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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Friday, September 12, 2003

Reading list for the weekend

My reading list for the weekend - along with playing with Skype!

On creativity and innovation :

Innovation, Not Enhancement. In July, the Innovation Exchange at the London Business School released the 2003 Innovation Management Survey, a 22-page report that studies best practices companies use to balance innovation and incremental improvements. Among the report's key findings: 

    • Innovations, not enhancements are the key to the future.
    • Enhancements are more certain, whereas less than 20% of innovations are market successes.
    • Innovations account for 10% of revenue.
    • The lack of a structured process for innovation might cause poor performance.
    • The three greatest challenges to improving innovation are the lack of entrepreneurial skills, the ability to manage and mitigate risk, and resource constraints.
    • Company size doesn't matter.

While most companies are good at incremental enhancements, it is the innovations -- new products and services -- that will really improve an organization's prospects. Even in tougher times when resources are more restricted, it doesn't always pay to play it safe. Go big or go home.  [Fast Company Now]

On corporate/business blogging :

Making Blogs More Than Just What's for Dinner. Washington Post article on business blogging: But, Hourihan said, not all corporate blogs have to be made available for public viewing. Some of the most effective company blogs are posted on internal networks, or intranets. These can help different business... [Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

A bidding war for a blog ?!?. Two New York stories about publishing people in search of blog-based business models [headshift moments]

Chicago Tribune: Weblogs finding a home in nation's workplace.. Rachel Osterman writes that communicating through online diaries is becoming more popular.

"Not an hour goes by here in which someone isn't interacting with blogs," said Jim Coudal, president of Coudal Partners, a small Chicago advertising firm that has embraced the technology. "It's an effective, simple repository of information that saves keeping track of a bunch of e-mails on Outlook Express and figuring out who to carbon-copy."

Extranet blogs...

In addition to internal blogging, Coudal helps clients take advantage of the software. The firm designed a Web site for the United Center that allows workers there - and not employees at Coudal Partners - to update the page with new information using a blog.

"The United Center is jammed packed with information," Coudal said. "And it would be extremely inefficient for them and for us if to update it they needed us to do it." [a klog apart]

On collaboration, research and online communities :

LiveJournal communities as connectors. Nice piece of advice from Clay that really shouldn't be private. Are there any pieces that describe the dynamics of LiveJournal communities out there somewhere? Or will I also have to get a LiveJournal account?

Friendster notes. [...] (Private to J. Abrams: Get a Livejournal account, and watch how they handle interests and communities, then note that communities are first-class members of the system. Keep at it til it makes sense to you, because LiveJournal figured out how to create connectivity between people and ideas first, and, as far as I can tell, best.) [Corante: Social Software] [Seb's Open Research]

Collaboration Nation. The September edition of the newsletter Inside Collaboration includes an interesting article by Timothy Butler and David Coleman about models of collaboration. Addressing technology, content, and process, the piece outlines five different approaches to collaboration -- primarily online. The feature... [Fast Company Now]

A World Map of the Mind. I have always been interested in maps. Especially in how the maps people draw tell something about the way these people see the world. For a while, I tried to get people from different countries to draw me a map of the world and compare the results. This didn't work very well. Most people thought it a test of some kind and found their own lack of geographical knowledge insulting. The World Map of the Mind project is a second attempt at this project, this time electronically. [kuro5hin.org]

Uncorking P2P Research. Are there more business models around P2P? Seems a good time to highlight this emerging research business. BigChampagne is bubbling in the media world. Like Zoomerang lowered the cost of market reserach BigChampagne is the online ethnographer. They simply observe - watching for behavior changes. [Unbound Spiral]

Other interesting links :

The Decline and Fall of Print?

MediaPost has a story, dated tomorrow, that suggests newspapers and magazines are losing advertising to online and more niche cable stations. Advertisers, seeing audiences fragment, are choosing their ad spending for more targeted access to customers. This makes sense for two reasons: 1.) online and cable spends are less expensive than major print and the major broadcast networks, and; 2.) as audiences self-select into niches, the breadth of ads in general interest publications will decrease as niche advertisers flee to more targeted media.

This also suggests that advertising on blogs and other focused sites will eventually grow into a significant sector. That's not to say they will rival mainstream publications, but that they will become self-sustaining publications. After all, for a blogger to make a living, their blog usually a second or third income, a full year's revenue of $10,000 or $30,000 would be a huge windfall. Will a blog be a million-dollar business? Not many, if any, but blogs don't need to generate that much revenue.

It may also be too early to declare the end of print, but this is certainly an indication that general interest pubs are going to be thinner or that ad rates will come down to support higher page counts (and, concurrently, shrinking editorial space, which will eat away at readership, too). In the future, most publications will be more specialized. [RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing]

8:29:37 AM    comment []  trackback []

Skype Rocks

Unbound Spiral - my favourite repository of 'ahead-of-the-curve' insights into disruptive technology (among other things) and their application, reports on Skype :

"It also turns IM on its head. It's ring centric. All those adults.. that are failing to understand messaging... understand how to make calls. Yep your PC will soon be ringing. Now what I want to know is:

  • What will the impact be on corporate systems... I'm sure employees will bring this in when they realize they can call anywhere... and not be logged on /via the corporate system? Will this add corporates to the sharing process? Will there be an enterprise package?
  • How will we control spam calls, telemarketing calls etc.
  • Will telemarketers who have been put on a "do not call list" have to comply with this service? Legal Issues?
  • Which blogger will give me an online/offline MT plug-in for my blog.
  • How soon will conference calls be available?
  • What will regulators and the tel co's do to make it illegal?"
  • I downloaded it - spoke to a few friends in the UK and US - it works like magic - the line is so so clear - much better than using telephones or other services like Dialpad (which i used at one time) or the voice options at yahoo and msn messengers.   

    Undoubtedly will be really popular for this reason among people wanting to connect free and easy with friends and family across the world.  Despite its obvious benefits to organisations, I have some reservations though about whether organisations will be open to the P2P nature of this service - might need to be packaged separately for them, with firewalls and filters set up. Just had a quick chat with my husband about it, asked him to download it - his first reaction was : "nope - will need to first get permission from the office - and they may not bite because of spyware and spam worries.  Moreover - i wouldn't want my employees chatting through the day with friends online - something i maynot be able to control because of the open nature of the software"

    Personally i love it - now waiting for conference calls to be made available, and PC to fixed and mobile phone connections !

    8:27:58 AM    comment []  trackback []