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Evangelism and Marketing guru Guy Kawasaki has posted a 10-points explanation on how to use Twitter for business. That's "Twitter for Dummies", if you wish: a must read for all of you don't have a Twitter account yet.
I often wrote here and there that I wished we Agilent Musketeers had such a tool at our disposal when we were developing our flagship product: there is no better way to reach and keep in touch with the end-users.
That's why I as many other folks out there are putting Twitter at the center of (product) marketing strategies, whatever "marketing" means for you.
Folks at french consulting firm FaberNovel have released a pretty extensive study on Google' s key success factors.
For all of us who use Google' s stuff all day long at the office, at home, or on the road (iPhone 3G' Maps, anyone ?), this is a must read. As TechCrunch' Ouriel Ohayon stated : "It is hard to realize the real nature of this just 10 years old giant given the number of services it has continuously released, updated (and sometimes shut down) or acquired."
Like millions of others on the Planet, I'm using lots of the products that come out Mountain View. Search, GMail, Docs, Maps, YouTube, Picasa, you name it : all apps everybody working in a pure paperless/collaborative/open environment can't miss.
Like a bit less of other 'Telecoms' folks down there, I'm also convinced that Google is the only company able to massively invest into the Ultra-Broadband industry in order to build the open neutral access networks that are the true foundation of the Information Age. FaberNovel's white paper gives an accurate perspective on that :
"Internet infrastructures are a free provider for Google: the search engine indirectly benefits from Wifi providers, cable and satellite operators or backbone manufacturers who all subsidy the access of users to the Internet. On a macroeconomic scale, Google is becoming dependent on this value chain and must secure its providers.
Google is consequently driving towards infrastructure investing. This trend is aiming
at a multiple goal:
-Ensuring long-lasting existing infrastructures
-Giving access to the Internet for non-connected populations and countries
-Offering high-speed and permanent access to the World Wide Web."
Why ? Simply because the more people on Earth will be connected to the Internet spending their whole life online, the more revenues will flow to Google. That's why we see all those lobbying efforts by the G'Mens on Broadband matters. IMHO, the R&D spendings on new optical communication gear, such as new fibers, new systems, new install methods, etc, are worth the money: as far as the unique rule at Google: "change the rules" is concerned, the ROI return on investment promise to be quite fast anyway.
Is this a good or bad thing, for having such a giant involved in almost every aspect of our online activities ? Maybe Google is the true Evil of the James Bond' franchise. Maybe not. Let's give it a try anyway...
Download the white-paper and/or the slides set here.
Contact FaberNovel here (link in french).
Subject: Agilent Technologies is now following you on Twitter!
Date: November 11, 2008 11:19:20 PM CEST
Hi, Marc Duchesne.
Agilent Technologies (Agilent) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Agilent Technologies's profile here:
You may follow Agilent Technologies as well by clicking on the "follow" button.
Wow. My former employer is now following me. The question is: how will I convince "them" to hire me again ;-)
Earlier this week, YouTube added Close Caption to its features set. As lots of people around the planet, I've been waiting for it since months- not that I'm deaf myself (at least not according to my last check-up last June), but I like to think from the end-user side.
According to TechCrunch, "[this] will not only allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them."
Go to the YouTube to read the whole announcement :
Here at YouTube, we're always trying to find new ways to enrich your
viewing experience and to help video creators reach a wider audience.
As part of this goal, we've added a new captioning feature which allows
you to give viewers a deeper understanding of your video. Captions can
help people who would not otherwise understand the audio track to
follow along, especially those who speak other languages or who are
deaf and hard of hearing.
You can add captions to one of your videos by uploading a closed caption file using the "Captions and Subtitles" menu on the editing page. To add several captions to a video, simply upload multiple files. If you want to include foreign subtitles in multiple languages, upload a separate file for each language. There are over 120 languages to choose from and you can add any title you want for each caption. If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right of the video player. Clicking this button will also allow viewers to choose which captions they want to see.
Some of our partners have already started using captions to offer you a better understanding of their videos (even with the audio turned off):
- BBC Worldwide: captions are provided in five different languages on this clip from Top Gear.
- CNET: tech product reviews from CNET's Crave blog.
- UC Berkeley: footage from the Opencast Project Open House.
- MIT: full lectures on subjects like Physics.
- Gonzodoga: English subtitles on this awesome Japanese animation.
We hope captions will serve to tighten the YouTube community by bringing together international users from different cultures.
We're excited to see what kinds of fun and creative uses for captions you'll be coming up with for your videos!
I read the TechCrunch article and the YouTube post twice : I haven't seen any mention of hearing impairment, whilst this Close Captioning system is the perfect tool to give access to videos to the deaf people, right ?
Then I googled "YouTube closed caption" (btw : I used Ubiquity for this : fast & easy): only three out of the ten sites on the first page are citing disabled people as the target users of this new feature. That's Media Bullseyes, CNet' Webware, and - no surprise, provided the name of the site : 4HearingLoss.
IMHO, that's really not much. Lucky Web 2.0 key players : they suffer no disease...
Firefox is therefore my default browser on my Macs and the PC. Each of them with the same setup, thanks to the Web 2.0. My favorites extensions : Feedly for reading my RSS feeds, Yoono for sharing stuff for myself between my computers, and to share things with the World too, and Piclens for pics & vids browsing and viewing.
Yesterday, the Mozilla Labs introduced a new add-on : Ubiquity. Read the description, watch the video, and install the first release. You'll discover a brand new way to deal with the Web. Absolutely stunning. Ubiquity might be the Web 3.0 (no typo ;-) for the rest of us.
We Mac users recently became used to hit the Space bar quite often - not to create a space between two words, but to read a document w/o opening the corresponding app. With Ubiquity, we're going to hit this Space bar even more often.
Ah, I forgot : for those of you who are still on IE, Mozilla Firefox is there.
That is an amazing success story for the young start-up, formed by my old yet always up-to-date friend Georges Pantanelli and some of his developers.
Since the IM-T' journey is quite an unusual adventure, I've asked Georges a couple of months ago to post its diary here on the FiberGeneration blog. Now that they're WindowsLived, he has a bit more spare time to share it with you. Stay tuned for Mister Georges' s first post - due sometime by next week, as they say in the Web 2.0 area -)
post-scriptum : shall you know somebody able to help IM-T to get in touch with the US press, you can contact Georges at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Immediate translation of instant messages. You do nothing differently — IM-Translate™ integrates seamlessly into your existing IM application — just type as usual. Forget copy, pasting or jumping back and forth to a web-based translator. Your buddy receives your message plus a translation — instantly. You see the translation of the text you typed. You also receive your buddy’s messages in both languages. Free! — Downloads in seconds with broadband.
First IM app targeted : Windows Live Messenger, aka MSN.
As I told my friend Georges, CTO of IM-T, they should release a Mac version as quickly as possible, since Mac users are more suited for beta testing campaigns : we love giving feedback, for the developers to enhance their products.
Also in the pipe : the app for Google.
Interesting : IM-T is formed by... US citizens and registered in... France, for some legal and market issues.
IM-T is a typical Web 2.0 start-up : of the six co-founders and team members, nobody knows more than two others face-to-face. They never met altogether so far ! Their collaborative tools : Google, Skype, and email.
One of the founders is my old buddy Georges Pantanelli. A french High-Tech industry veteran, who relocated to the US in the 90's. Georges got his american passport two years ago, in San Francisco. The lesson : in California, everything is possible for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit.
IM-Translate site and download here.
Google did it again. A true breakthrough online app, which is set to be the next revolution in the Internet mattress - ooops, sorry, matters. See here for more details.
Wired Magazine has published an excellent article on Apple : "How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong". A must read, including the Evil/Genius and Online Extras side articles.
For an Applemaniac, Jobsian Fanatic like myself, those type of readings just confirm what we already presume on the Product Marketing & Industrial Design way at Apple (at least since Jobs' s return in 1997).
It also raises three questions in my mind :
1. when even a pure self-made man like me can understand quite a bit of the underlying long term strategy and the tactics at Apple, why the heck no other company is applying the same methods ? Can you think of another name, in any other industry, with this level of perfection in Industrial Design and Marketing at large ? Maybe Trek ? Or maybe I'm too much Apple-branded that I'm too blind to see outside the Reality Distorsion Field !
2. why can't we French people enjoy the beauty of an AppleStore, whilst the Mac/iPod/iPhone/iLoveIt maker is to open a superstore in rainy Liverpool ? Is there something we Frenchies don't get about Apple and/or Steve Jobs ? Hey, we've bought into the iPhone hype - even restaurants' s maîtres d'hôtel have iPhone now.
3. the last yet most important : when will I get a job at Apple ? ;-)
" Everyone's constantly on Twitter and Facebook and sending IMs and making videos of themselves talking while driving and having meetings and figuring out who's hot and who's not and who's raising money and who's flaming out and what's Google going to do next and has anyone know if MySpace is going to get on OpenSocial and some guy from Yelp just went to Digg or is it MetaCafe and I just heard Owen wrote something about Brian Lam and supposedly they're totally not talking now and Megan threw water at Ryan Block because Veronica didn't like something Valleywag wrote about her and did you see what Kara wrote about Arrington and then Arrington wrote something back and then Om weighed in and he said blah blah mwah mwah twitter twitter twitter ..."
An hilarious post from the marvelous yet fake Fake Steve Jobs about the so-stylish Robert Scoble (who, among other things, kept the whole Blogosphere up-to-date with his son' s birth a couple of months ago)
The SW Developers community was kind of disappointed when Apple decided not to set up a SDK software development kit for the iPhone, preferring to enable third-parties Web applications using Safari, Apple's Web browser (which, by one of the smartest à-la-Sun Tzu moves ever, also runs on MS Windows now). An offense to all the guys used to think VisualBasic...
Among several other interesting stuff, there is one idea which seems to be a real killer : Storing iPhone apps locally with data URLs. It opens the door for amazing vertical applications for professionals - I can't wait putting my hands on an iPhone and create a fiber testing solution on it ;-)
Still sticking to VisualBasic, anyone ?
Martin LaMonica for C|Net posts :
" Recently published research confirms what any venture capital investor would tell you: clean tech is hot.
The Cleantech Network and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) published a report summary on Tuesday fing that VC investment grew 78 percent in 2006 to $2.9 billion. Most of that money went into energy-related technologies.
That investment growth is anticipated to continue: the report expects numbers to climb to $19 billion by 2010.
The authors cited a few reasons for the investment boom in clean, or green, tech: concerns over global warming, higher energy prices, improved technology and changing public policies.
A lot of the money spent in venture-backed companies last year went to a handful of energy companies. With funding, those companies were able to ramp up their businesses from technology pilots to full-scale productions. A collection of solar and biofuel companies--Cilion, AltraBiofuels, Bloom Energy, Renewable Energy Group and Nanosolar--accounted for $600 million of investment in 2006.
Shall you have the idea of a solar panel producing biofuel together with a micro-yet-powerful wind generator serving as a WiMax basestation, it's time to call on the VC firm next door ;-)
Although there is clearly a bull market in clean tech, there are also regular concerns over a bubble, particularly in solar and biofuels. There is also the concern that lower energy prices could make alternative energies and fuels less economical. "
Very similar to what happened with the Telecoms downturn back in 2000...
" Silicon Valley is no longer any fun. In fact, it’s turned downright nasty. It may be time for some of use to leave for a while and watch the craziness from the outside again. In a few years, things will be beautiful again. The big money will be slumbering away, and the marketing departments will be a distant memory. We can focus, once again, on the technology. "
I took this photo ten years ago or so, somewhere on Stevens Creek Boulevard, in between Santa Clara and Cupertino.
I wonder how it will look like in ten years from now, with the Automotive industry being forced to run on green energies.
Fellow french blogger Jeremy Fain is organizing a 1-week trip in the Silicon Valley, to be held by the end of this year.
Says Jeremy, " It will be a week-long study trip focusing on the business of innovation & technology (entrepreneurship, venture capital, software, computer networks & hardware, consumer electronics & Internet, telecommunications) and actually take place between Sunday, 25th November 2007 and Sunday, 2nd December 2007. "
Shall you be willing to meet with the most influent people of the Silicon Valley today, don't hesitate to leave a comment here or drop an email to Jeremy at the address here.
Reading CNET the other night, a headline grabbed my attention : " Record exec: Mobile industry could learn from Apple "
A report by Marguerite Reardon of CNET News.com. Quote Marguerite :
In a keynote address at the CTIA Wireless trade show, EMI's Eric Nicoli warned the industry that it would not reach its potential if mobile operators, handset makers and content providers don't work together and put the customer first. He said they need to make sure that every product they develop for consumers is one that people want, is easy to use, and provides value at an affordable price.
"We will not reach our goals if we carry on as we have been doing," he said. "Not to diminish what we have achieved so far, but there are important challenges to address if we want to take this business to the next level. And that means we must put the customer at the forefront."
"Apple makes stuff that people love to own," Nicoli said. "They love the simplicity and user-friendliness of the iPod and iTunes. Apple doesn't employ any sorcery or dark magic to achieve this. They listen to what consumers want. And that shouldn't be Apple's unique privilege."
Very interesting indeed. Those folks at the Mobile industry are definitely not Average Joe, they have MBAs - at least, they play golf with their peers of Wall Street, their business is driving the whole Telecoms industry at large - at the end of the day, we need fibers to carry mobiles 's signals. So, how come they forgot a simple fact, which even self-made-men like myself do know and apply every single day since the very begining ? : " It is the customer who determines what a business is...What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers value, is decisive--it determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper." Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, 1974, p 61.
Maybe they were driven by bozozity until the very moment Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone ? By claiming that " [the Mobile industry] need to make sure that every product they develop for consumers is one that people want ", Mr. Nicoli
admits that they all tells his pals at the Mobile Industry that they failed listening to their customers. Now, he also made a giant step towards recovery : he is learning. He's learning that the Mobile industry has he tells them they have to learn about its their own mistakes, its their competition (Apple is coming after them with the iPhone), and its their environment.
So, what is learning, in business ? I found no better way to explain the whole idea than what Hal Stitt, my coach during my Musketeers years at Agilent Technologies, says :
" learning as a winning business strategy means learning more and learning faster than your rivals do about your customers, your competitors, your business environment and the opportunities available for your business to win customers. "
Hal likes to describe the whole concept with this diagram, based on Peter Drucker' assessment which claims that it's the customer who decides the winner.
I like it too, for it is crisp and clear. Plus, according to my own experience as a customer in B2B since 20+ years, it is exactly the way it works : a short loop, involving both the customer and the vendor in a constant dialog, always makes this vendor successful.
Perhaps the guys in the Mobile Industry were more used to a more rigid process, such as this one :
Definitely not a KISS ' Keep It Simple, Stupid ' approach, such as the one developped by David Kolb in the early 80's : -------
In this diagram, replace " Concrete, Experience" by " Customer ", " model " by " Application ", " Test " by " Feedback ", and " Reflect " by " Product ", and you get another representation of Drucker's model. Please note that I didn't put the accordingly modified diagram on purpose : do it yourself, you will better... learn ;-)
Back in 2001, Hal Stitt has published a white paper " About Learning " . I am pleased to post the first three pages, for it explain the whole idea :
LEARNING VERSUS KNOWING ORGANIZATIONS
Contrasts and Comparisons
Most organizations we have seen and read about over the past 40 years have focused more on knowing than on learning. Knowing is a state, learning is an action. Learning changes the state of knowing.
Knowing organizations promote and hire people mainly based on what they have done, on what they know. Less value is placed on the person's ability to learn. Training focuses on skills and processes with a direct impact on job performance. Little or no effort is put into training people to learn, encouraging learning, or rewarding learning.
Management effort in knowing organizations focuses on getting better and better at what the organization does, instead of what it could become. Effort is more likely to be put on careful measurement of results and comparing them with expectations than on encouraging learning. Knowing organizations put people in jobs to get results, to fix problems, to turn around failing organizations. If sales are not up to expectations, they will bring in a sales manager who knows how to fix that. If manufacturing is not meeting expectations, they will bring in a new manager who knows how to fix it. If the company is not meeting investors' expectations, they will bring in a new CEO who knows how to fix that.
In knowing organizations, learning is seen as down time. It interferes with performing.
Learning organizations hire and promote people based more on their ability to learn than on what they already know, more on what they can do than what they have already done. Learning organizations realize that results are related to actions by probability. They realize that just because something worked in the past doesn't mean it will work in the future. They realize that just because something worked in another company or another organization doesn’t mean it will work in your company or in your organization.
Knowing is not transferable across organizations or over time. The situation changes, but knowing is static. Learning is transferable. Learning is dynamic. Learning includes learning about changes in the situation.
Sun Tzu's quote is often misunderstood. The time at which your must know the enemy better than yourself
is at the time of the battle. In war, what you knew yesterday, last week, last month, last year can get you killed. In business, it just means your customers buy from your competitors.
Learning organizations see learning as a competitive sport. If they can learn more and learn faster than their competitors, they can outperform those competitors.
Innovation is a core business function. Innovation is the engine powering successful competition. Learning drives innovation. Without a stream of new learnings, innovation only happens by accident.
What your organization will learn outweighs what it already knows.
We see three fundamental reasons why what your organization will learn is more important than what it already knows:
Knowledge and experience were gained in the past. There is no logical reason to believe the future will be like the past.
A very high proportion of knowledge and experience is similar among competitors. It is too often a very weak differentiator.
The belief that the organization already has the answers leads to arrogance and complacency, which leads to defeat.
Learning is the root of competition
Your organization is either learning and innovating better than your competitors, in the eyes of your customers, or you are a target for those who are. Learning leads to innovation, which leads to winning—if you innovate better than your competitors, in the opinion of the customers.
The most valuable learnings lie outside your organization *
Getting good information first hand from good sources outside the organization, but within the system the organization serves, is a core behavior of learning organizations.
Learning only counts when it affects behavior
We do not advocate learning for learning's sake. Learning has no value to the organization unless it affects behavior. Not learning or learning the wrong things is bad enough, but we believe learning the right things and not acting on the learning is the worst possible outcome. It kills morale and motivation in the people who have learned something vital to the organization's success if they are prevented from acting by decision makers who have not. It's ludicrous! The people who have learned something vital are the people the decision makers should be motivating.
The purpose of learning is to win
We believe the most important purpose of learning is to create changes that will create wins. That is diametrically opposite to the purpose of hierarchical organizations: to develop and maintain order and control.
All businesses learn about their businesses. But the winners learn more about their customers and competitors than their competitors do. To win, most customers must prefer your products and services over your competitors. You cannot get customers to prefer your products and services by focusing your learning on your own organization— by looking in your mirrors. It requires learning about your customers. It requires understanding your customers well enough to know what your organization can do for them in the future that they will prefer over the offerings of your competitors.
*note : helping clients do that is one of DeltaNet's core strengths. To contact Hal @ DeltaNet, click here.
Peter Drucker' official biography here.
--- updated Apr. 2d, 2007, after EMI announcement on DRM-free ---
Last year, Wired has published a long article : " Steve Jobs' Best Quotes Ever ". Here are my ten favorites. At the end of the day, those quotes tell who is Steve Jobs (did I ever told you that I would like to work for him before I die ? ;-)
I suggest that you read the date first, then read the quote :
you will then notice how funny or visionary it was.
Also, note that I sorted the quotes in perspective with the resurgence of the Cupertino firm since Jobs' s return at the head of the company... 10 years ago.
ps : BrainyQuote has some interesting stuff too (e.g. the 3 at the bonus track at the end of this post).
"Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die." -- On his return as interim CEO, in Time, Aug. 18, 1997
"You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me." -- Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995
"The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament." -- Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer
"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it." -- Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998
"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." -- BusinessWeek, May 25 1998
"The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That's over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it's going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade." -- Wired magazine, February 1996
"Why would I ever want to run Disney? Wouldn't it make more sense just to sell them Pixar and retire?" -- Fortune, Feb. 23, 2004
"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple
"There are sneakers that cost more than an iPod." -- On the iPod's $300 price tag, Newsweek, Oct. 27, 2003
"We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them." -- Jobs, on Mac OS X's Aqua user interface (Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000)
bonus track, DRM-free ;-)
personal comment : the latest is another piece of evidence that Steve Jobs and Raymond Loewy have something in common...
I'm a happy Web 2.0 man : since yesterday, I'm an official Coghead Beta Tester ! That means prototyping of Testing 2.0 apps will be easier, as well as... beta testing. What a wonderful world : using beta stuff to produce other beta stuff ;-)
Post-Scriptum : for more information on Coghead, please read this detailled article by TechCrunch.
When I discuss with friends, neighbors or colleagues, about Global Warming and the necessary changes in our way of living, I often hear the same reactions : it will cost us more money, it will force us to shut down hundreds of industries, it will create legions of jobless people, etc. I keep answering : "no". For me, the question is pretty simple : either we continue as in the past and we go right into the wall, either we all stand up together for a dramatic paradigm shift and we save the Planet, thanks to... Technology. New technologies coming out of R&D labs, old technologies used a different way, etc. : those will lead us to innovate and... create new tasks, new functions, new jobs.
Al Gore, speaking at the Silicon Valley Joint Venture event in San Jose, Calif., said there's still time to combat the expected effects of climate change. He said the investment and innovation that built the high-tech and biotech industries is now needed for green tech. Watch the video posted on C|NET here.
According to LightReading, Google faces some reliability issues with its WiFi network deployed last year in the city of Mountain View, California. Due to interferences with other WiFi nets, residential users can't access to Google' s free-of-charge hotspots. Sources tell Light Reading that "Google is in the 'talking and exploring' phase with powerline home networking, especially with Spain-based PLC chipsets maker DS2, who recently released the first 200Mbit/s solutions to the market.
Full article here.
My comment : Powerline technology is going to make it, whatever the final decision by Google will be. Simply because PLC is the easiest/simplest/cheapest way to create the broadband home network that all the new services - think TriplePlay and HDTV - enabled by the FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home massive deployments will require. My take on that ? By 2008, Apple will release the first consumer electronics device with embedded 200Mbit/s powerline connection - think of a universal set-top-box combining Airport, AppleTV and whatever new marvels Mr. Jobs has in his pockets for the year to come ;-)
ps : see my comics here
Here is the presentation I have created for an ISP going to launch its FTTH services next year. The goal is to introduce Powerline Technology as the technology of choice for home networking, considering that Fiber To The Home brings more than 50 mbit/s to the Subscriber. Of course, this post contains only public information (no names here - watch the newswire in Q1 2007 for more details ;-)
I will come back soon on the content of this presentation : FTTH, Powerline, etc. For the time being, I just wanted to highlight the format : no PowerPoint here (hey, I'm a Mac guy, see what I mean ?), no Keynote either - which is an amazing tool for designers/presenters. No slides per se, thanks to Comics Life (for Mac only ;-). What better tool for story telling (a presentation IS a story) than a comics ?
I chose not to use Keynote because the audience is a prospect known for its strategy : innovation, always a step ahead of its competitors. An innovative way to present innovative technology to innovative people !
By the way, I put the file (w/o names and business-related stuff, of course) on SlideShare.net here. 27 views over 23 hours, that is quite a good ratio ;-)
Ah, there is one more thing : you are seeing small size jpg files. It is on purpose : most of you don't have an FTTH connection as of today...