Jun 02

Reboot and Intention

I’ve come across to Reboot this year again. This conference was probably the one that triggered by career rethinking that resulted in me leaving my long term employer to go try something different. The same thing happened with Nicole, so there was definitely something in the air last year 😉

The theme this year is rennaissance, being reborn and thinking about things different – take a look at the programme and you find a huge mixture of talks, from Marxism to blogging.

Having dinner with Rick Segal last night, we touched upon the Intention economy and how this is a untapped opportunity. This was one of the main topics in Doc Searls keynote today (the two have had previous conversations about it). The Intention economy is different from the Attention economy – it’s about touching people when they want to buy things, after they have made the decision. It’s an ‘upside-down buyers guide’ when vendors come to the customer to sell them things they already want to buy.

Doc told a great anecdote about a discussion with his wife about why VPs of Sales and Marketing usually come from Sales – it’s because Sales is real and Marketing is bullshit. That is, salespeople really do touch customers. However, I disagree with this in the area I’ve worked in, when there is a difference between the customers – the retailers and distributors who buy from the producer and the user/consumer who actually use/eat/drink the product. In this case, the marketing product is the thing that touches the end consumer, not the sales gys who deal with the big retailers.

Back to the Intention economy. One of the measures that is used to assess advertising and other marketing stuff is change in Intent to Purchase. A lot of money is spent on developing stuff that affects this behaviour. It’s far more effective to to advertise after the decision has been made, in places where the purchases take place – shops being the most obvious. But how much innovative marketing takes place in store, it seems to consist of ‘special’ displays and smapling, surely there’s a lot of innovation that can be done there.

Online, the job appears to be slightly harder, it’s not quite as clear whether the user is still investigating or has made the decision. THe obvious target is the review sites..where user reviews are collected (with the risk that you could be advertising next to a bunch of bad reviews of your product). An opportunity here is the development of better targetting which will help both advertisers and users…users only seeings adverts about what they want to see.

Connected, but not quite in a straight line, is the news that Flickr has announced an adertising deal with Nikon, who will display image based ads next to photos that have been taken with their products. If you already have a Nikon camera (and like it) the odds are that you would be interested in another one and would like to see what they are doing. Although if Flickr continue with their policy of not advertising to Pro users (I hope they continue this!) then the people who I’m guessing are more likely to buy the high end stuff will never see the ads 😉

Yet another step in this vague direction are social networking sites. Here you have some great demographics – the profiles tell you age, sex, location and lots more goodies. Within the network it’s pretty easy to track usage and ‘popularity’. But advertising on these sites can still have a shotgun approach, still looking for people who are looking. I’m wondering if it is possible to start getting the users involved in choosing their own banner ads. Is there an opportunity for the network managers to bring advertisers and users together? If an advertiser has a demographic that it is after, then offer this demographic the option to display the ads (and share revenue?). If the individual knows their connections and knows their shared interests, then the ads they choose to show are more likely to be relevant.

Technology offers the ideal of being able to focus markeitng effort only on people who really want it, are open to it and who look to be influenced by it, instead of mass market, shotgun approach.

Time to go do some digging about this..another thing that Doc said was that all blogging is provisional. This post definitely falls into this category.

Jun 15

Talk Radio

Via Nicole, I see that the sound recordings of many of the Reboot talks are now available in the Internet Archive. Once I’ve downloaded them, I need to work out if it is worth turning the presentation files into jpgs (to put on my Zen PMC) so that I can listen and watch the presentation at the same time whilst on the move.

Jun 14

Ben Hammersley – reboot

One of the memorable talks of the second day was Ben Hammersley‘s talk on Ettiquette and the Singularity. It was entertaining, not just because of the “men’s unbifurcated garment” that was being worn, but for the enthusiasm of the speech.

There was a lot of comments made about the speech in various places, (take a look at the Technorati beta whilst you’re there). Quite a bit of it has been driven by a intimation that people need to be taught how to behave in virtual environments, as taken up by David Weinberg and picked up by a number of people, including Doc Searls. Co-incidently, the Observer had a small piece about this very issue last week. And it was reflected in a comment from Nicole Simon, in the situation where she had commented on a blog that the appreciated reading, to find the the author had done the same thing back to here.

As well as new technologies driving the needs for new behaviours, I think we also have the situation that new technologies make people completely forget the old behaviours, to ignore the current set of manners because they have something new as an excuse. As the pace of change continues to quicken, we should build on the current social norms to let new ones emerge. We should not just rip everythng up to start again.

Jun 12

Home again

Finally got home after a not too bad trip. It was great to land early, and then spend the 20 minutes we’d gained wiating for somewhere to park the plane. Went along to a good very pleasant breakfast meet this morning, meeting even more new people. The photos of the breakfast, plus my wander around the Botanical Gardens and here. Now to catch up on chores, before spending some time this week tidying up the postings from the last few days and adding more from those I took notes about instead of typing up direct.

Jun 11

Dave Weinberger – reboot7

The Natural Shape of Knowledge

He’s startng off looking at the history of (Western) knowledge, where knowledge was of the real world, when Aristotle was setting out the standard. Classigfication, to order knoweldge started at this point, when orgnaisation was thought about in physical terms.

“principles of organisation mirror the limitations of the physical” ie we organise things based on what we have experiences in the real world, and assume that everyone has the same experience and will sort out the knowledge in the same way.

But now we’re unconstrained by the physical, everything is digital. So the model changes. We can put leaves on multiple branches; messiness has a value (linkage); the order in unowned; – the owner of the information does not own the order of the information; users build the information and the metadata.

We’re pulling the leaves off the trees, making a pile and giving different ways of finding it. So “what is the new shape of knowledge”. It’s not what commercial sites think – it’s not keeping people on the site, but sending people elsewhere – linking is a key to knowledge So the NYT only points to itself or the ads – they are scared…but they are the ultimate echo chamber.

The topics are getting smaller and more niche, driven by people’s interests (wiki). Paper is expensive, digital is cheap – digital allows the expansion of what is interested (the long Tail). We get multiple subjectivities, that are in conversation with each other.

Knowledge is becoming the conversation, not the result of it. We are moving away from gatekeepers. We don’t want the best, we want the ‘it’ll do” – the good enough.

Multi-dispute-ism – facts being used as weapons – but in the digital space both can be right, multi parties can be right – or at least have their say.

Conversation can be global, with conversation across huge areas of commonality and differences.

The questions now are about the difference types of data..so the IRC channel is now looking for the super-sub-micro-meta datasphere. Meanwhile challenges to the gatekeepers of the info – are they going to give up their keys. Summary – not until they are prised out of their hands!

Jun 11

Lee Bryant – Reboot 7

Comments on social tagging

This talk is about some possible future developments for social tagging.

1. User-organised news. Working with user-tagged BBC news stories, linking to external sites, user-driven related stories. This works through Backstage, allowing people to do things with the BBC content. Tagging works in a similar way to Flickr tagging, allowing you to tag stories, and see the stories other people have tagged with same terms.

2. Local Aggregation. Local aggregator pulling news, blogs, links, photos etc. So removes need for an editor to create the page, allows the page to pull things in. text analysis derives common themes. Can monitor local issues and encourage participation.

3.Negotiating Meaning: knowledge sharing extranet, multifaceted classifications; allows users to create own terms to organise content; allows users to build bottom-up classification

4. Negotiating language. learning from unstructured data. Text analysis identified matches with formal taxonomies, build user generated tag clouds from the information to learn users language,

Some really good stuff here to try and get more use out of the stories people say, instead of asking for structure dfeedback, where people can give the information that they think the collectors are after. deriving order from chaos.

Good challenge to companies that want to organsie all data, getting their people to fit into a fixed taxonomy. Use technology to let taxonomy emerge, move “outside the taxonomy deadzone” So dont’t use things like Sharepoint (hooray, please, no more sharepoint) but let the information come to life.

So this is all on Headshift

Jun 11

Skype: Malthe Sigurdsson – reboot

“An application you use to talk through the internet. For free. Forever”

(or at least until the next thing arrives!) It’s about enhacing comms, not just replacing.

They call it a small big company, with around 160 people in 15 countries.

They use a wiki for company knowledge

They want to maintain diversity, avoiding white boys form northern europe – need ot keep knowledge of the BRIC markets.

Driven from a feeling of being ripped off from telco compnaies (both founders were ex-telco)

Currently there are45 million registered users, between 2-3 million users on line, with 10 billion minutes server.. No money on getting customers. They get lots of passionate customers.

“the brand is the product is the brand” so the product has to be good; little focusing on “marketing” means the product tells the story.

“do simple things really well”.similar to yesterdays talk about breaking things down, focusing on getting results, short term aims that you can see things happening. Get the simple things right first, then you can build on it. Keep releasing.

Skype is viral – there’s no point in being on it unless you have someone to talk to. And they use viral methods, videos and banners etc – encouraging people to talk via Skype and ask questions

Not much more than yesterdays on Basecamp, but with a less charismatic speaker. Least there’s only a few slides. And a cool little viral video. Not too much beyond an ad for rhe compnay. SO what’s next?/