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Office

MyBlogLog → OneTrueFan

Remember those subscriber cards you found tucked into magazines that asked questions about your income, education, sports you liked, where you traveled or what newspapers you read? The editors and advertisers of that magazine were trying to find out more about their readers. Except for the folks that took the time to write in, an editor of a print magazine knew very little about the people who read their magazine.

Imagine if Henry Luce had access to a tool which could give him an insight to the readers of Time Magazine? What if he knew not only who was reading his magazine but also which particular articles were hitting a chord? Not only that, what if he knew what else they were reading in other magazines? Which articles did his most faithful readers found elsewhere that his reporters did not cover? This type of data would have been pure gold to the late Mr. Luce.

Click for full screen image

MyBlogLog had some of this data but it was site-specific and the service has been since scuttled by Yahoo.  The team has re-grouped and pulled another rabbit out of their hat launching Live Fan Analytics (aka: Fan-alytics) as a new approach to site metrics. MyBlogLog required site owners to install a widget on their site to reveal users that have opted in to showing up on the MyBlogLog sidebar. OneTrueFan spins that approach around and asks the readers to add an extension to their browser in order to send back their browsing behavior on any site for aggregation and show a bit of extra love for the sites they frequent.

What’s in it for the Fans? Browse the web and have at your disposal an instant view of the last 10 fans who visited the site and articles on that site that have been shared by those readers. Also look at the top fans who visit the site the most often and see what they have shared on the site. As you browse, your history (minus any sites you choose to exclude), is fed into the OneTrueFan “panel” that helps site owners and other OTF users find interesting content. It’s like being a Nielsen family for the modern age. But there’s a bit of fun too as you’ll find yourself on the leaderboard for your favorite sites vying for the title of the OneTrueFan of that site.

What’s in it for the site owners? Real-time reading behavior. If you install the widget, (as I do on this site) the activity of your readers is aggregated from not only browsers hitting your site but also sharing activity on social sites such as twitter and facebook. You get a more complete view of how your content is shared beyond your site and a sample of what your most avid readers like to read, in real-time.

If your site is publishing multiple stories a day and, as editor you are always looking for the next trending story to cover, the OneTrueFan analytics dashboard is an invaluable tool to help drive your daily editorial calendar. Most blog packages allow you to “pin” a story to the top, above the fold. The dashboard will quickly tell you which ones to push to the top and which ones to let slide down on the scroll.

As social sites begin to drive a greater portion of traffic to your site, it is vital to understand which topics resonate with your readers enough to drive them to share via these networks. OneTrueFan gives you not only quantitative stats but also the qualitative insights that you can only get from browsing the names, faces, and twitter & facebook profiles of your most avid readers. Author Kevin Kelly has a theory that any business is sustainable provided it knows how to take care of it’s most avid fans. He calls it the “1,000 True Fans” rule. OneTrueFan is a tool that will help you cultivate your true fans.

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Current Events

Leaving Finland

Tomorrow we leave Finland, our home for the last two years. It’s always bittersweet packing up, leaving behind an empty apartment, and closing the door on a phase of your life.  Today, on my last night, I am philosophical. To be honest, it was a bit rough and it’s probably best to reserve judgement on this period of my life for a few years when I’ll have a better perspective. When I left Alameda for Finland I wrote, “What we do with this experience and what we make of it is up to us.” Returning to Alameda and re-adjusting to life back in America will be a continuation of our experience in Finland. It is only when you see the familiar changed around you, when you return, that you can reflect on a journey and see how it has changed you.

I think my two kids grew up faster than they might have if we stayed put. On the flip, they experienced things that they would have never, had we not taken the chance. Izumi was ever the trooper throughout. She swam in the frozen ocean and made great friends from around the world. As is often the case, the best in everyone comes out in the final weeks before you have to leave. It was a gamble to bring the family with me. My only wish is that sometime they will look back and say it was worth it.

Here’s a home made slideshow showing some snapshots of our life in Finland.

If you’re curious, here’s a bit about the music behind the slideshow.

I’ve always loved the simplicity of early music and Gregorian chants and plainsong. There is just this austere simplicity that I find really comforting. So I was listening to this Trio Mediaeval record and I basically wrote a bunch of string arrangements around their acapella recording and then went to the woman who sang it and said, ‘Oh, is it possible for you to re-sing it to this arrangement that I’ve written’.

I think she was eight and a half month pregnant. So she has this little studio in her garage in Norway, she recorded the vocals, handed the recording off to her husband and then went and gave birth.

From Moby’s description of the song, Stella Maris.

Howl 2.0

UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg and documentary filmmaker (and founder of the Webby Award) Tiffany Shlain put together a modern update to Allen Ginsberg’s famous Beat Generation poem, Howl (also purportedly written in Berkeley). Yelp exhorts us all to unplug from from our endless quest for the next info-fix and, “power-down and revisit the present tense.”

They practice what they preach and encourage everyone to take a “technology shabbat” from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. I love Berkeley!

They are working on a feature film which was featured at Sundance this year. Connected, An Autobiography about Love, Death & Technology.

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Current Events

Seth Godin on Changes in Publishing

Seth Godin is a prolific writer and a champion for the book business. That’s why he wants to save it, but not in a format you would recognize. The Domino Project is a joint venture with Amazon to rethink the way books are, “built, sold and spread.” In a piece written earlier this week, Godin proposes an evolution for the library (“no longer a warehouse for dead books.”) and librarian (“producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario”). It’s a refreshing vision and “the chance of a lifetime.”

Trinity College Library, Dublin

The next library is a house for the librarian with the guts to invite kids in to teach them how to get better grades while doing less grunt work. And to teach them how to use a soldering iron or take apart something with no user serviceable parts inside. And even to challenge them to teach classes on their passions, merely because it’s fun. This librarian takes responsibility/blame for any kid who manages to graduate from school without being a first-rate data shark.

The next library is filled with so many web terminals there’s always at least one empty. And the people who run this library don’t view the combination of access to data and connections to peers as a sidelight–it’s the entire point.

Wouldn’t you want to live and work and pay taxes in a town that had a library like that? The vibe of the best Brooklyn coffee shop combined with a passionate raconteur of information? There are one thousand things that could be done in a place like this, all built around one mission: take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community and create value.

We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.


– Seth Godin, The Future of the Library

Life 2.0, a movie about Second Life

It’s been years since I have written about Second Life, the virtual reality platform which captured everyone’s attention back in 2006-2007. Lately Second Life has come up again in conversations with colleagues when we talk about the popularity of the 8-bit version of alternative reality games where you build things such as Minecraft. Second Life was also the topic of a conversation I had recently which mentioned the fate of Michael Donelly, the Coca-Cola CMO who was famously ridiculed for his over-exuberance for Second Life as a marketing platform. How soon we forget our earlier trespass.

You’re about to be reminded of Second Life once again as documentary filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff is about to premier a new documentary about Second Life in Brooklyn on May 20th.

As you can see from the trailer, Second Life is just part of the film which explores the larger question of our addiction to alternative realities. We all are experiencing how electronics are both pulling our families apart and together at the same time. With the click of a mouse we can all be talking with relatives on the other side of the world via Skype. But, these same tools pull us apart as each of us excuse ourselves after dinner and wander off in to a corner of the house to settle down for a session with our glass display of choice (iPad, phone, desktop, laptop or TV). These are important societal shifts and I look forward to the debate that such a film will raise. The Village Voice calls Life 2.0,

At once a disturbing vision of escape, a cautious portrait of liberation, and an exploration of authenticity and artificiality

Linden Labs, the company behind Second Life, is alive and well but a very different company. A glance at the recent press about the company shows that it’s focused more on using it’s software for training and their Press Release archive reveals they have a new CEO from Electronic Arts and are coming off two-year restructuring process. We shall see if people come back, after watching Life 2.0, for another look-n-see.

Categories
Current Events

Spielberg does Tintin in 3D

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson will release The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, as a 3D film in December. The posters were revealed today and the first clips are rumored to be online tomorrow.

I was a huge Tintin fan growing up so I’m curious to see what happens to the characters after they get the Spielberg treatment.

UPDATE: The trailer was just posted along with the movie website. You be the judge, does the character animation work for you?

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Current Events

Mikael Granlund’s Amazing Hockey Goal

Just in case you missed it. 19 year-old Mikael Granlund scored an amazing goal in last night’s hockey game putting Finland over Russia and into the Final.

All eyes on Mikael and Finland in Sunday’s match against Sweden. Go Suomi!

UPDATE: Finland wins! Helsinki celebrates!

iPhone Tracker Art

Dav Yaginuma, my brother-in-law, exported his iPhone’s location data and, using the open source iPhone Tracker modified the settings to create very fine grained view of his whereabouts. I would have thought an aggregated view such as the one above would give a strong signal to where he lives and works but I guess he is too nomadic to be that predictable.

At best,  the pattern resembles a colony of ants swarming spilled sugar water which, in some sense, describes San Francisco from a distance.

More visualizations like this on Dav’s site, Aku Aku.

I personally think this location data is really useful and describe it more as a feature than a security violation. For those concerned with what big companies know about you, check out my earlier post, Location Traces as Art

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Current Events

View Source Parody

A derivative work surfaced the other day, helpfully linking itself to it’s source material.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says

Bin Laden is Dead, Obama Says

This is Mad Magazine territory.

Categories
Current Events

Cloud Computing through the Ages

The Network is the Computer – Sun Microsystems – 1990s

Nothing but Web – Google – 2011

Two perspectives on an old idea, twenty years apart. For a humorous perspective on Silicon Valley spin, check out Larry Ellison’s schtick at the Churchill Club, “The Cloud is Water Vapor.”