He may be on the other side of the world, but with a crystal clear reception, I was able to chat with my dad today about his trip to China, his new novel that was just published, and his upcoming talk about being a student of Adorno in Germany.
You don't get to decide the Twitter Lists that people put you on, but they will publicly show up on your profile whether you like it or not. That's what makes Twitter Lists so fascinating, it's a chance to have the world your followers tell you who they think you are based on the content you project to the world. With a little hackery, here's a tag cloud of my Twitter Lists and one of the ever-so-funny ShitMyDadSays account for comparison. Based on the keywords in my tag cloud, I'm happily smiling at the image I'm projecting to the world and how they are perceiving it, however I clearly need to up my funnies.
Like milk, the magazine industry is fighting back with their own PR blitz promoting their right to be a part of your daily life. It's an interesting position to take. I still read magazines because they are easier to read en-route to work on the busy subway. But that's not a value proposition I'd stake my whole industry on. According to this ad, readership has increased, but I doubt it's for the reasons they give. I also wonder if the increase is counting online readership, or just in print.
Importing data into an iPhone app takes time. 37signals decided to free you from your mindless waiting by challenging you to Tic-Tac-Toe. After several games I remembered how to win, or tie, every time, so I got bored and quit. But it was just enough time for the app to import all my data so I was on my way. Well played 37signals, well played.
AwardWallet is the online app that just keeps getting better. First it solved a real pain of mine by organizing all my travel reward points into one place. Now they've impressed me again with their creative pricing structure.
Naming your own price for a product or service isn't new, but the second page of putting a little friendly competition and ranking into the mix is what is interesting. I'd love to see some A/B testing to see if people pay more by including page 2. I did.
In May 2009 I wrote a post on how to turn Twitter into a free SMS alert system for your campus. Back then, the major hang up was people had to have a Twitter account for it to work. With student adoption of Twitter hovering pretty low at colleges, this was a problem.
Last week Twitter recognized the issue and introduced an updated tool called Fast Follow.
"The mobile team here at Twitter has rolled out a new feature called Fast Follow, and its genius lies in its simplicity: text “follow [account]” to 40404 (Twitter’s U.S. shortcode) and you’ll immediately start getting that account’s tweets via SMS—without ever signing up for Twitter."
Eric Stoller, writer for Inside Higher Ed, reported on Fast Follow and how it could be integrated into the campus culture.
"You could place your school's admissions Twitter account name and the Twitter SMS number on your marketing collateral. A school could even have multiple Twitter accounts that could then be included on strategic mailings or promotional microsites. Campaign tracking would be a snap! Prospective students do not have to be on Twitter to use Fast Follow."
Enterprise SMS tools will have a hard time justifying large price tags when competing against...free. I suspect an advantage they will have is back end assessment data. Though, knowing Twitter's history of openness, might be provided by a third party tool soon.
Curious to know if anyone has tried mass, or even departmental adoption of Fast Follow at their campus?
Having only one day "in the office" before I head out again tomorrow automatically sets up some challenges as to what to focus on. The fires in the kitchen tend to need the most immediate attention. So I plowed through my emails/tasks and knocked out everything marked with "high priority, high urgency." This is a common pattern after a few days of traveling, stuff just builds up. Good news, I was quickly able to bring my inbox back down to zero in minimal time.
With a growing team, I opted to spend the rest of my time focused on them. I set Megan up with taking on the larger role of customer care by defining a map of what our current customer care looks like with some open questions for her to figure out.
Megan and I then met to talk about renewing her contract and reviewing her role within Red Rover. She's a wonderful asset to us and so much of it was verbally acknowledging the great work she is doing as well as giving her a little pay bump.
We also turned the tables by asking her to give us a review of the company. Specifically we asked her to define what she thinks the principles of the company are, what we are doing that she likes, and what we can improve on. Having the newest members of a team review the company gives as close to an outside objective observer on the inner workings of the company as you can get.
I ended my day with a trip to Pivotal Labs in Tri Beca to meet the new programmers working on Red Rover as well as have dinner with Kevin to talk about several things. Every time Kevin and I meet, we have a fairly long list of topics to cover, but time never seems to be our friend as we plow through several pieces quickly to keep time integrity with other appointments. We both know the importance of prioritizing the "high priority, low urgency" tasks, but haven't put it into practice lately. We'll get better.
Lastly, on a totally unrelated note, my brother (Daniel) called last night to announce that he and his girlfriend (Andrea) were getting married today! It's kinda sorta a 9 year in the making non-pregnancy related shotgun wedding. It makes total sense for health and financial reasons, so Annie and I popped out the shot glasses and toasted them with some VeeV. It sounds like there will probably be a more official gathering soon to celebrate their nuptials, so I'll hold my emotional congrats till then. But for now, CHEERS!
We strive to make Red Rover a fairly intuitive tool for our users, but questions and suggestions are inevitable. Each new school adopting Red Rover means more users need help and customer care becomes harder to manage. A map of how we handle user questions, concerns, and suggestions is an important step in scaling larger. Our goal is 100% user happiness while maintaining a simple, easy to use, scalable, cost effective solution to manage the process. Below is our first run at visually mapping out Red Rover's customer care. The questions at the bottom are open questions we'll be answering over the next couple weeks as we prepare V2 of this map.
Having something on your blog go viral should be awarded with some sort of Boy Scout merit badge. Or maybe teated like music album sales where a governing body awards you a gold, silver, or double platinum plaque.
What ever the award, last week I experienced my first viral post. Because I love numbers, I geekly watched, probably too obsessively, where the traffic came from day by day.
As stated in the beginning of the post, I only re-purposed the content from the original source. It took me longer to read the original post than it did for me to re-purpose it for Swift Kick. In terms of the content's online life, we were #2, not #1.
The funny thing about "going viral" is the amount of LUCK uncontrolled variables involved. Right timing, right readers, right angle of the sun in the afternoon... Some variables can be manipulated and calculated ahead of time. The LOL Cats meme generating empire has created a science out of "going viral." But so much of it seems to be out of one's hands. Based on the topic and strong point of view, I knew this post would do well, but not 160K hits well. It continues to spread around, like a virus, generating hits and 500+ polarizing comments on the state of education in America.
The funny thing is I've been on the opposite side of this coin. In May 2009, Kevin sent me this video that was sent to him from a student who asked how it could be described through the ideas in our Dance Floor Theory Leadership Training. I took a crack at it and posted it on Swift Kick. In terms of traffic it did ok, but certainly not viral.
Then eight months later, Derek Sivers, gives a TED talk on the same video and BAM, the internet explodes in excitement. Our learning outcomes from the video are pretty close, but he won the viral game even though I posted similar thoughts a year earlier.
I highly doubt Derek stumbled on my original post while formulating his TED talk, so how do you determine "original content" on the unruly internet? Can he claim originality because he won the viral game or got to speak at TED? Can I claim originality on the graduation speech because I was the one who won the viral game? Or am I too self absorbed to think anything I write is actually original?
Whatever the answer, I'm happy to report the graduation speech just generated 3K more hits! Where's my double platinum plaque?
After our honeymoon phase, my relationship with Firefox turned into one of abuse with benefits. I loved the addons. The more I added, the harder I thought it would be to leave Firefox. But abuse, in the form of crashing and glitches, was constant.
Chrome kept flirting with me through blog posts and friend recommendations, but I was too committed to Firefox to ever think about leaving.
Then, and this is where the analogy gets awkward, my wife decided to switch from Firefox to Chrome. She quickly fell in love. Taking her cue, I snuck away from Firefox for a night and took Chrome on a date.
Chrome has built up an impressive, ever growing list of addons, including many of my Firefox favorites. Chrome loads pages lightning fast, doesn't crash, and so far hasn't had any glitches.
I've moved more and more of my life to the cloud, so having a powerful browser is important. Chrome is well on its way, for me, to becoming not just a browser, but my operating system.
Sorry Firefox, I've found a new love, but truly wish you well with your upcoming launch.
On a related note - I'd hate to be in a market where, in 3 hours, I can totally switch to a competitor.