Archive for the ‘web 2.0’ Category

What is The Future of Business Development?

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

radar as BDRadar

I have spent much time over the last few months digging deep into the business processes that support business development management. I was surprised to learn just how prime this space is for innovation as so many of the “accepted practices” utilized by people focused on business development for their organizations are arcane, inefficient, and lacking the advantage of effective supporting technology. There seems to be limited discussion and effort focused on “next practices” in this area, which is itself a tremendous opportunity. Glaringly, one commonality I have observed is the struggle by the business development community to force CRM tools to work in support of their efforts. Universally, I have heard of much pain around this effort. Another commonality is a belief in the power of social media and open networking, but limited knowledge or experience in how to do this effectively.

This all compels me to  propose the development of “business development radar” (BDRadar) as a tool that truly supports business development management (or BDM), and that integrates a priority set of functionality in support of open networking/marketing/business development goals. A tool that is accessible via the web, and is perfectly designed for easy use on mobile devices, that is cost effective for the soloist, independent, or smaller organization that realize the value of collaborative networking,  and that seeks an alternative to the limitations of a closed enterprise tool. Essentially, a tool that can surface business intelligence, visual network maps, and patterns whenever and wherever we need it, and that is seamlessly integrated into the networking and business development workflow. From one unified interface, a tool that provides:

- Open, collaborative network mapping
- Custom profile building with selective sharing
- Intuitive filtering and sorting
- Concise management of next actions with automated minding
- Unified contact management integrated with tools already in use
- Support of open networking/social CRM/CRM 2.0

No, LinkedIn does not do this.

The key differentiator from closed network CRM tools is that BDRadar would be designed at its core to support the open networker, and enables the creation of massive, mapped, searchable collaborative networks. It would support co-marketing and collaborative networking opportunities in support of business goals outside of the organizational firewall. I strongly believe that this is the future of business development, and to my knowledge the tool to support this does not yet exist. Driving the need for this BDRadar are critical key obsessions, and competitive necessities for business development professionals and marketers:

- Effectively determining context of opportunity
- Freshness of information
- Speed to intelligence

I have explored an endless array of tools to support and automate the addressing of these obsessions. What is required is an open tool that not only manages information, but that can recognize the patterns that identify opportunity, and supports the sometimes collaborative liberation of that opportunity into real business with individuals and teams outside of your organization. I’ve cobbled together a series of mostly freemium tools that I maintain. Tools that automate contact management, opportunity profiling, social media search, and network mapping. These work, but the inefficiency of moving between different interfaces, difficulty in easily sharing information, and the lack of integration compels us to create a better solution, to design something that REALLY works, and that we can easily share with others.

Stay tuned.

More Talk on The Demise of Advertising…

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

ifyoutalkedtopeople111-thumb

It’s fun to talk about the death of advertising (or anything perceived to be old, unchanging and stodgy), and everybody seems to be doing it. It’s true that advertising faces serious challenges. And yet, advertising’s not going away any time soon, if at all, though it is going through pretty interesting changes. Some of these are driven by technology, and others driven by the changed habits of consumers… which may also be driven by technology. But isn’t everything right now? It would seem that creative destruction has been unleashed on a broad range of industries for a dizzying diverse number of reasons. A common and consistent reason for this, though, is forgetting who your customer is and what they want. This would be despite the array of incredible tools now at our disposal to make this an incredibly easy thing to do, to stay connected to our customers. This is doubly true for advertising, and the cartoon above from Hugh McLeod (a favorite of mine), sums this up rather nicely. Add to this the very interesting presentation below from :

View more from .

From the slides above, a prescient quote from Jim Stengal, Global Marketing Officer at P&G, from last year:

“Today’s marketing model is broken. We’re applying antiquated thinking and work systems to a new world of possibilities.”

Actually, , CEO of , just wrote a nice article for AdWeek, , that gets to the heart of this. In it, Tim says:

“There will, of course, continue to be times and places where iconic, one-way messaging make sense — like bringing out the fine china for a special meal. But these instances (e.g., the Super Bowl), are increasingly rare and increasingly expensive. The real challenge facing one-way, brand-centric, non-conversational advertising is its focus on making the perfect presentation. The perfection model benefitted from very limited media outlets. Advertisers essentially spent money to guarantee craft, which theoretically helped a message stand out amidst the clutter. That formula had limits. Until now, marketing tools have existed in just two dimensions — words and images — sometimes in motion, sometimes with audio, always focused in a singular direction at the consumer.

Then someone invented the Internet. And Search. Quite suddenly, brands were no longer solely in power. The audience is in control. Media fragments. Most important, words and images are joined by a third dimension — technology — and now the marketplace flows in two directions instead of one.”

I happen to know of more than a few marketing/advertising firms that understand the terrain on which they navigate. As a result they happen to be doing quite well.

Twitter As Personal Wire Service

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

It’s really interesting how quickly those that I follow on Twitter have become an invaluable, customized, expansive resource for news, information, humor, and conversation. For a time I thought Twitter would amount to not much more than a time suck, but increasingly I find it an indispensable tool for keeping me connected to cool, smart people and progressive thinking and ideas. And in a very rapid fire fashion, like a firehose that I can talk to. It has also brought me face-to-face with some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met, but only after first connecting via Twitter. If you’re not already following me, I’m , and please do.

Thanks to everyone, all 280+ of you.

About Community, By The Community

Friday, February 6th, 2009

View more from . (tags: )

This slide show is a presentation that was actually crowdsourced by (you can get the background at his site) about online communities, a truly excellent and inspired idea. Neil gave this presentation at a conference yesterday, and set it up like this:

“Almost everything I’ve learnt about how online communities work have come from being part of one, so I figured it would be best if I let them tell you how it all works…. So I put a post up on my blog asking people to contribute one slide on what they felt was important. Within 2 days, I had almost 30 slides from planners, digital specialists, strategists, researchers – some of the most reknowned thinkers in social media strategy. So these are mainly their words, not mine – I’ve added my own slides for the sake of context and cohesion but these are the words of the community, so as I go through please note the credits at the bottom of the slides.”

And the result… well, it’s pretty damn cool. Check it out.

The Future of Social Networks

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

View more from . (tags: )

This is something that I touched on in a post a few months ago, but takes this evolution of social networks even further and points us to a very probably future for these networks. Of particular note from her presentation is how she anticipates ways in which businesses might make money from this evolution and openness in the technologies and connectivity that support social networks, this being a current point of confusion and frustration for businesses. The reality is that social networks are still very new, and though several companies have smartly figured out how to leverage them to advantage the fact is they are evolving so quickly and efficiently that today’s social network strategy can easily be rendered obsolete by this time next week.

Discovery Is a Narcotic. In a Good Way.

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

View SlideShare or your own. (tags: )

Why yes, yes it is. I would be one absolutely addicted to discovery. It’s also something we discuss often at work in an effort to always challenge our concepts of user experience and how design is revealed through that experience. Above is an interesting presentation from the folks at that gets to the heart of this. I came across Mr. Tweet through . You’ve probably heard of Twitter, but by way of overview it is an online service that allows you to connect and follow a diverse audience of people. A Tweet on Twitter is as simple as answering the question “What are you doing right now.” Some people use it to talk about what they’re making for dinner, others use it as a hardcore marketing tool, one that facilitates and enhances connection, conversation, and authenticity. For everybody, though, Twitter is very much about the surprise of discovering new ideas, people, shared interests, and answers to questions that might range from the mundane to the immensely interesting:

“Discovery is less about predicting precisely right about what the user wants. It is more about the userflow of discovery, with all of the hits and misses.”

Mr. Tweet (from 2008 SXSW presentation)

10 Things: The Power of The Network

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I was excited to find David Cushman’s self-published book . It’s available on Lulu as a downloadable PDF for only $.84, which is an excellent bargain given the density of insights and provocative ideas that Cushman packs into its 98 pages. Cushman also authors the blog , from which much of the content for the book emanated, it being a compendium of Cushman’s writings from over the last year or so, writings on the future of advertising, online networks, the death of broadcast media, and the power of . He succinctly ties together a wide range of ideas we’re all writing and thinking about in various ways, and he does so in a way that very directly points us to the future. As he says on his about page: “The further ahead you look, the faster you go.” That’s a lesson he picked up from motorcycling, and one I can appreciate given my own penchant for racing, motorcycles, and change.

Below are 10 Things from The Power of The Network by David Cushman:

  1. The Death of Death: At the heart of the networked world is conversation, and conversation is “at the intersection of ideas, the driver of value of the network… The digital world is not about death. It is about life… The evolution has begun.”
  2. Don’t Just Witness The Network: If we sit still we are in the midst of witnessing some of the biggest changes since the industrial revolution. But it’s different this time because we can participate, we can all “engage with self-forming communities of (global) niche shared interest (purpose).”
  3. How to Go Viral: 1. Speak in an authentic voice. 2. Lose the TV envy. 3. Give people the tools to make their own. 4. Don’t bother with urls, links or ‘brand messages.’
  4. Communities of Purpose: Leveraging , Cushman points us to two important caveats, that real value is only created by communities of purpose, and this value is best enabled by synchronous response. He then points out that the gap between Reed’s Law and reality is navigation and discovery.
  5. What Now for Advertising and Marketing?: We’re really left with limited options like widget marketing (take advantage of existing advertising model and add viral and widget messaging), engagement marking (creating conversations, participating, listening), and no marketing (no advertising, no marketing, but instead the bringing together of co-creating communities).
  6. We’re All Publishers Now: Indeed. We’re experiencing an orgy of self-published content via the internet and through the success of self-forming communities. “The silent majority have had their day. The participating majority are coming.”
  7. It’s Not How Famous You Are – It’s How Relevant: Enough said.
  8. Reed’s Law and How Multiple Identities Make The Tail Longer: Don’t network for networking’s sake as limiting yourself to one-to-one communication presents little potential for collaboration. Networking openly stands to unleash the power of crowds, and “none of us is as clever as all of us.”
  9. We Are The Eighth Mass Media: From this chapter, a favorite quote: “We all have cheap, rapid, easy ways of sharing our metadata. That’s what publishing has become. Publishing for all. Advertising for all. We can all share content. Content is the conversation starter, conversation is where ideas turn
    into action, action is where value is created. Now we can all share in sharing this. We can all share ourselves. That is what changes everything.”
  10. How Are We Made Great?: Start with the Stowe Boyd quote: “I am made greater by the sum of my connections, so are my connections.” We live with the opportunity to consume an enormous volume of ideas/opinion/perspective. There are so many ideas that would go unrealized were it not for the power of the network surrounding the person who originated it. The catch is that predicting how people will respond to an idea is impossible, the network has its own proprietary wisdom, and from this wisdom comes the elevation of great ideas beyond the individual and to the many.

Clay Parker Jones Explains The Interwebs

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

View SlideShare or your own. (tags: )

I came across this presentation by that very directly and simply gets to the heart of things that have the propensity to intimidate and/or confuse people as it relates to “the internet”, and how they might use the opportunities it presents to better connect with people/audience/customers/users/etc…:

  • Social media
  • Designing effective websites
  • Connectivity and engagement

It’s a really succinct presentation, and eschews any jargon or webspeak for just plain speaking. I particularly liked Clay’s perspective on reach vs. engagement in support of community-building from slide 31:

“Stop thinking about this as a reach vehicle. We’re working on the reach thing. For now, people don’t look at banners, and we know they don’t click on them. But we can do engagement really, really well, so let’s stick to that.”

Clay Parker Jones

A Perspective On How We Got Here, And Where We Might Be Going

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

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, an internet analyst at Morgan Stanley, gave her annual view of the world and the technology industry at the in San Francisco last week. Flipping through the slides I found them enlightening, and the indicators she highlights paint a somewhat ominous reality for the coming year. She points out the connection between technology and advertising spending and GDP growth, and growth is obviously trending down. No surprises there, though.

You can view the slides from Mary’s presentation above or download them .

via

10 Years of The Cluetrain

Thursday, October 30th, 2008
If you have not had the opportunity to read , I suggest you take the time to do so. You can read the entire book online for free. Cluetrain is coming up on ten years old, which is amazing in its own way, but what is important here is how absolutely relevant the manifesto and its strong messages around markets being conversations still are. Messages like:
“People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.”
The Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 11
Seriously, read it. I’ve even embedded the book as slides here for your convenience:
View SlideShare or your own. (tags: )

Getting Millennials Right. And Wrong.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

The video above was shared with me by a colleague with whom I discussed this post, which I have been mulling over for about a month. The video is from a project by professor and 200 of his students at Kansas State University. A few weeks ago I attended a board meeting at which the president of a local university gave a presentation on “getting” generation Y, or . The board of directors is mostly comprised of individuals between the ages of 45-70 (and 90% male), I am by far the youngest person on the board being just outside that age range by a few years (and a gen X’er myself). As the presentation was announced there was a lot of murmuring, nodding of heads, and apparent agreement that this group definitely does not understand this new generation of young people, the generation that is beginning to and will fill the ranks of each of their companies. There is a lot of pressure on millennials. There are over 80 million baby boomers on the verge of retirement with only just over 40 million gen X’ers behind them. This reality is going to mean that the millennials, estimated at around 75 million, will need to step up and fill the very important talent and leadership void left by all the retiring boomers. What was presented by the university president made me very uncomfortable. This is because her presentation seemed to be incredibly general, and largely critical of this generation. She focused on broad, strange statements like:

  • Millennials do not read newspapers
  • They do not read books
  • They do not use libraries
  • They would rather communicate via instant message than in person
  • They cannot relate to older generations (????)
  • They do not understand the Cold War (????)
  • They grew up on video games
  • They like to be entertained (????)

I added the question marks above to emphasize my own bewilderment with those statements. All of these are actual points offered in the presentation. I was shocked as none of these statements is meaningful in creating an understanding of the millennial generation, or of anything. They seem to be observations made in the context of contrasting the observation against a different experience, as if that experience is qualitatively better, when in reality it is becoming increasingly irrelevant. With regards to the reading of books, magazines, and newspapers I believe it is true that everybody is reading the printed manifestations of these less and less, hence the ongoing demise of printing and publishing as industries. Excuse me as I speak from my own experience, that of a gen X’er, when I say that I cannot remember the last time I actually held a paper newspaper, and yet I subscribe to the RSS feeds and hit the websites of probably no less than 4-5 newspapers daily. Add to this the websites and blogs of magazines and that number jumps to 10-15 per day. I would consider myself a moderate user. The university president attempts to make the case that millennials do not read. I would counter that they read, and that they probably read more than previous generations. They’re not reading the formats that previous generations grew up with, they’re taking advantage of this new information technology called the “internet”. Yes, the internet offers exponential ways to entertain, but it is also an incredibly efficient connection to information and the world around us. Does that even need to be said anymore? The university president does not talk about how millennials are using technology like RSS feeds (I subscribe to over 200 sites presently via RSS), or how they strengthen their connections and networks with instant messaging, or how they have essentially grown up with incredible technologies as commonplace. I doubt that she actually knows what an RSS feed is, which is frightening because at some level this university president is informing the curriculum for her school, and determining how students are going to be activated through education at her institution. As I was listening to this presentation I could not help but think that the standard being communicated and on which this analysis of a generation was being made, was completely and totally baseless and irrelevant to reality, to modernity, and to the way things have changed. This is dangerous, and to paint a generation with critique based on experiences that pre-date the information age is useless to all of us, but especially to an entire generation that is connected to information in ways that were inconceivable a decade ago.

It might help for people like this university president to watch this video, also by Michael Wesch:

Virtual Architecture

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

An amazingly fluid presentation of 3D rendered models of recognizable and iconic American buildings layered onto Google Earth, some in incredible detail including interiors. Worth checking out, especially when actually being there is not good enough.

More at the .

10 Things: The Network is The Computer

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Last year, at the , author and visionary gave an incredibly compelling and thoughtful talk where he points out that the web as we know it, depicted as a graphical representation above, is only about 5,000 days old (the internet is actually much older than that), and that in this time we have seen unprecedented change. He proceeds to then explore what the next 5,000 days might bring, with much thought put to the notion of “the cloud”, networks, and ubiquitous computing… themes that I am increasingly exploring myself, and have written about on occasion. The talk is worth taking 20 minutes to watch, and below are my 10 Things from :

1.  Ten years ago we thought the web was going to be “TV, only better.” Obviously, that was just a touch limiting.

2.  The first lesson we have learned from the last 5,000 days is that we have to get better at believing in the impossible. Many things that are/were inconceivable to us previously are happening regularly.

3. Think about all of the handhelds, laptops, mobiles, and servers in the world and how they are networked. They are giving us one thing, what Kelly refers to as “The One Machine,” or “The One.” All of these devices are windows into this single, global, exponential machine.

4.  This machine, The One, is the most reliable machine ever made with zero down time running uninterrupted.

5.  On the web there are over 100 billion clicks per day on the computers of the world with over 55 trillion links between the pages on the web made per day.

6.  The internet uses about 5% of global electricity.

7.  The internet uses about 246 of storage (an exabyte being equivalent to 1 quintillion bytes).

8.  Total traffic on the internet is around 7 terabytes per second. The Library of Congress is 20 terabytes. Every second about half the Library of Congress is moving around the web.

9.  At this point, the internet is roughly comparable to the human brain in terms of connections, processing power, and capacity. The rate of increase will put the One Machine equivalent with about 6 billion human brains 30 years from now. By 2040 the web will exceed humanity in processing power in raw bits.

10.  Humans are becoming the extended senses of this machine. We are the web. We are the machine. The next 5,000 days are about intelligence, anticipation, personalization, and ubiquitousness… a new kind of stage in the development of the web. The web is becoming an organism, and a unity is beginning to emerge:

  • There is only One Machine (the network is the computer)
  • The web is its operating system
  • All screens look into The One
  • No bits will live outside the web (the internet of things)
  • To share is to gain (participation requires transparency)
  • Let The One read it
  • The One is us

10 Things: You Couldn’t Do This Last Year

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I am attending the conference in San Francisco. I am here because I believe strongly that the tools and technologies that make up Office 2.0 are having a dramatic effect and influence on the way we work, interact, and collaborate, and that this will have a profound effect on how our physical workplaces will need to evolve and respond to this change. I have made no mystery of my feelings on this point, that the office as we know it is becoming increasing irrelevant. I want to be at the forefront of this change.

This morning at Office 2.0 , who heads up Google’s enterprise products team, gave an impressive presentation (and thinly veiled Google sales pitch) entitled “10 Things That I Can Do In The Cloud Today, That I Could Not Do a Year Ago.” This has been a big week for Google with the launch of and secure video sharing. Sitting next to at the presentation, he quipped… “And this from an online ad company.” Business model innovation right before our eyes. But that’s been Google’s model since inception. Matt’s 10 Things essentially outline this innovation and thinking, presented in reverse order:

10.  Everything on the go. Just over a year ago the iPhone opened up computing for the mobile world and drove a paradigmatic shift in how we utilize our mobile devices and access and interact with information. The cloud is a central player in this paradigmatic shift with everything potentially living in and accessed from anywhere.

9.  Search through all my email. Google’s 25 gigs of personal email storage allows you to save and search everything. We live in email and this makes it actually work for us allowing you to do email how you want, where you want, when you want.

8.  Chat with customers and partners in any language. In cloud computing you can tap services like real time translation. The ideal of the individual knowledge worker working in isolation is arcane. We are always collaborating and language barriers are falling away because of these tools. Matt demo’d the translational tool in Google Talk chatting with a team member in Spain. Very cool.

7.  Collaborate simply and securely on projects with sites and docs. Google Docs was launched at Office 2.0 two years ago, and in that time has been refined into a seamless and effective collaboration tool.

6.  Organize all of my business travel with email. Matt demo’d , a service that takes any travel related confirmation email message and builds a personal itinerary and feed for you to more easily access and manage your trips. It offers a seamless integration with your calendar and a great mobile interface, with email as the integrating medium. Fascinating.

5.  Easily collect data from co-workers and customers in Forms. Matt demo’d which allows you to create a custom form in Google Docs and embed it for use. He did this and we watched as it populated and autofilled live. Very cool.

4.  Build any scalable business application on the cloud platform. Basically, the ginormous and complex infrastructure needed to do this is done (Google App Engine, force.com, Amazon Web Services). You just need to pay for what you need and use as a service. The platform is the service? Salesforce.com already has 80k+ applications.

3.  Use online templates for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can create custom templates for these tools and use them for your business, accessing them from anywhere and allowing easy collaboration or use of them from anywhere.

2.  Run fast, secure, and stable with web applications. Essentially, the recently launched browser, Chrome, from Google is the next generation of web applications (Mac support is happening ASAP…). Chrome is the term for the area around your browser, and the goal of this team was to get rid of the chrome (ironic naming). The browser is the new desktop, but with speed and stability that eliminates browser hang, crashing. Matt bench-marked  Chrome’s speed against IE. Chrome rocked by a significant factor. It is also open source, pushing the state of the art. Much excitement in the room around this.

1.  Securely share video in applications. This is a powerful medium, and with the security that business needs in order for it to be useful. It empowers the use of video in business and offers a paradigmatic change in the way we collaborate. This is made possible by the cloud and by the reality that we all now have video recording embedded in our mobile devices and computers.

Matt ended with an amazing statistic. Business adoption of Google’s tools is skyrocketing, with 3,000 new business sign ups EVERY DAY. This is one of those shifts in thinking that can wipe away entire careers and subject matter expertise, and it is a rare opportunity to actually witness a paradigmatic shift as it is happening. For some, cloud computing is all blue sky. For others, it is a looming and business model challenging storm.

The Changed Landscape of Influence

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Matt Dickman recently conducted a really interesting over at his blog Techno//Marketer to get a sense of what people felt the most influential medium might be. The results are presented in the graph above. I believe it is a safe bet that his readers skew massively to the internet, but I believe they are still representative of the paradigmatic changes that have occurred in the greater media landscape. The broader theme here, that the ways in which people interact with information is changing, is something I am actively exploring myself. What is absolutely not surprising from Matt’s survey is the incredibly low performance of newspapers and radio. The of newspapers has been trending down for years, and many historically prominent rags are facing irrelevancy to their audiences. Audience preferences and expectations with regards to how they engage information is changing, this interaction is very fluid, and while some struggle to adapt to this reality others have been slow to respond and are suffering the consequences of a dwindling subscription base and shrinking advertising revenues. That spells doom for those newspapers. The same is happening in radio, and the is tracking similarly to that of newspapers. At the heart of this is the reality that we are increasingly moving away from having things pushed at us, and increasing moving toward technologies and mediums that allow us to engage media and information in ways that are dynamic and customizable to our preferences. Also, there is an informational frequency issue and newspapers, especailly, have struggled to compete with the 24/7 nature of the informational engagement model of the web. Those that have moved to a comprehensive web strategy have struggled to find an appropriate revenue model, especially one that can scale. We are watching media evolution and the survival of the fittest, of the most innovative.

Going back perhaps a decade, many newspaper publishers failed to appropriately survey the landscape for strategic risk to their organizations. As a result, they missed important opportunities to substantively investigate and innovate their business models. The web has moved incredibly quickly and efficiently in becoming pervasive in our society, in our culture, and many publishers now face the incredible challenge of trying to change a business model when it is absolutely too late.

Direct Manipulation of Video

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

I came across this video this morning and it got my attention. Video is coming on strong as an interaction media, and we are only at the very, very beginning of how we will be able to interact with video. The direct manipulation of video as a way to navigate opens up a whole host of possibilities.

Bold Predictions: The End of Print Media

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

When the newstand becomes an antique…

Discussions around the demise of print continue to intensify. Just last week I posted some of my thoughts on this matter, motivated to do so by the confluence of increased speculation as to the future of printed media. Then, yesterday, BAM! Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, in an , speaks his mind on the issue when asked for his outlook on the future of media:

“In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down — my opinion.

Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form.”

Steve Ballmer of Microsoft

Video of the Ballmer interview:

I am not one to follow closely the predictions and strategies of Ballmer, or Microsoft, but this statement made my jaw drop. Fact: Microsoft is a force in the future of whatever media becomes. Fact: Microsoft devotes tremendous resources out of its tremendous resources to guide this future in a way that benefits Microsoft. Fact: Steve Ballmer is closer to this issue, in many ways, than the rest of us as he is leading Microsoft’s strategy with regards to media. Does his opinion have merit? Most definitely. He even points out that it might be eight years or it might be 15 years, the timing doesn’t really matter as the reality is that the result is inevitable.

Then, this morning via Twitter I come across a that approaches the issue from a slightly different angle, that the demise in print media is also being driven by huge changes happening in journalism. Newsrooms are shrinking, news media subscriptions are collapsing, and increasingly reporters are getting their information and tips from public web forums. That would make the big news media companies middle men for the news, with the end result being that the public gets this and prefers going direct to the source. Leaders at media institutions like the New York Times are in total confusion as to what is happening and what will happen next, and the New York Times has actually been a vanguard in pursuing the online media channel. Ten years ago the public needed the resources provided by the Newsweeks, NYT’s, and the myriad other special interest publications. The printed manifestation of this resource was the only interaction option. Following the change in that interaction, from the reliance on the printed piece to the irrefutable dominance of the online channel, is an exercise in realizing how traditional media outlets have been inept at surveying strategic risk and changing with the times.

12,000mph to Zero in Seven Minutes

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

It’s not just a big day for race fans, its a big day for science and space enthusiasts. In August of last year the left Earth to start its journey to Mars. Its mission is to arrive safely, land on the Martian North Pole, and dig into the soil there begin looking for the building blocks of life. It arrives today at around 4:45PM PDT. Arriving is the hardest part, as now the explorer has to successfully enter the Martian atmosphere (at 12,000mph) using parachutes to slow the rapid descent from 900mph to 250mph, and then fire landing rockets to prevent it from slamming into the Martian surface (see the video above). Its a complex landing, and the mission control team probably hasn’t been sleeping much these last few days, as the last five years of their work culminates today in about seven minutes of anxiety. That’s okay, though, as they have a number of ways they can distract themselves while keeping us updated on the the mission’s progress. For instance, you can follow the and get frequent updates and mission facts. The mission team also that is full of information and that will be used to post what the mission team is thinking and what Phoenix sees and discovers, as well as an information rich .

So, the entire Phoenix mission is going to be captured for us via an array of online tools. This is incredibly exciting, and it serves to connect us to the exploration and science that NASA leads in a way that is not only meaningful, but also basically real time.

Is Print Dead, Or Is It Just Really Sick?

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Gutenberg proofs the printed piece

The convergence of seemingly random events (the , this , by Charlene Li and Josh Bernhoff, and by Lynne d Johnson) has put the “Print is Dead” mantra in front of me several times in the last week. Oddly coincidental or representative of a growing sentiment, you decide. Obviously, print is still very much alive, but how we use print has changed, is changing, and will continue to change. Dramatically. The reality is that for some, print is in fact very dead. For others it is dying, and for a shrinking portion of the population… print is all there is. Print isn’t dead, but it is pretty ill and the prognosis is not good. You would be hard pressed to argue otherwise, that print is alive and well, as there is so much happening that clearly supports the hard reality that the ways in which we interact with information has quickly tilted to the digital.

Our mobile technology increasingly breaks down the usability barriers between where we are and the content we want. This is not just about convenience, either, it is very much about connectivity and the ease with which we can leverage diffuse networks to find what we want. How can the printed page compete with that? Print publishers are struggling with this reality, and working hard to figure out how to transition their content assets in a meaningful way to the array of digital channels before them. Some have pioneered great strategies for this, and benefit from not just increased audiences, but from the concept of content adoption. That’s what we do on the web, we adopt content and send it around. We point people to it. We fold it into how we navigate information, and personalize its place in our information networks. This is incredibly useful, and is the reason why I no longer subscribe to a physical newspaper and only a few printed magazines (that I subscribe to because I like them and there is not yet an online channel for that content). I don’t even hit most newspaper and periodical websites anymore as the content I want finds me through a myriad of personal technologies that do all of the work of searching for me. Popular and free technologies like RSS and Twitter. I have always been a reader, but I have never read as much as I have the last few years and I would say that close to 90% of what I read is online. wrote a somewhat related post about this a few weeks back, and in that post he passed on a line that is unforgettable to me from an article in the :

“If the news is important, it will find me.”

Print is the opposite of that.

Make The Complex Easy

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

If you use Twitter, how many times have people asked you about it and what it does… and you totally butchered the answer? Probably at least a few. Struggle no more, as the video above is one of many from the cool cats at . I have used their descriptive presentations more than a few times lately, and quite effectively. That’s because they are masters at taking something like RSS, and explaining it in simple, straight forward, and understandable terms. They are excellent story tellers and utilize paper models in a very simple and unobtrusive manner to support the information they are communicating. It works really, really well. Earlier today I used their to help a person who is internet challenged understand the benefits of that technology, and how it can impact their business. They got it.

You can see many of their presentations at on You Tube.