Archive for August, 2006

Project Manager, Product Managers, and Product Marketing Manager


Great write up from Rob Grady about the Difference between a Product Manager and a Project Manager.

Thanks Ron, now that’s cleared up, let’s take a look at another similar role.

Product Manager vs Product Marketing Manager
I know that folks have a hard time understanding the difference between product managers and product marketing managers. At many startups, the Product Manager may do the marketing role, or in some cases the roles will be split between the Product Manager and Community Manager.

Here’s a definition of a Product Marketing Manager from Wikipedia:

“In smaller high-tech firms or start-ups, product marketing and product management functions can be blurred, and both tasks may be borne by one individual.

However, as the company grows someone needs to focus on creating good requirements documents for the engineering team, whereas someone else needs to focus on how to analyze the market, influence the “analysts”, press, etc.

When such clear demarcation becomes visible, the former falls under the domain of product management, and the later, under product marketing. In Silicon Valley, in particular, product marketing professionals have considerable domain experience in a particular market or technology or both.”

I typically view that Product Marketing Managers are ‘outbound’ and are responsible aligning the product with the market/customer. The could/should deliver the requirements to the Product Manager who will build the requirements into the development or engineering cycle.

Community Managers can obtain requirements
As mentioned above, the Community Manager (a new role that’s emerged) can also deliver customer requirements to product teams. I’m a Community Manager, and I know several, we’re working on a project to start to define our role. Unlike a PM or PMM, the primary role is to be a customer advocate or community advocate. Sometimes a CM should line up the right folks in the company to communicate with the community –kinda like a messenger. More to come on this later.

In my experience, usually the Product Manager, Product Marketing Manager in Silicon Valley often justly deserve a six figure salaries. I suspect project managers depend on experience and skill level.

Student Collaboration Site ‘mynoteIT’.


MynoteIT allows students to collaborate using the web to share notes, class schedules, and create project teams reports

When I was in college I heard of students that actually paying for rent by going to the large class (400+ student lecture halls) taking notes, and then selling to other students.

This model by mynoteIT will allow groups to quickly share. Could this create an opportunity for professional note takers to sell notes using paypal or will this encourage collaboration among all students?

The internet is helping folks to quickly connect –interesting the impacts it makes on socienty. Lifehack has a review of mynoteIT.

Brand Hijacked


Folks are watching to see how Starbucks reacts to this latest Brand Hijacking: “F*ck Starving Kids, Have A Freakin’ Delicious Starbucks Frappucino” by a citizen marketer using YouTube. More discussion in the comment section of Adrants.

Company Brand Managers shoud know they don’t *own* the brand –consumers own it. Some companies realize they needed to let go and created the social media tools that let consumers create their own ads. A classica exampe is Chevy’s Tahoe Ad that got mixed reviews. Learn more from this book called Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing

Understanding Microformats for the Non-Technical Web Professional or Marketer


I’m not a developer or software engineer.

I am an individual that needs to understand technology in order to impelement web strategies –consider the following as a public learning experience.

I first heard Marc Canter talking about Microformats a few months ago, and talked to Tantek about it at dinner –I didn’t understand it fully at the time, I’m beginning to see the value now that so many voices are appearing on the web due to blogs and social media.

I am NOT a microformat expert, if you have a suggestion or correction, please leave a comment below and I’ll update the text –let’s learn together.

Q: What are Microformats?
A new method to organize unstructured information into an organized fashion that could be used universally. Edit: You can learn more about the “Big Picture on Microformats” from John Allsopp.
Q: I’m not technical, Why should I know about Microformats?
While still in it’s very early stages, this could be a protocol that could further define RSS or make information publishing, categorizing, or managing more effective. Marketers could benefit by quickly publishing information in organized methods, consumers could quickly obtain information in organized fashions.

Q: Why Microformats?
Social Media (blogs, forums, wikis, etc) are exploding; so many voices, reviews, thoughts, and memes are being spread through the internet, a method to identify, collect, organize, and repurpose/manage will be a service to the world. So much information, very little structure.

Q: How do they work?
Since it’s not a new language, it can be embedded in HTML (as I understand it from Wikipedia) I believe that RSS can also contain the information which will be great if you need to get the word out or update information quickly. Think Vitamin has published a nifty article on embedding Microformats in HTML.

Q: What are the Benefits?
Here’s some potential benefits that come to my mind. (and this is before coffee)

  • Quickly find all user reviews about a product across the internet. (Imagine how powerful that becomes if you can do this from a mobile device before buying a product)
  • Quickly update all your contact information as it appears across the entire internet
  • Quickly tell the whole world about an event and have it updated on every calendar
  • Search engines can do a better job of indexing and serving more accurate information
  • Quickly put up a product to sell that would publish on many websites (ebay, Craigslist, etc)
  • Quickly tell the world when this price has changed or if the product is off the market (sold)
  • Build a universal library of all food recipes and share you own, transmit this code to your local supermarket to assemble ingredients before you arrive, or ship
  • Tie your disparate intranet system using RSS and Microformats as the new protocol
  • Quickly create a press release and send to social media tools
  • Quickly create an image/video and publish to be shared in other social media tools
  • Create your own Microformat (like HCard, or HCalendar) for your own use (see wiki)

Q: What are the Challenges?

  • Adoption
  • Blog publishing tools or widgets will need to be added
  • All websites that want to stay relevant will need to ‘open up’ to opensource and opendata model
  • Folks inputting faulty data into Microformat structure

Q: Are Microformats related to RSS?
Yes, I believe that the Microformat content can be distributed via RSS just like other content.

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I’ll share the findings with the Microformats team later…

Lunch 2.0 “Web Expo” at Hitachi Data Systems continuing to get signups


Watermelon is the theme of Lunch 2.0, Yum!

The Lunch 2.0 organizers and I published the invite last Monday, and we have over 50 RSVPs –that’s pretty strong. There’s room for more folks to sign up –I encourage you to do so.

In the spirit of transparency, this event is FOR the web community and hosted by Hitachi Data Systems, but there’s an opportunity for us to all learn about each other. In my nakedness, of course we’d love to have conversations about data storage needs for data hungry web companies 🙂

Either way, lots and lots of learning between visitors, web companies, and Hitachi Data Systems.

I’m practicing what I’m preaching, as I’m only using social media tools to get the word out, blogs, (see who’s blogged about it) word of mouth, and a few followup emails or invites to key members of the community (zero dollar marketing). I also believe in giving to the community, and they’ll embrace back, hopefully the web community will see and appreciate this.

Soon I’ll be making a decision regarding some of the last companies that will show off at the expo at no charge, stay tuned. If you can’t make it, the event will be full documented via flickr, and videos. The last events were chronicled on this video, (love the music) and here on Flickr.

Club Penguin still a Buzz Topic


I did a review of the Social Site Club Penguin, and am still amazed at the activity it’s generated. You can read the review, there’s an amazing amount of comments –the stats reflect strong activity there as well. More comments may be coming in there, but I’m not using blogger tool very frequently. If you do a google search on “Club Penguin Review” (which I’ll expect many parents to do before they let their children use it) I display as the second result.

What amazes me is the amount of views on this Club Penguin photo I have in flickr –over 7000!