Archive for August, 2008
A co-worker sent me a link for Mozilla Labs Ubiquity today. When I clicked on the link, I started reading about Mozilla Labs experiment to “connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.”
Part of the premise is to create a tool that will integrate several web 2.0 functionalities such as having an email that would dynamically include maps and other social features.
For example, I am writing an email to a friend to recommend a great hair salon. Ubiquity aspires to include the map and some reviews of the salon. As I was reading this, it struck me, this is Web Troika!
I will admit, the term started as a spoof when talking about what was next on the internet. However, I am starting to hear the concept of what makes up web troika – the merger of three dominant web concepts: information, aggregation and collaboration – a lot more in the industry.
For me, the idea of Web Troika was founded mostly around the ability to harness the power of the conversation medium and bring it into one centralized place. . . or as Mozilla Labs is calling it Ubiquity.
It will be really interesting to see how this technology plays out of the coming months.
An author named Jim Collins wrote a book called Good to Great in 2001. He and his research team set out to discover the traits of companies who experience success over long period of time had in common. Collins found that many of these companies challenged the conventional notions of corporate success.
As part of this book, he identifies some key concepts that help explain these great companies. These concepts are:
- Level 5 Leadership
- First Who
- Confront the Brutal Facts
- Hedgehog Concept (the Three Circles)
- Building your Company’s Vision
You can read a little more in-depth about these good to great concepts on Collin’s website.
Now I will answer your question of why any of this information is important in the online marketing and emerging technology world. I think our industry can be examined through this lens. Over the next few weeks, I am going to go through each of these concepts and apply it to some aspect of the online marketing or technology world. Next week, I will be posting about Blog about Level 5 leadership in the online world, and think about how to spot it – or the lack of it – at your company. See you tomorrow.
When everyone was making technology predictions at the end of 2007, I boldly stated that 2008 would be the year of the Widget. I have made the occasional tweet about widgets as well.
Finding their foothold in the Facebook/MySpace work, marketers are now thinking of about widgets as a means to spread content and to make money. The Search Marketers have also jumped on the band wagon to use widgets to drive content dissemination and create valuable inbound links.
With people using widgets in a tactical way, I kept thinking that a lot of useless widgets were being make for the sake of the aforementioned objectives. I discovered a new tool called Widgenie that strikes a nice balance between capability and content.
Ok, it is not a great name, but it is a useful online charting tool that produces widgets. It was really easy to get off of the ground (I added one to the bottom) in a matter of minutes.
It is a nice use of widgets because it allows authors to add supporting charts and graphs without having to embed charts. I find it is easier for some users to see the visual instead of just reading the statistics.
In addition, the widgenie graph will allow other users to pick up the chart and use it as well. Aside from being an assistance to readers, the idea conquers the other objectives of content dissemination and inbound link growth.
When I was on the way to a Web Association meeting last week, my co-worker pulled out his iPhone to check for directions after we hit an unexpected detour. I think that specific feature is one of the strongest assets of the iPhone.
However, a map is helpful only when you know where you are going? What if you want to explore?
Enter Lonely Planet. Lonely planet is an organization committed to “independent travel, trustworthy advice and editorial independence.” Basically, it creates some of the best travel guides in the business. As a matter of fact in October 2007, BBC Worldwide acquired a 75% share in Lonely Planet.
So you are thinking – great I can get a Lonely Planet travel guide and look up the map locations on my iPhone or SmartPhone. Well Lonely Planet was thinking, we will give you the guide on your smart phone and tap into your GPS to give you a map as you explore.
I really like how a company with a sense of adventure realized how to take the next step. It understood how to merge several columns of Web 2.0 technologies – the web troika effect – and create a useful and innovation tool.
With more and more mobile phones being equipped with GPS; and Nokia projecting that half of mobile phones will have GPS in two years, Lonely Planet is nicely positioning themselves to be a leader in mobile interactive content.
Do you love Google, but don’t want to be bombarded by Google Results from Knol, YouTube or Blogger?
A niche search engine has started with just that concept. Google minus Google brings you the same power of Google search, but weeds out the Google properties. Ironically, using a Google custom search.
It is an interesting reaction to the scuttlebutt about Google trying to be a media company. The recent launch of Knol, dubbed as the Wikipedia killer, is an interesting maneuver from the search giant in its quest to move into content.
Granted, Google is powerful; and it has become more successful in getting people to use their tools by pulling a card out of Microsoft’s playbook – bundling.
Now that Google has managed to create single sign ons for most of their properties, users can more easily float between applications without remembering new password or logins.
This single fact might make Knol a growing concern for Wikipedia. However, I am not quite sure why people would want to limit the resources through which you find information by eliminating Google properties.
A few weeks ago, I went into Ask.com to look for some alternate results. Sometimes, when I am not happy with Google, I will throw a few searches to their way.
I noticed something odd at the time, but was too busy to look any further. Today, when I did another search on Ask.com, I noticed the same thing. It seems like Ask.com is appending URLs and keeping traffic on Ask.com.
Not sure what I am talking about, I created a Jing capture to demonstrate the Ask.com issue.
I did some searches on Google for any information about it. I also did a query on SearchEngineLand.com because they seem to talk about every detail of the search world.
Nothing. Maybe this tactic is such old news, but I dip into Ask with enough frequency that I think I would have caught it before.
If this strategy is really going on, it leaves me with two major questions: 1- this tactic is something that about.com had used but was transparent about and 2 – is Ask.com so desperate they they have to resort to amping up traffic to stay afloat?
Does anyone have any info or thoughts on this?
My last post was about horizontal web design. What if my artful words (okay so that might taking a liberty) could be turned into art? I could be very web 2.0 with a word cloud.
Wordle has just the thing.
I have seen these cool graphics in different design magazines. I haven’t ever had the time or the talent create one that looks good.
What if you could take the contents of your website and make it this type of graphic? With Wordle, I did just that. I entered the content, clicked a button, and presto!
Wordle has a nice online gallery to give you an idea of some of the things you can do.
Maybe influenced by the Apple image carousels, its seems there is a new crop of websites with horizontal scrolling popping up. Aside from seeing these websites sprinkled throughout my searches, it seems there is starting to be some chatter about the horizontal layout trend as well.
I think there is time and place to use the concept, but it is really tough to break a decade of conditioning to use the vertical scroll.
It seems like the very stylized horizontal websites are very dependent on flash. The ones who are using ajax or CSS don’t have the same appeal with going horizontal.
It also seems that the websites that are using that format are relatively slim in terms of content (with the exception of the Urban Outfitters Blog.
It is a nice concept to keep in your back pocket and there some easy ways to created horizontal scrolling code.
I wrote my last post about a twitter-style team management tool. After I did that, I started thinking about the impact of using a tool or why you would need to use a tool like it – or any management tool for that matter.
Ultimately, I kept coming back to the same reason – the inability to communicate effectively across your team or with your clients. Since the speed of the online world often feels similar to Michael Phelps in the pool, it is often difficult to have complete communications.
So what is it that makes some technology tools so successful at companies and complete failures at others. First, we can examine the tool itself. Some people can be really successful with totally crappy tools (MySpace). However, many tools are accepted and used for their utter simplicity (Twitter).
I am getting off track. What makes a tool successful – really? For me, it kept coming back to culture. That word can be interpreted many different ways, but for the sake of this argument, I am talking about Corporate culture. It sometimes is not really about the tool, but the reason your company went to seek it out in the first place.
Do you work for the type of organization where people are trained to communicate and an emphasis is placed on mastering that? Do you work for the type of company where finger pointing happens from the top down? I think you can guess which company is going to be more successful at leveraging communication tools.
If you work for a company where the management expects process to be followed, yet unscrews the light bulb and keeps the ranks in the dark, it is going to be nearly impossible to have constructive growth, create a positive work environment or keep talented staff.
So is this something that we think about at Optiem? Well, you be the judge because it is a panel we suggested for SXSW.
More importantly, what do you think about it?