Quality

You know you are offering a quality product when your sales pitch consists in saying “check what others have to say about it on Technorati”.

If bloggers – the toughest critics there is, and a crowd you can’t buy – are on your side, it is probably because you are doing something right. A

Looking for Webmasters

I just got a request from someone (the UN this time) looking for a webmaster. This is the fourth demand this week, so if you are a good webmaster working in Geneva/Switzerland (or willing to relocate) and looking for a permanent job please send me an email asap I will connect you to some good and open positions.

In related news: another client (bank) is looking for good AJAX/HTML developers for 6 months to work on an exciting ebanking project.

Cluetrain

One of the common point between some of the LIFT06 speakers was that these people where cluetrainers. While that made sense for the American part of the audience, I had to clarify the meaning of the mysterious cluetrain references to a number of people. So today when I stumbled upon a nice summary of the book on Presentation Zen – linking to Robert and Hugh LIFT06 videos – I couldn’t resist. These points specifically relate to conferences, but more generally they refer to conversation and apply to the bloggers out there. Read a few lines of one of the most important manifesto of our times (and this blog longest copy/paste ever, sorry).

Top-10 Cluetrain Theses: Imperatives for presenters

(1) Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
Markets are not abstractions, and neither are our audiences. They’re people worthy of our full attention and respect. If we can remember that it’s about them and not about us…we’re on the right path.

(2) Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
I don’t hate politicians and I don’t hate marketers…but I hate the way they talk. “Mission-critical, forward-looking value propositions….” People do not talk that way! Many corporate speakers have a special gift for the “blah-blah-blah.” Is anyone listening? Speeches and presentation do not have to be be stuffy and dull, but neither do they need to be hyped-up and shallow — your audience is praying you’ll be different.

(3) Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.
Even if your presentation is directly sales related, you have to believe in your product (not the hype) deep down inside. I’m not talking about drinking the Koolaid kind of belief, I’m talking about believing in your product (your cause, research, etc.) like you believe in yourself. Speak to the audience like you respect them, like you think they are smart, like you think they are interesting. Don’t be a TV commercial. Commercials more often than not insult us. And even when they’re clever, we don’t really care and soon forget because…they’re not real.

(4) Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.
The best presenters take their cause and their audience very seriously…but they do not take themselves too seriously. They are relaxed…they have nothing to hide. At that moment, nothing could be better than sharing time with the audience, and the audience feels that.

(5) Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
Your speaking does not have to be perfect. In fact, perfect speech and too much polish may alienate a crowd. It’s not real. Each case is different, but an open, natural, friendly, relax approach — away from the podium — is usually best. People pay more attention to a natural, open voice. And few things are more boring for a crowd than the reading of a long manuscript from a podium.

(6) By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant, they build walls to keep markets at bay.
If you want your talk to fail, simply build a wall between you and your audience. There are many ways to do that: Speak in abstractions, stand in the dark, insult the competition, speak too long, create dreadful visuals, be evasive, and on and on.

(7) Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It can’t be ‘picked up’ at some tony conference.
You can learn a lot from presentation coaches and communication books, but this is not rocket science. We can be much better by simply looking at the presentation as an opportunity to have a conversation with others about something we care about. All the technique, training, and “PowerPoint” tricks are useless if the talk doesn’t come from your gut, from your heart and soul.

(8) The inflated self-important jargon you sling around — in the press, at your conferences — what’s that got to do with us?
Never try to impress. It didn’t work in high school (lord knows I tried) and it won’t work with your audiences (or your markets) either. A good presentation is like a good blog: it’s transparent, unique, fresh, honest, authentic, and accurate even if not perfect.

(9) If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.
Most sales presentations are designed by committee and sent to people in the field with scripts in the PowerPoint notes view. No wonder the presenter sounds distant and “corporate.”

(10) De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you.
As the Cluetrain authors say, people ”…do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations…” The best presentations feel like a conversation.

More info on cluetrain.com, and maybe next year my invite to LIFT will manage to get past Doc Searl’s spam filter 😉

Is branding the key success factor in technology?

With only a few developers and in only three months, Virtual Network managed to roll out their own blogging platform.

Virtual Network’s […] small team of developers put together in three months a new blogging platform for the firm’s popular web sites, Romandie.com, musique.com and jeu.com. […]

This is not very good news for pure-play blog publishing startups. If it is this easy for a web savvy startup to roll its own […] blog platform (based on open the pblogs open source software distribution), the future for pure-play blog publishing platforms, such as WordPress, Kaywa, Six Apart, Bloggers.it, Overblog, or any of the others that are active in the region, is going to be more limited […] than the hype suggests.

Link (thx Marco)

That is a consequence open-source has had on this market: you aren’t protected by technology anymore, as any competent person can replicate what you do in a few days (the good news: you can also replicate what your competition does in a snap).

Web companies are more and more like Nike or Sony. They sell the same core product/service than their competitors. Unable to gain an edge in that area, they focus on creating relationships with their customers via a set of values (or a cool design). Is branding becoming the key success factor in technology?

Related news: SixApart raises 12 millions

Une conférence exceptionnelle à l’ETHZ de Zurich: l’un des pères fondateurs d’Internet – Vinton Cerf – donnera une conférence sur sa vision d’Internet au 21ème siècle.

ETHZ Events: Tracking the Internet in the 21st Century

In his talk, Vinton will address the current status of the Internet, some of the technology changes that are driving its evolution, and some of the global policy issues that have to be dealt with. Among many such issues are included IPv6, mobility, increasing capacity in the core and the edges, broadband alternatives, competition, security and authentication. He will suggest a number of new applications relevant to business and research, before turning to the device-driven Internet that includes sensor networks, control systems, Internet-enabled appliances and so on. Finally, he will report on the status of the interplanetary extension of the Internet now underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

(merci pour l’info ChrisX)

Vinton Cerf conference in Zurich

Save the date, one of the fathers of the Internet will be speaking at the ETHZ on March 8.

ETHZ Events: Tracking the Internet in the 21st Century

In his talk, Vinton will address the current status of the Internet, some of the technology changes that are driving its evolution, and some of the global policy issues that have to be dealt with. Among many such issues are included IPv6, mobility, increasing capacity in the core and the edges, broadband alternatives, competition, security and authentication. He will suggest a number of new applications relevant to business and research, before turning to the device-driven Internet that includes sensor networks, control systems, Internet-enabled appliances and so on. Finally, he will report on the status of the interplanetary extension of the Internet now underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

(thx for the tip ChrisX)

Windows more secure than Linux and Unix?

The Register

Linux and Unix experienced more than three times as many reported security vulnerabilities (2,328) than Windows (812), according to the mighty US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) annual year-end security index.

Seems there is a real need to reconsider a few evidences of the IT industry. But:

Despite posting fewer vulnerabilities […], it is attacks on Windows that still cause more concern and generate most headlines.

The reason is that […] Windows has greater potential to cause harm because of its presence on desktops in the hands of users who receive self-propagating worms, click on email attachments and download malicious code. And while it seems just as each hole is fixed, a new vulnerability is unlocked elsewhere in the vast Windows code base.®

If Windows is 3 times safer but also 1000 times more common than Linux it becomes the most dangerous system in absolute terms. Statistics. Is the spread of an OS its worse enemy? Probably. I once heard someone wishing Apple would never make it big so that “OSx could remain unattractive for hackers”.