Sunday, March 30, 2008

Personality Not Included - Book Launch


Rohit Bhargava from Influential Marketing Blog is currently in the process of launching his book "Personality Not Included". He decided to approach his book launch in a very unique way and I believe its the new engagement model that will drive a lot of interactions in the 2.0 world. So here's what Rohit said and did;

A conversation does not start instantly with a big spike and then trail off. A really good conversation builds momentum steadily and eventually turns into something more powerful. So my aim today is not to create a short term spike, but to start a conversation about the central idea of the book - which is that personality matters, and continue it over the next few weeks and months. To jumpstart this conversation, I'm asking for your help - and offering you something in return.

My idea is simple: if you send me five questions that you want to know about the book or personality, I'll write you a response on Friday that you can publish on your blog. Let's call these virtual interviews (ie - interviews by email). You choose whether to post the interview on your blog or not after you get my responses, but I am essentially offering for ANY BLOGGER to send me interview questions and I will respond with answers that are NOT cut and pasted, but specific to your questions. I will send all my responses to you on Friday in the order that I get your questions, and I will link to all the posted interviews on Friday. On Monday, I'll be running a competition on my blog to let readers vote on the Best Interview. The winner will get a signed copy of my book and a gift certificate for $100 from Amazon.

Companies will be hard pressed to come up with such unique engagements through the web and more and more conversations move out there. For a relatively low investment and a unique idea smaller brands will be able to get viral and grab customer attention compared to $$ being poured into more traditional efforts.

Here's a link to the book and his virtual interview sessions that he had thru the web

Here are my 5 questions to him and his responses;

- What would you say was the single most important factor that inspired you to write this book
I think it was seeing that there was an ingredient of many successful brands that people were not really talking about ... namely, the importance of personality. The book takes some of hte most often talked about trends in business today, such as authenticity, social media and word of mouth marketing and brings them together. I thought there was a need for a book like this in the landscape of marketing and business books ... so I wanted to write it.

- In the tagline why do you say "Companies" lose their authenticity and "Brands" get them back. Can you elaborate? Do you mean companies that do not invest in their brands tend to lose their authenticity?
Good pickup. To a degree, the difference comes down to the central belief of branding ... which is that anyone can start a company, but you need to build a brand in order to have something that someone can believe in. I think that companies who don't focus on building a brand have a problem defining themselves as standing for something. If you don't stand for anything, you can't be authentic.

- Why did you pick Guy K for the foreword? Is this book mainly focused on technology, startups or entrepreneurship?
Guy is someone that I had admired for a long time and I was thrilled that he agreed to do the forward. He has built his reputation in technology and entrepreneurship, but if you have ever heard him speak you know that he has a brilliant mind for business. He was the perfect choice to do the foreword for PNI.

- What was the message or goal that you hoped to achieve with this book?
My main message is really simple: it's that personality matters. It matters because that is what gets your customers to believe in your brand rather than just buying once and leaving. More importantly, it is what gets them to tell others about you.

- Can you attest that you did not do any templating, cut or paste while answering my questions ;-)
Well, you'll be able to tell pretty easily - since I'm publishing the links to all the interviews I answered on my blog! But I can tell you definitely that I didn't for yours, because this is just the second interview ... so you're definitely 100% original content. ;-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 - Hype or Happening


Very interesting video I saw on Youtube that does a quick drive by at an event for VPs/CIO's and gets their candid feedback on Enterprise 2.0.

While most of them were really witty, some of them seemed clueless. Tip of the hat to the VP/CIO from Altera and his comment. I think he actually gets it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What is an Enterprise App in the 2.0 world?


Wanted to post this as a thought inspired by Vinnie Mirchandani's post "Another brick in the wall".

First off let me be clear that I dont have anything against Carsonified or Ravelry, I'm sure both are pretty good enterprises in their own right. My comment on Vinnie's blog might lead some to think otherwise so wanted to clarify.

However I wanted to post on the "how close are enterprise applications to this list" aspect. So here's a link to the list shown below.

Gmail - web mail
flickr - photo sharing
Twitter - micro-blogging platform
Facebook - social network
Ravelry - "knit and crochet" community
WordPress - blogging platform
Mint - web analytics
last-fm - music
Basecamp - project collaboration
livejournal - social network
So what is an enterprise application. Till recently enterprise applications conjured up images of ERP, HRMS, CRM, SCM etc. Those with a slightly broader view would often include things like office productivity, email, application, directory, integration servers and other software into this category as well. Some of these applications were sub-classified based on their channels as well so for example we had B2E, B2B, B2C and stuff like that, the B2C ones were mainly inward looking portals into enterprises.

So by that vague definition everything that was a non-enterprise application was placed in the consumer application bucket.

Here's what Wikipedia says about enterprise software and applications

Enterprise level software is software which provides business logic support
functionality for an organization, typically in commercial organizations, which
aims to improve the organization's productivity and efficiency.Services provided
by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools such as online
shopping and online payment processing, interactive product catalogue, automated billing systems, security, content management, etc.

But in my experience over the last decade and certainly over the last few years this line has started blurring significantly. Here's an example from the CRM side of things.

Would you consider eBay, Amazon, Gmail as consumer applications? Most of us would say yes to that I guess. What about user interaction channels on these sites like if you had issues with Amazon and you logged an issue with them on their site are you using Amazons consumer application or enterprise application for logging that ticket?

I'm starting to head to a place where any web application that's accessible to an entity outside an enterprise firewall (without VPN or tunneling) is a consumer application to me and vice-versa any application that's restricted in use behind an enterprise firewall is an enterprise application.

So the lines blurring for me now. There are no black and white enterprise or consumer applications cause they could quickly be repurposed.

Now maybe one could debate that it depends on the roots of that application or use the 80:20 rule and say 80% of the time application is used as a consumer application etc.

Anyways according to me the good news for enterprises is that they no longer need to be confined in their thinking that .. aw shucks wish I could use that in my enterprise but alas its a consumer app.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SaaS - Services as a Service .. now wait are you trying to confuse us here


Saw this interesting post When SaaS Means 'Services as a Service' posted on Intelligent Enterprise by David Lunthicum. At first glance this read like an attempt at confusion. However now that I looked at what StrikeIron does it actually makes sense. So in yesterdays world if you wanted to embed logic about currency conversion or validating a US postal address or symbol of a company listed on Nasdaq you would either try coding it yourself by maintaining some seed data or you try finding a public web service that meets the requirement.

What companies like StrikeIron are doing is they've become aggregators of services from partners like D&B, MapQuest etc and offer them through their own catalog. Now one might question the value of that and say why wouldnt I go directly to D&B and get access to their services and data. Well the spectrum is wide and there could be instances where the StrikeIron model works better. Lets say you're a small startup or a SMB kind of a company that needs access to some disparate services, would you invest in people and contracts and partnerships to reach out to each of these vendors get info on their offerrings and then maintain relationships. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you might go to StrikeIron and pick off of their catalog or services.

So SaaS with "Services as a Service" makes some sense. Now nearly half of Salesforce's traffic these days comes through web services, does that mean they are now transforming into a "Services as a Service" company?

By the way here's what StrikeIron says it does in a nutshell.


* • Find Data Services
* • Browse Solutions
* • Cleanse & Enhance Data


* • Build Mashups in Excel
* • Create Business Solutions
* • Integrate into


* • New! Developer Community
* • Download Code and Clients
* • Access Free Data