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Viewsbank in Numbers at Christmas

3 years ago by James_Admin

Viewsbank in Numbers at Christmas

As you're probably aware, it's that time of year again, so we thought it would be nice to ask our members some obviously very important festive questions like what everyone's having for Christmas dinner, or about their preference for real or artificial Christmas trees... Like I said, really important stuff! Anyway, the results are in below. Any surprises? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Finally, the team at Viewsbank would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Is smartphone innovation dead?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Is smartphone innovation dead?

It’s not hard to think back even a few years and remember the staggering pace of innovation in the world of smartphones. Year after year we were treated to a whole host of new features – cameras on phones quickly improved from just a bit of fun, to devices that allow even complete novices to take seriously good photos. We also saw the rise of apps and the app store, waterproofing, fast charging and fingerprint scanning to name but a few of the innovations we’ve seen over the last decade.

Unsurprisingly, impressive innovations such as the above have helped to drive an unbelievable amount of sales within the industry, but if you look at data over the last year or two, quite a few of the big manufacturers are reporting growth that has slowed significantly or even sales growth that has stalled altogether. In my eyes it’s not hard to see why.

Take a look Apple and Samsung for example – two of the biggest smartphone brands in the world. Apple has just released a trio of new phones – the XS, XS Max and XR, while Samsung this year has released the S9 and S9+, along with the recent Galaxy Note 9. The problem for both of these companies is that they’re struggling to give consumers a really compelling reason to upgrade.

For example, say you’ve already bought last year’s (well received) iPhone X, and assuming you’re not stuck in a two or even three year contract that you don’t fancy paying off, what reason has Apple given you to fork out £999 (and up) for this year’s latest and greatest? Well, let’s see – the processor is slightly better, the camera is slightly better, and the water resistance is slightly better. The key word here in case you haven’t noticed already is “slightly”. The thing is, all of these things were still brilliant on last year’s iPhone X – when it comes to processing power for example, all but the most demanding users are unlikely to push even last year’s model anywhere near its limits.

The same is true for Samsung, who this year reported slower than expected sales for the Galaxy S9 and I can’t say I’m surprised. Sure, the S9 is beautifully constructed device, but put it side by side with last year’s S8 and to be honest, it would take a real tech enthusiast to spot the difference. Sure it was an “S” year for Apple, and Samsung were improving on an already very good phone – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and all that – but surely you can see my point, why would consumers continue to fork out obscene amounts of cash each year for incremental upgrades?

This all leads to one big question – is smartphone innovation dead? The latest trends are driving all manufacturers to deliver devices that are thinner than ever, with bezels that are ever shrinking, but is this what consumers really want, or is it simply what the smartphone industry thinks we all want? Where for example is the promised revolution in battery life? Yes, it has been improving a little bit in the last couple of generations, but where are the giant leaps (week long battery life anyone?) that it feels like we’ve been promised are coming. Battery life continues to be one of the most complained about smartphone problems, so surely some innovations here – or even just much larger batteries – would be more welcome by most consumers rather than smaller bezels?

Samsung have also reportedly been working on folding phones for some time now – think of a smartphone that you could open into a larger tablet style screen when needed – but we’re still yet to see the fruits of their labour. Maybe innovations such as this could be the next big thing we’re all looking for, and until then we’ll have to put up with all these incremental updates that only really appease those who absolutely must have the latest and greatest.

What do you think? Is smartphone innovation dead, or are you happy with the rate of innovation in the industry? Do you still feel the need to upgrade as regularly or do you keep your phone for longer now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…


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The return of an old friend

3 years ago by James_Admin

The return of an old friend

While having a bit of a “spring clean” around the site, a few weeks ago, we removed the “track” function from member’s Viewsbank accounts, our thinking being that it wasn’t really necessary, and we didn’t get huge number of users taking advantage of it. However, we quickly informed by a few of our regular members that they did in fact use the function and they were actually a little disappointed that it had been removed.

With that in mind, we decided the best way to settle this was with a good old-fashioned poll – it is kind of what we do after all – so, a few days ago, you may have noticed that we ran an admin poll to ask whether or not you used the “track” function. We had a really good response with over 1,500 of you taking part (thank you!), so it was a really useful indicator for us to gauge interest in the feature and make an informed decision on its future.

We simply asked the question, “Do you use the “track” function in your Viewsbank account?”, with the option to answer yes, no or “what’s the “track” function?” – the third option was added in as we suspected there could be some confusion as to what it was actually for, or even that many members may not have known about its existence.

Just to clarify for those who are reading this and still have no idea what I’m going on about, the “track” function was a section within your Viewsbank “account” page that “tracked” your activity on the site, providing helpful links to things like polls you had previously taken part in. Kind of like the history function in your browser.

The results of the poll came in and a staggering 70.4% of you didn’t know what the “track” function was, while only 12.5% of you did use it. That being said, we did feel like the 12.5% (193) of you who did use it still represented a fairly high number for what was a relatively minor part of the site, and we were really interested to read some of the comments to learn about why some of you wanted it back, with a significant minority of you clearly quite passionate about its return.

Viewsbank member sues said “Yes all the time and I would like to see it put back on as the comments and ongoing dialogue on the polls do make the polls and the viewsbank site much more interesting.” while getextra commented “It was handy to use because you could see the response quicker.”

With many of you wanting to see the feature return, and so many of you not knowing what it was, we felt we needed to do something about it, so I’m pleased to announce that the feature has been re-introduced. You’ll find it back in your “account” page where it used to be, but this time we’ve decided to rename it “My Activity”, as we felt this better represented what it was for, and will hopefully help avoid some of the confusion surrounding it.

What do you think? Are you glad to see the feature has returned? What do you think of the new name? Let us know in the comments!

Have hipsters killed the humble coffee shop?

Have Hipsters killed the humble coffee shop?

It seems that these days you can’t walk down your local high street without seeing that yet another new coffee shop has sprung up. Indeed, Britain’s traditional high streets are changing forever, with once familiar names making way for a seemingly ever-increasing number of coffee shops, bookies and charity shops.

Not so long ago, it felt like we all knew where we stood when it came to coffee shops – you had your established chains like Starbucks and Costa, you had your local high street cafes and you those “in store” style coffee shops. Sure, we all moaned a little at how much a latte cost from time to time, and perhaps we occasionally looked bemused at the fact our small coffee was actually known as a “tall” coffee, but at the end of the day though, a coffee was still a coffee and the sun still came up each morning.

Fast forward to today, and it’s a whole new world out there – the Hipster Café appears to be the new norm. No longer content are we with our £1.29 McDonald’s coffee, we now demand that our wonderfully bearded Barristers serve us only the finest freshly ground coffee that has already been pre-digested by cat. All joking aside though (and that cat poop coffee does really exist by the way), no one can argue that we are far more spoilt for choice when it comes to our hot beverages than we were a few years ago.

When the first of these Hipster inspired coffee shops started appearing, I’d almost go as far as saying that they were refreshingly different with their artisan ways, but I think the real question here is – have they over done it?

The problem for this new breed of coffee shops now is that are just so many of them – all claiming to serve some of the finest coffee available. Artisan coffee shops used to have a quirky charm about them and I totally get the appeal, but unfortunately having that quirky charm – think reclaimed wooden tables and Edison bulbs hanging overhead - is no longer good enough to help them stand out from the crowd. This sort of “authentic” venue now seems to be the new norm, with not just coffee shops but also bars, restaurants, shared office spaces and fashion boutiques all jumping on the bandwagon.

In order to help their patrons gain the reassuring approval of their culturally savvy Instagram friends, hipster coffee shops are having to become more and more inventive with their offerings. The current trend for deconstructed food and drink seems fairly popular for example, with customers paying more than average for a fairly small amount of food and/or drink that hasn’t quite been assembled fully – effectively meaning that you need to finish making it yourself. I don’t know about you, but when I go out for something to eat or drink, I’d rather my purchase was fully prepared and ready to eat or drink. If I had to assemble my own breakfast for example, then personally it’d be easier - and not to mention significantly cheaper - to stay at home for a bowl of Coco Pops and some toast.

I feel like McDonald’s hit the nail on the hit with their recent TV ad – depicting various people attempting to buy coffee at a selection of artisan or hipster style coffee shops, only to be faced with high prices, bewildering choices and bizarre presentation. The ad aims to remind us that if we want to keep things simple, we can still pop down to our local McDonald’s for a simple yet reasonably decent cup of coffee at a sensible price – no fuss.

While McDonald’s may not be your – excuse the pun – cup of tea when it comes to hot drinks, I don’t think that’s even the point. The point is that we need to remind ourselves that traditional coffee shops still have a place in our society, and sometimes you just want “normal”. For me, while I can appreciate the appeal of visiting somewhere new and (maybe) different, I really hope that this current trend for all things hipster doesn’t kill off the humble coffee shop – that would be real shame.


What do you think? Are hipster coffee shops killing off traditional coffee shops? Let us know your thoughts in the comments – we look forward to reading them!




3 signs that technology is enabling the agoraphobic in all of us

Nowadays there is little to no reason to leave your house at all. There are discords instead of discos, ASOS has made House of Fraser seem like a hassle and libraries can be stored on a couple kindles. Whilst I’m sure you’ve all read a thousand articles about how technology is basically rendering human life useless, this week’s blog is dedicated to the trend in technology which gives people less motivation to ever leave the house.

I’m sure most people remember forcing themselves out the house with your friends to go and meet new people. This could be school discos, bars when you’re a bit older or even as far as going to events that you know will be filled with like-minded individuals (Comic Con etc). The trend now has changed a little bit, if you want to meet people who you share interests with you simply share your discord link online and people who are interested can join and chat. Just like that, the need to go out and socialise to expand your social circle is eradicated. Discord is a service similar to skype that is used mostly by gamers just to chat and hangout. The only difference is because Skype is directly linked to your phone if you don’t want anyone and everyone sending messages straight to you, you might want something a bit more temporary. With Discord you can kick people off and the link is only usable whilst you’re online and as soon as you log off it ends. They now have 45 million users, connecting people from all over the world and wildly surpassing any expectations the company had for itself. I think one of the reasons for its popularity is the fact that when the internet and such a large online community is readily available if you have social anxiety then you no longer have to worry about making friends. If you don’t like who you’re talking to or feel uncomfortable you can literally log off and disappear, ideal for someone who struggles when it comes to talking face to face.

The next and probably most obvious way in which technology keeps us in the house is how online shopping has taken a lot of wind out the sails of most retailers. Why go through the hassle of going to the shops when you can search for exactly what you want and find the best price for it in minutes online. This time last year there was a consumer slump that hit most retailers, apart from companies like ASOS who announced a 27% increase in profits. Whilst House of Fraser are having to close down 31 stores up and down the country, ASOS have just invested 40 million USD into the American market.

Over the past few years we have seen a national decline in interest towards libraries. There were 15 million fewer visits to libraries than average in 2016 alone. This isn’t news at all, in fact when we asked Viewsbankers whether or not they ever use libraries 58.8% either said no or that they used to but don’t anymore. 37.4% of Viewsbankers said that they would rent books from Amazon like a library if given a chance, which means 37.4% would do to libraries what ASOS has done to retailers like House of Fraser. Here’s what some of you had to say about this idea:

  • “It would be really helpful if amazon do this, especially for students who need text books to study in college and university” 
  • “I understand that if the initial idea of renting books is successful, Amazon plans to open an instant access centre in major cities, and then possibly in every town. “
  • “Don't think there is anything I would want to rent that I can't get elsewhere.”

With lots of jobs nowadays allowing you to work from home and virtual reality able to take you on rollercoasters in your living room, you can literally have everything you need from the comfort of your own home. I wouldn’t say this actively encourages us to stay within the comfort of our own home, but it certainly enables the side to us that doesn’t want to have to deal with leaving the house.


What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments down below! 

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What news sources can be trusted?

3 years ago by James_Admin

What news sources can be trusted?

I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase “fake news” once or twice this year. Everywhere you go people seem to be constantly sceptical of any hidden agendas that may be lurking in-between the lines of every news report given, so this week’s blog is dedicated to trying to find a news source which has actually proven itself to be unbiased, or at least somewhat reliable.

The first to bring up is the nationally renowned newspaper, “The Times”. According to a recent survey by Oxford University which comprised of 74,000 people internationally (2,117 from the UK), found that The Times scored a trust rating of 6.35 out of ten, beating all other competition. Social media sources generally scored less than three which is something to put it into perspective. That having been said, when I tried to triple check the legitimacy of calling The Times an unbiased news source, I had to check other news sources which seemed to defeat the exercise as they all said different things.  

The BBC consistently ranks high for trust and impartialness according to a national Ipsos survey. In fact, 57% said that they would trust the BBC for news whereas only 11% said that they would turn to ITV (honourable mentioned to The Sun for scoring 0.3%). This survey was particularly designed to see how the BBC compared against the larger market of news sources. Surprisingly enough another survey done by Ofcom (the UK’s regulator for communications) found that Magazines out performed any other news source in terms of quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality. Magazines are now officially more trustworthy than newspapers (according to Ofcom).

We recently ran a poll that asked if you thought you had a reliable news source and 34.7% answered yes and “to a certain extent” received 30.1% of the votes. Some of our favourite comments were:

  • “I’m not bothered about political bias. Just like to know what’s going on”
  • “BBC news app plus newspapers and news on commercial channels gives me a broad view but I trust the BBC news most of all.”
  • “Confirmation bias, filter bubbles.  The information is out there, read a variety of views and then ignore them and rely on your own (hopefully wide and rich) personal experience.”

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Summer 2018 Highlights

3 years ago by James_Admin

Summer 2018 Highlights

Although most of us don’t want summer to ever end, unfortunately it’s come to that time. Children are going back to school, Strictly is coming back on and all hot beverages will have a pumpkin spiced alternative. With that said, it’s important to remember the good times as we say rest in peace to summer 2018.

Firstly, how could we ever forget the World Cup. Three lions were on the shirt and in our hearts. “It’s coming home” could be heard being sung outside most pubs until late hours of the evening and people who don’t even like football were incredibly invested in the sport. It was a few weeks of total patriotism as we reached the semi-finals with skills that were before unheard of for England. Although Croatia beat us (they probably cheated) I think most people can relate to that extreme hope that we all felt. Having said that, Viewsbankers did correctly predict the finishing results with an astounding 72.8% saying that we wouldn’t win. I think we can all agree that it was at least a little bit fun whilst it lasted. 

Secondly, we experienced a heat wave which was quite frankly unheard of for England. 57.2%of Viewsbankers were enjoying it and it was seemingly never ending at the time. It was one of the hottest summers that we have ever experienced as a nation. People were out in their gardens soaking up the rays which is a privilege we seldom see in the somewhat miserable weather we tend to experience. Although not everybody was a winner as record breaking amounts of people ended up in A&E and there were talks of starting a hose ban, the nation was in a seemingly better mood. One of our Viewsbankers said, “Yes, after a perfectly vile winter I am happy to be too hot for a few days.”

Finally, there was Love Island. It seems like a lifetime ago that this was a thing, however, we can’t deny that for many this popular reality TV show was a highlight. For a few weeks that was all the nation could talk about so love it or hate it, it was definitely big this summer. 3.8 million people tuned in to watch the finale, as it was the most popular season the TV show had ever had. That having been said only 4.2% of our Viewsbankers said they were avid reality TV fans so clearly it wasn’t enough to totally converted the masses. In fact, one Viewsbanker dislikes reality TV so much they said, “Reality TV is utter tripe”.

What were your summer highlights? Let us know in the comments below!

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Whose jobs are safe from AI?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Whose jobs are safe from AI?


I’m sure we’ve all heard about the rising tide of AI (artificial intelligence) which is here to steal all your jobs. AI has worked its way into the way we hail cabs,commute to workand use airplanes. This week’s blog is dedicated to finding out who really is in trouble when AI is perfected and becomes a solution to the human condition.

One of the jobs that we know is safe is mental health worker.You can teach a robot to react to certain conditions, but you can never validate someone going through a struggle with an automated response, and they know that. To prove this, I said to Siri “I’m upset”, and the response was “I would give you a foot rub, but I don’t have any hands”. Obviously, Siri is programmed to give a joking response that entertains more than comforts, but how would a robot be able to understand the nuisances between joking and being serious, especially when someone is being sarcastic. Dietitians and nutritionistsare also on the list of people who don’t need to worry for now. There’s no AI being developed that could be creative yet personal which is normally what this job title entails. What dishes can you make to improve someone’s lifestyle based off preferences they have, which simultaneously makes them happy and also brings them closer to their goal. Surgeons for this reason are also supposedly safe, although whilst they’ve been marked as safe by leading experts on AI, I think the people actually performing the surgeries could surely be replaced the same way that they now have machines able to delicately assemble microchips. Once you’ve inputted all the correct data, who is to say what a machine could be capable of. 

The unsafe jobs seem to be incredibly close to being fully replaced. Telemarketersare an excellent example of this, as it has a routine and is predictable. Anything that follows a script is at risk, as you could program AI to perform this task easily. The same way Alexa and Siri give scripted responses to any questions asked, a telemarketing program could easily do the same. Routine is the key to being replaced by AI, which is why another job close to extinction is the fast food cooks. Everything about that is rationed and planned, the portion sizes and cooking time for example. It would not be difficult to get a robot to follow this routine in response to orders. The final example of jobs that would be under the greatest risk would be paralegal and legal assistants. This is due to the same reasons as before, it’s a job that follows routine. The law is not subjective, challenging it and using it in arguments might be, however where the law stands on certain issues is definitely a programmable matter. 


What do you think about AI? Let us know in the comments!


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The Psychology of Brexit

3 years ago by James_Admin

The Psychology of Brexit

The vote is done, the negotiations are underway and seemingly everything that could be said about the political climate in the UK has already been said. Today’s blog isn’t necessarily about the Brexit, but what that meant from a psychological standpoint for Britain. 

The attitude Britain seemed to have towards Brexit (right and left wing) has gone through what most psychologists would deem the “Paranoid-Schizoid Position”. To sum this up generally, from the beginning of our lives until the end we have periods of great anxiety. For example, infants experience this after the trauma of childbirth and after initially experiencing hunger and frustration. The infant then uses these anxieties to project and introject a subjective reality (things which might have some base in truth, but the ideas aren’t necessarily true as a whole). Then the infant will go on to divide experiences into inertly good or bad ones, and then the theory goes that that is how one begins to develop a personality. 

I would argue that this has been the British reaction to Brexit. We went through periods of uncertainty that we were quick to label as either positive or negative, creating contrasting opinions. These opinions were formed out of a time of anxiety (similar to that of the infant), and everyone had to invent a reality for both scenarios which undoubtedly was biased. This is because we have already associated these scenarios with the good and bad. For example, Viewsbank initially held a survey to try and determine the outcome of Brexit before the vote, and it was correctly predicted that Britain would vote to leave the European Union. Now, as we have had time to reflect, and the reality is less of a fantasy and more of a reality, Viewsbankers thought that a second vote would lead to Britain remaining the in EU. In fact, the exact numbers are as follows:

  • 51% voted to leave the EU
  • 76% are unhappy with how the negotiations have gone so far
  • 60% think that if there was a second vote, the country would vote to stay in the EU.

Disregarding anyone’s personal political beliefs, these numbers show a clear change in how we are viewing Brexit because it’s no longer the idea of Brexit, but the actual reality. There’s no objective reality where we know everything that is right or wrong, we only have facts that we project our personality onto to form an opinion, and it seems Viewsbankers think that the majority of the U.K. regrets that particular decision made in anxiety. What’s good about the Paranoid-Schizoid Position is that it means we are in a position of change, so at least we know that we will be a different Britain by the time we actually leave. 

Celebrity companies – the failed, the bad and the ugly.

Nowadays it seems as though it’s impossible to avoid celebrities launching all sorts of companies. Whilst some seem ridiculous (obviously not naming anything to keep it professional however, definitely Goop), others such as Fenty Beauty by Rihanna have been massive successes. In this week’s blog I am tackling the ones which I think are the worst of the worst. Companies with such a poor business plan that not even an A-list name could save them. 

Firstly, we have the infamous Donald Trump. As both a business man and a celebrity, it looked as though the stars should have aligned perfectly for his new (at the time) venture into “Trump Airlines”. Whilst it was dubbed an airline, a more effective phrase to describe their services would probably be “shuttle”. Based in the North-East of America, they did local and national flights which at the time were highly profitable. Trump took over the business form Eastern Airlines for a negotiated $365 million (more than what it would cost to start the business yourself, however this way you were guaranteed market share). Eastern airlines then went out of business, giving Trump the opportunity to not only negotiated a cheaper deal but also get more aircrafts. The deal was approved by the bankruptcy court, and by 1989 Trump had a profitable airline that he intended to turn into a luxury service (by painting his name on the side and improving the interiors). Unfortunately, due to conflict in the Middle-East, jet fuel prices doubled, which meant that the massive increase in price for the company had to be reflected in the prices for the customers. Many corporate travel budgets were tightened due to the recession, meaning less money spent on fancy shuttle services. By 1991 Trump had to sell the company in order to avoid $135 million in debt that he was personally accountable for.

Secondly, we have a director turned restaurateur. Steven Spielberg dove (you will later discover this is a pun) head first into starting his very own restaurant. He started a nautical themed eatery named “Dive!”. This concept originally grew out of his fascination for underwater exploration (not a passion for the food or service industry). They predicted immense success, claiming there would be over 60 locations in the coming years. The concept was simple, every 45 minutes, make the diners feel like they were in a submarine going underwater whilst serving them sandwiches. However, this concept makes it difficult to get returning customers, and it quickly became a habit for people to not even eat and just buy the merchandise. The loud noises became tiresome and the food was boring, with no repeat customers and tourists choosing to just buy the keychains, all branches closed by 2000. 

Our final celeb is famed rapper Jay-Z. When you think American rap culture, you probably associate it with clothing, rap music and maybe some specific foods and drinks (Patron tequila comes to mind). You probably don’t think about luxury hotels, or at least, not luxury hotels owned by the people who rap about how they used to sell drugs. His plan was to open a series of hotels dubbed “J Hotels” starting with an extremely expensive location in the centre of New York. Unfortunately for him, his partners all defaulted on their $52 million loan, which then prompted a legal debate over who would manage the lion share of the interest repayments. Jay-Z then filed a lawsuit against some of his investors, they filed a counter-claim and by December 15th 2010 it was all settled out of court and the J Hotels dream was dead.

Those are my personal favourite out of all the celebrity business fails. We asked our Viewsbankers if they would purchase a product if it were endorsed by a celebrity they liked and an overwhelming 65.4%of Viewsbankers said no. Some of our favourite comments were:

  • “Depends on the product, if it's a good product it doesn't need a 'celeb' to endorse it, the quality will sell itself. A celeb’s name being attached to a product or service is irrelevant.”
  • “Celebrity endorsement is the last thing I would take into consideration when buying a product.”

What do you think about celebrities who go off-brand to start new business ventures? Do you think there are better celebrity business fails out there? Let us know in the comments!