poelog: Commentary, thoughts and opinions on the web, ebusiness and marketing -- a web log by Rob Poel
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Friday, June 28, 2002

Salon.com: Leave "The Pledge" alone - The 9th Circuit's official sponsorship of atheism is as repugnant to our tradition of tolerance as official sponsorship of religion. Amen.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Two articles from Fast Company's latest issue:

1) How Google Searches Itself - The short answer: by encouraging everyone to share ideas in a collaborative area on their intranet.

2) Yahoo Kisses It All Good-bye - Again, the short answer (in the opinion of the writer), ties to the decision Yahoo made to change their privacy policy allowing it, as the Economist tartly put it, "to exploit users' personal information to market its own and business partners' products and services -- unless users take the trouble to opt out by ticking a long list of preferences." This decision was made so that, as the online ad market was drying up, Yahoo! could begin monitizing those 237 million users in a myriad of different ways.

My opinion: the author has written off Yahoo! too quickly - categorizing them as "email spammers, junk mailers, etc." While Yahoo! still has a ways to go before they realize Seth Godin's permission marketing vision, I think they are taking strides in that direction. The best example: the quick demographic polls that are being incorporated into their Yahoo! mail login screen. The polls are optional and each only ask for one piece of data (marriage status, home owner or renter, pet owner status, zip code, etc.). Once I've answered one question I never see the same question again as Yahoo continues to learn about who I am and (potentially) what products and services might be of interest to me. Personally, I've filled in almost every poll I see IN HOPES that it will eventually lead to me receiving more targeted, relevant advertising (I wouldn't say the INSTANT ONLINE DEGREE ads or the DISCOUNTED VIAGRA ads that keep showing up in my Yahoo Mail Inbox are good examples of quality permisison marketing). If Yahoo capitalizes on initiatives like this it could still rebuild itself to become one of the most powerful direct marketing / media companies out there. Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Happy Anniversary to me (and my wife). Today marks nine years of marriage! Wow, it's cliche, but it truly is amazing how quickly time flies when you're having fun. To celebrate my parents are taking Tyler for the evening so Lucinda and I can have a night out. For dinner we're going try out the new EGR Firehouse Grille. After dinner we're heading out to see Insomnia. We like the occasional psychological thriller and the reviews of Insomnia of been pretty good. Not the most original date night but we're looking forward to it none-the-less.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

E-Commerce News: EBay Offers Health Insurance to Power Sellers - Whitman said the new health plan will include dental, vision and pharmacy coverage -- a nod to the fact that many families now rely on eBay for all of their income. Great idea. eBay continually impresses me with their relentless innovation.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Wired NPR follow-up #2: Want to Read This? Ask First - Just as kids who want to be around water should be encouraged to learn to swim, proprietors of websites should embrace the fluidity of the medium, or they should get off the Web. They don't belong here. Unless, of course, they wanted to change their name to National Private Radio.

These guys know how to do interface design. Witness 37bettermotors by 37signals. Be sure to view the prototpye.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

A week ago I mentioned that I was going to buy Weinberger's new book. Well, I did and just started reading it. Looks like the book now has a corresponding site: Small Pieces Loosely Joined. The site has first reactions, reviews, links to weblog discussions, etc. (via bBlog).

Wired: Public Protests NPR Link Policy - Follow-up to yesterday's post about NPR's linking policy. It appears that NPR's "law department" is interested in keeping track of who links to them. Their spokesperson added: "[seeking permission to link] is a matter of respect and honor for what we're trying to do here." If I were NPR I'd be more interested in attracting more paid members than I would be about respect and honor (via CORANTE).

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Speaking of Daypop ... I clicked on their home page for once rather than just visiting their top 40 page, and I noticed a new feature: the Daypop Amazon Wish List Top 40. The list tracks 758 wish lists (I'm assuming the lists are those of the bloggers whose blogs are tracked in Daypop) and compiles, from those lists, it's own most popular books, music, and dvd list. The current most popular book (on 9 wish lists) is Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places. 'Nuff said ... those 758 are definitely blogger wish lists.

Sorry ... I typically don't like linking to the most popular story at Daypop but this boneheaded page on NPR (an organization I respect) is just a classic case of a company that doesn't "get" the web. Ooops, sorry NPR, I forgot to request permission before linking to your site.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Boxes and Arrows: Re-architecting PeopleSoft.com from the bottom-up - If you're involved in web development you'll appreciate this article documenting the redesign of PeopleSoft's public web site and customer and partner extranet sites.

ClickZ: Charge for Your Content? - Yes, if you can answer yes to at least one of the three following questions: Is the content unavailable elsewhere? Are you the premier source of that content? And, can your content help readers make money or advance their careers?

Another information source to surf on a daily basis: C O R A N T E - Tech News. Filtered Daily. - Topics covered inclue e-business, Internet, personal technology, communications and venture capital. In addition to "filtered news" the site sports its own weblog, The Bottom Line, maintained by Arnold King, founder of homefair.com, one of the very first commercial web sites in 1994, later sold to Homestore (link via WDFM newsletter).

Monday, June 17, 2002

First there was the Yahoo! Buzz Index. Then there was Google Zeitgeist (which I annoyingly had to do a Google search to find). And now, there's the CNET Buzz Meter (via EVHEAD).

ClickZ: Macromedia Blogs and the Death of the 'Official Story' - More commentary on the blogs released by Macromedia's "community managers." Whether it realizes it or not Macromedia's blog strategy is very Cluetrain-ish. In the article Sean Carton sounds like Chris Locke himself when he states: Your brand, as it stands on the Internet today, doesn't stop with your "official" communications materials. All the press releases you send out, the painstakingly crafted emails, the expensive Web sites, and the ads don't matter nearly as much as they used to now that your customers can talk to each other at the speed of light.

"The gap is closing." US: 2 - Mexico: 0. Up next: A quarterfinal date with Germany, Friday, 6/21 at 7:30 am ET. I just scheduled a 2 hour Friday morning "off-site meeting" from 7:30am - 9:30am ;-)

Friday, June 14, 2002

Meg explains What We're Doing When We Blog - When we talk about weblogs, we're talking about a way of organizing information, independent of its topic ... Weblogs simply provide the framework, as haiku imposes order on words. The structure of the documents we're creating enable us to build our social networks on top of it ... As bloggers, we're in the middle of, and enjoying, an evolution of communication ... As with free speech itself, what we say isn't as important as the system that enables us to say it. Well said. When I started to blog over a year ago it wasn't so that I could have a soapbox to express my thoughts and opinions ... or a vehicle by which to broadcast controversial ideas. Sure, it's nice to have an outlet to comment on topics of interest to me but the real reason I started blogging is that I wanted to experience this new-found method of communicating ... be a part of the blog community ... try a new web-based publishing tool ... and forge new relationships based on similar interests.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Catch of the Day: Enterprise communications - Vocera, interesting wireless start-up exploring the instant communications market. Think Nextel Direct Connect meets Instant Messenger meets walkie-talkie.

Speaking of books ... back on July 6 of 2001 (link to July '01 archive) I published a list of the last 9 business books I've read and enjoyed. Here's a recap of that post. Call it a Best of POELog (tongue firmly entrenched in cheek):

Friday, July 6, 2001

Interested in reading a good business book this summer? Here's a list of the last nine business books I've read (in order of the most recent).
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual
  • Entrepreneur America: Lessons from Inside Rob Ryan's High-Tech Start-Up Boot Camp
  • Done Deals: Venture Capitalists Tell Their Stories
  • amazon.com - Get Big Fast : Inside the Revolutionary Business Model That Changed the World
  • Eboys : The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work
  • Nudist on the Late Shift : And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley
  • Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, and Friends into Customers
  • Customers.com: How to Create A Profitable Business Strategy for the Internet & Beyond
  • The Motley Fool's Rule Breakers, Rule Makers : The Foolish Guide to Picking Stocks
  • If I had to pick a top 3, I'd vote for: Eboys, Amazon.com - Get Big Fast, Entrepreneur America (in that order). I actually enjoyed all nine of the books though. I think that's partly because I do a lot of research before I buy and I only buy books that I have a pretty good idea I'll enjoy ... otherwise I wait for the book to arrive at the library.

    Looking for a good business book to read? I know I am ... it seems like it's been awhile since I've read one. I think I found some good prospects over at Steve MacLaughlin's book reviews page. His latest review on Small Pieces Loosely Joined: a Unified Theory of the Web by David Weinberger" sounds like a good read. I think I'll buy it this weekend.

    Monday, June 10, 2002

    Boxes and Arrows: Building Brand into Structure - Great article written by a senior user interface architect at Datek (my online broker). How does one balance brand with users' needs? The golden rule is this: The brand should never hinder usability unless it would be entirely against the brand's values to do otherwise. Sometimes, this means fewer items per page, sometimes it means calling the Shopping Cart “My Makeup Case.” Sometimes it means extra pages in the ordering process to ensure the personal service the user expects.

    New site to follow: Boxes and Arrows - Boxes and Arrows is the definitive source for the complex task of bringing architecture and design to the digital landscape. (via Saltire).

    Tuesday, June 04, 2002

    Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've just been swamped. And today I'm leaving for Orlando to attend SAPPHIRE, SAP's annual eBusiness sales show where they flaunt their latest and greatest software. I'll try and post from my hotel room if I have time ... otherwise, until next week ...