Marrying concept of in-bound marketing with electronic education

I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Brian Halligan (@bhalligan), CEO of Hubspot at the MIT Sloan Marketing conference. A conference organized by the Marketing Club and one in which I volunteered.

In the conference, Mr. Halligan piqued my interest by asserting that all good websites in the near future would customize the content to the reader similar to how books are offered on Amazon. I recalled the mall scene from the movie “Minority Report” (Youtube).

I read a similar article on the Economist on electronic education. The article talks about how an adaptive technology is modifying the learning experience in a pilot project in the California.

I remember a similar experience during my GMAT preparation with Grockit. The website basically created tailored the learning for me and the experience was extremely addictive.

The above indicate an interesting trend where the concept of segmentation is irrelevant. Each individual is just that – an individual with a unique set of characteristics. This trend in my opinion can not only be applied in Marketing or education, but across industries.

 

My Super Charged Firefox

After several iterations of firefox add-ons recommended by blogs like LifeHacker, Digital Inspiration and a host of Internal ones – my Firefox has truly become my super-charged powerhouse.

An inventory of this beast.

  • Add-Ons – External
    • FfChrome – trims the number of items in your context menu (right click menu)
    • Download Statusbar – removes the additional download window
    • Download Helper – best tool to download videos from YouTube etc
    • Down Them All! - a download manager for resume / split into parts / etc
    • Foxsaver – a screensaver for your Firefox
    • Locationbar2 – Highlights the key domain in your address bar (similar to Chrome)
    • New Tab Button on your right – Adds a new tab button (+ sign) on the right of tabs (similar to IE7)
    • Open in Browser – Offers possibility to display documents in the Browser
    • PDF Download – helps download the PDF documents
    • Personal Menu – Remove the Menu Toolbar and add most recent items using one button
    • Resizeable Text Area – resize text area to your needs
    • Stumbleupon – stumble upon new and amazing websites
    • Tab Scope – preview and navigate through tabs by hovering over them
    • Other good ones that I dont use – FastDial
  • Add-Ons – IBM (These are only available over the IBM Intranet)

  • Search Engines – Mozilla Link

    • W3 – Added by IBM CCK
    • Bluepages – Added by IBM CCK
    • Google
    • Yahoo
    • Wikipedia
    • Del.icio.us
    • IMDB
    • LinkedIn
  • Other Usability Aspects
    • Organized Bookmarks – classify them as folders on the bookmarks for very quick access
    • Middle Click to Open/Close Windows – I use the middle click of the UltraNav (the red tracker and its button) to open/close new windows

Let me know if you liked any of the above ones or any others that you would suggest in the comments.

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My [wordle tag] Cloud

I just saw this post with an amazing tool called wordle that I saw inĀ  Roo’s blog I decided to dump my CV into the following graphic.
My Wordle Tag Cloud

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IBM Virtual Universe Community – Guildmaster

In recent news, I have been co-elected IBM’s Virtual Universe Community as it Guildmaster. Holly Stewart and I will lead this community of over 5000+ IBMers.

Formed in 2006, previous guildmasters have been:
* Kevin Aires
* Dave Kamalsky
* Brian House

The VUC as it is known was the breeding ground for the formation of the the Digital Convergence EBO (Emerging Business Opportunity) outfit in IBM Research in late 2006.

This should be a very challenging and interesting job !!

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“User Generated Content” – More Thoughts

I have been thinking about User Generated Content even more after my previous blog entry on the topic.

Googling further on the topic I saw an interesting study by Accenture on “User-Generated Content Is Top Threat to Media and Entertainment Industry”.

The study goes on say that such content will continue to grow and the user will gain:
* Increased power – As he can now create more content and hence can direct where a social network would grow. While the study did not examine Virtual Worlds – I would submit that a similar trend would be visible in this space too. With a far more impact being felt in such Virtual Worlds
* Increased control – The user can direct what kind of content can be published.

At this point I would aim to classify such UGC into two key categories
* Individual directed Content – This content is targeted to Avatar customizations, the way your avatar looks, dresses, walks, talks. Where are the areas that are visited, what kind of content is bought out and is used actively and also the social network of other Avatars he or she interacts with.
* Environment directed Content - This content is specifically targeted to creating the environments in which these Avatars interact in with regard to the Virtual Worlds. So whether it is a fancy art gallery or a pub or even a retail store of the future.

Different Virtual Worlds have taken different view points on the level of freedom that they give their Users with creating the above two types of content. While most Virtual Worlds give Users the chance to create Individual Oriented Content, many limit the amount content that can be Environment-directed.

One of my favourite Virtual World – Doppelganger’s vSide actually limits the amount of content that one can create from an Environment perspective.

Usually there is a cost associated with each of the types of content.
* So while Second Life requires you to have a Premium membership to buy land, you dont need one to create content whether Individual / Environment oriented.
* Doppelganger on the other hand requires you to buy individual content and has little or no flexibility with the customizations one can do from an environment based.

We see differing revenue models too.
* While Linden Labs (the creators of Second Life) have very limited custom content created by them other than the main archipelago they have a revenue model where they make money out of allowing people to create Environment oriented Content.
* Doppelganger on the other hand has a revenue model which is targeted specifically towards Individual based Content and makes money out of such sales and partnerships.

An older article by Robin Good says that “UGC is online content publishers most promising future” and I accept his thesis, however which sphere will lead to more revenues remains to be seen.

I conclude quoting from the Search Engine Roundtable :
“1) Users spend a lot of time in UGC (user generated content)

2) Consumers expect to be able to make their own content

3) Consumers trust user generated content

4) Product reviews increase sales

5) Increases conversions”

And hence UGC will become the key determining criteria for Virtual Worlds

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Presentation for IBM Software Universe 2007

I uploaded the presentation that I made at the IBM Software Universe 2007 at the Renaissance Convention Center,  Mumbai.

My presentation was part of Track B – Emerging Technologies Track. The session titled “Metaverses – Second Life for Business, Technology & Social Networks”.

It is embedded here:

The link to presentation is uploaded on Slide Share here.

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Updates

I finally figured out the way to upgrade my blog to a website. The blog can now be accessed at http://pranabsharma.com . I am currently trying to integrate email onto the website by implementing a very interesting functionality of WordPress integrated with Google Apps.

Both, the integration from the blog to the domain, and Google Apps integration has been smooth and seamless.

Been a bit rusty with blogging lately, am using a great tool called ScribeFire recommended by Luis on Twitter. However, I have been closely following several blogs and books and plan to be writing about them soon.

Meanwhile, I present at the IBM Software Universe 2007 at the Renaissance Convention Center in Mumbai. My session is titled “Metaverses – Second life for Business, Technology & Social Networks”. Currently working on my presentation and I’ll put it up on Slideshare soon enough.

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