Google says, “Surf’s up”

“Google Showcases New Communication and Collaboration Tool” by By Miguel Helft (New York Times, 28 May 2009). Yes, let’s all pray that this – and the other similar apps that are sure to follow – puts an end to email as a collaboration tool. Nine times out of ten even a wiki is a more helpful project organization tool than email. With a wiki everyone is forced to stay on the same page, literally.

Talking tough is cheap. Get going!

“How to stay up in a down economy” by Julia King (Computer World Magazine, 25 May / 1 June 2009). Whether you’re unemployed, under-employed, or even over-employed, Ms. King has some pearls to share. One of the best is:

Don’t watch CNN. It just induces hysteria.
– Paul Glen
(ComputerWorld Columnist)

There is one suggestion we’d like to add, as well as one comment to supplement the article’s list.

Suggestion: Start a blog that speaks to your desired profession. One, it will give you an outlet. Two, it will keep you involved and engaged as well as serve as a real live diary that you didn’t waste your downtime watching Oprah. Three, anyone can fake a resume but over a series of weeks that’s not possible to fake a blog.

Supplement to Ms. King’s point 4: Contact a local non-profit(s) and offer them your pro bono talent. This is good for you (for all the reasons lists for a blog), as well as good for your community. NPOs can also be a good opportunity to develop new skills to break into a new field.

Welcome of Fantasy Island? – Follow up

This is a (shameless self-promoting) follow up to a post a couple weeks back on an article by Ms. Sharon Machlis (“Opinion: When head counts are low, take time to save time”, ComputerWorld Mag, 18 May 2009). The AU blog post was also posted as a comment to Ms. Machlis’ article. In this week’s print version of Computer World the editors at CW decided to print that comment / post. It’s nice to be the needle that gets pulled out of the haystack, again.

When dinosaurs fall like dominos

“The New New Economy: More Startups, Fewer Giants, Infinite Opportunity” by Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine, June 2009) If you’re trying to make sense of what has happen and of what’s to come Mr. Anderson sheds some valuable light on the matter. As expected, there are two AU caveats:
1) Capital was traditionally only available to fairly large companies. The internet changed that. Investors can not only move money quicker and easier, they now have a tool for mitigating risk by providing a better way to identify and evaluate the smaller companies with the potential to be the next big thing. (Note: This relationship also works in the other direction. The internet provides a platform to companies seeking investors.) The large companies have reached growth capacity, the smart money is looking for better returns, and there are small upstarts lining up to accept that backing. The internet provides the frictionless fluidity to make that happen.

2) From the consumers’ side the internet provides each individual a choice. No longer are consumers forced to consume the me-to, mass marketed products and services that are the by product of the large companies’ cookie cutter (i.e., economies of scale) approach. Also, consumers are no longer at a disadvantage in terms of the availability of information. They know what they want and they know where to get it. Big is out. Small and personal is the new black.

The real question is, will the USA be the next debt ridden, too-big-to-fail dinsaur to fall?

Esther Dyson, she’s the man

“Esther Dyson: The Thought Leader Interview” by Art Kleiner (Strategy + Business Mag, Summer 2009). Few have seen and participated in the tech sector as Ms. Dyson has. This interview is a invigorating snapshot of where she thinks we might be headed. This interview as well as “The Trouble With Brands” are a one-two punch that should not be missed.  Btw, for those in the Princeton, NJ area, Ms. Dyson will be speaking on 9 July 2009. See www.PrincetonChamber.org for details.

Also, here’s one more highly recommended piece from S+B if you can find the time: “Reframing Your Business Equation” by Tim Laseter and M. Eric Johnson.

And the bubble burst

“The Trouble with Brands” by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar (Strategy + Business Mag, Summer 2009). Two words… Must read!

Please excuse the S+B registration process but their content is often well worth the couple of key strokes.  Once you’re in, you’re in.

Lipstick isn’t enough

“Put Ad on Web. Count Clicks. Revise.” By Stephanie Cliford (New York Times, Sunday 31 May 2009). Let’s jump right to the AU caveats:

  • Yes, this approach is helpful but what the quants and the bean counters are not considering is that the ad with the most clicks does not necessarily make it the most effective. An ad can draw more clicks but ultimately lead to less satisfied guests. In other words, it totally discounts The Guest Experience and simplifies that relationship into one that based on the perspective of the companyand a single click and not the guest and their value over the long run. As we all agree by now, that’s a no-no.
  • Yes, if you’re a “little guy / gal” it’s smart to watch the big dogs and see how they’re running. However, in many cases resources might be better spend getting the house in order first. In other words, take a hard objective look at the design of your site (or better yet engage someone else to do so); strongly consider what the UX (i.e., user experience) is like and how that will lead guests to draw conclusions about your brand; also check the responsiveness and thoroughness of your guests services. Unfortunately, one of the current trends is “I just need SEO…” Well, you can SEO/SEM – yes, we just made it a verb – ’til the end of time but you can’t put lipstick on a (less than ideal web site) pig and expect stellar results. In fact,  driving traffic into a sub-par experience can do more harm than good.
  • For example, twice in the last two weeks we have used the contact form on the site of the MLS’ Philadelphia Union (www.PhildephiaUnion.com) and have not gotten so much as a auto-reply. It should be noted that this is an expansion team that has yet to play a match. It’s not a good sign when your number one focus is to energize supporters and there’s no response to the Contact Us form.