Blog Moved

31 07 2007

My blog is now at http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog.  Please update your bookmarks.

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You Broke the Internet!

25 07 2007

The Onion

This great video from the Onion made me think of my old network admin days when I used to tell people that they broke the Internet (would sometimes get a concerned look 🙂

I love the bit about the deletion of blogs and that people are going to the streets to hand out emergency diet tips and gossip!





The Human Touch

23 07 2007

Monopoly

(Source: Wikipedia)

Remember playing Monopoly – the capitalistic real estate game continuously popular for over three generations around the world? Who was the designated banker when you played? Who hid a stash of money under the board for the big reveal when bankruptcy loomed? Did house rules allow inside trading? Every deal was a cash deal, sealed with a handshake. Nina Smith of blogher (the community for women who blog) says: …the good ‘ole fashioned board games (think Monopoly) that taught us as a kids that cash is king. How’s that for personification?

 

Fish

A great article from Chaya Brian Carvalho earlier this year featured her company bcwebwise and enumerated the strategyto give the internet the power of the human touch – and from the looks of it, it is turning into more than just Monopoly money for her and her team. Here’s more from the article but you will want to read the whole piece yourself:

 

Community building generates more interest than just normal promotional campaigns. A community appeals to users and, hence, makes sense to marketers for two main reasons:

1. It entertains and emotes. When done properly, the space is an interesting experience for the user and generates some kind of reaction.

2. It allows users some level of control. Community allows users to control the experience. They can view only what they want and also get to know more about the product in an unobtrusive manner, in fact they are there out of their own choice.

Community networks will be measured by the pass-along rate or “ripples”. Impressions versus ripples? The choice for the savvy and ROI-focused brand manager will be easy. It’s not about how many rocks you throw in the pond, but how many ripples you create, how many people you involve, how much of human interaction there is.

 

Carvalho Carvalho calls the Internet high-speed access to another soul. In my previous post, I compared two very popular communities – Netscape and Digg. Social Media is changing the way we look at things.

Simplicity. Social Media and Web 2.0 have a common thread to revolutionize the internet beyond technology. Certainly they look to simplify through the use of more intuitive, clean technology, and minimalist design. Together they change customer service as well- for the customer and for the provider. Web2.0 is all about simplicity. Flattening layers within these companies show the world that very popular sites can be run by a handful of people. Next we see a new social customer service climate. You can think of your customer service as a chat session with the owner of the company or the manufacturer of your purchase.

NowSourcingNowSourcing is one such company. The original concept of NowSourcing was to outsource IT deliverables with efficiency, simplicity – without borders and crossing time zones as needed. The emphasis is on loyalty – not brand loyalty when we recommend a suite of services to a client. The concept has been branded NowSourcing. We now see that this new form of social media includes community involvement – the human touch. The work we do is what the client would do for herself if she could. With our help, she can.





37signals: Basecamp and Highrise Single Sign-on with Open Bar

16 07 2007

37signals Single Sign-on

37signals has just announced that Basecamp and Highrise accounts can now be accessed via single sign-on. I don’t know about you, but I find this to be one of their best improvements yet. Why? It is just a waste of time flipping through accounts on different windows / tabs. Why bother eating up all your system RAM with a bunch of inactive Firefox tabs?

Openbar

Open Bar

Open Bar has only been out for a few weeks now, but has dramatically improved the way users can use the 37signals products. If you’re like me, you’ve got a Basecamp account for your business projects. Maybe another one for hobby home based projects. Then, you’ve got another set of accounts for Highrise – different businesses, charity lists, and so forth. Evne if you use the same username and password for all of them (note: don’t do this!), it is still a pain to switch between tabs and have all those different bookmarks cluttering your bookmarks toolbar.

OpenID

OpenID

What’s the big deal with OpenID? Simple. You can use it as a single login for multiple applications. Sort of like the way Microsoft Passport (now Windows Live ID) should have been. Since it is an Open Source community, there is extensive support, and a lot of opinions 🙂

The 37signals Open Bar relies on you to have an OpenID, so this is a must.





Stumbleupon + Technorati + Del.icio.us + Flickr = Xoocle, an Interesting Mashup

15 07 2007

Xoocle SU Mashup

Xoocle, an interesting Stumbleupon mashup (currently in Alpha mode) has been created by Thanassis.  Simply enter your Stumbleupon username, and you are then given a listing of all your SU tags.  The first tag will automatically do a mashup on that tag against other popular social networking sites – technorati, del.icio.us, and flickr.

how Xoocle SU mashup works

This is a wonderful resource to see what’s going on in several communities at the same time.  Keep in mind that if you have a general tag such as computers, you’re going to have a very wide variety of different hits across the different sites, but that just speaks to your tagging.  Nicely done!





Trading stuff for free vs. Free stuff

10 07 2007

Trading Stuff for Free

Swaptree

Swaptree is a great service that I came across recently. It lets you trade books, music, movies, and games with others for free. You tell the system what you have, and it figures out what you can get in exchange. Note that it supports one-for-one item trades only.

How it works

How Swaptree works

Swaptree does a good job laying out the ground rules simply and clearly. There is also a wonderful walkthrough here. Ebay users will find a similar buyer/seller rating system that they are accustomed to.

The site has been out of public beta since July 4th (so it’s no longer invite only) and seems to be gaining steam. Way to go, guys!


Free Stuff

Freecycle

Freecycle would be a good alternative if you were looking for an item outside of books, music, movies, and games – such as apparel, computers, and furniture. The concept is that someone wants to get rid of something, while another person want s the same item. Rather than throwing the item away or trying to sell for a minimal amount, the item is given away, provided that a local person comes to pick it up.

Freecycle animationHere is a short animation showing what it’s all about.

At the time of this posting, there are a total of 4,041 Freecycle communities throughout the world. Chances are, you are either in or near one of them.





SaaS / Software-as-a-Service

5 07 2007

Service with a smile - from Russia

SaaS / Software-as-a-Service

When I buy a plane ticket, I buy a ride, not the whole airplane. This is an economic axiom, and, at business school, I learned this concept as a First Cause. We are thankful that, yes, the analogy breaks down: Software-as-a-Service is most certainly not beset by the problem of unrecoverable revenue like seats on an airplane after it takes off. Quite the contrary.

And to my pleasure I learn I can still use software without ever having to pirate buy it.

Allow me to indulge my need to fill in some knowledge gaps that have opened since my ’02 B-school graduation date. (That’s equivalent to 25 years ago in tech-years.)


Introduction

Succinctly, customers pay – not for owning the software itself – but for using it. Source
This is where commodification takes place. The intrinsic value of the software (regardless of its function) becomes its use, rather than in its ownership. An esoteric concept no longer, because in our post-post-modern society we finally understand that using (not storing), sharing (not hording), mentoring (not training), supporting (not rewarding) is the real business of business.


Dilbert The idea of Software-as-a-Service ostensibly lies in its perception by the PTB that SaaS is cheap and easy. Not to say it isn’t cheap and easy. It is for the buyer. This attitude sticks Management firmly back in the 20th Century – the Age of Modernity where dollars were different from information and work was different from the workers.
feather I’m adding to this idea by suggesting that software as a service is becoming an equation that is greater than the sum of its parts. Proof of this is that SaaS applications usually deliver a one-to-many model with recurring billing. The 21st Century is proving to be more tribal and traditional, where connectivity and time contain value, and virtural innovations are actual folklife.


News

1 – SAN MATEO, Calif. – April 18, 2007 – SuccessFactors, the global leader in on-demand performance and talent management solutions, today announced that Wachovia Bank has over 85,000 employees actively utilizing the SuccessFactors Performance and Talent Management Suite, making it one of if not the largest enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments ever.

“Our mission is to significantly improve the way companies measure and motivate people across the globe, giving them instant gratification in people management,” said SuccessFactors’ CEO Lars Dalgaard. Article

However, in reference to the news shown above, the question is begged, “Can the Fortune 500 Achieve Efficiency through Intra-enterprise SaaS?” So asks SaaSBlogs. The opinion is yes, citing it is also well understood that the provider generates certain efficiencies via the centralization of the technical burden associated with the application.

2 – Chicopee, MA (PRWEB) June 28, 2007 – Apatar to Officially Launch World’s First Open Source Software as a Service (SaaS) Data Integration Company

Apatar, Inc., today announced Apatar Enterprise Data Mashups™, the world’s first open source on-demand data integration software tools and services at the Red Herring East Conference, being held June 26-28, 2007, in Boston, MA.

Apatar is the leading provider of open source software tools for the data integration market.

I note that this innovation toward open source confirms my belief in the traditions of the tribe. As long as one user is without access (a condition corrected by open source software), the connections are left incomplete, a status virtually intolerable (pun intended!)

3 – Wednesday, 04 July 2007 – OpSource™, SaaS delivery experts, today announced a partnership with MarketShare, a specialist in SaaS software pricing, to better serve the needs of new and existing software vendors transitioning to the software as a service (SaaS) business model.

Jim Geisman Jim Geisman, principal and founder, MarketShare said, “In addition to facing the challenges of pricing a SaaS solution, some of our prospects and customers underestimate what it takes to deliver a SaaS application. OpSource’s complete, end-to-end SaaS delivery environment and value-added services, such as billing, coupled with its success-based business model, provides tremendous value to SaaS vendors and their customers.”

I hear, when I read what Mr. Geisman said, is that value is derived when the software is used/evolves/becomes a useable, helpful service for the end user.


Conclusion

NowSourcingWe know that the world is changing. Outsourcing has become an overused buzzword, coupled with the backlash that may come along with it. Our team of experts here at NowSourcing come from a variety of backgrounds, experience, and left-brain / right-brain specialties. We are different, as we analyze your company’s needs from top to bottom. We aren’t just a coding house – we look to find any systemic issues with the way you do business today.