Tag Archives: social networks

Groupon CEO exits stage left

So what’s the verdict?  Was the company overhyped, overvalued?  Did the CEO get it wrong?

Today’s comment in LEX (FT) seems to make sense – over dependent on non sustainable margins, relatively low costs of entry for competitors.

I ‘ve never been an investor in groupon.  I’ve been a customer.  In general I’ve been a satisfied customer.  And I would think at least one company has benefited from a number of purchases by me following an initial purchase via groupon.  I’ve actually made at least two purchases which I failed to follow up on – thereby wasting my purchase (or perhaps, more correctly, I treated it as an expensive option to purchase which I failed to exercise).

In many respects my experience has been that I enjoy being involved with groupon for a couple of weeks and then I get bored.  Probably not unlike a lot of my online experience!  I do not want Groupon offers every day of the week.  SO after a few weeks I just switch off – stop logging in, remove the app from my android phone.  But when I read about the company  – as over the last few days, I may be tempted to resume some left of interaction from another few weeks.  I wonder is this a typical user experience – is this reflect accurately in the financial models (is I represent a typical buyer persona)?

I have been involved in a number of startups.  Would be interesting to learn more of the dynamics of the startup itself – the roles of the founders, the decision making processes.  There has been plenty of speculation in the press – but I think we may need the former CEO’s book after he has taken some time.  Thinking lean and pivots – would be interesting to understand how lean group has been and ho many times they have pivoted.





Are you using social networks more or less?

I am relatively active – I maintain a couple of blogs barryjogorman, bluereek), I post to facebook, twitter, linkedin and google+ (in that descending order of frequency). I scan some current content on all of these sites – generally at least once a day.  I also send and receive significant volumes of email.  I use sanebox to assist me in separating out the good from the bad in my email.

Have been listening to some chatter amongst friends, family, contacts which would suggest some increasing boredom amongst users of social networks.  I experience this myself – large volumes of inane postings.  Then I read this piece on Mashable and somehow it seems to ring true.

No more so that the phone, email, instant messaging, friends, colleagues – social networking content is a distraction when I am trying to complete a task.  And if I have a lot of tasks to complete in a limited time then social media (and phone, email, instant messaging, friends, colleagues) take a back seat – in terms of both passive (reading) and active (commenting or content creation) participation.

I think it’s the old maxim – ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’.  If you want to benefit from social networking then you need to accept that it will take time (out of your limited time).  At the risk of mixing metaphors, should also reference ‘lunch is for wimps’ – perhaps there are many who would suggest, at least in a work context, ‘social media are for wimps’.

So what brings me back to social media – or what has brought me back in the recent past?

Linkedin is serving me well at present – in the context of staying in contact with a wide range of business contacts and former colleagues.  Almost a CRM solution – but the real value is in the follow up interactions – be they phone calls, emails, meetings.  And then I find myself capturing some of this interaction in apps such as evernote.

Facebook continues to attract me as a way to continue ‘casual interaction’ with a range of friends – many of whom I would not bump into physically on a day to day basis e.g. because I live in Ireland and they live in US, Australia, South Africa, UK, France, etc.  In general I think the level of interaction on postings has gone down – and changes in the workings of facebook are well documented.

I think Twitter continues to provide me with the most relevant, interesting content – from people I choose to follow – grouped in lists.  So, if I am interested in health informatics for now, I tend to drop in and out to check on tweets by those I have added to my health informatics list.  And in general the content is current, well referenced and useful.

I like google+ – but I just do not seem to have the time to participate in another platform on a regular basis.  I am very frustrated with moves to make it more difficult for all of us to participate in several social networks at the same time e.g. making it more difficult to cross post.  But obviously the various providers have their own strategies for survival or world domination.

And blogging – like this: it really does take time.  And sometimes you wonder about the value of time spent creating personal content in a space that is already very crowded.  But, again, no free lunch and blogging is not for wimps.







Valuing your network

What is the value in your network?  Is your network your linkedin connections, your facebook friends, your twitter followers, those who take an RSS feed from your blog?  Is it some combination or is it something completely different? What value should you place on your social networking presence?  What value should be placed on social networks e.g. facebook, twitter, linkedin?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time.  If I say I am well networked what does this mean in a commercial sense.? Who is a ‘good networker’?  What are the benefits of being a good networker?

From my own perspective I think of my network from a number of perspectives:

  • Family/Friends
  • People who are interested in me and whose advice I value
  • People who are active in generating business opportunities for me
  • People with whom I collaborate
  • People to whom I can provide useful advice
  • People who are potential advisors or business generators

And key to all of these relationships is trust.  The strongest trust is based on personal experience (e.g. having worked successfully with that person previously, having jointly participated in pro bono work), the next level is referred trust (e.g. recommended by a trusted person) and finally reputation/ awareness of the person’s skills/ track record.

Trust is earned and is not permanent.  It is dynamic – impacted by the totality of your experience of the other party – but probably heavily weighted to the most recent experience.


Is the person and technology becoming one?

Have just spent a couple of weeks on vacation – without broadband access at my fingertips.  Continued to monitor email and SMS – from my phone.  Probably online three times over the fortnight – had to make an effort.  Posted a few photos to facebook from the phone.

Real difference was not interacting with twitter and other social networks on a regular basis throughout the day.  Also – listened to the radio for news and read a few newspapers.

Just watched Kevin Kelly video/ presentation on future of the web.  KK (of Wired) sees the internet as one computer.  We use various devices to access the one computer.  ‘Things’ e.g. cars, clothes, devices which incorporate chips (e.g. RFID) are effectively part of the one computer.  And, indeed, we are in many respects sensors for this one computer – as more and more information ends up in the one computer.

This is enough to scare off a lot of people.  In the Q&A session KK fields a number of interesting questions, including what are the opt out options, is the one computer and the human race in conflict?  Interestingly seems that most people are happy to go along with what’s happening.  He has a great line ‘No personalisation without transparency’.  Effectively you have to open up, provide information about yourself, your business, whatever, if you want a personalised experience.

This morning read a posting about Gordon Bell – a Microsoft researcher who is attempting to record everything in his life digitally.

Interesting line in this from GB: ‘By using e-memory as a surrogate for meat-based memory, he argues, we free our minds to engage in more creativity, learning, and innovation (sort of like Getting Things Done without all those darn Post-its)’.

I have often thought that this is the case.  An example being that sometimes overprep for a meeting (reading all the material, anticipating the questions, etc) results in a less creative, open discussion.  Another example would be whether examinations are still bogged down in being largely tests of memory rather than tests of reasoning.

All of this relates closely to one of my own areas of primary interest – linked data and the semantic web.  Linked data requires entities to share more data – for the benefit of being able to correlate this with other shared data.  The semantic web aims to enable ‘intelligent’ processing of data by computers – ie the one computer referenced by KK.

I think KK is right.  The one computer is more and more a fact of life.  There are many benefits – and a number of threats.  While there are opt outs – and ways to escape e.g. go and live on a deserted island off the west coast of Ireland – inevitably the internet continues to be more pervasive (and invasive).

Looking forward to another few days of restricted broadband access.  And then back to life interacting with the one computer.

Twitter – part 3

Completing a series of three articles re twitter – why, what how?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 – How does twitter fit in with web site, blogging, facebook, linkedin, other social networks?

I see my website as my anchor on the internet. My website says I am who I am, sets out my stall, explains how to contact me. I want my website to be found – by people looking for solutions which I can provide. Periodically I will update my website to describe additional solutions, new partnerships, new references/ endorsements.

My blog is where I provide my thoughts – hopefully my insights to emerging social, business, technical issues – as they occur to me and and I develop/ refine my thinking. I expect the blog to incorporate feedback from readers. Over a period of time my blog accumulates an amount of my thinking re the issues of the day.

So there does twitter fit in with all of this – and with the other networks in which I participate?

Twitter is the medium through which I develop interactive dialog with people of mutual interest (I am interested in their thoughts, they follow me – so presumably are interested in my thoughts). Through those contacts I am also looking to expand my network – attracting attention to my competencies and learning from other experts.

With this in mind I automatically notify twitter of any new blog postings. I post questions to twitter, I respond to queries from others on twitter. I use twitter to draw people’s attention to information which I think may be of interest to them.

Both linkedin and facebook are also important to my social and business networking. Initially I focused facebook on the social side and linkedin on the business side. Facebook now has a much broader role – and has an important business element to it. For now I have a range of contacts who may/may not use all of the solutions e.g. may be a member of facebook but not using twitter or linkedin, only use linkedin, etc.

All of these are being brought together. Many people are members of all of these (and many more) social networks. Initiatives such as SIOC are working to faciliate interoperability. Using tools such as Yoono with Firefox it has become very easy to update your presence/ status across mutiple environments. I cross post to facebook from twitter and using ‘company buzz’ on linkedin twitter references to me are published to linkedin.

So what’s twitter, at the end of the day? As one of my twitter friends (@rbconsulting) says, flippantly – ‘hard to belive it took them that long to get SMS working on the PC’. And that captures the essence of the microblogging limits. Twitter is that and more. Most importantly it’s a platform which makes it very easy to establish relationships with people all over the internet – for business, social, educational, recreational, whatever purpose. The value of the relationships flows from the level of interaction, quality of contributions, responsiveness.

Face to face or facebook?

Well made point by Coralie Thomson in 'Face-to-face communication is still a winning formula at Mars'.  Reminds me of a comment from a colleague of mine the other day.  She does not do this whole facebook thing to keep in touch with friends – 'if I want to get in touch with someone then I ring them or meet them'.  Whereas I would tend to use facebook – and other social networks – to stay in touch and, in some circumstance, collaborate.  And I guess my point would be, use the traditional channels and the new tools as you see fit and to reinforce each other.