Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Moving to our new home!

After five months on Blogger, the Net-Savvy Executive is moving to a new home at net-savvy.com/executive/. The new domain goes along with some ideas I'm working on, and I hope to do a lot more with it. I expect to have an announcement of the next piece soon.

The archive will remain here at Blogspot, so any links to specific posts will continue to work. If you've subscribed to the feed at Feedburner, or if you receive updates by email, those will continue to work, too.

Please join us at net-savvy.com for the next chapter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How not to succeed online

I was thinking about "how to" articles on the Internet this morning. Writing a "how to" post is a popular tactic for getting attention for a blog, and everyone does it. This morning, I came across a "how not to" post that got me thinking about how they're different. I have a great "how not to" example for business, too.

I wrote how not to handle confidential information last week. This morning I came across Joe Wikert's post on how not to solve the "DVR problem." I haven't seen anything on how not to talk like a pirate, though.

And then there's the case of the Belgian court decision that requires Google to remove Belgian newspaper stories from its services. Is anyone really surprised that Google followed the court order to the letter and removed the newspapers entirely from Google Belgium? How not to succeed in Internet marketing, in one easy lesson. There's a whole industry built on optimizing a site's placement in search engine results, but in this case, some media companies used the court to achieve the opposite.

Who else has a good "how not to" story?

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Company research at LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a new company page feature that promises to grow into a useful feature for profiling companies (via Vincent Wright). Would you like to know where a company's employees went to school or worked before? How about their average length of employment with the company? I assume the data are based on the information LinkedIn members have volunteered, so don't get too literal with the statistics, but still...

LinkedIn's strength is finding personal connections, and the bulk of the company page is a list of employees by function, with some text links to speed the kind of searches that have always been possible.

Only a few companies are listed today—Accenture, AMD, Apple, Cisco, Dell, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Nortel and Pfizer—but this has a lot of potential.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Forrester on Brand Monitoring

Forrester Research has released their "Wave" report on seven brand monitoring services. They rank Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Cymfony as market leaders; MotiveQuest, Biz360, Factiva, and Umbria as strong performers; and Brandimensions as a contender. Only $995 for the complete report.

If your priorities and budget don't add up for a high-end brand monitoring service, you have other options for tracking your company's online reputation.

Update: Here's Peter Kim's summary, which includes a nice graphical summary.

Update2: I've published a broader look at the companies in this space, the Guide to Social Media Analysis, which includes profiles of 31 companies from 9 countries.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How not to handle confidential information

We can talk about protecting yourself on the Internet, but if you say too much in front of your competitors, what's the point? John Andrews relates a little story about the risks of speaking in public (via David Churbuck):
You probably won’t listen to me if I suggest you keep your voice lower, not discuss tactical or strategic issues in a public forum, or speak in secret code, so this is the least I can offer you. If you finish your overly loud public “search marketing” pitch and walk out leaving your dream client behind, I will feel compelled to hand her my business card and offer her a free review of your written proposal. Like I just did.

I worked briefly for a large company that included information security in its new employee training sequence. Among other things, we were warned not to discuss the company or its business in public, and to avoid the accidental sharing of reading materials and computer files on airplanes. Our instructor, of course, had just enjoyed a long discussion of a competitor's business on her flight, courtesy of the competitor's employees sitting right behind her.

We pay a lot of attention to new risks online, but the old ones are still in the game.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Real-time research

Can you type and talk at the same time?

I once had a help desk job that required taking notes on a computer while talking to the people who called us. We used abbreviations for some common phrases (such as whbd for "what has been done"), and we didn't bother with capitalization, but we summarized the conversation and recorded key details during the call. The key piece of equipment that made it work was the telephone headset, which gave us both hands for the computer and better sound quality for the phone call. Today's wireless headsets are even better, allowing movement around the room during a call.

How is that useful away from the help desk? When I have telephone conversations, I usually have a browser open. I can perform a quick search on the people and topics that come up and get more information while still in the conversation. I can look at company web sites when I talk to their people, and I can conduct a quick background check on cold callers. I get the benefit of some of the research I could do after the call without having to wait, which can change how I conduct the call.

Sometimes, it's not what you know, it's what you can look up. Just don't get so distracted by the computer that you fall out of the conversation on the phone. People can't really multitask, so this is only productive if your online activities mesh with your conversation. If the computer distracts you from the call too much, remember which connection includes an actual person and focus on the call.