This blog continues to share ideas and hopes to generate discussion on social business, knowledge management, and emerging technologies. It also increasingly covers my home, New Orleans, my painting, and travels.
Here is another in my series on paintings within paintings as I look up close to see images that are interesting to me within paintings. I am also looking at technique with these images. These images are from the Legion of Honor, San Francisco.
The AppGap posts began toward the end of January 2008. Here, I am primarily doing product commentaries with a few other things thrown in. Below are the ones for December. There will be more in January.
Listening to the voice of the customer is a major initiative for many companies. Sentiment analysis is a growing component of the tools to assist in this effort. Sentiment analysis is defined by the Wikipedia as “the application of natural language processing, computational linguistics, and text analytics to identify and extract subjective information in source materials.” It is getting a lot of hype and there are conferences and events springing up to cover this buzz. Brand awareness is one of the major use cases.
However, sentiment analysis is also attracting its doubters. Peter Knoblock writes in the Smart Data Collective, Sentiment – A Potential Mirage on the Data Horizon. He writes that social media is relatively new and, as often happens with new technologies, people tend to implement old methodologies when trying to interpret this new type of information. He continues, “a common mistake is people try to turn social media data into quantitative information. The most common trend is focusing primarily on what is positive and what is negative.”
Automated Sentiment Analysis is Only a Piece of the Brand Awareness Puzzle
Peter notes that while positive and negative sentiment can provide a form of brand awareness, it is only a small piece of the puzzle. And this assumes that the sentiment was properly understood by the machine. We will come back to ask this question again. But assuming the machine got it right, Peter asks some useful questions including: what is driving positive comments and what is driving negative comments? What are the themes surrounding the conversation? What types of terms keep showing up in conversation? What types of events or statements drove an increase in activity? He adds that looking at the themes and terms within your data can give you a richer brand awareness experience.
Can a Machine Really Understand Sentiment and Its Relevance to Brand Awareness?
Machines can be taught to understand words but what about context? There ha sbeen some progress in this space but more likley needs to be done. Someone could be happy your brand is tanking. They could be sad your competitor is having trouble. They could be angry that people are angry with your brand or they could be pleased with this turn of events. Then there is sarcasm or is that was I was just doing?
I have heard that sentiment analysis tools take a stand only on a minority of content they scan. Often return some form of “not sure” as the result. To be fair, it is still in a primitive stage. Most vendors will acknowledge that there is a ways to go. Machines are good at going through masses of content to uncover things for people to look at. People are still best at determining meaning.
I have to admit that I have not used a sentiment analysis tool so I could be missing something. What has been your experience with sentiment analysis?
Brian Solis recently posted on the results from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011 survey. This survey is something I have followed for a while. Here are some thoughts on the State of the Blogosphere, October, 2006. Brian begins with a thought I completely agree with as he puts blogs at the top of the social media list. Bloggers were the pioneers in this space and blogs still offer the best to offer a complete thought. Here is a 2009 post I did on Why You Should keep Blogging in the Age of Twitter. As Brian writes, “Over the years, blogs have formed the foundation of social media, democratizing the ability to publish thoughtful commentary, build a noteworthy community and equalize influence along the way.”
Twitter offers the sound bytes and blogs can go into depth. Many of the most useful tweets contain links to blogs and other content that goes into more depth. If you are tweeting but not blogging then you are mostly pointing readers to other people’s idea. Most bloggers also tweet but many tweeters do not blog.
The 2011 reports finds that the vast majority of bloggers have been doing it for over two years and close to half for over four years. Many bloggers have more than one. I have a number of blog sand this one is the oldest, starting in May 2004. In terms of frequency, the report states that bloggers across the board will publish two-to-three posts per week. However, a notable percentage of professional, corporate, and entrepreneurial bloggers post once or twice per day. I advise company that they should publish two to three posts a week. In my case I have doing a post a day since 2005. Most respondents to the survey note that blogging has proven to be valuable for promoting their business or professional standing.
It was interesting to me to find that as many as 40% of today’s professional and 35% of corporate bloggers once worked as a writer, reporter, producer, etc. in traditional media. I was a frequent writer for publication as an academic and then as a businessman in industry publications. I wonder if that qualifies?
Bloggers also continue to prove useful for brand marketing, advertising, and engagement. The research found that between 40-50% of all bloggers, whether personal or professional blog about brands. I would fall into this group for several reasons. The advantage of blogs for brands comes down to resonance and permanence. Blog posts live longer than Tweets and are more accessible that other forms of social media.
It is nice to see the blogosphere remain healthy. Blog on.
I recently commented on some less intelligence social media marketing techniques by brands, picking up on a great post by Sameer Patel, Marketing your Marketing. Basically he was arguing against the rising practice of enticing your visitors to ‘Like’ your Facebook business page by throwing them a discount coupon and commented, “what were they thinking?”
Now Jeremiah Owyang comments on The Peculiar Marketing Trends Among The Social Software Industry. I can summarize my reaction by quoting Sameer, “what were they thinking?” as I see a similar logic in operation. Three are very old school and one is new school. First, some firms are putting up airport billboards. Yet he notes that some brands might question it that is the best way to invest in marketing.
Then others are hiring attractive women to staff their conference booths to supposedly lure in prospects. Jeremiah notes that while they might get some eager males for the wrong reason, many serious buyers might not want to get anywhere close to the booth to avoid having their picture in the conference tweet stream. The iPad prizes mentioned by Sameer are more subtle. Others, especially female prospects might simply be offended. A combination of iPad prizes and models appears to doubledown on your mistake. Other software firms are adopting virtual mascots for Web promotion and physical ones for event promotion.
Then there is the rise of might be argued as virtual versions of these gimmicky efforts. Jeremiah notes that in order to appeal to our shrinking attention spans, infographics are the new white paper. I would suggest that these are generally designed with a focus on SEO and link bait, as much as with serious content. Jeremiah notes the link bait aspects.
In marketing there has always been an attempt to lure people in ways that do not add any value to the serious nature of the conversation about the product. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as long as it is done with good taste. Now we have SEO as a byproduct of search engine algorithms. We are appealing to these tools with material that is alluring in the same way that mascots and models attempt to attract people. It can be argued that the physical versions of link bait do not necessarily get the right people to engage. I wonder if that will be the same result for the virtual marketing techniques?
I know there is not a clear yes/no answer to this question. However, I do think it is question that needs to be asked. What has been your experience?
Frank begins with a great quote from Plutach, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” So much for those old behaviorist notions of how people learn. It also runs against the old school KM concept of collecting best practices to share with the less experienced. Frank’s book covers the human side of enabling knowledge to flow within an organization to kindle these fires. The central case that runs through the book is SAS’s ToolPool that has been successfully running for 13 years. Frank is the Chief Knowledge Officer at SAS where he has been since 1997.
I first met Frank at a Braintrust event in 2003. We share some common background. He has been connected to the Harvard Graduate School of Education Learning Innovations Laboratory roundtable since 2003. I did a post-doc there from 1976 to 1980 looking at how media effect cognition. I was also a colleague of Tom Davenport, another influencer, for a number of years in the last 90s and early 2000s. So it was not a complete surprise that I agreed with many of the fundamental assumptions in his book.
Knowledge management has been around for a long time. While there have been enough successes to encourage its longevity, Frank also notes that there continue to be many failures. Personally, I have never seen a knowledge management system succeed that was not a key part of a specific business processes or related set of processes. Standalone general repositories do not work. ToolPool supports this observation as it has a clear focus on sharing technical tips, tricks, tools, and program code and this is part of its success. He adds that the big bang general KM systems have a much harder challenge to survive.
Frank goes on to make a very important point when he describes how the term knowledge base is not useful. Knowledge is what is embedded within the minds of people and is activated as they deal with issues. The concept that knowledge can be stored outside the human mind is a major reason why, in Frank’s view, traditional repository-based knowledge management systems do not work. I could not agree more.
To get knowledge to flow you need to have a simple set of rules that need to be followed consistently. These rules need to allow for a good bit of flexibility and innovation within then, Examples include Twitter, the Wikipedia, and the Web itself.
The book covers the whole range of activities necessary to have knowledge flow within your organization. It discusses getting starting, defining roles, basic requirements, and gaining engagement. Barriers are described, along with ways to overcome them. Franks warns us about the traps that technology can bring. Ways to create useful measures are explained. He closes with a look ahead, covering the impact of Web 2.0 and the use of social media within the enterprise.
I certainly recommend it for anyone who wants to succeed with knowledge sharing within their organization. Frank brings years of experience to the effort. He has also started a Master Knowledge Flow blog to continue to conversation.
It is the night before Christams and here are winter photos from the Nob Hil neighborhood of San Francisco taken during the recent holiday season. Most of these were taken in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel seen in the top row on the right. There wil be more tomorrow.
Here is the Web site description of the eBook. It “contains predictions, insights and advice from 34 marketing strategists, brand marketers, and leading marketing consultants. It aims to prepare business leaders and marketers alike for the changes about to impact brands of all sizes in the coming year. As we move away from customer relationship management to customer managed relationships, we need new approaches to marketing, new ways of organizing our resources, and flexible, scalable technology to get our customers’ attention and ensure their engagement.” I could not agree more.
The book consists of a series of quotes organized around the six themes listed below. I was pleased to be one of the 34 marketing strategists consulted and the book quotes me several times. I feel honored given the experience of the others such as David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Paul Gillin, CC Chapman, and Steve Rubel. There are six parts:
The 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions is organized in Six Parts:
One: Predictions for the biggest (social) marketing developments in 2012
Two: The role of “big data” in (social) marketing next year
Three: Expectations around key new technology
Four: The role of mobile in (social)
Five: The top challenge for marketers engaged in social next year
Six: The top marketing news resources
Here are some excerpts from sample quotes I especially liked:
“Businesses will have to embrace all of the disruptive elements, such as mobile and social technology, in a new, cohesive organization that is focused outward and inward.” Brian Solis.
“The continued growth of mobile -- smart phones as the primary device to access the web and use social -- will totally change the game for social marketing,” Debi Kleiman
“The biggest progression in 2012 will be around taking social data to the next level. Instead of focusing on measures such as reach and participation, brands will begin to focus and act on the insights from those metrics.” Mike Lewis
“Social movements and programs will become more integrated within existing business processes and become the driving agent behind purpose-driven product innovation, lead generation, sales, R&D, customer service, market research, communications, brand development, company culture, and, yes, marketing.” Robert Collins
“Real-time social will push marketers to form better internal collaborations and deeper partnerships with their agencies. Collaboration will lead to better marketing, increased advocacy and better customer value.” Lora Kratchounova
There is much more. Of course, I liked all my quotes but you will have to download the book to see them.
SpringCM provides a cloud based enterprise content management platform. It was founded in 2005 and I have covered it before (see SpringCM Goes Beyond Content Management). I recently spoke with Roger Bottum of SpringCM on their latest moves. SpringCM is set up to put content into the work process. They are also putting content wherever you need it with an enhanced mobile capability that now includes a version specifically designed for the iPad. This is a smart move as mobile enterprise apps are now on the rise with tablets and smart phones passing desktops and laptops in usage. Over 15 million iPads were sold in 2010 and the numbers are increasing.
Roger said that they did a number of things to optimize SpringCM for the iPad. These features include a simplified screen that still provides the essential components. You can see a sample iPad screen below. They extended the simplification to provide an intuitive interface that does not require any significant training, similar to many consumer Web apps. There is some self-learning material to further support the self-service approach. They also made extensive use of the touch or gesture approach to navigation. The app is built in HTML 5 to take full advantage of mobile features. Finally, the self-service approach is brought to procurement. Once your company as set up things with SpringCM, individuals simply go to the SpringCM Web site and begin using the tool.
Next we covered the new free SpringCM solution to provide enhanced content management capabilities to Salesforce.com. I like their more to integrate with the most prevalent cloud based CRM system. I have written about how the newer systems of engagement need to integrate with the older systems of record for real progress to be made. This is a great example of these complimentary capabilities.
Spring CM began with some research into the needs of Salesforce users. Top issues cited by survey respondents include: 91% - having easier ways to add, access and edit documents within Sales Cloud Accounts, Opportunities and Campaigns; 83% - making documents easier to find and secure with folders; 81% - being able to search across all documents across Accounts and Opportunities using metadata. These request make sense when you look at how Salesforce works by itself.
Roger explained that there are now two main ways to load a document into Saleforce. One is to associate it directly to an account or opportunity. However, then it is not available for access through search across the system. You can also put a document into the central repository and then it can be accessed through search. However, there are then multiple steps to associate it with a specific account or opportunity. There is also the ability to tag a document in Salsforce but this capability does not support a controlled vocabulary so people can put in any tag they want. This results in a more of folksnomy approach rather than a taxonomy and it makes systematic retrieval more difficult. Here is a sample screen showing Saleforce integration.
The free version of Spring CM for Salesforce takes care of these limitations. When you upload a document it can be automatically associated with an account or opportunity and be searchable at the same time. A controlled vocabulary is offered through drop down lists of possible tags. This allows Salesforce to go beyond CRM capabilities to also become a useful knowledge repository, but one that is part of the workflow and not a separate system. This is a crucial difference because it puts knowledge in the form of documents right in the middle of where work happens.
The content management capabilities in SpringCM can operate in the background. For example, you can click on a Word document in Salesforce that is being managed by SpringCM and it opens directly in Word. Then when you are done it is closed back into Salesforce with any related additional metadata added behind the scenes by SpringCM.
Since both Saleforce and SpringCM are cloud apps this integrated capability can be acquired through the Web in a few minutes, bypassing expensive system integration work. If you want more capabilities such as automated workflow with approvals for contracts, then you can upgrade to the commercial version of SpringCM. SpringCM can also integrate with other systems of record such as SharePoint in the same way so that SpringCM works behind the scenes to bring greater capabilities to these systems.
Roger also mentioned that the latest integration with Salesforce involves Salesforce Chatter, their micro-blogging tool. Chatter allows for contextual activity streams within Salesforce, as well as standalone capabilities. You can now use the metadata that SpringCM creates to have more focused activity streams within Chatter related to documents. When a document is added or updated, an alert automatically goes out to the right people who are following the related account. Below is a sample screen showing Chatter integration.
These are two strong moves. The first move makes use of the new mobile devices to bring content to where you want it. The second move brings enhanced cloud-based content management capabilities to more traditional systems of record, especially Salesforce with the free version and also SharePoint with their commercial version.
The winners of the 2011 Global Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) Awards have been announced by Telos. This award always brings back memories. The Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) award has been around for some time. Back when I was with a large consulting company and involved in our knowledge management practice, I spoke at the awards meetings in London several times. These were the days of better travel funding and the relatively early days of KM. I am pleased that this award is still around and still relevant.
Apple was recognized as the Overall Winner of the 2011 Global MAKE study. Other include: Accenture, APQC, ConocoPhillips, Fluor, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Infosys Ltd., McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, POSCO, PwC, Royal Dutch Shell, Samsung, Schlumberger, Siemens, Tata, Toyota, Unilever, and Wikipedia. I have seen a number of these firms as case studies at conferences this year. A total of 157 organizations have been named Global MAKE Finalists since the MAKE research program began in 1998. And, of this group, only 56 organizations have been recognized as Global MAKE Winners. They are concentrated in 21 business sectors.
An even more select group of organizations form the 2011 Global MAKE Hall of Fame. These 23 organizations have been Global MAKE Finalists in each of the past five annual studies: Accenture, Apple, APQC, ConocoPhillips, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Fluor, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Infosys Limited, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Petrobras, POSCO, PwC, Royal Dutch Shell, Samsung, Schlumberger, Siemens, Tata Group, Toyota and Wipro Technologies.
Yesterday, I reviewed Rawn Shah’s book, Social Networking for Business. Today I am going to comment on his interview With Don Tapscott: The Industrial Age Has Finally Run Out of Gas. I reminded of the TV commercial where everything runs on gas, even the dentist drill. It asked what if everything ran cleanly on the grid? Don is quoted as saying, “Throughout the 20th century, we created wealth through vertically integrated corporations. Now, we create wealth through networks. We are at a turning point in human history, where the industrial age has finally run out of gas.”
I hope he is right. But then a lot of the gird is powered by old style coal that is not so clean. Don position is that people are now participating in mass collaborations within or across the boundaries of the organization. This collective now powers enterprises. While this is should be the wave of the future, examples like the BP oil spill in the Gulf demonstrate that the networks of collective intelligence are not always running cleanly.
I am sure that Don would argue that it is successful organizations that are now connected and those that are not will also run out of steam. This I would certainly agree. I just hope this concept spreads faster.
To make the connected enterprise run smoothly you need leaders who “guide and influence others, rather than to give orders and instruction. Simply said, they are not managers any longer but influencers and this takes new skills and a different mindset.” I agree but still see old school management occurring in many places. He gave an interesting example of the Chinese motorcycle industry where hundreds of little companies all work together. They meet to coordinate on the Internet in tea houses and provide 40% of global motorcycle production. Of course operate with very command and control political infrastructure and likely benefit from its macro economic policies.
Don is working with a number of cities using a variety of means to gain greater citizen engagement and reap their collective intelligence. Methods include: digital brainstorms, electronic town halls, citizen reporting, predictive markets, and policy wikis.
Tracy Hackshaw, the Chief Solution Architect for iGov for the government of Trinidad and Tobago, leading a similar effort. His government is using social business for more effective e-government efforts. There are 1.3 million people in Trinidad and Tobago. A main goal is to increase the engagement of these people with their government and have them more satisfied with what the government is doing. Within the country there is a high percentage of access to mobile phones so this was one channel they focused on. One popular example was maps with the location of government offices and transit information on to reach them. Another was the reporting of such things as broken street lights or potholes in the roads. They have reduced the time that these issues are reported.
CEMEX, the highly profitable Mexican cement company, found the business case for social business by connecting their employees globally to gain operational efficiency. They found this efficiency. They also wanted to find radical innovations and they found these as well. They wanted to unlock the collective wisdom of their employees and this occurred, as well. I did some work with them about ten years ago and they were impressive in this regard then.
Rawn concludes his interview by noting that leaders may feel challenged when the number of stakeholders increases by magnitudes. Yet, he says that these systems have worked and they continue to work. They are our best way to make use of the collective and diverse intelligence within our organizations and our world.
I did some catching up on my reading over the last holidays. One book at the top of the pile was Rawn Shah’s Social Networking for Business: Choosing the Right Tools and Resources to Fit Your Needs. Rawn is best practices lead in the Social Software Enablement team in IBM Software Group. He was kind to give me a review copy. In this book Rawn brings together patterns and best practices based on his experience managing worldwide online communities at IBM. He makes the case that for online communities to succeed they must be guided and nurtured carefully, actively, and intelligently. I can certainly agree with this position.
Rawn begins with examples of collective intelligence including IBM’s Innovation Jams. The 2006 one drew 150,000 business partners. I wrote a bit about the 2005 Jam that drew 52,000 IBM employees. The paper, World Jam: Talk Among 50,000+ describes the event. They built a Jam Analyzer to help visualize what is happening and enable you to drill down on specific participants and conversations. IBM has invested over $100 million to develop new businesses in each of themes that emerged such as improved healthcare and work toward a smarter planet.
Rawn notes that other companies are also adopting the use of collective intelligence and supporting it through social media. He writes that the trick is to focus on specific goals and methods instead of just looking at innovation in a general way.
He next goes on to look at examples of Web sites such as last.fm and social tools such as IBM’s Quickr that enable community based work. I was a big fan of Lotus Quickplace as Quickr was called when it first came out and promoted it with a number of clients. In 2000 I worked on the implementation of a knowledge management system at Ryder that used Quickplace as an important component that was novel for the time. This implementation won a CIO 100 award for innovation in 2002. Quickplace foreshadowed some of the enterprise 2.0 collaboration tools providing a quick and easy way to set up a web-based team workplace. Here is a 2006 post on the Quickplace Story – Then and Now.
The collective experience is not one-dimensional and Rawn provides a very useful set of models. They include individual (e.g. SlideShare), social network (e.g., LinkedIn), closed workgroup (e.g., Quickr), visible workgroup (e.g., Pandora), community (e.g., SAP Developer Network), and mass collaboration (e.g., last.fm or Amazon). See Four Examples of Wikis Working within the Enterprise for more on the SAP example and similar efforts. Rawn goes on to use this set of models to discuss their value and how to support them.
Rawn next discusses effective leadership in social environments. The old command and control methods do not work. Again he offers a range of different leadership styles and discusses how each relates to collaboration. The same careful and useful detail is offered. He then goes into different models of the social tasks related to collaboration. This is followed by a discussion of the different social domains, again using the approach of defining and discussing alternatives.
Building a social culture is the next topic. He discusses how the social leadership and social tasks already covered impact culture. This discussion continues with chapters on engaging members and community management. Next Rawn tackles how to measure social environments with same degree of precision, again exploring alternatives. He concludes with a discussion of social value. I highly recommend this book as it offers very specific and clear guidelines for anyone wanting to engage in social collaboration and that should be all of us.
There is red jambalaya that is Creole and city style and then there is brown jambalaya that is Cajun and country style. I am in the heart of Cajun country in Lafayette this weekend so here is a way to make the country style.
This recipe is loosely based on Emeril Lagasse’s recipe on the Food Network as he provides a good show. However, I made some important changes based on personal taste and what I remember of Cajun cooling. First, I took out the tomatoes. This is brown jambalaya which is country (Cajun) jambalaya versus city (Creole) jambalaya which includes tomatoes. Then, I took out the celery and substituted red bell peppers for the more traditional green ones just because I like this better. You can really add any type of meat or seafood and try different combinations of vegetables. You can use many types of seasoning Cajun or Creole seasoning and there are a lot of packaged versions like Emeril’s. Others are: New Orleans School of Cooking and Zatarain’s.
1 tablespoon jambalaya seasoning, (recipe at bottom of post)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. The important thing is to make sure the rice and meat are cooked. You can let it simmer as long as you add more water to keep the rice from drying out. I always make a big pot and would double or triple this recipe as its better the second day after the flavors sit together over night. Be sure to play Cajun music or other New Orleans selections while you eat this.
I am down in Lafayette, Louisiana today enjoying some great gumbos this week. This trip will be covered in some upcoming weekend posts. In the meanwhile. Here is a recipe for gumbo based on my memory of my mother’s efforts, refreshed by looking at a few recipes. First here are images of gumbos from some New Orleans restaurants: low brow, high brow, and middle brow.
When I was in grade school, I came home once a week to the smell of fried chicken and gumbo. We ate fried chicken that night and I usually got to sample a drumstick right away. The gumbo was savored over several days and got better with time. Louisiana gumbo recipes always begin with a roux, an equal mixture of oil and flour that provides a base and thickener. Proportions will vary by recipe, but 2/3-cup oil and 2/3- cup flour is usually enough.
To make a roux, mix the oil and flour together in a heavy pot (a heavy pot is essential). Use vegetable oil such as canola oil. Don't use olive oil (it doesn't get hot enough and the flavor is wrong). Then cook the flour-oil mixture, stirring constantly, until it is the color of a dark brown. Most cookbooks tell you to cook the roux over a low flame. It will take about half an hour to brown that way, but you're less likely to burn it. If you use a high flame it will go much quicker but you can't leave the roux for a minute because it is easy to burn. Nothing can be done with a burned roux except to throw it out and start over.
Once the roux is dark enough, lower the flame. At this point, add the onions and garlic, to lower the temperature of the roux. Let the onion and garlic cook a bit and then add warm water so the roux won't separate. Here are the total ingredients. You can do many variations on the seafood and meat but you always need the onion, garlic and okra.
3 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped (add to roux)
1/4 cup chopped garlic (add to roux)
1 fryer chicken, cut up
1 lb. andouille sausage (you can also use linguina or kelbasa) cut in 1/2" slices
1 lb. shrimp
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 ½ cup chopped okra
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 Tblsp. Louisiana Hot Sauce or 1/4 tsp. Cayenne (red) Pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
After you make the roux, bring stock to a low boil and slowly add the roux/onion mixture a spoon at a time, stirring each spoonful until it is blended. Add roux until desired thickness is obtained. Brown the sausage and chicken and drain the fat, then add them to the pot. Cook the mixture at a slow bubble for about an hour. Add the green onions, parsley, okra, shrimp, and seasonings. Then, heat for just about 10 minutes more. Serve in bowls over a scoop of long grain rice and shake some file (dried sassafras leaves) over the gumbo.
My mother used the cookbook “First You Make a Roux” produced in support of the Lafayette Louisiana Musuem and you can still get the original version. Another classic cookbook is “Talk about Good” by the Junior League of Lafeyette. It contains a number of gumbo recipes with such ingredients as duck, wild goose, oysters, and shrimp. It is in the 23rd printing with over 700,000 copies sold.
Here is another in a series of posts that provide access to my favorite tweets that contain links to useful information. Some of these I did to link to things I found useful and others are RTs that I want to save for the same reason. Since Twitter archiving is an oxymoron, I am now going to post my favorite links for the month so they can be easily accessed later.
I spot tested the reduced shortened urls and they all should work. I hope this is also useful for you. Let me know your favorite tweets for the month.
I picked up Malcolm Galdwell’s new book, Outliers: The Story of Success, when I recently needed an airplane read. It served the purpose well as an entertaining book that was also thought provoking. Gladwell defines Outlier as “a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience.” In this book he looks at “people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.”
Gladwell begins the book by looking at why a disproportionate number of Canadian professional hockey players are born in January, February and March. It turns out these are the oldest in their school cohort. This makes them older than their peers. The stratification of hockey players begins at a very early age when this age difference has a big impact on ability. So these slightly older players are much more likely to get put into the elite hockey groups and get the best coaching and have the most challenging peers to play against.
A similar thing happens in other sports where the identification of early talent has a big impact on future success such as American baseball and European soccer. The only difference is when the cutoff point occurs during the year.
Gladwell goes on to get more profound and specific. He offers the 10,000 hour rule. It takes at least 10,000 of practice to get really good at something. Then he offers examples from a variety of industries. First, he notes how the Beatles got a chance to practice more than any other band through their extensive playing times in Hamburg nightclubs. It was only after they passed 10,000 hours, by Gladwell’s estimate, that they started becoming exceptional.
Next, he goes to the birth dates of some of the richest people in history. He offers a chart of the 75 richest people in human history with their wealth recalculated in today’s dollars. The chart itself is really interesting. The top three are John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Number eight is Marcus Crassus of the Roman Empire, and number nine is Basil II of the Byzantine Empire. Twenty percent of the entire list comes from American industrialists who came of age in the post-Civil War industrial boom when major new opportunities for wealth opened up.
He takes this analysis to the computer industry and shows that many of the most successful people here were born in the mid-1950s so they came of age as the computer industry underwent a major transformation. These people include: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Eric Schmidt, and the founders of Sun: Bill Joy, Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla, and Andy Bechtolsheim. Then he goes into detail to show how both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had largely unique opportunities to get their 10,000 hours with computers at an usually early age.
So Gladwell concludes that there is actually a lot of luck in terms of circumstances behind the biggest successes. It was not simply their stronger intellect and drive. Of course, these people had to take advantage of their luck but the rest of us do not have the same opportunities. He argues that we should be more conscious of these success factors as we plan how to make everyone successful. There is much more to the book. I found it to be one of his best.
This is third part in a series prompted by interesting post, Language is not writing, from the Economist. I started to look at the evolution of communication media yesterday. In my last post I brought us up to the printing press.
The printing press is often considered to be one of the greatest inventions as it accelerated the dissemination of knowledge exponentially and lowered the cost, bringing it into the hands of ordinary people. Since the 15th century, the sheer quantity of information has steadily increased as the technologies for creating and preserving knowledge have progressed. Now the Web may eclipse the printing press in impact. As the volume of information increased, many great thinkers have pondered the problem of making information more accessible and converting it into knowledge.
It was not until the era of the printing press that educational reformers such as Peter Ramus initiated the widespread educational reform from oration to text at the university level. Comenius carried this movement to the lower schools, authoring more than 100 children’s books. Up until this time most education was still in the oral tradition, and relied on the indoctrination of wise sayings rather than the analysis of textual statements. With textbooks, “knowledge disseminators” needed to create linear statements whose implications were logical, rather than rhythmic sayings, which captured dogma. Print literacy not only provided a new means of instruction, and allowed advances in distance education. It allowed people to think in new ways.
Print made distance education possible by consistently storing information, but it limited the type of information stored and transmitted. It also limited access to this information to only those who could become literate in the new technology. The high multi-sensory bandwidth of direct person-to-person communication was lost as print replaced oration as the principal means of knowledge distribution.
This transition to reliance on text, helped to complete the challenge to the oral tradition made by Plato and others who questioned the value of the direct data of the senses. They suggested that there was a qualitative difference in knowledge gained directly from the senses as compared with that gained through more abstract systems such as text and mathematics. Consider, for example, the individual variation in perception of visual data, they argued. They ignored the corresponding fact that we also give our own meaning to words.
These early philosophers protested against dependence on direct visual data because of the need to gain a stable understanding of the world, a knowledge that rationally and logically explains everything. While this view is debated in philosophy (e.g., Merleau-Ponty), the pervasive nature of this bias has effected many fields. The printing press helped to widely reinforce this reliance on text for “true” knowledge and the pervasive practice - still current - of “indirect” teaching and testing of performance through written texts and tests. In fact, tests to determine professional potential in a number of human service fields still rely on the ability to solve verbal analogies which always seemed weird to me
The reliance on print and verbal logic to transmit learning has not been without its detractors. Such educational reformers as Pestalozzi, Froebel, and more recently, John Dewey wanted people to learn from direct experience. They sat the stage for today’s learning through multi-media simulations. Perhaps the re-introduction of dialogue, now on a scalable, global basis, may become one of the most significant cognitive contributions of the Web. We can move beyond writing to enable the richer aspects of language, along with visualizations.
An interesting post, Language is not writing, from the Economist prompted me to write a bit yesterday on the impact of Web on global conversations. The Web is a means to record both spoken language and writing. This dual capability is relatively new, especially in way the Web brings these forms to an increasing number of people on a global basis. Today I want to dip back to the history of communication media to see where we came from.
The invention of alphabetic writing was accompanied by parallel developments in the technologies of recording media and devices. The cuneiform of Sumer and Akkad used a wooden stylus on wet clay. The tablets were then baked. While lasting for millennia with no degradation, they were not very portable, and transportation was difficult. Pieces of pottery were also widely used for letters, accounts, and even homework, but they were not much good for lengthy texts.
It was not until the development of papyrus that real literary and academic works could easily be recorded and transported. This technology was used by the Greeks and Romans from the 5th century BC until the 8th or 9th century AD. It was superseded by parchment beginning in the 4th century AD. Both of these new media were easier to store and transport than the clay tablets but they were also more susceptible to the fire of invading armies.
As older civilizations passed, great efforts were made to preserve their knowledge. Much of the knowledge of the Greeks and Persians was preserved in Arabic translations by the expanding Islamic empire. This knowledge eventually made its way into the monasteries of Europe where monks preserved and translated these works. While the skills of translation and library science became highly developed, content was disseminated only with the great physical effort as it was still copied and preserved manually.
A knowledge revolution begun with the invention of text but it took a while for the delivery media and devices to be available to take advantage of the possibilities offered by text and for educators to adopt them. In addition, it took a while for new techniques to evolve that took full advantages of the options within the new media and devices. For example, the first use of text via the phonetic alphabet recorded and mimicked the oral tradition (e.g., Homer) even though it rendered this tradition potentially obsolete.
Subsequent works evolved to non-poetic prose volumes (e.g., Plato’s Republic), but the full transition from oral to written culture was slow. In fact, it appears that reading was often done aloud until after the 6th century. Ivan Illich relates that St. Augustine refrained from reading after his brothers went to sleep for fear of waking them. After the 6th century, silent reading became more commonplace, and such techniques such as tables of contents and indexes first appeared. These new devices allowed for random access to text information, a concept we take for granted now. Tomorrow, I will look at the impact of the printing press on the use of writing, as well as some of its shortcomings.
Here is an interesting post, Language is not writing, from the Economist. The post points out that, “Humans began speaking many tens of thousands of years before the first writing… Every healthy adult and older child in the world speaks, in one of 6,000-7,000 languages. A few hundred languages, at most, are written at all seriously. If writing were "language", we would render much of the world without language… But writing is an unusual skill recent in human history and not common to the majority of the world's people, who don't write on a regular basis. If language were only writing, it probably could never come into being.” All good points.
Let’s look at the beginning of writing. The invention of the phonetic alphabet around 700 B.C. made enabled a number of unforeseen and unintended capabilities.
In the pre-writing oral tradition, the conditions for the preservation of ideas were mnemonic. To promote memory, instruction and knowledge preservation made use of verbal and musical rhythms; however, these rhythms placed severe limits on the verbal arrangement of what was said, as in Homer, and the need to memorize used up cognitive energy that otherwise could have been devoted to learning. Because of the heavy memory load, the epic poets did not actually memorize content verbatim; they created new versions from a set of possibilities as they went along.
The concept of an original version that could be preserved did not evolve until after written text. This was critical to the development of modern science and essential for many forms of instruction. In many ways, the epic poets, chief knowledge distributors of their day, made up the details as they went along. Text made available a visual record of thought, abolishing the need for an acoustic record and hence the need for rhythms. Greek thought changed and such works as Plato’s “Republic” are described by some scholars as an attack on the oral poetic tradition of knowledge distribution (see Eric Havelock’s “Origins of Western Literacy” or his better known “Preface to Plato”).
However, writing does not address all issues of communication. As Plato wrote in Phaedrus, in the oral tradition learning was based on dialogue, while in the written tradition, the learner has little, if any, ability to converse with the knowledge creator. Enhanced knowledge often only comes out of the interaction of two viewpoints. Conversation is needed.
This is where the new Web comes in as social media allows for more conversations than occurred in the one-way broadcast of content in older communication modes. While much of these exchanges happen through writing, more people are getting drawn in these conversations, as there is dramatic rise in user generated content. Now with the rise of the richer media of audio and video even more people can get drawn into these global conversations and writing will not be a barrier.
I am getting ready to go the New Orleans, Lafayette, Breaux Bridge and few other towns in south west Louisiana to enjoy the food and music. I will be writing about this trip a good bit on this blog on weekends. To get in the mood I have been reflecting on the music of the Louisiana countryside. Here are a few of the greats.
I was lucky to hear Clifton Chenier in 1989 in New Orleans shortly before he died. He came to the Maple Leaf Bar that night and played with a younger zydeco group. Between sets he sat near us at the bar and the bartender told us he had recently won a Grammy. We got his tape the next day at the Tower Records. Clifton and Boozoo Chavis were the early pioneers of zydeco in the 1950s. I saw Boozoo in Jacksonville before he passed away. I picked up “Bogalusa Boogie,” considered one of the finest recording by Clifton and his Red Hot Band. It is a driving collection and in contrast, there also is his “Clifton Chenier Sings The Blues,” much more laid back.
I first heard Nathan and his group at a Cajun festival in Rhode Island, along with a full day of other groups. They stood out. Nathan Williams, from Lafayette, Louisiana has given himself the nickname, "The Zydeco Hog.” I picked up “Let's Go!,” Nathan's seventh recording for Rounder Records. In it Nathan's mix of lyrics and rhythms are infused with contemporary arrangements. I also have, “I’m a Zydeco Hog,” recorded live at the Rock ‘n Bowl Lanes in New Orleans, a bowling alley devoted to live music. I try to get to Rock ‘n Bowl whenever I go to New Orleans. Here are some images from the new location.
Beau is the leader of trend in modern zydeco which blends traditional Creole sounds with contemporary elements of rap and hip-hop. According to his site he also loves to cook in his kitchen in Kinder, Louisiana. I have. “Git It, Beau Jocque,” recorded live at Slim's Y-Ki-Ki Lounge in Opelousas and Harry's Lounge in Breaux Bridge. I hope to get to Slim's Y-Ki-Ki Lounge when I go to Opelousas
Chubby was born in Lafayette, LA raised in Church Point, LA. He is the third generation zydeco artist. As a child, he learned the music by listening to his father Roy Carrier and his grandfather Warren Carrier. His 1996 recording on Blind Pig records, “Who Stole the Hot Sauce” is in my collection. His group is a great party band that frequently plays in Southern Louisiana. I plan to see him in Lafayette as he will be playing while I am there.
Buckwheat Zydeco has achieved a lot of commercial success and recorded some very well produced CDs. They are more well known that most zydeco bands and have been the opening act for Eric Clapton (including entire North American tour and a 12-night stand at London's Royal Albert Hall), U-2, Robert Cray, Los Lobos. Buckwheat Zydeco also played at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 1996 Democratic Convention and with the Boston Pops. I have their first live CD, “Buckwheat Zydeco: Down Home Live!" played during his annual Thanksgiving show at El Sid O's in Lafayette, La. He played a part in the great show, From the Big Apple to the Big Easy.
Here is a great traditional French speaking Cajun group like Bruce Daigrepont, I recommended last week. I have “Bon Rêve,”, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2004. Here’s what Dr. Barry Ancelet, professor of folklore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has to say about Bon Rêve:
"It's the Sgt. Pepper's of Cajun music. It's so strong in so many areas: performance/musicianship, the poetry, the conception, the whole album working together as a sort of a thematic unit. It's an incredible effort. What's really remarkable is that they're sort of competing with themselves. They're competing with their own last effort, and that's got to be hard to do. And yet they keep pulling it off."
I saw Steve and his band at he Rock n Bowl. There is a chance I will catch them on this upcoming trip.
Bruce is one of the best traditional French language Cajun musicians. In 1986 he begun his fais do do dance sessions at the original Tipitina's, corner of Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas streets, where it continues to this day, every Sunday evening from five till nine. We have heard him several times and try to make sure we include a Sunday on our visits to New Orleans to see Bruce. He will play for four hours straight with no break and the dancers range from teenagers to older couples. His CD, “Paradis,” recorded in 1999, captures the spirit of these Sunday sessions.
Boozoo was a traditional zydeco band leader. Nicknamed the "Creole Cowboy" for his signature C&W attire, he recorded zydeco's first big hit--"Paper In My Shoe" in 1955. He and Clifton Chenier were the early pioneers of zydeco. However, for the next two decades, Boozoo retired from the music business, outside of house parties, and turned his full attention to raising ponies. He made a comeback in the early 80s and toured until his death in 2002. I heard him in Jacksonville in 1998 and recommend his “Zydeco Homebrew.”
Zachary offers a contemporary French language interpretation of Cajun and zydeco. I first heard him in Montreal, on the riverfront at a Confederation Day celebration in 2002. Zachary is from Louisiana and has recorded in English and French. In 1995, he returned to French language recording with “Cap Enrage,” recorded in Pairs and our recommendation. It reestablished his presence in both Canada and France. I even thought he was from Quebec when I first heard him.
Here is another in my series on images within paintings as I look up close to see images that are interesting to me within paintings. I am also looking at technique with these images. These images are from the Harvard Art Museums. They are from the 20th Century European and American art collection.
I am not just speaking about some conceptual transformation. The New York Times reported that the, “Public Relations Society of America, is embarking on an effort to develop a better definition of “public relations,” one more appropriate for the 21st century.” The Times goes on tot report at “the effort, of course, has a catchy name, Public Relations Defined, and a logo, too, that proclaims its goal: “A modern definition for the new era of public relations.”
Perhaps this traditional approach to the effort start indicates that they really do need to redefine themselves. The current definition is: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” I find this a bit bizarre. Does it mean there is a problem in the relationship that needs to be overcome or does it mean that PR helps firms and their public co-exist despite the problems?
Now I have no disrespect for the field of Public Relations. I deal with PR people all the time in my capacity of writing for this blog and doing the product reviews for the AppGap blog. They tend to be more friendly and engaging that the average person. The professional that I work with are also very respectful of my space. They act as great facilitators to make useful connections between myself and the people I write about on this blog.
I remember way back when I was in college and majored in sociology because it had the fewest requirements. My very politically conservative aunt who lived in a very conservative state said to me to tell her friends I was studying public relations because the people in the sociology department at her local university were all considered left wing radicals.
There seems to be two types of PR firms now. The old school ones that are relationship oriented and the new wave ones that have a data driven component. Adam Lavelle, a member of the board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association who is the chief strategic officer at iCrossing, is quoted in the Times piece, “Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences. Now, P.R. has to be more about facilitating the ongoing conversation in an always-on world.”
This sense of facilitating conversation, encouraging engagement, and monitoring what is happening on the Web needs to part of the new definition of PR.
The BBC reports that Rice University researchers monitored tweets made during National Football League games. Through Twitter they could tell within seconds when key actions occurred. It could also be used in a wide range of other events, including politics and emergencies. For example, the BCC also reported that in April, a study conducted by a PhD student at the Technical University of Munich found that investors following stock market tweets could achieve an average return rate of 15%.
Professor Lin Zhong worked in collaboration with engineers from the Betaworks group of the Motorola Mobility Applied Research Center to conduct the research. They developed devise a SportSense software program which monitored and analyzed tweets made during football matches in 2010. The BBC quotes him, “"We chose football because touchdowns, interceptions and other events in the game cause a lot of excitement and lead a lot of people to tweet. We found that a careful examination of the tweets could tell us what was happening in the game."
Looking at Twitter with their monitoring software able to register big events within 20 seconds of them happening, often before sports sites such as ESPN had acknowledged them.
Twitter provides a fire hose of information. It was only after developing special monitoring software that the researchers were able to turn this information overload into a news aggregation system. There is another way to do this. You can set up a Darwin Awareness Engine ™Edition to monitor a topic of your choice. It looks at Twitter and many other sources to filter down the content to fit your interests. Then it visualizes the results in a way that allows you to spot emerging trends and see the relationships between these trends. Like the researchers we often see breaking news before it gets reported in the mainstream media since Darwin operates in real-time. Here is a description of how the Awareness Engine works.
You can also use Twortex, developed by our business partner Sequence Factory, that uses the technology behind the Awareness Engine to look at what is happening within Twitter.
As I mentioned on this blog I am now helping OutStart with their social media efforts as part of the OutStart team. I am one of several people contributing to our OutStart Knowledge Solutions Blog (see: My New Role within OutStart’s Social Media Efforts). I will not be repeating my posts for that blog on this blog. However, once a month I will post links to my writing there. Here is the fifth set covering October. I am including posts by other members of the OutStart team. I welcome your comments.
Forrester’s TJ Keitt tackles this question with his report, Does Your IT Department Support The Needs Of The Mobile Workforce? The data suggests that IT still has a way to go to meet worker expectations. They asked 4,985 information workers as part of the research. They found that on one hand, that the efforts that IT departments are helping to outfit employees with laptops are paying off: 51 percent of US information workers report using one during a workday.
On the other hand, both those who primarily use laptops and those who don't say that IT falls short in delivering computing and mobile device choices that best fit where and how they work. As part of this response while the majority of employees purchase the smartphone they use for work and foot the entire service bill, few are happy with this proposition. They would like for IT to providing a subsidy so they can acquire a device of their choice. I agree with this.
They also found that the workforce is becoming more mobile as only 45% of the US information workforce works solely from a corporate office. The provision of laptops has been significantly the past few years to accommodate these workers. Forrester divides the 55% who work outside the office into four groups: hypermobile professionals (29%) who have an office but work from anywhere, part-time telecommuter (11%), connected consultants (10%) and remote-based technicians (6%).
Currently these groups get different levels of support. With Hypermobile professionals 69% use a smartphone at work and 36% have to pay for the phone and the service themselves. With part-time telecommuter 29% use a smartphone at work and 49% have to pay for the phone and the service themselves. With connected consultants 43% use a smartphone at work and 42% have to pay for the phone and the service themselves. With remote-based technicians 37% use a smartphone at work and 59% have to pay for the phone and the service themselves.
While we are talking about smart phones rather than all mobile devices, it is still interesting to see how low these numbers are. It also seems that the higher paid employees are less likely to have to pay for their smart phone but then they are more likely to set or influence policies. I would guess that over 90% of these workers own some type of mobile phone.
The workers who have to pay for their smartphones themselves feel under supported and I can see why. I think that enterprise IT needs to read the papers, listen to TV, and understand the mobile revolution is only growing. There is much more in the report, including data on laptops and collaborative technologies.
Here is another in a series of posts that provide access to my favorite tweets that contain links to useful information. Some of these I did to link to things I found useful and others are RTs that I want to save for the same reason. Since Twitter archiving is an oxymoron, I am now going to post my favorite links for the month so they can be easily accessed later.
I spot tested the reduced shortened urls and they all should work. I hope this is also useful for you. Let me know your favorite tweets for the month.
Sameer Patel recently wrote a useful post, Marketing your Marketing, on the shallow nature of enticing people to like you on social media with coupons or other giveaways. I could not agree more with his thoughts and suggest that you read his original. Basically he was arguing against the rising practice of enticing your visitors to ‘Like’ your Facebook business page by throwing them a discount coupon.
Sameer makes the excellent point: “This looks like a knock off of trade show marketing where we are duped into believing that 1000 interested prospects came to our booth where in reality 700 just wanted to drop their business card in the till for a chance to win an iPad2.”
Then the marketing department wastes their time following up with the 700, including me. It is especially annoying when you get a follow up phone call. There needs to be a do not call option on these giveaways.
I hesitate to download white papers for the same reason, even when they look like they might be useful. I do a lot of interviews of software firms. Occasionally they send me to their web site to get a paper expanding on our conversation. Then I get a call from a marketing person who had no idea about why I got the paper or that I had been speaking to his boss for an interview. I suspect in some cases these calls are from outsourced services. While they are not technically robo calls they have the same nuisance factor and the speaker often sounds like a recorded message as they read their scripts. In fact, they are worse because you actually have to respond to them long enough to say no thanks.
While I am on it, auto-generated messages thanking you for following someone on Twitter is enough to make you want to immediately unfollow them. To paraphrase Sameer, what were they thinking? Social media is about engagement and we need to keep this robo behavior out.
The AppGap posts began toward the end of January 2008. Here, I am primarily doing product commentaries with a few other things thrown in. Below are the ones for November. There will be more in December.