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Archive for March, 2007

I consider Hugh MacLeod’s blog a must read but I really enjoyed this post on his blogging speech at Edelman. It’s the kind of post you’ll want to print out and distribute to everyone at your company.

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Here’s a post worth reading on wikis over at the Socialtext blog. Just like we’ve evolved proper email etiquette over time, so will proper wiki etiquette need to evolve as well. This will be dictated by the culture of the company and will involve a feeling out process before standard practices and habits become the norm.

Many are familiar with the Wikipedia etiquette where everyone contributes to a single document on a particular topic. In the work place, employees will be able to contribute but the way in which the editing is done will vary from a Wikipedia style to more of ownership mode where one person owns the wiki and others make suggestions on updates to that wiki by posting drafts that don’t alter the main page.

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Here’s why Apple is the brand every company wishes they had. When people outside your company are willing to spend hundreds of hours not only recreating one of you stores in every last detail but also your products and advertising in an online virtual world, you have the greatest advertising machine in the world.

Companies each year try to figure out ways to get people to create such content. Apple just has to build a new store or put out a new commercial. A following such as this doesn’t happen often and it clearly shows why a company should embrace user generated content and not try to shut it down. Apple probably receives millions of dollars in free advertising each year through such content and I’m sure it puts some healthy sales numbers into their bottom line.

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I like this excerpt from Shiv Singh’s The Workplace Blog regarding Information Week’s recent Enterprise 2.0 article.

Companies say collaboration and information sharing is important and as we saw in the 1980s and 1990s have been willing to invest a lot of money in it. But the article does not discuss why specifically it is important and why employees will be motivated to collaborate. In my experience, the unfortunate reality in most organizations is that employees don’t believe the benefit that much when they go out of their way to collaborate and communicate. Organizations need to make the case for collaboration more strongly before implementing any technology.

This is an excellent point. Today, business collaboration is done in one hour blocks in a meeting room with 1 person typing on a laptop or by passing a document between a couple of people through. Both could be considered collaboration but both are limited by time and tools.

Unfortunately, this is the business model supported by most companies and used by most employees. This is where Enterprise 2.0 comes in. To have real collaboration and information sharing, every employee should have the tools to view a working document and edit it from any where in the world while also seeing other employee edits in real-time. No longer would different versions of documents be floating around in people’s email boxes. A small team or company with thousands of employees could all see one document, talk about it, and it edit it all at the same time. No more emailing a document to the team and having each person on the team make their changes and pass it back to the team leader who then has to figure which edits to keep and which to get rid of. With Enterprise 2.0 real collaboration starts with everyone working together in a single space that isn’t governed by time and place. However this shift in thinking and process requires

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Wikinomics

If you haven’t checked out the book yet, then you need to check out the wiki! There’s a lot of great information on mass collaboration and how it will impact business that makes this book/wiki a must read.

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Markets are conversations…

On Monday, I began my search for a hosting service to build my family photo site. I currently have a hosting service that I’ve used for the last 5 years but their rates and service are no longer competitive. I need several GB of disk space and their plans top out around 2 GBs. I had recently been reading Business 2.0 and remembered the huge ad that 1&1 hosting always runs in the magazine. I checked out their site and found very reasonable rates for huge amounts of disk space and bandwidth. I decided to email them to make sure the rate plan I had chosen would work with the Gallery2 photo software I wanted to run. I quickly sent 2 emails to their customer support and proceeded to read the Gallery2 forums to see if anyone had problems with 1&1 and Gallery2. It looked like everything was going to work but the process wasn’t very straight forward. To set everying up, 1&1 might need to assist me with some of the installation process. This had me worried but I pressed on since I wasn’t making a decision until I heard from 1&1 customer service.

It’s now Tuesday and I haven’t heard back from 1&1, so I decide to look around at some other hosting services. One problem with searching for a web hosting service is that there are thousands of them and it’s tough trying to separate the fluff from the real deal. In further searching I ended up at a web site called WebHostingTalk.com. This is an excellent forum for discussing all thing web hosting. Based on the feedback on this forum along with customer feedback on some web hosting review sites, it became very clear that 1&1 wasn’t the solution for me. It turns out that their customer service isn’t very good which I was starting to notice by their lack of response to my emails.

It’s now Tuesday afternoon and I’m becoming frustrated by the whole process. Some hosting services appear to be reasonable but turn out to be scams because the prices are based on 24 month contracts…which they don’t tell you upfront…sorry I’m not paying for 24 months of service until I know you can deliver!! Other people complained about slow customer service and slow web page load times…things that can’t be determined until its too late.

Finally, I came across a posting in the “Web Hosting Offers” forum at WebHostingTalk.com. One of the postings was by a company called Cirtex Hosting. I had never heard of them but their offer for 50% off for a year, in addition to reasonable service plans, peeked my interest. I decided to continue reading. What I found was an honest conversation by one individual at Cirtex with several forum members explaining the Cirtex plans and service. Even more important, when people had problems with the service, the Cirtex employee offered honest answers and fix these issues in a reasonable amount of time. Here’s a few examples:

Full Thread

Forum Member: “What’s the file size limit on the basic and standard plans?”

Second Forum Member: “file size limit=0 because you can’t reach their site :)”

Cirtex Employee: “Our main website’s core server Power Supply just got replaced and rebooted thus few minutes downtime, sorry for trouble. Theres no limit on files.”

What no cover up?

And then this exchange on a topic called “bad review on CIRTEXHOSTING.com”:

Full Thread

Forum Member: “I have useing CIRTEXHOSTING.com for a few of my sites, (small site, not much of a traffic) and their up-time is very poor.
It’s toke me time to come and post the message on webhostingtalk.com since I give them a chance, however after one month the up-time is still poor.”

Cirtex Employee: “The server you’re on had experienced some issues this month especially last night past midnight but things are running fine now…”

No hosting services is going to be perfect. For me, it’s how they handle the bad times that’s important. I setup my account with Cirtex on Tuesday and my account was up and running in a few minutes. They even had a one button click which instantly setup Gallery2, perfect. I’m going to give them a few weeks to see how the service is but for now I’m thrilled. Hopefully if all goes well I’ll be converting all my other sites over and saving myself quite a bit of money.

As for the emails I sent to 1&1? I received a response 3 days later. Sorry 1&1 but you’re too late to the conversation…

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