思想 | ideas | 생각

Open source intelligence

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I had my friend Stephen over earlier and whilst enjoying the indian summer this afternoon we discussed a number of things including social search products like Yahoo! Answers and Lycos IQ.The key problem that these services have is managing the quality of their product as their community expands.

A second problem they face is how much should advertisers pay to access these customers.

Ok, in order to ask questions you have to have points, which you gain from answering other questions. This is to try and prevent frivolous use by spammers and encourage repeated visits and thus a habit-formed behaviour.

By its nature, taking the time to answer questions and build up a battery of points to answer questions implies a certain level of spare time, which usually goes hand in hand with a corresponding lack of user intent and economic power: security guards, call centre workers, receptionists, students, children, pensioners and housewives to name some examples.

Will advertisers pay proportionately less for lower-quality leads than the high-user intent consumers with more economic power they can reach on Google?

In addition, Wired News had details of an interesting and well-funded public website called dropping knowledge that could do for social search what Wikipedia did for online reference content providers including the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Worst case scenario, the media companies will make a market for social search and then be usurped by community sites and left with a less attractive demographic of users.

书评 | oprah time | 서평 思想 | ideas | 생각

Oprah Time: Unstuck

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Quick reviews of Unstuck and 11 1/2 Ideas that work.

I had been meaning to get around to reading this book for a good while. Unstuck is a trouble-shooting guide for situations when you can’t think your way out of a problem or are suffering from inertia. The book was based on a set of flash cards developed by the authors as part of an MBA module that they taught at Harvard.It is quite easy to imagine it as a big decision tree or one of them Dungeons and Dragons books that the geekiest kids at school used to read all the time as you are guided from problem recognition and diagnosis through to resolving the problem in a creative manner.

The best thing of all, unlike technical support helplines and customer service functions you are not kept on hold for an hour because they are swamped with other callers. Definitely one to keep in the desk drawer.

11 1/2 Weird Ideas That Work was a book that I read on the way back from Dresden. It is a thinkpiece for managers on how they can further develop innovation within an organisation that is not too corporate in its culture by bringing in disruptive influences and processes – a sort of ‘grain of sand’ in your shoe effect. Sutton is very particular about laying out the parameters of what kind of organisation his techniques will or won’t work for. He cites extensively examples from organisations like design and user experience company IDEO through to small business units in large corporates like phone-tapping technology company Hewlett-Packard.

Whilst the book makes for interesting reading, applying its ideas successfully may be much harder to do .

思想 | ideas | 생각

Thought for the day

Reading Time: < 1 minute

“Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” Neil McCauley in Heat (played by Robert DeNiro). Sage words indeed.