Archive for the ‘Ruminations’ Category


July 31, 2009

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Each one of these could be meaty blog posts, but I don’t have the time, and I’d rather share them, I guess to some degree, Steve Rubel is right, there’s a need for something in between a tweet and a blog post.

  • It was a busy week, I travelled to Indiana to visit a client, had several briefings and client meetings during the week.  Chiago’s O’Hare is consistently poor performing, bigger isn’t better.   Still conducting interviews for upcoming report on skills needed for social marketers.
  • I don’t need to say it, but there’s a tremendous amount of interest from brands and media around social.  In the back of my mind, I try to keep a bigger perspective, as in 10 years we’ll look back and think of this in the same way as we currently do about people having email conferences in the 90s (that actually happened you know).
  • I wish I went to Blogher, the amount of brands (partial list) that are trying to reach online influencers is a sight to behold.  Heard from many that this year, there were many more brands that ever, I realize there’s more to the conference than influencer outreach, but that’s my focus.  Did you see the fake Scott Monty?  He heads up social at Ford and was omnipresent, smart.   On a related note, Adriana told me her vision for Girls in Tech, a site focused on empowering women in a male dominated field.
  • It’s not just women bloggers, learned of Dave McClure’s geeks on a plane tour that travels to Asia, as well as Christine Lu’s China Business Network blogger trip, and Renee Blodget’s we blog the world are travelling blogger troupes.  Not only does this bring awareness to other cultures, bloggers get expose to new ideas, technologies, and startups.
  • It’s interesting to hear about the many acqusitions that appear to be happening (a common occurance in a downturn) and how companies have to reinvent their social strategies.  It’s also interesting to see how slower projects get shifted into high gear and go live half-baked so teams can prove their worth.  I’ve seen a few of those.
  • A few years ago, when brands said they would dip their toe into social that meant launching a blog.  Now, I often hear of creating a Facebook page or a Twitter account.   Why?  it’s cheaper, less commitment, and all the rage.
  • Met with Ryan Block and Peter Rojas of Engadget, we discussed the launch of their social network Gdgt, here’s my profile.  What is it?  it’s a site where the social object is gadgets, this is important because we know consumers trust each other more than brands –this site will do this for the passion owners, but likely won’t be for mainstream users.   If you’re in the consumer electronics space, you should pay attention.  They have the community, experience, and vision to pull this off.   There are implications to Amazon, Cnet, BestBuy, Wal-Mart, and of course the gadget manufactures.
  • Louis Gray, who I rely on for deep dives into technology,  gave me a demo of My Sixth Sense, which is an app for iPhone.   What is it?  It’s a feedreader that suggests content based on your previous behaviors.  RWW has a more thorough review.   This is a trend, as there’s more content being created, we need tools to reduce the noise, see next bullet.
  • Sensing the FTC and other regulatory legal eagles are moving into the social web.  Did you see the story about Horizon realty suing a Twitter user that had 20 followers for defamation?  Read the comments in my last post from Bryan Rhoades about commercial speech.  We should expect more incidents of this.
  • From an industry perspective, I certainly see many brands and people exploding with social activity, they are mainly doing pollinating, which is spreading content to the social web.  As a result, it creates a lot of noise.  As a result, I’m seeing a trend towards aggregation, the opposite reaction of pollinating.  Aggregation alone isn’t sufficient, the need for prioritization and filtering is the next trend.  Vendors like GetGlue and My Sixth Sense are the early pieces of this.
  • On a personal note, I’m realizing that being really busy reduces my ability to connect with people and build more meaningful relationships.  As a result, I tend to be very direct, which unitentionally gives off the wrong public impression that I never intended to portray. There are certain stigmas I want to shed, I know what Ben would say to me, read his last paragraph.

Curious what you think of any of these bigger than a tweet, smaller than a post observations, either way, It’s 3am, I’m going back to bed.

Three Years

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I’m all smiles today, as I reflect on three years of blogging at web-strategist.com.

Although I’ve been blogging about web strategy previously on Blogspot, Yahoo 360 for a few years prior, things really started to get serious when I launched this domain.

Over the three years, the technorati rank of this blog has settled around the 500 range (the lower the better) and it’s unlikely it will drop lower as I’m not a news breaking site, or have a team of writers like many of the top 100.

What’s worked for me? Pay yourself first. I put in a lot of passion, and read and blog nearly every morning (It’s 3:51am right now) before I check any email (which is paying someone else), have an editorial calendar, and am slowly writing drafts (there are 413 of them right now) each day as I collect little bits of information, or get ideas. I’ve learned to integrate the blog into many of my communications as a central hub, then use the social tools to pollinate and let the blog disperse to other locations.

Perhaps the best thing is that this has become more of a collaboration between us because we as a community are learning from each other. Although I’ve written 2,292 posts in these three years, yet there have been 42,694 comments and trackbacks, nearly 20 voices to my one. I still read every single comment, and skim most blog incoming blog posts, I learn a lot –especially when you don’t agree, or put me in check.

I really look forward to the next few years, thank you for being here with me and talking and learning with me. Thanks you for making this a fun project that turned into a career for me, let’s continue to share both ways.

How Can I Improve?

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This is the hardest post to write, but perhaps the most important.

I enjoy meeting people in real life, and if they tell me they enjoy reading my blog or tweets, I thank them, and then ask them “What should I improve on?” I realize I don’t do this enough online, where I’m located most of the time, and would love to hear from you.

Yesterday, a contemporary I respect gave me some feedback on an area I should improve on, and while it stung for a second, I know deep down he’s right. He reminded me that successful professional and companies know how to listen, take in feedback, and then improve. I’m not an expert on this, and make my fair share of mistakes, but I should certainly practice what I preach, so here goes:

I’ll leave the topic very open, love to hear what you think, so how can I improve?

Feel free to leave a comment, but If you don’t feel comfortable saying it in public, feel free to email me at jeremiah_owyang @yahoo dot com, or if you want to submit to uservoice (an embracing technology), that’s fine too, as it helps with prioritization. It really doesn’t matter which method you choose, I look forward to hearing from you.

Switching to Media Temple as my host

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After being with Dreamhost since I launched this blog, I realized it was time to move on after my site would be down at least once a week, nor could it handle a large influx of Twitter users at a single time. To Dreamhosts credit they were very responsive to my support tickets, but I really never saw things improve as far as uptime goes, and that’s what matters.

Mitch Canter, my web designer is handling the migration as I move over to Media Temple, but there’s a few recent blog posts that are missing, but we’ll get it ironed out in short order. It’s interesting that Robert Scoble called me as soon as he noticed my site was down last week, reminding me that he works at Rackspace, but I’ve already started the migration plan.

Looking forward to good experience at Media Temple, I’ll keep this post updated as I learn more about the service.

Update: Some of my blog posts in the last few days are still being migrated, and I may have lost some of the comments, we’re working on retrieving those now. Hang tight till we get this all sorted out.

Keeping up with the Social Web

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“How do I Keep Up? This is one of the most common questions I get from folks, or a variant: “Do you sleep?” or “Do you have a family?”

I can answer succinctly: “I don’t, in shifts, and yes… I think.”

I’ve dedicated my life to how the web helps companies connect with customers, it’s something I knew I wanted to do for many years, I’m lucky I fell into my passion. It comes with costs however, I’m out of shape, stressed, I don’t sleep well, and my blood pressure is up. In fact, Mary Duan of the Silicon Valley Business Journal has interviewed me to find out how I keep up –and the risks that come with being an analyst over the fastest moving industry in business.

Without a doubt, staying on top of this rapidly changing industry has its tolls, so I’ve figured out a system that keeps me half way sane. I pay myself first every morning by reading and sharing (you’ll see me tweet out interesting links as early as 3-4am) I then focus on my blog, savings links for my weekly digest, reading and responding to comments, and if I get time, I’ll write a post. Then, I’ll check my personal email and try to clear those out –then shift to work email. Pretty much always in that order.

Sarah Austin of Pop17 interviewed me at SXSW, enjoy this fun one. Yes, and I’m serious, I’d really like to go to Dubai, let me know if there are any conferences you may need a speaker at.

Tips From a Road Warrior

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I’ve never traveled more than I do in my current role. Although it comes in spurts, I’m currently traveling 4 out of 5 weeks. While it can certainly take a toll on loved ones and your own body, I’m starting to get more comfortable with traveling a bit more efficiently.

I won’t say I’ve got it down right, but here’s a few things I’ve learned, my hopes are that you’ll chime in and add your tips below in the comments, alright let’s get started:

Tips From a Road Warrior:

Flying a lot? Get a Travel Agent
I’ve a travel agent, Carlson Wagonlit (thank you Ron!), that helps me coordinate my often multiple city destinations, they use my frequently flyer numbers and really help coordinate flights, hotel, and rental cars. This saves me valuable time from doing research to find out flights, nearby hotels, and keeps me focused on what matters. I’m pretty sure this is what Tim Ferris would do.

Print out your itinerary
Despite being a digital guy, I always print out my itinerary that has my flight numbers, hotels, and other contact information. You can’t count on technology to work when you’re on the go, dead batteries, the hassle of looking things up, or the ability to rapidly pull out a piece of paper is invaluable.

Get the right luggage and bags
Watch airline staff. These guys and guys are the pros. If you look how they travel, they have small suitcase with wheels, and then a second satchel or bag with personal items, and then if a lady a purse. They make the items stackable so you can put the personal bag (perhaps a suitcase or laptop bag) on top so it can easily roll. I use a backpack, never a messenger bag as you want to keep your back in alignment as much as possible. For long walks, I’ll affix my backpack on my suitcase to relieve the weight.

Learn how to pack right
First of all, if you’re a business traveler, you’ve likely got a carry on bag, checking in and picking up luggage is a major time sink, let alone the risk of them losing the bags. The trick here is to pack your clothes so you don’t have to iron them later. I use the ol’ roll your clothes like a towel trick. As a gent, I put the largest items out on the end such as shirts, and then items that you don’t care if they get wrinkled in the middle. For example lay your coats down on your bed first, followed by suits, then shirts, pants, then tshirts and other undergarments. Then roll them up like a burrito, and put into your carry on suitcase. On the sides you can put your shoes in plastic bags (so they don’t scuff) and toiletries. Ah, stuff your shoes with your clean socks or undergarments to save space, and ensure they maintain their shape.

Steam your clothes in the bathroom
This is one of my favorite tricks. As soon as you get to your hotel room, un-roll that rolled set of clothes I just mentioned. Then, get those shirts, suits, and slacks on a hangers and put in the bathroom –not the closet. When you take your next shower, the steam will naturally get many of the wrinkles out minimizing any time spent ironing.

Have doubles of toiletries for a quick reload
If you’re on the road a lot, it helps to have a backup toilitiries bag so you don’t constantly have to move items in and out. Buy everything in duplicates so you have duplicate toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, hair products. These little efforts make reloading a breeze.

Learn to traverse the airport
Don’t wear a belt, wear slip off shoes that don’t require a lot of tying, and put your watch, wallet, and other items in your backpack as you exit the car. I bought a Clear card a few months ago, which let’s you breeze past security, but there really isn’t a need for it in a down turned economy (also, I feel a bit like a jerk when they move me to the front of the line) I won’t likely renew my clear card in this economy. I always sit in the aisle when possible so I can get to the restroom without hassling that sleeping guy next to you, and to quickly get my bag and exit faster. Before you enter the security lines, before you choose which aisle to go down, avoid being behind people that are wearing a lot of jewelery or big families, they end to slow down the line. Side note: TSA is much friendlier in the midwest then on the coasts.

Bring the right in-flight gear
I have a spare battery for those long flights for my laptop extending my work time on the plane (one of the few places I can concentrate). Secondly I have an iPod and noise canceling headphones that really turn a confined environment more into a sanctuary. Also, I snagged earplugs and eye masks from previous long distance flights and keep in my backpack, those help. Oh and ahem, please bring mints or gum so you don’t annoy your fellow travelers.

Long trip? Go business class –but not first class
Traveling inter continental is a real time sink, west to east coast can be over 5 hours of downtime, but it’s great for catching up on sleep, writing those pesky reports, (my biggest struggle) or your latest blog post. The problem with many airlines is that the seats are so crammed together it’s nearly impossible to open your laptop and expect to extend your arms. If you’re working, upgrade to the business class, which provides more foot room, or get into the exit aisle or bulkhead. I don’t have the disposable income nor the miles to upgrade to first –maybe someday when I become an executive.

Text message yourself your parking spot
Ever forget where you parked at the airport? Yeah I feel you. Sometimes I get home late at night, bleary eyed, confused, perhaps a bit dazed from a conference party, the last thing I’ll be able to do is remember where my car is at the massive SFO parking lot. The good thing is that I always text message my parking spot to myself on my phone when I first park. Text message your parking spot to yourself, saving you time, frustration, and the embarrassing situation of thinking your car may have been stolen.

That’s enough tips for me, I’d love to hear from you, what do you do to make your travel efficient? Let’s collectively learn, I know there’s a lot of busy professionals that are part of my community. Do tell.

Written from a hotel in welcoming Minneapolis, 140am.