Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I attended the Internet Summit and participated in the preconference intensive training on social media. There were a lot of good ideas that came out of the session but what stuck with me was:

  1. Blogging is one of the most cost effective means of lead generation, search engine optimization (SEO), and marketing your business.
  2. The blog should be an integrated part of your company website. A common look/feel for the blog and website presents a good brand image and it is easy for visitors to either the blog or web site to jump to the other.
  3. WordPress is the tool of choice for blogging and websites. It offers many very useful plugins that improve the impact of the blog.

eTechSuccess does not have a social media company driving the strategy, creating content, or developing the platform. This is a DIY operation. When I started out, I decided to use Google apps and for the most part I have been happy with the results. In addition to Sites and Blogger, I depend on Gmail, Calendar, Voice, Contacts, Docs, and Reader. My hope is that, over time, Google will improve each of these apps individually and also by providing smarter linkages between the different parts. Ultimately Google may parse my business activities, like it does the internet, and offer me clever linkages and suggestions for improvements to my on-line ecosystem.
Although, WordPress is currently better then Blogger I am hoping Google will keep improving their blogging tools. I played around with using Google Sites to create my blog  and I think that it would do a pretty good job if it included the ability to add a tag cloud for accessing posts. If I used Sites in place of Blogger I would achieve the #2 item above.

Look at how my blog compares with a some other blogs I consider strong

Number of Employees
Number of posts in Nov
Number of comments in Nov
Number of Followers
Integrated with Website

The best practices companies I am comparing myself to are:

Startup Professionals - The CEO of Startup Professionals is Marty Zwilling who I worked with while we were both at IBM. When I left I ran into Marty via LinkedIn and saw his blog. His company and blogging effort probably comes closest to what I am trying to achieve. In fact one of his recent blogs is about how to use blogs to be a successful startup.

Ignite Social Media - Jim Tobin is president of the company and spoke at the Internet Summit. Along with some other speakers in that session, Jim mentioned that blogging was a key tool in driving business. However, he was most Tweeted on his comment "Getting into social media is like adopting a puppy. If you do not feed and walk and care for the puppy every day it will die". I suspect he would think my eTechSuccess puppy is on a starvation diet.

Southwest Airlines - Earlier this year, I spoke with Christi McNeill  who is an Emerging Media Specialist at SWA. She told me that the blog was the anchor to their growing social media presence. The social media specialists are part of their marketing department and reach out to employees to provide content that is edited before posting. While the scale of effort at NutsAboutSouthwest is more then I can hope to accomplish at eTechSuccess, I am inspired by their willingness to expand into other forms of media such as YouTube and Podcasts.

So the lesson, I am learning from all of this is to increase the tempo of my posts, figure out how to increase my audience, and make sure my content is relevant to my readers. Then I will worry about WordPress versus Blogger versus Sites.
If you are reading this, then consider becoming a follower, look at some of the other posts and share with friends you think would like the content. Write a comment below and give me some other ideas on successful blogging.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mobile Device Dilemma part III

I was sitting next to a colleague recently who was evaluating a Galaxy Tab. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Galaxy Tab and using  it as a replacement for my cell phone, and seeing the run through of the device spurred me to seriously analyze the pros/cons and make a decision. In addition to being able to browse the internet, take good notes, and almost act as a PC in the meetings I attend, I would like the Tab to have the following:

  • Google Voice Support - I moved off of Skype to Google Voice in my home office and it seems to work just fine. If I had a Tab I would like to install Google Voice and make and receive calls. The buzz on the internet seems to indicate that YES you can do that and NO you cannot. Not sure who is correct. Oh, and I would need to be able to use my blue tooth headset to talk over Google Voice.
  • Pocket-ability - I need the Tab to go with me just like I carry my cell phone and that seems a bit awkward. I currently throw my cell phone into my shirt pocket or inside jacket pocket and the size of the Tab does not seem to allow that. I have seen pictures of Tabs stuffed into jean pockets but that does not look comfortable. Of all the roadblocks to the Tab this might be the deal breaker.
  • Price - The $600 list price is high. But we all know the real cost is in the 24 months of voice/data under contract. So would $600 + X < $300 + Y?  Where X is a large enough data only plan and Y is the current voice plus data that I have? Gets complicated since I don't know how much data I would use per month to support VOIP. But I would only have to save $12.50 a month to hit break even.

In addition, my current dilemma over waiting for a faster network (documented in part II) plays into this. If all of my requirements above were satisfied would it make sense to wait 6-12 months for a Tab 2.0 that supported HSPA+ or LTE?

It really helps to write all this down in a blog post. I am not going to get the Tab.
It would work well as a device when I was going to a business meeting as my destination or on a business trip when I carry my briefcase / backpack. But not as a "Constant Digital Companion" (remember the phrase and where it was coined). Eventually I want to have a device that is with me 24x7... much like my wristwatch.
Nokia Concept Wrist Phone

Currently, my Blackberry is with me much less and I want to be able to train myself to have my next device with me and able to support me with more assistance. How far should this go? A recent article in the NY Times "Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction" argues that for many teenagers the limit has already been exceeded. But I don't want to SMS 1,000 messages a day (or the Twitter equivalent). I want the device always with me, to be monitoring my situation in the background, and gently interrupting me with suggestions that keep me on track.

And that leaves out the TAB.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Internet Summit 10 - CIO/CTO Viewpoints

This week I attended the Internet Summit held in Raleigh NC.  This conference is dominated by participants who market to, and transact with customers over the internet. It is also dominated by vendors who enable the participants to accomplish this.
In general the conference was well run and, in its third year, has been steadily growing. Unlike the www2010 conference held in Raliegh earlier this year, the Internet Summit is more commercial, less technical, the sessions can drift into being infomercials, but can introduce potential vendors who could help your organization.
Last year I was a virtual attendee and find the return on investment better as a live-in-person attendee. Particularly, the sidebar conversations and networking.
Based on the sessions I attended, I wanted to share some insights over a blog or two.