Following up on last year’s post, here’s the 2006 rundown of the sites and services that I plain old refuse to live without. While I limited it to 5 last year, there’s just too much good stuff this year. Here’s the honors list:
- del.icio.us — Sure, I put del.icio.us in the first spot last year, too, but I can’t imagine what I did before it came along. Best service going.
- Last.fm — I love this site. Lots of folks seem to talk about Pandora as an equal, but I think Last.fm beats it hands-down. It seems to play the right song everytime.
- O’Reilly Safari — O’Reilly launched this a couple of years ago, but it’s come on strong lately, increasing their book selection to include business texts as well as technical references. While I don’t use it religiously, I still haven’t considered ending my subscription. They’re definitely onto something here.
- YouTube — Um. Duh. Is there anyone on the Web who doesn’t use YouTube regularly?
- Ballbug — While I still spend more time with tech.memeorandum, its kid brother provides me the information I used to not have the time to get to. And with only two months until spring training starts, you can bet I’ll use it even more.
- Flock — Firefox 2.0and IE 7 got all the press, but Flock might demonstrate where browsers are going better than either. I switched to it pretty exclusively until Firefox 2.0 came along, and still use it a couple times a week. And yes, I do refuse to link to IE 7. You can just do so much better, Redmond-ites. For one thing, you could let me save RSS feeds to…
- Bloglines — OK, Google Reader has made some nice changes lately, but Bloglines still works better for me. I’m curious to see how this plays out in 2007.
- Google Analytics — Along with MyBlogLog, it provides me all the information I need to run this site. Surpisingly powerful for its cost (that is, free), particularly when compared with heavy hitters like Omniture or Hitbox. It provides the best of the basics, along with a handful of more sophisticated analytics. Well worth checking out for your site’s metrics.
- FeedBurner — I had to get FeedBurner in here someplace. Almost half my regular readers get their daily dose through my feed alone.
- Meebo — I don’t know what’s going to happen to a site like Meebo if we ever get interoperability among messaging standards, but, until then, what a great tool.
- I felt this list wouldn’t be complete without at least a couple of blogs that I also can’t do without, especially since I’m seriously behind in updating my blogroll. Along with the regulars of Anne, Robbin Steif, and Fred Wilson, I’m a huge fan of Sam Decker, John Jantsch, and David Armano, too. Enjoy them.
Much like last year, I’ve got an honorable mention, and once again, it’s Google. While some backlash is beginning to make the rounds, they still do so many things so right. Along with Analytics and Reader mentioned above, their Docs & Spreadsheets, News, personalized home page, AdSense, Desktop, etc. provide so much value. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, they also bought YouTube. I’m with Richard MacManus on this one. They’ve had quite a year.
Update &mdash Michael Arrington and C0. have a comparable list. Well worth checking out. 800-Free-411 was new to me and particularly cool. Enjoy!
I’ve been going through my analytics a fair bit the last couple weeks to wrap up the year and I noticed the number of page views I receive from a given source varies widely. It seems to me that those referring sources that result in the greatest number of page views per visitor would appeal to folks on my site, too. I looked at those that deliver both a decent number of visits so as not to skew the results and a pageview per visit count higher than my site’s average for all visitors.
Without further ado, here’s my “If You Like This Site…” list for 2006.
- GigaOm — I’ve been a fan of Om for some time. Between his own site and Web Worker Daily, I probably read as much in his network as anywhere.
- Infomania World — Ellen’s site is new to me, but worth checking out.
- John Blayter — John is an old friend of mine who I just re-connected with this past year. Makes for a good New Year’s Resolution, I think.
- Anne 2.0 — It’s probably no secret that Anne is my favorite read on the Web. Anne also writes for Web Worker Daily and has her professional blog at tech decentral. Still, I most enjoy her work at Anne 2.0 the best.
- Buzzoodle — The buzz marketing space is not an area of expertise for me, so I’m curious to see what Ron has to say at his site.
- John Battelle — John wrote “The Search” (also available in paperback). I read him just about everyday. He gets the search engine space as well as anyone I’ve seen.
- Redeye VC — Josh Kopelman founded Half.com (later acquired by eBay) and now runs his own venture capital firm. Definitely worth checking out.
- iPlot — I first ran across Tim Leberecht this past April and he continues to impress me. One comment: Tim, you might want to goose your font size up a shade for those of us whose eyes are going a bit
- Thoughts Philosophies — I only found out about Carolyn Manning a couple weeks ago and think she’s terrific. She’s more on the inspirational/motivational end of the scale, which I like for a change of pace.
- LunaMetrics — Robbin Steif is a fantastic critical thinker, mainly focused on the analytics space. Well worth the read for anyone who relies on traffic for their income.
Until now, I haven’t read all of these either, but you can bet I’m going to start checking them out a little more closely. Enjoy!
Seth Godin clearly has food on his mind lately. First it was waiters, now this. And he’s dead on the money. I waited tables through high school and college, and still think of it as the best customer service training I ever received. Customers in restaurants know what they want, even when they’re uncomfortable communicating what it is. The beauty of the system is its immediate feedback. Waiters who meet their customers’ expectations get good tips; poor waiters wonder why they get the “bad tables,” the ones who tip so little. As I mentioned earlier, you should celebrate great customer service experiences, wherever you find them. Consider what you say the tip you leave behind.
My wife got me John Berendt’s very engaging “The City of Falling Angels” for Christmas. The book discusses the political and social realities in Venice as seen through the eyes of a number of Venetians. I’ve only finished a handful of chapters so far, but the book fascinated me with the example of Archimede Seguso, an octogenarian glassblower who has created truly remarkable vases and glass figures for the last seventy years. According to Berendt, “Archimede was the twenty-first generation and one of the greatest of them all” (emphasis mine). In other words, this man, representing a family (brand) with a 600-year tradition of excellence, continued to push for improvements in his family’s art (product). And succeeded. Berendt continues, “He was the first glassmaker…with an exhibition in the Doge’s Palace in St. Mark’s Square. Tiffany sold his pieces in its Fifth Avenue store.” Not too shabby.
Separately, Nick Rice recently talked about Auto Alternative, who provided customer service that went above and beyond most consumers’ typical expectations. My local brew pub is my favorite place to eat, not because they offer an excellent menu (which they do), but because they seem genuinely glad when I walk through the door and demonstrate their appreciation throughout each of my visits.
The common thread is businesses (artists, craftsmen, whatever) that insist on exceeding their customers’ expectations.
Now that the holiday season is over, it’s easy to talk about companies that created poor customer service experiences. So don’t. Whether it’s on your own blog or in the comments here or just among your friends, share these examples and any others you can find. It’s time to stop bitching about companies that do it poorly and start celebrating the ones that do it right. Customer service is not dead. Ignore the companies that fail to deliver and they’ll go away. Make 2007 the year you raise the bar for your expectations, the expectations of your customers, and the expectations of everyone you know.
The week and the year are winding down. In case you missed any of these, here are some of the most popular posts this year (based on traffic).
Why seven? I dunno. These felt like the right combination for me of popular with readers as well as representing items I feel comfortable pointing out. Let me know what you think about any or all of the above. Enjoy!
Lots of folks, such as Anne and Judi Sohn on Web Worker Daily, are talking about New Year’s Resolutions. While you’re working on your New Year’s Resolutions this year, resolve to do as little as possible. Seriously. Listen to finance guys for a change. You’re spread too thin, right? Why continue spreading yourself thin on stuff with low returns? Instead, spread yourself thin by putting as little effort as possible into things with the potential to generate large returns. The Nobel Peace Prize went to Dr. Muhammad Yunus for realizing the smallest amount of money, applied to the right investments, can do more to change the world than throwing a lot of money at solving problems on a macro level. Imagine what the Gates Foundation’s money could do spread around that way. Hell, imagine what half that money could do.
With the exception of love and friends, you’ve got a limited supply of just about everything worth having. Whether it’s money, time, your customers’ attention, what-have-you, scarcity rules. This year, fight fire with fire. Focus on the bare minimum you can do to get the greatest return, then focus your energies on that and give yourself more remaining time, money, etc., to apply to the other areas in your life. That’s a resolution anyone can live with.
(Credit Where Due Dept. – A shout-out to Chad Dickerson for the original post that set me off this thread. Chad’s an enjoyable read. Check him out.
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