Business

Fear of sharing (or Why Zuckerberg is right about privacy)

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In the eyes of the mainstream new media Mark Zuckerberg can’t seem to do anything right these days.

What I love about Mark is that he doesn’t care what the crowd thinks. And I believe facebook is better because of that.

Rather than succumbing to mob rule, facebook takes its own direction. The direction that Mark thinks is right. And when it comes to privacy I think he hit the nail on the head when he wrote recently on the Washington Post’s web site,

If people share more, the world will become more open and connected. And a world that’s more open and connected is a better world. These are still our core principles today.

That’s the core of his argument. The more we share, the better off the world is. And I for one agree.

We’ve been taught to be afraid of lots of things we don’t really need to be afraid of. It’s one of the ways that society controls us.

I believe there are three really obvious areas that we as a society stand to benefit if we conquer our fears and start sharing information we’ve been conditioned to think of as private. Health. Money. Location.

Imagine if everyone’s health history was anonymized and available in a database. If you were diagnosed with a certain type of cancer you’d be able to go online and look at accurate data on what treatment plans were available and what the actual outcomes were. But we’re so busy worrying about our personal right to privacy that we’re missing out on this amazing opportunity.

Look at the information that services like Mint.com are able to give us because we share our financial data. If I know that my utility bills are more than the average in my part of town, I can take steps to save energy. In order to know that, we have to be willing to share our data. Something we’re not going to do as long as we’re afraid to enter our accounting information into a website. The truth is it’s much higher risk to hand your credit card to a waiter (who then disappears for five minutes into another room) than it is to put your bank username and password into mint.

And then there’s location. Thanks to ridiculous sites like PleaseRobMe.com, much of the population believes its unsafe to share your location on social networks. The truth is if someone wants to rob your house it’s a pretty safe bet you’re not home from 9-5, regardless of whether or not you checked in on foursquare. The first time you’re able to connect with a friend in a distant city or try a new restaurant because a friend left you a note in foursquare it’ll begin to make sense.

So, I think Mark’s right. The more we share, the more connected we are. And the more connected we are, the better place the world is. Let’s overcome our fears and share our way to a better world.

What do you think?

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Business

Video Interview: Social Media and Book Publishing

Tim Dudley, the CEO of NLPG (client), interviewed me recently for his blog. I thought a few of you might enjoy it.


(If the video above won’t play in your email or RSS reader, click here.

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Business

Why I love the guys at LessEverything

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This is me with my friends Steven and Allan this weekend at LessConf 3010 (the conference from the future). They’re the brilliant co-founders of LessEverything (and creators of LessAccounting). The conference was a blast.

I don’t remember exactly when I first connected with Steven and Allan, but I’m guessing somebody sent me a link to WeAllHateQuickbooks.com. I loved the site, so I started following Steven and Allan on twitter.

But now, let me tell you the rest of the story.

A few months later I was accepted into Seth Godin’s alternative MBA program. I needed some financial help to cover the costs of going. So I sent an email out to a few of my twitter followers who are also business owners. Within just a couple of minutes of sending the email I heard back from Steven and Allan saying that they’d like to sponsor me for the six months of Seth’s program and thanking me for the opportunity to take part. They then proceeded to make a significant financial contribution to help cover my costs.

Here’s the thing. My only contact with these guys up until this point was through twitter. I wasn’t even a client yet.

These guys are amazing…and so are their products. Thanks guys!

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Business, Life

Air Warrior Series: How I pack my Saddleback Leather briefcase

My good friends, Michael Hyatt and Chris Brogan have both done posts recently sharing which bags they use when travelling. I travel a lot so I thought there might be someone out there who would find it helpful if I shared which laptop bag I carry and how I pack it. I’ve tried several really nice bags over the years and I’ve settled on the Slim Saddleback Leather (client) briefcase. I absolutely love it for several reasons I discuss in the video.

Enjoy!



(If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, click here.)

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Business

Why I love Hugh MacLeod

IMG_2080 I love Hugh, he’s irreverent, brilliant and inspiring, all at the same time.  

I’ve got his art in my office and his book, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, will change the way you create.  When I’ve been around him in person he’s been gracious and unassuming.  

He’s an idea rock star and an amazing artist.

Follow Hugh on twitter: @gapingvoid

Visit his site: Gaping Void

[And thanks to @drewhawkins for providing the inspiration for this post series]

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Business

Just what the doctor ordered: Why Ning’s gutsy move to ditch their free service is actually brilliant

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Ning

Yesterday, Ning CEO Jason Rosenthal announced to employees a drastic change in direction and sweeping layoffs.  While the mainstream "new" media is saying that Ning's
bubble has burst
, as a Ning client I'm really excited about this move.  Essentially the core of the announcement (leaked to TechCrunch yesterday) is that Ning will be dropping their free options and focusing 100% of their efforts on premium networks.

Over the last few years my company has helped our clients launch some of the most successful networks on the Ning platform.  However, we've struggled with the tension we knew Ning was living under as it tried to serve paying clients like us and at the same time serve millions of free network creators.  In the early days we could email Ning support and hear back within minutes.  Lately its to the place where getting a response from Ning takes days (and we have "connections").  This had to change.

In yesterday's company wide email, Jason said, "All of our product development capability will be devoted to making paying Network Creators extremely happy."  As an often frustrated "paying Network Creator," this is a breath of fresh air that's much needed.

There's an incredible (and highly profitable) opportunity for Ning to dominate the hosted white label social network space.  However, I believe they can only do this if they're freed up to focus on supporting their premium network creators and giving them the features that they need and have been asking for. 

Like Seth says, "It takes vision and guts to turn someone down and focus on a different
segment."  For the last year Ning has been so busy becoming huge (with free networks) that they've been saying "No" to the wrong group (the paid customers).  I'm optimistic that that's about to change.

So, Jason and Marc, I'm proud of you for making an extremely gutsy move and being willing to make really difficult decisions. Thanks for being brave!

And to my friends at Ning who no longer have jobs, I'm really sorry, I know this is a tough time for many of you.  Having worked with you I'm confident that you'll land on your feet. You're amazing people. If you'll drop me a note with your address I'd love to send you copy of Seth Godin's newest book, Linchpin.  I think you'll find it really helpful right now.

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Business

Why you should ignore the mainstream “New” media and buy an iPad today

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In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably say that while I am writing this post on an iPad (yes, there's an app for that), I don't own any Apple stock. 

A lot of people I really respect have asked lately what the big deal about the iPad is, "It's just a big iPhone" they say. In fact, I think they have it backwards. The iPhone is actually a pocket sized iPad (I've taken to calling mine an iPad Nano). 

The real question is do you want to interact with the world leaning forward at a desk or leaning back into your couch? 

Ironically, the one place the laptop was never really used was on your lap. Let's be honest, it was at best a nomadic desktop. The iPad is used in your lap, in your hand, in bed and yes (thanks to this little guy) in the bath, try doing that with your laptop. 

If you're an iPhone user (which if your reading this blog you probably are) and a business traveller, how often do you really have to pull out your laptop? I pull it out for a couple of reasons, writing (not reading) long emails, giving presentations (although lately thanks to Mighty Meeting I've been using my phone for that) and browsing the internet. 

Well, the ipad provides a great email experience, a superior web browsing experience and has keynote built right in. Plus, my laptop can do so many things that my MacBook Air can't (like get through security without emptying my bag). 

There's been a lot of talk about the iPad's lack of multitasking, but I think that's misleading (I'm not sure if at this point I should point out that I'm listening to the new XX album on my iPad while I write this post). Most situations don't really call for multi-tasking. What they call for is instant on, instant suspend apps, which is exactly what the iPad has (I actually copied and pasted this paragraph from Pages, but more about Pages later). In many ways this is much better than true multitasking because it uses less system resources which makes for a much more pleasant user experience. 

I won't go into a lengthy review, if you're looking for that there's a great list here.
I'm going to leave you with a few highlights and encourage you to get your hands on one as soon as you can. 

What I love about my iPad: 

  1. It just makes sense (browse the web on it for five minutes and you'll never go back). 
  2. It's genuinely mobile in a way the laptop never was. 
  3. With the ingenuity of developers there's no limit to what it'll do. 
  4. The games are amazing. The big screen makes all the difference. My favorites, Sandstorm HD and Asphalt 5 HD
  5. My kids get it right away. Even our three year old knows how to use it (thanks to hours on the iphone in the last year). 
  6. Pages (only $9.99 in the app store) may be the best document creation tool ever. 
  7. Magazines are amazing on the iPad. Finally a way for me to avoid destroying them in the bath.


What could be better: 

  1. At 1.5 lbs its a little heavy (did I really just say that?). 
  2. A built in camera (front and back) would be really nice. 
  3. In really bright light there's some screen glare and you see all the fingerprints 
  4. I keep trying to use my laptop screen as a touchscreen now. It just feels like it should be, I hold my iPad responsible for that. 
  5. I've not figured out the keyboard shortcuts with an external keyboard yet (help please) and why can't I use whatever the opposite of delete is by clicking Apple+Delete. 
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