Archive for July, 2008

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams


Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon professor, had terminal cancer and was fortunate enough to share his learnings in this final lecture. Sadly he recently passed on at 47.

He talked about the challenges through his career “some brick walls are made of flesh” and his journey to lead forth virtual reality, educating others, and achieving his childhood dreams, a master storyteller. Warning, you may swell up during his gesture to his wife at the end and then he gives us all his final departing words.

When I was a kid, I knew two successful men, they told me they had specific goals in life and the slowly worked towards them, they also both said these goals will change as you grow older, but you keep on setting them further and further.

I just spent the last hour and 16 minutes watching this video, I encourage you to invest the time then evaluate your own goals and dreams. While so unfortunate, it’s amazing that with technology, we can record the great minds, easily share around the globe at low cost, and archive for all eternity. Thanks Randy.

Update: There’s more discussion on Friendfeed, if you choose to join. I was talked out of thinking it was sad -sort of.

Witnessing in Near Real-Time: Tweets from Bangalore Blasts


In my early morning blog reading, I was stunned to receive a tweet from Paul Mooney indicating there was news breaking yet again on Twitter. In horror, we watched in real time using Summize first hand accounts of Bangalore residents tweeting their experience –before major news sources were able to publish.

I scoured back a few pages in summize (Twitter search engine) to see reports coming in about “two blasts” then “four blasts” then “Six blasts”, all of this was coming in near real time. Unfortunately there is some noise, as not all of the reports were accurate. Here are some select tweets that caught my eye.

“i hear the ambulance sirens” -@abhin4v

“-bangalore – be calm and be brave. the blasts were aimed at creating panic only” -@pavanaja

“Just heard about the blasts in Bangalore. Rushing to pick wife up.” -@simplylezz

“@ClaudiaBliss Thank you, made it safe. It’s not as bad as the TV makes it out to be.” -@simplylezz

Mukund, a Silicon Valley resident happens to be in Bangalore and was been reporting via twitter.

Although the point of this post is to show how quickly news spreads, some were killed by these blasts, I give my best to their friends and families during this tragedy.

Update: Finished an inquiry call with a client in Bangalore (had to use skype) he conveyed that out of 7 bombs only one person was killed was a relief. The city is on ‘red alert’ lots of police checkpoints he feels secured at home, there are even ID checkpoints at his condo complex.

Will you submit to the Groundswell Awards?


Left Image: Josh Bernoff, on his Keynote Presentation at Forrester’s Consumer Forum 07, demonstrates a “Judo throw” –a metaphor of deflecting negative brand attacks into momentum for your energy, although they sustained a few bruised ribs, I often think of Dell (previous Groundswell Award winner) as a good example.

Forrester is recognizing excellence from companies that are accomplishing business objectives using social applications and technologies. We want to hear how you’ve used the many tools out there to actually make a difference with your customers, prospects, or maybe employees. Colleague Josh Bernoff has more details on the blog, if you’ve worked with me, you know I’m interested in seeing actual business results –show how you’ve moved the needle.

So, if you work for an agency, brand, or maybe are with a boutique, get your case study together and submit. I’m looking forward to reviewing all the great work folks have done. I look forward to recognizing your great work, on a related note, check out my posts tagged case study or read my reports to see what I think is effective.

Also, Josh’s “assailant” seen tumbling through the air is a martial arts expert, and coincidently the editor of my last report, thankfully Harley Manning is alive and well.

Musical Chairs: How Bloggers, Mainstream Press, and Analysts Start to Look Alike


Earlier this week, I spoke to a group of AR and PR professionals, and one gentleman from an agency indicated of an interesting phenomenon that was happening among some press –they’re starting to act like analysts.

Mainstream Press acting like Analysts
Apparently, some press are demonstrating their subject matter expertise in some areas, and are interviewing analysts and vendors but publishing the findings as their own insight –at the coaxing of their management. The gent suggested that some press are evolving to be more like analysts, forming their own opinions with the story. This isn’t anything new, we’ve seen editorial columns do this for decades, take Mossberg, for example.

Analysts act like Mainstream Press
While some analysts would find this downright encroaching, I embrace this type of change, why? Well, many analysts are starting to act more like press, with the advent of blogs. Aside from myself, there are many other analysts that are using blogs to respond to industry news, in fact many analysts have been doing this for sometime. Some press pick up on this, and directly quote off the blog posts, saving a typical phone call. Take for example respected analyst Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research who regularly publishes his take about changes in the mobile and social world, in this recent blog post, he gives his take on the new iPhone software, there’s enough info for a reporter to glean quotes without a call.

Bloggers act like Analysts
On the flip side, blogger Louis Gray, and Marshall Kirkpatrick day in and day out flex their analytical chops over the social media space writing from their blogs. They dissect products, find out what makes them tick and publish their take (often with recommendations) that many follow.

Bloggers become Mainstream Press
I get a real chuckle out of “blogger” Robert Scoble (friend and former colleague) who wails about how Tech Blogging has failed us. To me, this is ironic, while he uses the consumer tools like blogs/video/twitter, he’s actually more akin to mainstream media. As the VP (management) at Fast Company (mainstream media), he has access to the technology leaders, CEOs, and has a total readership greater than many local newspapers. Of course, we know Robert had a humble start, but now, large media brands are either hiring bloggers, or encouraging their journalists and editorial staff to use these tools.

Mainstream Press become Bloggers
For effect, let’s examine Kara Swisher, whose roots stem from traditional technology reporting with the Wall Street Journal. Over the last year, she’s amplified her coverage on blogs and with her FLIP camera, covering events as she always has, but is primarily getting her take on things through her irreverent and entertaining blog. While more akin to an editorial coverage, she now leads the conversations on techmeme, interacts with bloggers, and in my mind, is more like an A-list blogger –not mainstream media.

Finding: Business models influence intent
It’s interesting to see how people get paid, for example, Mainstream press relies on subscriptions to newspapers/magazines, as well as advertising. Analysts have clients who they provide council and research for, and bloggers often monetize from ad networks and sponsorships. Analysts don’t need lots of eyeballs to monetize. Often, I’m pre-briefed before press or bloggers, yet I don’t break news. I do end up working a lot with the press, who are often on deadline to get the scoop or a unique take. Some bloggers often seek to break news (Techcrunch), yet some choose to hold back to then discuss it amongst themselves.

While the individual duties (and business models) highly differ between the Mainstream Press, Analysts, Bloggers, they are all starting to look alike as they adopt social media tools. In the end, if we took the mediums away, and just focused on the type of content that is being published, we’ll start to see the differences of the roles, it is interesting to see how all the viewpoints start to emerge into the online dialog.

This is an expanded riff, based off my previous post of how bloggers and mainstream media look the same, this post is now inclusive of analysts. I’m curious on your take, are you seeing coverage (esp in tech) start to merge into one gray ball of discussions? What place do you think I should play?

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: July 24, 2008



I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an Industry Analyst –a good way to get in my head.

I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my take, and click link to dive in for more.

You can subscribe to this digest tag only, which filters only these posts tagged digest.

Web Strategy Summary
This was a very busy week. Facebook launched a major redesign, with a commitment to developers and improving the application experience for users. LinkedIn cut a content deal with NYT, the media heats up about social networks. MySpace offers OpenID, yet advertising attemps still struggles to make money on these growth platforms.

Facebook: Redesign, Developer Program
Perhaps the most important info of the week is the newly launched redesign, which some feel isn’t aimed at mainstream, which some suggest looks like Friendfeed, as well as developer program to improve the widget experience (tiering of applications, most trustworthy apps score the best) and Facebook Connect, which I covered in depth.

Partnership: New York Times and LinkedIn
Hot on the heels of a content deal with BusinessWeek, LinkedIn continues to extend it’s network to New York Times online readers by providing shared content, another example of the spread of social and content.

Standards: MySpace offers OpenId Support
Open ID allows anyone to have a single sign on from one site to another. Essentially, you’ll have one user name and password for any site that embraces OpenID, now including MySpace, one the largest social networks in north America.

Stats: Facebook stats by region and applications
South America has the largest growth rate and US growth is slow and steady, read this report from O’Reilly.

Research: White Label Social Network to be $1.3B in Five years
This article, focused on the white label folks makes predictions based off report from ABI Research predicts the industry will reach $1.3 billion within five years.

Hivelive to sponsor Community Design Challenge
I’ll be one of the judges for this event, the winner gets a free community platform, great marketing and for a good cause.

Fraud: Man sues for fake profile
A man sued for damages in UK against someone who created a fake profile and slandered them.

Community Theory: Build vs Join
Aaron Strout, of Mzinga provides an analysis and viewpoint of join vs build, a discussion we’ve had on this blog for some time.

Advertising: Getting less effective and therefore cheaper
Social networks still haven’t figured out how to monetize. The price of advertising with Lookery and other social network ad price plummets, “7.5 cents per thousand ad impressions (CPMs). Back in January, Lookery was offering 12.5 cents per ad impression. So that means Lookery has cut its ad rates nearly in half. ” sheesh.

White Label: Enterprises get ready
I’m always glad to see news about the white label social networking space, in this article, they indicate that they are starting to be taken serious for enterprise use.

Branded Community: MTV launches Community
Following the many brands that have already launched their own communities, MTV launches a community (two actually) aimed at youth.

Applications: Living Social
This suite of applications called living social allows people to rate, rank, and organize their belongings as a Facebook application.

EMC Delivers Version 6.5 Of Documentum ECM Suite
While it’s not super clear from this page of what they delivered: “a family of products that marries the great user experience of Web 2.0 and the strength of the enterprise-class Documentum platform to deliver a balance between business agility and IT control.” one could assume that EMC is delivering social features to the latest version of Documentum, a CMS suite (they call ECM)

Save your boss time, send them this digest, leave a comment if I missed any. If you work for any company in this space (or represent them as their PR agency) keep me updated by sending me emails. (subject line “Digest”)

Friendfeed & Twitter


As you know, I’m very active on twitter (my profile), if you haven’t already, read how I use Twitter. Yesterday, I lost 1000 followers, due to Twitter removing spammers “Twammers” most were bots that were publishing content to feed their websites or client sites —more from Cnet

Yesterday, I was live tweeting the highlights from Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote, apparently very few tweets from others were being published, I, among a few others were the only ones able to publish.

Also when I get to 10,000 Twitter followers, I’m going to give away some electronics that I’ve been reviewing, stating with a Nokia Wi-Fi tablet, so stay tuned there.

On a side note, the head of our consulting department recently joined Twitter, of course, I warned her that I was high volume, and suggested an internal use of the tool would be great for her to keep track of all the consultants projects –as they travel the globe. Does anyone know of a twitter clone for enterprise (and ties with SMS)?

If you’re creating, or critiquing a lot of social content on the web (or are a creator/critic/collector/joiner), you’ve probally noticed that it’s disjointed and disparte –content is spread all over the place. If you are regularly creating, rating, ranking content on more than 5 social websites, you should also consider aggregating all of that on Friendfeed. I’m pulling in Pandora, Twitter, Blog posts, Upcoming, Flickr, upcoming and all kinds of other social services into my friendfeed page.

Also, nearly every day, I kick off a conversation (often NOT about tech) on Friendfeed, as it’s most suited for discussions –a discussion board. Today I hosted this discussion on “what do you love –and hate– about growing older” or this Debate discussing whether the United States should stay in the middle east to finish the job, or leave and reduce short term risk.

Find me on Twitter and Friendfeed, but warning, I’m high volume (but generally sometimes high signal) on both channels.

Update: see this list of brands on Twitter, impressive.