Does your brand or company have a website ? I’m pretty sure it does. Well if you thought that it’s the end of your online presence, then it’s high time you rethought your web strategy. You might be running a highly successful offline business, but your social media strategy can be a game changer.

If your brand or firm is not participating in Social Media using tools that include a collection of blogs, wikis, forums, photos and videos sharing sites, then you really don’t have an online presence.

These days Social Media such as forums, wikis and blogs in particular are playing a notable role in influencing the buying patterns of consumers. Often consumers look for opinions, user experiences and reviews on such sources before purchasing a product. Detecting influential nodes and opinion leaders and understanding their role in how people perceive and adopt a product or service provides a powerful tool for marketing, advertising and business intelligence. Look at these insights from a very comprehensive research study by Universal McCann.

  • 73% of online users read a blog
  • 57% join social networks
  • 45% have started a blog
  • 83% have viewed a video online
  • 39% subscribe to RSS feeds
  • 36% think more positively about companies that have blogs

I find the last insight extremely encouraging, and I hope that this will encourage you to rethink your brand’s online marketing strategy.

What are your thoughts ? If you are running a highly successful offline business, how are you leveraging social media as a touch point with your customers ?

Image Courtesy

Of tears and Microsoft !

February 18, 2008

Scoble claims to have been moved to tears after seeing a demo by the Microsoft Research team.

Something like this coming from Scoble is quite rare and this of course led to an avalanche of blog posts and predictions as to what this ground breaking thing could be. Popular predictions included Photosynth , Seadragon etc.

Scoble then came back with ‘Misreading Scoble on Microsoft cry’

One particular line caught my attention

The thing I’m talking about is NOT anything you’ve seen Microsoft do before.

And this

 That said, I think it will stand up to the kind of hype I unleashed yesterday. It is still inspiring me and I still want to get my hands on it as soon as possible.

Wonder what this could be ? Any predictions ? Btw, as per Scoble’s claims we would be getting to know about this by Feb 27.

asklaila logoTrying to decide on a nice restaurant for a date in Koramangala and can’t decide where to go or what to do ? AskLaila, from Four Interactive comes to your rescue. Asklaila aims to answer common questions of Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? within your city.

Currently they have local information services for Bangalore and Mumbai (which was launched a couple of weeks ago).  I had a chat with their team and they were telling me that you can soon expect to see asklaila in all metros and other major cities in India in next few months.

I think this product has some great potiential (especially going  by the vision of their passionate team !) in the Indian consumer market  and the next couple of years will determine how consumers actually percieve the real value from local products.

Below is a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ) analysis I did on their product.

Note : The opinions expressed here are totally from my perception of the product 🙂

 Update : Participant registrations  for Barcamp Bangalore 5 arenow open. Please go ahead and register at http://barcampbangalore.org/wiki/BCB5_Registrations.

It’s time to Bar camp again, this time around, the winter edition is happening on the 17 & 18th November, 2007 at IIM Bangalore.

Registerations are not yet open, but watch out this space for more. As with every bar camp, it’s by the people and for the people, so YOU can play a very important role in shaping how BarCamp turns out. You can contribute in many ways – ideas being one which everyone really appreciates. For instance you could participate in the logo contest which is currently going on.

If you company would like to sponsor BarCamp Bangalore 5, leave me a comment or check this page for some of this event’s sponsors. If you are going to be at BCB5, drop me a message and we can catch up at the event.

For Microsoft, Sharepoint and MOSS 2007 have always been dear products, with a lot of sales and marketing activity happening on this front. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a key product for Microsoft – it has collaboration, business intelligence, content management, search and “social computing” capabilities (Microsoft’s idea for ‘web 2.0’, according to this page on Microsoft’s website).

Microsoft is going Web 2.0, and what better way than to go with Sharepoint. Some of my previous posts talk about MOSS 2007 and building Web 2.0 sites using MOSS.

Microsoft recently announced two strategic partnerships, with enterprise software  company Atlassian and RSS solutions vendor NewsGator. The   partnerships link togther Microsoft’s SharePoint product with Atlassian’s wiki collaboration product Confluence and a new offering from Newsgator called ‘NewsGator Social Sites’, a collection of site templates, profiles, Web parts and middleware for SharePoint.

The big picture which Microsoft is of course looking at is to sell SharePoint as a social collaboration platform rather than just an enterprise productivity platform by adding more Web 2.0 features such as collaboration, user generated content etc. The other IMHO is of course the limited out of the box functionality which Wikis, blogs and other web parts provide in MOSS 2007 and customizing these can take quite a hit on the timelines and cost of a project.

According to this source,  Microsoft has around 80 million users on SharePoint and is reported to be worth $800 M per year in revenue for the Redmond company. Atlassian has 4,100 Confluence enterprise customers. So this definitely seems to be a win win relationship and a great advantage for SharePoint users.

There is in fact a new connect launched by Atlassian which is available for download.

I’m pleased that Microsoft responded quickly to the demands of the online community. They have made available patches to the calculation problem which involves calculations around the number 65,535 and 65,536 in Excel 2007 and Excel services.

Here’s the take of the problem from the Excel and Excel services team blog.

The Problem
” This issue was introduced when we were making changes to the Excel calculation logic in the Office 2007 time frame.  Specifically, Excel incorrectly displays the result of a calculation in 12 very specific cases (outlined below).  The key here is that the issue is actually not in the calculation itself (the result of the calculation stored in Excel’s memory is correct), but only in the result that is shown in the sheet.  Said another way, =850*77.1 will display an incorrect value, but if you then multiply the result by 2, you will get the correct answer (i.e. if A1 contains “=850*77.1”, and A2 contains “=A1*2”, A2 will return the correct answer of 131,070).”

The good part is that they will be pushing this out with Windows update, which mean you can have the potential fix without any explicit download. The fix will also be available along with the Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2007 (official date of release for which has not yet been announced).

Xobni, a new email-management service offered by the San Francisco-based startup company Xobni Analytics aims to empower the email user and help them “take back their inbox”. Xobni provides data on things like how much time you spend on email, how long it takes you to respond and what times during the day have the most important emails coming in. They are funded by Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, YCombinator, and a group of angel investors.

setup

Xobni claims that it will help you manage time spent on your email account much more efficiently.The new “Email me instead” allows you to send Facebook messages directly to people’s inboxes, saving the extra step of having to go into Facebook in order to read them. Users can sign up to receive news and updates on the Beta release. Until then, users can visit the site’s blog to correspond with the Xobni team.

They have a button for your blog and claim that users using this on their blog will get priority access for their release. Check this out.
Xobni outlook add-in for your inbox