Sunday, 29 April 2007

Maybe Facebook Is Worth More Than A Billion Bucks

Ok, so you know when I get three emails in one weekend, from three totally unrelated people all over the age of 40, that something has crossed the chasm (or been in the bowling alley - or the tornado - you get what i'm saying..)

What am I talking about? Facebook. "Hi, so and so has invited you to join their Facebook network."

Hum.....Maybe Zukerberg was right not to sell for JUST less a Billion?

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The Big Little Principle

I believe that it’s not only important to understand the success of social networks from the perspective of people wanting greater connection as I often read about, but as well to try and figure out the why’s of it.

There is the human condition. We always want to feel more and more connected to those around us. Trends since 9/11 have shown that we crave it even more than ever as we attempt to create a trusted cocoon around our network and ourselves.

As well though is something Peter and I like to call the ‘Big Little Principle’. It goes something like this: as things get bigger and bigger, we as human beings strive to find ways of chunking it into bite sized manageable pieces. In the environmental world it is the “Think Global, Act Local” banner.

In terms of social networks, as our ability to create networks that connect us to hundreds of people grows, so to does our desire to manage those networks. How can we remember who everyone is? How can we know what everyone is doing? How can we stay in touch beyond just simple presence? How can we make our networks more meaningful?

Maybe this explains in part tools such as twitter or anything that helps us feel more connected but without burdening us with having to take a slice of time out of our busy days.

As things get bigger, we desire to find ways to make it feel smaller.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Putting The Drive To The Web In Reverse

When I go into actual physical locations to talk to sales people about their products, they keep sending me away and tell me to go to their website.

I mean, here I am, in their store (and in one case dealership) and rather than making a sale, they give me a card with a url, send me OUT THEIR DOOR and tell me to go home, get on my computer to go and get information that they apparently don't have to give me on the spot. You know information that might make the sale. They are sales people after all.

Back in the day it used to be all about having the Advertising drive to the Web in order to get them interested enough to eventually go to the stores. I had heard the phrase "get bums in seats" so many times from my automotive clients that I wanted a 'i get it - you want bums in seats’ tattooed on my forehead.

But now, advertising gets me the Web, I do my research, I go to the stores and then what happens? They drive me back to the Web.

I just don't get it. Am I missing something here?

Monday, 23 April 2007

Earth Day Advertising

Found via Think In Pictures blog, a great ad from World Wide Life Fund. Have to say, still have a warm spot for WWF having worked for them back in my environmental planner days. Very smart advertising.

Ubiquitous Marketing

Marketing Daily had an article this morning called Mobile The Future Of Digital Marketing.

“Mobile search is where the future is,” Verklin said, explaining that the way consumers “watch” media is changing dramatically. “Mobile devices are the new definition of watch. No one ‘owns’ mobile today. It’s the third screen. You are perfectly positioned to refocus on mobile.”

This isn't about mobile marketing. This isn't about the third screen or the fourth screen, the sixth sense or mobile vs. stationary, online vs. offline, TV on the Web or Web on your TV. It's all just digital.

The network is everywhere all the time. How we access it will be through a myriad of devices and ways that we can only conceive of now.

Thinking in terms of mobile marketing is again a passive mass media mind-set that says, we broadcast our messages to you who receive them now on your cell phone.

Versus you are the network and if you want, you self-select through any means that you deem appropriate (today being set top box, gaming box, computer, mobile device etc.) to access the content that I have provided you because you believe that there is a value exchange you are willing to tolerate.

Ubiquitous networked marketing; don’t think mobile, think digital.

Friday, 20 April 2007

What Me Worry?

I overhead a conversation of some people next to me at lunch (side note to everyone out there - in small cramped eateries you likely should not talk about Senior corporate executives you know by name and then proceed to describe the person as a drunkard and a crack addict in a loud voice) talking about how the major broadcasters don't seem to be even remotely concerned over broadband TV.

It reminds me of a number of years back in a strategy session for a large video store chain. We had brought up Netflicks as a potential disruptive threat and discussed the future of IP TV and what broadband could mean for their business. We encouraged them to do some visioning around "what if" scenarios and consider what their business could become to combat these threats. The reaction of many (but thankfully not all) of the clients was

"whose side are you on anyway?"

The head in the sand approach. Generally speaking, the most overused strategy that almost never works.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Changing Dynamics of Brand Reputation Management

My friend Jeff was talking about the brand reputation management with me last night and showed me what happened when one puts in Microsoft into facebook. Nice!

While large brands can use their linking capabilities to create search engine dominance in Google with only the occasional negative message eeking through, within the world of smaller social networks they are at the customer’s opinion peril.

Jeff was asking what that might mean for brand reputation management in the coming years?

I was thinking about this and I still believe that if we look to the world of environmental management, (which I always love to do), old models of command and control have miserably failed. Similarly, mid-way points that attempted to “manage” ecosystems have been only partially successful because it assumes a sense of linear order that on some level can be manipulated.

And yet, people continue to attempt to utilize old models and tools to manage customers and brands within the dynamics of Web ecosystems, which are morphing and changing the way we communicate on a daily if not hourly basis. Chaos theory has more to do with understanding them than traditional business approaches.

It seems that everything has changed because of digital, everything except how traditional marketers and advertising agencies manage and develop brands. As the growth of smaller networks on the edges of Web continue to develop, I wonder if this may push companies to rethink their approaches? Who knows. This day and age, almost anything is possible even if not particularly probable.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Are Newspaper Blogs More Formal?

I hadn't been to Mathew Ingram's postings on the Globe and Mail website in a while.

I think its a bit odd, because I go to his blog all the time, and I read his column in the paper version on Saturdays (I am addicted to G&M Saturday paper) but really, I almost rarely read geekwatch online.

What's weird is that the two feel really different to me. The comments on the G&M site seem to be somehow more formal and less conversational. Maybe I am making this up (I do that sometimes) but somehow there seems to be a difference. It's almost like one is in Mathew's living room and one is a planned event that you have to get dressed up for.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

oponia at JavaOne

I’m excited to announce that we (oponia networks) will be premiering our “hyper-simple” sharing and collaboration platform at JavaOne this year from May 8 to 10.

More info on the product will be available just after the show, and I’ll post again when it’s ready to share as we launch our public Alpha.

Wish us luck and don't forget to come by if you happen to be at the show! We'll be the two chicks in the Java Playground at the Pavilion (apparently, we shouldn't be that hard to miss ;-).

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Your Not On A Fucking Plane

Great post by 37 signals.

The integration between the desktop and the Web is an interesting debate. I see it a bit differently. The desire many companies have to be all things to all people all the time is just stupid. We can't have the full featured 24/7 on our desktop and alternatively, most of us are not going to put all of our content and stuff into the Web cloud and get rid of our computers all together.

It will all depend. What value equation is the desktop/web solution giving us vs. the web only one?

A reminder from Wikipedia as to what disruptive technology is all about because I think the answer lies somewhere in there:

"...Christensen distinguishes between "low-end disruption" which targets customers who do not need the full performance valued by customers at the high-end of the market and "new-market disruption" which targets customers who could previously not be served profitably by the incumbent."

Sunday, 1 April 2007

A Passover Story

I may not be blogging too much in the next while due to overload of work and family committments, but as some of you may or may not know, I write in my spare time. As it is passover coming up I thought I would share something I wrote back in '04. It's some personal reflections on the rise of anti-semitism in Toronto. Will be back to normal blogging mode in a couple weeks.

My Uncle Benny: A Passover Story

My uncle Benny was religious man as opposed to my socialist and atheist grandfather Leo, whom I never met as he died before I was born. In general, Himel men were a strong breed with thick bodies, thicker minds and a stubbornness that seemed tied directly to their DNA. Benny displayed this on a daily basis with his strangely wonderful sayings. For example, when he found out I was living with someone out of the Jewish faith, he patted my head, looked sadly at me and said, “A cart that pulls in two directions goes nowhere. But a cart that pulls in the same direction goes further faster.”

Benny had a clothing store on Dundas St. that had a permanent ‘Going Out Of Business’ sign in its window. “Better for business,” he told me. “People want to feel like they are getting a deal.” Having opened his store in the early part of the century, 60 years later he had some of the same stock: beautiful silk gloves from the thirties, real woolen stockings and pillbox hats that could have been bought and worn by Jackie O. I remember being in his store when a costume designer from the CBC came in to buy some of the old stock for a period piece. I was laughing as this poor woman tried bargaining with Uncle Benny. “But Mr. Himel, this clothing is over 50 years old. You can’t be serious about your prices!” He looked at her with a smile, probably thinking, what an amateur. “My dear,” he said to her in his heavy Yiddish accent, “if you think you can find it somewhere else for cheaper, go ahead, but that is my price.” And with that, he gave me a wink and she in turn, gave him a large wad of cash.

Benny attended synagogue every day, continued to hold court giving free advice in his store to the local Portuguese ladies and, for years, argued with the same man over the price of a chicken once a week in Kensington Market. That was just my Uncle Benny.

I woke up the other day listening to the news, as I always do, only to hear about the over-turned gravestones at Bathurst Lawn Jewish Cemetery. It was one of those moments in life. When you realize that the past is not so far in the distance and that your heritage will always be part of who you are.

The last time I was at Bathurst lawn was when my Bubie died at the age of 91. After the coffin was lowered into the ground our family, mostly the younger generation now, slowly and quietly began putting pebbles on the top of the gravestones of our deceased relatives as is the tradition. It was then that I noticed Benny walking by himself in another direction. I slowly followed him and watched as he walked to where a groundskeeper was doing some gardening and grooming on a number of graves. My uncle went over to him and put a pebble on the gravestone right where the man was standing and began talking. “That is my Bella right there,” he said to the groundskeeper as he quietly pointed towards the mound where the man was standing. “That is my Bella,” he said to him again. “My sweet Bella,” he continued, “who I spent most of my life with.” And then this big, thick Himel man wiped away a stream of falling tears. The groundskeeper barely noticed, and with what I believe was unintentional disrespect, awkwardly and uncomfortably moved off the mound and continued to the next to finish his daily work.

My uncle Benny is buried there now, alongside his Bella. As is my Uncle Izzy, Auntie Margaret, my grandfather and my Bubie.

Passover is coming soon. My family used to go to Benny’s and have a true Pesach Seder that lasted way too many hours. But now we are a mishmash of religions, a cart pulling in almost every direction with Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Christians, Buddhists, Agnostics, Humanists, Atheists and Jews; a true Canadian crew with the privilege to bring together such a wild and diverse group to celebrate the Exodus of the Jews out of Egypt.

I wonder if the rise of anti-Semitism will be a subject that we will talk about, or terrorism, or the angry state of the world. But for me, someone who is hardly religious, I will see this as a time to give thanks and remembrance, not only for my Jewish ancestors of the ancient past, but for my Uncle Benny too. And Bella and Izzy and all the other individuals who led important and rich lives that deserve the respect of the living as they try to stay peacefully and quietly at rest.

Real Time Web Analytics