Saturday, September 29, 2007

Google Docs Beta competes with docstoc.com_Fragmentation or Spice of Life?

Talk about duplication and fragmentation on the web or talk about spice of life...depends on who's doing the talking! Google's just launched Google Doc Beta. How does that compete with docstoc's 9,457 and counting docs? This is getting interesting...
And -- today -- it looks as if docstoc have just opened up their Beta some more!

What's different about Google's Doc Beta? We'll have to take a look and see...

The major difference is what you see and feel when you login to each site and also what each site has to offer the user in terms of community sharing.

Here's what you see when you login to Google Doc Beta:

In contrast, this is what you see before and when you login to docstoc Beta:

Can you see and feel the difference?

Where docstoc offer users the ability to add comments, Google are offering the user to discuss documents real time:Both sites may succeed equally well, from two different cultural standpoints -- Google's interface and approach to the user appear from a "individualistic standpoint" (or just a different view of collectivity?). You have your "account" almost like an Email Outlook account and share from there where you can access all things Google including your gmail. docstoc appear to approach the user from a more "collective standpoint". Each user's account looks like a rolodex or business card feature with button to LinkedIn too.

These networks have different mindsets to engaging users in sharing documents and tools, and engaging other networks. The question is: Will users want everything under one Google roof?

What is "duplication or fragmentation" from a third party business offering perspective may be the "spice of life" from a user perspective.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Mixx isn't simply a remix of communities like Twitter, StumbleUpon, Topix, with Digg-like news products according to Frank Gruber, "Mixx's strategy appears to cater to large online publishers" as a "solid distribution strategy".

How does this strategy benefit large publishing companies?

"Mixx aims to offer a place for large publishing companies to get into the social media space."

How does this strategy benefit users?

"Mixx enables users to contribute and discover stories, video and photos as they blend their own mix of the Web."

So do other is Mixx different? According to Gruber -

1. Users can tag and categorize content, and subscribe to both
2. The categories mirror traditional online news offerings but tags are open user-contribution
3. Users create a "My Mixx" page to follow categories, tags, and people
4. Users can connect to and follow other users
5. Users can access local community content by Zip Code and follow what neighbors are reading

Recently, I received access to my account, and I'm enjoying exploring the site immensely. Users are also able to join groups and create new groups of their own, similar to other social networks like Facebook. Users can also monitor MixxFriends' Recent Activity and Vote For or Against them. There's a link for "Your followers".

With the Headquarters being in Virginia, USA, and the Founder being formerly from Yahoo and USA Today, I wondered how "globally orientated" the site's setup is. Social Networks have to think globile and mobile, right, even if in Beta? So, I searched Local Search results for London. Here's the results - no London, UK:

Large publishers may be concentrated in the US, but "Users" of social networks and mobiles are global. I am sure we will see Mixx evolve with global focus as it emerges through Beta.

Facebook and social networks...viable for mobile critical mass communication?

The WSJ recently announced that, "Microsoft is in talks to buy a minority stake in the popular social-networking Web site Facebook Inc., a sign of a new urgency by the software giant to jump-start its online business at a time when Google is widening its lead in the fast-growing Internet-advertising business."

Today, John Gray who manages online media campaigns for, says social media is not just for kids! According to Gray, "Over the past few years, social networks have emerged catering specifically to older, more educated, and often more affluent audiences. Like the social sites most marketers are familiar with, this next generation social networking site for older generations offers both traditional and unique ad customization options, and a new avenue through which to reach baby boomers and busy moms."

Social Networks and Portals discussed include:

When we think in terms of internet-advertising business, the future is "mobile." And social networks have a dynamic role to play. Revenue Science issued a press release on Sept 24, with headline: REVENUE SCIENCE FIRST TO DEPLOY MOBILE BEHAVIORAL TARGETING IN JAPAN. According to Revenue Science, Japan's advanced user adoption and homogenous network infrastructure make for an ideal entry.

Whether this "model of mobile critical mass communication" translates elsewhere depends on a number of factors (among others):
  • infrastructure & investment
  • network consistency
  • culture (sub-culture)
  • translatable "globile-viral-mobile-experience"
On Wednesday, I attended the ad:tech London '07 Digital Consumer Panel Forum and listened to John Baker, Managing Partner of Ogilvy One, discuss the Unilever case study. He said that brands work when they're entertaining, useful, and sexy. Did I get that right, John?

And his views tie in with an article I read in Wired titled: "How Mobile Phones Conquered Japan." Xeni Jardin writes that mobiles shaped Japan's culture (and can shape other cultures). From the article, I picked out some words used as "shapers" - here they are:
  • state of wireless closeness - zone of intimacy - relationships
  • territory machines - transformers of space - personal room
  • integrator of virtual and physical realms - tools of sustenance
  • portable pedestrian - history, legend, culture, stranger link - vivid experience
Ogilvy One use 360 degree brand marketing and as a "non-marketer" (?) I'm intrigued at the fun involved and the outreach. With mobile, the potential of using layers of social networks (and more Google?) to mass communicate is immense.

Those in Telecom who have studied the statistics on mobile users around the globe are aware of infrastructures, networks, and cultures. Marketers have opportunities to share in collaboration on multi-social media levels to learn what is best for their brand.

Links of Interest:

USC Marshall CTM 6th Annual Global Mobility Roundtable 2007: The Adoption of Mobile Phones in Emerging Markets: Global Diffusion and the Rural Challenge by Kas Kalba, Kalba International Inc.

Ingenta Connect: European Journal of Information Systems - Perceived critical mass and the adoption of communication technology by Van Slyke and Ilie, et al

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What would you do if a recruiter or potential employer invited you to interview in Second Life?

On Oct 4, a USC Business Communication class at the Marshall School will discuss various perspectives in answering this question: What would you do if a recruiter or potential employer invited you to interview in Second Life?

I've been invited to engage the class in a discussion on videoconferencing, videoblogging and online CV's to create awareness of messages and media.

As prior assignment, the students are using these examples and discussion questions for reference:

1. HP Eric Kintz Digital Mindset Blog
“Videoblogging from NYC”

“Mobile Social Marketing” – How important is Mobile for Social Marketing?
Winksite and Feed2Mobile

2. TechCrunch: If A Conference Is Held In Second Life, Will Anyone Listen?
BizBlogReview: Is the future of global commerce in virtual worlds?

3. The Official Cisco Blog “The Platform” – Alan S. Cohen, VP Enterprise Solutions
“The Next Wave of the Business Internet: The Human Network@Work”

4. Online CV’s
Colin Rhinesmith
Nova Commercial - MySpace

5. Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
2. How can you use the videoconference setup to engage (create rapport) the interviewer more?
3. What unexpected events can happen during a videoconference and how would you deal with them (example: split screens with more than one interviewer)?

1. Referring to Eric Kintz’s “Videoblogging from NYC” (1), what are the advantages and disadvantages of using an “interview format” in a videoblog as CV?
2. Referring to Colin Rhinesmith’s online CV with video (4) – do you think this CV works? Why or why not? Do you think this form of CV is the future? What’s your reasoning?
3. If the Nova Commercial serves as a CV, what impressions can it make?

Mobile Social Marketing, the Next Wave, CV’s, and the interview future:
1. After reading “Mobile Social Marketing” (1), TechCrunch and BizBlogReview (2), Cisco Blog (3), and diamondgeezer (5) – What are your thoughts?
2. How do you see your CV’s and interview techniques evolving?
3. What would you do if a recruiter or potential employer invited you to interview in Second Life?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

PwC's David Phillips response to Social Media and CR

On 3 Sept 07, I asked David Phillips, PwC's senior corporate reporting leader in Assurance Practice, a question on the PwC corporate reporting blog:


Do you think that industry will eventually expect standards in social media as it impacts their products and services? I've posted a writeup on

David's response:
Fiona, I think you pose an interesting question. I think the promotion of products and services through the social media is at an early stage of its evolution, as is normally the case industry and society are happy for it to evolve as no one has been badly damaged. As with most things I am sure a point will come when industry may try to impose some form of standards (clearly at the moment some companies impose their own standards for accreditation) to ensure that individuals are not mislead and damaged by the irresponsible actions of a few.

Facebook-Google Debate-Debacle Spark Innovation for Social Networks

While some insiders know all...some users are non-the-wiser...some of us may read and observe...while others couldn't be bothered...

Nov 5 is the start of Google "100" according to Arrington of techcrunch. What does this mean?

The gist is that Google had a secret meeting (naturally because of trade secrets) to discuss (among other things) allowing third parties to push and pull data in and out of Google and non-Google applications using application program interfaces (APIs). This poses a challenge to Facebook who haven't allowed third parties the same amount of scope.

Entrepreneur - David Recordon - gives an example of this on his LiveJournal blog: "It is disappointing hearing stories from developers who see F8 as a very one sided platform; you're allowed to put your data in but not take it out. I'm waiting for the first application which adds all of your Facebook friend's email addresses to your Gmail contacts, just as Facebook is so happy to suck them out via their "invite your friends" feature."

Google is offering an additional layer to third parties in accessing social networks that Facebook isn't offering. But in February, Business Week reported that Facebook (and Friendster and others) is "starting to let third-party developers build new features to attract more users-and profits." The new features involve opening up their API code.

Why is it beneficial for social networks to open up their code (API)?

1. to grow their user base—and build a sustainable business model—they need to attract third-party developers
2. it offers them the ability to harness innovation through creation and sharing of new applications
3. to allow more people to discover their site, which can translate into greater revenues since more viewers mean higher ad rates (branding and traffic)
4. to access audiences with specific interests
5. etc...

Who's in the running?

Google's orkut

We can observe and partake in these changes as November comes and goes - Google and all their competitor, collaborator, and partner innovations - these are exciting times we live in because we're given the opportunity to connect with others globally in dynamic ways.

Cisco says "People are in the center not computers"

"If the first wave of the Web Internet was largely defined by commerce and customer support (“find it, buy it, help it”), the second wave is more about rich collaboration (“find me, work with me”). The entrance of rich media and video into the equation shows how fast people-to-machine transactions are moving to people-to-people-to-contextual/real-time information types of interactions. People are in the center, not computers. And every device, fixed and mobile, is in play" - Alan S. Cohen, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions


Cisco on "The Next Wave of Business Internet" - they're surfing Second Life!

Here's the link - have a read:

The Next Wave of the Business Internet: The Human Network@Work

Post by Alan S. Cohen, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions


The 4 Guiding Principles to the Human Network@Work according to Cohen:

1. The next wave of the business Internet is real-time, contextual, borderless and user-centric.

2. By its nature, it is about secure rich collaboration and unified communications, not just IP Telephony or email or IM, but also web conferencing (e.g., WebEx), mobility, and video collaboration (TelePresence).

3. It is open, not dictated by one vendor’s applications but a rich and diverse suite of capabilities from a very, very wide range of players from ERP to industry-specific.

4. It can be delivered and consumed in a variety of manners: implemented at your business by your own IT staff or a great experienced technology partner (e.g., Cisco UC), managed by a VAR (Cisco Smart Business Communications System) or delivered by a service provider (WebEx)

What does this mean for those less-tech-savvy-biz surfers?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is the future of global commerce in virtual worlds?

Sandra Kearney, IBM’s head of 3D Development, in Second Life's second session of the Metanomics Conference responded to this question with the view that face to face is still the communication channel of preference but when not an option, virtual worlds provide an alternative.

techcrunch: if-a-conference-is-held-in-second-life-will-anyone-listen

"IBM is already holding meetings and doing other staff/ communications activities in Second Life, and others are including Cisco and Amazon are also using Second Life for business meetings. It won’t replace a top end teleconference setup, but it works as a more affordable alternative" reports

Metanomics Conference Video from techcrunch:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kaywa's Feed2Mobile Beta - give it a try!

Eric Kintz of HP mentioned two mobile web mashups in his post unleashing HP Uncut:

"Two such services worth looking at are Kaywa's Feed2Mobile service (in beta) and Winksite. What makes these services interesting is they are examples of mobile web 2.0 mashups, where web content is automatically repurposed for mobile consumption. Such tools make it almost trivial to mobilize one's blog. And they provide nifty mobile hyperlinks to make the mobilized blog easily accessible from camera phones with the right scanner software. I first learned about Feed2Mobile from this interesting video by Elektrischer Reporter."

Here's a response from (correction HP's) Stephen Miller:


I took the liberty of mobilizing your blog with Feed2Mobile (anyone can do it - you just provide the feed url). Here's the link to the mobilized blog:

If you navigate there on your mobile phone, you'll get the mobilized version of the blog.

Feed2Mobile provides a QR code, which you can see if you navigate here using a PC Web Browser, and you can also see an emulation of the mobilized blog.

-Stephen Miller

TechCrunch Announces Mixx Private Beta

Have you got your Mixx?

Techcrunch say "Mixx is a new social news site. To put it into context, it’s a sort of cross between Digg, LinkedIn and MyYahoo.

In a nutshell, its a social network that lets you find and share news based on your interests and location."

Enter your email and they'll be in touch shortly...

Docstoc Beta YouTube for Professional Documents?

A friend just emailed me this link: Docstoc Beta

Blog: Coming Soon March 8th, 2007 is a free online document exchange database and social networking site that allows users to store, search, and share virtually any type of document (word, excel, powerpoint, pdf, illustrator, etc…). Similar in concept to (for photos) and (for videos) will be the online community for sharing all types of documents. The users will post, categorize, and rate thousands of documents that can be reused by other users for a variety of purposes.

Its three primary applications will be: 1) Business/Legal - to share business, legal, and financial templates that attorneys, business professionals, and the public can retool for their own purposes, 2) Educational – to provide an online form to share term papers, outlines, and a variety of educational materials for students and teachers, and 3) Self Expression – to provide an online community to share scripts, creative writing, and e-books.

Here's the Overview:

Currently in private beta, Docstoc is trying to become the YouTube for documents - geared toward professions.

Jason Lawrence Nazar (Docstoc's CEO) told us the idea for docstoc originated while working on his other venture - Venature provides consulting and capital to startups. Jason would often spend 2 hours/day looking online for documents the startups needed such as forms, NDAs, etc. He wondered why there wasn't something like YouTube for documents.

In September of 2006, he decided to make it himself and Docstoc was born. So far the site has been self funded, with development happening overseas in India. However, it has been rumored that they are close to closing a "substantial" round of funding from a number of potential investors.

Scribd is another site aiming to become the "YouTube for documents." However, it is not geared towards professionals like Docstoc."

Source: Docstoc Beta

David Harper says Winksite is Standards - Compliant - What does this mean?

Hi again Fiona.

Re: "What does it mean for Winksite to be "standards-compliant mobile Website builder"?"

Winksite is the first standards-compliant mobile Website builder that also includes RSS-driven content deployment and mobile-tuned community features such as forum, chat, and polls. This approach delivers fresh content, fast-loading pages, and universally accessible easy-to-use community features to your audience.

This refers in part to the fact that every mobile site published at Winksite is fully (100%) compliant with W3C and .Mobi Mobile Web Standards.

In addition, without having to lift a finger or squint at code your Winksite is guaranteed to score 5/5 on dotMobi’s MobiReady Report (we are .Mobi certified).

What does this mean beyond bragging rights?

Broad support across every browser on the planet to start. (and soon much more in terms of SEO.)

…and for those visitors still using WAP, no worries we serve that up just as neatly as ever.

The following links are available at the desktop version of your mobile address but I have included them here for easier access:
More can be found here:
David Harper
Founder, Winksite

Winksite Recommended!

The team (Founder - David Harper) sorted out my self-created tech dilemma in no time and explained exactly how the site works in an email:

Hi Fiona,

Usernames and the folder names added (
as the second part of of your site's address ) when you create a mobile site are limited to 12 character each. We have found it best t keep these address short as it can be bothersome for mobile users using phones without qwerty keyboards to enter longish addresses.

IMHO - The address you ended up with
appears fine to me as far as how it relates to your web presence.

Now as far as "Please let me know how to proceed so that your site recognizes my blog and website."

i assume you are referring to your blogs feed that you wish to mobilize.

It's actually has nothing to do with the address you choose to create at Winksite. Let me explain...

We took a look and it appears you inadvertently entered your blog's web address ( rather then it's feed address ( when setting up the Blog channel on your Winksite.

We went ahead and fixed that for you and your blog's RSS feed is now mobilizing correctly..

Please let me know if there is anything else we ca help you with.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome!

Re: The comment your blog. We received your support request within moments after you sent it - but you caught us sleeping - literally. :)

David Harper
Founder, Winksite

Death of Privacy by Social Media?

iMedia Connection Inc. have published an intriguing article today on the "Death of Privacy" due to Social Media:

Amelia Torode (Head of Digital Strategy VCCP) asks: "As individuals, the web has offered us so many opportunities to connect. We share everything, all the time, with everyone. But where is it all going?"

Torode refers to Emily Nussbaum's New Yorker publication "Say Everything" on teenage online behavior representing the greatest generation gap since rock-n-roll and suggests we read it.


Nussbaum says: "The future belongs to the uninhibited."

Concluding paragraph:

"The benefits are obvious: The public life is fun. It’s creative. It’s where their friends are. It’s theater, but it’s also community: In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with friends. And, yes, there are all sorts of crappy side effects: the passive-aggressive drama (“you know who you are!”), the shaming outbursts, the chill a person can feel in cyberspace on a particularly bad day. There are lousy side effects of most social changes (see feminism, democracy, the creation of the interstate highway system). But the real question is, as with any revolution, which side are you on?"


Torode says: "I think that by the end of this year we will move away from this era of radical transparency to one of refined privacy. Maybe we will find again that antiquated notion that sometimes silence is golden?"

Concluding paragraph:

"It is fine for us grown-ups to know that we have to manage our own personal "brand," but much harder (if not impossible) for a teenager to realise that everything we do online has tracks, and this indeed is a scary thought. I wonder whether something like Ning and other micro-social networks are the way forward. Ning allows you to create your own bespoke network of "friends" based around specific passion points, so in my Ning account group I would not dream of posting pictures from my hen night, because I communicate about the professional world that I inhabit."


I found both these conclusions thoughtful.

Other variables to think about are:
  • Who promotes the death of privacy through social or online media?
  • What are teenagers facing today that companies, schools, and families, do differently with use of online or social media and how does this impact on their sense of privacy?
  • How are adults responding to social media and the "death of privacy"?
  • Social media gives audiences across the board a voice - how does this impact not just individuals but entities?
An approach may be to survey youth on "the value of privacy" and the variables that contribute to the formation of that value. Social Media may be a contributor but it is also a vehicle for expression - also when values are violated.

Eric Kintz on Mobile Web - How important is Mobile for Social Marketing?

Eric is really exploring mobile technology and features such an informative article on his Digital Mindset Blog.

He raises the question:
So how important is mobile for social marketing? In short, very.

* John Hadl, whom Brandweek called "the father of mobile marketing" and a top 10 Next Generation Marketer, predicts that in a couple of years mobile phones will be the "premier consumer connection and medium for insights available for marketers."
* Julie Ask of Jupiter Research makes the case that mobile has already become a natural and increasingly important complement to social marketing campaigns. She provides a list of seven best practices for marketers to keep in mind when creating mobile social marketing campaigns.
* In his keynote at Mplanet 2006, AT&T's COO Randall Stephenson, said that of the three vehicles AT&T has to reach customers in their new Three Screen Initiative (internet/PC, TV, wireless/mobile phone), wireless is the most important.
* Wireless Week's Brad Smith suggests mobile advertising may be poised to explode next year.
* Tomi Ahonen calculated that in 2006 mobile social networking was already worth $3.45 billion. In Ahonen's view, "if you are not on mobile, you won't be relevant soon."
* Mmetric recently reported that 12.3 million consumers in the United States and Western Europe accessed a social networking site with their mobile device in June. And this was prior to the launch of the iPhone.


After reading the post, I signed up with Winksite - Mobile Web but experienced some technical difficulties with the URL. Winksite have a customer support on their site where I've queried the error that occurred, so...let's wait and see.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Eric Kintz introduces Videoblogging & HP Uncut

"Real HP employee insights, inspiration and answers, shared through self-produced videos."

HP employees can post videoblogs to the UP Uncut site - it's educational too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

BlogCasts vs Podcasts

Shockpod have had this post up on Google for ages with my email address causing my gmail account to be spammed.

Here's the idea:
BlogCasts vs. Podcasts...?
BlogCasts vs. Podcasts...?
BlogCasts are something to consider. One of my thoughts are being able to have blog posts with audio or voice-over which can be heard while typed and/or read on screen...that may be coming soon in the future (nothing is impossible). And it may help and be fun for people with and without challenges who use these technologies/media.

Imagine having blog posts read to you while you're busy doing something? Imagine a cooking blog with recipes and pictures. Yes - you could use your iPod - and there is YouTube videos and such inserted in blogs with sound. But, you could have your Apple iBook, IBM / Lenovo Thinkpad, or HP Notebook plugged in with the voice over of Dolly Parton telling you how to cook that Turkey from your favorite blog posts! What if you could choose the voice-over just to put you in specific mood too? Wouldn't that be neat?!

On Dec 31, 2006, I wrote a short entry titled "BlogCasts" on this blog -, related to having podcast interviews with executives available on my site as "BlogCasts". However, I changed my mind about doing this for that period. I thought "BlogCasts" could in the future develop into something far greater, even if I'm not the developer or the producer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cadbury's Drum Up African Spirit in Rugby World Cup '07!

See Video:
The advertisement was shown just before the start of the England vs. South Africa Rugby World Cup 2007. After South Africa thumped England 36-0, I wondered about this ad...the connections advertisements make in the mind...and the timing of an advertisement's broadcast.

For different viewers, what connections would their minds make when watching this advertisement?

If the advertisement was shown at half-time with score around 20-0 or towards the end, what connections would the mind make then (some players were injured with blood running down their faces)?

The first connection my mind made when I saw this advertisement was "Gorillas in the Mist" - the film that depicts the true-life story of Dian Fossey who fought to protect Gorillas from poaching and extinction in Rwanda:

True, there is the "choclate-sex connection" because of Phil Collins's song "Coming in the air tonight..." and enthusiasm with humor, but after the game when the mind still connects - what other connections may be made?

"Cadbury's Drum Up African Spirit"

The English continent isn't the natural "home" to Gorillas, it's the forests of Africa, although through colonization they inhabited English territory. Were Cadbury's supporting S. Africa?

Advertisements carry conscious and sub-conscious messages. Depending on demographics and the likely connections minds may make where those ads are broadcast, combined with the timing of events at the time of broadcast, the impact on the product or service can be quite far-reaching.

If simply downloaded from YouTube or watched on my blog and not in the context of the World Cup, it may send a different message too.

Gorilla DNA is 97-98% identical to that of a human -
Why do we as humans respond differently to a Gorilla playing a set of drums in this ad than a human?

These are interesting dynamics to consider.

blackpig on innovation and the marketing balance

I've asked the blackpig team ( on their blog how companies should go about (solutions) achieving a balance when using a standard product/service while engaging in innovations, trying to achieve a competitive and sustainable advantage, and meeting responsibilities.


I found this post on the blackpig site quite interesting:

"Edward De Bono is often regarded as the father of lateral thinking in creative circles and has numerous tips and techniques which can easily be incorporated into any marketing planning session to produce some truly innovative results. One of the simplest is the PMI (Plus, Minus & Interesting).

With the PMI you don’t just produce a list of pro’s and con’s of an idea you also list interesting results too, for example if a business was to start giving bonus’ for staff who went a year without taking a sick day some of the ‘pro’s’ might be: motivating staff to work harder and bonuses would cover lost sick time pay. ‘Con’s’: might be that staff who are genuinely too ill to come to work become disgruntled. And the ‘interesting’: because staff force themselves to work whilst ill could it result in more sickness around the company?

Another relatively easy technique to encourage creative thinking and innovation is backwards brainstorming; in this you produce a list of points which would have the opposite effect of what you want, for example a business producing a new website may have points including being viewable in only one specific browser, not updating the content, having large images and making it difficult to navigate. From this list you then turn each point around to create a list of solutions."


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

PwC Advertise on Facebook

It's fascinating how corporations are tapping into the use of social media for marketing purposes. Here's an example of my Facebook account where I'm responding to a friend at USC and we're discussing careers. I happened to mention PwC with the web link and what pops up? This thumbnail advertisement. Notice though, I have the choice to remove it and also to choose a picture or no picture before clicking "send". Facebook users have free access to this utility and receive no commission for being "instruments of advertising or marketing". Versus the partnership that exists between Facebook (soon-to-be-Google) and advertisers/marketers.

RFID Memo to the CEO

Back in 2004, we were given a memo assignment in my Advanced Business Writing class (one of my first at USC) on the topic of "trickle-down effects in business" - a subject of our choice. We had to address this memo to our professor as if she was the CEO. The use of RFID has come a long way since this memo I wrote then (it may appear a bit distorted because of the blog-tool):

To: Yolanda Kirk, CEO
From: Fiona Torrance
Subject: Trickle-down Effects of RFID Technology
Date: September 16, 2004

We recently discussed the future of the barcode, and as we both agreed that it wasn't the most efficient technology in terms of inventory tracking and cost used by retail companies like our own, I decided to research its successor – Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

This analysis with provide you with the following:
· industries experiencing the trickle-down effects of RFID
· origin of RFID and how it works
· RFID's benefit to the retail industry

RFID application is not limited to any particular industry. It has multiple effects on businesses and consumers. The retail industry have recognized the impact of RFID use, and are pioneering its advancement. The web site,, had an interesting write-up titled, “Are You Ready for RFID?” by Colin C. Haley. In discussing this trend, he says, “Retailers believe RFID will replace bar codes, vastly improve the efficiency of their supply chain and cut down on theft and loss.

Still other business sectors are looking at tags and readers for a variety of tasks” (Haley 1). Business sectors are considering the advantages of implementing RFID and the trickle-down effects RFID is having on other industries, and on individuals.

Industries Experiencing Trickle-down Effects of RFID Besides the retail industry, RFID technology is revolutionizing many other industries and organizations, some of those experiencing the trickle-down effects of RFID include:
· Engineering and Information Technology
· Educational Institutes, Library Services, and Publishers
· National and International Security
· Public Services
· Agriculture, Botany, and Zoology
· Health and Medical
· Food and Beverage
· Legal, Accounting, and Financial
· Retail and Manufacturing

Recently, RFID technology has been embedded in bandages to monitor wounds and to monitor SARS patients in China. It is also being used in refrigerators to detect spoiled food. Research in all fields greatly benefits from RFID development. RFID technology has the potential to alter the operations of almost every industry that you can think of, and to change the way that businesses and individuals interact.

The technology is becoming much less costly to produce, ranging from 10¢ to $1 per RFID tag depending on the particular type of RFID required – read-only, write-only, or both. You can think of RFID technology as a database with programmable capabilities. I'll now give you some background of RFID's origins and how it works.

The Origin of RFID

RFID technology was previously used during the 1940’s in World War II military aircraft to detect friend from foe. Mainly being used by the military for detection and tracking, its other uses for many years did not venture much further than air traffic control and vehicle monitoring at tollgates. But RFID is now being developed by engineering firms world-wide for multi-use in industries and organizations. Scientists have drawn an analogy between the development of the Internet - and its global impact - and RFID development.

Debora Vrana recently featured an article in the L.A. Times about the Pasadena-based company, Avery Dennison Corp., and their use of RFID in labels. She quotes the editor of the RFID Journal, Mark Roberti, as saying, “This is a lot like what the Internet was in 1995, we are on the verge of a major change in the way companies do business” (qtd. in Vrana C1). With this change comes many ramifications because of how RFID works, so I've provided you with a brief description below.

How RFID Works

RFID is a transponder that allows identification of radio frequency. This transponder contains programmable electronic code, embedded with a unique identification number. It is often referred to as an ‘RFID tag’. A receiver, containing an antenna, detects the tag within its electromagnetic field, and is able to wirelessly receive and transmit information to and from the tag.

The RFID tag can be as small as a pin-head and can share information about any object, animal, or person that it is attached to. It acts as a tracking device and a portable database that allows multiple tags to be read simultaneously. RFID tags survive harsh climatic conditions and hazardous environments. Because of its features and versatile use, the RFID tag is deemed to replace the barcode and smartcard in the future, and to revolutionize industries and organizations globally.

The retail industry is at the head of this revolution with its implementation of RFID. Retail companies, like our own, have to make a decision about whether or not to embrace this change. It's not an easy decision to make without the knowledge of how we will be affected, and what measures will need to be in place to facilitate RFID use. This information on RFID's benefit to the retail industry may give us a starting point for further discussion.

RFID Benefits the Retail Industry

Retailers and manufacturers stand to benefit from RFID in the following three main areas:
· Financing Activities
· Operating Activities
· Investing Activities

The effect on each activity is briefly discussed below, starting with financing activities.

Financing Activities

Retail financing activities involve the exchange of resources between owners for a return, or gaining resources from creditors for future settlement. Retailers are experiencing an effect on their financing activities due to RFID in some of the following ways:
1. Improved tracking of resources due to RFID's accurate monitoring abilities
2. Substantial reduction in shrinkage costs as RFID enhances security
3. More efficient business forecasting because of the quality of data transmitted by RFID

Intel list the values of RFID in the Business/Enterprise section of their Homepage stating: “RFID reader-generated data can be converted into valuable, actionable information that delivers a significant return on investment by capturing, consolidating, and analyzing huge volumes of data which can be used to make faster and better business decisions” (Intel 1).

RFID provides the information that businesses need to make more efficient calculations of future earnings. Its tracking abilities also reduces the cost of shrinkage and theft, as operations are streamlined.

Operating Activities

Running a retail and manufacture business involves daily activities where RFID is playing a major role. Some of these business operational activities include:
1. Improved system for purchase and sale of inventory as recorded data is accurate and immediately available
2. Efficient management of the supply chain, reducing labor costs and human error
3. Better customer service in terms of monitoring of stock, defective goods, and delivery

Prashant Bhatia and Greg Gilbert, writing for the E-Business Executive Daily, highlight the effects of RFID on the supply chain and customer service, saying, “The rippling effects of RFID will permeate across many industries enabling a new level of customer service and nimbleness in the supply chain.

Instead of looking to the industry to dictate what RFID can do for them; leading businesses will gain recognition for what they have done with RFID” (Bhatia and Gilbert 2). Their view is that how businesses use RFID will be what redefines their position and influence in the business sector. The retail supply chain is expected to invest from $91.5 million in 2003 to nearly $1.3 billion in 2008 on RFID technology (Earls 1).

Investing Activities

Retail and manufacturing firms try to spend capital productively in line with company objectives. RFID is viewed as a key contributor in making some of these investing activities successful:
1. The replacement of long-term assets to facilitate RFID use will become more economical as RFID's costs reduce, and because of RFID's long-term durability
2. Cash availability for investment in marketable securities will increase because of these cost-savings
3. Changing company objectives to meet the capabilities of RFID will enable positioning and influence within the business sector, and will spur industry growth

Investing in RFID technology carries with it risks and rewards, William Atkinson discusses these in the Risk Management publication. In his analysis, he quotes the principal of Stamford, Gartner, Inc., Jeff Woods, as saying,
RFID represents huge investment in new IT.

Wal-Mart, for example, is expected to be investing a couple of billion of dollars in equipment alone. As such, one implication for risk management is the tremendous shift in a company’s data collection budget from labor to assets” (qtd. in Atkinson 3). Moving the company’s data collection budget from labor to assets is an example of the risk Wal-Mart is taking by investing its capital in RFID-compatible equipment.

There is no doubt that the implementation of RFID will boost the activities of industries, such as the retail and manufacture industries, however, the advent of RFID and its infancy is not without its concerns. And, these concerns seriously affect all industries mentioned and not mentioned in this document. I've listed some of these concerns for you to consider.

Concerns about RFID

There are arguments both in favor and against RFID advancement with respect to the following important issues:
· No current standardization of RFID technology exists
· Regulation of RFID capabilities, and international use, is still to be determined
· Royalties on RFID designs are a grey area that could increase trickle-down costs
· Public reaction to RFID use and its capabilities, particularly when in the wrong hands,
is pending because of the lack of awareness about the technology
· The need to protect personal privacy could be costly

All these concerns are valid and could intensely weigh the benefits down if RFID is implemented prematurely, or too late causing loss of competitiveness and industry position. We would need to balance these interests and the decisions we make to protect us from both possibilities.

Weighing the Interests of RFID

The ‘birth’ of the internet sparked debate about its origin, features, and uses, yet it is still evolving even with jurisdiction and security issues within the United States. Similarly, the mandates by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Department of Defense (DoD) which force suppliers to adopt the new RFID technology starting January 1, 2005, are igniting awareness and discussion amongst industries, organizations, and individuals.

The far-reaching ramifications created by the ‘birth’ of RFID is yet to be experienced and identified as it evolves and changes how we do business, or how we conduct our lives. Although, in the retail industry specifically, we foresee substantial benefits to our financing, operating, and investing activities if we embrace RFID, the concerns raised about standardization, regulation, and privacy will have to be addressed.

We will have to consider the restructuring process within our company accordingly, and this is why I have provided you with this overview of RFID technology. Should you have any questions or details that you would like me to research more in-depth, let me know and I'll do so with pleasure.

Works Cited
Atkinson, William. “Tagged: The Risks and Rewards of RFID Technology.” Risk Management 51.7 (2004) : 12-19. Proquest. Business. USC Lib., Los Angeles, CA. 5 September 2004

Bhatia, Prashant, and Greg Gilbert. “Now’s the Time for RFID”. The E- Business Executive Daily 22 April 2003. Google. 12 September 2003

Earls, Alan R. “Are You Ready for RFID?” The Know Retail Management 2004. Google. 9 September 2004

Haley, Colin C. “Are You Ready for RFID?” 14 November 2003. Google. 12 September 2004

Intel Homepage. “Rfid Converts Data into Business Value.” Business/Enterprise. 2004. Google. 12 September 2004

Richardson, Helen L. “Tuning in to RFID.” World Trade Magazine 1 November 2003. Google. 10 January 2004

Roberti, Mark. “The RFID “Revolution”.” RFID Journal 12 January 2004. Google. 10 January 2004

Vrana, Deborah. “Avery Dennison Is Hoping New Technology for Its Labels Will Stick.” L.A. Times 29 August 2004, Business: C1

Monday, September 10, 2007

RFID Journal introduces Distance Learning

What's interesting is not just the introduction of distance learning, but all the partnerships, collaborations, and alliances that result in product development, innovation, and forms of marketing too as a result. How social media is used to convey messages and the systems or platforms these media types run on - the compatibilities and incompatibilities - this is intriguing. More fascinating are all the conflicts of interest that may, can, and sometimes do arise with the dynamics of combining all these elements.

USC CTM Response on Social Media and CR

"I don’t think you will see, nor would it be a good development, standards for structure, content of social media. However, security issues, which is the one that triggered your original question, will most definitely generate demand for standards. Whether those turn out to be industry proposed, which is what is happening in finance industry when it comes to cyber security, or government imposed, which some in Congress argue for, or imposed through third parties such as auditing community remains to be seen. CTM’s sister institute, ICIIP (Institute for Critical Information Infrastructure Protection) has developed one model for such standards, Systemic Security Management, which is being actively reviewed by one of the leading international auditing communities."

Morley Winograd
Executive Director

USC Marshall
Center for Telecom Management (CTM)


Morley Winograd is an internationally recognized authority on the impact of technology on life and work. Prior to joining CTM, he served as Vice President Gore's Senior Policy Advisor in the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Since then, governments in Italy, Mexico, Israel, Costa Rica, and Argentina have asked him to help with their own reform efforts.

His lectures on the topic of technology's reshaping of America have won wide praise in forums as diverse as the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Los Angeles' Town Hall, Harvard's JFK School of Government, and Bologna University's John Hopkins School of International Affairs.

Prior to his work in government, Winograd spent eighteen years with AT&T, retiring as a Regional Vice President for Commercial Markets, having previously served as President of AT&T's University of Sales Excellence, a two-campus corporate training center that he reshaped into a university environment.

Morley is co-author of Taking Control: Politics in the Information Age (Holt, 1996). His innovative approach to corporate training has been recognized in such management training books as Stewardship, by Peter Block, and The Monster Under the Bed, by Stan Davis and Jim Botkin.


Social Media & CR Example Continued...

I'll give you two personal examples, and they're just two in that multi-layered spectrum of the universe termed "social media":

1. My ISP is BT and they're teamed up with Yahoo! who provide me with an email service too. I have the Option 3 package for broadband - full bells and whistles unlimited - with firewall, virus and spyware protection...all that stuff.

While in the US I setup a email account and I've continued to use that for personal US friends, etc. For UK purposes, I use the BT Internet Yahoo! account. There is also a Europe one which includes UK to my knowlege but I can't login through that with my BT Internet Yahoo! one.

When I'm using and login to email...this is so called "personal communication", BT Internet slice in the middle of my email with a pop-up (even though I disable the pop-ups?) informing me that I have a BT Internet Yahoo! email account. Well, don't I already know that? And, do I want to be informed in the middle of an email just because BT have teamed up with Yahoo!?

It's all about marketing.

2. What I've also experienced while paying a student loan online with an international finance institution is that "in the middle of the transaction", a pop-up appears for another finance institution trying to sell me a loan product (?). What's going on?

3. I've always used Google as my default homepage. Well, Microsoft have apparently tried to take dominion a number of times because Google have warned me...another pop-up saying something to the effect that Google has blocked Microsoft from changing my default settings. Do I want to know all this?

It's all marketing, advertising and competition - using social media as a form of "predatorship". We all know it exists, but when it extends to financial products and online capabilities - shouldn't we ask questions?

Who do we ask...the ISP (in this case BT)...Yahoo!...the creators of the IT & infrastructures...the marketers advising these firms...who?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

PwC Corporate Reporting Blog - Viewpoint on Social Media?

I've posed quite a broad question on David Phillips blog:

Do you think that industry will eventually expect standards in social media as it impacts their products and services? I've posted a writeup on


Friday, September 07, 2007

Social Media and Corporate Responsibility

Rough Mind Map - Social Media & Finance Industry Example.

At the start of the week two people were discussing Social Media with me when one mentioned the word "Insurance" - this was what my mind mapped. Take out the finance industry as just one example.

A major area for social media is distance learning. Social media brings learning to life and companies (VISA, RBS, HSBC) in the UK are getting the ifs (and similar institutes) to customize learning products for them:
They also have ifsProshare and KnowledgeBank.

Tremendous changes are happening in the finance industry. We'll take this term - finance - to include the accounting and investment fields...because where Corporate Responsibility (CR) auditing is concerned - there will be an overlap in the future:
Reporting that extends to economic, social, and environmental sustainability - below and beyond the "reporting threshold".

PwC are an industry leader in setting the standards for global implementation of IFRS which used to be known as the "International Accounting Standards Board" (IASB). The words "Financial Reporting Standards" have replaced "Accounting Standards Board".

In 2009, the International Financial Reporting Standards is proposing to merge with US GAAP:

Differences between IFRS and US GAAP:

Consider the impact on large and small business, and on academic institutions teaching financial-related courses. Changes will have to be made. Are preparations being made?
In 2004, when I took Accounting courses at university, no mention was ever made of IFRS in the class. Since global changes in financial regulation and reporting standards are so important -students should be kept in the loop.

In November 2007, Markets in Financial Instruments Directives (MiFID) takes effect extending the responsibility of firms in their conduct of business and internal organization - CR.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK have implemented "Treating Customers Fairly" - also CR. And it's the FSA that provide institutes like the ifs with syllabus guidelines, and industry with codes of conduct.

Firms are operating internationally, and so are educational institutes - all are using social media. What's interesting is the dependence we have on social media - especially in distance learning.

As PwC forges ahead to set the standards in global CR for finance - which company should set the global standard for social media? Google? Yahoo? Should marketers be curators of content? What are the conflicts of interest? What protections are in place for profiles and content?

The answers to these questions need to be explored. Our reliance appears to be on marketers as the promoters of social media to answer them. We see division, such as with the Wikimedia Foundation and the Founders of Centiare. Does or should a multi-industry group exist to independently evaluate and answer these questions?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brainy Brands, Emotions, and Eve's Apple - Brain Patterns - Useful in Social Media Search?

Yesterday, I went to Brighton. While travelling back on Southwestern Rail, a pretty young lady with long fair hair sat opposite me in the coach.

My eyes fixated on her adam's (or should we call it eve's?) apple - it was wobbling up and down. I thought: "This young lady's about to cry." Then I thought: "Don't make assumptions, look at her eyes...look for other signs." The eyes were slightly watery. But that didn't necessarily mean emotional tears.

Suddenly all I saw was a giant ONION. Dad's Army? Dixondale Farms? David Coleman? An onion on a billboard that said: "We know our onions..." The billboard was attached to some scaffolding as I passed on a bus between Tower Hill and Victoria earlier that day.

The brain's ability to associate tears with onions and attach memory is amazing. This is another area to explore. People's brains must create different patterns when connecting emotions, perceptions and memory. Those patterns may be used in social media search. Marketers have all kinds of avenues to experiment with especially with the development of biometrics and tools like fMRI.

Too far off? Look at Case 7 and 11 -

But ethics (simply a custom or habit - your thinking and doing) do have to be considered when marketing products and appealing to emotions because of social and moral responsibility to others. So I'd ask you to think about the contribution of someone like Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) - Genevan Philosopher of the Enlightenment and his socialist theory (social media?):

1. Society's negative influence on men centers on its transformation of a positive self-love (what he terms "Amour de soi") into pride or "Amour propre". The self-love is our instinctive human desire to self-preserve combined with our human power of reason.

Pride, on the other hand, is artificial and forces man to compare himself to others. The articiality and comparison creates fear, allowing men to take pleasure in the pain or weakness of others. Rousseau was not the first to make this distinction. The French moralist, Luc de Clapier, marques de Vauvenargues is thought to be the first.

Rousseau viewed society as artificial and held that the development of society, especially the growth of social interdependence, has been inimical to the well-being of human beings. Marketers have to consider the well-being of human beings when developing and deploying metrics, search strategies, and campaigns.

2. Rousseau published "Discourse in the Arts and Sciences" where he "argued that the arts and sciences had not been beneficial to humankind because they were not human needs, but rather a result of pride and vanity" (wikipedia).

He saw both as disciplines that created opportunities for idleness and luxury with the progress of knowledge that contributed to the corruption of man, and the overpowering of goverments that crushed individual liberty.

His conclusion: Material progress undermined the possibility of sincere friendship because it replaced genuineness with jealousy, fear, and suspicion.

3. Another work of Rosseau's is the "Discourse on Inequality" where he argues a number of points:

a) primitive humans were possessed of a basic drive to care for themselves and a natural disposition for compassion and pity
b) humans were forced to associate together more closely by the pressure of population growth, they underwent a psychological transformation and came to value the good opinion of others as an essential component of their own well-being
c) their new self-awareness was associated with a golden age of human flourishing - the development of agriculture, metallurgy, private property... (social contract created by the rich & poweful)
d) humans became increasingly dependent on one another which led to inequality and a state of conflict (the flaw of the social contract)

Conclusion: "...the desire to have value [brand?] in the eyes of others, which originated in the golden age, comes to undermine personal integrity and authenticity in a society marked by interdependence, hierarchy, and inequality" (Wikipedia).

Challenge for Brand Marketers: How do you create a desirable brand that does not undermine personal integrity and authenticity in a society marked by interdependence, hierarchy, and inequality?

In his "Social Contract", Rosseau advocates that individuals free themselves by abondoning their claim on natural right because submission to the authority of the general will of the people protects individuals from the subordinate will of others, and also ensures that they obey themselves because they are, collectively, the authors of the law.

According to the Wikipedia, he invented modern autobiography (isn't blogging a form of autobiography?) -

Lists of Ethicists:

INTP on Facebook - What does this say to Brand Marketers?

This is what I have written in the About Me section in Facebook: "INTP Meyers Briggs "Preference-Type". It used to be INTJ. Heavens knows what it was before then and what it will become!"

Joking aside, here's a link to the INTP preference-type: on Typelogic and a Portrait of an INTP: Check this site out: And - let's not forget the Wikipedia:

The point being...that if Facebook or MySpace (and other online social communities and such) provide the option for users and customers to identify their personality preference types, the "personalization" may help marketers identify their audience and pitch their brands.

Socio-personal metrics could be developed too for use in the social computing/media context.

Jungian functional preference ordering for INTP:

Dominant: Introverted Thinking
Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition
Tertiary: Introverted Sensing
Inferior: Extraverted Feeling

Recommended Reading: "Type Talk At Work" - Otto Kroeger, Janet M. Thuesen, Hile Rutledge

Here's a great site with loads of personality tests to gleam ideas from:

The Internet Freemium vs Premium Debate - What are your thoughts?

iMedia recently published this article: "The internet's dirty secret: free will cost you" by Anthony Casalena -

Anthony raises the question to online marketers: What happens when this "ad-supported" model is transitioned from supporting not just content, but actual services on the web? The shift brings in the requirement of "customer service, reliable systems, and a dedication to fix bugs" - is the ad revenue enough to cover these costs?

According to Anthony, $32 billion is spent globally in online advertising. The bottom line: Hardware is consumed and servers host masses of free users that create "downtime" for paying users who are mostly professionals with higher traffic sites that can't afford to be offline for substantial amounts of time. How can marketing professionals eliminate this downtime - missed opportunity for business?

Antony M. from Spannerworks - - gives an interesting perspective:

But how much does free cost you?

I pay approx. $11-12 per month to use Yahoo! Smallbusiness - - to host my website: And it's worth paying this amount because I derive pleasure out of creating the site and experimenting with social media.

No free service could offer me the same tools. The service is terrific. Instead of adding a Yahoo! blog or one on offer through the service, I choose to add a Google Blogger one -, because I'm comfortable with how Blogger works and don't have to use AdSense if I don't want to.

Even though I experience bugs (as a free user) from time-to-time, I learn how to work around it and Edit Html too until my page looks right. Being able to combine the Yahoo! and Google services together works for me - the blog is accessible on every page of my Yahoo! website. Both Yahoo! and Google benefit from this too.

Free users of blogs do provide free content with innovative ideas, and serve as a broad sample base to gather statistics. Paying customers - marketers in particular - benefit from these ideas, statistics, and market exposure to their products and services, that users give away freely.

Where professionals can spread the costs of internet service, the non-professional often doesn't benefit from this form of scaling.

Weigh these benefits to professionals against the cost of their "downtime" and what's the result? How much "downtime" do the user and customer experience?

Similarly, even paid software isn't without its bugs and incompatibilities as we're aware with Microsoft products and others - Customers still have to rely on global call centers (I've had the experience) and the online forum. Time is still money whether you're paying for the software or not.

And open source products (many of which are free) are aimed at taking into consideration those with disabilities - - what value do you place on this?

There are many aspects to consider when thinking about Premium versus Freemium. What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 03, 2007 Corporate Profiles Updated

I've just updated the Biz Blog Review website. Thanks to Yahoo! Smallbusiness, all the corporate profiles are still there:

Bob Sutor -
Charlene Li -
Leo Bottary -
Eric Kintz -
Rishab Ratnu -
David Jackson -

Thank you all again for your participation! I'm going to leave the site as is but add a different flavor to this blog by raising questions with executives on different topic themes. It's going to be a bit of an experiment as the first, while I keep up another website and blog -