Vista AERO and Beryl Visual Interfaces

I have seen numerous AERO previews and demos of AERO, the new user interface included with Windows Vista. But I had not yet seen the Beryl Interface for Ubuntu Linux.

One thought that immediately came to mind. As much as Beryl has an unbelievable cool factor. I am not sure it leverages any real increase in lateral visual adjacency. Lateral adjacency to me is the primary limiting factor for user interfaces at a practical level. By definition showing items at an angle lets you see more items in perspective. A rotating cube on the other hand at most shows you three options.

Also see the comments on this life hacker post on dual monitors.

And researching links for this post I just found UltraMon. Wow! Definitely going to test that one out!

Limitations of Folksonomies for Non Profits

Folksonomies are to taxonomies what content management systems are to webmasters; they free the people. And the people do what people do. And that is good. Even for the NPTech tag stream. I say this in reaction to this riff on the limitations of folksonomies for the non profit world. From the post:

I’ve always been vaguely uncomfortable with folksonomies. There is
something about the concept that just doesn’t sit right with me. Every
time I hear people wax on about them, I fidget in my seat; I feel kind
of itchy and unsettled at the same time. Perhaps it’s my latent,
leftover librarian-like nature.

Given a tag like NPTech applies to, as Gavin notes, a "tax status", it is not surprising that it is confusing. Yet so would reading all information in a hierarchical taxonomy under "China" (sub classed in Asia in the Library of Congress if I recall Shirky correctly.) The classification is simply too large. Which is why we use multiple word phrases when we search google.

It sounds to me like the original non profit taxonomy project needs to be revived. To create a Taxonomy to be used in-addition to the folksonomy in the NPTech space. And perhaps there is a hybrid where a person can pick a dictionary of recommended tags. Similar to the synonym ring used by libraries.

Research on Pricing Premiums for Social Responsibility

As a follow up to the comments on that last post, here are some links to research on the subject of pricing and social responsibility.

Consumer Pricing Premiums for Social Responsibility, Laroche, Bergeron. The following is an excerpt from the executive summary at the back:

In 1989, 67 percent of consumers stated they were willing to pay 5 to 10 percent more for econolgically compatible products. More recent surveys have suggested that significant numbers of consumers would be willing to pay up to 40 percent more for a "green" product.


The research shows that consumers willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products are more likely to be female, married, with at least one child living at home. This group seems more likely to put the welfare of others before their own.

And from an investor responsibility perspective, this one keeps coming up:
The Eco-Efficiency Premium Puzzle, Derwall, Guenster

On a related note, Google scholar provides great results, but nothing is cached and everything is part of some journal that requires logins. Use the "web results" link below the search result and you almost always find a publicly accessible version.

Low Cost is Socially Responsible

Wal-Mart has the best reputation. Wal-Mart has the best reputation? Huh? Following Do the Smug Thing on Techcrunch, I found this post on do the right thing.

Interesting article in Forbes that discusses a survey in which people
were asked to nominate the most socially responsible companies”¦it seems
despite all the crap that is piled on Walmart”¦people still think (by a
big margin!) that they are the most socially responsible company out
Maybe you can buy social responsibility (at least a reputation)
with bargain basement prices. (ed: emphasis and link added)

Pricing clearly play into social responsibility. Yet we do not talk about it that way. While the industrial revolution hurt many, it also enabled millions to afford a better lifestyle. From the forbes article itself

the   Reputation Institute,
which surveyed 30,000 consumers worldwide about their perceptions of
social responsibility. “But low prices are an element of social
responsibility. Consumers think, “˜They’re doing right by me.’ “

The free global report is here but you do have to register.

As someone running a business I have noticed an entire force of consultants that call on us regularly. Offering business advice. Process development. Other big words. They look at everything and then sit down. Look at you. Have this serious look on their face. And then suggest an across the board price increase. “Ed, if you have 300 clients and you raise prices by x amount each you would have x*300. Would that help increase profits?” Ya thunk?

Continue reading “Low Cost is Socially Responsible”

Trends for 2007 and Beyond

The few days I have been asking people "what major trends do you see?" The responses have been some good and some bad. They include the list below. The list is from listening and the links are from after-the-fact googling of the concepts. And this is in no way scientific. Here is the beginning of the list:

  1. The importance of self expression. Advertising and technology that encourages self expression will succeed. So it isn’t user-generated-content. Rather it is helping people express themselves. Myspace is a good example of this. (this was from the IABC luncheon today)
  2. The decline in classified advertising revenue for newspapers. First craigs list and now khou offering free ads. The tv station won’t matter long term, but craig’s list is the real deal.
  3. The spoiled youth will hit reality. When? How? We don’t know.
  4. Games and gaming. Kids love video games. Will they ever readjust to earning a living? Unknown.
  5. Newspapers standardizing on the new format like the Chronicle did a long time ago. And like the WSJ did in January.
  6. Citizen Journalist Corruption. And Citizen Journalist Entrepreneurship.
  7. Second life and virtual worlds. This one is saturated, but it must be on the list. Still, I am already getting sick of hearing about it.

And two on politics:

  1. Everyone loves Obama. Republicans too. This will be interesting (and volatile).
  2. Health care. Hillary Clinton, a democrat, proposed changes and got pilloried. Meanwhile Schwarzenegger, a republican, proposes state funded health care? I’m confused.

There are certainly more. I’ll add those as I recall and review notes.

Flixster Forces People on Weekly Email “by default”?

I received a link to take a movie quiz on from a friend. Which takes you to a login page that reads:

By default,
Flixster will send you a weekly update on new movies and the occasional site
announcement. You can unsubscribe at any time.

So they are *by default adding me to a mailing list*?  And then *forcing me to later unsubscribe*. This is bad netiquette. It’s like a cop arresting you first and then asking what happened later. An assumption of guilt. Why?

The second issue with this is in a world of cats and dogs, micro-conversions such as clicking a checkbox to add yourself to a newsletter is a good thing. It is a conscious choice by the consumer to interact with your brand. Yes you won’t force as many people into your mailing list. But you will be doing the right thing. And making a better brand impression.

Valley PR Blog launches in the Valley of the Sun

I had the chance to visit Phoenix on a public speaking gig last year. Some very creative people in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. Some very fashionable people too. So… it was great to see this:

PR pro launches industry blog to share ideas, tips

Phoenix public relations professionals can weigh in on a variety of
topics in their industry thanks to a new blog created by one of their

Valley PR Blog, at,
tackles the local PR scene, best practices tips and keeps those in the
field only a click or two away from information and resources in the

And this blog post on Hoi Polloi on the same topic. While obviously I am a lone blogger on this site, most of the truly successful blogs are community blogs like this one. If I were in college, I would so work hard to contribute to these to build my online reputation. A great and easy way to start. Similar to contributing links to spin thicket.

On the flip side, the Valley PR Blog has some work to do.

  1. The current posts are all over the map on topics. And they don’t all seem on PR. Which is OK, but a more consistent voice would be helpful for readership.
  2. Be more open. The posts have comments turned on but not trackback. Why? What gives?
  3. Be more controversial. No matter what you say, tackling interesting topics gets you read.
  4. Consider reading Naked Conversations – great stuff.
  5. Um, the layout. I know the chick on Strumpette is stock, but still it is easier on the eyes and relevant to the topic of the blog (or the theme). (disclaimer – Ed – please get a header graphic /done)

Again, kudos to the folks in Phoenix for joining in the conversation. The Scottsdale CVB does a great job as well. So please consider this a bit of constructive criticism and a welcome.

Winning Makes You Live Longer

It is good to be a Nobel price winner. You get to live longer according to Wired.

So it seems to me that this ‘control of destiny’
phenomenon is in effect even among Nobel Prize finalists – if you win,
you’re the king of the world, in total control. If you don’t, you’ll
always know that there’s always somebody out there better than you,
even if it’s just one punk physicist at MIT…

Just one more reason why WINNING! is good.

Quote of the Day – Flame Wars

For years I have sent out a quote of the day to a small group of folks. My daily quotes are usually two or three times a week so they aren’t really daily. Here is one that I have sent out before mainly in the hopes that people will read Clay Shirky’s article. The dude is brilliant.

Mailing lists were also the first widely analyzed virtual communities. And for roughly thirty years, almost any description of mailing lists of any length has mentioned flaming, the tendency of list members to forgo standards of public decorum when attempting to communicate with some ignorant moron whose to stupid to know how too spell and deserves to DIE, die a PAINFUL DEATH, you PINKO SCUMBAG!!!


– Clay Shirky, Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software

Active Listening and Non Profits

Active listening is defined in Wikipedia as:

Active listening is an intent "listening for meaning" in which the
listener checks with the speaker to see that a statement has been correctly
heard and understood. The goal of active listening is to improve mutual understanding.

Beth Kanter, a complete powerhouse in the non profit sector, blogs about her recent Social Media presentation in the UK which focused on the importance of listening. From her post:

The premise is that listening must become a priority in order to use the
Web2.0 tools successfully. I think it is a pretty critical marketing practice
despite what technology tools you are using.

Allison Fine in her book Momentum notes: "Listening requires genuine interest in
what that person is saying and a willingness to change as a result of what was
She gives examples of the listening deficits, but also the ways that
social media tools can facilitate listening. She acknowledges that it takes time
to listen and that there is no way around it.
(more) (ed: emphasis added by me)

Beth’s post goes on and outlays exactly how you can improve your Internet listening skills. If you are in public relations or involved in a non profit, this is a great resource. Go read it.

Brats – all 15 million of you – you have a movie

I was contacted by a gentleman with the The American Overseas Schools Historical Society through our site with a link to BRATS: Our Journey Home. I suspect he found my info in the official bio. Why did I chose to include "an Army brat" as a phrase in there – not sure. So, if you are a military brat (in the military this is a compliment, not a bad thing) please do check out the BRATS site.

From the site:

BRATS: Our Journey Home is the first feature-length documentary, narrated by singer/songwriter
Kris Kristofferson,
about a hidden American subculture – a lost tribe of at least fifteen million people from
  widely diverse backgrounds, raised on military bases around the world,
   whose shared experiences have shaped their lives so powerfully,
    they are forever different from their fellow Americans. (more)

So you mean others don’t go to camp outs with a deuce and a half carrying their camping gear? Sheeesh.

The picture on the top right is from the brats site and was provided (to them) courtesy of The Musil Family.

Joost, Wikiseek and Zoominfo

Interesting items from bloglines:

  1. Joost – the guys who do skype do TV. So this should be fun! Currently in beta. Via bb.
  2. Wikiseek – I like this as I regularly search google with "term term wikipedia" so that the top result is from wikipedia. Same with Amazon searches through google. Maybe wikiseek can help.
  3. Zoominfo – this one is showing up more and more. They aggregate information about PEOPLE. Not always accurate but still interesting.

Speak Your &#*/*$ Mind

Went to refresh last night. Sidebar conversations. A few questions were answered in the most amazingly politically correct manner. Political correctness is lame. It does almost no good in such a venue. 

So this morning I had the link below in my inbox from another anonymous attendee. I needed that.

If You Don’t Have the Balls to be Hated, Then You Don’t Deserve to
be Loved

If I didn’t know better I would have thought it was written by amanda chapel.