Monday 31 January 2011

My January experiment: one post a day - results

This post concludes my January experiment of one post a day. It took considerably more effort than I was used to as my average for 2010 was 100, and this just about tripled that. Anyway, I had fun doing it

Of course there was some quality and quantity involved in this month's experiment. Overall, however, I think I maxed out on both. I did product two flowcharts that didn't make it past my 500 word marker, but those were work too, and actually the (Re)Tweet flowchart was quite a bit of that. What was extremely hard work was the 5-series on Google, Microsoft, Apple, IT-vendors and system integrators: I went through 82 financial reports and an estimated 15,000 pages just to come up with 5 blog posts

The Follow-or-Not Flowchart

I few days ago I published my "To Tweet or ReTweet flowchart".
I think it is time to publish my "To Follow or Not To Follow" flowchart as well, as I find that I hardly make any exception at all on my internal, unwritten rules for deciding to follow a new follower or not

This doesn't have to be a new follower necessarily, I use this scheme to pretty much decide every follow / non-follow question I have. I must say that Twitter's new 'Connections' feature greatly helps me, especially since Twitter List count is way off since half a year or so. Take the email announcing a new follower, look at their list count, and then go to their Twitter page: only there is the count correct

I do try to keep my following small, as everyone of them I want to follow. I use Twuniverse to line up my following once a month and see if I still know them all

Here's my decision diagram: I always end it with a peak at someone's latest 20 tweets. Quantity and quality of those give me the final push. I've been on Twitter for 2 years now, and must say this "strategy" works for me, keeps my Twitterverse interesting and allows me to interact with most

Saturday 29 January 2011

It's a mobile revolution - not a social media one

Following the dialogue between Malcolm Gladwell and Clay Shirky concerning the events in Tunesia and Egypt, among others, I noticed that both missed a valid point.
The picture above shows"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu in the form of a bamboo book - and I'd like to apply the term "war" to what is happening now

Waging war has always been a classical hierarchically organised business: headquarters making up the strategy, delegating that via generals, who delegate the orders to captains, who delegate it to lieutenants, who delegate it to sergeants, who order the soldiers to move left or right or any other direction

It is technology that changed all this

Friday 28 January 2011

InMaps - a priceless gem

LinkedIn released InMaps this week, a very nice visualisation method that divides your linkedIn network in companies, networks, groups, etcetera.
I think it's fantastic. I try to keep a moderate network on LinkedIn as well, and it's depicted above

My Capgemini network is up there, ex-Capgemini people, my University friends, my Highschool alumni, my LinkedIn Groups, my new freelance and customer networks, and people that I met at big projects or customers. But what I pay close attention to, are the cornerstones in between

Advertising - paying for our free(mium) world for how long?

Ads - no wiki definition needed this time I think
I recommended TweetCaster to Thijs Muis the other day, for Android, and the first thing he said after installing it was:
@MartijnLinssen has ads! Not my app so far, but @tweetdeck isn't the best either
I don't see ads anymore. Well maybe I see them, maybe I don't - entering a grey area there. The difference between hearing and listening is clear, but what about seeing? Is it viewing when you allow it to enter your brain? Eyeballing? Perceiving? Dunno really.
Fact is, I don't see ads. Not on the web, mobile, nowhere. I think I just developed a scotoma for that really

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Why customer service can't be outsourced

After briefly participating in last night's #custserv chat, I found myself dissatisfied with chats like these via a medium like that. I like to get definitions straightened out and agreed upon when they get "volatile" so to say. So, for future chats, please find a web page that does (and can be scanned in a few seconds thank you)

Or maybe I was the odd one out and everyone happily agreed on all the terms? Lawd knows

Back to the subject: customer service and outsourcing. Wiki's definition suits me:
Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase

Finally a great E20 tool - and people play the social card!

(I'm only kidding about "great E20 tool" there of course)
A double post by Dennis Howlett on Tibco's Tibbr and a few others by a few others led me to write this one - not many people get it, it seems

Enterprise 2.0 is raised from its grave on the one side, Social Business is summoned from the other, but, like Dennis says "that misses the more fundamental point"
Jacob Morgan seemed shocked to hear that one panelist bought tibbr without
thinking about the strategic elements and adoption around the platform

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Egypt: Cairo, tens of thousands of people protesting

Directly from Twitter, I am trying to follow the current situation in Egypt.

Twitter has been reported to be down in Egypt, but protesters are using proxy sites and other means to get tweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos out of the country and spread immediately.
Traditional media are very quiet about it, not to say silent. Photos I'm using I have downloaded and uploaded again, rather than referring to by URL

Here's one video that shows the situation best, I think: thousands of people out there, massive use of cameras and mobiles to record the situation, water canons and teargas used to disperse protesters, and police greatly outnumbered. This is a massive amount of people making themselves heard loud and clear

Monday 24 January 2011

Quora: a gossiper's wet dream

And yes, it is a big wet dream to begin with, for all those self-promoters out there overshadowing the few good and helpful answers that are given on the platform

An ingenious tweet from Olivier Blanchard in a rather long conversation with David Armano pushed me to this post:

@armano Quora is almost like a perfect little mousetrap for human flaws. Everyone can peer into it and see what's what.

But, why on earth do I think it's a gossiper's wet dream?

Saturday 22 January 2011

Twitter punctuation manners

A small post about punctuation - in my general writing, and tweets

If you haven't noticed, I leave out a period at the end of every paragraph - on this blog, when I comment here and there, in emails - period (pun intended)
I think the following whitespace makes it perfectly clear that a paragraph ends, and that there is no need for an extra period, just as no one adds a period after a question mark or exclamation mark

Likewise, I have my rules for using punctuation in ReTweeting

Friday 21 January 2011

Ask not what your company can do for you, ...?

John F Kennedy to me was one of the finest presidents of the US. Shot and killed before I was even born, but still.
During his inaugural address on January 20th 1961, one of his now famous quotes was:
"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"
A great quote, in the given context - now let's apply that to companies shall we?

Mark Zuckerberg no longer a social norm

A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg was offered another podium at San Francisco's Crunchie Awards, where he dared to state that privacy was no longer a social norm
"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," he said. "That social norm is just something that has evolved over time."
Be that as it may, it is the people's choice to do so if they wish to do so. And knowing me, you know I'm not taken aside by general suggestimations and consultancy speak. When Mark says "people", I wonder: which people, how many people, where, when, why?

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Real Profitability Part V: The Aftermath

[Picture: Aftermath of San Francisco earthquake, 1906]

After the last 4 posts on the subject (1, 2, 3, 4), this is the final one
I had a few chats with respected and "bearded" analysts in the field, and realised that my unorthodox calculations would be fine as long as they'd make sense - the average analyst is only interested in earnings per share (EPS), it seems

I have a confession to make: my entire working life was spent as an expert in Systems Integration for a company commonly labeled as System Integrator. Of course I started off as a tester / programmer, but I ended up integrating any system with any other system - regardless.
System Integrators, or Consulting firms, make money by selling people: consultants. Those have hourly rates and thus can easily calculate their revenue - very few do by the way. Even if it's not on a strictly Time & Material basis, but rather project-wise, still their rates affect the project price so it's easy math.

Real Profitability Part IV: The Verdict

In yesterday's post I showed the absolute and relative revenue, profit and R&D figures of Tata Consulting Services and Wipro
The day before that, I showed the absolute and relative revenue, profit and R&D figures of Accenture, Atos Origin, Logica and Capgemini
The day before even that, I started this series by showing the absolute and relative revenue, profit and R&D figures of The Big Three Google, Microsft and Apple and The Big Four Oracle, SAP, IBM and HP

Today, it's time to pass the verdict - that is, make up my mind, and see what's on yours

Monday 17 January 2011

Real Profitability Part III: Indian players

Part III and second-to-last of this series, at least this one will be the last one with lists of figures
In the first I gave you the Big Three
(Google, Microsoft and Apple) and Four (Oracle, SAP, IBM and HP) and there was a big difference between them. Where the Big Three make an operating profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars per employee, for the Big Four this is tens of thousands - but I'll save all conclusions for my last post.
In the second I presented the classical System Integrators (from my European PoV): Accenture, Atos origin, Logica and Capgemini

In this last post, I present Wipro and Tata Consulting Services - I have to admit it was a lot of work making heads and (sic) tails of the different layouts, the rupee, and it was nice to find out that reporting in Crores means you have to multiply by 10 million, not just one million

Sunday 16 January 2011

Real Profitability Part II: classical System Integrators

In my previous post I gave away financial stats on The Big Three and The Big Four, showing their revenue, profit and R&D - for the company as a whole but also calculated relatively for each employee

As Wim Rampen marvelously noted, the real drooling stats would be in measuring all that by customer, rather than employee - but these figures would be hard to come by, and remember this is just a one-size-fits-all calculation, not subdividing all that in hardware, software, services, licenses etcetcetc...

Still, the quest continues, and this post contains the same calculations for the classical system integrators: Accenture, Capgemini, Logica and Atos Origin. This is from my / a European point of view, I promised to do this post today and have little time but it'll give you an impression - or should I say shock?

Real Profitability Part I: The Big Three and Four

After last post about the wondrous differences between absolute statistics and relative statistics, I decided to do a post and show you what I carry in my back-pocket before attending an event where The Big Three (GOOG, MSFT and AAPL) and The Big Four (ORCL, SAP, IBM, HPQ) announce last year's figures and achievements

It enables me to cut through the chase and relate back Hallelujah-stats to their sober state. Because whatever the financial climate, internal and / or external, no company is ever doing really really bad - until after they get bought or bankrupted, that is

Friday 14 January 2011

Enterprise microblogging: measuring true value "is relative"

Yammer announced a new feature yesterday: Leaderboards
Leaderboards gives users access to statistics about their network activity. The Leaderboards include:
  • Most Liked Members: Top 10 users whose messages have received the most ‘Likes’
  • Most Replied to Members: Top 10 users whose messages have received the most replies
  • Members with the Most Posts: Top 10 users with the most public messages posted
  • Most Replied to Threads: Top 10 threads with the most replies
  • Threads with the Most Participants: Top ten threads with the most participants
I applaud the introduction of stats as they give insight in general behaviour and performance of enterprise microblogging users - but I think Yammer is missing an opportunity to add real value here

Thursday 13 January 2011

The To Tweet Or ReTweet Flowchart

A few posts ago I blogged about behaving differently on Twitter or not. One thing lead to the other, and there was a small comment-conversation about ReTweeting. So, inspired by Innes Fisher, here's a small scheme

At the very bottom, there is "the ass-option". Almost none of you will ever end up there, but I notice an increased lack of attribution now Twitter's come mainstream.
Scraping blog posts, RSS-stealing and cross-posting posts without attribution, passing tweets as your own, especially after translating them across language barriers and timezones, or simply never ReTweeting anything at all: that little box right down there in the middle is for you then

For all others: enjoy

Your Twitter security is an egg, not an onion

Hard to come up with a more fuzzy title really. Let me cut through the usual Twitter conversation show and pick only one:
.@CoCreatr @VenessaMiemis @dsearls Twitter DMs can be seen by 3rd parties < what part of "access" did u not understand?
That was a rather short version of the original tweet, including my comment. It led to a few other tweets, and my general awareness that people really don't think straight in this case. I think gullible is the right word

Wednesday 12 January 2011

"Social Influence tools" only measure Twitter use

Eric Peterson, CEO of Twitalyzer, put up a post on what I call "socalled social influence tools" and gave his great opinion on those: Twitalyzer and Klout

The reason for writing it was a post by Shel Israel, to which Eric's strong reaction was:
I personally think that any company or individual who is making a hiring or contracting decision based on our data, Klout scores, or any number is making a huge mistake!
Eric also added:

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Do we need to behave differently on Twitter?

A tweet by Bertrand Duperrin started this post:
@ITSinsider @thecr our decision to RT or not should not be made on agreement but on value for our followers.
That was an answer to Susan Scrupski's opinion on what she deems fit to RT:
@TheCR I only RT the tweets of members I think provide great sharable insight. I guess I make a judgment call.
I agreed with Susan and later Mark Tamis who said
@MartijnLinssen so then it makes sense to RT stuff which you have affinity with, rather than contrarian to ur pov cc @bduperrin @ITSinsider

Sunday 9 January 2011

Forgiveness - damned if you don't

A tweet by Patrick Brinksma just chased me into my blogging curtains again:
Forgiving is letting go of victimhood and judgments.
It's actually a ReTweet of Jim Kitzmiller but hey - it's a great one

Maybe this title would have better served the general spirit 2 weeks ago, but just as I tweeted then:
Remember to wish yourself a Happy New Day every day in 2011 - after all it's easier to #grow than #change
every moment to stop, stand still and contemplate is a good one - and waiting for those moments to fit your agenda equal futile denial

Stop breaking down silos, let's enginize the pistons

Everywhere I go these days I encounter the call for integrating everything into anything and the words "break down silos". While the former I applaud, the latter is a politically incorrect way to address the stakeholders (sic, more about that 3 paragraphs from now): it brings across a threat rather than an opportunity in most cases

So, believe it or not, but I'm going to explain why it's better to soften up our talk and change our vocabulary - solely with the goal of bringing the Social Trojan Horse a few steps closer to the Enterprise gates of course

Friday 7 January 2011

A record store - who needs one these days?

This morning I read in the newspapers - wait what am I saying? In the old-fashioned newspaper I actually encountered news, yes. Well it wasn't global news of course, but national, and pertained to music. Anyway, it was news - that's a first since a year or so

A celebrated Dutch performer, Trijntje Oosterhuis, announced that she'd give away for free 750,000 CD's of her new album titles "Sundays in New York". Wow. Give away physical CD's - that must cost something!
What do you think the response is of Hans Breukhoven, owner of the largest CD-store in the Netherlands, Free Record Shop?

Enterprise microblogging should be pay-per-use

An article by Dennis Howlett about Socialtext and Yammer yesterday caught my attention

In essence SocialText announces that they'll sell their product at 80% of Yammer's price (being very brief here) but I think they're both wrong

Thursday 6 January 2011

In retrospect 2000-2010: omphaloskepsis ruled

[Image courtesy of Ben Efros]

A conversation with Thierry de Baillon, a perfectly timed tweet from Brian Kenney and an absolutely great post by Vinnie Marchandani force me to write another post today

I best start with the wiki link to Omphaloskepsis - one down, two to go. Navel-gazing is a frequently used term here in NL to label people who aren't too preoccupied with the world around them, putting it nicely

The conversation with Thierry started with customer service, me stating that
@tdebaillon There's an inverse relationship between product margin and customer service - as illogical as that sounds

Wednesday 5 January 2011

The evident relationship between solar and ice?

A (dutch) tweet from Martien de Laat this morning triggered my attention:
Of een elfstedentocht wordt verreden ligt aan de zonnecyclus Jaartallen onder foto: tochten! Opmerkelijk! #yam
It states that there is a relationship between the Elfstedentocht and solar cycles.
The Elfstedentocht ("Eleven Cities Tour"), a 200 kilometres skating competition, is held irregularly in the province of Friesland, Netherlands.
The solar cycle is the main source of the on average 11 year periodic solar variation which drives variations in space weather and weather on the ground

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Social Customer Service - proving you failed?

A great comment by Guy Letts to my previous post on Acquisition versus Retention made me write this one - the comment is only half an hour old but blew my mind:
There's another example of how ridiculous is the pursuit of NEW rather than getting the basics right. Some large companies now boast of their wonderful NEW customer service credentials by issuing PR showing staff with banks of screens monitoring Twitter and Facebook for complaints. This is a big FAIL in my view. Customers usually only resort to bad reviews out of frustration and when it has proved utterly impossible to contact the company directly to fix a straightforward problem.

It's like employing more moppers when the bathtub is overflowing, when you should be turning off the tap.

Why acquisition beats retention

In a short conversation with Graham Hill today, the topic of acquisition versus retention was brought up. My response to Graham's initial question was "human nature":
@GrahamHill: If only banks, utilities, telcos put as much effort into retaining customers as they did into acquiring them < human nature
and my second one was elaborating on that:
@GrahamHill Retention never gets as much attention as acquisition. Leads, customers, employees, or even cars, mistresses, jobs ;-)

Monday 3 January 2011

2010 - year in review

2010 marked the first full year of blogging for me. I loved every second of it, letting myself be driven by The Circle of Inspiration that this outside world is, Twitter, Blogs and comments all leading one to the other. On a side note, I commented an estimated 150-200 times on other people's blogs

At the end of the year I made an extraordinary effort to squeeze out 100 posts exactly. With an average of 8 for every month, that meant December saw 12 posts - not every one of them that toned down and razor-sharp as I would have liked it

Disclaimer number two: my stats don't cover the full year. I didn't enable Google Analytics until somewhere in June / July, so what you get is what you see up there: stats for half the year