12/6/09

Survival Kit: How to be 2.0 parents in 8 steps


Along with the invasion of the 2.0 shebang in our lives, my tribe develop some ackward behaviors together with the most repetitive & cryptic yells (kids usually don't speak - they're more comfortable at yelling). Usually it goes like that
- "Muuum can you tell Doris to give me the computer - It's my turn!"
- "Muuuuuum! computer's dead: I cannot install the ultimate extension of my *IM* (replace by any - we have them all) - C'mon , Mum! How can I dare writing without the latest emoticon set?"
- "Muuuum! computer's dead again: it says I cannot access the "latest ultimate gore" site, my schools pals told me to look at"
- "Muuuum! Help! for god's sake, somebody, heeeeeeelp!"

After a while of the kind, I've come to consider that I should put together the ultimate survival kit for us, poor savvy-elders, facing when not fighting against the tide of juvenile 2.0 experience.

First let me tell you what DOESN'T work
My great experience in IT project managements, quite naturally led me to set the standard dumb-user procedure. The one that goes like :
  1. Learn to categorize demand (from real disaster recovery to nice-to-have user experience enhancements)
  2. Attribute tickets (from "Time to go to bed! -meaning 'gosh, that one is tricky, I have to think about it" - to "calm down, here is your math exercice", not forgetting "How on earth do you think you'd fail being a better person if I don't buy the newest WoW extension?')
  3. Enrich the knowledge base - ask each ticket holder to fill in a form and only answer the repeatable bugs
  4. Close tickets
And you know why it doesn't work? Well... it's far too "1.0" oriented. You cannot answer them if you don't actually learn from them and share true experience. Being 2.0 parents or just parents of 2.0 kids is the same matter as usual: protect, upbringing, set and discuss limits, keep the line open of ANY discussions.

Now, here's the 2.0 parents Survival Kit:

  1. Explain and Demonstrate: take time to present how you think things actually work. "My teacher says Wikipedia's rubbish. Information isn't certified nor verified. Unreliable." Don't go nuts. No harsh word to the teacher. Take some example out of a field he/ she knows by heart and check.
  1. Share: the latest blog post you've read on Swine Flu / How to be a rock star using the Internet / what's Social Media / coolest tool you've find while browsing during lunch pause at the office... Surprisingly enough, sharing good stuff usually lead to receiving, in return, good stuff they've come accross :-) and ultimately - believe me or not - to passionate discussions.
  2. Engage vs. respect: Would you even think about opening the letters your kids receive or sneak into their diaries? Of course not. Now, how do you handle it when you're on the same social network (ie Facebook)? The most efficient solution I found is to apply the same respect you have in real life (letter, diaries etc.), while sharing as much as you do in real life: publish pictures upon common agreement only, comment anything "public" status etc. and to try to go any further. Keep the communication going :-)
  3. Bashing management: Guess what? Kids are as nice and gross on social networks as they are in real life. Can you believe it? Yes, I'm sure you can. Now when we learned about an anti-my-beloved-daughter facebook group, the situation had to be managed right away. Good thing is there's always a real person behind things like that. We discussed a lot about it and my daughter just went and talk about it to the FB group owner, who turned to be a girl from my daughter'sclass. Let's call her "Jennifer". Actually Jennifer felt really sorry about how things had turned and amplified - out of control she said. She removed the group the following day. Interestingly enough, both girls are now friends and have turned into kind of FB sentries, trying to regulate their environment on Facebook...
  4. Real life stalking: while we could handle bashing with discussions, actual stalking couldn't be handle like that. Twice, one of my kids has been harassed via phone texts and the bad guy was lingering in front of school, following up to the front of our house, and insulting. We tried discussion and then eventually fix it with the police.
    The tricky thing about real-life stalking based on 2.0 life is that kids don't necessarily feel at ease with mentioning it. As in real-life they feel they are responsible for it.
    2.0 parents MUST tell them, and infinitely repeat this CANNOT be admit. Give your kids any means / ways to let you know... share, engage, keep the line open :-)
  5. e-reputation management: based on the two latest items, the e-reputation management is a logical next step to discuss and clearly establish. Don't mention their future professional life - They are teenagers, remember? Do they give a damn about their future professional life? And, do we have any clue about what it'll look like, anyway?
    As I present it in a former post of mine, 2.0 life is just a natural expansion of their real-life: just explain they should behave online the way they do offline - with the highly-acceptable exception of being a powerful bad witch on WoW :-)
  6. Anti-spam education: the hell with chain letters! They're about to get there... harsh work, I can tell you!
  7. Highly responsive customer service: yeah, parenthood is a full time job. Now it goes to 2.0 life as well. Don't let them down while they experience trouble with the 2.0 shebang. They won't forgive you :-) And if you can't help them straight forward, you can bet someone else had met (and hopefuly solved) this issue before: google it :-)
Huh well, nothing real new, just new tools, new experience, extended privacy... Just don't miss that train. They're going so fast on these tracks that you might well lose them if you don't bother assisting.

Drawing from "geek and poke" - extremely funny blog- I'm not sure I attributed correctly it's CC work - if not, my apologies, the licence was written in German.

11/23/09

Social media vs. Propaganda

Hey guys! You know what?

I got a great news for you!

Social Media holds social in it... and therefore relates to individuals... with (most of the time) more than one field of interest. No kidding.

(Yeah I know how you feel, no need to thank me. I'm proud to release this secret to you, to bring some light in this age of darkness).




You think I'm overstating this?
Well, I wish I was.

I recently had intense discussions with friends, who were literally sick of the non-business related tweets of some of the folks they're following on twitter which I was claiming as "salt of the info", the extra compound that makes you listen to what another person's saying.

One of the major argument was based on: on social media, one must keep a strong firewall between personal and professional life. I have to admit that I had ignited the discussion with one of my recent re-tweet of a statement of the kind, adding in my RT that I violently disagreed.

So let me explain this in two steps:

1 - Social media relates to individuals not to propaganda.
Most companies on twitter / facebook etc. do take advantage of their employees' own pages / network and followers. Aren't they?

Even though companies do have a corporate account, it is their employees who actually enrich
any announcement thanks to the comment they post on their personal accounts. Leveraging their own network to deliver the info.

Right?

In my profesional life, I follow quite a bunch of marketing, social media, Open Source and ECM experts. Those I'm really fond of are those who, on top of their area of expertise, tweet on what really matters to them.


Here's a recent example (Damien is one of Nuxeo's customers and an active community member). His initial tweet enabled me to discover about a worldwide 24-hour observation campaign simultaneously conducted by 35 radioastronomy observatories, in order get redefined, global and extremely precise space map.

(More info in French here and here in English)





2 - Imposing rules to an evolving phenomenon is at best a waste of time, at worst an incredible waste of time.

I'm not comfortable with the emerging trend that accompanies emerging social tools: declare and impose rules and code of acceptable (and non-acceptable) behaviors.

Very not comfortable with that. Going this way is missing the point of what social media is about.

Social media are new channels for individuals, allowing real-time one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-one exchanges vs. the asynchronous tools we had so far (email, "static" websites...). We shouldn't expect the former behaviors of asynchronous tools to duplicate with social media.

My feeling is it'll settle accordingly to the way each of us behave in real life: by field of interest, by geography, by gender, by music preference, by family... and if you don't actually go naked to fill in the tank of your car in real life, I doubt you'll pose in the nude on your Facebook page. And even though I deeply regret it, deviant behaviors will exist on social media the way they do in real life.

To wrap-up with my inital RT that allows such (great) discussion, let me tell you:
If my boss / company/ RH people / recruitment company (past, present and future) solely base their perception of my value as a professional on comments or pics I would have broadcast on my Facebook pages / Twitter / LinkedIn... then at least they'd get a comprehensive picture :-)

(popart pic from: http://popartmachine.com/machine/daily/092208/Lichtenstein-style-pop-art/Woman-Whispering-to-Man-pop-art.jpg)

11/14/09

What if good enough was actually enough?

I went lately to one of Eric Ries's leanstartup seminar, in Paris.

Very inspiring and thoughtful as expected. Some of it reminded me of Balzac's "The Unknown Masterpiece": an artist, never satisfied with what he considers his life's masterpiece, keeps on amending it during years. When half mad he finally shows it to a friend, the poor fellow has to face the lamest doodle ever.

The Unknown masterpiece is amongst the most famous novel challenging the sense and the meaning of Arts.

Now, transpose it to IT. Especially to innovative IT. You know, those products and services that have and will undoubtedly change the way we work, the way we communicate, our relationship to others etc.

- Craiglist: the most popular online classified ad site in the US ? The poorest UI and functionnalities we've ever seen = 20 million people visit the site each month, viewing and self-publishing more than 17 million ads and forum posts (check this Wired story)

- Twitter: a limited number of caracters to tell everyone non-sense all day long =
and the list goes on like that.

Now I've been recently talking to a bunch of startup-ers and, as so funnily illustrated by Ries, they're all of them more or less stuck with existential issues of the kind:
- my product/service isn't ready - I must add features
- I have to delay the launch
- How can I raise interest (not mentioning money) with semi-finished product?
- I need 10 extra genius-developers to finish it
...

Basically those guys are changing the way we will buy on the Internet, travel, manage our inbox, manage and animate our community, and obvisouly invent a new way for us to do so.

How on earth could the know how we - users- will react to it?

Well they can't.

Ries best advice remain: try, fail, ask your users, correct, try again...


As one of those happy "early adopters" of those new services I'd love to say:
1 - Don't forget that we -the users - have, first of all, to understand your product
2 - Need support to use them
3 - would love to exchange with you on our experience
4- would then, and only then, love to have more features :-)

10/25/09

Time Warp - The Kwaga example





Here's a new example of how a website can evolve.

Kwaga's the great start-up of Mr Fabulous Geek aka @PhilippeLaval :-).

What I think very interesting here is the start-up way: when creating a 2.0 company from scratch, everything has to be invented along while the product itself is developed.

The inception of Kwaga is late december 2008, the period of this time warp is therefore very short: february 2009 to october 2009.

In 9 months, 3 different versions of the site have been released. Well actually not all of them: the "April version" hasn't. Why? Because they thought they would wait for the beta version of the product to be ready... and in the turmoil of the development, they re-thought the site.

Could mean that design has a kind of inner "use-by date" limit or that there are so many things at stake when creating a product, one can loose focus and must re-think so hard to get it back that the loop must go back to step zero before moving along.

Any way, enjoy this time warp!


video

10/24/09

The Early Adopter Manifesto - Curiosity kill the... product














"If they can't install our product, they don't deserve it"
"The hell with dummy users"
"Refesh. Re-install. Re-launch.Drop it."
"Try ssh."
"Does your id appear in the dropbox?"


Grrrrrr.

How is it that the brightest engineers produce the smartest and most helpful products and don't give a damn about end users?

How is it that WE, adventurous early adopter users when not beta users do not get the best support?
Aren't we the fuel of any disrupting innovative product success?

I know for sure that engineers, developers, sales rep, marketing people are key to your success.
But believe me (and so many others): you should take the highest care of your users!

So here's what we want from you bright guys:
1 - answer our questions
2- if you can't say by when you will
3 - if you still can't when you said you will: explain!
4 - assist us
5 - help us use your prowerful brain offspring
6 - tell us you care
7 - mean it when doing so

Hey! I feel a bit better! I didn't solve my twitterfeed problem though :-(

Special thanks to www.wordle.net (Warning: this is very addictive)

10/19/09

Digital Shebang - the Plumbing - "How to deal with your lamest user"


OK, now that you have created your blog, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts, you'd propbably love to connect them all.

Don't you ?

I've spent hours on the web, talking to my own family Geek, to my co-workers and other fellow geeks and ... didn't find a simple straightforward post/scheme/description of any kind describing how to do it, in which order, what tools to choose and why.

Pleasure of Digital Life: let's stay messy, cryptic... reward is in deciphering... yeah... talk to me about it.

So here's what I've (finally) mastered - or so believe I have :-)

Basically all exchanges rely on RSS (really simple syndication - hahaha: I love it). Whenever you want one content to feed another of your applications, you need the RSS from the platform where the content has been create and "plumb" it in to the destination platform. What??? Do I need to draw it?

The trick lies in the plumbing tools - which one and why and HOW?

1 - Automatically feed your twitter and/or Facebook account with your latest blog post:

I recommend: Twitterfeed.

Create your account in twitterfeed , select the destination platform:

Now you need to give your Twitter/Facebook accounts [The new OAuth protocol seems to ease even more the process (hurray).]






And the funniest is ALWAYS to find the rss feed from your content platform. The first 3 or 4 times, it just drove me crazy!
The trick is: on the right hand-side of your blog url, click on this icon , select either RSS or ATOM format (my geeks say ATOM is MUUUUUUCH better - I believe them) and on the next window, just copy the url and paste it in Twitterfeed.

Done !

Breaking News: Nice thing is Twitterfeed allows to do this to your Facebook account AND to your Facebook page (as long as you're administrator of the facebook page), a well. Which wasn't the case 2 weeks ago when I first thought about this post:-) It says a lot about how long will my present post remain accurate

Bonus: Twitterfeed can ALSO feed your twitter account/ Facebook account with the posts and blog you read and want to share - same process from your content aggregator (Google reader/netvibes)

2 - Feed your Linkedin status with your twitter account

Most the posts I read on this subject converge to "are you sure you want to do that?" - Keep in mind that more and more recruiters check your social avatars as part of the regular recruitment process. Are you sure you want them to discover the last MAJOR announcement you made on you twitter account, that early morning, after partying like hell??? probably not.

However there's a trick - Mickael Bentz found it for me on the LinkedIn forum :
As far as I know there is nothing that will insert your latest Tweet into the "What are you working on?" status of LinkedIn. However, you can easily post your latest Tweets using the BlogLink application in LinkedIn.

Click on the Applications link in the left hand column. Add the BlogLink application. Now go to your profile page and edit your profile. Add your Twitter address (in my case http://twitter.com/grahamjones) as one of your web sites.

The BlogLink application will automatically then collect your Tweets and post the most recent ones into your profile.
3 - Feed your linkedIn group news with your blog content

You need to be administator of the group to access the "manage pages" . You just need to add the RSS url from your blog, here :







4 - My personal failure to understand: FeedBurner

If any one can explain WTF this does apart from nice and clean URLs, please do :-)
The minimum I can say about feedburner is... I enjoy the user experience much less than with twitterfeed - to put it nicely.

Special note to vendors and online platform providers: for god sake, guys, do you really think that I am the one who should write this? How is it that this:
a) isn't available from each platform?
b) is a hell to find/understand, anyway?

Digital life is spreading out of your control (and basically, that's what you expect): adapt your customer service to your users. Better: to the lamest of your users. Stop the non-sens: if you can't figure out how to use it, then you shouldn't use it.

I've head this sentence so many time that I can say it backward without thinking : ti esu ton dluohs uoy neht, ti esu ot woh tuo erugif ton nac uoy fi!

As life 2.0 expands so a dedicate efficient customer support should. And an automated plumbing in would be appreciated - special kudos to Twitterfeed, by the way.

Anyway, now everything is connected: your blog feeds your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts, enjoy!

And get ready: next step is find the applications to access all this from your smartphone- hahaha! (evil laugh) :-)

10/11/09

My KIDS' Digital Shebang

Discussing with my kids about the previous post, it appeared pretty quickly that their world isn't exactly mine (duh!)

There were only 4 of them, but we decided to draw their world. Here it is. Hahaha!

video

The differences are very interesting (skyrock vs.blogger, deezer vs. spotify, dailymotion for streamed tv shows, etc.). Would I be a marketer of 2.0 XYZ tools aiming at teens, I would love this one!

Enjoy!

Master the Digital Shebang

I keep on praising the wonders of 2.0 world and life, but to be honest, the setting up of a smart traffic and flow of information remains something close to a nightmare.

Here's a view of the tools I use on a daily basis... WDYT?

video

Yeah, pretty scarry.

I can tell you that having all of those working smoothly together has been quite an experience :-)

That's why my next post will present some hints that I gathered while drifting in the digital matrix, presenting possible business strategies and the related plumbing.

Keep posted.

10/7/09

The curious blossoming of 2.0 - part 2

Today I saw my lawyer (again) - yeah I now, ongoing omen as well.

Good news: he hasn't got swine flu - just sore throat - therefore, if I can't swallow tomorrow, I know it won't have anything to do with any pigs of the world - big relief.

The reason why I'm talking (again) about him is because I didn't tell you how I (finally) got his dictated email (see previous posts). Any guess? ... You're right! On paper! Thanks to the great national regular mail service (which BTW, should remain public service). HaHaHa.

Some more news from the 2.0 world: connecting and reconnecting with RL people. Yes RL.

Some years ago I reconnected with my best friend ever through the phone. Yesterday I reconnected with a too-silent friend through Facebook and LinkedIn (she doesn't have a Twitter account - yet). And while she didn't replied my previous mails, in less than 2 hours she called me back after the pressing posts I sent her.

Obvioulsy to some of us, being repetedly pinged by friends through digital networks express a higher level of urgency :-) That's great.

Not being an expert in digital footprint and digital identity protection - not that I want to become one, though - , I've also been recontacted by long-long-long time friend.

And reading tweets from my extended tribe, I discovered Ustream. (better late then never) and partyontheinternet from the amazing Amanda Palmer and 69 almost free tools to enhance your website and, and of course: the amazing Gmail plugin Kwaga. Which, btw, is a big relief too: my mails finally recover their marbles, long lost under the daily flood of new messages.

2.0 life amazes me. Every day.

Now, one of the next posts, I'll present a map of my digital world.

Keep posted.

10/4/09

Time Warp - The Nuxeo example

We've just released the new verison of Nuxeo's website check it out : www.nuxeo.com

And for the fun of it, here's a time warp on Nuxeo's home pages since inception in 2001.
Enjoy!

(special thanks to The Internet Archive)



Corporate websites... the ongoing omen

Every single time I entered a company in the past 10 years, one of the hottest objectives I was assigned to was the corporate website.

And there you go with the profound, definitive, thoroughly thought-over briefings:
"We need to have it evolve"
"I want it to look like XYZ's"
"It should should be updated"
"We've to think it over upside down"

:-)

Basically anything ranging from correcting typos to brand new corporate identity and messaging.

Every single time in the most urgent ways.

So here are some random observations, point of views and ideas gathered along this digital road.

Let's start with the 3 first tools one must add to its marketing emergency kit:
  • Mock-up
  • Dare
  • Measure & Iterate
Mock-up: sketch you needs before trying to design them; sketch your present and foreseeable resources - Are you sure you'll be able to handle and have evolve this funky breath-catching features your bold e-agency is so thrilled about?

Dare: say yes and say no :-) And dare be humble. Don't reinvent the wheel. Browse the web, grab ideas, trends, look & feel. Check-out what's going on on the competition's sites: you want their visitors' to become yours. Don't confuse them with a brand new design approach. This is your product's job. Not your site's.

Measure & Iterate: Go online. Measure. Correct, reinforce, enrich. I'm pretty sure the smartest combination can't be found at once. There are tons of amazing tools available to measure your site's efficiency, beginning with Google Analytics, which by itself would require an entire post. There are tools to engage with your visitors (and therefore measure their acceptance of your site's design, content etc.) such as Get Satisfaction, there are tons of online surveys tools as well (check these). Basically, name your need, and you'll find the tool on the Internet. And the best part is, not only they are powerful tools, but most are free.

The history of any company's websites are rather insightful in that respect. I'll demonstrate this in a series of posts called "time warp".

These are the very first things that stroke me. I can think of many more. Don't hesitate to share your opinion and comment :-)

Keep posted.

9/24/09

The curious blossoming of 2.0

Yesterday, I spoke to my lawyer.

Great guy, funny and pretty smart.

He was supposed to send me an email a couple of days ago, but I hadn't received it and therefore I called.

He explained that the reason why I hadn't got it, was because his assistant wasn't working on Wednesdays.

That puzzled me. Didn't get the link between "not sending me the email" and "my assistant is off on Wednesdays".

Understanding that his explanation didn't bring any light, he added: "well, I did dictate the email but she probably hadn't enough time to listen to the tape on tuesday".

Wow.

He dictates his emails.
On a small tape recorder.

Left me speechless.

Marketing moral: when working in a technology company, be it a start-up or a maturer innovative company, one shouldn't forget how immersed in technology we are, how much we love it and how most our counterparts are very much less in it. Forgetting this simple fact can annihilate the most brilliant marketing strategy we can come up with.
Even our most adventurous early-bird customer is probably not as "geek" as we are. Not to mention the more conservative ones.

Later that very same day, one of my beloved teens called me "Hey Mum, just received an hilarious text on my mobile", she said and explained: "it said do u wanna date me? answer quick. And you know what? I didn't recognize the phone number - I had to text back who R U!"

Yeah, 2.0 is oddly blossoming... :-)

9/22/09

Done - AFG wins Procrastination 1 to 0 (actually 42 to 0)

Right - Here we go.

It's been ages since I 've been thinking of my own blog.

But you know, it always ends to the inextricable questions:
- personal stuff vs. business matters
- written in English or Klingon
- whining or moaning
- sincere or bogus
....

well, usual false self excuses.

So now, here we go.

Why did I - finally - make it ?

Because I have few challenges in my life that are worth writing about:

A - living with a serial entrepreneur currently launching an online service that stands as NEXT MAJOR shift in email management - both for business and individuals

B - living with geeks: I'm surrounded by them and I don't surrender - I believe I love it - Anyway, I might as well give you precious hints on "how-to-live-with-them" and even on "how-to-become-one-yourself"

C - working with geeks - see above. Tricky part: on the average, they are 15-year younger than me.

D - being a marketing and communication expert in a highly technical and innovating company. Which has basically turned me into a mobile computer-to-human translator, able to explain any wonderful technical masterpieces into solid-down-to-the-earth answers to critical business needs. I love it too. And I've been doing it for quite a while now :-)

E - last but not least, being the mother of a wide tribe of fabulous teenagers.

F - and finding time to play music, see concerts, watch movies, read books... yeah ok, just the regular super-woman stuff.

I hope you'll enjoy reading as much as I'll enjoy writing.