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Archive for July, 2010

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Interesting Read

The Risku Manifesto is interesting. This quote resonated:

“There is a philosophy called Contextual Design, every designer at Nokia has been trained in it by the guru Karen Holtzblatt. Everybody has attended her courses and got her very expensive book signed. The idea is that you ask the users what they are doing, then design something. If you think about Apple, they don’t ask anybody. The idea of users as designers is a catastrophe!

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On Dell’s Cloud Strategy…

Charles’s observations and thoughts on the Azure announcement this week.

Dell’s cloud efforts tend to be one of the company’s best kept secrets. Some vendors’ continual cloud pronouncements tend to blend into a vuvuzela-like drone, but Dell has simply gotten down to the hard work of building workable commercial cloud and hyper-scale data center solutions during the past three years… This new announcement also illustrates a substantial benefit Dell gained from its acquisition of Perot Systems last November. Along with being the leading vendor of healthcare-related IT services (a position that Dell now enjoys) Perot was a longtime player in the hosted IT services market. That experience, combined with Perot’s sizable hosting-focused data center assets, helped Dell to get a substantial jump on its rivals in leveraging Windows Azure for Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings.

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REX Launches

Really excited to see Rex launching. All going well, this product will change lots of lives. Big congrats to Jenny and team. (disclosure, no.8. ventures, a VC firm in which I am a partner, funded Rex Bionics)

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Converting Followers to Activists

Ask a marketer how they are doing on the social media front and you are likely to get a long list of data points. Many of these centered on followers. You’ll hear comments like – “Oh we rock on Twitter, like XXX gazillion people are following us”. Or, “our Facebook community is amazing, XX have joined”.

The question is, how many of these people are real activists vs, ‘slactavists’. Now, I’m defining slactavists pretty liberally here. I’m speaking about the large number of people that with the convenience of a mouse click join or subscribe and rarely, if ever, engage. They might not even follow. Really.

I’ve seen this more extreme term — slactivists – popping up more. They are the folks that join, subscribe, friend only to do little or nothing. Sure, you have permission to market to them. But can you convert them into active followers or better still, activists – people engaged in your brand.

The issue for marketers is balancing this small army out with activists. People who will activate demand, interest, and excitement. There are a couple of keys:

  1. Relate to causes. At Dell we learnt this through our ReGeneration project. We gave our followers a chance to get express themselves on all things green. The key here is that the reason they join might not be the reason they move to being an activist.  You need to work hard to figure out what really motivates your communities – and then become a source of insight and information
  2. Give them a platform and vehicle to get engaged. Ideastorm is our vehicle for doing this. As are our communities. But don’t understimate the ability of left-field ideas to drive engagement. We learnt this through our project with Grafiti on Facebook where thousands drew images of what green meant to them and tens of thousands voted. We achieved amazing engagement by allowing people to express themselves in a non written way – and at almost no cost to us.
  3. Make everything social. Social isn’t a point strategy that can be confined to a discrete project. Everything, internal and external needs to be be made social. Transparency doesn’t just breed accountability, it also drives engagement.

Every marketing effort will need to look at drawing a line between slactavists and activists. Building the base of slactivists will be important – converting them to activists will be even more important.

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Do Unto Others

The gang at Woot hits the AP with their own crazy cross charging rules. Hillarious. Thanks to TechCrunch for the story…

The AP, we can’t thank you enough for looking our way. You see, when we showed off our good news on Wednesday afternoon, we expected we’d get a little bit of attention. But when we found your little newsy thing you do, we couldn’t help but notice something important. And that something is this: you printed our web content in your article! The web content that came from our blog! Why, isn’t that the very thing you’ve previously told nu-media bloggers they’re not supposed to do?

So, The AP, here we are. Just to be fair about this, we’ve used your very own pricing scheme to calculate how much you owe us. By looking through the link above, and comparing your post with our original letter, we’ve figured you owe us roughly $17.50 for the content you borrowed from our blog post, which, by the way, we worked very very hard to create.

That’s one way to bloster your PR budget – charge the AP for the content they use from you :-)

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