Happy August to you all. Here are some quick announcements from PressBooks Worldwide Headquarters, including the following:
1. New front page
2. New webbook / readview designs
3. Pricing announced
4. Distribution (to Kindle, Nook, iBooks etc)
5. Import from WordPress
6. Improved CSS
7. Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto Part 3 – unofficial launch
Alistair for Hugh: Since Montreal’s in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures cresting at 41 Celsius (105 Fahrenheit for our friends to the South) I thought this would be a good fit for Hugh. It’s about air conditioners. I never gave them much thought, but according to Losing our cool, they’ve shaped us more than we know: encouraging people to reproduce in the summer months; swelling the ranks of voters in Southern states; contributing to a drop in immunity, and more.
Alistair for Mitch: For Mitch, who’s frequently called on to convince others, here’s a piece my extremely expectant wife found on teaching your children to argue. While that sounds like a horrible idea, critical thinking and rhetoric can help children reason and figure things out. As we trust crowdsourced data, upvoted stories, and word of mouth more and more, the ability to think discriminately and to distinguish good arguments from bad will become a vital life skill.
Hugh for Alistair: Talking to Alistair often leaves me with a sore brain. Another thing that gives me a sore brain is quantum physics, particularly quantum entanglement. Entanglement is a property of quantum systems that links two particles’ states, even if they are separated by vast distances. Or, to quote from today’s link: ‘Entanglement is the weird quantum process in which a single wavefunction describes two separate objects. When this happens, these objects effectively share the same existence, no matter how far apart they might be.’ Well that’s pretty weird. Even weirder would be if it turns out that quantum entanglement is what holds DNA together. Be sure to read the comment thread.
Hugh for Mitch:Jaron Lanier has written critically about Wikipedia entries replacing the more idiosyncratic pages by individual experts/hobbyists that used to crop up in web searches in the ‘old days’. At least Wikipedia is for the most part real text written by real people with the intention of helping readers get the information they want. But recently there’s been a new scourge, vapid pages of filler commissioned to match search queries to high-value adwords (see: Demand Media). So, I was shocked and awed and thrilled when I did a recent search for ‘pre-natal ultrasound history’ and found this page: ‘A short History of the development of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology’ written by Dr. Joseph S.K. Woo of Hong Kong. Says the homepage: ‘Rated among the top 5% of all Internet sites by Lycos in 1995’ (!) … A lovingly put-together treasure from the early, innocent days of the web. And still #1 ranked on Google for ‘prenatal ultrasound history.”
Mitch for Alistair: A fascinating Blog post by Vineet Nayar over on the Harvard Business Review Blog where he asks: ‘What then is the role of the new CEO? Is it to personally add the most value to the business? Or is it to enable those at the heart of this new value zone? If, as I believe, the latter is the case, we need to rethink our leadership styles and adopt one that is aligned better with current realities.” As businesses try to re-define themselves in a post-recession and New Media world, why aren’t we looking for a new definition of our top leaders as well?
Mitch for Hugh: Freedom of information is something we all need to be paying a lot more attention to. This is an excellent panel discussion (it’s a video) that looks at how online technology is allowing many stories to get told in real time. While many of us are quick to point to instances like the elections in Iran or the Haiti disaster, there are many, many other stories that are being told as well. None of this would be possible were it not for technology and Social media tools, channels and platforms. After watching this panel discussion, you may start thinking differently about Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as real tools of change and access to freedom.
Marketing isn’t convincing people to buy your stuff.
Marketing is making sure that the people who want your stuff will find it.
Social media is not a tool.
It’s a strategy.
If you are using social media for business or marketing you have to know:
a. who you want to connect with
b. why you want to connect with them …
…then you have to figure out what you can do to give them value.
Don’t blog to be known.
Blog to be knowable.
Figure out who the influencers are.
And who they are influenced by.
Interact with them.
Don’t be a social media douchebag.
Blogging effectively requires discipline.
When other people talk about you, Google hears them.
And Google smiles upon those who are talked about.
Spread the love.
Link out, retweet, show appreciation.
Social media works when you give value to others, so:
a. publish good content
b. show appreciation for others
c. point to great stuff on the web
d. interact with your readers
c. care about your readers
« Le numérique ne tuera pas l’édition traditionnelle, mais il va la changer », dit Hugh McGuire. Cet ancien ingénieur en mécanique âgé de 35 ans lançait en 2007 un autre collectif, Earideas, qui recense les balados (podcasts) de l’heure sur le Web. Et voilà qu’il vient de créer The Book Oven, un nouveau type de maison d’édition. « The Book Oven offrira une plateforme d’autoédition, qui permettra à un auteur de collaborer avec des rédacteurs, des réviseurs, des recherchistes, des photographes, des maquettistes », dit Hugh McGuire. [more…]
What was striking: the execs from the music business, including Michael Nash, Warner’s SVP Digital Strategy and Business Development, finally cottoned on that the real challenge of the music business is not to fight a lost battle against P2P, but rather to find ways to make it easier for listeners to listen to their music. Check this quote:
“These types of social media are highly competitive with illegal file-sharing,” said Michael Nash, Warner’s executive vice president of digital strategy and business development.
Sites such as Spotify allow users to access the music for free rather than searching for it on BitTorrent and downloading it illegally, Mulligan said. Spotify and the Comes With Music mobile-phone music service by Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest handset maker, “are the two strongest tools that people have to drive a genuine alternative to piracy,” he said. [more…]
That is, the music business has finally understood that suing listeners who want to listen to their music isn’t a very sensible long-term business strategy. The better strategy is to figure out how to provide more music to those people.
P2P isn’t going away, and the music business’ success will depend on doing a better job of serving their customers than Pirate Bay does.
John Chambers, CEO of CISCO on what the future holds, from MITWorld. He thinks we are about to see the most fundamental change in businesses and government that we’ve ever seen, moving from command and control to collaboration and teamwork.
With all the talk of newspapers shutting down, I wonder if we might flip the traditional interpretation:
Maybe the problem is not so much online news sources killing off business for print newspapers; maybe the problem is the continued existence of print newspapers is stifling innovation in the online news space.
Since so much (local) advertising dollars are still going (being wasted?) on dying print news outlets, there isn’t enough left over to properly fund a leaner, profitable online alternative.
If print newspapers are gone, then local advertisers are going to start wondering how to get people to come to their stores; radio/TV, OK, but if the eyeballs are online, and there are no more papers distracting the advertisers, then …well there is an untapped market there for the online news sites to figure out. And since online can do a better job (in theory) of matching ads/marketing to reader preference, thru cookies, browsing habits, tracking sales (Facebook Beacon notwithstanding), then the death of the traditional news business might be exactly what it takes to kick the online news business, and online content, to real innovation, and real profitability.