“Feeling The Love” from Windows Live

Wow. I wasn’t expecting http://home.live.com turning into a social network!

As ever, Joe Wilcox, provides some great commentary.

Somehow, Microsoft has pulled together disparate services so that they feel more like a closed network like Facebook. The social benefits are there, and many Facebook similarities, without much of the baggage.


Live.com becoming a Web 2.0 Citizen

Now about Windows Live as the good Web 2.0 citizen: Remarkable, shocking. Beat me with a stick so I wake up from the dream. No surprise, for Windows Live client software, the choices are Windows and Windows. But on the Web, the services break away from their Windows chains. I found the Windows Live experience on a Mac running Safari to be about equal to Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 on a Vista PC. Get this: I used the service from my iPhone, too (Some features didn’t work, though). Windows Live Spaces still has vestiges of Windows legacy, but there’s a freshness everywhere else. Even home page customization features, which I was sure would be Mac incompatible, worked just fine. Please, wake up me up!

The best part of Live’s Web 2.0 citizenship: What Microsoft calls "Web Activities," which really is broad feed support. Pick a service. Twitter? WordPress? They’re there. Microsoft claims feeds from over 50 companies. I didn’t see that many. The larger list includes: Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora and Photobucket. Tempering my excitement, I noticed that in the private beta Microsoft exposed many more Live services than those from third parties.


But Microsoft has observed—and its my observation, too—that "people use more than one social networking service to connect" to friends and family, Chris said. "We looked at that as a real opportunity for us to bring something [different] to market. We’re really not believers in the walled garden approach."

Microsoft hopes that the new features will expose people to its services. "Our starting point are people who use one of the services already," Chris told me on Monday. Microsoft is betting that as existing users use the services, they will expose features to friends or family. For example, Microsoft has enhanced e-mail capabilities around photo sharing. Every time someone sends out a photo, it publicises the tools, he said, "They’ll ask, ‘How did you do that?’"

My early reaction is surprisingly positive, and I can’t say that the two earlier Live waves impressed me. Microsoft had the right concepts, but marginally executed on them. Wave 3 feels different and may follow the old axiom that Microsoft gets things right on the third version. The private beta was very fast—surprisingly so. Response was quicker than running desktop applications in Windows. That said, public Windows Live Wave 3 release will be the test. Can Microsoft data centers handle the load?

Download the full Live 3 Reviewers guide from here

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One in a hundred


I’m deeply humbled and honoured to have made into the UK’s Top Marketing 100 Blogs.

This blog was originally designed as a place to store my Web 2.0 research for my MBA dissertation last year. However, due to the support of fellow MBA cohorts, and loyal readers I decided to keep the blog going. Indeed, through the “magic of the web”, I’ve met some amazing people and shared in a great many conversations.

I’m deeply passionate at how ‘disruptive technologies’ are changing the world. This blog allows me a way to express that passion.

I hope The Web Pitch continues to inform, educate and inspire you.

To all my readers, supporters and critics

Milk, Bread, Cheese and a Netbook please?

2008 will be remembered for many things. Obama, the credit crunch, the rise of cloud computing. However, looking at 2008 through a technology lens. One trend stands out more than anything else – The rise of the netbook.

Ever since the buzz that surrounded Asus Eee PC, earlier this year, computer manufacturers have flooded the market with netbooks based around the Intel Atom processor. Demand for these little machines has been phenomenal. So much so, it is remarkable to see the major supermarkets now selling netbooks on their shelves. Also, industry insiders such as Steve, predict that this Christmas the most wanted gadget may very well be the humble netbook.

But why?

Most people today already own a desktop, a laptop computer or both. So, why the need/demand for a very small computer with conservative hardware requirements Netbooks, have created a niche market to themselves for a number of key reasons which include:

  • They are cheap. Ranging from £170 – £300. Netbooks bring the cost of computing down to affordable levels for all
  • They are extremely portable.  Netbooks can almost be taken anywhere. With Solid State Disks (SSD Flash memory), battery consumption can reach between 4-6 hours.
  • 90% of average computer usage is within the browser.  The vast majority of people use their computers mostly for web based email, casual web surfing, online shopping or producing the odd document. Essentially, you do not need a computer with a big performance to carry out routine daily tasks

Netbooks make near perfect machines for “gifted amateurs”. Great for bloggers, podcasters and with many models featuring built in webcams, you can make Skype video calls too.

Netbooks, in my opinion have brought about a small revolution in computing trends in recent times. If you are in the market to buy another computer. I would highly recommend in looking at purchasing a netbook for you, or for your business.

Quotes #1


A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.

Why change the world when we can change ourselves?
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

                                                                                            Mahatma Gandhi

Connect With Me


I received an interesting email from LinkedIn last week.

Today we’re announcing many more ways to interact with your network on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a new way to create projects and collaborate, share information, customize your profile, or gain key insights, the new LinkedIn Applications deliver.

LinkedIn is partnering with a number of partners, to help boost the profiles of its members. See the list below to see how you can inject new life into your profile.

I’ve been a member of Linked In for some time, though found the site a little dated. The new “Applications”, are a welcome addition to help promote your profile and thus, your personal brand.

LinkedIn’s new Applications feature will allow you to:

1. Work collaboratively with your network.

  • Box on LinkedIn: Share files and collaborate with your network.
  • Huddle on LinkedIn: Private workspaces to collaborate with your network on projects.

2. Share information and keep up to date with your network.

  • Amazon on LinkedIn: Discover what your network is reading.
  • TripIt on LinkedIn: See where your network is traveling.
  • SixApart on LinkedIn: Stay up to date with your network’s latest blog posts.

3. Present yourself and your work in new ways.

  • Google Docs on LinkedIn: Embed a presentation on your profile.
  • SlideShare on LinkedIn: Share, view and comment on presentations from your network.
  • WordPress on LinkedIn: Promote your blog and latest posts.

4. Gain key insights that will make you more effective.

Company Buzz by LinkedIn: See what people are saying about your company

On the subject of personal brand. I also wanted to highlight Guy Kawasaki’s excellent post on boosting your profile and hence personal brand on LinkedIn

Most people use LinkedIn to “get to someone” in order to make a sale, form a partnership, or get a job. It works well for this because it is an online network of more than 8.5 million experienced professionals from around the world representing 130 industries. However, it is a tool that is under-utilised, so I’ve compiled a top-ten list of ways to increase the value of LinkedIn.

  1. Increase your visibility.

    By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results (which is a major plus if you’re one of the 52,000 product managers on LinkedIn), people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust.

  2. Improve your connectability.

    Most new users put only their current company in their profile. By doing so, they severely limit their ability to connect with people. You should fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio, so include past companies, education, affiliations, and activities.

    You can also include a link to your profile as part of an email signature. The added benefit is that the link enables people to see all your credentials, which would be awkward if not downright strange, as an attachment.

  3. Improve your Google PageRank.

    LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.

    To do this, create a public profile and select “Full View.” Also, instead of using the default URL, customise your public profile’s URL to be your actual name. To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, use this link in various places on the web> For example, when you comment in a blog, include a link to your profile in your signature.

  4. Enhance your search engine results.

    In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicise websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like “My Website,” “My Company,” etc.

    If you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link. If you’re linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and voila! instant search-engine optimisation for your site. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to “Full View.”

  5. Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks.

    LinkedIn’s reference check tool to input a company name and the years the person worked at the company to search for references. Your search will find the people who worked at the company during the same time period. Since references provided by a candidate will generally be glowing, this is a good way to get more balanced data.

    Companies will typically check your references before hiring you, but have you ever thought of checking your prospective manager’s references? Most interviewees don’t have the audacity to ask a potential boss for references, but with LinkedIn you have a way to scope her out.

    You can also check up on the company itself by finding the person who used to have the job that you’re interviewing for. Do this by searching for job title and company, but be sure to uncheck “Current titles only.” By contacting people who used to hold the position, you can get the inside scoop on the job, manager and growth potential.

    By the way, if using LinkedIn in these ways becomes a common practice, we’re apt to see more truthful resumes. There’s nothing more amusing than to find out that the candidate who claims to have caused some huge success was a total idiot who was just along for the ride.

  6. Increase the relevancy of your job search.

    Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find people with educational and work experience like yours to see where they work. For example, a programmer would use search keywords such as “Ruby on Rails,” “C++,” “Python,” “Java,” and “evangelist” to find out where other programmers with these skills work.

  7. Make your interview go smoother.

    You can use LinkedIn to find the people that you’re meeting. Knowing that you went to the same school, plays hockey, or shares acquaintances is a lot better than an awkward silence after, “I’m doing fine, thank you.”

  8. Gauge the health of a company.

    Perform an advanced search for company name and uncheck the “Current Companies Only” box. This will enable you to scrutinise the rate of turnover and whether key people are abandoning ship. Former employees usually give more candid opinions about a company’s prospects than someone who’s still on board.

  9. Gauge the health of an industry.

    If you’re thinking of investing or working in a sector, use LinkedIn to find people who worked for competitors—or even better, companies who failed. For example, suppose you wanted to build a next generation online pet store, you’d probably learn a lot from speaking with former Pets.com or WebVan employees.

  10. Track startups.

    You can see people in your network who are initiating new startups by doing an advanced search for a range of keywords such as “stealth” or “new startup.” Apply the “Sort By” filter to “Degrees away from you” in order to see the people closest to you first.

  11. Ask for advice.

    LinkedIn’s newest product, LinkedIn Answers, aims to enable this online. The product allows you to broadcast your business-related questions to both your network and the greater LinkedIn network. The premise is that you will get more high-value responses from the people in your network than more open forums.

Digital Projection Genius


Wow. I first heard of this tiny projector from a post on Engadget some months ago. The video above, (though in Spanish) shows how amazing this tiny projector is. The Optoma Pico Pocket Projector is the UK’s smallest and lightest projector of its type, and the first to use DLP technology to guarantee remarkable image quality. The Optoma Pico connects to a variety of media devices for projection of presentations, or digital media such as videos or pictures.

Small and light at just 115g, the battery-operated projector is primed for instant plug and play viewing on the move. The tiny machine will connect to a variety of personal media players, mobile phones, iPods, PDAs and cameras. With a very reasonable battery life of two hours, this should be more than enough to cover a meeting, or the projection of a movie



The Optoma Pico Pocket Projector will be available from selected UK retailers and online stores from November 2008, priced at £249. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on this device and take it for a road test. A definite item to add to Santa’s stocking this Christmas.

For more information, visit: www.optomapico.co.uk .

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The Network of Hope


With just under 24 hours to go till the American Presidential Campaign, I thought it apt to review how Barack Obama’s campaign has been using social media technologies to raise funds and to engage with younger voters.

Obama has taken grassroots campaigning into the digital age by embracing Web 2.0 and using it as a central platform of his presidential campaign. From YouTube to social networking, Obama has navigated Web 2.0 and turned it into a major force within his campaign.

Obama and Social Media

The first rule of social media marketing is to put yourself “out there”. This can be achieved by becoming an active blogger, establishing a presence on the major social networks, and embracing new forms of communication. Obama has done just that. From social networking to his blog to his Fight the Smears campaign, Obama has made his Web 2.0 presence known. Obama is using a number of tools including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter

At the time of writing, Jeremiah Owyang compares Obama’s social media presence with that of John McCain. The statistics make interesting reading.

Obama: 2,379,102 supporters
McCain: 620,359 supporters

Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain

Obama: Friends: 833,161
McCain: Friends: 217,811

Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain

Obama: 1792 videos uploaded since Nov 2006, Subscribers: 114,559 (uploads about 4 a day), Channel Views: 18,413,110
McCain: 329 videos uploaded since Feb 2007 (uploads about 2 a day), Subscribers: 28,419, Channel Views: 2,032,993

Obama has 403% more subscribers than McCain
Obama has 905% more viewers than McCain

Obama: @barackobama has 112,474 followers
McCain: @JohnMcCain (is it real?) 4,603 followers

Obama has 240 times more followers in Twitter than McCain

This personal activity in social networks allows Obama to quickly get the word out across multiple platforms.

It’s clear that Obama is dominating the social media activity, this could because of two reasons: 1) Obama campaign moved quicker to social networking and social media, McCain only recently launched his own social network with KickApps. 2) The Social Technographics (behaviours to adopt social media) skew heavier towards demographics, yet these percentages are far greater than the margins shown in technographics.

Obama and YouTube

Barack Obama has done an amazing job of making sure his speeches sound as good on YouTube as they do on the evening news. Obama’s campaign has also gambled on YouTube’s audience by creating a strong presence on the website. Historically, younger voters have been high on enthusiasm but low on voter turnout. But Obama has been able to utilise the power of social media to challenge that trend.

The popularity of YouTube gives a global audience access to the entire speech, not just a brief segment chosen by the news editors. This allows the full power of the entire speech to resonate with the audience.

Obama and Social Networking

Obama’s social networking success can be attributed to Chris Hughes. Hughes, was one of the founders of Facebook and with Mark Zuckerberg. Hughes has the knowledge and the experience of building social networks and may prove to be a major factor in Obama’s Presidential success.

Obama is not the first to politician to use social networking. Presidential contender, Howard Dean used Meetup.com to become a serious contender for his party’s nomination in 2004. However, Obama also decided to build his own social network. which was simple to use, rally supporters and proved vital in fundraising. The jewel in the crown is My.BarackObama.Com

As a fully fledged social network, My.BarackObama allows users to create their own profiles, friend lists and the ability to write their own personal blog. They can also join groups, participate in fund raising, and arrange events all from an interface that is both easy to use and familiar to any Facebook or MySpace user.

FightTheSmears.com is Obama’s initiative to address the many rumours that circulate the internet about him.

Here’s an example:


If Obama continued to let these rumours spread and grow, they would become facts in the eyes of the voting public. By hosting the conversation, the campaign can respond to rumours on individual blogs and forums.

 Obama and the iPhone


Obama’s campaign also released a free application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The application allows the user to organise contacts by key battleground states, and measures statistics to see how the user is doing compared to other leading callers.

The application provides information about the campaign via text messages and e-mail, offers coverage of national and local campaign news. The application also helps the user to find local events, share information by e-mail, view campaign videos and pictures.


Win or lose, there is absolutely no doubt that Barack Obama has changed the face of politics in America today. Now it’s up to the voters to decide if he will win the election.

Obama on the Web


12 Viral Videos from the 2008 Campaign


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