Jan 10

Daily Links for January 8th through January 11th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Anderson Analytics — Social Networking Service User Typing Tool – The segmentation model above is based on several variables from our recent research study. However, we have selected just a couple of the variables from the model above which do a fairly good job at predicting someone's membership in one of the segments. If you would like to try the simpler typing model to see which of the segments you are closest to you may do so here.
  • Social Media Today | The Business of Social Media: B2B and B2C Engagement by the Numbers – Business.com recently conducted a study that evaluated Social Media activities of those in B2B and B2C. In its report, “2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study,” Business.com found that North American companies focused on B2B were much more rigorous in the world of social media than those in B2C. As you’ll see, B2B leads the fray across the entire regiment of campaigns and programs.
  • sleeping alone and starting out early: smacking down Jaron Lanier & ‘World Wide Mush’ – Normally, I wouldn't take on such a revered, well credentialed authority as Jaron Lanier,* but his recent Wall Street Journal piece on why the movement toward collectivism, collaboration, and openness is doomed to failure leaves him cruising for a bruising.
  • A Peek Into Netflix Queues – NYTimes.com – Examine Netflix rental patterns, neighborhood by neighborhood, in a dozen cities. Some titles with distinct patterns are Mad Men, Obsessed and Last Chance Harvey.
  • The Decade in Management Ideas – Our Editors – Harvard Business Review – Tis the season for "year's best" lists — and even, this year, for "decade's best" lists — and who are we to resist the urge? A few of us HBR editors (Gardiner Morse and Steve Prokesch helped especially) took the opportunity to look back on the past ten years of management thinking and are ready to declare our choices for the — well, why not say it — most influential management ideas of the millennium (so far).

Oct 09

Daily Links for October 16th through October 22nd

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • The Ultimate Gadget Decision Flowchart [PIC] – Should get the new [insert gadget here] or not? [Note: A handy guide for gadget enthusiasts. But be honest with yourself, you're probably going to buy the thing anyway. It's so shiny!]
  • Remodeling Magazine: Home remodeling, kitchen and bath design … – Looks like the return on home improvements is suffering as much as the real estate market.
  • A Random Search Search for Excellence Why “great company” research delivers fables and not facts – Many believe that we can learn how to be great by studying greatness. But what is great performance? It turns out that we typically measure the wrong thing and set the bar far too low. Consequently, researchers who think they are studying successful companies are usually studying the winners of a random walk. What does this mean for the soundness of some of the most popular and influential management research? The bottom line: you can’t trust it.
  • What carries you up will also bring you down — cdixon.org – chris dixon’s blog – In every case you can find the one sentence or paragraph that describes their unique business model advantage. It could be their unique distribution system or the retailing model. It’s the factor that accounts for their success. It turns out the factor that explains their success at the beginning is what accounts for their failure later.
  • Amazon offers same-day delivery to select cities | Webware – CNET – Amazon customers placing deliveries within the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Seattle, as well as "some surrounding areas," will now be able to receive shipments on the same day they place an order. The service will be coming to Chicago, Indianapolis, and Phoenix "in the coming months."

    Amazon said "thousands of items" are available now to customers living in those cities. The new option, called Local Express Delivery, will have varied pricing that depends on the type of product purchased. Amazon Prime members–customers who pay $79 per year to receive unlimited two-day shipping from the online retailer–will need to pay $5.99 per item for the service.

  • Invest in Collaborative Tools, Get More Than Double Return, Study Says – While the study shows that companies investing in top-of-the-range telepresence and telephony systems get the most return, even organizations deploying just basic collaborative tools (like IM and web conferencing) reap a return on collaborative investment of over two times. The study suggests this is because teams using collaborative tools can benefit from a network effect — the more users on a network, the more value is realized from it.
  • No-contract $30 / $45 Straight Talk wireless plans storm Walmart – Remember when TracFone horrified the world with its Straight Talk phone selection back in July? Clearly the suits in Bentonville weren't so scared, as now Walmart is latching on to that very plan and claiming it as its own. In over 3,200 of the outfit's retail stores across America, consumers will be able to snag an admittedly pathetic cellie and a rather decent calling plan for just $30 a month. Three Hamiltons gets you 1,000 voice minutes, 1,000 texts and 30MB of mobile web access, not to mention nationwide coverage and free 411 calls. If that's not quite enough, a $45 per month option provides unlimited everything (voice / SMS / mobile web). Of course, the price of using an antediluvian LG 220, LG Slider 290 or Samsung 451 can't be measured in mere dollars, but hey, humiliation's only temporary — right?

Oct 09

Daily Links for October 10th through October 12th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

Sep 09

Daily Links for September 19th through September 21st

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Clive Thompson on the New Literacy – The fact that students today almost always write for an audience (something virtually no one in my generation did) gives them a different sense of what constitutes good writing. In interviews, they defined good prose as something that had an effect on the world. For them, writing is about persuading and organizing and debating, even if it's over something as quotidian as what movie to go see. The Stanford students were almost always less enthusiastic about their in-class writing because it had no audience but the professor: It didn't serve any purpose other than to get them a grade. As for those texting short-forms and smileys defiling serious academic writing? Another myth. When Lunsford examined the work of first-year students, she didn't find a single example of texting speak in an academic paper.
  • Crossing the Finish Line — The surprising facts about high school GPAs. — Crooked Timber – That high school GPA has considerable predictive power (after controlling for high school attended) within similarly selective institutions (so we’re not talking about the whole range of GPA points) that suggests that, despite having no common examinations, a diffuse curriculum, and little common conversation about standards, high school teachers are doing something fairly systematic in their grading practices. That it has predictive power even without controlling for high school attended suggests the more amazing conclusion that even across high schools grading practices are far from unsystematic. Exactly what they are doing that is systematic is not so clear—they are probably not purely rewarding achievement measured independently of the person who produces it but, as my daughter (and the authors) suspect, rewarding personality traits (traits that, observing the parents around me, they cultivate much more carefully in their daughters than their sons).
  • The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences – Telegraph – The Lost Symbol, the latest novel by The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, has gone on sale. We pick 20 of the clumsiest phrases from it and from his earlier works.
  • Science & Environment Articles | Genius Is Overrated; Incremental Advances Underappreciated | Miller-McCune Online Magazine – Since technological innovation arises from combinations, it follows that the more tools one can command, the more potential combinations one can produce. And the more potential combinations, the more likely one is to find the truly innovative solution — the new technology that neatly solves the problem at hand, and perhaps makes all that came before it obsolete.
  • Burckhardt—Learning from the Past (Harper’s Magazine) – Let us now contemplate the magnitude of our obligation to the past as a spiritual continuum, which must be counted among our highest spiritual possessions. We must mobilize everything that we can to serve this effort even in the most remote way, until we arrive at the reconstruction of entire past intellectual horizons. The relationship of each century to this heritage is in and of itself already a recognition, that is, something new, which will be counted as something historical, which is to say, something surmounted, as part of the heritage of the next generation.

Sep 09

Daily Links for September 13th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • What We Can Learn About Pricing From Menu Engineers – Rapp is a menu engineer. He helps restaurants maximize revenue by hacking common flaws in human decision-making. For example, by simply removing “$” signs from prices, people are less intimidated by them. And he advises against listing items from least to most expensive, because that focuses the consumer on price. Instead he mixes up items, making it hard to find their price — thereby encouraging the customer to emotionally commit to something before finding out what it costs. But my favorite strategy of his is that of putting some absurdly expensive item on the menu. Rapp doesn’t expect many consumers to buy it, but having it there makes expensive items appear cheap by comparison. Think about it: How many times have you ordered a bottle of wine in the middle of the price range?
  • Google Maps Mania: Google Map of Nearly Everything – iHaochi is a Google Map that let's you explore geotagged content from a large number of websites, including BrightKite, Flickr, Panoramio, Picasa, Upcoming, Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, and YouTube. The map also features "Local News" and "Local Tweets", showing news from Google News and recent tweets from Twitter.
  • How the Cliq May Make Handset Makers Uncomfortable – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com – In many ways this bet is as provocative as Cliq Interface. Motorola is saying that it is going to make its phones stand out, not by the hardware (even though the Cliq seems quite solid and attractive) or by its software (even though the underlying Android operating system provides lots of handy applications) but through an Internet-based service.