Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

OpenSocial, by Google’s David Glazer


David Glazer, Google

(I’ve shifted back to blogging, as some folks were overwhelmed with my tweet updates, this makes more sense rather than a blow-by-blow tweet report)

What is OpenSocial
First, if you don’t know what OpenSocial is read this: Explaining OpenSocial to your Executives. Forrester will be publishing a report on OpenSocial in the near future (I interviewed David and Kevin Marks last night), I’m on point for that, stay tuned.

“The cloud is about getting the computer out fo the way so that we can be more productive” -David Glazer, Google

Web Strategy Summary
You, a web decision maker are probally considering creating widgets to reach distributed communities. The opportunity to build an application once and let it run everywhere is still underway. I recommend you continue to watch this space, put a key developer or agnecy on point to start creating your applications in compliance, but plan on customizing your apps per the unique demographic for each social network.

Raw notes from David’s presentation

David of Glazer of Google’s OpenSocial team shares at Graphing Social. He suggests that novice should read Nicholas Carr’s book “the Big Switch” on social computing, there are parallels between open grid electricity and open web.

Why OpenSocial?
It’s fast, easy, open, and everywhere. Move the accidental objects out of the way so we can interact better. People care about other people, not a new idea but the social context, people are the killer app.

This isn’t new
Email, Newspapers, Bookstores, FTP, social used to be called ‘c-o-l-l-a-b-o-r-a-t’

Some problems left to solve
-Fragmented authentication: OpenID is not yet sufficient but a step in the right direction
-Fragmented identity: how many times do we need to add friends?
-Fragmented app development: how many times do we have to build an app?

Step 1: OpenSocial
“If you can build a web app, you can make it social, and reach more than 200 million users”

1) Invent it: Come up with a great idea (app) that you want to do with your friends.

2) Build it: Standard web app (HTML and Javascript), New JS APIs (who i am, who i know

3) I missed the third one

Types of Social Networking
-Classic: Myspace, hi5, bebo, facebook
-Business networking: LinkedIn
-Enterprise Software: Salesforce, oracle:
-Communities (like white Label): Like corporate communities, nings, etc.

A great idea but you’ve got to work at it.
Need to get the following right: Clear mission, Open License, Engaged Community, Real-world use.

Other Resources
Google’s OpenSocial Site
Shindig Incubator

Missing an Opportunity


Recently at our home, we purchased a new laptop, which came with Vista on it. Sadly, it didn’t come with Microsoft Office on it, and I was not able to open any word docs, excel, or powerpoints. I asked the store how much it would cost to add office, and they suggested in was $175. This seemed like a lot of money for a software system that I’m used to seeing as a base line image on most computers.

As a result (and being web savvy, of sorts) I started to use Google Docs, an online, ‘free’ version of office. Google offers an online spreadsheet tool, as well as an online document word processing tool, all with collaborative features that I could share with others.

As I continued to use these Google docs, I started to infect others, evangelism runs within my veins, and soon my wife started to use it, and I used it for a variety of documents within my new employer. I’m not sure if it’s becuase of me, but other colleagues in my team are using Google Docs for team collaboration. It’s not just Google either, Zoho is coming around the bend quickly, and had quite a presence at the recent Office 2.0 conference in SF that attendees were wondering why Microsoft was not present.

I wonder if Microsoft is missing a major opportunity here by: 1) Not providing these basic tools on the OS that buyers are not willing to purchase and 2) Not being agile to see how information is moving to the cloud and thus offering tools for the online office. When I do a google search for Microsoft online office, it results in thanksgiving colored templates.

Talking to Rafe of Webware (they believe in the web as a platform) he mentioned to me that the internet has made boxed software irrelevant, as users can now download them from the web, or use web versions of products.

What other software companies are missing an opportunity because of the web?

News Feed Optimization in Facebook Overated


A few weeks ago, Facebook thought leaders Dave and Justin identified and shaped the term News Feed Optimization. Sadly, (or gladly) we suspect it has already jumped the shark.

[With the release of Facebook’s open widget platform, marketers are jockeying for position on the prominent News Feed page, savvy Facebook fights back, but deep down, we know the battle never ends]

What’s News Feed Optimization (NFO)?
It’s an evolution of social media optimization where a clever developer will maninupate a Facebook application so it appears more frequently on the Facebook News Page (essentially a Feedreader). The opportunity? viral growth from massive network awareness.

Facebook is a savvy company, already aware of the massive opportunities that applications can grow and amazing rates. Aware of the tricks of clever application developers, they’re preserving the user experience by limiting the power applications have to ‘spam’ out over news feeds.

Kevin Chou, CEO of Watercooler, a Facebook application company I advise (well, just until Sept 30th) tells me that:

“News Feed Optimization is overrated today. Sure, in the first three-to-five weeks it was a strategic lever, but then Facebook responded to general news feed overload and reduced the impact of application news feeds. Today, NFO only works when both users have the same application installed, thus limiting its usefulness for rapid growth”

Also, Facebook is continuing to optimize and recently articles suggest they ‘punish’ spammy applications, so some notifications have been decreased to protect users. It’s important to note that when a user installs an application, it’s default behavior updates their entire network.

Still don’t believe me? Want to start a career as a NFO? well then is for sale, would make an excellent buy.

Hungry for more social networking industry news? I’ve got the thing just for you, I publish a weekly digest of the social networking industry for those who don’t have time to scour the web like a mad web strategist.

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.

    Web Strategy: The Three Spheres of Web Strategy (and the skills required)


    Web Strategy Spheres

    A Web Strategy must balance all three spheres
    What’s a Web Strategy? It’s the balance between the three spheres for effective long-term planning of a website. This person is a hybrid of a few roles, and may have emerged from any of the following spheres. A Web Strategist is responsible for the long-term planning and decision making of a website, but must balance ALL of the following three spheres:

    1) Community (formerly Users)
    The Web Strategist must understand (by using a variety of techniques and tactics) what users want. This is commonly known as User Experience Research which will create and craft a ‘mental model’. In addition, the strategist will need to be in tune with the community in which their website is part of, this is greater than just users, as it will include competitors, partners, and prospects.

    Skills: User experience (UX), usability, information architecture, social media skills, customer support, community marketing, marketing, product marketing, ability to listen and be empathetic.

    2) Business
    The business sphere requires a strategist to understand the long term objective of a website and it’s goals. This sphere also requires ability to internally maneuver within an organization and maximize the persistent limitation in resources. A website that is not aligned to business or market objectives is ultimately doomed to fail. The User and Business requirements will often match, but will rarely ever be a perfect fit. The Web Strategist) will need to obtain business requirements from stakeholders, whether that be execs, sponsors, sales, or even shareholders. Understanding the market, competitors (and key milestones) and other external forces are also required –a business requirements model will be formed, these are your objectives.

    Skills: Marketing, advertising, media, management, measurement, ability to evangelize internally, process management, resource management, obtain objectives, product development, product management, savvy in political maneuvering

    3) Technology
    Lastly, a Web Strategist needs to know how each and every tool and technology work, they’ll need to know the strengths, benefits, limitations and costs. This also applies to human capital, and timelines. Often technical limitations will reduce the scope of User and Business needs, so you’ll need to incorporate this going forward.

    Skills: Software Development, Web Development, Web Architecture, Industry Trends, experiments with web technology, but understands how to extrapolate and harness a tool.

    Can’t master them all? Be able to Learn or Delegate
    It’s unlikely he or she is a master at all, but most importantly, has the ability to learn and delegate. In my career, I’ve tried to have a balance in all these spheres (former UI Designer, Marketing Degree, and worked in software engineering group) keeping up with all spheres is nearly impossible. Therefore two skills become very important: 1) The ability to quickly learn, and extract value, 2) Ability to find talent and delegate, no really, I mean really delegate, which requires trust.

    If you have other skills to suggest, please leave a comment, and I’ll add.

    I originally introduced this concept August 25th 2006, just about one year earlier, and am now making these amendments. This was primarily spurred by Johnathan’s suggestion of looking at the user sphere as greater than just a customer base, thanks Jonathan, you’re an excellent strategist. Also, Robert suggested I try to incorporate more of a visual representation in my concepts, which I think is a great idea.

    Additional Resources
    Did this post interest you? See all posts tagged Web Strategy, or watch the supplemental Web Strategy Video Show.

    Apple, the Inverted Fortress


    Now that the confetti is being swept neatly to the gutters after last week’s parade, the real residents of the technology main street are starting to appear with concerns about the Apple iPhone.

    Walled Garden

    Apple is taking heat, flack for being not willing to be an open platform like so many third party applications. The exclusive lock down (both in platform and with employees) is denoted by Brian.

    TCO of iPhone

    The real cost of the Apple iPhone is being speculated by Allen at quite a bit more than any amount you anticipated, do you want to spend up to 2k a year on a phone?

    Expand inputs

    Lastly, Uncle Dave Winer doesn’t want to be confined, both by the information we receive or the technology, so why should we?

    A Marketing Company that happens to be in Tech
    Steve Jobs is an excellent Marketer, the products requirements come from extensive Marketing Research, (product design comes after, BTW) and the advertising has been unique and innovative for decades. Yesterday, I challenged that the iPhone is being over hyped.

    What do you think?