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Archive for November, 2008

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Been Thinking About Vision Statements…

And wondering why so many just suck. Stumbled onto these two posts over at MiniMicrosoft and ProudlyServing which are thoughtful perspectives from employees…

First… “Our mission statement: “Create experiences that combine the magic of software with the power of Internet services across a world of devices.” Ba-roo? Everytime I think of it, all I see is a grinning Doug Henning tossing a handful of confetti sparkles into the air, gasping, “…the magic of software!” and conjuring up a glittering world full of devices. Mr. Adam Barr works over the mission statement and comes up with something far more direct.”

Then… “So what do I think the vision statement should be? I like something that describes how often somebody interacts with Microsoft software. If we make the time frame short enough, we will have to cover all devices, because the person has to be within reach of a Microsoft device that often. Of course it has to involve the Internet, no duh…. So let’s start with a vision statement like “Every person on earth will have an interaction with Microsoft software every TIME-PERIOD.”

Some more good thoughts over here

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Dell’s Xmas Line-up

A few folks have been asking me about Dell’s Xmas line-up. The background here is that the WSJ ran a story – which is now doing the rounds in the regional pubs that somehow suggested that we are a little light on products this Xmas. Not letting the facts stand in the way of a good story, they chose to motor ahead. They couldn’t be more wrong.

So, to those that have been dropping me emails on this, here is the rub. This year we have launched more new products than any competitor and have more consumer products (and more on the way) than ever. This includes the really cool Studio brand and Studio Hybrid.

Those shopping at dell.com will find that Dell has 38 different laptops and about 54 desktops for sale – all available in countless configurations. These include Inspiron desktops and mini’s to Alienware gaming powerhouse machines. In retail stores worldwide where Dell systems can be found, look for laptops like the Inspiron and XPS M1330 (Most Dell Awards ever); Studio slim desktops, XPS All-in-ones (my fave at home). Also, Alienware Auora desktops are now available at Best Buy.

Every day during the holidays Dell is featuring certain laptop and desktop systems at www.dell.com/everyday and for those interested in gifts, but not sure what, we have a selection of gifts for family and friends at www.dell.com/gifts.

Ok – so that’s the rub. While I’m not going to turn this into a Dell blog I will do as a few of you have suggested and use my little printing press to correct the haze delivered by those with a big printing press.

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DELL LAUNCHES NEW BUSINESS TV CHANNEL

We’ve just launched a web TV channel for UK small businesses called smallbusinessadvice.tv. We carried out some research earlier in the year and learned that the small business community is disappointed with current business TV programmes like The Apprentice. So we got together with British Chambers of Commerce and Intel to launch our own show. smallbusinessadvice.tv is in a nutshell:

  • Expert advice and commentary from industry experts on a wide range of key topics
  • Hosted by former CNBC anchor Sean Walsh
  • Episodes broadcast live with content available on demand
  • Downloadable ‘How To’ videos, successful case studies and opportunity for community conversations with other small businesses
  • Aim is to help give UK small businesses the edge

Our first episode airs live on Friday at 1pm UK time.

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THE GREAT INCOMPLETENESS

What sets a blog apart from a book, or say an article for a magazine? I’ve long argued it is incompleteness. At their heart – however long or small – a blog post ultimately aspires to be a conversation — and a blog a conversation starter. That the technology we use connects, categorizes and distributes our content give these conversations legs.

Our medium also provides us with an out. We can be wrong. Right. Or, somewhere in between. But the onus isn’t necessarily on us to be complete or accurate. Every conversation represents a point in the evolution of the thought or idea. In fact, the quality of the circle with who you are conversing can illuminate and enhance our words. If you don’t value the conversation, you’ve switched back to transmitting content, becoming a web publisher.

I was struck by Malcom Gladwell’s view of his writing in a recent New York Magazine article (about his new book Outliers). He appears to view his work much in the same way as we might view a blog post:

When Gladwell’s critics themselves are world experts—as was the case when New York Times business writer Joe Nocera went after Gladwell for “conflat[ing] fraud with overvaluation” in a New Yorker article that argued that Enron’s misdeeds were hidden in plain sight—Gladwell retreats to the defense that his writing is merely meant to be provocative. “I don’t think it’s proper for someone in my position to be a definitive voice,” he says. “These books and New Yorker articles are conversation starters.”

How do you enhance a book and embrace the conversation? For most authors it appears impossible – without publishing it as a blog or wiki. For most they start the conversation but aren’t present for it, reinforcing the romantic notion of the isolated writer, lonely at work.

Clearly there are many opportunities to ignite a conversation – and many vehicles by which to do it. But to not participate seems like an opportunity lost.

Is the intent to start a conversation enough? Especially when your medium isn’t fostering participation?

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Netbooks

It’s just an awful category descriptor… that doesn’t seem to stop people asking me about whether they should get one or not. Here’s a pretty good overview of notebooks in the category.

If you live on the web, do a fair amount of TV surfing, and are looking for a notebook to chuck in your bag or have laying about the living room, they represent a pretty good choice. Damn cute as well.

I’d shoot for a Dell Mini 12. This one is way cool.  image

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