Monday, May 30, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Sticky content is something you publish for free that others are allowed to place on their websites in order to drive more traffic to their website as well as yours. Sticky content is sometimes used in print media as well.
Let’s say you own an automobile repair shop and need more business. You could advertise in your local newspaper but ads cost money and you’re broke so what do you do? Well it just so happens that many newspapers (especially the free weeklies) need content but don’t have enough cash to pay writers. Why not write an entertaining column each week about cars and car repair and offer your column to the local paper for free? Just make sure you get a byline that reads something like, “Monkey Wrench is the owner of Clunker Auto Repair on 4th and Main Streets in downtown Clunkersville.”
Same thing works for other businesses as well.
You see, each column you write for free ends with a short advertisement (byline) for your garage. In a matter of weeks or months you’ll have customers lined-up to get their cars repaired just like those Click and Clack Brothers on NPR.
If you own a website or write a blog there’s already lots of sticky content available, everything from joke of the day features, cartoons, this day in history, and lots more. Most require that you add a bit of .html or java code but once added they update themselves automatically. For some sticky content you’ll have to pay, but most of it is free as the code you install on your site includes a link back to the site where it originates. Some providers of sticky content will even link back to those persons who use their sticky content.
I have several pages of sticky content at BloggingPoet.com and if I find something I really like I wouldn’t object to adding more. (Any ideas?) Not only does it keep my readers coming back each day, but it’s great for driving search engine traffic to your website or blog. You see, search engines love sites with lots of constantly updated pages of content that changes from day to day. The more often you update your website the more often the robots spider your site and the more often they spider your site the higher your ranking gets. Google now spiders my blog on a daily basis.
If you’re able to create sticky content for others to use then I’d suggest you do that as well. If I understood coding I’d be doing it already. An example of sticky content found right here at IdeaConsultants.org is the Scripting News RSS reader on the right. Scripting News provides us with sticky content via RSS and we gain readership due to increased search engine placement and Scripting News gains readers via the links back to their blog.
By the way: Group blogging and guest blogging are a sort of sticky content as well.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
“Blogs haven't displaced media, US study finds”, reads the latest Reuters headline about blogs. This headline is part of a sudden blog-bashing trend which I predicted would occur two weeks ago. The article’s headline reeks of typical MSM anti-blog bias. Even the word, “displaced”, means literally: “to remove from the usual or proper place.” As expected, the actual truth is buried in the middle of the article:
“The study dispels the notion that blogs are replacing traditional media as the public's primary source of information, said Michael Cornfield, a senior research consultant at Pew.”
The refuted notion, of course, was not held by any credible observer of the media&blogosphere. Nevertheless, Reuters set the record straight: Anyone who claims, "blogs have replaced radio, TV, and print as the public’s primary source of information" is a liar. Personally, I don't really call that newsworthy -- that is unless you're a reporter for The Villiage of Idiots Dispatch.
Now, what is newsworthy is the recent decision of a few news organizations([cough]…the NYTimes) to voluntarily fade into irrelevence. Through out history, its always been like this: some adopt the new, others bury themselves with the old. Whether the established media likes it, or not, it’s a forgone conclusion that blogs are a highly disruptive development. However, lately some members of the press have showed a newfound love of writing them off both foolishly, and with ironic confidence. For example, the notion that blogs are a “fad”, the new “pet rock” as one dinosaur put it. I refuse to give their arguments (if that's what you call them) much attention. If they bothered to think, they might realize that the forces fueling the rise of the weblog are anything but fashion trends.
The nourishing roots of the blogosphere are older than the very cave paintings which signified the birth of media. Our expanding web of conversations, and connections is providing a large and constantly growing percentage of our population with something that humans have always sought: knowledge of our world and environment; to be heard; to converse… To say that the blog is a fad is to say that conversations and the formation of communities is a fad.
The blogosphere’s size and influence is expanding rapidly. The ever so self-centered MSM attributes the success of weblogs to Dean, Rathergate, and mob that lynched Eason Jordon. The shortsightedness of their explanation is consistent with their world view. MSM’s motivation is primarily economic and profit driven. It is difficult for them to move past questions such as, “how do bloggers make money”, or delusions such as “we still have most of the audience(read ad revenue), so blogs are dead; we survived”. This narrow view misses the true force that is driving the rise of the blogosphere.
The MSM is sustained through legal safeguards, readers and watchers who have no where else to turn, and revenue from ads. In contrast, the blogosphere’s growth is sustained by our natural desire for social belonging; to find meaning through cooperation towards common goals. Look at those two models again. Which is more likely to outlive the other?
Human beings emerged 150,000 years ago as a physically weak, and fragile species; just one of many bi-pedal monkeys with big heads. Yet we survived, and flourished by evolving a unique set of common social algorithms based on cooperation, community, and communication. As humanity begins the 21st century, it faces unprecedented peril. Overpopulation, global warming, disappearing resources, plagues, nuclear weapons, and natural disasters all threaten the foundations of our fragile, so-called “global civilization.” Our governments, religious institutions, and traditional sources of information are incapable of averting the impending nightmares of the late 21st century.
But there is hope for us, and perhaps it is hidden in this beautiful thought: The blog -- far from a technological fad -- is in fact a technological expression of our evolutionary heritage.
If that is too outlandish of a thought for your seasoned mind, than be my guest and accept MSM’s version: Blogs get you fired, they are not credible, and MSM is still in charge. Go back to bed little blogger, rest well baby audience member, we’ve got everything taken care of. The couch is your friend.
Monday, May 16, 2005
A few years ago, Information Week called me on the phone and asked me to tell him about Idea Management, since they had ascertained that I have coined the term, and had the first website on the topic. I told him I really hadn't done much with it other than create the website, which wasn't what he wanted to hear. So sorry Charlie!
Here is an article they wrote about it. Not sure if it was the one I was to be involved in.
It is amusing to see how it has grown, and now I think I will take up the reins and get back into it. First I want to see what others are doing with it.
In May, 1998...seven years ago this month, this article surfaced:
A Proposal for Web Idea Management
by Alexei Falaleev
in which the author has the following couple of paragraphs:
The term "idea management" is a little idea itself, as well as a unique word pattern that is searchable after the idea of the term appeared. I tried Altavista to check whether I was first to find it, and alas, I found that "Idea Management is a term that was coined ... by Dave Beckwith". I spent just a minute for the checking. That is the way it should be for a huge amount of little and large ideas identifiable by word patterns.
The first idea banks and idea searching tools have already appeared on the Web. They are easily searchable, so I am not going to describe them here just to show my competence. As a start point for surfing, I could recommend Idea Management.
It's mine! It's mine I tell you! And I want it back, as well as all of the profits made from it!
Aw...what the heck. Keep your money. I have enough.
Looking over the old site, which I haven't touched in years, I notice that the original Idea Consultants site is linked...although it no longer works, since I turned over Charlotte Internet to Mr. Scott Huffman, the president of Webkorner Internet Services, and good friend. Since he is an ISP, I figured a domain named Charlotte Internet would better serve his ends than mine...although I used it, and still use parts of it, as a place to hold certain things, such as the Morningside website.
Here is the original Idea Consultants website's projects page, as found on the Wayback Machine. You will notice a number of very good domains, all of which we owned...we being me, Darryl, and Woody. Arcturus, however was not ours, but a friend in Hawaii.
These, however, were ours:
Birdfinger, GeniusSearch, INeedSpeed,
CharlotteInternet, Enviropress, EarMusic,
TradeStreetJournal, Brainchild Press, iBMW,
IdeaManagement, SeersCatalog, ShadeWear, GrowLife,
TheHomeLoaner, MajorAdvances, SexyJets, FloodMoney,
UpperClassifieds, GreenModerate, HighTextiles, WritersCafe,
YouthInternational, HDcableTV, OutreLimits, FutureGoods,
TheFirstTrillionaire, People'sEmpire, VirtualBohemia,PeaceGoods,
UnitedStatesOfEarth, eBiz Incubator, GiftEconomy, GreenWitchVillage,
TofuChicken, FreeSouth, 4-MD, LoanLow,
RVking, GoToDo, PeaceFutures, Sharevenue,
InfoMinutes, CharityBrokers, a1Eats, and BandwidthRX.
Most have now lapsed, and one I was offered 750,000 dollars for...and turned it down. Stupid is as stupid does.
Idea management is the practice of gathering and evaluating ideas in a structured fashion, with a goal of selecting the best ideas with the greatest bottom-line potential for implementation.
This Idea Management Resource Center will help you to learn more about idea management -- what it is, how it can benefit your company, and the amazing new idea management systems that can help your organization to cost-effectively leverage the creative ideas of all of your employees.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
They flash clothing with brand names plastered all over them thinking that's the way of the money. Little do they know:
Little something that my father told me long ago. People that have money, dress in clothing that don't have the labels on the outside. People that don't, have it plastered to act like they have money. Interesting isn't it.
Turns out millionaires save their money instead of spend it, focus on their goals, and take calculated risks. (Interesting tidbit regarding the risk part: “a majority of male millionaire entrepreneurs had been in trouble with school authorities or the police during their adolescence.”)
Saturday, May 14, 2005
But there's another technology out there that has quietly become one of the most used tools in office life, one that has the potential to become the next "killer app" yet one that seems to get little acknowledgement and is provided mostly for free. That, my friends, is instant messaging. In the global workplace that I'm a part of, IM systems have become an essential tool in getting work done. E-mails are great for long messages, for creating a virtual paper trail, for sending attachments - we can't live without it. Phone calls and voice mail are vital as well, but during a normal business day, I'm successful in actually completing a call only about 20-25% of the time - usually the person I want to talk to is on a conference call or on the phone to someone else or they're not answering the phone because they're trying to wrap up that memo they've been working on for 45 minutes and they know an interruption will cause them to lose their train of thought when they're almost, almost done. But instant messaging is somewhere in between - you get a message that pops up like a telephone ring, but it'll sit there patiently until you finish your memo and unlike a ringing telephone, it won't care if you're already having two or three or four other IM conversations. It's a multi-taskers dream! I rarely call someone anymore without "pinging" them first on IM to see if they're available. (I may have to follow up this post with one on the origin of the term "ping" and its implication that we're turning into little network droids instead of people, but I digress.) And it's not just the IT outsourcing company that I work for - I've seen the same in every customer of ours that I've dealt with as well as every vendor and partner that we deal with.
So the industry should be making a killing on this, right? Right? /* crickets chirping */
Kids, most of us are using this service for absolutely nothing. We're using AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Messenger or Yahoo or some other service and we're paying nada for it. This is a tool that was basically developed as far as I can tell as an attractant to get young people interested in whatever Internet service was offering it and has now been adopted (not without some reservations) by the office world. I suspect the providers are struggling with finding a way to differentiate between consumer users and corporate users in order to charge the one and not the other, but I suspect that's difficult to do. I believe they do offer to put servers in-house for a fee to keep data secure inside a company's firewall (Lotus Sametime is usually implemented this way and I know we pay for it, but it only helps with internal communications), but that only really works if you have little or no contact with companies outside yours and that happens more and more infrequently these days. What's it going to take for someone to really make money at this?
Maybe looking at a couple of the drawbacks would help. First of all, there are too damn many of them. Between messaging my co-workers and messaging my customers, I am usually logged in to AIM, MSN Mess and Lotus Sametime. I should probably be logged into Yahoo as well. Truth be told, I can look at those three systems and find most people I work with on at least a weekly basis show up in at least 2 of the 3. Sure there are clients like Trillian and Miranda that try to support some or all of the different systems, but it is in the best interest of the AOLs and Microsofts to make that difficult and they do - I've found none of those products satisfactory. Another problem that seems to generate little thought but scares the heck out of me is the fact that companies are using these tools more and more to get decision-making information in real time to the right people at the right time. Nothing wrong with that - one of the real benefits of the tools, as a matter of fact. But it means that the quick message from a sales guy to the person back at the home office of "did we quote $300K or $3M to ACME?" is answered across the Internet with only the security provided by the service provider on a system that was really set up to allow teenage girls to chat about how cute that new boy in their history class is. Or at least I think that's the case and that itself is maybe a little bit of a problem as well - I understand the secure and insecure aspects of the computer networks I use at work and of e-mail and of wireless. I'm not so sure I do understand those same aspects of a technology that I not only use every day - I depend on it.
So, there ya go, smart guys. Here's a technology that we're not only using for free - we're coming to absolutely depend on it. I think there's enormous potential for someone to develop a product that allows for secure controlled IMing across companies - gimme something with the security of an in-house-run Sametime, the functionality of an AIM or MSN Messenger and a universal interface that will talk to the other major IM systems and I'm betting that it'll sell. Big.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Are bloggers credible? Are bloggers responsible? Well, a major part of the blogisphere is. Of course, there is always the "I stubbed my toe today, let me know what you think" guy out there. I feel the majority of bloggers are trying to convey the truth about what there topic is. The mainstream media is covering blogs. We are on CNN, MSNBC, the local papers and local TV reports. We are getting White House press passes, and I'm not speaking of Jeff Gannon. We are a self-policing community, that is quick to strike down fallacies and falsehoods. "We will fact check your ass", I have heard time and again. There are times when we too get bad info. There is always the opportunity to correct our work and right a wrong, and that usually happens quickly in our community. After all, if you were to publish incorrect facts, that deface an individual or their integrity and caused them damage of any sort, you are just as liable as the New York Times. That's right folks, you are responsible for liable and slander. Credible, depends on the material. Responsible, you have to be. I like to follow the ethics guidelines supplied by Journalism.org. I highly recommend them to all. A bloggers credibility is based on their material. If it is credible, factual and offers insight into a specific subject, then by all means yes. If it is OP-ED stuff then that's what it is.
Here is my idea and challenge to the blogisphere: Enough alliances. The Associated Press is a news force. Reuters is a news force. Why can't we have a similar news force. The Associated Bloggers Press? I challenge us to start one. We are credible and responsible. If we are supplying content to the mainstream media, we should be compensated. Shouldn't we? Yes, it requires money and connections. Most of all it requires that we all band together as a community and start valuing what we do.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Okay, so my parody of In The Jungle will probably never be a hit song, but if you spend your days and nights being awaken, annoyed, or otherwise disturbed by jerks playing their music way too loud then the Boom Away just might be an invention you’d love to see made available to the public. If you lived where I live then I'm sure you'd understand how annoying it is when your computer monitor starts shaking its way off the top of your desk.
Of course, what I’m talking about is an electronic device that would temporarily disable the radios of people who play them too loudly. Imagine not being awaken at 2AM by the sound of a car stereo going boom, boom, boom, and rattling every window in your house. Think how nice it would be if your car radio was the only car radio you could hear while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
Maybe it could be something like the TV B Gone-- the device that turns off almost any television anywhere. Hey, maybe we should tell the TV B Gone folks about it? Naw, let them read it at IdeaConsultants.org just like everyone else.
Hey, maybe you could use my song parody in the advertising campaign? I’m sure we can work out a deal. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go update my BMI membership ASCAP.
Want us to feature your idea at IdeaConsultants.org? Or maybe you’ve built it and want IdeaConsultants.org to tell the world about it first? Maybe you’re working on an idea and would like to find someone to collaborate with you? Send it to anyone on the Idea Consultants team and we’ll consider it. And if you’ve got a blog or website we’ll link back when we post your idea to the world.
IdeaConsultants.org-- bringing ideas to the world as quickly as our stubby little fingers can type.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
If you’re a fan of NPR (and most bloggers are) then I know you’ve endured your share of the dreaded pledge drives. To give credit where credit is due, the folks who run the pledge drives really do a great job but how can grown people begging for mine and your hard earned money not get to be a little over the top from time to time?
Here’s an idea I got from listening to an on-the-air caller to one North Carolina, NPR station:
Someone needs to design a computer chip that could be installed in radios that would allow those listeners who have already contributed to only listen to the regular programming without having to listen to the pledge drives. Give the volunteer folks at NPR your credit card number, tell them how much you wish to contribute, and as soon as they key in your info your radio switches back to your favorite NPR show-- without all the begging.
Now for those of you who are in the know, I know there is no way this can work-- yet. You see, our radios are for the most part, analog, but more and more radio is changing to digital everyday and such a chip and/or program could be designed to work with digital programming. In a few years digital stations and digital radios will be standard equipment everywhere you happen to be. Many NPR stations have already started broadcasting dual signals so they can get on satellite radio channels so it’s only a matter of time before all radio becomes digital. If you could design the necessary chips and/or programming then you would be ahead of the game.
Hey, maybe the satellite radio people could use this same feature to help in their billing.
And don’t forget, television is going digital as well. Can you say, “Public Television chip?”
Got an idea? Want to share it? Is there something you wish someone would do, invent, or sell that would make your life easier? If you’d like to share your idea then send it to idlehandsmag (at) gmail.com and maybe the world will soon know about it. If you’re a blogger and want a link back simply include your URL in your e-mail and we’ll be happy to link to you when we post your ideas.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
For example: Nike sells sporting goods, and shoes before that. The name itself stems from the Greek goddess of "victory". Tieing the products (shoes) to the goddess was their greatest achievement. Thus, now you wear "Nikes".
In the same example, you would never expect Nike to succeed if they were called "Sporting shoes Inc". It just wouldn't pan out. Even if it did, the title itself doesn't allow the store to expand in the future since the brand name is already sold as a "shoe store".
This is a problem that if small businesses promoted for themselves, they would have a better time trying to market their product lines. With a good product line and a successfully marketed name, you could perhaps become the next Google, Inc..
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Monday, May 02, 2005
Happy Birthday, Dave! Nice to know there are other demicenturians hovering about.
With gasoline going for $2.20 or so a gallon here in North Carolina and higher in most states, a lot of us are looking at ways to save a few dollars at the pumps. Mass-transit is the answer for some but in states like North Carolina where mass-transit is rare, often hard to use, and rarely goes where you need to go, that may not be such a good option. Besides, have you ever lugged 5 bags of groceries onto a city bus? Maybe it’s a hybrid car you need, but with year long waiting lists and car payments that many of us simply can’t afford, a new car may be out of the picture. If so, then 4-Peds may just be the idea you’re looking for. Okay, I know you’re asking, “What the bleep is a 4-Ped?”
If you’re thinking a Moped with four wheels you’re getting close-- very close-- but let’s think outside the box, shall we? (I know, it’s cliche but the analogy works, okay?) A Moped is a hybrid-cross between a bicycle and a motorcycle-- a device that is powered by an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) but also peddled when necessary to crank the engine or boost the power of the tiny 2-Stroke engine when pulling a hill or accelerating. Most hybrid cars and most Mopeds get about 60 miles per gallon but my younger brother’s 1964 Opal Cadet station wagon got 60 MPG and it had a heater-- there’s got to be a better way. Besides, little brother totaled his Opal when it crashed into a ditch in Slidel, Louisiana about 30 years ago.
I say forget that dirty little buzz bomber 2-stroke bee engine altogether. Moped engines are noisy, they stink, and most are worn out in just a year or so. Instead of powering the 4-Ped with gasoline and 2-stroke oil, why not power it with an electric engine and a battery with pedal power used to help in charging the battery? That’s right, the peddles would be connected to an alternator or generator that charges an on-board battery pack. Add a solar cell to the roof and a drop cord so that you can plug-it-in when you get home each night and you should be able to travel 30-45 miles per day at 30 miles per hour. That just happens to be my daily cross-town commute.
Did you know that many electric companies including North Carolina’s own Duke Power Company sell electricity for charging electric cars at a reduced rate?
Yeah, there are electric powered scooters and motorcycles out there but my 75 year old mother never learned how to ride a bicycle even though she rides her exercycle (stationary bicycle) for over an hour every day. This way she could stay in shape and save some of her Social Security check as well. Besides, have you ever lugged 5 bags of groceries on a two-wheeler?
I like this idea so much that I’m already doing research and drawing up plans in hopes of building my own 4-Ped but there’s no reason any good mechanic or handy man couldn’t build one for yourself. If you beat me to it then I’ll be able to learn from your mistakes. Or maybe I’ll buy one of yours. Sure, you might still need a real car for those weekend getaways, late night trips to the emergency room with the kids, and vacations, but think how much money the average American two car family could save if you were only buying gasoline for one car. Even if you had to buy a “factory built” 4-Ped you can bet your monthly gas savings would be more than enough to pay it off in a year or less, and unlike gasoline powered Mopeds whose engines are worn out in a year or two, electric powered 4-Peds could last a lifetime or more. As a matter of fact: I’ve seen 50 year old electric motors in industrial applications that run every day with almost no maintenance. Sure, the rest of the 4-Ped would need occasional repairs but nothing your average mechanic, bicycle mechanic, fork lift mechanic, or above average handy-man or woman couldn’t do for his or herself. And have you compared the cost of a bicycle tire to say, the 265-60 LR-16 Radial tire on your SUV? Bicycle tire $10 bucks, SUV tire $200 bucks-- cost of helping end the world’s energy crisis-- priceless.
This could be the next automotive revolution and it could be powered by a thousand small manufacturers just like you and I. You know, just like the first automotive revolution was powered by thousands of little folks just like you, me, and Henry Ford.
Hey Readers: Got an idea for a product, service, or invention you’d like to see someone do? Or perhaps you’re already doing something new, different, unique, or sorely needed, and would like to be featured here at IdeaConsultants.org? If so, then send it to idlehandsmag (at) gmail.com and let us know about it. Who knows, in no time at all, you might be exposed to thousands of readers.
PS. If you or someone you know about is already doing something we feature here on IdeaConsultants.org, then please let us know via either the comment box or an e-mail to any of the Idea Consultants as we love to tell the world about innovations.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
As all the other Idea Consultants will no doubt agree, sometimes your ideas have to be bigger than yourself. Sometimes your ideas have to be about giving (paying forward) rather than receiving. After all, if the world cannot continue to prosper then neither will you or I.
Take myself for example: It’s not a big thing when you consider the world as a whole, but you can bet the eventual winner of the first annual Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere Election will no doubt be proud to have been the first Poet Laureate in the history of the world to be elected to his or her post.
The truth: I would love more than anything in the world to be elected to serve as the first Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. Problem is: I could see no fair way to preside over an election in which I was a candidate so I chose to sit this one out in the interest of the common good.
Now don’t make me out to be some sort of saint-- I’m not. The truth is that I have already gained from this election in ways that can be measured as well as ways that can’t, but I thought it an important idea that a poet laureate finally be elected rather than appointed by some nameless, faceless politician, board, or bureaucrat. I’ve always had issues with how our various laureates are crowned so I decided to do something about it.
Who knows, maybe it will come back to me in the future, but even if it never does I’ll know I did a little part to try and make a difference. After all, life is full of failures and I’m no different than anyone else.
So give it some thought. Is there something you can do, change, reactivate, repair, revitalize, revamp, or otherwise make better? Whether it’s picking-up trash from the streets in your neighborhood, finding a cure for cancer, or anything in-between, I’m sure the world-- as well as your heart-- will be a better place for your having worked to make it better.
I’ll be back in a few days with some ideas you can do for yourself. Until then, why not think about making the world a better place in which to live? After all, there is profit in it.