Monday, March 31, 2008

Stay Tuned for More Content

There are some new developments coming up soon on the Millennium Marketer. I hadn't had time to post recently, so my apologies. There is still some discussion as to what will happen with Yahoo! and Microsoft, so I would love to see some conversation around this.
Here's a quick preview on what will be posted next:

  • Environmentally friendly articles
  • More profiles on Silicon Valley entrepreneurs
  • More industry news and new perspectives on corporate marketing
  • Some more tactical tips on using social media for your business

    Stay tuned folks!

  • Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Open Social - Yahoogle?!

    Last week, I saw something about OpenSocial being used through Google Gadgets.

    Open Social still has a lot of kinks in it as a newly released October 2007 source code interface, although as more social networking applications are created, the more important it will be from a developer or marketing standpoint to implement this API. It's uncertain how quickly adoption of the API will pick up.

    Even more astonishing--Yahoo! is combining forces with Google to strengthen the Open Social platform. And then you say, "What? Aren't they rivals??"

    Yes, but according to BusinessWeek, "Yahoo is still fighting off Microsoft's marriage proposal, but it is still open to making friends."

    Another site,, India, says the plot of the story is like many Bollywood potboilers. "Now Google and Yahoo! seem to be becoming the new best friends for each other."

    As rivals, they have their interests much more aligned than with Microsoft, and it's no secret that Google is constantly pursuing products to reduce market share for Microsoft. Well, that explains the drama, at least for now.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Start-Up 101: Goal Setting and Visioning

    Usually, I post about other entrepreneurs but today, I decided it was about time I wrote from my own experience.

    I am sure many people have experienced this situation: you wake up in the morning, practice all matters of human morning rituals and then get to work. When you arrive, you are faced with a long to-do list, and all anyone cares about is results.

    I will admit that today is not an easy day for me. My to-do list is long and it is easy to forget why these tasks were created in the first place.

    On days like this, I remember my goal-setting mantra: "Strive through the narrow gate." It means that if you want to something, anything, you must work to achieve it.

    This mantra gets me through my most frustrating moments. Entrepreneurs won't tell you this, but they have these moments too.

    Three things a person must do to continue to strive through the narrow gate:

    1) Determine the goal you want to set and when you want to accomplish it.
    I set a goal to run on the treadmill for 40 minutes (10 minutes more than my usual 30) in addition to 5 minutes for warm up and 5 minutes to cool down.

    2) Consider the motivation behind this goal. What will be your reward for your achievement? I decided that if I could run the treadmill for 40 minutes, then I could prove to myself that I was capable of completing any goal that I set. The reward in this case was the accomplishment itself. It may not always be the case, however.

    3) And most importantly, celebrate the goals that you accomplish and evaluate the ones that did not have the outcomes you anticipated. Find meaning in yourself as a human being before you commit yourself to accomplishing tasks like a robot.

    For me, this is the toughest part of goal setting, because routine was not a part of my life as a child. My parents tended towards the unexpected. But it is also the most important because it sets the stage for consistent, successful goal-setting.

    Whenever you feel yourself getting frantic and thinking about the next task when the one in front of you is unfinished, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Try to feel comfortable with yourself as a person in the present. It is difficult to do because it is a human state to be dissatisfied. We worry constantly about what is next on the to-do list.

    If you can admire yourself for being who you are, then you won't be worried about job titles or stay with in-the-box thinking. I have found that if I give myself more credit for my accomplishments, I can trust myself well enough to try more daring things. When I set the goal to run on the treadmill for 40 minutes and I succeeded, this event led to a 1 hour rock climbing session and I had no fear of what anyone would think of my rock climbing abilities. I was able to ask more questions and learn more tricks. Because I was open to myself, I was open to others.

    Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship is about "striving through the narrow gate" and staying optimistic. When things get hard, it's best not to get angry, but to step back and look at the opportunities to do things differently.

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Social Media Marketing - Observations

    Social media-ites say that companies have to get into the conversation and that this is the "it" trend. Yet according to Charlene Li's Groundswell/Forrester blog, from a 2007 Forrester survey, most people in the overall US fall under the "Spectators" (people who read online content) or "Inactives" (Do not use online media at all) category.

    It could be that we are in social media bubble. Some companies will rise and fall--thus is the name of the game, as competition is the main motive behind business.

    The reaction that I have to the Forrester tool is that if they are using random samples of people across the US and other nations, and most people fall under the "Spectators" category (around 48% of the sampled US population), how do you increase participation? Marketers are often challenged with creating brand loyalty and only few companies, like Apple do it well.

    Here are a few ideas:

    1) Blogs are an easy way to transition from traditional PR to social media PR.
    It's highly involved, however and so some way of building analytics into your blog is important as well. Most people read online content and the lines between traditional media and online media are becoming blurred.

    2) Your Brand Followers will respond to some ideas more than others. Listen to what they have to say and continue on those avenues but don't be shy about introducing other relevant content.

    3) Relevance is important. Sports fans won't be interested in a conversation about cooking, although you can have sports fans that are avid cooks--it's just a smaller group of people, and ideally you want to reach out to a larger group. I try to keep random topics to the weekends, and industry talk and peripheral marketing stuff seems to be OK because my objective is to offer my point of view.

    4) Think Viral Marketing and how to employ those same kinds of strategies to proliferate talk about your company, but be ready to listen to negative comments as well as positive.

    5) Since there are different levels of participation, think about ways to reach out to people on those different levels. While some might enjoy creating content, the majority of people are happy just reading a few things and then moving on.

    Feel free to add to this list!

    Updated Monday, March 24, 2008

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Blog like a Winner

    There is an article on NY Times today that appeals to my blogger ego. How do you get people to read what you write? There is so much "noise" out there that is near impossible to get eyes on the page, although there are some great tools out there, like Feedburner and Facebook that have worked well for me to publicize and analyze my traffic.

    Some great tips on the New York Times article that I thought were really interesting:
    1) Don't blog for takes tons of readers to make those pennies and nickels become a fat check.
    2) Write about what you are passionate about (but I think this means you can't forget that you do have an audience)
    3) Fit blogging into holes in your schedule--who would have thought, it's not something you add to your to do list, but when you have a gap between your to-dos?

    It would be cool to get some comments from other bloggers on what has worked for them. This is one of those weird conversations that people have a lot because the internet is still so complex. A guy I met the other day said the Internet is the "modern unconsciousness."

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Yahoo Decides to Regroup

    I jumped on to the web today to find out the most recent verdict on the Microhoo! investment. Yahoo has received a lot of pressure from stockholders and consumers who have complained that Yahoo would be a sell out if it sells to Microsoft.

    I mentioned previously that Yahoo! and Microsoft would have had trouble merging, even though Microsoft has been adamant that a Yahoo! acquisition would strengthen their presence on the web. And of course, many questions arise about what happens with Yahoo mail and Hotmail if they were combined.

    In any case, Yahoo finally concluded to Microsoft that they would have to step out of the offer because Microsoft had largely undervalued the company with its February 1st bid of $44.6 billion.

    More on this in Infoworld's article, "Cheapskate."

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Gas and Traffic on Mapquest

    I was on Mashable and apparently MapQuest, which I think gives really bad directions for a map service now has a traffic report service. Maybe they will rival Google?

    One thing that is cool, which does not rely on directions is MapQuest's Gas Prices feature. Good to see a brand name associated with this kind of service. It looks like in my area we are up to $3.50 for regular gas at the low end and $3.60 at the high end. It won't be long before we reach the $4 mark, and even if there is such thing as inflation, gas prices are just ridiculous.

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    China Blocks YouTube

    So the story on BoingBoing today is huge. I had heard the news through the Facebook RSS grapevine and an old high school classmate's status feed.

    China has blocked YouTube due to religious issues or what not and generally being the big bully, turning a cold shoulder against Tibet and YouTube lovers in China are also suffering.

    Not such a smart move right before the Beijing Olympics creeping up in August.

    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    The Social Media Bubble

    OK...this is a bit of a gripe. But I have to say since Facebook is announcing an IM program, just how many IM programs do we need to have, how many blogs and how many microblogs à la Twitter do we really, really need just to connect to the people we care about?

    Sure, there's a great potential for competition in this market space, but at some point, it has to scale enough so that the consumer feels like he/she has enough buying power. Most people have no idea that these technologies exist at this point.

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Angry Journalist Gripes About Social Media

    Whenever a journalist writes a blogpost with an angry rant against public relations practitioners, the word spreads like wildfire. Agencies cross their fingers and close their eyes before reading the forward that gets past around.

    I didn't really believe it before but journalists apparently do get angry about being under appreciated for their talents. Good writers are getting quickly trumped by technology and the paper boy isn't worth much to me either. As far as I am concerned, I don't want a wad of paper delivered to my home every day, especially when my News Central is right at my desktop after I check my e-mail.

    I visited The Angry Journalist and the most recent gripe by Angry Journalist #2201 is a fairly amusing gripe about Social Media:

    "Does journalism even exist anymore? A five-line blurb on the Web? Whoop de doo. Get a real job."

    It's not really clear what his gripe is about exactly, it could be the idea that newspapers don't publish new news and blogs are ubiquitous at this point. But yeah, I get that. Journalists are struggling to keep up, but just like everybody else, journalists have to innovate themselves. After a few months at a local daily paper, entirely paid by local advertisers, I knew I had to get out. The newspaper's publisher at the time refused to even archive their paper on the web.

    As a girl who met her first Apple computer at age 9, I thought this was just ridiculous.

    Angry Journalist #2201, I get where you are coming from. News quality is decreasing and the level of information on the web is just crazy. But maybe, just maybe, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Who said journalism has to be owned by a select few? The first newspaper was probably started by a guy who was experimenting with a printing press and just went around talking to people. No joke.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Start-Up 101: The Beat of a Different Drum

    This may be stepping away from the norm but one of the challenges in the hi-tech world, but it seems necessary to take a different perspective. Social media-ists are really into their social media world and just waiting for creative tools to take off.

    We really forget that Silicon Valley isn't made up of just social media-ists or web 2.0 or those who support all these new ventures made possible by the Internet.
    True--Silicon Valley is a place for start-ups and it is only here that people are willing to try, financial pros are willing to fund and overall, everyone is prepared for failure, if it happens.

    I spoke with a professional drummer with a 20+ year career, Dave Gary, Jr. and asked him what he thought about Silicon Valley. Dave has talent--at age 14, he picked up a drum set for the first time and impressed a teacher.

    I couldn't tease much information out of him with the typical interview questions. When asked about his professional goals, he asked in return, "What is the goal in life?"

    When asked about his passions other than drumming, he wouldn't answer. "I do what most people do as a hobby, and that's just what I do."

    But really, Dave isn't any different from your VC, entrepreneur or the next CEO. His biggest frustration is "bad musicians that think they're good, and they just don't have any idea what it takes to be good." Not even people with talent cannot take their gifts for granted.

    He says that whoever you are, whether a doctor or a businessman, you will always face challenges. "A lot of college kids come out of college thinking they can just get a job. But what about the guy next to you who also has that piece of paper?"

    He also sees Silicon Valley as a working beehive and he isn't sure if most people know how to think for themselves. "Most people in Silicon Valley attend (music) shows, but they don't really listen. They hang out because they have money to pour into The Place (whatever is trendy) but they don't really listen. They don't know what to do--they're a bit robotic."

    He talks about passion and doing what you love. At age 18, he majored in accounting at university for "almost a semester--I quit right before finals." But when he went to college, he realized fast that an accounting major may please his parents but it wasn't making him money. When he played music, he was making money--at 16, "I made more money than most of my friends playing music than they made working at McDonald's."

    But Dave is making money because he is doing what is important to him. He says people in Silicon Valley face a lot of competition and work hard, but it's not enough to just work hard. "Make money or invent something--those without vision perish."

    As I spoke to Dave, it was simply clear that it's not enough to just work a 9 to 5 job, not enough to do what everybody else does. And, career paths aren't linear. Without redacting the message, it seemed to me that this was just a man who has done what he is passionate about all his life. It has made his personal life simple and his professional life challenging.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Cookie Monster Goes on a Diet

    I noticed an article in Point-of-Purchase Times, an in-store marketing trade magazine about how fruit vendors in grocery stores are putting Cookie Monster and Elmo as spokespeople in their stores to diminish child obesity.

    I love the ingenuity of this campaign and the irony. It's comical that Cookie Monster would start motivating children to eat fruit. He isn't named the Cookie Monster for nothing. Can Cookie Monster throw around crumbs of fruit the same entertaining way he has done with cookies over the past 20 years?

    But from a marketing standpoint, this isn't a bad transition. Some stats show that the rate of obesity in children 2 to 19 is about 17% and it's great to see marketers putting themselves out there to truly benefit customers.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Social Media for Everyone

    Well, I can't say it's not true. There are still very few people who use the wide range of social media tools that are out there and most people think it is about YouTube and Facebook or MySpace.

    Mack Collier on Marketing Profs is talking about social media tools like Twitter, Seesmic, and Viddler.

    I don't know what it is about these social media tools but the average person doesn't just integrate social media tools into their life, probably because they aren't quick software gadget adopters. Sure, if you go to the South by Southwest conference, you have a microcosm of bloggers and social media chatters. Unfortunately, this won't catch on with everybody.

    It would be cool to see Twitter grow big but Facebook status messages seem to work nicely for most people. This is a dilemma for those who want to add more social media tools to the webosphere.

    By the way, here's a video posted by Guy Kawasaki on his blog about how he and Steve Ballmer had a witty tete-a-tete. To me, this is like web 1.0 vs. web 2.0

    Friday, March 7, 2008

    The Start-Up 101 Series: Sumaya Kazi

    The Young Entrepreneur in Millenia 2.0

    With the rise of web 2.0, social networking and RSS feeds, there is a lot of noise out there in the marketing world. But how about marketing yourself?

    I had the pleasure of speaking with Sumaya Kazi over the phone last weekend. Recognized as one of CNN’s Young People Who Rock last year, we spoke from our individual home offices—she in San Francisco East Bay and me in San Jose.

    So how exactly does Sumaya rock? Nicknamed the “media maven” by Brass Magazine, she’s got the stuff to rival Mark Zuckerberg because she practically holds down three jobs as a social media manager at Sun Microsystems and the founder of two entrepreneurial ventures: The Cultural Connect and I Give a Damn! (IGAD) network. She is also incredibly smart: she can identify pressure points quickly and qualify questions to get her message across.

    Sumaya has accurately identified two pressure points for young people in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. In Silicon Valley, entry-level jobs are hard to come by and with her website, The Cultural Connect, Sumaya pushed the envelope on entry-level jobs. Job titles don't faze her. Her belief is that it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, all it takes a little creativity and resource management.

    Second, the need for role models and inspiration is fierce and The Cultural Connect inspires people to consider that young people (particularly those with hyphenated cultural backgrounds who aren’t as exposed in the media) have the tools and skill sets that they need to succeed. The Cultural Connect features five separate media outlets (DesiConnect, AsiaConnect, MidEast Connect, LatinConnect and AfricanaConnect) to showcase young professionals and encourages others to connect if they are interested in learning more about someone in their profession.

    Sumaya may not think of herself as an entrepreneur, but she tells me that opportunities for business stem from complaints that people have. “If there is a problem and there’s an ability to fix a need, then you have a business.”

    But while most people have one business, Sumaya is juggling three. What is her secret? Like Grégoire Gentil, she says it’s important to delegate.

    Delegating tasks is key. It is what allows her to have time for friends and family, salsa dancing, and other activities that let her bring stress levels down. "The busier I get the more I would go out dancing."

    She admits that juggling three businesses is tough, but she keeps going because it’s exciting to work with young people who are so inspired themselves. Some are recent college graduates and they are the people who make The Cultural Connect and IGAD network come alive.

    In other words, young people aren't limited by the opportunities that are out there. All we have to do is open our eyes to the fact, create our own opportunities and chase after our dreams in a new way.

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    Montreal Canadiens vs. San Jose Sharks

    I have a special place in my heart for the French Canadians due to informal family ties but there really isn't any other place like home. The game is on the radio while I babysit my nephew.

    His French Canadian parents are out at the game for the first two sessions and I can't help but think it would be a lot more fun if I were there too. I could add to the suspense, holler myself silly for the San Jose Sharks amongst the Montreal Canadien fans and release tension.

    The funny thing is that I've never been a team sport fan and I'm not super patriotic seeing that I am more of a global citizen than a San Jose local. But San Jose is the closest place to home I have in my adult life, so when the American anthem came on, I could not help myself. I had to sing along.

    It's Round 1 and San Jose Sharks are leading 2 to 1.

    GO SHARKS!!!

    More on the game on Yahoo! Sports.

    UPDATE:Sharks won 6 to 4 and Campbell scored a very last shot and he says he did it "just for the fans." Canadiens played a little bit sloppy which gave Sharks a bit of an advantage but it was a fun game. I saw the last 10 minutes at HP Pavilion!

    Sunday, March 2, 2008

    Clean Tech Trade-offs Affect Trees, Birds

    As more residential homes are outfitted with solar panels, these zero-emission homes are demanding that neighboring homes
    cut down their redwoods. While there is a suggestion of ironic humor, it becomes more apparent that clean air technologies also demand trade-offs compared to traditional methods of energy.

    For example, some animal rights groups have raised an issue around wind power turbines. Some say that wind power farms are endangering bird species, including the current population of 255 whooping cranes.

    While it's great that engineers are making progress with discovering new technologies, sometimes it seems that these engineers haven't considered contingency planning in their design. Of course, there's been a lot of controversy around clean tech for some years now and it's challenging to solve these kinds of problems. I just wish there was some way that humans, plants and animals can get along so that we can all live on this planet in balance.