Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The only thing that truly matters...

I recently came across this TED Talk and watched it several times because I was impressed with the unusual use of a discipline like design to tackle a challenge of social development. Another reason was the pragmatic approach of Emily Piloton and her partners in taking feasible steps first, in creating a positive initial experience with design and in engaging the local community. So once again, the only thing that truly matters is practice. "An ounce of practice is worth tons of preaching"...


Monday, June 7, 2010

Why we need the explorers...

Brian Cox beautifully makes the case for curiosity, exploration, science and innovation.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Robot that balances on a ball could become big

This is an example of something that is going on in a lab right now and has the potential to become a really big product. It can become:

  • a robot to help professional movers transport stuff

  • a robotic domestic helper for everyday tasks and for moving heavy things around

  • a robot for space exploration

  • a robotic waiter for serving drinks in bars and restaurants

  • a game for kids

  • ...

I don't know anything about marketability, cost of production and the limitations of the technology, but this can become (very) big.

Monday, May 3, 2010

From concept to prototype in a weekend: CrowdPhoto.net

CrowdPhoto.net emerged in my market watch as an interesting initiative, not only because it exemplifies the potential of crowdsourcing, but also because it was built in a weekend using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

CrowdPhoto is a bit like an Aardvark service for pictures: people request a specific picture like "A pink penguinin North Pole" and specify how much they're willing to spend to get their hands on the picture; other people can submit materials in response to the request and get paid for the picture(s) they provided. I'm not too clear whether there is a reward sharing or other mechanism in case many people provide content on the same request, but that's the concept in substance. The prototype is remarkable in a few ways:

  1. it was deployed in just a weekend

  2. the minimal set of features is present and usable by the perennial idiot without anything getting broken... in a visible way at least

  3. technical aspects were addressed in conjunction with marcoms aspects since the prototype has its logo, tag line, clear statement of what it's all about and, yes, it's Twitter account @crowdphoto

Crowdphoto makes me think of the world described by David Brin in his book Earth, where privacy gets overtaken by low-cost mass-adopted high-tech surveillance, communications and database tools that people carry around propelling the planet into an era of complete social transparency. Each person who freely contributes content on the web has a level of authority relative to the topics they are covering and is therefore more or less influential. 

Whether it's going to fly or not as an economically profitable operation is quite another story and to a large extent not a very relevant one. The sheer fact that people have the capability to go from concept to deployed prototype in just a weekend thanks to infrastructure as a service is truly amazing and has far-reaching implications for entire categories of businesses that can now be tested fast and in a flexible way. I just wonder what was the sum total of effort and money invested in preparing the weekend and in building the prototype.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dropbox startup lessons learned

The presentation in this video is a really interesting account of how Dropbox grew to become an awesome product for millions of people around the globe. It's very good inspiration.

Watch live video from Startup Lessons Learned on Justin.tv

Monday, April 19, 2010

Test RSF Boutique du Soir


Dans le cadre de l'initiative annuelle Reporters Sans Frontières, la Boutique du Soir vous propose également un numéro spécial de Nature, qui est accessible en suivant ce lien.


Dans le cadre de l'initiative annuelle Reporters Sans Frontières, la Boutique du Soir vous propose également un numéro spécial de GEO, qui est accessible en suivant ce lien.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Aspects of web design

There's some excellent no-nonsense stuff in this presentation about web design. I like the way the author shows concrete examples of differences in how web assets look when specific design work is done to enhance them in a targeted way. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Trends in social media marketing

Much of what is currently going on in the European market tends to confirm many of the trends in the presentation below. What remains to be seen is which models of marketing through social media will actually be adopted and which will simply collapse for lack of relevance, consistency or impact.

22 Social Media Trends

View more presentations from DreamGrow Digital.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How "friends" can help you thrive

A very interesting presentation on how to use social media in turbulent times to achieve business success. It's all very much based on learning, openness and feedback, all of which are absolutely critical to success. I remain absolutely convinced that organizations that do not know how to welcome, explore and exploit feedback received are all but dead. Whether these organizations are businesses, governments (Greece would be an example that comes to mind), NGOs or prominent business schools and universities the rule is the same.

Stitching Marketing Congress: Thriving in Turbulent Times

View more presentations from Charlene Li.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Market intelligence for Group van Hoorebeke

The box below contains links to news, data and stories that have been identified as relevant and potentially interesting for Group van Hoorebeke.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Collateral damage in tech products

I found this very interesting quote today:

So, for good and for bad, I believe Blackberry is attached at the hip to Exchange. As Microsoft loses share to Google in the enterprise, something I believe is bound to happen, Blackberry will lose share to Android as well. Wil and I are cases in point.avc.com, A VC, Jan 2010

Aside from the fact that it does make a very valid point on the tight coupling between Exchange Server and Blackberry technologies, therefore about the likely evolution of RIM's market share as Google increases its share of the smartphone and mail server markets, this post reminded me of a thought I've had a number of times over the past few weeks. It deals with collateral damage. Collateral damage in technology products and their adoption that is.

In 2009 I decided to try Chrome as a browser. Initially it was just this: a trial. The point of fact is that 9 or 10 months later, I'm still browing the web on Chrome. For some reason, Google's browser was "sticky" enough for me to make it my main browser, even though for the first couple of weeks I missed some of the functionality provided by Firefox add-ons like Zotero, WiseStamp for HTML signatures with my email on Google Apps, ColorZilla, add-ons with web developer tools, enhanced analytics via a GreaseMonkey based add-on... and a couple of others. These add-ons are what I call collateral damage, because my intention was not to stop using them, but because they were tightly coupled with a platform product that I ditched for a better one, they went down the drain too and I adopted other ways of doing the things that these add-ons were designed to do. Collateral damage.

In practical terms, if you're in a role of product manager / product owner, this means that:

  1. you need a constantly updated picture of the entire ecosystem of your company and its products, which means that market, product, competitor and tech watch are of paramount importance today more than ever before.

  2. the focus should be on new users as well as users you are loosing, as the former give you a fresh perspective and a fairly accurate picture of the image your business has on the market and the latter give you insights into what you could do (much) better. Both will tell you how you're doing against the competition or rather in the coopetition ecosystem of your business.

  3. your job is to cover market situation, competitive game, (potential) customer contacts (daily as Loic Le Meur was saying in a recent interview), product vision, product roadmap / phasing, product development priorities (as in prioritized backlog of user stories)

Exciting times! And by the way, do read all of Fred Wilson's post.

PS: I just love the way the Zemanta editor generates in-text links obviously doing some seriously good work in analyzing my babble. What I dislike is that Zemanta does not allow me to define the title of the post on my blog and does not support my defining categories for the re-blogging I'm doing.

Monday, January 4, 2010

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Snippets of vision by social media "influencers"

An interesting collection of 140-character long snippets of vision and opinions on future trends in online and interactive marketing. Not sure all of this stuff makes sense, nor that what the authors mean is always clear, but it's good food for thought.

TrendsSpotting's 2010 Social Media Influencers - Trend Predictions in 140 Characters

View more documents from Taly Weiss.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What better way to start 2010?

Inspiration from the Master of the Art of Product Ownership / User Experience Design... This thing will just never go out of fashion and the man is as much of a showman as he is a wonderful generator of new stuff we did not know we needed before he told us.