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Archive for December, 2009

Do youTwog?

December 28th, 2009

As an LMG (Lifetime Marketing Guy), it’s hard to ignore social media these days.  Many years ago, many of my peers started using LinkedIn; next  we succombed to Facebook – today, most professionals I deal with (in the Silicon Valley) are on both these networks, and several specialized ones as well (such as Gaia if into spirituality, MySpace if into music, Tripit if into travel, etc).

Social Media Evolution

Among my more adventurous venture capital, entrepreneurial and professorial friends, the next step was tackling Blogging.  Several of my friends became pioneers in this area (although for some of them, this has gone from “wired” to “tired”).  In Evolution Of Man2009, the latest hot thing has been Twitter.  Monitoring and interacting on Facebook, LinkedIn or one’s blog are no longer enough for keeping up with the steady pulse of the ‘Net.  The problem is that these are essentially Asynchoronous (I can check every so often, but not all the time). The Real-time ‘Net – which twists and turns every hour of the day. Thus in 2008-2009 Twitter has become the “next big thing”.  This is active and requires a whole new way of thinking.

Passive Participation Will Not build My Brand

As a marketer today, you might study the 100 million blogs already out there, the vice-grip that Google has on most of the Internet and conclude that it has become much tougher these days to become noticed and gain momentum in social media.  Assuming I am  not already a rock star, famous author, or Tony Robbins in the “real world”, I basically have to work hard to get noticed on the ‘Net today. And, I have to build this notoriety one Tweet or one Blog entry at a time.  It isn’t enough to Blog anymore, nor is it enough to jump into the river of Tweets.  Passive participation in all of this will not do much to build my pesonal brand on the ‘Net.   It’s now necessary to “Twog”.

I Twog, Therefore I Am

What is Twogging?  According to previous definitions, it used to mean “the World of God” or “the world of Golf”.  Twogging is my name for a combination of blogging and twittering. A creative intersection, or mash-up (see my previous blog post on Intersectional Creativity), if you will.

Actually, Twogging is much more. With current technologies, one can not only blog (asynchronously) but one might also Twitter (real-time). And, if one is tweeting, then one might as well also pull in feeds from LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook – and publish tweets out to all these popular sites simultaneously. Thus, write one thing, and you essentially go out over 5 or more channels of communication to your audience.  Twogging.

The Art of the Twog

I suspect that marketeers in the coming year are going to get very good at Twogging.  They will find ways of using incentives, posting questions, auto-answering real-time requests, and other means for engaging the audience … all in a CLOSED LOOP system that allows them to pull customers/followers from Twitter and send them to a blog, pull blog readers and send them to Twitter, pull LinkedIn/Facebook contacts and send them to either.

Managing all this has been an artform professed by “marketing consultants” who understand the power of “integrated marketing”…but  I suspect we’ll see a lot more social media management sites and software available in the coming years…dashboards that allow one to Orchestrate all this.  Some of the leaders in this area today are:

- TweetDeck – originally developed as a desktop client platform for managing tweets, I think this company will find it is inappropriately branded as it moves forward -  it allows one to manage feeds/comments from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook simultaneously and will likely grow into a Dashboard of sorts for both real-time and asynchronous communications

- Twhirl – another desktop client that runs off Adobe Aire – and integrates FriendFeed, Twitter and likely more in the future.

- Squidoo, About.com – although these companies has been around for several years, they could be well-positioned for Twogging if they realized that they could enable their users to live in both an ansynchronous and real-time world. At present, neither of these sites capture the components of real-time updates, micro-blogging or tweets.

Finally, the Big Boys (Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn) have an opportunity to become the dashboard of choice if they adopt and “open standards” approach to things and allow users on their systems to create the “My Yahoo” of the social media world.  Google’s purchase of Blogger in 2003, its success with iGoogle (as a home/starting page for so many ‘Net users), its promotion of the OpenSocial API standards and its 2009 launch of FriendConnect, all place it as the center of Twogging.

DoYouTwog3 copy

I myself am Twogging as I post this…both building a following on Twitter, updating my friends on Facebook and LinkedIn AND continuing to place useful posts on my blog site that will continue to build my persona on the ‘Net…

Technorati ID:  HRWX3KB46RVV

“Intersectional” creativity & Mash-ups

December 22nd, 2009

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun… Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-14)

One of my students at UC Berkeley (thanks, Vikram!) pointed out in his Final paper (“personal innovation plan”) the similarities between mashups and “intersectional” creativity.

What is Truly Intersectional?

“Intersectional” creativity is that which occurs at the intersection of several cultures, realms, or even business departments. Frans Johansson, in his book The Medici Effect, presents some strong arguments as to how many great “inventions” and new ideas of our generation come out of this confluence/intersection/convergence/collision of pre-existing ideas.   This, as opposed to a “directional” innovation that is born out of evolution.

Some examples of intersectional creativity:

The intersection between 2 cultures: Trip Hawkin’s (founder of EA) company Digital Chocolate combines a team in Scandinavia (Finland to be exact) with a team in India, a team in Spain, team in Mexico and a team in San Mateo, CA, to create award-winning social games.

The intersection between Realms of knowledge: an Architect in Zimbabwe,  borrowed ideas from desert-living termites (who keep their hills at constant temperature throughout the day, despite several changes in the weather) to design and build a cost-effective, energy-efficient apartment building that stays cool without the use of air conditioning (source: The Medici Effect)

- The intersection between company departments: Pixar is well known for what CEO Ed Catmut describes as the “Collaboration Culture” (see my previous blog on Pixar).  Departments in creative, technology and business fields must work closely together to ensure success of the company’s films.  The result: 10 out of 10 major films of this company have been huge hits by industry standards – no other company in the entertainment industry has this record.

Of Mashups and Men

We’ve seen a crop of new Mashups over the past  few years based on Web 2.0 technologies – some (not all) of which I would term “creative.” For practical purposes, I refer to a Mashup as an application that integrates the best of one or more web services/applications to form something new (and hopefully useful).

One might argue that  the biggest example is Twitter.  The Twitter team came from a history of web 2.0 mash-ups, namely Odeo.  Odeo was originally a pod-casting company, but like most p-casting companies, it fell to the way-side because the usefulness of p-casting requires ubiquitous hardware and a change in basic consumer behavior.  However, the Twitter team discovered that internal mashup between instant messaging technologies and short blogs (or status updates like Facebook) could provide a real-time link between team members. This “intersectional” discovery came from the need for internal members of the Odeo team to communicate with one another. It then became clear that it might be productized.

Google Maps & Earth are another great examples of  mashups.  Google was already mashing geographical data (satellite and terrain) with street/address coordinates  before the company acquired KeyHole Software.   Now Google is adding StreetViews to maps and geo data for even more detail.  And, Google Earth takes its original mash-up between available satellite data from around the world and geographical interface to a new level by allowing 3rd parties to add models of specific buildings and entire cities around the globe.  Other companies are racing to be the first to map INTERIORS of each building (mashup of architectural data and building coordinates).

Thousands of Mashup examples

And of course, there are thousands of other mashups developed by small and large developers that have not yet gained the visibility of Twitter or Google Earth.  Here are a few examples:

  • musical mashups in which video and audio from various sources is mashed together, like the mixes from MashupTown
  • video mashups combining sound, video and images from various sources, like this quite popular one of George Bush and Tony Blair
  • e-commerce mashups such as
  • location-based services, that use GPS or mapping information to identify or meeting up with near-by friends, such as Loopt
  • “augmented reality” mashups that overlay real-life data on top of virtual visual data, such as the newest application from Yelp that overlays its data on top of Google Maps/Earth data

An interesting, but not complete, directory of web 2.0 mashups is found at WebMashup.com and many application-oriented mashups at The Programmableweb.com

Marketing Innovation – Part II

December 21st, 2009

At my course at UC Berkeley on Innovation, Creativity & the Entrepreneur we had an eye-opening class on “Marketing Innovation” -  how the marketing profession/role has dramatically changed in the past 10-15 years, the impact of various technologies on Marketing globally, and current innovations in marketing, ranging from research, to advertising, to promotion, price, product and channel/place (the “Marketing Mix” as taught at the Haas School).

I challenged our 46 students to each go out on the ‘Net and find the best examples that they could on “Marketing Innovations” – both technology-driven and “old media with a new twist”.  Results were FANTASTIC as we collectively found over 90 examples of all forms of creativity and innovation in today’s marketing.

Wanted to share the top trend-setting blogs & sites for Marketing Strategy:

  • Visionary Marketing blog – created by an international set of entrepreneurs/marketers, provides and excellent Blog Roll of many other great spots for Marketing Innovation on the Net.
  • Business Week blog on InnnovationThis blog covers “new innovations in marketing from new tools to how people rethink how to get their messages out.  Marketing Innovation is part of Business Exchange, suggested by Tracy Zhang.
  • Tim Brown’s Design Thinking blog (thank, you, Kavita) – Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, offers his cutting edge views on design and innovation. His posts tend to take a deeper dive into areas such as creative culture and how purpose creates a strategic advantage in the area of innovation.
  • Adam Richardson’s blog (thank you, Kavita) – The Creative Director at Frog Design’s blog on the intersection of design, business, technology,and culture. His posts focus on ways to integrate creative and strategic thinking and approaches to any problem.
  • Online marketing blog (thank you, Angus) – Internet marketing blog on the intersection of social media, digital public relations and search engine marketing. Tons of interesting info. and some interesting overlaps with Seth Godin’s blog – try typing “marketing is ,” or “marketing innovation ” in Google search … makes you think.
  • Future Lab – blog by global agency, FutureLab with lots of entries on strategy and innovation
  • Seth’s blog (thank you, Angus) – Marketing guru Seth Godin’s blog which doesn’t hold punches. Godin founded of Squidoo (http://www.squidoo.com/) which is a user-generated- website that uses the concept of a lens to filter information (like blog posts but within a subject).
  • Web Strategist (thank you, Deval) -  Jeremy Owyang is a web strategist whose target audience is Marketing professionals and CMOs. He writes for Forbes as well.Very practical advice on how to leverage social media for your company.

I’d like to hear about additional sites on the strategic/general topic of marketing innovation…

Marketing Innovation – Part I

December 5th, 2009

Disruptive technologies, and a shift in the ways consumers and business purchase are the culprits behind a massive shift in the world of marketing in the past decade. This shift continues today, as innovations in advertising, direct marketing, public relations, promotions, channel marketing, product marketing, branding, market research, and other areas. I will cover each of these areas in a series of blogs: Part I, II, III, etc….until we get it all covered!

The entire Internet Advertising Space may be $1B in size…Let’s Go Celebrate!

As Yahoo’s original VP Marketing & Sales, I played a role in the beginning of this shift. In 1995, as Yahoo was being founded, we had to consider the Internet as a new medium for advertisers, forge a sales pitch that would convince yahoo_logolarge advertisers to “test out” banner advertising and key-word searches as legitimate ways to market their message. Fortunately, a few pioneers like Citbank, Worlds Inc. and Softbank believed us – and within a year hundreds of advertisers joined the fray. .. But the market researchers at the time thought that ad revenues might shift to Internet to $1B within 5 years – eureka! (?yahoo!?) – we were off to the gold mines, but only a fraction of the world’s marketing was anticipated to shift to online.

OK..well, maybe the entire Online Marketing  Space will be $3-5B in size…

Again, in 1996, working with Bill Gross at IdeaLab,  I brought together a business development and marketing team to assist in the founding of Goto.com (later to become Overture).  Yahoo and Excite were already public by this point, yet the face of marketing was only beginning to change.  The shift to online spending by large advertisers had only just goto_logobegun…but the idea of a SEARCH as a driving force had caught our attention, and the idea of “pay for position”/auction advertising seemed increase our potential revenues, so we tested our ideas…within 15 months Overture went public. ….But the market researchers at the time thought that ad revenues might shift to Internet to $3B within 5 years – wow!  (it was only anticipated to be a partial shift).

Online Marketing is now $45B+ globally and growing fast…

But take a look at recent articles on the online advertising/marketing space and we see that 15 years later it has bloomed into a $45M (2008) market.

Technologies that we now know to be the culprit in this dramatic shift (and some funky examples that you might enjoy checking out over the ‘Net):

  • Social media – The hottest new area of innovation in marketing today is SMM  – social media marketing.  Way way back in 2000, we used to call this “viral marketing”, until actual platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter allowed us to direct eyeballs (well, call them “Followers”) to almost any type of event, brand, or product you can think of.
  • Broadband into the home & workplace – why are my children no longer crowding me out of my rightful spot in front of the family-room television? Because they don’t need to compete with me anymore – thanks to broadband into the home (which I use to watch digital TV advertisements over ), my kids are upstairs in their bedrooms snapping up Coke commercials as they watch their favorite tv shows and movies on Hulu.
  • Digital Video - my favoriteexample,  Where The Hell Is Matt (sponsored by Stride Gum), with 25 million views on Google’s YouTube exemplifies how companies can virally spread their brand or product/services thanks to advances in digital video

Marketing – one tough career ?

The huge variety of technologies that have enabled Innovative Marketing are causing a lot of trouble on Madison Avenue and in boardrooms all over the world…and the job of Marketing has become, actually quite complex, today, because there is no way to compare the impact of one’s branding, direct marketing, advertising, or social media marketing efforts.

In future blogs, my plan is to lay out some of the best resources on the Web for Innovative Marketing, and share examples and trends in each of the major marketing areas.

But, first, I leave you with one a favorite Marketing Innovation, discovered by one of my students at Berkeley (thank you, Joan).  I love this one because it takes advantage of digital video, social media, and plain old smart branding.