Business Blog Study — Ingo Haupt — Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany
Aug 26, 2006
Yesterday, I received the email pasted below from a German student conducting a study of business blogs. I completed the survey (not for the offers but because I think business blogs are powerful business tools that should be studied!) using Bob Sutor's Open blog -- http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/ -- as the example corporate blog to answer questions about.
It's interesting because I owned an IBM Thinkpad that I recently sent my father. It's a demo model that I bought on an ebay auction some time back -- good machine! I purchased additional memory and accessories for this Thinkpad from IBM online.
The survey questions attempt to link your views of the company blog, your trust in what's communicated via the blog, the sense of community you are a part of because of the products you use and your communication about this on the blog with your loyalty to the company and the use of their products.
One of the tech items on my future buy list is another IBM Thinkpad -- http://www-131.ibm.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10000001&catalogId=-840&langId=-1&categoryId=2035724.
IBM’s tech support and customer service people are so accessibly, efficient, and wonderful in terms of client service. I'm sold on IBM because they helped me with queries even when I hadn't purchased the IBM Thinkpad from IBM, only the accessories. They didn't respond to me as an "insignificant client".
Here's Ingo Haupt's email:
My name is Ingo Haupt and I am a business student at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Within the framework of my degree dissertation I am conducting a study on Business Blogs as an instrument for consumer loyalty.
The purpose of my research is to learn what quality aspects of a business blog are most important for consumers and how companies can use their weblogs to create and strengthen consumer loyalty. I would like to invite you to participate in my online survey about business blogs. The survey will take 10 minutes or less to complete.
By doing so you would be making a significant contribution to advancing the knowledge on how companies can develop relationships with consumers through their weblog. As an additional bonus three shopping coupons for Amazon will be raffled amongst the participants of this study. You can reach the survey at the following link: http://www.marketing-mainz.de/haupt/hspe
As a matter of course all information will be treated strictly confidential. The survey results will be published anonymously, so no conclusions on the statements will be possible. I would also appreciate if you forward the link of this survey to other people you know, that are regular readers of business blogs!
Please feel free to contact me by email for further questions at http://bizblogreview.com/ym/bizblogreview.com/Compose?Tofirstname.lastname@example.org&YY=31516&y5beta=yes&y5beta=
or have a look at my personal weblog at http://businessblogstudies.blogspot.com/ where I am documenting the progress of this study.
Thank you very much for your time and help, Ingo Haupt
Jonathan's bringing FUN to Sun!
Aug 21, 2006
Have you seen Jonathan Schwartz's recent post "Acquiring Hewlett Packard's Legacy"? Here's the link: http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan.
“I love the humor and mischief in Sun. It's one of the things that drew me here long before I joined the company, and one of the things I really appreciate about our culture. But frankly, it's one of the things that's gotten close to being rinsed away by years of cost cutting. So I'd like to officially declare, herewith, a rebirth of fun at Sun.”
And the rebirth is through ART -- read about it in his post -- and take a look at this art project he references: http://ylem.org/Hitchhikers/index.html.
Jonathan -- When can I profile you on Biz Blog Review?
I've got some interesting questions to ask you about Sun's corporate culture and the changes you're talking about on your blog. Your ideas are interesting and the atmosphere you're trying to cultivate for employees sounds intriguing. On your blog, I noticed you don't really respond to commenters -- why? Is there a reason that you don't? Some bloggers do -- they engage in a dialogue for a while before posting their next entry. Look forward to talking to you!
Launching "Career Thoughts"
Aug 21, 2006
Even though I have a number of projects on the go, I'm in a pre-permanent employment period and there are a number of thoughts yoga-ing my mind -- what I'm going to publish in the "Career Thoughts" Category on my blog.
By "permanent" employment, I mean "full-time" employment.
David Maister -- Eccentric and "widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the management of professional service firms" -- published an interesting piece on his career path here: http://davidmaister.com/articles/3/90/ which I thought would be a good way to kick off this Category.
David -- I'm allowed to call you an eccentric (smile) -- http://davidmaister.com/print.php?n=blog&d1=175
What I particularly like about David is how candid he is in his blog posts as you will see when you read about his career path.
It's so interesting to learn about what prompted David to make certain career/life decisions. Doing an undergraduate degree in statistics prompted him to initially become a statistician. Discovering being a statistician was not his passion or special talent, he pursued further education and taught statistics to support himself. Although the stats still bored him, he found that he loved teaching!
And so he pursued a PhD at Harvard Business School (HBS) becoming a specialist in logistics and transportation. Why this field? Because of a most helpful faculty member and because money was an issue. This field offered a large scholarship!
Even though David dedicated himself as a specialist, he discovered again that this was not his life's work. So he returned to HBS as a faculty member to teach management of service business and factory operations.
David describes the act of writing in academia as “publish or perish” because academics are expected to write and writing terrified him, while the topics didn't really excite him. But he always wanted to be a published author.
Once committing to writing articles for a magazine, David's consulting career took off.
In his post: http://davidmaister.com/articles/3/90/, David describes how difficult it is to "find your passion" and that, "most successful business careers have been based on experimentation and opportunism".
When discussing career momentum and adding force to that momentum, David says: "...only those determined to get somewhere will actually do what it takes."
David also gives us a window into his thoughts and the questions he asked himself while discovering and moving through his career path:
He says -
"If what you have now isn’t what you dream (or dreamed) of, then you must keep looking, experimenting, and adapting. You must always search for the next thing you think you can feel passionate about, so that you will have a burning reason to show the discipline and drive that will distinguish you.
Once you have found something to try, you must then throw yourself into it and work at it with as much commitment as you can muster until you can answer three questions:
Is it as exciting as I thought it was going to be?
Is there a market for this? (Will anyone pay me to do it?) and
Can I make a contribution that others are not (yet) making?
All three must be present to succeed. If any component is missing you must move on. Living your professional life this way is not easy.
Each step in my career often seems to other people like a terrific “step-up” accomplishment: giving up my statistics job to go get a master’s degree, signing up for a doctorate, joining the Harvard faculty, then later leaving it to become a solo consultant.
The truth, however, is that for me (as for most people) each successive step was a terrifying leap into the unknown, requiring me to abandon the security of what I had without any certainty (or even probability) that it was going to work."
I find David's life story an inspiration. We can read so many short published biographies and never really know what prompted people to make certain decisions -- the reasons why.
My own life is an unusual one that caused my return to education as a "mature student" at USC.
In future posts, I'll tell you a little about this so that you can follow my professional progression.
A blog is a public realm and I'm careful what I say on my blog because I'm yet to step into a "permanent" - although not guaranteed - official professional position of employment. Even when I reach this point, I'd still be mindful of my published (and unpublished) thoughts.
Leo Bottary questions the HR Pros about "Finding The Best Talent"
Aug 21, 2006
Recently, Leo Bottary -- Senior Vice President of Corporate Practice for Hill & Knowlton Tampa -- asked those involved with identifying and hiring PR professionals within their agencies the following questions:
How do you identify and select the kind of employee who will provide a level of client service that is consistent with your agency's culture and values?
What do you look for, and what do you believe serve as reliable predictors when it comes to meeting your high client service standards?
Here is the link to the debate if you want to join in:
Leo's blog is a collective conversation on Client Service Insights (CSI). Personally, I find this fascinating because every industry has clients and we all need to learn to build long term trusting relationships with those clients.
Leo's views on client services are educational too -- take a look!
Bob Sutor -- Blog ROI and Blogging...
Aug 19, 2006
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that Bob Sutor’s my favorite corporate blogger! And it’s not just because he recognized Biz Blog Review at its inception but because he’s so authentic. If you’ve not visited his site, actually looked at his blog in-depth, or read a single Sutor post – get over there now!
You’ll discover an eclectic blend of IBM developments, family projects, Open Source initiatives, health topics, travel stories, education, humor, writing, guitar lessons, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. And much more – written and posted with personality!
Last Friday, I asked Bob about whether or not he measures the ROI of his blog. Put short, the answer is “No”. But he is attempting to track visits to his site out of interest. In contrast, says Bob, the IBM developerWorks blogs -- http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/-- do track hits to their sites as a means of measuring ROI because it’s an indicator of people interested in developers “talking about IBM products/goods”.
Bob views his own blog as a communications tool that is personal with a dual audience that is “internal” – within IBM – and “external” – within the public arena outside of IBM.
When discussing blogging, we also touched on the topic of “spelling” and “comment moderation”. If you have posted to your blog and you have spelled words incorrectly – should you edit the post and correct the spelling or leave it? Is the attention to detail important?
If a particular commenter is posting negative comments continually or is using your blog as a platform to damage your character/reputation, should you moderate the comments or not post them to your blog?On the topic of spelling, Bob says that he pays attention to detail and prefers to edit so that words are spelled correctly.
I have to agree with Bob on this point – I do the same. Being correct on spelling is tougher when posting comments to other blogs because once posted by the moderator, the commenter cannot edit the spelling errors. The same is true when posting a string or two of thought to someone elses blog and you leave the other four strings of thought behind in mind! Unless you restate what you mean – nobody knows what you mean!
On the topic of comment moderation we both shared examples (other than advertising/spam) where we simply chose not to post the comment for decent reason. After our discussion, I gave this further thought, and I’d say that this is a good measure:“When you blog, you don’t write down your every thought in your blog posts. You carefully think about what you are going to say and by “thoughtful process” you create your blog entry. Why then, should you have to post the comment of every/any thought that comes into someone else’s mind? I think you have a choice to moderate based on the same thoughtful process."
Other subjects I’d loved to have discussed further with Bob are Open Source and his experimentation with the WordPress program.Bob’s site is an excellent starting point to learn about Open Source –“Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's sources. Some consider it as a philosophy, and others consider it as a pragmatic methodology.
Before open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept; the term open source gained popularity with the rise of the Internet and its enabling of diverse production models, communication paths, and interactive communities.” – www.wikipedia.org
Even though I'm not a programmer of any kind, I find Bob’s style of writing clear and easy to understand, when he writes on his blog and about Open Source in these two essays:
1. Open Standards vs. Open Source: How to think about software, standards, and Service Oriented Architecture at the beginning of the 21st century -- http://www.sutor.com/newsite/essays/e-OsVsOss.php
2. Adjusting to a more open world: Understanding and overcoming resistance to open technologies -- http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=788
You can also learn about IBM as a company and why they donate code to various foundations like the Eclipse Open Health Foundation -- http://www.eclipse.org/proposals/eclipse-ohf/
//www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?cat=25 -- and and the Mozilla Foundation -- http://www.firefox.com/
“IBM has already helped integrate into Firefox support for Microsoft Active Accessibility, an industry standard for access technologies such as screen readers, which read software and content aloud. "IBM's commitment to further Firefox's capabilities and reach people who have disabilities marks an important technical advancement for Firefox," Mitchell Baker, Mozilla president, said in a statement.
The market for access technologies is large. Between 750 million and a billion people globally have a speech, vision, mobility, hearing or cognitive disabilities, according to the World Health Organisation. In the US, the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to provide access to electronic and information technology for all employees and citizens, irrespective of their abilities.”
There are so many blogs out there written by different people and different organizations for different reasons. When following blogs, interacting on blogs, and becoming involved with the people writing to those blogs, it’s a personal choice.
What I find most stimulating in discovering a blog like Bob Sutor's is that it not only represents the man himself and his organization, but that Bob puts incredible effort into its creation to personally share and educate on a diverse range of topics with his sincere voice and experience.
Thank you for sharing your blog with us, Bob, and for showing us what it means to "strike the right chord, if we can find it"!
PROFILE: Bob Sutor
Vice President, Standards and Open Source
Dr. Bob Sutor is the Vice President of Standards for the IBM Corporation. In this role he has the responsibility for driving and executing the cross-company business and technical strategy for open standards and open source as they relate to software, hardware, services, vertical industries, and emerging markets.
Previously, Sutor was Director of WebSphere Product and Market Management. This included ownership of the WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ, and the WebSphere Business Integration product lines, as well as web services and Service Oriented Architecture.
A 23 year veteran of IBM, Sutor worked for 15 years in IBM Research, specializing in symbolic mathematical computation and Internet publishing. He co-authored the books Axiom: The Scientific Computation System and The LaTeX Web Companion. Sutor was a co-author of the W3C Recommendation Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) as well as the W3C Recommendation Document Object Model Level 1.
In 1999 Dr. Sutor moved to the IBM Software Group and focused on jump starting industry use of XML. This led to positions on the Board of Directors of the OASIS standards group and the vice chairmanship of the ebXML effort, a joint OASIS/United Nations endeavor. Sutor then led IBM’s industry standards and Web services strategy efforts.
Dr. Sutor is a widely read blogger and is a frequent speaker around the world on open standards, open source, web services, and Service Oriented Architecture. He is widely cited in the press and was recently featured in interviews in the Harvard Business Review, CNET, eWeek, and InfoWorld.
Dr. Sutor has an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, both in Mathematics.
Full Resume: http://www.sutor.com/newsite/cv.php
Striking the Right Chord, If You Can Find It — Bob Sutor and Family Website and Blogs: http://www.sutor.com/newsite/index.php
Blog Discussion: Measuring blog ROI, PR vs. your personal voice, and blogging…