Getting Inside R

Forums and Minerals, the new Internet tools
Image via Wikipedia

I loved the new upgraded design of Inside-R, Revo’s new(?) community.

And promptly shot up a blog application.

What makes Inside- R- slightly better than SDC, Analyticbridge,PlanetR and R _bloggers (with due respects)

  1. Open Id logins (I think thats a new and good step)
  2. Options for automated feed parsing for blogs
  3. More than just a blog aggregator- includes sections on other stuff- thus more like a community than a big feed
  4. Abbreviated feeds- just gives you two-three lines of summary per post  than the whole big schmakaround -thats a time saver for me —(D Smith is the only -lonely blogger atm there)
  5. The more the merrier- One more place to read and write R.


btw is the name insider (as in guy who knows inside stuff) or Inside- R (as in get inside the R box)- just kidding. With PlyR, ManipulatR, ApplyR and now Inside R- the pun gets MerrieR

If my blog app gets rejected- these views may change ,grr


Blogging Motivations

Doctor Girlfriend
Image via Wikipedia

My blogging motivations

1. Sum up your blogging motivation, philosophy and experience in exactly 10 words:

I am addicted to writing prose and poetry ergo blog.

2. Pass it on to 10 others.

3. If you read this and are blogging and have not yet done this, consider yourself tagged.

From: Dr. Girlfriend

 

Interview John F Moore CEO The Lab

Social Media Landscape

Here is an interview with John F Moore, social media adviser,technologist and founder and CEO of The Lab.

Ajay-  The internet seems to be crowded by social media experts with everyone who spends a lot of time on the internet claiming to be one? How  does a small business owner on a budget distinguish for the correct value proposition that social media can give them. 

John- You’re right.  It seems like everytime I turn around I bump into more social media “experts”.  The majority of these self-proclaimed experts are not adding a great deal of value.  When looking to spend money for help ask the person a few questions about their approach. Things you should be hearing include:

  • The expert should be seeking to fully understand your business, your goals, your available resources, etc..
  • The expert should be seeking to understand current management thinking about social media and related technologies.

If the expert is purely focused on tools they are the wrong person.  Your solution may require tools alone but they cannot know this without first understanding your business.

Ajay- Facebook has 600 million people, with people preferring to play games and connect to old acquaintances rather than use social media for tangible career or business benefit..

John- People are definitely spending time playing games, looking at photos, and catching up with old friends.  However, there are many businesses seeing real value from Facebook (primarily by tying it into their e-mail marketing and using coupons and other incentives).  For example, I recently shared a small case study (http://thejohnfmoore.com/2010/10/07/email-social-media-and-coupons-makes-the-cfo-smile/) where a small pet product company achieved a 22% bump in monthly revenue by combining Facebook and coupons together.  In fact,45% of this bump in revenue came from new clients.  Customer acquisition and increased revenue were accomplished by using Facebook for their business.
Ajay-  How does a new social media convert (individual) go on selecting communities to join (Facebook,Twitter,Linkedin,Ning, Ping,Orkut, Empire Avenue etc etc.
How does a small business owner take the same decision.

John- It always starts with taking the time to define your goals and then determine how much time and effort you are willing to invest.  For example:
  • LinkedIn. A must have for individuals as it is one of the key social networking communities for professional networking.  Individuals should join groups that are relevant to their career and invest an hour a week.  Businesses should ensure they have a business profile completed and up to date.
  • Facebook can be a challenge for anyone trying to walk the personal/professional line.  However, from a business standpoint you should be creating a Facebook page that you can use to compliment your other marketing channels.
  • Twitter.  It is a great network to learn of, to meet, and to interact with people from around the world.  I have met thousands of interesting people, many of which I have had the pleasure to meet with in real life.  Businesses need to invest in listening on twitter to determine if their customers (current or potential) or competitors are already there discussing them, their marketplace, or their offerings.
In all cases I would encourage businesses to setup social media accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.  You want to ensure your brand is protected by owning these accounts and ensuring at least the base information is accurate.
Ajay- Name the top 5 points that you think make a social media community successful.  What are the top 5 points for a business to succeed in their social media strategy.

John-
  • Define your goals up front.  Understand why you are building a community and keep this goal in mind.
  • Provide education.  Ideally you want to become a thought leader in your space, the trusted resource that people can turn to even if they are not using your product or services today.
  • Be honest.  We all make mistakes.  When you do, be honest with your community and engage them in any fall-out that may be coming out of your mistake.
  • Listen to them.  Use platforms like BubbleIdeas to gather feedback on what your community is looking for from the relationship.
  • Measure.  Are you on track with your goals?  Do your goals need to change?
Ajay- What is the unique value proposition that “The Lab” offers

John- The Lab understands the strategic importance of leveraging social media, management and leadership best practices, and our understanding of local government and small and medium business to help people in these areas achieve their goals.  Too many consultants come to the table with a predefined solution that really misses the mark as it lacks understanding of the client’s goals.
Ajay-  What is “CityCamp in Boston” all about.

John- CityCamp is a FREE unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organizations (http://www.citycampboston.org/what-is-citycamp-boston/).  It brings together politicians, local municipal employees, citizens, vendors, developers, and journalist to build a common understanding of local government challenges and then works to deliver measurable outcomes following the event.  The key is the focus on change management, driving change as opposed to just in the moment education.
Biography-

John F Moore is the Founder and CEO of The Lab (http://thelabinboston.com).  John has experience working with local governments and small and medium business owners to achieve their goals.  His experience with social media strategies, CRM, and a plethora of other solutions provides immense value to all of our clients.   He has built engineering organizations, learned sales and marketing, run customer service teams, and built and executed strategies for social media thought leadership and branding.  He is also a prolific blogger as you can see by checking out his blog at http://thejohnfmoore.com.

The SEO mess on joining blog aggregators

 

Mug shot of Paris Hilton.
Image via Wikipedia

 

If you are an analytics blogger who writes, and is aggregated on an analytical community- read on- Here’s how blog aggregation communities can help you lose 30% of all future traffic long term, while giving you a short term.

The problem is not created by Blogging Communities (like R-Bloggers, or PlanteR, or Smart Data Collective or AnalyticBridge or even BeyeBlogs )

It is created by the way Google Page Rank is structured- you see given exactly the same content on two different we pages- Google Page Rank will place the higher Page Rank results higher. This is counter intutive and quite simple to rectify- The Google Spider can just use the Time Stamp for choosing which article was published where first (Obviously on your blog, AND then later to the aggregator).

How bad is the mess? Well joining ANY blog aggregation will lead to an instant lift of upto 10-50 % of your current traffic as similar bloggers try and read about you. However you can lose the long term 30% proportion which is a benchmark of search engine created traffic for you.

So do you opt out of blog aggregation? No. It’s a SEO mess and it’s unfair to punish your blog aggregator, most of whom are running on ad-supported sponsors or their own funds on dry fumes to publish your content. Most of the fore mentioned communities are created by excellent people I interacted with heavily- and they are genuinely motivated to give readers an easy way to keep up with blogs. Especially Smart Data Collective, Analyticbridge and R-bloggers whose founders I have known personally.

You can do one thing- create manual summaries in the excerpt feature of your blog posts- it’s just below the WordPress page. And switch your RSS feed to summary rather than full. It avoids losing keyword rank to other websites, it prevents the Blog Aggregation from gaining too much influence in key word related searches, and it keeps your whole eco system happy, Best of All it helps readers of Blog Aggregators- since most of them use a summary on the front page anyways.

An additional thought on Google Page Rank- something I have sulked over but not spoken for a long long time.  It ignores the value of reader- If Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and 500 ceos from Fortune 500 companies read my blog but do not link to it- it will count daily traffic as 500. Probably it will give more weightage to Paris Hilton fans.

A suggestion-humbly- you can use IP Address lookup of visitors to see if traffic is coming from corporate sources or retail sources -Clicky from GetClicky does this. Use it as feedback in Google Analytics as well as Google Trends.

And maybe PageRank needs to add quantity and quality of visitors as additional variables . Do a A/B test guys some Chi Square juice- its not quite Mad Men Adverting but its still good fun.

 

PageRank
Image via Wikipedia

 

and the world is one big community as per xkcd


Business Analytics Analyst Relations /Ethics/White Papers

Curt Monash, whom I respect and have tried to interview (unsuccessfully) points out suitable ethical dilemmas and gray areas in Analyst Relations in Business Intelligence here at http://www.dbms2.com/2010/07/30/advice-for-some-non-clients/

If you dont know what Analyst Relations are, well it’s like credit rating agencies for BI software. Read Curt and his landscaping of the field here ( I am quoting a summary) at http://www.strategicmessaging.com/the-ethics-of-white-papers/2010/08/01/

Vendors typically pay for

  1. They want to connect with sales prospects.
  2. They want general endorsement from the analyst.
  3. They specifically want endorsement from the analyst for their marketing claims.
  4. They want the analyst to do a better job of explaining something than they think they could do themselves.
  5. They want to give the analyst some money to enhance the relationship,

Merv Adrian (I interviewed Merv here at http://www.dudeofdata.com/?p=2505) has responded well here at http://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/23040/white-paper-sponsorship-and-labeling/

None of the sites I checked clearly identify the work as having been sponsored in any way I found obvious in my (admittefly) quick scan. So this is an issue, but it’s not confined to Oracle.

My 2 cents (not being so well paid 😉 are-

I think Curt was calling out Oracle (which didnt respond) and not Merv ( whose subsequent blog post does much to clarify).

As a comparative new /younger blogger in this field,
I applaud both Curt to try and bell the cat ( or point out what everyone in AR winks at) and for Merv for standing by him.

In the long run, it would strengthen analyst relations as a channel if they separate financial payment of content from bias. An example is credit rating agencies who forgot to do so in BFSI and see what happened.

Customers invest millions of dollars in BI systems trusting marketing collateral/white papers/webinars/tests etc. Perhaps it’s time for an industry association for analysts so that individual analysts don’t knuckle down under vendor pressure.

It is easier for someone of Curt, Merv’s stature to declare editing policy and disclosures before they write a white paper.It is much harder for everyone else who is not so well established.

White papers can take as much as 25,000$ to produce- and I know people who in Business Analytics (as opposed to Business Intelligence) slog on cents per hour cranking books on R, SAS , webinars, trainings but there are almost no white papers in BA. Are there any analytics independent analysts who are not biased by R or SAS or SPSS or etc etc. I am not sure but this looks like a good line to  pursue 😉 – provided ethical checks and balances are established.

Personally I know of many so called analytics communities go all out to please their sponsors so bias in writing does exist (you cant praise SAS on a R Blogging Forum or R USers Meet and you cant write on WPS at SAS Community.org )

– at the same time someone once told me- It is tough to make a living as a writer, and that choice between easy money and credible writing needs to be respected.

Most sponsored white papers I read are pure advertisements, directed at CEOs rather than the techie community at large.

Almost every BI vendor claims to have the fastest database with 5X speed- and benchmarking in technical terms could be something they could do too.

Just like Gadget sites benchmark products, you can not benchmark BI or even BA products as it is written not to do so  in many licensing terms.

Probably that is the reason Billions are spent in BI and the positive claims are doubtful ( except by the sellers). Similarly in Analytics, many vendors would have difficulty justifying their claims or prices if they are subjected to a side by side comparison. Unfortunately the resulting confusion results in shoddy technology coming stronger due to more aggressive marketing.

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