Friday, 19 November 2010 mobile strategy - credit Angela Maurer and her team!

First of all, may I thank Ronan Shields of New Media Age for his great profile article about me, and  Dawinderpal Sahota of Computing  for his excellent article on the same subject - a great piece of work guys :)

However, I conclude that anyone reading these articles might be forgiven for thinking that I manage’s entire mobile strategy.



I have mentioned Angela Maurer, Senior Marketing Manager and head of’s web and mobile development team, a number of times on this blog. If a name is to be put to management of our mobile strategy, it’s Angela.

I regard Angela as the customer’s champion. She works at this by commissioning research, managing a large group of customer triallists, and creating the groundbreaking designs (using both in-house and external experts such as Ribot and EMC's Paul Dawson & team) for mobile which have given us such great feedback in recent weeks. I've mentioned several members of her team in 'this blog over the past months.

In IT (and particularly in R&D) we work in part to bring Angela’s ideas to life. For example, we created the Application Programming Interface (API) and architecture at the back-end to make the mobile stuff work at the front-end.

We've also created our own mobile applications that are presented to customers under the ' R&D Team banner in, for instance, the Apple App Store. I've taken our R&D mobile work 'public' early to explore with customers what works best for them, as well as deal with any 'devils in the technical detail' that might stop an end-to-end service from working. We have learned a lot and gained much experience as a result and this has, I admit, given us our own reputation in the world of mobile.

In any 'normal' circumstances I would be working quietly behind the scenes providing the technology.

But I am not 'normal', and I make sure that R&D is not 'normal' either! Instead, we work by punching above our weight to excite and engage people with our work through ideas and proofs-of-concepts (PoCs). We do this through networking with peers, attending leadership team meetings, and making the most of our membership of IMRG (the e-tailing industry body), and of course this blog.

We do this because it enables us to bring early versions of implemented ideas to the customers, staff, industry peers, and the leadership team of Tesco. As a result nobody minds that the PoC they have been given is sometimes a little rough. People enjoy being part of something new and I enjoy having them help me through feedback to prove that something does (or occasionally does not) work.

Given that I take responsibility for all that happens in our public-facing R&D projects, I make sure my name gets known and ‘people know where I live’. An up-and-down-side to this is that media articles get written about me, which sometimes drown out the other names who have played their huge part in this work.

I think Angela Maurer’s name, and that of her web and mobile development team, have been drowned out in recent weeks. I hope you now understand my intention to 'correct' the direction of this trend.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Tesco Freeview Experiment - Freeview HD box recipients

Well done to the Tesco Freeview Experiment applicants listed below.
I'll be in contact with each of you shortly to get the set-top box delivered to you.

Freeview Transmitter
Ashford, Kent
Bluebell Hill
Glenrothes, Fife
Islington, London
Crystal Palace
Carnoustie, Angus
Emley Moor
Hemel Hempstead
Wrexham, Clwyd
Pontop Pike
Cheltenham, Gloucs
Ridge Hill
Arseley, Bedfordshire
Sandy Heath
Cullompton, Devon
Stockland Hill
Sale, Cheshire
The Wrekin
Newark-on-Trent, Notts
Winter Hill

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Tesco Freeview Experiment - Applications closed

Thanks to all of you who have applied to join the Tesco Freeview Experiment.

Applications are now closed, and I am sifting through the postcodes to confirm the 20 different main service transmitters that will be used in the experiments tonight and I'll announce on this blog tomorrow morning the applicants to receive the Technika Freeview HD set-top box with 'Channel Zero' capability.

The way I'll perform the selection is simple:

  1. I'll check each postcode against the data at to ensure that the applicant lives within the service area of a 'main service' transmitter. 
  2. If more than one applicant is served by the same main service transmitter, I will use a random variable to select the applicant using Microsoft Excel's RAND() random function. I'll sort by RAND() and the person sorted to the top within the same main service transmitter group will get the box.
  3. I will publish the applicant's first name, postal town, and main service transmitter name on this blog tomorrow morning and follow it up with an email.
If you are not on the list then you won't be receiving a set-top box from me but you can still join in if you have a compatible 'Channel Zero' Freeview receiver:

Simply follow this blog to join in the Tesco Freeview Experiment.

Friday, 12 November 2010 CEO Laura Wade-Gery is #3 in Retail Week Etail Powerlist 2010

"Top People" lists seem all to be the rage these days, and it's always nice to get a mention in them. CEO Laura Wade-Gery has made it to number 3 in Retail Week's inaugural Etail Powerlist 2010 - Retail Week’s ranking of 50 most powerful people in online retail.

Laura is pipped only by Jeff Bezos at No.2, President and chief executive, Amazon (which speaks for itself) and at Number 1 is Nick Robertson, founder and chief executive at ASOS, the online clothes retailer. I've met Nick several times over the last few years (the first time just after the Bunsfield oil terminal explosion blew apart his warehouse) and a nicer and more focussed person would be difficult to find.

I get a mention in the Etail Powerlist 2010, too, as one of ten people who are "rising stars"! Part of this positioning seemed to stem from a speech I gave recently at the Internet Retailing conference when I had to step in at the last minute to replace my CIO, JJ Van Oosten, since I had written his presentation. It makes me wonder that, had JJ actually presented as planned, he would be the "rising star". That'll make an interesting conversation when I have coffee with him this morning. Have a look at what I mean from the Retail Week editorial (emphasis mine):
Avid blogger Lansley has been involved with’s biggest recent developments, including championing the publishing of its application programming interface (API), which allows third parties to tightly integrate with and act as complementary routes to market. Lansley also stepped in and did a great job when’s CIO JJ Van Oosten wasn’t able to make a planned presentation at Internet Retailing. Expect to see him stepping up as a face of more in the future.
Well as long as JJ doesn't respond, "over my dead body!". I better buy the coffees....

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

60 registrants for Tesco Freeview Experiment but not all transmitters covered

Thanks to the 60 of you who have registered for the Tesco Freeview Experiment to date. Surprisingly all of you want one of the 20 free Freeview HD set-top boxes I am handing out to take part in the experiment....!

However not all main service transmitters have been covered so you are still in with a chance of obtaining a box, particularly if you live in the south-west or northern counties of England, or Northern Ireland or Wales.

Head to and register before the end of 14th November.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Out at Tesco gay staff network wins award from Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy

Out at Tesco, the staff network for LGBT colleagues, has won an award from the man leading the Tesco - CEO Sir Terry Leahy.

Out at Tesco chairman Romain Sauron, who established the network in 2009 (which I am communications secretary), was invited on-stage at the Tesco Company Conference 2010 in London on 3 November to accept the award for his tireless efforts (mostly in his private time) to bring endorsement from all across Tesco.

In giving Out at Tesco an award, Sir Terry says (as you'll hear in the video with link below)
"We've worked very hard over the years to make everyone welcome at Tesco because we have such a diverse work force. One of the ways we've done that is recognise and support the contribution of some of our minority groups. It's very important that, as individuals, you can be yourself at Tesco. The support networks are very encouraging to help people to do that. We have a Women's Network as you know, and a very successful Asian network, and recently we introduced a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network which is called 'Out at Tesco' set up in March 2009 to help LGBT employees feel confident, be themselves at work."

You can watch the 2 minute video of the presentation on YouTube at

For more on the Out at Tesco network go to

Friday, 5 November 2010

Listen to my interview in the New Media Age podcast!

Words words words!

Sometimes you have to say them as well as write them.

So when Ronan Shields from New Media Age handed a microphone to me at a recent conference I spoke to him about our mobile strategy.

I don't have a butch voice and I talk too fast but hey don't hold that against me if you wish to listen to me during their NMA 29 October 2010 audio podcast!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Take a look at our new mobile-enabled Tesco Direct web site

Just to show that we haven't all gone app-mad here at, please take a look at our mobile web enabled version of our Tesco Direct web site:

If you head to on a mobile phone our servers should detect that you are using a mobile browser and redirect you to the mobile version.

My colleagues Rebecca Pate and Lucia Del-Prete worked with technology which takes our standard Tesco Direct web pages and 'adapts' it appropriately for each mobile browser, screen size and even if the browser is being used in landscape or portrait mode. This ensures that customers have a great experience and don't have to scroll around or zoom in and out to navigate the pages successfully. To do this, they create a set of "adaptor" rules that tell the servers how to convert the standard web pages to mobile versions with templates for a list of detectable mobile phone types and browsers.

So give it ago and let me know what you think!

Update: Nice article from New Media Age's Ronan Shields:

Tesco has launched its first transactional mobile website as part of a drive to make all its sites compatible with smartphones, after finding that 7% of its total web users were mobile.
Tesco is kicking off the strategy with a mobile-enabled version of its Tesco Direct site, which sells items such as consumer electronics, in an attempt to attract early adopters of new technology who often make high-value purchases.
Laura Duffy, head of non-food customer development for Tesco Direct, said the mobile site will be an extension of its website.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Applications open to join the Tesco Freeview Broadcast experiment

If you would like to join R&D in testing content and applications we'll be sending to 'Channel Zero'-enabled Freeview boxes, then please apply below.

You may also optionally apply to receive one of 20 Technika Freeview HD set-top boxes that the Tesco Electricals team have kindly given me to hand out as part of the experiment and which you can keep for free afterwards. I'll offer them out BUT I want each box pointing to a different transmitter so experimenters receiving the box will be spread around the UK. You must apply to join the experiment before 11:59pm on 14th November 2010 if you wish to try and receive one of the set-top boxes.

For more info and to apply, go to my secure (but geeky and functional rather than beautiful) web form on our R&D server:  - all I need is your name, postcode and email address to contact you on.

Anyone inside or outside of Tesco can apply to join the experiment, as long as you get a good Freeview signal from a main service TV transmitter (not a relay). See my original article for more info.