September 23, 2003

Eye for Intelligence: Good weblog with links to stories on Internet marketing news and information intelligence. Like MarketingWonk but without the smart-ass comments ;)

September 22, 2003

It's the Contact, Stupid

Great quote which, if followed, will propel online marketing to 2.0 "In an interactive space, content is not king. Contact is." -- Douglas Rushkoff


I just dowloaded Skype. Of course I don't know anyone who is using it so it's kind of hard to see how useful this will be. Seems like it'd be a great dating tool ... although I don't have any use for that anymore. Be available to anyone who wants to chat seems a little scary too. There should be some way to at least search for people by interest. Also, how is Skype protecting against spammers? okay, more questions than answers, guess I just got to try it.
Cool discussion forum / blog thingie on the mobile internet I just came accross .... The Feature

September 17, 2003


I was just starting to blog about how I wasn't going to make it back from Chicago because of Isabel and what a pain it was going to be to get my travel plans situated.

But 60 Minutes II was on and Dan Rather was interviewing two soldiers from the Iraq war who were held prisoner for 21 days. They were beaten with sticks, kicked and hit after being captured. Moved to a jail in Baghdad with a "tin roof" during the most intense bombing by the Americans. Their 3-foot thick jail cell walls shook. They never comprehended the might of U.S. force until they witnessed it first hand. They thought they were going to killed by friendly fire while held captive. One smiled at the guards every time a bomb dropped while the whole building shook to give himself a small victory. They heard American tanks roll in and thought they were about to be rescued just to be swept up by guards and driven around to probable targets to be killed. They were driven through the cross fire at 100 mph in the back of a small ambulance which leaned on 2 wheels as it took turns. They were brought into a small village and kept captive in a house. A Commander got a tip they were in the house. And with "professionalism, just how they were trained" hard-fought Marine killers who marched from Kuwait stormed the house and rescued the U.S. soldiers.

Mixed up travel plans aren't so bad after all.

September 16, 2003

Consumers: An Open Source For Open Source Innovation?

Renee Hopkins posts a very interesting conversation she had with Andy Hargadon, author of How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate. Andy argues that using lead consumers in the development of your products is a kin to open source and innovation in the early days.

Good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity came mostly from the "open source" nature of the early mechanical equipment used in agriculture and manufacturing. The wheels, gears, cranks, belts, pulleys, sifting, sorting, bundling, bobbing, and weaving were all right out there. If anything broke, workers in the field and factory fixed it — and if they were worth anything, improved on whatever it was that broke. James Watt "invented" the steam engine when he was asked to repair a Newcomen engine and turned it from a single-stroke to a two-stroke piston action. Much of America's rapid advances in industrialization in the 19th century came from these self-taught mechanics who moved from fixing equipment in their small towns to developing their own more radical innovations....

Is this bad? It depends on whose perspective you take. McCormick (of the reaper) and many others found that farmers and local craftsmen were knocking off their products (and improving upon them) in ways that both made it hard for them to amass fortunes, but also in ways that rapidly improved on the technologies. Patent and copyright laws protect the first to claim legal ownership, but deny the origins of their work and, as badly, forestall future improvements by others.

more on enabling lead consumers in product innovation here.

September 11, 2003

Washington Post covers Tuesday night's business blog panel here.

September 10, 2003

Last Night's Blog Panel

Last night's Conversations with Your Market blogging panel went well. The audience was surprisingly light on bloggers -- most were just interested in learning more about "what all the hype" has been about. I'd say the break down was about 40% bloggers, 40% blog "voyeurs" (a term used by panelist Mike Hazzard), and 20% just curious.

The panel discussion was engaging and typical at the same time. It was probably the right mix for audience we had. No new ground was broken and Debbie Weil (who I realized I had been mispronouncing her name since subscribing to her newsletter --- its 'wile' not 'weel') said as we were leaving "It went well, but I'm not sure what we accomplished" to which I replied "Isn't that what blogging is all about?"

One of the topics included whether aggregators will replace email newsletters. Not until recently have I thought perhaps. But it makes total sense to me. Why not subscribe to RSS feeds and have them pulled from a website when email is overwhelming in its volume of not only spam but legitimate email. I give it 2 years until most email newsletters are delivered via RSS. Some of the audience members gasped when Bill Kearney, RSS guru, suggested such a thing.

One other interesting thought I had about the panel was Jeanne Jennings who is an email marketer, kept referring to herself as a contrarian. I thought business blogger proponents were the contrarians. It seems that a shift was made. She's not anti-blog, but thinks they aren't the most effective business communication medium. Jeanne made a terrific point about business blogs .... "I'm a business person, if it's not affecting the bottom line it's not for me." Great point, but I think we need to look at the long-term effects in terms of customer loyalty. If anyone can take a look the recent Harvard Business Review, Hailley Suitt has a terrific fictional case study about a woman at a medical supply company who started a blog without the knowledge of management and attracted quite a loyal customer base for a line of gloves her company was selling. If blogs can create that kind of affinity and can create conversations within a market among your customers you're achieving something that marketers rarely could do, leverage word-of-mouth. Even business people should like that. ;)

After the panel there was some good mingling in the crowd. For the blog newbies, I found some skeptics. Who is going to pay someone to blog all day? Who has time with all the other things that go into a typical work day? I see no difference between blogging and discussion groups. All valid points, but I'm sure someone's salary is much cheaper than most advertising. I bet within any organization larger than 20 people there's a natural born blogger in there that is waiting at the wings to let it all out. Blogs, unlike discussion boards, give the blogger ownership of a website. Conversations are carried across websites, as opposed to on them.

Several audience members told me they learned a lot. It was a great experience for me as well, as I had never moderated a panel before.

September 08, 2003

Conversations with Your Market ... and Me

Tom Tweedy has asked me to moderate the New Media Society's panel on business blogging tomorrow night. So if you're in DC, be sure to come check it out. I've very excited as there are some super smart and super successful people on the panel. Debbie Weil, Stowe Boyd, Michael Hazzard and Jeanne Jennings.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Stowe Boyd is working on the West coast. But Bill Kearney from Syndic8 has graciously agreed to fill-in last minute.

Thanks to Rick for passing along my name.