Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Who made Google God?

Yesterday I was speaking with my search engine optimization specialist. She said that Google had recently made major changes to its algorithm (the semi-secret formula everyone runs after to get higher placement in search results). She said I needed to advise my clients to get into blogging because it can help increase a web site's page rank. When I asked why, she said that Google seems to love the fresh content and community created by blogs.

Now I am supposed to advise all you businesses out there - who don't yet have blogs - to start them. Whether they serve any other useful purpose for your business or not. That fact that they will help improve your placement in Google is all you need to know. Further commandments will be forthcoming!

Friday, January 27, 2006


While my kids were snowboarding last Sunday, I took a hike through the woods on my snowshoes. I decided to listen to my iPod (not my new portable satellite radio). I really enjoyed it. The music while hiking through the snow really made it a pleasant experience and the climb seemed to take less effort. When a skier suddenly appeared out of nowhere, it made me realize how much the music removed me from the experience. Not just by taking away my sense of hearing, but also by encouraging me to "space out". (Caution: I think you have to turn the volume down and make an effort to be more alert when listening and moving around. )

Upon returning home, both boys headed right for their video games (yes, we do have limits, but they were within the "safe zone"). As I watched them turn on the sound and start playing it made me wonder. While having a very real physical experience - walking in nature - I was trying to enhance it by replacing the sound (or lack thereof in this case). Meanwhile, my kids are trying to enhance their virtual video game experience by also replacing the sound of the room (as well as their physical motion and visuals).

In my case I was attempting to make a real experience more virtual. In their case, they were trying to make a virtual experience more real. Are we always just trying to enhance any experience, never quite satisfied, or are we universally striving for some mythical, safe, satisfying nirvana, somewhere between real and virtual?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Long Tail 2

The ways of describing The Long Tail:

  • sales over inventory graph
  • economies of abundance to economies of infinite choice
  • hits to niches
  • head to tail

What's in The Tail?

  • future hits, past hits, never to be hits
  • never to be hits includes bad stuff and stuff good only for a few
  • if good for only one person, isn't it good?

Producer advantages of The Long Tail

  • access to market: if your distributor has infinite warehouse shelf space you can get a place (e.g., Amazon self-publishing)
  • low-cost marketing: in the form recommendations whether by filters or word-of-mouth (blogs, viral emails)

On the effect of The Long Tail on the curve: shifting it right or moving it up. He thinks it will vary by industry. The main constraints are the scarcity of disposal income and time. More of a product will be consumer if he matches their taste, doesn't have rivalies for their time (can be consumer simultaneously while doing other things), and doesn't cost more to use more. He believe all-you-can-eat pricing schemes will do better in the Long Tail. But isn't that true of most products that you find enjoyable?

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Long Tail

I enjoy reading Chris Anderson's blog on The Long Tail. Since being exposed to this by my friend, Pam Laird, I have come to see it as a very exciting economic principle. I struggled over how to describe it - settling for now on the broad term "economic principle" as that best describes how I am applying it to my own new business development efforts. Since this market has not historically been easy to serve by a concentrated business - and now is much more so - this economic principle is creating a new frontier. Ready, set, explore!

In reading a posting from last May, I found a few interesting concepts:

  • the niche markets of The Long Tail require better filters to match buyers and products. The mainstream media is not setup to handle this.
  • the length of "broadcast shows" will become much more varied - and probably shorter for the most part
  • between the "head" (big hits) and the "tail" (hobbies) lies the "body" (great middle ground), which Chris describes as "Existing goods that haven't reach their full potential market." Now if we can just figure out the difference between those that "haven't" and those that "never will" we will know where to invest.
  • The concept of IP law being only for the "head" is interesting. Take music as an example, if RIAA is struggling to protect the "head" and in the process losing the PR battle, doesn't that create opportunities for the "tail" to take the opposite approach - free content - and win the PR battle? Maybe there is already a music service for this group. Anyone know?
  • I love our new Roomba, too! I know this should be embarrassing, but I love watching its pattern.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Satellite Radio II

One thing leads to another. I really do enjoy just pushing the one button and getting instant, commercial-free music. I only have to pick the type of music. I seem to have settled on two stations. I wonder how often people switch around?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Satellite Radio

I got a satellite radio for Christmas. My brother-in-law asked me which service I chose. I responded that - at least for my general tastes - the service did not matter. I selected XM Radio based on the hardware I wanted. They had the player with the accessories (MyFi) I wanted. Anyone else?