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August 2007 Archives

August 1, 2007

Test Post

This post will be deleted. Testing an aggregation program.

August 21, 2007

Outing Skype Communications

I just read Jim Courtney's post update on the Skype Outage. I've read many other reports too. For me the disappointment has nothing to do with not being able to call for two days. It's deeper than that. It traces to Skype's external communications and how their Brand has evolved from being community led around sharing to something corporate and out of tune with those that once loved Skype but now just use it.

The outage just confirms once again that "Skype's" crisis management and handling of communications is poor; as it has been since eBay took control. In the end Skype has damaged its reputation because they failed to act in a transparent manner and continue to act a wee bit too secretly. We will continue to use the service yes. Does it make me feel warmer about Skype no... SKYPE has a communications problem and it traces to how they manage their message and brand.

Skype exists because "supernodes" are okay with some users, however the "sharing is good" message is long gone. The difference today is "we" use Skype. That is true whether you are at home or a company trying to build an app for it. There are no real Skype evangelists left. The big ideas that originally fueled Skype and the interest have frankly been reduced to a "service" - can I make a call today? It's useful and a commodity. BTW I quickly connected via Gtalk and Gizmo with those I needed too during the outage. Free calls just remain a little easier and still better on Skype. Eg my iChat - Video was significantly poorer quality.

I'm convinced (and needed no real convincing) that Skype's network works. Whether or not we are on SKype 3.5 or 2.6 (mac) or another version we are at Skype 1.0 still in principle. The P2P underpinnings that built Skype can build more than just Joost and can be leveraged in many new ways. The real disappointment is there just isn't a Skype 2.0 in the making and from a communications point of view Skype remains very 1.0. Social media? Unfortunately, they have never really embraced it. It continues to show in the use of their home page, their forums and blogs.

What we really should be clamouring for is a revolution in how Skype engages and communicates with customers. As for the need to ask them to communicate with partners.... If that was truly built on P2P and augmented by the individual then we could say they really have something. --- BTW... rather than a PR note on the home page today with Niklas signature... a YOUTUBE video would have been more compelling.

Skype has become a faceless corporation and we're just "users" where once we were advocates, storytellers, testers and happy Skypers. Today we are "Everyone" and Users. I'm  sorry, I'm still a Skyper and I Skype. Next time please talk to us for we still do care. In fact we hold Skype's future in our hands.


"Hello everyone,

It’s been a very hectic few days around Skype but I am really pleased to say that since the early hours of Saturday morning Skype has been back to normal. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big, heart-felt thank you to all our users who contacted us with messages of support. It’s the little things that make all the difference in a crisis. We’re very sorry that Skype was unavailable because we know how much people enjoy using it. But we’re back now and we’re stronger. For more information about what happened, please take a look at our Heartbeat blog. In the meantime, thank you to everyone again – you make the Skype community what it is today."

Niklas Zennström
CEO, Skype

Twitter & Collaboration Stories Required

The power of Twitter in collaboration. There is power in serendipity. I don't know how many twits I've seen that are stimulating, rewarding or just bring you closer to others working most often out of a home office. I feel similarly about the Facebook toolbar. I learn about all sorts of recent crisis via Twitter, fire in Ca, Hurricane Dean, SkypeOutage etc. 

onlinefacilitation » Twitter Collaboration Stories

Tell a story about how you have used http://www.twitter.com to collaborate. Please indicate the context as well (I.e. in a K-12 classroom, in a virtual team, etc.)

* Using twitter to find a quote source. FLESH OUT THIS STORY
* Using a twitter network - project twitter on screen in F2F event. Ask a question out to the network. See the (FAST) response. FLESH OUT THIS STORY.
* Find job candidates.
* During a power outage, use mobile Twitter to coordinate information about the nature of the outage and the availability of internet cafes in the area with power for the team to reassemble.

This post motivated by Twitter. Another tool worth mastering. We need to learn how to effectively share our context, and provide updates. Twitter tends to prove the more you give the more you get.

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Brian Solis On Skype Communications

Brian Solis shares where Skype went wrong. Crisis Communications 2.0 - The Skype is Falling. Great post and a great pointer for a case study. Amuses me that he too uses the 1.0 type playbook paradigm. See my post "Outing Skype Communications".  Transparency is key. Real faces are key. Voices are key. Most PR companies don't get social media. Skype's should; it was built and sold on the basis of social media and community support. It was built on stories; by engineers who keep adding features and business development that created API's and new product classes. It was built "urgently" and it peaked when sold to eBay. Make no mistake Skype is still a great company; the technology fantastic, and core stories still strong. However the Brand means less today. Mind control and rationality will be beaten by the heart of social media every time.  When Skype really updates its home page to embrace community it may once again have the chance to move ahead.

Crisis Communications 2.0 - The Skype is Falling

In an almost frigid corporate acknowledgment of the obvious, the company said, "as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days." It continued, "...we'd like to apologize and thank you."

While this is an apology, it really isn't representative of any form of culpability or reassurance that this won’t happen again. Basically we're left with a finger pointing game that blames Microsoft.

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August 24, 2007

Twitterospheric - The Coming Impact of Twitter on PR

Ken Camp brings me back to a post I wrote 30+ days ago. He talks of Yahoo's radio silence after Jerry Yang said I have 100 days to fix the company. After reflecting on the the last few days with bloggers on the Skype outage, and Mattel fiasco perhaps there is something deeper going on.  The whole PR / Branding world has shifted. Are we rejecting in Yahoo a 1.0 model of PR and Branding? The problem with Jerry is he's not apparently 2.0 and social media savvy. There's a social context to the news today; passed virally by bloggers and tweets etc. In Yahoo's case this certainly isn't visible to the outside. The same with Mattel (the ceo should have been in a playroom actually showing he cared about toys etc.), Skype and more. The dilemma for these companies is there's now an accelerated dimension on news and updates. In Yahoo's case we can't feel the pulse and the patient appears to be in distress.

It may be worth at least exploring a world out there where the CEO's are forced to Tweet or they become Twits. This will be less necessary if the organization is more transparent; which is also where shareholder etc have been driving for awhile. While I think this unlikely; the twittospheric acceleration has reached a critical point where it must be part of an organizations strategy, toolkit and tactical understanding if you want to keep your Brand healthy.

Hey Yahoo - Knock, knock. Is anyone home? - Unified Communications

In recent conversations with other blogging colleagues, one thing that's been astounding is that Yahoo has gone what we've begun to call radio silent. Like a ship lost at sea, they are off the radar, status unknown.

Well Jerry, your 100 days are 1/3 gone and many of us are wondering just what the heck is going on at Yahoo. And when we'll hear from you again. You have some of the brightest minds on the planet working there. Sharp, energetic, creative people who not only understand Yahoo's business. They understand Internet business. They're engaged in other places and have their fingers on the pulse of what's going on out here.

August 29, 2007

Blogger's Posts Launch Mosoci

I didn't expect to blog today about new ventures and plans. Then in a world of twitter steams, IM exchanges and general old fashion sharing we often get the "push" that accelerates us forward down the path. I found Ken Camp and Dan York this morning blogging and humbling us with what they had found at Mosoci. Mosoci is the new venture that Dina and I have set up to formalize a collaboration that goes back a few years. There's more at Mosoci where we are still very much in the alpha - beta point of working out how to best integrate our lifestreams. Now we get to do it live.  It's exciting and frankly rewarding to live in a time where news and commentary just makes you say... "Oh Wow!".

We know we would not be doing this without everyone that has read our blogs over the last few years. Social Media built the platform for our collaboration and the sense that our network and community would support, participate with us and help us grow. Now it is beyond an idea and yet it is still being formulated. We certainly don't want to end up as just the two of us. Today though we are happy to feel like we are in a constant state of beta. That's the zone where it is a real rush.

Thank you for your support, praise and interest. Our blogs and blogging will evolve just like our other social media activities are. For example we are really enjoying bringing our bookmarking into the feed. For now our tweets are there too. That may be overwhelming. Then it may also be helpful. We'll let the readers tell us.

It would be great if you would jump in on the conversation at Mosoci and add MosociRSS to your reader. We'd love your feedback and suggestions.

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More on Vista Sucks

Vista is killing Microsoft. A few years ago Jeff Jarvis penned a post about Dell Hell. I don't think Dell ever recovered although they have a blog now. I abandoned Vista and Office 2007 for a MacBookPro just three months ago. My post suggested we need a lemon law for Vista and that everyone tag their complaints with "vistasucks". I never thought I'd be going forth launching a venture that is now totally Mac centric....

Writing to Microsoft — Alec Saunders .LOG

After a long battle last night with my Windows Vista PC I got up this morning and saw that Computerworld is reporting that one in six new laptops sold in the US is a Mac. It touched a nerve, so much so that I sat down and penned this piece of email to senior managers at Microsoft.

Now Alec has more than a simple understanding of how Windows or Vista works and he helped them build Windows Mobile. So he's serious when he puts his blog and his email out there.  He's also effectively confirming something I've already suspected. There can be nothing beyond Vista it has reached the end of its development path. Like Apple where they restarted with OSX and jumped to a modern operating system you can't hide the fact that Vista is a remodel that has happened just one too many times. The Apple shift of Intel is just proving this.

I'm still running XP on my MacBook. However, and it will come as a surprise. It only remains there because I like using Snag-it and haven't found something that works as easy and effectively on the Mac. Note, not Word, not FTP programs etc. Just something simple for screen captures in different formats. In the meantime I've abandoned Powerpoint for Keynote, and Outlook for AppleMail and GMail. IE was long gone. I've added GIMP and Cyberducky and other neat programs. The way the word and collaborative social software is going we really need very little from Microsoft going forward. Just get a blog, RSS and wiki and prove it to yourself.

Part of me wonders why I would continue to blog that Vista sucks when I've given it up. Part of it is morbid curiosity, part is that I like Alec have a housefull of PC's that constantly need new anti-virus systems and more. Thing is... As I've moved on so will the household and the replacements with MAC's... will be much quicker than the usual wait 3-4 years. Already none will upgrade to Vista. Microsoft had a lofty goal of getting into the living room. That's gone. PC manufacturers are in for hard times. 

About August 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in August 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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