Back in 2006 I was working on a venture I called SocialNet (MySocialMap), based largely on research by dinah boyd and the Vister application she and Jeffery Heer put together. The idea was to build a icon based visual map of relationships across multiple social networks and layer this with a Taste Fabric styled algorithm. Users would be able to visualize their relationships across social networks (something still not done well) as well as discover their networks propensity to like anything from brands to movies. After a couple of successful beta applications the initiative got bogged down in a bunch of issues from vendor management to time constraints (not to mention SocialStream). I had to shelve it late last year after a ton of work and a couple grand in expenses with only a barebones prototype to show for it.
The Milken Institute, founded by Michael Milken the “Junk Bond King” and real life Gordon Gekko, in an effort not to be referred to as the “Junk Bond King” or real life Gordon Gekko, released an interesting research report on the state of capital access across 122 countries. The research looks at a bunch of factors like interest rates, equity markets, venture capital and the access to credit cards (the fuel of a million start-ups) and comes up with a ranking for each of the 122 countries. In the Top 10 are several countries most American’s couldnt find on a map, including the UK, Singapore, and Canada. I would have included the US in that list except it didnt make the Top 10 ranking in 2007.
Hats off to Amber McCracken, who knows how to write a press release headline. This top notch PR Flack for the National Womens Health Resource Center managed to write a headline that was so good, it jumped off the page, grabbed my eyeballs and forced them to scan a 12 page executive summary of something I have no interest in. What was it?
New Survey Challenges the Theory That Women Strive to Take Care of Everyone Except Themselves
How could I resist the possibility of finding definitive proof that women were just as selfish as men? I couldn’t, thats how. Being the consummate professional, Amber created another headline for an audience apparently more interested in helping women then I was because i didnt even glance at it twice.
Minority Women More Likely to Link Good Health to Happiness, Spirituality and Family
It turns out that the rather then the chart heavy, management consulting drivel, I’m used to, the good folks at the NWHRC actually put out real information. Which in case you’ve never seen it, tends to be lengthy, verbose and a real snoozer, Amber’s catchy headline not withstanding, this report is no exception. I didn’t even make it all the way though the executive summary, which was 12 pages long. Not to worry I got a screen grab from one of the reports more interesting charts…the scale is from 1 (very poor) – 10 (excellent) .
Bain, the KGB of consulting companies and breeding ground for presidential hopefuls, announced the results of a 10 year study on business which essentially said companies wont be able to buy or create a solution to their impending doom. Needless to say it was a bit of a downer. The
study, book advertisement, announcement was a teaser for Chris Zook’s (a consultant with Cialis model looks) latest corporate page turner called Unstoppable: Finding Hidden Assets to Renew the Core and Fuel Profitable Growth. I havent read the book yet (hope its at the library) but the line below really jumped out at me:
The study reveals that by contrast, common paths that many companies pursue when their business gets in trouble – such as leaping to new hot markets, pursuing “big bang” transforming mergers, or launching broad-based innovation programs – solved the fundamental growth and survival issue only about 10% of the time.
So basically, “innovation” is not gonna save these firms, nor is trying to be more entrepreneurial and Web 2.0 savvy. According to Zook the only thing thats gonna keep’em going is if they figure out how to sell more of the same old stuff to new people or new stuff to the same old people. As someone who works in what might be called an “innovation program” and an advocate on the transformative powers of an entrepreneurial approach, this isnt a message I want to have widely promoted. Thanks goodness the book is not on a best sellers list so its almost guaranteed that no one in the executive suites of corporate America will read it. Still gotta figure out how to get it off of 800-ceo-read. If you work in an innovation group and find yourself confronted by Zook reading managers refer them to any work by Jane Linder and send them this article as a good antidote.
A great post over at Corporate Intelligence by Mitch Betts highlights an interesting
sales pitch research report put out by the good folks at Social Technologies LLC. A summary report/press release is available via pdf from the site, its short on details but the gist of it is: women could be bringing home 50% of the bread at some future point. Men are likely to play a more significant role in household decisions and purchases, like toddler friendly TV remotes and Teletubbie belt sanders. The report also says that online dating will also flourish because the new crop of career women wont have the time or patience to get picked up in a seedy dive like they did when I was young. The Washington Post has a related story on stay-a-home dads that is worth reading if only for the idiotic comments left by Post readers. Enlightened audience indeed.
Trolling SSRN I came across another academic report destroying much of the FUD put out by the RIAA in their attempt to criminalize digital downloads. Like all good academic studies it has a cumbersome and wordy title, The Analog Hole and the Price of Music: An Empirical Study, which belies the rather simple text contained within.
The report starts off with an exploration of the analog hole , which frankly isnt that interesting but then goes into how the analog hole will effect the pricing of digital music. They set off to answer two questions: Do consumers perceive a difference between analog hole copies and the originals? Kinda. At what price would they be willing to sacrifice some quality? Twenty-five cents. The sample size is pretty small for the survey, only 66 respondents, but the findings are really interesting. Read the full report here and check out the abstract here:
Last week, I mentioned the survey from P2Pnet.net, that AllofMP3.com was promoting on their homepage. Well the good folks at P2Pnet have released some initial data and say they will release the entire data-set on Monday. So far they have over 750 respondents and what looks like some really good directional information on the thinking of at least a segment of the file sharing community. Watch for the full data, including answers to open-ended questions, to go live later this week and I’ll try to keep track of anyone that crunches the numbers and makes interesting connections.