Category: Web 2.0

Convergence in an advertising 2.0 context.








We create as many contact points with the consumer nowadays because we want to sell stuff. Contact points have one objective: lead the consumer into a buy while using the different channels in a smart way.

Channels are convergenced when they offer the next keywords to the consumer:

  • Relevance
  • Context/Situation
  • Creativity
  • Dialogue
  • Affinity

It is important to take context into account. Context can be defined as time and place. It’s not because you are using much channels that these channels are properly used. In advertising, most concepts are translated linear to the different channels while it should be done vertically per context. What you should do is maximize the advantage of each channel independently using the typical characteristics of this channel. We all know that ATL is about impact and visibility (awareness) while Mobile is at the opposite side of the marketing landscape because is personal, contextual and offers interactivity to the individual.

There are 4 kinds of convergence:

  • Convergence in time (personal, work & family time amalgamates – there is no clear difference anymore)
  • Convergence in place (ubiquitous connectivity – we are connected everywhere)
  • Social convergence (we are social beings and always available)
  • Commercial convergence (client relations and commercial transactions are part of our lives)

In the WebNu, we don’t push communication but try to start a conversation. We communicate whenever it’s opportune for the individual. The consumer needs to have the feeling that he’s in control and he chooses whether he wants to interact or not.
As the mobile phone is the ultimate medium because we are naturally addicted to this medium, context is becoming more and more relevant in advertising. Context defines your content.

It is vital to understand that brand communications should be coherent. The different channels reinforce each other. The content should be adapted to each specific channel. It is crucial! This seems logical and easy but in fact, in a convergence world, it isn’t. The boundaries of channel, media and content are insecure. How would you describe someone who is watching TV via the internet on this cell phone?
The only way success can be achieved is when the brand works efficient and organized and proper objectives are set.


Advertising 2.0

I read an article today in a paper where the tasks of a marketeer are explained. These were the five tasks:

  • Lead generation
  • Increase client loyalty
  • Client happiness
  • Marketing accountability
  • Product & services innovation

Perhaps I am a bit ambitious but there is a solution to it. Here are some steps that respond to the tasks of a marketeer.


In the WebNu, you always have to take 5 steps:

  1. Establish your brand (be findable)
  2. Demonstrate your brand (be exiting)
  3. Challenge with your brand (create connections)
  4. Offer relevance to the customer (turn connections into relationships)
  5. Offer products & services in a relevant context (sales)

You can not expect from a customer that he stays his lifetime exclusively with your brand but your brand can have the best offer (product or service) at a certain time. If you are not connected to this customer and you don’t have a meaningful relationship with him, you can’t make that offer. Marketing’s responsibility is larger than just advertising. It should be lifecycle information management of your customer base. This insight, well used, creates opportunities for business innovation and transformation.


While saying this in the WebNu, a company needs to prepare itself and make the shift using enterprise 2.0 tools and an advertising 2.0 spirit to gain a competitive advantage. Integration of your business is crucial and should be built from a customer obsessed perspective; the empowered customer.

WebNu in Plain English (Web2.0 & Enterprise2.0)

Since quite some time, I’m a huge fan of Lee and Sachi Lefever of Common Craft Productions who uses a simple format and real-world stories to explain web 2.0 in plain English. Here is a wrap-up and must-see of their best videos (imho) that explain things you need to know about Web2.0.This is their most recent creation. A video for people who wonder why blogs are such a big deal; Blogs in Plain English.

Now we’re all reporters and producers of content, we’ll need a way to manage it all. The power of RSS readers is huge and the only way not to lose time when following all kind of online sources. It’s a must have for everyone who is online and lives like that. I’m a fan and user of Netvibes. But here’s the intro: RSS in Plain English.

Another manner to organize your online content is bookmarking. Bookmarking is useful except when you don’t classify them immediately and don’t use clear tags. For both work and pleasure fun, I use People need to know about the power of social bookmarking and how it makes web pages easy to remember, organize and share; Social Bookmarking in Plain English.

From social bookmarking to social networking now. Social Networking wins at popularity and gets more and more attention. Facebook, Myspace, Netlog, etc. are companies who enable people to make and maintain friendships. Common Craft made this video for people who wonder why social networking sites are so popular. They believe that it solves a real world problem. And I agree. So, here’s Social Networking in Plain English.

There are also some cool business networks. I use LinkedIn & Plaxo every day. And to finish this series, let’s enterprise 2.0 a bit… (awful term isn’t it J) Working together can be made much easier. Collaborating on a shared platform as on for instance wiki’s is much more efficient than you might think. Wiki web sites are easy to use, but hard to describe. Common Craft uses the practical example of planning a camping trip to explain; Wiki’s in Plain English.

A big Yéééééééh for Common Craft Productions!

The medium wás the message, WebNu is about the conversation.

I remember well. My teacher media, Erik Meganck, told me in 5th grade all about Marshal McLuhan and how his famous quote “the medium is the message” did evoke a big discussion in our classroom. He didn’t however tell us much about the “global village”, and that’s something that, even today, I regret. But one thing’s for sure; I found his lessons (among) the best I’ve ever had.

But back to the famous quote of McLuhan: “The medium is the message.”
I believe it’s not about what you are trying to communicate but how it’s communicated. His statement was made when mass communication media was just taken over by commerce. There was no conversation possible what-so-ever. The message was send to everyone in the hope someone picked it up, tried it and, in the best practices, told a friend to do also. Only messages that were very good reached a form of storytelling. Advertising evolved form information to seductive infotainment.

Times have changed. The conversation is the most important driver of web 2.0. Comments on blogs, messages on profiles in social networks, etc. have no other purpose than to share thoughts on a post, personal interests or a particular theme that the writer covers. Enterprises that spent millions at advertising should embrace this principle. They need to see their consumers as customers who co-create. Customers nowadays are empowered and could make or break your brand or product. A customer is someone who is a producer, user, participant, member & critic at the same time. Targeting a customer with even the simplest message isn’t so easy anymore. But there is a solution for this. That needs a shift in the enterprises’ mindset. Start a conversation with your (potential) customers?

A conversation can mean a lot of things but in fact, it’s dead simple: Connecting with people creates empty relationships, conversations between people creates meaningful relationships. Communities are built this way. In a commercial point-of-view, these relationships are underdeveloped, not fully exploited. Enterprises have a lot of connections but they should turn them in relations. A good conversation is not easy to create. It just happens, like all good things in life. When the quality of your message is good, it will be noticed. It will engage people to comment and help you forward with constructive criticism. Therefore offer your customers an experience. The user experience will reflect on your brand and/or products. Both positive as negative is possible. But your engagement will give you an advantage in cases of doubt.

Starting a conversation needs engagement from your part. But the conversation will soon become your legitimation of trustworthiness. It’s all about the conversation. So start today.

Do you think I’m right?

Inspirational source

Is “web 2.0” relevant?

I haven’t had time to explain my vision on what web 2.0 is and what it means to me. I understood that most people who read my blog know what’s it all about but I think there are so many definitions in the blogosphere that I find myself obliged to explain what I understand under web 2.0 and why I’m obsessed with it.

 It’s not what the software does, it’s what the user does

What is it?
Web 2.0 looks like an upgrade of a software package but it isn’t. The world wide web as described by Tim Berners-Lee hasn’t really changed. The technology behind it hasn’t. Berners-Lee pointed out that the things that drove web 1.0 also underpin web 2.0 (HTML, http, SVG, web standards, document object mode, javascript, …)
But what is web 1.0? People say that it was all about connecting computers and making content (information) available. Web 2.0 would mean for those same people that it is all about connecting people and facilitating all kinds of collaboration.
I believe this is mostly true and correct.

Web 1.0 refers to the World Wide Web as a collection of connected computers and the first generation of web-based services. The aim was pushing content from a publisher to a consumer in a unidirectional way.

Web 2.0 is a collection of connected people (communities) and the second generation of web-based services which aim is to empower people in communicating and facilitating their (online) lives. The World Wide Web became social and emphasized on networking, collaboration and user generated/created content. People are able not only to download but also to upload stuff. The interactivity stands central and is characterized by:

  • transparency (open communication)
  • empowerment of the users (decentralization of authority through self-regulating communities)
  • freedom for developers & end-users (share and re-use)
  • user friendliness (intuitive functionality)

This shift has become possible as people started to see the internet not only as an application but as a platform where they are empowered to choose with whom they connect, what tools they want to use, and how they can organize/push the content that matters to them. The media became social, the market became a dialogue. The web as a collection of content, people & tools makes us empowered consumers and that’s what I think web 2.0 is.

The emergence and rise of mass social media

The transition of websites as information silos evolved to sources of content and functionality (web-based services).
The social phenomenon is leveraged by the architecture of participation. The architecture of participation encourages users to add value (how? see this post) because it creates win-win situations.

So how is all this relevant?
It’s always a good idea to understand the drivers and the mechanisms. If you understand the drivers, you can try to predict how it all will evolve.

People are empowered by:

  • The social architecture that enable people to interact.
  • The application architecture (including user interfaces, databases storage, application logics). This enables people to store, organize and categorize content, people and tools.
  • Through the architecture of participation, people are encouraged to add value with implicit and explicit contributions (applications, content and people).

Web 2.0 framework

The convergence of complementary technology trends will reach new levels of World Wide Web maturity. This becomes possible when we have everything always & everywhere (portability is a driver) in a personalized way (p.e. roaming identity, data & reputation).

Nova Spivack sums it up well. What is needed to take it up to the next level which he calls web 3.0 (and I don’t because he underestimates humanity in favor of technology, I think it’s WebNu):

  • Ubiquitous connectivity (broadband adoption, mobile internet access, web services interoperability)
  • Open technologies (API’s, open source software platforms, open data)
  • Open identity (roaming portable identity and personal data)
  • The intelligent web (semantic web technologies including semantic application platforms and statement-based datastores)
  • Distributed databases (the world wide database enabled by Semantic Web technologies)
  • Intelligent applications (machine learning and reasoning)

So, I learn from web 2.0 that we have to create web services, not websites. Connect to people and use the community. Make everything accessible and portable.
The shift is also taking place in society. It’s not important anymore what you know. It’s important how (fast) you are able to find the content you need and what you choose to do with acquired knowledge. I think you should share it. 😉

WebNu is not only about technology.

The values of WebNu are values that describe the era we live in. It’s not only the technology. The WebNu values are indispensable and you have to adopt them. Although that’s what I think.

The WebNu values (as described below) are not exhaustive:
Live in & by the community;
It’s all about identity (who am I in what context), co-creation (enrich ideas and concepts through interacting with your communities through your own ecosystem), collaboration (work together, efficient and fast), live the open source (be transparent, fair, open and empower people to add value to your product, platform or application) and sustainability.

It’s important to see how this reflects on the value propositions organizations make. They should engage in finding it more important to have a value proposition for its employees & customers than for their products. I don’t say the product -an sich- isn’t important, I just say it comes second.

Mindshare is more important than market share!

The capacity to consume is brought by the capacity of information. Local knowledge should be noticed, discussed and approved before it can be implemented and have an impact on your organization. People always had, have and will have the aspiration to connect. Take advantage and create a tool to enable them to collaborate openly. See who works and who doesn’t. Turn your organization into a flexible company where your human capital can prove itself and work gets done more effectively.

My inspirational source

How to use web 2.0 – The network effect.

David E. Gumpert tells us in BusinessWeek that there are three keys to succesfully exploiting web 2.0:
1. Create a community to define the business goals.
2. Don’t give up old marketing techniques.
3. Listen & reply when people tell you something.

I think he’s not quite the expert BusinessWeek want us to believe he is…

It’s not a good idea to let the community define your business goals. Business goals should be set by the business owner. The community has an added value but it’s up to the business owner to use the community for its best purposes. This can be done by a tailored Customer Relationship Management program. After the business owner has set his business goals, he should wisely choose which media to use for his marketing. Traditional marketing is not money trown away but internet marketing has a lot of advantages. The two most important advantages are in its nature: Interaction with the customer (through feedback) & measurable results (ROI)

What was formerly known as word-to-mouth is still important and the viral network effect online makes it go faster than anything else (p.e. Mentos & Iphone in a blender) The network effect has everything to do with connecting & collaborating in your own personalized, both online and offline, ecosystem of interest & communication.

Ecosystem CRM

While communication is all around, using web 2.0 applications can ease your online life but it can also make it harder. You have to choose which means you use. To much of everything makes is just unmanageable.

What we do is what we are

Share your pictures on Flickr. Twitter your life in real time. Participate in social networks like Facebook, Netlog or MySpace. Manage your professional contacts in LinkedIn or Xing. Communities get created through sharing of interests and interaction. The value for members is defined by the tasks a website has to offer.

Spectrum of the community

The value for business is stipulated by the involvement of individuals in their community.

My inspirational source

OneWebDay – one web. one world. one wish.

logo OWD

The mission of OneWebDay is to create, maintain, advance and promote one day a year to celebrate online life. This event takes place september 22 and encourages people all over the world to think about how they can celebrate the internet through collaboration, connection, creativity & freedom.

“By the end of the day, the Web should be just a little bit better than it was before, and we’ll be able to see our connection to it more clearly.”

What a nice higher purpose! That’s something I’d like to try and do everyday.

My inspirational source

The web is now: WebNu!

First there was web 1.0. Than there was web 2.0 and now people all over the world are speculating about the who and the what of web 3.0, 4.0 and even 5.0. The discussion of what is what and how it became that way is not relevant.


I think the web is becoming more and more mature everyday. But thinking in terms of versions isn’t a good idea. The web is instantly satisfying. You don’t have to be a whizzkid to know your way around and to ease your online life. If you use the correct keywords, you find whatever you are searching for. All information is just one click away.

The web is now.
I call it: WebNu!

And I will try to explain my vision in inspirational posts.
I hope you will enjoy reading it. Let me know what you think.


Anymails is a visualization of my received emails.
I have investigated how I can use natural metaphors to visualize my inbox, its structure and attributes. The metaphor of microbes is used. My objective is to offer the user another experience of his email world.

The project was developed during the MFA thesis “Natural Metaphor For Information Visuzalization” (, PDF, 7mb) at the Dynamic Media Intitute Boston in 2007.

The emails used in the prototype are read from the users local Apple Mail database. The prototype was built with Flash and Processing. The Anymails source code (OS-X 10.4.9 ppc) is available for download (2.5mb).

Fichey makes browsing more interesting.

Just launched ‘Fichey‘ is a flash based website that enables you to browse through popular websites that were popular on, Digg, Downfly, Reddit and StumbleUpon.

“The sites are shown as a jpeg and pulled into Fichey’s flash interface, which consists of nothing more than a box that hovers over the image. The box contains contols letting you move to new sites, back to old ones, or to change the date or source. You can click on any site image and it will pull it up in an iframe to interact with it.” (Source: TechCrunch)

It’s a cool method to read new, interesting stuff pushed by the folksonomy.

Jimmy Wales on Wikipedia (must see)

About this Talk

Jimmy Wales assembled “a ragtag band of volunteers,” gave them tools for collaborating, and created Wikipedia, the self-organizing, self-correcting, never-finished encyclopedia of the future. Here, he explains how the collaborative approach works, and why it succeeds. Along the way, he debunks some controversies, explains the “neutral point-of-view policy” and why it is non-debatable; and details the Wikipedia governance model: a democracy with a bit of aristocracy and some monarchy thrown in.

About Jimmy Wales

With a vision for a free online encyclopedia, Wales assembled legions of volunteer contributors, gave them tools for collaborating, and created the self-organizing, self-correcting, ever-expanding, multilingual encyclopedia of the future. Read full bio »

How to Write a Business Plan: Ten Questions with Tim Berry

I work in the surreal world of Silicon Valley where venture capitalists fund companies based on PowerPoint pitches and executive summaries. My friend Tim Berry rightfully pointed that business plans still serve an important role in “the rest of the world.” He’s right, and he should know because he’s the president of Palo Alto Software, the principal creator of Business Plan Pro, and the author of a blog called Planning, Startups, Stories. He was recently named the US Association of Small Business & Entrepreneurship (USASBE) Corporate Entrepreneur of the Year for 2007.

Question: Who even reads business plans anymore?
Answer: How about “Who should read a business plan”? It’s not about whether venture capitalists read plans, it’s about planning to make your business better. So here’s who should read a plan: First, you the owner, manager, author of the plan–and you’d better be the owner of the plan too—not some consultant. The plan is by you and for you and if tracking it, reviewing it, managing and executing it aren’t important to you, then you don’t understood planning. Planning isn’t about the document; it’s about controlling your destiny, running your business better, setting goals and tracking progress, and keeping your eyes on the horizon while not tripping over potholes in front of you. If you’re not going to read it regularly, then don’t ask anybody else to.Second, team members, boards of directors, and collaborators. A business plan is a way to coordinate, communicate, and collaborate with accountability and tracking. It should get all the key people on the same page. Nobody can execute a plan they don’t know about.Third, relevant outsiders. Banks, investors, boards of advisors, key consultants, and even occasionally—but only with caution—vendors or prospective new high-level employees.

Question: What’s the most important qualities of a plan?
Answer: First, a plan should set priorities with the understanding that you can’t do everything. After all the buzzwords and analysis, strategy is focus. What can you do better than anyone else? What’s your core competence?Second, specifics. What’s going to happen, when, how much it’s going to cost, and who’s responsible for it. Third, cash flow. Growth spurts in a company are good things, meaning more sales, and presumably more profits, but unplanned growth can suddenly sucks up liquidity and in the worst cases kill the company. Growth without prior planning can be as fun a hard kick in the stomach. Here’s a story to illustrate the concept growth versus cash flow: Willamette River runs through
Eugene where I live. More people drown in the slow deep portions of the river than in the rapids because people think they’re okay when it’s slow. Cash flow is like that, you think it’s okay when you’re growing and profitable. Profits are good, but cash and profits aren’t always timed together.

Question: In what order should you do the summary, pitch, and projections?
Answer: That’s another chicken and egg question, and the answer depends on who you are, how you think, and how you work. I go through periods of months and in at least one episode years in which I think in broad bullet point terms first, then fill in details, and then I’ll swing over and start thinking in numbers and projections first, then filling in the concepts. I’ve watched people with planning for a lot of years, and it’s a style question. What’s most important with this order of execution is to understand that it will never be sequential. In whichever order you do it, you will always be doubling back. I’ve done it in every conceivable order, but I’ve never done a plan from step one to step N. Fleshing out the second step will almost always bring up reasons to revise what you did in the first step, and the third step will make you rethink the first two. At every point that you stop and work with plan, share it, talk about it, or manage it, then you’ll need to review the parts for alignment. I’m not talking about the big fat “Business Plan” as opposed to the larger and more useful real plan, the live plan. You need to keep alignment between the concepts and the numbers, and between the summary, the pitch, and the plan. In the real world it’s hard because a good plan is so alive that whichever part you touch changes.

Question: What about the theory that you should develop a pitch instead of a plan?
Answer: A good presentation is a great way to communicate the core of a plan, but it doesn’t substitute for a plan. A pitch without a plan is like a movie trailer without a movie. The plan and the pitch should work together. Which comes first is chicken and egg, a matter of personal style, but it’s crazy to have a pitch without a plan, or, if you’re aiming high in the investment world, a plan without a pitch. VCs like the contrarian buzz they get when they say they want the pitch instead of the plan, but they’re really always assuming there’s a plan in the background, aren’t they? They’ll probably have some analyst read it. We hear about some rare exceptions, but they are interesting for just that, they are so rare. Furthermore, the whole pitch versus plan discussion is limited to the exclusive top of the pyramid: the 5,000 or so deals that get VC funding in an average year plus another 25,000 or so that get angel funding. For the other twenty-six million or so businesses in this country, planning is vital and a pitch is an excellent part of the planning process, not a replacement for it.

Question: What’s the optimal process for writing a business plan?
Answer: Grab whatever part gets your attention first and get going. Understand that it’s not sequential it’s iterative, and a good plan is never done. Some people do the numbers, then the concepts, most people do concepts first, but it doesn’t matter. Planning isn’t a waiting room where you sit until you’re done. Build it in parts, mix and match, choose items from a menu. If you like, do a sales forecast and see where that leads you. My favorite process starts with what you want for the business on the long term, moves to establishing a conceptual identify: what are you best at, how do you want the world to distinguish your business from all others. Then it goes to the marketing: what message, to whom, through what media. Then it goes to sales forecast, costs, expenses, and last but frequently most important, cash flow. Key concept: a good business plan is never done.

Question: What are some of the common mistakes?
Answer: The worst by far is focusing on the plan instead of planning. This generates the idea that you create a plan as a document, and the related misunderstanding that the plan is for somebody else. You don’t postpone life while you’re developing a plan; you’re always developing the plan. In the meantime, “Get going.” Here are some other common mistakes:

  • Blue-sky blurry: lots of strategic thinking without any hard facts. Planning requires specifics: dates, deadlines, responsibility assignments.
  • Trying to do everything. I use the rule of displacement: everything you do rules out something else.
  • Thinking that being the lowest price option is important. It isn’t. The price and volume thing they talk about in economics classes is for 200-year-old lumps of coal, not your business. Use price as a statement of quality. Leave the low-price strategies for Walmart and Costco.
  • Mistaking profits for cash. Profitable companies go broke all the time. You don’t spend profits. Plan your working capital well.

Question: When do you revise a plan?
Answer: You need to revise a plan regularly, like steering a car or walking, both of which are constant small course corrections; but you also need to stick to a strategy consistently for two to three years at least to see it working.It’s better to have a mediocre strategy consistently applied over a long term than a series of brilliant strategies contradicting each other every six months. The hard part is knowing which is which. Don’t ever stick to the plan like running into a brick wall just because some cliche says you’re supposed to; that’s just dumb. But you also need the patience to let things work. Sometimes we keep solving the same problem repeatedly because we don’t have the patience to let the first solution work before we change to the next solution. It’s paradoxical.

Question: What’s the best format?
Answer: Form follows function. Planning isn’t about the “Business Plan” document, it’s about the planning process that creates management. The vast majority of business plans are for the business themselves—not to be read by outsiders, and they should stay on a computer and in bullet points and financial projections because that’s how they can be used. Until your plan needs to go to outsiders you keep it simple and practical. I’ve been running my company with a business plan for twenty some years now, it gets revised often, discussed and managed often. But we print it when our bank asks for it—maybe every five yeras or so. However, when you do have a “business plan event,” as we call it—meaning loan application, investment, or review for board of directors or advisors—then give your readers a break. Include charts to illustrate numbers. Use easy to read bullets. Use 12-point fonts for people over 50. Make an easy outline to follow. Include an executive summary that could stand alone if it has to because it will. Have chapters describing the company, what it sells, the market, the plan specifics —strategy, tactics, and programs, the management team, and the financial projections. Don’t be afraid to use PDF documents, they travel well and are convenient for all concerned. And let your readers decide whether they want hard copy.

Question: How can you project numbers for a new business with no history?
Answer: Aim for the educated guess. Educate the guess with back-up information laying out assumptions for how many potential buyers, what sort of penetration process through the market you’re projecting, and what experience shows in other industries. Look for indicator factors you can tie your numbers to, like web traffic and click-through and conversion rates for one kind of web business, or page views and ad views and ad revenues, on another. Don’t sit around debating projections—start selling. Prove your sales projections with sales. One of the best things about working with Philippe Kahn during the early days of Borland International was how he jumped out of the planning and into the sales at a moment’s notice. Nothing made the projections more credible than the $90K bundling deal from a computer manufacturer that also put dollars in the bank account (and $90K bought more in 1983 than it does now). There’s no data substantiation better than actual sales. Always try to get data you can pull apart into assumptions. I just used a web example, but even in the less data-rich world, you can project a restaurant sales by breaking it into meals per sitting and sittings per table and people per sitting and tables available and sittings per hour and peak hours and other hours, all of which helps to educate a guess. Always try to add experience. People who know a business understand general scale in a way that’s extremely hard to duplicate from scratch. I understand that we’re talking about a new business here specifically, but new businesses are usually derivative. If you don’t have the experience yourself, find somebody who does, and entice them into sharing and listening a bit. Buy lunch. Use flattery. That’s why boards of advisors were invented, as a forum for lunch and flattery.And remember: Start the planning process immediately. You’re projecting a new business only until you’ve finished the first month, and then you have plan versus actual to deal with. You’re laying down a plan so you can track the difference between plan and actual results. Your plan will always be wrong, but you’ll be tracking where, why, and in what direction.

Question: How do you know when you’re done?
Answer: A good business plan is never done. You’re going to be circling back around it for as long as you care about your business and want to manage it better. If your business plan is done then get out of that business, it’s dead. You’re always moving towards the horizon, and you’re business plan is always there to track where you’re going, mark the steps, and help you steer. The absolute worst business plans ever, anywhere, are those plans in a drawer somewhere. If you’re not keeping it alive, it’s not planning; it’s just a plan. It’s history. It’s of no business value.

Question: What do you make of these “Web 2.0” entrepreneurs who say that the world is moving too fast for anything as “1.0” as a plan?
Answer: They’re referring to the the big fat “Business Plan” when what they need is planning. Planning is vital because it keeps you on track and mindful of important long-term strategy and objectives. A plan, on the other hand, a plan taken by itself, is only as good as the implementation it causes. Planning is exactly what you need to deal with the speed of change. You have to remember that your business plan is always wrong—it has to be because it’s predicting the future and we’re human, we don’t do that very well. But it’s still vital because it’s the way you lay down tracks so you can follow up on the constant difference between plan and assumptions. Without a plan, when assumptions are wrong you don’t even know what they were, how were they wrong, in what direction, and what can you do about it. With a plan, you use plan versus actual all the time to manage the difference between what you thought and what actually happened. That’s what I love most about having a GPS unit in a car. When I screw up and take the wrong turn, the GPS still remembers where I wanted to go and tells me how to change my course. That’s what good managers do with a sound planning process.

Source: Guy Kawasaki’s Blog: How to change the world.

A little behind but back with a lot of stuff !!

Due to some work on my roof last week, I didn’t have much time to follow up my blogs. I wish I had but as it was a hell of a job, I didn’t. So here’s some very interesting stuff from the Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Blog. He always has interesting viewd on things. In brief:

  • The Essentials of Leveraging Web 2.0
    What should be your strategy when creating open websites & platforms?
  • Strategies for Making the Most from web 2.0
    How do you market your product in the folksonomy?
  • Revenue Implications for Web 2.0 Principles
    The up and downsides of 7 principles (which are not meant to be exhaustive) 🙂
  • Seven Ways to Explicity Trigger Network Effects
    How do you trigger a network effect?

The Essentials of Leveraging Web 2.0

  • Ease of Use is the most important feature of any Web site, Web application, or program.
  • Open up your data as much possible. There is no future in hoarding data, only controlling it.
  • Aggressively add feedback loops to everything. Pull out the loops that don’t seem to matter and emphasize the ones that give results.
  • Continuous release cycles. The bigger the release, the more unwieldy it becomes (more dependencies, more planning, more disruption.) Organic growth is the most powerful, adaptive, and resilient.
  • Make your users part of your software. They are your most valuable source of content, feedback, and passion. Start understanding social architecture. Give up non-essential control. Or your users will likely go elsewhere.
  • Turn your applications into platforms. An application usually has a single predetermined use while a platform is designed to be the foundation of something much bigger. Instead of getting a single type of use from your software and data, you might get hundreds or even thousands of additional uses.
  • Don’t create social communities just to have them. They aren’t a checklist item. But do empower inspired users to create them.

Strategies for Creating Open Web Sites and PlatformsAs culled from Web 2.0 Summit discussions and other known best practices…

  1. Liberate content and services via a public, open API. Content will continue to be separated from the experiences that mediate access to it, this makes adaptable experiences possible. Example: RSS readers let users consume content in the ways they choose and have control over. Doing this turns your Web application into a platform and is one of the most important habits of highly effective Web sites .
  2. Syndicate as well as use Web services to open up data. Each method has clear strengths such as discoverability, ease of consumption, or on-demand control. Example: This means RSS or Atom as well as REST or SOAP.
  3. Make it legal to reuse content. Don’t charge if you can help it, consider monetizing it via advertising, transaction fees, or subscriptions. Don’t cripple unintended uses, such as Yahoo!’s limits on their APIs, vs. Amazon’s profitable emphasis on unlimited use.
  4. Diligently build trust and credibility. No one will use your open data or services unless there is trust and credibility in the site. This is very hard to establish and is easily lost. This is one of the hardest intangibles of openness to manage.
  5. Expect the unexpected. Opening up a site means that others will dream of ways of using your data and services in ways you couldn’t imagine. Often this means they’ll use it as a free resource to achieve something that wasn’t possible before in terms of scale or volume. Be prepared for extreme situations and be sure to monitor your feeds and open services and be prepared to throttle them for mailicous or inadvertant waste.

Strategies for Making the Most from Web 2.0

There are direct (the 3 items above) and numerous indirect ways to monetize Web 2.0 that often go unappreciated

Some of the indirect ways which lead to revenue growth, user growth, and increased resistance to competition — which in turn lead to increased subscriptions, advertising, and commission revenue — are:

  • Strategic Acquisition: Identifying and acquiring Web 2.0 companies on the exponential growth curve before the rest of the market realizes what it’s worth (early exploitation of someone else’s network effects.)
  • Maintaining control of hard to recreate data sources. This is basically turning walled gardens into fenced gardens: Let users access everything, but not let them keep it, such as Google providing access to their search index only over the Web.
  • Building Attention Trust – By being patently fair with customer data and leveraging user’s loyalty, you can get them to share more information about themselves that in turns leads to much better products and services tailored to them.
  • Turning Applications into Platforms: One single use of an application is simply a waste of software. Turn applications into platforms and get 5, 50, or 5,000 additional uses (Amazon has over 50,000 users of its line of business APIs) for example. Online platforms are actually very easy to monetize but having compelling content or services first is a prerequisite.
  • Fully Automated Online Customer Self-Service: Let users get what they want, when they want it, without help. Seems easy but almost all companies have people in the loop to manage the edge-cases. Unfortunately, edge cases represent the The Long Tail of customer service. This is hard but in the end provides goods and services with much tighter feedback loops. And it’s also a mandatory prerequisite for cost effectively serving mass micromarkets. In other words, you can’t directly monetize The Long Tail without this.

Lying directly in the primary tenets of Web 2.0 however, are a series of two-edged issues from a revenue perspective. Though the concepts and ideas are powerful when applied appropriately, they can also pose significant short-term and long-term challenges. Below are the basic principles of Web 2.0 along with the positive and negative revenue implications for most companies on the Web today, even ones that aren’t fully embracing it yet.

Revenue Implications for Web 2.0 Principles (not meant to be exhaustive)

  • Principle 1: Web as Platform
    • Upside: Revenue scalability (1 billion users on the Web), rapid growth potential and reach through exploitation of network effects
    • Downside: Competition is only a URL away, often requiring significant investment in differentiation
  • Principle 2: Software Above a Single Device
    • Upside: More opportunities to deliver products and services to users in more situations
    • Downside: Upfront costs, more infrastructure, more development/testing/support (costs) to deliver products across multiple devices
  • Principle 3: Data is the Next “Intel Inside”
    • Upside: Customer loyalty and even lock-in
    • Downside: Lack of competitive pressure leading to complacency, long-term potential antitrust issues
  • Principle 4: Lightweight Programming & Business Models
  • Principle 5: Rich User Experiences
    • Upside: More productive and satisfied users, competitive advantage
    • Downside: Higher cost of development, potentially lower new user discoverability and adoption
  • Principle 6: Harnessing Collective Intelligence
    • Upside: Much lower costs of production, higher rate of innovation, dramatically larger overall content output
    • Downside: Lower level of direct control, governance issues (increased dependence on user base), content management issues, and legal exposure over IP
  • Principle 7: Leveraging The Long Tail
    • Upside: Cost-effectively reach thousands of small, previously unprofitable market segments resulting in overall customer growth
    • Downside: Upfront investment costs can be very significant, managing costs of customer service long-term

Seven Ways to Explicitly Trigger Network Effects

  • Network Enable Your Application. This might seem obvious but it’s a critical prerequisite and has more than the surface potential for creating interesting new applications outside of pure Web plays. For example, a Web 2.0 application does NOT have to be Web-based, but should be able to at least connect to the Internet. iTunes is an excellent example of Web 2.0 outside of the browser, but even mobile phones and text messages, made better ala TWTTR, shows the potential to think outside the box when it comes to thinking about a network.
  • Enable Data Sharing and Data Defaults. A big part of harnessing collective intelligence via Web 2.0 techniques is by making the experiences of tertiary users in a given situation easier and smarter. By this I mean when a user does something using the Web 2.0 application, that information should contextually improve that situation for the next user that comes along. I often cite as a great example of leveraging the work that the Web users that came immediately before you are making your upcoming experience that much better (less searching for new and relevant content.) More specifically this could mean expert guidance in completing online forms, improving shopping recommendations, collaborative spam filtering, and much more. Capturing information from your users and making it available to others (without violating privacy of course) is a key “plank” of Web 2.0.
  • Linkify Everything In Your Web 2.0 App. And I mean everything. The hyperlink is one of the most powerful mechanisms existing for triggering network effects. It’s how users show up to your site in the first place and everything else thereafter. A hyperlink structure must be how the information on your site is organized, shared, bookmarked, e-mail, IM’d, etc. Granular URLs are the key here. A site should have a URL structure that has clear axes for its URL segments (the things between the slashes in a link) to navigate through a user’s information, the shared folksonomy etc. Something like site/user/tags/xxxx is a classic example but there should be many interesting (and user-defined) paths to get to the same information. Once available via links, the knowledge of the page, data, or minicommunity to which the link navigates can propagate with amazing — even alarming — speed. And propagation over the network is the name of the game when it comes to network effects. If that link contains something people want to share, they will e-mail the link to a group of friends, who will IM it to more friends, who will put the links in their blogs, and so on. Pretty soon everyone is involved and you’re buying bandwidth upgrades in bulk quantities. The Message: Consistently think in and design in hyperlinks.
  • Syndicate Your Content: It’s unclear in my mind how powerful this truly is, but the blogosphere is proof that it can be quite potent. Furthermore, it greatly increases the discoverability of whatever content is on your site. You should support RSS at least, but probably Atom as well. Other people have written more authoritatively about this than I do here but it’s an important checklist item.
  • Turn Your Application Into a Platform: Encouraging unintended uses by others is practically de rigueur now and every good Web 2.0 site seems to have an open Web API these days. But what’s important it in this context is that it leverages network effects on an entirely new meta level. Not only is your site using its own traffic to generate more traffic and create more connections on the network/between people, but so are tens or even hundreds of other sites. They can use your API to add your site’s content and functionality to theirs (and hence their feedback ecosystem to yours). And they might leverage network effects a whole lot better than you for a variety of reasons (better design, more funding, cooler crowd, what have you.) Warning: Make sure your APIs are designed to leverage your social architecture or you might not get the desired result, just parasitic use.
  • Open Up Inside Your Site: Like MySpace allowed for a while with YouTube, let others host content, Javascript badges, widgets, feeds, or what-have-you on your site in the areas that belong to your users. Not only does this have the useful side effect of instilling a sense of creation and ownership in your users, but it allows you to leverage the network effects of other sites. This makes the content on your site aggregate the best content of other sites creating second order effects that can make your site cumulatively more valuable by building synergy, a new-agey but accurate term that means that the sum is greater than the parts.
  • Build a Viral Social Architecture. Sounds fancy and difficult but it’s mostly not. At its most basic, you just make sure that it’s extremely easy for users to invite their friends, family, and colleagues to visit the site. Example: The end of each YouTube video lets you share it with others via e-mail. There’s a lot more to this however and I intend to write it about it soon, but just remember that building good social architectures of participation is one of the core techniques for those interested in serious results.

Source: Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Blog

Nice story, fantastic interface

Jonathan Harris: The Web’s secret stories

I had some thought thanks to this video. What we want to create is not an archive, it’s a handy history organisor for the future, a web-based control panel. People get old and tend to forget what they like (from usernames & passwords to favorite films, shops, …) at a certain time. Imagine if you could search, select detected keywords from tag clouds or other 3D animated presentations so you can sort it(/yourself) out.

Promote yourself, express yourself through sharing your personal online history and interests (=your own online ecosystem).

Patent Pending

A guy I met told me that it’s a good idea to make your project patent-pending. For potential investors, it’s a extra arguement. The best way to make our project pantent-pending is via I think you should really consider it.

Open Source

“The most basic change has been a shift in the role of the consumer – from isolated to connected, from unaware to informed, from passive to active…. increasingly, consumers engage in the process of both defining and creating value”

The Future of Competition: Co-creating Unique Value With Customers by C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy