Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Are you the next Nike?

How do you build a brand around your name, your ideas and opinions? The power of social networking, blogging and micro blogging has provided a platform that makes reaching out to millions of people easy. However there is a catch to this method and as the saying goes “you only get out what you put in”. As spoken previously in my blog about leveraging the long tale the internet has provided a platform for true exposure for any niche if marketed correctly. So what are some of the techniques that are being used to get your name out on the internet.

  • Seamless integration of social networks, and build your name on various social networking services

  • With there being hundreds of different services available at ones disposal, generally the well established and popular services are the best to invest time into. Currently Facebook and twitter have the strangle hold of users and are excellent ways to leverage your digital identity. I’ve found that mashable.com posted two excellent posts on how to uses facebook and twitter to build your brand.

  • Establish relationships with others in your niche, adn Market your Product

  • There is your audience, and the power of recommendation from peers in your niche can only be an advantage.

  • Active Blog, and Own your Content

  • With most of the attention today being drawn to appeal of micro blogging, the blog is still a very important selling point in your overall identity. As it is an extension of your ideas and opinions and acts as a portfolio/resume. With increased activity and community around your blog builds foundation of strong search engine results.

  • Monitor Personal Branding

  • Simply Google the blog/company/name whatever your are marketing as your product, as it gives an idea of where you site against the rest
  • Market your blog through various other aggregation services, like technorati, Yahoo! updates and blog lines.
  • Monitor followers and comments on social networking services like twitter and facebook, look at followers statistics after updates via blog
  • Unfortunately there is no set way of marketing one self online, however taking advantage of the trends online (go where the people are) and provide a reason why people want to listen to you, your blog and only increase in traffic.

    ~Matt

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Cloud Computing = Normal regular network + hype???

Currently it seems we are in this form of transformation phase and a battle between software as a service and locally run applications. As the much quoted cloud computing terminology being associated and marketed as the next big internet revolution. Google has built their business based on offering services online either through Google Docs or Gmail. Where Microsoft is acknowledging the importance to be in this field and releasing their own revision of office 2010 in a from where it is marketed as a service available online.

This can be seen by Larry Ellison, the CEO and founder of Oracle during the TechPulse360 conference. Where Larry points out very strongly that what really is meant by the term cloud computing, a re-invention of the word networking.

Some key points of what Larry feels about cloud computing

  1. Cloud computing has been the past and present of computing not only seen to be the future.
  2. The cloud is still a computer network
  3. As long as there is an internet there will be hardware and local based software, because what runs these services online.
  4. Software as a service is not new, his example Netsuite

However in all this i think the industry has got caught up in the idea that cloud computing is a new technology. Where the focus has been drawn towards the marketability of offering these services online. Where the real story is not that cloud computing as a platform is new, but through technologies like ajax, RSS, XML, KML and API’s have been used to expand the capabilities of what the internet cloud computing is truly capable of. Perhaps what is shifting is the approach that consumers are no longer required to have powerful machines, but access to high speed broadband internet, and the massive explosion of netbooks and smartphones in the market can be a sign of things to come.

~Matt

Final Foundation of web 2.0 – Pattern Eight: Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability “Ebay”

This final pattern is all about implementing a model that is able to adapt to a cost effective process that is able to deliver a cheaper product with less than required resources. While with the free flowing nature that web 2.0 development provides, there is greater chance of improved ROI and ability to scale with the demands caused by network effects.

Ebay.com is one of the pioneers of the internet age. From its humble beginnings as a server in a living room in 1995, that could handle a max number of 50,000 active items. To its now global empire in auction sites, that sees eBay having local versions of the site in 33 different countries. What has made this possible is the way in which eBay has been able to cope with the evolving demand of its user, as well as meeting is business strategy goals. Ebay is working off a horizontal scaling technique, as opposed to adding more power to single machines they are spreading out for parallel computing to serve the data. At present they have 16,000 application servers into 220 different pools. Having pools allows them to break up each pool and access the resources and requirements individually2. This practice is the same for the databases
This practice is the same for the eBay databases, with 1000 logical databases, on 400 physical hosts, it is a very cost and resource effective approach to scaling the eBay servers. A new approach eBay has taken to is in v3 most of the eBay site has been ported into java, as it has the advantages of scaling better than the previous c++ coding, yet still keep the core functionality the same.

howstuffworks.com has an excellent roundup of eBays infrastructure

howstuffworks.com has an excellent roundup of eBays infrastructure


The eBay API and affiliate programs is another example of a best practice by eBay, as it partners as well as users to build from eBay infrastructure onto their own website. As the main incentive for sellers is that they have the ability to earn extra money for providing these extra links. Not to mention to advantage of providing a easy approach for new businesses to start up selling on the internet. Ebay’s main revenue model is getting a listing fee and a percentage of the total sale of an item. Advertising on the site is carried out through eBay itself, as the adds are targeted towards its users.

Ebays efforts have highlighted the notion that if you build your product or services on a platform that is easily able to scale , as the demands for web 2.0 solutions are only to get more demanding as more users use the system. Where smaller lightweight scaling technologies reduce the strain on IT support and infrastructure, while having the advantages of building in additional models (revenue, affiliate programs) when required.

Foundation of web 2.0 Series
Pattern Eight: Lightweight Model and Cost Effective Scalability “eBay”
Pattern Seven: Leveraging the Long Tail “Audible”
Pattern Six: Perpetual Beta “Dropbox”

Pattern Five: Software Above the level of a Single Device

Pattern Four: Rich User Experience “Google Docs”
Pattern Three: Innovation in Assembly “Google Maps”
Pattern Two: Data is the Next ‘Intel Inside’ “Flickr”
Pattern One: Harnessing Collective Intelligence “Digg”

Foundation of web 2.0 – Pattern Seven: Leveraging the Long Tail “Audible”

Leveraging the long tail is the expression where a service/content takes advantage of a niche market that would otherwise be swallowed by the head of the markets in traditional distribution models. The internet provides a limitless opportunity for companies and individuals to exploit thePower Law Distribution, to not become reliant on physical space to sell products and the cost advantages of selling through e-commerce. A pioneer of this online is Amazon, where they have made a business out of selling a range of products no brick and mortar could successfully achieve. In particular I want to highlight their efforts in online distribution of audio books through Audible.

Since its introduction 1997, Amazon has continually evolved Audible and now share many of the key principles of Power Law Distribution. One best practice that they have implemented is the use of a algorithmic data management, to generate items that other users bought while they purchased this item, or items that are very similar to this title. This is excellent in providing a narrow scope of titles within a category that other may find very useful. Other elements like customer feedback and reviews on title also help give the customer a in depth look matching the title they are going to buy , with similar titles or customers with the same interest.

Audible

Audible


As they have a very large library it helps customers pick up titles that they may otherwise not notice or think about. This ties in with another best practice of matching supply with demand, as many users will generally move towards books that have the higher ratings and more positive comments than books with no feedback. The reviews are either carried out by audible and the users who have purchased the item, to reduce fraudulent reviews. As well you can see all the previous reviews done by a user so you can judge the comments they have made.

Audible has leveraged the low cost advantages of being online, by promoting their services through many podcasts. As many shows are located through the itunes store, the same with many audible books. It has been a very successful advertising plow in my opinion. As many of the people who are listening to podcasts are use to this form of concept, so it is going straight to the niche market. They have also utilised services like twitter to promote any specials and new releases to those who are following them. So in many cases this is the digital form of word of mouth. Even with the niche market of audio books audible.com has gone after expanding their catalogue to cover many areas. Since April 2008 audible.com has been producing their own sci-fi based audio books as many of these classics were not available in the spoken form. Expanding into a niche area that hasn’t been explored yet.

So what does this mean to other businesses and enterprises. This practice applies to both products to be sold and internal services that could benefit from opportunities that may of initially didn’t exist within the current structure. This can be done either through improving the process of search, filtering and aggregation of data internally and apply to areas that can meet user demand. The internet is now the driving force of smart business and having a excellent understanding on a enterprises niche market is extremely valuable.

Series So Far
Pattern Six: Perpetual Beta “Dropbox”
Pattern Five: Software Above the level of a Single Device
Pattern Four: Rich User Experience “Google Docs”
Pattern Three: Innovation in Assembly “Google Maps”
Pattern Two: Data is the Next ‘Intel Inside’ “Flickr”
Pattern One: Harnessing Collective Intelligence “Digg”