Monday, January 12, 2009

Final Post

Ok, so the effort of just keeping one blog going is proving to be a chore, so two is now out of the question.

Thank you Blogger for getting me started and on the road. I will be forever grateful. But I have moved on from your quaint UI and bubbly layout to smaller and lesser things.

(thank you to the unknown French person who decided to not renew the domain).

See you all over there. To subscribe to the new feed, click the link below.



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Friday, December 26, 2008

Measuring Satisfaction

This has been an annoying issue for me for a long time. Sort of like a piece of food caught between your teeth and no matter how hard you try, you can't pry the little bugger out.

What is exactly does it mean to be 'satisfied' and how do you know?

That's a rhetorical question - in as far as I can pose it, but I don't expect an answer. It's like asking how long is a piece of string to five people holding different strings. If they all got together they might come to a consensus on what long and short was, but individually, they have no idea.

I can see they survey question now.. "Thinking about what you know about string, on a five point scale where 5 is Very Long and 1 is Very Short, how would you rate the string you are holding?". You would get a bunch meaningless data.

Yet, this is the way many businesses measure satisfaction.

Or, you could ask The Ultimate Question - "Would you recommend this string to a friend?". Perfect solution if only everyone's definition of 'friend' and 'recommendation' were the same. In the digital age, someone with 400 FaceBook friends and 2,000 Twitter followers who throws links around like candy is doing something radically different to two neighbors chatting over a fence or two colleagues having a yarn at the water cooler.

What about "Does this string exceed your expectations?". Same problem. It all depends on where your expectations were to start with. I had a heated debate with a Phd about this a while back. He was vigorously arguing the 'expectations' PoV. I was trying to point out the data we were getting was not that useful. He convinced me we weren't using it properly. So we started using it properly. It was still useless (this taught me that you should never bother arguing against something someone has built a successful business selling - you can either believe it or not, just don't try to argue with them, you will lose).

You can go down the list of ways to measure satisfaction - satisfied or not; recommendations; exceeding expectations; likability; happiness; contentment - they all fall on the sword of context. People interpret them in different ways. And in aggregate, they don't mean much.

So we come back to square one. What does it mean to be 'satisfied' and how do you know?

I am going to try and craft an answer to this over the next few blog posts - of course, my answer might be as equally flawed, but I really feel the need to try and get this out of my teeth.

Remember, I have moved sites, is my new home!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Corporate blogging done right

So after my last post on the Forrester Research survey on Trust and Corporate Blogging, I got contacted by a Corporate Blogger!

I mentioned Joel Spolsky's blog Joel on Software in the post and got an email from Dan of Fog Creek Software - Joel's Company. He said thanks for mentioning Joel's blog in such a nice way, and offered me a free copy of Joel's book - "Smart and Get Things Done".

So not only is the Joel on Software blog one of the best corporate blogs around, it is also actively listening to and following up with the blogging community. A nice touch. And a good example of corporate blogging done right.

To top it all off, Joel actually signed the book on the inside cover:

"To Paul,
Be smart!
Get things done!
Eat Fruit!"

I am way ahead of you on that third one!

And to all those Marketers out there that might scratch their head and wonder how a CEO of a software development company can add anything to the Marketing world, Seth Godin called the guy a "genius". I don't think Seth throws that term around a lot.

So Joel's book is squarely on the top of my reading list. From a brief mention in a blog post, to a follow -up email, to a free book, to a review of the book I will post down the track. That's how it all works.

That's how you build trust.

Remember, I have moved sites, is my new home!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trust and Corporate Blogging

There has been a bit of a flutter lately about the whole issue of Corporate Blogging.  A recent post from Forrester Research on their Groundswell blog highlighted some data that showed only 16% of people trust Corporate Blogs.

"Company Blog" is way down the bottom there.

I am only going to make two comments about this.

Firstly, I think it's right. Not that all Corporate Blogs are disingenuous, consumers simply have no way to sort out truth from fiction. We find it hard to trust things that have no transparency mechanism built in. We trust online reviews because of the power of consensus - not because we trust an anonymous individual's single experience. We trust email from people we know because they probably have a track record with us. Just like we trust individual bloggers we know are experts in a field.

We don't trust social networking profiles because just how sure are you that that cute girl who is a friend of your best friend's best man really does LOOK that cute in her picture? We all try to add a little pizzaz to our profiles, right?

My point being that it is very tough for a corporate blog to reach a high level of trust with no transparency mechanism. With no way for readers to easily sort fact from 'fact' (the corp comm. version of 'fact').

I think the only way for a blog to do this is to be genuine. One of the best corporate blogs I read is from Joel Spolsky - the CEO of Fog Creek Software. He writes in a genuine way that invites trust. He also writes more about 'how' his company does things rather than 'what' they do. About human things rather than corporate things.

The second point (ok, so maybe it's the third) is that this is an awful survey question. Context matters in surveys. If you include items such as 'personal email' along with items such as 'company blog' on a scale of trust, you are dooming the company blog in the results. Why don't we just add 'the person who bought you into the world and taught you all you know - usually your, Mother' to the list? Then we would really see 'company blog' sucking the pavement!

We have spheres of trust that don't overlap. How I think about a company blog in the world of communications from brands is vastly different to how I think about and use personal email.

There is no way you can interpret this result as only 16% of people trust Corporate Blogs. There is actually no valid interpretation of what that 16% represents given the vastly different items in that list. But alas, I can feel it making its way around the web as I write...

Remember, I have moved sites!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back Blogging!

I know, it’s been a while, but I have finally sorted out my new blog site.  It’s  

Yes, it’s bland.  I deliberately chose the blandest theme I could.  I am thinking of it as a blank slate at the moment - one I can edit and update as I go.  

I am going to be joint posting here and on the new site for a while.  Just to give everyone some time to change over RSS feeds, links etc.  Please do.  I would hate to lose any of my cherished readers!  

It has been a hectic couple of months.  Very busy on the work front; scrambling to find long-term accommodation in San Francisco; and wife frantically looking for a new job after the move from out East.  Happily, we now have accommodation and the wife is gainfully employed.  A heavy weight off our shoulders - especially in this economy.

So with everything calming down and me finally getting a more permanent office space, I will be back blogging!  

To be honest, it has been a good break.   For a while there I was struggling to come up with things to write about.  I ended up feeling compelled to update for update’s sake.  Which is not the best way to write a blog.

I’m feeling a lot more energized now.

Hope everyone is well.  

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

New RSS feed for Google Reader here.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

New city, new blog...

Well, we arrived in San Francisco after 3000 miles of driving, site seeing, eating, more driving, picture taking, more site seeing and yes, more eating.

It was a great trip.  I would recommend anyone who wants to see the US do at least some sort of tour of the interior.

With a new city comes a new blog site.  I have been meaning to move this over to WordPress for a while and I have almost, not quite but almost, finished the site.  It has a lot more information about me, my business and some of the work I do for various clients of mine.  

As soon as the new WordPress site is up and running, I will be imploring all of you to move over there - bookmarks, RSS, etc.  I will be updating both sites for a while until everyone has made the jump.  I wouldn't want to lose any of you!

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Greeting from North Platte, Nebraska

So we have made it to half-way on our trek across country.  We're currently in North Platte - a smallish town in the center of Nebraska.  

Unbeknownst to me, North Platte is home to the largest railway sorting yard in the world - the Bailey Yard.  I never even knew trains needed sorting, go figure.

It really is an impressive site though.  Thousands of trains come and go every day and all sorts of goods pass through the yard.  The picture above was taken from a tower created specifically for viewing the yard.  It's 8 miles long so you kind of need a vantage point to take it all in.

It has been a surprisingly easy trip so far.  We've had some great weather though - so knock on wood that continues.

I might get one more update in before we hit San Francisco.  Then the travel posts will stop - I promise :).

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