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Archive for March, 2006

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Blinks:

  • Naked Answers from Werner Vogels – refreshingly blunt says Nicolas Carr… I can see both sides of this one. I do think Scoble and Shel deserve a huge amount of credit for creating the book and evangelizing blogging. Sometimes important conversations get lost in the way and tone with which questions are asked. The response on Naked Conversations was appropriate.
  • And while visiting Rough Type, Nicolas has this to say on the legal risks inherent in blogging. Shel doesn’t think so but I do believe Mr. Carr makes some valid points here as it relates to corporate blogging. Buried in the comments are some good links including one from Scoble himself. The point here is that these are what Nick says they are – risks. Risks are what we take whenever we communicate. Any communicator/blogger with a modicum of intelligence will assess the risk and make a call before spouting forth.
  • “To me, asking why you should use blogs is like asking why you should answer the phone.” Dave
  • Guy on Apple at 30
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Participatory Product Reviews…

One upon a time the only way you could get a product review was through a print rag or through an analyst firm. James pointed me at this review of Sun vs. Dell. This is an end-user giving a pretty technical view of performance and the like.

Reviews like this are all part of the participatory movement – they differ from the conventional recommendation found on Amazon in that they are far more authentic and detailed. In some respects the person doing the review is passing their intellectual property back into the community.

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The Coke Side Of Life

Consistency and creativity are the two magic ingredients to any successful marketing message or tag-line. They go hand-in-hand. Think Nike’s “Just Do It” or BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine”. I’ve long argued that one of Coke’s problems is that it hasn’t maintained any diligence in its taglines – or at least to the same degree that they have in packaging.

The WSJ captures this today in reporting on Coke’s new Ads. The inconsistency looks like this:

Mk-Ag034 Cokead 20060329210922

At what point do they get consistent? And does it matter when you’ve got that much money to sway opinion? I’d love to hear your thoughts. AdAdge had this to say:

The new work “understands that Coke trade dress — the red color, the ribbon, the contour glass, the logos — are magical icons with immeasurable power,” wrote Advertising Age’s Bob Garfield. “It understands that the fizzing, bubbling sound of a soft-drink pour is one of the most fetching, evocative and appetizing sounds on earth.

So, I thought I’d take a quick look at how Coke is living the ”Coke Side Of Life“. Their site is pretty much a conventional corporate site and if I want to learn more it directs me to a press kit. Yawn. No wonder kids are switching to Pepsi. In fact, something called ”Make Every Drop Count“ figures more prominently. My Coke is even more confusing and certainly doesn’t directly help bring this to life – take a look at the wallpapers. Nothing there.

Change is confusing enough. Poorly executed change is devastating. And here I was enjoying my Black Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke…

If your going to create a new tagline – which does amount to a value proposition – you’d better make sure your communities and customers can experience and live it. And for it to work, it has to be able to live freely across all your mediums, unencumbered by other slogans, taglines, ideas… Just look at Nike.

Tom Pirko, of consulting firm Bevmark said it all the the WSJ piece: ”Marketing magic cannot be re-created. It has to be created with an original thought that is breakthrough.“

As a complete aside, it’s this kind of reporting that causes me to keep my print subscription. I totally missed this story online. But in the print edition, on the front page of the second section, it screamed at me. That’s why the FT and WSJ thump onto my driveway each morning, and are accompanied by the NYTimes on weekends…

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Blinks: Technology Overload

Fortune on how to manage technology overload…

  • Keep your meetings rare.
  • Show your technology who’s boss.
  • Give yourself a time-out.
  • Say no. “Sorry” isn’t the hardest word.
  • Delete.

Good Excel tips

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Loving My PSP

I got a Sony PSP for my birthday last year. It is a stunning device. As gorgeous as the iPod and does some things much better. Many things hamper the PSP though – lousy content, incredibly punitive pricing, expensive storage.

It’s a little rich though reading studio execs pointing the finger at Sony. The pricing for a movie ($20 bucks and upwards) is a joke when it really only works on a PSP – same for games. The PSP should be packed with mountains of cheap storage and I should be able to download movies to watch (I can here, but still at crazy prices). It should be a combination of Tivo and NetFlix to go.

Studio execs probably have better market research than I do, but here is a fact – three of us on a recent international flight were watching movies on our PSP. My Powerbook’s battery life sucks that much. I want to watch more movies on my PSP – and TV – so, rather than telling us what you think we’re doing, enable us to do what we want to do.

What hampers the Sony PSP is old thinking and proprietary ecosystems. I think Sony is just starting to get the PSP’s potential as a network device. iPod’s success comes from its inherent simplicity as a network device – and bear in mind it has no network functionality but the PSP does. Without iTunes, it’s pretty much useless. Ironically I can connect my PSP via WiFi and other means directly to the network but the lack of cheap masses of storage and the complexity of downloading and ripping stuff is a serious drawback.

Apple commoditized content and built a community around that content – it then made buying and storing it incredibly compelling. Until Sony does the same, PSP can’t succeed on the same scale – and success is nothing to do with UMD.

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