Random snippets of articles, books, magazines, and websites that were striking at the time I read them.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Came across this company for the first time today.

I was thrown off by the interface for a moment because it looked so much like Amazon.com. But at least there was an immediate explanation for that.

What surprises me is how similar it is to Google, in the sense that it offers search engine services, has a downloadable toolbar that stops pop-up ads, and also had a number of other data services available. And it's owned by Amazon?! Who knew.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Creativity in Action

If you're like me, you've often wondered how creative people work. I've got too much of a connect-the-dots type of personality to be creative; consequently, I admire creative people a great deal.

So I derive an inordinate amount of enjoyment from seeing creativity in action, as you can no doubt tell from one of my earlier posts.

I'm therefore quite excited at the prospect of following the developments in "Designing the Band, an exercise in user-centered, standards-based web design" at the Asterisk* Blog. Perhaps you'll consider coming along for the ride.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I guess we still judge books by their covers

Many thanks to Angie McKaig's weblog for posting a link to this Research Report: How Do People Evaluate a Web Site's Credibility? Results from a Large Study (Oct 2002).

Unbelievably, Design Look ranked as the strongest determinant (i.e., cited by 46.1% of respondents) for a visitor's Credibility Rating for a website. Branding (listed as Name Recognition and Reputation) was only cited by 14.1%.

That study sure sends a strong message -- we should pay more attention to our site's overall look and feel, instead of relying on its content (Information Usefulness - 14.8%) to convince our website visitors.

I guess at the end of the day, we're still judging our books by their covers.

Manifesto for Corporate Weblogs

Although I started blogging several months ago, I still know very little about the Blogosphere and its inhabitants. Thankfully, every day brings new, valuable discoveries, such as Robert Scoble's Corporate Weblogs Manifesto.

It's a great thing to stumble across, in light of the fact that:
  • Google had recently launched a blog and I had been keeping a curious eye on it out of personal interest; and

  • I had been sharing my renewed personal interest in Blogging with my boss, but couldn't come up with ideas as to how our company could use it. When the day comes that we start Blogging as a company, I'm sure this manifesto will be the first thing I dig up from the archives.

Anyway, from a timing standpoint, it really looks like corporate blogs are picking up steam. Debbie Weil's blog even has a whole category of posts that focus on "Blogging for Business", and she offers a seminar on Blogging for Associations.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Benchmarking, when taken to the extreme, becomes bad

That's the conclusion I get from reading Seth Godin's latest blog post on Benchmarking.

Offhand, here are my thoughts after reading his post:
  • it's tough to keep benchmarketing against others when you know darned well you're not going to be able to keep up

  • it's reckless to stop benchmarketing altogether, because while ignorance may be bliss, you can't stay ignorant forever -- especially when your business goes under.

So I can only conclude that:
  • we SHOULD keep benchmarketing, but we should do so in moderation (I am feeling very Aristotlean right now)

  • we should focus our energies on figuring out WHAT things should be measured. I may be able to track hundreds of indicators, but all that is futile and worthless if they're all the wrong indicators to focus on.

  • once we know what should be measured, we can focus on those indicators only, and avoid getting distracted by factoids that aren't critical to our desired outcome.

  • and of course, like most things, we should periodicially revisit our assumptions about what's important, because the world around us constantly changes, and we should likewise continuously adapt.