Archive for the ‘wikis’ Category

No headquarters, no hierarchy

July 10, 2007

I had the chance today to hear a brilliant presentation by Charles Leadbeater. I wrote down a few key messages:
– Give people tools, see how they us them and only then, build your business model
– If you treat users as (just) consumers, you won’t be able to make them help you to innovate
– The most innovative organisations (based on free collaboration) today have no headquarters and no hierarchy, they are much quicker in innovation than any big fixed rigid organisation
– Succes may lead to conservatism. If you have a history of succes, you may tend to repeat what led you to succes.
– If you want to see your way into the future, act as you were a new entrant with low budgets


Wikipedia Mathematics

June 13, 2007

I wrote a post last week about the power law in the blogosphere.

Yesterday evening, I stumbled upon a report on wikipedia and I realized that the rules are the same: like links beget links in the blogosphere, edits beget edits on wikipedia. And the number edits obviously impact quality: there is a strong correlation for a wikipedia article between number of edits (and number of contributors) and probability to be featured (sign that the article is qualitative).

You won’t be surprised but it appears that the distribution of edits on wikipedia follows a long tail model. The long tail is maybe the T.O.E. after all 🙂

Based on the wikipedia correlation between quality and number of edits/contributors, I was wondering if wiki models could be succesfully used in marketing (to create an advertising or to gather business intelligence). I asked Clo what she was thinking about it and she sent me this great Kathy Sierra post.


Frankendog may be ugly, but he has some personnality

Please… draw me the chaos

April 4, 2007


I concluded a previous post by telling that some day, students in digital marketing may be forced to study chaos theory, nonlinear and dynamical systems to understand the web properly. Was that just a joke? Well, I’m not sure myself.

I just exchanged a few mails with a guy named Renaud Lambiotte, PhD in Physics and expert in complex and evolving networks (see CREEN project). I visited his website and I must say it’s quiet fascinating. Renaud Lambiotte focuses on the modelisation of internet patterns like social networking, virality or search engines (for more of those, pay also a visit to visual complexity)

I don’t really have a clue (yet) if this kind of research will eventually help us to define clearer rules of growth or help us pilot virality. But it’s really worth while for a digital marketer to read a little about complex networks in order to think about the media from another angle. Beyond esthetism, the modelisations show the power of the web.

I realize day after day, through my meetings with media planners that some (a majority) of them reject the web as a communication channel because they don’t master it like they master the TV, radio or dailies landscape. But the beauty of the web is that you never master its landscape but who cares… what’s matters in this beautiful chaos is how people interact and how brands can interact with consumers.

Wikipedia defines complex systems as a “new approach to science that studies how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment“. That’s what the study of today’ web is all about.

You can never go far enough

March 31, 2007

The first question of my FAQ was “How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?”

I don’t start with the easiest one :). I sent a mail to Joseph Jaffe to ask his opinion about this. He was very kind to reply and told me that “you (brands) can never go far enough”. In that matter, AOL showed the way with the famous “Is internet a good or a bad thing” campaign (UK) followed by an open discussion on their website (Unfortunately, I don’t think this was archived).

Of course, there are famous cases that went a little out of hand (Vichy France, Chevy Tahoe or the first version of the Coke zero blog) but in those 3 cases, there was a lack of awareness of what the new web was all about.

The womma set some rules that comes down to the Honesty ROI:

  • Honesty of Relationship: You say who you’re speaking for
  • Honesty of Opinion: You say what you believe
  • Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity

I tried hard and in vain to find examples that respected the womma code and that ended as a fiasco. On the other hand, except the AOL case, I don’t know any brand that dared to bring a controversial debate on its own website.

Should they? Isn’t the risk bigger than the potential benefit?

Let’s take extreme examples here: Should an SUV manufacturer or an energy company open a forum on global warming? Should Nike talk with its customers about children labour? Should a fast food giant open a debate on obesity related health issues?

What I usually answer on that question is that this conversation is happening anyway. The choice is not between let the conversation happen or not, it’s between participate or not.

But, IMHO, that matter becomes a little more complex when you represent a local branch of a multinational company (often with limited power to influence the value proposition).

Anyway, I try to present a set of rules:

– Think first 🙂 and understand how an open dialogue will serve your company objectives

– Respect the womma code

– Don’t bring controversy about your brand where there wasn’t (even if I can imagine exceptions to this rule)

– Be transparent on the moderation rules (if any) and know the difference between critic and trolls

– Be transparent about your sphere of influence (especially for local branches of multinational companies): Are you just an advocate of your employer or can you transform the feedback into a new value proposition?

– Do not enter that kind of action if you don’t have a clue of what the new internet is all about

The “you can never go far enough” of Joseph Jaffe could be one of the taglines of the book he will publish in october. I’m confident that Jaffe’s analysis and rules will be much more relevant than mine…

Reminder for myself: include the book in my letter to Santa along with a better english.

The web 2.0 lurning curve

March 26, 2007

Which percentage of web 2.0 users are contributors? Which percentage are just viewers? What’s the penetration of social bookmarking? What’s the level of education of the web 2.0 users?

A survey conducted by David White and completed by 1369 respondents (41% in the EU – mainly UK – and 59% outside EU) gives us interesting data about web 2.0 usage.

2 links to discover the results:

PDF summary (with charts and pies)

– The online summary (with the percentages)

The surprise comes from the high ratio of contributors. I wonder it the panel of respondents is realy representative and properly weighted.

The unwritten chapter

March 25, 2007

I mentionned earlier this week what Joel de Rosnay wrote about the ProNetariat. The approach of de Rosnay is very politic, confrontational and idealist. On the american side, Don Tapscott proposes a pragmatic and business-centric view of the same phonomenon.

Following the publication of his best seller book wikinomics in September 2006, Tapscott invites the public to write the last chapter of the book. This is still work in progress, so, if you feel you have a contribution to make, it’s here.

If you want a nice summary of the book, you can see and download a 82 minutes video of a presentation by Don Tapscott at the Cambrian House.