Today’s Reading May 11, 2010


Have You Developed a Link Building Strategy? – Webmaster Forum


There’s lots of threads on the different forums and articles in different places about where to get links but have you actually sat down and built an organized link building strategy? #1 on my list would be studying your target audience …

Robert Glasper – All Matter


I’ve favourited a YouTube video: My Tribute to a beautiful song …
From his latest album “Double Booked”
Great !

SCUBA – Eclipse


I’ve favourited a YouTube video: FABRICLIVE 50: dBridge & Instra:mental present ‘Autonomic’ | Label: Fabric

Free Simple Social Search Tool Everyone Should Know About



The Facebook Open Search is an extremely useful tool for people and professionals.  What are Facebook’s 400 million users saying about you, your company, or your industry right this very minute?    Facebook Open Search has a number of uses for the average Facebook user as well.

Here are a couple:

  • Product Research: Find out what people are saying about a product you want.  For instance, if you are thinking about buying an iPad, do you research first.  Do an open search using the Facebook open search to see what everyone is saying about a particular topic, like the iPad.  Is the response good, bad, or so-so? Know what real people, not marketers or companies, are saying about your potential new purchase is critical to weighing in on your decision making process. Use the social search to find out.
  • Movie Recommendations: Find out what people are saying about that new movie you want to see.  Production companies put a ton of efforts and money into making sure the word of mouth about their movie is strong because we want to see the movies our friends see.  No one wants to be the one left out of the conversation while everyone else is laughing about a funny movie quote.  Use the Facebook Open search to find out what people are saying about movies you want to see.  Is it worth going to see it in the theater? Search and find out.
  • Reputation Management: Are you a pretty popular person? Kind of “a big deal” on Facebook? Well find out.  Search your name on the Facebook Open Search to find out if anyone finds you worth talking about.  What are they saying?  If you are not someone people are talking about, would you like to be?

What about your business or your industry? What are people saying about you on Facebook on a professional level? To find out how to use the Facebook Open Search for social media marketing and more articles and helpful tips on social media optimization, please visit http://social-capitalist.com

Google Invests $38 Million in Wind Farms


Google has increased its commitment to clean and sustainable energy with a sizable investment in two wind farms. The company will put $38.3 million into two NextEra Energy Resources wind farms to speed the process of serving consumers with renewable energy.
The wind farms currently generate 169.5 megawatts of power; that’s enough to power more than 55,000 homes, according to Google’s blog post on the investment.

Energy conservation and renewable energy have been key initiatives for Google for the past several years. Last year, Google.org (the company’s philanthropic arm) rolled out PowerMeter, a service to help consumers monitor and optimize their energy usage. It’s been bringing the service to more users and more “smart” devices and appliances throughout the 2009 with the PowerMeter API.

And in February 2010, Google was granted an order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to buy and sell energy at market rates, mostly to make energy management for its data centers more efficient, but also in case Google Energy ever becomes a power utility.

So why did Google choose NextEra for its wind farm investment? Google’s Green Business Operations Manager Rick Needham wrote today that this company “uses some of the latest wind turbine technology and control systems to provide one of the lowest-cost sources of renewable energy to the local grid. The turbines can continuously adjust the individual blade pitch angles to achieve optimal efficiency and use larger blades with 15 percent more swept area than earlier generations, allowing capture of even more wind energy for each turbine. The control systems for these wind farms are also advanced and dynamic, allowing for remote 24/7 monitoring and operation to ensure maximum turbine up-time and power production.”

Other renewable energy Google investments include utility-scale solar power company eSolar and AltaRock, a renewable energy company that focuses on geothermal technology for energy development.

Why Content Curation Is Here to Stay


Computer Mouse Road Sign ImageSteve Rosenbaum is the CEO of Magnify.net, a video Curation and Publishing platform. Rosenbaum is a blogger, video maker and documentarian. You can follow him on Twitter @magnify and read more about Curation at CurationNation.org.

For website content publishers and content creators, there’s a debate raging as to the rights and wrongs of curation. While content aggregation has been around for a while with sites using algorithms to find and link to content, the relatively new practice of editorial curation — human filtering and organizing — has created what I’m dubbing, “The Great Creationism Debate.”

The debate pits creators against curators, asking big questions about the rules and ethical questions around content aggregation. It turns out that lots of smart and passionate people are taking sides and voicing their opinions.
In trying to understand the issue and the new emerging rules, I reached out to some of the experts who are weighing in on how curation could help creators and web users have a better online experience.

The Issues at Hand
Content aggregation (the automated gathering of links) can be seen on sites like Google News. Overall, this type of aggregation has been seen as a positive thing for content creators and publishers, and up until very recently, it was left to technology. Content creation, meanwhile, was a human effort.
But all that changes with curation — the act of human editors adding their work to the machines that gather, organize and filter content.

“Curation comes up when search stops working,” says author and NYU Professor Clay Shirky. But it’s more than a human-powered filter. “Curation comes up when people realize that it isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community.”

Part of the reason that human curation is so critical is simply the vast number of people who are now making and sharing media. “Everyone is a media outlet”, says Shirky. “The point of everyone being a media outlet is really not at all complicated. It just means that we can all put things out in the public view now.”
Who are curators? What can they gather and re-publish? Do they have the right to get paid for curation? If so, who’s adding the real value, the content makers or the curators/publishers?

For creators — people who’ve spent their careers making content and trying to sort out an economic model — curation can seem like an end-run around hard work. And so the conflict ultimately comes down to this: Is curation about saving money? Or about adding value? The answer, it appears, is “yes” to both.

“A lot of it is economic — doing more with less — and it has crossed every media industry,” explains Allen Weiner of Gartner Group. “If you think about the tools you want to give an editor to make him or her more complete, you want to give them curation tools.” It could be “something they add to their own content. As more old media companies attempt to do more with less, publishing tools that allow this efficiency without demeaning the product quality … [are] going to be very important.”

So certain things are clear — there’s an economic imperative to add curation to the content mix. And from a user perspective, well done curation is a huge value-add in a world where unfiltered signal overwhelms noise by an ever increasing factor.

Where We Stand Now
In March at SXSW in Austin, I took part in a session that delved deeper into the issue of creation vs. curation. In attendance were representatives for people from both sides of the debate. This, in a nutshell, is the conclusion that came out of that discussion:

  • We’re living in an era of content abundance.
  • Even prolific creators are going to end up mixing their created content with a mix of curated sources.
  • Creators, distributors, aggregators, and curators are all economically essential parts of the value chain.
  • Advertisers will embrace trusted ‘places’ over trusted sources — large curated collections will achieve higher CPMs.

What is clear to me after these past three months of accelerated change is this: Curation is now part of the content equation. It doesn’t kill anything, rather it adds a powerful new tool that will make content destinations more relevant, more robust, and more likely to attract and retain visitors. Curation is here to say, though creators should have the ability to create boundaries, both editorial and economic, around what they create and how it is repurposed.

Further, the economic models for both creation and curation will continue to evolve. There’s no doubt that economic solutions will emerge around hosts and distributors.

“I don’t know if everything will be always free. The main thing is you shouldn’t be afraid to accept what is happening,” says performer and early web denizen Heather Gold of curation. “You should not be afraid of the present moment. That is the essence of being an artist. That’s what makes it exciting.”

It’s important to remember that curation can’t exist without creation. Content makers are the essential part of the aggregation/curation solution. So it’s impossible to imagine curators as adding value without a reasonable economic arrangement to content creators. But the ethical issues around attribution, re-purposing, and editorializing around others’ content is far from resolved. Respect and remuneration seem to be reasonable starting places.

Vic and Bob – Masterchef


I’ve favourited a YouTube video: Reeves and Mortimer do Masterchef

Delphic – Counterpoint

I favorited a YouTube video: Promo video for Delphic’s debut single, “Counterpoint”, released Monday 13th April 2009 on 12″ and download through R&S. Directed by hAndz.
http://delphic.cc/
http://www.handz.tv/
http://myspace.com/delphic

Strategy’s Golden Rule


The single most common competitive mistake investors, CEOs, and entrepreneurs alike make is this: striving to do slightly better what their fiercest rival already does incredibly well.

The result is usually a muddled, incoherent mess of a strategy — one that fuels not disruptive, explosive differences between a firm and its rivals, but their very opposite: bland, boring similarities.

Most companies are competitively challenged — and the Golden Rule of Strategy is how I triage them. It says:

“What your fiercest rival does badly, do incredibly well.”

Consider an example. My Macbook Air recently developed the dreaded cracked hinge problem. Getting it fixed? A Kafkaesque task fit for an existential Hercules. First, I had to book an appointment at the Genius Bar, pointlessly delaying my repair by nearly a week. Then, the guy at the bar was less “genius” than the Steve Jobs control freak remix of Homeland Security. Barking at me, my interrogator began: had I dropped my laptop? Why were there scratches on it? Was I trying to pull the wool over Apple’s all-knowing Cyclopean eye? Half an hour of hardball later, he (very) grudgingly agreed: just this once, out of the kindness of its heart, Apple would fix my laptop — even though it was slightly beaten up. The magnanimity!

To put it kindly, Apple’s service stinks like a skunk trapped in an outhouse. For their competitors, that should be target, acquired: “What your fiercest rival does badly, do incredibly well.” But Apple’s rivals — Sony, Dell, Samsung — haven’t mastered the Golden Rule. They’re churning out Apple look-alikes and feel-alikes, trying to beat Apple at its own game — simple, usable, beautiful design — instead of changing the game. Dell, for example, has even worse service than Apple. Result? No brainer: uglier products + worse service = Apple wins. All should be applying the golden rule of strategy instead, and hitting Apple squarely in the pot-belly of poor service, where it’s soft, weak, and vulnerable.

In difference lie the seeds of disruption. In similarity, only obsolescence, and decay. As Michael Porter and Gary Hamel have both so eloquently discussed, the essence of strategy is discovering meaningful differences that make a firm inimitable, singular, and unique. Strategy’s cornerstone, that is how to build a disruptively different business.

To see its power, let’s apply the Golden Rule. What does the Golden Rule say in autos? Ford, Chrysler, and GM spent a decade trying to best another at churning out the biggest, hungriest SUV — but none tried to do what all sucked at: make a smaller, cheaper, more fuel efficient car instead. What does the Golden Rule say in food? Big Food has spent half a century trying to make food cheaper, with artificial flavors, colors, and ingredients — but none tried to do better what all sucked at: make food more nutritious instead. What does the Golden Rule say in media? Incumbents tried for decades to lock down content in walled gardens — but none tried to open it, unlock it, and free it.

Enter a new set of revolutionaries, wielding the Golden Rule like a superweapon. Who did well what auto incumbents did badly — making a smaller, more fuel efficient car? Tata, with its revolutionary Nano. Who did well what food incumbents did badly — delivering healthier food? Whole Foods. Who did well what media incumbents did badly — freeing and unlocking content, so it was easily discoverable? Google.

The Golden Rule is powerful because it’s like an economic electron microscope. It sees through overblown jargon, billion-slide presentations, endless meetings, pointy-haired consultants, evil bankers — straight to the beating heart of competition itself. When a firm employs the Golden Rule, it sees what’s missing in an industry, market, or sector. The result is a strategy with power, precision, and poise.

Lazy, indolent, entitled incumbents of the world, look out: the Golden Rule’s got your name written all over it. Consider the ultimate incumbent: America itself. What does the Golden Rule say for countries? America should do incredibly well what China does badly: make awesome stuff that’s meaningful to people, with love, justice, purity, and passion. That’s where the seeds of renewal really lie. But we’re not quite there yet.

For countries, companies, and people, a strategy that doesn’t challenge is like a bike with square wheels. It might get you where you want to go, eventually — but only in the slowest, hardest way possible.

Do you have what it takes? Are you attacking your rivals — or merely confronting them? Are you mastering strategy’s Golden Rule? Or will it master you?

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