Everyman on Hierarchy of Influence, a Better Way to Sell, TCPIP and Algae

Wired’s Tablet Vision. Under the title Is This The Future of Publishing, Mitch Joel of Six Pixels posts a video of the coming tablet version of Wired Magazine. We previously covered the similarly dazzling Sports Illustrated tablet version, which is worth a look if you haven’t seen it. Very game-changing stuff.

A better way to sell. A lot to chew on in this Copyblogger post on how to avoid old school tactics in your sales copy. Rather than promise instant success promise immediate progress with a detailed and doable short range plan. As for the old school claim of progress happening automatically “while you sleep,” demonstrate how you can streamline a process your reader knows is time or effort-intensive. Instead of leading with how in-demand or expensive you are, focus on the value you’re presenting using the Internet as a new delivery medium. Rather than say the customer is screwed if they don’t buy now, paint a picture of how a particular problem or objective will be harder to achieve without your services. Also research as many potential objections to closing the sale and with each one build a pre-emptive response.

Effective Blog Design. Excellent design points on what makes an effective blog from Webitect. Have a logo and an attractive theme to reinforce your brand. Don’t forget about that Favicon. Make it easy to subscribe. Think readability. Show a personality, a person behind the site. Plan ahead for monetization. BuySellAds, AdSense, affiliate marketing, e-book project, whatever, consider how you will be incorporating it into your design. Make discussion a priority, not an afterthought, thinking about how you can encourage it at the design phase. Easy, effective site searching and navigation. Reduce bounce of search-engine derived visitors by building an appealing Related Posts section into your blog. Provide navigation options in the footer. Maximze the 404 page. Finally, never stop designing.

Drupal Beauty. I seem to be hearing more and more about Drupal these days. Congrats to everyone involved with the project. Here’s a showcase of beautiful Drupal-based sites, including Whitehouse.gov.

The Hierarchy of Influence. There’s a wealth of information out there about brand influence, but this post on how social media keeps brands honest lists The Hierarchy of Influence that’s worth repeating. The most important determinate of a brand’s worth is the individual’s personal experience with it. The second most important factor is its reputation based on experiences shared by friends, family and strangers on the Internet. The concept of Key Influencers is also important. “Whether you want to call it reputation marketing, advocacy marketing or plain ole word-of-mouth, appealing to the opinions of key influencers will continue to be a rapidly evolving segment of brand development.” Far below the others mentioned as a brand influencer is the company’s own marketing messages. “Our brand is not our’s to control. It’s our customers, our employees’ and all the other people who think and talk about us behind or in front of our backs.”

Converting Visitors Into Customers. This link builds on our Effective Blog Design link above, listing website elements that can convert visitors into paying customers. A toll free number is a good idea, or at least a phone number. A shopping process that’s always at the top of the page if the site is an e-commerce website. Product details and images. Call to Action words and UI elements so customers can easily follow through the shopping process or other final objective you’re leading them toward. Special product and free trail offers are recommended, along with demo videos.

The Zune Phone is Just Wrong. You know I love my old Zune 80GB, but the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 being on LikeCool.com is just wrong. Microsoft cannot do consumer products, it cannot do cool. I’d love to be wrong about that, but history and 6 layers of Middle Management in Redmond say otherwise.

TCPIP is to the Internet as Algae is to Jet Fuel. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was instrumental in the creation of a network built on TCPIP that we call the Internet. Now they’re saying that they are only months away from producing a jet fuel from algae for the same cost as its fossil-fuel equivalent. Funny, I don’t trust our government—at all—but if DARPA says they’re doing something cool with algae I believe them.

Mike Kovacs reveals best cover of Billie Jean ever. I’m not a big Michael Jackson fan, but we watched This Is It last week and I gained a renewed appreciation for his talent. So this Facebook Wall video post from my friend Mike “King of Pop[ular Culture]” Kovacs of an accordionist doing Billie Jean came at the perfect time. Put This is It! in your Netflix queue and in the meantime check out Mike’s video.

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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.