Thursday, February 26, 2009

Better Googling

Sorry I'm in Google mode today! Just read a nice article in The McKinsey Quarterly, 'Google like a pro' (not free). I Google a lot and mostly just use the simple term or string search. Occasionally I use more powerful queries. However, in this article I learned some new ones. I thought I'd share them with you (- and by typing them in I'm learning as well!).

  • intitle: "plane crash" > finds the string in the title of a webpage
  • site:nl or site:us for Dutch or US sites only. inurl:news or inurl:forum for news sites and forum discussions respectively. inurl:2008 to limit your search to a time period.
  • view:timeline, gives search results in clickable timeline
  • ~airplane, searches for airplane, plane, air, flight, aircraft, etc.
  • Samuel is a *, gives search results telling you who Samuel is (according to Google...)

I've been using these more often lately. I was thinking: why not put a little cheat sheet on the Google homepage to help users remember?

--

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Better Googling http://is.gd/nmTU

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Contact Info? Google Me!

Ran into this interesting post and picture of the "new business card". I think it really neat. It relates to what is happening now. What do you do if you have an appointment with somebody new? You Google them. At least I do. The same goes for when someone's applying for a job and I have to interview him/her. I Google them.

This relates well to what Dell's Bob Pearson said some time ago: 'Google is our homepage'. I think doesn't only account for companies, but for people as well.

If this business card is not for you, try this one!

Thanks Geekdad, Jeremiah Owyang and Gizmodo for the posts.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Social Media for B2B too?

Just wanted to point you to two interesting posts on the use of social media for the B2B market. Everyone seems to agree on the fact that the social web is great and a must for the B2C market. Most B2C companies are actively using social media to engage with their customers. The B2B market seems to be lagging and wondering if 'social media' is really something they should get into.

PR Squared and Chris Brogan don't understand this reluctance and clearly state what B2B companies need to hop in. And I fully agree with them. Some B2B companies (mostly with a US home-base) are showing how it's done. If I'm not mistaken most of these companies have some relatedness with the internet or computer world. I haven't seen many companies yet using social media that sell wafer steppers, large dump trucks, complex tractors, windmills, etc. Most of these companies still have very 1.0-ish websites too. But if I am mistaken, please let me know!

Could it be that the reluctance to jump on the bandwagon has to do with the distance of the business to the internet? Or is the distance to the internet the same for all companies, B2B and B2B? Your customers are there, so you'd better be there too.

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Connecting Paper? Extending "the Internet of Things"

ReadWriteWeb regularly keeps us posted on "the internet of things". This is an interesting development and has even been called "web 3.0" (web 2.0 moving to devices, connect people and devices automatically, using semantic technology...).

Their post gives an overview of the news in this world. What I was wondering though is: Paper is also a thing. And knowledge workers are still using lots of paper (printed articles (for reading and reviewing), books, etc.). Could "the internet of things" be extended to the office? We could 'internet' paper. With small (printable) RFID tags, paper documents and books (or even parts of them) could be retrieved (and stored) in a transparent way.

What do you think? Could this be useful? And, does anyone know if this is already being done?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

'Watch with Glittering Eyes...'

Ran into this great quote by Roald Dahl:

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Filtering Your Feeds using Postrank

Filtering information has always been important, but seems to be ever more important in the networked world we live in. I'm experiencing this too. In no time I subscribed to lots of interesting blogs. And I love the way this can be done using a feedreader and RSS technology. But what to do when you have(?) to sift through hundreds of posts a day? Is there a way to help you decide what to read and what not?

For this reason I thought I'd try Postrank (used to be AidRSS). And I must say it's been very helpful in several ways. Postrank ranks the feeds you get in your feedreader. It basically gives every post a number (1-10) telling you how popular a post is. This is nice. For me it doesn't imply I don't read post that have a lower rank. Sometimes these posts are even more interesting than popular ones!

But Postrank helps me filter posts from blogs with loads of posts-per-day. And it helps me filter my Google Alert RSS feed. Lately Google Alert is giving me way to many results. Now I only read the posts with a high rank and 'unread' the rest. (- is something wrong? It's been asked on Twitter many times by myself (@driessen) and Luis Suarez (@elsua) to name just two.)

I also like to see what rank is given to my own posts. I regularly go to my blogfeed and check what readers/you think of my posts. It gives me a good understanding of what my reader/you value!

For me a next step in filtering is moving over to FriendFeed. I have an account for some time now and enjoy going over to FF regularly, but haven't made the switch yet. Are others also experiencing this hesitance?

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Innovators can do everything?

Been reading an interesting article about innovation and innovators today. It was published in the Harvard Business Review, titled: "Finding and grooming breakthrough Innovators" (Dec. 2008) by Jeffrey Cohn, Jon Katzenbach and Gus Vak.

The article is a good read. However, one part of the article is buzzing through my head. It's about the profile of an innovator (so companies know what kind of person to look for and cultivate them). This is what it says about 'innovators':

The best innovators have very strong cognitive abilities, including excellent analytical skills. (...)

First, they never rest on their laurels. (...) "They are driven by a certain underlying insecurity to not rely on past success, and they evaluate each new challenge with a clean slate." (...)

Second, potential innovators are, as Small puts it, "ridiculously socially aware of their surroundings at all times." (...) They leverage ... information to craft and communicate a message that resonates with every constituent. This is the art of bringing a diverse group onto the same page - and it is absolutely essential to transforming an interesting idea into a companywide innovation. (...)

Innovators are persuasive and often charming. (...) Then, on the flip side, our innovators have to use their skills and charm to push an unproven idea through our corporate machinery. I can't overstate how important and how rare this sales ability is.

There is, of course, a certain tension between an innovator's independent mind and his or her social involvement with colleagues, but the ability to seamlessly shift between isolation and a larger group is essential.

Wow, this is a breath-taking list. In short it says: the innovator is perfect, he/she has got it all. I agree with this list, but I don't think that an innovator has to have all these characteristics in one person. It could also be that these are spread out over more than one person. I do know some people that seem to fit the list perfectly and they are truly unique people that should be cultivated by the company they work for. But also the lesser gods, that have several, but not all characteristics should be supported as well. And helps to fill in the gaps in the list to make them just as successful and the perfect innovator.

I'm curious if you agree with me!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back to blogging...

Oof, I've been quiet for too long. Or have you been enjoying it? ;-)

I don't know what happened, but I simply couldn't get myself to post regularly the last couple of weeks. I have been twittering though. Maybe this does imply conversation are shifting from blogs to Twitter?!

My silence definitely doesn't say nothing is going on. I saved loads of interesting posts I would love to read, comments on and post about. Hope I find time for that.

What have I been up to lately?

1. I'm still working on a future information architecture. This architecture should provide a sustainable, flexible way to support structured and unstructured information processes in our organization. Leading to more effective and efficient business processes. I find that an interesting and tricky job. In technical organizations the structured information processes are supported by heavy tools (PLM and ERP tooling). Lots of focus is on these processes (usually not an integrated focus, though). All other information is just there. Not managed well, teams and projects have their own ways to share this kind of information, etc. This is strange because the unstructured information usually contains the requirements, decision, or, in short, the context, to understand what's managed in the structured information tools.

2. I've been working hard to get our organization to understand the power of internet, and more specifically the social web. This resulted in the approval of social media guidelines. This makes me really happy. Let's see if this triggers our employees to actively use social media inside and outside the organization.

3. The future of our intranet. Is the way we set up and manage our intranet sustainable and does it relate well enough to the daily work of our employees. I see that in hard, economic times the intranet seems not to be 'critical' enough to keep on developing. Should we look for alternative, parallel way to set up a 'live' intranet, based on wiki for instance?

4. I've also been working on a proposal to improve the way we innovate using wiki (concepts). A more social, open, transparent, crowdsourced way of innovating. I hope to write more on this topic soon.

5. Finally, not to mention more, I've been looking into sharing information with externals via Sharepoint. We wrote a proposal on this topic and did a reference visit. Sharepoint really seems to support external collaboration in a secure way.

It may seem I'm doing this all alone. This is not the case. All topics mentioned above are done in close collaboration with several smart colleagues of mine. I'm glad they're there!