Wisdom of the Crowds on the Street – Picks Stocks!

Written by on September 27th, 2009

Find out what others are saying about your company or product!

Daily I see more products and services that automatically search the web for people talking about products, services, issues and then aggregates this information and delivers it back to me in a variety of methods to help me make decisions.

So what do you do with that information?

Well in the case of the stock market, you can take mentions of companies, analyze the mentions as positive or negative and then graphically display for others to interpret and use to make a better decision.

Interesting way this blog started.

I wrote a blog article about the “wisdom of the crowds” and the next day a tweet showed up in my Twitter account:

@Philabaum Check outhttp://www.piqqem.com for another example of wisdom of crowds.

Wow, pretty smart!  Did the system automatically find me and post that information, or is someone sitting at a computer somewhere in the world being delivered mentions of words, concepts and ideas who then puts a human spin to them and who then sends the message off?

In my case this really worked.

Not only was I intrigued, I followed the link to the product piqqem and signed up!

Think about how you could use Twitter to watch for mentions of terms and keywords that might identify who you are, what your customers like, attitudes and or locations.    You too could have a business process that would deliver frightenly  fast and relevant information to people who are out there talking about services they like or need.

I’m just starting to get a handle on this.  Would love to know your take!

Millsap College Uses “Wisdom of the Crowds” to Select President

Written by on September 25th, 2009

Life is too complicated. No one person or group has the answers!

You know how-  from time to time – you get a song stuck in your head, and it just keeps playing over and over and over!  I’ve never looked at it too seriously, occasionally I have wondered if the content of the song was something my psyche or soul needed to help it adjust to a situation or to get an “attitude” adjustment.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve noticed that I’m stuck in a rut writing more and more about the “wisdom of the crowds” or as some refer to as “crowd sourcing”.

I’ve been greatly influenced by Don Tapscott’s book, Wikinomics, (not just because he’s also named Don) because it really awakened the reality of how the Internet has changed the way we run our lives, businesses and organizations.

In the past, the person at the top of the organization had a phone to the outside world, a very small group of advisors and his or her gut to make decisions.  Today, that same person at the top has a Twitter account,  Facebook account, etc,  which provides them a million points of view on a subject or feedback on a proposed idea or new product. (…More…)

Netflix uses Crowd Sourcing to Increase Revenue

Written by on September 22nd, 2009

Over the past year I’ve been watching the drama unfold in the  Netflix one million dollar contest.

Netflix spent millions writing software code that would analyze their customer interests and likes and then use that information to recommend movies they would like.  If I give a thumbs up to the movie The Terminator, along with a number of sci-fi movies, the program will present me with additional movies that match what I am interested in..

The Netflix philosophy is simple.  The more movies I see that I like, the more I will order.

In October of 2006, Netflix caught onto the “wisdom of the crowds” thing and developed a contest that offered a million dollar prize for the individual or group that could improve the inhouse software they had developed.  (called Cinematch).

The winner would design a software program that would be 10 percent more effective and take away a million dollar prize.

The three year event has kept many in suspense, received a great deal of publicity and attention and has gone a long way to help their customers understand their passion to better serve them.  As a Netflix user, it caught my attention!  And to the participants who put hundreds of hours into the project, they just couldn’t let go.

The program started out with individuals around the world working on the problem on their own.  Then an interesting thing happened.  Individuals’ realized they didn’t have the expertise in areas that others who were actively working toward the solution had.  They realized they needed to merge or they were out of the race.  And as time continued, after one or two people came together, groups started coming together.   A group that realized they were slightly behind another team, then merged with a team that had code that would give them another 2 percent advantage.   And so it went until on Monday a seven person team of statisticians, machine -learning experts and computer engineers which called themselves the BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos was announced the winner of the one million dollar prize. (…More…)

Online Communities in the Pioneer Days

Written by on December 3rd, 2008

Pew Report

Life before MySpace, Facebook, YouTube

I was reading a report produced by the Pew Internet and American Life Project called, “A Portrait of Early Internet Adopters. Why People First Went Online and Whey they Stayed”.  The report by Amy Tracy Wells is  a quick read and a fun reminder of where online social networking got started.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project since 2000 have shown that the majority of people went online for personal reasons (50%), followed by work (31%) and school (19%).

Amy reminds us that the early roots of social networking started in BBSs (electronic bulletin board systems) and Usenet, chat rooms and threaded discussion software.  To access these systems one had to fire up a modem and wait!  A really fast modem in those days crawled.  When I lived in Telluride, Colorado in 1995, I remember waiting about 8 hours to download a new version of AOL’s software! (…More…)

Your Website Should Provide an EXPERIENCE!

Written by on November 22nd, 2008

Do your visitors leave your website talking?

Four Bells

Jimmy Hendrix emblazoned in the minds of nearly every Boomer who listened to FM radio in the late sixties the phrase,  “Are You Experienced”.   A generation of youth wandered the country trying to figure out what experience Jimmy, the new king of Rock and Roll was talking about.  Was he talking about drugs, love or dropping out!

Later, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore put a new definition to experience in their book,  “The Experience Economy”.  This is one of my favorite books, a must read for ANY business professional.  In their book, Joseph and James remind businesses that consumers are willing to pay MORE for an experience. They point out examples of businesses that are in commodity markets who charge a premium price simply by adding a unique “experience”.  The lessons learned from this book could position you ahead of your competitors and ahead in your bank account too!

Stay with me, I’m going to give you an experience that will make you RICH! (…More…)

Army Social Media Strategy? Why NOT you!

Written by on November 18th, 2008

You could recruit new leads, JUST like the Army!

Straight From Iraq

I was aware that the Army had been investing in some of the smartest and most sophisticated weapons in the history of mankind but little did I realize that part of the 220 million dollars they spend to recruit new soldiers will be spent on social media!

The other day I shared with you how a little known business consultant’s podcast became as popular as the business podcasts produced by the Economist, Bloomberg and other well known brands.  Today I wanted to show you how the Army is investing in WEBCASTING to become more relevant to their prospective customers.

In an article in the New York Times by Stuart Elliott, Stuart outlines the new strategy being used by the Army.   On their newly redesigned website, www.goarmy.com recruits will be able to view a new section called Straight from Iraq.   According to Lt. Gen. Benjamin C.  Freakley, the commanding general of the Army Accessions Command in Fort Monroe, Va, the goal is to provide,  “verifiable information about what being a soldier is really like”.

YouTube style videos

The section offers dozens of YouTube style videos of less than a minute where soldiers talk about the conditions they are living and working in.  The videos remind prospective recruits they have access to computers, the internet and “all the equipment” they need. (…More…)

Could YOUR City Better Serve YOU with by Adopting Social Media?

Written by on November 14th, 2008

6 ways your city is missing the boat by not adopting comprehensive Internet strategies

Tip O’Neill has been quoted as saying “All politics is local.”  He said that to remind politicians to pay Pot holeattention to what is happening in their back yard if they want to stay in office.  Today government leaders are starting to pay attention to how they can use the Internet to improve services and better serve citizens.

Like most institutions their focus right now is how to use the Internet to give citizens access to information they normally have to stop in offices to get. Online registrations for dog tags, to accessing information about property is becoming the norm for many communities and counties.

But what about using social media and online community tools?

Government 2.0 recently published an article that looked at how local cities are using online community and social media to communicate and engage.  A variety of ideas are being explored by city government leaders but few are taking a comprehensive look at how they could use the Internet to increase:

  • Transparency
  • Communication
  • Services

And reduce costs!

But let’s take a look at the early pioneers and what they are doing to put their toe in the water!   Denver’s CIO, Molly Rauzi created a YouTube channel and uploaded various commercials, public service announcements and other videos. (…More…)

Twitter as a Marketing Tool for YOUR Business?

Written by on October 24th, 2008

Stock brokers, real estate agents, sales people, physicians, service and retail industries can use twitter to reach and engage customers!

Twitter LogoMany consultants, authors and individuals are using Twitter as a personal branding tool.   By following others and commenting on what is happening in their lives they hope to build their own following  hoping it will increase their social media stature and brand.

So how are businesses like yours using it?

I was developing a marketing strategy recently and ran across the website namethis.com It’s a tool that includes online community and social networking tools to access the wisdom of the crowds to help you name products and services.  Their motto is quite simple, “three world-validated names for your thingamajib in 48 hours.

When someone like you or I need help in naming a product, we simply pay 99 bucks and wait 48 for the top three names as determined by the participants in the online community. The creative community sits back and waits for you or someone else to throw out a naming opportunity.   It’s really an amazing process to watch as people from all over the world come forward to give you their input and suggestions.   (…More…)

What If Your Sales Force and Distributors Disappeared Overnight?

Written by on October 15th, 2008

8 ways to protect your distribution channel in a down economy!

The once in a lifetime events occurring on Wall Street are making companies think about contingency plans for things they never thought could happen. The focus of this blog article is to talk about a situation where the channels you used to sell your products disappear. For example, what if:

  • Magazines, radio, TV and newspapers circulations were drastically reduced.  How would you reach customers
  • Your distributors (stores, small businesses, corporations) were driven out of business due to the recession
  • Energy prices rose so high you couldn’t afford to send your sales force on out of state trips

To deal with these questions I wanted to share with you how a company run by my brother Tom is facing some of these issues.

Tom is a world renowned glass artist and business man in Tucson, Arizona. Tom wandered into the desert Tom Philabaum Magic Carpetsway back in 1975 and found his home. Since that time he’s built a business (Philabaum Glass) around designing giant glass installations like the “Another Way To Fly” magic carpet installations at the Tucson International Airport, creating 50 pound hand built art vases that literally will break your back when you lift then and traditional consumer products like paper weights and company awards. His product range from tens of thousands of dollars to as little as one hundred dollars.   (…More…)

Social Media, Online Community & Web 2.0 Confuses Business Executives!

Written by on October 3rd, 2008

Social media, online community, Web 2.0 confuses business executives!

You want an Internet strategy but…..

One of the reasons I sold a company I founded in 1995 to create online communities for alumni associations, non profits and companies was to concentrate on helping organizations understand how they could use the Internet to acquire, communicate, retain and engage customers.  Most people we spoke with, likened the Internet as a puzzle they didn’t know where to get started with.

In the 12 years we were building online communities, (Internet Strategies Group) my sales force spent most of their time educating prospective customers why they needed to adopt online communities and social media. To help, I wrote white papers, held conferences, Webinars and books.  We looked at this as the cost of doing business and selling a product that people didn’t understand and didn’t know how it would provide an ROI.

So it’s was no surprise when I read a McKinsey Global Survey (fall 2007) that surveyed how businesses were using Web 2.0 tools and services showed business executives were struggling to figure out how these tools  will help them reach their goals.

The report found:

     • 42% thought they should have invested more
     • 24% thought they should have invested sooner
     • 40% of these companies are not using social networking, RSS, Podcasts, Wikis and blogs.

There are two reasons business leaders are not investing more in Web 2.0, social media and online communities:

     • Confusion
     • Internal focus    (…More…)

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