Web 2.Over?

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Meg Pickard recently updated the iconic ‘original Web 2.0 slide’ of start-ups. It is interesting to see which companies have survived and which are now long forgotten. Of course many more start-ups have now been born. But the above picture was the original Web 2.0 collection and has been a classic feature of many presentations over the last few years. 

Click on each picture to enlarge the view.

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Print Websites Easily with Print Friendly

 

Print Friendly is a nice site which helps to correctly format web pages for printing. The site also optimises your printing, by removing annoying ads to.  If you print content from the web, Print Friendly is definitely worth checking out.

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Do Something Worth Talking About

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I loved this recent post from Paul Isakson. There’s a big danger for businesses of all sizes to look for “shortcuts” into the world of Social Media.  Here is some gentle advice for businesses of all sizes:

  • Quit trying to "join the conversation."
  • Stop trying to be everyone’s friend.
  • Don’t shove your marketing messages at people.
  • Just listen to what people are saying about your product or service and apply what you learn to making it better. (Feedback is King)
  • The same goes for your marketing.
  • Make your message worth talking about.

Focus on your key messages and less on jumping on the bandwagon!

How I became a New Media Douchebag

What is the Future of Social Media?

One question with a great range of great answers. This video was shot by Christian at Amplified 08.

What is the future of Social Media?

I think the future of social media is mass adoption by the masses. In recent weeks we have seen UK users jump on the Twitter bandwagon following celebrities such as @wossy and @stephenfry. I see this trend continuing. However, as the number of followers/friends increase for everyone, I see a dynamic shift.

Traditional principles of networking and word of mouth become energised once again. Real people – Real Recommendations – Real Time.  I see a future where crowdsourcing becomes the norm, we won’t rely on search engines such as Google, rather we will rely on the ‘wisdom of the network’. This won’t be a single network but a complex social graph of people we know and people we don’t know.

A focus on technology will be less – devices and services will just work, connect and fade into the background. Just as we carry our phone numbers and emails today on our mobiles. In the future, we will capture ‘conversations’ and take them everywhere.

Free Forrester Webinar on "Groundswell"

Who?

Josh and Charlene will be delivering a free webinar “Groundswell: A Framework For Using Web 2.0 For Business Advantage”  

What?

A “Groundswell Webinar : A Framework For Using Web 2.0 For Business Advantage.” They authors will be reviewing the core ideas laid out in the “Groundswell” book, going through the frameworks and strategies needed to approach and thrive in the groundswell.

Agenda:

  • What process should companies use to create social strategies?
  • What business objectives can be achieved with Web 2.0 technologies?
  • How should you get started?

When?

Friday, May 9th at 11:00 am EST / 5 PM Amsterdam / 4 PM UK

Where?

1. Go to: http://hosted.mediasite.com/hosted4/Viewer/?peid=15888d16e0824f0a88195984d2996dac

2. Enter the brief requested details & hit ‘Register’ (please use your business email address)

3. The presentation screen will launch and the webinar will start at the time announced

4. Please be sure to turn your volume on.

Test by viewing this presentation <http://www.mediasite.com/presentation.aspx?p=24570> Click on “View Presentation” and if you are able to see it and hear it (check your speakers), you will be able to log into the webinar.

How to save money running a Web 2.0 startup

 

 

Hat tip to blog maverick

A few wise words for Web 2.0 entrepreneurs.  I’ve added some additional points from Calacanis.

1. Don’t start a company unless its an obsession and something you love.
2. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.
3. Hire people who you think will love working there.
4. Sales Cures All. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.
5. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but are cheap
6. An expresso machine ? Are you kidding me ? Shoot yourself before you spend money on an expresso machine. Coffee is for losers. Sodas are free. Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk. There are 24 hours in a day, and if people like their jobs, they will find ways to use as much of it as possible to do their jobs.
7. No offices. Open offices keeps everyone in tune with what is going on and keeps the energy up. If an employee is about privacy, show them how to use the lock on the toilet. There is nothing private in a start up. This is also a good way to keep from hiring execs who can not operate successfully in a startup. My biggest fear was always hiring someone who wanted to build an empire. If the person demands to fly first class or to bring over their secretary, run away. If an exec wont go on salescalls, run away. They are empire builders and will pollute your company.
8. As far as technology, go with what you know. That is always the cheapest way. If you know Apple, use it. If you know Vista… ask yourself why, then use it. Its a startup, there are just a few employees. Let people use what they know.
9. Keep the organisation flat. If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail. Once you get beyond startup, if you have managers reporting to managers, you will create politics.
10. NEVER EVER EVER buy swag. A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, its ok to buy for your own folks, but if you really think someone is going to wear your Yobaby.com polo you sent them in public, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money
11. NEVER EVER EVER hire a PR firm. A PR firm will call or email people in the publications, shows and websites you already watch, listen to and read. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them an email introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communications with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.
12. Make the job fun for employees. Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out 100 dollar bills to salespeople. At Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions, we had a company shot. Kamikaze. We would take people to a bar every now and then and buy one or 10 for everyone. At MicroSolutions, more often than not we had vendors cover the tab. Vendors always love a good party :0

In addition, some good and some controversial tips from  Jason Calacanis

  1. Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT department
  2. Buy second monitors for everyone, they will save at least 30 minutes a day, which is 100 hours a year… which is at least $2,000 a year…. which is $6,000 over three years. A second monitor cost $300-500 depending on which one you get. That means you’re getting 10-20x return on your investment… and you’ve got a happy team member.
  3. Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy. Going out for food or ordering in takes at least 20-60 minutes more than walking up to the buffet and eating. If you do meetings over lunch you also save that time. So, 30 minutes a day across say four days a week is two hours a week… which is 100 hours a year. You get the idea.
  4. Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs. Tables are a complete rip off. We buy stainless steel restaurant tables that are $100 and $600 Aeron chairs. Total cost per workstation? $700. Compare that to buying a $500-$1,500 cube/designer workstation. The chair is the only thing that matters… invest in it.
  5. Don’t buy a phone system. No one will use it. No one at Mahalo has a desk phone except the admin folks. Everyone else is on IRC, chat, and their cell phone. Everyone has a cell phone, folks would rather get calls on it, and 99% of communication is NOT on the phone. Savings? At least $500 a year per person… 50 people over three years? $75-100k
  6. Rent out your extra space. Many folks have extra space in their office. If you rent 5-10 desks for $500 each you can cut your burn $2,500 to $5,000 a month, or $30-60,000 a year. That’s big money.
  7. Outsource accounting and HR—such a no brainer.
  8. Don’t buy everyone Microsoft Office–it’s too much money. Put Office on three or four common computers and use Google Docs.
  9. Use Google hosted email. $50 or free per user…. how can you beat that?!?! Why screw with an exchange server!?!?
  10. Buy your hardest working folks computers for home. If you have folks who are willing to work an extra hour a day a week you should get them a computer for home. Once you get to three hours of work a week from home you’re at 150 hours a year and that’s a no brainer. Invest in equipment *if* the person is a workaholic.
  11. Fire people who are not workaholics. don’t love their work… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or stabucks if you’re not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.
  12. Get an expensive, automatic espresso machine at the office. Going to starbucks twice a day cost $4 each time, but more importantly it costs 20 minutes. Buy a $3-5,000 Jura industrial, get the good beans, and supply the coffee room with soy, low fat, etc. 50 people making one trip a day is 20 hours of wasted time for the company, and $150 in coffee costs for the employees. Makes no sense.
  13. Stock the fridge with sodas—same drill as above.
  14. Allow folks to work off hours. Commuting sucks and is a waste of time for everyone. Let folks start at 6am or 11am and you’ll cut their commute in half (at least in LA).
  15. Go to each of your vendors every 6-9 months and ask for 10-30% off. If half of them say yes you’ll save 5-15% on fixed costs. People will give you a discount if they think they are going to lose the business.
  16. Don’t waste money on recruiters. Get inside of linkedin and Facebook and start looking for people–it works better anyway.
  17. Really think about if you need that $15,000 a month PR firm. Perhaps you can get a PR consultant to work on 2-3 projects a year for $10-15k each and save 75%. More PR firms are wasted half the year while you build up your product anyway.
    {I’m going to add a couple more of mine as I remember them }
  18. Outsource to middle America: There are tons of brilliant people living between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York who don’t live in a $4,000 one bedroom apartment and pay $8 to dry clean a shirt–hire them!
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"Who Owns What" – The New Digital Landscape UPDATED

Amy Webb has updated the fantastic “Who Owns What” list (07/02/2008). The list shows the acquisitions made by the “Big 5” Digital Media companies in the world.

In the six months since Amy first created the chart, there are a handful of notable updates:

  • AOL’s list has grown tremendously, while Google, News Corp and IAC have remained relatively unchanged.
  • AOL is heading strong into behavioural targeting and various ad network options.
  • Yahoo’s buy early and large strategy toned down considerably in Q3 and Q4 of 2007.
  • Google’s last acquisition was Postini early last fall.
    The current list can also be downloaded as a PDF here.

Battelle’s 2008 Predictions

John Batelle publishes his predictions for the year ahead. What’s so special about that I hear you ask?  John has a very good track record of predicting future web trends.

So what are the trends in 2008?

John predicts that web-based advertising businesses will in fact enjoy significant gains in 2008. These gains, however, will not be evenly distributed. The markets will reward innovation and growth in new forms of advertising, and punish those who are seen as not having a strategy. (Recall that Google took off as an advertising business in the doldrums of 2002-2003).

This means it will not be an easy market for major public debuts. But we will see at least one, if not two new IPOs (for more see below).

2008 will also be seen as the year that proves Conversational Marketing as a new form of advertising and by the end of the year, adding value to a customer’s life through marketing will be seen as a necessity as opposed to an experiment. This is the logical extension of the search marketing revolution to all forms of marketing, well beyond direct response and the fulfillment of declared intent.

2008 will be the year of integration indigestion for the majors, and as such, it will mean M&A will slow down for those companies. All those advertising-based acquisitions in 2006-7 will have to start to pay off, and the results will be uneven to say the least. For specifics, see below.

Another trend we’ll see is the continued erosion of the traditional mobile oligarchy. But despite the best efforts of Android, not much will get done this year. Don’t worry, though, by 2009, we’ll finally see a mobile web worthy of a serious development economy, one that looks a lot like Web 2 looked in 2005.

As for the Web 2.0 world, we’ll see a ton of venture funded companies go by the wayside. This is healthy and normal. It’s been a few years since the funding wallets opened, and it’s quite normal for companies that couldn’t get lift off by year two or three to close their doors. We’ll also see an uptick in acquisitions, as the boards of companies that that thought they were worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars decide to settle for decent returns. This will be particularly true for media and advertising related businesses, who will find home at large media companies that are traditionally not eager to pay significant premiums.

Now, given these trends, on to the major advertising- and search-driven Web companies:

2008 will be the year Wall Street gets frustrated with Google. The company has incredible numbers, and will continue to impress, but analysts, tired of bidding up the stock, will start to question the company’s myriad ocean-boiling projects – after all, it’s merely trying to reinvent Health, Energy, Telecom, IT (both consumer apps and OSes), and a few other major portions of the GDP. Look for a few querulous analyst reports and even a few downgrades by the end of the year, as Wall Street finally comes out of its honeymoon stage with Google and demands that the company consolidate its control in marketes where profits are secure: Search and Adsense. Look for complaints about profits and integration (or lack thereof) with regard to Doubleclick, and at least one major product flop that gets analyst tongues wagging. Google will continue to struggle with its display advertising business, at least as it is traditionally understood, in part due to a culture conflict between its engineering-based roots and the thousands of media-saavy sales and marketing folks the company has hired in the past two years.

Yahoo, meanwhile, will spend most of 2008 trying to figure out what to do with what it bought in 2007, and attempting to articulate a strategy that is anything but "we have 500 million users, so we must be important." By mid year, it will have succeeded, in part due to a clarification of its approach syndicated advertising (ie, how it will beat Google by delivering better than AdSense can to key partners). All the the big players in the advertising platform business – Yahoo, Google, AOL, Microsoft – are looking to monetize the magic middle of web traffic – high volume, but low CPM. Yahoo has access to a ton of this traffic, but in 2007 it couldn’t seem to figure out how to make it pay (more). Right Media, Blue Lithium, etc, are all plays to this (as are aQuantive and Doubleclick and Tacoda and Quigo and…) In 2008, Yahoo will figure out a promising start. This is critical, because Yahoo will finally admit to itself that in the battle between Microsoft and Google, it is an increasingly minority player, and will need to bulk up to compete. By year’s end, Yahoo will have combined in a major way with another third party, and it won’t be either of the two aforementioned companies.

In 2008, Microsoft will fail to gain much traction in anything that is Web related. This will frustrate Wall Street and Microsoft’s employees to the point of several key executive defections. Sound like last year? Yes, with one key difference. In 2008, Microsoft will finally figure out what do to with aQuantive, and by the end of the year, it will be clear what the company must do with it: Let it free. Yup, but this time, it will be as a public company that is majority owned by Microsoft, with fresh contracts to execute against MSN’s inventory, both owned and operated (O&O) and syndicated (Digg, Facebook, etc.). Yeah, I’m going out on a limb here, but what the hell.

Now, what about current media darling/punching bag Facebook? Ahhh, this is a tough one. First, the company will suffer from a serious identity crisis, as it realizes it must change its core DNA from tech- and founder-focused startup to media-focused Real Company with Lots of Employees. This is not a new story, Google went through it in 2003-2005. But not many companies make the transition without serious collateral damage. Second, the company will find itself stuck in the hell of pre IPO preparations, again, like Google in 2003-4. This will frustrate company leaders to the point of looking for a CEO whose job is, in essence, to talk to Wall Street. But until Facebook figures out a way to justify its lofty valuation, this hire will be stymied. In short, the most important short term focus for the company in 2008 will be solving for the Social Ads quandry. (By this I mean how to build the equivalent of a AdWords and AdSense for the "social graph.") Though it will take promising steps, the company will fail to get it just right, at least by the end of the year and all by itself, but it will still find itself profitable and on the path toward an 2009 IPO. By mid 2008, there will be very serious rumors about an acquisition battle over the company between Google and Microsoft. But Facebook will play the middle, and most likely cut a deal with a third party, which despite the strong relationship with Microsoft, could well be Yahoo or a smaller but growing company that looks a lot like Facebook. Also, look for Facebook to make a run at NetVibes.

And AOL? As with aQuantive, Platform A will go public, if the markets allow (see trends). The rest of AOL will be sold or folded into Time Warner in ways that, regrettably, will finally signal the end of the original Case-ian dream.

Finally, what to make of Newscorp/FIM? Major problems will become apparent by early in the year, and those problems have to do with structure: Who is really in charge of "Fox Interactive", and what does that mean? What about Dow Jones? There will be a battle for control over all of Newscorp’s interactive assets, one that will limit the company’s ability to execute any clear strategy. That said, MySpace will make a comeback of sorts, and look for it to cut a very important deal in 2008 with regard to its future. This could even be – yes I’ll say it – a spin out of the company as an independent public entity.

IM on the Enterprise 2.0 hot list

Hat tip to Read/WriteWeb

A new Forrester report states that Instant Messenging (IM) is by far the most valuable ‘web 2.0’ tool for enterprises.

The report was compiled based on feedback from 275 IT decision-makers. Other than IM, the report found that RSS and podcasting showed “the highest average business value”, while social networking and blogging showed the lowest. RSS is mostly being used in enterprises for corporate communications or content aggregation, while only one in three Forrester respondents uses RSS for external marketing purposes.

In terms of measuring the success of web 2.0 tools, Forrester states that most firms use traditional value measurement techniques like ROI and total cost of ownership (TCO). The most popular benefits cited by IT leaders are ‘soft’ benefits like business efficiency and competitive advantage. All of this indicates that Web 2.0 is still very difficult to measure.

I’m surprised on two counts regarding Forrester’s research. Firstly how significantly large firms are discarding blogging as providing ‘substantial value’. Secondly, the 21% figure on the value of podcasting.

Is audio, really mightier than the typed word?