Wednesday, 27 February 2008

A Picture Is Worth A 1000 Stock Points

Is Google slowing down? Panic in the markets? OMG! Sell...Buy....Head for the digital hills...What does it mean...! Or does anyone know?

I could go on about what i think or don't think about this but I would rather let one picture say it all. It's a visualization of Google. The broccoli looking cloud is all the links and that tiny point on the bottom, that would be Google.

picture via Mark Ury

Monday, 25 February 2008

Adobe Air & The Future Of The Network

According to the New York Times, Adobe "will release the official version of AIR, a software development system that will power potentially tens of thousands of applications that merge the Internet and the PC, as well as blur the distinctions between PCs and new computing devices like smartphones."

It was only a couple years ago when i was talking to VCs about funding the oponia ucaster that many of them told me the personal computer was dead. Everything was moving to the cloud. However, it always seemed to me that the growth of the edge and edge services had to do with DECENTRALIZATION and not CENTRALIZATION. The notion that I will be fine with having Facebook as my central hub giving my control over to their whims and changing business strategy did not seem in-line to me with where the power of the network was (and is) going.

With ucaster, we wanted to make everyone a node in their own right -first class citizens and full participants in the network (And that was both technically and spiritually speaking).

I found it interesting that still no one is mentioning Blake Ross' venture Parakey that was scooped up by Facebook, Parakey, whose product positioning looks like it was borrowed heavily by the folks at Adobe.

"Parakey is a platform for building applications that merge the best of the desktop and the Web"

We are still only at the beginning of this phenom. I still think ucaster and what the role it could play could be the next generation. Having a node to call your own - having applications that sit on your desktop - utilizing the cloud when it creates the most value - and how these things intersect with each other, and how we ascribe meaning to it in a way that creates value to each of us as individuals...that to me is the thing to watch in the coming 12 months.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Ad Targetting & The Future Of Mybloglog

I just noticed a feature that Mybloglog has. The old, "What My Members Clicked on Other Sites Today." So couple things...Yahoo please, hire some copywriters. It sounds like something I would write if someone called me about a second before a site was to go live and they realized they forgot the title header - i know you don't write copy but pulllleeeaaaseeee...anything, just send through in email, don't worry i'll edit it i swear....

The more important point i would like to make: I get people are trying to unlock emergent value. Applause and encouragement. But don't launch something that has nothing to do with me. Apparently, the members of my community (granted the list is rather short) all care about home renovations today. Wow. Great. Glad to know.

The whole thing wreaks of trying to create an advertising platform and all i can see is the value to Yahoo. To successfully embrace the concept of emergence you have to understand that it is about VALUE EXCHANGE - it's about leveraging and encouraging a dynamic that has already been created. It isn't a top down discussion that says "dang, how can we make more money from mybloglog?."

Nice try Yahoo. But I would try again.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

"The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds"

If you haven't seen this yet, it's a must see...

"A part of me is an artist who wants to sculpt the air that surrounds us and give it shape"

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Linkedin Needs Some Identity Help

I mean REALLY. What exactly does ugly wizard clip art guy represent?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Don't I Know You? Oh Wait, Your Maggie Gyllenhaal

I'm in the airport in NY and as I was walking along, I saw this woman walking who I almost went and stopped because I was SURE that i knew her. Luckily for her she was eyes focussed forward chit chatting to her baby on her chest so I didn't bother.

As I was walking away and I was trying to think where i knew her from - the lightbulb - Doh - it was Maggie G. It's amazing to me how much media has permeated our lives. The 24/7 always on network changes my perception and affects the lenses with which I see people. It's just like I know her. (just like it really!)

I'm just glad I didn't make a complete arse of myself and actually stop her. Didn't I go to high school with you? That'd be a capital "L" for loser.

Boycott CNN: Or Why I Will No Longer Watch CNN

Pass it on.

In his post about his firing from CNN for apparently blogging the wrong opinions. Chez quotes Henry Rollins - I'll just put that here and encourage everyone to read the full post.

"Henry Rollins saying these words: "All it takes is one person to stand up and say 'fuck this.'"

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

New Product Idea: Blogger Trading Post

I recently contacted some 'blogger friends' (that means i haven't met them in person but know them intimately through comments and other virtual networks of social ability) about getting some research in the various markets where they live.

I mean after all, it's one thing for me to find research, it's another to get it filtered by people who actually live and work in the country I'm researching. Got me to thinking about the notion of blog trading. You know, a little bit of you give me some tech trends in SE Asia and, I'll send you some cultural changes about families in North America.

What do you think?


Value Creation & The Business Of Innovation

It seems to me that there is a sea of change going on in the business world. More and more companies are recognizing the seismic shifts in the customer market place are looking to innovate from the inside out.

But can they be successful? This got me thinking of a post by Fred Wilson on Twitters business model.

He pointed to the fact that "some of the best web companies of our time; Google, YouTube, Skype, and Facebook all launched without a business model and too their sweet time getting to one."

and that

"You can't monetize web services very well until you have an audience of scale."

What are large corporations tolerance for sweet time? Part of the problem of being a mass organization is that you have a mass audience and therefore generally speaking, a mass media approach to product development and marketing. With customer data bases as your starting point, and a larger than start up marketing budget, it's difficult to not think big.

Emergence is an often spoken about phenomena, and yet having the foresight to truly understand the value that is being created (and co-created) with your customers takes not only patience but bravery. Companies obviously want to reduce their risk, however, in a desire to speed to mass market there are also risks. Determining too much too soon could mean missing key opportunities and defining too much from a top down approach versus the focus on the ecosystem and allowing the network to co-create the product and/or service alongside you. Sometimes to think big long term, you have to focus on the small in the short. It may seem obvious but as they say, common sense isn't as common as it should be.

Of course, there are success stories already in market and no doubt we are going to see a tidal wave coming soon of many more. And I hope that both the successes and failures are going to be interesting to watch and learn from (I'm thinking maybe some sort of widget score board??)....

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Your Life In Six Words Or Less

Nice simple idea.

Via Only Dead Fish Blog, Larry Smith, Editor of Smith, the US based online magazine,has set up a collaborative project which invited people to write their life story in just six words.

Some featured stories include:

this place is getting borderline crowded
- Lopaka

Married with children (and second thoughts).
- With Held

Like Charlie Brown, not as popular.
- Paul J

And here's a classic

Sold the saxophone. Got a computer.
- Ken H

I'll have to think on that one and come up with one of my own

(if i did it right now it'd be "to tired to think about it")

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Are CMO's Stuck In The Past? Or Are Online Marketers

A post by Knowledge@wharton asks the question

"If online marketing is the future, why are some CMO's stuck in the past?"

To help build their argument, they use the statistics that we see flying around the Web regarding the disproportionate spend of traditional TV advertising in relationship to online advertising. According to Wharton:

"Americans spend an average of 14 hours a week online and 14 hours watching TV. But marketers spend 22% of their advertising dollars on TV and only 6% online, according to data compiled and analyzed by Google."

Here's the issue. We continue to have these discussions in relationship to traditional marketing and advertising and traditional advertising buys. We still haven't changed our thinking to look at the media mind set of the customer as they interact with the various types of media.

What am I talking about? Peter (Munck) had a model (created almost ten years ago now) where he looked at all media from the customer's media mind set...

If we start to look at media this way, instead of offline vs. online, it changes the dynamic of how we utilize various media to engage our customers and how they in turn, utilize media to engage with us.

For instance, invasive media would include not only traditional mass advertising such as print, radio, TV and billboards but as well, include certain types of direct mail and online banner ads.

If you look at the Wharton article (and others), they are referring to PAID ad placement - what is invasive media.

However, the shift in the market place isn't from offline to online, it's really about a continuous shift away from solely invasive media to other media types. There are enough articles/books/individuals talking about the Participation Age to sink a ship. And YET...we seem to keep talking about this "new" age of marketing in "old" terms. Until we change OUR conversation, the Age of Conversation will end up comparing apples to oranges in a way that will be difficult for traditional marketers to understand. Not because as some articles suggest "they don't get it" but because half the time, I think WE don't.

Building new mental models (like the one Peter likes to use) help break us out of our collective old thinking and start to build the foundation to both create new networked marketing architectures as well as basis for new conversations with our clients. As the network becomes more pervasive, its usage as a differentiator becomes less and less relevant.

And while you're thinking about that, now start to look at all the various structures and business models traditional agencies have set up for their "online" business and why they continue to have so much trouble within the Agency construct seeing any wide spread success.


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

"Me" The Operating System

Robert Scoble thinks we are all missing the point about Google.

"The real race today isn’t for search. Isn’t for email. Isn’t for IM. It’s for ownership of your mobile phone"

Short term sure. But it's ubiquitous access that's key.

I am the network. Home is wherever I am. I have one screen - the one I am looking at right this minute. I am my own operating system.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Eyeballs & In Your Face Marketing: Microsoft 1.0 Step Forward & 2.0 Back

I've been sitting pretty quiet about the Microsoft Yahoo deal mostly because I don't really get it. I mean, i get it, but I just don't get it.

In a world where we know traditional marketing approaches aren't working as well anymore, we see Microsoft buying up the community of Yahoo with all its eyeballs. After all, Google is succeeding largely in part because of their immense advertising network and an argument can be made that they are a modern day advertising agency vs. a technology company (see Vanessa Williams brilliant post on this The Long Tail Of Web Services)

But will traditional advertising revenue come to the Web? I say it will but not in the form of key word searches and banner ads. The big mistake so many companies continue to make is believe that non-networked business and other mental models can be and should be replicated in the digital space.

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which [people] communicate than by the content of the communication."

- Marshall McLuhan

Awareness advertising works on TV and therefore, we copy that model in the form of banner ads and now Google ads and throw it on the Web not taking into consideration that the dynamics of the medium are completely different than mass media (oh and by the way, being able to dynamically and behaviorally target these doesn't make them more successful).

But we know that Google has been successful up to now with an open ad model where they stitched two key elements together: Satisfying a huge customer need - a more effective search with a new advertising model that saw the network become the portal.

Think about this - I don't think content is king anymore and I don't even think it's community as Jeff Jarvis says. It's about connection and that more than anything is at the foundation of the social media revolution (...and in the digital age all media is potentially social).

So why the focus on eyeballs? Why is Microsoft looking in the rear view mirror as opposed to creating the future?

Google themselves have started talking about social search and there are a bunch of us (see my post on social tagging systems, and Fraser's post over at the blue blog) who think this is going to be the platform of the future.

So why Yahoo? Why not Lijit who as I understand is starting to walk down this next brave path?

IMO if Microsoft continues to focus on competition and doesn't change the game altogether, they are going to continue to find themselves struggling against the power of the network.

In the words of Blake Ross (who ended up doing a start up that was playing the same space we wanted to play with oponia with his startup that was bought by Facebook Parakey),

"The next big thing is whatever makes the last big thing more useful"

Friday, 1 February 2008

A Treatise On Being Treated Like A Person: Case Study The W Hotels

We often find ourselves in discussions on how to humanize brands. Over this entire W hotel experience (see my earlier post here) what I have come to discover is that it's not so much about making brands more human but rather having the brand treat me like a human. It's the action. It's the demonstration.

Case and point the W hotel. To sum up, I was thrilled with my stay at the W Lakeshore in Chicago except there was a billing error and Nansi the Blast Radius receptionist in the NY office had her credit card charged instead of me. Nansi was unable to convince anyone she spoke to at the W that they should change that error and thus I wrote a blog post. After I wrote the post, I shared it with Ross Klein the President of the W hotels. More an FYI and let me know if you want to do anything about this and I'll update my post.

Firstly, Ross emailed me back almost instantaneously. The email wasn't sent to a PR department or forwarded to some customer service person. Instead, he personally sent me a note that he was on it and he'll get back to me.

At that point, I watched the traffic to that post go through the roof as he likely forwarded it around to the appropriate members of his team.

Within one day, I had an email from Karen the credit manager who let me know that they had not only changed the charge but reversed it completely. When I thanked both her and Megan her assistant (as this is exactly the service i have come to expect and respect at the W), they also offered to send Nansi some goodies as a thank you from the W store.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Mistakes happen. Not every brand can be perfect. But the speed and diligence with which Ross, Karen and Megan addressed my issue is exactly why the W hotels are one of my favorite brands. They created a brand vision that's somewhat aspirational, but they have 'dimensionalized' and made it operational throughout their customer experience - from the mats on their elevators to the way they have now dealt with me.

Now if we could just do something about their website. (just kidding...sorta :)

Hema Rocks

Man i just love great creative ideas....

go here

hema homepage

(now if only i could read and understand the text!)

Real Time Web Analytics