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14 posts from October 2010

Do you need a "Chief Marketing Technologist?"

That was the question Mashable asked last week in a post "Should Your Company Have a Chief Marketing Technologist?", reporting on a recent presentation by Scott Brinker, president and CTO of ion interactive. Both the Mashable article and the transcript Scott posted to his site make for useful reading. He describes a "Chief Marketing Technologist" as:

“… someone who has a hybrid between business and technology, a strong background in engineering and IT, is an early adopter of technology, but someone who also understands the pragmatic realities of scaling technology. But most importantly, someone who brings those skills and combines them with a deep love and passion for the marketing mix. This is a technologist that reports to the CMO, not the CIO.”

In his slides, he identifies 3 missions for the role:

  1. Help the CMO translate strategy into technology (and vice versa).
  2. Choreograph data and technology across the marketing organization.
  3. Fuse technology into the DNA of marketing - practices, people and culture.

It's well worth a read, in my opinion. Given that my own role is a fusion of a technologist and a marketer, I agreed with many of his points.

The question is for you - do you have someone in your marketing team who is looking at the technology side of the picture and finding ways to enable your marketing team to be more effective, agile, stronger?

Scott Brinker's slides are below:

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Hands-on: Using iMovie on the iPhone 4 to create, edit and post to YouTube

Every since Apple released iMovie for the iPhone 4 I had been wanting to make a video start-to-finish on the iPhone 4 for no other reason than to see how it worked.  I recently had that opportunity and the result is this Emerging Tech Talk interview with Phil Wolff from Skype Journal:

As other reviewers have noted (two examples: Ars Technica and MacLife), the iMovie app is very limited in terms of the kind of editing you can do and particularly in the types of titling and transitions. When you start a project you choose a "Theme" and that then establishes what titles and transitions you can use. I chose the "Modern" theme and the result is the titles you see.

It was rather frustrating in that I like to have "end credits" at the end of my videos that describe a bit about the video and also leave with a URL for people to go to. If you look at any of my other ETT episodes (like this one) you can see what I'm trying to do. With iMovie on the iPhone, as you'll see at the end I wound up using a bunch of half-screen credits to get the effect I wanted to do.

One other frustration was that I couldn't crop the video... and in my case part of my finger wound up being in the video.

While limited in editing, I will say that it was rather cool to do all of this on a mobile device:

  1. Shoot the video interview with Phil. Note that I used iMovie's ability to switch cameras to first get a clip of me talking and then switch to Phil.

  2. Edit the video to remove a couple of sections where we went off on tangents or just into content that didn't need to be in the video.

  3. Add opening and end credits.

  4. Add overlay titles for Phil's title and later his website.

  5. Export the video to a 720p video file.

  6. Upload and publish the video to YouTube. (Note that this upload/publish is not actually done by "iMovie" but rather from the other "Photos" application on the iPhone.)

Once I got the hang of using the controls on iMovie on the iPhone, it was pretty simple and easy to do. Apple does provide a FAQ with some helpful info.

I had to cut my ITEXPO trip short due to some family issues, but my intent had been to do the editing and publishing directly from the conference floor. Given the lack of good WiFi at the event, I'm not sure that I really could have done much uploading there... but I certainly could have done the editing - and even done that on the plane trip home.

Given the much greater power of iMovie on my regular Macs, I'm not sure how much I'll personally use this iMovie on the iPhone. For the work involved, I think it's much easier to transfer the movie over onto my iMac and do the editing right there. However, I can definitely see this as a way to do mobile video production and will probably wind up trying it out some more at future events.

If you want to try it yourself, iMovie is available from the App Store and costs $4.99 US.

If you have tried it out already, what did you think of it?

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Here's the #1 Reason I Hate Websites That Use Flash...

Right here in the screen capture:


If the fan on my MacBook Pro starts kicking in... or if it gets slow... or if I look at the CPU monitor and see it jacked to near 100%... all I have to do is open my Activity Monitor and...

99% of the time it's an issue with Flash!

Now, granted, it's probably not "Flash", per se, but rather "a website that isn't using Flash properly". Or "a website that has a poorly written Flash app."

But that's perhaps the point... so many websites out there have poorly written Flash apps!

The good news is - and THE reason I use Google Chrome - is that I simply kill off that process and my Mac goes back to being snappy again. Still, it's annoying.

How about you? If you're on a Mac do you find Flash sites jack up your CPU?

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css3please.jpgIf you are, like me, interested in understanding more about how Cascading Style Sheets Level 3, a.k.a. "CSS3", particularly as it plays a major role in the ongoing evolution of HTML5 particularly on mobile platforms, you will probably find this site immensely useful:

CSS3 has been in development for quite a while (intro from May 2001) and is still evolving (current status) but it represents a great advance in control over design of web sites directly in a browser.

With CSS3 one of the greatest benefits is the ability to replace images with in-browser elements.

Consider something as simple as "rounded corners" on a box. Without CSS3 you have to use images. With CSS3, you can ditch the images and create rounded boxes directly in the browser. For instance, this paragraph should have rounded corners (and a shadow) if you view it in the most recent builds of Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

What I've done is simply added an inline style to the <div> and then added multipled paragraphs inside of that div block. lets you experiment with CSS3 directly in the browser... and then copy/paste the results over into a stylesheet for your site (or use as an inline style as I have here). It's a cool tool for those of us interested in design.

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Mashable: An In-Depth Look at How People Are Using the iPad

ipadeffect.jpgHow are people using Apple's iPad? What devices is it replacing for iPad users?

Back in early July, published an article "An In-Depth Look at How People Are Using the iPad" that made for good reading. The article reviewed data out of a study by Resolve Market Research and had a few gems. For instance, I found it fascinating that 38% of iPad owners said they would not buy a portable gaming device after owning an iPad. I'm not a big game-player, personally, and I can see the logic of this finding, given that the iPad reduces the number of devices you need to carry... it was just something I hadn't really thought about.

Also interesting to note that for 37% of the iPad owners this would be their first Apple product - bodes well for Apple!

Now, three months have gone by since the Mashable post was published, which is in some ways an eternity in the consumer products space. It will be interesting to see whether these trends continue over time... in the meantime, it is just good to see more data out there on iPad usage.

P.S. The comments also made for interesting reading...

Cleaning Out Your Queue! (of blog posts)

Sweeping the stairsDo you have a queue of blog posts waiting to be written? Do you come across great articles on the web and say "I should write a post about that!"? Do you scan your Twitter feed or Facebook NewsFeed each day and see 10 different links you would like to write about?

Do you wake up each morning with your head exploding with stories to be told?

What do you do with all those story ideas?

Do you...

  • jot them down on a piece of paper? In a Moleskine, maybe?
  • save them as bookmarks to a service like
  • save them in a service like Evernote?
  • save them in a text file on your local system?
  • record them as "to do" items in a task manager?
  • leave the links open as tabs in your browser so you can find them? (which works great until your browser crashes)

What do you do to build your queue?

My own way is a bit of many of those. I'm a big user of Things for task tracking on my Mac and so I'll write in there of posts I want to write. I use a keyboard shortcut to copy the URL into the notes of a task. I also will save bookmarks into my account (yes, I still use it) and have a special tag there I use for things I want to write about. And yes, I do leave links open in various tabs in my browsers. I also write almost all my posts offline using MarsEdit and so I will actually have a local queue of partially written posts right there.

BUT... the key question is...


This is honestly something I struggle with myself. Each day I probably have 15 new ideas for posts ... and time to write maybe 3 or 5 (or less). The queue I have stretches on to hundreds of post ideas... some of which are quite frankly no longer really relevant now that so much time has passed since I wrote them down. In talking to some folks about this, some suggestions are:

  1. SET ASIDE SOME TIME TO REVIEW YOUR QUEUE - AND WRITE - I'm trying to block out a couple of hours each week where I just go back into my queue and try to pound out a couple of posts. I might even reach back to something 6 months old that I still think is worth sharing and commenting on.

  2. SHARE YOUR QUEUE - Sometimes the question you have to ask yourself is: What is more important? That the story be written? Or that you write about it? If there's something that should be written about and you just don't see realistically how you are going to have the time to write about it... share that idea. Tweet about it... post it on Facebook... send an email out... pass it along to others who you know write on the topic. Get it out there. And then... remove the idea from your mental queue. Let it go.

  3. PURGE YOUR QUEUE - Sometimes there are stories that just lose their value with time. Writing about how excited you are about the latest iPod Nano may no longer be relevant in 6 months because Apple will already have come out with a new one. So carve out some time to just go through your queue (in whatever form you keep track) and discard ideas you just won't have time to deal with.

The important thing is that you take the action of starting to do something about all those queued ideas. Otherwise, as admittedly happens to me sometimes, you can start to get overwhelmed with all the stories you want to write - and the lack of time you have to write them.

What do you do? What strategies have you found that work for you in dealing with all the ideas you have?

Image courtesy of pedrosimoes7 on Flickr.

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How to add Google Analytics tracking to Unbounce landing pages

Lately, I've become quite a fan of using for the creation of quick landing pages.  I've used the site now for various ad campaigns, email newsletter links, print ads and more.  What I like in particular is that it is so very easy to try out multiple variations of a landing page and see which one works the best.

Naturally, though, I want to track everything about Unbounce pages over in Google Analytics. Turns out this is very simple to do, as mentioned in this Unbounce FAQ page.  First, after you open an Unbounce page into the editor, you click on the "Scripts" icon:


Next, you create a new script, set the placement to "Head" (for the new asynchronous GA tracking code, which you should be using!), and copy/paste your GA tracking code into the text box:


After clicking "Done", you'll need to save the landing page and then, if the Unbounce page is already published, you'll need to re-publish the page so that the Google Analytics tracking script goes live.

NOTE: If you already have several variants of your landing page, you'll need to go into each variant and add the GA tracking code to the page.

One tip to Unbounce users... I created an unpublished "template" page that had the basic background elements I want to regularly use - and also had this Google Analytics tracking code. When I want to create a new landing page, I then simply go to the Unbounce dashboard, and choose "Duplicate Page" from the gear icon of the template page:


This gives me a new page - with tracking - and then when I create any new variants they, too, have the tracking code.

Now... why do I want to do this, given that Unbounce does provide some tracking stats of its own? Primarily because: 1) the Unbounce stats are very basic - Google Analytics delivers far more information; and 2) I'm already a heavy Google Analytics user and have all my systems set up.

The end result is that you can use a platform for creating excellent landing pages and also get all the tracking analytics you want to understand how people got to that landing page.

Any of you use Unbounce? What have you thought of it so far?

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Will It Blend + Old Spice = Positively Brilliant!

By way of TechCrunch, who had a brilliant headline, "When Memes Collide", I learned of this new video from the good folks at BlendTec... Enjoy!

Brilliant work on BlendTec's part to merge their own viral meme with that of Old Spice! Kudos to them.

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An iPad "modded" to include a Verizon MiFi

When writing my last post about iPad apps, I stumbled upon this post over on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW): "iPad hacked with Verizon MiFi innards".  As the post explains, someone took apart their iPad and merged it with the contents of a Verizon MiFi:


Not something I'm personally thinking of doing anytime soon... but it's cool to see!

(And a sign of just how far people will go to NOT have to use Apple products with AT&T's network!)

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C'mon TypePad, can't you catch this spam?

Um, TypePad ... isn't this a fairly obvious spam comment on my blog?  I mean... when the name includes "seo company" and it starts off "Lorem ipsum"....


As I've noted, I've been increasingly unhappy with aspects of TypePad's service... and the increasing number of spam comments that are getting through the "filters" TypePad has makes me wonder if the comment spam filters are being maintained and updated.  If this kind of thing continues, I think it's only going to drive me and others increasingly over to WordPress...

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