Does Your Blog Have a Name?

Horse with No NameCue the music. The tin sounding voice starts and you just know it’s some cool rocker with the life experience of hard living. “You’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name …” or maybe the internet with a no name blog.

It screams apathy if your blog is your company name, domain name, or simply “blog”. You might as well be the same as everyone else. In the technology industry, the lazy just stream duplicate content across the web from Techadvisory.org. They can’t put a name with the blog because it’s not theirs. To compound matters, the content is pretty basic and often has nothing to do with what those organizations really do.

Name your blog if you’re considering one for your business or have started a blog, but just not branded it. The last time I checked, there were several hundred million articles on naming your blog. Probably just a few dozen are actually relevant, but that’s a different topic. Naming your blog can be summarized into just a few points:

  1. Readable, pronounceable, and spellable
  2. Concise, unique, and memorable
  3. Descriptive and not generic keywords
  4. Personality, reader focused, and ever green

The first one is fairly obvious like Prince, who changed his name to a symbol and got lost in obscurity. Memorable is tough, but unique and concise are generally fairly easy. Your name should be for your readers that sets the tone, but gives you enough flexibility to change focus or expand content over time.

Absurdly, most articles about naming blogs are either on nameless or hapless blogs. This blog’s name is Adroit. Beyond the clever definition, it’s easy to read, say, and spell. Adroit is a relatively unique name as any other similar named blogs are sparse or long abandoned. The tagline of “Virtual CIO and Digital Marketing Blog” is used to tell readers specifically what the content is about. Adroit kind of sounds technical while short and almost playful. It’s a name that will hopefully last for a long time.

Now lock in that blog name. (You can even announce it as one of your blog posts.)

Cue the music. Lynard Skynard begins to wail “What’s your name …”

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Technology Writers on Notice in 2014

2014 LogoIf you’re a journalist in the technology industry, then one of your resolutions should be to get your act together. Let’s start with Christopher Mims’ 2013 Was a Lost Year for Tech. In a word PATHETIC.

Mims doesn’t work in the industry, but had a deadline and went to a tired formula of: negative, salute to the favorites for advertising, trivialize the new, bash Microsoft for fun, and tell the industry it’s arrogant.

For the record, technology has been the main industry that has brought the U.S. economy back. Like in most years, it’s really the software that was the story and not the stray gadgets like wearables. Why pay homage to Apple, while giving back-handed comments about Google and Microsoft?

The tired “Microsoft is evil and the PC industry is dead mantra” just screams out of touch. Microsoft wrote off $900 Million for Surface RT, but that pales greatly to the $29 Billion in iPhones unsold in the channel by Sprint and Verizon. Smartphones and tablets proliferate, but maybe since Microsoft supports popular products like XP for over a decade people are simply keeping their computers longer? Microsoft killed the stack rating nearly 2 months before the Mims bashing comments.

Yes, there were acquisitions and mergers that are usually lauded in other industries. Instead of discussing how Silicon Valley has hurt manufacturing and jobs, why not talk about 3D printing that will make us competitive again? Mims redeems himself somewhat with insight on social media and the NSA, but the damage was already done.

Go write for the tabloids if you just want to cause controversy. Your job is to report the facts and give something helpful for your audience. Cut the crap with the tired old formula, as my resolution this year is to regularly expose such drivel.

2013 Virtual CIO Blog Review

This is the annual report from WordPress.com. Blog posts increased to weekly, page views nearly doubled versus last year, and the most notable referring site was LinkedIn. Obviously, no one got the April Fools joke and interestingly several of the most popular posts were from the prior year:

  1. WordPress.com Google Authorship (November 2012) – Author rank will be one of the most important aspects of content marketing in 2013.
  2. SEO Sabotage (September 2012) - For the effort involved, you could definitely work on improving your own content and value to customers. Hopefully, tools like the Google Hummingbird will eliminate this pending cottage industry.
  3. Ballmer and Microsoft Misconceptions (August 2013) – A short review of mainstream media referenced as obviously doing no fact checking.
  4. iPhone 5 Flop (September 2012) – Apple sold millions of the new device, but failed to meet sales expectations. Maps was a huge debacle, battery life is still bad, iTunes continues to wipe data, and e-mail ActiveSync problems remain.  Apple stock is still down overall and the hip and young crowd no longer think Apple is cool.
  5. Java Fades to Oblivion (January 2013) – The year started with CNN reporting on yet another Java vulnerability. Java developers continue to dwindle, Java updates rarely work as the bane of security audits, and the world will be a safer and simpler place without Java.
  6. 10 Modern About Page Tips (January 2013)  - Approach and presentation is dramatically different from the 5 paragraphs of boring text.
  7. 25 Expert WordPress.com Principles (January 2013) – Get to writing, avoid common mistakes, and accelerate your success.
  8. 10 Things to Know About Microsoft Partners (April 2013) – 20 years of insight about being a Microsoft Partner revealed.
  9. Authorship: Does Your Baloney Have A First Name? (September 2013) – Why would anyone believe anything from a nameless and faceless author?
  10. Testimonials Are Contrived (October 2013) – Testimonials are just another commercial.

THANK YOU for following this blog and I look forward to providing more expert business, marketing, and technology insight for 2014!

Back to Facebook

Social Media Image
OK, I was wrong. I really didn’t think Facebook would survive. It was a fad that would fade away like Myspace. So, just another lesson to learn about people and in turn business.

Facebook was a curiosity I signed up for long ago just to understand the buzz. Technology is the broadest field of any, but you can’t really claim to be a technology expert and not know the basics of something hitting mainstream consciousness almost daily.

Search Engine Optimization was the craze at the time, so obviously it was my place to be for backlinks and a company page. Reading a lot growing up, I was always amazed about Asian culture and how over crowded and lacking in any privacy for the average person. Facebook felt like it could be that way. Then the rules changed and that funky little Facebook language for company pages changed decimating a two weeks worth of effort. Matrixforce serves organizations and not consumers, so the company page was abandoned. My Facebook presence was on auto-pilot while I went on to WordPress, Expert Articles, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Squidoo, Google Plus, and HubPages.

In the mean time, Facebook had the IPO, made numerous changes including vanity URLs for users and organizations, and has even managed to make money. Time flies and you’re there. Plus, unfortunately you do have to get the experience to have the wisdom of how all these services should be used.

Since Facebook is not going away, I used our trademark status to wrestle our Facebook URL from some security guard company in India and we’ll begin filling in the timeline, as we do a pretty fair job providing content for clients. Personally, my Facebook page will be … well … personal.

That’s the thing you learn: unlink your accounts because you should have a different persona on different services. Like probably a lot of people, I linked my Twitter account to everything. It was lazy, simple, and easy. However, that approach just spams the other services with the same stuff and what is appropriate for Facebook, may not be good fit for something like LinkedIn.

For my Facebook friends (which truly is a pretty small set of family, friends, classmates, etc.) don’t be alarmed when my account is largely decimated and changed. There may be the weekly post from my blog, but everything else will be personal. Go to the Matrixforce Facebook page if you want the business and technology stuff and you’ll just have to see how I use the other services.

Twitter Bootstrap Mania

Twitter Bootstrap
There is so much that happens in technology that the general public doesn’t realize. Twitter Bootstrap is one of those new (first released in 2011) and little known technologies. It has nothing to do with tweets or business startups. Instead it is revolutionizing websites and many organizations today are beginning to utilize this new paradigm:

  1. Mobile first. The concept means all pages are automatically sized from large displays down to tablets and the small screens on smartphones. Menu options are also toggled into a list for mobile devices.
  2. Standard set. Much like Microsoft set the standard for putting applications in “program files”, Twitter has defined standard names for sections of the page, common styles, and class objects. Now web development is more consistent and easier to maintain across any platform. The current version is 3.0 and new features are sure to be added each year.
  3. Sticky Header or Footer. Since it’s common to have the navigation fixed at the top of the screen, users can always quickly switch to another page and footers no longer need redundant menu links.
  4. Responsive and stylized images. Images automatically grow and shrink with the different sized displays and difficult graphic effects like rounded corners and circles are now one simple command.
  5. Nimble and dynamic. Websites are never done and now Twitter Bootstrap allows organizations to quickly deploy and change web presence for any event or customer need.

Legacy web designers and graphic artists have voiced backlash against Twitter Bootstrap as too confining and all the sites looking the same. Many initial Twitter Bootstrap sites do simply have a plain black or white menu. However, theme sites like Wrapbootstrap show how varied and attractive such sites can be, while adding incredible usage and functionality. Make plans now to convert your websites to Twitter Bootstrap in 2014 or you may risk looking dated and unuseable in this fast-moving mobile era.

HubPages Pursuit

HubPages App IconHubPages is an a community site for writing, pictures, and video. The content ranges from art to technology and most things in between. This unique platform gives you another piece of the web to promote your products and services in an interesting format.

HubPages has been around since 2006 and unlike a blog, you can have hubs about various topics. Your motivation should really be about providing something different while improving your skills. Almost no one gets rich from writing, even though there is a great deal of information about ad revenue, affiliate programs, and increasing traffic. After blogging for nearly 5 years and working with Squidoo for a year, here are my initial impressions:

  • A stellar hub or post has: an attractive format, succinct and compelling summary, minimum of 1,150 words, minimum of 3 photos, at least one video or podcast, at least one map or table, and at least one quiz or poll.
  • HubPages is rewarding for accolades in hub views, number of followers, questions made, questions answered, and best answers. There is also the Hub of the Day and Annual Hubbie Awards.
  • 10 hubs is the level you must be at to be established and the highest accolade for number of hubs is 10,000!
  • You can create a niche with a Hub Group and there is plenty of information about linking and being search friendly.
  • It’s a mostly a family place with no sex, hate, gambling, illegal downloads, or affiliate marketing topics allowed.
  • If you have some videos or podcasts already, then you are ahead of the game for content.
  • Images must be properly attributed to the source and author. To make Hub of the Day, the first graphic must be sharp and clear and originally 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall.
  • One of the best features of HubPages is Following for Topics and even other Hubbers, because you get feeds on your interests, along with a perspective and feedback opportunity of like-minded authors.

Since there is not much information published about it, my first hub is Visual Studio Bootstrap Journey.

Comment Privacy Removed

Privacy Image

YouTube removed anonymous pseudonyms for commenters and now requires a Google Plus account. From the uproar and petition of over 100,000 people, you’d think this change was damaging. However, the issue is not about privacy, but rather SPAM.

No courage or integrity is required to type some drivel, hate, or nonsense as an anonymous comment. Google is simply cleaning up its act and making YouTube a safer and more thoughtful place. Yes, a Google Plus account is required as it will be the main access to all Google services, just like a Live ID for Microsoft or iTunes account for Apple.

If you think it is exposure to have your thoughts and opinions linked with your identity, then maybe you’ll take more care in expressing yourself. Starting with the first computers, every interaction was recorded. Currently, that concept is just magnified in each device, room, vehicle, and street corner. If you try to live off the grid like the Amish, you’re still on record for taxes and unwittingly captured by cell cameras and satellite feeds.

The thoughts in your mind are the only true privacy today. If you create a pseudonym, aren’t you by definition doing something illicit?

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, then quickly followed by Christmas. Let’s be thankful that the digital world is becoming a better place, where everyone takes responsibility for their actions by name. Sure, there will be discourse and humor and all matters in between. However, for certain, your online activity is being recorded and may be retrieved or republished by others.

Twitter Reality

Twitter Reality ImageWikipedia has a plain definition of Twitter, but the reality of Twitter is just a quick and simple way to broadcast or scan for brief messages. Twitter is now valued at over $31 billion, in spite of relatively few users of less than 50 million U.S. users per month.

Like most social media, Twitter depends upon the ego of twitterers to freely share 140 character messages with or without photos. Then you follow those you admire, or simply find interesting. The premise is that the more you share, the greater the likelihood of attracting more followers.

For organizations, the business value of Twitter is the allure of inexpensively reaching more potential customers. The hook for Twitter is selling advertising, so promoted tweets are seen by more people. This paradox is the fascination and dilemma for business.

For the most part, your posts (called tweets) are simply fired out into cyberspace. If you happened to catch attention on Twitter search or trends, you might have a few people become followers. While your tweets are listed on follower pages, they may not be seen because of the flood of other followed tweets.

So businesses really have two choices: play the ego game constantly posting tweets and chasing followers, or leverage strategy around this communications medium. The ego game is exhausting. Only important figures, celebrities, and athletes can draw millions of followers. And don’t forget that no one really wants to hear about your organization or be sold on anything.

The 4 best Twitter business strategies are:

  1. Get in the game. When you’re missing in action, your competition is all potential customers notice. Take a few extra minutes and fully fill out the profile with a quality background, header, and photo image. Remember that the bio should answer some reason why others should consider you, and definitely not the typical brag of the leading or most qualified whatever. Also, consider that if you don’t currently have a Twitter account, the competition or anyone can poach your business name unless you have a trademark.
  2. Post well. Although the mantra is that you should tweet one or more times per day, it’s fine to only tweet every few days when you have something interesting or important to share. There are only 3 reasons a business should tweet: advisory on a real-time event, advice linking to a blog post or video, and helpful information from third-parties in your industry. By not playing the ego game, you are infinitely more interesting and trustworthy than self-promoting companies arrogantly touting the greatness of their offerings and mundane tasks.
  3. Publish the widget. By putting your Twitter feed on your home page or blog, you’re relevant and regularly changing. While the competition is static and silent, you can quickly update your customers real-time and allow them to follow you going forward. Speed of broadcasting is Twitter’s most valuable feature.
  4. Leverage lists. You don’t have to bare your soul on Twitter. By not posting ego tweets, you avoid the risk of potentially offensive public relations nightmares. In addition, creating private lists allows you to monitor your customers, competition, or any interest without displaying as followers. Lists for the news let you quickly keep current, while an industry list may just give you interesting content to share with your audience.

It’s still common to hear things like “Our company will never do Twitter” or “If you tweet, are you a twit?”. Billions of dollars later, this is the Twitter reality: stay on the sidelines and be forgotten, yammer senselessly about yourself or your organization, or take the business approach above.

Follow Kevin Fream on Twitter.

Innotech Oklahoma Technology Bubble

Innotech Oklahoma Image

Innotech Okahoma for 2013 was the culmination of another technology bubble that’s already burst. The Cox Convention Center was a great venue, that with the matching Ford Arena will draw regional events from larger metropolitan areas like Dallas and Kansas City for some years to come. The Innotech personnel were top-notch and their expertise for putting on events always shows.

However, it didn’t matter as November 7, 2013 in Oklahoma City was when the technology industry imploded once again. The cause is mainly a disconnect from reality for both the public and the technology channel. There are over 35,000 businesses in the city proper of both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In start contrast, attendance was a minimal 1,000 or so attendees.

It’s amazing that virtually no one can do their job or have any quality of life without technology, yet Continuing Professional Education (CPE) in technology represents only 1% of content and most working adults only get the wash of cable TV as learning after their formative years. The major part of the huge apathy is misconception of “Innotech is just for geeks right?”.

As a speaker and exhibitor, many of the comments were also telling like “People get fired for even mentioning the word cloud” or a smirking “Aren’t you embarrassed to represent Microsoft Cloud Services?”.  It doesn’t matter what type of organization, you will never even get close to offering the security or compliance of Microsoft. With Office 365 alone running a nearly $2 Billion per year run rate, detractors are as foolish as they are ignorant.

The booth next door was a staffing firm that paid to have the Thunder’s Rumble as a draw. Staffing dominates the Oklahoma technology channel, with large employers paying outrageous fees for inordinate salaries. Meanwhile old technology and basic infrastructure jobs are being decimated nationally. In an industry where good people are always in demand, it’s frequently puzzled me why you would hire an employee through a staffing agency. The prospective employee doesn’t have the ability to get their own job versus other candidates. Plus, that person and the staffing agency are simply motivated to go to another unsuspecting company as soon as possible for higher salary and fees.

Twitter has a multi-billion dollar IPO for a web site that hosts text messaging. Big industry players are buying small companies with unknown value for billions as well. Haven’t we heard all of this just 10 years before? How long can Wall Street continue to tell investors that the iPad Mini and Gold iPhone really are different from the iPad and iPhone of 2007?

For all of these reasons, it’s official. The technology bubble has burst and it’s reached the conservative center of the nation. Next year the Innotech should be in south Tulsa away from downtown and government employees who can spend no money, perpetually captured by beltway bandit contracts. Tulsa is generally 10 years ahead of Oklahoma City in technology and business savvy, and I’m betting attendance will be much better next year in a growing over-taxed and high unemployment economy.

Horrific Technology Expectations

Frightening House In MoonlightAlthough it’s Halloween, most people have horrific technology expectations all year round. Yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified for 3 1/2 hours before the House Energy and Commerce Committee concerning Obamacare implementation. Being a former insurance commissioner, Sebelius knows insurance and is very articulate. However, the damage was already done. Her only choice was to apologize profusely, accept blame, explain where possible, and pledge to do better.

Putting political views aside, expectation levels were set far too high on the implementation of Obamacare. In fact, the spectacle televised yesterday is a common occurrence in businesses large and small around the world every day. The only difference is that there is no video of the carnage.

Pick any technology project and various camps have their own agenda. For whatever reason, software troubles tend to be personal. With any hint of problems, the attack is always on who is to blame. It’s a fruitless endeavor as the real issue is correcting problems and preventing similar mistakes in the future. The first and on-going mistake is failing to set reasonable expectations upfront, and communicating potential pitfalls throughout.

If the message from the President had set a different tone and progress regularly communicated, then the nation wouldn’t be quite so upset at this late juncture:

We are embarking on one of the greatest endeavors of our time to build one of the largest and most sophisticated systems to provide affordable healthcare options to everyone. The timeline is aggressive and at startup, there will be more people accessing the system than the largest websites in the world combined. The demand will be high and we anticipate some potential glitches, but are committed to providing this service and appreciate your support and patience.

Timeframes and budget are difficult to control in large technology projects. You’re not building a road. There are dozens of more things out of your control. Sebelius drew a line in the sand for when all the problems would be resolved. Like in Obamacare fails with custom code, there is a high likelihood that new needs will surface as “problems” and trigger more costs now and for pending upgrades in just a few years.

Perhaps all of the above is Project Management 101, but we’re missing another basic understanding. It’s amazing that after nearly 70 years, there is no general term for people who provide technology that parallels attorney, doctor, or accountant. No Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) exists for the majority of the technology industry either. Since technology will increasingly be at the forefront of virtually every modern issue, maybe this oversight should be corrected soon?