Taxonomy and Folksonomy

Ramesh Jain writes:

It is clear that the problem of automatically extracting content from images or any other media is a difficult problem. Even in text we could not do it. That resulted in all our search engines using simple keyword based approaches or developing approaches that will have significant manual component and will address only specific areas. Another interesting finding was that for an amorphous and large collection of information, taxonomy based approach was too rigid for navigation. Since it was found relatively easier to develop inverted file structures to search for keywords in large collections, people found the idea of tags attractive. By somehow assigning tags, we could organize relatively unstructured files and search. About the same time that this was found, the idea of the wisdom of crowd became popular. So it is easy to argue that tags could be assigned by people and will result in wise tags (because they are assigned by the crowd) and will be much better approach than the dictatorial taxonomy.

If everybody assigned several appropriate tags to a photo that she uploaded and then the crowd seeing that photo also assigned appropriate tags then the wisdom of crowd may come in action. But if the up loader rarely assigns tags and viewers, if any, assign tags even more rarely, then there is no crowd and there is no wisdom. Interesting game like approaches (See WWW.ESPGAME.ORG) are being developed to assign tags to images.

Based on what I have seen so far, it appears that the success may come from some interesting combination of taxonomy and folksonomy.

Third Page of Search

Charlene Li writes:

I’ve been noodling around the idea of the “Third Page” of search (credit goes to Perry Evans from LocalMatters for prompting this train of thought). The first page of search is the query page (like, the second page is the search results, and the third is a destination page on yet another search engine or aggregator that’s been optimized for that query.

Here are some examples: seafood recipe, chinese restaurants in dallas, where the top results are a list from another site or search engine with better functionality to help with a structured search. And this makes sense — my hypothesis is that while a particular Chinese restaurant will try to climb to the top of the search results for such a query, it’s actually better for the user experience to see a list/aggregation of the restaurants.

Carrying that thought further, as vertical search engines develop, they will actively try to source much of their traffic from the general search engines, training consumers to actually seek out these brand names in the general interface and then drilling down into parametric, structured search on the vertical search site that’s better suited for their original intention.

Hence the evolution of the “third page” of search, which extends the search experience outside of the original general search engine.

Enterprise Mobility

Smart Mobs points to a Nokia press release about a white paper on enterprise mobility: “The promise of working on the go is here. However, harnessing the power of todays mobile technology takes more than the mere acquisition of IT toolswhether they are PDAs, smartphones, or Wi-Fi enabled laptops. Realizing the potential of mobile technologies requires that organizations carefully architect how they leverage the power of a new and expanding breed of mobile solutions. Done right, an organization can gain advantage over its competitors by improving speed and quality of service, while encouraging collaboration and communication between mployees, customers and partners.”


Michael Mauboussin of Legg Mason writes in his Strategy newsletter:

Our society tends to hold experts in high esteem. Patients routinely surrender their care to doctors, investors listen to financial advisors, and receptive TV viewers tune in to pundits of all stripes. All of this may cause you to wonder: what do we know about experts?

This piece provides perspective on how to think about experts. We address some basic questions, including:

  • What is an expert?
  • What characteristics do experts share?
  • Where do experts tend to do well and where do they do poorly?
  • Does the world of investing have experts?

  • TECH TALK: Good Books: Communities Dominate Brands

    An interesting book about the present and future times is Tomi Ahonen and Alan Moore’s Communities Dominate Brands: Business and Marketing Challenges for the 21st Century.

    From the book description: [It] is a book about how the new phenomenon of digitally connected and empowered customer-communities, such as blogging, videogaming and mobile phone smart mobs are emerging as a force to counterbalance the power of the business and marketing. The book discusses how disruptive effects of digitalisation and connectedness introduce threats to business opportunities. The authors compellingly illustrate how modern consumers are forming communities and peer-groups to pool their power resulting in a dramatic revolution of how businesses interact with their customers. The book explores the problems faced by branding, marketing and advertising in this decade.

    Here is an excerpt from the foreword by Stephen Jones:

    It is difficult to put a lens on a developing social trend moving as fast as connected communities but Alan and Tomi have done that. Together they have made a rare and important breakthrough insight, have developed a credible hypothesis and backed it up with validated supporting points. This is not radical misinformed extremist hype. This work is an accurate description of the issue, the opportunity and the crisis confronting marketers if they dont cut loose the shackles of the traditional advertising agency and TV network model and explore the world of possibilities recommended by this book.

    Move quickly but act thoughtfully, even slowly. You want to implement this without sending your organization into a tail spin. The traditional marketing company that wastes its investments solely on TV advertising is underpinned by bureaucratic values of safety, efficiency and control. The marketing group that embraces these insights and moves forward to implement them is underpinned by interdependent values of sharing, listening, equity rights, global harmony and synergy. Thats a big leap.

    One of the chapters in the book is about Generation-C: Generation-C stands for the Community Generation. The defining and distinguishing characteristic for Gen-C is the continuous connection to and responding to digital communities. This is very different from any other communities. Even a die-hard 40 year old football fan of Chelsea may wear his colours every day and spend most of his free time with friends who are also fans. Yes, he is obviously a member of the Chelsea fan community. But when that Chelsea fan goes to visit his parents and suddenly gets into an argument, he is no longer a Chelsea community member. He probably will tell his Chelsea mates what happened, afterwards, next day at the pub. The difference is that a Gen-C member carries his/her community in the pocket and accesses that community at all times. Thus the young Gen-C member would share the anger and frustration of the argument with parents, within the next few minutes, via a text message to close friends…Members of Generation-C will regularly, on a daily basis, consult with friends and colleagues from their various communities. To do so, they have to have continous access to their network. They must be ‘always-on’ and only the mobile phone allows this.

    For more, you can also read the blog by the authors.

    Tomorrow: On Dialogue

    Continue reading TECH TALK: Good Books: Communities Dominate Brands