October 8, 2010

How has social networking saved your ass?

True tales of social media saving the day

David SparkHere’s a compilation I shot last week at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference while reporting for Yammer.

At TechCrunch Disrupt I asked attendees, presenters, and exhibitors how social networking has saved their ass. We’ve all had stories of the community providing information we needed in a moment of crisis. Here are some great stories. Watch until the end for a story of social media literally saving someone’s ass.

October 4, 2010

Still hunting for right solution to manage the endless flow of information

What’s the best productivity solution you’ve found?

David SparkHere’s one of my interviews I shot last week at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference reporting for Yammer.

Irritated by the endless flow of information that you can’t seem to make any sense of? You’re not alone. We’re all looking for a solution, even Harry McCracken, Editor of Technologizer. McCracken’s a good friend and I also write for his blog occasionally. I chatted with McCracken about the difficulty of managing the non-stop flow of information through all his social channels. He’s tried tons of tools, given them about a two week run, yet nothing has stuck.

Probably the closest solutions he’s found have been Threadsy and Google’s Priority Inbox, but he can’t recommend either as they’re either too buggy or highly flawed. He’s simply given up on them.

Email is sadly the best solution if people really want to get a hold of him. Yet it’s far from the best solution as he gets hundreds of messages a day. He relies heavily on instant messenging for information from his close friends and colleagues. He’s more protective about his IM identities and therefore he gets far less spam over IM than via email or other social avenues.

Instead of suggesting a solution for managing all the traditional and social media content, McCracken offered up a tip to try to respond to things immediately. It’s worth it to take that immediate moment to take action. If he puts a request off it’ll roll off his list of things to do. Continue reading

September 29, 2010

YourVersion: Building recommendations through implicit & explicit behavior

Can you game the system?

David SparkI’m at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference reporting for Yammer.

Dan Olsen is the CEO and co-founder of YourVersion, which Olsen describes as Pandora for real-time web content. Just as you tell Pandora about what music you like, with YourVersion you tell them about what kind of information you like. And in both cases the applications respectively serve up music and news/real-time content to your desktop.

YourVersion launched last year at TechCrunch Disrupt and won the people’s choice award. Olsen is back now mostly showing off their iPad application. Given that the device is mostly for consumption, it’s really a natural for a YourVersion application.

I talked with Olsen about people gaming the system for these recommendation and social bookmarking applications such as Digg. Olsen said that depends on implicit vs. explicit tracking and how you’re measuring. Clicking to read an article is implicit. Retweeting an article is explicit. Olsen said they’re tracking both behaviors, but weighted more to implicit data, which is considerably harder to game.

Another aspect that Olsen measures with YourVersion is historical credit. For example, if Engadget publishes an article about the iPad and has historically had popular “iPad” articles, then YourVersion will give it a little showcasing credit. After that they’ll let the audience vote the article up and down implicitly and explicitly. Continue reading

June 14, 2009

How one company uses Web 2.0 tools to run and promote their business

David SparkEveryone wants to be more efficient, productive, and successful. We’re constantly seeking advice on Lifehacker. We gravitate toward any post entitled “How to …” or “Top tips to …” And we’re feeding self-help book publishers who dominate 25 percent of the publishing market.

Rarely, though, do we get an opportunity to see one person or one organization completely open up the kimono and show us step by step how they deploy all of these time and cost saving techniques to actually run their business.

Stephen Jagger

Stephen Jagger

Last week, Stephen Jagger (@sjagger), CEO of Ubertor (web pages for real estate professionals), Reachd (web marketing training courses) and Outsourcing Things Done (high level virtual assistants), spoke to a group of entrepreneurs of the San Francisco Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) at Samovar Tea House at the Metreon in San Francisco. Here’s a summary of his presentation in which he talks about each of the tools he uses and provides an explanation of the value it brings to his business.

While I had used all but one technology Jagger mentioned, it was really eye opening to see an organization deploy all of these tools and demonstrate the business value they provided in terms of connectivity, productivity, and cost savings.

Step one: Lose the offices – Jagger used to have office space that his companies were spending thousands of dollars a month to maintain. An opportunity arose where someone wanted to take over their lease. Instead of searching for some new office space, Jagger and team all decided to go virtual. While they saved a fortune on rent and maintenance, they needed to adopt some Web 2.0 technologies in order to stay in touch and conduct business.

Continue reading