Archive for June, 2007

I don’t normally comment on my local sports teams but I read this post today and although I agree with Eric Wilbur to a certain point that bandwagon fans take away from the fun of what used to be Red Sox Nation, I’m not willing to go back to pre-2004.

I mean, if this is the price for having a successful baseball team, one that I had the fortune of seeing win the World Series during my life time, then I don’t mind. I’d rather have a bunch of bandwagon fans following my winning team than go back to the early 90’s when the Sox were getting swept in playoff series they never had a chance in or worse watching the team play sub-500 baseball for several years. If you only want to hang out with diehard fans then go follow the Bruins. You can bet there won’t be any bandwagon, pink hat wearing fans there.

As for this fan living in exile in the Bay Area, I’m not sure what A’s/Sox games he was going to. I lived there from 2001 to 2003 and went to most of the A’s/Sox games and at least 40% of the people there were Sox fans. There were huge ovations for the 2 brave soles who ran around the upperdeck with a Patriots flag, the line to Bart frequently had “Fenway West” chants going on, and you had the same loud “Let’s go Red Sox” chant going during the game.

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I’m finally getting caught up on all the zefrank videos I’ve missed. I came across this one where I just love the analogy.

the show with zefrank – February 5, 2007

Having a 1 year old, it bothers me when people try to teach kids the “right way” to be creative. Who is to say what a sand castle should look like? Being a kid is about exploring. If we all did things the “right way” we’d be riding around on horses and rubbing 2 sticks together to make fire.

The same goes for the business world. It’s filled with people ready to show everyone the “right way” to do something. Like the world is filled with formulas that we just need to follow to be successful. The problem is, there are no magical formulas. If there were, we’d all be millionaires living the grandest of life styles. Instead of assuming there is always a “right way” and following what everyone else is doing, explore your creative side. Find new processes. Take risks. Not all of them will work out but in the end the learning process will be invaluable for you and your business. It’s that learning process that sets companies apart, just look at Wal-mart, Amazon.com, Apple, etc.

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If I was a restaurant owner looking to create a remarkable experience I’d start here.

What if you created an interactive experience for your customers. No need to wait for menus, drinks, or your bill. You could order everything from your table and it would be sent to the main hub in the kitchen. Waiters/waitresses would see your order on the screen as it comes in and would be bring your drinks and food over as soon as it is ready. No need to try to find your waiter when you need a refill and you haven’t seen them in 10 minutes.

Now, what if you took this one step further and allowed people to rate their meal once they’re done? Now that would be something worth talking about. You could come into the restaurant for the first time and see what the most popular dish is for that day, week, month, etc. This would help would ensure the quality of the food, customers can experiment or see what they best meals are, and the restaurant owner can eliminate the meals people don’t like and add in new meals and see what the response is.

This is a hit in the making. Restaurants meet the digital age. Who will be the first to do it?

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Excellent resource on re-framing questions on Squidoo. It’s amazing the impact a question can have by changing how you ask it.

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Who knew that when I wrote this back in January that Safari would actually become the development platform for the iPhone. It disappointing considering the limitations of using a browser versus separate tightly integrated applications. Perhaps it will work but I’d have preferred to see a full fledged development platform.

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One of the toughest challenges for any corporate web site is getting people to come back. I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue lately and here are some of my thoughts.

People come back because:

1. They trust you, your opinion, your expertise, and commitment to your products/services. On the web, this is accomplished through the content on your site, the tone in which it is written, and the overall presentation (the look) of your site. If you fail at any one of these, chances are, you’ll have to do the other ones incredibly well or the person will not return. Your site must look credible, provide excellent information on your products and services, and talk to your visitors in the same tone you would talk to your friends (no run-on paragraphs filled with buzz words).

2. You consistently provide new information, thoughts, opinions, and answers to questions on a topic of interest to them. This can be done through blogs, wikis, or general content updates. Help the person do their job better or make their life easier and you’ll have an evangelist for life. Focus on how your web site can help them rather than how it can help you.

3. They have more questions about your company/product/service. Make it simple for repeat visitors to find information such FAQ’s, pricing, forums, support, etc. The first visit is generally to see if you can help them solve a problem. The follow-up visits are to convince themselves you’re the right fit for solving the problem.

4. They heard news/info on your company and they want to read your company’s opinion and information on this news. Don’t let the outside world do all the talking. Join the conversation. If you’ve just acquired a company, explain why you’ve done so. If news or rumors are swirling about one of your products, give open and honest information. It builds trust (see point #1) and it ensures people will come to you to hear the truth.

5. They want to participate in your community. Build forums, discussions, wikis, and other open participation communication tools into your site. Turn your best customers, your enthusiasts, into evangelists and people will consistently come back to learn from them.

There are going to be many other reasons as well. The bottom line is to think about your site from your audience point of view. Think about the questions they’ll be asking and how you can best answer them. Also, interview people and conduct usability testing. Unless you get out of your company’s “echo chamber” you won’t be able to come up with all of these answers on your own.

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I’ve been working on a graphic that helps me to visualize how traffic flows to a web site. I’ve used the software industry as the basis for this but it could easily be translated to any industry. I’m posting this in hopes of getting some feedback as I’m sure I’m missing some things and would love to hear people’s opinions.

Web Traffic Overview

I’ve found that looking at this diagram has helped me think about how each audience would get to a web site and the types of questions they’d be asking. I’m also working on a series of diagrams that breaks each audience segment into a work flow outlining the questions they’d be asking what information they’d be looking for. I’ll post these at a later time once they’re completed.

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