I Went For A Walk [en]

I can’t say it was completely purposeless. I did need to buy a few groceries. But I didn’t have to walk. And I took the slightly longer, scenic route. No phone call, no smartphone welded to my hand, no podcast in my ears. I love podcasts. I’m a Gimlet member. But I’ve lately realised they have become my TV. I was listening to podcasts from rising to falling asleep (literally), pausing only to read, write, work, or interact with other human beings. 

Again, I lost my downtime. Looping through Facebook, Twitter, and Slack notifications is another indicator. I have preoccupations these days. Quintus is nearly blind. Tounsi seems to be epileptic. Trying to regain proper use of my lower back and hip, which have been limiting for most of this year. Earning a living and ensuring I can stop working someday. Catching a nasty cold – of course, with all this going on.

After this walk, I am happy to announce that my back is better than it has ever been since March. My lower back has ceased being a wall of bricks. It actually moves. That means I can walk without pain and without fear. It’s not perfect yet, there is still work, and my hip still hurts. 

How did I get there? I suspect skiing blocked my back quite a bit for starters, and then I had a judo accident in which I fell very hard on my knee, hip joint bent 90 degrees. I thought I had squashed the head of my femur. For the first 36 hours I could climb up a step with my bad leg. I was on crutches. It took me five minutes to extract myself from the car – passenger seat, it was too dangerous to drive as I wouldn’t have been able to do an emergency brake. On the second morning, I woke up and I could walk up the steps again. 

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Two months, one chiropractor (never again) and two osteopaths later, we figured out I had suffered a pelvis upslip. I had no clue until then that stuff moved in the pelvis. There, picture half of the pelvis slipping up into the wrong place and staying there. For two months. More osteo. More waiting. More osteo, who sent me back to my doctor. And now, physio. I am amazed. After just a few weeks I feel like I’ve been given my back again. Oh, it takes work. Daily exercises. Painful massages. We even played around with needles last time. But it’s working. I cannot express how happy and relieved I am. Being able to move is so important to me.

I am also thankful for the wonderful healthcare system we have here in Switzerland. For the fact I have doctors and other healthcare professionals who have had me as a patient for nearing 20 years, and who approach medicine as a partnership. Who listen. 

I was listening to Fresh Air yesterday, on the prescription drug epidemic that is plaguing the US. I had already seen this BBC video on the path to heroin through prescription drugs. And I wonder. If I had been living in the USA instead of here, would I have been one of the so many people prescribed opioids for lower back pain? It makes me shudder to think of it.

So, I went for a walk. I didn’t have to stop and sit because my back was hurting. I didn’t have to take my steps gingerly over the roots in the forest for fear my back would suddenly yell at me. And now, an hour later, I am not being punished for my temerity. 

Tomorrow I will go skiing. 

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Pete Blackshaw: Disrupting a 150-Year-Old Swiss Company in a Digital World (Swiss Marketing Vaud) [en]

Rough notes of Pete’s talk. Any mistakes my own. Double-check if something seems weird!

Can a 150-year-old company act like a startup? Pete thinks so.

Today: Not work/life balance, but advantage. Managing tension as a success criteria for leadership. Trifecta: internal/external innovation, and open innovation.

In the digital space so much of what we do in our personal lives has unique value for what we’re doing on the professional front. Pete is an active content creator. Snapchat, YouTube, facebook… Learning valuable lessons for business while using these tools personally.

“Trust your inner consumer.” Remedy for too many numbers thrown at you.

Learned: a photo with a swiss icon on it, 100 likes, add a kid, add 100 likes, add a dog… You learn a lot by testing stuff in your personal life.


First real business: undegrad at University of California Santa Cruz, designed logo, was super popular and helped him travel to Europe etc. Then got a call that a director wanted to use the T-shirt in a film. Tarantino! Travolta!

Suddenly swamped by media queries (1st-year business student wondering if he was going to flunk). Created a website: slugweb.com “World Famous Slugwear” — right around when Mosaic came out.

Other big epiphany: at P&G (“never be afraid to write the memo”), understood the internet is fundamentally about feedback loops. Feedback is currency for relationship marketing. There are very predictable talk drivers that get people to talk positively or negatively about companies. Fast food: biggest negative talk driver = hygiene. Retail: training of employees. Wireless: money.

Passion around social media, feedback loops, talk drivers. What makes people talk positively or negatively about Nestle? The internet is a world of debits and credits. The most important thing is nurturing brand credibility.

Personal: loves creating media, even if a bit goofy. Leading by example! Has vowed (not hard) to create a video every time he does a family outing.

Shows us short video of visiting Nestle’s Nest with the kids. MyAlptitude.com

Pete thinks his personal media production stresses out people at Nestle a lot! Cranking out videos in less than a day… Can reference his personal experience when he’s told “ah no, it’s going to cost way more, take more time…”

Managing tension. Digital discussions often get way too technical. Tensions in the digital space: Digital Dualisms (google them).

Big one: integration vs. stimulation (standalone or integrated with everything?) Answer: yes and yes, all depends on context. Example: Nestle’s “Brand Building the Nestle Way” (pre-digital truths/principals) => has been able to move reasonably fast in Nestle by referencing these principles.

Ultimately everything is going to be digital (go for the CMO jobs, not the digital jobs).

Another good one: ROI vs. intuition. /steph-note: oh yeah/ — we need data to justify big investments but we can leverage intuition in the digital space (cf. work-life advantage => leaps of faith). Good leaders understand that tension and balance it, know when to use numbers and when to use intuition.

Another: Formal vs. informal power. Large companies can be very hierarchical, rules of admission, protocols. Digital space empowering “lower levels” in the company. Challenge for the organisation but also opportunity! Try and play both sides. The digital space has really opened up the informal power area.

Enabler vs Gatekeeper: as leaders we have to drive compliance, enforce privacy, etc. Non-negotiables. But if you’re trying to make an organisation more like a startup, you have to be an enabler.

To get ahead in the digital space you need to test like crazy, but also need to know when to stop.

Collaboration vs. Chaos. Careful!

OK, Nestle now. Focus on the innovation side. What are we trying to accomplish.

Declare ambition to lead, even if it seems unattainable initially.

powered by data, automation, (missed third) => simplified roadmap.

If you declare an ambition to be a leader, vendors run twice as fast towards you. Tested a bunch of new ad formats (facebook, instagram, etc) — be the first to test, even if we don’t know if it is going to work.

The ad formats are changing constantly. Use metrics to guide your work, but you can’t rest on your laurels (startuppy!)

Personalised Consumer Experiences (PCE). Pete doesn’t like the term CRM (yesterday’s legacy). Trying to build smart discipline in this area. Earned media as much as paid media. Massive opportunity to find more buyers via digital channels. More spend per buyer, too, but most of all, more media per buyer. That will lower the cost of marketing, because earned media is much more effective.

Innovation trifecta.

1) Internal innovation. Here’s the story. To move a large organisation you need points of innovation that stimulate or maybe scare management (constructive paranoia!). In the Valley, you quickly feel restless. They’re moving too fast! Healthy tension. Inspired by the idea of a hackathon. What if we created a programme where we invited some of our best talent to park themselves for 8 months in a startup-type environment? Digital Acceleration Team. shows video of one of the classes

Worked great! Was an experiment, didn’t know where it would go. We generally underestimate the power of organisational virality.

Fast problem-solving. Kitchens.

Have now reverse-mentored over 100 executives.

2) External innovation. The environment is also moving fast! Have a Silicon Valley innovation outpost (not the only ones to do this). Swiss employee heading to the US, lots of relationships with startups, VCs, innovators over there. Trying to be close to innovation hubs. Nutrition and food solutions, enhanced brand experiences, everywhere commerce. A lot will fail but that doesn’t matter.

Example: app MyGerber/OVIA; Milo’s Bold “Service” Layer — tracker.

How do you add value on top of the physical layer?

3) July, normally, will unveil an open innovation platform (Henri). Pressure on Nestle too to meet expectations of small companies which might take part! Platform with projects, timeline, profiles… very entrepreneurial-friendly. Will see what clicks and what doesn’t with the community. Creating a digital context for businesses, entrepreneurs, etc, to have access. Not just physical space like in Silicon Valley.

Connecting the dots: the reciprocity advantage. People’s incentive to share is they know they’ll get advantages out of it. Nestle is a decentralised network, challenge and advantage. Leadership framework, works with digital.

Internal social network (chatter). Internal mastery drives external mastery. If you can get to your employees (attention span of a flea, stressed out, super tough audience!) then you’re ready. Pete posts a lot of content in there. You learn a lot! Hires people who share. Everyone in the team has to post updates before the weekly meeting. Getting “social” inside the company!

It’s not about flipping on a switch. You need to be a strong leader. steph-note: like I say, throwing social tools at people won’t make them use them

Other example. Trying to get websites more mobile-friendly. Sending memos has limits. So the DAT team created a show called “Mobile or Not” and stuck it on the intranet. steph-note: I understood “Mobile or Die”, better, no?

Social media is a huge motivator, so use it inside too! Mobile score card online. CMO’s calling Pete begging him not to feature them in Mobile or Not.

Final advice:

  • keep things really simple
  • the old still informs the new (Read Aristotle’s Rethoric! Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins) — get people to see they already know this new stuff we’re bringing to them.

Shrink, Serve, Share, Simplify — essential in the digital world.

Post-talk comments.

At some point digital just becomes part of the whole organisation.

How do you use digital to make everything stronger? (including TV) General rule: advertising follows attention. Attention has leap-frogged online, so we need to follow the consumer there.

Competitive threats? Pete thinks about competition very differently now — small companies rather than the big Kraft, Unilever one thinks of first. Could be partners, but also competition.

Need to become really good at mapping the consumer journey. Need to de-silo. Marketing, sales, brand, e-commerce. Take a shopper-centric view across all of this.

How do you get senior leadership on board? Pete finds the top often really gets it, the young people eat it for breakfast, and the barriers are usually in the middle management. Not because they don’t get it, but because the incentives aren’t there. Pete first got the management to take what seemed like a reasonable bite of the apple, and when there was success, built it out. Competitive data valuable. Memos… (they’re making news and we’re not). We’re beyond the digital tipping point, so there is a real competitive disadvantage to not have a plan/strategy released internally.

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Steph Booth: Not Running for Parliament! [en]

[fr] A la lumière des récents événements, il ne m'est plus possible de rester dans la course pour le Parlement britannique... Article en Anglais pour toucher l'électorat un maximum.

It seems that my attempts to subvert British democracy by running in the forthcoming parliamentary elections are starting to be hard to keep under wraps, despite my careful use of a wig and face mask for public appearances. As I will be travelling to Leeds on Sunday, and in the light of recent controversy, I would like to put to rest the question of my participation in the elections.

I think it is quite clear now that given the current circumstances and the facts that have come to light, I cannot run for MP. My lack of involvement in local Calder Valley politics is starting to be hard to camouflage, and the fact that I have my main residence abroad is clearly an issue for many.

I deeply regret this, though, for had I stood a chance in this election, free bandwidth, Twitter accounts, and Swiss chocolate for all would have become a reality, as well as “change that we can believe in”. My meteoric rise to fame in the recent weeks, however, has convinced me to leave the Labour party behind and put my efforts into the creation of a proper Pirate Party in the United Kingdom.

As you are now most certainly aware, it is the discovery of my secret blog by an astute member of the Hebden Bridge Web Forum which has set all this in motion. I would like to assure those of you who know me as a social media strategist and consultant that my writings on Climb to the Stars will not cease, even though they have been judged pretty harshly:

Stephanie Booth’s blog will on its own cause plenty of people to doubt her fitness for purpose as a prospective MP. Big chunks of it are in French and most of the rest is geeky drivel about her phone, computer, Twitter et al. No local issues, or much at all outside herself. Hardly evidence of a shrewd political mind keen to grapple with the economic and social problems of the Upper Valley.

Graham Barker on Hebden Bridge Web Forum 2009

The geeky drivel which has entertained and enlightened you over the past nine years will be the backbone upon which I will build the future of my political career, and I trust that all of my supporters will follow me on this new path. In the meantime, if any of my fellow candidates would like to benefit from my expertise in social media, now that I am out of the race, please feel free to get in touch.

Disclaimer: the other Steph Booth is not a social media consultant (but at least she’s using WordPress). No hard feelings, but I’ll be very upset if she gets her Wikipedia page before I do. Many thanks to Suw for drawing my attention to this issue, and for her editorial assistance in preparing this declaration. She and her husband Kevin have already been hired as the official speechwriters for my next campaign.

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New Tumblr iPhone App [en]

[fr] Si vous êtes un utilisateur de Tumblr muni d'un iPhone, il vous faut absolument l'application iPhone pour Tumblr.

I missed the Tumblr application for iPhone when it came out, because I had downloaded an earlier version named Tumblrette — and didn’t spot the name change. I was quite disappointed by Tumblrette, to be honest — but I absolutely love the new Tumblr app.

There is an iPhone-specific dashboard view, you can easily like and reblog posts, follow new Tumblelogs you discover, or create new original posts. Here’s a view of the dashboard (easy insertion of iPhone screenshots by using the WordPress iPhone app to create a draft containing the images — my iPhone is starting to feel almost like a computer):

When you click on the top right arrow in a given post on your dashboard, it changes to this:

To like, just tap “like”, and if you want to reblog, you get a chance to edit (like in the web interface) before posting:

The one thing I’m not wild about, because it really breaks the flow of what you’re doing with the app, is that once you’ve reblogged a post, you end up at the top of the “web-view” dashboard.

The logical place to end up would be back in the “iPhone-view” dashboard, so that you can continue skimming through the posts you were reading before you reblogged:

But in all, it’s really great. If you’re a Tumblr and iPhone user, get Tumblr for your iPhone now!

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Reclaiming 43 Folders [en]

[fr] De plus en plus de blogs semblent prendre la route du "multi-auteurs, revenu pub" -- et j'en suis attristée. Merlin Mann, auteur du célèbre 43 Folders, fait machine arrière, et reprend possession de son blog. Ça me fait chaud au coeur.

I was very happy to read this post by Merlin Mann titled Time, Attention, and Creative Work. Here’s an excerpt:

5. This is my site. There are many like it, but this one is mine
43 Folders is now, once again, about what I have to say about things, and I want that to be the sole reason that the idea of a visit here either attracts or repels you.

Yes, there will still be occasional guest posts, open threads, and of course, I’ll be linking to and quoting widely from the work of others. But I’m taking a cue from John, Andy, Jason, and anybody else who wants to own every pixel of their site. I’m buying back my own stock, even if it incurs a short-term writedown.

Over the last year, I’ve been increasingly saddened that a number of personal blogs I love (not least /Message, by my dear friend Stowe Boyd), have morphed into multi-author “media outlets” complete with ad revenue. And I’m glad to see 43 Folders coming back from that.

I discovered 43 Folders roughly two years ago when it was still Merlin’s site, and it was my starting-point for understanding what this GTD thing was many people were talking about. I visited regularly (by my standards — I’m a lousy blog reader) but at some point, 43 Folders changed.

Instead of dropping in at “my pal Merlin’s” to see what he had to say today, it felt like dropping into a noisy bar. And I’m a person who prefers a quiet heart-to-heart conversation around a cup of tea to an evening hanging out at the bar.

So, welcome back, Merlin. It’s nice to see you again.

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This is an Experiment [en]

[fr] Ceci est une expérience.

About Visibility [en]

[fr] Vous connaissez certainement des personnes qui excellent dans l'art de se mettre en avant ou de promouvoir ce qu'elle font. S'il est bon de savoir le faire, une réputation qui repose principalement sur des compétences marketing/vente plutôt que sur ce que l'on produit réellement, ça ne force pas tellement le respect. S'il n'y a aucun mal à utiliser de temps en temps des "tactiques marketing" pour se mettre en avant, et faciliter de façon générale la diffusion de ce que l'on fait/écrit, gare à l'excès. Si l'on se cantonne à "jouer avec le système", on n'est au final qu'une coquille vide avec une grande gueule.

Here’s another post I wrote offline while waiting at the cinema. I was going to post it tomorrow but I just bumped into this blog post by Seth Godin which is on a very similar topic (and way better than mine). So… I’m posting it now, and will go to bed a bit later!

Quite a few months ago I came upon a blog post explaining how to become a successful blogger. How to become “known” amongst the blogging crowd. It had some good advice, but it bothered me. And it’s only a few weeks ago that I understood why.

I’ve tried to dig out this post again, but (ironically?) I can’t make it surface. It was of the “x ways to …” type, “here’s how I did it”, “you can do it too” type.

See, as in the real, offline world, there are two things: the product, and marketing it. Of course, they aren’t really that separate, but please bear with the simplification for the sake of the argument. For a blogger, it comes down to what you actually blog about/do, and how you promote yourself/what you do.

As somebody who’s pretty bad at self-promotion overall (not hopeless, but not a natural by far), I’m pretty sensitive to those who are better at it than me, in a sometimes “jealous” kind of way. I hate to say it, but I sometimes resent it. Some people come across as “noisy empty shells” — good at marketing themselves and putting themselves forward, but not much behind when you start to dig a bit.

Now, some lucky (and talented) people both have something to say, and have got the “self-promotion” bit figured out. And I have no problem with that.

Back to the blog post I was mentioning: what made me uneasy was that I used some of the techniques described there myself. Was I dirty?

And now, I figured it out. There’s nothing wrong with using “tried and tested” techniques to drive traffic to your blog, get people to link to your entries or comment on them, or basically, to put your stuff out there.

However, if that’s all your online reputation is built on, you’re just an empty shell with a loud mouth. If you’re “being good at promoting yourself” and use it to give yourself a boost every now and again, I don’t have a problem with that.

Here’s what it comes down to, because, in the end, this is about my opinion on something and the advice I’d give to those who are interested in it. I’ll respect you more if your reputation is built on your content and actual doings than if it’s built on you making use of every possible technique to maximise visibility of what you do.

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Against Threaded Conversations on Blogs [en]

[fr] J'avoue une préférence marquée pour les conversations linéaires plutôt que hierarchiques (en arbre). Les conversations linéaires génèrent peut-être moins de commentaires, mais elles ont un rapport signal/bruit plus favorable, n'encourageant pas le hors-sujet. Elles sont plus faciles à suivre et me semblent plus adaptées aux blogs.

So, now that [Going Solo Lausanne is behind me](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/17/going-solo-lausanne-was-a-hit/) and I can come back to a slightly more sane pace of life (and blogging here, hopefully), I’m starting to read blogs again, a little. Don’t hold your breath too long though, contrary to popular belief, I’ve never been much of a blog-reader.

**Blog commenting**

One topic I’ve read about a bit, and which is of particular interest for me, is blog commenting. Aside from the fascinating topic (I’m not kidding) of blog comment ownership, which I touched upon myself more than 18 months ago, there is the age-old debate: threaded vs. non-threaded comments.

On the backdrop of my [break-up with coComment](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/19/more-on-cocomment-advertising/) (impending, in the process, fresh) and their post about [commenter’s rights](http://blog.disqus.net/2008/05/30/a-commenters-rights/), I’ve taken a closer look at [Disqus](http://disqus.com). It looks promising, it does some stuff I like, but also stuff I really don’t like, like the dreaded threaded comments.

So, here’s an attempt to try to explain why I think that threaded comments in a blog context are not necessarily a good thing — although popular wisdom would have that they are “better” than normal, flat, conversations.

I did a little research to see if I could find anything solid to back up my claims (if anyone knows of [proper research](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/825117034) on these issues, let me know), but I didn’t find anything really solid. So, I’ll just have to try to make this logical enough that it can be convincing.

**The appeal of threaded conversations**

Threaded conversations are as old as the internet itself. Usenet, e-mail discussion list archives. So, they’re nothing new, and have been around a while.

When blogs started including comments — oh yes, there were blogs way before there were comments, and the commenting script I used on this blog was for many years a popular destination — so, when blog started including comments, those comments were not threaded (in the sense that they allowed hierarchy in the comments, or branching off, or a tree-like view).

For many years, all I saw on blogs was linear conversations, as opposed to threaded, tree-like conversations. Most forum software also functions like that.

Then, of course, with some regularity, I’ve heard people asking for plugins to make the conversations on their blogs “threaded”. And I wondered. Why the attraction to hierarchical conversations?

When we have a conversation, be it with a single other person, or around a big table, it flows in one direction: the direction of time. There is before, and there is after. One might say “you said something 10 minutes ago that I’d like to answer” — and we’re quite capable of following this kind of conversation. We do it every day.

If we chat, be it on IRC or on IM, or any other kind of chatroom, we know that there are often multiple intertwined conversations going on at the same time. With a bit of practice, it doesn’t bother us too much. But the important point remains: the conversation is ordered chronologically.

So, be it offline or online, most of the conversations we have are time-ordered.

I think the appeal of threaded hierarchical conversations lies in the fact that they seem more “orderly” than one long stream of posts, ordered not necessarily by the logic of the conversation topic, but by the flow of time in which it takes place. It’s hierarchical. It’s organized. It’s neat, mathematical, logical. Algorithmic. Computer-friendly.

But is it brain-friendly?

**Human-friendly conversations**

Human beings do not think like computers. Though some human beings who spend lots of time programming or give excessive importance to logico-mathematical thinking might like approaching problems and the rest of life in a binary way, that is simply not how most people function. (Literary backdrop for this paragraph: [A Perfect Mess](http://www.aperfectmess.com/).)

I think people who like threaded conversations like them because they have a higher order of organisation than non-threaded conversations. And better organised should be… better.

You won’t be surprised that I disagree with this. A good conversation online, for me, is one that can be easily followed, caught up with, and participated in. In that respect, a linear suite of comments is much easier to read or catch up with than a huge tree. When it comes to participating, the linear conversation offers only one option: add a comment at the end. In the tree, you first have to decide where in the tree you’re going to post. (Literary backdrop for this paragraph: [The Paradox of Choice](http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/0060005696/).)

**How the format impacts the conversation**

Another way to tackle this is to examine what impact hierarchical and linear comment threads have on the conversations they host.

Hierarchical – Threaded:

– off-topic comments branch off into separate conversations
– overall, more comments
– lots of parallel conversations


– conversation stays reasonably focused
– less comments
– limited number of parallel conversations

I personally do not think that “more comments = better”. On a blog post, I like to see the conversation stay reasonably focused on the initial topic. For that reason, I think that linear comments are best on a blog.

**More conversation is not always better**

Of course, there are always parallel conversations going on. On Twitter, on FriendFeed, in IM windows I’ll never know about. As a blogger, I would like a way to point to these conversations from my post, so that a person reading could then have access easily to all the public conversations going on about what they read. [Conversation fragmentation](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/27/diigo-i-think-i-like-the-idea-bonus-content-conversation-fragmentation/) is not something we’re going to get rid of, but we can try to minimize it.

Increasingly, our problem is becoming one of signal-to-noise ratio and chatter. These are subjective notions. My signal is somebody else’s noise, and vice versa. I’m happy that there is chatter and small talk in the world and online (it’s a big part of human interaction and what relationships can be made of), also about what I write. But on my blog, I’d like to keep the chatter somewhat down, even if that means my “number of comments per post” or “conversational index” is not high. I’d rather have less conversation here, and give it a chance to be more interesting and accessible to outsiders, than huge 50+ comment threads that nobody is going to read besides the hardcore die-hard social media types.

**More reading and listening**

You’ll find some of the links I found on del.icio.us. If you’re into videos, the topic was raised about 6 months ago on Seesmic. Here’s what I had to say at the time:

– [threading encourages the conversation to go all over the place](http://seesmic.com/v/n03MEC9S1U)
– [threading changes the nature of discussion](http://seesmic.com/v/aDDiGJWdw5)
– [conversations are chronological](http://seesmic.com/v/PWt1wmig5I)

I’ve also dug up a few quotes I found in some old discussions on MeFi. They’re in my Tumblr, but as Tumblr tumbles along, I’m reproducing them here:

> If you’re trying to build community, it is clear that linear, non-threaded discussions are superior. There is a good body of research on this – it’s not new, it’s not a novel idea. For tech support stuff, hierarchical tree structures are better, in general.

Micheal Boyle (mikel)

> One of the arguments for adding any feature that is designed to hide noise is that it gives it a permanent home. When Slashdot added moderation and auto-hiding to their threads, they gave the -1 NATALIE PORTMAN’S BOOBS brigade a permanent home on the site.

> I checked out digg’s new setup earlier this week and 75% of all the comments were complaining about mod points. I don’t know if that’s an improvement.

Matt Haughey

> This place is like a pub.

> One does not have threaded conversations in a pub.

five fresh fish

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A Quick Word About NotchUp (it's not Quechup) [en]

[fr] Si vous avez reçu une invitation NotchUp, pas de souci: ce n'est pas comme quechup. Il s'agit d'une véritable invitation. En deux mots, NotchUp est un site de chasseurs de têtes, où l'on met sa propre tête à prix. Vous décidez combien une entrprise désirant vous interviewer doit vous payer (500$ par exemple).

Histoire que ça se propage, on nous promet 10% des gains que feront les gens qu'on invite (ça explique probablement les 8 invitations de la part de vos contacts LinkedIn, qui trainent dans votre boîte de réception). Donc si vous voulez en être...

First, no worry. I really did select your name to send you the invite. And yes, the invite is poorly worded and looks [quechuppy](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/12/quechup-spammeurs/). They’re so beta you can’t change the wording of the e-mail, which is sad, because I think it makes them look bad.

Their site is very slow, and I’m wondering if this is because they underestimated how fast they would spread, with unlimited invites per user and “load your LinkedIn contacts” feature.

What’s NotchUp? I’d say it’s an electronic head-hunting service. With added bonus: you get paid when a company wants to interview you (talk about incentive). You sign up, import your LinkedIn profile or edit your details by hand, decide how much you want to be paid if a company wants to interview you, and there you go.

If you got an invite from me, it’s not necessarily that I assume that you’re desperately looking for a job. You might be like me, happy where you are, but willing to consider interesting offers (like when Google tried to recruit me last year). Or I might simply not know, and I took a guess.

NotchUp Beta

A little feedback, as this is a beta.

– the site is slow — if this is a scaling issue, fix it fast.
– it’s a pity there is no obvious way to send feedback, as it’s a beta.
– allowing people to edit the invitation mail would be a top-priority thing for me, as I think it’s damaging to them — I thought the first friend of mine who invited me had been Plaxo/Quechup scammed (sorry…) and hadn’t meant to send me the invite.
– [internationalization](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/2219285344/), please. I don’t live in Springfield, Massachusetts. We don’t all have 5-digit zip codes (mine is 1004, so I cheated, and entered 01004).
– secure [security questions](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/2218489085/) would be cool.
– I don’t fit in the [calculator template](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/2218505939/).
– it looks too good to be true: get money to be interviewed, get 10% of what the friends you brought into the system make over the next year by getting interviewed… how will NotchUp make their money? A little insight about the business model might help take it more seriously.
– **Edit:** please **don’t** make us give our LinkedIn password to import data. [Giving away passwords a bad thing to teach your users.](http://adactio.com/journal/1357) Encourage [responsible behaviour](http://www.disambiguity.com/design-ethics-encouraging-responsible-behaviour/) instead.

If you haven’t got an invite by now (it would be surprising!) and you want one, don’t hesitate to let me know, of course 😉

**Edit:** a few other reviews of NotchUp I found (pretty positive, I’d say)…

– [techradar: NotchUp: A brilliant Jobsearch Startup with an Idea that’ll change the Business Value Chain](http://techradar1.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/notchup-a-brilliant-jobsearch-startup-with-an-idea-thatll-change-the-business-value-chain/)
– [TechCrunch: Stealth Job Site NotchUp Makes Companies Pay To Interview You](http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/22/stealth-job-site-notchup-makes-companies-pay-to-interview-you/)
– [CheezHead: NotchUp Review](http://www.cheezhead.com/2008/01/23/notchup/)
– [CenterNetworks: There Are Great Ideas, There Are Poor Ideas, Then There’s NotchUp](http://www.centernetworks.com/notchup-pays-you-to-interview)
– [Gautam Ghosh: Will NotchUp catch up?](http://gauteg.blogspot.com/2008/01/will-notchup-catch-up.html)
– [poetticcode: Vote No For Aggressive Viral Marketing](http://poeticcode.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/vote-no-for-aggressive-viral-marketing/)

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Tags and Categories, Oh My! [en]

[fr] Il est temps de faire de l'ordre dans les catégories de CTTS. Je veux en garder 20-30. Vos suggestions sont les bienvenues.

The time has come. [Wordpress now has native tagging.](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/22/wordpress-finally-has-tags/) I’ve imported my old tags **and** my even older keywords (yeah, even though tags and keywords are slightly different… what the hell). I’ve created an [index page for my tags](/tags/) and an [index page for my categories](/categories/). Go and look, then come back.

So, what do you think?

I think the “tags” page looks pretty good (just needs a little CSS fixing so that the huge tags don’t prevent you from clicking on the smaller ones they hide). I mean, it’s a sprawling mess, but that’s what a tag collection should look like. Later, I can add fancy stuff like related tag clouds in the sidebar, or something like that.

But my, look at that listing of categories. It’s a huge sprawling mess, and it shouldn’t be. It should be a concise listing of rather widely defined areas I write in. Not easy. So, dear readers, I’m going to ask for your help.

See, I’ve installed this neat plugin, [Tag Managing Thing](http://www.neato.co.nz/wordpress-things/tag-managing-thing/), which does a lot of what I was dreaming up for a possible future version of [Batch Categories](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/13/batch-categories-09/). Well, one thing Tag Managing Thing doesn’t do which Batch Categories did, was to assign posts to categories and remove them. Tag Managing Thing only deals in organising tags and categories — **including** converting one into the other. **Update:** [Rob Miller has a Batch Categories plugin](http://robm.me.uk/projects/plugins/wordpress/batch-categories) which should do the trick. I can’t remember if he used any of my work or started from scratch, but in any case, it looks very much like what I had dreamed up for it 😉 **[/update]**

So, here we go. I want to keep — oh, let’s be reasonable — maximum 20-30 categories. (I’ll convert the rest to tags.) Some of the new or obvious ones will remain: Events, Youth, Social Software (maybe Social Tools?), Languages… Here’s what we’ll do. I’m going to write a list of categories at the bottom of this post, and I’ll keep modifying it until it looks reasonably good. I’ll be (heavily) relying upon your input for this. Thanks in advance. I really don’t think I can do this alone.

New categories for CTTS:

– Events
– Languages
– Youth
– Blogging
– Technology
– Social Tools
– Travels
– Livre (the book)
– …

Please leave your ideas in the comments! The [category index](/categories/) handily gives a post count for each category or subcategory.

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