aStore / Amazon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Learning & Practicing: Before The Gold

The popular trend and technique books, and popular publications (even blogs) seem to focus on big picture topics. Can you really learn a skill and practice it from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers? You not only can, but in some cases you must. Maybe a few of us who think that all financial learning is done in New York or London, and technology work in Sunnyvale or Palo Alto can get to these global centers to learn a new skill (or profession). Yet most of us still need to learn and practice new skills in other places. Then demonstrate them to others to get a job, or simply do them to sell our services. We may even learn enough to build a product (not just a web site) and sell that. That to some would be the ultimate of learning and practicing. This brings up a point: how do you learn new skills from non-self-help books? This is not a new problem. A classic example is how Warren Buffett learned from "The Intelligent Investor" - which was not really written to teach professional investors like Buffett. Well, it can be done and actually this could be the key to success in many new skills and professions today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Do Internet Skills Matter? After The Gold Rush

How crucial are skills to the internet professional? WOW, hold on! What are we talking about? Is there such a thing and an internet professional ? ? ? This question kind of sneaks up on people. Since the internet profession has evolved and grown so quickly, it seems like experience or "showing up for work" at a successful company is enough to qualify as a professional. That's the nature of fast growing professions. Even in the software industry, where professional skills pioneer like Steve McConnell have been preaching for over a decade, professional qualification, certification and skill assessment is not an industry standard practice. Yet, for the customers, especially the ones starting out with new internet projects (without experience) the qualification and skill level of their employees is crucial. In general, the world of software development and content management, are mysterious and vague. This state of affair has not changed in a long time. As far back as 1974 Brooks' The Mythical Man-Monthdescribed in details the follies IBM in his biggest project to date, the IBM System/360, and how difficult estimation, development, testing and maintenance of large software projects. Much has changed since the early days of software development, yet we are still in an era where it is difficult to manage and therefore describe to outsiders the work of technologists in software. This is even more true today with different aspects of content and application use on the internet.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Is WEB2.0 Dead?

Tim O'Reilly's WEB 2.0 meme map

Tim O'Reilly, the technical book publisher (see O'Reilly), introduced the term WEB2.0 (Web two point oh). O'Reilly, a sensitive trend observer, was a veteran technology writer and publisher. With his wide range of contacts and constant contact, O'Reilly was told time and time again about the shift in how the internet (at the time web, short for World Wide Web, WWW) was being used. The technical people were becoming less crucial and the users were starting to take over. What he saw as a pattern was the sites with "user contributed content". The kind of content not created by the site designers, but by the people using the site.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Are 7 Thousand Clicks Enough To Sell?

Marketers for over a century developed creative techniques to lure sales  from potential buyers. LL Bean catalog is a great example of sophisticated sales techniques. 

The blog is slowly taking shape. I started out with the introduction of 7 Thousand Clicks. Then I added a few book posts just to get going and grease the skids. The new blogger design seems like a simplification and upgrade to the one from two years ago. That's good news for me. Now for the subject at hand. If you were given 7 Thousand clicks, would you be able to sell product? tell a story? or influence someone to "vote" or "contribute" to your cause? The question came up recently with an old client. He was frustrated with insufficient sales from his blog I wrote. He was also frustrated that the early burst in activity a few months ago, which fizzled out recently. Today's blogs, social media sites, traditional sites and newsletters are expected to replace advertising. If not bringing in ready buyers with money in their hands, at least starting the buying process (funnel). Yet a buying process, even for a simple IT service needs more then just interesting blog articles and a list of features.