Monthly Archives: December 2008

“Motorcycles finally go green” – really?

Wired Autoblog closes the year with a roundup of the half a dozen green bike orientated stories it has already run. No “new” news but OK as an intro to the subject. The article and comments pickup on the difference (for existing bikes) between good fuel economy – tick – and low pollution – uh, not really. As my Aprilia hardly gets 30mpg and 120 miles on a tank I am not even sure on the first point…

The more discussion the better, but I can’t see a lot more R&D money going into it in the next few years unless battery technology really changes.

PS why? – as usual the US comments have their kicks at the liberals and big government, or hit back at the failure of free markets – is every blog post on any topic grist to the mill for this poorly thought out rhetoric? Play nicely, children…

Measure your influence

Are there trustworthy analytics/metrics for measuring “influence”? In the web 2.0 world we count hits on the blog, friends on Facebook, Twitter stats, etc.

According to Twinfluence I have a Twitter rank of #8,862 and:

  • Velocity: 1,020 second-order followers/day
  • Social Capital: 56,171.6 +10.6 Very High
  • Centralization: 55.50% / -0.5 Average – Fragile

To understand this read a “Web Analytics Demystified” blogpost from Eric Peterson here –  in truth it means I am selective who I follow and who I allow to follow me – the figures can be manipulated…

He also talks about the Twitter ratio – mine is less than 1.0, pretty normal:

  • “A ratio of less than 1.0 indicates that you are seeking knowledge (and Twitter Friends), but not getting much Twitter Love in return.
  • A ratio of around 1.0 means you are respected among your peers. Either that or you follow your Mom and she follows you.
  • A ratio of 2.0 or above shows that you are a popular person and people want to hear what you have to say. You might be a thought leader in your community.
  • A ratio 10 or higher indicates that you’re either a Rock Star in your field or you are an elitist and you cannot be bothered by Twitter’s mindless chatter. You like to hear yourself talk. Luckily others like to hear you talk, too. You may be an ass. “

If I start using social media to get my my “numbers” up – on whatever media – is that building a brand or ego bombing your constituency? Peterson says:

“Hey, the two things I spend the most time on in Twitter is trying to find great people to follow and trying to share interesting ideas.”

Same here, although because the UK hasn’t got Twitter into the mainstream yet ( and certainly not non IT folk) I am not surprised that it is less effective in getting conversations going.

twitter

To come back to the original question web analytics are good on numbers (and can be gamed), but understanding influence in the wider sense (how to achieve behaviour change) is more than a numbers game (sorry).

Smartest guys in the room

Imagine the scene – you get Dan Kahneman, Richard Thaler, Sendhil Mullainathan in a room in California to deliver a master class on behavourial economics, courtesy of Edge. In the audience you have Jeff Bezos, Nathan Myhrvold, Danny Hillis, Ev Williams, George Dyson and other A listers.

6 sessions, with videos and text, plus Q&A.  As an example  – session 1 – Thaler’s Nudge theory, choice architecture and “libertarian paternalism” are explored – interesting that he was going to call his book “Everything Matters”.  I like the phrase “one click paternalism” as well if not the possible negative outcome. Maybe we can get the opt out choice architecture right on our company car share scheme.

While its not an instant fix – behavioral econ rarely is – its worth the investment in time to get up to speed on the basics.

BTW The use of the Enron film title is just me being ironic…

Cafe racers, cardboard scooters and hybrids

A few images and stories to get my blog back into the biker esoterica:

The Suzuki Crosscage concept bike from 2007 uses hybrid electric hydrogen fuel cell motor and is now a working prototype. Single-sided swing-arm and front fork, superlight and fast enough 100mph speed limited. Just need to perfect the fuel cell technology – nothing on Suzuki’s website to suggest its anywhere near production. (Story from Hell for Leather originally, YouTube video here).

Another YouTube video this time of the NONOBJECT nUCLEUS. Conceptual, yes, insane, yes…

Still no word from the Stonebridge Motor Company or Nick Gale as to when or if their Ace Cafe racer, Little Miss Dynamite, launched in June, will be on sale. With an S&S V twin, plus a featherbed style frame, alloy tank, interesting exhaust plumbing I would be counting out my pools winning  to get an order in…

Click the images for the full picture.

Chris Gilmour, Brit artist based in northern Italy,  uses only cardboard and glue to make his life size sculptures/ models and the artworld loves them.

The backlash begins

Working my way through this years “Pop!Casts” from Pop!Tech I settled down for the Malcolm Gladwell show. The premise of his new book, Outliers, leaves me a little underwhelmed – “so what” comes to mind – and I know that there has been some cultural critics who have argued that we have  seen diminishing returns from Tipping Point to Blink to Outliers.

I haven’t read it yet so will reserve judgement, but as bloggers take plenty of credit for compiling other sources of information and thought surely it would be  a bit wrong to characterise Gladwell as just a pop sociologist, reading the difficult books so you don’t have to?

Watch the video here and you decide.

Tom’s wise words – for free

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for the heads up on Tom Peters free stuff corner of his website. Amongst the management advice is a “Change This” Manifesto (another favourite site) that I must have missed first time around in 2006  – “111 Ridiculously Obvious Thoughts on Selling” :

13. Lunch with at least one weirdo per month (goal: always on the prowl for interesting new stuff)

30. You can’t do it all – be clear what you are good at, bad at, indifferent at. Hubris sucks. 

47. Know more than the next guy. Homework pays.

76. IT’S ALWAYS YOUR PROBLEM – you sold it to them.

In a recession we also have wise words from Jason Calacanis, who has got a lot of traffic for his take on survival. Interestingly first distributed by mass email on Jasonlist, not via his blog – see the 120% Solution, now finally published on the blog here.

Also from Guy Kawasaki’s blog, discrediting the A list social media meme, but not the “influencers like you and me” idea, talks about the use of  Twitter as a marketing tool:

Forget the “influentials.”You must buy into the theory that products and services reach critical mass because mere mortals spread the word for you. This defies the common wisdom that a handful of “influentials” shape what the rest of us try and what we adopt. In the online world, these influentials include Mike “I can go a week without Twitter” Arrington, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, and to some extent me.

Reliance on influentials is flawed because the Internet has flattened and democratized information. Influentials don’t have as much special access, special knowledge, and distribution as you might think because of the growth of websites, blogs, and, of course, Twitter.