Eric Rice goes virtual for New Years

I gotta get into Second Life. I hear Wells Fargo owns an entire island there to teach people about their bank.

I wonder if I charged a building or two to my corporate card would that get approved? Hmmm.

Anyway, just saw that Eric Rice is doing a live podcast (don’t we call that audio streaming?) and is gonna be having a party inside of Second Life on New Years’ Eve. I will have to try to join him. I hear Maryam is dragging me amongst friends’ houses in Silicon Valley. Hey, Maryam, only take me to the ones who have wifi!

30 boxes to beat the big guys with Web calendar?

Everyone expects Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google to come out with new calendar initiatives in 2006, but I sat with Narendra Rocherolle who told me about his company’s new product that’s coming out (named 30 Boxes). You can sign up to get on a beta. Should start hitting the Web in the next month or so. I’ve signed up. The way he described it it’ll be a lot more useful for family-style calendars than anything out there. We’ll see. Don’t know who Narendra is? He was CEO of Webshots that got sold to CNET.

Bloggers wish list

Toby Bloomberg over on the Diva marketing blog has a wish list from a bunch of bloggers about what they’d like to see in 2006 on blogs.

Me?

I’d like to see good information make a comeback. Reviews anyone? DPreview.com has awesome ones on cameras. What if we had a review site like that for software?

And, where’s Christopher Brumme? His 11,000-word posts used to have the developers swooning like mad everytime he posted. It’d be great to see people actually sharing more of what they know in 2006. Yeah, I wish I was better on both of these counts.

Here’s a good example: Clemens Vasters has a lengthy series of posts on teaching Indigo to do REST/POX. Clemens is the author of Das Blog, the blogging tool my boss uses (and loves). His knowledge impressed someone, cause he’s joining Microsoft in February.

AT&T to spend $1 billion on rebranding

Brad Feld is stunned. Me? I’d rather spend that money improving the products. See, marketers still haven’t learned. The world has changed. You can’t fool people with a Superbowl ad anymore. Well, you can a little bit, but not the way you could in the 1980s. No, our word-of-mouth networks are FAR more efficient today than they used to be. Advertising just isn’t going to have the pop it once did. What will? Product quality. It’s why I respect Jeff Bezos and the two guys who started Google and Skype and Firefox so much. They built their businesses without doing much, if any, advertising.

Alaska employees not posting smart?

Jeremy Pepper notes that Alaska Airlines employees are aledgedly posting nasty comments in that guy-who-experienced-airplane-decompression-and-wrote-about-it’s blog. I say aledgedly because I’m still not sure an Alaska Airlines employee wrote those comments (it does look like it, though, which presents a PR problem either way).

Pepper renews his stance that companies should have a blogging policy.

Personally, if I were in charge of Alaska I’d publicly reprimand these employees and force them to go through PR training.

Huh? A blogger saying to reprimand employees for mouthing off on the Internet? (I almost recommended firing these employees, but that’d cause Alaska even more bad publicity, so I wouldn’t do that).

Yes.

Again. If you are a company employee you must be professional in your dealings with the public. Even when you think you’re being anonymous. Even when you’re posting on what you think is your own time.

These people were not smart. And, worse of all, they used company equipment to post (if the facts are what they seem).

At Microsoft we have a blogging policy. It’s simply “be smart.” Or, if that isn’t clear enough: “don’t be stupid.”

These comments are clearly covered by this policy.

I highly recommend to our employees to always be transparent about who they work for and to always behave in a way that’ll look great on the front page of the New York Times cause that’s probably where these will end up (they’ve already been in USA Today, among other places).

That’s a major part of being smart when posting on the Internet.

Oh, and if Alaska had a few “real” blogs of their own, we’d be able to see what “real” employees think about this kind of behavior and they might have been able to head this off. Instead, it’s just growing and growing (and getting worse cause Alaska doesn’t seem like they are doing anything about it).

Aside, but since we’re talking about Alaska Airlines. Why does Alaska put religious literature on my meal plate everytime I fly? I thought they were a public company? Is that something a public company should do? I can understand a private company like In-N-Out doing that (they put bible verse identifiers underneath their softdrink cups) but I think it’s inappropriate for Alaska to do, especially since Alaska isn’t profitable — they should take the printing costs and try to reduce their budget deficits. My own opinion, of course.