The future is so now. (10 sites hoping to be the next big thing.)

“10 Web Sites That Will Matter in 2009″ by Mark Sullivan, CIO Magazine (, 22 January 2009). It’s hard to say why people put themselves out on a limb with a title like this. Let’s face it, if Wall Street’s quants can’t predict the future then there’s not much hope for the rest of us. Luckily most of us accept that we are only humans in an imperfect world. With that said, the title is an eye catcher. On top of that getting a sense where some web things might be going makes this worth a go. Cocktail party fodder for web geeks.

All roads lead to empathy

Saturday Interview:  Dev Patnaik – Companies From Mars, Customers From Venus By Elizabeth Olson (New York Times, 23 Jan 2009). Here’s a teaser:

Q. When you wrote the book, before the current auto industry crisis, you said the Big Three were “living in a bubble.” One reason you mention is that Detroit auto workers and executives drive only American-made cars and see everyone else around them doing the same. Why does that matter?

A. It matters because companies make better decisions and make decisions more quickly when they are in alignment with the folks who actually buy their products. In Detroit, employees get discounted cars, executives receive a new car once or even several times a year. They never take it to a car wash and they park in an executive parking lot. Some don’t even drive the car themselves. If you have no firsthand, real-world experience with your own products or people who use your products, it’s very hard to make good decisions about what people want to buy.

Now click in and scoop some more brilliance into your brain.

An innovator on innovation

“Judy Estrin: 5 Things I’ve Learned” as told by Jarina D’Auria (CIO Magazine, 15 January 2009). Ms. Estrin’s new book is called, “Closing the Innovation Gap.” If  the previous post in 4Q 09 didn’t inspire you to get on Judy’s bus, this one should at least nudge you in the right direction.

Cliche or not, nobody is perfect

“Career Couch: Making the Most of Your Workplace Mistakes” by Phyllis Korkki (New York Times, 18 January 2009). Funny thing is, when you’re a scientist they call it R&D. In that space it’s expected that you try new things, make mistakes, “fail”, etc. We’re all human and it’s pointless to live in fear of being so. What’s unfortunate is that there are organizations where such an approach is frowned upon. The good news is such organization are destined to fail and don’t last long in that form. Worst case, update your resume and move on for place that’s better for you.

The real e-proof is in the real e-details – Part 2

“Web Sales with a Human Touch” by Edward H Baker is in the latest issue of Strategy+Business ( The post about the letter in was back in November. Here is what they printed. Go AU!

Regarding your article “Web Sales with a Human Touch” (by Edward H. Baker, Autumn 2008), is it really the technology or just the chat itself that increases sales? It  would seem to me that just the presence of the human touch is enough to nudge people into buying.   I’ll bet some percentage of the population just has a hard time saying no to another human being (virtual or not).

Mark Simchock
Chief Alchemist
Alchemy United
Princeton NJ