Daily Life Productivity Booster

Life with a Mac

It’s the weekend so I’m free to write a geek post after another week of marketing. I was lucky enough to skip out of work for a few hours and catch a presentation from Jeff Hoffman of Basho Strategies. He’s a world class presenter and the best salesman that I have ever met, he understands the dynamics of the deal and I would recommend him for anyone that needs a speaker for a sales kickoff or workshop.

After significant debate we have replaced Carin’s dying Dell Latitude LS400, a fine machine, rather dated, but still great (the monitor is the only weakness that you can’t get around – 800×600 doesn’t cut it anymore).

In order to reduce the tech support load that I bear for the family we will slowly transition everyone over to Macs.

Rather than religious debate, here’s what I know:

  1. Better display – the fonts in the OS look spectacular, I can’t believe how much better my sites look on this screen.
  2. No viruses – My Dad’s PC is running in great shape after more than a year. Losing 8 hours a year to reinstall windows after a spyware breakout was the deal breaker
  3. Better hardware – Wireless N built in, I’m getting 20mb download (thanks FIOS), and a superior soundcard. This is at least the 10th laptop I’ve had and the first that I get no system buzz when I use earphones plugged in.

The other thing is that so far I have no downside to report. Not having dreamweaver is one thing but I can boot windows up so I may mess around with that.

Graphic Design Productivity Booster The Marketeer

The Greatest Marketing Post in the History of the Universe

It’s so powerful that you only have to read step 1.

I’ve been fortunate enough (if you want to call it that), to have now spent more that 10 years doing website redesigns. There have been perhaps 7 times during my career where I’ve considering stabbing someone in the throat with my pen to stop the insanity during a meeting, and 5 of those were during website-by-committee meetings.

Seth says those are instant deal breakers – he’s making the world a safer place AND keeping me out of prison. I can’t thank him enough.

Gaming Geek Stuff Productivity Booster SEO and Paid Search


Today is officially BlogDay, you can get the story and original recommendations in my previous post.

Just a few other things I read that are always great:

I’m a insider by reading SalesforceWatch.

On the small business tech font, and for Tales of Chicago check out Chicago Mike.

Most readers know I’m still going through Sex and the City withdrawal, The Pink Shoe Diaries help me cope.

As a comic fan (aka – Fanboy, aka – dork) Title Undetermined makes me laugh.

I’m also giving a second plug for Mike Champion because he needs a dose of the Google Juice, and mentioning GameSpot which is not a blog but still full of great info.

Productivity Booster The Marketeer

Steriods for your Career

I just posted the latest and best marketing podcast, and I mentioned This service has run me anywhere from 29-79 dollars a year and the least it has ever generated for me in a year is $3,000. If every investment of mine paid off like that I’d already be on my beach house in Nantucket.

It simply takes most of the voodoo out of the compensation question – instead of pulling an number out of the sky I can go see what the average marketing guy with 15 years in business, graduated from the one and only UMASS, working at a software company of under 100 employees in the Boston area gets. And go from there.

Market opinion is very squishy, market data has to be challenged with other data.

Brain Buster Graphic Design Lead Generation Productivity Booster

The next level in gaming

With the holiday next week I was setting up my calendar for the week after that and found that the next WebInno meeting is coming up that Monday, July 9th. If you want to see what’s going on at the cutting edge of internet technology in Boston these meetups are required viewing. Just sign up on the wiki and show up to watch the presenters give a short demo, and check out the other presenters around the room and mingle at one of the better Tech who’s-who in Boston. I’ll be there and have managed to convince some other Boston bloggers and podcasters to show up so swing by if you’d like to grab a drink.

One of the presenters for next week – Digitalbrix has an interesting value prop – a SaaS offering that allows users to build simple games with out writing code like javascript, flash, etc. I’m very interested in checking this out some more, anyone that has done any web marketing has had a point where someone on high gets the itch to try and create a Flash based game.

David Beisel (the webinno organizer) connected me to Naveena Swamy, a founder at Digitalbrix and I had a chance to chat with her for a few minutes about what they are working on. Casual gaming is a huge market so there weren’t many surprises about the growth potential there, but there were two things that stretched my brain a bit. One was that I mentioned that this would be a powerful tool, and she said that a more important point was that it allowed greater collaboration. With a more powerful tool there’s now less friction between the artist, game concept designer etc. This can be expanded to include everyone playing the games which then generates an entire community.

The thing that resonated even more with me was the ability to use a system like this for prototyping. I can see this as a huge value in designing marketing campaigns. Rather than pick a vendor out of a hat and throw them $10,000 for one campaign, put together 4 or 5 concepts to test before making a final decision. That changes the game completely. Now where am I going to find some free time to play around with this myself?

Productivity Booster The Marketeer

The 10 Biggest Changes in Marketing Strategy – 2007

I’m trying to do a “Year in Review” and I’m thinking about what has had the most impact in the past 12 months. We’re talking about things that will change your front line marketing tactics. Here’s my rough list:

  1. Email is not dying
  2. Print is dying
  3. Google AdWords Price Explosion
  4. Blogging
  5. Every organization is a publishing organization (a la, David Scott)
  6. Online Video
  7. RSS Feeds
  8. WikiPedia
  9. and other SAAS offerings
  10. SEO is dying

I’d really like to hear what you have to say about this list and what would be on your list. Anyone that provides useful feedback will be acknowledged in the final report with a link at the bare minimum. There are a couple of large brains that I am going to call out by name, but don’t let my link baiting discourage you from giving your opinion:

Christopher Penn, Mitch Joel, C.C. Chapman, Joseph Jaffe, Ron Ploof

Lead Generation Productivity Booster

These leads are crap

As a marketeer, I have never heard these words.

Just kidding, I get it at least twice a month. This is the age old struggle between sales and marketing, and with marketing being the creative side there are thousands of responses: “The sale begins at ‘No’, you order taking monkey”, “I give the good leads to closers” etc.

It’s all in good fun, kind of like complaining about cafeteria food, you do it regardless of whether the food is from the best chef or a can. If you are hitting your numbers everyone is happy, if not everyone is pissed off.

But there are things you can do to improve your leads. I’ve been working on our process to screen leads via a survey on SurveyMonkey (a web-based survey tool), and it’s working wonderfully. You get a new list, send them a few questions and you manage to filter out maybe 20%: 5% look a lot better than average and 15% is crap the sales guys don’t have to eat.

Keep in mind I can give a sales guy a hard time, but that’s because I share their goal – they should be able to blow their number out before the 3rd month of the quarter so they don’t have to come in to the office for the last month if they don’t want to (and I don’t have to listen to them). They should really never have to work Fridays, and Mondays should be exclusively for golf. This is the path to a happy workplace.

For more great info on lead gen I turn to Brian Carroll, he’s a thought leader in this space. Here’s some more info on Sales and Marketing playing well together.

Daily Life Gaming Geek Stuff Graphic Design Productivity Booster

Virtual Yard Sale

The purchase and sale agreement has been signed so it looks like we are off to a new home! I’ve already begun going through stuff to try and ease the move, and I thought it would be fun to throw my own virtual yard sale. Actually the stuff is on eBay, but I thought it would be interesting to see if any readers were interested. If anybody reading this buys any of the stuff I’ll waive the shipping fees.

Three items for sale:

A Netgear Wired 5-Port Switch, if you are going to wire up some machines for gaming or just want more wired ports at your desk (perfect for trade shows booths or conference rooms).

A Linksys Wired Router, same deal as above but with more features (but I’ve had some trouble getting Apple TV and the XBox 360 extender to work with it, LOL).

And the best for last: A Wacom drawing tablet. Drawing with a mouse is like trying to draw with a potato, a must for illustrators.

Enough with the commercial break, a post about marketing in 20 minutes…

Productivity Booster The Marketeer

Google to buy Feedburner?

Dan York passed on an interesting rumor.

Brain Buster Productivity Booster The Marketeer


Covering the dry technical stuff first. From everything I’ve seen over the past couple of days I’m boiling widgets down into three types:

Type 1: These are additions to web pages, most often tools over in the sidebar that provide some additional functionality, most often for a blog or (shudder) a MySpace page. A classic example would be a flickr widget, it grabs some photos from your account and makes a little slide show type thingy (technical definition, I know). See it in action, and grab your own if you want from here. Most of these are trying to enable a viral spread of the application.

Type 2: Freestanding tiny little applications. Folks over on the Mac side are very familiar with these, you activate the widget page and all these crappy little clocks and temperature gadges pop up. Like most cool features on the mac, they’ve showed up in the next edition of Windows (Vista). I’ve found these things to be of not much use since you can do most of the same stuff on web pages, but that’s probably the cranky geek in me shining through. If you have a personalized Google desktop you can run Google Gadgets, which are similar and supposedly if you have Google desktop installed you can run them in pre-Vista Windows. This is all heresay, I don’t have Google desktop installed.

Dr. Penn made a good recommedation in this week’s Marketing Over Coffee, there’s an app called Amnesty that allows you to transform widgets from one form to another, or promote them up to a Type 3.

I didn’t take good notes yesterday so I can’t find the name of the presenter that described Type 3, but it’s the most interesting category. He referred to them as BDAs – Branded Desktop Applications. These are full fledged apps that often reside in the tray on Windows and are running all the time allowing content to be pushed out to them. Some great examples are Southwest’s Ding, and a Disneyland’s Thing that I can’t find a link to. Both of these are full fledged apps, and in Ding’s case provide unique pricing that is available only through the app.

This category has a ton of potential as it elbows even the browser out of the picture. Thinking about it now, I realize that the best example of this is iTunes. I’ve had a mental block because I’ve always considered widgets to be small items, not apps capable of going full screen, but these are the most powerful. It’s also interesting to note that apps of this type have tried to get on to the desktop before, but were hammered down by the fear (and actual use) of spyware.

So, why would you build a widget? We can see from Ding and iTunes that if you have some exclusive content this can cement your relationship with your customer, and eliminate the allure of other web pages which is always a risk from within the browser. Another reason would be to encourage the viral spread of your application. You’ll also have to consider the impact widgets on your analytics and bandwidth. These aren’t going to be page views but will start requiring serious bandwidth (especially if you do go viral). Again, as cranky geek I don’t want to add more to my tray, but I think Joe Sixpack is looking for simple apps since he has some trouble with “the tubez on tha intranets”

Another interesting application would be using a flash widget as an alternative user interface – think of the mini player for itunes. There’s a lot of potential there to make things easier to use, and opening them up for content to be pushed to them (get a pop-up when your favorite artist has released a new tune, etc.).

All of this is pretty cool but not earth shattering, until you consider widgets for cellphones. This is an area that could explode. The fedex package tracker, or drop off box locater is not worth more as a widget vs. web page on my PC, but when I’m driving around looking for it a phone widget could be a killer app. As I think more about it – how about GPS enabled widgets? Your phone pings you when you are within 100yds of a Starbucks. Better yet, in your car the widget on your GPS starts telling you to drive there.

Ok, that’s it. Brain exploding…

Thanks again to David Beisel over at Venrock for hosting the event, and Christopher Penn for dropping some Widget Wisdom on me so I had some ammo at the session.

Addendum: My new Arch Enemy Mike Champion took much better notes than I did. *shaking fist*

Seriously though, if you are into live music check out his project.