poelog: Commentary, thoughts and opinions on the web, ebusiness and marketing -- a web log by Rob Poel
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Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Another sign that the online, ad-supported content site is a tough business model: The Motley Fool announces beginning February 14, they will begin charging a low annual fee to access the Fool Community's discussion boards. Can't blame 'em. I just wonder if they have the clout to pull it off. $4.95 per month is still too much in my eyes. I think I prefer the Silicon Investor model of charging an annual fee for the right to post and contribute to the discussions but read-only access is free. More fodder for The End of Free.



Rafe Needleman, former Red Herring columnist, is back with his own Catch of the Day. The Red Herring Catch of the Day used to be one of my "must read daily" emails. His about page describes the column by saying: Read by almost all technology venture capitalists, and tens of thousands of technology executives, the column covers trends and ideas for the new economy. His first article, covering the topic of digital terrestrial radio, has a lot of overlap with the topic of satellite radio that I just mentioned Steve MacLaughlin is covering.



Steve MacLaughlin, owner of Saltire, has decided to start a niche-blog covering satellite radio (you've probably recently started hearing XM ads on the radio). Check it out at: SatRadio.

Monday, January 28, 2002

CNN.com: Jail for China bible smuggler - China has sentenced a Hong Kong businessman to two years in prison for allegedly smuggling bibles to a banned group. The amazing thing: the word "banned" is synonomous with "Christian" in this instance. I'm currently reading a book called Safely Home that deals directly with this topic. In reading it I occasionally questioned the accuracy of its depiction of China's religious freedom (or lack thereof). This news story shows that the book, although fiction, is based on the way things really are. On the outside we see this economic giant that is seemingly embracing capitalism and all its inherant freedoms ... on the inside is a government that maintains tight control over even who its people worship. The reason? The Chinese government sees Christianity as a threat to their power. Sad.



Business Week: Jeff Bezos: Amazon Is "Genuinely Something New" - Bezos reflects on the quarter that silenced a good number of Amazon's critics.



For you weblog junkies out there ... Ev just released Blogger Pro™.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Fan of Seinfeld? Salon analyzes this great show like only Salon can (via Camworld).



BrandX - a new blog on branding. Only 2 posts since inception on 12/29 but we'll give Josh a little time to warm up (via peterme).

Friday, January 18, 2002

ClickZ: Left- Versus Right-Brain Marketing - I may be a bit of an anomaly as I feel comfortable in both right-brain and left-brain activities ... and, when it comes to marketing (typically right-brain) and technology (typically left-brain) I enjoy both equally. In fact, what I find frustrating is dealing with a marketing person that has no clue or appreciation for the tecnology and its sometimes linear, process focused approach ... or,... dealing with a tech head that can't at all step back and see the big picture, think strategically, or view the solution from the customer or end user's shoes.



HBS Working Knowledge: Marketing: Why E-commerce Didn't Die With the Fall of Webvan - Home-delivered groceries? Never. Online communication, auto-replenishment services, direct-to-consumer promotion? Definitely.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

E-Commerce News: Your .Name Here - quick ... before someone else snags it, grab your .name domain name at The Global Name Registry. Surprise, surprise ... bill.gates.name is already registered. Click on Registrant ID: CT:JN147 and you'll see that it's registered to some guy named John Nichols. If, as E-Commerce News states this could be the first step toward the ultimate personal ID, there will have to be major steps put in place to stop people from registering domain names that do not match their own name. And I just don't see that happening anytime soon.



Another Mac link courtesty of the Daypop Top 40: Apple - Myths.
-- Myth 6: Macs are far easier to use than PCs. Guilty as charged.



ZDNet: The challenge: If I go Mac, will I ever go back? - I'll be curious to read the results of this experiment one month from Monday.



Interesting post at the Fool titled:In Praise of Uneven Wealth Distribution along with a vibrant series of follow-up posts. In general I agree with the points made in the post as I myself am very pro-capitalism, pro-entrepreneur, and politically conservative but as is usually the case in a hard line argument, the issue is rarely black-and-white. The extreme of uneven wealth distribution can be seen in the $250 million contract signed by Alex Rodriguez to play baseball versus the $25,000 - $40,000 made by Christian school teachers. Something is definitely wrong and out-of-whack with that statistic.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

A few personal notes:

Starting on January 1st I started training for this year's Fifth Third River Bank Run, a 25k road race that takes place here in Grand Rapids, MI. I ran the 1500 and 800 in college and ran twice in the 10k Vancouver Sun Run while we lived in British Columbia but this will be a whole 'nother thing. The big challenge is finding the time to train. During the week that has meant running at 6am in the morning (ugh!) or during lunch. Now I just have to make sure I don't twist an ankle playing basketball in the meantime.

And just today ... my wife and I booked a a 4 night trip to Club Viva Vallarta in Mexico. We leave in a little over a month and our son, Tyler, will be staying at my parent's. It will be so good to just get away and relax for a few days.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

I love following the battle of the handhelds and the concep of "convergence." From the sounds of this article Nokia to Take on Palm with what is considered by many analysts to be one of the first true ``convergent'' devices bridging the phone and computer worlds. Although it looks a little cluncky (its nickname is the "brick"), the monitor and full keyset keyboard, look impressive. At $799, however, I think it will take a while to take off here in the states.

Monday, January 14, 2002

Need an alibi? Want to convince your boss that you really do stay up to all hours working on that presentation? Check out EmailAlibi.com.Once you have an account, sign in, compose your email, address it, and schedule it for a late, but still believable delivery time of 11:42PM. Your email will be delivered at that time, coming from your return address, and your boss will think you're a work horse (via WDFM).

Friday, January 11, 2002

I usually hate linking to something that is far and away the top link at Daypop but I get a kick out of these blog surveys / quizes / you-know-you're-addicted-to-blogging-if games. That being said ... here's the latest: the blogger code. And here's my blogger code:

B4 d- t- k s u f i- o x-- e- l c+



Business 2.0: Voulez-Vous Completely Overhaul This Big, Slow Company and Start Making Some Cars People Actually Want Avec Moi? - Nissan, Japan's third-largest automaker, was stodgy, insular, debt-ridden. It was exhibit A in what was wrong with Japanese corporations. Then it brought in an irrepressible French Lebanese guy named Carlos Ghosn. I'm a sucker for these kinda stories. It's the classic scenario: a company is in deep doo-doo ... a white knight, or more accurately, a black knight, comes in and kicks some corporate butt, killing the sacred cows and practices that have lead to the company's downfall. The company rises up, out of the ashes and wows industry insiders with its 180 degree transformation. The story of Nissan and its CEO Carlos Ghosn, follow the script perfectly.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

TIME.com: Apple's New Core - Exclusive: How Steve Jobs made a sleek machine that could be the home-digital hub of the future. Sorry for the barrage of Apple links lately but I love their innovation. Analysts keep saying Apple should scrap their innovative designs and instead come out with a $500 bare bones iMac. Ridiculous. People wouldn't buy a BMW for the price of a Yugo. There's an aura and pride that comes from owning a Mac ... and Jobs keeps that pride alive as he continues to bring innovative products to market.

Monday, January 07, 2002

MSN Money: 7 reasons you don't sell when you should - Buying a stock is easy. Selling ... on the other hand ... is not. One common piece of advice that, when I have the discipline to follow it, usually seems to pay off: cut your losses and let your winners run. Said another way ... when tending to your portfolio garden, make sure you pick and toss the weeds and not the flowers.



Another reason why I'm still partial to Apple.



You gotta hand it to Apple for all the hype and buzz they've created leading up to today's Macworld Expo. Even fellow Blogger users have been caught up in the fray (eg.Crazy Apple Rumors Site). More than a few sites have leaked photos and news on the new, flat-panel iMac. And you know that's not all that will be revealed.

Thursday, January 03, 2002

MarketingProfs.com: Fulfilling the Promise: Borrowing from "Usability" for Better Customer Relationships - The objectives of user-centered design are nearly the same as those within an advertising agency's account planning department, or with most respectable marketing research groups…you're trying to understand your customers' behaviors and motivations, and you want to let that knowledge influence the direction of your product and its promise.



ClickZ: Information Architecture Versus Graphic Design - Quality Web design is driven by information architecture design principles. Graphic design should support these principles. I know I've linked to many articles like this in the past but it bears repeating.

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

Another POELog twin ... a blog focused on the use of the web in business, marketing and advertising: Hyper-Conversations by Scott Knowles.



Happy New Year!

Our company shut down during the holidays so I've been off work since the afternoon of 12/21. Been back in the office an hour now, catching up on email and shaking off the cobwebs in my head.

Curious what myself and my family look like? Well, you'll really have to squint your eyes here, but if you look close enough at this card featured in the Family.com Activities and Crafts area you'll see myself on the right and my wife, Lucinda on the left, with our son, Tyler, being held between us. My wife is quite a talented card maker and she submitted our Christmas card from the year 2000 to Family Fun magazine and it was one of the finalists that was published. You'd be amazed at how many people (or, more specifically, women) read this magazine.