Centralisious

About Productivity, Social Networks and everything else I'm interested in

Month: August, 2012

@ctrl_Tech_News: RT @peterbijkerk: Social Networks is out! http://t.co/VI6mGFnJ ▸ Top stories today via @BigDataSocial @ctrl_Tech_News @omriceren

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@jsajuria: RT @peterbijkerk: Social Networks is out! http://t.co/VI6mGFnJ ▸ Top stories today via @BigDataSocial @jsajuria @jorgaf

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How to Harness the Customer Awakening

http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/harvardbusiness?d=yIl2AUoC8zA

Over the last few decades, we’ve seen remarkable “awakenings” in Eastern Europe and in some parts of Africa. Last year, a Tunisian vegetable vendor, exasperated with government oppression, immolated himself in front of the offending government building, setting off a chain of popular uprisings throughout the Middle East, the “Arab Awakening.”

While business markets are obviously different from societies in many ways, they share more things in common, especially in today’s networked world. In particular, many businesses are experiencing similar awakenings spawned by their customers. Consider the “My Dell hell” diatribes by prominent blogger and journalist Jeff Jarvis, or Heather Armstrong’s “Maytag Nightmare” that she described in vivid detail to her 1.5 million followers. Both launched media and customer firestorms; both shook top management to its core.

C-suites and boards are often puzzled, even frozen, over how to communicate with customers in this chaotic and potentially dangerous new environment. Imagine you’re a major bank. Would you want to start a Facebook page and let anyone weigh-in with what they thought of you, and of banking in general?

But what many see as a threat is actually a major opportunity. And the lessons learned from political uprisings can inform businesses on how to adjust to the new, increasingly transparent world we live in.

In both cases, you have institutions whose purpose is to serve a community: citizens on the one hand, customers on the other. And while business has scant experience dealing with this new access and openness, political institutions have a few centuries of experience under their belts.

What can they teach us? Let’s look at one key assumption business is making about the new world, and see how important lessons from perhaps the most successful of all the political awakenings — the American Revolution — can suggest better approaches.

Seize Control of the Conversation

“In today’s world, you’ve lost control of the conversation.” That’s what a number of pundits are saying and as a result many companies are taking a defensive approach to the new socially networked world. That’s not what the Founding Fathers did.

Much like we see today, during the 1700s there was an explosion in communication. The American postal system flourished, making it possible for individuals throughout the country to communicate directly with each other. Four times as many publications of all types were in circulation in the last three decades of the18th century, as in the entire previous century and a half. London’s Grub Street, an early version of Madison Avenue, flourished as its “hacks” sold their writing services for persuading, and sometimes inflaming, audiences. Versions of Grub Street popped up in other countries, including America.

The early American revolutionaries took full advantage of this cacophony, forming the famous “Committees of Correspondence” to gather like-minded people into communities to exchange ideas and publish them. Think of them as shrewd, freedom-loving rebels akin to those in contemporary Libya, Egypt or Syria.

A group we now know as the Founding Fathers then took charge as the leaders of the Revolution, not by force or legal means, or by hiring the services of Grub Streeters to manipulate the conversation. Rather, they took control of the conversation with big ideas: new concepts illuminating how the people they wanted to serve could lead better lives, find prosperity and freedom, and pursue happiness. For the first time, the ones communicating ideas were the ones implementing them.

That’s the opportunity many businesses have today, often without realizing it.

Hitachi Data Systems — Be the influencer

Many companies, dipping their toes into social media and Web marketing, try to engage with bloggers who’ve built up audiences and exert influence over their buying decisions. It’s what I call the Blanche Dubois approach to marketing: it “depends on the kindness of strangers.” Also, their approach to social media is defensive: hire listeners and react swiftly to negative comments.

Nothing wrong with that, but businesses today have a huge opportunity to take the American Founders’ approach and seize control of the conversation. That’s because you and your company have two things no blogger or academic can match: You have (1) customers who are, presumably, achieving noteworthy success with the help of your product or service, and (2) internal experts who have deep subject matter knowledge and work every day, in the trenches, with those customers. These are the ones implementing solutions, who should be communicating to your market.

Hitachi Data Systems, a data storage and knowledge solutions firm, took this approach when it was having trouble “getting the word out” about its offerings. HDS has passionate customers, but also competes against much bigger, better-funded competitors. As I explain in my book, The Hidden Wealth of Customers, HDS marketing executives Brian Householder and Asim Zaheer took, in effect, the Founding Fathers’ approach to assert leadership in the conversation. Here’s how:

Get your experts out front. HDS put Hu Yoshida, its highly-respected chief technology officer, in the limelight to attract high-level audiences. His blog, which is now one of the most influential in the industry, showcases his subject matter expertise and experience.

Yoshida brings deep subject matter experience (and accompanying credibility), and is helping implement the ideas he talks about. And like the Founders, he leverages his knowledge and experience by communicating big ideas — social innovation, video surveillance, making incredible movie special effects — that get attention.

Put customer issues front and center. Part of HDS strategy is to attract C-level buyers. Yoshida gives C-level readers insights into current trends in topics such as private-cloud computing, virtualization, big data, unified storage management, and other issues critical to that intended audience. He focuses regularly on helping them think through important issues, rather than just touting HDS solutions.

When he does tout HDS solutions, look at the difference with traditional marcom. Rather than marketing-ese from an anonymous corporate source, Yoshida comes across as an expert, with time in the trenches, who’s proud of his work and craft.

Stop reacting — lead. Like many other firms, HDS has immersed itself in social media and its new forms of communication — but not because doing so is trendy or because they “have to.” They simply go where their customers and buyers are.

Following those customers, the firm established a Facebook page page and a Twitter account. However, unlike many such corporate social network pages that fall into the trap of being “all about us,” HDS has extended its approach to include addressing issues it knows its customers are facing. For example, the Facebook page might post links to blog posts by Yoshida on the latest video technology or storage trends. Or it might tweet a link to an article on how much money you could save in your data center.

Put customer experiences front and center. Central in all HDS thought leadership efforts are customer stories. “If our audience is a bank CFO, we’ll talk about a large bank on Wall Street that tackled the issue we’re addressing, and how it did so,” says Zaheer. What’s more, the firm keeps customers closely engaged as it rolls out its content, keeping them informed, getting their input and feedback, featuring their stories, and putting them on stage at its live events. For customers and prospects who are located where HDS doesn’t have a presence, the firm can take a variety of new and old media steps to rectify that situation.

Seen through the lens of history, the current customer awakening, and the disruptions caused by social media to business today, need not be a cause for worry or panic. Instead, they represent a tremendous opportunity — provided that business managers and leaders can think and act anew and seize the moment. Like the American Founders did, and like HDS is doing.

via HBR.org http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/how_to_harness_the_customer_aw.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+harvardbusiness+%28HBR.org%29

1Password Logins in OmniFocus

http://static.squarespace.com/static/5008676d84aeae82b8acdd8c/t/503c4d76e4b078ea987ef283/1346129273216/?format=500w

I always knew 1Password could export a login by dragging it to the desktop. However it took reader James W. to make the connection for me that I could put that link places other than the desktop, like in an OmniFocus note. To do so just click and drag.

This is really powerful. For instance, you could create a task with a list of sites you routinely change passwords on and set it out six months. When “the day” finally arrives, you can then get to all the logins from the OmniFocus note. It also works in OmniOutliner. Clever.

via MacSparky http://macsparky.com/2012/8/1password-logins-in-omnifocus

Diaspora team hands keys over to the community

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/5195834/diaspora__1_of_2__large.jpg diaspora stock 1020

After two years, $200,000 in Kickstarter cash, and a shifting focus to side projects, the Diaspora founders are stepping back to give control of the code for its data-liberating social network over to the community. In a blog post today, founders Daniel Grippi and Maxwell Salzberg explain that while they will still be playing an important role, they “want to make sure we are including all of the people who care about Diaspora and want to see it succeed well into the future.”

The team says that the process will be gradual, noting that “many details still need to be stepped through,” but the recent opening of the project’s Pivotal Tracker (the software used to manage the Diaspora code) is a major step in that direction. Speaking to B…

Continue reading…

via The Verge – All Posts http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/27/3273167/diaspora-community-project-announcement

@marie_wallace: RT @peterbijkerk: Social Networks is out! http://t.co/VI6mGFnJ ▸ Top stories today via @marie_wallace @monica_murero @isidromj

via http://twitter.com/marie_wallace

Apple versus Samsung trial

A collection of comments on the internet.

Question remains: is this a good thing for consumers or not?

Near-total victory for Apple stifles phone, tablet design – Chicago Sun-Times

Apple v. Samsung juror: we “wanted to send a message” – Ars Technica

Trial Verdict Could Benefit Samsung More Than Apple, Blogs Say – Mashable

Jurors knew Samsung was guilty after first day of deliberations, wanted to send message with verdict – Apple Insider

Pass the costs along – Marco.org

Apple-Samsung juror: We felt Samsung wronged Apple after first day of deliberations – VentureBeat

Apple v. Samsung Juror Says Emails Were ‘Most Damning’ – Mashable

Apple Beats Samsung: First Reactions – NYTimes.com

Apple decisively wins Samsung trial: what it means – The Verge

Apple Stock Hits All-Time High After Favorable Verdict – Mashable

Expert: Quick verdict in Apple trial doesn’t mean jury shirked its duty – Macworld

Counterintuitive: Did Samsung emerge a winner? – GigaOm: Tech News and Analysis

Apple-Samsung verdict – What’s a Billion Dollars Anyway?-| SiliconANGLE

Apple expected to file for an injunction, while Samsung says it will appeal – TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Tim Cook tells Apple employees that today’s victory ‘is about values’ – 9to5Mac: Apple Intelligence

Pass the costs along

http://ifttt.com/images/no_image_card.png

Andy Ihnatko’s reaction to the Apple-Samsung lawsuit struck a nerve:

The biggest losers here are consumers. If the verdict stands, then the costs of the judgment will be reflected in the cost of mobile devices. Furthermore, other manufacturers will feel the need to buy Apple’s official permission to build useful phones, passing down the possible $20-per-handset fee.

I disagree that “useful” phones need to be so close to the iPhone that they run into Apple’s patents and trade-dress claims in the Samsung case.

I also don’t buy the “we’ll have to pass the costs along” argument. Businesses always say that to scare people, usually government regulators via their voters, into maintaining the status quo and avoiding additional regulatory, safety, or environmental costs that are usually better for consumers.

Smartphone and “tablet” manufacturers will keep doing what they always do: sell us their products at the highest prices they can possibly charge for them to maximize total revenue.

Maybe we’ll pay this theoretical “extra $20” in patent-license fees for our smartphone up front, a surcharge less than any carrier in the U.S. will charge to “activate” it, because it’s a drop in the bucket relative to the $2,000-over-two-years contract. In that case, this discussion is moot.

Or that extra $20 is significant, we won’t pay it, and the manufacturers will find a way to save $20 somewhere else to remain competitive and continue selling us their products that are so close to the iPhone that they run into these patents.

Ihnatko continued:

And it’s possible that the next great phone, the one that shames the iPhone the same way that the iPhone buried the Blackberry, will never make it to market. Designing and selling an advanced smartphone just became a dangerous business.

Apple’s claims from this case aren’t very far-reaching. What they won, effectively, is a weapon to use against anyone who copies a narrow set of behaviors, appearances, and packaging designs.

If Samsung wasn’t so blatantly idiotic about copying so much from the iPhone, Apple wouldn’t have won so many of their claims. In fact, Apple lost most of their more generic, less-blatantly-copied iPad claims.

Google has already sidestepped most of Apple’s interface-behavior patents with the newest versions of Android, which might eventually be used by more than a handful of customers. And Android is much more of an iPhone-ripoff “iOS-inspired platform” than Windows 8, which has avoided almost all relevant Apple patents.

What’s really going to disrupt the iPhone is going to be something completely different, not something that tries so hard to clone the iPhone that it hits Apple’s patents.

Unoriginal manufacturers will need to pay for their unoriginality. The most reasonable course of action, therefore, is to truly innovate and design products that aren’t such close copies.

I fail to see how consumers lose.

via Marco.org http://www.marco.org/2012/08/25/pass-the-costs-along

Mac Power Users 99: Workflows with Marco Arment

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MPU Logo The latest Mac Power Users is posted.

David and Katie sit down with Marco Arment to discuss developing Instapaper, his Mac setup, development workflows and more.

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via KatieFloyd.me http://katiefloyd.me/mac-power-users-99-workflows-with-marco-arment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mac-power-users-99-workflows-with-marco-arment

Graphs are Everywhere: Solving the Complexities of Social Connections

An article by Emil Eifrem about graph databases and the power of analysis.

Graphs are Everywhere: Solving the Complexities of Social Connections: “

Graphs are everywhere.

(Via SiliconANGLE.)