5 Picks from The Wired 40; NVIDIA helps us visualize….

Wired each year posts a top 40 list of businesses. Called The Wired Top 40 of course. The criteria is:

We start by looking for the basics: strategic vision, global reach, killer technology. But that’s not enough.
To land a spot on our annual Wired 40 list,
a business also needs the X-factor ““ a hunger for new ideas and
an impatience to put them into practice.

The top 3 companies for 2006 are Google, Apple and Samsung in that order. I wanted to highlight 5 others on the list that seem like good things will happen for them based on societal trends. This is my top 5 wired subset list from a NON investor.

  1. NVIDIA – Wired Rank 21 – These folks make graphics cards. Really good graphics cards. With the growing importance of visualization of information. Open source usually lags in innovation behind private companies (oh shoot me). We all need dual monitors with great graphics. Betting on NVIDIA is easy.
  2. GENENTECH – Wired Rank 04 – how can you go wrong with customized drugs for specific patient groups. Marketing teaches us that markets diverge, not converge. So we need drugs for divergent humans. Evolution, eh?
  3. MONSANTO – Wired Rank 25 – Frankenfood meets Ethanol. Corn number 2 is not the be-all. Monsanto in my opinion will benefit from the world’s energy demand. And we benefit because ethanol is a cap on the price of oil as it can only grow to the point of being higher than the price of ethanol and people switch (energy companies do this with feed stock versus natural gas in flex plants)
  4. LI & FUNG – Wired Rank 32 – outsource production of clothes for major brands. If there is anything I learned from reading on marketing and then Jane Jacobs it is that first you outsource, then innovate, then export. They either grow through the brands themselves, or innovate and become the brand. Either way it sounds like they are in the driver’s seat.
  5. CISCO – Wired Rank 12 – I
    thought they were goners a few years ago with the horrible user
    interface (command line, hello?). Then they bought Linksys and seem
    ready to continue to route our world. The market will grow and it is up
    to them to mess it up. I don’t think they will.

Now we just need to figure out the nanotech battery companies that power the dewalt drills. 18 VOLTS! Put that in your hybrid.

And just to repeat – I am not an investor. For all I know these are the
next Enron. But the business models sound good without looking at the
balance sheet.

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? – A BestSeller

WaitingforyourcattobarkeisenbergCongratulations to Bryan and Jeff Eisenberg and the whole team at Future Now Inc. Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? is on the best seller list. WHOOOOOOOP! 

And the blatant promotion continues  …given they are a client. And IABC is a client. So I must point out that the Eisenberg barking cat road show hits Houston in July. If you talk to them, be sure not to mention that it is HOT in Houston in Jully. We want it to be a surprise.

Here is the information on the upcoming presentation:

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing

Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg Co-founders

Future Now, Inc.

Thu 27-Jul-06 11:15 AM to Thu 27-Jul-06 1:00 PM

Microsoft AdCenter Gender Predictions for Demographic Marketing

Microsoftadcentergenderpredictions The demos of demographic profiling of search on adlab site of adcenter search technology. The image to the left demonstrates the end result; you get gender approximations based on search term. These are estimated from the behavior of the user I am guessing from total search patterns.

So, hypothetically if a searcher is obsessed with someone perhaps this indicates a male behavior. That profile data is tied back to search terms and presented to the marketing team as such. Interesting.

All kidding aside, I do see real value in demographic data when formulating strategy for clients. This does matter. Note that Google only released google trends after it was obvious that technorati and blogpulse visual reporting was skyrocketing in use. Perhaps this will lead to a similar disclosure from adwords or overture in the future?

Privacy? That is another matter.

Mark Cuban is a PR Machine – and Doesn’t Know It

Mark Cuban, by default, accomplishes what tons of PR people TRY to accomplish. He does it unconsciously. What is that? He is brutally honest and genuinely interesting which makes him Brangelina. (his words) More?

I’m sorry for what I make you cover.

In my naive days I used to think that news stories were meant to be stories of interest. That they were uncovered topics that were being revealed to a public thirsting for information and knowledge.

Now, Im coming to realize that there is something more to how stories are selected. Im just not quite sure what that “something “ is.


It is perhaps a bit disingenuous to suggest that you don’t understand how being a dot-com-millionaire-loud-sports-fan-nba-owner makes you newsworthy. Hmmm. Personally I’d rather read about Mark in the news than Brittney or Brangelina any day. Keep up the "something" Mark!

RELATED: Mark Cuban photo selected from flickr because it is set up with a creative commons license. If you aren’t familiar with CC it is worth reading up on. Give away some content and you will get linked. And THANKS SDK for the use of the photo!

Bumptop – Great Concepts to Integrate into Vista and OSX

BumptopWatched the video on bumptop from the link on 43 folders. Bumptop is a new desktop interface prototype. Many of the user interface metaphors are similar to a real (physical) desktop; moving files around, stacking, shuffling things. The critique on 43 folders, linked above, addresses several of the limitations.

On the PLUS side, the  "zip" motion of circling  and drawing a line through the middle is innovative. I can see using that interface in favor of the CTL-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK method I currently use. Circle, zip through the middle, post to flickr. Easy.

The biggest missing component is an increased utilization of horizontal adjacency. I have mentioned this before in a post on Open Crouquet.

News Web Sites that are Interesting

Two recent finds in the area of online journalism.


The first was at the n2 conference where there was a presentation by OhMyNews. The English version of OhMyNews is here. The premise is citizen journalism. And they do mean journalism and not just blogging. Reporters can be unpaid while some are paid but far less than a typical reporter (think $700 / month for a top reporter). So this is not a full time job in the west at least unless you have an alternate form of income. From the site:

from Welcome to ‘Citizen Journalism: Theory and Practice’

We strongly believe that citizen journalism can take root anywhere, not
just in South Korea. For it is better to have citizens voice their own
ideas and interests than to let the media represent them on their
behalf. The Internet environment is improving around the world. As more
people get online, a public square is being broadened and leveled for
everyone to join in as active participants. Globalization in a sense
paves the way for people to build communities with ever greater ease.

Traditional means of news gathering and dissemination are quickly
falling behind the new paradigm. What troubles old media more is the
changing nature of the news itself. We believe news is something that
is made, not only by a George W. Bush or a Bill Gates but, more
importantly, by people who are all allowed to think together. The news
is a form of collective thinking. It is the ideas and minds of the
people that are changing the world, when they are heard.

I predict OhMyNews will have a significant impact globally as a counter point to cnn.com.


The second interesting news web site that was pointed out to me is NEWSEUM which includes links to "Today’s Front Pages". As the name suggests, it is an interactive museum of news. It strikes me that this is also a great way to see what stories are running in different parts of the country.

The picture at the top right is the Ventura County Star – chosen randomly from the Newseum site.

Refresh Houston Presentation on CAPs and PFIF

Next Tuesday Refresh Houston will be meeting and I get to be the speaker. yea! OK, seriously, this is a more technical audience and I wanted to cover two technologies that are very important for the future. Kelsey indulged me so I wanted to review CAPs and PFIF (links below). 

Refresh Houston meeting – Are you ready for online emergency communications?  Ed Schipul talks PFIF, CAP and more on Tue 27-Jun-06 6:00 PM

Come and discuss why being pro-active in emergency communication
preparation is so vital to our community. How can we as technology
creators and advocates help before it is too late?

Protocols like CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) and PFIF (People Finder
Information Format)

enable existing sites and applications to achieve great things in
emergency response. With a little bit of planning, we can program to
these standards, as we do RSS, and enable our users to be comfortable
with and use them smoothly BEFORE a crisis hits.

What are your
ideas?  What have you been working on in this arena?  Join in this
frank discussion on how we can all pitch in and improve the lives of
millions through technology and a little forethought.

A shout out to David Guilhufe of Civic CRM who introduced me to PFIF through netsquared.org.

Cost-Per-Action Advertising for Survey Promotion?

I am reading a book on conducting surveys, so surveys are on the brain. Talking to Susan Saurage at the AAF conference last week may have contributed to my current mind set. So when I saw this post:

Google Launches ValueClick Killer
The Google AdSense team would like to invite you to test a feature that provides you with a new way to earn revenue from your website by hosting ads that are compensated based on a Cost-Per-Action [CPA] basis.

My first thought was – sure you could use that for affiliate marketing, but Cost-Per-Action would also be a great low cost way to drive completed surveys. I like the microwork concept from mturk but that is such a small subset of people. PPC for surveys is problematic because most people do NOT want to take a survey when seeking something. They want to find something at that point.
But I believe an image marketing type ad soliciting survey completion without any direct compensation to the respondent might produce a balanced result. File this under "to be tested."

The picture? That has nothing to do with this post. It is just the most ridiculous advertising I have seen lately. And a terrible brand name; how can you differentiate "nutrition on sale"? Uuuugh. Maybe they need some cost per action advertising. <grin>

Boundaries and Social Networks

Define organization borders by actors, relationships and activities.

Steve Rubel has a post on borders being harder to define. In the context of his post it is more on marketing and communication a la Cluetrain. And it reminded me that boundaries are also very hard to define in organizations. From the book Organizations, boundaries are typically determined one of three ways. (pg 187 – bullets are paraphrased)

  1. by actors – focusing on the individual as the defining element
  2. by social relations – focusing on the relationship between individuals you define an organization. Understand the relations between people and you understand the boundary
  3. by nature of the activities performed – the same individual acts differently across organizational borders

and the author, W. Richard Scott, continues:

A focus on relationships or activities emphasizes behavioral criteria for defining the limits of organizations. Since both interactions and activities require time and space, two useful indicators of significant boundaries are an organization’s spatial barriers and their guardians (e.g. fences, walls, doors, guards, receptionists) and their temporal systems (e.g. working hours and activity schedules) it creates to contain them.
    – Organizations, pg 188

Surely that section would have to be rewritten with the advent of blogs and myspace. How do you define borders in a world without guardians or temporal systems? One more reason that while it is important to study history, not everything applies directly.

Thanks for making us think Steve.

Kiptronic Podcasting Representation?

Someone just linked me Kiptronic along with a question. Apparently Kiptronic handles podcast advertising. This matters because most talent for podcasts isn’t really all that focused on selling ad space. And if they do sell advertising, who is going to do the production of the "bumpers" at the front and/or back of the show? Hence the need for a third party to handle advertising.

I do like the stated policies via faq which seem fair to the content producers.

2. Do I have to give up any ownership rights to my podcast, or sign a long-term contract?

  Never. Ever.

Please note, I have not had any experience directly or through a client with these folks. If anyone has had any experience with Kiptronic or can recommend a better podcast monetization strategy (without selling your soul) please DO let me know. I have a client asking about it.

Is this a Web Analytics Blog? Can’t I Just be a bit Confused?

Thanks to Occam’s Razor by Avinash for ranking this one of the top web analytics blogs. I didn’t particularly think of this blog that way. Then I scrolled through a few of my past posts and found the one on keywords in state of the union addresses. Perhaps the geekiest political post I have ever done.

Keyword Density of Presidential State of the Union Addresses 1996 to 2006

So I guess I am guilty of looking at things a bit analytically, although not always in a pure web only context. Sure with WAA as a client I have to be up on the subject or Andrea will call and catch me not up on my game. Or I will get lectured by some guy who sounds like he is in the mafia. <grin>

Eric’s post on the web analytics subject is also a fair critique. Including the comment that this blog wanders around on numerous topics. I liken it to the introduction in Freakonomics (not that I am anywhere near that talented – please don’t interpret this comment that way!) where they say he has "no unifying theme." Interesting but no unifying theme. That is my goal. Interesting.

Last but not least, I am finally back in Houston after visiting San Francisco, Oklahoma City and Little Rock on biz stuff. Tons of new photos on flickr for those who like eye candy. This photo in particular reminds me of how lucky I am. Happy Fathers day folks!

HitTail – Web Analytics from a PR Firm?

Via Marketing Shift a PR agency has created an SEO “long tail” optimization tool. From the Marketing Shift post:

A free program organizes “long tail” data about how people found your
site through natural search and suggests keywords to use for search
engine optimization.


PR Firm Connors Communications, which wrote the MyLongTail software (now located at HitTail.com),
is also touting the merits of blogging and public relations to create
content that is effective in garnering natural search instead of over
paying for paid search.

The HitTail site has an 8 minute demo (sorry, 8 minutes is a LOOOONG TIME!). From viewing the demo, it looks like Google Analytics with a clear visualization of more than your top 25 inbound search words.

UPDATE: Please see the comments section on the latest from HitTail!

Continue reading “HitTail – Web Analytics from a PR Firm?”

AOL Netscape Culture Jamming by Alpha Geeks

At my presentation today at PRSA OKC one of the questions was, and I am paraphrasing here, "why do I care what the geeks are doing?" The session was on blogs and PR. The three main points of my talk were:

  1. Humans in the machine.
  2. Join the Conversation
  3. Yes-AND

Humans in the machine – spoken by many speakers at ETECH over the last few years. This means that what is interesting is the humans. Not the computers. The computers are just aggregating content from the humans. And content doesn’t just mean something you wrote. Viewing something, voting for something is content when gathered together and acted upon. Think tagging. If you use the Internet you are adding content.

Join the conversation – if you don’t take a seat at the table, when you ARE interested in what they are saying you won’t have any credibility. Join the conversation now. It is fun. And then if you need to respond you have a voice. Lose the speaking points and point to people who are saying something you agree with. Point more. Link love is good.

YES-AND – use the rules of improv comedy. Don’t try to fight what people are saying. Yes-AND blah in your response. Be positive but do tell us what you are thinking. "Yes I realize you hated that post, and I can see your point. It was intended to …." and go from there. Yes AND – like improv comedy.

The screen shot at the top right illustrates my point. That is the new Netscape beta page. The geeks voted up two articles of the top three that are critical of AOL. That is influence and people talk about it. Join the conversation.

Michelle Smith and Taylor Cole at PRSA OKC

Taylor Cole and Michelle Smith opened PR Day in OKC with "Strategic Media Messaging and Training for a Buzzed and Blogged Millennium." The session was very actionable including video interviews and feedback.

One interesting part of their presentation was on how to get quoted in the media (guessing MSM here). They observed that quotable quotes fall into three primary categories:

  1. Have an insight
  2. Reactions
  3. Opinion

Thanks again for the invitation Danielle!

Gunning Fog and Oklahoma Public Relations

Inspired by Media Orchard’s post on readability, I have been talking to numerous folks in PR about the Gunning Fog index. Using this tool to measure readability.

I really don’t specifically mean that exact test only. I am just asking what level of communication we should use when communicating. John Updike or Dr. Seuss.

As for me, according to Scott this blog is a 9.02 while Media Orchard is 7.70. His blog readability measurements are interesting. In this case a lower score is better so Scott wins. On the other hand he IS a freaking professional communicator so I should get some wiggle room, right?

On to constructive thoughts that relate. I am giving the keynote (yea, go me! ok, whatever Ed….) for PRSA OKC tomorrow. The picture above was a wonderful dinner which I greatly appreciated. Now, there I was with 7 PR professionals in leadership roles so OF COURSE I brought Gunning Fogg up.

Continue reading “Gunning Fog and Oklahoma Public Relations”

Some New Voices in the Crowd

A quick shout out to three great new blogs that I read. I know these folks IRL but I definitely enjoy their voice!

  1. RachelSpeak – the coolest chick on the planet. Totally rocks. Amazing woman. All that. Love her completely. Mother of my children. And I can’t believe she has been married to me for 16 years! (ok, perhaps I am biased on the Rachel thing. But I definitely have a thing for her. Look for a post soon on 42 blue!)
  2. Galagagal – Lauren’s online voice. I have worked with Lauren for a few years now. Amazing. If direct at times. <grin> And her flickr account is growing rapidly! Try not to worry about the scary drawings on that one post.
  3. KTT – the problem with names is that if you don’t come up with one, someone else will give you one. Given there are two Katie’s at the office, well, this is the one whose last name starts with a T. Great comedic and entertaining writing. Especially since I know it is REAL! I do worry about KTT and her friends with cell-phone liquidity-problems.

Houston NetRefreshBarSquaredCamp Roundup

This is a geek specific post. That is my audience for just this post. If it doesn’t make sense please just skip to the next one.

In my post to answer the four questions on the NetSquared site I stated that language was one of the obstacles. That we use too many funky words. And this post is proof.

Geekdom aside, here are a few relevant links on what the folks back in Houston are doing.

And I am sure that Marc contributed based on the email threads. Trouble maker that one.

Of course a special thanks to Katie for covering me while I was off playing working at the AAF conference.

The picture with this post? Absolutely nothing to do with NetRefreshBarSquaredCamp. It is Hans Haacke Blue Sail from SF MOMA. I took the SF MOMA pictures yesterday so I was thinking about it. Nice eye candy.

Eisenbergs: Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?

  Avellan and Eisenberg 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul.

Brian Eisenberg and Jeff Eisenberg’s new book is out. Waiting for Your Cat to Bark is available now.

That said, the picture to the right is of Javier Avellan taken with Jeff at the AAF conference this week in San Francisco.

Also, if you haven’t read Call to Action also by Future Now Inc I recommend it. At least if you are in advertising or marketing.

When I get done with Waiting for Your Cat to Bark I’ll post a follow up.

Disclaimer – they are Tendenci clients through The Web Analytics Association. But that isn’t why I posted this. Jeff did a SOLD OUT presentation at AAF last week. Complete with no AC and everyone still stayed. That good.

Scoble on Public Relations

Robert Scoble, Microsoft’s best known blogger, is leaving on good terms. In one of his recent posts titled "My PR-Guy" he comments:

One of the little secrets I’ve learned is that PR people play a much
bigger role in life than geeks often give them credit for
. They are
major influencers who help shape what story gets written about you. If
you write them off or treat them badly, they’ll get negative stories
written about you. Same as underground influencers, who are really
unpaid PR people anyway. (continue)

Emphasis added by me. It is interesting to note.

AAF Conference – San Francisco 2006

  Passage at Dusk 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul.

In San Francisco for the annual AAF Conference. (Disclosure – they did their conference registration with our software, Tendenci, this year.)

I took the picture at left yesterday near the hotel. It is called "Passage" by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. It is being installed on the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge in San Fran. A project of the Black Rock Arts Foundation.

This will be a crazy week, three nights in San Fran, then OKC for one night to give a talk, and then on to Little Rock Arkansas for another one. I promise not to say anything about Wal-Mart. Hmmm. Specifics after the jump.

Continue reading “AAF Conference – San Francisco 2006”