Friday, October 24, 2008

Watch Your Thoughts

I came across this today and thought I'd share it:

Watch Your Thoughts

Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

adapted from George Eliot

This gets right to the point of positive thinking. I'm not going to go as far as talking about "The Secret", but positive thinking does work and can improve your life. This is why businesses have mantras - they want employees noodling on their mantra in their subconscious.

This is powerful! We are such creative and driven people that even when we don't think we're thinking about something, we are. This begs a very important question: What are you doing to influence your thoughts?

Jessi and I created a dream board - a board with pictures of things we want to do or buy sometime in the future. We've also written down our financial goals in a place we'll see it every day. This feeds our thoughts, words and actions.

What are you doing?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pictures are in!

After the long wait...the wedding pictures have finally been sifted through and I have made a file of the best of the best. Feel free to peruse the pictures and download/print any that you like!

Here's the link:

Wedding Pictures

I will be printing most of the ones on this page for a wedding album/scrap book! I am so very excited to get that started soon. I will post again to share the progress of that project later.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Strategy

Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook, was recently at a conference in the UK and was quoted saying that growth is Facebook's primary focus is growth, not revenue. Here's the link to the article:

I'm not sure how I feel about this strategy. Is it smart? He must know something I don't, because I don't get it. It seems that Zuckerburg is operating on one of two principles. Either he figures once he gets big enough he MUST be able to make a profit because... well... he's such a big website. I actually think this is what he's secretly hoping, but not telling anyone. More likely, he doesn't know how to make money withFacebook, but he does know how to grow Facebook, so he's focusing on what he knows. Fair enough... I guess.

The biggest problem with this stance is, of course, the money. As Facebook grows it's going to cost more and more to operate - cost he can't afford without significant revenue. The site already loads slow and, quite honestly, has enough bugs to regularly crash my browser. How does he expect to keep improving without sustained money? Maybe he's also betting that Microsoft won't let their $240 million investment go down the drain and will do what it takes to help Facebook financially.

The bigger problem for me is Zuckerburg's refusal to say he needs to face his revenue problems head on. Of course they're working on it by experimenting and acknowledging he can't just put ads on the site, but how is paying the bills not his number one priority? I guess if you're a private company you can do whatever you want...

Unfortunately, as the article describes, top people are leaving his organization and growth is slowing. Revenue, it seems, would fix these two issues. With revenue Zuckerburg can offer real incentives for people to stay and can afford to spend the money necessary to grow his site. Just think: if Facebook loaded faster because they had more servers and came out with more features because they had more engineers working for them, Facebook would continue to grow and thrive organically - exactly what he wants.

Bottom line: Growth is nice, but revenue is what sustains a business and fuels growth.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Marketing 101: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Offer Prizes Or Cash For Searching

I was reading the TechCrunch  blog and found this article: Microsoft Throws Prizes At You For Searching. The basic idea is that when you use Live Search Microsoft will give you tickets which, I guess, will be put into a drawing to win prizes. Oh yeah, and to participate you need install a piece of tracking software which is only compatible with Internet Explorer. Earlier in the year Microsoft came out with a Cash Back program that gave you cash back when you bought a product from an advertiser on Live Search. It worked like a mail-in rebate, with just as many hoops to jump through.

I've had similar discussions about this with TalentMover. We're thinking about community tagging and how that can improve resume and job post matching by providing a human touch. After all, the accuracy of multiple human eyeballs is exponentially better than any algorithm an engineer could write. Anyways, we started to get into discussions about rewarding people for tagging more resumes than our minimum requirement (because more input provides more accurate results - like increasing the sample size of a survey). However, we quickly dismissed the idea for one very basic reason.

By offering incentives above and beyond the value of the product/service you are inherently saying: What I'm asking you to do is not compelling on it's own. If I didn't offer this, you wouldn't do it. Therefore, I need to entice you to do something you really don't want to do because the reward is not good enough. I'm admitting my product is at parity with, or inferior to, other alternatives.

This is really bad.

When your product/service reaches the point of parity, there are two options you have. You can lower prices, because you're no longer special, or you can improve your product/service to make yourself special again. Since search is free to users, Microsoft chose lowered their price to a negative number to generate business. This is not a sustainable business model for two reasons: 1) They're losing money and 2) Prices changes are the easiest thing for competition to match.

At TalentMover, we decided to improve the tagging process to make it easier, faster and more enjoyable. In addition, we're kicking around some other ideas to make tagging other resumes even more valuable. The point is that we decided to improve the service rather than lower our price and Microsoft should do the same.

I'm not 100% sure what this would look like, but improvements can be made on the quality of results and the ease of use. Microsoft could also focus on different ways to deliver search results (Not just in a browser?, Not as a list?). The bottom line is that to compete effectively you need to offer more than a discount for the same product. Until then, Microsoft is going to struggle with search. Hopefully, this is just a quick fix until Microsoft can actually offer something of value.