Sunday, August 8, 2010

What shapes can you see in the (Tag) Clouds?


Today I was accepting a LinkedIn recommendation from a colleague of mine (thanks Prashant) when I thought to myself, wonder what all these 20+ recommendations say about me in aggregate.

So I started a 15min project to figure that out. Using a frequently overlooked social media capability called Tag Clouds I was able to get a feel of that.

Using Wordle I was able to quickly pull together the tag cloud and here's what it said.

Wordle: tag_cloud_ln_recomm

Update: Here's another tag cloud that removes words like "Oracle", "Siebel", "Corporation", "Systems", "worked", "directly", "indirectly", "product", "manager". LinkedIn has these words recurring in all the recommendations as part of the standard format. So while these words were repeating at a high frequency they were mostly redundant. Unless you were trying to decipher from the cloud on where I've worked the most in my career (Siebel System) or in what roles (Product Management), that information was not useful in conveying sentiment.

Wordle: tag_cloud_ln_recomm_2

I've used tag clouds in the past to sense the sentiment or direction of customer comments or issues. Often times we ask customers to classify comments and issues by asking them to select from a set of drop-downs so they can help classify their input. However I've found that tag clouds often give you the next level of insights that direct classification can never provide. A very social way of viewing customer input as sentiment.

So how did I go about doing this?
  • Navigated to my public profile on LinkedIn
  • Scrolled all the way down to where all Recommendations are listed
  • Dragged the mouse across all the text and copied the content using Ctrl-C
  • Pasted the content into Notepad
  • Replaced all occurrence of "Siebel Systems" and "Oracle Corporation" the two organizations where I've worked over the last 10 years of my career.
  • Copied and Pasted the text into the Textbox on Wordle
  • Visualized the tag cloud
  • Published the tag cloud as public so I can share it and put it here on my blog.
Try it out and see what your LinkedIn Network has to say about you, do come back and post them here in the comments :-)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

5 Technology Favorites from this decade - 2009


This is probably my last post of this decade so wanted to share with you 5 Technology Favorites from this decade that significantly influenced our lives (mine atleast) in a good way.

Its nothing philosophical and obviously excludes family events, where we were blessed with 2 wonderful kids ... and the other defining events of this decade like 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So here's my 5 Technology Favorites from this decade ...

I think in many ways 3G was the backbone of a lot of other technology trends today and I believe that it will be remembered historically kinda like the x86 architecture for PC's as the place from where all real mobility enablement started. Maybe I'm over exaggerating a little here but that's how I feel.
The first commercial launch of 3G was also by NTT DoCoMo in Japan on 1 October 2001, the second network to go commercially live was by SK Telecom in South Korea, then came the European networks and then the first commercial United States 3G network was setup by Monet Mobile Networks, on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO technology, but this network provider later shut down operations. The second 3G network operator in the USA was Veriz on Wireless in October 2003 also on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO.
The Nokia 6650 was the world's first 3G phone supporting the W-CDMA 2100 MHz band a far cry from the current 3G iPhones for example. Interestingly the phone was "unlocked" ... eat that AT&T and other Telcos

iPod (and then the iPhone)
I think that this was probably the best invention/creation that came from Steve Jobs and company. Now I know Mac fanatics might chew my head off on this, but I'd say if you cant make the product #1 in its category then it'll always be good and amazing but never "great". I believe iPod delivered for Apple and Steve what they were craving for years in the PC market.

Deeming existing portable music players poorly conceived, Jobs ordered a team of his engineers and designer Jonathan Ive to develop the first iPod in under a year. Launched in October 2001, the product would go on to claim more than 70% of the digital music player market and, with its companion iTunes Music Store, revolutionize the distribution of digital music.

While the iPhone and its new touch paradigm revolutionized the smartphone market to a large extent, its impact was nowhere close to what iPod and iTunes did to the music and entertainment space.

Not enough credit goes to this service, which has now become woven into the fabric of our lives Youtube now has a billion or more views a day and is an alternative media outlet all its own. Never does a day go by when we don't watch something interesting out there. Youtube was started in 2005 and here's the very first public Youtube video.

Facebook is poised to change the way we interact socially with our friends, family and acquaintances (depending on who you've let into your Facebook network ;-). I know parents, grandparents, folks in villages and towns all over the world jumping on Facebook to keep in touch and find out what's happening with people they know.

You can read up on how Facebook got started here. It was started as something called Facemash on October 28, 2003 when Mark Zuckerberg was attending Harvard as a sophomore. Then he began writing code for a new website in January 2004 called "". When Mark finished the site, he told a couple of friends. And then one of them suggested putting it on the Kirkland House online mailing list, which was, like, three hundred people," according to roommate Dustin Moskovitz. "And, once they did that, several dozen people joined, and then they were telling people at the other houses.
So its not clear who the very first person was to get onto Facebook, so based on the Wayback Machine here's a look at what it looked like when it was launched.
The Facebook domain between 2003 - Aug 2005 and then post Aug 2005.

Twitter caught me by surprise. I think its one of the most innovative medium for unprompted public exchange confined to "140 characters x infinity". I was already a big fan of Blogger which by the way didn't make it to this list cause it was launched in Oct 1999. Depending on how Twitter deals with things like spam etc I believe its here to stay and will be woven into the online fabric of how we interact. Here's a glimpse of the first public Tweet ever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What do LinkedIn users do ;-) ... they're playing Farmville on Facebook


I truly believe that LN is one of the most capital rich networks. In the sense that a network connection on LN is probably worth much more than connections on other networks. Maybe FB is the only other one.

One of the issues I've had with LinkedIn since its inception is its lack of ability to make a user comeback everyday and check on things. While I do swing by there every few days, there's nothing really out there that compels me to. Now I'm sure there's recruiters out there that do this on the hour 24x7, but for the rest of the 50M users out there its pretty drab.

Well to correct myself I do swing by there every few days when someone sends me an InMail or LN Invite or to check on the LinkedIn portlet about who looked me up (that always makes me curious) and more recently to see what updates the LN to Twitter feed integration gets. But nothing compelling really.

However wouldn't it be killer if there was a Farmville for LinkedIn ;-)

So when I saw this TechCrunch tweet today;

TechCrunch: Zynga To Launch Smash Hit FarmVille On (expand) by @jasonkincaid

.. thought I'd blog about it. Here are some ideas LinkedIn and Zynga ..

  1. A build and sell your own virtual business (strategy) game that you can play with your LN network?
  2. A virtual job hunt/interview game where you earn credits and improve your work-experience and education/credentials and then move up the corporate ladder at various virtual companies.
  3. How about Mafia Wars with a corporate twist would be a hit on LN .. considering all the corporate wars and games ;-)
  4. If nothing else how about a plain old board game like monopoly or scrabble

Now one might argue that LN is all about professional relationships and has no place for this stuff. I'd strongly challenge them with what I said in the title. Also wouldnt it be great if you published yr "Build and Sell your own virtual business Empire" score and potential recruiter saw how you were a virtual tycoon ;-)

Besides keeping users like me interested, I'm sure it'll boost LinkedIn's social capital by increasing "Visits/Person" and "Average Time Spent" as well.

Any takers??

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to Quickly Embed Google Calendar in NetSuite


This is a walkthrough video of how you can quickly embed a Google Calendar in NetSuite.

Power of the NetSuite platform, allows you to quickly and securely embed any gadgets, widgets and web apps into any of your NetSuite applications.

... and now you have a couple of more mins to watch some other vids ;-)

Here's the portlet script similar to what was used in this example.

function GCalClientPortlet (portlet, column)
portlet.setTitle ('Google Calendar in NetSuite');

portlet.setHtml( content );

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Voice enabled CRM Apps


For the longest time I've firmly believed that voice enablement will be key for CRM Apps of the future. Having worked on integrating products like Jott, Ribbit and Oracle's CCOD into the Siebel CRM/OnDemand application in the past, I can acknowledge the power they can bring to the table in simplifying a sales persons daily activities. Remember a large part of sales is ensuring that you're on top of all your activities and keep the ball rolling.

Also hooked onto the voice enabled search Google offers on iPhones. It's remarkable how in a relatively short duration Ive become so dependent on this service. 

Now imagine a road warrior or never in front of the machine sales rep (arent they all that way ;-)
who can get access to all their CRM data on their mobile device, but through voice.

Wouldnt it be awesome if you bring up your fav SFA app on the iPhone and "Speak" show me latest brief on "Hush Communications" and the newest content available in the 360 for Hush Communications just paints on your device.  You review the brief on "Hush" and walk into the meeting with them. 

Customer reminds you that you still havnt sent them the latest quote so you pop-up the phone and "Speak" - "Email Hush Quote to Mike Myers" and boom the quote you had previously created for them but forgotten to email appears in Mike's inbox.

You step out of the meeting and "Speak" - "Change - Hush Opportunity to Closed" and "Create Task - for Hush - Work on final order approval with Mgmt"

Then there's also the more traditional get all your voicemails and their transscripts in the app on the right record kind of scenarios as well.

Anyways most of these scenarios I've prototyped myself and they're very much in the relam of doable with services like Jott and Ribbit. So its only a matter of time till Sales Reps get hooked on these.

Then again voice enabled sales apps have been touted since 2001 we enabled Siebel. But I think were's getting closer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Goodbye Comcast !!


It all started cause I needed to access “My Account” on to view some info. Since I had not accessed the account in months, I had some trouble signing in (to put it mildly) with my password (which I had obviously forgotten).

What ensued was not just funny but a classic example of how a large corporation just simply loses customers due to poor (read crappy) support/service.Comcast has tried to provide every tool on the planet to help you with issues, suggestive help, call a number, chat with a rep online blah blah blah. Sadly none of them worked for a simple problem of resetting my password.

So I try logging in a few times and then realize I’ve obviously forgotten my password. I click the very friendly “Forgot your password” link and this is what it shows me.

Its telling me that my secret question has expired (whatever that means, since I had never set one) and then actually wants me to still submit one to proceed.

After giving up on forgot password I roam the site a little more to see if I can call them.

So I see this posted prominently on the site.

We're here for you 24/7. Just Ask Comcast 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)

Mind you this is at 10:00pm US Pacific time. I hit the IVR at Comcast the options available are;

- Issues with your service

- Billing inquiries

- Upgrade Service

- Downgrade Service

- Pay-per-View

So I hang up since neither of these options relate to website “My Account” login issues.

Then I see this tool which suggests that I chat with someone online right now. That sounds simple so I click it, enter literally 15 fields and then am presented with a set of pre-canned FAQ’s .. so no live chat :-(

Not to give up yet, I click one of the FAQ’s that looks really promising and here’s what it says.

Error Message: "Incorrect Password. Please try again. OR We do not have a

reminder question on file for this User Name.

To restore your account access, please

re-create your User Profile."

If you have forgotten your password, simpl

y answer your reminder question correctly and you will be allowed to

reset your password. If there is not a reminder question on file in our databa

se to retrieve your forgotten password, you need to re-create your profile. This is for security purp

oses as passwords are encrypted and cannot be retrieved.

To re-create your profile and overwrite the existing profile with that User

1. Click here to create a new profile.

2. Complete appropriate fields
3. Ensure Account Number and your Phone Number match the

on your Comcast Account
4. Click the Submit button
5. Your account access should now be restored

Adding/removing/changing account numbers tied to your profile.
In some areas, multiple

Comcast accounts can be viewed by logging into one profile. In these areas, simply login to your accou

nt and select UPDATE MY PROFILE from the bottom right. From here, use the drop-down menu to add and

remove accounts.
In other areas, only one Comcast account is allowed for each profile. In th

ese areas, you will need to cancel your existing profile and re-create it with your new account information.

To do so, follow the steps below.
1. Log in to your account and select the UPDATE

MY PROFILE section
from the bottom right
2. From here, select the CANCEL option on

the bottom of the screen
3. Follow steps to cancel profile
4. From the successful cancel screen, select the re-c

reate profile link
5. Follow the steps to create your profile

When I try all the crap that's been mentioned above I get the message below saying your account already exists …. Please login or call us

At this point I’m ready to move from Comcast … seriously. This is the second time they've pained me as a customer. The first was a ridiculous excuse for not being able to exchange my set top box for a HDMI one even though I had bought the HD service from them and was paying every month for it.

Now getting ready to send this to their VP of Customer Service. Who has a picture and profile posted online. See if he can really help.

The only question I really have for him is, have you ever used your own system Mr Germano??

Monday, February 2, 2009

3 LinkedIn Tell's to look out for


A tell in poker is a subtle but detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of his hand. A player gains an advantage if he observes and understands the meaning of another player's tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable
Off late I've detecting a number of tell's through LinkedIn so wanted to share my top three and see if others have noticed it and agree. Or am I reading too much into the LinkedIn body language.

#1 - LinkedIn profile updated to 100%.

#2 - Posting status updates that read like " ... looking for newer challenges ..."

#3 - Adding recruiter to network. Evaluate and appraise or departure from company usually occurs in a few weeks or months.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Wonderful and Weird world of Twitter


Using Twitter is like "Alice in Wonderland", its wonderful and weird

Its a wonderful tool that can be private or public or both, corporate or personal or both, logical or illogical or both well hopefully you get the point.

So here are 5 reasons why I think its wonderful ... and weird

#1 - Wonderful cause I can keep in touch with my network and if I feel like shouting out "I need caffeine" on a Wed afternoon I can. Weird cause now I can see virtual colleagues shout out about things like "Gummy Bears".

#2 - Wonderful cause it allows me to communicate with friends and family quickly and easily at the same time. Did you know that you could "direct message" someone by putting "d username message". Weird that Twitter allows me to do the same thing I used to did with my IM status a few years ago and yet its so much more engaging and powerful.

#3 - Wonderful cause with Twitter I can open conversations with people in my industry or area without having to visit tradeshows or events or ever having to meet them in reality. Well you might say that no big deal cause more collaboration and networking tools allow that. Weird cause its a best response I've seen from complete strangers wanting to engage in a short 140char conversation.

#4 - Wonderful cause I can now get all my news from the likes of Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan et al. Weird cause it makes me wonder if they realize how much folks like me rely on them to feed me tidbits ;-)

#5 - Wonderful cause big media and spammers have still not figured out how to abuse Twitter (blatantly). Nothing weird about that, its cool.

... and all this is with very few Following and Followers.

I'm not sure if you need 1000's of followers or need to follow 1000's on Twitter to get value out of it. Though I can clearly see folks in sales and marketing doing that, especially those that might be companies of "1" or "they" are the brand.

If harnessed appropriately Twitter or micro-blogging tools like Twitter can be yet another amazing collaboration and productivity channel within an enterprise. Imagine mgr's using it to keeping in touch with their large distributed team's, Smaller teams leveraging it to stay tight, sales or project teams updating each other, salespeople using it to mine and harvest, marketing using it to drive messages and test the mood.

For me Twitter fills the gap between an IM and a Message Board or Email Group.

Speaking of email groups I wonder when Microsoft starts offering micro-blogging as part of Hotmail or Outlook + MSN Live or Sharepoint for internal use. I use them as an example cause they have the tools and web properties to make this happen. Imagine you could tweet through Hotmail or Outlook and create your network or look up tweets on MSN Live later.
Thunderbird could do that as well, except they don't have a web property like that to persist the network and content. The only other company that I can see doing this is Google with Gmail as the client and one of their properties. Wouldn't that be cool.

The only downside I see for that is that Twitter today supports umpteen clients and something like that from Microsoft or Google might not.

Ah the wonderful world of Twitter.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Predicting the "Savables" from your Profitable Customers


Read this interesting article "Predictive Analytics Can Pinpoint Profitable Customers" on DestinationCRM that is based on a Forrester report "Optimizing Customer Retention Programs" by Suresh Vittal. While I haven't read the report yet, this article really got me thinking.

In a slowing or contracting market new customers are hard to come by so the focus often turns to retaining existing customers. Of those existing ones the smart marketing guys soon narrow down to the profitable ones. Now this is where this new report makes it interesting. They further segment profitable customers into segments based on the likelihood of their response;

  • "Savables": Receiving an offer won't induce these customers to leave, but not receiving one might. This is the group that marketers must focus on.  
  • "Sleeping dogs": An unwelcome marketing campaign can provoke this group to end the relationship altogether.
  • "Sure things": Customers who don't need to receive offers to stay.
  • "Lost causes": Customers who will leave regardless of the offer.
Of these the Savables are the ones where marketers should focus their dollars and that segment can be further split into sub-segments or customers as well since not everyone is equally savable.

Now this is where it can get tricky predicting behavior cause how do you determine that a "Savable" is not a "Sleeping Dog". I'm assuming that macro-trends matching the consumers profile might be one determining criteria, however it might actually be more interesting for companies to analyze their own pipeline and sales order trends to determine how successful they've been in selling to or converting these "Savables" after a campaign. I'll try getting into the report to determine what Forrester thinks might be determining factors for each of these segments.

But will surely keep an eye out on more about the Uplift model as we market through the current economy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back from the break .. Its a new world


Havnt posted in a while and its not been that long really .. well maybe in blog terms its been eons (2months) and oh boy has the world changed in these two months. First we had the financial meltdown, marquee names like Lehman vanished, Barrack Obama was elected president, gas is back down to under $3 a gal, folks like you and me are wondering where all of this is going. Sure the world has changed from just 2 months ago.

Well a couple of things have changed on the professional front as well, after close to 10 years I've left the mother ship at Oracle/Siebel and ventured into a very exciting gig at a smaller but high growth, high potential company - NetSuite. Its a phenomenal place with very bright people and a very powerful product. In the new role I'm responsible for CRM product management at NetSuite.

There are a number of things already queued up that I want to blog about in the areas of CRM, NetSuite, Product Management, Scrum/Agile and personal experiences (like my really crappy experience buy a 3G iPhone).

So this blog is to get started from the break and start writing again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What's under the Shiny Chrome?


Google's launched their latest we're not trying to go after MSFT product called "Chrome". Here's their description of the product ..

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
Now that I've installed and used the product a little bit, here are 3 things on the top of my mind.
  1. Its not compelling enough (yet) to make me switch from FF.
  2. The current EULA will make it next to impossible for use in a compliant enterprise.
  3. Does this mean web coders will now have yet another fork in their code saying "If Chrome .. do this ... else".


Haha .. I find it ironic that when I accessed my Hotmail account from Chrome I got this message.
We recommend that you upgrade your web browser so you can get the most out of Windows Live Hotmail. Upgrading should only take a few minutes. To get started, choose one of the browsers below:
Not sure if its just a caching issue or what but it sure is ironic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Userplane says BB's are still alive and kickin in the 2.0 world


BBS I would say is the grandfather of most social media applications of today .. much before FB or LN or Geocities or IM or IRC there were bulletin board systems (phew suddenly I feel old). Anyone could start them (well initially only a few privileged admins hosting them on their servers could conrol them ... but it changed over time), people could join them, there were conversations and threads, later came the presence and rankings as well.

So today when I saw that :) userplane is taking the good ol BB's or forums to a whole next level with Flex/Flash it intrigued me. What place would they have in todays microblogging, wiki world.

Well to me, Twitter of today is somewhat the forums + email alerts that I used to receive in the past. I would follow forums, folks would follow my forums we would have conversations and short bursts as posts (maybe not exactly 140 characters .. but short enough).

I think userplane is on to something exciting, by combining their latest beefed up forums with IM and other products theyre feeding a market that is currently reaching a instant fatigue. To me forums always represented the balance between realtime and archived.