect.

The bright stark lights are all gone and now theres gentle hanging lights and plenty of tealights/candles. Its really making use of the space better now (at least on the ground floor). The top floor still needs to be sorted out as its basically a store room right now.

Feedback is less welcomed, but only because Sam the owner is convinced he knows everything. I guess its like telling Steve Jobs how to run Apple. And like Jobs, Sam has his own strong opinions which drive the momentum of VividloungeUK. He’s a bit of a perfectionist, so at least he can spot the problems. He also seems to be amassing the right people behind him (including a Fran who was a manager at Starbucks). On top of that the amount of staff has dropped down to about 2 -3 on the weekends and 1-2 during the week. Much more sensible levels of staffing.

Vivid Lounge

Saturday and Sunday before 1pm its possible to get a full english cooked breakfast and its even possible to have it delivered to your door if you call up or leave details on facebook. But there are limitations to the size of the kitchen, meaning the hugely popular vividboxes had to go. Now you have a couple choices from the specials which is every day now. There is also a menu with daily pre-made sandwiches in a fridge you can just grab if your in a rush. When I walked in today, there was some made menus on the table. I hear the full menus are coming real soon but generally you can see what they got from whats on the board and stuff in the fridge.

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Theres much more engagement with the other apartments in the area and they even deliver to Milliners Wharf, Vulcan Mills and Chips. Vivid isn’t reliant on just islington wharf anymore, theres a much more local pub feeling and they even play with the local and homemade idea in their branding.

I can’t praise Sam and VividLoungeUK enough (although I wouldn’t do the first one to his face because we regularly takes the piss out of each other). I do wish he got a proper website and there were changes to upstairs but honestly I’m impressed.

Well worth visiting and making your local if your in the New Islington area of Manchester. Look forward to a review update in another year…

Manchester’s got everything except a beach

Castlefield <3

I spent sometime in London over the last few weeks for connected studio and a number of work meetings. I got to see a bunch of people I had not seen for a long while and most asked me…

“So how is Manchester, you don’t regret moving?”

Or something along those lines…

My answer is always something like you should come up and stay sometime, its a great city. Almost 5 years and I’m loving it… The great thing is I’m not the only one spotting the fantastic opportunities available. Specially when it comes to the digital world.

The second factor is the sense that a genuine startup culture is being fostered here. The elements have always been in place for this to occur, particularly that Manchester has the largest student population in Europe with over 100,000 currently studying in the city’s five universities.

These include the University of Manchester, which is playing a really important role in the high-tech space. Meanwhile the University of Salford has recently opened a campus at MediaCityUK, designed to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration between academics, students, professionals and industry, and develop talent for the creative, media and technology industries.

Between the BBC building a massive base here, TechhubManchester, the stupid amount of bandwidth being put into the city and other stories. Its worth mentioning some of the other things happening…

MadLabUK

Essentially a adult/hacker community space complete with different floors running a number of different community minded events. Its amazing and they have expanded already. The owners (4 of them!) hold it all together and even though they struggle most of the time, theres always something interesting on for the local community. I can’t explain how great Madlab is… Everything from Co-working, room hire to the random Art exhibitions and Hackman meetup. Madlab is also the first place to start dabbling with DIYBio which further demonstrates how great a place it is. Well worth a visiting always…

The Classroom

The Classroom is a welcome treat sitting between the likes of working out of a coffee shop and the likes of Techhub which is much more serious about there startup status. It is a co-working space but closer to the kind of thing I’ve only witnessed in San Francisco. Its still quite new but looks to be growing due to the demand.

Northology

The brain child of Nathan Rae (can be found regularly behind a camera on the Manchester scene), setup to highlight key people in the Manchester scene. I had a similar idea a while ago but it didn’t quite work out (smallworld). However Northology is now on its 9th podcast and doesn’t look like its stopping anytime soon. Who knows maybe it will expand to video one day?

FabLab

Manchester’s fabrication laboratory is next door to where I live. Its still doing a great business and I really do need to find something to build. Easily confused with MadLab but completely different, I need a project just so I can mess with the 3D printer, welders, laser cutters, etc.

…and the many coffee shops and bars in the northern quarter and cholton

There are too many coffee shops and bars in the northern quarter and cholton which are friendly to people who want to work out of them or just chillax on a Sunday afternoon. Unlike many places I’ve been to in other cities which will lock down there wifi, block power points and make you feel like a baby eater for sitting 10mins beyond the end of your allocated tea time. Some of the most notable including… North Tea Power, FYG Deli, Common, Soup Kitchen, Vivid Lounge, North Star cafe, Home Sweet Home, sugar junction, etc, etc…

Creating a site for a vivid lounge

New Vivid site

I had it with bloody Facebook… But what I can’t understand is why on earth some businesses rely on it for there business.

Vivid Lounge is one such business.

They do have the domain name vividloungeuk.com (thankfully) but as you can see nothing is there. They do on the other hand have a Facebook page with regular updates. Now I understand running a business is a lot of hard work this is why I decided to do something about it by offering them a website to replace the blank page.

I decided to use Squarespace originally because its pretty quick, solid, smart and I heard good things about it. Using pictures and content from the Facebook I was quickly able to create something useful. Unfortunately Squarespace doesn’t allow you share the site unless you pay the minimum fee. As usual my tweets are copied into facebook and Oli said something quite useful.

I debated doing this for places I likes that didn’t have functional websites. This is too true http://theoatmeal.com/comics/restaurant_website

Then a recent follow up he mentioned http://en.wordpress.com/restaurants/. WordPress for restaurants.

It looks ideal but maybe too complex for vivid lounge at this moment but could be useful for future plans