Pump up the Volume

As has been widely reported in the press last week. Bill Gates has formerly stepped down from his official duties at Microsoft to concentrate on humanitarian efforts. I salute his efforts and raise my glass in admiration.

Bill Gates, though lacking the charisma of other pioneers such as Steve Jobs has always inspired me. Bill’s passion and dedication to software, (as can be felt in the video above) is amazing. From small and humble beginnings, he created an amazing company. But what now for the company, as its former Chief Software Architect looks to save the world?

Steve asks, “Whether bloggers can fill the void after Gates?”.  This is a great question.  Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many Microsofties both in the UK and at various European conferences. Predominantly, most of them blog and you can feel their passion about their chosen field.  However, can all these individual bloggers replace the voice of Gates?

Steve, is a great blogger and engaging presenter. But I ask myself, where are the other ‘hidden gems’ at Microsoft and particularly in the UK? I have so far attended two Web technology focused events recently. Both of which Microsoft had sponsored. I saw some great demos, but where are the passionate people at Reading hiding?  I want to see, hear and engage with you. Believe me, I’m not the only one.

Microsoft may have lost a key asset as in Gates. But, as the world becomes ever smaller and our connections and relationships become more important. I hope that the company increases its efforts with the on going dialogue with its customers and especially, its consumer communities.

The big voice may have gone. But I think now might be the time, to “Pump up the Volume” on many of the other quality voices within the company.

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Community Starts At One

I’ve been following Gary Vaynerchuk’s blog for some time. Gary’s enthusiasm for Social Media and meeting new people is amazing.

Gary’s business is wine and he has successfully added elements of Web 2.0 to spread the message of his Winelibrary.tv blog.

In the video above, Gary asks (25 seconds in),  When do you know when you have a community?

This is an interesting question. Many people who are embracing social media today are obsessed with raw numbers, in others words:

Who is following me on  Facebook?          How many Twitter followers do I have?        How many people are subscribed to my RSS feed?    

My concern here is that in the rush to build a community of people around your brand. The content of your message could be lost. In other words, don’t lose sight of your message, the numbers following you will take care of themselves. Concentrate on engaging your audience and NEVER take them for granted.

In answer to Gary’s question, you have a community when ONE person listens to you. Gary’s top tips include:

  1. Embrace your community BIG or SMALL
  2. Stop worrying about stats and numbers
  3. Stop taking for granted that you already have a community, it starts at 1!
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Carsonified’s Fuel Conference

A wee bit late, but then I have no broadband access at home at the moment,  eek.

Fuel, is a new brand of conference from the Carsonified team. The conference is aimed at entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn about and use social media tools. The speakers were varied and represented a good spectrum of start-ups, corporate business and those heavily involved within the social media space.

Highlight presentations for me were from:

  1. Alex Hunter, head of Virgin’s online properties. Alex discussed how Virgin America launched an airline, embraced the power of social media tools and a community.  A great case study on how Virgin launched a company WITHOUT the help of Branson.
  2. Tara “Miss Rogue” Hunt – Discussing her forthcoming book, “The Whuffie Factor” (See slides below)
  3. Ted Hunt from Innocent Drinks discussing how Innocent capitalised on their “inner voice” and used Social Media to build their online brand.  Innocent manage to brilliantly inject personality into their brand.

Overall, a great conference with some brilliant demos of Microsoft DeepZoom and Photosynth

Power quotes:

“…we are serious about being honest with you. Be real, talk about the good the bad and the ugly”

“Communication out, is over…. Communicate is in…"

"If you afraid of being personal, you are dead!"

Ryan Carson – Carsonified 

“Learn to harness the Ripple effect of social media

Alex Hunter – Virgin

I will post further links to presentations and conference audio as soon as they are available

The Power of Tweeting

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It’s no secret but I love Twitter. It has become my number two source of information, (number one being Google Reader) of conversations occurring within the blogosphere.

I regularly receive comments from friends, (some of which blog) who just don’t understand Twitter. It can be hard to explain the benefits to someone who has never used it. So, I’m often looking for examples to help explain how useful the tool could prove. Last night, a great example presented itself.

I read a blog post from Steve recommending Rohit Bhargava’s new book, "Personality not included”. I ordered the book on Amazon and it arrived yesterday. As you can read from my Twitter tweets above. I mentioned I was going to read the book. I was more than a little surprised that Rohit had not only seen my tweet about his book. But he also sent me a message!

Wow. An immediate ad hoc engagement! I wasn’t expecting the author to reach out to me in this compelling way.  I am now following Rohit on Twitter and likewise he is following me. As I gain and post insights from the book on Twitter. It will be interesting to see not only Rohit’s reactions, but also from fellow Twitter users. 

I’m guessing that Rohit is either using Tweetscan or Summize to search for terms relating to him or his book. I love the fact that he is taking the time to engage with people on a personal level.

The Virgin Eye

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Take a look at the Virgin Eye, as mentioned by Alex Hunter at Fuel. The Virgin Eye scans the Internet looking for news, pictures and stories from the Virgin Empire. 

The Virgin Group are taking Social Media technologies VERY seriously.

Very cool.

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Fuelled Up?

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Tomorrow, I will be attending Carsonified’s Fuel conference at RIBA. Expect lots of Twitter updates  (Follow Me).  Post conference reactions and write up will follow here soon!

I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Tara Hunt’s and Ted Hunt’s (no relation, I think?) talks.

Conference Schedule

Speakers

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How are you feeling on Twitter?

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I came across Twistori tonight. The site is a "first person" visualization of Twitter messages, inspired by We Feel Fine. Twitter messages are filtered by occurrences of the phrases "I love", "I hate", "I think", "I believe", "I feel" & "I wish", which are placed in a visual scrolling message ticker, similar to Digg Labs BigSpy.

The site is a great aggregator for human emotions on Twitter.

Very Cool.

Also check out  http://wwdc.twistori.com for WWDC tweet coverage.

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Web 2.0 Heroes – A book review

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The inside jacket of the book states:

“Web 2.0 is not about mass marketing. It’s about actually understanding the masses. And it’s not about controlling the message. It’s about engaging the audience and actually hearing what they have to say. It’s about enabling creativity, realizing a culture of contribution, and putting the user in control”.

Web 2.0 Heroes by Bradley Jones presents a series of edited interviews from a number of leading figures from within the Web 2.0 sphere (See below).  In most cases the interviewee is a person closely related to the company’s web strategy. The book builds on the Web 2.0 theme and asks. “What’s is coming next?”. A few of the interviewees discuss their thoughts on the Semantic Web and reflect on developing areas such as  Software plus Services (S+S).

Overall, the book presents a good perspective and is just over 250 pages.  I did enjoy the large number of quotes which are highlighted throughout the book. However, I would have liked to have seen some insights from the author, adding to the commentary of the interviewees. Bradley’s voice is somewhat missing! Nevertheless, an interesting read for anyone with an interest in the Web 2.0 sphere.

The Web 2.0 heroes include:

· Max Mancini – eBay

· Alan Meckler – Internet.com

· Eric Engleman – Bloglines

· Gina Bianchini – Ning

· Dorion Carroll – Technorati

· Raju Vegesna – Zoho

· Richard MacManus – Read/Write Web & Web 2.0 WorkGroup

· TJ Kang – ThinkFree

· Patrick Crane – LinkedIn

· Shaun Walker – DotNetNuke

· Biz Stone – Twitter

· Seth Steinberg – Meebo

· Joshua Schachter – Del.icio.us

· Ranjith Kumaran – YouSendIt

· Garrett Camp – StumbleUpon

· Rodrigo Madanes – Skype

· Rod Smith – IBM Corporation

· Tim Harris – Microsoft Corporation

· Bob Brewin & Tim Bray – Sun Microsystems

· Michele Turner – Adobe Corporation

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WWDC 2008 in 60 Seconds

 

A great video from Mahalo Daily, condensing this year’s WWDC 2008 keynote.  Personally, I’m quite interested in Mobile Me, which Apple promotes as “Exchange for the rest of us”. A nice idea but how will it work in practice?

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Future of Web Apps 2008

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Details of FOWA 2008 have just been released and this year’s event looks bigger than ever.  Ryan and the the rest of the team at Carsonified have put on some of the most enjoyable conferences I have ever attended. A good mix of people, speakers and workshops.

This year’s schedule is here and the Speaker List is very good. A few of the confirmed speakers include:

Kevin Rose – Digg

Erick Schonfeld – Techcrunch

Kathy Sierra – JavaRanch

Bronwyn Jones – Apple

Kevin Marks – Google

Stefan Fountain – Soocial

Blaine Cook – Formerly Chief Engineer at Twitter

Matt Biddulph – Dopplr

and many more!

I’m booking my ticket for 2008 soon, are you?

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