The Idea Dude


Monday, December 31, 2007

The end of the beginning

As the year is about to roll out. I took one look at our website and realized that quietly and humbly, we have achieved everything we set out to do at TheGoodBlogs. We realized that as a website we can only do so much but as a network and a community we can collectively help each other in more far reaching ways.

Each time we show a blog title in our widget on your blog we count that as a blog promotion. To date, we have promoted our members a staggering 131,000,000 times! I would have loved to brag that we sent that same amount of readers to our bloggers. Alas anyone who has worked the ad game will realize that generally it takes 100-200 impressions to garner 1 click. It's a web law that is almost as accurate as Moore's law regardless of which ad sponsor or widget you use. It's simply trying to cut through the noise. On any given blog, a reader has a choice of 30-100 links that he or she can click on. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make it drink. I'm proud that we have led 131 million horses to our bloggers and many did indeed drink.

2008 will be an interesting year as we continue to figure out what's next for TheGoodBlogs. We have learnt so much in our short Internet lives. Most important of all, we have learnt that there is no free lunch to building communities and the onus is as much on the bloggers to do their networking magic as it is on the widgets they put on their blogs.

Along the way, I met so many bloggers who have become my web friends from all over the world. These are really smart people who have taught me about the web, about life and inspired me to write about me, my ideas and often about ideas I read on their blogs.

Sometimes I forget about how far I've come and how much we have achieved. I would never have believed that in the space of just over a year we could have promoted bloggers 131 million times.

And the phrase I loved the most? the numerous comments made on our member blogs over and over again... "I'm glad I found you through TheGoodBlogs". We helped people connect, we started conversations, ...ergo, we really did achieve what we set out to do. Sweet!

It is really just the end of the beginning.

May 2008 bring more blogs, more bloggers, more connections and more conversations.

Blog on!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The 10 best gifts that are worth a million dollars

It's Christmas Day. The stores are closed. And yet the best gifts could cost you nothing and each one worth a million dollars.

A Hug,
A Smile,
A Kiss,
A Touch,
A Memory shared between us
That means so much

A Song,
A Joke,
A Compliment or two,
A Conversation,,
These are the gifts
I give to you

Such gifts are timeless
The very best because they're free
My Time,
My Heart
I give to you,
From me

How many of these did you give away today?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The two best words in 2007

If you've been following my blog, you'll realize I love spinning and collecting "Two Words", like dangerously comfortable, intentionally serendipitous, life entropy, attention splatter, connecting dots, undeniable inevitability, future me to name a few.

But today it dawned on me the best two words is Thank You.

The blogs
To all the blogs that...

  • inspired me to be a better me,
  • challenged me to make it great,
  • touched my heart and made me cry,
  • taught me to write better posts,
  • shared your lives and made me laugh.

You are the essence of the Internet. The living conversation that has enriched my life beyond my expectations. Thank You!

My readers
To all those who passed by and read this blog. Thank you for giving me a moment of your time and indulging me in my reveries. You can choose from 100 million blogs, I am grateful you chose to spend a little time in my living room.

My friends
Truly all who came by and added their comments are my friends. Because you left a part of you and joined my conversation. Thank You for giving your thoughts and your hearts!

What's worth saying is definitely worth repeating...
Thank You

Monday, December 17, 2007

91 perfect snowballs

While others see snow blizzards, bad roads, countless hours shovelling snowbanks, my daughter only sees one thing. Snowballs. She is the silver lining in every cloud that may pass my way.

This afternoon in the wake of the storm, as I cleared away yet another snowbank, she busied herself with a very important task. The creation of a snowball pyramid. 91 snowballs in all.

We live in a modern age, and she had some help with two cheap snowball makers, basically a pair of plastic tongs with cups at the end (see picture).

The smile at the end of all this? priceless!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The price for being unremarkable

A while ago I blogged about Andy Sernovitz and his memorable quote for me...

Advertising is the price for being boring.

Today, I found a similar article on Fast Company quoting Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad. He said...

I believe advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.

I guess this is equally true about self-branding. We never think of what it is about ourselves that make us remarkable. If there isn't anything what should it be? Too often, we want to blend in, trying to fit to be accepted by our peers and all those around us.

We can't be all things to all people...

What is the most remarkable thing about you I should know?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Isabella's song

It needs no introduction, no explanation. It has no end.

It's a gift from Isabella that I found. Like the best gifts, that one receives, one should pass it on. So I left it on Liz's blog for all to enjoy.

So touched I was by it's simplicity and beauty...
I sang it here for all to see.
This is Isabella's song.

my verse is a dove
looking for a place to nest.
and with a roar it opens its wings
to fly, to fly.

my song is free
and wants to give itself
to whoever opens his hand
yearning to set the world free.

my song is a chain
without beginning, without an end,
and every link contains
the song of everyone else.

let’s never stop singing together
to all humanity.

a song is a dove
who flies so that it may discover.
with a thunder it opens its wings
to fly, to fly.

my song is a free song.

Truly, if there is one wish I would wish to come true is that this blog would be like her song, a chain of thoughts, each link a heart, so that all those come may know all those who came before.

If this struck a chord, or raised your wings, head on over to Isabella to thank her, because it is Isabella's Song

Monday, December 03, 2007

The difference of being IN versus ON

Alex at Read/WriteWeb says there's no money in the long tail. His point is extremely subtle but one worth noting, i.e. the difference between existing IN the long tail versus making money ON the long tail. 95% of websites and bloggers will secretly agree that making money through Adsense is really tough. If you're like the other 100 million bloggers out there, you can hope for a fist full of dollars a month. If you're doing it seriously (writing content daily, doing all the SEO goodness etc), you may at best make a couple hundred dollars. 1-2% will make thousands sometimes spending just as much to drive traffic through pay-per-click or other online marketing schemes. When people tell you how much revenue they are making, ask them about their cost of sales, their keyword spend, affiliate network. In reality, for most, the profit margins are far less stunning than the revenue they claim to make.

You see, folks like Google and Amazon make money ON the long tail. They are aggregators of the long tail. Taking 10c from a billion clicks is pretty good money, so is making a dollar or two off a million obscure books and DVDS. Not so for each contributor to the long tail who adds 100 clicks to the pool or manages to sell 100 books. These folks live IN the long tail.

There is pretty neat slideshow by 0'Reilly about Facebook. The long tail is just as evident there. 87% of usage goes to 2% of the applications. There are 5,000+ applications on Facebook. Those are pretty daunting odds to build a business. Sounds like a lottery to me. There's always a lucky winner who will tell you the system works but the only people that are guaranteed a payout is Facebook, the rest of us are really just buying tickets. Of the 2% that make up the lion's share of usage, messaging, dating, video, alerts and just for fun are the most popular by far. O'Reilly claims that less 1% (about 50) of the applications have more than 100,000 users.

I do love what social networking is doing to the way we connect to each other. I marvel at the Wikipedia and secretly hope it never dies. The web today is the Cluetrain Manifesto come to life. We're building conversations everywhere we look.

But at some point, you have to ask, are these really conversations or just noise.

Unbridled anarchy is not necessary a good thing.

We truly live in exciting times. Instead of a saddle, I have a keyboard. Instead of a six shooter, I have email, IM, LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, MSN. Oh, and my horse's name is Digg'er.

See you at the Facebook corral!