Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Things Advertisers Worry About Around Christmas


I'm going on holidays as of tomorrow - won't be back (and have sworn off blogging to get my third attempt of a fictional novel off the ground) until Mid-January sometime. So merry, merry and happy happy to everyone....Thought I'd leave you with the re-post below from last year. Enjoy!

I love to save quotes I overhear or emails or blackberries that I think are particularly funny. Here is an absolute classic that was sent by someone at an Ad Agency to the Interactive client about a production issue involving Christmas Elves. Here the Account Executive is explaining to the client why they aren't going to get the photo assets in a timely manner.

"Now it is almost the 4th. We awarded the job to a production house this morning – the 3rd and made Elf casting, wardrobe/styling their first priority. ….Casting happens simultaneously but it also takes time. Even if we take any little person from Toronto and use in stills only will save us half a day at best. Making costumes, hats, shoes, prosthetic ears, eye brows and whatever else elves need will take us to Friday. What complicates things is that little people don’t come in regular sizes, and we will have to tailor make their wardrobe. We cannot pick them off a rack. We can’t use stock, as the stock elf will look differently from the TV elf and that defeats the purpose of having elves for visual candy campaign glue. Styling TV elves after the stock elf may rob our elves of their unique personality and make them generic, boring and invisible in the crowd of shoppers drug mart and furniture warehouse elves which is completely unacceptable. I hope this explains the issues to you to your full satisfaction."

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Difference Between My Blog & My Tumblr log

Inky led me to a great url visualization tool that shows the difference between my blog and my tumblrlog.

What do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

Ok So first my blog:



And now my tumblrlog:

Public Displays Of Experimentation & The Digital Self

"Identity construction becomes a continual daily task"

- Jamal + Chapman 2008


I've got to think that the continual "status casting" and lifestreaming that is going on with the youth of today has to have an impact on identity construction in a more fundamental way than people are realizing.

Part of growing up is about taking chances. The Web to some extent has sped up that innovation and yet, on the other hand I wonder at what point the "public displays of experimentation" will have an adverse affect. Kids generally are experiential and telling them something is one thing - but something impacting them in the real world is another. Now, connected 24/7 they not only have their successes streamed live and in digital colour, but their failures as well. Their memories both good and bad are being digitally imprinted without the ability to hide them quietly as the time and distance of the event passes.

"Identities are not fixed by some core, singular, essential, universal properties. Rather they are contested, multiple and shifting and are embedded in cultural and historical practices"

- Bhatia, 2002

Except that the culture is being created at a lightening pace and the concept of history, before it is even understood, is already in the making.

Monday, 17 December 2007

One Step Forward, and 2.0 Back?

Ah the debate. To comment on or not to comment on the flame war between Mike Arrington and Shelly Powers. Quick background: I was reading Mathew Ingram's post in which he disagree's with Lane Hartwell's decision to take down the popular "Here comes the bubble video". First glance I notice a guy named Mike (I swear I didn't notice it was *that* Mike until he made the I'll do whatever the f*ck I like comment to Mathew) who out of no where made a comment about a woman named Shelly.

"Mathew is right, you are wrong. But since Lane is a woman, it really doesn't matter what she did as far as you are concerned. She's a woman, so she's right."

The comment seemed totally out of context for me, and I went wtf? I even wrote (again not noticing it was *that* Mike) wha' up with that? Turns out, Mike has a personal beef with Shelly and believes that Shelly has a personal beef with him. Glad we could all get invited to that particularly family dinner. So Mike then asks if people think he's sexist bc of this video and then by this morning closes the comments on his post. In a round about way, thought I'd answer the question given now that I have what I think is full context that this has nothing to do with copyright and everything to do with a personal squabble.

My now 12 year old daughter has lived in a small Greek village with her Dad for the past two years. One of the biggest transitions that Cee had to make was realizing that women/girls were not considered equal by everyone. I still remember her calling me one day so angry - I'm like, calm down what's wrong?

"Mommy. They don't let girls play soccer here. It's just not done."

And I was like, well, change the rules.

"Uch. You don't understand. That's just not done here."

What was I to say? I reminded her if she wants the world to change, she has to change it. We talked about a great book that everyone should get their kids called the TheNobel Book Of Answers...I babbled on a while, and well, she wasn't convinced and we changed the subject.

About 7 months later in the Spring, not even a year later, Cee had managed to not only get herself on the soccer team, but in fact, every single female in her class. When I asked her how she did it this is what she said:

"Oh well it was easy. I realized that asking them was the problem. If you ask them, they say no. So I just stopped asking and started playing."

(and FYI, the boys still to this day are annoyed that she is "changing the way the girls in the village are thinking").

Ok, now to the question of sexism on Arrington's particular comment...

And I think for today, I'm going have to default to what I think my daughter would say. If I presented the scenario to her (remember she's 12)

- that two people were having an argument. One thought one thing. The other person thought another. Then the boy person, said to the girl person,

"You only agree with that other person because she's a girl and your a girl too"

Do I think she would think it's sexist (after I explained what it was of course)? Probably not, but I bet you $100 bucks she'd say

"Well that's just dumb."

I think it's pretty dumb too.

And now back to our regular scheduled blogging....

oh and ps. if anyone cares about the copyrite issue Mathew still thinks Lane's wrong found here

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Creative Perspectives


Its funny how looking at something in a new way gives you a completely different perspective with unexpected consequences. I think that's at the heart of creating innovative strategies. It's why I'm loving Tumblr so much and why I finding myself spending less time reading Techmeme and more time playing around on FFFound.

(image credit: farm2 from Flikr)

Calm Before The Storm


We woke up this morning to what they are saying is only the beginning. Four cm have fallen in two hours. Looks like we're going to have a white xmas. That's going to make for one happy husky.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Oooooo How Lovely

Treat yourself to a moment of design zen...

Click here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

An Ecosystem Approach To Marketing In The Digital Age

Cross-posted from One Degree.

As an environmental planner, I studied the impacts of technologies (waste treatment plants, large dams, road work projects etc.) on communities. Technology has always had an impact on how we live, how we work and how we interrelate with the environment around us.

Similarly, working in interactive communications since 1996, I have seen the growth of digital networks and their communities.

While at first glance, it may seem that environmental and digital ecosystems have little in common, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are many parallels between natural ecosystems and their networked counterparts and therefore many lessons to be learned.

‘GreenMan marketing part I’ attempts to formalize this strategic approach and lay down a foundation, a philosophy and a way of thinking.

Truth, Lies & Advertising

Someone passed on a comment asking me to clarify my online advertisings dirty little secret posting.

The question was, am I saying that online advertising doesn't work or that I am anti-advertising? Actually the answer is not at all, so I guess I better clarify :)

My post was attempting to question the current definition of online advertising which is based on traditional mass advertising thinking. I don't like how it is defined and truthfully, I think that maybe the problem lies withe the usage of the word advertising.

A while back I had seen a great post at Adliterate that asked the question, are brand ideas to big for advertising?". As well, if you add to the mix multi-dimensional branded customer experiences, then you know for sure that the term advertising is no longer as relevant as it used to be. My point was, and still is, that online advertising as it has been traditionally defined by organizations like the IAB have a very narrow and limited definition and it simply doesn't work.

Secondly, I talked about current methods for measurement and tracking. My point was that we again, are using old tools (and old thinking) to measure a new medium. What is required are holistic approaches and one that take into consideration that the system will always be imperfect. There are ways to improve on it. Just this morning, I was talking to someone who is working on an overall KPI approach. I mentioned to her that I have long wanted to apply social impact assessment models (which are used in Environmental planning to measure non-quantifiable assets and inputs such as loss of culture) into assessment models. More food for thought.

Finally, I wanted to make the point that in an effort to "sell" the digital space, many organizations and companies have made promises to clients that they were then unable to meet. While digital allows for far greater accountability than say a print ad, the Utopian promise of everything is measurable has still not been delivered to clients on a consistent basis. Can it be going into the future? Well, as my friend Vanessa likes to say, with the right people, enough time and enough budget, anything is possible.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Whoops

That's to me and Rogers Yahoo. Me because I accidentally deleted my last posting and Rogers Yahoo! because of this...

Read here.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The IChing Of Facebooks Network

This IChing reblog from here is in light of the news that some Facebook users are selling their own ads against Facebook policy. Like I always say, it's in the network's DNA to go around obstructions.

"When faced with difficulties and obstacles to the achievement of its intentions, a network of superior values searches for errors in the assumptions underlying its initiative, thus creating the opportunity for its own further development.

Sub-conditions:

1. The network, when faced with obstacles, should retreat temporarily in anticipation of a more appropriate occasion for action. (Resulting in: Accomplishment).

2. When its obligations so dictate, the network should attack the obstacle directly rather than seeking ways to circumvent it. (Resulting in: Basic need).

3. If the network has others dependent upon it, whose existence would be endangered by its failure, it is preferable for it to avoid tackling the obstacle. (Resulting in: Solidarity).

4. It is preferable for the network to avoid hasty action against an obstacle in order to gather support and make adequate preparations. (Resulting in: Influence).

5. Despite the importance of the obstruction, if the network is totally committed to the task it will attract collaborators with whom success may be achieved. (Resulting in: Unpretentiousness).

6. If a network no longer concerned with mundane affairs is faced with obstructions, it can through its experience and insight bring about a solution of special significance, rather than vainly attempting to avoid the issue. (Resulting in: Development).

Transformation sequence Obstructions cannot persist indefinitely, thus eventually liberation is achieved. (Resulting in: Liberation)."

Friday, 7 December 2007

Intelligent Sticky Notes?


Some very funky ideas and work from Pattie Maes and the Ambient Intelligence Group.

‘Quickies’ enrich the experience of using sticky notes by allowing them to be tracked and managed more effectively. The project explores how the use of RFID, Artificial Intelligence and ink recognition technologies can make it possible to create intelligent sticky notes that can be searched, located, can send reminders and messages, and more broadly, can help us to seamlessly connect our physical and digital worlds.

Have to say the intelligent sticky notes sounds very cool. I happen to be obsessed with sticky notes (stickies and sharpies!).

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Tumblr Is a Feast For The Mind

So, I started tracking some VC tumblr logs and, well, (no offense) *yawn*. I stopped following them (see my post about it here). They seemed to use the service as aggregated lifestreams which I don't have a lot of interest in. For me, different lifestreams (and the services that enable them) have different meaning.

Then one day (it's like a children's story) i bumped into Andre. I love Andre's tumblr log. He must be a designer because he finds the most amazing stuff. Fantastic images. Cool ideas. Seriously, he calls it a digital scrap book - I call it food for the mind.

Anyway, I started to link from him to all these other tumblr logs and i realized that all of these guys and gals were using it that way. Tumblr wasn't aggregating their lifestreams, it was creating a new type of lifestream. Not even food, but a feast for the mind.

So i started one...(you can find it here, but I put it on my links on the side as well). It doesn't take up very much time and while I am going along my day, if i see something that I want to capture (not write about at length - not send to 1000 people - just capture) I use the tumblr toolbar in my browser (works similar to del.icio.us) and voila! Captured.

Now the thing they don't tell you (well they don't really tell you very much on the homepage at all) is that tumblr allows you to quick edit and grab specific things from a page effortlessly.

I'll show one example:

Say, you are on flickr and you like a photo and you want to capture it on your tumblr log (CC license of course).





And then voila!



Not aggregated lifestreams IMO at all (although I guess some people can continue to use it that way). Just a completely creative, loose way to digitally capture moments and thoughts through the day. Very, very cool.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Online Advertising's Dirty Little Secret


Woah. So all of sudden the Facebook thing happens and NOW everyone is saying

"Yeah, but do online ads really work?"

A discussion that has been going on in Advertising circles for a long time.

Personally I have always felt that the "trackability" and "measureability" of the Web has been overstated. For a new medium we tend to have pretty old media measurement models with things such as CPM rates (cost per thousand impressions) and click through rates. Even with more "so called" sophisticated targeting and tracking, we still end up asking the same question, do online ads 'work? And what does everyone mean by work anyhow?

Does it mean someone saw them?
Does it mean someone clicked on them?
Does it mean a particular action happened like a pay-per-action model?
Does it mean it generated a lead that led to a sale?
That someone filled out a form?
Does it mean someone was tracked until they purchased something on an e-commerce site?
Was it one sale? Was it a lifetime customer?
Does it mean they like the brand more now? Eh?

What makes matters worse (and I'm not even talking about click through fraud) is that online discussions tend to ignore other forms of media and advertising (because we ALL know advertising doesn't work!). Maybe they clicked on an ad but only did that after their had been exposed to TV, print ads, some radio play as well as a direct mail flyer.

I think what this all calls for is some realistic discussions around measurement, industry wide new standards for ways we measure and broadening out the definition of online advertising from banner and google ads to include other forms of online communications (social media, corporate websites etc.).

Online advertising's dirty little secret is out. Now it's time to do something about it.

(photo credit "shhhh" http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincross/182183355/)

Monday, 3 December 2007

Online Privacy Abuses Will Ruin The Web

I'm a bit surprised at some of the people who have come out saying that they think the whole Facebook privacy issue is over blown (see here, here and here). For some it might be a matter of not caring about what they consider their mundane data and for others they might have concerns over the heavily reliance that many online businesses have on online advertising.

Truth is, marketers have always oversold online advertising targeting and tracking as the Webs holy grail. And let's face it, ad supported services have been at the heart of so many ‘free’ things that we take for granted.

I've blithered on (in four postings in the last week no less) about the privacy issues and potential abuses of people's data, so i won't beat that particular drum again. Let me come at this in a completely different way - as a marketer.

Peter and I wrote an article for strategy magazine a long time ago about why marketers and advertisers should be concerned about customers' online privacy. The premise? If we don't care, the legislators will.

When companies and agencies start to cross lines without any thoughts to their responsibilities as corporate citizens, the public starts to get nervous and starts to question if their personal freedoms are being trodden upon. When that happens, inevitably someone stands up and says, dang, we better make a law for this!

This is how the European privacy laws were created and similarly here in Canada with bill C-6. When we don't play nice, it's the governments job to try and make us. Do we really want that? Will they understand what things are about privacy and what things are just stupid? What things would protect people and what things would just ruin the Web?

In the end if we want to ensure a sustainable Web ecosystem that works for both people and business, we have to find the right balance between customers best interest and our own marketing self interest. And if we can't someone else will surely make us.

update: ..and when you thought it couldn't get worse, it does. So much for being able to just leave the service. Read this Facebook's Beacon Ad System Also Tracks Non-Facebook Users.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Funny Fact


(Peter saw this one in Time Magazine)

10% of Americans think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

Zuckerberg Shrugged: Man Vs. Ecosystem


It's in the Webs DNA to go around obstructions. We've seen it in the past with things like P2P, online music downloading.

There's something to DNA and Umair's posting on the subject got me thinking. So let's talk about what's wrong with the DNA of Facebook and how they let this whole Beacon issue get completely out of control.

Firstly, we could blame Harvard of course. Old school business models that have at their core a specific type of elitism (a friend of mine who did his degree there called "The H Bomb"). But it appears that the arrogance of Facebook has begun to mirror Zuckerberg himself as he stands of the PR stages of the world commanding his people from high upon the hills. With the ever expanding belief that his opinions and contributions should supersede those of the Facebook members themselves.

He built the company so there must be something to this. He's the one who refused to sell at a billion dollars and as it turns out, he was right. But the real question becomes, is his type of thinking 'sustainable' in the digitally connected ecosystem of the Web?

Missing The Forest For The Trees

Zuckerberg seems to take a classic command and control approach to his ecosystem management. Why do I say this? Command and control models have these characteristics:

- Model of master and servant
- Knowledge as a tool for domination
- Top down system of management and control
- Belief that ecosystems are static
- Belief that what happens outside the ecosystem does not impact what goes on inside it

Hum...sound familiar? Think of it this way, if Zuckerberg were in charge of a forest, he would end up cutting down the entire thing, leaving a barren landscape at the end of it. So much for the forest ecosystem.

And, in the end, will that be good for business? Well, one might suggest in the short term it probably brings in a lot of revenue and might appear to be successful. But similar to what has happened in the logging industry, in the end, you just end up with a wasteland and a lot of really pissed off community members on both sides of the fence.

And Zuckerberg? I think he should consider forgetting about business for a while and consider taking an ecology and environmental planning course or two (or three). Otherwise as Zuckerberg shrugs, he'll end up missing the forest for the trees.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Social Activism 101 - Web 2.0 Style

It's ironic that a lot of the people who tout the principles of Web 2.0 have a tendency to forget one of the basic tenants...The power shift from companies to community.

Back in the day, my friend Jay, an campaigner at Greenpeace, took the power that the Web gave to the people and applied that to social activism. Thus in 1996, Fax the Feds was born. Thanks to our friends at Google, I even found a reference to it:

"Fax the Feds!. ...Fax your Federal MP Web Page Services. Keep your MP accountable! This is a FREE service to send your MP a fax message about any issue of concern. Within minutes, your message will appear as a printed fax in the MP's Ottawa office using a sophisticated web page engine."

Well, it seems as if our sophisticated web page engine has gotten even bigger and more powerful, thanks to the ever expanding edges of Web 2.0.

For some reason it heartens me that while some people think the Facebook concerns are an over-reaction, that in the end, it's the law of the network that prevails.

This isn't the first time (Sony root kit anyone?) and it won't be the last, but it's a great lesson to all those companies and organizations out there.....

Customers are more in control and connected than ever before and in the end it will be them that have the last word - social activism 101, Web 2.0 style.

So ignore, ignore, ignore – but remember if you choose to do so, you do so at your own peril.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Data Doesn't Kill People, People Kill People

From AVC's post Facebook and The Privacy Backlash this morning

"My point is that there is way more good to be done with this data than evil. I am happy when I see the beacon popping up on my screen these days"

Let me give a scenario:


- I go to Cuba in the winter because there are great cheap deals at Expedia.

- I buy a cute Che handbag and have pictures uploaded to Flikr with me and the bag

- I shop at Amazon and buy my nephew a bunch of philosophy books because that's what he's into these days. Marx is one of them.

- I write a blog post referencing the Dixie Chicks "Shut up and social network"

- I join a facebook group in support of Amnesty International.

- I twitter a comment that I saw The Daily Show last night and what an idiot Bush or an equivalent public figure is.

All pretty mundane stuff. As well, i've life streamed about a gazillion other things including my trip to Vegas, my purchase of cook books, joining the I love the Wii facebook group, twittering the weather, etc. Data. Who cares.

But wait, where there is data, there is filtering technology. And worse, there are people who can use those filters to pick and choose from your life stream to build a story of their own construction.

Remember this guy?


And if you think that was then, and this is now and it can't possibly happen in the US or Canada? Well it has as people like Mr. Arar can attest. And no one will think their being evil. It will all be done in the name of truth and justice.

If history tells us one thing, it's that data isn't evil, but people? That's another story all together.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Shut Up & Social Network


I don't really get people sometimes. So, a facebook group was created called Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy! that basically takes Facebook to task for their privacy policies.

But if you read the wall on the group, there are many people berating the joiners for being concerned. It's all with the attitude, "if you don't like it, leave".

Here's one example from Adam Wolfson:

"No one likes having their privacy invaded, but at the same time, you ALL join facebook on your own volition, and ALL accept their terms of use. If you have an issue with this, take your account off line.. Then you won't have anyone ruining the surprise you were planning for Christmas. This is a free world and Facebook sets out the guidelines of use. When you accept, you must take the good with the bad. Grow up and stop crying about things you could easily avoid."

I watched the crowd sourcing talk at Mesh and this seemed to be the general theme for justification of anything on the Web. If you don't like it leave. If you don't like what Flikr does then don't use the service. If you don't like how google is tracking everyone, use a different search engine. If you don't like it, hell, don't go online! As if those companies have no culpability and no standards that they have to adhere to. But I don't think that's the case.

There are things like privacy laws and frankly, corporate social responsibility guidelines, as a means of ensuring companies, particularly those with a great deal of power (which we can say google and facebook certainly have at this point) to behave. And IMHO it's not only our right, but our obligation as citizens not to just OPT out, but to bring these issues to light in order to ensure a healthy debate for those who simply wouldn't other wise, know, hear or think about what is happening out there is the big bad and new world of digital communications and technology.

'Shut up and social network' is an oxymoron and I simply don't buy it.

update: good news privacy groups filing an FTC complaint against Facebook...

Monday, 26 November 2007

What Would Stacy London Have To Say? Social Marketing Fashion Do's & Don'ts


Oh dear. Here we go. As marketers jump on the latest trend bandwagons (see here and the even worse example here), they dress their clients in a myriad same yet different, bad social media marketing outfits.

I wonder what Stacy would have to say about that? Wait, I actually know what she would say:

"Stacy London, host of TLC's Fashionably Late and What Not to Wear, says women [brands]who are overly concerned with trends make the biggest fashion [marketing] faux pas. "There are three things always you should consider—your body [brand] type, your age [customer] and your [their] lifestyle. And that's how you decide what trends are going to work for you. Not every trend works for every person [brand]."

You go girl! Sock it to 'em Stacy....

Cultural Mood Boards Role In Brand Strategy


Designers use mood boards all the time. Why don't customer insight strategists? We used to do brand video's all the time for clients when I was at MacLaren for new businesses pitches and they always managed to capture the magic that static brand strategy documents can't. Peter thinks maybe it's a new type of mood board - as we do with planning documents - maybe a cultural mood board instead of brand? Hum...I think he's on to something...

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Raising Awareness For Asian Culture (& The Lego Brand)


Found via my newest feed, Andre Brocatus (I may just like a Tumblr log afterall), The Building Asia Brick By Brick Project. From their site:

"Working together, ArtAsiaPacific and People's Architecture have invited leading Asian and Pacific architects to create original architectural models from custom kits of white LEGO ® bricks with the intent that the models should be exhibited and auctioned to raise awareness about architectural preservation in Asia."

I think it's great that Lego got on board with this as this is the type of community based generated content that really rocks. The idea didn't start with the marketing department of Lego, but rather with some creative minds who ended up not only building awareness for Asian culture (the original intent), but for the Lego brand as well.

To see more of the Lego sculptures, go here.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Wanted: Social Media Manipulators

Some things make me want to lose my mind as someone who works in digital communications. Last week I got a bit pissy in the comments on this Marketing Pilgrim post "How To Create User Generated Link Bait" and today i read the offensive post on Techcrunch talking about how to go Viral with your Video.

From my comments on Pilgrim here is my take:

Wanted: Social Media Manipulator

qualities desires:

- supreme liar (that includes lying to oneself)
- ability to manufacture relationships based on false premise
- complete lack of integrity masked in big comfy blanket known as marketing creativity"

Look people, successful marketing doesn't make it successful marketing. Stats are misleading. You want to take the chance that it doesn't get out that you participated in this type of BS? And what is that going to do for your brand. How is that going to build trust in a participation economy exactly?

I know chances are you won’t get caught. Just remind yourself that that's probably what all those fine folks in Heidi Fleiss' little black book thought too.

Quote Of The Week

Peter sent me this from A List Apart:

So what is web design?

Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.

Let’s repeat that, with emphasis:

Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.


(i love the way he repeated it twice....goooooo Jeffrey Zeldman!)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Most Tumors Start Off As Pre-Cancerous Cells - Kinda Like Facebook's Beacon

So Mathew doesn't think Beacon is a big deal . I told him i think he is mostly wrong (actually i said totally wrong but he said that makes him right so I modified my hyperbole).

A lot of people have talked about privacy concerns and other things so i'll just go to my friend over there at Bubblegeneration who I can't seem to disagree with about almost anything these days....

"So there's this kind of massive myth floating around the mediaverse today:

"I don't mind Beacon, because it lets Facebook make a buck, and stay in business".

He goes on to say that the logic is backwards and really it shouldn't be that way at all and instead something more like this

""I don't mind Beacon, as long as it creates value for me, because it's letting Facebook make a few bucks. Otherwise, I'll defect to another network".

Facebook is making an extremely evil play. Nothing about evil in my mind can be overblown. Especially when you have so many people participating. Mathew thinks it's benign? I don't think so. Sounds much more like pre-cancerous cells waiting to turn into a tumor and spread like wild fire if you ask me.

High Tech Goes Ad Tech

Les sent me this article from Business Week yesterday that talks about how the high tech industry is embracing the notion mapping trends and influence...A day in the life.

Here's a shot of one tool...



Reminded me of a pitch day in the life I had created, i guess it would be over 8 years ago (all of a sudden I'm feeling old), with our media group at the Agency....



I think it's interesting that interactive communication companies have been so reluctant to take some of the best tools that agencies use (many of which are around customer/consumer insight) even though they borrow all the time from so many other industries (business management, software engineering).
But it’s nice to see especially when it comes to planning that high tech isn’t too snobby about low tech to not see the value in ad tech. ☺

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Brand Mashing: To Enable Or Not To Enbale That Is The Question


When Vanessa first talked to me about xml back in the day, I had to wrap my head around a major shift that I think sometimes I am only beginning to understand the profound impacts of. I remember sitting in meetings with clients and taking a marker and madly putting big crosses on the box formally known as a website and starting drawing circles that represented bits and pieces that i then started drawing arrows to and from with words like, business requirements, marketing objectives, customer need states yada yada.

Think data i would tell them...
Think digital!
Interconnect them...
Think networks!

But most of this thinking at the time was in relationship to connecting customers with brands and brands with customers. But while we could now, differently than traditional mass media communications, morph and shape the communications based on customer interactions, what we didn't really conceive of at the time, was the fact that our customers would spend the majority of their time out there....on the network....connecting with EACH OTHER...

How then, do we start to fundamentally change the way we create more connected interactions? In essence, if the party is happening elsewhere, how do we get an invite?

Today's conventional marketing wisdom would have us widgetize the experience and I get that. A distributed brand experience model is certainly a step in the right direction. But the truth is that still involves US creating SOMETHING (in this case a widget) that we then CONTROL and give out for DISTRIBUTION.

See.. the widget is still a thing... a website, a webpage. It's not thinking bits and pieces, networks, or layers.

So I got to thinking about the open code brand and what Blyk is trying to do (that I wrote about here) and it got me blithering (It is Leigh's blitherings for a reason after all)…

Traditionally, brands try to control their standards. I’ve been in meetings where brand champions simply freak out when customers utilize their standards in a way that is not considered appropriate. While this thinking has changed a bit with the entire UGC, no one has really taken the bull by the horns. What if clients websites became open APIs? What if they actually encouraged customers, users to take whatever content they wanted and mash up their brands?

Sure it would mean that some customers are going to do things you might not like. Maybe they will start creating product by product comparisons. Maybe they will aggregate your content into THEIR widgets or reformulate your services offers or, or, or…

While we may be able to focus on what might be lost….the real question is what may be gained? Unpaid media opportunities that export your brand….likely even business value and creative ideas that maybe you haven’t even conceived of that you can capitalize on?

As everything gets connected to everything else…brand mash-ups are inevitable…As brands and businesses, we have to ask the question “to enable or not to enable" Yep that to me is the question.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A Picture Is Worth A Moment Of Silence


My cousin Victor who was in town for the funeral of my uncle, pointed our family to the family tree Website Geni. Apparently, some distant cousin of mine in Sweden has slowly been creating my dad's side of the family tree from it's origins in Eastern Europe (our family village was sometimes in Germany, sometimes in Poland depending upon the political day) to present.

Going through the over 1200 connections (and 237 direct descendants) I found this grouping that gave me pause. I guess it is one thing to know that so much of my family there died in 1942, it's another thing to see the names of grandmother's, daughters, husbands and children all born in different years, all with the same date at their end. 1942.

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, this just made me pause and have a moment of silence.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Open Code Brand: Bloody Brilliant Marketing

Sometimes you've just gotta swear (*disclaimer to my 11 year old - no this doesn't mean if you see this that YOU are now allowed to swear).

I love the philosophy of what Blyk is trying to do. And the truth is, to launch a mobile phone company that is supported by advertising, traditional marketing approaches are going to fail miserably. Because you have to somehow attempt to make the notion of advertising on your phone a good thing...make the fact that you are getting something for free (i.e. you don't have enough money to pay) cool.... Well, enter Blyk's notion of an open code brand.

"When we started designing the Blyk brand we took a deliberately “open code” approach. By “open code” I mean, much like in open source software, that there is an initial hard core - the kernel of the operating system if you like - and that we allow and even encourage variation, iteration and interpretation of the brand identity. Our goal is to create the Blyk brand together with our members, to invite them to take part. I believe this is the best way for us to compete with the traditional “pay-for” mobile networks and to build a real emotional tie with our audience. This idea is carried into the illustrative style used in our launch visuals."

This is taking the notion that brands are customers and customers are brands to an entirely new level. Definitely going to be tracking this one.....

Monday, 12 November 2007

Portalized Vs. Edited Lifestreams

Experience Planner had a posting on Tumbler and the notion of aggregating lifestreams. I had made the comment on the post that i thought our generation are 'centralists' by nature - and therefore crave a portalized version of ourselves. That we "see" lifestreams and therefore want to organize and track them.

But the generation that is coming behind us...I am not so sure. They have multiple identities, that are sometimes digitally geo-location based, un-aggregated, ebbed and flowing...Less seeing than experiencing..

My thought was that this generation may be more interested in contextual flow - meaning seeking a view of someone's lifestream in a particular context or moment in time depending upon what they were interested in.

To challenge myself on this notion, I started to follow a couple Tumbler logs (see bijansabet.com and fredwilson.vc) myself.

Truth? I think I might be with the younger generation on this one(woot!). I don't really care to see all of someone's lifestreams. I think I only care about the part of the lifestream that matters to me. With information overload becoming even more overloaded, I want to be able to edit the stream.

I am not unsubcribing just yet. Maybe I haven't seen the value because I haven't given it enough time. I know lifestreams are going to be important but how they are managed and controlled has only started to be explored.

Things that make you go ...Hum....

Friday, 9 November 2007

Looking For Some Desktop Tagging Help

Anyone know of any products that allow you to tag documents on your desktop that can then be searched by spotlight? I am having a helluva time saving my myriads of research for future retrieval.

Suggestions?

Social Networks: Web OS or BS?

And the quote of the day (really it was a week ago but i read it today) goes to one of my favorite tech geeks Mark Petrovic from his post OpenSocial: The Java of social networks, and MIPS lost.

"it’s an odd twist of events that these social networks are being termed the web OS of our time, what with applications running on them....Shouldn’t we expect more than running our apps on someone else’s platform? Isn’t this what we did back in the days of … hold on… here it comes… the mainframe?

[And it's] doing, what, again? Updating our collective Facebook status? Who would have thought that this is what would come to be understood as the great intelligence at the edge.

(note: emphasis on last sentence mine)

Thursday, 8 November 2007

It's Time For A Social Network Co-Op

You know the Ad campaign:

"Why do WestJetters care so much?
Because we're also WestJet owners."

After reading this bubblegeneration post Research Note: (Facebook's) Evil is in the DNA alongside all the Google wants our data posts over the years, here is my pledge -

The first group to create a social network co-operative - where we all own the network and then share in the creation of how our data is collected, shared, and monetized - I will join. And I will ask all my friends, neighbors and country people to join.

We will own the network. And when people ask the question,

"Why do social network X owners share their data so much?

We will say:

"Because we're also social network x owners"

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Trend Watch: Planet Doomed Because Of Eco-Marketers



Doesn't this just take the cake. Bad bandwagoning marketers have doomed our planet through overuse and abuse of the trendy and frankly, annoying Eco-marketing ploys. Trendwatching calls it Eco-Fatigue and states:

...serious ECO-FATIGUE is upon us, as independent and experienced consumers are fed up with being told what to do, or, more specifically, told what not to do. Treated like unruly infants by Al Gore and his ilk, the ECO-FATIGUED increasingly rebel against the green movement’s obsession with ‘no’"

It's ok. I had the solution to global warming a while back, it's only a matter of time until someone implements my plan....

Mooohaahahhhahahhhhhhaaaa.......

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Networks Are Beautiful

I can't recall how I got here, but from visualcomplexity, "Skyrails is a Social Network and Graph Visualization System with a built-in programming language."



It's simply beautiful. It would be amazing to consider how we could build logic behind this and program it with client data and other behavioural marketing information to model how customers connect their social shopping patterns and/or social graphs....

Monday, 5 November 2007

Sometimes I Just Want To Jump Off The Web 2.0 Ledge


A friend who works at an unnamed place came by the other day with some classic stories. You know the kinds of things that as a digital strategist, make me want to jump off the Web 2.0 ledge. So in response, i have two things to say today:

1. Facebook widgets are not a strategy dammit! (nor is a myspace page, a corporate blog or a second life store) They are called tactics!

2. No one, and I mean NO ONE (be they clients, creative directors, account people etc.) should ever, EVER ask the question "Where are the Web 2.0 features?"

Whew. Thanks. I feel better now.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Digital Has Changed Everything: Except For Traditional Advertising Agencies

Working on the launch of Rogers@Home High Speed Internet, I remember thinking - this is the easiest gig I have ever done. The clients thought the subscription numbers were high but having tracked the growth of online for a while, it was obvious to me that the chasm had been crossed and the pace of change was going to be much faster than their highest expectations.

And here we are again. I was looking at some Forrester and Jupiter numbers for the growth of online advertising and while to the Advertising world these numbers look a bit scary, the truth is I think they are low. Why? Couple things...

1. These numbers only encapsulate traditional online advertising - meaning CPM, Cost per click and cost per action numbers. This doesn't include all the other digital advertising that is going on including corporate websites and digital experiences.

2. People are starting to get that it's not online vs. offline but rather everything is digital. Everything being connected to everything else. The implications of that will be staggering as more and more communications companies attempt to be invited into people's social graphs. The complexity and the pieces that will need to be twined together to create any meaningful stories will require new skill sets and new tools that we have not even conceived of yet.

3. Clients are starting to mandate the allocation of their budgets frustrated with the fact that traditional advertisers are not moving pace with their needs and consumer habits. I had one Sr. Executive tell me a US based client requested 35% of their budget go to digital. 35%!!! Imagine if all clients did this in the coming year. Are the CFOs out there listening?

The IAB has a recent study that states:

"More than 80% of marketers surveyed indicate consumer insights and behavioral targeting are major priorities, underscoring digital's ability to understand the customer." (please excuse the colours of the chart below - blame the IAB not me)



So it goes, digital has changed almost everything - everything except the way traditional advertising agencies build brands and communicate with customers. But the chasm has officially been crossed. It won't matter anymore if Agenices offer up communications plans without signficant homage to digital...customers by their actions are now mandating it and clients are therefore demanding it. It's finally a sea change and it's going to be a wild ride.

Update: I just found some great stats from recovering journalist further proving the point (oh by the way, i have a friend who distributes newspapers for one of the biggest here in Canada - he said his revenue goes down about a third every year if that doesn’t tell you something)



More New Stats: Via Paul Kedrosky, new emarketer stats



Even More New Stats From the IAB (this is a good one as shows history although take it with a bit of a grain of salt bc the IAB has a pretty serious bias)

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Game Over Documentary on CBC Tonight

Sara Marino a close friend of my brother's and his wife Nancy, has produced a documentary on the Nature of Things with David Suzuki called Game Over about conservation in Kenya.

It's on at 8pm tonight on CBC. Be sure to check it out.

Adaptive Blue Smart Link Test

I'm testing how Adaptive Blue's smart links work. Apparently, now that i have inserted the smart link into my site, once i talk about something that then links to their partners sites, a smart link will be automagically inserted.

So i'll create a link to Grant McCracken's new book which I want to buy called Flock and Flow and apparently then a smart link will be created.

Let me know what you think!

(of both the book and smartlinks)

Monday, 29 October 2007

Social Media Divisions: Kinda Like Breathing


I think I missed (missed, dismissed, tomato, tamatoe) the launch of a new social media division over at DDB called Radar. Wow. I sure seem to repeating myself a lot lately. I get what they are TRYING to do BUT....

Isn't have a social media division just like have a division where the focus is understanding breathing? IMHO this doesn't make sense unless you are using it as a metaphor for everything. I actually made this point to Craphammer at a lovely lunch we had (that's Mr. Crap to me)..if it's all becoming digital, isn't it all going to be social?

In the words of my friend Mathew,

"To my kids, it's NOT media UNLESS it's social"

Like I said, kinda like breathing

Would They Have Bought Friends? Or NBC? Or Comcast?

Digital has changed the rules but does anyone even know what the game is? It has struck me that all the purchases and mergers seem to say more about what's not happening at many of these companies (tight well thought out strategy) than what is (complete reactionary chaos).

If we consider the rise and fall of so many trends on the Web, do we really think throwing a kazillion dollars at the latest one is really a good idea? SKYPE anyone?

Some might say, social networks aren't going away. I'll be a radical and say, connection on the Web will never go away and what we are calling social networks today will rise and fall and get reinvented in ten years under a new name that will spark a new buying frenzy (it’s amazing the way I go out on these limbs).

Peter had a great point the other day and asked the question whether or not any of these companies would have bought Friends at the height of its popularity. Or (just in case y'all start yelling the platform word at me) NBC or even the Comcast?

Business doesn't seem to be able to re-organize itself in an networked world. When new ecosystems pop up that gain momentum, companies want to buy communities as if they are an ownable commodity. I don't think it's going to work. I have trouble seeing what many of these businesses are going to gain.

Feel free to enlighten me....

ps. If you tell me data, i don't believe it. Most companies don't leverage the data that they ALREADY have including behavioural data on their own websites for goodness sake. And they get that for free.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Blogosphere Pile-Ons: Isn't That Just Called News?

It occurred to me this morning as I went to Techmeme and saw this:


that the blogosphere has turned from interesting perspectives, insights and new ideas into, well, news?

It makes sense. Someone usually 'A' list or webified traditional media property (interchangeable now on the Web in my mind) gets the first hint that something's going on they without hesitation write about it and since it's "news", other reporters (aka bloggers), well, report it?

Sure does it suck that 80% of the stuff that's on Techmeme isn't new ideas? Great conversations? Well, let's all be the judges. Let's look at Technorati's technology section today.


I dunno. Personally, I think my feed reader does a better job at interesting. Bottom line, I don't think it's a pile-on anymore. It's just news.

update: and because it's news, Chris Messina leaves Techmeme

It's Official: WPP Buys Blast Radius

“With its focus on creating interactive experiences with the customer at the core, Blast Radius will add a unique expertise to [WPP & Wunderman's] digital platform.”

For more read on.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Feminism Needs A New Name: We're Thinking Something Web 2.0ey

I managed to get Kate to squeeze in a breakfast for me this morning as she is in town on some Petro Canada business (who recently launched a new blog) and for the CMA digital marketing conference.

We were talking about a recent experience of mine when a friend, say in a generation behind me, proudly told me how she wasn’t a feminist and when I looked at her funny - she with wide eyes open said "you're not a feminist are you?"

Uh, yeah...it by feminist we mean equal pay and equal opportunity for women.

Of course the problem is the fact that the term has somehow gotten go opted to mean man hater. (oh where to put the blame on that one, let me count the ways).

This is a bit concerning because it presupposes that things are equal when in fact, they still aren't.

Kate and I think that we need to re-brand feminism. And in a way that it can't be turned into something dark and ominous. So we'll need a new name. We need to get rid of hard consonant like IST and replace them with a word that has more "o"s in it. Something bubblier and maybe more web 2.0ey?

Suggestions anyone?

Monday, 22 October 2007

Can We PLEASE Not Make Facebook A Verb...

Howard Lindzon Get's Facebooked

No really I mean it. Please?

(oh and Howard, I hope this means I am not kicked off Team Canada...I encouraged Ingram to try out too)

Random Acts Of Customer Service

I can sometimes really get ranty about customer service issues. Sometimes I just rant to my friends and family, sometimes I use the power of networks to get my way (give Leigh her $10 back Amazon!) and now I also use my blog.

Companies are of course struggling with this as they find their disgruntled consumers "opinions indexed in Google right next to the evil corporation that just screwed [them] over and other scenarios familiar to anybody who has read the Cluetrain Manifesto."

Naively I thought I would ask the question this morning as to why more Corporations are not doing random acts of customer service? The truth is, most of us usually only attempt to index issues that have really pissed us off. I mean those incredibly dumbfounding moments when you find yourself speechless at the complete ineptitude of how you have just been treated.

Why wouldn't we want to blog about the reverse? An act of kindness. A program of good will. An unexpected surprise that delights one enough we can't help but blog about it.

Thought of the day: Less bad shocks, and more delightful surprises. Random acts of customer service - maybe someone should give it a try.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Who Will BeThe Engagment Strategist Of The Future?

It's interesting to see this Grip ad requiring the services of a Director of Engagement Strategy. If I didn't know better I would think they were looking for a "convergence" person (the dirtiest word since synergize). This is the fourth agency i have heard of in the past month who have all hired someone for this type of role. In two cases they wanted media planners, in one case they hired a copy writer/CD and in the last case they were considering a traditional insights planner.



It's a tough thing trying to strategize in a networked world. When everything is connected to everything else, to try and think in traditional marketing planning ways can make even the sanest person a little nutty. I get what the Agencies are trying to do, I just question the way they are doing it.

For example, are media media planners are the right people for these types of roles? I mean even if the people in question who apply have done online media, most of the experimental stuff we did at the agency was usually our creatives coming to that media folks with an idea and collaborating on execution.

So are creatives the right people for these roles? The only problem is that truthfully I only know one 'creative director' who can actually bridge the marketing communications gap and even he would admit that he needs someone more on the business end to play with.

There's certainly the route of going with a traditional planner, but then they usually are focused in on insights for the creative brief and don't tend to think across mediums strategically and as well, are lacking in digital experience.

It definitely shows that there is a conundrum here and a huge hole for a new breed of digital strategists and planners. My personal POV is that they aren't going to be coming from one particular background or another....It's a networked mindset that can intersect worlds and it’s collaborative at it's soul. And when those people do start to rise to the top, they are going to be hard to find and worth their weight in gold.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Cultural Studies (and personal blogs for that matter) Attacked By The National Post

When we get to the point as a society that the value of cultural studies research is getting evaluated by journalist media types, who let's face it, salaries are paid for by Kraft on some level, I think we all need to take a moment and consider the path that we are going down.

I wanted then to bring some attention then to the homophobic and frankly somewhat stupid article Lex Luther hearts Superman Your Tax Dollars At Work by Robert Fulfred in the National Post.

And then the response of the accused, Dr. Jess Battis' which is found here on his blog.

To give you the nutshell of Fulfred's argument, he thinks our tax dollars are being wasted on the study of Leave It To Beaver and I Love Lucy. Of course, his arguments are inflammatory but also show a lack of understanding of these types of media studies in general. Worse however, in my mind, is also the journalists dismissive comments about Dr. Battis, based on the fact that the Dr. has a personal blog that Mr. Fulfred thinks is mock worthy - in his words:

"...Battis, who chronicles his life through a blog, comes across as gormless, in the sense of foolish, lacking sense and discernment. He chatters endlessly about difficulty negotiating the New York subway and fills us in on his liking for chocolate soy milk and cornbread muffins: "I need nothing else to survive."

Yep those stupid blogs. Those same stupid blogs that will likely cause Mr. Fulford to eventually lose his job at the post as more and more people choose to get information not necessarily sponsored by Coke.

As someone who believes in the ever growing value of cultural studies in our always on 24/7 media hungry world, certainly the last thing we should accept as Canadians are those very studies to be judged by the same media the academics often critique. It's an imbalance that is unacceptable and politics should play no role in the delineation of federal funds for things like SSHRC.

Let me finish up with the last paragraph of Battis' response for Fulfred:

"Thanks as well for drawing more attention to my teaching, which currently focuses on gender and sexuality within television cultures. Since far more youth watch Leave It To Beaver rather than reading the National Post, their global engagement with television is one of the most crucial areas of media scholarship today. Incidentally, what are you watching on TV at the moment? I love The Wire. It's about media surveillance, racism and homophobia. You should check it out."

Nuff said.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

From The Law Of God To The Law Of Networks: The RIAA In Perspective

After reading the post the RIAA is trying to pull the plug on Usenet it struck me of the historical implications.

Since the creation of the phonetic language, there has been a consistent struggle of power between those that see themselves as the owners of language and those that pose a threat to that control.

It started with the Catholic Church whose priests maintained order over the huddled masses in part by controlling the written word. But with movable type, the ability to create a bible went form 20 years to 2 years thereby allowing many more people to have the word of God and therefore their own interpretation of those words.

Ironically, the emergence of the individual came with the posting of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses on the 1st bulletin board challenging the Church.

From the rise of the middle class to the acceleration of the digital networked world our cultural has been shaped by a shift of power from the power of God, to the law of networks.

And yet, here we have the RIAA, who continues to attempt to have a few control the masses through legal means (and laws that frankly have not been able to socially and culturally catch up to the very system that they attempt to protect) by attacking one of the greatest electronic bulletin boards, usenet.

The RIAA is playing a losing game. If we think about in historical terms, the RIAA would be the equivalent of the monks up there in their monasteries attempting to throw some rocks in order to stop the printing press. Like going into Russia in the winter, it just isn’t going to work….

New Product Idea

A Swiffer for eye make-up.

You know when you get those little blotchy spots when your putting on eye make-up because you do the unthinkable, blink....

Instead of a QTip which smudges it more and pulls your skin, you could have a thin eye make-up swiffer stick that gently gets the tiny spot off without taking your make-up off.

I bet you we could get that lady who started Spanx to invest. Talk about brand extension!

There's Data, And Then There's Medical Data....

From the Wikinomics blog, "Sermo, a social network for physicians, has announced a partnership with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to give its members access to “up-to-date information on Pfizer’s products.”

Wow. Gotta tell you...I don't like where this is going. I had bumped into Sermo back in December, and had discussed it with a number of Doctors I know. Of course all the concerns were voiced...already a great deal of misinformation out there and frankly, most of them would be a lot happier to connect to traditional medical journals and data bases online. That being said, the notion that one could get collective intelligence working in one's favour when it comes to treatment feels appealing for me.

But how am I to trust something like Sermo now? Maybe that is one of the problems with these type of sites. When it comes to my health, I want my sources to be unbiased and not thinking about how to make a buck but rather focused on health. And I get that a lot of Doctor's take fun trips with the pharma companies and get free drugs and presents so maybe this is just making that relationship more transparent.

I still contend however, when it comes to social networking site business models, there's data and then, there's medical data. And I don't think from the healthcare customer's perspective, they are even close to being the same thing.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Come Join Me @Toronto Geek Girl Dinner October 17th

I have been asked by Maggie Fox and Jenny Bullough to speak at a relatively new event, the Toronto Geek Girl Dinner. What is it?

"Toronto Girl Geek Dinners are an offshoot of the London Girl Geek Dinners, started by Sarah Blow. The goal of these get-togethers is to make technology accessible and interesting to all age groups and all people, particularly women.

These monthly events are aimed at providing a welcoming atmosphere and a platform for learning in an informal environment. They are always held in pubs and bars, and there is usually a speaker or three who talk for a short while on a chosen subject for the evening."

Very cool and about time Toronto had one of these so how could i say no?

The deets can all be found here and they also have a wiki where you can sign up.

I haven't decided what to speak about just yet. Kate (who is the one who put my name forward) suggested I talk about why I decided to go from advertising to start upping. I also was thinking maybe I should give a "if I knew then what I know now - the things I wish someone had told me" talk....But I am open to any other suggestions.

Anywho…Hope to see you there. And be nice. It's nerve racking to speak especially in front of your peers (with clients I can always hide behind my power point!)

Tag And Flow: Connecting The End Points

For oponia, we had a planning session with some really great ideas that came up for the enterprise space. Since we don't plan to focus our efforts there I thought I would put up the ideas in hopes that they spark some thoughts for other people developing applications.

The basis of the concept was merging tags with the concept of flow. What am I taking about?

Traditional business works hierarchically. We create project folders. And yet that mode of working doesn't necessarily help work flow across projects. How does one then accommodate enterprise 2.0 concepts of viewing things by ideas? Or type?

What if project folders automagically created tags? What if files did the same? What if people in your network automagically were tags as well? Couldn't you then search by project (if that's what you wanted) or also then across projects by idea or type? You could then even search by person.

Alfons liked the idea so much he put some initial screens together. One is the search screen and the other is the results. Of course, if everyone on the network is a node (which is the basis of the ucaster concept) we can do some things that others can't right yet.





Conceptually though the idea is that you can create a results page that is centered around a project (trad style), centered around an idea (enterprise 2.0 style) or centered around YOU (always the best style).

We still plan to implement some of the cool parts into the consumer product when we can get to it. I'd be interested in what people think.

update: R/WW has an intersting post on what the big players are thinking. Check it out...

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Lorne Feldman And My Brother: Separated At Birth


How weird is this? My brother Dave and Lorne Feldman of 1938 media - I think they were separated at birth. Must be some sort of Jewish guy over 40 thing.

Anyway, Dave now has a blog about vintage leather jackets. And if that doesn't impress you, there is always his old and let me say, very entertaining video on turnhere about Kensington Market



One brother now blogging, one more brother to go.

The Sad Truth About Digital Music

Vanessa is totally bummed about the new Radiohead Album. It's not about the self-service. She paid what she’s felt the download was worth and paid more than Fred “AVC” apparently (10 pounds to his 2.45) only to realize that there was going to be a "real" CD released later next year.

Why does she care? Well it's a question of quality. So for that, she went to our friend Gary who not only being an awesome digital ACD is a musician (was in an 80's band and most recently a blues band called Catfish). Here is the sad truth about digital music from Gary's perspective when asked:

"Ok, here it comes, straight and simple, answer
....nope, there will be no love there.

Here is the long answer: after many, many layers of
compression (from actual mastering of the CD to the
final mp3 format)lots of nuances are lost forever. I’ve downloaded mp3s
that are 320kbps, and although the sound is much
better on my iPod, it does nothing for my speakers at
home. No audio space.

The file format just does not compare to your usual
AIFF which is what is on the CD. Even the Apple
lossless... none of that is meant to be heard on
Boston Acoustics, or Meridian or Vandersteen...
speakers (you can tell I’m a bit pissed about it)
But then again, I grew up in the era of audiophiles...
and LPs, so maybe I’m a snob.

So, if for nothing else but the convenience, I burn
CDs of my mp3s and play them in the car.
If you are looking for the beautiful sound experience,
you’ll be disappointed."

Hum...In Vanessa's own words "Damn, I shoulda paid 'em less”.

Who knew, maybe Fred the VC knows something about valuations, even micro ones, that we don’t. ;-)

From Healthy To Heartbreaking: Digital Business vs. Personal Self-Interest

Ever find yourself sitting there questioning why it is so many users are fine with building other people's online businesses?

Don't they question what's happening to their data? Is free really so appealing that we are willing to give/trade anything for it?

It all comes back to fundamentals of economics. Everyone works in their own best interest. And only they can determine what that best interest is.

From the customers perspective, as long as their self-interest is being served, (be is 15 minutes of fame on youtube, life streaming on Jaiku or creating a social network on Facebook) they are unlikely to question what it is that the digital business is up to.

But there is a tipping point. We are more fickle than ever and while you have a few digital businesses acting like the cable monopolies by raising fees whenever they feel like it (EBay anyone?), many of the more recent entrants are going to have to quickly find the balance between what their users self interest is and their own.

This came up a while back in a blog conversation I was having with a person named PAW on the Buzzmachine post My Space Or Rupert’s Space.

His/her point was that once a larger organization buys a Web 2.0 company, they then have the right to do whatever it is that they want. My point back was that when your business IS your users, I don't think that applies the same way it would in a traditional business context.

While people are happy and you are serving their best interest, it's all good. But, it only takes one bad executive decision (myspace widget decision being a perfect example) to have that tension between digital business and customer personal self-interest turn from healthy to heart breaking.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

If It Quacks Like a Columnist Then Maybe It Is...

I really liked when Tom S. in a recent blog comment referred to Tim O'Reily as a 'host'. And it got me thinking.

Hosted Blogs: Interactive conversations where the person who blogs not only accepts and encourages comments but as well, participates in the discussion.

Columnist Blogs: Journalistic webpage that is formatted like a blog but is a broadcasted opinion.

I find that I am much more discriminating about the columnist blogs i read. If they don't accept comments, and aren't going to even read or respond to them themselves, then I feel they better be damn fine writers - having someone fact and grammar check the work (since they won't have wikinomics working in their favour) - making sure that all their references are on the up and up etc.

After all, if they write like a columnist
and quack like a columnist
then probably they’re a columnist.

And maybe they should be required to live up to the same standards as one as well...

Friday, 5 October 2007

Unfriending Your Ex?

If being stalked by your family wasn't bad enough what happens when you make the poor decision to make your Ex your Facebook friend?

Then all of a sudden, you get to hear about their weekend. You get to see all the pictures of them with their new girlfriend and your old friends who chose him and not you. And when you send them a message to say hi just because you are feeling weird about the whole thing, they simply ignore you?

Unfriending in most circumstances seems unfriendly but in this particular case I can't help but think, my friend in question is definitely doing the right thing.

Unfriending your Ex. Awkward but utlimately sometimes, just simply the right thing to do.

Tech Bloggers Strive To Be Mean Girls?

Recently, I have been using Techmeme more and deleting echo chamber like blogs from my feed reader.

Why? Reading my feeds takes time. And more and more I am noticing that people are simply taking headline stories and reiterating the same facts in a similar way. Mark Evans posted on this subject and I have complained about it in my long titled post A Friend Read A Blog Of A Friend And Then Wrote A Post And Linked To The Friend And Then A Friend Read That Post ...And Then I Fell Asleep.

The advantage of Techmeme IMHO is that it shows me the co relationship between postings in a way that Bloglines, which is linearly alphabetically ordered, simply can't.

But many are concerned that this is just making people echo even more (really, is that even possible?) And besides, do i care if people try to spoof Techmeme and get on some leader board which seems to be causing such a kerfuffle between so many tech bloggers?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The tech bloggers who are all ranting at each other seem to me to want to be grade 7 girls. Being all being mean and fighting with each other spitting evilness back and forth - talking in front and behind each other's backs.

So just in case this is all really about grade 7 girl envy? Let me tell you all right now. I hated being a grade 7 girl. It sucked. Being a mean popular girl for a while sucked. Falling off the podium sucked. The psychological games and mental torture play time sucked. It all sucked. So really, don't be jealous. And maybe, also, stop being mean to each other.

 
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