Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Talk: Online Marketing Trends that include Web 2.0

I've learned my lesson. No more Worth1000.com for me. I'm like an addict!

I'm working on a session for a confrence given by Seattle BizNik.

I know my target audiance is a small business owner that in many ways doesn't want to know about this. They know they should, but it's never worth the time to sit down and sort it out. They are confused about Web 2.0 and don't know which direction to turn.

“Online Marketing Trends that include Web 2.0” (I don’t like the title. Suggestions?)

This talk will be a speedy romp through hot trends and technologies. Logic says that businesses should apply at least one hot trend every year, but which one? Which will give the most dazzle for the buck? Online marketing will be the focus, but no marketing campaign should stand alone.

Many businesses are frustrated when they try to apply one or a mix of online strategies. How is a person supposed to target their marketing in a world where the experts do not agree on anything? There are multiple definitions for even things as basic as what Web 2.0 actually is. Not to mention that every expert is giving contradictory predictions for what they think is going to be the next big thing. The long-tail supporters and trendwatchers.com say that the days of having one mega-trend are over. Business people have to get a passing understanding of all of the top trends and technologies and how to apply them appropriately in order to best get their message out.

This talk will relieve some of this confusion. We will have to move fast to give a glimpse of these trends and technologies. Some of the trends we will cover are honor, sharing, social/community, transparency (no spin), reciprocity, participation, global collaboration and viral. Some of the technologies we will talk about are the web, blogs/RSS, spaces, stores and associates, podcasts and wikis. We will stay on the practical side spotlighting things that are neither prohibitively expensive nor

All suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

10 Things to Think About For Your First Web Site

A person I know has recently decided to take the plunge and develop her first web site for her business. She is, she says, "a people person and not a computer person". She is understandably a little lost as to how to even get started. Below is my answer to her.

Most non-technical people have no idea of how much of their time and money they are going to need to spend to have somebody do this. Everybody wants something like http://www.vulcan.com/ without having any idea that this site was probably way over 40K to produce and it’s hard to imagine how many artists, sound editors, flash animators, writers, editors, photographers, developers, testers, project managers and time went into it. You can get a very good site for $500 to $1,000 if you are very organized and willing to compromise.

You will generally get a better site and it will generally take much less of your time if you can spend more money, but I’ve seen some amazing sites done for very little money because the customer was so well prepared. There are some key things you can do that will make any site better and also reduce the costs. You should do most of this before you get real estimates for your site. Since it is harder to do this on the cheap, I will focus there.

Rules for a cheaper web site:

1. Know the vision, mission and goals for your website. It is probably marketing related; describing the business, contact information and maybe gathering names for a mailing list. But you might also want to ease office processes, like having forms to fill out or something like that. Go to your competitors' web sites and see what they do and what you like. Add these site addresses to your Favorites.

2. Let your webmaster pick a template for you and stay away from creating a design or a "look". If you get too much into what colors should be next to each other and how much space there should be between thing x and thing y add at least a $1,000 if not $10,000. In general it is cheaper to mix in on the design side as little as possible. I used to tell my customers on a budget "Don't let perfect stand in the way of good." Pick your colors in a general way like a bride might. Be ready to show a few printouts from a variety of designs of sites you liked from step #1. But otherwise just stay open. It never hurts to ask questions but something as little as specifying rounded corners .vs. square corners can cost you a bundle and send everything back to the drawing board.

Stay away from anything very arty. Pictures are OK, but not animations. Very arty sites are very hard to do well. Most of them are way too slow, are not very usable and do not get along well with the search engines. Technically most of what I’m trying to say here is; for sites done on the cheap, stay away from the computer program called Flash.

3. You will probably need your own URL. There are whole books written about this. It's a big deal. If you have any doubts at all, get some help. http://www.networksolutions.com is the site to test different naming ideas. You can also go to http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp and they will tell you who owns the URL. Even if they show a domain as unavailable, it's often worth going there or doing a google search for it. There are companies like http://www.vztools.com/ that buy lots of address for the express point of reselling them. Often times they are not that much more expensive than going through Network Solutions.

4. You probably want your site to be professionally hosted and you will write a check to these people every month. There are free site hosters but your customers will really pay a bad price for this and it doesn't reflect well on you. There are lots of little things that will make a big difference in the price. Things like having the address be www.~~~~~.com is more expensive. Having five email addresses at person@~~~~~.com is probably free. Having 6 may cost you $10.00 extra a month. How many visitors you think you will have will be important. Are there going to be photos and videos on your site or will you link to other sites. Be willing to dive in here and really think these things through.

5. Document the kind of words your customers would type into a search engine to find you. These are called keywords for obvious reasons. I would recommend spending at least 40 hours on this. Yes, it really is worth a week of your time. Search for your competitors and see what words work for them and where they get listed. Make sure you have this down cold. You will need to create a Priority 1 list of approximately 20 to 40 words for the search engines. *

6. Create as much of the site as you can in Word or Excel. Use all the buzzwords that you came up with in the previous step as much as possible while creating easy to read prose. Make sure that you have all the pictures/photos done and all the copy solid. I mean solid as in “it's been through a professional editor” solid. Good professional editors that do not take very long to go through a few documents are are worth their weight in gold. Changing any of this stuff after the webmaster has done their magic will be much more expensive.

7. Now, if you want, you can take a shot at bringing up your own site. For a non-technical person I think this is similar in scope to asking a novice to create a real TV commercial by themselves, so expect a bit of a bumpy ride. Right now for sites on the lower end I like http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/webhosting/ (they charge ~$8 a month) or http://www.officelive.com. There are lots of others, but these guys are not going anywhere. If you run into problems, get help first from a more technical friend before your paid consultant.

Bring up a space on MySpace. It will be ugly, but the experiance will be good for you and it's something you will probably need to do anyway and at least you will understand what MySpace is about.

8. With all that said, if I didn’t have any web presence in this day and age I wouldn’t start with a static web site. I would start with a blog. To answer the question of why this is true would take a whole other post, but users now expect a site that has dynamic content and they also want to forge a personal link with you. Plan on posting new entries at least three times a week, 5 days a week would be better.

9. Jump into the water and get your toes wet right now. You can do it without having to do all the dreary prep work listed above. All of the following sites have templates and you can you play around getting things the way you want all the time. I have a blog on just about every service for fun. I put my mother and mother-in-law on http://spaces.live.com/ because it is by far the easiest to use. http://www.facebook.com is another direction that might be a good start. For the more technical business types I would tell them to check out http://www.terapad.com. All of these are free, which is somehow OK in the blog world. http://www.vox.com/ is fun too.

10. It doesn't matter if you went with a blog or a site, now you need to get the name out. There are lots of tricks to do this and I say avoid them all. Just do a very good faith effort to 1) make your site relevent to your customers 2) take the word of your site to them, for example make thoughtful posts on other people's blogs and leave the address to your blog, and 3) give it some time. The Internet is a big place and it takes some time for it to sort itself out.

None of this is that hard, assuming you use templates for the design of your site and you have a technical friend that can be bribed by beer and/or cookies to get you through the rough spots. I think that non-technical types would be happier having the site built by somebody else but would do just fine with a blog.

Dive in and good luck!

* From the Keyword step:

A trick that may help generate keyword ideas is, as you visit competitors' sites, right click on the white space on the page and then choose “View Source”. You will then see a bunch of text/tags, most of which we don’t care about. Look for a section that looks something like: "META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="Power, performance, motivational, inspirational, quotes …” with angled braces around it. This is the list of the keywords that your competitors think are important and where your list of priority one keywords is destined to go. This will not work on every site, but is generally worth a try.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Apple and Linux in Proportion

Or why Bigfoot can clean the floor with Mac and Linux.

About 18% of the US population believes that Bigfoot and Nessie will eventually be found. Only about 3% have chosen to believe the marketing claims around the Macintosh and Linux operating systems. If the Internet was a level soapbox, we would see six times more buzz on Bigfoot and Nessie as we do on Mac and Linux. That means that there would be 44.7 blog posts about animals that are quite possibly imaginary for every one post about the Linux operating system.

Or if you took all the Mac and Linux people and organized a tug of war against all the people that think that the moon landing never happened, the moon landing people would win. By a lot. It wouldn’t really be a contest because the Mac and Linux people, again, make up about 3% of the operating system market and the “Moon landing was faked” crowd are double that number or 6% of the US population.

Just a note: I know that I'm playing a little fast and loose with these numbers, but I'm making sure that I'm coloring inside the lines. If you double all the Mac and Linux numbers and halve all of the rest of the numbers, these points would still be valid.

Africa has about 3% of world Internet usage - again, a little more than Mac and Linux users combined. Assuming that all Mac and Linux people participate on the Internet we can get a feel of what the relevant contribution their percentage of people should feel like. All the packets that go through the network backbones that address African issues do not begin to compare with Mac and Linux packets. By the way, African Internet usage is up 625.8 percent this year. Apple and Red Hat don't even dare to dream of that level of growth, but it is out there.

Assuming that the Internet is a truck and not a series of tubes, Mac and Linux users can be represented by a large stuffed animal flopping around the empty bed. Or if we want more of a "series of tubes" like example, think of draining only a gallon of water from a very full bathtub. Oh, and Chicago has about 3% of the US population. Five percent, which is roughly twice the number of people that make up Mac and Linux users, think that The Da Vinci Code is real. Globally, 5% of people online have a blog. Three times (13%) as many people believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to kill JFK than use Mac and Linux operating systems. On a much more sobering note, roughly the same percentage (12.5%) of the U.S. population is living at or below a subsistence level.

The world is not how I would have it. And Ok, so the internet is not a level playing field and never will be. Returning to levity, I know that there is no way you could get Macintosh and Linux users together to do anything, much less all play tug-of-war. Having them pull the same direction at the same time would be unprecedented. Actually, it would be beyond amazing if you could get even 50% of just the Linux users pulling the same direction. But this whole subject still bugs me.

I recently saw this quote in the Seattle Times, "Nobody makes a move at music, movie, computer, phone and consumer-electronics companies nowadays without first asking themselves, what would Jobs do?" Some of that quote I understand, but come on!

The buzz and respect Macintosh computers gets is unworldly. Although Microsoft is begrudgingly invited to the table, Apple will sit at the head and get all the attention. This is like the President of the USA running everything past the mayor of Chicago. (Maybe this explains a lot!) Why aren't Macintosh users treated like the "Moon Landing was Faked" crowd? How come subcultures that are four or five times larger in size than the Mac people get a thousand times less respect?

I think I remember when I was working on Mac Word 5 that the Macintosh had about a 20% market share. Now they are sitting at 2.5%. Why on earth would anybody deify the company that lost that much market share? In 1980 Apple had a 26% market share. Radio Shack was more successful! So Apple has gone from 26% to 2.5%. Apple computers have always been a second or third ranked player. If I were a betting man, I'm not sure the smart money is on Jobs/Apple holding on to their iPod market domination. I mean, I hope they do. I have nothing against Apple (well, one thing from the Mac Word days) and I absolutely worship the Apple marketing team. How on earth can they keep their company as the top PC go-to-guy?

When I was four years old I started on a grand quest for fairness. Although I try, I haven't ever been quite strong enough to stop it. I know this isn't how the world works, but still, it just doesn't seem fair that Macintosh users have the status level of cheerleaders instead of conspiracy nuts. Everyone of their PC versus Mac guy commercials make me grind my teeth. For 20 years Apple's battle cry has been "Apple good, PC suck". Isn't it time that they stand on their own? Win or lose the debate on what is great about the Macintosh OS alone, not just as a warped mirror of the PC. There is a market of people that will buy anything other than Windows; the size of that market seems to be around 2.5%. Apple used to be about more than that.
And as far as Linux users go, the real ones that I've met really have been conspiracy theorists. Many of them seem to be united against Microsoft rather than for something else. But I have to say that I haven't really spent too much time thinking about them. With 0.4% of the market share, I'm not quite sure why I should. OK, yes, I had to play with the technology and keep my fingers in the pot. And also I had to do some research when what I was hearing and what I was seeing became very different. Windows Servers lead Linux Servers with nearly 20% more annual uptime. This is because of, according to the Linux people, bad documentation. It bothers me that Linux users talk about their bright new and shiny OS. Anybody can look it up and see that GNU came out the same year as MS-DOS 3.0 and Linux came out the same year as Windows 3.1. Between all the hype and hate speech, they just lost me somewhere. A part of me used to root for them in that cute underdog kind of way, but now it just seems sad.

So big bad Microsoft doesn't need me to stand up for them. With a 97% market share they don't need to stand up for themselves. I suppose that explains why Mac and Linux users can take on the airs that they do. Microsoft will never squash these two systems because it is in their best interest for them to have at least a tiny bit of competition to show to the monopoly committee. Nobody will ever accuse Microsoft of really being fast to market on the bleeding edge, but they are good competitors and have done a reasonable job improving people’s computer life inch by inch. But that doesn't make me feel better either.

I was there when the big operating system wars were happening. MS-DOS and CP/M were slugging it out with graphical interface operating systems. Macintosh OS and Windows and IBM's OS/2 were at each other's throats. More innovation happened in one year back then than in five years now. (God I sound old!) OK, I know some of that was because there wasn't the fragile user installed base that there is now, but I don't think that would stop a lot of innovation if the people behind these operating systems were competing against each other claw and hoof.

I want wonderful things. I want my computer to reinvent itself with more than just another slightly buggy "Web 2.0" (what ever that really means) application. The operating system is like the foundation for everything. It is all if the utilities that run in to my house all put together. This should be bigger than it is now, it should be more exciting and it should be like something I would read in a science fiction story.

Speaking of Science Fiction, sometimes I feel slightly miffed that I don't have the flying car that was promised to me by Disney World's Horizons. But it does seem like if I can't have OS innovation or a flying car or even a jet pack, can we at least get rid of the PC / Mac TV commercials?

Click here for a reasonably sized picture of the following chart.

Friday, February 9, 2007

How to be Remarkable & Is Your Boss an Asshole?

The Battle of the Asses

Blogger has made a mess of the formatting of this post, but I wanted the table layout more than anything else. The HTML is clean (except to blogger) and you can see a clear version of it here. I hate blogger. While reading this on blogger, be sure to scroll down a lot.

When I read Guy Kawasaki's post this morning, I couldn't help but recall Seth Godin's post from a few months ago.

Are these top marketing pundits describing the same person? (I didn't change the order of these, only published these side by side)

Seth Godin's
How to be

Guy Kawasaki's
Is your Boss
an Asshole?

Understand the
urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won't do. The only
way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did
yesterday, but better. Commit.
Thinks that the rules are
different for him
For example, a parking space for handicapped
people is really for handicapped people plus him because his time is
so valuable that he can’t walk fifty additional feet. Or, the
carpool lane is for cars with multiple people, hybrids, and her
because she’s late for a meeting
Remarkable doesn't
mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to
make a remark about it? If not, then you're average, and average is
for losers.
Doesn’t understand the
difference between a position making a person and a person making a
The vice-president of acquisitions for a big media
company is a big deal, but all her power, and therefore the ability
to act like an asshole, evaporates without this title. Assholes
usually don’t understand that their current position affords them
temporary privileges.
Being noticed is not
the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get
you noticed, but it won't accomplish much. It's easy to pull off a
stunt, but not useful.
Requires “handlers.” This
means a personal assistant, appointments secretary/lover, public
relations flunkie, and chauffeur. It’s funny but if an asshole
didn’t have the position/money/status, he would probably be able to
answer the phone, make appointments, talk to the press, and drive
Extremism in the
pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it's practically a
requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the
world, these are the folks that get what they want. Rock stars have
groupies because they're stars, not because they're good looking.

Requires the fulfillment of special
requests in order to be happy/productive/efficient.

For example, she needs a special brand of spring water from the
south of France bottled by chanting monks when she’s making
a speech. This type of actions represent flexing for the sake
of flexing—not because any of this crap is necessary.

Remarkability lies
in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most
difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at
(or beyond) the edge.
Requires the fulfillment of
special requests in order to be happy/productive/efficient.
example, she needs a special brand of spring water from the south of
France bottled by chanting monks when she’s making a speech. This
type of actions represent flexing for the sake of flexing—not
because any of this crap is necessary.
Not everyone
appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people
don't. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable
to help you anyway. Your goal isn't to please everyone. Your goal is
to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new
things or hire the talented.
Relates to people primarily
in terms of what they can do for him.
In other words, “good”
people can do a lot for him. “Lousy” people aren’t useful. The way a
lousy person becomes a good person is by showing that he can help
your boss in some way.
If it's in a manual,
if it's the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book,
then guess what? It's boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes
to do something remarkable is to do something first and best. Roger
Bannister was remarkable. The next guy, the guy who broke
Bannister's record wasn't. He was just faster ... but it doesn't
Judges people by her personal
values, not the employees’ or society’s values.
Assholes judge
people according to only what they think is important. For example,
a boss may value only professional accomplishments, so someone who
is “merely” a mom or dad with a focus on a family is therefore
It's not really as
frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening
them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step
out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass layoffs? Who has
trouble finding a new gig? Not the remarkable minority, that's for
Judges employees’ results and
his intentions.
A boss never comes up short when he juxtaposes
his intentions (“I intended to do your quarterly review”) versus an
employee’s results (“You didn’t finish the software on time”).
Instead, a boss should judge his results against his employees’
results and never mix results and intentions
If you put it on a
T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something
that people don't care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few.
A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than
thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?
Asks you to do something that
he wouldn’t do.
This is a good, all-purpose test. Does your boss
ask you to fly coach while she flies first class? Does she ask you
to work weekends while he’s off at a hockey tournament? I’m all for
using boss time effectively (for example, not making her drop off a
package at Federal Express), but were it not that your boss could be
doing something more valuable for the company, would she do what
she’s asking you to do?
What's fashionable
soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a
time, if you don't reinvest and reinvent, you won't be for long.
Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being
remarkable again quite soon.
Calls employees at home or on
the weekends.
Rarely, as in once per year, this is okay, but any
more often and your boss is certifiable. His happiness is not your
problem 24 x 7. You are entitled to your personal time and space
because slavery was abolished a long time ago in America.
Believes that the world is
out to get her when faced with criticism or even omission.
example, bloggers don’t write about her because they are all jealous
of her. Frankly, it’s more likely that he’s not worth writing about
than the blogosphere is colluding against him. This boss needs to
learn that “it’s no always about her.”
Slows down or halts your
career progress.
One can forgive or ignore the previous nine
issues, but this one is by far the worst thing an asshole boss can
do. Usually it’s a matter of convenience: “How can you leave me? I
need you.” For doing this, a boss should go into the anals (sic) of
asshole-dom. God didn’t put you on this earth to make your boss’s
life better, so don’t hesitate to abandon a boss who holds you back.

Viacom gets it or Jon Stewart .vs. YouTube

Viacom moves on without YouTube CNET News.com:

"YouTube throws down the gauntlet for any television network or content producer to ask, 'Why is it better for people to consume our video on YouTube rather than my site?' Erik Flannigan, senior vice president of digital media for Comedy Central"

I can't believe I'm saying this but Viacom gets it.

Around 33% of Generation-Next watches Viacom's Comedy Central channel's Daily Show every week. That is ONE FREAKING THIRD of the KEY generation! I doubt that as many of them actually visit YouTube.com on any given week (but I didn't look for statistics to back that up.)

Who believes that now when Jon Stewart says something funny, his viewers will be too confused by the lack of "youtube" in the link that they couldn't possibly email it to their friends?

YouTube is a great storage place for videos and they have built an unbelievably great community. For people making amateur or short independent videos there isn't any place better right now, and there may never be one. And I agree that they have changed the world in wonderful ways and that they still have a lot of world changing zing left in them.

But I agree with the Viacom CEO when he described what he would have said to YouTube -- "You are not going to take the stuff that we made in our house and control it for other people." Not to mention a little thing like giving up the advertising profits.

So, step one in the fall of the current mega-sites has begun. The circle of life continues.

The Platinum Rule

Over in the Seattle Biznik community, I got into a discussion about Squeezed Pages (see below). And I came up with a particularly clever turn of phrase, even if I do say so myself! Below are my replies from that discussion, edited a little to keep this as small as possible. But the phrase is:

Just goes to prove the Platinum Rule, which is “There is no Platinum Rule.”

It seems like there are all these rules of marketing and management. There is always somebody telling you that you should do X because of some rule. And then somebody else will come along and tell you that doing X will break another rule. I have always found that when people start quoting rules, it is really time to rethink the project. But now I have the the Platinum Rule to quote.

Ok, here is the phrase in context:
Squeezed .vs. Non-Squeezed Web Sites

Non-Squeezed world:
1) Visitors can explore your site without joining first
2) When they join, you gather just the name/email visitor information
3) You send out generic mass mailings

Squeezed world:
1) Site visitors must join your site before they can see anything
2) You gather email and as much other information as you think you can get from site visitors
3) You send personalized mailings to individuals.

How do I say this? A squeezed site is considered slimy by many people. Not that slimy is necessarily wrong, but there is a cost to be paid for employing those tactics.

Modern trends suggest implementing this using transparency and reciprocation.

Visitors are able to play around your site and get to know you before you ask them for their information. And when visitors do give you something (their information), you should give them something. So a more polite version of Squeezed Marketing would be an offer to email them one of four eBooks for signing up on the site. You can then make your response back to that user more personal by using something from the book they chose.

- - -

Overnight I thought of two squeezed sites that are good: The New York Times and LA Times are very quick to make visitors join and ask for a lot of information and they send targeted mass mailings. But somehow it's OK coming from them.

Just goes to prove the Platinum Rule, which is "There is no Platinum Rule". :-)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Sacred Trinity of Marketing: Relevance, Credibility and Value

Quote by Dominic Caterbury or for a link to his web site

The Sacred Trinity of Marketing: Relevance, Credibility and Value

He argues that start ups are only lacking Credibility, so they can put all their potatoes there. His overall message is that the power has tipped to the customers and that the old rules don't work.

Although simple enough to have come from one of my college marketing text books, is deep enough to make me think.

And yes, I'm still working on post 2 of the matrix.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Brandy's Market Matrix

I just couldn't get the blogger tools to accept a 6 page HTML document with any kind of grace and I don't have time to re-write it here. Maybe if I checked out Google Writer, but that is for another day.


I'm sorry for the inconvience.

Or you could also to to my spaces blog (3 clicks to publish from Word 2007) if you know that URL.

I think it is worth your time.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Super Bowl Ads

Link to Super Bowl Ads: 2007 - IFILM

I thought they were especially bad this year. The Coke commercials were happy, but I couldn't believe how much bad will there was in most of the commercials. Maybe because I watched them all on line in a row, but it really got to me after a while.

Some of the worst ones:

  • All the Budweiser commercials.
  • Snickers: Kiss
  • All of the Career Builder ads
  • American Heart Association - Gotta Have Heart
  • GM: Robot

I don't think every commercial needs to be happy or up lifting, but is this the best they can do? With almost unlimited resources to bring to one short commercial, they have to fall back on physical and mental abuse, homophobia and capitalize on our fear of being destitute?

OK, I did like the Robert Goulet one. It was, at least, an original theme.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Draft: Brandy's Market Matrix

Here is the matrix I'm working on. It's taking a while to write it up. Keep watching this space.

Here it is with Word 07 SmartArt making it all beautiful. Except, there isn't a way to label the arrows, so it's pretty useless.
Still, when I think back to the old days when you had to enter raw postscript (read "printer driver") commands to get basic stuff into your document, it isn't so bad!

Spaces and Want Ads

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been working on something in my mind and it’s taken a lot of thought to figure it out. But first it seems like I need to get this rant off my chest.

I’ve applied for a job at Microsoft Windows Live Spaces. I especially liked the want ad: “Windows Live Spaces is the world’s largest blogging, photo sharing, and social networking service with over 135 million monthly unique visitors and is available in over 30 countries. Despite its size however, Windows Live Spaces has limited brand recognition in most markets and does not have a deep connection with users as of yet. …”

I can’t believe how many job descriptions make my eyes glaze over by the time I’m on the sixth word. I doubt that you can find a more motivated audience than me and yet sometimes they are just so badly written. Here is a real example of an average want ad:

… enterprise customer communication solutions that enable dynamic conversations between companies … Our interactive communication solution is a blend of advanced multi-channel applications built upon enterprise software. It delivers its services through a software service model. Businesses use their technology to leverage their rich enterprise-level customer data to proactively and personally interact with their customers with timely, relevant information.

But I really liked how the Spaces one started with obvious passion about the
product and an acknowledgement that not everything is perfect.

The average want ad can be summed up as:
We are the perfect company. We have the perfect product. Our people are perfect. You must have demonstrated expertise in being perfect and everything this job might ever need and being able to do the bosses’/teams’ jobs for them would be good, too.

A few weeks ago I was nibbled by a company that basically wanted me to do the same job that I did around 10 years ago. It was a very high prestige start up, but I just couldn’t go there. Yes, I was qualified by their exacting list, but I would have been miserable by the lack of challenge and lack of growth.

In The Macintosh Way, my hero Guy Kawasaki says, “…Experience is frequently a false god. It is better to hire people who can get you to where you want to be than people who profess to have been there before.”

Kawasaki says to hire people that are passionate, have high bandwidth, have the ability to deal with stress and ambiguity and are high energy. That would certainly make for a job description that wouldn’t glaze my eyes over.

OK, now on to the real posts where I will eventually give you my take on the Spaces issue.