January, 2008

  • Steve Clayton

    Apple, Oracle, Microsoft and Social Navigating



    Being in downtown Seattle tonight reminded me of a great night out many years back with some old pals in Seattle. We had several drinks in a great bar on 1st Avenue and got chatting with a dude at the bar. When we asked him what he did he proclaimed he was a Social Navigator. A great line that we still laugh about.

    That got me thinking about the social networking scene that I'm now a part of and the recent post by Jens Alfke about the lack of blogging at Apple and his departure. His post is extremely well written and this part really stuck out for me


    It’s deeply ironic: For a company that famously celebrates individuality and Thinking Different, Apple has in the past decade kept its image remarkably impersonal. Other than the trinity who go onstage at press events — Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller — how many people can you name who work for Apple? How many engineers?


    I was discussing this topic only last week with a PR executive in London. Apple has a very different approach to communications where it's very much command and control by Steve Jobs. I think it works very well for them though what happens when Steve eventually leaves is another question. The whole approach is centred around el Jobso.

    Microsoft on the other hand manages to have something in the region of 5000+ bloggers and very minimal control. Literally the internal mantra about blogging is "blog smart". There is a blog policy somewhere but I've never read it and suspect the same is true for most of our bloggers. It just boils down to using your noggin on what you can share and what you can't. I've noticed I blog less at the moment as I'm involved in lots of stuff I can't talk about. It'll ebb and flow but there is no hit squad policing our bloggers. The effect of Microsoft's blogging is a subtle and ongoing shift in perception about the company and its employees I believe. On the whole it's positive from what I have seen.

    Oracle has a similar band of bloggers and social networkers and one area they seem to be more innovative then Microsoft is their use of Twitter - or at least they're more visible and organised. Dennis pointed me towards Oracle's wiki of Tweeters and their sort of Digg mashup. We have some similarly cool assets such as Channel's 8, 9 and 10.

    So back to Apple. Will they ever have bloggers on an official basis? I doubt it whilst Steve is around. As their market share is on the rise I think their customers will expect more and more interaction and their lack of blogging will become an Achilles heel. I may be wrong and I honestly hope they don't start blogging - they're blog design would no doubt put mine to shame but more importantly, whilst they're doing so much else right, I'm happy to see them getting this part wrong. IMHO of course.

    [update] Frank X Shaw who heads the PR account at Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft has a related thread.

  • Steve Clayton

    Do You Sleep With Your Phone?


    • 95% of cell phone owners never leave home without carrying their phone
    • 3 billion people are always 'connected', twice the number of connected PCs
    • 54% of 14-24 year olds use their cell phone for Internet access
    • Only 24% of Japanese cell phone traffic is voice.


    I can't remember where I read these last week, nor can I decide which is the most scary. Perhaps this one:

    • 91% of mobile users keep phone within 1 meter reach 24x7 (China Mobile 50K survey)

    that last one came from Mary Meeker's great presentation at Web 2.0 SF last year. I love stats like that. They screw with peoples heads...as does sleeping with your phone.

  • Steve Clayton

    Choose your pink weapon. Zune or iPod



    Engadget spots the new pink Nano. Who's copying whom?

  • Steve Clayton

    MacBook Air. It's about this big...


    I'm not sold on the Macbook Air - not yet anyway. I'm sure I'll love it when I see one in the flesh but right now, I think my Sony TZ is a better set of compromises for me. The guys at CrunchGear capture my sentiments before the fanboys start blowing off.

    Meantime, the announcement was as Chris says a A Lesson in Communication. It was (manila) plain, simple and effective. I can imagine people talking to each other about the Air like this


    • Friend 1: Have you seen that new MacBook Air? I so neeeeeed one
    • Friend 2: No, what's it like
    • Friend 1: It's the world's thinnest laptop
    • Friend 2: Really? How thin is it?
    • Friend 1: Well it fits inside a manila envelope
    • Friend 2: Holy shit. I need one too!

    If I had that conversation about my Vaio I'd be saying "oh it's about this big".

    What did Apple do? They kept it simple and make it easy to spread the word. Oh and put a video about it front and centre on their  website.

    Nice. Jealous of their comms if not their hardware.

  • Steve Clayton

    Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft video from CES


    Bill's Last Day: The CES Keynote video


    Brilliant. Great work by Long to get it posted and now on Channel 10

    AP reports

    It showed a giddy Gates rapping, trying to lift weights, pleading for a spot in U2 and lobbying for a place on a presidential ticket. The video's cameo appearances from the likes of Brian Williams, Jay-Z, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Jon Stewart, Steven Spielberg and George Clooney provoked uproarious laughter -- not a common occurrence at a tech conference.

    Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft (video) - istartedsomething

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