Shameless Plug

The recent upgrade of TypePad has brought a whole host of new features that are worth highlighting. If you’ve been on the fence about getting into blogging, now is the time and TypePad’s the product!

– Doubled Bandwidth and Storage
– Snazzy new themes
– Moderated comments
– TypeKey integration

Click on the button on the left to learn more.

If you already have TypePad, be sure to set aside some time to explore these new features in detail. One easy way of doing this without messing with your existing blog is to create a test blog.

If you don’t have a TypePad account and want to see what all the fuss is about, sign up for a 30-day free trial and check it out.

Corporate Blogs, a new paradigm for product design

Backbone Media, an internet marketing and web development firm based outside of Boston, has published a meaty survey of corporate bloggers to try and get a sense of the motivations and best practices behind corporate blogs. Their survey, Corporate Blogging: Is it Worth they Hype? is the best piece out there today. Along with the empirical survey results are also the results of interviews with bloggers at

  • Annie’s Homegrown
  • IBM
  • iUpload
  • Macromedia
  • Maytag
  • Microsoft

Each of the studies here contain useful lessons. I particularly like the story behind Macromedia’s product marketing blogs which underscores the benefits of open channels of communication with customers to the product development process. I think IBM got a bit short-changed in this report as the blogger they interviewed didn’t seem to represent the enlightened viewpoints I’ve been reading.

What Backbone Media really is talking about is harnessing the conversations and relationships generated by well-written product blogs to drive future product development. Listening to customers shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept:

In essence blogs are learning tools, specifically a company can use a blog to learn how to improve or develop new products by communicating more effectively with their customers through the use of corporate blogs. Any company should encourage customer ideas, reward them and learn from their customer’ s example. If they do they will build more successful products, which also have ready customers who want to adopt new ideas and products because those same customers have participated in the process of product development. Such a strategy will also have additional Internet marketing benefits in the form of more backlinks and higher search engine rankings, as well as direct traffic from links on many different websites.

We all need to remember, customers, by purchasing and using a product, own the past, present, future, and ultimate success of a company and brand. A good product manager represents the customers as constituents and gains their confidence as their elected leader.

Chirac mocks British cuisine, UK fights back by stealing Olympics

Nothing like a good international rivalry to brighten up your morning paper and the French politicians can always be counted on for a good zinger every now and then. Chirac’s latest off the cuff remark overheard by a reporter at the French paper Liberation was well-timed right before the G-8 summit being held in Scotland.

“We can’t trust people who have such bad food,” Chirac was quoted as saying. He reportedly added that only Finland has worse food in Europe and that mad cow disease was Britain’s sole contribution to European agriculture.

Ouch! Well the morning papers ate it up as everyone spoils for a good fight. Of course, when news that London clinched the 2012 Summer Olympic bid from runner-up Paris, my mailbox was peppered with all sorts of good-natured jabs such as the photo above.

Current Events

Google’s Master Plan Revealed

Google Master Plan

Google’s Masterplan discovered on a “Do Not Erase” whiteboard, photographed and annotated for posterity in this Flickr posting.


Tintin and old friends

Yesterday I had a nice suprise. Mark Prendergast, a childhood friend from when I was in 3rd grade, sent me a note filling in some details which I had left off my biography. Mark used to come over to my house and we would read my Tintin comic books and listen to The Goon Show tapes my dad had on his old reel-to-reel tape deck.

Mark lived a culturally rich life as he was up on a hill and was able to get the NBC channel that carried the Star Trek series. I remember being left out of all the playground conversations because I didn’t know what anyone was talking about. I was down in the valley and resorted to European comics where the hero always would exclaim “Hello?” when he was shocked and offbeat British humor.

Anyway, it’s nice to see that Tintin has left a mark as he says he now reads Tintin to his daughter. My sister, when she travelled to Thailand last year, brought me back a wooden replica of Tintin which sits on my desk at work – on his way to his next adventure.