Meeting tip #37

If you find yourself nodding off in a post-lunch meeting about the “Corporate TPS Process Framework” and don’t want to get bagged when your tonsils and adenoids make a wet “snark” sound when you pop awake then …
Say something. Anything. Interrupt the presenter and say something intelligently inane such as, “Have you considered a continual process improvement framework for this model?”

Then shut up. You won’t be sleepy anymore. People will think you are a master of concentration. I learned this trick at McKinsey.

Marshall Kirkpatrick » Open Sourcing My TechCrunch Work Flow

Marshall Kirkpatrick » Open Sourcing My TechCrunch Work Flow
Marshall Kirkpatrick share some useful tips for consuming large volumes of feeds, especially important for anyone with the task of monitoring online buzz about a brand, but interestingly some insights into the new culture of “scoops” in the blogosphere.

“The following is a description of my feed reading methodology. It’s how I break stories, if not in the first place then into the larger blogosphere. It’s a work flow that I believe can be applied in almost any sector.”

Viral news

The past two weeks cemented the role of the cellphone camera in citizen journalism. I was noodling around YouTube when I caught the video of a student getting Tasered for refusing to leave the library at UCLA. I’ll bet you’ve seen it. It’s agonizing to watch, to listen to some poor soul shriek as he gets zapped through two barbs implanted in his flesh, but the telling thing about the whole affair came at two points. One was the videographer — who I assume was capturing it on a cell phone — caught other students capturing the incident on cell phones. The second was the comments, when one viewer complained that the video sucked and the cameraperson was too much of a coward to get up close and personal and really show what was going on. That struck me as highly instructive — is there a simple guide to what to do when one sees news being made? Can a citizen simply wade into a confrontation and start taping? Look at the importance of the Zapruder films and ask yourself, if news is being made, are you ready to capture it?

The second event was the taking down of Kramer — Michael Whathisface — who launched into a racist attack and essentially got bagged by the same device.  This leads me to the question, in a society under surveillance, who is more likely to catch a misdeed? The security camera screwed into the streetlamp by The Man or a mob of Verizon wielding everymen? Cool stuff.

Beijing Boyce – drinking guide to Beijing

Beijing Boyce

Just left a comment on my May post about Beijing Nightlife and automatically earns a place in my Beijing expat blogroll as a service to my buddies in BJ who need a guide to the local scene.

“Stay home on Saturday night after a full day of staff training and before a Sunday in the office, or answer an SMS from Eddie O and go out for “just one drink.” I recklessly chose the latter and was soon riding shotgun on a high-speed Sanlitun pub-crawl. Here are the highlights.”

Whereabout week of 11.27

Busy week

11.27 – Monday – Boston to NYC for two meetings then to RTP

11.28-12.1 – Tues. to Thurs. – RTP, NC
12.2 – Sarasota, FL

12.3/5 – Cotuit

Post-Thanksgiving Beachwalk

Light blogging this weekend due to the holiday, a house full of teenagers, college application assistance for one of those teenagers, lots of kitchen time, and a persistently wrenched lower back which sends me to the muscle relaxants and long stints of lying on the floor.

Black-and-Blue Friday was spent as far away from the Temples of Mammon as possible, as family and dogs boated to the barrier island at the head of the harbor and marched from end-to-end in a little under two hours. I needed some soft sand trudging to help my back and the walk helped quite a bit. (If the back doesn’t sort itself out in 48-hours my travel schedule next week may be at risk since hotel beds are not helping this two-week old rowing injury solve itself.)

The walk was gorgeous following Thanksgiving’s rainy gale. Bluebird cloudless skies with a howling 35-knot breeze out of the north that drove the sand off of the dunes in whirling sand-devils. The dogs went into their usual pre-walk mania, wife and children were swaddled in layers of wool and fleece, and so off we set, the dunes to our left, Nantucket Sound to our right, down a beach remarkable for bearing absolutely no footprints save those of a Great Blue Heron which hopped ahead of us a safe 25 yards away, squawking its annoyance.

Dead Neck is a macabre name for a gorgeous, 2-mile long island that is home in the summertime to a population of nesting Arctic and Least Common Terns. It was formed from two islands — Sampson’s Island to the west at the Cotuit end, and Dead Neck to the east on the Osterville side. The main entrance to Cotuit Bay used to separate the two islands through what is now known as Cupid’s or Pirate’s Cove (my favorite place on the planet). One hurricane or major storm in the early 20th century closed that channel and married the two islands together. The inside, or harbor side is very tranquil and calm, and hence popular in the summer months for picnickers and swimmers. The outside is a lot more wild, with the surf audible here at my house on stormy nights. The interior is a great representation of coastal flora — beachplums, bayberry, cedars, and small copses of forest where all sorts of critters make their homes. The birds nest throughout the interior, so the Massachusetts Audubon Society fences those nests off in the late spring to keep the local foxes and coyotes (which swim across the Seapuit River) from wiping out the more endangered species like Piping Plovers.

An end-to-end walk seems like a rare thing and my wife remarked several times during yesterday’s march that we should walk it more often. Summer-time marches are hot Saharan affairs that involve crossing other people’s beach blanket turf. Late fall and winter walks are special events when you know there isn’t another soul sharing the place and the only footprints are your own.

A feeble effort to take a Christmas card photo failed when the eldest pointed out the utter cliche of such a pose. The annual taking of the photo (aka the “Afternoon of Tears”) is the low point of the holiday and this year the eldest is invoking his 20-year old status as an exemption from participation. Little does he know ….

The walk made us feel virtuous, wind burned, and entitled to multiple slices of left-over pumpkin and pecan pie. The dogs passed out, exhausted from the excitement and effort. I think this single walk will rank as the highlight of the holiday for me. With the weather forecast to be even better today and tomorrow, we may have to do a repeat.

Collaboration as an online service

Knowledge management is a fuzzy IT challenge that feels like it will soon become as tired as Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support Systems, but finding new life online under a few new labels, such as co-creation, collaboration, and innovation networks. What I know about knowledge management systems and tools comes from my participation in McKinsey’s Business Knowledge Services initiative in 2000-2001, my strategy consulting with Richard Lusk in the go-to-market strategy at the online collaboration company, Foldera, and reading of Thomas Davenport’s Working Knowledge and Thomas Stewart’s The Wealth of Knowledge and other desultory scans of the business theorists.

I’m going to focus the next few weeks on the concept of external knowledge management — the practice of seeking and managing intelligence from the market versus managing what lies within the organizational wall. I wrote an article in 2004 for Forrester Magazine with Navi Radjou on his research into corporations that constructed networks within and outside those walls to increase their time to market and improve their portfolio of innovations (I hate the term innovation on principle, having seen the term abused by makers of everything from candy to pickup trucks. I define “innovation” as invention made commercial). Those networks have tended to emphasize the connections between an organization’s internal resources and contractors or partners.

The extension of knowledge management to include outside contributors and participants leads to the point of this post: what tools can facilitate the collaboration? The old models of using enterprise solutions such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange have crumbled under the rise of PHP forums, commercial (and open) wiki structures such as JotSpot and MediaWiki, and now Office 2.0 plays such as Zimbra, Foldera, and 37 Signals’ Backpack, and Google’s moves into online applications such as spreadsheets and word processors.

IBM’s announcement last week that it was moving its online innovation activities — such as its lauded “Innovation Jam” — to Second Life sparked some interest, but I remain reluctant to endorse Second Life due to the more significant account set up issues that confront new users. Some press beefed about the PITA factor when a competitor of ours held a press conference in Second Life, but I can’t completely throw the metaverse play to the dogs just yet, even after spending an hour in “Amsterdam” yesterday ogling the virtual hookers …

But I digress. Online collaboration tools seem to be focused on point to point collaboration plays such as 37Signals which extend an organization’s reach beyond the constraints of its enterprise tools – aka Lotus Notes. Opening a Notes account or granting a non-employee VPN access into a corporate knowledge management system is much more trouble than its worth, so solutions such as Basecamp are filling that niche. Foldera’s tool offers a lot of promise and when it comes out of beta next year, the proof will be in its adoption. I have not played around with Zimbra, but my buddy Dan Lyons at Forbes has been experimenting with it and gives it high marks.

For public collaboration — inviting the masses in to comment and play — there are of course blogs and their comment structures, but as I have noted in an earlier post on the mechanics of blogging and community development, they ultimately give too much amplification to the power of the blogger’s voice and little to none to the commentary.

That leaves wikis — a solid platform for collaboration as the Wikipedia attests — but not one without a significant amount of parliamentary processes to control vandalism and defacement.

And so I shall experiment, downloading the installer for MediaWiki and building out an instance here on

Decking the Turkey

Vacation has commenced from now until after T-giving. Will be the first time the immediate nuclear family has been together since early September — the college student arrived tonight, the prep school student tomorrow morning — so much cooking, gardening, clamming, and beach walks for the next ten days. Received approval for one of the most cool projects in my career earlier today, so I will be online and blogging through next week trying to build a project plan and budget.

Thinking of a Plimoth Plantation visit early in the week due to curiosity from what I read from Nathaniel Philbrick last summer in the Mayflower. My family has lived in Southeastern Massachusetts since the middle of the 17th century and I don’t know much about those antecedents, swamp Yankees from around Bridgewater and Middleton down to Wareham.

Once the fish leave and the weather goes nasty, weekends tend to focus on “educational” road trips to the assorted whaling museums and other historica around the area. That and forced marches through the salt marshes and beaches of the Cape.

11rom now till the 26th of November: Cotuit

11.27 NYC

11.28-30 RTP

12.1 Sarasota

12.2-4 Cotuit

12.5 Atlanta

12.6 Newport Beach


Internet Advertising Revenues Surpass $4 Billion for Q3

IAB Press Release – Internet Advertising Revenues Surpass $4 Billion for Q3

Yee-haw. Check out the chart.

“The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP today announced that Internet advertising revenues reached an estimated new record of $4.2 billion for the third quarter of 2006. The 2006 third quarter revenues represent a 33 percent increase over $3.1 billion in Q3 2005 and a 2 percent increase over the Q2 2006 total of nearly $4.1 billion.”

Calacanis says the best is yet to be:

“How far will this trend line go? Think 20 more years of similar growth.

Will it get steeper? Absolutely.

Why? Video and audio advertising hasn’t even started to move to the Internet in a major way.

The first 10 years of this industry have been amazing, but the next 20 are going to be insane.”

Kind of cool for me to look at the start of the chart and realize I was collecting ad dollars at Forbes in ’95 before anyone seemed to be counting. Rode the pony right to the dot.bomb peak in Q2’02, came back in Q2’05 and now am on the spend side. This is not going to slow down — I’m with Jason, just watch, it gets really interesting in the next 12 months. Makes me want to be back on the media side … wait, someone punch me.

Om demurs:

“He is right because as online video becomes more popular, the advertising dollars are going to shift to this nascent medium. Those dollars will qualify as Internet advertising, of course. He is wrong, because he is conveniently overlooking the fact that the sequential growth in advertising was essentially flat7. “Online advertising will be a useful marketing tool, but no trend goes in a straight line for twenty years,” writes Carl Howe, in his excellent analysis.

Calacanis overlooks the fact that a disproportionate portion of the online advertising dollars is flying into the pockets of a handful of companies. A back of the envelope calculation shows that in the third quarter Yahoo and Google accounted for $2 billion (give or take a few million dollars) in total dollars spent on online advertising in the third quarter 2006. (This is after traffic acquisition costs, and factoring in their international contribution to their total revenues.)”

I think both Calcanis and Malik assume a continuation of the current eyeball model — the gross tonnage model of advertising I’ve posted about previously. That “1.0” world is based on reach and mass with economics measured in cost per thousands, click-through rates, cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition, and cost-per-lead. Behavioral models, such as those promoted by Tacoda; or RSS models such as Federated’s, give a bit more precision and reduce the “gross” to “less gross” but the industry is still waiting for a way to monetize the long tail and give some economic value to engagement.

I can’t predict the next big thing in advertising, but will assume the next Bill Gross is working on the breakthrough that will start the cycle all over again. That assumption may be like wishing for a pony for Christmas, but I believe it is a shift in models, not the rise of new mediums — ie video — that will drive the continued growth.

I need to find where interactive now stands in the overall ad industry mix. Last I checked it had passed billboards.

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