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Monday, May 20, 2002

Feel The Momentum Shift

Chief execs upbeat despite downturn. Despite massive unemployment, sluggish sales and bottom-feeding stock prices, executives at tech start-ups are optimistic about the future of their sector.

Although most will slash administrative and travel expenses, many say they will soon expand employee ranks. Eighty-nine percent of the CEOs say they plan to hire new employees, but most are being conservative. Of those hiring, 49 percent anticipate adding less than 25 new employees; 20 percent plan to add 26-49 new employees; and 12 percent expect to hire 49-100 new employees. Only 6 percent say they plan to add 101-200 new employees, and a paltry 2 percent plan to hire more than 200 employees. [CNET News.com]

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Email Distracts

Technology: Working parents 'spend longer on email'. Parents who work spend on average twice as long dealing with email as playing with their children, according to Government figures.


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Best Human Network

"The perfect network is perfectly plain, and perfectly extensible.  That means it is also the perfect capital repellant, [which] implies a guaranteed loss to network operators, but a boon to the services on the 'ends'."
- Roxane Googin's High Tech Observer as  cited in The Paradox of the Best Network

Take a moment to scan The Paradox of the Best Network. We've cited the piece before. The quote, which prompted the Paradox piece in the first place, suggests that the best network is the one that produces the best results for its users (the ends). The Paradox article and the quote are referring to telecom and internet networks. We wonder if it's true and if it has relevance for human networks.

There are few, if any, for fee human networks that produce results that compare with free informal networks. In fact, there seems to be an inverse correlation between the perceivedvalue of a human network and its price. That's the only meaningful way to explain the perceived difference between recruiting results produced by external recruiters and internal referral networks. Should we say "The best human network produces maximum results for its members while accruing the least capital?"

No answers, just a good question.


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Blog Notes 4: Categories

No Audience is Interested in Everything You Produce

XML gives Weblogs the capacity to be organized into categories. It's good news and bad. When authoring an article (or one of those littler bloglets), the author is confonted immediately with a series of usability questions like:

  • If I put this piece in several categories, does that reduce the meaning of each category?
  • If the piece is on the home page and in a category, why would anyone ever go to both?
  • If the piece is only in a category and not on the home page, how does anyone know?
  • If the piece is only on the home page, what are categories for?

In other words, the use of xml/categories forces every Weblog Author or Editor (perhaps the word is Authitor) to consider the audience from a structural perspective each time a piece is developed, particularly in the early weeks of the development of the blog's basic style.

There seem to be few conventions and the act of producing a weblog changes your perspective on the subject while the thing unfolds.

We imagine that there are a variety of useful approaches and are waiting eagerly to try Stapler 2.0 which strips headlines out of the XML so that the headlines can complement the category decisions by pointing to material not on the current page.

Categories are extremely useful for knowledge-management applications. They give an 'Authitor' the ability to tell a specific group of readers that all of X sort of material will appear in x section thus allowing the development of discrete conversations about subsets of the overall architecture.

When forming categories, the producer of a Weblog (Authitor is a wee bit clumsy, don't you think) needs to ask whether the weblog will be viewed as a magaizine/newspaper type of periodical with discrete subject areas or whether the subject areas overlap. In our case that means forecasting whether the Usability audience is interested in Web Services and so on. It means asking, about each item, is it relevant to categories x through z?

No Audience is Interested in Everything You Produce

XML creates the opportunity to keep that question open for a while as the blogger develops a real time feel for audience structure and composition.

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