RSS feeds for Salesforce.com

You gotta love it. Ex-Newsgator developer, Charlie Wood has attached RSS feeds to salesforce.com. If you have a salesforce.com subscription, you can now subscribe to a feed of your Open Opportunities or Open Escalations. This has been out since July and is now in 2.0 – I’m only now caught wind of it.

On their TypePad-powered blog they are taking feedback from their customers and announcing new features so if you’re a user, this is a feed you’ll want to subscribe.

Charlie’s venture, Spanning Partners, has the tagline, "RSS-enabling the enterprise, one application at a time." Cool, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Serendipitous Audio Streaming Services

Now joining last.fm is a new service, Pandora, which supplements revenue from affiliations with Amazon and Apple with a very reasonable subscription fee ($36/year, $12/quarter). The interface works better for me but that’s mostly because they’ve simplified the number options they make available. Unlike Last.fm, you cannot tag your music collection nor does it monitor what music you play to adjust your profile which is what I find so fascinating about last.fm.

Last weekend I had friends over for dinner and had last.fm’s “vocal jazz” tag streaming all night long and we were constantly surprised with the things passed our way – Judy Garland, rare Louis Armstrong, the occasional spoken word rap, all like rare cheeses on a silver platter.

Last.fm is worth it if you invest the time to manage your profile and feed the ecosystem – Pandora is more for the person that wants to boot up, login, and start listening right away.

One point in Pandora’s favor – they have a Movable Type blog so they can post on their plans for the future.

Infoworld on Blogs as lightweight content management

InfoWorld surveys the corporate blogging landscape and sees them as a right-sized solution to basic content management. If you’re publishing a website, you’re managing content. Yet, if you go shopping around for a traditional content management solution, the enterprise software vendors will give you a six figure estimate with a healthy “services” chunk thrown in.

Deploying a full-blown ECM (enterprise content management) system to address basic corporate content publishing and
workflow needs has been likened to trying to kill a fly with a rocket launcher. A more suitable solution may lie in souped-up blogging tools, which by design simplify content publishing.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. From Blog tools tackle content management.

Movable Type 3.2

The pop of a champagne cork at Noon today signaled that Movable Type 3.2 has been pushed out for general release. Jay, Brad, Ezra, Anil, Walt, and too many countless others to list all pulled together and have launched a product for which they should be really, really proud.

I’m always amazed at the depth of talent here and how Six Apart can consistently launch products which are not only powerful publishing platforms but also lightweight (the .zip file of the full install is a dainty 1.7MB) and  elegant in design.

Administrative Dashboard,
Plug-in based spam filters,
A template picker,
all this and much, much, more

We’re running a back-to-school special and knocking $30 off the price of our personal editions until the end of September or you can go to our hosting partners and get an account with Movable Type pre-installed. One of our ProNet consultants already jumped on the bandwagon and is offering to upgrade your MT install starting at $40.

Amidst all this, there’s still room for humor with nice little touches such as a shit-colored Junk folder and a little retro-badge in hommage to the Netscape of yore.

The lowdown on RSS Feeds

Feeds, feeds, feeds. What are they and what can they do for me? How do I read them and how do I make them? All of us at Six Apart get these questions everyday. For this very reason, Anil’s written up a great summary. Without further ado, the Six Apart Guide to Feeds.

Xml

Please resist the urge to click on that little orange button, it doesn’t do anything but confuse. Next generation browsers will take care of this confusing behaviour once and for all just as Apple’s Safari is doing for Mac users today.

Fear of being blogged

One last thing about the Blog Business Summit and then I’m done. Really.

I was sitting next to a PR person from a major company and she was expressing frustration that the sessions were not going the way she wanted them. Since the bloggers that ran the session love to run things in an interactive way, I asked why she wasn’t asking more questions to drive the sessions to answer what she was interested in. Her reply (I’m paraphrasing slightly) punched right to the core of some of the difficulties faced by a corporation that is trying on their blogging boots,

"Ask a question? Are you crazy? This place is not only full of press, it’s full of bloggers! I can’t have my company’s name all over the place tied to some stupid question of mine."

Slogging up the Business Blog Slope of Enlightenment

Debbie Weil, a blog business consultant, points to a Gartner conference call in which they place RSS and Corporate Blogging heading into the Trough of Disillusionment. As you look at Gartner’s Emerging Technology Hype Cycle for 2005, (check out page 6 on the PDF) you can see that they place corporate blogging about two years out to widespread adoption.

This is not to say that you should throw in the towel and sit on your hands for the next two years while the rest of the world figures it out for you – it just means that companies, now that they have begun to experiment with blogging tools realize that effective blogging is hard work. A blog requires someone not only to write intelligently and consistently, it also requires someone to monitor blogs and respond to comments. I can still hear the sigh of disappointment from the realtor that called me the other day to ask if he could pay Six Apart to also feed him content for his blog.

I have received a few good comments in reaction to my post yesterday about how there is still a gulf between those that blog and those in the corporate world trying to figure it all out. Robert Scoble’s advice to hand out your card at geek dinners isn’t going to really work if you’re promoting a blog for Sarah Lee or Quaker State. The Blog Business Summit was held to try and address this and their upcoming one day seminar will further the education on the nuts & bolts of corporate blogging.

As with any hyped trend, self-help books are rushing in to meet the need. A few good books out already or very shortly include:

  1. Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel is available for pre-order on Amazon. They also have a blog.
  2. Debbie Weil is writing a book on corporate blogging for Penguin due out in 2006.
  3. Blog Marketing, by Jeremy Wright is available today!
  4. The Weblog Handbook, by Rebecca Blood is one of the first books on blogs and a great primer.