31 May 2008

Customers & Web Page Peformance Expectations

The faster and better the web gets the higher our expectations become. For example, "[n]ewer evidence shows that broadband users are less tolerant of web page delays than narrowband users. A JupiterResearch survey found that 33% of broadband shoppers are unwilling to wait more than four seconds for a web page to load, whereas 43% of narrowband users will not wait more than six seconds (Akamai 2006)." [Soufce: The Psychology of Web Performance]

This is an important issue to keep in mind when designing web pages. It is very tempting to load up our websites with interesting and funky stuff that we love. Stuff like flashing images, movies, sounds or music, huge pictures, etc. But the question that must be asked: is this stuff driving away our consumers? Does the self indulgent use of funky technology and graphical features on our web pages actually repel our audience?

I think we are underestimating the utilitarian approach of users these days. People used to just browse the web for fun and discover stuff. But now our use of the web is much more directed and we are time poor so don't want to faff about too much.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

30 May 2008

PDC 08 & WomenBuild... inspiring career paths in technology

PDC 08 is the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference being held this year in Los Angeles, California from October 27-30. PDC is the conference where Microsoft displays its upcoming technologies, roadmaps & gives a sneak peak into the future of the Microsoft Platform. Its targetted at Solution Architects, and Cutting Edge Developers.

Check out Ms Eibner's post on this, BTW she's another inspiring woman in technolgy here in Australia.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

29 May 2008

Some Good Customer Service

Just had a totally different customer service experience with Joven of Virgin Mobile, at Centrepoint in Sydney. Got a new mobile broadband modem and had a few issues connecting it to my Macbook. He sat down and fixed it for me, told me to call him if any other issues.

Walking away is a really happy customer and of course, I'll tell all my friends. Even more, I'm likely to deal with this company again and to recommend them to others.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Musings on Customer Service

A really unusual thing happened today. I had some spare time in between meetings and found myself in the city shopping precinct. And, since I’ve needed a new watch for a while, decided to go shopping.

I have no preconceptions regarding price – I just want a nice looking silver coloured watch that I can swim in, and that has some cool features that I’ll probably never use. I don’t care how much it costs really, as long as I like it.

Mission in mind I went into Angus & Coote, a large retail jewellery store in Sydney. I wandered around looking at the watches for a good five minutes. The store was not very busy and it was not lunch time. No staff greeted me or asked if I needed any help. Eventually, I called out to a staff member asking if someone could help me. She said she was busy with another customer, but did not offer to get someone else to help me. So me and my credit cards (gold, platinum, charge, Visa, Master, Amex, and debit cards) just walked out.

Funnily enough anyone who had bothered to talk to me at that store could probably have sold me a watch for a substantial sum. This is likely because I am a tragic gear freak. But nobody even said hello. That’s what us geeks call an “EPIC FAIL”.

Here was a customer who needed only a moment of effort to covert them to a sale. Now I’m going to tell all my friends about this experience. It’s not going to be a positive story about Angus & Coote jewellers in Sydney.

Further, now I’m going somewhere else to buy a watch. I’ll probably even tell my friends about that too.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

28 May 2008

Connectivity, Transparency and Truth Telling

When HTML was first invented I got really interested in the precursor markup languages and did a bit of research on them. I discovered TeX, GML, SGML and learned how they had been used. Then I started to learn about HTML. It was elegant and simple, almost sparse. An ordinary person like me could develop web pages and connect them to other web pages armed with nothing more complex than a text editor.

But the possibilities and power grew when HTML was coupled with HTTP and TCP/IP. This is where the connections of hypertext were enabled. It was such a revolutionary thought - that it is possible to connect texts which were previously unconnected. Joining up ideas and morphing them into new ideas in ways that are impossible in paper based text. Hypertextuality provided the platform for hyperconnectivity. But where is all this going now?

It is moving towards decentralisation of power and towards transparency because everyone and everything is becoming connected. The mutual interconnectedness of all things is not just an idea anymore, it is becoming a reality.

This means that truth telling is the easiest option. Since, if everything is connected and transparent, falsity will be uncovered. None of this means that we will necessarily transition towards more democratic forms of political organisation. More likely it will organise around current political infrastructures.

Once it is possible to connect ideas, and to thus spark new ideas, other factors come into play. Human factors. We are social animals and behave in certain fairly predictable ways. A really strong drive in humans is the creation of communities or tribes. There has been a growth of social networking and web 2.0 based user generated content capabilities. This enables normal human beings (with little or no technical knowledge) to create content, connect their content to communities and share knowledge and information in new ways.

Once mobile connectivity is mature this tendency towards connection and community will really start a revolution. The possibilities that we see now are only just a glimmer on the horizon.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

27 May 2008

Skills that should remain hidden ...

A tweet from my Twitter buddy Warlach earlier today got me thinking about certain skills that one should never admit to having mastered.

Many years ago Wendy McCarthy told me that in her youth typing or shorthand were skills to which an ambitious young woman should never admit having mastered. This was good advice and it ensured that I remained a purely non-administrative resource and never had to serve coffee as part of my duties.

Those particular skills are now pretty much obsolete (refer to Obsoleteskills.com for more of these) but there must be modern skills that once admitted to will pigeon hole you in ways that can only be escaped by fleeing to a new job (possibly in a new city).

One skill I have learned to deny is any facility in supporting any technology like PCs or photocopiers. I confess to complete ignorance of such technology - otherwise you end up helping anyone who can't be bothered to RTFM. What is really interesting is that this confession soon becomes reality given how quickly the technology evolves.

Now I'm wondering what the other skills that should remain hidden are?

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

26 May 2008

Twitter is a real community

This snapshot of life in the raw on Twitter shows the reality of life in a community.

BTW congrats to @markdavidson and @DaisyAvenue

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

25 May 2008

Twitter = FAIL + humour

... hat tip to Duncan "Cuddles" Riley for the video - at least this gives me a chuckle :)

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Twitter Problems and Planning for Success

An exchange with Michael Krigsman and Ed Yourdon on Twitter this morning prompted me to post my thoughts on this topic.

To be clear on my position - I am a Twitter user and love the kind of communication and connectivity that it enables. I really want Twitter to be successful and stable. But I am also a user who is totally frustrated by the technical and management issues that impact on Twitter's stability, usability and functionality.

The problems demonstrated by Twitter seem to fall into three distinct areas:

a) people are using the product in ways that were not anticipated by management

b) the platform is unable to scale to the actual number of users and is thus shockingly unstable

c) there appear to be severe architectural issues contributing to the ongoing instability problems

Items (b) and (c) are failures of project management; while (a) seems to be a failure of product planning.

I can see how it all happened. Some experienced start-up guys got together and built something and released it into the wild. It took off in both anticipated and unanticipated ways. But there does not appear to have been an underlying architectural approach that took into account the possibility of success and the need to scale rapidly at both hardware and software levels.

Many have commented on the use of Ruby on Rails and its potential role in these problems. But if you are creating a product that will potentially be used by multiple millions of users around the globe then you need a plan for success.

At least now Twitter is communicating more openly about the nature of the technical problems they are having. Today it is a database crash. Yesterday it was something else. Tomorrow who knows?

There are two things I do know:

1) a lot of people love the way Twitter lets them connect to each other

2) there is a short window for Twitter to fix itself before someone else takes its place

I really hope that the Twitter folk get their acts together, because there are already calls for other products like "FriendFeed to kill Twitter".

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

More on Hyperconnectivity

When Mark Pesce talks about the power of social connection and technology it all makes sense. Here he's giving the keynote at AuRemix 08 and talking about the real power of of the internet and social networking. He is also sounding a call to action for those of us in business to use the technology to connect with each other in more authentic ways. The life of a cube dweller is not a good one, disconnected from real life in so many ways. But with this ability to use the power of hyperconnection we can become more than the sum of our parts. Worth listening to the whole thing ...

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

23 May 2008

Websites 'suck' today because of the 'hippo'

These comments by Avinash Kaushik, Google's analytics guru, are true for many corporate websites. He "thinks one of the reasons why so many websites 'suck' today is because of the hippo - as in the 'highest paid person's opinion.'

And, yes, you're likely a hippo - a successful advertising executive, CMO or brand manager, pulling in a six-figure income, often found pontificating about what does and doesn't work online. You use tried-and-true metrics such as unique visitors and click-through rates to decide on the best design for your landing page or what content is best suited on your product site. "
[Source: AdAge]

In my experience it is often the least qualified person in the building who gets to decide the design and functionality for the company website.

This is a a fascinating phenomenon. In many other industries people actually take notice of their domain knowledge specialists. You don't find people telling the bridge engineers to move this pillar over 3 metres to suit a personal aesthetic. But in web everyone is an expert and can tell you how to do your job.

Many people working in advertising and marketing are steeped in print media tradition and knowledge and have little understanding of what the web is like and how people consume that media. I do wonder if this will change with a new generation coming through or not?

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

21 May 2008

FITT Sydney lunch

At the FITT lunch in iMAX Theatre. The topic is womens' communication needs and how new technology like unified communications can help us. The panel members are:

  • Patricia Scott, Secretary of the Federal Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
  • Holly Kramer, Group Managing Director, Product Management, Telstra
  • Adele Whish-Wilson, CEO Momentum Technologies (Australian Innovator of mobile video streaming technology)
  • Dr Anna Liu, Group Manager, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft Australia

Panel Moderator: Beverley Head

Interesting takeaways ...

Patricia - spoke about how the debate has been focused on telecommunications issues like Telstra ownership & broadband. The challenge now is to actually get broadband out to all of Australia, need to get basic infrastructure right. But womens' participation in IT/engineering education is falling.

Holly mentioned that Telstra is passionate about usability and user experience

Adele talked about work-life balance and how we need to set boundaries between work and personal life. Don't be afraid to use the off button.

Anna spoke about demands of young family and about being connected via social networking (like Twitter). How she tried out the new technologies and found out some interesting stuff. But you need to have some time off and we have the ability to choose how we interact, interconnect & contribute. Also spoke about our leadership role in setting example for next generation of women to join the IT industry.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

I know I said not going to CeBIT but ...

actually CeBIT is a great place to catch up with people in the IT industry in Sydney. Many people go, after all it's an afternoon out of the office. And even if you're not interested in the content, the social side of things can be good.

Here's an action shot of me & a friend discussing a little start-up thingy we're planning (that's brainstorming in action in the Bloggerzone at CeBIT). There's even coffee available. But it is far away from the Bloggerzone so get someone else to fetch it if at all possible.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

20 May 2008

Thoughts on CeBIT Sydney 2008

Dropped in at CeBIT for while today. Was at the Bloggerzone for the royal visit of uber blogger and web entrepreneur Jason Calacanis and his entourage of men in suits, then wandered about checking out the exhibits and running into various friends and acquaintances.

It's a pity the wi-fi connection in the Bloggerzone was so flaky, made blogging from there a challenge. I know I could do it from my phone, but the keyboard is too small for anything longer than a microblog post.

One thing that struck me this year was the increased number of consumer and retail focused stands; also many more exhibitors from Asia.

It seems to me that CeBIT is a workmanlike event that provides a platform for exhibitors to show there wares. But the funk factor is almost entirely absent. There were not many cool things that grabbed my attention.

There was one cool thing that I really liked - a portable pocket projector that is due to hit the streets later this year.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

CeBIT Sydney 2008

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

16 May 2008

Cool Crows at TED

I've always had a fondness for crows - perhaps because they wear black? Joshua Klein is fascinated by crows too. He's made an amateur study of corvid behavior, and has come up with a vending machine that sparks ideas that may enable new relationships between animals and human. Here's his TED talk, it's very cool ...

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Generation or perception gap - the ADHD kids and the grown-ups?

A few people mentioned that they really hated the live blogging that went on during Interesting South the other night. From their perspective it seemed rude that the audience was not totally focused on the speakers and 'in-the-moment' and visibly paying attention.

I found this interesting because I cannot really just sit there and listen to someone without doing something else. For me to take in audio content I need to do some other physical activity (doodling or driving are great). So for me, live blogging an event is really helping me to lock into what the speaking is saying in a kinaesthetic way. Note: I have been diagnosed with ADHD and am advised that this kind of behaviour is quite 'normal'. Also many of my friends display the same kind of behaviour - they are also into live blogging stuff.

But these comments made me realise that there is (perhaps) a new kind of gap rather than the old style generation gap. This new gap is between the parallel processor people and serial processor people - a gap between styles of attention and perspective.

Realistically each group is going to drive the other nuts - should be interesting to watch!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

15 May 2008

IT Project Failures?

My buddy Alec the Geek often makes very sensible and considered posts that get me thinking. Other times he just says stuff that I agree with because it is so simply obvious (and thus it is ridiculous that there should exist a need to comment at all).

Thus Alec's recent post on Software development the Gordon Ramsay way got my head nodding in agreement and then got me cross that such basic concepts still seem so foreign to builders of software.

I continue to be amazed of how many places just do not have the basic principles and practices of software development in place.

Collectively we have killed forests of trees and wasted centuries of time writing systems development methodologies, software engineering standards, even a Software Engineering Body of Knowledge. Yet still we have the same poor practices and lack of discipline that often makes our industry look like a badly organised team of chimpanzees.

Michael Krigsman cites a litany of examples over at his IT Project Failures blog. Almost without exception, each example shows how the failed project did not follow accepted and documented best practice.

It is very strange to me that one definition of insanity (attributed to Albert Einstein) is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". What does this say about the IT industry?

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

13 May 2008

Mental Detox = FAIL, what did I learn?

Well I lasted one whole day without using Twitter or blogging. And I came to the realisation that my personal and business lives are so completely intertwined with each other and with technology that is not feasible to disconnect from them and still work. The only way to truly disconnect is to go on a holiday.

Yesterday while disconnected from Twitter I missed out on hearing a friend's good news (he's off to a glam geek job in San Fransisco - tweet him with any good drinking holes there). And from reading the logs there was a lot of relevant business discussions I missed out on as well. Not to mention not live tweeting Interesting South last night.

The other realisation is that, much Pepys, I do like to keep a diary and this blog is it. Also I discovered that I think much better without a pen in my hand. The words flow more readily from my keyboard onto a screen than in longhand onto a page.

Another discovery is that I don't have a lot of my friend's phone numbers stored in my mobile phone. This is because we tend to communicate via a mesh of social networking platforms - Twitter, Facebook, Pownce, Jaiku, Brightkite, FriendFeed, Ustream, our blogs, etc. Thus we rarely actually talk on a mobile phone, we merely use it to connect via those other channels.

So the big question now, after this FAIL for my Mental Detox Week, is what to do next? I think the answer is to be more mindful of my use of technology and to try and connect more into the physical world. To that end it's time to walk the dog.

PS: for the record Steve had a FAIL early morning yesterday and Hissohathair is still hanging in there but missing his iPod on the bus

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

11 May 2008

Mental Detox week 12-17 May

I'm getting worried - how am I going to manage being disconnected from my geek toys for a week? Will be interesting to see if any one technology causes me break the planned holiday.

Have my copy of War & Peace ready to read, and planning to write some stuff by long hand in a notebook.

Here is explanation of this whole crazy idea!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Precepts of various religions - ongoing series of posts

Just realised not everyone is psychic so thought to explain the series of posts about various religions. Since this blog is help me recall interesting stuff I find in my wanderings I have decided to post the basic precepts for some major (and a few minor) religions. Hence there is a series of posts on this theme.

Please note that my posts do not imply endorsement of or recommendation for or against any particular religion or religion in general.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

The Precepts of the Catholic Church

1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
We must "sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord" (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, "and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days."

2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament "continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness."

3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
This "guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy."

4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
"The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart." See below for more about fasting & abstinence.

5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
"The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability."

[Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2041-3)]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Next big thing = the internet for things

At the moment the internet is useful for finding information or for communicating - it does not readily link back to actual physical things in the real world and their geographical locations. Nor does it enable us to drill down deeper into such information while we are on the move.

What is coming soon is the ability to find things in real life using the internet. The capability is evolving and mashups of place information with Google maps is a good example. There is a great collection of 50 Things to do with Google Maps Mashups that shows the possibilities.

Today if you are in a store and want to know more information about a product there is no easy way to find out. Of course, that is apart from the helpful and attentive sales staff (who are probably hiding in the broom cupboard with the Easter Bunny). We cannot easily store information within the item about its provenance, and other rich information like its environmental footprint. But the internet is really good at storing information like that. What we need is a way to connect the physical item, including its locality, with rich information stored in a way that is accessible via the internet.

There are some incipient technical solutions to precisely this problem, however they are at very early stages now and there are likely to be several competitors seeking to define the platform.

But the work is happening and we will start to see offerings that couple modern mobile phones with cameras, high speed internet access and some kind of thing-markup-language/technology.

Due to cost constraints the successful solutions are likely to be passive, that is not require an active chip or similar to be on each item. Instead, it is more likely that there will be some kind of semantically rich identification mark that can be machine read and then passed via the internet to information bases.

One early contender for this space is the 'shotcode' (or the Wikipedia entry has some more information). BBC's Culture Shock program had a brief overview of shotcodes recently.

Although RFID costs have come down a lot in recent years, they remain high for B2C applications at the individual item level. It is likely is that RFID will not be part of this kind of solution at a consumer level. Instead, it will have its place in wholesale and commercial applications where usage and solutions continue to improve.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts

"In essence, the Precepts are a definition of the life of a Buddha, of how a Buddha functions in the world. They are how enlightened beings live their lives, relate to other human beings and this planet, and make moral and ethical decisions while manifesting wisdom and compassion in everyday life. "

The Three Treasures
I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha

I take refuge in the Buddha
The incomparably honored one
I take refuge in the Dharma, honorable for its purity
I take refuge in the Sangha, honorable for its harmony

I have taken refuge in the Buddha
I have taken refuge in the Dharma
I have taken refuge in the Sangha

The Three Pure Precepts

1. Not Creating Evil
2. Practicing Good
3. Actualizing Good For Others

The Ten Grave Precepts

1. Affirm life; Do not kill
2. Be giving; Do not steal
3. Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality
4. Manifest truth; Do not lie
5. Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind
6. See the perfection; Do not speak of others errors and faults
7. Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others
8. Give generously; Do not be withholding
9. Actualize harmony; Do not be angry
10. Experience the intimacy of things; Do not defile the Three Treasures

[Source: Zen Mountain Monastery]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

10 May 2008

Knowlege and happiness - mutually exclusive?

All this thinking about the internet and hyperconnectedness has made me question if knowledge and happiness are mutually exclusive. Need to think about this one and come back to it!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008

Janette Toral let me know via Twitter about Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008 and it is a good opportunity to mention a few blogs that I'm enjoying these days:

  • Chieftech has interesting stuff on enterprise 2.0, most recently on enterprise RSS day of action

  • Nick Hodge shares a combo of geek stuff and his adventures playing with General Melchett

There's also a few girl geek blogs that I'm following:

Will update this again ...

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Mark Pesce's ideas - hyperconnectivity and hyperempowerment

Mark always has interesting ideas and he tends to think laterally connecting ideas in new ways. This often sparks off new lines of thought for me too. He's been talking about 'hyperconnectivity' that leads to 'hyperempowerment' for a while now, most recently in his posts here and here and in the film version of his talk here.

These ideas of increased connection between individuals leading to empowerment are important. As we come to understand more about how our brains work based on neuroscience, it is clear that there are certain patterns and behaviours that the internet favours and enhances.

An introduction to this area is The Social Brain. Biology of conflicts and cooperation from the Barcelona 2004 Forum.

Some things to consider are the human ability to build and use language to shape and create reality; the nature of and existence of altruism in humans; and the nature of conflict and cooperation in human society.

Each of these areas is vast, complex and difficult to comprehend. Their impact on how humans will evolve the use of technology and the internet (and even the possible development of a mainstream metaverse) must be considered. Why? Because we can create for both good and evil, and without consciously seeking good we might allow evil to flourish.

Technology is tool that can be used to create great things, it has already made human lives longer and more comfortable. It is up to us to create the future that we want, for good or ill.

One thing is certain, hyperconnectivity enables us to magnify the effects of anything that we do. Where once we could influence only a handful of individuals, now we can recruit vast numbers to our cause. Hyperempowerment means that we can coordinate the efforts of many in ways previously unimagined. A game changer indeed for both society and business.

The interesting thing about this hyperconnectivity is that it is exponential. While a single individual may only be connected to several hundred people by way of various online communities - using the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon principle - they are actually connected to many more individuals. When these individuals start to cooperate to achieve common goals it is going to be very interesting for companies and society. But the challenge is how we can channel this connectedness in positive as well as negative ways.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

9 May 2008

27 precepts of Taoism

  • Have compassion for all sentient beings causing them no unnecessary hurt nor needless harm.
  • Refrain from needless competitiveness, from contriving for self-advantage and from subjugating others.
  • When accepting authority over others know also that you accept responsibility for their well being.
  • Value true friendship and fulfill your obligations rather than striving with egotistical motive.
  • Seek liberation from the negative passions of hatred, envy, greed and rage, and especially from delusion, deceit and sensory desire.
  • Learn to let go of that which cannot be owned or which is destroyed by grasping.
  • Seek the courage to be; defend yourself and your convictions.
  • Accept transience, the inevitable and the irrevocable.
  • Know that change exists in everything.
  • Negate the barriers to your awakening. Discover the positive in the negative and seek a meaningful purpose in what you do.
  • Be just and honorable. Take pride in what you do rather than being proud of what you have accomplished.
  • Having humility and respect, give thanks to those from whom you learn or who have otherwise helped you.
  • Act in harmony with your fellow beings, with nature and with inanimate objects
    Know that a thing or an action which may seem of little value to oneself may be a priceless treasure to another.
  • Help those who are suffering or disadvantaged and as you yourself become awakened help those who seek to make real their own potential.
  • Know that there is no shame in questioning.
  • Be diligent in your practice and on hearing the music of the absolute do not be so foolish as to try to sing its song.
  • Remember to renew the source in order to retain good health.
  • Seek neither brilliance nor the void; just think deeply and work hard.
  • When still, be as the mountain. When in movement be as the dragon riding the wind. Be aware at all times like the tiger, which only seems to sleep and at all times let the mind be like running water.
  • When you are required to act remember that right motive is essential to right action, just as right thought is essential to right words.
  • Beware of creating burdens for yourself or others to carry.
  • Act with necessary distinction being both creative and receptive and transcending subject/object dichotomy.
  • Know that you are not the center of the universe but learn to put the universe at your center by accepting the instant of your being.
  • Seek security within yourself rather than in others.
  • Know that even great worldly wealth and the accumulation of material things are of little worth compared with the priceless treasures: love, peace and the freedom to grow.
  • Allow yourself to be so that your life may become a time of blossoming.

[Source: The Song of Ch'an Tao Chia and credit is given to Stan Rosenthal in his Ch'an Tao Chia: Collected Essays and Lectures by Stan Rosenthal, September 1993]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

7 May 2008

Are your consumers using social media?

Ad Age thinks so & has nine profiles of who your targets are and where they might be online.

This is all very interesting since marketers appear to be shifting more of their spend to online channels: "88% of marketers who use social media plan to spend more on it this year, and 31% of those said they will spend "significantly more," according to Prospero Technologies research."

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5 May 2008

the internet changes everything

By interconnecting that which was once unconnected the internet opens up millions of new possibilities that were previously impossible. I think this is part of what Mark Pesce was saying in his recent post.

We are only now beginning to perceive how this will change society and the people that inhabit it. One of the first changes is in the power and distance relations between individual people and between individual people and organisations.

Social media and social networking are already beginning to change the power relations and distance between individual people. With social networking distance is reduced and the importance of physical proximity is reduced. We've all seen the amusing send ups of Facebook in real life. Here the need to be physically proximate to maintain a relationship is reduced. Also connections between people who have never met in person are made possible.

The other thing that social networking is doing is breaking down temporal barriers between people and events. Twitter can enable me to know what is happening in another place in real time. For example, if someone says something interesting (or stupid) in a conference on the other side of the world I can know about it in real time and start blogging, sharing it via my other social networks. The connections between the people in the various social networks mean that information spreads exponentially.

What all this means for organisations is anyone's guess. We now have online organisations like GetUp that mobilise the efforts of thousands of people who have not met in real life but who are tied together by common interests.

One thing is for certain, the internet connects that which was previously hard to connect. It gives power to groups that once found it hard to marshal people of common interest. This empowerment is a phenomenon that will be particularly interesting to observe. And together with empowerment is revelation - it will be hard to hide things in this kind of open environment. For those who seek to tell lies or half-truths the internet will be a great challenge.

Much to think about, many options for us to explore. The watchword is 'possibilities'.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

3 May 2008

WoW Humour

This an oldie but a goodie - gave me a chuckle this morning ...

then of course there is the argument that the internet is for pr0n ...

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

1 May 2008

Mental Detox Week: 12 - 17 May 2007

A few friends and I have decided to do our own little Mental Detox Week from 12 - 17 May. We are going to turn off recreational technology - that means we can use technology for work (email, blogs, etc.) but not for fun. I realise that this implies no fun at work, but that is not what I mean.

My plan is to acquire a bunch of books I've been meaning to read and go for it; walk the dogs and do some yoga.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire