Internet Advertising

The Economist writes that “Google’s new advertising service could make the internet an even more valuable marketing medium.”

This year the combined advertising revenues of Google and Yahoo! will rival the combined prime-time ad revenues of America’s three big television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, predicts Advertising Age. It will, says the trade magazine, represent a watershed moment in the evolution of the internet as an advertising medium. A 30-second prime-time TV ad was once considered the most effective form of advertising. But that was before the internet got going. This week, online advertising made another leap forward.

This latest innovation comes from Google, which has begun testing a new auction-based service for the more sophisticated advertising of brands, rather than of just individual products. Both Google and Yahoo! make most of their money from advertising. Auctioning keyword search-terms, which deliver, along with their own search results, sponsored links to advertisers’ websites, has proved to be very lucrative. Advertisers like these links because, unlike with TV ads, they pay only for directly measurable results. They are charged when someone clicks through to their own website.

If Google can prove that bidding for display ads works, then its rivals are bound to follow with similar services. This could shake the industry up even more.

Other innovations in online marketing are said to be in the pipeline. Local search and its associated advertising opportunities are one huge growth area. Sites such as eBay, the leading online auctioneer, and Craigslist, which hosts local sites, are soaking up large amounts of classified advertising for everything from used cars to job vacancies that once might have gone to newspapers. Yahoo! is expanding rapidly into entertainment, with film and video clips providing another avenue of advertising. This week, Yahoo! appointed another top executive to its media group, fuelling speculation that the website may start to produce its own entertainment content. That should seriously worry TV broadcasters, who are already losing viewers and ad revenue to the internet.

News.com writes that Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley is bullish on Interneta advertising:

“We think Internet advertising spending has nowhere to go but up,” Meeker said Monday during a keynote speech at the Ad:Tech industry conference here. Meeker added that the Web is the most underutilized advertising medium, garnering only 3 percent of total ad spending in the United States, according to estimates.

But with eBay as a benchmark, she said, the most successful companies could benefit from an ongoing shift online. After all, eBay is in the business of connecting buyers and sellers, much like search-advertising giant Google. And eBay commands 62 percent of the total classified ad market, according to Meeker.

Both eBay and Google “are about increasing the user experience and also increasing the ability of the ecosystem to handle growth,” she said. New tools to improve consumer usage and target ads will be the key to future expansion, she added.

“We’ve got 900 million global customers driving on the same highway,” Meeker said. The only differences in people, she said, are in their access speed, language and access device.

30 Must-Have PC Skills

Vnunet.com writes about “30 of the most useful tips and skills that, with a bit of practice, will transform a novice into an experienced computer user. ” Among them:

1. Move and copy files
2. Navigate using keyboard shortcuts
3. Use shortcuts in Word
4. Install and remove new hardware
5. Send image files as attachments
6. Search your hard disk
7. Hard disk maintenance (including disk cleanup and defragmenter)
8. System restore and backup
9. Update software online
10. Create desktop shortcuts

IT in Healthcare

The Economist writes about the “failure of the health-care industry worldwide to adopt modern information technology.”

The solution seems obvious: to get all the information about patients out of paper files and into electronic databases thatand this is the crucial pointcan connect to one another so that any doctor can access all the information that he needs to help any given patient at any time in any place. In other words, the solution is not merely to use computers, but to link the systems of doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and insurers, thus making them, in the jargon, interoperable.

This may be obvious, but today it is also a very distant goal. According to David Bates, the head of general medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an expert on the use of IT in health care, the industry invests only about 2% of its revenues in IT, compared with 10% for other information-intensive industries. Superficially, there are big differences between countries. In Britain, 98% of general practitioners have computers somewhere in their offices, and 30% claim to be paperless, whereas in America 95% of small practices use only pen and paper. But, says Mr Bates, this obscures the larger point, which is that even the IT systems that do exist cannot talk to those of other providers, and so are not all that useful.

As the Markle Foundation puts it, the technology must be designed in such a way that decisions about linking and sharing are made at the edges of the network by patients in consultation with their doctors, and never inside the network. This goes to the very heart of the matter. For even though it is fine to start hoping for the day when interoperable electronic health records create vast pools of medical information that could be used to find new cures and battle epidemics in real time, their ultimate purpose is to make one simple and shockingly overdue change: to enable individuals, at last, to have access to, and possession of, information about their own health.

Buffett Talk

[via Yuvaraj] Warren Buffet addressing a group of students: “If there’s one thing that you leave here with today, it should be this: And I’ll start with a question to get to my point. If you could pick 10% of one person in this room to own or ‘go long’ for the next 30 years, who would it be? It wouldn’t be the person with the highest IQ; it wouldn’t be the star athlete; you would look for certain other qualities And if you had to pick one person to ‘short’ for the next 30 years, who would it be? Now ask yourself why you have made those selections. If you’ve considered these questions properly, the person you’ve gone long is probably someone who is honest, courageous, and dependable; the person you’ve shorted is probably someone who is egotistical and likes to take the credit. The point is that success is mostly dependent upon elective qualities, not anything with which you are born. You can choose to be dependable or not. And it’s not easy to change, so choose correctly now. Bertrand Russell once said, ‘The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.’ So ask yourself, ‘Who do I want to be?’ At the end of this process you should determine that the person you want to buy is yourself. You all are holding winning tickets.”

Apps for Mobiles

Mary Hodder writes: “I had an idea the other night, at the 106 miles meeting, that we should develop applications for cell phones that creatively route around the carriers. And we most definitely should not use their framing of the customer situation: ‘consumers’ and ‘enterprise’, to describe the possible user markets. I think what’s key to breaking the cellular provider stranglehold is developing cool apps that can sit on phones, but that only require users to download these apps in simple ways (not through carriers but through web access and SMS messages sending them the link to the web download). That way carriers will lose the monopoly they have on users access to applications. Because the phone IS the platform, not PC’s.”

Web 2.0 for Events

pc4media writes:

The cool event web 2.0 application may be how we put a listing of events into a calendar for the purpose of discovery. BUT, I’d bet that a cooler web 2.0 application for events is how we combine other information that is important to the event, into one interface for the purpose of event marketing and sharing experiences.

what should be integrated into an event website?

Who’s talking/blogging about this event? powered by technorati, feedster, blogpulse
What blog posts are related to this event? powered by waypath
What images were taken at this event? Powered by flickr
What books should I buy before attending this event? Powered by Amazon
Is this event an auction? Can I bid online? Powered by ebaylive.
Are there other events happening around the same time in the same city? Powered by upcoming.org, evdb
Who’s bookmarked this event? Powered by delicious, spurl.
What music is playing at this event? powered by iTunes, purevolume (maybe not yet)
Who’s coming to this event? Powered by WhizSpark, FOAF, evite, upcoming.org, EVDB (maybe not yet)

What else?

After our own identity aggregation, and our own reading habits aggregation, events are the glue that brings us all together. Events are the next big aggregation puzzle.

Social Tools

WorldChanging has a post by Dina Mehta discussing:

Blogs – building bridges and communities
Voice over IP via Skype a new communications lifestyle
Social Networking Services (SNS’s)
Tagging – creating new language and shared meaning

Running Your Company on Web Apps

Evan Williams has some suggestions

* Basecamp – project/task management (much is moving to FogBugz, though)

* JotSpot – internal information management (haven’t fully committed, but looks good)

* Blogger – for, ya know, the blog

* Gmail – I think nearly everyone here uses it as their client. We just forward our @odeo.com mail there.

* FogBugz – Awesome bug and customer email management (although we haven’t tried the email yet). We were using something I think called BugTrack, which comes with Textdrive, but it was a little sparse in features. (FogBugz also has discussion forums, which we’re not sure if we’re using either.)

* Google Groups – internal and external mailing lists

* Kayako – a really intersting customer support app. Haven’t decided how to use it yet or its relationship with FogBugz.

TECH TALK: Good Books: What Great Managers Do

Rounding off the trio of recently published good books on management is The One Thing You Need to Know : … About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham. This is Buckinghams third book, after First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently and Now, Discover Your Strengths.

The March 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review has an article by Buckingham based on the book. Buckingham writes: Great leaders tap into the needs and fears we all share. Great managers, by contrast, perform their magic by discovering, developing, and celebrating whats different about each person who works for them. This is the central premise of the book.

Brand Autopsy has a few excerpts from the HBR article:

Great managers play chess, not checkers
Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you cant play if you dont know how each piece moves.

Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.

Identifying a persons strengths
To identify a persons strengths, first ask, What was the best day at work youve had in the past three months? Find out what the person was doing and why he enjoyed it so much.

Remember: A strength is not merely something you are good at. In fact, it might be something you arent good at yet. It might be just a predilection, something you find so intrinsically satisfying that you look forward to doing it again and again and getting better at it over time. This question will prompt your employee to start thinking about his interests and abilities from this perspective.

Great Managers find ways to amplify a persons style
Great managers dont try to change a persons style. They never try to push a knight to move in the same way as a bishop.

They know that their employees will differ in how they think, how they build relationships, how altruistic they are, how patient they can be, how much of an expert they need to be, how prepared they need to feel, what drives them, what challenges them, and what their goals are. These differences of trait and talent are like blood types: They cut across the superficial variations of race, sex, and age and capture the essential uniqueness of each individual.

ManyWorlds adds: To become a great manager, Buckingham says, you need to know three things about each of your person: their strengths, so that you can focus on those while helping them overcome their weaknesses; the triggers that activate those strengths recognition being the primary recommendation; and how they learn so you can tailor your management style to fit those who analyze, those who do, and those who watch.

Next Week: Good Books (continued)

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LAMP alternative to J2EE or .Net

InfoWorld writes:

The first three letters in LAMP stand for Linux, Apache, and MySQL, which comprise the OS, Web server, and database management system, respectively. Some developers dispute that Linux should be part of the equation; the same stack runs on Mac OS X, Unix, and even Windows. Linux, however, has the advantage of offering the same low cost and access to source code that the other components provide. The P in LAMP is a matter of preference; it stands for either Perl, PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor), or Python, although some would argue that other scripting languages, such as Ruby, deserve a place at the table as well.

Whereas J2EE and .Net development extend classic systems programming techniques and technologies to the Web, LAMP can be seen as a more direct descendent of the CGI programming model from the early days of Web development. The PHP scripting language, in particular, evolved with Web development squarely in mind, including numerous features designed to eliminate the drudgery of CGI programming. Whats more, the process overhead associated with traditional CGI has been all but eliminated in the modern LAMP platform. By loading either Perl, PHP, or Python as an Apache module, Web applications can execute quickly and efficiently.

Juxtapositioning

Marc Canter writes about what’s happening:

– proprietary technology models <-> open source
– centralized communities <-> distributed communities
– templated, limited UIs <-> highly customizable UIs
– Hollywood, BigCo media <-> end-user content and media
– traditional marketing <-> guerilla marketing
– centralized marketplace <-> network of marketplaces

DONT Ask the Users What They Want!

Tom Evslin has a couple of posts [1 2 ] on new product development. The gist: “No survey or focus group will ever tell you what the next great thing is going to be. That kind of idea, that kind of product, comes from visionaries who understand a new technology well enough to dream up an unintended use and who are stubborn and skillful enough to implement what nobody even knew to want…These are the products and services that change our lives.”

Ten Laws Of The Modern World

Forbes has a list. Among them:

The Back Side of Moore’s Law. This one says that digital stuff gets 30% to 40% cheaper every year–at the same performance point. The back side of Moore’s Law is why your $299 Treo 650 is as powerful as a $3,500 Compaq PC was in 1988. It’s why hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians now own their personal portals to the global economy.

Gilder’s Law: Winner’s Waste. The futurist George Gilder wrote about this a few years ago in a Forbes publication. The best business models, he said, waste the era’s cheapest resources in order to conserve the era’s most expensive resources. When steam became cheaper than horses, the smartest businesses used steam and spared horses. Today the cheapest resources are computer power and bandwidth. Both are getting cheaper by the year (at the pace of Moore’s Law). Google (nasdaq: GOOG – news – people ) is a successful business because it wastes computer power–it has some 120,000 servers powering its search engine–while it conserves its dearest resource, people. Google has fewer than 3,500 employees, yet it generates $5 billion in (current run rate) sales.

The Living-Room Wars

WSJ writes:

Telephone giants, cable titans, computer companies and consumer-electronics makers are all vying to provide the next generation of high-tech entertainment — a single network of gadgets that lets you view photos, listen to music, record DVDs and tune into whatever TV programs you want to watch, whenever you feel like watching them.

This convergence of computing, communications and entertainment has been promised before, only to evaporate because of consumer indifference and technology that wasn’t ready for prime time. But now the pieces are finally coming together. And corporations are scrambling to make sure they aren’t left behind.

All the major players have their advantages — and weaknesses. Computer companies, led by Microsoft Corp. and equipment suppliers Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc., say the processing power and adaptability of the PC gives them an edge in delivering innovative services to the living room. Consumer-electronics giants, like Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., maker of Panasonic products, tout the reliability of their extensive line of home-entertainment devices. The big Baby Bells, notably SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., are investing billions of dollars to deliver a nearly unlimited supply of broadcast and on-demand programming over their broadband optical-fiber networks.

At the moment, though, many experts believe that it’s the cable companies, such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc.’s cable unit, that have the edge over rivals. Cable already delivers entertainment to millions of U.S. homes, and companies have spent the past few years upgrading their networks to deliver much more. Though cable operators typically have been slow to roll out more advanced technology, they are beginning to add more features to their set-top boxes that give customers new services without the hassle or cost of buying new equipment.

In some sense, there are really two separate match-ups: cable vs. telephone to deliver traditional and on-demand television programs, and PC vs. consumer electronics to provide the hardware in the home-entertainment system. But to an increasing extent, everybody wants a piece of everything.

TECH TALK: Good Books: Welch on Winning (Part 2)

Jack Covert recommended Jack Welchs book Winning on 800-CEO-Read:

This book is not an autobiography, it is a primer for all people on all levels in business on how to succeed. As he states: “This book offers a road map. It is not, incidentally, a road map for senior level managers and CEO’s. If this book helps them, terrific. I hope it does. But this book is also very much for people on the front lines: business owners, middle managers, people running factories, line workers, college graduates looking for their first jobs, MBAs considering new careers, and entrepreneurs.”

The book is divided into five sections:

Underneath It All this revolves around mission and values, candor, differentiation, voice and dignity.
Your Company – The first topic covered in this section is Leadership. The most valuable chapter in my opinion, it has leadership rules interspersed throughout the chapter. They alone make this chapter worthwhile. Other topics include hiring, people management, and change.
Your Competition – strategy, budgeting etc.
Your Career – the right job, getting promoted, etc.
Tying Up Loose Ends speaks for itself.

As is very clear from the five sections, everything internal and external in the business environment is covered. In utmost detail, and with frankness. This gives the book that feeling of reading something true and real. Which is rare. To give you a feel of the style of the book and Jacks style consider what he says in the Leadership chapter:

“a word on paradoxes. Leadership is full of them.
The granddaddy of them all is the question I often get How can I manage quarterly results and still do whats right for my business five years out?
My answer is, Welcome to the job!
Look, anyone can manage for the short termjust keep squeezing the lemon. And anyone can manage for the longjust keep dreaming. You were made leader because someone believed you could squeeze and dream at the same time. They saw in you a person with enough insight, experience, and rigor to balance the conflicting demands of short- and long-term results.
Performing balancing acts every day is leadership.”

A final word from Jack Welch: I am often asked if leaders are born or made. The answer, of course, is both. Some characteristics, like IQ and energy, seem to come with the package. On the other hand, you learn some leadership skills, like self-confidence, at your mother’s knee, and at school, in academics and sports. And you learn others at worktrying something, getting it wrong and learning from it, or getting it right and gaining the self-confidence to do it again, only better.

Tomorrow: What Great Managers Do

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Cellphones in Emerging Markets

Knowledge@Wharton writes:

According to Ron Garriques, executive vice president of Motorola’s personal communications sector, markets in the developing world — especially China and India — are emerging as the battleground for mobile-device makers.

Today, Illinois-based Motorola leads in North America and is investing heavily in China, said Garriques during a talk at the recent 2005 Wharton Technology Conference. Motorola’s archrival, Finland’s Nokia Group, the world’s biggest cell phone maker, trounces everyone in Europe and has a hefty head start in the developing world. “The high-growth markets are India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and all of South Asia,” he said. “These markets are dominated by Nokia, with over 60% market share. Nobody else has more than 10%.”

Cell phones and other mobile devices such as Blackberries represent more than just additional gizmos that western firms can peddle to consumers elsewhere. They are also a way for developing countries to accelerate their growth by skipping over the lengthy, costly process of installing landlines and computer networks to support them. In many places, consumers can jump directly to wireless services without ever having used landlines.

Affordability is especially important in China, which is flooded with phones. “There are about 200 manufacturers of cell phones in China that are state-owned enterprises,” Garriques noted. “They believed that the market was a commodity business and created about 18 million cell phones that nobody ever bought. They are all being offered now for $5 a piece. [These companies] called the market wrong. The technology curve changed — from grayscale to full color, from candy-bar to clamshell — and all those phones are just sitting there.”

Affordability is less important in India, where consumers like more expensive clamshell phones, Garriques said. Motorola’s market research has indicated that Indians don’t want to be stigmatized as buyers of only the candy-bar phone. “People think about the Indian market as a lower tier. About 30% of the U.S. market is high end, and maybe it’s only 5% in India. But India has 1.1 billion people” compared with 290 million in the U.S. In gross numbers, that means India’s premium market is about half the size of the United States.

Local Newspaper

Jeff Jarvis has suggestions for newspapers: “Imagine a newspaper that is only local news — no sports, no business, little or no entertainment, and commodity national and international news treated as the I-saw-that-already commodity it is: only local news…Why? Because we need to seriously consider new business models for journalism…find new and efficient ways to get more local news: Harness the power of your public and get news and information from new sources that you help support with information, promotion, training, trust, and most of all revenue. Pay the person who covers the school board if the audience agrees it’s valuable. Become the meeting place , as Hugh McLeod says, for everything local, all the news that matters to you — and the conversation about it. Become a better local news operation than you’ve ever been with more news and more reporting and more engagement from the public you serve.”

del.icio.us Experience

Fred Wilson led a group that invested in del.icio.us:

del.icio.us is a really interesting web service that lets anyone who uses it “tag the internet”.

Most people, me included, go there for the first time, look at del.icio.us, and then shake their heads and say “I don’t get it”.

But for those who come back and actually use it, the experience is very different.

del.icio.us becomes a critical tool for them to manage their web experiences.

Simply put, tagging is the exercise of associating words, any words you want to use, with URLs. That’s all it is – a series of words and URLs. The words are the tags. But when lots of people start tagging with a similar tool and similar words, and the tags are shared, some very interesting things result.

I like to send people to the del.icio.us tag page to see what that result is.

del.icio.us made tagging popular, but others have used it with incredible results. The most obvious example is Flickr. I believe that tags and RSS feeds of the tags has made Flickr vastly superior to other photo sharing sites.

RSS feeds make tagging even more powerful. Because everyone’s tag can be an RSS feed, tagging becomes extremely viral and portable.

The Attention Economy

Dana Blankenhorn writes:

What’s news is how we’re bifurcating our attention — splitting it into parts — and how media must now compete for slices of it.

We often divide our attention while online. I’ve got several windows open on this computer. I can be running iTunes, I can have the TV on, I can be talking to my lovely bride, all at the very same time. Anyone can do this.

You can divide attention horizontally — doing several things at once — but you can also divide it vertically. There’s my conscious attention, what I know I’m thinking of, then there’s my subconscious attention, even my unconscious attention. My next item for this blog might be bubbling away in my unconscious right now, or I might be subconsciously considering my next meal.

Marketers, of course, want to play in all these areas but they can’t. There is always going to be an editorial side of your attention and a marketing side. We’re talking about our own internal space, and anyone who’s consuming ads on every level, in every channel, is worthless to those advertisers because none of their attention is focused on buying anything.

Brand Storytelling

800-CEO-READ Blog writes about “May I Have Your Attention, Please?: Building a Better Business By Telling Your Story” by Chris Hilicki. Here are Chris’ Big 10 Brand Builders:

1. Recognize that you already have a brand whether you know it or not. It’s time to take control of it to build an authentic powerful brand destined for great success.
2. Identify and examine your own story, experiences, and life-changing moments in your personal and professional life.
3. Attach importance to your story because it is real, unique, and the only thing that can’t be copied.
4. Connect your experiences to the things that are important to you–your values and beliefs.
5. Express these values as your brand values with corresponding elements that are visual and audial, as well as those characteristics that can be felt and make people feel.
6. Share these values in a way that incorporates as many of the human senses as possible.
7. Communicate these brand values so that they relate to your audience and can be easily remembered.
8. Reveal your authentic brand in a way that involves your audience, listens, responds, and maneuvers as you anticipate your audience’s changing needs and wants.
9. Write down a specific plan for your brand development and the results you will achieve.
10. In the fullness of believing you are worthy and valuable, turn the attention your brand receives back to the world to meet and exceed their wants, needs, hopes, and dreams.