Friday, May 30, 2008

The Blog Isn't Dead!

BusinessWeek's recent cover story made a big claim: the blog  is dead! Let me say it another way, the micro blog is dead. I'm not quoting here, but that's what I picked up on. The article is mostly a redux of a previous article on social networking where blogging was the focus. BusinessWeek got so many "hits" to the article that they decided to write it again, but this time they focused on the other applications that businesses use: twitter, especially. 

As a blogger, I didn't want to hear this! No, I won't hear it... Sure there may be other tools out there, but the blog is still powerful. I also feel that the business world still has a use for blogs. The company I'm working for, Syndicom, is about to launch a new blog and website. My job will be to write the blogs, as well as encouraging others to do so as well. The blog will serve as an educational tool; much like does with the Basecamp blog. Readers will be able to learn more about our customers, collaboration and what we're generally up to. 

To me the blog represents the only real social networking tool that requires complete thought. Twitter and even Facebook don't offer the type of thoughtful interactions. They are quick and, mostly silly - I'm done with Facebook! 

I love BusinessWeek, but I sure hope they're wrong about this one...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Latest Mountain Biking Pictures From Memorial Day

Over the Memorial Day weekend I hit up some killer mountain biking in Moab, UT; Fruita, CO and Grand Junction, CO. Awesome trip, one of the best of my life! Enjoy the pics...

Pumpkin Pants taking my picture on
the other side of Porcupine Rim

The top of Gold Bar Rim looking down towards Moab - NICE ELEVATION

Little Pumpkin Pants roosting it down
Joe's Ridge in Fruita, CO

Probably the best picture on my blog!

OK, now you're seeing the new bike. Unfortunately, I have to
send my shock back - bummer!!

Yep, chillin...

Cover shot - watch out!!!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

One Of My Favorite Blogs Has A Good Point

The blog "Creating Passionate Users" is dead. No longer will my Sunday mornings include a read into the latest about developing a state of mind that benefits users, and the value of your product. I can only imagine that many of you have experienced the loss of a blogger you loved. For me, losing "Headrush" as I called it, was a real pain. The blog captured a new school view of supporting your user base with education and value. Not, I take that back, it was the "new skool" design model. What's more, it brought social/marketing issues to light.

Recently, after thinking more on collaboration and if it is socially just another version of herd theory, I went back to the Headrush blog. An important image, which the authors were so adept at making, caught my eye. To me, this image stuck because it captured the danger of COLLABORATION GONE WRONG!!!

Simply put: the group is dumb and the individual is smart! Kathy Sierra and Dan Russell, the authors of Headrush, have it right. Perhaps I can attempt a short outline of why this isn't collaboration.

First, one has to do the obligatory link from Wikipedia:

Collaboration is a structured, recursive process where two or more people work together toward a common goal—typically an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration does not require leadership and can sometimes bring better results through decentralization and egalitarianism. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.

Now that the "wiki" society has provided us an outline, and if we read this again and again, one can see the value collaboration brings. In the definition, words and phrases like "sharing knowledge", "better results" and "can obtain greater resources" only highlight the value of collaboration. Alternatively, CONSENSUS does not do this. Consensus, which is described above in the Headrush image as far as I'm concerned, is not collaboration. It is the opposite of collaboration. It is group mentality and we all know what happens when mobs of people get together:

Products like this are made...

If I were to redefine collaboration, I'd say it is something more likely defined this way:

Individuals working with their skills and talents to come to a creative conclusion that solves a problem. The group is formed on the basis of sharing knowledge and resources for the betterment of the collaborative process.

Well, that's my whack at it...

My point is one shouldn't confuse CONSENSUS = BAD with COLLABORATION = GOOD...

Friday, May 09, 2008

BusinessWeek's Most Innovative Companies, A Must Read For These Times...

I never miss an episode of Business Week's - Cover Story podcast; except this week. However, for once my lack of sequential podcast listening has proved valuable. As the podcast reached my ears, I was caught re-listening to one of the latest and greatest from Business Week. The podcast about the world's most innovative companies, by Jena McGregor. The story could not have come at a better time. Innovation and how the best companies do it is my day job. The words filled me with interest and desire to explore.

As President Bush recently said in a news conference in late April "these are hard time". If this is the thinking of the President of the United States I imagine many companies are also feeling the pinch. Thus, they punt on innovation in favor of the bottom line. However, the BusinessWeek podcast/article argues that the best companies gain competitive advantage through innovation during "these times".

The podcast/article explores the two innovation camps:

The Haves - most likely larger companies or organizations with an innovative culture.
The Have-Nots - most likely smaller or organizations that don't have an innovation culture.

However, when I consider Syndicom's innovation solutions, I'm perplexed. Do the Have-Nots have it all wrong? Are CEO's missing an opportunity to gain competitive advantage by taping the resources right in front of them? Even BusinessWeek explores innovation programs that don't require expensive teams and tools. According to the article, companies like GE have innovated using lower-cost methods.
There can be an upside to the downturn. Low-cost methods for creating new products are easier than ever as emerging markets provide both cheap labor and booming pockets for growth. That's something No. 4 General Electric (GE) is finding with its first portable electrocardiograph made in India for that market.
The BusinessWeek article opened my eyes to the value of innovating ALWAYS and finding more economical ways of doing it. One only has to take a breeze through Specialized's website, a bike company that focuses on innovation. Their moto: INNOVATE OR DIE.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Are Americans Material Haters?

I recently listened to a podcast by Alan Watts. If you haven't, listened to Alan Watts you should. He is the quintessential Zen expert! During this recent podcast, he talked about how there is a perception that Americans are materialists. Watts argues that Americans aren't materialists that, in fact, we are material haters!

"Americans are not material lovers they are material haters! Just look at Los Angeles"
This quote spoke volumes to me. Not that I hate Los Angeles, but Watts is right. The entire city has grown in unnatural and unsustainable ways. According to Watts, if you're a material lover, you care intimately for the things you have/create. You devote the same respect for them as you would your own body. After hearing this, things changed for me.

As of last week, I realized how many "things" I own and that if I devote the time and attention my things deserve how much longer they will last. Also, I'll learn how better to service my stuff. Finally, I feel that my attention will warrant a greater understanding of what it means to CARE. Needless to say, this has done wonders for my wife - I've been doing a lot of chores lately...