Listening to the podcast by Mark Pincus and Bing Gordon of Zynga. Here is the amazing part that shows up during the Q&A. They also talk about Social ROI, Ghetto Testing and Golden Mechanics and Internet Treasures
We are at the beginning of the third business plan of the internet.
- User buying s for stuff
- Often digital only and virtual
- Services found on the apps anywhere
- Breadcrumbs you will stumble upon them
- Every major franchise on the internet is up for grabs
- Going from web pages to widgets and apps
Yesterday, I gave a talk on InfoTools: Beyond Search at TiE Chennai. The slides of the presention are here. I think it went well, but I think, if I had cut down the slides and talk and gave more demos, it would have gone even better. Perhaps next time.
Before starting the talk, I requested people to give me (written) answers to three questions:
- What are your information needs?
- What are your problems with information?
- What tools do you use to manage information?
The questions, perhaps were a bit vague. I realized that after going through the answers. They varied in their level of granularity (specific vs generic problems) and the definition of information itself. But here they are (slightly modified to reduce redundancy).
Here is what I got from the survey:
What are your information needs?
- Potential customer info
- Right info at the right time (whenever I need it)
- To structure, unstructured web data
- Technology and Process to manage large newspaper portal
- Should be current, relevant (to my context. Should lead to (help?) actual decisions
- I need reference (information) of various consultants relating to start of business viz cost, web, management etc.
- Need for current information
- Need (to handle?) information from multiple sources and formats
- Collating information from multiple sources
- Information about competition
- About marketability and segments
- Company address information
- Company finance (annual reports)
- Executives within the company
- Trade details, products, services etc.
- Sales leads
- Knowledge enhancement
- Learning about old friends/acquaintances/family
- To learn to grow personally & business
- Needs to be local search for providers near to me (for ex: a photo copier shop near to my house)
- Technical solutions (day to day) for career and personal growth
- My business is providing information based services, package with recommendations. So need for information varies.
- Various technologies in market
- Information about market situation
- About stock/companies performance
- Details/support to solve issues
- Products available in the market for specifics(?)
- Focused News
- Similar business entity info
- Public info of competitor
- At a business level – market feelers about demand, ease of vendor options availability
- At an execution/implementation level – latent trends in tech
- Updated knowledge
- Price information about products etc.
- Information about technology
- Looking for acquiring an IT company. Need info on the industry they are in (macro) and more about that company (micro)
- Collect, compile for pattern understanding, plan for target customer
- Top IT temp staffing companies in India
- Total temp staff in IT in India
- How do I know the customer needs
- Scholarly articles on business entrepreneurship
- Product information, addresses from www
- Collecting/harvesting data from websites and collating, cleansing and delivering to clients
- Where is the resource for information?
- Where info is available, how to get data stream into our database
- How cost effective, credible, valuable is the data
- About companies wanting to enter India -setup operations, joint ventures
- Companies in India wanting to enter other geographies
- Consultants from outside India needing partners in India
- Relevant, accurate data (specific to the task at hand)
- Info about prospective customers
- Info about vendors
- Info about current market
- Info about latest technology
Here are my list of information requirements (I took the survey along with others)
- Best practices
What are your problems with information?
- Locating the right data at the right time
- At times info overload
- Unable to get the right (specific) information
- Sometimes get caught into loads of data, making it difficult to sift through
- Credibility, cost and accessibility
- Frequent website updates
- Different formats of information
- Gettting data from complex templates and grouping into finite categories
- Precision, very difficult to get objective information
- Currency of data
- Comprehensiveness of data
- Need continuous monitoring
- Information overload and in such case, synthesizing & assimilating that information in a reasonable time frame is difficult
- Old data, not accurate
- Too much info
- Not easily accessible
- Irrelevant info
- Filter out the actual/real info from a large pool of junk data
- Do not have a scope to interact with peers in similar industries
- Direct actionable information takes several searches, navigation
- How to localize information (assume how to get local information) and get reliable info
- How to segregate info from the web
- Difficult to put together
- If put together, not sure whether it is the updated info
- If updated (up to date?) not sure about the integrity of the data source
- Availability (sources), Reliability (sources)
- Aggregation of data in a presentable manner
- Too much information
- Unable to identify precise locations quickly
- Quality of inputs not high (always)
- Too large varied and different
- Formats (word, pdf, excel etc. ), hard copies, books, magazines
- Difficult to authenticate, collate and organize based on requirement
- I like websearch engines but I strongly believe that these search engines are at a nascent stage. I just don’t need a site coming up in my search because it is in wikipedia or yahoo
- Inappropriate not timely
- Have to go through lots of notes/documents/pages to get a single piece of information
- Validating the information
- Storing and organizing information
- Where to see (sources?)
- Not a centralized reporting
- Assimilation requires a lot of pre-formatting
- Effective and speed search by everyone not followed
- Not sure what to look for, where to look for and how to get it
- Vast, use software to target timely, quick, on realtime
- Not able to source the information in the web
- We develop products based on blogs and emails. This is not enough.
- Too much info
- Info with noise
- Signal vs noise
What tools do you use?
- Blog, forums
- Google, web search
- Search engines
- Reliable third parties
- Regular expressions
- Use bookmarking tools like delicious, share with team
- Knowledge repositories (wikipedia
- Books (online/printed)
- Inhouse tools to capture through automation
- Infosource – www, infoanalysis – spreadsheets
- Search engines to identify information
- Customized perl/php/vb.net programs to manage
- Scrape information from the web and manage it
- Search engines
- Networking sites (LinkedIn etc)
- My brain power, word/excel
- justdial and few others provide localized service over phone but it is not so accurate
- Peer discussions
- IE Favorites (browser bookmarks)
- Primary Research
- Internet, newspapers, meeting – software modules
- spreadsheet, email
- Internet, libraries
- Getting logic from other tools and using our own tools or languages
- Perl, regex
- Paid portals
- My memory (sigh)
What I use:
- Social bookmarks (delicious, stumble upon)
- Twitter Search
- Facebook groups
- LinkedIn Groups and Answers
- Custom search
- Blog/Feed Search
- Semantic Search engines
- InfoStreams (feed aggregator/search)
- InfoPortals (just started)
- Tag clouds (generated)
- Concept Mapping tools
This is a small sample (about 40+ people who attended my talk). But you can see some patterns. I think we have a long way to go beyond search.
- The audience (their enthusiasm, energy and participation)
- The conversations in the hallways
- The team that put together the whole event (the vision, the untiring efforts and the ever smiling faces)
- Some of the outstanding speakers and panelists
- The balance of content and conversations
- Social media support and the idea of posting all videos online
- Everything @guykawasaki, Ashish and @naeem
- Panel moderators who talk too much and take over the audience question time
- The so 1.0 style of the conference – no unconference track (unsessions are not unconference), no lightening talks
- No structured ways for audience to interact – No BOFs
Some Suggestions for future conferences (none except 2 are new ideas)
1. A parallel un-conference track in the after-noons
2. A tag cloud of what audience want (people simply tweet @iwant-at-npc a-list-of-topics) to harness the collective intelligence of the crowd.
3. Some kind of BOFs
Add your own in comments or just tweet them.
Tim Berners-Lee at Web 2.0 Summit
“Technology shouldn’t tell you what’s right and what’s wrong,” Berners-Lee said. “The rule of law applies on the Web. It’s a platform for humanity.”
If you want it everywhere, give it away.
Consider content as app. Thanks to HTML 5, which Berners-Lee calls a competing platform more than a content standard, Web pages can turn into widgets, and some apps won’t be distinguishable from Web pages.
I was listening to an Interview with Jerry Michalski on OEB News portal. Jerry thinks that there are some chances for innovation in business models in Learning. Here are some quotes from the interview:
We are going to relearn how to learn.
Anybody can be a teacher (including students) since you learn better when you teach someone.
Tuittering (he probably said Twittering but I thought this word may be more fun to use), shepherding, mentoring and coaching instead of teaching may be huge opportunity.
Jerry convincingly talks about how our conventional concept of schools and learning is ready for a big overhaul. The most provoking statement I heard in this interview is
There is no such thing as teaching
You cannot really teach people. They have to learn. Shifting the emphasis from teaching to learning is good. It makes you, the learner in charge of how you learn. Listen to the podcast inteview. It is less than 15 minutes.
From “Two Score and More: A Lifetime of Learning for Keeping Engineers at the Fore”
I suggest the Lifelong Learning Imperative truly is a grand challenge.
Here’s why: The scope is not only ambitious, it is bold. It encompasses engineers at all ages; it embraces engineering at all stages.
It’s also a good time to consider the difference between “being an engineer” and “becoming an engineer” – and the ways that lifelong learning can make a difference in the lives of individual engineers, in the innovative and competitive capacity of our economy, and in the vibrancy of the profession of engineering.
My journey began when I heard a podcast on how Science is drowning in data on Real Science and how Scientists are turning to Cloud Computing to solve some of the problems. This took me to the research funded by NSF (about 5 million dollars to 14 Universities) on a wide variety of problems from Data Analytics to Visualization.
If you want to take a little peek into the future and some of the problems concerning nations, it is good to track organizations like NSF. What do they fund? Why do they fund it? What were the results? What happened to the technology built, lessons learned? Is there an opportunity to use these as a base for a business? Or simply as research data?
Some of the most memorable events in life all have one thing in common – Topics that keep you up all night.
- Discussing books and various other incidents with family till wee hours into dawn
- New Year eve celebrations that go into early morning where you sit with a bunch of friends and never notice the passage of time
- Design discussions that go on for days and take over everything in life. The normal daily routines are not even noticed when you are engrossed in something deep, interacting with your close friends and finishing each others’ sentences.
- Coding till dawn and not even noticing it. Suddenly looking up and seeing the faint rays of Sun and saying to yourself “holy s**t, it is already morning”.
I think this is flow in some form. In each one of these events (and more), the time and other aspects of your life seem to vanish into a blur leaving you with a sense of immense satisfaction and a welcome fatigue afterwards.
Inspired by this post
Mike Fletcher: Debating ’til Dawn: Topics to Keep You Up All Night
From Five Myths About Automatic Sentiment Analysis
Sentiment analysis using natural language processing. Yes, it is done by a machine and no, it’s not 100 % accurate. The industry estimates that it’s at 70 – 80%. We are very open about that and recommend that it be used as an overview.
It would take hours to manually review the same amount and one still wouldn’t have an overall sense of the percentage positive vs negative.
Learning from the Bottom Up from Chief Learning Officer
Just as open source software represents both a threat and an opportunity for established high-tech companies, open source education will have a major impact on corporate learning strategies.
Participatory learning begins from the premise that new technologies are changing how people of all ages learn, play, socialize, exercise judgment, and engage in civic life. Learning environments — peers, family, and social institutions (such as schools, community centers, libraries, museums, even the playground, and so on) — are changing as well.
Yesterday, Anand, one of my friends, pinged me. He asked me to try out Aardvark. You can help a lot by being there, he said. I was curious and so I signed up. I found that there were already 8 of my Facebook friends on the network, people I respect.
Today I spent some time checking it out. It is an amazing application. I think after Twitter, this is one of the most imaginative and useful applications I have seen.
This is how it works:
1. You sign up here.
2. Specify a few topics in which you have expertise and willing to share it with others
3. You also specify an IM app that you would like to use with the service.
4. You can start adding friends and your perception of their expertise (using tags).
You can start posing questions to Aardvark service using your favorite IM client. You get back answers in a few minutes. I tried a few questions and even had one question sent to me. So far, the service rocks. I am really thrilled about its potential as a distributed knowledge management system. There are lots of other features (I am just trying a few out). Check it out here. From their blog:
But there’s another side to the real-time web phenomenon that we here at Aardvark think is even more powerful than this, a change of paradigm that is even more fundamental.
What really matters is the increased accessibility of people online, not just information online.