Introducing Blogsmart, My New Business Blog Training Site...
If you haven't had a chance to pop over to my shiny new Blogsmart site where I have centralized all my training materials and courses, you really should check it out, especially my popular Business Blogging Course that I co-produced with friend and SEO genius Brad Fallon. It's fun and darn informative.
What's potentially more interesting to you, dear reader, is that I now have a Blogsmart News newsletter that you can subscribe to for free, and receive helpful and informative weekly tips and ideas about blogging and online marketing. There are already hundreds of people on the list so why not join them? It's easy:
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Bill Gates on The Unified Communications Revolution
Once in a blue moon Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sends a letter out to analysts and industry cognoscenti, typically something that advances a philosophical platform for the firm but in a typically incomprehensible manner. Here's this quarter's installment, on what Microsoft is calling "Unified Communications" and what I suggest is them running just a bit afraid that Microsoft is becoming less relevant, less important to the future of computing.
It doesn't matter whether you are the chairman of the world's largest software company, a salesperson at a medium-sized manufacturer or the receptionist at a small startup, there's one workplace scenario we are all familiar with. It starts when you need to reach a colleague quickly. First you look up their phone extension and give them a call, only to be directed to their voicemail. After you leave a message, you find their mobile phone number and leave a second message. Next, you send an email. If you happen to be in a meeting when your colleague gets your messages and tries to reach you, the process repeats itself, but from the other direction.
A decade's worth of software innovation has transformed the workplace and empowered information workers to do their jobs with greater speed, effectiveness and intelligence. But communicating with colleagues and sharing information is still far too complicated. Because you are a subscriber to the Microsoft Executive Email program, I wanted to share my thoughts with you about new "unified communications" innovations that will dramatically streamline the way we communicate at work and stay in touch with friends and family at home.
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Conference pass to GNOMEDEX 6.0 up for auction
I'm bummed. For the last few years I have enjoyed going to my friend Chris Pirillo's GNOMEDEX events. They're reminiscent of the Hackers conferences I used to go to at least fifteen years ago (back before hacking was a media sport and was a positive, not a negative, attribute) but with a liberal sprinkling of bloggers, podcasters, and other so-called Web 2.0 type people.
Unlike other events, Gnomedex's are all about the "doers" not the posers too, so the quality of the crowd is quite exceptional. Last one I attended, in Lake Tahoe, was a seriously good time for all, and lots of fun to boot.
When Gnomedex 6.0 tickets became available for the event starting in about a week, I promptly bought one for $449, knowing that the event always sells out. It did this year too. But, alas, I cannot attend and there's no refunds on conference tickets.
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Interview with Gary Scheier from QuietAgent.com
When I was contacted by the team at Quiet Agent.com, I have to admit that I wasn't too interested. I mean, does the world really need yet another job search Web site when we have such splendid options as SimplyHired and LinkedIn? In fact, we do, and there's still plenty of room for innovation, as proven by Quiet Agent, which is a pretty darn ingenious twist on the Web-based job board. Where Quiet Agent diverges is that it's designed for people who are seeking a job quietly. You know who you are: you've got a job and you really don't want news of your search traveling back to your employer because you're fishing, but you're not ready to walk yet.
Gary Scheier is the head of US operations for the new company (owned by parent StaffVC) and was kind enough to participate in an interview where he lays out exactly how Quiet Agent is different from other job boards...
Q: Can you tell me some background on the firm? Who founded it, and why a job search site? What's everyone's background in the online/offline recruiting world?
StaffCV is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois with a wholly owned subsidiary in Auckland, New Zealand. The company was founded in October 2000 and opened its offices in September 2002 after two years of software development and beta testing. StaffCV has 15 employees, with the founder, Jason Kerr, and the development and marketing team residing in New Zealand. Gary Scheier manages US operations with a small support staff. The company has independent sales offices in New York and Chicago, Sydney and Johannesburg.
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Is the "elevator pitch" dead?
"We've been misled, mis-directed and outright lied to - in that most of what we've been told about networking is a load of Colorado mountain goat dookie. But the worst bit, the part that really steams me, is the conventional networking wisdom that says "Immediately upon meeting a person, tell him or her what you do - your 30-second business pitch."
Is it really the death knell of the elevator pitch? When you're at professional networking events, do you turn up your "curious questioner" communication style, or do you fall back on knowing exactly how to answer queries about what you do, what your business is about, or similar with your canned 30-60 second pitch?
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Jakob Nielsen on Web usability problems. Again.
Let me start out by saying that I have high regard for human factors and usability, and often look at Web sites and wonder what the heck the designer was thinking when they made a particular section blue, a link red, a banner ad bigger than the site logo, or, the most heinous of sins, made me have to hunt to find the content on the page.
Heck, in college I even worked with usability star Dr. Donald Norman at a research group focused on human-computer interfaces and usability, including helping the U.S. Navy with some of its navigational systems as used on submarines. Oh, those many years ago. :-)
Having said that, I read that Jakob Nielsen has come out with yet another book on usability and yet another criticism of Web site and, no doubt, blog design. His new book leaves no question about his stance: Prioritizing Web Usability.
Is it okay if I yawn yet?
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How GM errs using its blog to respond to bad press
The New York Times published a quite critical op-ed piece from well-known economist Tom Friedman (author of the best-selling book The World Is Flat, among others) entitled GM keeps the gas flowing and U.S. soldiers in danger [link points to Deseretnews.com's reprint].
A few pithy quotes:
"Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors? Surely, the sooner this company gets taken over by Toyota, the better off our country will be."
"Here's a rule of thumb: The more Hummers we have on the road in America, the more military Humvees we will need in the Middle East."
"President Bush remarked the other day how agonizingly tough it is for a president to send young Americans to war. Yet, he's ready to do that, but he's not ready to look Detroit or Congress in the eye and demand that we put in place the fuel-efficiency legislation that will weaken the forces of theocracy and autocracy that are killing our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan."
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Dave Taylor on Sex in Video Games
He's not my doppleganger, and as far as I know we aren't related other than by Google, but when I had the chance to interview well-known game developer Dave Taylor, I couldn't resist. Here's our interview, and I hope you enjoy our witty banter...Q: Okay, you clearly stole my name or we're twins of different mothers or something. How'd you get into the game industry when I ended up in the more boring world of business technologies and market communications, Dave?
Our paths prolly diverged in vitro. I knew I wanted to be a game developer the day I saw Lemonade Stand running in Applesoft Basic on an Apple ][+, somewhere around 6th grade.
What's market communications?
Q: You have quite an illustrious background in the world of gaming too. In a few sentences, can you highlight your career to date in this space?
Coder on Doom and Quake, financed, produced and did some game design on Abuse, producer and game designer on Golgotha (cancelled), checked out of game industry briefly to work at a processor design company called Transmeta as an engineer, produced and designed a game for Spy Kids, did design for an ER TV show game, little coding contracty gig for a Lord of the Rings game, produced and did some game design for a UE3 demo for Intel.
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Baker & McKenzie tries to protect FIFA World Cup so Boing Boing attacks?
Let me get this straight. Infront Sports & Media, the company that owns the broadcast rights to the most popular sporting event in the world, the 2006 FIFA World Cup, is trying to protect its digital interests by having its law firm, the massive Baker & McKenzie, send out pre-emptive warnings to very popular Web sites about the copyright of said content, and the blogosphere is already turning on the attack?
Exhibit A: Consider this sophomoric response by Mark Frauenfelder, part of the editorial team at Boing Boing, to what I will conceed is a rather heavy-handed notice: Hideous company sends Boing Boing a pre-emptive nastygram.
Yes, the letter is heavy-handed, with threats like "you should be aware that Infront and its agents are actively monitoring your website and others to identify unlawful activity..." but I am again dismayed at the reaction to legal and corporate activity in the blogosphere, and from Boing Boing, one of the most popular weblogs on the Internet.
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