Monday, December 15, 2008

Re: A Thousand Tomorrows: kashklash or the future of value

kashklash or the future of value

kashklashWe could have easily called this post the future of money, yet in a more profound sense the current financial climate and the questions it is raising are provoking us to rethink value and the systems we devise to organize processes related to it.

Heather Moore, User Experience Manager at Vodafone, recently launched the lovely public domain initiative KashKlash aimed at an open discussion to co-create our future value systems. The sharing economy, the reputation economy, the gift economy, the free economy, alternative economies, shifting balances between production and consumption, ways to replace money, etc. are all themes up for debate over at the website.

“We are envisioning a new world where today’s aging, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by or mixed with more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….”

Bruce Sterling proposes to explore 4 future scenarios, set up around 2 key variables: the degree of stability in exchange systems (ranging from a ‘confusing mess’ to ‘massive change’) & the state of communication technology (ranging from ‘old and broken’ to ‘the new cloud’).

Check out the stories of the scenarios’ main characters Big Mama, Greifswald, Rebel kids and Brixels.

Mr. T for Beginners: Me and Mr. T

Monday, December 8, 2008

Re: Seth Godin - Building an albatross

Building an albatross

I spent hours watching the albatross in the Galapagos hang out. The first thing you notice is that they have a terribly difficult time taking off. In the water, an albatross will have to spend hours waiting for the right wind to come along. On land, they're ungainly, but when they find the right conditions... they take off. And fly and fly and fly. An albatross can fly for days or weeks, with a heart rate similar to its resting heart rate. Possibly the best bird ever invented.

3years2 Albatross businesses are great to have but not easy to launch. Rather that the excitement of the big time launch and then the constant promotion and high expense of a typical business, an albatross business mucks around for a while, but since it's designed for effortless long flight, it gains steam and then keeps going.

Today is the third anniversary of the launch of Squidoo into alpha. We certainly had a slow take off, then a bump in the wind 18 months ago with spammers and the search engines, but we've reached a glide path. Note two things about this chart:

1. It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more.

That means you need to either raise enough money from patient investors to stick it out... or, as in our case, be so lean and efficient that the cost of lasting long enough to make it profitable is one you can handle.

2. It's possible to organize a company around the idea that success breeds success.

Traditional businesses don't do that... if you're a wedding photographer or a restaurant, you're not going to have an albatross business. These businesses need ongoing promotion which leads to ongoing business, and around and around. There's clearly a benefit to reputation and word of mouth, but you're rarely going to see the hockey stick that is the goal of most internet businesses.

The two secrets, I think, are:

1. Plan for the long slow ramp up. That means super low overhead and patience and not trying to launch with a huge splash because you're impatient.

2. Architecture matters. If you intend to build an albatross, you'll want to design a business where each customer brings you new customers, where the more it gets used, the better it works.

We have a l o n g way to go before Squidoo hits the stride we're seeking, but on our third anniversary, it seemed like a worthwhile time to take a look of how close we are getting to our flight path. An albatross can achieve a 22:1 glide path--22 meters out for every meter down or up. That's the goal, leverage.

PS if you've never seen the albatross mating ritual, you really should. Time consuming, a lot of noise, very little action.

Re: Seth Godin - Making vs. Taking

Making vs. Taking

Consider two cereals:

Honey Bunches of Oats, a category creator, a big brand with spin offs and profits and growth.

Fruit Harvest, a generically named cereal that leverages the marketing department's ability to run coupons, grab shelf space and take share.

That's the choice most of us make when we launch a product or service. We can make a market or we can take share from a market.

"This is just like the Gillette razor, but cheaper."

"This has a touch screen, too, but you can get it from Verizon."

"I'm a shiatsu massage therapist, the only one on this block."

Those are 'taking' statements. They break a larger market into smaller bits. Compare to:

"This is a sugared cereal for adults."

"Our software enables you to find data and trends that no one else can find."

"By combining protein and chocolate, we've developed a new food that's both dessert and dinner."

These are 'making' statements. Riskier, sure, but they stand for something, they don't just steal share. The Dummies guides made a market, the Idiot's guides took from that market.

You need to be clear with yourself and your team about which one you're after, because they bring different costs, different benefits and different time frames.

Final Powerpoint Presentation

Digital Design Ppt Template

Movie - Refined

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jon Stewart on Blogs