|If iRobot had made a 4-foot-tall Roomba with a face and a hand to hold a vacuum hose, the company wouldn’t have sold more than ten units.|
Yesterday CNN had a short article about the RG3, a new robot lawnmower for golf courses. One of the challenges in developing the mower was figuring out how to ‘teach’ the robot boundries so it would know when to stop mowing. According to Scott Jones, RG3′s navigation system uses a combination of ultrasonics and infrared to triangulate its location within a perimeter that’s created by four beacons. Basically, it works like Roomba, my favorite robot of all time.
I’ve had Roomba for four years now — yet when I talk about how it starts itself up each day at noon, cleans the entire downstairs and then puts itself back on the charger, people look at me like I’m making it up.
I don’t get it. We Americans are perfectly willing to accept that our telephones can be used to view movies, listen to audiobooks, play games and send and receive mail — but when it comes to believing that a robot can be more than a toy, we’re skeptical.
BTW, here’s some of my other favorite robots…
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|If I could give only one piece of advice to technical marketers everywhere, it would be this: Show me, don’t tell me.
Jon Udell, Screencasting tips
Today’s Word of the Day is screencasting. Although the concept has been around since the days when we used Lotus Screencam, Jon Udell is generally credited with coming up with the new name, screencast.
|“We’d give them to the kids who looked the nerdiest. We told them we weren’t allowed to give them out and say ‘The record label would totally freak out if they knew!’ The next day, it would be everywhere on the Internet.”
Damian Kulash, Blend of old, new media launched OK Go
Paul Gillin sent around one of the best examples of buzz marketing I’ve seen in a long time — it’s put out by Disney. You have to try it to see the magic. (Scroll up the Disney page to send it out by email.)
Really REALLY good tutorial on XBRL basics here.
|The flushing sound you hear is what remains of the $106 million Google paid to purchase the dMarc Broadcasting advertising network back in 2006 at the start of its radio misadventure.David Coursey, Google: Not the King of All Media|
There was reason for concern because, as we all know, Google is, was, and shall remain a media company pretending to be a technology company. That is an important thing to remember: Google has yet to create a big moneymaker that isn’t tied to search-related revenue. And I think that business is starting to show cracks as new technology appears on the horizon even as Google’s search results become less useful over time.
Google ditched their audio ads. That’s not the big deal. The big deal is that so many companies are behaving as if they’re buttoning down before the storm. I thought we were already IN the storm.
Each day the earth seems to shift beneath my feet a little as the vendors we work with struggle to get back to their core competencies — and at the same time realign their marketing messages to capture the attention of anyone who’s dropping dollars.
I have this mental picture of farm animals being skittish before an earthquake or the dogs sensing a thunderstorm half an hour before there’s even a cloud in the sky.
Maybe we’re all sensing the cracks in Google’s foundation?
I need to read more about the semantic web.
|“If there is a bright side to the current economic crisis, it might be the death of the cool the company, and that would be fine with us. During the dot-com bubble, Silicon Valley companies went out of their way to provide concierge services, gourmet food, ping pong tables, and other workplace perks. They did this to compete for talent, but they also did this to remove any reason someone might have to leave campus.”
Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, The Death of the Cool Workplace
Today’s Word of the Day is going to be Results Oriented Work Environment. It’s a management philosophy where the first commandment is “Work isn’t a place you go, but something you do.”
When I talk about working at a ROWE, I’m always reminded of my kid’s pop-up book where the guy is asked to pick a door — behind one door is a beautiful lady that will grant all your wishes. Behind the other door is a ferocious tiger that will eat you up. (The original story is much more devious.)
But it was the kids’ version I kept thinking about when I was trying to decide whether or not to come to TechTarget.
You see, TechTarget has been a ROWE since it was a start-up. Before I came to TechTarget, I’d never interviewed for a position that didn’t mention how many paid vacation days and sick days and personal days I’d get. It was a little scary to be told “No vacation, no sick days, no personal days…you decide when and how much to work.” Was a ROWE the beautiful lady or the ferocious tiger?
Most days as I tap dance to work, I think I’ve picked the beautiful lady. Some days as I pry my fingers from the keyboard after 14 hours, I’m sure I’ve picked the tiger. But the tiger is of my own making and even that is empowering.
People can’t believe it when I tell them I don’t have vacations or holidays or sick days. I just work until the work is done. Of course, since there’s always work to do — and TechTarget was smart enough to hire people who love what they do — my colleagues and I put in more hours, accomplish more work and take less time off than anyplace else I’ve ever been employed.
Once you take away the tyranny of the clock, there’s nothing to stop you from working more. Brilliant.
|“Since I do not want my private conversations looked at by those out to embarrass, the only course of action is not to correspond in cyberspace. This saddens me. I have enjoyed conversing with each of you.”
George Bush, 2001
I guess by now you’ve heard that President Barack Obama has the use of a security-enhanced BlackBerry — dubbed the Obamaberry — to correspond with a small group of personal friends and senior staff.
In this short podcast, former deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin shares why President Bush didn’t have one of his own. I was surprised to learn that security was an issue Joe thought could be solved — the real danger was political shenanigans.
What’s it like to be an Internet meme? A look at the people behind my Top 10 Internet Memes.
|“It was just a clip in a sales CD. We just needed something to record.”
Vinny Licciardi as quoted in ‘Bad Day’ Net hero hails from Durango
“Listen, I just think it’s bizarre and funny. My main consideration is that my daughter doesn’t get embarrassed about it.” — Rick Astley
“I am sitting here laughing at myself. Is that really me? It’s like I’m not in my actual body.” — Caitlin Upton
“The appearances on Ally McBeal were (admittedly, by David Kelley) inspired by the original ‘Ooga-chaka’ internet dance file, but the Ally McBeal work was not done by me.” – Michael Girard
“I kept telling everybody while were practicing that it didn’t really matter so much what you do as long as you get the claws right.” — Brian Lundmark
“If you haven’t heard the story, we won’t perpetuate it here. If you have, the recipe below should serve to refute it.” — Neiman Marcus Web Site
“We just thought, O.K., they’re funny. Suddenly we started getting hits. I was like, where are these coming from?” – Eric Nakagawa
“The Internet was an inexpensive way to promote the mythology and back story associated with the movie. And that, in turn, generated a loyal fan base, which created a lot of buzz and word of mouth going into Sundance.” — Daniel Myrick
“You make movies for the big screen, sitcoms for TV, and something else entirely for the Internet.” — Mesh Flinders
“As we were making it, we said it’s a really bad idea, we’ll never show it to anyone.” — Damian Kulash
Here’s my list of the Top 10 Internet Memes. Want to know how these people felt about becoming an Internet phenomenon? So did I.
2. Cookie Recipe from Neiman Marcus
True or False: After a woman and her daughter are ripped off dining at the Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas, they use the Internet to exact revenge.
3. Blair Witch Project
Before the film even opened, there were fan sites and Usenet Groups. BWP demonstrated the power of the Internet to create a buzz, no matter how bad your movie was.
4. LOLcats — I can has cheeseburger?
You can thank Eric Nakagawa for starting this digital photo craze.
5. Bad Day at the Office
We didn’t know his name back then, but Vinnie Licciardi did what a lot of us would have liked to. He was the original Mad Man.
Is Bree real or is she some new kind of TV program on the Internet? Over two million people tuned in to find out.
8. Thriller Wedding Dance
If you’ve been to a wedding lately, you may have noticed the trend towards a choreographed first dance. No, it’s not because of Dancing with the Stars.
9. Miss South Carolina
Dumb blonde? Nope — just a fascinating look at panic.
10. Here It Goes Again
Tired of your band playing in the garage? Put that gym equipment to good use.
The banking industry successfully moved to electronic records. What’s really so different about health care?
For the life of me, I can’t understand what the holdup is for electronic health records. It seems like a no-brainer with a lot of components, like HIPAA already in place. Yesterday’s article in the Washington Post attempts to explain some of the issues — but as I read it, I found myself shaking my head.
I don’t buy “privacy” or “security” or even “lack of standards.” Like all things, it probably comes down to money and profit. Let’s hope Obama’s $19 billion finally gets the ball rolling.