Saturday, June 28, 2008

Guy Kawasaki isn't really against "Web 2.0 wannabes"...

So Guy stopped by the blog to hold me accountable for my last post and to clear a couple things up regarding the "tweet," in question. (It's all explained below.) Apparently, despite the way it reads, it seems as though Guy really wasn't trying to suggest the overwhelming majority of us suck or further that we should be honored to be in his online midst, like I first thought, interpreted or should we say "ass-u-med?"

In fact, he pointed out that he's placed himself on the "ego" list at Alltop, which I agree is appropriate. I have to admit I've been busy doing other things and haven't really dissected every list on the site, although I did take a brief cruise by the VIP one in question.

Anyway, if Guy really is a "good guy" then I may just consider following him on Twitter again at some point in the future.

Now, if only I can get him to address the endless transparent promotion of the site on Twitter...Well, maybe Guy will engage in a conversation to explain that on his next breeze by the blog...thanks again Guy for stopping by and providing your comments.

One final thought...Guy, maybe you could create a new hybrid list on alltop that I can be on...maybe "egotistical, aggressive lover of hockey and yes Web 2.0 wannabe." No just kidding, everyone knows that about me and so I'm fine as is...

Guy Kawasaki against "Web 2.0 wannabes..."

As I participate in various social media activities (and literaly build my business on and around them) Twitter being one of these, I've come to recognize things about people within "the social media community." This is the brilliant part and the allure of the social web for me. The richness of human personalities shining through the technology. You're able for instance to determine whether someone is simply out there to push a product or service or if they have something more significant and valuable to offer the world.

Like many, I've been watching, following and observing Guy Kawasaki since his early pre-dot-com crash days. Actually, Guy is much more well known today then he ever was prior to the crash. I admired his witty, calm and confident approach to educating all of us on how to properly "pitch" VC's using PowerPoint. As well as, watching online videos of his canned presentation and the part about why he's a "bozo." I think we're all "bozos," from time to time, certainly, I have my "bozo moments."

Well, over the last several weeks, years if you include blogging, I've been watching Guy's "tweets" on - a micro-blogging site. Guy's comments or "tweets" can be summed up simply as go to my new site, ALLTOP.COM! GO TO ALLTOP.COM, have you heard of ALLTOP.COM? Hey new stuff happening on ALLTOP.COM! ( There you go Guy, the sentence you'll most appreciate in this entire post.)

To be fair, he's been this transparent from the very beginning regarding this site. Pretty obvious and straight forward. Sure, at times it's been under the guise of offering some obscure news flash about something completely useless, (my opinion) and it works from him I suppose. Ignoring what merits there might be to his site itself and if he wants to push it in the manner he does that's certainly his prerogative, but Guy has lost my respect today for comments made that go way beyond the "push" marketing, salesy act. Specifically, it's the one below that I think shows a side of him that I don't hold in high regard or appreciate.

We've discussed that Guy is doing little more than flogging another web property as if it was 1999, with the exception that the technology used to do the flogging wasn't around then. However, more importantly beyond that used car sales approach is an "elitist" attitude. This definitely exists among certain elements of today's Internet crowd.

Often people talk about "brand erosion," well when one takes the length of observation of Guy's routine and couples it with a comment like below, it's safe to say with me at least "erosion" has happened in this case.

Whether you're a small outfit like ours who really has little, if any real influence in the world or you're a world renowned somebody of something, the bottom-line doesn't have to act and treat others with such disdain and lack of respect like that of an arrogant elitist. Treating people with respect and being humble is something I expect of myself and of those who I respect in the world. may think you're on the "inside" and part of the elite crowd, but with comments like the one below, it's obvious to me you're really more on the "outside." I'm referring here of course to what's truly important beyond money, business and yes Web 2.0 and I find that really unfortunate.

Here it is. There have been other posts like "if you have to ask, then you shouldn't be on it," referring to some other Web 2.0 elitist alltop list...

Read the Twitter Status blog for updates about the service.
Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki Using Filtrbox, an intelligent news monitoring service, to deliver news re: VIPs--real VIPs, not Web 2.0 wannabes

Now you can interpret the above statement as benign except, once you get beyond understanding the technology itself, what you're left with are more ways to observe and learn about human nature. You get to witness people showing their true colors, attitudes, philosophies; the things that really matter. In fact, this effect has never been stronger than in today's Internet. Understanding that we are typically associated with a brand is also key. Learning to harness that power of understanding can help you make decisions, such as, who you may want to do business with in the future, who really resonates with your value set AND who doesn't.

So Guy, this is one lowly "Web 2.0 wannabe" you won't have to worry about following you from here on in. By the way Guy, without "Web 2.0 wannabes," you, me, any number of people who sit all day on Twitter wouldn't have an audience, without "Web 2.0 wannabes," there wouldn't be an industry for any of your sites to exist and live off wouldn't survive solely on the elitist minority you deem so superior to the rest of us average Internet using ilk...

There's a saying I know you're aware of, "treat others as you yourself would want to be treated."

For example, being a hockey enthusiast Guy, you'll no doubt recognize that what makes Wayne Gretzky the greatest player to ever play hockey is not only the fact that he rewrote the entire record book through his "elite" play, he was always amazingly gracious (and remains so to this day) regarding his talents, accomplishments, fame and recognition. He understands that the weekend warrior hockey player although vastly inferior to his own skill is still worthy of respect as a human being and fan.

Such a shame Guy, you truly disappoint me, you've seemingly forgotten what's actually important in life and it seems the above "tweet" is representative of how you'd like to be thought of by at least one small segment of the can now count me out of that segment.

The next time I speak at some lowly conference filled with "Web 2.0 wannabes." I'll be sure to use you as a case study on what NOT to do and how NOT to treat human beings...

It's one thing to design an aggregation site because it's servicing a need we all have to save time, it's another to design an aggregation site because you believe the lists on it are about people who are better than the rest of the pee-ons in the world...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Targeted traffic is the key...

I get lots of emails asking me how to improve website or blog traffic. You see most translate increased general traffic with increased sales. Unfortunately, it often doesn't exactly work out that way. To be truly effective, your company or organization should ask the question "Why do we want increased traffic?"

The precise answer to this question will help you better define your traffic generating activities. Once that is determined you'll want to identify the key influencers within that target group or demographic. These are typically the blogs, social networking groups, websites who others look to gather information from.

Another great way to identify influencers is on Twitter. This is just one example of being able to observe conversations with folks who may be talking about things related to your market space. They will also most likely provide you with insights that can be helpful to improving your knowledge base on emerging trends keeping you ahead of your competition. Use twitter as a tool to build your level of understanding regarding targeted traffic, it's what I suggest to all our clients.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rural leadership continues to scratch heads...

Are they speaking the language of Gen-Y? Quick answer...No. This "digital native" generation is leaving their rural homes for all sorts of reasons. Lack of broadband, lack of engagement, old school mentality, you name it. The first chance these kids get they're history and off to the big city. An age old story about rural life? Sure, but not to this extent.

The long-term effect of this issue is actually a crisis today. Brain drain doesn't just happen across borders with our doctors, it's also affecting the populations of young people in places like Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Stettler, Three Hills, HighRiver, Hinton...the list goes on and it's of course not just here in Alberta, it's rural Canada and rural America as well.

Talk with any business owner on main street and hear that there's no one to work in these small towns, business owners can't get away during lunch to go to a Chamber luncheon because there's no one to watch the store. Why the local Chamber hasn't figured this out I don't know...more evidence of being asleep at the wheel maybe.

The on average Baby Boomer councils in these towns tend to be good hearted, salt of the earth type people and they're all simultaneously scratching their heads...all victims of the "old school" mentality, lack of general understanding of today's Web 2.0 ecosystem and culture, not to mention the considerable opportunities within it. To top it all off, often they're supported in some cases by bureaucrats who fear change will lead to more work and stifle cool ideas from within. Whether that's actually "support," is up for debate. I hope they realize soon that the issue requires more than just another feel good website. This is a multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-faceted plan.

Solution: Open your minds to the fact that you're competing in a "global economy," power through the fear that generates in your heart and embrace change. Do it today, before you live in a ghost town that ends up as a story in a coffee table book that no body will read. A sad state of affairs for cool communities with awesome people, awesome histories and much to offer the world...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Customizable World...

As I watch my daughter Sydney watch Elmo sing with Andrea Bocelli their own counting version of "Time to say goodbye"...she's mesmerized by his signing...(Andrea's singing)...well OK maybe Elmo's too and really who can blame her. I refresh my thoughts about her generation that only knows the world as an always on, always connected, all digital, all the time world.

A customizable, changeable world has always existed. The difference has only been the pace and the amount of those contributing in a meaningful way. So, as I use this world changing technology to communicate to you now as an example, clearly the pace has not always been as fast as in the last few years. The pace has definitely quickened.

And so, I'm asking to what end and are you as a company prepared for what's next?

Sure, most of us view technology advancement as cool, but my head space is all about results and so like the late nineties where designers designed websites that were "cool" with mystery nav and flash intros that did little more than waste our time with all business fundamentals going right out the door. I'm wondering how many are really changing the world for the better.

We know that a rare idea properly cultivated can change the world. However, I used the word "rare" for a reason. Are our kids going to be more a capable of "rare" ideas? I say yes, under the right definition of what "rare" is. There is still much to be discovered, that said, I think that our kids are more likely to vastly improve upon some of the things that generations past have created, identified or thought up. Of course the "World is Flat" and so there provides many opportunities for collaboration that have not existed before. My company leverages this every day, that said, it's not that common place outside of the Internet world of business.

Does COOL TECHNOLOGY + AVERAGE COMPANY = CHANGE THE WORLD CAPABILITIES or just recognition that they're using cool technology? I would argue no. For me this is obvious, it's based on human beings rather than the technology and how the people behind the company process, adapt and leverage that technology based on their philosophy of doing business that really determines results. Still companies don't get it and expect technology to be the holy grail answer to why they're sales numbers are down. Technology is still simply an enabler and for really cool people it's more than that it's massive power. This generation is and will be evidence of that.

My point, in part, is that, this generation's philosophy and outlook is vastly different than my grandparents, parents and in many ways possibly even me. This is both a blessing and a curse simultaneously. This generation is also said to be much much larger than the Baby Boomers, and with way more wealth and buying power to go around. So how are businesses preparing for this? It will take more than hoping into the fast paced stream of technology just to prepare. This is mental more than anything else. This transition between the Baby Boomers still working old school business methods and fearful closed door management styles will continue to end up just like the dinosaurs (Sears). You might be able to save yourselves now if you open your mind to what's happening or simply step aside, it's inevitable as none of us lives forever and these kids are coming quickly and they're highly capable.

This disjointed rambling of thoughts brought to you by a lack of coffee and emotional reflection while watching the most beautiful daughter in the world and simply worrying about providing the very best for her and her friends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Alberta Rural Broadband Report

The Alberta Council of Technologies (fusedlogic is a founding member) has just released their report on the status of broadband in rural Alberta. You can download it here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day Everyone...

It's a wonderfully bright Sunday morning and I'm just enjoying my coffee out on my porch, listening to the birds by the fountain and thinking about how very fortunate I am. Fortunate in so many ways, starting with my wonderful family, I love them very much. Fortunate to have my business and to have found my purpose on the planet. Fortunate to have my health and that of my family's as well. I am extremely thankful for every single breath of life I get. Too often we take it for granted. Cherish this and every day you get because there aren't many...Thank-you to my wonderful daughter Sydney for a great day...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alberta tech commercialization gets $178 million

Alberta's new action plan Bringing Technology to Market is a $178 million dollar plan to promote a series of key actions within the tech business maturity cycle. Starting with research, development tax credit programs (out of Iris Evan's portfolio), while also increasing investment capital for home-grown technology specific businesses, thus, directly impacting the start-up community. Yep, that's right boys and girls in Palo Alto, San Fran and the greater Silicon Valley, Alberta is open for business. We're not just about your oil anymore.

Of course, when I say that we have a strong tech sector in Alberta, but that it's just "underground", people mistakingly always think I'm talking about the advancements made here in Oil and Gas. To suggest anything otherwise is laughable. That said, what I am actually referring to is the guy in his cubicle in the basement at the U of A pounding away on a laptop with busted keys building semantic search bots...who basically nobody knows about...or the advancements in nanotechnology that will continue to change our world, or the world beating non-destructive testing process of chip wafers in a way that doesn't destroy as many, or the sugar substitute made from all natural products, or the nanofluid guy who can take iron out of blood, or the nano spray guy who can dramatically improve the functionality of any electronics board with a "spray" or the mobile development guy or the...I could go on...

So does it make sense for fusedlogic to pursue some of these new dollars in some way? Hmmm possibly, although don't expect a fresh funky start-up to appear with my name on the directors list in the near term submitting an application to IVAC. Nope, fusedlogic's own action plan is already in place and being implemented...and that's another story.

Some were talking at the event about now being faced with being in competition with the government and how that's a bad thing for them. People who may have looked to generate a living from the VC realm, positioned either up stream on the consulting side (as I used to be) or somewhere down stream... Frankly I don't subscribe to that perspective. I would argue that Minister Horner's portfolio is going to need a lot of increased capacity AND FAST. So instead of whining, these guys should show they're worthy of being considered for work and step up. That said, I would have preferred that they had continued to munch on their sandwiches instead of asking me what fusedlogic did, sheltering me from their lack of vision and creative business skill-sets.

Please Doug, don't put this cash in the hands of these apple heads...(sorry small prayer in the form of a rant there)

Overall this announcement is recognition that the government has been listening to those (and I include myself in this group) who have been saying for years that there hasn't necessarily been a shortage of funds in this province, (although we can always use more) it's out there for sure, if you know where to look and are discreet.

Rather, that money was constantly complaining about a shortage of companies "worthy" of funding. I remember that many adopted a 2 hour rule, they wouldn't consider a deal more than 2 hours flight time away from their home base and yet were being forced to because of the above complaint. I will also offer that there still tends to be more of what I would call "uneducated" money...not that these sources were or are stupid in any way, just that they were from a different business background and didn't understand many of the tech business models as well as one would prefer. Imagine going to these same sources today and saying "Ok, our model is to give everything away for free for the foreseeable future." Sorry, old school cash doesn't get building a community, never mind old school angels, this goes for others like muni governments too, folks in many cases who need this help most, they're still dominated with...well...I'm not going there...

Luckily anyway for the ICT or in particular social media guys there's plenty of successful models out there to leverage in the name of "educating" the money.

So as of yesterday, now in Alberta there is (theoretically) both, very public funds AND very public expertise to properly prepare these hot entrepreneurs and their companies for the REAL WORLD. Granted, if you compare this announcement to the boys and girls down on Sand Hill Road...this is petty cash and yet a much needed boost nonetheless. I'm more excited about the spirit and intent behind this announcement rather than the cash itself actually.

My only hope is that these up and coming Alberta stars heed these next few words well. When someone presents you with a term sheet worth $5 Million dollars over 3 years for a 40% equity stake of your business, and they understand your market and can provide an immediate impact...TAKE THE DEAL. Put your greed under wraps along with your egotistical belief that everyone thinks you're a superstar as much as you do and take the deal. There most likely won't be another one coming your way, just ask those who've pitched relentlessly to get to that point only to have some bone head quash the deal because of the reasons previously stated. You can argue the merits of this statement with me later once you're on the cover of INC. as the hottest CEO on the planet of a billion dollar Alberta company...which is when you should still be representing Alberta at your most humble...

By the way, want to know what the status of rural broadband is? Simple, there's a market and a flawed business model combined with misinformation...Rural municipalities can't give this stuff away for free, no muni can or should. You must charge for it to be sustainable and it must reach the outskirts...the technology easily exists for long distances and to cast a wide net.

And actually, the question shouldn't be about the "status of rural broadband"...rather it should be the status of rural leadership...the last mile is more about that than the technology to service rural communities on a sustainable basis...

Want to know more...get invited to watch Motorola show off their technology during the upcoming Indy race and I'll see you there...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Premier's Big ICT Announcement Tomorrow

I've been invited to attend a big announcement by Alberta's Premier Ed Stelmach along with the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology Doug Horner, (whom I've met with not long ago) tomorrow. The area of focus is ICT. Specifically, in the diversification of our economy to involve and support the ICT sector. Many in the Alberta tech sector have been waiting for this announcement for years and finally there'll be something to hang our hat on collectively. (I hope)

This is pure speculation (well ok maybe a little birdy suggested something very vague to lead me a tiny bit...) but I'm predicting that the announcement will have something to do with attracting venture capital, possibly even some sort of new fund to take the lead in that regard. Also, I suspect that looking to the future there will be a need to cultivate this sector long term so some sort of element related to that in the area of education seems reasonable.

Anyway, look for tweets during the event and also a full run down here after the fact. I'm going to try to take some video too so look for youtube clips too if possible...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Social Network User Demographics

Here's some interesting stats...sorry I'm crazy busy today and this is the best I can do...