Category Archives: Web2.0

How to Raise Your Visibility on the Web, Part 2

How to Raise Your Visibility on the Web, Part 2

We’ve talked about how getting your own domain name can give you immediate exposure on the Web in my previous article, for my friend who wants to use the Internet to find a job. It’s a first step, that provides the virtual equivalent of an online resume. Now, what’s the next best way to “get your name out there?”

2. Get on the major Social Networking Sites

They’re no longer considered “greasy kid stuff” and recruiters and employers are searching some of them. I’ll mention just two, to keep down the noise level, and the activity required to get value from them.

It’s the “buttoned down” version of social networking. It’s no-nonsense, professional, and has a relatively good signal to noise ratio. It’s been reported that most executives from Fortune 500 companies network here along with over 30 million other members. It works on the premise of “6 degrees of separation” — that through six levels of connections that you have in your network, you likely know someone who knows someone else… who knows Kevin Bacon, or that hiring manager at the company you’re interested in. You create a “profile” which is essentially an online resume, which features your distinctives and job history. This profile is found at www.linkedin.com/in/YourName. See mine by clicking the link above.

So, in my case for example, I have over 500 direct, or first-level connections, that ultimately connect me through their connections, to over 6.5 million professionals. You can recommend people you are connected to, and ask the same in return. Similarly, you can connect to organizations, companies you used to work for, or your old school — as a way of networking with people you know with the intention of connecting to people you’d like to know. LinkedIn has also added your company and industry news, notifications of who your contacts have connected with, and other more popular “social media” features that include suggestions of contacts and job postings you might be interested in. The “Q&A” feature allows you to ask questions of subject matter experts, or to offer answers from your own experience.

While not as robust as Facebook, LinkedIn also features “groups” that you can associate with, if the moderator of that group approves you, that include discussion threads. These appear as “badges” on your profile. They may be associated with your company, alumni associations, your industry, or your interests.

Very recently, LinkedIn has added an “application” platform to their stable of services, not unlike MySpace and Facebook before them. Initially they offered less than a dozen, but among them is the ability to add a feed from one’s blog or Twitter feed.

TIP: Fill out your LinkedIn profile as completely as possible, listing all past companies, schools, and associations. Then you’ll be notified of new members from those organizations, as they join LinkedIn. Also, LinkedIn offers job agents that look for job openings for you, based on filters you set up. Some job listing are only offered on LinkedIn, or appear on LinkedIn first.

Check out an excellent article on Mashable called How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn.

Sure, it started at Harvard as a virtual whiteboard for student’s dorm room door, but it has evolved, and is now the fastest growing social network with 120 million members. And not just among college students. While the largest demographic is 18-24, the next largest group is not teens, but 25-35. And many articles on Business Week have discussed how the 35-and-over crowd is flocking to Facebook as an augmentation to their business networking.

For example, many companies and brands have “Groups” on Facebook. Some have a variety of different groups around special interests, products, and issues. Groups allow association, photo sharing, discussion threads, etc. But “Networks” are a bit different. You can join your company’s network if you have an email address like YourName@company.com. Similarly, you can join your school’s network if you have an email address like YourName@school.edu. Finally, you can join a network associated with your city or geography, if it is part of your profile’s address.

Facebook offers a very rich set of “applications” that permit everything from tie-ins with other services to various “tag-you’re-it” games. While some might be considered a bit adolescent, others are very useful in connecting to job opportunities. It is said that there are some 280,000 applications in use among all Facebook members.

TIP: Not only fill out your Facebook profile completely, listing schools and professional associations, but check out some of the applications for ways to connect to more people you know, or might like to know. Be careful of privacy settings for each application however, as some of them reveal parts of your profile that you may not be aware of when you turn them on.

Caveat 1: Though social networking is popular in the US, ironically, we lag in the usage of this kind of technology worldwide. The leader in this is Asia, with South Korea being one of the top users, in much the same way as it is with SMS or “text messaging” on mobile phones.

Caveat 2: The current Social Network Sites (SNS) are growing at different rates. While Friendster was popular years ago, it was eclipsed by MySpace. Though MySpace is still quite large, Facebook, at least in the US is growing faster. But these are all, for the most part, “walled gardens”. While there is some openness to their APIs, most of the social currency that one invests in the site remains with the site and is not portable to other sites. I expect that this will evolve until social networking becomes a “feature” of most Web 2.0 experiences.

Opportunity 1: Many people use several Social Networks to build out their “social graph”, how they’re interconnected with others. The two I’ve mentioned are by no means the only two, nor are they the most popular, but in terms of raising your visibility for employment by “getting your name out there,” they are perhaps the best available… for free. Other popular Social Networking sites include Flickr, YouTube, Orkut, Bebo, Hi5, Ning, Xing, BigTent… the list goes on.

Opportunity 2: As mobile devices evolve, these Social Networks become alternatives to older Web 1.0 technologies. For example, the iPhone has applications for both LinkedIn and Facebook that are sufficiently mature enough to be useful. LinkedIn becomes the professional address book and Facebook becomes the alternative to email and instant messaging chatting.

How will this raise your brand-name awareness? Increasingly, HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers are scouring all possible online resources to learn about potential employees. LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most popular locations for employers to find out about people, and vice-versa. Many employment consultants recommend maintaining a current LinkedIn profile.

Beyond the personal, major US online retailers are using Social Networking Sites to promote their brands.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

How to Raise Your Visibility on the Web

How to Raise Your Visibility on the Web

Recently, a friend of mine who is doing a job search asked me:

Bill… Petro… dot com, how did you come to get a .com after your name, and more importantly, how could potential employers find me more easily on the InterWeb?


And well he might ask. Aside from using your own private and personal networks to find employment opportunities… if you want to jumpstart your presence on the Web, here is a list of things you might do to increase your visibility, and enhance your brand appeal on the Web.

I’ll describe these in descending order, with the most impactful, and least time intensive first.

1. Get your own domain name

2. Get on the major Social Networking systems

3. Get deeper and wider to make your name more pervasive

First, let’s start with the easiest and most immediately impactful thing:

1. Get your own domain name

There’s nothing more powerful than having a “dot com” after your name. This was the first thing I did back in the mid ’90s and I called it then “the personalized license plate for the Internet.” There are several immediate benefits to this:

  • It’s easy to explain to people where to find you on the Internet. If they can remember your name, they can remember where you are.
  • Conversely, it’s a easy way for people to remember your name. When I introduce myself as “Bill Petro dot com” it’s novel and memorable. However, people have asked me if I’ve legally changed my name.
  • It increases likelihood of your name showing up on search engine hits.
  • You’ve now got the equivalent of an online resume!

This domain can be “hosted” by an number of companies, rather inexpensively, requiring only an additional annual registration fee to hold your name. Most hosting companies (Internet Service Providers) can handle both of these for you. On the Internet, names are “first come, first served” so act early and often. If YourName.com is not available, try some of the following:

  • Your-Name.com Not as good, but at least it’s a dot com.
  • YourName.net A popular alternative, though dot net is usually an ISP.
  • YourName.org Typically a non-profit name, but at least you get your name in lights.

Some register all the popular domain endings for their name. This is a good way to protect your name if you can afford it, and many big companies have done the same. But this is not the only way to leverage “YourName.” Will discuss more in my next article.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

VMworld 2008: Day 2 Review – Virtually Anything is Possible

VMWORLD 2008: DAY 2 REVIEW – VIRTUALLY ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

VMworld is not just a trade show about virtualization, it uses virtual technologies and Web 2.0 technologies in a way I’ve never seen before. Here’s an example:

Blogging:

IMG_0145Not only is blogging encouraged, but it is honored. There is a special set of tables in the keynote auditorium for bloggers to set up their laptops for blogging. Or in my case, I was Twittering about the keynote with my iPhone. Indeed, during yesterday’s keynote with with VMware CEO Paul Maritz, the announcer invited attendees to use Twitter to send in their questions. The person next to me was from Denmark and didn’t understand what I was doing. He had never heard of Twitter, so I sent him to Twitter.com. By the way, my real-time “Tweets” (noun form of Twitter) on this show can be found at this link. Note, they’ll appear in reverse chronological order, most recent at the top.

Podcasting:

IMG_0153John Troyer of VMware, blogger and podcaster extraordinaire, was doing several podcasts live from the Communities Lounge at the Solutions Exchange on the show floor. John is very involved in VMware’s blogger community and end user communities. He has lots of community management experience. Here you see John interviewing user moderators from VMware’s communities. You’ll find John at the VMTN Blog and his podcasts here.

Virtual Pavilion:

MainFloorWhile this is a show about virtualization, there is also a virtual show going on at the same time. Eric Nielsen, VMware’s Director of Web Communities showed me around the virtual, online pavilion.

You can access it directly from the VMworld.com website, or from here. It is a two dimensional virtual world that an attendee can navigate through and visit various rooms.

As an attendee navigates around the Virtual Pavilion he or she can see other attendees, participate in contests and games, gain points for answering questions on multiple choice questions, etc. This virtual navigation system is a 3rd party module for Clearspace, the social networking technology that VMworld.com uses. There are even “Expert Sessions” non-synchronous “events” — talks that you need not be present to hear — where a speaker will provide audio, video, content or a whitepaper which is then attached to a forum. The expert will visit daily for the next two weeks to answer any questions.

restroomThe Virtual Pavilion also features 15 “hidden rooms” where you can find special clues, quiz answers, and secret codes for a free t-shirt at the Communities Lounge. One of these hidden rooms is the Restroom, which itself has a portal to a hidden room.

Eric manages VMworld.com year round. It is active not just during the semi-annual shows, but throughout the year. Various Partners have “booths” here. Can you find the “hidden room” in the Dell booth?

Blogs:

And as I mentioned before, the VMworld.com website features attendee blogs as well, found here.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

VMworld 2008: Day 1 Keynote

Paul MaritzVMWORLD 2008: DAY 1 KEYNOTE

Following yesterday’s opening event, both the Technology Exchange and Partner Day, the conference started in earnest today with a keynote by Paul Maritz, VMware President and CEO.

Paul is quite an articulate speaker, sounding both like a savvy businessman and an erudite professor. For many, his accent is difficult to place, is it Australian, South African? Turns out he was born in Zimbabwe, next door to South Africa, but he went to school in Cape Town, South Africa. Someone remarked that he pronounces some words like Sean Connery. Paul did work at University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Sean Connery grew up in nearby Edinburgh, Scotland.

Back to the keynote, Paul amplified many of the concepts introduced and announced yesterday, specifically by drawing on the past to explain where VMware is going in the future. I found the history a good review of many of the events I’d witnessed in my own long career with computing, and a fascinating basis for describing where he sees the company going, as well as a foundation for the many announcements this week. How did he do this?

Two Models

He went back to the ’60s and ’70s (mainframes) and outlined the contrast between the Centralized vs. De-centralized models of computing. While he did not say so, the industry has swung between them several times over the last 30 years. He pointed out that we initially saw mainframes in the early days, and the proliferation of PCs in the ’80s. The early ’90s saw the rise of x86 Servers as well as the rise of the Client/Server model.

A Third Alternative

He quipped that it’s ironic that he is now profiting from his previous sins in promoting the Client/Server model, which got us into a world of hurt so that we now seek another path, the best of both the Centralized and the De-centralized models. The advent of the Web in the mid-’90s offered the promise of this. He paid tribute to the founders of VMware, who started the company ten years ago back in 1998.

VMware’s Initial Offerings

He described VMware’s early efforts with both VMware Workstation (on the client, or De-centralized side in 1999) as well as the early VMware Server (GSX, on the Centralized side in 2000.) He pointed out that many other companies are currently virtualizing on the Centralized (server) side, but reminded us that VMware has done both sides, but raised the bar in 2004 with the introduction of VMware Infrastructure, a higher level of abstraction than either Server or Client side virtualization.

Paul pointed out that the “Best of Both” on the Web is now more promising with a variety of new (Web 2.0) technologies like AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML), Ruby on Rails, and Python. 2007 saw the launch of VMware’s Fusion, virtualization of Windows on the Macintosh and the popularity of Cloud computing.

It’s The Platform

At this point, I reflected that during my career I’d seen software engineers write to whatever the leading “platform” was at the time. In the ’80s it was Unix, and particularly SunOS (Solaris). The virtuous cycle had the platform supporting applications that led to more volume… which made the platform more viable. With the rise in popularity of Windows, it became the platform of choice. In the mid-’90s it was Java, with the promise of “Write Once, Run Anywhere” across a variety of devices. But last year, it became clear to me, especially following VMworld 2007 in San Francisco, that VMware was becoming the “platform”. Both the Press and the Analysts “got it,” and Wall Street saw a huge jump in VMware’s stock price following the ESXi announcement and others.

The New Platform

VDC-OS So, what’s the new “platform”? Paul explained the Virtual Datacenter OS, or VDC-OS. It is a way to support a variety of current popular “platforms” line .Net, Windows, Linux, Java, Software As A Service… with Application vServices that provide Availability, Security, and Scalability. This rests upon Infrastructure vServices called vCompute, vStorage, and vNetwork… as well as Cloud vServices. These in turn live on either the On-premise cloud, or an Off-premise Cloud (for additional resources.) Meanwhile, all of this can be managed by vCenter (the rebranded Virtual Center management framework) which handles both Application Management at the top end and Infrastructure Management at the backend.

To this end, many announcements fit into this new, higher level of abstraction. Once again, VMware raises the bar.

Thanks for coming along,

BillPetro.com

iPhone 3G Launch: a Tale of Two Cities and Two Vendors

iPHONE 3G LAUNCH: A TALE OF TWO CITIES AND TWO VENDORS

Remember the old Far Side cartoon that shows a couple thinking about each other — with the commentary “Same planet, two different worlds”? That was the sense of the first day the iPhone 3G went on sale in the US.

It seemed that the two partners — AT&T, the exclusive carrier in the US, and Apple, the creator of the new device — had no idea of what the other was doing. AT&T referred customers to Apple, and vice-versa. Most of the AT&T stores sold out of stock early the first day, Apple had stock well into the evening. This is the story of the AT&T Store in Colorado Springs and the Apple Store in Denver, Colorado.

Folks started showing up at the AT&T store in Colorado Springs around noon the day before the new iPhone 3G went on sale. Calls to the store the day ahead said they were prepared, following their experience selling the iPhone 1.0 a year earlier. However, they sold out an hour and a half after opening. Police appeared when the natives became restless after they heard that they couldn’t get a “rain check” for additional phones that would come later, but could happily order and pay for a device they’d get in 7 to 10 days. When asked, the store manager said that the Police were there for her protection. She said this out loud?

The more popular 16GB device sold out early, to a person who had been standing in line since 4:45 am that morning. A number of folks where there to get their 1st generation iPhone “unbricked” as they’d installed the pre-release version of iPhone 2.0 software the day before and their device was now unusable. Alas, no joy for them as the manager didn’t know what a “brick” was.

Some of the iPhone Phans headed north to Denver, to the main Apple store in Colorado. Their experience was very different indeed. While the line was quite long, the Apple employees made the wait fun. Indeed, while waiting and participating in the “gallows humor” associated with such a long line, the following table of comparisons between the two stores was developed:

AT&T, Colorado Springs

Apple Store, Denver

Inventory

Sold out by 9:30 AM

In stock until late at night

1st in line

12:30 PM day before

5:30 AM morning of

Number in line at 8 AM

125

275

Security

At store opening

Through the Mall

“How many in stock?”

“We don’t know”

“We have enough”

Last person to get 16GB

In line at 4:45 AM

All day

Snacks

0

Water, candy, chips, nuts

Answers

None

Lots

Can you fix my “brick“?

“What’s a brick?”

“Sure”

Workers on hand

10

100

Doors between customers

Locked

Cheers

Activations per minute

0.5

1

The Apple employees came by from time to time with a cart filled with soda, water, candy, chips, and nuts. Medical application of chocolate can be a strong palliative and it appeared with abundance. The Apple Store is located in the Cherry Hill Mall in Denver, the most high-end mall in the state and a busy mall on any day. Other provender could be obtained by foraging, including pizza and Mrs. Fields cookies.

The mood in the rather long line was high — this was a media event. Nothing like it has occurrence except a movie debut or a new music album release… or a new video game release could compare. But this was just a phone — or was it? Comments like this got mock stern looks from the Apple employees working the lines an comments like “You, out of line!” Regular nervous requests to these employees of whether they’d have the coveted 16GB model were met with “We have enough.”

As people got to the front of the line, some having waited for 7 hours, they’d be escorted into the Apple Store. These entrances were accompanied by cheers from those in line behind them knowing that their turn was coming up next. Ben was the Apple employee extraordinaire who performed this duty with good humor and grace. Inside the store there were a number of stations where numerous orange t-shirted Apple employees quickly and efficiently processed and fulfilled the order. They would ask a series of questions to understand any special circumstances. If you had a special AT&T contract though, they’d have to forward you over to the “specialists” at the Genius Bar. If, for example, you had a special company discount on your AT&T contract they could not apply the new iPhone 3G to that contract. However, they were MOST careful to make sure people left the store with a new iPhone — much more motivated than an AT&T employee — and made numerous calls to insure that. A suggestion to a customer that they could buy it more efficiently with the discount applied if they went to the AT&T store elicited a “been there, done that, they’re sold out” (see above) did not daunt them, and they found a way to address the special need. This was customer service par excellance.

Is it the iPocalypse?

The first day of the iPhone launch has been called the iPocalypse as device activation often failed, especially earlier in the day. This was caused by a “perfect storm” of several factors, all on the same day.

  • To minimize jailbreaking 3G iPhones — unlocking devices to run on other carriers, a common occurrence on an estimated 20% of the 1st generation iPhones — AT&T and Apple required that all new 3G iPhones be activated in the store before departure. And this practice was to be carried out worldwide, as the new device was being sold in countries other than the US. This put a considerable strain on Apple’s iTunes servers, which did the activation.
  • The new iTunes and iPhone 2.0 software (discussed in my previous article) were released on this day for download from Apple’s servers.
  • The Apple AppStore debuted on the same day, putting an enormous strain on Apple’s servers as people downloaded many new iPhone apps.
  • MobileMe, the new incarnation of the .Mac service, debuted on the same day putting an incredible strain on Apple’s servers.

Are you seeing the trend here?

I’ll discuss this more in my next article: the iPhone 3G experience, post-hype, some 8 weeks later.

Thanks for coming along,

BillPetro.com

To Twitter Two Twitters To Tweet

oscar.jpgI love movies, and I love the Academy Awards show. I’ve watched it each year for decades, but I did something this last Sunday that I’ve never done before. I tracked comments on the show via Twitter. There were about a thousand “tweets” on subjects related to what people were wearing, what jokes worked or didn’t, snarky comments about acceptance speeches, critiques of commercials, etc.

As you may know, Twitter is a “micro blogging” technology that I like to call a “presence management” tool. Think of it as “broadcast instant messaging” where you send out 140 character messages to your “followers” people who subscribe to your Twitter feed. I usually write about where I am in my travels for work and what I’m speaking about. My feed can be found at: http://twitter.com/billpetro

I have about 70 people who follow me, and I follow about the same number, it’s rather symetrical. But Sunday night, people used a feature of Twitter in an innovative way: by flagging your “Tweet” (message post) with the string “#aa08” they could be tracked by various other tools, like “Twemes” at http://www.twemes.com/aa08 that show just post related to the Academy Awards 2008 show.

tilda_swinton248a.jpgIt was like a real-time “Mystery Science 3000” event where your buddies are sharing sometimes hilarious comments about what’s going on. One I laughed out loud for in particular was “Ron Weasely wins best Supporting Actress award” referring to the red haired character in the Harry Potter movies. Briton Tilda Swinton won the award, and has bright red hair (though you’ll remember her as the White Witch in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”)

What’s amazing is the ecosystems that are growing up around innovative technologies like Twitter. This tool has often been called a solution in search of a problem. I think we’ll be seeing other applications of this kind of social technology.

BillPetro.com

Welcome to TechTrends!

WELCOME!

The purpose of this weblog is to provide observation, insight, and analysis of new trends in technology to people who can benefit from it.

The audience is intended to be those who are technically literate, without having to be on the bleeding edge of the digerati. The approach will be introductory, rather than how-to, showcasing some of the latest emerging technologies.

Out primary focus will be on information. So much of our modern lives and business dealings involve the quick, efficient, and effective use of information. And with the amount of digital information growing exponentially, today’s challenges around information include:

  • Where to find the right information?
  • How to make sense of it?
  • How to store and manage it?
  • How to communicate it to the right people?

Our approach will include observation about the trends, some analysis of its velocity and likelyhood of mass acceptance, and finally some potential practical business application of the technology.

Some of the topics I’ll cover in this blog will include:

  • Blogs (web logs): what are they and is it catching?
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication): just another TLA or the start of something big?
  • Virtualization: why is this one of the biggest trends in computing?
  • Social Networking: How are people using sites like LinkedIn and Facebook?
  • Podcasting: you don’t have to be a DJ, but you can play one on the Internet.
  • Wiki and Wikipedia: collaborative content and the free encyclopedia.
  • Answers.com: ask Mr. Dictionary/Thesaurus/Encyclopedia/Web.
  • Smart Phones: cell phones meet PDAs
  • PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants): Palm and PocketPC
  • Search Wars: you’ve made it through the Browser Wars, now what?
  • Mapping: how does Internet mapping suggests location based services?
  • Malware: Spam, virus, adware… oh my!
  • IM (Instant Messaging): the new e-mail?
  • SMS (Short Messaging System): the new IM?