December 2008 Archives
December 24, 2008
December 23, 2008
December 22, 2008
Being smug about not catching the various bugs that have been flying around your office and family is a good way of generating enough hubris that karma feels the need to take you outside for a good kicking.
And yes, I'm feeling a wee bit better, thanks. :-)
December 17, 2008
Pinpoints where media goes wrong with Twitter
New version of the best blog posting software on Windows
December 16, 2008
What I really like about the consumer Web 2.0 world is the fact that it has given us an amazing experimental laboratory for new tools and communication techniques. It has produced a Cambrian explosion of start ups, tools, features and buzzwords, each of which has evolved very quickly through exposure to rapid feedback at scale. Conversely, in the enterprise tools space, users are of secondary importance and therefore there are few evolutionary pressures that can improve the generally poor quality tools and systems that IT departments force on the business. This is starting to change as more and more senior people ask why their children have access to more effective tools on their home PCs than they have access to in the office.
Time to be proactive in providing stuff, before the CEO comes asking some hard questions...
Line of Business implementations not only experience growth, but greater success. According to this year's McKinsey survey on Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise, IT-driven implementations had 60% user dissatisfaction, whereas LoB-driven had 74% satisfaction. Part of this is vendor selection, but LoB implementations have greater engagement and adoption. I believe the best approach is to partner LoB with IT, what I once called middlespace, for the benefits of top down and bottom up adoption.
However, at least one group is finding that wikis are slow to catch on internally...
11. Clients know they must move their marketing online. They, like the media, are just struggling with the cultural changes necessary.
12. B2B sales teams have a relationship with clients that allows them to mentor them as they learn about digital together.
Ah-ha. Social advertising. I wondered what the buzzword was going to be...
December 15, 2008
Consider a 1.0 community feature, Forums. Forums are topic-centric instead of people-centric. There isn't the notion of following people, or leveraging the social network as a filter. You have to sift through what everyone is saying regardless of who they are, which I find tremendously inefficient. This also means that if someone is truly obnoxious you can't unsubscribe from them.
20 Signs You Don't Want That Internal Social Media Project
And that pointed me to:
20 Signs You Don't Want That Social Media Project
And then I laughed. Until I hurt. A lot.
December 13, 2008
Image via Wikipedia
And once that became obvious, we said so, over and over again, all the time. We said it in public, we said it in private. We said it when newspapers hired us as designers, we said it when we were brought in as consultants, we said it for free. We were some tiresome motherfuckers with all our talk about the end of news on paper. And you know what? The people who made their living from printing the news listened, and then decided not to believe us.
December 12, 2008
So much so, in fact, that I've just registered fromb2btobandb.com in preparation for the implosion of the industry and my inevitable move from B2B to running a B&B in Devon...
(And on Monday, I might just post a more useful response to his discussion points.)
- Loic apologises for the three major organisational problems of the show.
- Kevin from Travolution asks whether startup competition finalist Zoover is, in fact, a startup.
- The Next Web explores the odd love/hate relationship regular attendees seem to have with the conference.
- And all the sessions are available to view online, so you can make up your own minds...
December 11, 2008
Hers was one of the short talks so she had to rattle through the ideas quickly. So had a quick go at dispelling that idea that virtual goods are not a valid business model because they're intangible - so is love, she pointed out, and that's a pretty powerful motivator... Tencent in China is selling virtual goods on an IM platform. 66-69% of its revenue is from them. And it had to monetise via virtual goods because there was no ad money.
All of my photos from Le Web 08 are now available in a Flickr set.
December 10, 2008
And so, just like in 2006, we have a surprise French politician, the finance minister, Christine Lagarde.
She's been talking about the French economic bailout plan, and then moving onto entrepreneurship. It's of more interest to the French people here, with some talk of making it easier to set up a company officially, using a two-screen online process, and other streamlining for business.
However, she put out an appeal for us bloggers to undermine the cliché that the French are a race of lazy, conservative civil servants. What do you think?
- Chrome is out of beta
- Searchwiki "on" is likely to remain the default option. It's more about personalisation than another part of PageRank, but if tens of thousands of people downrank a result...
- Video search is a challenge. Two likely routes: speech to text and face recognition. Speech to text is more advanced, and we might see it next year
- Time-based searching is another thing we're likely to see in the default search next year.
After spending some very unhappy times in hospitals this year, it's nice to bring a little happiness to some tonight.
Have a great Christmas all!
Marc Canter (who didn't, in fact, perish yesterday) lead an entertainingly scrappy session on open standards around social information. He started by giving Facebook's senior platform manager Dave Morin a hard time about Facebook apps. Has the social network pushed apps back with the recent revamp of the site?
Morin responded that there were always multiple integration points for apps, and the most important was the profile box, but that didn't always give a good user experience. The news feed has become very popular, and that's become their focus. Users can display most recent actions. Devs can user it to get engagement.
Canter riposted quickly: "The feed is the epitome of your locked in strategy."
Dave Recordon, the open platforms tech lead from Six Apart joined in the criticism: "Open platforms have been more successful, historically," he argued. Even if Facebook is currently the shiney place, if developers can write and application once and put it loads of places, Facebook will be marginalised.
MySpace has taken the opposite route, argued Max Engel, head of data availability initiative at MySpace. They're building using open standards because the "internet routes around roadblocks and we want to be part of the flow". MySpace users already thing of themselves as Myspace.com/profile, so we're in a great place to bring thsi forward. "We've now implemented everything on the open stack." The stack is a group of technologies which enable open social platforms. Canter gave us this slide of it:
December 9, 2008
Idea slightly nicked from Steph...
How often do you get a conductor like Itay Talgam doing something like this (with apologies for my singing):
The pre-coffee sessions this morning were distinctly corporate, so I blogged them over on my Computer Weekly blog. Presentations from Google and Microsoft were relatively predictable - either plugging a product (Bizspark and Azure from Microsoft) or just fairly anodyne, as was Google's talk. Mind you, neither were as dull as the MySpace presentation which I couldn't be bothered blogging.
However, the most interesting one was, not surprisingly, Dave Weinberger's, who unleashed a torrent of ideas about leadership in his 20 minutes which challenges many of our current preconceptions. It makes mw think about what a post-web journalistic organisation might look like, if we move beyond command and control from an editor/leader...
And things only got better after the coffee...
Quick summary of Dave Weinberger's speech:
Information age has been formative of who we are as individuals and people together. also formative of what our idea of leadership is.
As it comes to a close, it's interesing to think about it.
The whole idea has been to reduce information to make it manageable.
The HR system strips away everything that makes people interesting, all their quirks. In comparison, a Facebook page is a much richer view of the person. Hyperlinks are the opposite of information; they connect things in a rich, unstructured way.
So, we now have an abundence of stuff, and an abundence of crap. We can deal with the crap. It's the good stuff that's throwing our culture for a loop.
Leadership has been based on scarcity. Jack Welch - paragon of leadership.
Leader leads by keeping info scarce.
We treat it like a kind of heroism - the lonely leader, carrying the whole weight of the business on his broad, strong shoulders.
Now: crowdsourced leadership. The job of leadership gets spread across a network. Decision making is a failure of leadership.
Strategy tries to turn something the future into something scare - but that's the past. There are multiple numbers of futures. Flexibility may be better than having a strategy.
Leaders are realists - but relaists would never have built the web, wikipedia... Realism is over-rated.
Networks have the properties that we used to attribute to leaders.
Obama team put up a change.gove site. It wasn't perfect, but it gets better everyday. It shows that the team understand the net.
People emerge into prominence through a reputational system. It becomes Reputational Democracy (Simon Willis' term)
No way of predicting in what the outcome will be - it's a political struggle from work to national politics. No way to get through apart from getting through it.
The heroic leader idea is going to fall. There are great leaders - but not enough. We need more, and that will only happen with networks. We need a leadership that deals with abundance, and that uses it. Fewer leaders and more love!
Second up is Nikesh Arora, SVP, Google and President, EME Operations.
Loïc dived straight in with questions about the recession.
"It's an interesting time - like having a hang-over after a big party," said Arora. "I expect the US to come out of this before Europe does."
Is Europe doomed to create second class start-ups compared to the US?
"There are some structural reasons why you see more startup activity in the US."
But there is start-up activity in Europe.
"The guys I'm scared of are two guys in a garage..."
You need to think of terms in the worldwide audience, said Arora. But Loîc countered that companies in Europe naturally start by focusing on the the country they know best. "And that's the fatal flaw," said Arora. All the big companies thought global very quickly.
Loïc then raised the issue of funding, suggesting that Google should set up a fund to help startups through the downturn, to huge approval from the floor.
"You need a very good idea..." replied Arora.
"I have a good idea, but it's hard to find €100,000..." responded Loïc.
But, in response to a question from the floor, Arora made it plain that he didn't think that waiting to be bought by Google was a viable business model right now...
Ah, and the conference kicks off with Microsoft. Steve Gilmour is interviewing Dan'l Lewin, the Corporate VP for Strategic and Emerging Business Development. In particular, Dan'l is talking about Bizspark, we he describes as an aggresive expanion into startup community.
It's for startups that are less than three years old, and with less than 1m revenue (local currency variations apply). Basically, you get free stuff for three years.
Lewin worked with Apple and Next before coming to Microsoft, a company he suggests that is reinventing itself around distributed systems on the web, away from the desktop. He admits that Google did well in this space and have "reasonable thoughts about how to turn organisng the world's information into a platform".
Azure services are available as part of it - were as soon as it was announced. An intergral part of how join the programme.
Gilmour suggested that Microsoft were coming into this space from behind? Lewin replied that they're ahead now - but were behind before.
Previous efforts (like Hailstorm) didn't consider OpenID, fedeation and open standards. This one does. And they're very clear that the enterprise owns the data. Demand since Y2k is to make things work together.
Gilmour suggested that Microsoft has boat loads of cash, so can afford to take advantage of a downturn.
"Those who are cash strong can get stronger during downturns," replied Lewin. "But it's also an ideal time for entrepreneurs."
This is the first year the conference has made a definite effort to welcome bloggers on a par with press, with an outreach programme and desks. And that means we have a strange disparity between the official bloggers and press, and the unofficial ones like me...
Game on. :-)
December 8, 2008
December 4, 2008
December 3, 2008
December 1, 2008
However, I'm insanely glad we're having the conversation...
And yes, I do have my feet up on that table. I have a reputation to maintain, dammit.
"In conversation we think out loud together, trying to understand."