Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

We are hiring: Sysadmin/DevOps role in Bristol

Jess Henderson - October 8th, 2014

My name is Jess and I’m a developer at Delib, one of Team Rubber’s three companies.  We develop and host web apps for government customers around the world. Citizens use our apps to participate in decision-making.  I like being a part of that – it genuinely feels like we’re doing something that matters.

Things at Delib are exciting right now.  We have a big sales pipeline and we’re rolling out sites for new customers all the time on servers in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s a lot for us developers to look after.  We are not sysadmins, and managing international ops in addition to improving and maintaining our apps is a bit like spinning plates.

Our customers have rigorous uptime requirements, and all our sites are monitored by Pingdom.  Pingdom often sends us texts in the middle of the night and then we have to debug server issues at 3am while half asleep (or, in a recent fiasco, from a service station on the M20).  Frankly, it’s beginning to piss us off.  We need these issues resolved once and for all.

What we’ll need from you

Essentially, we need you to keep our servers online, keep our customers’ data safe and secure, and help us scale our operations internationally, so that we developers can carry on with what we’re best at – developing our apps.

We aren’t looking for someone just to work down a task list that already exists. We have some ideas about the kind of configurations we like, but we expect you to be able to suggest improvements.  The first thing you’ll be doing is gathering requirements, investigating alternatives and coming up with a proposal to modernise and standardise our hosting environment.

You’ll be working closely with the development team – no “sysadmin in the basement”.  My secret hope is that once you’re here, I’ll never have to SSH into another production box or wrangle another apache config again, but realistically we all know this probably won’t be the case.  Therefore we need you to be able to document everything clearly and comprehensively.  Documentation is key if you ever want to go on holiday without us texting you to demand information!

As I mentioned before, the job involves on-call.  We pay a get-out-of-bed fee, although ideally you’ll automate all that nonsense away.

Our existing tech

This is what we use at the moment, so it’s vital that you’re familiar with it, even if it’s just so that you can capably manage the migration to something else:

  • Our production boxes run a mixture of CentOS and FreeBSD, with VMWare ESXi for managing VMs.  We need these to stay online, patched and monitored.
  • All our sites are served through Apache.  Ideally you can write Apache rewrite rules in your sleep.  If you prefer Nginx or anything else then you’ll need to make a persuasive case for switching.
  • We write our own software in Python, so if you have to write your own tools then Python is preferred.
  • We use Munin and Pingdom for monitoring, Redmine for ticketing, and a mixure of git and SVN for version control.
  • We’re not currently using ITIL or ISO 27001, but anticipate introducing at least ITIL in the next year.  If you have experience with these we’d be interested in hearing about it.
  • You’ll need to support the development environment as well as production.  You don’t need to look after the office laptops, printers etc; we have that covered.
  • We have servers around the world because our customers really need data (including backups) to stay physically in their territory.  You’ll probably need to become familiar with data protection and infosec requrements for all the different territories in which we operate.

General stuffs

We work from an open-plan studio in a listed building in Bristol’s historic King Street, which recently seems to have become the craft beer capital of the South West (the street, that is, not our office).  We’re a sociable bunch – we drink together and often go out for company lunches; there are plenty of interesting places to get food nearby.

It’s probably a full-time permanent position, but a lot of our developers and testers have part-time contracts with the option to work extra days by mutual agreement.  If this is of interest then it’s something we can discuss.  Most of us work 10am – 6:30pm but feel free to work 9 – 5:30 if that floats your boat.

Interested? Drop Tom a line with CV and covering letter:
No agencies please! We know where you are, we’ll call if we need you.

Pitch your brand client a sharable online video – works for them and you

Andy Parkhouse - November 12th, 2010

Using video online is a great idea for brands. PR and digital agencies can increase billings by working with their clients to develop an online video strategy.

We’ve put together a handy guide in four parts:
– why to commission a video
– how to do it
– how to set and manage expectations
– how to grow the idea further and create an ongoing video strategy

» Free guide: pitch your brand client a video.

I can’t think of a snappy title. Honesty wins.

Andy Parkhouse - August 11th, 2010

I just went through my (too long) list of draft, never-published blog posts…found these links.

‘New’ is addictive. Here’s some stuff that’s not new. Don’t matter though, try em anyway.

I should just fricking put these links on Twitter where they belong instead of saving them up to try and add some useful insight. Whatever.

1. Faris Yakob and some other blokes talk about interesting stuff in 2008. Seems a long time ago now. Still, nobody knew anything then, nobody knows anything now. If anybody does know, send me a postcard, ta. And if you don’t know (and nobody does), give it some interesting chat instead.

2. BJ Fogg on Simplicity. If I say more, you won’t bother clicking. Then you’ll miss out. Go on, click. It’s worth it 😛

3. Five ways to ruin your industry reputation. Seems pretty retro and obvious, now right? Surely everyone knows Facebook is for baby pictures and debauchery; business networking is done with linkedin and twitter. Or do they? And who’s ‘everyone’ anyway. Get ‘everyone’ to send me a postcard, see how many I get.

4. John Kay. If you don’t like learning about business and economics at all, well, whatever. If you do like business and economics and you don’t like reading John Kay, you’re just wrong, and I’ll fight you. Unless you are (a) bigger than me, or (b) better at fighting than me or (c) nah.

5. “Viral marketing may also be limited by the virtue that most people are actually only talking to small groups of people online.” HP Labs research from 2008. So talk to lots of small groups, right? Or – get this – make sure you start a conversation with one person, repeat that n times. Don’t just arrogantly broadcast your views out at people…hmm. Irony fail. Kzzzpttt. [end]

Stop facebook from sharing so much data with websites

Tim Wintle - July 21st, 2010

I thought I’d double-check my privacy settings on facebook today, here’s what I’ve done:

First, go to the privacy page.

I’d already customised my “Sharing on facebook” settings – setting everything to “Friends Only”

It turns out that what facebook means by “Friends Only” isn’t exactly what I thought it meant though – it actually means “Your Friends”, “Any websites facebook trusts”, “Anyone applications your friends trust”, “Any websites your friends trust”, and “Any of your applications”.

To reduce the huge number of places facebook will share your personal data with a bit, click “Edit your settings” under “Applications, games and websites”, and change the settings for “Instant personalization” [sic]. Now turn off any extra applications you’ve got installed (several applications seemed to have mysteriously installed themselves on my account through using facebook connect twice, although I would never have said I was willing to install a facebook app from them).

Another privacy concern is that Facebook can track your movements over the entire internet due to people using Facebook Connect – If I want facebook to have data, I’ll enter it myself.

Most sites that collect information about you (like tracking codes) can be blocked if you’re so-inclined. What’s more, they normally just track you – they don’t tie it into personal information about you. Facebook on the other hand is trusted with personal data by enough people that it is able to know exactly who you are, and exactly what you’re doing right now.

Unfortunately it’s very tough to block facebook connect on other websites – they serve the “social plugins” from the same domain as Facebook – so you can’t just block it with an entry in your hosts file. You can install ad blockers to do it but, working in advertising, I really don’t like that option.

It would be a massive shame if Facebook ended up ruining the web for ad-funded publishers because they don’t give any other way to block their services.

I’m not leaving Facebook yet, but I’m coming perilously close. Perhaps the most worrying thing to me is if I do leave, I won’t be able to stop facebook from sharing any and all information my friends enter with everyone and his dog.

Media Buys are a Viral Insurance Policy for Creative and PR Agencies

Andy Parkhouse - May 17th, 2010

(Originally posted at the Viral Ad Network blog)

Everybody likes to think their viral creatives are going to go viral without any kind of push – but here’s the bottom line:

No Media Spend Media Spend
Asset Production -£20K -£20K
Media Spend -£0.00 -£7.5K
Total Cost -£20K -£27.5K
Organic Views(Worst case) 1000 1000
Organic Views(Best case) 500,000 500,000
Bought Views 0 50,000
Total Views (Best case) 500,000 550,000
Total Views (Worst case) 1000 51,000
Cost Per View (Best case) -£0.04 -£0.05
Cost Per View (Worst case) -£20 -£0.539


How much would you enjoy reporting to your client to tell them their average cost per view was £20? (even if you don’t phrase it like that, they will be calculating it).

Including a bought spend reduces their (and your) risk – in very worst case above you’d be entering that meeting reporting an average cost per view of around 1/40th of that price – that’s 40 times more ROI for them, and a more economically viable campaign.

What’s missing from the above?

Quite a bit – for a start, the more that your content is seen, the more likely it is to get organic views – so a bought media buy makes it far less likely that you’ll be hitting anywhere close to the worst case. For simplicity I’ve left this at the most basic calculation I could.

(Disclaimer: these numbers are estimated and may not necessarily reflect real-life results, which will depend on individual campaigns)

Thought Den’s art of Flash game production

Alex Pitkin - January 15th, 2010

Some really good ‘Rules of Production’ from our compatriots at Thought Den in their The art of flash game production (with some baggage bowling fun thrown in) post.

It was written after the Suitcase Skittles development that we did with them last year for IHG in which we all learnt a lot. But that seems to be the case with most Flash game developments…

How to make a killer viral marketing video. 5 Top Tips

Andy Parkhouse - January 13th, 2010

We’ve put together a handy article for UTalkMarketing: How to make a killer viral marketing video. 5 Top Tips from Rubber Republic.

It’s a nice summary of what we’ve learned in the last ten or so years. Cheers – Andy

Team Rubber FC challenging for honour(s)

Alex Pitkin - December 4th, 2009

Following a string of good results and pretty consistent set of players, Team Rubber has been holding down the second spot on their Soccer-Sixes-Pro-Star-FA-AnotherSponsorProbably premier Thursday 6-a-side league. The one we all know and love:

Picture 1 Team Rubber FC challenging for honour(s)

Team Rubber FC in second place

We’re currently behind the holders and previous season’s winners and the-season-before-that’s winners and the season-before-that-one’s winners and some more wins, Brucey Boys. It just so happens we’re playing them in 2 weeks in what has been dubbed as “a game between first and second on the 17th of December”.

Adam Cardew, Team Rubber FC’s newest recruit from Delib, sums it up perfectly: “I wish I had some new size 9 football boots so that I could play but I haven’t got time to buy any”.

Epic Ad Placement Fail

Andy Parkhouse - October 24th, 2009

Tom Fishburne – “Corporate Twitter”

Andy Parkhouse - October 21st, 2009

You may have seen seen this before… tickled me even if I don’t believe Twitter (great tool by the way) will save the world (or even business).

 Tom Fishburne   Corporate Twitter

Twitter of course excels at short succinct messages. So do cartoons. Me, I’m hoping for the cartoon equivalent of Twitter. I would use it to Kill Birds. There’s a free web-app idea for someone. Let me know when it’s done…