Tag Archives: blogging

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Launching No Other Gods in the next 10 days

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I’m super-happy to be able to say that I’m launching my science fiction book, No Other Gods, within the next 10 days.

I think you’re going to love it.

No-other-Gods-coverIf you want to be notified when it launches, please just add your name on this page — I’ll send an email to you when it is live and available. I have learned so much from people who have given me early feedback, and the book is way better for people who have already signed up there and read early “beta” versions.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the book:

Geno exists only to fight and to die. But he doesn’t die, and as he fights, he remembers. And as he remembers, Geno becomes more and more who he really is.

From ancient Sumer to earth’s distant future, Geno battles with sword and laser, arrow and particle beam, seeking only to obey the will of the gods. At least at first.

“Thou shalt have no other God than me,” the ancient commandment says. But slowly Geno learns that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic … and that those who claim to be gods, who require his obedience and worship, may be all too human themselves.

Human enough to desire the only woman in his life, Livia. Human enough to envy, and to kill what they no longer require.

And here’s a few words from people who have already read it:

“John is an amazing new talent to watch out for!”

– Matthew Mather, author of Atopia Chronicles and CyberStorm, just picked up by 20th Century Fox

“Very impressive writing! It pulled me into the story right away. I really like the style of writing; articulate, engaging and constantly makes you want to read more. It was actually hard for me to stop but I have a very early start tomorrow.”

– Andi Gutmans, creator of the PHP programming language

“An Asimov tone with a bit of a Battle Royale feel and a Game of Thrones twist!”

– Simon Dawlat, CEO of AppGratis

“John Koetsier delights with his prose — few writers are as much a joy to read. In all of his octaves, Koetsier haunts you: In his whimsical or light moments, his words levitate off the page. In his dramatic turns, his pace and punctuation push you over. You won’t stop!”

– Matt Marshall, editor of VentureBeat

“Blends myth and technology in the story of a futuristic warrior serving the gods. John Koetsier has created a scifi page-turner with enough historical detail to ground it.”

– Meg Simpson, game designer

“Prepare to be swept away into a fascinating world where all is not what it seems – this is one amazing journey you’ll never forget.”

– Eunice Schaap, editor

“Battle descriptions are awesome and the action was pure adrenaline injected into my brain!”

Alexandre Rocha Lima e Marcondes, Geeks with Blogs

 


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Sneak peek … and free first chapter: No Other Gods

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I’ve both longed for and dreaded this day: my baby is being born. She’s coming out in the world and the world may not like her. But she must be born. And maybe the world will love her 🙂

And so you – thank you SO much – are the first audience hearing her little cries as she emerges.

I’ve already released the full version to my VIP list of beta readers. If you hurry, you can still get on that list.

But I wanted to open up the first snippet of the first chapter to a wider audience. Maybe you don’t have a lot of time. Maybe you’re worried that it will suck. Maybe you’ve got a little Missouri in you: you wanna see it before you commit.

So I’m releasing this first chapter on Scribd. You can read it here, you can read it there, or you can download it and read it anywhere. And no, it’s not a Dr. Seuss book 🙂

Read, enjoy, and let me know if you want more!

No Other Gods Chapter 1 by John Koetsier


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No Other Gods (my first novel)

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I’m currently 88,873 words and 216 pages into No Other Gods, my first novel.

The first question when someone hears that, of course, whether in person or in social media, is: what is it about?  That’s been a difficult question for me to answer, mostly because it requires boiling down the work of months and months into a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph.

But it’s a critical question, not least for when I start marketing the book, which should be fairly soon. So here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

No Other Gods

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Exodus 20:3

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

No Other Gods is a Pinocchio story in a cosmic science fiction setting.

A man exists. He is a warrior. He knows little but to fight and to die, at different times and places, to impose the will of the gods. But while he fights, he does not die, and over time, comes to understand and remember that it was not always like this. That he was not always like this. And that those he sees as gods are not divine … they are men like him. And that he has been betrayed, altered, used.

With a warrior woman who also is beginning to awake to herself, this man must learn the truth to save his life, and his soul. And find a way to remind the gods that they are only human, after all.

His name is Geno.

I’ve just finished the twelfth chapter, and I’ve got three more chapters to write, but the progress is definitely downhill now, and the remaining chapters are not the largest ones on the book, either. In other words, it’s getting exciting!


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Apple CEO Tim Cook photobombed me yesterday

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Yesterday Apple CEO Tim Cook photobombed me while I was doing a Vanna White with the new retina Macbook Pro.

Dean Takahashi, also from VentureBeat, was videoing me showing the new laptop. We were at the Apple event in San Jose for the iPad Mini unveiling (and a lot else). Unbeknownst to me, while I’m showing the 13″ MacBook Pro’s new HDMI port, supermodel thinnosity, and super-sharp 4-million-pixel screen, Tim Cook showed up.

Of course, Dean never said a word.

If I had known, of course, I would have stopped interviewing me and started interviewing Cook. Ah well, I’m probably sucking – Tim doesn’t look super-happy.

Thanks for the photo, Dean!


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Oregon

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We took the Canadian Thanksgiving off and went down the Oregon coast after spending some time at the Great Wolf Lodge in Centralia, Washington.

Here are a few of the pictures:


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Testing the new WordPress Liveblog plugin

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This is a test of the emergency broadcast system … yet again.


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Best pitch of the day

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If there’s a skill journalists get good at, it’s ignoring. We get pitched incessantly, and end up deleting gigabytes of email just because there’s no time to parse it all.

But this one caught my eye:

Unfortunately, it didn’t work … there’s no way we’d cover that at VentureBeat. But it at least caught my eye.

And that’s job #1 for a pitch.

photo credit: Poppy Wright via photo pin cc


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Party @ Zynga headquarters

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After the MobileBeat conference day 1, Zynga invited us over to their San Francisco headquarters for a party. And there are few corporate HQs as awesome as Zynga’s.

Here’s a few of my shots from the evening:


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Less free, more lance

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Today is a really, really good day. I just signed a contract with VentureBeat to come on board full-time as a writer.

I’ve been writing for VentureBeat on a freelance basis since April 30th of this year, taking a contrarian opinion on why you should be using Klout when making (some) hiring decisions. Since then, I’ve written about a hundred posts.

My favourite, so far, is this one: How a 1-man cat-drawing startup won a Mark Cuban investment, the story of how a cat-drawing web geek from Chicago got on Shark’s Tank and charmed Cuban into a $25,000 investment. That was a fun interview, it was fun to write, and … I got Mark Cuban to comment, which was a highlight for me.

My most successful post so far has been Microsoft. Kicks. Ass. which I wrote at about 5:30 in the morning after Microsoft’s Surface announcements. I think the company got its mojo back there, even though I’m a Mac guy, and I applauded them for it. At this point, it’s gotten over 6300 likes and about 1600 tweets:

I’ve learned a ton so far, and I know I have a LOT more to learn yet. But I’ll be doing it with a great team of writers and editors, and I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks, Dylan!


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When you love what you do …

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… the world pays attention.

From Hugh at Gapingvoid. Simply awesome.


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Bow down before my words

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I was working on my novel this morning in the ungodly predawn hours when I saw this quote from about 4 millennia ago:

Now, I swear by the sun god Utu on this very day — and my younger brothers shall be witness of it in foreign lands where the sons of Sumer are not known, where people do not have the use of paved roads, where they have no access to the written word — that I, the firstborn son, am a fashioner of words, a composer of songs, a composer of words, and that they will recite my songs as heavenly writings, and that they will bow down before my words……

King Shulgi (c. 2100 BC)

Is that awesome or is that awesome? Kinda I-am-poet-hear-me-roar.

I’m doing a lot of writing lately. Writing at VentureBeat. Writing my novel. Writing for clients like Click4Time, where I’m helping them transform their site into one that converts surfers into customers.

It’s very cool in a way to see a quote from an individual right at the dawn of the written word speaking about the power of language. Specifically, recorded language. Language is powerful. Language changes perceptions and minds. And language enables us to create stories though which we interpret and understand and enrich our world.

But, no, don’t bow down before my words. Just enjoy 🙂

. . .
. . .

In case you’re wondering, the story is sort of military science fiction, but it takes place in different historical milieux. One of those is ancient Sumer … hence the research.


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PayPal story hitting Techmeme

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OK, very silly of me, I know. But I’m kinda pumped.

I’ve been writing for VentureBeat for closing in on a month now, writing 14 stories so far. Some may have made it to Techmeme, the barometer of who is doing well in technology news, but if so I haven’t seen it.

So I was a little chuffed today when I saw that my latest story, Paypal handles 60% of web transactions, leaves Google in the dust on Techmeme in the “Newest” section when I dropped by for my morning cup of tech coffee, so to speak:

And a little below on the page itself:

I’ve been on Techmeme before for stories posted here on Sparkplug9. But this is the first that I’ve noticed for my work on VentureBeat. That put a bit of a smile on my face this morning.


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Memories of Portugal

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Three years ago I was in Portugal, working with Intel on solutions for educational technology in emerging markets. Portugal, of course, is in some ways leading the charge in terms of providing computers for students, having provided millions of netbooks in Portuguese schools.

It was a wonderful trip, including time in both Porto in the north, and Lisbon itself. And it was a great opportunity for photography.

Some of my memories, via Flickr:


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Need a logo for sparkplug 9 …

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Sparkplug9 has been happily logo-less for 8 years. 8 years!

However, since I’ve been consulting more intensely in the past 3 months, I’ve decided that Sparkplug9 MUST HAVE A LOGO. I mean, with a logo, even a solopreneur looks pro, right?

So, I’ve been playing with Photoshop (bad idea) and searching the web for inspiration (better idea). All I can say is: creative commons is a great thing.

So, with a little help from Abdullah Najeeb Photography, who are very gracious to post their photos to Flickr under a Creative Commons license, and a little help from Photoshop, I’ve built a logo. Well, actually, I made a few … all based around a flame from Abdullah’s photography.

Unfortunately, they suck

Next step: find an actual designer 🙂

[ update ]

I’ve posted a project on Guru.com. Three designers have already submitted their proposals, so I hope to be happily logo-fied shortly!


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Top 10 social media tips for businesses just starting with social media

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I’ve been doing a lot of work lately with businesses and organizations that are recognizing the need to do something – anything – with social media.

The why is simple: they want to be where their customers are. The how: not so simple. Where do you start? What’s important, and what’s nice-to-have? How do you enter a social space appropriately, and how do you connect with people?

Here are 10 tips for businesses getting started with social media:

  1. Claim your space
    Domainer squatters are capturing all available domain names. And social squatters are doing similar things. So protect your future interests by automatically claiming your brand on any social media site. You don’t always know which ones will become significant remember Pinterest’s amazing growth) so cast a wide net.

  2. Start by listening
    Just like you wouldn’t show up at a party in a foreign country talking at full volume acting like you own the place, start slow. Start by understanding a social network before you try to establish your own presence. Reddit is very different than Facebook. Twitter is not YouTube. And different communications tactics and strategies work in different places.

  3. Talk to a pro
    If you’re new to social, buy some time from a long-time pro – a consultant who does social for a living. Even if it’s just an hour a week, get some tips, get some strategies, and most important, get some quick feedback on your ideas. A small investment here will save big dollars down the road: especially if you do something catastrophically wrong and create a PR nightmare.

  4. Start a blog
    Participating in social networks is like renting: it may make a ton of business sense, but it’s not on your own turf, and you don’t make the rules. Tilt the field a little in your direction by starting a blog, where you own the land and you set the rules. Everything you do here is an investment in your own property.

  5. Connect with others in your industry
    See what your competition is doing. See what your colleagues are doing. You can avoid mistakes that others have made, and you can learn from successes they’ve enjoyed. You’ll need to travel your own path, but you don’t have to do it in ignorance.

  6. Know your story
    Just like coming to a business meeting for networking, know a few things before you go. Who you are (your brand, your story), and what you want (your strategy). People who don’t know who they are or what they’re interested in can be boring … and the same is true with companies and brands. So figure it out before you open your mouth.

  7. Be able to act on what you learn
    As you engage with current and future clients, you’re going to hear some things that are going to need to be acted on. So have good communication lines with people in your company who manage marketing, production, customer relations, PR, and so on. Nothing’s worse than hearing about a major problem at your company that you can’t do anything about because you haven’t built your bridges first.

  8. Lighten up and have some fun
    Social media is … wait for it … social. So reading from the corporate strategy manual is a non-starter. Selling like it’s a TV ad is a waste of time. And keeping the stiff, formal tones of the annual report is not going to cut it. Social is about people, so talk like a real person. Just like you’d want companies to talk to you.

  9. Be social, don’t just do social
    Social is not something you do, it’s a way you live. So don’t just do social for the company, participate in social media yourself. Get as many on your team and company to do likewise. This will teach you the culture and communication styles of tomorrow’s clients and partners.

  10. Set some goals
    Nothing in your company gets done just to get done. Everything has, or is supposed to have, some kind of strategy – some link to what makes your organization successful. Social’s no different. Establish goals and track progress toward them. And, obviously, align your goals with company strategy … but make them realistic given the character of social networks that you’re engaging with.

  11. And a bonus point: set up monitoring
    Set up cheap/free monitoring with Google Alerts or Social Mention (here are a few more options for listing to your clients). Nothing is worse than being ignored … unless it’s finding out that you ignored a small issue that is now a major one. So listen to mentions of your brand and products, and be prepared to respond appropriately.

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A Pulitzer prize for blogs: a huge step, but did it have to be HuffPo?

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We need to just pause for a moment and reflect: a blog has won the Pulitzer prize. Somewhere Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame, who just cast aspersions on journalism and the web) is squirming in his boots.

The prize is for David Wood’s 10-part series on wounded veterans and their families: Beyond the Battlefield, and it’s a validation that serious, old-fashioned, long-form, deeply researched journalism can happen via the web. Massive kudos to Wood, and equally massive kudos to the Pulitzer organization, which is putting a nail in the coffin (I hope) of those who say that bloggers are not journalists.

The only negative: it was the Huffington Post that won.

This series was excellent, but in the blogosphere, HuffPo is known more for semi-creative rewrites of other people’s posts (with grudging and tiny attribution links), and sensationalized linkbait. In other words, not exactly the poster child for sober online journalism. Ahh well, you can’t have it all.

This is the first, but it won’t be the last. Serious journalism is moving to electronic-only media. It’s just a matter of time until it will be unusual in the extreme to award a Pulitzer to a paper production.


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First post @ VentureBeat

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I’m a little pumped. I managed to connect with VentureBeat over the past couple of weeks and just wrote my first post: 5 Reasons Mobile Fragmentation is Actually Good for App Developers.

In it, I argue that a very competitive mobile landscape with Windows Phone and BlackBerry in addition to (of course) Android and iOS is a good thing for mobile app developers … even if it makes life more complicated in some ways.

As I check it now, a few hours after posting, it’s not doing too badly:

  • 73 tweets
  • 46 shares on LinkedIN
  • 15 likes
  • 2 +1s (this is not good for Google+ marketing!)

Writing the post was fun, as was finding and interviewing 3-4 experts in mobile computing. I’m hoping to do more 🙂


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Gizmodo: this is just dumb

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If you’re clicking to see photos in an embedded gallery on a page, you should still be able to see the story, right?

Wrong, according to Gizmodo:

Not only does clicking the gallery links obscure the story, you can’t get back to it via your browser’s Back button … because with the miracles of AJAX, you haven’t really left the page. Which makes on wonder: why can’t they still show you the post?

Odd.

They must be angling for more comments …


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Bing & Yahoo send less traffic in a month than Google in a day

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I know Bing is getting better and better at search. I know they’re even increasing their market share, and not just because they’re also driving Yahoo! search results now.

Frankly, more power to them – competition in any space drives improvements for all of us. So I hope they continue to push Google and both companies get better at finding and organizing information.

But this is really weird. You’d think that if Bing drives about 30% of the searches on the internet, I would see some traffic here at Sparkplug 9 from them. Or from Yahoo. You’d think wrong:

See that big blue chunk of the pie? The 96.91%? Yup, that’s Google’s share of search-engine-driven traffic to this site. It’s not all traffic – I get a ton of traffic from StumbleUpon and other sites. But traffic from search engines is a big chunk of my traffic … and almost all of it is straight from Google.

Perhaps it’s audience – my topics are not interesting to the typical Bing or Yahoo user? That’s possible. But so much less interesting? Kinda hard to believe.

In any case, Bing and Yahoo! send less traffic to my blog in a month than Google in a day.

Wow.


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StumbleUpon is a traffic magnet for bloggers

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I’ve recently incorporate social sharing icons from Share Post on Sparkplug 9 stories. You’ll see them on blog post pages … right above the story.

The interesting thing for me recently is the numbers from StumbleUpon. For example, check out stumbles on this recent post:

I’m not a long-term StumbleUpon user. In fact, I’ve just started, and it’s taken me a while to get a degree of comfort and familiarity with the service. It’s a very cool way of discovering new content.

From a web publisher’s perspective, however, it’s also a great way to get traffic and attention for content. As you can see from above … something that I posted a few days ago has been viewed by 681 SU users, while only tweeted, shared, or seen on LinkedIn a couple of times.

That’s cool, and that’s enough to make me want to continue to explore and use StumbleUpon, and contribute to the community as a user while benefitting from it as a content producer.


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The incredible disappearing content

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Serious, HuffPo? Seriously?

I saw this web page on the Huffington Post a week or so ago and saved it to post about it later (much later as it turned out). Take a look at the amount of actual original content on this web page. I call it a web page because there’s no earthly way I can call it a story.

Content creators used to get upset at content aggregators. Now we’re happy when we’re mentioned at all, and some traffic trickles through. But this is just egregious. And it should be embarrassing. Putting that little content on that monstrous a webpage is an affront to every person who doesn’t have a financial interest in driving more pageviews and ad sales on the Huffington Post.

In the words of the recent Windows Phone 7 ad: really, HuffPo? Really?

You can do better.


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The Last Mogul: Has Steve Jobs Won?

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From Michael Wolff’s excellent post on Newser:

For the machine-loving consumer, Jobs’ triumph over Microsoft and Bill Gates is a marvel. Life seldom turns out this way. It’s a first in the history of architecture, where, in the mass market, the sensuous and beautiful triumphs over the functional and economic. The cost of such beauty, however, is having to accede to Apple’s world.

via The Last Mogul: Has Steve Jobs Won?.


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Is This Really The Future of Magazines?

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Why, why, why, Wired? 400 MBs of images in your 500 MB iPad app. Extremely uncool.

From the story on Interface Lab:

With the Wired app weighing in at a whopping 500 megabytes – just 100 shy of a full CD-ROM – how do they intend to maintain new editions of the magazine?  500 MB is too large for a 3G download (no help from AT&T’s less than spectacular network performance) and for those with iPad’s with the smaller storage, each issue will take a significant chunk of space on the device.  With no apparent means for managing which issues you keep on your device, this will become huge issue for a lot of people.  Obviously they will fix this with updates to the application, but I’m still wondering what they were thinking to begin with.  I’m hoping there were voices of dissent that pointed out the end product was not worth it’s weight in megabytes.  A PDF version would have been a tenth of the size, though without the interactivity.  But is the interactivity worth the 500MB price?  I personally don’t think so.

Why is the magazine so large?  Being the intrepid hacker that I am (*wink*) I mounted my jail broken iPad via AppleTalk and quickly tore into the app itself to see how it was constructed.  Similar to the PopSci+ magazine application, each Wired issue is actually a bunch of XML files that lay out a bunch of images.  And by “a bunch of images” I mean 4,109 images weighing in at 397MB.

via Is This Really The Future of Magazines or Why Didn’t They Just Use HTML 5?.


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How Facebook Games Harvest Big Bucks

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Fascinating and (sometimes) annoying:

By utilizing the simplest action-reward gameplay mechanic — borrowed from a Chinese game, which was itself inspired by a Japanese RPG — Facebook’s farm games have quietly turned millions of people into constant gardeners (and consistent gamers).

Cheri Van Hoover, 56, tends a real 11-acre farm in Washington state, but she’s glued to her virtual fields, too. “What these games give me is a sense of control over my life,” she says. “It is a neat, orderly place that I can escape to, and where things unfold in a relatively predictable fashion, and I can work out all of my needs for domination and power and control in a safe environment.”

via Farm Wars: How Facebook Games Harvest Big Bucks | GameLife | Wired.com.


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Why We Prefer Founding CEOs

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Great article from a Ben Horowitz, a venture capitalist. Here’s a small snippet:

The technology business is fundamentally the innovation business. Etymologically, the word technology means “a better way of doing things.” As a result, innovation is the core competency for technology companies. Technology companies are born because they create a better way of doing things. Eventually, someone else will come up with a better way. Therefore, if a technology company ceases to innovate, it will die.

These innovations are product cycles. Professional CEOs are effective at maximizing, but not finding, product cycles. Conversely, founding CEOs are excellent at finding, but not maximizing, product cycles. Our experience shows—and the data supports—that teaching a founding CEO how to maximize the product cycle is easier than teaching the professional CEO how to find the new product cycle.

The reason is that innovation is the most difficult core competency to build in any business. Innovation is almost insane by definition: most people view any truly innovative idea as stupid, because if it was a good idea, somebody would have already done it. So, the innovator is guaranteed to have more natural initial detractors than followers.

via Why We Prefer Founding CEOs // ben’s blog.


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Why Steve Jobs Loves Adobe Flash

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An interesting argument from RoughlyDrafted Magazine:

What better curse could one wish upon one’s mobile platform competitors than a bunch of performance and security problems, poor battery life, a mess of user interface inconsistencies, and a malignant boil upon their efforts to develop their own third party development platforms? Jobs didn’t express such schadenfreude himself, but he can’t possibly not be ecstatic that his competitors are all rushing to wrap themselves around the neck with the dead albatross that is Adobe’s Flash.

via Why Steve Jobs Loves Adobe Flash — RoughlyDrafted Magazine.


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The Glass Box And The Commonplace Book

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I find it interesting that many of the scholars and intellectuals of centuries past were, in effect, bloggers:

I want to start with a page out of history—the handwriting of Thomas Jefferson, taken from one of his notebooks on religion. The words on this page belongs to a long and fruitful tradition that peaked in Enlightenment-era Europe and America, particularly in England: the practice of maintaining a “commonplace” book. Jefferson Scholars, amateur scientists, aspiring men of letters—just about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book. In its most customary form, “commonplacing,” as it was called, involved transcribing interesting or inspirational passages from one’s reading, assembling a personalized encyclopedia of quotations. It was a kind of solitary version of the original web logs: an archive of interesting tidbits that one encountered during one’s textual browsing.

The great minds of the period—Milton, Bacon, Locke—were zealous believers in the memory-enhancing powers of the commonplace book. There is a distinct self-help quality to the early descriptions of commonplacing’s virtues: in the words of one advocate, maintaining the books enabled one to “lay up a fund of knowledge, from which we may at all times select what is useful in the several pursuits of life.”

This is only a small fragment of Steve Johnson’s article, which deals primarily with DRM, text, linking, and digital walls and windows. Highly recommended – follow the link …

via stevenberlinjohnson.com: The Glass Box And The Commonplace Book.


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Facebook vs Google: opposite ends of the funnel

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Good insight into both Facebook’s business model and especially their aspirations … how high they think they can go.

Over dinner at her favorite restaurant, a few blocks from her home in Atherton, California, her strategy for making money sounds simple. She takes my pen and notebook and starts drawing the classic marketing funnel, which starts broadly, with brand awareness, and grows progressively narrower, ending with point of sale. Google, she explains, does most of its business at the narrow end of the funnel, leading buyers straight to places where they can buy what they want. But Facebook, she says, operates at the wide-open end, creating positive brand affiliation and generating demand for products. Google makes money because it commands 50 percent of online advertising dollars spent on that final stage, the one that gets people to make a purchase. But that stage represents only 10 percent of all “ad spend”— here she writes “$690 billion,” then draws an arrow to her “online ad spend” column. Facebook can dominate the other 90 percent devoted to “demand generation” ($621 billion a year!). It’s not unreasonable, she thinks, that Facebook could wind up getting a substantial part of that, every year.

Of course, typically the narrow end of the funnel is easiest to measure, closest to cash, and higher value. Perhaps Facebook will help to change that.

via Vogue: What she saw at the revolution.


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This is big -> Introducing Google Places

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From the official Google blog:

We launched Place Pages last September for more than 50 million places around the world to help people make more informed decisions about where to go, from restaurants and hotels to dry cleaners and bike shops, as well as non-business places like museums, schools and parks. Place Pages connect people to information from the best sources across the web, displaying photos, reviews and essential facts, as well as real-time updates and offers from business owners.

Four million businesses have already claimed their Place Page on Google through the Local Business Center, which enables them to verify and supplement their business information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings and more. It also lets them communicate with customers and get insights that help them make smart business decisions.

This is a major challenge to Yelp and other local search companies. Follow the link to get the full list of new features, including new advertising options, QR codes for instant mapping on mobile devices, etc.

via Official Google Blog: Introducing Google Places.


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Nielsen: Facebook's Ads Work Pretty Well

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From AdAge:

Facebook-home-page ads on average generated a 10% increase in ad recall, a 4% increase in brand awareness and a 2% increase in purchase intent among users who saw them compared with a control group with similar demographics or characteristics who didn't.

But the increase in recall jumped to 16% when ads included mentions of friends who were brand fans, and 30% when the ads coincided with a similar mention in users' news feeds. Brand awareness saw similar bumps: up 2% from just a home-page ad, 8% with a “social ad” bearing mentions of friends who were brand fans and up 13% when a home-page ad appeared along with a mention of friends who were brand fans in the users' news feeds.

via Nielsen: Facebook’s Ads Work Pretty Well – Advertising Age – Digital.


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