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Monthly Archives: July 2008

Instructions, they are there for a reason, yet most of us (well at least men anyways) disregard them as a waste of time.  We could not possibly need them, we know exactly what to do.  If that is the case, then why are so many things done incorrectly?  Example, the fine men’s washing facilities (otherwise known as the men’s room, lavatory, bathroom, etc) in our building has something installed incorrectly, obviously the person responsible for installing it did not follow the simple instructions that were imprinted onto the item (I mean, it was right there and he / she did not even look at it).  On the toilet paper holder, it clearly states, install this side down.  Normally, one would not be able to read this unless they were under the toilet paper holder.  No sir, not this one, right there for the whole world to see are the instructions:  “Install this side down” pointing right up for the  whole world to see.  So why is it that instructions as simple as this were overlooked?

It got me thinking, if someone cannot follow those simple little instructions, then how do they deal with going to a new web site and figuring out what in the world they are supposed to do?  Most (if not all) web sites have a how this works or take a tour or something along those lines to explain how the site works and what the key features of it are.  Some sites do a very good job with this, Plurk comes to mind, but even with their clever way of presenting the instructions, I wonder how many people actually look at it?  For me, if it is not painstakingly obvious what I am supposed to do on the site, I might take a moment or two to look around for the instructions and if I find them, take another moment or two to look them over.  If it still does not jump out at me, I am mostly likely incline to leave the site, never to return (unless of course I get brow beaten by my friends that I have to go back because it is the coolest site, or if it takes off like wild fire and I feel that I “have” to use it).

So in the case of a web site, it really comes down to design.  Make sure that you design your site with your audience in mind, put yourself in their shoes and make sure that you try and cover every possible scenario of where a person may not understand how to use it, and make it such that they will understand.  If that does not do the trick, make sure your instructions are simple and quick to read, but get the point across on how to use the site.  Even then, you may have that occasional user that reads “install this side down” and still installs it with that side up 🙂 .

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It seems as our offline world becomes less and less personal (people looking away from you when you pass them in the hall, the decline of bank tellers, automated phone systems, the list goes on and on), actually our online world seems to be coming more and more personal (more and more blogs, people connecting via various social networks, people referring and sharing content to one another).  Why is it then that as our online world becomes more and more personal, the most personal aspect of one’s life seems to be missing, that is being who they are in the real world online.   Why is it that people feel the need to create these alternative identities online when they have a perfectly good identity already, themselves.

I read two blog posts  today, and it reminded me of what it meant to be real, to be yourself, to share your life experiences with the rest of the world and to give them a glimpse into your life.  The first blog post was by my friend Micah, who is a real character.  It is exactly that why I like him so much.  He is not afraid to put it all out there, to talk about subjects that some may find uncomfortable (and I am sure even he at times finds it hard to talk about them), but it is the fact that he is being “real” that is so important.  He is being himself, sharing his life experiences with his friends, in return it helps hm to cope with the situations that he is blogging about, but at the end of the day, it is about who he is, the “real” Micah.  That takes a lot of courage and I respect him for that.  In fact, I admire the fact that he is willing to be himself online as he is offline.

The second post was by a co-worker of mine, Melanie.   Melanie does a very good job as well about being “real” online as she is offline.  Even though she is on the West Coast and I on the East Coast, I still know that when I read her blog posts, that she is being herself.  She reminds me of the importance of being a good parent, a good citizen and a good human being.  She is not afraid to speak her mind, and for those that read her blog, they know who she is, and know that she is no different offline.

I have and always will be the same online as I am off, and I will always be able to be found as myself, no matter what the social network, social utility, <insert social buzz word here> thing is, I am who I am.  So as we become more personal online, I only hope that the final frontier of being personal is conquered and we can all just be ourselves.

The headlines of which are in my RSS reader, which are certainly not reflective of the actual newsworthy headlines from today’s “reputable” news sources.  Any who, like I was saying; I have a bunch of random thoughts around some of the things I have read today, so I thought what better way to make sense of them than to get them down on paper (well, not actually paper, but that is how the saying goes right?).

In no particular order or with no known logical rationale, here are my thoughts:

  • From Stuff White People Like – Unpaid internships.  This is something I should have considered while in college (unpaid internship that is), but oh that’s right, I could not go without making money since I was footing the bill myself (sound the violins now, poor me).
  • From TechCrunch – Propeller 2.0 Launches.  First thought was actually who gives a shit, but upon actually reading the article, I found some humor in their new mascot.  Reminded me of the propeller heads from the 50’s (that would be the geeks of the time).  Other than that, eh.
  • From Valleywag – Yang paves the way for ex-AOL CEO Jon Miller to join Yahoo board.  AOL ousts Miller less than two years ago because he was not the future for the company (although he did turn it around and got it on the path of being an ad based business).  Reported yesterday was the fact that their Q2 ad revenue was down to 1% growth.  You reap what you sow.  Looks like Yahoo recognizes him as someone who can make things happen and it seems like they are in desperate need of some help.
  • From Mixx – Husband wins divorce from angry wife in YouTube video. HA HA, I just laughed.  Nothing like airing your dirty laundry for the whole world to see.
  • From /Message (Stowe Boyd’s blog for those of you who were like WTF?) – Google Page Rank Patent Invalidated?  Could this be?  Could the mighty Google be in the wrong?  I thought their slogan (informal of course) was “don’t be evil”……. sounds kinda evil to me (if true of course).
  • From Andrew Hyde – When a dinner is more than a dinner. How come I was not invited?  Oh, I see, because it was in San Fran and I am in DC right now.  OK, I forgive you, but next time I better get an invite 🙂 .
  • From Jessica Mah Meets World – It’s so easy to fake being good at biz dev that even my baby brother can do it.  Hold your horses now.  I am sure your brother is smart and all, but I am willing to bet he would not last 5 minutes on a biz dev call with a major partner.  I mean, lots of things are easy to fake, but if you are faking it, you will be called out on the carpet really quickly.  It is one thing to fake it, it is entirely something different to be good at it, and from my experiences, great biz dev folks are hard to come by (just like great engineers are hard to come by).

OK, enough random thoughts for the day (well at least enough that I am going to include in this post.  My head is constantly filled with random thoughts, but that is a subject for another time my friend).

Guy Kawasaki has an interesting post today on how to change someone’ s mind through the power of persuasion. It got me thinking, are there varying levels of persuasion, and do some people have them by virtue by who they are?

Take Guy for example. He is an accomplished author, speaker, venture capitalist. One could argue that he is a very influential individual at least in the technology industry, right? I tend to think so, and because of that, I was compelled to read this post, even though he did not have to do anything out of the ordinary to get me to read it. That is some pretty powerful persuasion. I asked myself, would I have read this post if it was writing by someone that I did not follow? I am not sure, perhaps I would have, but it would have taken a very compelling stance to get me to click on any links within the post.

So then, is it safe to say that the less influential you are in your respective industry the harder you have to work on your power of persuasion? Or is it your power of persuasion that has made you so influential in your respective industry? I know that there are people out there that have perhaps gained their influence somewhat undeservedly, and have a following of people that would believe whatever they say. So do these individuals really have that much power of persuasion, or are the people that follow them so blinded by their enamor of said individual that they cannot see the truth? I do not know, but it is an interesting study nonetheless.

So how is my power of persuasion? Did you click on the link to Guy’s post? 🙂