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Saturday
Sep222007

Human Factors and Blog Design

The best products are designed with Human Factors in mind. That's why I often write about Web design and usability in my Web Performance Matters blog.

Jeff Atwood recently published Thirteen Blog Clichés, a post summarizing his "opinions about what makes blogs work well, and what makes blogs sometimes not work so well." These are presented as a list of 13 common mistakes to avoid (or anti-patterns). If you have a blog, or are designing one, you've probably read similar articles before. Even so, Jeff's checklist is worth a look. All such lists tend to contain a core set of common guidelines to follow and/or pitfalls to avoid, but some of Jeff's opinions step outside the conventional wisdom.

Because I maintain two blogs -- UpRight Matters and Web Performance Matters -- I decided to rate both blogs against Jeff's criteria. Here are edited versions of his recommendations, and my responses. To read Jeff's full discussions of each guideline, see the original. And for the full story, see the many responses posted by Jeff's readers in the comments section of his blog.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep122007

The Technology is Becoming Flat

Illustration: EchoSign logo

EchoSign is a poster child in my book for everything done right in the new world of enterprise software. I use it to get documents signed fast and then to manage my signed documents in a more effective way than before.

It’s as simple as that – and as powerful.

To understand why this subscription software-as-a-service is so powerful, you only need to think about the typical steps and costs for getting even one contract signed and filed:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep112007

All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

Illustration: J.R.R. Tolkien

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954

Tolkien might have been surprised to see his writing quoted in a discussion of technology and marketing, but I believe there is a strong connection.

I have always appreciated Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, returning periodically to enjoy it again since I first read it almost 40 years ago. And although Peter Jackson's film adaptation was worthy of Tolkien's original creation, many aspects of Tolkien's wisdom were inevitably lost in the translation.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep052007

Net Is A Reflection of Society

Illustration: Mirror Image

As Chair of the Computer History Museum's Fellow Awards I took special notice of CHM Fellow Vint Cerf's BBC interviews last month on how the Internet has evolved and where it is heading next.

There are many interesting points in these and other interviews by Mr. Cerf on this topic. However, his pointed comments about censorship and society made me pause to consider more than the future of technology.

How has the Net evolved?

In a radio interview, Cerf is bemused that comments on the future of the Internet were recorded using 19th Century media:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug292007

Managing for Business Effectiveness

Drucker on Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Management Wisdom: 1

There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all

-- Peter Drucker, 1963

Peter Drucker is often called "the father of modern management". Many books and Web sites are devoted to his insights, some of which I have written about previously.

This post highlights his incisive observation about the difference between effectiveness and efficiency. I have always found it to be especially memorable, and quoted it (twice) when discussing priorities and choices in my book about software performance. Unfortunately I got the source wrong, but thanks to Google I can now correct my mistake.

It appeared in Managing for Business Effectiveness, an article in the May/June 1963 edition of Harvard Business Review ("HBR"). You can also find it reprinted in a February 2006 HBR article -- What Executives Should Remember -- a collection of excerpts drawn from HBR articles by Drucker published between 1963 and 2004.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug282007

How Do You Show Up As A Marketer?

illustration: Why Are We Doing This

Relax and breathe. No need to feel defensive. It isn’t a trick question. But it can be a revealing one.

If you’re not sure, ask someone: a colleague, a partner, or a co-worker. Meanwhile, I’ll share my answer with you. Then please post your thoughts and stories here for our marketing moments of Zen.

I was asked this question recently in a Mastermind discussion. And honestly, I don’t know how I would have responded 15 years ago. But now with plenty of history and well, a few gray hairs, it took only moments to explain.

Click to read more ...

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