Sunday, October 21, 2007

SCEA 2007 Annual Meeting - Web Trend: Today and Tomorrow

On Saturday I attended the SCEA 2007 Annual Meeting and participated in the panel discussion on "Web Trend: Today and Tomorrow". The panelists were:


  • Paul McNamara: CEO at Coghead

  • Ismael Ghalimi: Chief Executive Officer at Intalio

  • Sridhar Vembu: CEO at AdventNet/ZOHO

  • Etay Gafni: Sr. Director, User Experiences and Web2.0, SAP
  • Andy Lee: Managing Director of Berksford
We discussed many topics around these guidelines:
  • Future trends and how can we notice them now?
  • Office 2.0 - future mainstream or current bubble
  • Future mash-ups and "do-it-yourself" applications
  • Future Platforms - The power of Facebook and Social network
  • Thoughts about Enterprise 2.0
  • Cross culture and multi languages sites and examples
  • Mobile Web
  • Distribute development of Web products and services
I could not capture the whole discussion, so here are some points:

Sridhar was asked about the competition from Microsoft and Google in office 2.0 space. I liked his answer: "The competition does not kill you, you kill you". He then explained that he believe that as long as you keep your focus on your customers, your company execution and technology, you will do well. And there is a place for more than one solution.

Ismael told the story of how he started the idea of running a business using only hosted/online solutions; while he was in Japan and tried to keep working, but had only a Japanese laptop he borrowed from a friend.
Ismael also called for action and help with the great project of the Redux Model 1 (an experimental device built for the Office 2.0 Conference).



Paul provided and explanation about the evolution of business applications and focused on the capability we have now (and which Coghead provide) to compose the application that its your business. I added that working as a community allowing us to be able to reuse ideas and applications and collaborate to define new best practices and to build the relevant applications to support them.

Additional discussion was around the capability to use new Web Platforms to develop and distribute products and services.
Ismael made a valid point that it is not enough to get famous on Facebook or TechCrunch, you must build a real business and gave example of salesforce marketing and businss model.

The discussions and interactions with many people continued during the brakes.
Overall - I had fun and I think it was a very interesting event.
Plus - I got this:



E.T.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Mom's Song

I am a full time dad, while I am working (mainly worrying) and especially while I am not working...

My wife sent me this clip, and it seems that the lyrics are so true and the performance is great - so I had to share.



E.T.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Babylon 7

Working in a multi-culture environment has its challenges, which 'understanding' other languages is one of the major ones...

:-)

Knowing a 'language' is not as 'understanding' it.

I am using Babylon for many years now. It not just offers text translation in 17 languages and Wikipedia results in 13 languages, all in a single click, but also allow you to create your own dictionaries and helps you to understand phrases.

For example, there are many dictionaries about SAP terms, and in the past I was using it to package context-sensitive help and learning content.

Babylon just released a new great version - lucky # 7.



Some key features:

  • Single Click Activation - Simple and intuitive
  • Full text translation in a single click
  • Spell check for Hotmail, Gmail, Blogs...
  • Smart Dictionary - Get translations to and from any language
  • Wikipedia content in a single click
  • Babylon Premium Content- results from Oxford, Britannica, and other leading publishers in a single click
  • Auto Completion
I do wish they will develop a Mac version soon...

E.T.


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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

SAP TechEd 2007 - Interview with Tim O'Reilly

An interview with Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, who coined the phrase "Web 2.0," and who was guest keynote speaker at SAP TechEd.


video
Source: SDN

E.T.


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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (8/8)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.



Buy, Sell, Hold? - Yes, You Have Mo' to Think About
You've grown your company. You're making money. What's next? IPO, acquisition, or just keep walking. In this session, hear about the exit strategies that momentum companies have to think about, and plan for, today.

TSX - Ungad Chadda, Vice-President and COO
Thumbplay - Are Traasdahl, CEO & Founder
Microsoft - Marc Brown, Director of Corporate Development
IMVU - Eric Ries, CTO

(no links, sorry, Blogger really needs to improve linking and adding image capabilities...)

The panel agreed the focus should be on building a real business.
They disagree on what does it mean...

Nice quote: "companies do not fail due to lack of technology - they fail due to lack of customers..."

Building a dream-team is the key step in building a real business.

First hires for technical or product driven companies - should be in the marketing area - as you need to generate lead and to make the market ready for your branding and product.
(???)

Executive team of a start up changes with the phases of the company.
The role of the executives changes as well.

The transition from 'traffic' or # of users to monetization is not trivial (duh...).
Partnership with a market leader or a company the complete your value offering is a logic step.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Done.

It was a long & good fun day...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (7/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.




Ones to Watch


Adify - Larry Braitman, Co-founder and Chairman


Tumri - Hari Menon, CEO


Turn - Jim Barnett


Again - 6 minutes per presenter - too fast for me to Blog about at real time...However -

Turn has an interesting model (as well as a good presentation) to enables advertisers and publishers to buy and sell online advertising in an advanced market that automates targeting. Turn eliminates the need for manual targeting and provides bidded CPA, CPC and CPM pricing for graphical and text ads. Through its revolutionary targeting and innovative pricing models, Turn simultaneously delivers amazing simplicity, dramatically better relevance, and maximum revenue for advertisers and publishers.

From Turn site:

  • Automatic targeting. Traditional manual targeting is time consuming, frequently ineffective, and not scalable. Turn eliminates the complexity of manual targeting and managing keywords with technology that automatically selects the best graphical or text ads for any placement. By automating the process, Turn can find subtle patterns of performance that manual targeting would otherwise miss and respond much more quickly to changes in performance.
  • Blended targeting. Turn uses sophisticated algorithms to blend more than 60 relevance variables rather than just one or two, the common practice of most networks. This is critical because relevance and advertiser performance require targeting beyond just text on the page. Targeting must combine elements of category targeting, audience and user behaviors, and innovative new targeting methods in order to optimize performance.
  • Bidded CPA pricing model. Turn has revolutionized the traditional CPA model by utilizing a bidded market. By offering CPA, CPC, and CPM to the advertiser and using effective CPM (eCPM) ranking on behalf of the publisher, Turn aligns the business goals of the advertiser, publisher, and ad network.
Automatic targeting is an interesting approach.
I think it is powerful model, however as it is 'automated', it is based on parameters and assumptions. It would be interesting to learn how flexible and 'self learning' this system really is.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To be continued...Maybe...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (6/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

What Advertisers Want, What Businesses Need
The online advertising game as we know it is changing. Established players are scrambling to determine methods and metrics - how do widgets and time spents stack up against pageviews and eyeballs? Innovators are moving quickly and land-grabbing on their own. Since many consumer-facing companies depend on advertising for their revenues, and big-budget brand advertisers employ media buyers, the lack of agreed-upon standards could be a big problem. Are shortcomings leaving ad money on the table?


Google - Brett Crosby, Senior Manager, Google Analytics


VideoEgg - Adam Klein, President


Aggregate Knowledge - Paul Martino, CEO


Real Branding - Mark Silva, Principal & Founder


ComScore - Nick Tabbal, Senior Vice President

Still there are too many different definitions and ways to measure activities, effectiveness and other subjective parameters.

One of the logical comment that was (finally) made was that business owners (the ad publishers) are interested to understand how the online activity (and their investment) actually effect their business.
How to provide them with this data and contect (or at least make them comfortable with the data) is still debatable...

"Actional-analytics": the concept of modify the site/service on-the-fly based on activities of the users. Example such as Amazon's "People who bought this also bought these items...", may be the next generation - shorting the time from feedback/data/analysis to action.


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To be continued...Maybe...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (5/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Thinking Outside the "Bubble"
So you have the Big Mo' - now what? A good company can rest on it's laurels, but the truly great companies are those who strategize to grow, expand, adapt and reach that next level. Momentum companies have to think beyond the bubble of Silicon Valley to Main Street USA and even out to the roads of Ulan Bator. Hear from experts about what it takes be great outside the Silicon Valley bubble.


Hi5 - Ramu Yalamanchi, CEO



Bebo - Xochi Birch, CO-founder & President



Best Buy - Martin Nyman


ThinkLondon - David Riches, Director, North America


Topix - Chris Tolles, CEO


During a long discussion about success and Tipping Points, the following parameters mentioned:

    1. Luck
    2. Mix of available capabilities allow the company to leverage luck.
    3. Industry readiness
    4. Market readiness
    5. Luck
    6. More luck (and then some...)
If you know what your user do and need, you can understand what will they need in the future (maybe...) and build something they will want and need in the future. If you are a head of the curve - you may be able to create a tipping point in customer engagement - driving success.

Statistics are very important to be able to measure health of the communities as well as status versus the competition. (It seems every company has a internal numbers and KPI as well as external numbers to through at the PR team...)

Stay relevant (and being paranoid really help).
Embrace change, be agile, be ready to trash things you have and love, based on what your users and future users needs and want.

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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (4/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Partnerships - Relying on the Kindness of Strangers
Small companies pursue big companies for partnerships -- they need credibility, access to markets and channels, and the means to scale. Whether for distribution, marketing, development, monetization strategy, or just leveraging existing APIs, teaming with a giant is the strongest route to building an empire. Learn from those who've negotiated on both sides of the table what it takes to get a deal done and how to make it work for you.


Meebo - Seth Sternberg, CEO


Kayak - Drew Patterson, VP Marketing


Photobucket - Peter Pham, Vice President, Business Development


SAP - Jens Weitzel, Sr. Director, Business Development Global Ecosystem & Partner Group


The discussion provided some (basis for) partnerships examples and points of views:

  • Value swap - offer cross traffic, (missing) features, etc.
  • Build together - instead of buying technology - work with the technology providers as partners to create the capability, needed by both.
  • Have a mentality of "everyone is not a competitor" - build honest relationship early on with other companies - including other start ups. Find areas where others may have better value proposition (tools, experiences) to your users and work with them.
  • Partner with companies that 'will be around' in the future.
  • People - integrity, trust and personal connection is important - as you will work with these people closely. Do not partner with someone you do not feel comfortable closing a deal with a handshake (as a first step...).
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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (3/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Ones to Watch


Leverage Software
- Mike Walsh, CEO and co-founder



Moola.com
- Arlen Ritchie, President and CEO



mShopper
- David Gould, CEO



Multiply
- David Hersh, VP of Business Development

6 minutes per presenter - too fast for me to Blog about at real time...
Interesting...
I may have another look into it later on.
Especially on Multiply. As the feedback from the panel clearly showed that they miss the value proposition of Multiply, except Martin Nyman (Best Buy) - who made some comments about multi-generation challenges.

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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (2/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Freelancer/author Sarah Lacy chats with Tina Sharkey, Chairman, Babycenter.com

  • Communities are about looking for solutions for needs (current, long term), sharing interests and about human connection.
  • The audience is growing and change all the time - do not expect to have a winning formula that could last long...
  • Find out where your audience live and serve them there - eMails, online, RSS, newsletter, etc... Fine tune the messages based on 1-to-1 marketing concepts.
  • Be true to your core.
  • Statistics: 8M unique users in 10 counties. Revenue from eCommerce (larger) and media business (profitable).
  • The company is part of Jonson & Jonson. It was bought from eToys when eToys declared bankruptcy in 2001.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Imeem - Steve Jang, VP, Marketing and Business Development
Sugar Publishing - Brian Sugar, Founder, Publisher and CEO
Slide - Keith Rabois, VP, Business Development
Babycenter.com - Tina Sharkey, SVP Instant Messaging & Social Media
RockYou - Ro Choy, Vice President of Business Development

  • In a discussion on users loyalty - both Slide and RockYou agreed (and it did not happen a lot) that the main challenge was to get the 'first time' users, as users are not switching to much after they invested in creating content and learning a system.
  • It is important to know the demographics of your service - as advertiser require depends on it.
  • People are going where other people (friends) are. The features are secondary.
  • The debate between reach or niche went on... It was claimed that "viral engagement" allows you to go for a wide reach, while building engagement with focusing on niche (using a dedicated application). FaceBook was mentioned many times as the platform allow you to achieve this.

Overall - after over an hour of 'buzzwords exchange' it seems everyone are still looking for ways to put some logic into their success as well as define the next steps and trends.

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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (1/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

How I Got Mo' - Momentum Company of the Year
Ellen McGirt / Paul English (Co-Founder & CTO of KAYAK).


  • Building a service around technology and most important - customer service.
  • A team of 30 engineers and 9 Biz are supporting 20M transactions per month.
  • Every inquiry is answered by a person.
  • The development policy is that a developer can develop a new feature only when there are no open issues with the the current features/codes this developer is responsible for.
  • Spending a lot of time on usability testing - as the technology is allowing to modify the experience very rapidly and cheaply.
  • Facebook is a great social platform which brings a lot of value and power to small companies to start with.
  • Ways to create customers momentum - Google ads, affiliate programs, word of mouth.
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Business Models That Drive Momentum
Find a high-paying job. Find a telephone listing (for free). Make a coffee table quality book yourself. The internet has enabled a number of niche businesses to flourish quickly. These momentum companies have found a need and are serving it well. What were their secrets of success and how do they plan to keep the momentum?

Blurb - Robin Goldberg, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development
TheLadders.com - Robert Turtledove, CMO
Gaia Online - Craig Sherman, CEO
Jingle Networks - Lyn Chitow Oakes, SVP Marketing
  • Great businesses are based on passion and on personal pain...
  • Business models emerge from feedbacks and conversation with the user's community. The users will let you know what they need and for what they are willing to pay for it.
  • When a business offers a great service and provide proofs, the users are willing to use and pay part of the service - marked as 'premium'.
  • Raising capital has to based the market, real needs and expectations , shared by the founder and the investors.
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To be continued...


E.T.

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Rebooting My Morning

I was on my way to the Momentum Growth Conference today when I had to stop for fuel.


The fuel pump had this kind of media screen and it showed commercials.

Suddenly, the screen went black the and the computer rebooted - and froze.




Great start...

(I am glad to use a Mac...)

:-)

E.T.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Web 2.0 Summit/Plane

Although I did not register to the upcoming 'Web 2.0 summit', I got rejected.
( I did attend some in the past... so I guess I am marked man now...)



At times when every week a new record is set and broken and there are so many hypes and peaks, a summit is just a plane.
(so I keep telling my bruised ego...)


source: http://www.teamstraydogs.com/images/RobMilne-VinsontoShinn-7Summits.jpg



E.T.

Running on (Adobe) AIR

I was working on some interesting prototypes using Adobe Flex recently..

Well… some of them got achieved before more than 2 people saw them, while others got some traction.

One of the demos I supported was the SAP xApps Spend Analytics demo, shown during Adobe MAX this week.

SAP xApp Spend Analytics is a next generation analytic application that allows organizations and the end users to consolidate their spend data for end to end visibility into their supplier base. Identify savings and sourcing opportunities and to facilitate regulatory and internal compliance while identifying Supplier's rationalization opportunities.

The application is based on SAP Business Intelligence (SAP NetWeaver), and it aggregates data from heterogeneous data sources, prepares and enriches the data for analysis and accurately classifies the spend data for budgeting and sourcing savings.

Note
: SAP xApp Spend Analytics is currently in Ramp-Up, so please stay tuned to additional information on SAP.com.

(Additional SAP Spend Analytics information is available here)
(Adobe Max keynote coverage is available here and here)

some screen shots:

Opening a briefing book from a list of available books on the server




Sorting data




Using the page-flip experience...


The most interesting part of the demo ( at least from my point of view ) was showing a scenario when the presenter added some information, gathered during off-line, by D&D a table from MS-Excel into the book, as well as updating the book’s data from the server (per page or the whole book).


E.T.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Adobe's Buzz(word) and Share

Great buzz around Adobe's Acquisition of Virtual Ubiquity, the developers of Buzzword (previous review) ,as well as on the new sharing service.

Buzzword



Share





And yet again we see the page-flip feature...


Will Adobe step into the 'office 2.0' space, leveraging their experience in content creation and collaboration?

It seems Adobe is focusing on 'documents' and not on every type of office-file-format.

In any case - yet another new shining way to collaborate available now...

However - the interesting part is how would Buzzword use the Adobe AIR off-line capabilities.
Many other 'on-line' applications are using Google Gear or a similar local-server solutions, for going off-line. I am looking forward to see if Adobe will make Buzzword an example for AIR capabilities, in the loosely-connected scenarios.



E.T.


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