i need a reality check

Are You In the Top 5% Of The Twittersphere?

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 23, 2008

Did you know?

Only 5 percent of all Twitter users have more than 250 followers.

and

70% of Twitter users joined in 2008 (for more facts see  The State Of The Twittersphere (HubSpot Edition) )

I joined Twitter earlier this year during the first ProductCampAustin. The conference set up a Twitter account for everyone to follow during the event.  It was a great way to keep track of all the comments during the sessions and to keep in touch after it was over. From there, I was hooked.

So, if you are on Twitter, why did you join?

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Worth the Read

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 21, 2008

Passing along some of the best posts I have read over the weekend:

What Are You Reading Over the Holidays?

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 19, 2008

book

Here is my list:

Tech Ranch Austin has an awesome book list up from Tyler Emerson, Executive Director of The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, if you are looking for  even more ideas.

Social Networking

Posted in random, resources by josh duncan on December 18, 2008

Alora Chistiakoff  at The Pragmatic Contextualist has a great discussion on the values of social networking.

I have recently become a huge fan of Twitter and its ability to let you connect with groups of people with common interests (that’s how I found the Pragmatic Contextualist).

Facebook on the other hand is a different story.  As Alora points out in her article, you need to carefully walk the line between your work life and your home life and with Facebook, and it is very hard to keep these separate.  When I joined Facebook, I accepted invites from everyone I knew and before I realized what was happening, filled up my friend list with fewer friends and more associates.  Now I have to think before I a make a post whether I want John in accounting to know what happened over the weekend.  I am sure there is a way to fix this by cutting back my friend list but it seems like the easier choice is to just stop using the site.  Isn’t it about time for the next Facebook anyway?

Read Alora’s full post here.

How Many Blogs Have You Been With?

Posted in random, resources by josh duncan on December 17, 2008

According to Technorati’s “State of the Blogsphere 2008”, 184 million people WW have started a blog (even more impressive “77% of active Internet users read blogs”).

To tell you the truth, this is actually my third blog.  The first two didn’t go that well so I usually don’t like to mention them (it is always a bit awkward at the end).   But for the sake of openness, I will divulge.

My first blog was a family blog.  I started it on Blogger back before they were bought by Google.  It was fun and great for keeping the family up on the latest but eventually, the novelty wore off and it just became a site for photo updates.

The second blog started when we moved to Texas as a way for us to help keep family and friends up-to-date on all the new things we were discovering in Texas (rodeos, scorpions, breakfast tacos, monster trucks, BBQ, etc).  As hilarious as this was, after a year it started to get old and hard to keep it entertaining.

So, this brings us to blog number three (the one you are currently reading).  I am still working on my overall goals for this blog but the one that sticks out the most right now, is to be part of the conversation on a topic that I am very excited and passionate about.

Will this one last?  Will anyone care?   If not, maybe blog number two will take me back……

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That’s Mr. Innovation To You

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 15, 2008

lightning_electricity

Money Quote from Clayton M. Christensen in today’s WSJ on how hard times can drive innovation:

So, if you give people a lot of money, it gives them the privilege of pursuing the wrong strategy for a very long time……The breakthrough innovations come when the tension is greatest and the resources are most limited.

Clayton M.  has literally written the book (s) on innovation so arguing with him is like disagreeing with with Alex Trebec on Jeopardy.  The next to impossible part here is “how?”.

In my experience, the step that most companies miss most is developing a process around innovation.  At some point times will get tough and there will be a call for more innovation.  Then consultants will be called in, brainstorming will ensue, and tons of power point will be created (and after a few executive reviews, discarded).

Since most innovative ideas are half baked, it takes time to craft and mature these ideas into a full fledged business case.  Without the proper steps in place to help nurture these emergent ideas, they will die a slow internal death as champions give up or more on to other things.

Clayton M. Christensen has a whole chapter dedicated to this topic in his book “The Innovator’s Solution” that I would highly recommend reading.

WE UNWIND DREAMS

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 11, 2008

BusinessWeek article on the corporate dismantling boom:

In the current economic tempest, Pichinson is working 13-hour days that often start at 6:30 a.m. That’s a big switch from the period between 2002 and 2008, when he coasted along with two or three deals a month. Since last spring, when tech began feeling the economy’s chills, he has been getting about three new deals a week.

Read the full article here.

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4 Lessons From the Failure of Bill Miller

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 11, 2008

8_money

Bill Miller is a “legendary” mutual fund manager that beat the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive years (a monumental accomplishment).  The WSJ had a play-by-play article today about his spectacular implosion (check out the cool WSJ interactive graph showing his performance here) and it got me thinking about what can be learned from this meltdown.  Here are the top four things that came to mind:

  1. Always due your due diligence.  Just because you are getting advice from a proven expert does not mean that the expert is mistake proof.
  2. Never stop learning and asking, “what has changed?”.  Your playbook may work over and over again but don’t let the rules of the game change while you are not paying attention.
  3. Beware of “Escalation of Commitment“.  You can fool yourself into thinking that you have no choice but to continue down a path (throwing good money after bad seems to the theme for Bill during 2008).
  4. All it takes is one mistake and no matter how “legendary” you are, you will be out on your butt.

Any more to add?

Nowhere to Hide (or why you should start a company now)

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 10, 2008

Austin Start-up has a post today discussing hiring and firings and it is pretty safe to say that nobody is safe right now:

Of those companies that reported a reduction in the last year, half (48%) expect another cut in the next six months

So, is that great or what?  Its very depressing when you think about working your tail off for the next six months trying to make a difference and still getting hit because of the bad economy.  This reminded me of an article I read way back in October on why now is a good time for a startup:

  1. Easier recruitment of good talent
  2. Less competition
  3. Incentive to run things cheap
  4. Buy low, sell high

However, I think the most important point is that why not invest in yourself?  No matter where you work you are taking a risk, why not increase your chance for a reward?

AlleyInsider has the full article here.

The Complete Guide to Blogging (or at least a few pointers)

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 7, 2008

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Over the weekend I picked up “The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging” (did I mention I have a book addiction). I am not going to do a complete review but I will say it was well worth the $15.

My favorite chapter was #4, finding your voice:

  • Blog at least 3-4 times a week
  • Don’t worry about getting it perfect
  • Don’t be dull
  • Focus on the specifics
  • Know what you are talking about and to who
  • Remember that we all have ADD

Seriously, while there are a lot of political examples in the book, it does a nice job of telling the history of blogging and what you can do to be a part of it.

Info at the Post here.