Archive for August, 2007

What’s in your bag: Web Strategist Edition


I don’t need a TV truck, radio station, or printing press to reach thousands of people, and neither do you.

The Mobile Media Platform
In my current role at PodTech, much of my job was to be out in the field where the people are, and use social media to demonstrate how PodTech could deliver to clients. The tactic? I was a walking media platform, and at any time, anywhere, I could publish text, video, audio, or pictures to thousands of people within minutes. I could break news, live stream events, live blog, twitter from my mobile phone, send emails to the influentials, kick start conversations or most importantly, just listen to the network.

Over my time at PodTech, I uploaded close to 8,000 pictures, hundreds of videos, over 1,000 blog posts, and did at least 2 weeks of live streaming. I surprised folks by my rapid ability to post session notes, pictures and even video within 30 minutes of a conference. I want to record how life has been over the last year as things change. See all my posts tagged event or conference to learn see the output (please note most was in real-time or within 12 hours of an event).

Here’s what’s in my bag(s)

In the spirit of the popular “whats in your bag” flickr meme, here’s my response.

What's in my backpack(click on picture to see notes in flickr)

Mobile Social Media Platform Inventory (Basic Kit)

  • Backpack: I just love this rugged and stylish backpack, it should be able to hold up to my abuse, with lots of utility.
  • Laptop: Thinkpad Lenovo T60 was issued to me
  • 3G Wireless card: Important, as public WiFi is unwieldy
  • Power charger: For Thinkpad
  • Power extension cord: (in black mesh bag) important at conferences where supply is limited, and a great way to meet new friends
  • Moleskine notepad and pen: This is how I stay organized, and it’s in an easy to grab bag with pen
  • Extra DVR tapes for video camera
  • Webcam: On loan from Ustream
  • USB Extension Cord: Critical for live streaming, as the cam often goes on a tripod
  • Digital Camera (not picture): SD700IS. While only $350, my photos are in the SJ Mercury
  • Camera case on backpack: see small black pouch on front lapel of backpack, strateically situated for rapid access
  • Camera spare battery
  • Camera USB Cable: The gray one
  • Camera Lens wipes
  • Wallet: Need money, store parking passes, BART tickets, and business cards (picture of wife too)
  • Business Cards: Both mine and new contacts
  • Expense Bag: I throw all my receipts from business trips in that bag and sort out later, a good way to start organized
  • Reading material (varies week to week): Super Crunches from friend David Berkowitz, and Social Computing Framework
  • Various personal items: Gum, energy bars, breath mints, and some strange bandaids and hand sanitizer that a conference organizer handed out
  • Camera Bag(click on picture to see notes in flickr)

    Mobile Media Platform Inventory (Show Kit)
    If I’m going to do interviews for the PodTech’s Web Strategy Show, I would bring this kit:

  • Camera Case: compact, and can fit inside of backpack
  • Camera Case: compact, and can fit inside of backpack
  • Camcorder: Sony camera (DVR) for interviews
  • Xacti: Backup camera, USB
  • Battery Charger: Important to have spare battery on hand
  • Line Charger for direct power
  • Extra Tapes: DVR
  • Remote Control: For when camera is on tripod (not tripod)
  • Sling: Extra tether for camera, if going mobile
  • Picture 835
    I have this phone on me, although outdated, it gives me access to the web, text messaging, with a powerful speakerphone. Why don’t I use a smartphone? Because I’m often in front of a computer.

    What will future tools look like? Many of these will consolidate and become smaller, hopefully without the cost of quality

    Alight, I’m tagging bloggers Robert Scoble, Mario Sundar, Chris Pirillo, Scott Squid, and Thomas Hawk to open up and show me what’s in their bags, give an inventory list, your strategy.

    Top Discussions in the Web Strategy Community


    Community is important, it means the needs and output of the many are greater than the few. One of the hardest things for companies is learning how to kick-starting a community, just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come.

    A few weeks ago I kick started the Web Strategy Group in Facebook, it’s an extension to this blog, but the difference is the topics and lead by the community –not some boring top-down blogger.

    [Unlike other Facebook groups, the Web Strategy Group has active discussions among those who make decisions for the modern website]

    Unlike other dead groups in Facebook, the Web Strategy Group, is filled with conversations, discussions, debates and sharing. It was important to me that it not just be a ‘badge’ or ‘affiliation’ group but a thriving eco-system where people connect ideas, jobs, and maybe new customers. I seeded it with conversations, gave it love, and thanked the top contributors, gracious strategists Tinu and Connie.

    Here’s a high level scrape of some of the top discussions within the Web Strategy Group forum (out of 46):

    What Do You Do? Where Are You From? Why This Group? (72 posts by 56 people): A standard introductory post, folks are getting to know each other.

    What’s your official Title? What makes you a Web Strategist? (23 posts by 21 people): Another prompt at encouraging everyone to say “hi”

    Sharing your “Web Strategy” (13 posts): Learning a lot from others as they share how the get programs started.

    What do you want from a Facebook strategy event? (13 posts by 8 people): Teresa who’s hosting a conference where I’ll be keynoting on Communities is getting community feedback from the folks who are likely to attend, a savvy tactic.

    How do you drive traffic to a branded social networking site? (6 posts by 3 people): In this classic challenge a strategist has been asked to fix a program where a website was built without first finding the community where it exists.

    What comes first? determining the priority of your website (13 posts by 8 people): It’s sometimes hard to balance between your business stakeholders, users, and your boss, hear how others get started.

    What’s your methodology for understanding User Needs? (17 posts by 13 people): The members share how they learn to understand their communities

    If you can add to these conversations, I encourage you to join the group and get involved, you’ll need to join Facebook first.

    Facebook to rank applications by Interaction –not Engagement


    Facebook announced that it will be ranking it’s applications not by total number of users, but by engagement. Certainly an evolutionary step forward. Early on, I was trying to define the formula of engagement, so I’ve got a pretty good sense of what it is and what it’s not. Venture Beat covered the story, but I think they got the attributes mixed up between attention and interaction.

    [Facebook is confusing Engagement with Interaction, which is a completely different attribute to measure behavior, our industry needs to come to agreement on terms]

    Facebook isn’t really measuring Engagement, they’re measuring Interaction.
    The four attributes they mentioned are elements of a user interacting with the site:

    These touch points are:
    – Canvas Page Views
    – Link Clicks in FBML
    – Mock-Ajax Form Submission
    – Click-to-Play Flash

    Facebook measurement, an incomplete formula
    There’s a few other attributes that Facebook is missing in it’s measurement, this is NOT an Engagement measurement. They’re missing Attention (how much time was spent on a particular widget app, Alex agrees) and Velocity (did the application get shared and spread among a network, and Influence, who share it with who? For example, if Scoble shared with his 5000ish friends, it’s certainly a higher weight than someone with 20.

    As an industry, it’s really important that we start to come to agreement on terms and attributes. For what it’s worth, I predict they will release an engagement index, that will help them be the industry standard when it comes to defining a successful application. More thoughts on this topic from the Web Analytics Guru, or check out all my posts tagged Social Media Measurement.

    Once I move into my new role, I may have the reach to standardize terms, give me time.

    Update: Judah at Web Analytics Demystified (an authority) agrees.

    Web Strategy Show: Need to Freshen your Stock Image Portfolio?


    Imagery tied to a brand will still remain important to the corporate marketer, Is your irrelevant corporate website needing a refresh of it’s marketing images? Lucky Oliver uses pro-amateurs to fuel their image library, where they explain it’s about building a concept or image. Recently zooomr has entered the pay-for-image, but it’s suggested that Lucky Oliver has rights and prosumer quality unlike public sites.

    Forrester Conference: Will answer how Consumers are impacted by Social Media, Chicago, Oct 11-12


    I was impressed with a recent Forrester workshop held in SF, so impressed, that I’ve now decided to join the Forrester team.

    Forrester is going to host the Consumer Forum in Chicago on Oct 11-12th. I’ll be in training at Cambridge (HQ) for three weeks, but I’ll be flying out to Chicago to attend this conference. Here’s the high level summary:

    “Fueled by cheap devices and pervasive access, individuals are increasingly taking cues from one another rather than from institutions — a phenomenon that creates chaos for traditional brands, sellers, and media outlets. Evidence of this new social structure is everywhere; for example, only 53% of consumers in 2006 believed that ads were a good way to learn about new products, down from 78% in 2002. At the same time, consumers are increasingly seeking each other out for information — 31% of online consumers buy or sell products online from and to other consumers, 26% contribute to discussion boards or submit product ratings, and 11% publish their own blogs or personal journals. Broadening avenues of feedback lead consumers to expect participation in product development, innovation, and advertising — witness the success of Wikipedia and Doritos’ user-generated Super Bowl ads”

    Speaker lineup:

  • Robert J. Bach President, Entertainment & Devices Division of Microsoft
  • Josh Bernoff, Vice President, Forrester Research
  • Richard Edelman, President and CEO, Edelman
  • Ze Frank, Founder,
  • Gian Fulgoni, Chairman and Co-founder, comScore
  • Christie Hefner, Chairman and CEO, Playboy Enterprises
  • Henry Jenkins, Co-Director, MIT Comparative Media Studies, MIT
  • Carrie A. Johnson, Vice President, Research Director, Forrester Research
  • Kevin H. Johnson, Digital Organization Leader, Services Division, Acxiom Digital
  • Philip J. Kaplan, Founder and President, Products, AdBrite
  • Charlene Li, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Christina Norman, President, MTV Networks
  • Christine Spivey Overby, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  • If you want to discuss or find out who else is going, join the Facebook group, or get updates from the Forrester Twitter account.

    Are you going to Forrester’s Consumer Forum? David Armano and his company Critical Mass are sponsoring. The Minnesota Marketing Association says it’s interesting. Leave a comment if you’re going, I want to meet you there.

    The last time I went to Chicago I took a bunch of great photos, it’s a wonderful city.

    OMGHeat over WaterWatchtowerEnergyDSC00346DSC00376DSC00171

    Want waves? drop a pebble


    Media is getting smaller, faster, and more connected, I’m seeing this through the adoption of MicroMedia, niche communities, and intimate conversations with smaller groups of folks. Savvy communicators will realize that using the small “pebble” will cause a ripple effect out to other networks. The less savvy will come with the fleet, causing disruptive waves.

    Be sure to understand the different adoption personas: The Pebble, Swimmer, Surfer, Boater, or Fleet. Those close to the epicenter can drop a pebble and watch it ripple out to the others. When I announced my job change on Monday, I did it in Twitter, I left a series of messages explaining my intent, I saw the replies come back by the dozens. I answered an y questions in real-time and the wave grew in energy. As their friends saw people saying “congrats @jowyang” (the “@” symbol notifies me someone is talking to me) it encourages others to click on my name and see what I said. It rippled across the Twitter lake. Finally, I dropped the URL to my blog, and then it spread to the swimmers, then surfers, boaters, and finally the fleet, like this news site (thanks Karl).

    [The savvy communicator knows that small, targeted, conversations can yield bigger returns on energy than massive bombardments]

    Many brands want to announce products by using the fleet, come in with heavy advertising that links to a flash animation, which points to a product page. Maybe the savvy brands will learn how to use the smaller tools and drop that very small pebble close the center of the lake.

    By the way, I’m very pleased to see the comments, and trackbacks suggesting that my new role is a “perfect fit”, as many of these folks have worked with me, read my blog, or know my passion for web strategy. It’s really community confirmation that it’s going to work out. Best of all, George Forrester Colony himself left a comment welcoming me (#124), fantastic. Thank you everyone, really, it means a lot, seriously.