Archive for October, 2007


6 things I’ve learned since becoming an analyst

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I really owe it to you to continue to live and work as transparently as possible, this is after all, what I preach. It starts with me first sharing, so here goes. The last month has been a whirlwind, I’ve traveled from SFO > Boston > Chicago > SFO > Boston with a quick trip to NY met hundreds of people, even more photos, and I’m just getting started. I’ve officially been an analyst for 31 days, and it’s time to take a look back, here’s what I’ve learned:

1) I’ve a lot to learn
I was in training for three weeks, (well I missed most of the second week at a conference) to learn some very rigorous methodology, meet people, and absorb into the culture. I even had a meeting with the CEO on my first week. I was amazed at the organization that a company of 1000 could have. I’ve made a lot of new friends with common interests in the firm, and I’ve come to learn that many are now blog readers who comment from time to time *jeremiah waves*

2) Evolving communications a challenge
A big part of my training is to learn how to communicate effectively and succinctly. I’m already starting to feel this change in how I write, speak, present, and think. Check out the large binders we received in training, they are a desktop reference and I’m using them frequently. I recently tweeted that working along side Charlene is like getting a masters in business.

3) New incoming pipes
There are a LOT of inputs in this role, from vendor briefings, announcement briefings (It’s easier to glance at techmeme and tell what will be reality in 24 hours and what won’t be). Another major input is the problems and challenges I hear information from many clients. I’m even listening to trends from the press (they have many inputs too). Most importantly it’s amazing to have access to hard core data and research from the firm. Overtime, I’m hoping that my analysis will move up a level so I can start seeing macro trends, in addition to the small changes, I’m not quite there yet, but hope to be soon.

4) Helping clients succeed fires me up
I feel good inside when customers are happy as direct result of my actions. In addition to the time I’m spending inputting, a great deal of my time is spent helping clients in advisory sessions and creating reports. On a related note, A CEO of a startup recently contacted me and said that other startups in the valley don’t understand the influence that analysts have, nearly everyday I’ll be recommending vendors to look at. (By the way, the best way to get my time and other analysts is to do a briefing, not send me an email)

5) Time management has become more important than ever
Compared to previous jobs, this role is incredibly more time demanding. I’m rigorous on how I structure my time (such as avoiding IM as much as possible). I read and research and blog for two hours in the morning (I sleep in 2 three hour shifts at night, and am up right now at 3am to blog) as I really believe in paying myself first. Learning how to manage all the input and output time (and time spent writing reports) around travel and speeches is going to be a challenge, maybe I need a lesson from Tim Ferris.

6) I’ll continue to blog and share
Many people are wondering if I’ll continue to share online as I have in the past. Speculation if what I’ve learned and know will be sucked up behind the “paywall” for clients only. Part of why I was hired was because of my blog, so that’s not going away, and I’m a believer in walking the talk. Since I’ve started, I’m still part of the conversation, have been very active on Twitter (add me), and continue to experiment with social media tools. What do I not share on my blog? Research and reports that I work on in the day job based around data that I would not have had access to if I wasn’t an employee. Also, giving advice from a blog is far too generic. Each client has a unique culture, unique market, and is at a different stage in their social media strategy, there’s no way a blog or any other dispersive communication tool can be successful in delivering true value.

So what did I learn? I learned I have a lot to learn! So if you can’t tell, I’m undergoing a metamorphosis right now, and I want to keep this cocoon as opaque as possible, so stay with me, let’s grow together, and thanks for all your support!

If you have any experiences to share about how you’ve smoothly (or not) moved into a new role, I want to hear.

Update: I just learned that a white paper (PDF) I wrote 2 years ago with Dennis McDonald was seen by a client, and they requested my involvement on the account. I’m a believer that one thing leads to another, it’s just amazing that it can take nearly 24 months for work to come to fruition. Then again, the white paper is on IT and Business for social media, it’s just now becoming relevant. At the time, I wrote this as I was frustrated with my own IT department not understanding or supporting the social media program.

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Oct 31, 2007

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Big Update: You can subscribe to this digest tag only, which filters only these type of posts. I’m confident I’ll earn your trust, deliver value and you’ll visit my blog anyways.

I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly summary, it’s great to send to busy executives.

I’ve created a new category 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).

Web Strategy Summary
The big news? Microsoft invests in Facebook and gets access to it as a major advertising platform. Now, Meebo has launched as a platform, and Google is expected to release a Facebook competitor tomorrow. This is the move movement I’ve seen since starting this series. Sadly, there’s not been too much news produced on other social networks.


Partnership: Facebook and Microsoft in Bed
There’s sure been a lot of speculation, and regurgitation about the deal, but let’s boil it down to what it means. Advertising opportunity for MS, expansion of software on the ‘web platform’ access to all your identities. For Facebook, it means: larger than life valuation, a hold out for growth, until potentially an IPO. I participated in this article from Cnet which gives a good starting overview.

Platform: Meebo launches platform
The web based IM aggeregator, Meebo launches a platform encouraging developers to expand on top of it’s instant messaging community. What’s the biggest difference between Meebo and Facebook? Facebook has rich user profiles, whereas Meebo does not. I predict this will influence how the same applications are used on top of each.

Money: Facebook’s Stock options not that rosy?
The NYT questions if the stock will be a good play to retain talent, the potential problem? Diluted value of stock for new employees, among other risks. But who cares? Facebook is a hot company, there were loads of people going to Google over the last yearish (nearly doubling in size) under the same climate…because it was Google.

Enterprise: How do social networks impact the Intranet?
I participated on a panel hosted by Visible Path, where we discussed how the social graph of our work lives can be harnessed and captured to improve sales, recruiting, and communication. The big takeaway? We’ve yet as an industry to really leverage the power of people in the enterprise although some tech recruiters are starting to get savvy.

Community: Rabid fans and votors assemble on Facebook
The new ‘vote’ has become an affinity joining Facebook groups. It first started with Barack Obama, and now with Stephen Colbert beating him out…in just one day. Despite the rabid popularity, the quality and topics of Facebook apps appear to be ‘strange’ and silly.

Money: Myspace touts it’s value
MySpace can tout it’s virtues if the runner up can score market valuation of 15billion, in fact there are claims that myspace could be worth, but in reality, the numbers are much less.

Rumors: Google to launch Facebook Competitor
The rumors are circulating that Google is to launch a platform to compete with Facebook decries Techcrunch: “OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:”

Rumors: Facebook to launch new Advertising product
More speculation on what Facebook could be releasing: “Not the deliciously moist kind, but the kind that keep tabs on your whereabouts while surfing the web. The goal is to combine all the information collected within Facebook user profiles with users’ web surfing habits to deliver targeted ads via Microsoft.”

I use a variety of techniques to find this news, and as an Analyst it’s good practice for me to stay on top of my industry. If your boss needs to stay on top of this digest, be sure to send it to her, and subscribe to this unique feed.

The many mediums of the Web Strategy Community (50 replies from one tweet)

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I posted one Tweet on Twitter and recieved about 50 back in return. I now have a pretty good idea of how my network (my community, the web strategy community) communicates.

From who? From the pebble people. What’s a pebble? They’re often first generation adopters. they are followed by swimmers, surfers and others.

Most of the people in Twitter fall into one of those three categories, they’re early adopters, tech influencers, and what Forrester calls “creators”.

I tweeted this question: “@everyone quick, count the many tools you’ve communicated over today. Twitter, FB, blog, email (personal and work), phone, cell =7″

Two hours later, I had quite a few responses (nearly 50)

I’ve removed any private tweets (at least 5), all of the following are public. And no, this is far from the methodology at Forrester, this is just a segment of MY network. No, I’m not going to use this information in any other way than to understand how my network of pebbles works. Since it’s just my network, this is completely biased.

It makes no sense for me to tally or average them as people counted the same version of tools multiple times. What’s clear is that we are communicating with each other using so many multiple channels. We’re easy to access, easy to find, and easy to talk to.

It’s pretty safe to estimate that between 5-7 communication mediums are being used by my community.

John McCrea who works at Plaxo suggested that a unified communications platform could fix this, but we’ve got to first ask, is it a problem?

Here’s how my community responded from my one tweet:

Mark Twomey Storagezilla @jowyang – Twitter, Blog, Email, Forums, Mobile Phone. 5

Lee Aase LeeAase @jowyang I’ve used Twitter, land line, cell, SMS, Facebook, 2 email accts, personal blog, work blog = 9

Mukund Mohan mukund @jowyang, @astrout email (gmail, work), Twitter, IM(Gtalk, Yahoo, MSN), Phone, Cell, Voice, FB, Blog, Text Messaging, WEBEX – dang

astrout astrout @jowyang — sorry, missed blog. That makes 8 or maybe 9 for me.

Wade Rockett waderockett @jowyang: 5 – email, blog, Twitter, message board, IM.

Krish krishnan @jowyang Twitter, Facebook. blog, IM, email, phone (in that order)

astrout astrout @jowyang — face2face, cell phone, voip phone, text, trillian, twitter, FB and e-mail (7 if you combine voip & cell – 8 otherwise)

GiGi iad2la @jowyang Twitter, TXT/phone, FB, AIM and MSN messenger via Trillian, GTalk, Gmail, Outlook (oh the agony)

Christian Burns™ ChristianBurns @jowyang Gmail, twitter, Jaiku, Utterz, outlook web portal, facebook, cell phone, txt msg sms, gtalk

Alex de Carvalho alexdc @jowyang GTalk, MSN, Twitter, GMail, FB, phone, cell, Flickr, Scrapblog, Orkut, Basecamp … and the ol’ fashioned face-to-face ;)

Luis Suarez elsua @jowyang 16! Can list them if you would want to …

CSP missusP @jowyang – @CreativeSage reminded me – yes, also LinkedIn – that makes 12 today.

karl long karllong @jowyang twitter, pownce, text msg, phone, email, blog post, blog comment, message forum, FB =9 a

Jason Preston jasonp107 @jowyang twitter, AIM, e-mail, phone, cell & (plans for blog & FB!) = 5

Cathryn Hrudicka CreativeSage @jowyang: Landline ph., Twitter, Facebook, primary email, LinkedIn, Flickr, blogs, Pownce (feeds going to other socnets).

Will Pate willpate @jowyang: gmail, twitter, basecamp, highrise, aim, msn, skype, conceptshare, mobile, facebook, google docs, adium, blackberry PIN about

Kyle Flaherty kflaherty @jowyang facebook, cell, blog, twitter, email, gmail, flikr, SMS, ning=9

Doug Meacham DougMeacham @jowyang: landline, cell, blog, twitter, wk email, Yahoo Mail, GMail, Face to Face (do people still do that?), Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr=11

Tete TeteSagehen @jowyang (twitter, IM, home phone, blog, Faecbook, e-mail)

Ian Wilker iwilker @jowyang: yeesh… 8! (adium, FB, email, cell, voip, IM, twitter, blog)

Andy Beal andybeal @jowyang cell, email, twitter, facebook, IM, skype, blog = 7

Marcel LeBrun lebrun @jowyang email (2), twitter, FB, office phone, cell phone, Gtalk, MSN & BB messenger about

TedC TedC @jowyang Twitter, email, seesmic, phone, ms communicator, icq, blog = 7

Lee Odden leeodden @jowyang For me it’s: email, facebook, mybloglog, twitter, pownce, blog, linkedin, cell, landline

John McCrea johnmccrea @jowyang: work email, webmail, mobile, blog, Plaxo Pulse, Twitter, SMS. I guess that’s 7 for me, too.

Arek Dreyer arekdreyer @jowyang Twitter, email, ichat, phone = 4

TDavid TDavid @jowyang – email, IRC, blog, Twitter, phone (work+personal), Skype = 7, not ordered

Clay Newton tastybit @jowyang SMS, vmail, mobile, email, landline, twitter, Fb, blog, IM = 9

Suki_MHC05 Suki_MHC05 @jowyang “in person” and skype=9 plus all those you already listed.

CSP missusP @jowyang 11: phone, email, IM, blog, Twitter, FB, WBEx office, BBerry, fax, Ezmo, Sosius

KayDub kaydub @jowyang 5 5

Thomas Han thomashan @jowyang twitter, FB, blog, land-line, iPhone, emails (3), SMS, IMs (several platforms) = ~12

Jeff Greco jeffgreco @jowyang twitter, facebook, aim, gtalk, email (personal + work), cell, work phone, tumblelog = 9

Jeremy Pepper jspepper @jowyang – recounting, then, if you want email and IM separate (or as one, even if it’s Hotmail, GMail and corp mail)

Shashi Bellamkonda shashib @jowyang 3 email accounts, pidgin( AIM, GTalk,Yahoo IM) , phone, 2 cell phones, Twitter, Facebook, utterz, blogs, Google reader, Jaiku, Pown

Jeremy Pepper jspepper @jowyang – 5 (counting meebo as 1 for all my IM systems)

Shea Gunther sheagunther @jowyang 9 communication tools today for me- twitter, blog, FB, email, Vonage phone, cell phone, text message, Ning, StumbleUpon

Kami Huyse kamichat @jowyang I have used 10 tools: 3 e-mail accounts, Twitter, FB, SMS, Blogs (mine and others), cell phone and land line

Mike Keliher mjkeliher @jowyang …and chatting within Scrabulous within Facebook.

Evan Hamilton evanhamilton @jowyang: twitter, gmail, hotmail, outlook, cell, AIM, Messenger, iChat = 8

Jess K escapetochengdu @jowyang I have one more to add to that list: instant message (via gchat)

Christopher Gilmer chrisgilmer @jowyang 7, same set as yours.

chrisgilmer @jowyang 7, same set as yours.

Mike Keliher mjkeliher @jowyang Cell phone calls, cell phone text messages, regular phone, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Ning site, blog comments = 8 + face to face.

Connie Reece conniereece @jowyang for me it’s 6 communication tools today

LisaBarone LisaBarone @jowyang Twitter, FB, blog, work email, home email, cell, Skype, IM, Webcast = 9. All before lunch!

Jen Cardew jencardew @jowyang 8 myspace, fb, sms, phone, email, webct (course discussion board), email, & twitter … and counting o.0

Len Edgerly LenEdgerly @jowyang – 6

Erica OGrady ericaogrady @jowyang: Twitter, Cell, Facebook, Email, Virb, Blog, GTalk = 7

Craig Cmehil ccmehil @jowyang 17 including various IM tools

Yndy:(Update) @jowyang – tools today so far? Twitter, LiveJournal, MySpace, Network54, WordPress, cell phone, email (x4), Digg, various other boards (9?) 04:12 PM

If you weren’t in on the fun and still want to contribute, leave a comment below.

Update: I know a lot of Marketers what would be thrilled to have 5 responses to 1 tweet, or even 15, but 50? How to do it? Become part of the community, (not yelling at it) and join the conversation. The world is moving smaller, faster, and distributed, but most importantly it’s trending towards opt-in.

How should you allocate your web strategy budget for 2008?

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Update: What better way to kickstart the conversation by using my real voice? Listen in.

It’s planning time, and many of you have submitted your strategies, budgets and resource requests to management, how do I know? Because I get tons of emails, facebook messages, and formal emails at work requesting advice and guidance.

Recently, I posted a question to Ian, who’s the CEO of an internet marketing firm in Seattle:


[What's the best way to balance a diverse web marketing budget? How should I allocate my funds? How do I prioritize, there are so many tools to consider!]

In his response, He’s broken it down by type of company . Ian lays it down, while some may find it dangerous to suggest how to invest before discussing the business strategy and needs, this is a good starting point for a conversation.

I realize the sensitivity in posting specific numbers on a public blog, so I’d love to hear your process in budgeting (or a best practice). Do you work at an agency? How do you encourage clients to spend with you? On the client side? What are some ways your prioritize?

Update: Mukund (A VP of Marketing) has listed out his budget allocation, wow thanks for the transparency! Interesting that 15% of his resources are to reach people like me in my day job yet 2% is spent on reaching me as a blogger (Social media), so does that mean I would get 17%? I also attend events (industry and social) so there’s other allocations that may cross over to me.

Social Graph for the Workplace: A discussion hosted by Visible Path

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I spoke at Visible Path’s (client) Corporate Social Network Design Council in San Francisco today. The panel, moderated by Anneke Seley Founder & CEO, PhoneWorks, included Anthony Lye, SVP of Oracle CRM, Ross Mayfield of Social Text, and Matt, the program manager of Motorola’s Internet and Collaboration Technology.

Highlights of the discussion:

-Initially, when the web was launched, it was estimated that business folks were separated by 7 degrees, now it can be measured at nearly 3 degrees
-Ross suggested that every brand will have a wiki associated with them. Take for example “lost” which has a handful of wikis, both from corporate and the fan base
-The big question of how do personal and professional networks become both a private asset to an individual as well as be shared by the enterprise.
-How many social graphs do we need? Is there conflict as they cross over? (I suggested there are four social graphs on average: public, work, friends, and family)
-Motorola is already experimenting with internal social networks and wikis, with success.
-”Sales 1.0 is about lots of reporting, and sell less, Sales 2.0 is about less reporting and more selling”
-The future is focusing on the people, and their relationships
-One HR manager had concerns as legal and compliance need records of how candidates are found, and sometimes this process happens in hard-to-track social networks.
-Ross has two strategic questions he applies to the enterprise: 1) How do you make programs more transparent and 2) How do you make them more participatory.
-Ross had the best line: “In school, sharing was called cheating, but in the workplace it’s called collaboration”

I shared the edgeworks concept and how the web, marketing, sales and recruiting is distributed on the networks.

It was held at San Francisco’s beautiful Olympic Club, I didn’t realize it until I was stopped by the guard by jeans weren’t allowed. Being a techie, I’m so used to wearing jeans to social media events (Ross was wearing jeans too, thank god I wasn’t alone). My visible path hosts were so nice to fetch me, I apologized of course. How is this a good lesson in understanding online communities and social networks? One should always research their community to understand their culture, behavior, and norms before joining. I’ve done other embarrassing things in public, and learned a lot from them.

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I created this Utterz (short mobile audio) from my mobile phone while driving up to the event. Social Graphs, identity, relationships and how we communicate is at top of mind. Here’s the post I was referring to.

If you click on the “click for more” on the utterz player, it will go to their site where you can see more conversations, such as Christian who left me an utterz response. We’re having a mobile, audio, asynchronous conversation online and via the cell. I can even listen to his messages while driving, and respond.