Saturday, 28 June 2008

The First Paragraph Of My Novel

Nicely abstracted by our friends at Wordle

Friday, 20 June 2008

Ebay Pisses Off The Longtail

"We formed the economic base of eBay from the start, and we are hurt," said Karen Bendorf, who sells a small number of kitchen collectibles from her home in Menlo Park. "We're just appalled that eBay could treat us in such a manner."

Wow. You gotta wonder what the heck is going on over there at Ebay. The latest in a string of bad decisions Ebay has decided to give larger discounts to its top sellers.

Now, out in the non-digital world, this might seem like a completely natural business decision. There are loyalty programs galore for high sellers and purchasers. The issue here however, is that Ebay was built on the long tail. Its base has always been the little guy/gal and yet that very little guy/gal is the one continually being screwed by Ebays policies (go check out their angry forums one day - quite a treat).

I can't imagine my brother, who is a vintage clothing whole seller, won't go on a complete rant in the comments on this post (as he does to me almost weekly) about how Ebay has gone from the centre of his business world to the bane of his existence.

And maybe some of you think Ebay shouldn't care. The little guy isn't worth the big bucks so screw 'em. Keep raising their fees, don't give them equal treatment as buyers on the reputation rankings and continue to change your policies to support only the big revenue players.

Only problem? The reason Ebay was able to dis-intermediate traditional buying and selling models and the reason it became a monopoly in the auction market, wasn't because of the big guys. It was built on the little masses. Now those masses continue to defect and are looking for the next big thing.

I think Etsy should just go to town - right now. Open their doors up beyond the handmade market and make themselves the worlds largest marketplace for the little guy. A little downstream disruption in the small seller game is exactly what Ebay deserves and I personally can't wait for it to happen.

photo credit:

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Social Media Experts Are Like Mushrooms & Dove Evolution Is Like Woodstock

Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), NorwayImage via Wikipedia I bumped into this oh so true quote via Gavin -

"If someone tells you they are a social media expert, run" -- Connie Reece

I was joking around with a client the other day about all the agencies popping up social media groups like mushrooms on a old decaying log.

We are in experimentation mode. We are all testing and learning. We are in a few year long public beta where the results of which are only starting to come through. For that reason, there is no ONE proprietary methodology that works. There is no STANDARD for measurement and there are only a sea of opinions rather than any real "experts" on how we should be approaching this new networked marketing model. Anyone who tells you anything different, well, as Connie put it, RUN!

And on a separate ranty note, I think it's funny how the DOVE campaign has become like Woodstock -- apparently all boomers were at Woodstock and similarly, everyone in advertising worked on Dove. I thought I would state for the record that I did NOT work on the Dove campaign and had absolutely NOTHING to do with DOVE evolution.

There I said it. I'm not an social media expert and I didn't work on Dove. I hope you don't think less of me now :)

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Scarcity Marketing Ploy Is Soooooo 2007

Brad Feld complains about the whole concept of 'Private Beta'. He's done with it because in part it really means to him:

""we are early and buggy and can't handle your scale, but we want you to try us anyway when we are ready for you." I've grown to hate this as it's really an alpha."

I tend to agree with him but for me what i hate the most about private beta? The fact that ever since Google launched Gmail, private beta has been synonymous with attempting to create the notion of scarcity. We are so cool that everyone wants to get into our beta.

But more and more I'm seeing that strategy failing, flopping and being downright rejected by the community. Private Beta is boring and as we develop closer ties to our weakest links, we want to be able to ensure not only the cool tech kids get to play, but everyone gets to.

So down with scarcity marketing and up with getting it right in Alpha so you can stop pretending and just let everyone in!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Canada's Second National Anthem To Be Replaced By UGC?

Hockey Night in CanadaImage via WikipediaI can't say I'm an obsessive hockey fan. Btu truth is, as a Canadian born and bred in Toronto pretty much you have to love the game on some level. Much of my childhood was spent being forced to watch the Maple Leafs lose by the rest of my male family members.

It's part of what makes us Canadian. And it's not like we have that many years things that pull us together as a Nation. I remember taking a Canadian studies class at U of T where the entire focus on the course was trying to figure out 'who we are' and 'what makes us Canadian'. (From the students POV, it pretty much all came down to beer, maple syrup and hockey)

The truth is, when you hear that duh da da duh da music start for hockey night in Canada, it is much like the website dedicated to the theme song says, our second national anthem.

So imagine my dismay this morning when I heard Andy Barrie on CBC radio say that the CBC couldn't come to an agreement on the song's usage with the composer (who was paid $500 for each game broadcast) and that instead, the CBC plans to have a nation wide contest for a new theme and the winner will be paid $100K.

I dunno. This depresses me. The proper usage for social media in this case is to get the CBC to relent and rethink this entire silly business. You want to replace a TV commercial with something done practically free by a user? Sure go ahead. But not an anthem. Some things are sacred.

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, 6 June 2008

Come Laugh Your Ass Off: Korean Drummer

It's been one of those weeks. It's been a long time since I've had such a week. So I thought to end it I'd post something that made me laugh my ass off. Marie Bee sent it to me in email. Apparently, the drummer lives somewhere in Richmond Hill Ontario and is the dad of someone she knows. Even if you've seen it before, it's worth a second go. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

I Am Context, We Are The Network

I was intrigued by a conversation in the video below where the hosts all discuss the elevator pitch by Daniel Ha the CEO at Disqus.

Feel free to watch the entire video below, but what struck me was a few quotes from the guys having a somewhat philosophical discussion on comments in general.

Let me paraphrase one part in particular. Ezra (the guy with the glasses) says, "Comments are usually pretty tightly intertwined with whatever the content piece was but if you start to abstract them away from whatever the symbiosis with is with that piece of content they begin to really drift…." to which the other dude starts talking about the continuity of the conversation. Because it starts with the publisher, they view the community and ecosystem from that perspective.

What I found interesting from a relatively new disqus user's perspective, is that I don't view it at all like they do (ok it's an ugly diagram but you get the idea).

They talk about context. Context can be important but comments are so much more to than that. They start to shape and form a piece of one's online identity. I can't tell you the amount of times I have linked from a disqus profile from a blog comment to read through their other comments and further link from those to other posts/conversations. What they say on an on-going basis is a key to who they are. They become an accumulation digital memory by digital memory through the myriad of Web services (disqus being one of them) that they utilize.

I'm not sure if this post is being that clear, but I think what struck me as I watched their discussion on the video is how they seem to be applying traditional linear offline mass models of publisher/reader to the interconnected hyperlinked blogosphere. I don't think the old rules apply.

To me it only makes sense that comments will drift and much like my own digital footprint will. It seems right that they will ebb and they will flow. As for context and continuity which the two guys in the video discuss? I think the whole point on the Web is that it isn't the content that provides the only context. Equally so, I am context and I am continuity. After all, we all are the network, aren't we?

Monday, 2 June 2008

Exceptional Customer Expereinces

How does one define an exceptional customer experience? It is the exceptional, the unique, one of a kind. And usually one we are willing to pay for it.

Case in point, Michael Stadtlander. For those of you not familiar with one of the humblest and most famous chefs in Canada, you can check out this NY Times article. But let's just say, from the way he thinks about food, to the quality of the produce, the flavours and tastes to the execution of the experience his restaurant is on everyone's list I know of things to do before they die.

Sadly for me, I missed his wonderful Leek and Maple Syrup festival day last weekend due to illness. But Peter was lucky enough to go and my mom happily replaced me. Peter said it was one of the best examples of a brilliant customer experience that he had ever had. Not to mention the food. Top chefs. The attention to detail. And the creation of environment that was as exceptional as the food.

What does this have to do with marketing? As our world becomes more and more disposable and as products become easily replicated and distributed commodities, brands abilities to create exceptional customer experiences (wherever they may be) that cannot be replicated is going to be a major theme. Personally, if they are as yummy as Stadtlander, I can't wait!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Top Internet Trend: Digital World Becomes Filled With Big Bunch Of Know-It-Alls

Gartner came out with a list of top 10 technologies. What struck me most about the list was the comments. Every other comment was "duh no kidding" "In other news fire is hot"

Are people not excited anymore? Does everyone know everything? Are we all going to be forced to hang out with the "it" crowd at a conferences who "get it" and sit and whine about how no one else does?

One of the things on the list of Gartner's list was Virtualization and fabric computing. So these peeps can all tell me how this is going to change the Web? Vanessa (who is usually on the bleeding technology edge) started talking to me about it about 8 months ago and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it and its possible future affects.

So here's my prediction for the next few years. Top internet trend: Digital world becomes filled with a bunch of know-it-alls who miss the forest for the trees. They then realize we are only beginning to understand how any of these technologies are impacting our lives on a daily basis and eventually get over themselves and start having fun again.

As for me, I'll just continue to be one of the 'don't get it' crowd, scratch my head, talk to everyone I can, and try to get as many perspectives on stuff that continues to blows my mind.

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