Tag Archives: web 2.0

Fred Wilson “Big Think” Interview

An interesting video posted yesterday on the usual technology and business trendcasting topics.  It’s 8 minutes, so here’s the summary:

  • Changes in technology – evolution over 15 years from using the phone to using email to using social media to get most of the work done (value as business tools); face to face is a constant value throughout
  • Workforce – this generation less loyal, more mobile, more interested in maximizing their career than company value, especially as geography becomes a less crucial hiring factor
  • Social networking – the most interesting part comes around 4:30 in, where he starts with the charming “I write a weblog…”  He stresses that there is a community built, and that trust in the community and the tools has led to new ways of doing business, and talks about how he has taken action based on comments from people he’s never met.  Great stuff in this portion!
  • A little bit on tools such as IRC, wiki and facebook
  • In the comments, some folks ask for more video and he says “I don’t think video is an efficient way for most people to consume info so I try not to do too much of it.”  Agreed on the efficiency, both for consuming, and trying to find that quotable portion 6 months later.  Hence this self-reminder post.

Nonprofit Seeks Acquirer

I’ve been involved in a number of nonprofit mergers and acquisitions (and potential ones that did not happen) at the board and executive staff level. It’s always an interesting process, with a great deal of discussion around why the prospective parties would or would not fit together, potential synergies, etc. However, this is the first time that I’ve seen a call go out from a nonprofit/project seeking a sponsor. Usually, if it is a project seeking sponsorship, there are a few larger organizations that they have in mind, and they approach those folks individually and quietly. Is this more public approach by Social Actions indicative of the social web’s tendency towards openness, transparency and inclusiveness? A recognition that casting a wider net might bring unexpected partners to the table? Simply a commitment to using some of the tools that the organization helps others to utilize? Or just the ignorance of the founders as to “how things are normally done” allowing for fresh thinking on how to do them?

Whatever the answers (most likely a combination of all of the above), the slide show that they’ve put together (below) is great – clear, concise, and gives both the “what’s-in-it-for-me” for the future fiscal sponsor and the “what-we’re-looking-for” from the organization itself. I’ll be very interested to see how this plays out.

The Internet and Social Networking (and their enemies)

I’ve spent lots more time learning about and playing with social networks for my job lately (plus a couple of weeks out of town and completely offline), meaning less time actually participating in the internet culture via this blog.  So here’s a great quote from Christian Lorentzen (a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine) from an article entitled “The Internet and its Enemies”, making use of a quote from my favorite author, followed by a few articles about social media that I have enjoyed recently.

“TV,” David Foster Wallace has said, “is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.” The difference between the Television Mind and the Internet Mind is that the latter has access to the vulgar and prurient and dumb as well as the refined and aesthetic and noble elements of culture. And unlike TV, the internet fosters a culture of participation that, though it may lead the majority to public displays of vulgarity, banality, and idiocy, draws enough talented people to noble pursuits in what might be called the “online underground” to give credence to the claims of the cyber-Utopians. The Internet Mind then is a craven, stupid, obedient thing – except in the frequent instances when it is compassionate, subtle, and free.
The interesting social networking articles:
The tools that I’ve been playing with most have been google reader and friendfeed.  Both have been highly valuable and taken way more time than I expected.  The biggest surprise is not the amount of noise that I get, but the amount of signal.  I’ve got about 150 items in my google reader that I actually want to read right now, but don’t have the time to devote to reading.  Not a bad problem to have.

Authenticity over Exaggeration

Yeah, it took an HBS professor to figure this one out. Authenticity is important in new media marketing. This recent article from HBS Working Knowledge looks at the research of professor John Deighton. After a review of the Dove “real beauty” campaign, we get this meaty tidbit:

The new rules

But what does this all boil down to for companies that want to be successful in this relatively new environment? In the working paper, Deighton and Kornfeld discuss 5 aspects of digital interactivity, including

  • Thought tracing. Firms infer states of mind from the content of a Web search and serve up relevant advertising; a market born of search terms develops.
  • Ubiquitous connectivity. As people become increasingly “plugged in” through cell phones and other devices, marketing opportunities become more frequent as well—and technology develops to protect users from unwanted intrusions. A market in access and identity results.
  • Property exchanges. As with Napster, Craigslist, and eBay, people participate in the anonymous exchange of goods and services. Firms compete with these exchanges, and a market in service, reputation, and reliability develops.
  • Social exchanges. People build identities in virtual communities like Korea’s Cyworld (90 percent of Koreans in their 20s are members). Firms may then sponsor or co-opt communities. A market in community develops that competes on functionality and status.
  • Cultural exchanges. While advertising has always been part of popular culture, technology has increased the rate of exchange and competition for buzz. In addition to Dove’s campaign, Deighton cites BMW’s initiative to hire Hollywood directors and actors to create short, Web-only films featuring BMWs. In the summer of 2001, the company recorded 9 million downloads.

These 5 aspects show increasing levels of effective engagement in creating social meaning and identity, Deighton suggests, noting that the first 2 (thought tracing and ubiquitous connectivity) change the rules of marketing but don’t alter the traditional paradigm of predator and prey. In the last 3 (property, social, and cultural exchanges), the marketer has to become someone who is invited into the exchange or is even pursued (as in the case of the BMW films) as an entity possessing cultural capital.