This is going to be a personal post, which is rare for this blog. This weekend, I’ll be celebrating my one year wedding Anniversary!
This year I accomplished a handful of goals at work, hit some milestones in my career, and traveled more than any other year, 2005-2006 has been great to me.
The best thing has been coming home to my beautiful wife every evening. As a best friend, she’s supported me in everything I do, and even attended some geek events at my pressing.
I hope to pay her back, not just for going to geek events, but for the dinners, listening to me yammer, and all the times you’ve reminded me to take the trash out before the garbage truck comes. We’ll be heading to Lake Tahoe this weekend to celebrate our first Anniversary, staying in a quiet condo on North Shore. We’ll just unplug, unwind, wine, dine, relax, and enjoy.
Thanks Shel and Paula for the wishes! (Martin too!!!)Yes, we were compatible ever since we first met, and have felt like we were married for decades. In my mind, the ceremony was just a public formality. Shirley and I wish you and Paula a long and happy marriage, maybe, just maybe, we’ll invite you guys next year!
This weekend, I won’t be bringing a laptop, I won’t check email, and I won’t approve comments that wordpress doesn’t allow, this is one weekend the web can wait.
Update Tuesday Sept 5: Back from Tahoe!
Thanks for all the emails, instant messages, phonecalls, blog posts and comments, we had a great time celebrating our first year.
The trip highlights were the exploration the ‘un’-developed East Shore. (see Flickr set). Some trail signs showed discussed the reasons that will make Tahoeless blue. cars, development, algae, sediment from waterways.
The trail signs indicated that the water will decrease in it’s clarity over time, I’m glad I got to experience it now before it loses it’s beauty. Of course, we packed in all our trash, and did our best not to damage the eco.
Having thoroughly enjoyed our get away trip to Tahoe, I can’t help but observe the amount of SUVs that were towing large boats with huge outboard 500HP motors that would sport a “Keep Tahoe Blue” bumper sticker.
A quick Google search yielded that Yahoo Blogger Jeremy Zawodny noticed the same last year. (It amazes me how he is above the fold on so many search result pages).
‘I’ve noticed that the vast majority of vehicles I see sporting the Keep Tahoe Blue bumper sticker are SUVs.
Does this cognitive dissonance not register with anyone else?
I’ve even spotted it on two Hummers in the Bay Area. But never once have I seen one on a hybrid auto like the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight.
Is this some inside joke I’m not aware of?’
Since I don’t have a hybrid, I probably shouldn’t criticize but I do find it ironic. Selected pics below from the trip.
I’ve been taking some heat lately for my lack of writing skills. I try to get my ideas out quickly, and as a result, I don’t get to spend as much time on them as I would want to. I do hope that the lack of skill will be made up by trying to read and understand the larger ideas, concepts and my passion for Web Strategy.
I see a two phase approach: 1) I’ll try harder 2) If I bother you so much, you can unsubscribe. Let’s make a deal, I’ll start with 1, and if I’ve failed you, you do 2.
Got this silly email from Chris, his MySpace page has a lot of warmth. Chris is in his 20s, and MySpace is how he networks with his peers, he send me the following email:
You know you live in 2006 when…
1. You go to a party, sit down and take MySpace pics.
2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. The reason for not staying in touch with your friends is that they don’t have AIM/LiveJournal/MySpace.
4. You’d rather look all over the house for the remote instead of just pushing the button on the TV.
6. Your evening activity is sitting at the computer.
7. You read this list, and keep nodding and smiling.
8. You think about how stupid you are for reading this.
9. You were too busy to notice number five.
10. You actually scrolled back up to check if there was a number five.
11. And now you’re laughing at your stupidity.
Some of the effect of the email may be missing as the points are seperated with a generous amount of space. Yeah, of course I fell for it, I missed number 5.
Edit: In the spirit of Chris’s fun personality and MySpace page: “blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog” (sound)
This in from Brian Oberkirch, he’s using Social media to help others, doing my part to get the word out.
Friends of the Slidell Hurricane Damage Blog:
I’m sure that the Katrina Anniversary has you stirred up about many of the issues we all worked so hard on last year. I wanted to update you about two new disaster communication projects I’ve started. If they interest you, please help me promote them or ping me to get involved, send me ideas, etc. Your help was key last year to so many of my neighbors finding out what was going on in our little town. We couldn’t have done it without you, which is sort of the point of social media, isn’t it?
Fix the Gulf
As we saw with the Slidell Hurricane Damage Blog, blogs can be efficient tools for gathering current local news and matching resources with needs. There is still a mountain of work to do in all the communities along the coast, and this new project aims to 1) keep the spotlight on the continued disaster, 2) identify specific local needs and match those with people who want to provide help and 3) spotlight other bloggers, videobloggers, podcasters and locals using these tools to spread the word.
I’m looking for editors in each of the affected towns who want to help me aggregate information and outreach for their areas. In addition to the blog, we have a wiki we’ll use to let people post up their own links, requests, material, etc.
When a storm comes, we all spend the week asking each other what we’re going to do about it. “Are you leaving? Getting your supplies gathered to hunker down? Boarding up? Where you headed?” And so on. HurricaneMind takes that process and writes it large. The idea is to take the wisdom of crowds and apply it to hurricane prep. In addition to telling you what your neighbors are thinking, I’d like the app to map hotel room availability, gather current open evacuation routes, show you where plywood and other supplies are still available and aggregate news sources in one central spot.
I’ve started a blog and wiki to get a team together to help me build and launch this community service focused application here:
Love to hear from you if any of this strikes a chord. Don’t forget about us down here.
As a customer of Factiva, I was very pleased to have a conversation with the product teams, I was invited to a concall with the product managers located both in Bay Area to New Jersey.
I expressed my needs to find tools that will help me to monitor the blogosphere and all other kinds of ‘participant produced’ content –it’s a big task. We talked about long tail vs influencers, impact of audio, video, and the impacts on corporate reputation. We talked about active listening and reporting, and how you need both, to date, I’ve yet to see a tool that can do both well, but when I do, I’ll tell the whole world.
A few days ago, I forwarded them the meme “What should companies be Monitoring” it was a large discussion that bounced around the blogosphere (35 links to my post alone), and even went to Marketing Guru Joseph Jaffe –it’s important stuff.
I love it when companies listen, something that I lead at my company, and I love it when they involve customers as a data point to help craft their strategy. I don’t expect them to make drastic or immediate changes just because of my opinion (in fact I’m just one of many voices that matter) but it was a healthy conversation.
1) Factiva is a company that customers pay to listen to the market,
2) They also do a great job of listening to customers, reading blogs, talking, and having conversations .
See how Daniela, an employee there also listened and responded to me via YouTube –companies of the future will build products WITH customers using the conversational web as a tool. Of course, the next step is to take all these data points (I’m one of many) connect the dots to make the big picture and include in the product futures.
Update: I’ve given some thought about our conversation yesterday. One question was posed to me: “What matters most, the influential voices (well known bloggers) or the smaller bloggers”. I didn’t have a good answer right at the time, but it’s very clear to me that it’s ‘All’ the voices. I’ll bet the voices in my industry (which I’m tracking) are not all influencers or have a lower (better) technorati rank. In fact, my technorati rank is lower than most bloggers in much of the data storage industry. It’s not my voice that matters of course, it’s the small voice that influencers others. If all of the bloggers on this page are being picked up (and others like them) then I think that’s a good start.
Update 2: The ever-patient Glenn has responded to me from his blog. To read his thoughts and reports on blog spam, interesting and likely very valid. David Sifry should respond.
It’s interesting seeing what other people read in Feedreaders, in a way, it’s their ‘lens’ to the world.
We created a public Feedreader for our industry (that anyone can use) and we’ve aggregated all of the RSS feeds that we could find (I’m sure it’s not complete) and add to it as names are added to the wiki we created.
I talked to some folks before about exporting that OPML to create a meme tracker or for analytics, anyone have more info on tools that can do that?
Have you seen Robert Scoble’s Feedreader? He says he trusts 100 people to deliver him the trusted news without the hype. In a way, you could think of it as a representative democracy
I work at a big company, (our reported headcount is larger than the employee base of Microsoft or Google combined) but my mission is to think small.
What does small mean?
It means that every single voice is important, and so is every customer. It means that every customer has specific needs and no too alike. It means that there are real people behind those forums, blogs, and trouble tickets, both at our company and customers.
- I’m listening to the marketplace.
- I teach the right people in our company to listen.
- I want to have individual conversations with people using the web.
- I teach the right people in our company to use web tools to have these small conversations.
- It means that we don’t think of marketplaces but we think of individuals that are talking to each other using the conversational web.
- As the Community Manager, I’ll be an internal advocate for customers.
- Using the web, we can be a better company, listen, converse, and build better products and services with our customers.
I’ll be having lunch with Anil, an industry blogger, and a data storage expert in a few weeks. Hu, our CTO Blogger wanted to come, but he’ll be traveling –I’ll be happy to host Anil. Anil, this doesn’t mean I think you’re small, but it means that your individual opinion and comments matter both to folks in our industry and to us.
Who said big companies can’t think small?
Steve Rubel wrote three ways to ride the Long Tail:
1) Rethink reach
Be very granular, think small, individuals matter and influence others. “Marketing” by “Markets is dead.
2) Fund niches
To me this really means cultivate, harness and encourage communities. I’ve quite a bit of thoughts on Community Marketing, view all my thoughts on the subject.
3) Demand more from media
Linking to individual content producers is not enough, enterprise media needs to become, interact, and mesh with the participants
Ok, here’s my additional points:
I’ve included four and five:
4) Align your workforce
Line up the right people in your organization to have discussions with each hair on the long tail in your community. Employees (just like consumers) are niched too! Folks will have a natural background or connection with specific haris, everyone in your company can become a specific community advocate. Get organized, and connect –I’m living the dream, as a Web Professional at a Data Storage Company my employer thinks I’m the best person to talk to Web Market –so off I go! (Yes, big companies can think small)
5) Build options into products
One size doesn’t fit all, If the long tail holds true for Marketing, Media, and Economics, then product teams need to start socializing that ‘one size fits’ all products are not going to cut the future. Building products that can easily be changed (either by company or consumer) need to be considered. So many choices.
Lastly, I’ve been having some very interesting thoughts with colleagues at Hitachi Data Systems about how the Long Tail applies to Data storage. Did you know that not all data is equal, and only a small percentage is used frequently –treating it equal can be a very costly situation. Our CTO Blogger Hu Yoshida has more information on “Tiered Storage”.
Edit: This just in from one of my colleagues. 88% of all data stored is “long tail” Maybe 12% is “production” data: databases, files, etc. that is “Bighead”. Does long tail have specific percentage breakdowns?
Jeff Pulver has a nice list of Internet TV shows, I expect this list to triple by the end of year. The barriers to create online content are pretty low, and will continue to drop. The Consumers are becoming Producers.
“Somewhere between the world of professionally “produced” TV shows and personal video blogs lies the world of what can be best described as “TV Shows Only Available on the Internet.”
I’m keeping an eye on Internet TV, I’ve written a few other things (and taken video) of what the future could be.
How do you Pitch to a Blogger?
It’s pretty simple, you don’t.
I get pitched to blog about products via email, comments, and in person. People send me free products (I even got a nice bag of alcohol) and some companies treat me like a web industry analyst.
“Pitching” is a horrible term to use for communicating with someone that you’re trying to build a relationship with. It means you ‘throw’ something at them, and you hope they catch it.
So rather than pitching, Instead, build a real relationship with bloggers, be their advocate, listen to them, talk to them, build a community. Once you achieve this level of trust you can have real and trusted conversations. Customers and bloggers are important –they are in control. The savvy companies will learn to be let go, and embrace the open conversation on the web.
As a Community Manager, I promise to be a customer advocate. I will listen, dialogue, then listen again, I think small (Edit: My thoughts about thinking small). I wrote about this very topic a few months ago –it still holds true.