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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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January 24, 2006

Search for “uncle” on Google, and Yahoo shows up…

January 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

So here’s something you don’t see every day: a company conceding its market space to the competition. My favorite comment: “To boost revenue from each search, Yahoo! plans to make ads more relevant to search terms, meaning people will be more likely to click on them. Advertisers pay Yahoo! a fee when Internet users click on the ads.” What? Umm… won’t their ads be, you know, irrelevant (at least from a marketer’s standpoint) once folks stop using Yahoo! to conduct search?

Two fairly smart folks, Anne Zelenka of Anne 2.0 and Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion, took opposite viewpoints on this one; Anne says it’s all good, while Steve basically loses his mind and says, “Screw ’em.” As compelling as Anne’s argument is, I have a tough time agreeing with her overall. I think she’s right, in that companies can thrive in a knowledge economy by staking out its territory along the fringe (which vaguely echoes the old Reis and Trout positioning mantra, too). Additionally, I think she’s taking a look at the broader picture and looking for alternative forms of success. Admirable, though I’m not fully convinced that that’s the right way to go on this one.

Steve’s probably gone around the bend on the other side, but I think he’s closer to the fact on this. Except for one thing. To his comment, “I have no interest in using a product that the company doesn’t aspire to make best of breed,” I ask one question: what kind of cell phone do you have? ‘Cause pretty much all of them in this country are pretty lousy. Anyway, I do think that Yahoo! is taking an odd approach on this one and is going to hurt themselves in the short term. It does make me wonder what they’re up to in the longer term. And, drawing on Anne’s advice one more time, it might be worth some deeper, more reflective thought.

Tim Peter

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January 24, 2006

And now a word from the Buddha…

January 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

So, I’ve recently started reading Anne 2.0, Anne Zelenka’s personal blog, and certainly one of the most distinctive voices I’ve run across in analysis of the technology and web world. Anne does a really amazing job of integrating her life into her writing without coming across as some kind of self-absorbed, navel-obsessed wonk. A model more bloggers could follow.

Regardless, Anne posts a fascinating little bit that references an older post by Clay Shirky from 2005. If that weren’t enough, the thing that makes it more fascinating is her emphasis on the value of this older material, noting “People have been saying smart things for millenia.” She even manages to cite the Buddha, which doesn’t hurt her point. I think you can add one more thing to that millenia-long list of “smart things”. Hers.

Now, we’ve all been taught for the last handful of years that “first mover” opportunity is too important to pass up. Of course, I think we’ve learned that it’s really less about who gets there first, but who gets there best. In Sergio Zyman’s book “Renovate Before You Innovate”, the author discusses how marketers can turn the old into the successful, even capturing a new audience. I think the lesson that each of these folks offers is simple. Try not to reinvent the wheel.

Tim Peter

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January 24, 2006

Either I’m the guy from “A Beautiful Mind” or there’s a trend going on here…

January 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

The New York Times has an article about recommendation engines, while BusinessWeek is writing about Yahoo’s acquisition spree. The interesting meme in each of these is the strong support for services that use humans to build the index (which Yahoo! has always done), as opposed to software (the Google way). It seems Yahoo! is betting the farm on their vision of content, where the user community itself decides what works best. I think they’re onto something here. Stay tuned.

Tim Peter

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January 23, 2006

When you’re ready to start that next company of yours…

January 23, 2006 | By | No Comments

This is a pretty useful read. Very enjoyable, and very useful.

Tim Peter

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January 23, 2006

I’ve hit the big time!

January 23, 2006 | By | No Comments

OK, not really, but the New York Times has an article in yesterday’s online edition called “This time, the revolution will be televised,” that reads an awful lot like my “The future (will|will not) be televised” post from last month. If I were paranoid or egotistical, I might think that the Times was ripping me off. Good thing I’m neither of those.