Tag Archives: communication

Talk, Talk, Talk, Draw, Draw, Draw

Julie stuart - Making Ideas Visible
Wow, it feels like I just started podcasting and I’m already up to episode number, now wait a second, let me get my calculator, tap… tap.. tap.., carry the one, oh yeah there it is – episode three! I know, big milestone right? But it is a big transition to go from “I’m thinking about starting a podcast” to actually have guests planned in advance – it’s exciting too! Especially when you’ve got some interesting guests on deck – and I do 😉

Tomorrow is going to be cool Julie Stuart will be joining me for episode 3 – Julie has a very cool and unique job: she is a visual facilitator, in other words she makes ideas visible. Combine the skills of a meeting facilitator, an illustrator and a mind-mapper – mix them all up with a big smile and you’re getting into Julie’s territory. When I first stumbled across her website I was wowed – I had never heard of anyone doing a job like that before! It takes talent to draw, to move ideas into images, and a lot of people with that talent would run screaming from the room if you asked them to draw while standing in the middle of a room full of people – not to mention a room full of high-powered executives. Julie’s created a brand for herself that is not only unique, but highly effective – she’s notched clients like the CDC, GE Energy, ConAgra and the National Wildlife Federation. You better believe I’m going to ask how she’s taken her talents and woven them into such an effective brand story. You don’t want to miss this one!

For those of you not familiar with Blog Talk Radio, the show is presented live and you can call in with questions. Shortly after the show is done the recording is available to download or stream at your convenience. My show is live Mondays at 10:30am EST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/david-cohen and the Call-in Number if you want to ask a question is (347) 989-8132. I hope you’ll chime in!

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I4U Newsletter Ends – Sign of Things to Come or a Last Gasp?

Like many of you out there, I have a bit of technolust. I like gadgets. I own a modest collection of tech gear, and I have a drawer full of retired power cords and adapters, but more to the point, I like to be in the know about the new stuff. The gizmos and thingamajigs that push the envelope or hint at cool features that might just become mainstream. Of course most don’t, but that is part of what makes it interesting. So for these reasons one of the few newsletter that I used to look forward to appearing in my email inbox was the eye-jolting green missive put together by Luigi Lugmayr & company over at I4U. It was a newsletter that did a great job of sticking to their mission – they brought you the new stuff. It felt more informative than sales-y. Like I might actually have the jump on other nerdy friends when it came to discussion of cool new laptops or innovative portable electronics. Well imagine my surprise when instead of their usual array of thumbnails of interesting gadgets I received this note:

Hello I4U News Readers,

This is our last weekly I4U Newsletter. We feel that email newsletters have had there time and are not the preferred way anymore to receive our news.
Thank you for being a subscriber and I hope you will continue to read I4U News for you daily technology news and shopping tips.

Please consider to follow us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed.

I mean what’s going on here? The company is continuing on, but the newsletter is going away? Is this a sign of new marketing truths from a progressive company that has always had it’s eye on the future? Or is this a last gasp of a failed campaign? Perhaps they got the reach, but couldn’t convert the readers, or maybe the readers simply stopped opening it because we’re all so flooded these days with a zillion more newsletters than ever before.

So why do I care, and why should you? It’s not because I thought that this newsletter was cool – that’s too subjective. It’s the mystery that gets me. It doesn’t cost much to put out an e-newsletter, especially if you’re already aggregating the content for other purposes, which is exactly what I4U does. So it’s cheap to produce, and VERY measurable. That’s something we like in the marketing department. That’s why there is such a glut of newsletters heading your way everyday. We get to measure what happens: we know what gets opened, we know if you click, and if we’ve planned our landing pages right we know if that click led to a conversion. These things make a marketer get up early in the morning with a big smile, because what you measure you can tune.

But I4U is throwing in the towel on its newsletter contender. How low does the threshold of response have to dip to make the superior measurement ability not worth the effort? Have they found equal or better measurement through Twitter and RSS? I want to know and unless you’ve got unlimited time and resources for your marketing department, you should want to know too.

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Live from Barcamp – Day 2 – Session 1 [for me] Drupal sh*t

Presenter: Rusty Stanton

The setting — grabbing OJ and a muffin on the run.  Can’t find the room.  found the room and Rusty.  No projector.  Wing it.

The paraphrase:
Quick recap on using drupal to present podcasts.  Question to class – experience with drupal?   A Joomla user says he went to that platform cause he found it first.  The verdict — drupal is more of an api for development – joomla is more designer friendly – a little more complete.

Q & A — how to restrict php to be non-exec or blocked from db?  It’s complex or you could right a module.  Recommendation – write a custom module that has a set of special tags or an API. Could write a token-filtering module to allowe a defined set of functionality.  Lots of question from a guy from WREK Atlanta radio.  Currently managing a drupal site and is facing some challenges with balancing flexibility without giving too much control.  Rusty runs GA Podcast site on drupal 4.7 — Site can’t be totally open because they are using taxonomy to organize radio programs.  They are rewriting to make programs nodes instead of taxonomies which will allow finer grade of permission administration – through user roles.

Problems of open source systems – often the 3rd party modules are buggy or hyper-tailored to one purpose — look for modules that are well-maintained or you may need to write your own.  Sometimes drupal’s are abandon-ware — written byt not supported.

Upgrade issues — can’t directly upgrade from 4.7 – 5.* — need to disable all 3rd party modules — need to get upgraded modules and reinstall.  Drupal 6 will have some php 5 specific stuff.  Drupal, a spectacular api, but kind of a pain in the you know what for end users.  But getting better.

Transition to discussion about WordPress.   How to create hooks?  Rusty gives an example of a plug-in that let him send specific content to someone who was stealing his content.

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Live from Barcamp Atlanta pt.2 – Better product blogging

Having wireless troubles in the second session I am attending. Talk will be focused on tips and techniques to improve product blogs. Presenter is Dave Coustan – http://blog.extraface.com This talk is about product as in product development not retailing per se.

Here’s my paraphrase of Dave Coustan’s talk:

Tip 1. Think of your product as a Point of View
Defines a way of looking at a product.
The job isn’t just done on your blog, you need to carry your point of view through your comments on other blogs.

Dreamhost vs. Lunarpages is used as an example of a point of view – oriented blog. Larger discourse on the ethics of hosting.

Tip 2. think story arc, not monster-of-the-week
Example – Earthlink — multi-post feature on Earthlink’s startpage creates ‘story arc’ – builds engagement, sense of time, and investment of the user through participation ( returning to read subsequent articles).

Tip 3. Organize revision cycles for a human being. Make it easier for the product team to write about what they’re doing, by giving them a context.

Tip 4. Who gets to break product news? Break (in the journalist sense) your own story – let the product team make their press releases truly meaningful. Play nice with your PR team.

Tip 5. Create and foster a subculture. Encourage tribal/cult branding – reward your community with attention and possibly schwag.

Bonus tips:

Make the lame interesting [like that’s easy] Example – usability lab from del.icio.us — a little humor, a little “don’t take yourself to seriously attitude” helps the dry material to be more meaningful.

Grab from the mail bag.

be specific when asking for feedback [yes always guide the call to action – that’s good marketing]

Throw in a cute animal [as a bunny owner I find this especially meaningful]

— post session —
New terminology “Dark Blog” internal closed blog that can’t be read outside the corporate network.
Getting feedback — lure ’em with candy. Encourage participation by using contests, and directly soliciting feedback.

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