Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

20 December 2007

Angela's Industry Predictions for '08

At one of the publications I write for, the staff put together a list of industry predictions for 2008.

This was my list. If I am lucky and the rest of the team is as unhinged as I am, some of my forecasts will be published in a consolidated list.

Here goes:

  1. Microsoft offers VMware unparalleled success and lack of competition in the virtualization front, in exchange for its soul.

    VMware accepts. In February it unexpectedly releases a hypervisor called Metatron that empowers remote collaboration (including intercourse, as well as gardening) among cogs across sectors. It is available for a weekly subscription of $2500. All bow down -- and finally trash their white iPod earbuds, just for the hell of it.

  2. The rationale behind all of Six Apart's problems is revealed: it is run by Al Gore, who is using its financing as a front to fund his various inconvenient truths.

  3. Moleskine is purchased by Google, which uses its notebook technology as a platform for a new line of tablets that auto-populate syndicated content -- including email, calendars and blogs of choice -- in a quaint "moving paper" format. In Q3 of 2008, it will open to third-party developers.

  4. Steve Jobs begins sporting a white robe and tasteless Nikes. 2/3 of the world population follows suit. Around April, 1/3 of the latter will follow him into the mouth of a mountain and wait for the aliens. They will wait six weeks before a group of them go, "Screw this!" and go back down, bringing with them stories of Dionysic delights and animal sacrifices -- all to the sound of individual soundtracks.

  5. EU approves the Google/Doubleclick merger. The universe folds in on itself, a little like a teenager curling up into the fetal position, and we all die.
Happy holidays!

On Ensuring Social Networks Benefit, Rather than Harm, the Enterprise

MessageLabs has released a white paper called Online Social Networking: The Employer's Dilemma.

Its purpose is to distill the rift between social networking's popularity, and UK employers' attempts to yank it out of the workplace.

Social Networking Casualties

According to the white paper, social networking isn't the miracle of productivity some would have you believe it is.

Last we heard, the average active Facebooker logs onto the site about seven times a day. That's a lot of poking. "Social networking sites can be both addictive and time-consuming, damaging employee productivity," the paper reads. "Employees may spend an excessive amount of time on these sites."

No, we're not referring to the "social networking" implementation in your latest enterprise CMS.

Your employees network, all right -- on Facebook, MySpace and any of the hundreds of thousands of blogs of which they might be big fans. And productivity isn't the only thing that suffers; one fell (and totally traceable) comment made on your IP, or one irresponsible photo found on some intern's profile, and your company's image can be hurt, too.

"Employers may be identified and there is always the possibility of derogatory comments or disclosure of commercially sensitive information being made by an employee, which then becomes a permanent feature online," the paper preaches.

Damage Control

While an employer's within his rights to ban social networking from the workplace entirely (indeed, at least 43 percent of UK-based employers have), said employer is probably in for a morale backlash of epic proportions.

There are cases in which social networking is beneficial:
  • It is easy to maintain casual, friendly contact with valuable affiliates
  • It gives you insight on popular trends amongst those in your network (Facebook Newsfeed, anyone?)
  • Loose information on social networks, like user-generated reviews, can prove valuable -- even crucial -- to making product purchasing decisions
  • Strangely enough, appearing on a social network may construe a sign of legitimacy. Check out this story in which Steve Webb, a parliament member and one of the UK's Liberal Democrats, was kicked off Facebook on suspicion that he wasn't the genuine Steve Webb. Havoc ensued!
In other words, it isn't social networks that are bad; it's lack of education about the pitfalls and the possibilities.

Get it together!
  • Educate your employees about the merits -- and dangers -- of social networking
  • Consider compiling an enforceable and clear Acceptable Use Policy
  • Make sure social networking behavior observes any regulatory policies that apply to you. eDiscovery may prove especially sticky for Stateside companies. Under eDiscovery, any digital information they convey -- even on their blogs -- during office time falls under jurisdiction of the company. It can be used against the enterprise in a lawsuit, in some cases. And employers have the right to track all of it. With that said...
  • Use your best discretion to track employees' social networking behavior
Whatever you do, don't ignore the phenomenon.

"Given the ever-growing popularity of such sites and the potential consequences for employers of employee misuse, simply ignoring the issue can only lead to problems for the unwary employer," MessageLabs warns.

Download the MessageLabs social networking white paper, or check out what they've got on tap. (Did I mention they're a web security firm?)

17 December 2007


Q: Why do businesses still use phone numbers with words in them?

Once upon a time, this used to be a great promotional tool. But who still owns a landline with letters printed on the digit buttons?

This could be one of my "d'oh!" moments, but it's becoming increasingly frustrating to have to remember where all the letters should be when I need to call the bank (1-800-TO-WELLS) or some other people I must call for reasons that have nothing to do with pleasure (888-PEST-CTRL).

Then there's the Q and Z factor.

Whose idea was it to omit Q and Z?

And whose idea was it to decide those letters were OK to print on phones, just shy of the cell phone boom?

*throws imaginary landline across the room in Hulk-like rage*

13 December 2007

Disabilities (Can) Yield Competitive Advantages

Dyslexics make great entrepreneurs, says BusinessWeek. (Eh?)

Charles Schwab is cited as one example.

Well, while we're on the topic, don't even get me started on the benefits of Asperger's for engineers and technicians-to-be.

Okay, "benefits" is a strong word. But being possessed of a "healthy" mind lends us the luxury of cognitive laziness. I don't know much about living with dyslexia, but I do know that having to live with a sense of distrust for the way your mind works forces you to examine things more closely than most people would.

And learning to communicate with a person with Asperger's is an useful exercise in discovering how heavily people rely on semantic shortcuts, body language and restricted code in order to deal with each other.

A person with Asperger's will not comprehend the rationale for doing something unless you're able to clearly explain the methodology and its connection to the end result. For this reason, a number of them tend to excel in math or other "logical" pursuits.

12 December 2007

Adrants Hits Top of the AdAge Power 150

Back on top. Now, excuse me while I dance around the room in my underpants. (Thanks Bill for telling us.)

07 December 2007

The Father of the 'Information Age'

Here is an interesting video about Claude Shannon, the founder of information theory.

The work he did on how much information you could transmit, and how quickly you could do it without diluting the integrity of that information, paved the way for our digital renaissance.

Thanks Benj for pointing it out.

05 December 2007

Recent Editorial Observations

The lines of scrimmage in technology, content and consumer engagement are in an ongoing state of flux. What constitutes as legitimate "word of mouth" advertising, for example, is enjoying a reworking.

When BzzAgent was formed, the industry (and by implicit consent, consumers) agreed it was okay for a company to provide brand "evangelists" with promotional material if those people were forthcoming about what they were doing.

But Facebook's Beacon (now with reduced wattage!) was a tentative step in a new direction: can we air the purchasing activities of passive consumers and still call it word of mouth? (Or do we have to give it a new name -- "social advertising"?)

We can ask similar questions about the ongoing writers strike. What happens to proprietary work when it is repurposed for the internet? More importantly, how should creative minds be compensated when concerns loom that the internet may one day replace television and DVD sales?

Some say we should wait until it happens. Writers clearly feel this is an issue that must be addressed now.

Faced with a similar conundrum, the marketing and advertising communities, however, did wait until it happened. When eyeballs wandered away from television and print, old-school ad agencies floundered to keep in step without missing a beat, or a dollar.

In the new school of technology, content is repeatedly repurposed for use across multiple forms of media. As a result, audiences have become more critical of what we give them.

The results of the struggle to renegotiate ad space are promising, like some viral or pre-roll ad efforts, but occasionally dubious, such as the PayPerPost business model or "Free iPod!" lead generation tactics.

2008 yawns before us. What's next in the content platform shuffle?

It remains at your discretion.

01 December 2007

Are You There, God? It's Me, Angela

It's a sad day when your most gnawing concern about death is whether you can charge an iPod in hell.