Free conference calls and a busy spring schedule
I haven't said much about it here on my weblog, but 2006 has become a whirlwind of training and workshop activities, and I'm really glad to share that much of it is free for the listening!
THE SYSTEM SEMINAR
I'm going to be talking about blogs at The System Seminar, a huge Internet Marketing event coming up in Chicago, hosted by Internet marketing wizard Ken McCarthy. This is going to be a great event and I'm really looking forward to sharing a podium with the likes of Brad Fallon, Declan Dunn, Mike Stewart, and Martin Wales, among others. Even better: Ken and I are going to be chatting on the phone tomorrow, the 28th of February, about the conference and my specific session on blogging and you're invited to join us!
The free teleconference with Internet marketing wizard Ken McCarthy about using blogs to promote your online business is tomorrow at 12.30pm Eastern time. Please sign up and get lots more details:
I'm looking forward to it and hope you'll join me on the phone.
Update: you missed the call, but can still hear the recording: The Magic of Marketing with Blogs. I think you'll find it a good use of an hour!
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United Airlines completely messes up on customer mailing
I know, I know, it could happen to any company, but I'm just as surprised as heck that a large corporation like United Airlines sends me the following message:
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Wherehouse buys Musicland, like dinosaurs wrestling in the tar pits?
I'm just baffled by this maneuver: According to DNS Retailing Today, Trans World Entertainment has proffered a bid to buy out Musicland Holdings, owners of Sam Goody, Suncoast Motion Picture Co., and MediaPlay.com. TWE owns about 800 retail music and video stores under the brand names FYE, Coconuts Music and Movies, Strawberries Music, Wherehouse, CD World, Spec's, Second Spin and Planet Music. [ref - registration required]
The shocker here is that Musicland Holdings, with its
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Why is coverage of the Olympics so awful?
Every four years I get to remember why I really hate watching the Olympics on television. It's not about the advertising, it's not even the endless parade of "background" vignettes instead of showing us more events, it's not the non-family-friendly previews for movies and TV dramas slipped into the advertising stream, it's not even the talking heads in their quasi-newsroom sets telling us what we need to know about the day.
No, what drives me completely batty are the commentators.
There, I've said it. Maybe I'm the only person in the entire country who feels this way, but I just loath these idiots that NBC have hired to "talk us through" how the athletes are doing in specific events. Yes, they know more about the event, about the scoring, about the history of each athlete than I do, but I don't want to know all of that while the athlete is competing. Afterwards, maybe, but not during.
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Cool job: Manager of Reputations and Social Computing at Amazon.com
My friend Jeff Barr over at Amazon shared this incredibly cool sounding job that they've just created: Manager of Reputations and Social Computing.
Wondering what that is? Wonder no more:
"You’ll lead a talented and nimble team of engineers to create innovative software that finds and removes spam, finds the best customer created content, and helps customers connect with each other through novel trust mechanisms."
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Are you blogging for market research?
As an avid follower of Profnet through the terrific PR Leads service (see my article The secret to being an expert source in the media to learn what I'm talking about) I constantly see queries from writers and journalists about technology pieces they're writing. Sometimes they're about blogs and blogging, but often it's more general business questions.
Today, however, journalist Paul Gillin, working with BtoB Magazine, sent out a query looking for companies that are using their weblogs for market research, and I'm hoping that getting him some wider exposure through my reposting will help him find some good sources for his upcoming story.
Please read on for details...
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Improving sales performance at Prentice-Hall with sales simulations, blogs and podcasts
This article features the work of the Gronstedt Group, one of the few marketing agencies in the US that I think really gets the power and capabilities of blogs and related technologies. As someone who writes books for Prentice-Hall, it caught my eye, but generally it's a fascinating read about how modern technologies expand the capabilities of any company when used properly.
When Prentice-Hall Business Publishing met for its annual sales meeting in Orlando this year, conference organizers made sure that sessions weren't going to be used to catch up on lost sleep. Instead of a parade of basic PowerPoint slides and endless monologues, reps got up to speed on the company's 2006 strategy by playing video games on their computers.
Working in pairs, they practiced selling a new financial accounting textbook to virtual business professor Mary Green of River City College. They tried their hands at introducing themselves, probing for customer needs, positioning the product and closing the sale - all without leaving their laptops. Professor Green told reps to back off when they got too aggressive, and she began to go cold in the interview when they strayed from key messages.
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Blogger Interview: Cartoonist Krishna Sadasivam
I'm always on the lookout for people doing interesting things with their weblogs and I'm also a fan of comics, comix, illustrated novels, and similar graphical works, so when I bumped into a blog focused on PC geek humor, I couldn't resist asking the cartoonist about his efforts...
Q: A cartoonist. Cool. How often do you publish new work and how did you get started with cartooning?
The PC Weenies is published 3-times a week, M-W-F. I was always interested in cartooning, even from a very young age. It was always a dream of mine to become an animator, having grown up with Bugs Bunny / Road Runner on television.
In high school, I discovered Marvel comics and became fascinated with storytelling via sequential art. I didn't really get serious about cartooning until my first professional work appeared on CNET back in
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Getting Started with LinkedIn
I've written about LinkedIn many times on my weblogs, and talked about it at various workshops, speeches and informal gatherings. I think it's darn cool and quite helpful professionally.
Two quick examples: First, I was having no luck making contact with the public relations team at Sony Computer Entertainment by calling them, so I instead used LinkedIn to search for members of their team and found that most of the marketing folk were in LinkedIn. A quick contact request and I'd established a solid connection in the organization.
I also do expert witness work for patent infringement cases (though I can't talk about that too much, for what I hope are obvious reasons) and I needed to find people who worked at a specific magazine in the early 1990s. In less than five minutes on LinkedIn I had four names, had queried them all, and less than 24 hours later had established contact with one of the former editors of the magazine and had him agree to send me his back issues. That would have been quite literally impossible to achieve without LinkedIn.
That's all well and good, but if you aren't already plugged in, how do you start with LinkedIn?
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Are entrepreneurs all suffering from ADHD?
This is a topic that many of my colleagues and I talk about when we meet face to face, as we also check our email, talk with someone back in our offices, fiddle with a PDA, or skim a magazine: are there characteristics of the clinical diagnosis of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder that are actually positive attributes of entrepreneurship?
Fellow entrepreneur and blogger Pete Quily chewed on this topic at length on his blog too, in a recent article entitled Top Ten Advantages of ADD In A High Tech Career and generously allowed me to republish them here...
1. The Ability to Hyperfocus.
Hours of full engagement and concentration in a task, if you find it interesting. You can get into the zone and be totally immersed in what youre doing while the outside world disappears. When I went on the net for the first time in 1993 at an Internet cafe I got on the machine at 8 pm and around 4 am decided it was time to go home.
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University of Phoenix / Apollo Group releases "Free Speech Policy"
It's always darn interesting to see how the University of Phoenix reflects both the academic and commercial bias, so when I saw this memo from Apollo Group Chairman John Sperling, I thought it was intriguing reading. First I present the memo, then the actual policy itself...
February 8, 2006
From Apollo Group's initial founding 30 years ago, I have always stood by three basic values: (1) we treat our fellow employees, students and vendors the way we ourselves wish to be treated; (2) we always strive for the highest quality in our work; and (3) we foster free speech. In resuming the Chairmanship, I want to ensure that our Free Speech Policy is institutionalized so that it creates a robust culture of open communication between and among staff, faculty and students. I am therefore recommending to the Board of Directors that these policies be added to our corporate by-laws so that it becomes the responsibility of the Board to encourage and protect them. In order to assist the Board in these duties, I am appointing an Ombudsperson whose job will be to monitor our culture and to bring to the Chairperson and the Board of Directors any perceived troubles.
The Ombudsperson will be responsible for insuring that every employee and faculty member has access to the Chairman and the Board. The Office of the Ombudsperson is not intended to take the place of normal channels of grievance procedure and communication. In matters of employee grievances, it is intended to be utilized only after traditional avenues have been pursued, such as working with your manager and/or the Human Resources Department.
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Let's Play "You Be The Blogging Consultant"
I work with a lot of different clients who are either just dipping their toe into the swirling maelstrom of the blogosphere or who have been blogging but want to take their efforts to the next level. There are a number of ways we interact, including a popular in-process Exploding Your Business with Blogging teleseminar with my pal Brad Fallon, but we also share critiques and feedback with each other too, a process that I have always found one of the best ways to learn more about how to be successful.
Heck, every time we have a round-robin feedback discussion I learn of different ways I can improve my own weblogs too, and I've been tuning them for years now. :-)
But this is your chance, dear reader, to get involved! I'm going to share the list of client sites I'm involved with currently and invite you to visit one or more of them, evaluate what they're doing, and then post a comment here with your feedback to that blogger. Once you've done that, you're invited to post a link to your own weblog too, and we'll try to respond with feedback on your site too!
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More great books on my shelf, but time to read them?
As a writer, I love books. I am surrounded by hundreds of books, ranging from history to cinema, technology to business processes. A glance at my shelves shows me some of my favorites, including Foucault's Pendulum, Blood, Tears and Folly, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes and The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan.
Along with these favorites, though, there are always stacks of new books sent along by fellow authors, publicists and friends who are convinced I'll really like a particular title. And, of course, I contribute to books too, either as a reader, editor or sometimes as the author of a foreword.
So here's my short list of splendid books on my desk that I really need to sit down and read or re-read now that they're published, along with an explanation of how I'm involved or what I find so interesting about them...
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Why I really don't like Memeorandum
Sometimes I feel like either the lone voice of reason in the wilderness or, alternatively, the one guy who just "doesn't get it" with some of the more popular 'net sites, but I have to say that the more I view Memeorandum, the more I dislike it.
It's important to remind you that Larry Page's big innovation in Web search was that pages that had more inbound links were the best, most authoritative matches for a given search, thus Google was born.
Memeorandum takes the logical next step, calculating the most "relevant" discussions in the Blogosphere by tracking a few thousand of the most popular weblogs in a given segment and analyzing what news articles or blog entries are receiving the most inbound links at any given time.
But the whole premise of the site is critically flawed.
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