Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
Reuters is reporting this morning that the number of people reading Internet blogs on the top 10 U.S. newspaper sites more than tripled in December for a year ago, and that they accounted for a larger percentage of overall traffic to those sites.
Specifically, they cite that unique visitors to blogs sites affiliated with the largest Internet newspapers rose to 3.8M from 1.2 the year before, according to Nielsen/NetRating stats.
Surprise surprise, I'm not real surprised by this news, and I think it's quite indicative of the acceptance of "socialization" that we're seeing across the media landscape. Or would that be "Diggification?"
In any case, I love going to the NYTimes site and seeing the most emailed, blogged and searched sites. At the end of the day, that's just one more view into the news landscape. Doesn't mean I don't still value the editorial judgment of the NY Times' editors. But, it's interesting to me to see what other readers are interested in.
And if they can make mo' money off that, more power to them.
Meanwhile, on the IBM front...
I've never been to Lotusphere. I'm not going to Lotusphere this year. I may never go to Lotusphere.
But 5,000 of our closest IBM and Lotus friends and colleagues WILL be making the trek to Orlando next week. And you can count on coverage from a number of bloggers,
In particular, I would recommend you keep an eye next week on the Domino Blog, Ed Brill's blog, and Alan Lepofsky's blog.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  web2.0 innovation social_computing mesh06 media 3 Comments 5,347 Views
Well, while the Mesh Conference in Toronto may now seem like a distant memory, it certainly left some lasting impressions.
As we learned in Web 1.0 or, as I like to refer to it, the pre-Jurassic Web -- the reality of the situation on the ground (or, in this case, in the ether) usually lies somewhere between extreme hyperbole and disproportionate skepticism. Such is the case with Web 2.0.
As Om Malik told us in his keynote interview on Monday, we'll look back on all this Web 2.0 frenzy and none of it will matter. He may be right, but tell that to all the folks standing around inhaling the oxygen from this bubble.
However, as was noted by so many at the conference, this time around the playing field is more level than the first go round. It's less about the money and more about the ideas (well, okay, it's a little about the money). And, we have a whole new field of players, ones who don't necessarily have the baggage from Web 1.0 and who, more importantly, grew up living and breathing with interactive technology.
That fact alone cannot be understated...just ask all the big media dinosaurs running through the Web 2.0 jungle trying to gobble up the young upstarts and buy their way out of extinction.
When the barriers to entry are whether or not you have a credit card, access to a Web server and Ruby on Rails programmer, and a good Internet connection, stand back and watch the fireworks. Because innovation (a good idea well executed) -- not capital -- becomes the gating factor to success. That, and a basic understanding of how to spark a good conversation about your product or service via the Web.
The Mesh conference itself is a good example on a small scale of what I'm trying to describe. The conference began as an idea over a beer a mere three months ago by several Canadian technology journalists and entrepreneurs who wanted to bring together Canada's Web 2.0 best for some mixing and mashing. Within days, what started as a beer shop talk meme had a number of big corporate sponsors, a Web site, and a lot of substantive buzz. (Mark, Mathew, Mike, Rob, and Stuart, my hat's off to you all. You took a great idea, stayed lean and mean, and ran like mad to the finish line.)
Ultimately, what I learned at Mesh was that this generation doesn't want to be told what to do, when to do it, lied to, poked and prodded by marketers. They certainly don't want to be lied to by large institutions with big balance sheets and bloated bureaucracies.
Heaven help you if you blatantly lie to them and they find out about it.
They also seem to have permanently lost the TV remote (I'm sure it's around here somewhere). No, instead they have glued their hand to their mouse, programmed their own entertainment schedules on the TiVo or iPod, and are driven by the inate need for human sociability and honest communication. They share everything, and the network effect abounds.
If you want to reach them as a marketer, give them straight talk, not platitudes. If you want to involve them in your brand, don't lie about your product's excellence. Instead, be honest about its faults, and demonstrate to them that you're taking some of that money you used to spend on marketing and putting it back into making the product better.
What a concept!
Because if you don't, and your product isn't any good, they're going to make sure the rest of the world knows about it -- and I do mean the world -- in about three seconds. And there won't be much you can do about it except watch the Google queries exponentially multiply and the sales drop like a lead weight off the Empire State Building.
It sounds mean and ruthless and Darwinian and utopian all in the same breath, doesn't it? And in the end, it's probably all that and more.
But based on what I learned "meshing" in Toronto this week, I think we'll all be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Because moving forward into this strange new world, what we say as people, as large institutions, organizations, companies will no longer matter nearly as much as what we do and how we do it.
What we buy will be more influenced than ever by what we know about the product, certainly, but also about the people who make it, market it, sell it, support it...all the way down the line.
Yes, we will all benefit from this. But it will require some changes.
Changes in the way we communicate. Changes in the way we manage. Changes in the way we relate. Changes in the way we market and sell.
That change will be hard...change always is. And many won't like it.
But that change will be required to participate in a participatory economy.
And it's already happening.[Read More]
Our own sales guru Ed Brill is a fierce advocate for the personal and enterprise productivity-enhancing technologies that make up our Lotus portfolio...just stay out of his way if you happen to get him started talking "speeds and feeds" about things Red(mond) v. Blue (and I ain't talking about political states here, either, people).
Ed gives us the recap skinny for the announcement yesterday about IBM Workplace and Lotus Notes' support for the SAP platform. Few things in life, or information technology, are free, but you'll Note (sorry, couldn't pass that one up) that we are providing some free templates for easier integration between Notes and SAP. That's so that you can more easily integrate all those wonderful vacation, time reporting, contact management and other useful Notes applications with your enterprise SAP data.
Speaking of Lotus, if you're a Notes/Domino user and you haven't ever spent any time at Alan Lepofsky's blog, run to your nearest browser and feed your productivity head. Alan offers up more Note tips and tricks than a mere mortal like myself can consume. And while you're over in Lotus land, check out the IBM Workplace Managed Client (also free....for 180 days).
Wait a minute, where's my next paycheck comin' from if we're giving all this software away??!
Over the weekend, I'm off to Toronto to feed my own head while mixin' and mashing it up at Mesh (which, btw, is now sold out!) Hopefully I'll have some of my own buzz to report out on. The whole agenda looks Web Two Point Oh scrumptious, but I have to play favorites and say I can't wait to hear from Steve Rubel on the future of marketing, Tara Hunt on building community online, and Om Malik on the future (or lack thereof) of media.
More from the top of the CN Tower...that is, if the restless 2.0ers haven't torn it down by the time I arrive![Read More]
...No, not the Vice President of the United States. The other VP's office...the Fortune 500-ish boardroom.
The key indicators?
First, Stephen Baker from BusinessWeek brings us "The Inside Story on Corporate Blogs." Although he indicates that only 22 of the 500 largest U.S. companies operate public blogs from the executive suite (i.e., 4.4%), Baker notes the real focus has been for companies to build "social networks" and connections with customers -- even as many Fortune-sized companies continue to be "scared" of critical comments in public blogs.
Which brings us to number two: For those who aren't convinced, blogging help is on its way. The micropersuasive kind, the kind where changing one opinion at a time makes all the difference in the world.
On the edge of the Tipping Point and leading the charge of putting the Cluetrain Manifesto into practice, longtime blogger and PR change agent Steve Rubel (see Micropersuasion, an influential and thoughtful blog focusing on the new new public relations) has left his perch at CooperKatz to join the senior VP ranks at Edelman PR Worldwide.
His mission: Helping the clueless publicus relationless manifestoless catch the blogging Cluetrain....if anybody can pick the lock to get into the corporate communications boardroom, it's Steve. And for a PR guy, he's got more RSS and blogging hacks than any one human should be able to manage.
Very best wishes to Steve in the new gig. It's good to see the train finally pulling into the station.[Read More]
It's amazing the IBM lore you discover one day stumbling around the Internet, even after 14 years of working here.
I was travelling down some non-linear Internet rat hole this PM, trying to avoid finishing up a presentation that's due later today, when I discovered that the reason it's not easy for Kermit the Frog to be green is because the Cookie Monster started out by being blue.
IBM blue, that is.
Cookie Monster Need Coffee Break
The story goes like this: Way back in 1966, the year yours truly was born, Jim Henson built a puppet called the "Wheel-Stealer." Originally used for a General Moods commercial, Henson pulled it out of his back pocket to use in an IBM training film called "Coffee Break Machine."
In the sketch, the moster apparently devoured a complex talking machine, and later exploded in a puff of smoke. That sketch was later performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, and it was this very same monster that later evolved into the "Cookie Monster" on "Sesame Street." A show I watched for years, and which helped me learned to read at a very young age.
Which just goes to show that IBM's investment in puppets in the late 1960s proved to be an excellent employee recruiting tool.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  cio information_management media ibm_software 7 Comments 4,125 Views
The feature on this week's ibm.com home page is "The Future of Sports," and as I read through drafts of some of the story's components -- including listening to the excellent future of sports podcast - it dawned on me that there may have never been a better time to be an athlete or a sports fan.
Full disclosure: My name is Todd, and I'm a sportsaholic. I grew up in north Texas, near Dallas, where football was as close to a religion as one could get without going to church, and where Little League baseball diamonds were a fixture permanently etched into the landscape. In my adolescence, I played both baseball and football, and also dabbled in soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, and even rodeo (yes, we do consider rodeo to be a sport...same with NASCAR...but more on that later).
I was never a star player, particularly in team sports, but I relished the opportunity and experience of playing both organized team and individual sports, and my participation taught me no end of lessons: teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, sacrifice, perserverance, how to throw my golf putter into a lake with style and finesse but also with the appropriate amount of anger...all qualities that I would inevitably call upon in later years for my business life.
Sporting Solutions for a Small Planet
In my travels for and work experiences on behalf of IBM, I've been most fortunate to have escaped the boundaries of my own geography and culture, and witnessed what sports means around the world, both virtually and up close.
Instant replay: On one of my international business trips, to Munich, I watched in fascination at the complete preoccupation of my European colleagues with the 1998 World Cup, and realized that no matter where in the world you are, football is football...except in Europe, where soccer is football, which my European colleagues were quick to point out...but my real point in mentioning it was this: sport is sport around the globe, certainly even as one man's sport is another man's bore.
I also learned that sport, like politics, is mostly local, even as it plays a crucial and necessary role in shaping national and even state identity...but it's mostly local. My tribe...err, I mean my team, is always better than your team, except when my team loses, in which case it's time to elect a new president...err, I mean hire a new coach.
Yet with the dramatic changes in technology over the past decade, what was once local has become instantaneously global.
Just this past weekend, by way of example, I watched as Tiger Woods played (and eventually won) the Dubai Desert Classic, a golf tournament halfway around the world -- sometimes in real-time and at others in instant replay. I had no end of options to read about or follow it closely, including the IBM-sponsored PGATour.Com But the best part was that I had any option at all, something avid sports fans didn't have when growing up with Jim McKay and ABC's "The Wide World of Sports."
The agony of victory and thrill of defeat was all well and good in the wide world of sports, up until about the time the shackles of broadcast commercial TV delayed replays or blackouts and forced you to miss the one game you really wanted to see in that not-very-wide-world-after-all. Call it the agony of oligopoly, where the channels of opportunity were limited by the scarcity of broadcast spectrum and, in turn, the limited number of sports media outlets. The endless capacity of the Internet precludes that from being an issue for the virtual world of sports.
IBM: Helping Fans Get Closer to the Action
Sport has always been very much an "on demand"-oriented endeavor, especially in terms of the need for instantaneous information and results. Thus, the global and individual accessibility of the Internet pairs nicely with the required immediacy of sports.
IBM's innovation in bringing technology to sports occurred early on in the Internet game, beginning with our early IT sponsorships of the U.S. Open, the Masters and PGA Tour, the Olympics, and others. In those experiences, we learned a great deal about the utility and applicability of our technology and the unique power of the Internet to address some very time-sensitive business problems, the lessons of which informed and shaped our product development.
These efforts helped us more effectively address other customers' problems through the lessons we learned from these sports sponsorships, some harder than others. Like the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, when IBM stumbled onto the javelin after being unable to deliver a critical scoring results feed to the news media, who were using the timely information in that feed to inform the rest of the planet. Lesson learned.
That very same year, IBM delivered live results of Tiger Woods' historic and relentless march up the fairways of Augusta to take his first green jacket. The Java-based Internet scorecard developed expressly for the Masters was the first of many innovations in our sports coverage efforts (read my account of a more recent one about the "Point Tracker" from last September's U.S. Open).
And from what I can surmise as I scan the fast-changing digital media landscape, this game is just getting rolling. IP-based digital media online is probably the most recent and important evolution for sports coverage in recent years, and is opening up whole new opportunities for athlete and fan interaction. You've also got fantasy sports leagues, online and console gaming, IPTV...all putting fans closer and closer to the action, and sometimes even directly into the driver's seat.
Gentlemen, Turn On Your Remotes
Take NASCAR, as an example. Just recently, Time Warner Cable sent me an invitation to subscribe to its new "NASCAR In Car" digital cable offering, which will allow me to watch "6 drivers on 6 in-car camera channels with live team audio and real-time in car-data." Does that mean I also get to experience driving into the wall of the Texas Motor Speedway at 180 MPH??? (Read a recent story in CIO magazine to learn how technology is changing NASCAR and helping it build its booming business.) Without the ability to provide multiple feeds through an IP-based broadband pipe, such a feat would have been impossible even just a few short years ago.
The point is this: Moving forward, no matter where in the world you may be, technology is going to allow you to follow your favorite team or athlete no matter where in the world they may be at the moment of, at - and even after -- the event, and increasingly via the device of your choice (Anyone see those ESPN Mobile TV ads in the Super Bowl last night? You thought people talking on the phone at the movies or restaurants was an etiquette issue? Just you wait until you can watch them jump up and down cheering at your cousin's wedding when the Steelers go for two and make it.)
People's behavior and the technology opportunity will certainly have to catch up with one another and make some adjustments, but the best news of all is that fans are going to be able to become a more integral partner in the experience, making the convergence of technology and sports the new team to watch.
I'm personally very much looking forward to the day when I can play in a virtual 3-D foresome with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger. Until that time, I'll keep practicing my course management on the X-Box.[Read More]
The man who brought us "Survivor," Mark Burnett, is panning for gold with a new reality game show entitled "Gold Rush." But don't look for it on CBS...it will air via the Web.
The real-life reality treasure hunt will air exclusively on AOL.com...how weird did that sound?...and will track "real-life challengers searching for hidden treasure across the U.S."
Clues will be placed throughout AOL.com, AIM.com, Moviefone.com, and MapQuest.com, and will also be promoted on other media, including TV, print, and wireless.
Burnett made a pretty bold statement in the press release and in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch": "The time slot between 9 am and 5 pm is the new 'prime time'."
My hats off to AOL. Finally, finally, finally, a major media property is going to lead with the Web and use the unique interactivity and involvement it can create with a mass audience.
I don't know Jack about the game other than what I read in the press release and online, but I already predict another hit for Burnett. Such a move is way overdue, and the only inevitable downside is the dramatic decrease in American worker productivity once the "Gold Rush" is on![Read More]
This just in: Whoa, the Walt Disney Co. has agreed to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for around $7.4B in an all-stock deal. Pixar Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs will take a seat on Disney's board and become the company's largest shareholder.
It wasn't long ago that the Disney/Pixar distribution partnership was on the ropes, but evidently Jobs and Disney CEO Bob Iger have mended their "Desperate Housewives" white picket fences and decided it was time to partner up for good.
Disney released this statement, in which Steve Jobs indicated that "Disney and Pixar can now collaborate without the barriers that come from two different companies with two different sets of shareholders." Instead, he said, "...Everyone can focus on what is most important, creating innovative stories, characters and films that delight millions of people around the world."
It's always good to see corporate protagonists kiss and make up, particularly those with such innovative and creative teams as Pixar and Disney have had in past episodes. But it does make me wonder if the traditionally analogue fabric of Disney and the digital DNA of Pixar can meld seamlessly into a movie that has a singular vision and a consistent and compelling story arc.
The key question is this: Will the merger result in Iger and Jobs partnering to become "The Incredibles," or will they instead just end up getting "Lost"???
I'm betting that it's the former, but then again, I've always been a "Chicken Little." ; )[Read More]