Archive for September, 2007

A victim of my own doing and how to be a dumbass in Facebook


I screwed up, in fact this is a very embarrassing, but there’s a lesson to be learned and the majority of you all will benefit, if not be entertained.

As you know, if you add me on Facebook, I’ll add you back.

To me, Facebook is a business and personal networking tool unlike any other I’ve ever used. I’m pretty cavalier and liberal on what I let people send to me, such as dedicating songs. In the past, my wife has dedicated some songs to me, some of them are personal, and some trigger some inside jokes between us.

Recently, someone I don’t personally know dedicated a song to her entire network of friends, which included me. It was called “Girlfriend” and I accepted the dedication, it was then put on my profile page. I’m sure she had no idea of the implications it would soon cause for me.

For a bit of context, her profile picture, which at my age in the 30s is a bit racy, (but for her generation is likely common) bared a bit of shoulder.

She was also from an Asian country, where I was headed just last week…you see where this is going…imaginations can run wild.

My wife saw this while I was in Hong Kong last week, and when you add up all those instances, it paints a somewhat dark picture. My wife wasn’t connect to this girl, and couldn’t see she dedicated to all her friends.

I was slightly amused (but mostly scared) as I received an email from her one night in all caps, ending with the phrase “YOU BETTER GET THAT STRAIGHTEN OUT NOW!” (I’m not allowed to publish the full email, which I think is very, um, colorful)

Within minutes, I apologized, explained my innocence/ignorance/dumbassary, and removed the dedication, I explained I accepted all virtual gifts and dedications without giving it a second thought. She said she would then dedicate a song to me called “I’m a Dumbass” to prove her point. (dunno if such a song exists, but it might as well for me)

Just goes to show the dangers of Social Networks, sorry honey, wasn’t intentional, one should be more careful on how they use social networks for personal, business, family and friends, the context may not fully be apparent to others.

Think that’s bad? I’ve blogged about other embarrassing things I’ve done, such as screwing up Robert Scoble’s keynote in front of hundreds of PR professionals, a little humility goes a long way.

Even a web strategist can screw up too.

Update: Waili sent me this song called Dumbass by Tom Petty, nice.

Web Strategy Field Report: The Hong Kong and China Web Sphere (Part 1 of 4)


(Left: Hong Kong Harbor at night)

Navigate to other reports
| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |

I ventured to Hong Kong and met with many of the web industry leaders, below is part 1 of 4 of my Web Strategy Field Report to understand the web sphere in Hong Kong and China. If you’re a web strategist with global responsibilities you’ll need to understand what’s happening in one of the world’s largest internet user base.

To date, there are more Chinese internet users than all of North America combined, and only a portion of China is full online, the potential has not yet been tapped. Simply re-skinning your website in Chinese and adding a ‘.cn’ domain may not be a sufficient strategy.

I want to understand the global web better, and am doing what I can to learn more. It’s easy to become very insular in the Silicon Valley bubble, so if you’ve any suggestions, please leave a comment


30-60 minute formal or casual interviews. I’ve met several successful Entrepreneurs, Investors, Analysts, Professors, CEOs, Strategists, Bloggers, Podcasters, and Marketers during this period.


Please note this field report is incomplete. I’ve neither the time nor resources to do thorough analysis, and do a 360 degrees research. The information and anecdotes collected are from interviews with those that I met. As always, a web strategy and plan should have thorough research completed before starting. If you disagree or have other data points to add (even if it’s just your own opinion, I welcome them in the comments, please don’t be shy).

“The screen is getting bigger for a reason, some kids are playing 4 MMORPGS at once”

declared Yet Siu, the CEO of Outblaze over lunch at a fine seafood restaurant on Lamma island. He’s noticed that some youths in China and HK are playing up to 4 MMORPGs or web games at the same time…each in it’s own window.

“Mini –Homepy (pronounced mini-home-pie) aggregates one’s network”

Is a new feature coming out of South Korea that aggregates one’s network and is like a filter for an individual. If you want to communicate with an individual, you will go to his mini-homepy and leave a message. It’s a combination of a blog, homepage, aggregator, and message board an individual. I did some searches for this product but didn’t find much.

“America has never seen an Alibaba”

On more than one occasion has a few strategists told me about the success of Alibaba. What is this website? It’s an online marketplace for small to medium sized businesses, a site that has no North American relation or comparison. It sports a storefront (free) for any company, and those that wish to upgrade can add video and other features for a fee. Some companies pay up to $5,000 a year. In fact, the company is due to go public soon, and investors are expecting the stock to split within the first 24 hours of IPO. (so I’m told). Ther are 24 million registered users (compared to how many US users) with

“The internet industry is grouped in the Software industry”

Unlike the United States the internet is listed and categorized as a subset of the Software Industry. In the US, internet is often clearly separated from desktop or enterprise software, and we strive to maintain that separation. Over time, this may change in China as well. For many web professionals, they clearly see the web as an evolution to re-purpose desktop applications in the browser, and then the mobile web.

“There are 1.4 million new broadband users in China every month”

During a presentation from China Mobile various stats were given. Although this growth seems massive only 10% of China is on broadband, I believe the stat in United States is around 70-80% (from memory)

Stick around next week, I’ll be releasing part 2. If this was helpful or even if you have some contradictory information, please leave a comment.

Update: I had a great conversation with Carleen Hawn of GigaOm’s Found|READ, she’s summarized much of what I’m reporting back to you all.

Navigate to other reports
| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |

Lunch 2.0 at Family Oven


Sadly, my schedule has been too impacted for me to attend many of the Lunch 2.0 community events that are springing up just about everywhere. Yesterday, I was at familyoven’s kickoff lunch party, they hosted in gourmet style atop a rooftop in North Beach where they live/work. Dozens met for drinks, food, socialization and most impressively, the VIEW of all of SF on a clear, warm, slightly breezy day. It was easy to spot those used to the cold weather, they quickly sought shade.

What’s Family Oven about? It’s a website focused on recipes, cooking, with social networking and event hooks. I can think of a few people in my family that would be far more interested in a website like this than Facebook. What does it tell you that the largest tags on the tag cloud on the homepage are “Low sodium” and “Holiday”? Each of the recipe pages has recommended or similar types of menus, shows the profile of the submitter and various rating tools. If I were to make a suggestion, I would like to see instructional type of features be added, so step by step pictures and instructions could be added. Here’s my recipe for grilled apricots.

I learned that the two founders started this up on their own dime, and both were software engineers at Tagged, where Terry and Mark Jenn are.

One of the main reasons I came up was to meet Brian Keith in person, we had a brief chat, and I’ll be publishing a video of him in the near future.

I suspect one I start the new job, my time will be so impacted, I won’t be able to attend many of these community events, so I’ll enjoy them while I can.

Brian slaves at the apples403395402408405418420422427428432433435439

The First “Unofficial” Day


View from Forrester Office
(View from Forrester’s office. I actually used to live right there on the Foster City lagoon on the left side apartments right on the water, on the right side, you can see the Oracle towers.)

Today I went in to my ‘unofficial’ first day at Forrester. I don’t actually hit the payroll until Monday, but I’m getting my research agenda and had to meet some new clients while in town. The welcome was amazing, Charlene and staff are really wonderful. I’m very excited about the road ahead, and the topics that I’ll be covering are right in my area of focus, stay tuned, more goodness to come.

I’m still getting a lot of questions about my future activity. Yes, I’ll continue to blog, and I’ll still do short videos and twitter and share. You’ll find that now that I have access to real data and research intelligence that I’ll have greater quality to share with you so hang on for the ride!

I’ll be flying out to Cambridge for new hire and analyst training, if you’re in Boston, please try to attend the blogger dinner on Oct 18th, there are already 37 signed up!

Just like I did at Hitachi and PodTech, I’ll be sharing my journey as an employee venturing into a new world, I believe in being as transparent as appropriate, so stay with me!

Social Media success in Europe? I wanna know!


I don’t want to be American-centric, but I need your help.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve spent some time in Asia (Singapore, HK, Japan) learning about web adoption and sophistication (Canada too). I really want to be the conduit for my many Silicon Valley readers to know more about what the rest of the world has done, Social Media, and the internet at large is truly a global tool.

I’d like to invite you to share with me some case studies of what other companies have done to use social media (from blogs, social networks, online media, etc) to reach and connect with customers. These stories can either be of success or even hard learnings, so please leave a comment below and let me know, of course, please provide links to the appropriate websites.

Shout out your success with social media in Europe! Tell me: 1) What was the company, 2) who were they trying to reach, 3) what was the problem, 4) what did they deploy, 5) how’d it go? 6) What suggestions would you give to the program, where’s it headed? and anything else you wanted to share!

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Sept 26, 2007 (yes, we’re continuing on!)



I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly summary.

I’ve created a new tag called Digest where you can start to track and access these going forward. The hope? To make it easy for a web strategist to quickly scan the activity in the last week. I strive to make headlines on items categorized and succinct.

Need to make decisions about your web strategy? I’m here to help: subscribe to my blog, sign up for emails (right nav), follow me on Twitter, or add me on Facebook (I’ll add you back for each).

Thank you for the feedback and comments last week, (I asked if I should continue this series) In addition to comments, I received emails, and messages in Facebook telling me to continue the digest, which I will do. Here’s my attempt at listening to you, my customers!

Web Strategy Summary
The big story? Microsoft (experienced with online advertising) is aiming to invest in Facebook, valuation may vary. This week, we’re continuing to see much buzz about the Social Graph, and continued segmentation from deployments. While I suggest that segmentation is natural for the web (and a good thing) excessive niche plays may be an indicator of the saturation of the market.

Money: Facebook and Microsoft in bed
The big story this week is that Microsoft is hunting to invest 5-10% into Facebook, the total valuation of Facebook is now being debated. There are those that are questioning the impact that Facebook has on the widget economy, it’s clear that FB is the Gorilla in the room, although some suggest we should be very worried.

Social Graph: Six Apart to launch Social Graph
This is exciting news, the much buzz-demanded feature called social graph (where users can transport their network relationships from one SoNet to another) will be released from the very open Six Apart. I must applaud them for their excellent reach and connection to getting open ID, and now social graph.

Legal: Teen sues Virgin for mis-use of Flickr image
Every company must be cautious and careful in the images it selects from the open web and social networking sites like Flickr. This youth is suing telecom company for damages as her photo was used in an embarrassing (and should get double fees for using a cliche) manner. By the way, we ran into similar issues at my last company…gotta learn what creative commons is!

Productivity: Ban Facebook? Intel’s public debate
Josh Bancroft, Intel’s top blogger, is challenging the forces at Intel Security to keep Facebook an application for business and personal use. I can think of so many arguments to keep it open, and in fairness a few why they may want to close it, but the opportunities simply outweigh the threats. If they do ban Facebook, they might as well ban the rest of the web, but

Social Graph: Google to Release on Nov 5th
In a private meeting, Google has told a few that it will release a social graph feature, much like how Six Apart is also going to. Google will leverage it’s popular (well in Brazil) SoNet Orkut, and offer APIs that can connect to it and iGoogle. This will be an interesting battle, many speculate Google will sweep up all the other networks for global domination.

Feature: Facebook to launch IM
Yet another tool to capture our attention inside of Facebook, an IM tool will be released. If you were paying attention, the homepage feed has been asking for AIM login info, so I’m somewhat surprised this has not already happened. For me, I won’t use it, IM sucks too much time.

Segmentation: A SoNet for when you’re dead
Nick Carr reports on the Social Network where it aggregates your life, and you can leave messages for friends and family after your demise. Cheerful! Now, we just need a SoNet before we’re born (perhaps, you’ …someone kick me when we’ve jumped the shark.

Segmentation: A SoNet for Google Earth

A group of Arizona students are in cahoots with a “Major internet company” to release a social networking feature set for the Google Earth product. Why stop there? build a system that can work with all Google products.

Mobile: MySpace to offer mobile version –with ads

MySpace is going mobile, users can now access popular SoNet, although it’s not quite as sophisticated as many marketers may want, true geo-contextual advertising is not here yet. I’d give it a few short years.

Usage: Ning surpasses 100,000 Social Networks

Although not a measurement of quality or activity, Ning announces that over 100k ‘groups’ within it’s product suite have been created.

Legal and Security: Facebook ignores predators?
An open letter to Facebook to pay attention to online predators, hopefully, we’ll hear a response.