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November 2003 Archives

November 3, 2003

TypePad and Mentoring New Bloggers

Are you helping to get colleagues and friends blogging? This morning I came across two pieces by Diego Duval "Introduction to Weblogs" and "Part Two: Syndication". It is nice when someone writes down and captuers a sense of "what a blogger knows". Add to this some recent posts by Lilia on RSS and this one "Deep Thinking by Andrew Grument and the facts are taken care of. However too few posts lay out the stories that emerge from blogging. Maybe it is harder, perhaps it is their anecdotal nature. See also Stories about Blogging"

Before these links I'd already been reflecting on the "hurdle" and "hurdle rate" for new bloggers. For in the last week I introduced a few more to blogging. I'm very much in favor of putting a tool in their hands and then working with them as they ask questions. Maybe this is the Serious Play approach to blogging. This way it moves at their pace and with their interests and needs. It's learning by doing and that makes it real and achievable. I failed to do this on one occassion last week (chasing something bigger with too many assumptions of their knowledge and what they might create) and regretted it afterwards. There's a threshold that must be created to get to the more complex stuff.

There's is also "trust" which is involved in following your choice for the decision right "platform" choices for them. Getting started with the right tool is important. After a short show and tell, I then spent 3-4 hours getting my latest recruit to start with TypePad.

Now this was the first time I'd used TypePad (I'd registered early that morning) setting up previous "independent" personal bloggers on Radio. Radio in the past has always been my choice for its editing and aggregator capabilities however it lacks mulit-user capability, public private blogging options etc. Ultimately it's not a very effective tool for providing some "parallel" mentoring. I've also watched the abandonement of Radio (something I did after two weeks) by many users. It simply has lacked investment. By contrast the MT community out of which TypePad has evolved is vibrant.

So what were my latest learning and reflections?:

Simplicity: New bloggers need simple instructions. We underestimate the hurdle that a new blogging aspirant goes through. From... looking at other posts (writing hurdle) to going public while remaining private. There's a lot happening on day one. Some stories could be inserted into TypePad about new bloggers at Day one... Day 10 etc. Show how their posts and layout evolve over some months. It can't be all learned in a day. Encourage them to start with a "test blog" make posts, copy n paste, check links etc... and then delete the blog when finished. Help them label it a trial space. It helps to create the experimental context.

Complexity: Typepad comes close to being too complex for a first time user. When we want to get posting.. we are confronted with design, photoblogs and typelists. As an MT user I find it generally elegant. Committed users will slowly learn all the functionality. In the meantime I'm going to remain available for my new blogging buddy. I'll also get him to set up a new private blog for questions. Typepad also provides some nice profiling features.

Functionality: Some great posting flexibility. Still it took me a while to find the QuickPost Bookmarket (it was staring me in the face!). I had a harder time trying to figure out the wBloggar posting instructions. I asked the help desk and that solved that. Finally I enjoyed experimenting with the mobile e-mail posting capability. However naming it "mobile settings" ignores how useful it is for forwarding or saving an e-mail from someone. I do wish I had this functionality in MT.

News News News: Integration with a newsaggregator. Blogging without an aggregator no longer makes sense to me. The new blogger is focused on his webpage. It is hard to explain to a new blogger that the majority of your future hits are likely to come to your RSS feed. TypePad doesn't have an integrated newsreader and makes no recommendations. I remain surprised that they don't integrate a simple single pane newsreader. It would make the job of getting someone new started that much easier. Instead I hooked him up to SharpReader with a blogthis and wBloggar link. Probably too much for one afternoon.

November 4, 2003

Bonded Future for E-Mail?

Interesting thoughts on the future of e-mail. See the link to Bonded Sender and the Economist article on this approach to putting a "price" on e-mail.

VentureBlog: The Future of Email

While people may debate the death of email, there is no question that many email servers are already overloaded with spam. Current spam solutions are beginning to address the problem, but so far they all suffer from the arms race issue - as fast as we come up with new ways to fight spam, spammers are finding new ways to deliver it to us.

One solution is to charge people to participate in the system. Anybody who pays a fee is automatically on the whitelist. Several companies (such as the Bonded Sender program) are working to provide this solution to legitimate bulk emailers (e.g. travel specials from United Airlines, etc.). United Airlines pays a bond to the company, which they lose if they actually send any significant quantity unsolicited email. The company then provides this list to all of the anti-spam companies so they can properly distinguish bulk email from spam.

When the change comes, it will deliver the future of email to Microsoft.

Corporate Blogging Strategies

John Moore has a neat update on Scoble's Corporate Weblog Manifesto Has Robert changed? Some useful thinking here for corporate blogs! I also remain baffled. Robert's blog remains a radio address, there is no link to Microsoft on it. From my perspective it looks like a personal blog. Or does this just confirms that Microsoft doesn't have a corporate blogging strategy. Few large companies do.

I've been reading Robert Scoble's recent post updating his Corporate Weblog Manifesto. He wrote the Manifesto the day after being offered his current job at Microsoft. His update is posted a few months later. What intrigues me is the contrast between the two. The original manifesto is optimistic, challenging and inspiring...

Compare and contrast with his update, written as a Microsoft employee. Check the full entry to get these quotes in context.....

It's surprising how the whole tone shifts from one of engagement to one of avoidance; from a list of dos to one of don'ts... for me from courage to fear.. [The Ourhouse Weblog]

Externally focused corporate blogs are not easy when you are concerned with what you can report, rules, and review procedures. Yet rather than reinforce danger in corporate blogging I'd suggest creating some "YES LISTS" Yes we should blog that. And that! Where new corporate bloggers are wary and unsure (always had to get Marketing PR approval before) they are now being granted a voice. Not all will want to participate. However, key public blogs (private blogs are separate) will enable certain things to be reported and categorized. Add to this a list of how NEW CONVERSATIONS can help you. Then link and follow some NEW VOICES. Some may be potential clients. Other experts or a simple great piece seen in a newreader. Open yourself up to new suggestions. Make it easy for others to suggest RSS feeds or new categories to you. Blogging should be part of your EMPOWERMENT strategy. If it isn't fun and easy don't worry you employees won't do it anyways.

Still It has to be hard blogging in Microsoft and Robert is not alone. John Pocaro uses TypePad and has a wonderful list of Microsoft bloggers! The Unofficial Official?? Microsoft Bloggers List. So why did Microsoft hire such a well-known blogger in Robert? Many reasons I'm sure. Still was it for their list of buddies? How valuable is the feeds and links such a blogger brings? If I were Microsoft I'd have my bloggers blogging under a Microsoft banner. I'd also make more visible the comments and what people are talking and asking about. Afterall "our people are our filters" and blogging is certainly part of being a better filter. Let's hope the busy corporate blogger pays attention to the exchanges around them.

The Coming Age of Personal Communcation Exchanges

What is your strategy for Skype? Where's the news and quotes on it this week? I've blogged Skype fairly consistently since my first Skype post because disruptive innovation is where real value is created and new industries born. Because it remains an "early warning indicator" of a tech-tonic shift. Then organizationally the question is... "How do we plan?" "How do we minimize risk in this emerging environment?", What powerful challenges must we communicate down through the organization? These are strategy questions. Current answers analytically based from Gartner to who knows where say you have years. Well it is simply not true. So how will you frame your questions to make your organization think faster?

The cost of my being right and you wrong ---- is an unbelievable destruction of bottomline wealth. If Skype reaches million and millions the loss of revenue will be in the billions. Yet Skype is not the problem it is merely the indicator that all has changed. The input you need to address the challenge is more qualitative, more focused on behavior. In a world in which the perception is the "profit" is gone... and cost cutting only (look at the centralized VoIP providers!) retains users the seeds for new value added propositions must begin now. Now these aren't just products. They may also be contracts, interconnect agreements that enable better products to be marketed. Strategies born of conditions to develop tomorrow. How well has Yahoo done with broadband?

So I remain amazed. The number that don't get it and the emerging few that do. What is really the state of understanding this week? While we still have reporters in the WSJ thinking phones if you are operating in this market with that frame of reference you are going to be dead.

The Register
"In Faultline's view Lee Gomes of the WSJ fails to understand how disruptive and discontinuous innovation works. The rules that have been observed through history are that you need to offer something half as good, for a tenth of the price."

So there is a complete disconnect. The industry has failed to identify how to get consumers beyond thinking phones. Hell in the same time period they used postage stamp before telex before fax and then e-mail. They are going to think "phones" and not about how communication is changing. Is it because we put it to our ear rather than use our eyes? Ear Phone. Web Phone? I-Phone? When you look at it VoIP is a useless label for creating consumer products. Next generation communications would at least introduce the idea of something new. Concurrently talk of convergence fails to provide the stories one can grasp. Consumers can make this shift. Just see the mental shift to Home Entertainment. Concurrently all these hardware devices are being commoditized. What we need will be very cheap in a very short time!

It's the End of the Phone As We Know It …
"But I don't think the traditional wire-line phone folks will feel so good. That's because when you combine Wi-Fi with cellular, you just obviated the need for any wired phones at all. "

Yes please send out a few of those babies. It's much closer to the Pocket Personal Communication Exchange. In fact the first generation PCE's (give it a label maybe it will stick) will be desktop/laptop sized. What we are missing is the handsets to make stage one a reality. You can't wire people to PC's with headsets when they have been walking in the garden with their analog cordless phone. Compared to music we've been on LP's, there are a number of CD's around getting fairly pervasive, while ripping Mp-3's is just about to begin. Wearable communications products look like nice to have and yet nothing I've seen even begins to suggests how they will harness social networks in new ways. Similarly "marketing" opportunities abound in this new connective world. See Managing the Maze of Mulit-Sided Markets (registration required)

Werblog "It's the difference between making a phone call over the Internet, and voice as an internetworking application. Or to put it another way, the different between the Internet as a subset of telecommunications, and telecommunications as a subset of the Internet."
There is an assumption that perfect quality is expected. Land lines are seldom down but try and answer the phone in my house when the power is out. My mobile companion "Verizon" is frequently useless. Some will want to pay for more centralized exchange services. Others will be quite happy to manage their own personal communication exchanges. So who has the advantage? Run some scenarios on the IM world. Bet at least one turns up where the regulations are closer to the wild wild west.
The Jeff Pulver Blog: Highway Skype Revisted "The present signs are for the coming of a true "Consumer Communications Revolution" but it will be up to the people to decide what part of the next phase of this revolution they will be a part of. And don't forgot that in the case of any revolution, you should expect to see those effected fighting back with the tools they are most effective in using - in this case it will be and is telecom regulations."

I've also been learning about ground reakers who have been in this space before and not made it. Elise Bauer is one. See her point of view at AlwaysOn.

The Hype of Skype :: AO

"Will Skype fulfill its promise as an end run around the phone companies? In my opinion, ultimately no, though it may do a good job of competing with AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft's IM clients. What would be a great product in this space is something that lets you program sophisticated phone capabilities for your phone through a simple web browser, your own soft PBX so to speak. However, I can tell you from experience that you cant get there from a Windows IM client. (my bold)

In a world where less than 20 people can put together Skype, don't tell me it is either too expensive, not worth some experimental dollars, or different research approaches.

Corporate Environmental Optimism

Andrew Zolli uncovering why pollution and waste usually indicate inefficiency. So, in an economy of competing companies, inefficiency is for losers. So does it follow that in the long run, successful companies are going to be green and clean? Some optimism here!

In the context of an ongoing futures research project, we recently came across the work of Jesse Ausubel, a 21st-century renaissance scientist and Director of the Program for the Human Environment at New York's Rockefeller University. Ausubel’s scientific interests and insights are incredibly broad, from the future of the physical environment to the mathematical modeling of sustainable systems.

Of particular interest is his paper The Environment for Future Business, which contains the kind of rigorous, contrarian thinking on the future of the physical environment which demands a very close read. Unlike the much gloomier ‘standard model,’ which predicts human-accelerated rapid climate change, Ausubel is optimistic. “The wheels of history are rolling in the direction of prudent, clean use of resources. Pollution and waste usually indicate inefficiency. […] In an economy of competing companies, inefficiency is for losers. So over the long run, successful companies are going to be green and clean.”

To back up his claim, Ausubel points to two the two-centuries-long decarbonization of the world’s energy supply. Think of the fuels we have used over the last two centuries – wood, coal, oil, natural gas, etc. Each of these basic fuels contains a mixture of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Wood, for example, contains a lot of carbon, and a little hydrogen. In coal, the ratio is about 1:1.

As motors and power-plants of one sort or another have become more and more efficient, and as more carbon-dense fuels are replaced with less carbon-dense successors, the result has been the slow, 200-year ‘decarbonization’ of the world’s fuel supply. The shift has been from wood to coal, coal to oil, oil to methane and, inevitably, methane to hydrogen.

Click on picture for larger version

Seen this way, the much-vaunted Hydrogen Economy seems less like the esoteric sci-fi wonder it is pitched as in the media, and more the natural and inevitable next step for a world energy system that is becoming more and more efficient.

Click on picture for larger version

Ausubel also postulates that the shift from one dominant fuel to the next occurs in 40-45 year ‘pulses’, followed by lulls or depressions of a decade or two in energy consumption. Each pulse was triggered by the adoption of cleaner fuels, which in turn led to real growth in per capita energy consumption. If that’s true, the next two pulses Ausubel predicts – one for natural gas, and one for hydrogen, won’t just be good for the environment – they’ll also lead to real economic expansion. (Ausubel's Hydrogen Economy starts to take off globally around 2050 - a conservative and reasonable estimate.)


November 5, 2003

Rembrandt's Narratives

Seeing the New Yorker on Rembrandt's narratives made me wish I was in Boston today. While I don't think the author had audio-photo-geo-blogging on the mind --- he's does advocate the time has come for more engaging art. It also reminded me of a conversation with the Green Museum and spreading environmental art via RSS!

The New Yorker: The Critics: The Art World

Was Rembrandt's art the movies of its day? You may say so if you're careful to add that it also performed functions of photography, fiction, theatre, theology, and social anthropology all with an individualism that engendered continual audacities of technique and style. (Often, you know that a Rembrandt is finished only because, at a certain unruly-looking stage, he signed it.) His was a sensibility new in history, born of the freedoms and appetites of a triumphant bourgeoisie. Twentieth-century types for whom bourgeois was a curse had a problem with that.
In a real and delightful way, this most famous of artists remains to be discovered in the manner that he palpably anticipated picture by picture, one viewer at a time. Rembrandt is in the details. The quality for which he is inevitably praised, humanity, is too nebulous. Personality is more like it. Intimate with both subject and viewer, he dissolves emotional distances......

But I think that we are already seeing a shift of emphasis in art away from precious self-contemplation and toward eloquent engagement with the world. The means may not be painting.

Now Camera Phone Policies

Time to show the organizations all the good things photoblogs can do. Camera phones have taken many by surprise. Most of us have heard the Gym stories by now. Still applyingHR policies that focus on the technology aren't the answer. Even when you are hearing voices say "ban them". A picture is worth a 1000 words. Is there a CIO that can tell the story pictorially in just 10 pictures? The discussion is just pointless if one looks over the horizon.... camera phones are only the beginning. In the short term phone manufacturers may have to give short sighted customers what they want.

Gizmodo : Removing the camera from the phone Because for security reasons their business customers don't want to issue their employees cellphones that can potentially snap pictures of sensitive company material and documents.
Note this is not Gizmodo's point of view... it just lead me to this thread and Alan Reiter's new blog.
Reiter's Camera Phone Report I think businesses are going to be surprised by the value of camera phones. People will find uses for camera phones they didn't anticipate.

Stopping corporate espionage
A couple of weeks ago I wrote in my Reiter's Wireless Data Web Log about an analyst -- a clueless analyst -- who recommended that corporations ban camera phones even if they don't deal with sensitive products or services.

November 6, 2003

Newsgator / Feedster and the Toggle

As my list of RSS subsciptions increases I've had to introduce new strategies. My habits have also changed. Back in May I was experimenting with NewsReaders and I trialed NewsGator at the time. NewsGator inserts itself into Microsoft Outlook. At the time after evaluating a list of them I selected Sharpreader. It remains my primary newsreader some months later. So why did I install NewsGator today?

I realised I had a new option. Sharpreader is currently handling some 180 feeds. I don't always read them all. I've been adding more and more categories (folders), however the most useful emerging functionality for me is the link to Feedster searches. For example "Skype" or "Social Software". Each of these generate an RSS feed via Feedster. See also Scott Johnson's blog. Naturally everyone should have their own equivalent"Stuart Henshall" Feedster search. If you haven't done this for yourself you should. Plus it would be pretty interesting to have an option in Sharpreader that would toggle between the subscribed RSS feed and a Feedster search. I'd immediately see what others were writing about all those blogger I subscribe to.

Concurrently for some weeks I've been wanting an e-mail posting facility for my MT blogs. Each time I looked the instructions were either complex or it looked like more work than I was prepared to do. That's until I saw how easy it has been implemented into TypePad.

Why do I want it:

  • For simple 'cc's" equivalent to a private blog
  • For quick reposting of e-mail newsletters or similar.
  • Posting direct to blog using the "word editor" in Outlook.
  • For posting from mobile devices, etc.

    So I downloaded NewsGator again, installed the MTPlugin for it and now can post direct from MS Outlook to the selected blog. It's not perfect. Unlike wBloggar it doesn't connect directly to categories. Also all posts are "published" immediately. While it isn't a post to e-mail I can at least post with one click from Outlook. I've also used it to subscribe to those neat "feedster" search topic feeds. Concentrated topics! Thus no more worries about all those subscriptions bulking up my Outlook. Just the newsy topics I care about.

    So in 14 days... Greg may get his $29 unless someone suggests a better solution or an easy way for me to do this. Where is MT Pro? Why can't I just buy the MT / TypePad solution? It is closer to what I really want. In the meantime there is always cutting and pasting.

  • November 7, 2003

    Blogging Under Corporate Umbrella's

    I got picked up by Brian Sullivan-+ in Roberts comments for "So why did Microsoft hire such a well-known blogger in Robert? Many reasons I'm sure."

    Certainly no dis-service meant. People are hired on merit. Robert's blog confirmed by the comments is one of the best examples of the "tension" that exists for the well-know corporate blogger. There's also a way that smart companies could deal with it. I still like the fact that there is a Scoble blog. However, what other strategies does Microsoft or any company have when it employees go blogging. How does the corporate strike a bargain with the employee? Is there a set of unwritten understandings? Perhaps it would be better to agree there is a policy and publish it. I'm sure this must have been talked about before.

    It may be worth exploring a "logo" style program. Eg "Microsoft Blogger"
    which remains legitimate as long as one is employed. Later their might be Microsoft Alumni etc. A simple little database keeps these "association tags" up to date.

    Confirms that the bloggers is employed by the company. Other companies could use the same facility for example for employees making claims on Ryze. There is precedent for this. One only has to look at eBay and for example SquareTrade.

    Oblique Strategies

    I'd like a 1975 first edition deck of the "Oblique Strategies" by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Today I had an e-mail from a friend and was following links and wow had to blog it. Why? See the fun stuff below. The BBC provides context of the "place-nireland/A635528">Oblique Strategies" This site is the effective home.

    So here's the fun stuff. Try this out... Oblique Culture(Click the Culture Tab on the right). Someone else was creative in another fashion with this version. Try this one too: Oblique Version 2 in English or French.

    "These cards evolved from our separate observations of the principles underlying what we are doing. Sometimes they were recognized in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated. They can be used as a pack (a set of posibilities being continuously reviewed in the mind) or by drawing a single card from a shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if it appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident." Brian Eno Oblique Strategies

    I just like these things. Sometimes they come in books like Richard Neville's "Footprints to the Future". These types of combinations never solve anything, yet they speak to us and get us to look in other directions.

    Is there a blogging application? Look at this iteration again then hook it up to a newsreader with 1000 feeds and cycle the last 250 news items updating frequently. Throw the titles very fast at me. Enable me to change categories... eg new, tech, etc. Might be more than a toy.

    November 9, 2003

    Wallup / Huminity

    Is Wallup another mix on IM and Huminity? Huminity was a discussion item on the Well reported here back in January Maybe Wallup will solve the "revelation" hierarchy.

    Wired News: Will Microsoft Wallop Friendster?

    Wallop, however, would be open to anyone with Microsoft Instant Messenger. Cheng says building an online network starting with your buddy list makes the networking process more natural. And instead of becoming immersed in a network the size of a city, Wallop would maintain its intimacy by automatically moving friends to the forefront and background of your network based on how often you interact with them.

    Another Indicator of Disruptive VoIP

    It's amazing that the old telcoms industry is still functioning. I'm not in a position to judge this new release from Stealth Technologies. However add this capability to Skype, add easy conferencing and companies like WebEx will be in trouble too.

    <Light Reading - Networking the Telecom Industry

    Any of these options is expensive. Using the Voice Peering Fabric, providers can connect to the peering point that Stealth has built for a fee of $500 per month for each 100-Mbit/s connection.

    This makes it much simpler and easier for these next-generation companies that will compete against the incumbents to connect to each others networks, says Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects, a telecom consultancy. This really going to accelerate the entire voice-over-IP issue, because its eliminating some of the costs associated with offering VOIP services.

    IBM on VoIP

    IBM's case for VoIP During a presentation Tuesday at TechTarget's Networking Decisions conference, Johnny Barnes, IBM's vice president of global IT solutions and standards, told attendees that his company plans to migrate at least 80% of its more than 300,000 employees to voice over IP by 2008.

    Though the ambitious project will replace approximately 900 PBXs around the world with regional IP installations, Barnes said the effort will not only reduce voice costs significantly, but will improve worker productivity by enabling application convergence, as every new application going forward will have embedded voice capabilities.

    Feedster & Skype

    This Skype complaint is one worth looking at a little more seriously. For I still believe that adding a SkypeMe function to Feedster would promote some interesting conversations. The SkypeMe button on my site has certainly worked positively for me. However, I think it is the unintended consequeces of linking Skype to RSS feeds and their resulting searches that will create the real value.

    Need a for example. Bet people start AOL blogs and then send out anonymous SkypeMe personals ads via RSS. You keep the blog and the handle only for that purpose. When Skype enables multiple profiles (lines) some will run more than one blog at once.

    Now if you were AOL you might just put an add in every feed to pay for the blog. Similarly once you find the "anonymized" blog entry... the SkypeMe handle will enable you to search all their postings.

    Debating Turning Off Skype -- Permanently

    I just had the oddest Skype experience. Someone called me. They seemed to know who I was (at least my last name). They accused me of not talking clearly............... I just exited -- and may never run the damn thing again.

    The reason for asking about this is that I've been debating adding a Feedster feature to find Skype IDs and now I'm not sure if its worth the bother. What's the perception of Skype out there? Yes they have > 1,000,000 downloads **but** I've only ever completed maybe 3 conversations successfully. And those three were right when it launched and the load was presumably lighter.

    Feedster - Don't Blog Without it!

    For those of us that can't afford John Peterson's LISA solution then implement this! For your own name, for the name of your blog, for all the things you search for each day.

    The FuzzyBlog

    If you have some topic you follow--if you want your newsreader to keep "pumping" it right to your desk--just do one search for it at Feedster.com. Then, get the rss url of the search itself to transfer into your own newsreader. Awesome. Feedster search rss urls are indicated with these icons:
    -- Gives you the full post
    -- Gives you the summary and headlines
    You don't have to run that search ever again--because your aggregator will do it for you, automatically, and for free.

    November 10, 2003

    Outlook Skype

    Peter Kalmstrom has developed an interesting Outlook application for Skype.

    Outlook Skype
    Why an Outlook Skype application?

    You probably already have a number of contacts in Outlook. This application allows you to use those contacts to call directly via Skype and also store the Skype information directly in the Outlook Contact. The contacts folder can be either a private or a public folder. Using a public folder gives the added benefit of allowing multiple users to share Skype friends lists.

    He's managed a neat instructional demo as well.

    November 11, 2003

    What Kind of Social Software Are You?

    If I woke up and unfortunately found myself as Social Software I'd be scattered to the winds in the Blogosphere. "You comment, you trackback, you Google, you technorati. You wish you blogdexed." So to prove a point I pass this on!.

    what kind of social software are you?

    Someone just worked out how to get a lot of hits! Or was this really the lazyweb in action. Thanks to Chris Heathcoteinspired by Tom Smith " invoke the LazyWeb to make me a "Am I Social Software or Not" site... ." When I read Peter Merholtz comments on Epinions last week this was not the result I expected. Now someone just needs to post the Epinions review to close the loop.

    Networking Dynamics

    If you are not familiar with this.. try it out on your blog and more.

    TouchGraph provides a hands-on way to visualize networks of interrelated information. Networks are rendered as interactive graphs, which lend themselves to a variety of transformations. By engaging their visual image, a user is able to navigate through large networks, and to explore different ways of arranging the network's components on screen. TG: Technology Overview

    November 12, 2003

    Picture This from Korea

    Sometimes I look back and think hmmm that blog came out of left field. That was how I felt when I posted on camera phones. There's an opportunity to use this tech beneficially and I have a particular interest in tying them to photo blogs in corporate environments.

    Well the heavy hand of regulation is falling again. South Korea has mandated that all new camera-phones emit a 65db beep whenever a picture is taken. Now the "beeps" in conferences won't represent deleted audio tape edits. Frankly this type of regulation makes no sense. See Alan's report. Consider too how many times a day one is on security cams (look at England's numbers) and then how long till "nano-dust" is available for pictures? Sprinke and vacuum!

    MT Wiki Knowledge Base

    A very pretty TWiki execution for MT users.

    This is a Wiki. A Wiki is a set of pages that let visitors share their knowledge in a collaborative format. This Wiki is dedicated to helping users of MovableType, a content management system. MT Wiki

    Number Portability

    Looking forward to a little change in perspective? When will the telecoms give us what we want. Carl Ford writes:

    The Carl Ford Blog: Local Number Portability

    For me, my cell phone and my home phone represent very different parts of my life. And the idea that I should combine them means that I will lose the selective call processing capability I gave myself with the cell phone.

    Don't know me and want to reach me? Here is my home number.

    I want to reach you anytime, I call from the cell.
    I expect that about 20% of the landlines will get this kind of migration. I also believe they can get about 5% back in a few years.

    Meanwhile you can still reach me on IM.

    The issue here is not the phone number but managing degrees of access. What it demonstrates is we now want at least three lines each. We're used to a shared home line, we like the personal mobile line, and also have various IM accounts with different profiles. Managing this access is just a nightmare. Similarly managing various devices can be a nightmare.

    In "early days" of Skype I posted on this. Numbers may still be required to connect certain services. However what's really required are relationships, introductions, mediated exchanges, conferencing capabilities. See this too on profiles.

    On the 20% migration claim... I'l like to enable my cell phone to handle a second line that is shared with my family. I can toggle it off /on at various times of day. When everyones phone rings in the house we know what type of call it is. Voice messages there are for all etc. Then the phones really will become wearable.

    That's what still excites me about the Skype type potential. Enabling me to manage access, profiles and multiple lines. At the moment my buddy list continues to grow. I want' to run my own exchange. Guess the phone companies aren't going to encourage me.

    Dinner at LuLu's

    I walked in to a crowd at LuLu's last night and had a real good time. Wasn't hard ---See the list of wonderful people. Was great to catch up with Joi, Phil Wolff, Scott Mace, Florian Brody, Doc Searls, Howard and Judy Rhinegold, Marc Canter, Mark Pincus, Danah Boyd, Dave Sifry, Brit Blaser, Kevin Marks, Daniel James (PuzzleParrots), Timothy Childs (chocolates!), Brad and many many more.

    Many thanks to Jacob and Joi for putting it together. Left with many new thoughts and insights. Plus some nice things to follow-up on. Blogging the detail... ---- here's some links! Thanks guys!

    Had a fun dinner and drinks list night. Thanks for organizing everything Jacob. Jay has some pictures posted. [Joi Ito's Web]

    I believe Im the first to blog the party - as I live closest to the resturant where we just redefined the art of blog parties. Youll be hearing about this party - as just about everyone was there. Joi, Doc, Howard, Kim Polese, danah boyd, Dave Sifry,.. [Marc]

    Jay Feinberg reports..... Joi Ito dinner bash. I hope to say more tomorrow, but I went to the Joi Ito dinner in San Francsico tonight, and it was quite a bash. I have some pictures here! [the iCite net development blog] Heres Doc with Eric Sigler -... [Marc Again]

    Amazing chocolates served last night at the Joi party in SF. [Get Caberet Chocolates]

    Doug Kaye: Tonight was my first Dinner with Joi, and what fun it was. I understand that when Jois in town (wherever that may be) its often an event. I had the pleasure of sitting opposite Robert Berger and David Dolnick, and next to Britt Blaser. Doc [Jeff]

    November 13, 2003

    Feedster Twist on RSS!

    Need to feed on a blog without a RSS feed. Scott and the team at Feedster have the solution! Bet there are more uses too. The it is possible some bloggers won't feel comfortable with any RSS. I registered some blogs yesterday as an experiment. They aren't my blogs. When they start appearing in my Feedster I'll let them know. Combine all these subscriptions by others and this might become a pretty interesting list. Then... could this capture all those magazine sites without RSS?

    Check out http://feedster.com/builder.php. Do it now if you want and read the rest of this later. Its actually pretty self explanatory.

    That's right. If you use this approach of creating your RSS feed, Feedster will take on your RSS serving. We view this as an investment in the community.

    View Extended Entry [The FuzzyBlog]

    November 14, 2003

    Landline May Need A Lifeline

    Combine disruptive innovation, expensive upgrades, overvalued balance sheets, stratospheric sales and marketing costs, old technologies and trouble is on the horizon. This comment is on the numbers....

    The leapfrog effect where one technology makes the next obsolete can work in two ways. The new technology can be so much better that it really undoes the primacy of the former. Or, the new technology can screw up the financial rationale keeping the old tech companies afloat.

    Meanwhile, new phone companies, like the wireless kids and even some long distance carriers, get the same switching functionality for millions less. This adds up to a multi-billion dollar loss in competitive (dis)advantage for every landline company. And none of this appears (yet) to be calculated into their stock prices. Once it is....


    November 17, 2003

    RSS and Employment

    Here's a wonderful illustration from Phil Wolff of how RSS will change the job market. Look up RSSJobs. It's another example on top of Feedster search and subscribe functionalities that demonstrates how RSS applications are being leveraged. If you dig a little deeper you find the same emerging in the other likely places. eBay RSS feeds anyone?

    I've been following two things very closely for many years: content syndication and labor markets. Last week RSSJobs was announced, bringing the two together. Here's my interview with Steve Rose who built RSSJobs. a klog apart
    In a similar vein.... a recent solution for eBay. How well do they work? That may need some trial and error. They are one step closer to a personal newspaper. Be nice to have a drag and drop functionality connecting my RSS feeder to a news sheet? Then I'd have have the option for various timed sessions. Set it as my home page. Might even generate some interesting sections. Feed owners may even help me with the listings.
    A few days ago, I completed the development of an eBay2RSS Generator tool. ..... Which made me think about all the sites web surfers visit repeatedly everyday to check on news updates, item status, prices, new announcements, press releases, tracking numbers, flight status, and so on. Then I thought if we can (Syndicate) such information, by converting it to RSS feeds, that will save web surfers a sizable amount of time. RSS.TechBlogger {tb - eBay RSS Feeds

    It's also possible to find RSS feed links at the bottom of Craigslist search pages. See this example and the corresponding RSS feed. Only problem is when you want a more discrete search there is no RSS feed.

    While I'm about it. I've been creating all these wonderful Google News Searches. They all pour into my e-mail. Don't always read them all. Still why can't I get them as RSS feeds? Seems some have done it. However I think Google terms state that scraping their site is illegal.

    November 18, 2003

    Why Skype Growth is Slowing

    What is ailing Skype growth today? The link below is hardly a statistical sample on Skype yet some numbers ring true. Read it all for more. What underlies the numbers is that Skype growth is changing. New users (like my son are online sporadically, he uses it with friends while teaming up to play games online). For the rest I hear the frequent story of I only have three or four buddies on my list.....

    So a few quick notes on:

  • Number of buddies,
  • Always-on approach,
  • connection quality,
  • Conferencing and a
  • Telephone.

    But more people need to use Skype for it to really have an impact. So far, 67 people have taken the poll, and 64 percent of them say they are put off by the service because they don't know anyone else that uses it. A further 45 percent say they would be more likely to use Skype if their friends and family signed up for it.

    Still, less than 10 weeks after launching, 52 percent of poll-takers think broadband telephony services like Skype will absolutely replace the PSTN. Roughly 47 percent believe Skype won't accomplish this alone, but that future broadband telephony services might do it see Skype Spooks Operators).

    Number of Buddies: When I've spoken to others I find many only have 3-4 buddies on their list. That tends to kill the system, particularly if they aren't live all the time. As the research notes... Skype really works for globally dispersed families. I had a wonderful chat with a friend in the UK who has family in Columbia and the US. He said "Skype changes the way our family communicates". I know it has with mine. However many of these new Skypers are not used to IM and buddy lists. There's a discomfort factor with "visibility". That's going to take more than Skype's current iteration to change. It requires "profile management" with degrees of access. Voicemail would be a big help. Voice-mail cures the interruptions and creates accessibility.

    Always-On: The slowing of those online currently 144000 vs the number of downloads means SKYPE runs the risk of being and "on" or "off" product rather than an always on or one that's always active in the sys tray. Perhaps that is the preferred behavior. However, without the voicemail encouragement that is what it will be. Skype's utility vs other IM systems decreases when treated in this fashion.

    Connection Quality: I've had some occurrences with poor connection quality. I can't figure out what the problem is, why the packets are being lost etc. For the most part the sound quality holds up to the praise Skype has received. However, a new user with poor sound will give up after the first call and will fail to understand what all the fuss is about. I know two people that Skype fails with for me each and every time. One of these guys is a telco exec and the other is a collaboration expert. They have appropriate equipment and we've trialled other VoIP apps together which work. I remain baffled by it. One is local the other is international. I know Skype isn't working for them with other callers too.

    Conferencing: Will be a killer application for Skype. Business and collaboration reasons are great, I also know it will bring many kids along too. I've been watching my son's Skype adoption. He likes the hands free (no telephone to hold) while taking on the gaming world with a buddy. While Socom and other games have enabled it online the sound quality remains poor. They also have little control over who they are playing with. Enable the "pack" and they will run rogue in these games together. Running multi-phone lines off a single PC has been done. It will take something like this for them to move their buddies from AIM to Skype.

    Telephone: I've experimented with USB phones (they only sort of work and poorly so far) and in all cases the sound deteriorates from the headset. I've not tried a bluetooth solution. Although with the right cellphone that might become interesting. Skype and programs like it still need a phone. We no longer communicate locked down to our PC's, the tethered requirement is a deadweight.

  • November 20, 2003

    Skype 0.95 Ringtones! Block!

    Skype releases another update 0.95. However with so many frequent releases perhaps we are just just seeing the same users "download" the latest version. Here's another review "Skype Tops Frustration" supporting my recent post that there are still some hurdles to climb.

    The downloads number remains a fiction for all those quoting it in the press. It doesn't represent users. We may see 2,857,223 downloads today. It's not the audience size. In fact Skype has been notifying all 0.92 users to upgrade. That must be quite a few!

    For the notes. I'm yet to see 150000 online at anyone time although it must be close. Skype still skews to Europe and thus peaks around 12:00pm daily. The number is still impressive, however unless Skype releases more appropriate data these numbers appear to remain very optimistic!

    Skype today announced the release of Beta version 0.95 with several new features and enhancements, including a ring tone manager and the ability to block unwanted callers. These enhancements are a direct result of listening carefully to the demands of our growing user-base (now in excess of 2.5 million downloads). Now you can make Skype sound exactly the way you want by customizing the ring signals used by Skype when someone calls you. In addition, we have added the ability to permanently block unwanted callers as well as global hotkeys. We would like to thank the thousands of users who requested these features by using the forums, and we look forward to continuing to design Skype by listening closely to what our users want. Please see our release notes for a complete list of enhancements. Don't Type... Skype! New Beta 0.95

    To Comment or to Blog

    Jim asks an interesting question. To comment or to blog. Comments or Trackbacks. It's an ongoing question. Like Jim I know of no guidelines.

    For that matter, why, or perhaps when, would you choose to post a comment instead of making an entry in your own blog? The technologies are opening up more choices; are there any emerging guidelines or practices to direct my choices. McGee's Musings

    There are both social and technical factors . For example It may depend on whether you know the blogger and how you envision the relationship developing. It is also dependent on the owner and systems behind the target comment or trackback blog.

    Comments as an Introductory Tool:Comments are a good way to introduce yourself and leave a link to your blog, provide a contact e-mail and interest or a point of view.

    Comment Non Blog related:
    The comment is placed by a blogger on another blog in preference to blogging it on his own. This may reflect business vs personal views, lack of "theme" consistency etc.

    Comments for Speed: I was here, saw your post etc. This is also dependent on whether or not the blogger is visiting the site or simply using a newsreader. From a newsreader it may be more efficient to just link and blog a brief note. Assuming the other persons site has a trackback facility I assume they will be notified.

    Trackbacks broaden the conversation. Thus I'm sharing more social capital and potentially driving more of my readers to your site by bringing the "weight" of my blog to your blog. If it is something I'm interested in or feel that it would usefully extend the conversation then "Blog n Ping" is the way to go.

    TrackBacks in the Comment Pool: Assuming trackbacks are integrated into comments then anyone reading the additional posting later can identify those "blogs" that have also taken up the conversation. This may also be seen in Technorati's link cosmos. I know of no evidence to suggest that a trackback vs a comment is any better at driving traffic back to my site. For the most part trackbacks are limited to the first 40 words. Thus a well thought out comment may actually be better than a clipped trackback at generating interest in what I have to say and write. And perhaps that is the key.

    On a blog that regularly get 20 or most comments ---- commenting at the top of the list (first and early) may be better than a long blog and clipped trackback. With such a site the best angle is probably place the comment early, prepare a draft blog post and then post it later when you can see the 30 comments it received. Now your post provides the contextual "extra" that only a reader of that particular site could receive. I don't know where you would find the time to be so devious --- still.

    There are at least two problems with this anecdotal analysis.
    Visit Behavior: From my site data, actual reads of my main blog page are outnumbered 10 to 1 by unique hits to my newsreader which is split 55% Extracts vs 45% Full Post. So questions? What's the impact of my full feed on drawing people to my site? Would I get more comments if I just stuck with extracts? Do I get more trackbacks as a result of providing a full feed?

    Other Trackback Strategies: If my blog was pinged today it is registered on my home page right column. However, it it doesn't track to any particular entry then it is a marketing ping. Dependent on how I value the post depends on the content I was pinged on. This ping could have just as easily been the dreaded comment spam. So far I haven't heard much on trackback spam. (Googled!) It may be just over the horizon.

    What would help!
    Smarter Comment systems: I noted in "Comments Debate" that I'd like to post a comment and have it copied to my site. Be nice if when posting a comment I could check a box that e-mails it with my comment content to by e-mail address!

    More on Blogs vs Forums: There was an earlier debate on Blogs vs Forums. It's remains an important considering the role of comments and our perspective.

    Forget the distinction. This really all goes back to the beginning. Comments, Trackbacks and Pings should be combined. When related to a post and individual archive on this site they are. In other words why make a big deal out of it?

    Futurism is NOT Dead!

    I appreciated a ping I received from IFTF's new blog "Future Now" today. It brought to my attention a challenging post "Futurism is Dead!" just published in Wired. It brought back Michael Marrion words at the WFS meeting in July. However Michael was constructive rather than dismissive and while I've included quotes from Hope's article below it troubles me that Wired published it. So in a world of uncertainty Wiredshould one have a point of view? First some background:

    Alex provides a thoughtful evolution of the field in response to Hope's criticism. To make it a little more interesting the editor of "The Futurist" responds and of their response you may be the judge.

    Alex's response to Hope Cristol's Wired Magazine article, "Futurism is Dead." [Future Now] is a worthy read for background.
    This was fueled by comments by Hope Cristol who writes in Wired
    Futurism is doomed and not just because fools are endemic to the field. It's doomed because the loosely informed, jack-of-all-trades, trend-watching pontificator (read: professional futurist) is obsolete.

    For starters, we now have a plethora of niche consultants and a booming field called risk analysis, which uses proven actuarial methods. "Everybody's more specialized, so there isn't a market for someone who can speak about very large, holistic matters with any authority," says Mike Marien, a recovering futurist and an outspoken critic of the field.

    Further, we've wised up to the fact that futurism as a discipline is something of a con: Futurists don't have a crystal ball. They examine trends and play out what-if scenarios. Any hausfrau with gumption and a dialup connection can do it. "Does intelligent thinking add up to a futurist field? I don't think so," Marien says.

    Finally, futurism is obsolete because it now has a past: Forty years of failed predictions should be enough empirical evidence to turn even the true believer into a skeptic

    Who would have predicted that futurists would evolve into a scrappy dialogue? In a field where differences are embraced, curiosity, concepts and ideas will be part of the social nature of futurism. While futures, scenarios and strategic foresight has received it share of criticism, it's from those seeking answers rather than better questions. The future is inherently unpredictable. Insight drives the things we do differently. Instead of selling the future, the sale should be made on "curiosity" and "wonder". Only a real pessimist takes the future too seriously. The optimists on the other hand perhaps make too light of the challenge and only speak of those that already seem obvious. Those in the middle are left to do the real work that can harness people, collective intelligence, collaborative methods, and emergent networks, or they can sit on the fence and be castigated.

    While I liked Alex's history and I understand the anger from WFS is it also possible everyone here is looking in the wrong place? Two lessons I learned during my time at GBN and prior to GBN included seeking out "Remarkable People", and the importance of delivering on "Change". Scenarios, future plans, dreams and concepts are nothing if they fail to enthuse the hearts and minds of participants. Organizations that are more adaptive, more in tune with their environment are more likely to live another day. For my two cents it is all about making better decisions today. That require "context". Without context -- the today-- too many projects are just fishing expeditions.

    The WFS response includes a reference to the Internet.

    Membership is down vs. 10 years ago.
    The editorial makes no attempt to provide an explanation. In the last 10 years we got new competition from something called the Internet. And also the economy has been troublesome of late.

    Actually the Internet has accelerated and made even more important the role of Strategic Foresight. In a world of time compression, increasingly interconnected ideas, there are both systemic and intuitive possibilities. Access has never been easier. Ideas about tomorrow have never been more necessary. The difference is we no longer need expert futurists, we need individuals that help people accelerate the capability to make the right "COLLECTIVE" choices.

    Blogging is just one example of the type of emerging knowledge exchange. One can reach more remarkable people though blogging than they could possibly meet though a constructed network. These Living Networks are far more likely to lead to contacts, introductions, conversations and insights, than prescriptions. Organizations that contract out inquiry rather than building the capability to ask better real-time questions remain beholden to a "core group" of thinkers and ideas are more likely to fail. Innovation must be built in. Future Studies won't create innovative networks, people will. However the tools and processes are perhaps even more relevant.

    Still using a blogging example is not enough without building into it the concepts of networks, connectivity and flows. As we move from a command and control hierarchies to peer centric, decentralized nodes and networks our perspective on "Future Studies" has to change. Like Richard Dawkins ideas memes we are seeking an ecology of ideas for COLLABORATIVE rather than Competitive ADVANTAGE. Blogging only begins to illustrate what this journey might be like. Future Studies seen as an "individual" pursuit it is doomed to failure. Future Studies defined in societal terms, collective intelligence, values and leadership remains inspiring, fulfilling and necessary.

    While I grew up in the 60's and we might argue today times are just as exciting perhaps even more so, few of us are really equipped to instill the wonder a moon shot brought, with stories about todays technologies. Rather than big futures, the future is now tiny, miniscule. Perhaps the failure is in the transition. From grand plans, to living systems and nanotech. Our children already are beginning to understand, are networked and connected. Lets hope they retain their sense of wonder. For if we ask ourselves truly why the future is important, it is not for forecasts, trends and ideas, rather it is about desire.

    In closing I did attend the last WFS meeting. I'm not in my view a "futurist" and yet I'm constantly curious about what the future may bring. The "balance" above is one of the things I've learned to help teams implement. It's more about helping to facilitate market changing ideas for businesses, rather than just watching trends. Don't build "futures and trends departments in your companies. Instead build a "curiosity" competence. That requires safety, transparency and for the most part better approaches for sharing insights. So, I couldn't believe the number of people that had been attending WFS conferences for twenty or more years in a forum and format which has hardly changed. This remains their "core group". In a world where digital rights, file sharing, WiFi, VoIP, ---- easy interconnectivity ---I still can't believe I couldn't get a WiFi link at this conference! --- are redefining life. The smartest people I met at WFS were in the audience. The audience was told and talked at. For me that is not the future! For me the challenge for the WFS is to be relevant 20/365/7/24/60/60.

    Possibly some of Wired criticism is correct. If WFS wants to catalyze the future then it must get with the times and accelerate innvotive thinking about the future. That needs some new tools and approaches. Even an RSS feed might help!

    November 21, 2003

    Waffle on Feedster

    Interview provides more insights into Feedster. If you are a Feedster fan read it.
    Under the Iron is a series of interviews with web designers, yahoos and people. A new interview is published every once in a while.

    Ok. I'm a high tech entrepreneur and software engineer. Hate that pretentious entre word.

    I am also a professional search engine geek and most of my career (16 years) has been spent working with search.

    My current project is Feedster, a search engine for RSS feeds (i.e. blogs, newsfeeds, structured data).

    How does Feedster work, and is it popular?

    Popular. Yes. We've only been around since March 2003 and we've seen a rapidly growing and enthusiastic user base. I've heard people refer to us as infrastructure for blogging and there is definitely some truth to that.

    waffle: under the iron - #9 Scott Johnson

    Looking For an Honest ISP

    Great post from Terry and picked up by Matt on "The ISP Nanny State". Interesting insights on the implications of P2P, music sharing and unscrupulous operators. We should get what we pay for. IE Bandwidth. Since trialing all these VoIP services I've also become a lot more interested in whether poor quality is my PC ( is the latest), the cable modem at my end, or the connection with the other person and their equipement. Voice really does make it very apparent. If programs like Skype continue growing will the outcrys become louder? Concurrently, I feel somewhat powerless as Comcast continues escalating prices. However, I've started trying out those speed sites. Perhaps what I need is a full time monitor on my desktop?

    The ISP Nanny State.
    I've become interested in the wireless ISP business, partly because I'm
    tired of the "half-fast" Internet served up by the telcos and cablecos,
    and partly because the cost/quality ratio of radios has improved to the
    point that it's plausible to consider establishing a wireless ISP
    business in some of the growing, but under connected, areas where I
    live. So I started prowling several industry web sites and mail lists
    to get a feel for the landscape.


    Read the rest. Matt adds more including:

    I also agree that ISP's should have no business messing about with what
    I can or cannot do with the bandwidth I have.  I totally agree
    that this no servers business is a load of old crap
    If it's because they are afraid of bandwidth use - deal with that
    problem!  If it's because they think it will undercut their over
    priced business packages - get a clue!  But don't try and tell me
    what I can do with bandwidth I've paid for.  It's none of your

    [Curiouser and curiouser!]

    Blog or E-mail "Status Reports"

    Is e-mail and managing-up the missing links in activating the corporate blog? It's nice to see excitement in posts. Weblogs as Status Reports 2.0 hits a chord. I've advocated Team Briefs for some time, using language that perhaps was too attuned to "down under" (NZ / Australia) and so "Status Reports" just hit a note with me and both Roland and Jim. Blogs are also not easy to introduce. Their comments only briefly linked here are better read on their blogs. They also stimulated another line of inquiry.

    Weblogs as status reports - It can work but the barrier is cultural not technological. (SOURCE:Rands In Repose: Status Reports 2.0 via McGee's Musings)- We've tried over the last 2 years to replace status reports with blogs at a e-commerce company I do consulting for. Success has been mixed. Even though most of the people are engineering staff (i.e. technical people who should have no problem with the 'geekiness' of today's blogging tools), getting them to document in real time what they do has been more difficult than I anticipated. Roland Tanglao

    Jim adds:

    Status reporting should become more about discovering and understanding the implications in those variations. [McGee's Musings]

    There's a hurdle to getting to Roland's more transparent state and solving Jim's creative incentive to write stuff down. Taking the organization forward needs a dedicated blogger to begin with. That blogger must understand categories and the capabilities it creates to repurpose information. So when the new corporate blogger becomes all excited and tries to encourage others to blog he starts showing them the technology. Then the potential co- bloggers go to a new web page (they write almost everything in e-mail now) and are asked to make a post. All of a sudden it becomes hard, they know it is the web, it becomes more transparent (gee everyone will see this) and they feel more vunerable. In addition we probably start asking for html etc. This is a big step. At this point they don't want to learn a new tool. However being pointed to a new "information look-up point" - blog - is much easier to handle.

    I'm sure many bloggers have multiple methods to post to their blogs. I certainly do. So why the tendency to introduce potential new bloggers to weblogs via the blogging tool interface? Let's be realistic. If the format is set up, they are an author on a team or project blog then why introduce them before they are ready. As the manager you need content. You need to make the capture simple, it has to repurpose work that is already done. It also has to be understood that this "blog" is internal vs external.

    How might this solution track?
    Consider introducing your co-bloggers to blogging via e-mail. Give them the remote@typepad.com or equivalent address. Redirect all status reports or what you are trying to capture to the blog e-mail. What's missing here is any capability to add categories. However now a project manager can do that easily converting the posts from drafts to publish status. The new participant can see the updates in the "blog" via the url. In fact confirmations could be posted back to them. Dependent on the blog... either subscribe your new bloggers or alternatively add NewsGator so their RSS feeds become active. It won't be until you are swamped with posts or editing issues that the team needs to become more active and responsible.

    Now we get multiple participants with the blogging manager / owner assigning categories and coaching on posts. In this process there is never anything to stop the new blogger from going direct to the authoring tool. In fact now's the time to start the second blog in parallel that reports on the implementation, enables questions and answers. This is simply a place for learning about blogging. As it is an internal blog, combine it with other easy to navigate features and enable a quick log-in from the home page.

    What's different in this strategy? These initial blogs are more likely to be informative rather than linking blogs. Blogs involved in research and for gathering ideas and spreading memes are more likely to come later or be specific to a particular department. I'd not advocate the above for a research department, however using e-mail to move my reps from e-mail to blogs might well make sense. Similarly with marketing and HR.

    My rule remains that you need the square root of the number of people in the company to really change the culture. Once those up the chain find it is easier, quicker and smarter to access the blog for information you've won. So this brings me back to the old set of questions around you as a manager. As a manager what is your first responsibility? No.... it is not... Your first responsibility is to manage yourself. Now you have that straight, what is your next responsibility? No... it is not!. Now you must manage your peers! So you are being a pretty good manager, your time is controlled, your peers are happy..... Now what must you do? Manage your boss!!! For those that operate in this way will find their reports are already managing them.

    So for my two cents. One of the things we are missing in internal BLOG implementations, is the idea of managing up! We talk about it and see it as a grass roots phenomena. It's why you will really need so few to change the work pattern. When a blog helps you personally manage better, flows more effective information from your department into buckets (categories) that are consistent with what your peers want then you are on the way to winning the blog vs e-mail challenge.

    Using e-mail to initiate blogs starts with tools that people are already comfortable with. Appointing a manager (or two or three) that manage the initial flow helps to build categories and the "managing up" dashboards that blogging pages easily adapt to. Adding subscriptions and RSS keeps people in the loop and yet begins the recategorization process. You copy the blog not CC the world.

    To close I've mentioned before that I'd like to be able to post more easily from Outlook to my MT blog. Even better if it was supported with a plug-in that would enable choice of which blog and the category. When asked today about an upcoming virtual conference, I thought it would be nice to enable all registered attendees to immediately be able to post session comments via e-mail to the blog. Perhaps not so simple. However did wonder if anyone is doing this?

    November 25, 2003

    Imperfect Writing

    Building a list of references last night I randomly came across this gem. My writing is often imperfect although sometimes serious. The context of time is important. So is the flow. At least I can be satisfied I am consistently imperfect.

    But writing imperfectly will let future investigators know that these writings shouldn't be taken as fully formulated expressions of deeply held beliefs. The Net's great transformative power comes from its ability to connect us, but that power is thwarted if our every expression is--or even seems to be--fully formed. We need to see one another's inchoate ideas, the ideas that will turn out to be embarrassingly wrong. Writing them in the perfect prose of the journal article gives them a seriousness they don't deserve, like serving wieners on a silver platter. The informality conveyed by imperfect writing gives us the right metadata . . . and also frees the writer to be wrong in useful ways. www.KMWorld.com Magazine Archives

    John Patrick on Weblogs in Business.

    Bloggings like this. I receive an IM saying read the John Patrick post. I then check my newsreader + Feedster (RSS) to see who's blogged it and again Ross Mayfield is quick off the mark! That's exactly why I don't want to become a link blogger. Roland Tanglao'ss systems pick it up quickly too. There are times when you should let others do the work for you! Like they say. Read this one!

    This CIO Insight interview with John Patrick, former VP of Internet technology at IBM on Blogging in Business is one of the best on the subject yet. John gets bottom-up and translates it well for the the top. Read the whole thing.

    "Knowledge management wasn't overhyped," says Patrick. "It was underdelivered. Blogs can potentially deliver the grassroots discussions and knowledge-sharing that top-down, corporate-sponsored efforts never could."

    ...The goal is to improve the leveraging of the expertise within the department and across the corporation...So where does blogging fit in? It's a way to energize the expertise from the bottom up in other words, to allow people who want to share, who are good at sharing, who know who the experts are, who talk to the experts or who may, in fact, be one of those experts, to participate more fully. We all know somebody in our organization who knows everything that's going on. "Just ask Sally. She'll know." There's always a Sally, and those are the people who become the bloggers. And such people write a blog about, say, customer relationship management, and they're taking the time to find the experts and the links to leverage, to magnify what they're writing about. And from those links people can be led to information and see things in a context they might not have considered before...

    [Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

    November 26, 2003

    What Do You Do During Conference Calls?

    I too wonder about conference calls. Why is it that those back chat experiments work so well. What's really happening?

    CHICAGO (Wireless Flash) -- What are workers really doing during conference calls? A new survey shows most of the time, they're not paying attention to their colleagues.

    The RoperASW/Tandberg poll looked at workers in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Norway and Hong Kong, and found in all countries except America and Norway, less than half of workers pay full attention during audio conferences.
    So what are they doing instead? Twenty-nine percent of British workers say they doodle, while 22 percent of Germans surf the web. Twenty percent of Americans say they have side conversations with someone else during conference calls.

    It gets weirder: 22 percent of Hong Kong workers admit they weren't fully dressed during their last teleconference, while 14 percent of them were doing their makeup or hair.

    Finally, seven percent of Americans admit they've left a call early -- the highest percentage out of all the countries surveyed.

    NCBuy Weird News: Survey Reveals What Workers Are Really Doing During Conference Calls - 2003-11-21

    About November 2003

    This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in November 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    October 2003 is the previous archive.

    December 2003 is the next archive.

    Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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