What are the tech bloggers missing? Your business!

I’ve been watching the tech bloggers quite closely for some time now. Here’s a database of more than 17,000 of my favorite posts, Tweets, and videos from them. But I’ve noticed a few things.

1. They are AWESOME at covering news. For instance, watch how TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Steve Gillmor, Louis Gray, Hutch Carpenter, and a variety of others ask questions at the friendfeed press conference (part I, part II, part III, part IV, part v).
2. They are pretty good at explaining how to use a particular technology. For instance, here’s Marshall Kirkpatrick explaining how to use Yahoo Pipes to build an RSS and news site for your project.
3. They are really good at aggregating attention. Louis Gray even noticed that TechCrunch is making sure its headlines work well on Twitter. Why? Because lots of people hang out on Twitter and click on links.

But what don’t the tech bloggers do well?

Bring home all these new shiny objects and explain why they matter to a mainstreet business.

Yes, there are a few that are trying, like this blog that focuses on social media and your business, but notice the difference between that one and, say, TechCrunch. The headlines are boring. The text is uninteresting. There aren’t very many videos or graphics. And very little engagement on comments.

Or, on the other side, are “pro” sites like About.com that also try, but notice how bad their layout is and how much color and advertising there is surrounding their content.

It’s to the point where I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Is anyone doing a good job of explaining how to bring a business into the modern age?

Last week I was talking with Graham Weston, chairman of Rackspace (I now work for Rackspace) and I asked him whether he knew of anyone looking out for regular everyday businesses. I showed him the Web site of KSCO, a small radio station in Santa Cruz, and noted that it sucked, but that it is emblematic of a whole raft of businesses. Most of whom really don’t get the Web and understand how their customers are using it.

Heck, just yards from Facebook’s main building on University Ave is a great restaurant, Junoon. Do you think they get the modern Web? Absolutely not.

They have tons of Facebook employees as clients. Do they have Facebook Connect built into their Website? No. Do they have any real people on their website? No. Do they have any real interactivity? No. Do they have a mobile client? No. Do they have a community, er, forum? No. Do they have Twitter integration? No. Do they have a way to get people into the restaurant during dead times? No. Did they have any SEO help so people can find them easier? No (their site is largely Flash).

Now, if the business right by the front door of Facebook isn’t getting it right, what are the chances that any of the other millions of businesses around the world are getting it right?

And why aren’t the tech bloggers helping them?

On the other hand, this shows the opportunity open to Twitter, friendfeed, Google, and Microsoft.

Facebook has NOT sewn up the business market yet. Heck, they haven’t even gotten the business right by their front door to use its Connect technology yet.

This market is wide open for anyone to snatch it away from Mark Zuckerberg.

Is anyone showing businesses like Junoon or KSCO why they should use social media and how to do it? I keep thinking I’m not following the right bloggers.

Who should I be following that’s helping out real businesses figure this stuff out?

Comments

  1. Good point, been asking that question to every so called expert I can reach without much success, always pretty much the same answer; “use it to have a 2 way conversation”, to “reach out to your customer”, to “have a back and forth” “let them tell you, you suck” blah blah blah, it’s getting old

  2. Good point, been asking that question to every so called expert I can reach without much success, always pretty much the same answer; “use it to have a 2 way conversation”, to “reach out to your customer”, to “have a back and forth” “let them tell you, you suck” blah blah blah, it’s getting old

  3. Travel Biz, I sent you a email a couple of weeks ago, I’m a Rackspace customer, the guy in Hawaii who is trying to work w/ you and Rackspace to help our small biz, we spoke briefly too

  4. You raise an interesting point. I don’t think its that most tech bloggers aren’t interested in the business side, I think its more to do with the fact that it is much more difficult to apply, learn and then generalise to an audience.

    I feel that there is a disconnect between marketing and technical people, which results in social media falling into a gap. As a such, marketing who have the power to change direction are missing the boat.

    We need people like Seth Godin applying and discussing their experiences, at which point more people will see the benefit and it will start to bleed down to small companies like KSCO.

    Until then we need a solution. Maybe tech bloggers who are interested in the business side should contact places like KSCO and help them directly to understand social media. While helping them, write their stories, write about what worked and what failed. I would love to do this!

    However it takes time, building a tribe takes time. If the story takes 6 months to finish – how many people will still be interested when it ends?

  5. You raise an interesting point. I don’t think its that most tech bloggers aren’t interested in the business side, I think its more to do with the fact that it is much more difficult to apply, learn and then generalise to an audience.

    I feel that there is a disconnect between marketing and technical people, which results in social media falling into a gap. As a such, marketing who have the power to change direction are missing the boat.

    We need people like Seth Godin applying and discussing their experiences, at which point more people will see the benefit and it will start to bleed down to small companies like KSCO.

    Until then we need a solution. Maybe tech bloggers who are interested in the business side should contact places like KSCO and help them directly to understand social media. While helping them, write their stories, write about what worked and what failed. I would love to do this!

    However it takes time, building a tribe takes time. If the story takes 6 months to finish – how many people will still be interested when it ends?

  6. Bruce: for a travel biz I can think of a whole lot of ways to improve engagement with your business.

    There are different constituencies who are looking to travel. I’m very close to planning a vacation for me and my family. Maryam’s pregnant, and we have a two-year-old. So we’re looking for a certain kind of information. Do you have a community of people who match us who’ve been to Hawaii that we can talk with? Why not?

    I’m sure there are lots of other kinds of constituencies, too. Arrington from TechCrunch just was in Hawaii. He’s a single guy with a hectic lifestyle. I’m sure other people would love to talk with a community of people like Arrington who’ve been there and know the best things to do.

    All of these require putting a community onto your website and putting real people there.

    Oh, and you live there. You’re the expert. Do you have a blog where you tell us every day something cool about Hawaii? Where is it?

  7. Our goal is to share with the world Hawaii from the perspective of people in the tourism industry who actually live here in Hawaii. Our story is that of a husband and wife team who have built our business organically for 10 years against all odds, something like that anyway LOL

  8. Robert you’re definitely heading in the right direction. I’ve been wrestling with these issues for a month and the closest I’ve come is that it’s my “Marketing Campaign”. I think I’ll start to focus on your other point of what story I’m trying to tell and then what I’m trying to sell! But maybe ultimately we are just trying to sell ourselves and the blogs reflect that. Those that don’t have content, borrow some, others invent!

    By the way I’m publishing and IT Project Methodology but I’ve ended up doing product development, marketing and just plain thinking all at the same time. Any advice?

  9. I recognize I am little off topic here. We’re ready to bring ya here when you’re we ready. Yes, we blog everyday, http://www.hawaii-aloha.com/blog we podcast twice a week (for almost 3 years now) http://www.hawaii-aloha.com/podcast http://www.hawaii-aloha.com/podcast Let me think about you question about engaging like customers, it’s a pretty good one.

    My take is who the hell in there right mind is gonna give US any kind of free advertising, people in the blogging community simply do not take bloggers like me seriously, will not cross link, post etc. cause we ARE a business.

  10. That’s my target. I’m not that great at it yet and I’m still refining my approach, including designing a new web site.

    The problem isn’t in the bloggers. It’s in the businesses. How do you educate them? How do you get them to understand?

    I can talk all day about how they can improve, but if they don’t see the need or don’t want to, what am I to do?

    Most of my clients don’t care about anything but “How much can I pay you to get me more customers?”. They don’t want to know how or why or what.

    This is killing me. I want to help, but they don’t want any help.

  11. That’s my target. I’m not that great at it yet and I’m still refining my approach, including designing a new web site.

    The problem isn’t in the bloggers. It’s in the businesses. How do you educate them? How do you get them to understand?

    I can talk all day about how they can improve, but if they don’t see the need or don’t want to, what am I to do?

    Most of my clients don’t care about anything but “How much can I pay you to get me more customers?”. They don’t want to know how or why or what.

    This is killing me. I want to help, but they don’t want any help.

  12. I try to keep this in mind when I write. That’s why I cover things like Laconi.ca and Facebook Connect and why developing on Twitter might be bad for business. It’s also why I try to do howtos and report on things that help small and large business. I think a lot of my audience is business – I have to cover from a software development perspective, but I really hope it helps the businesses that want to use it.

  13. I try to keep this in mind when I write. That’s why I cover things like Laconi.ca and Facebook Connect and why developing on Twitter might be bad for business. It’s also why I try to do howtos and report on things that help small and large business. I think a lot of my audience is business – I have to cover from a software development perspective, but I really hope it helps the businesses that want to use it.

  14. Here are some examples: “You Don’t Own Your Data on Social Networks” – http://staynalive.com/articles/2009/04/09/you-dont-own-your-data-on-social-networks/, “CoTweet Brings CRM to Twitter” – http://www.louisgray.com/live/2009/04/cotweet-brings-crm-to-twitter.html, “TodaysMama Launches Laconi.ca Instance that Works” – http://staynalive.com/articles/2009/03/28/todaysmama-launches-a-laconica-instance-that-works/, “How do I only allow certain friends to see (insert feature) on Facebook?” – http://staynalive.com/articles/2009/03/20/how-do-i-only-allow-certain-friends-to-see-insert-feature-here-on-facebook

    Businesses aren’t my only audience so I have to diversify a little, but it’s one of my favorite topics. I’m open for Feedback though.

  15. Here are some examples: “You Don’t Own Your Data on Social Networks” – http://staynalive.com/articles/2009/04/09/you-dont-own-your-data-on-social-networks/, “CoTweet Brings CRM to Twitter” – http://www.louisgray.com/live/2009/04/cotweet-brings-crm-to-twitter.html, “TodaysMama Launches Laconi.ca Instance that Works” – http://staynalive.com/articles/2009/03/28/todaysmama-launches-a-laconica-instance-that-works/, “How do I only allow certain friends to see (insert feature) on Facebook?” – http://staynalive.com/articles/2009/03/20/how-do-i-only-allow-certain-friends-to-see-insert-feature-here-on-facebook

    Businesses aren’t my only audience so I have to diversify a little, but it’s one of my favorite topics. I’m open for Feedback though.

  16. I’m part way through developing a series of presentations for European companies to help them shape their social media presence.

    Initially I’ll be working with motor manufacturers (that’s my background) but hope to extend a service to all types of business.

    I’ll start with board level presentations to get their buy in, then cascade the information to middle management, before instituting in depth training to the engine room departments – likely to be PR and marketing.

    Happy to discuss / share the process etc with you Robert.

  17. I’m part way through developing a series of presentations for European companies to help them shape their social media presence.

    Initially I’ll be working with motor manufacturers (that’s my background) but hope to extend a service to all types of business.

    I’ll start with board level presentations to get their buy in, then cascade the information to middle management, before instituting in depth training to the engine room departments – likely to be PR and marketing.

    Happy to discuss / share the process etc with you Robert.

  18. I recently reviewed 300+ business websites for an client assignment. Most have sites built in the great dot-com boom (brochureware & old code). Even outside that review, on just my normal everyday swing through the net most business sites are dismal from a modern web standpoint.
    How do you change this – Not sure you can. Even if there were good tutorials for using the new technologies the business owners either don’t have the time or the skills to do it themselves. Geeks could help but in a lot of cases (most I’d say) it would have to be charity as most either don’t have the money or won’t spend it on this type of thing without a lot of education or a definable ROI – at least in my experience.
    Personally I’m willing to help charities but it’s hard to make a case for helping a “for profit” business for free.
    Thoughts?

  19. I recently reviewed 300+ business websites for an client assignment. Most have sites built in the great dot-com boom (brochureware & old code). Even outside that review, on just my normal everyday swing through the net most business sites are dismal from a modern web standpoint.
    How do you change this – Not sure you can. Even if there were good tutorials for using the new technologies the business owners either don’t have the time or the skills to do it themselves. Geeks could help but in a lot of cases (most I’d say) it would have to be charity as most either don’t have the money or won’t spend it on this type of thing without a lot of education or a definable ROI – at least in my experience.
    Personally I’m willing to help charities but it’s hard to make a case for helping a “for profit” business for free.
    Thoughts?

  20. Robert, let me be the devils advocate for a second and ask..Does Junoon even need a web presence? Notwithstanding Yelp, yellow pages, and google for the place to be found, why would they even need to be online, much less on Facebook connect? Surely they dont have the resources to allocate for such a presence, as compared to the increase in alpha-type customers that would bring..Perhaps it would help them expand, to inform of line lengths or serve using twitter, or take orders on facebook…but perhaps they dont wish to expand ad business beyond a certain amount for a family run thing can be stressful to life.

    I dont know the answers to these questions, but as a techie and a outdoors type who has visited many towns etc, there are only a few people who like us who spend tons of time online. And amongst those and the new cell-phone-happy whippersnappers (:-)), only stuff like facebook/mysapce rules, as its about the friends, not about the tech.

  21. Robert, let me be the devils advocate for a second and ask..Does Junoon even need a web presence? Notwithstanding Yelp, yellow pages, and google for the place to be found, why would they even need to be online, much less on Facebook connect? Surely they dont have the resources to allocate for such a presence, as compared to the increase in alpha-type customers that would bring..Perhaps it would help them expand, to inform of line lengths or serve using twitter, or take orders on facebook…but perhaps they dont wish to expand ad business beyond a certain amount for a family run thing can be stressful to life.

    I dont know the answers to these questions, but as a techie and a outdoors type who has visited many towns etc, there are only a few people who like us who spend tons of time online. And amongst those and the new cell-phone-happy whippersnappers (:-)), only stuff like facebook/mysapce rules, as its about the friends, not about the tech.

  22. Robert,
    In my industry follow the guys at http://www.virtualofficenews.com they are great at filtering out the wheat from the chaff. Their T3 conferences are great too.

    The issue I find most relevant for my business is time. Where do I fit it in to my day? The second is effort/process. If the learning curve is steep, the process cumbersome or unclear then it will not get integrated into my business. When I personally got onto facebook the business potential to keep in contact with current clients and develop relationships with new potential clients was immediately apparent. It still took me three weeks to Set up the FaceBook page send out the fan suggestions and make sure I had the process set up in my office to make sure it wouldn’t be a couple weeks thing and then die on the vine like many good ideas. It is the consistent execution which holds us back from implementing many new techs.
    The Website offers i get pitched are usually no better than what I set up in Office Live Small Business for free. My old provider charged my hundreds annually for a website that did less than what I put together in a couple of days on OLSB! That kind of help we can do without.

  23. Robert,
    In my industry follow the guys at http://www.virtualofficenews.com they are great at filtering out the wheat from the chaff. Their T3 conferences are great too.

    The issue I find most relevant for my business is time. Where do I fit it in to my day? The second is effort/process. If the learning curve is steep, the process cumbersome or unclear then it will not get integrated into my business. When I personally got onto facebook the business potential to keep in contact with current clients and develop relationships with new potential clients was immediately apparent. It still took me three weeks to Set up the FaceBook page send out the fan suggestions and make sure I had the process set up in my office to make sure it wouldn’t be a couple weeks thing and then die on the vine like many good ideas. It is the consistent execution which holds us back from implementing many new techs.
    The Website offers i get pitched are usually no better than what I set up in Office Live Small Business for free. My old provider charged my hundreds annually for a website that did less than what I put together in a couple of days on OLSB! That kind of help we can do without.

  24. I’d like to think that my approach has been quite different, Robert. I’ve been promoting and assisting local businesses here in Indianapolis for the life of my blog. I also speak regularly here on how social media and blogging helps business – and don’t get paid for it. I also mentor and consult for many companies at no cost because I believe in their vision.

    There’s been some criticism of my blog because of it, though. I don’t regurgitate Valley news nor do I make it to all the national events and conferences. I do make an effort to work local, though.

    Here in Indiana I’ve been a part of the 2012 Superbowl Committee (using SEO and social media to promote Indy before the decision was made), BlogIn, BlogIndiana, Masters of Business Online in Indiana. I helped start Smaller Indiana – an extremely popular social network that promotes the arts and bridges the gap between Universities and local business leaders.

    I have to be honest with you and throw back a bit of criticism. I rarely see your blog or the other big names speak outside of what’s happening in Silicon Valley. You guys love being the first in line with some juicy news on Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! but its as though there’s no one in existence outside of Silicon Valley.

    When is the last time you visited or blogged about ExactTarget? Interactive Intelligence? Autobase? BlueLock? Lifeline Data Centers? Interactions or HeyOtto? Formspring? Aprimo?

    We started a corporate blogging company here in Indiana called Compendium Blogware and have grown to over 400 clients nationally – but you guys don’t even make a mention. Ironically, we’re years ahead of the very platform you’re working on… using algorithms to tag and categorize content so companies can simply blog without having to know SEO. We just launched a method for any client to put a web form up so their clients can post to their blog automatically – talk about a game changer!

    Begin following some bloggers who work hard locally in other metro areas. You’ll find a ton of fascinating companies – successful companies – that weren’t hyped with VC, at the top of TechCrunch or Mashable… but are making a huge difference outside of Silicon Valley.

    Check out Silicorn Valley. :)

  25. I’d like to think that my approach has been quite different, Robert. I’ve been promoting and assisting local businesses here in Indianapolis for the life of my blog. I also speak regularly here on how social media and blogging helps business – and don’t get paid for it. I also mentor and consult for many companies at no cost because I believe in their vision.

    There’s been some criticism of my blog because of it, though. I don’t regurgitate Valley news nor do I make it to all the national events and conferences. I do make an effort to work local, though.

    Here in Indiana I’ve been a part of the 2012 Superbowl Committee (using SEO and social media to promote Indy before the decision was made), BlogIn, BlogIndiana, Masters of Business Online in Indiana. I helped start Smaller Indiana – an extremely popular social network that promotes the arts and bridges the gap between Universities and local business leaders.

    I have to be honest with you and throw back a bit of criticism. I rarely see your blog or the other big names speak outside of what’s happening in Silicon Valley. You guys love being the first in line with some juicy news on Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! but its as though there’s no one in existence outside of Silicon Valley.

    When is the last time you visited or blogged about ExactTarget? Interactive Intelligence? Autobase? BlueLock? Lifeline Data Centers? Interactions or HeyOtto? Formspring? Aprimo?

    We started a corporate blogging company here in Indiana called Compendium Blogware and have grown to over 400 clients nationally – but you guys don’t even make a mention. Ironically, we’re years ahead of the very platform you’re working on… using algorithms to tag and categorize content so companies can simply blog without having to know SEO. We just launched a method for any client to put a web form up so their clients can post to their blog automatically – talk about a game changer!

    Begin following some bloggers who work hard locally in other metro areas. You’ll find a ton of fascinating companies – successful companies – that weren’t hyped with VC, at the top of TechCrunch or Mashable… but are making a huge difference outside of Silicon Valley.

    Check out Silicorn Valley. :)

  26. PS: Before I get flamed, I realize some of the companies I mentioned aren’t actually local to Silicon Valley – I am speaking directly to the fact that all the hype has to somehow stream through the Valley to make it into a post on any top bloggers’ site. Seems like you guys all fight each other on who and what to blog about instead of looking outside your immediate networks.

  27. PS: Before I get flamed, I realize some of the companies I mentioned aren’t actually local to Silicon Valley – I am speaking directly to the fact that all the hype has to somehow stream through the Valley to make it into a post on any top bloggers’ site. Seems like you guys all fight each other on who and what to blog about instead of looking outside your immediate networks.

  28. Agree re: Chris Brogan. Also appreciate the fact that when he was in town here in Indy, he spent some time with some local techies. We didn’t get any airtime, mind you… but we were put on his prospective sponsor list. lol.

  29. Hey Robert,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m about to launch a site/business targeted at this. That’s about all I can say for now but there will be some upcoming announcements (a few in the next couple of days actually).

    Best,
    Nick

  30. Hey Robert,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m about to launch a site/business targeted at this. That’s about all I can say for now but there will be some upcoming announcements (a few in the next couple of days actually).

    Best,
    Nick

  31. Does Junoon “need” a Web presence? Well, that depends. Do they want to be found on Google? Do they want geeks to be able to reserve a table via OpenTable? Do they want reviews on Yelp? Do they want to find new clientelle that doesn’t know about them today? Do they serve Silicon Valley’s best people?

    If they do, they need to cater to people who use the web.

    Personally, yes they do.

    Now that we got there, what could we do to make their business even more successful?

  32. Agreed. Brogan rocks. But he focuses a bit too much on social media. Most businesses don’t even do the fundamental stuff well (most businesses’ sites really suck, just like the two I gave above). If you don’t understand the fundamentals, how are you going to get into Twitter or Facebook? http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

  33. Hi Robert – I’ve followed you a long time, and I even follow your followers. Heck, I’ve even connected with a few of them (like Doug Karr above). Frankly, you may be looking in all the wrong places…or at places where something might be taking place under your nose without a visible presence – yet. Like Douglas in Indiana, a group of us are working hard to get people connected along the James River in Virginia.

    It’s not easy, because some people just don’t want to do it. And, for the others, they’re working so many hours in a day just to meet payments and stay alive that another learning curve just isn’t in the picture right now.

    Not to mention all the areas that still don’t have broadband…if I repeated what you said in parts of Virginia along the James, they’d think I was nuts. In fact, they wouldn’t know what I was saying, because they can’t download YouTube, let alone have enough juice in that telephone line to complete 140 characters on Twitter. In fact, they may think Louis Gray is a Civil War hero.

    Instead of worrying about businesses not connecting with customers, how about a little concern about the folks who cannot connect AT ALL? That digital divide is bigger than you think. At the same time – look at the miracles that Free Press has accomplished in North Carolina. Or what about the work that Douglas Karr has accomplished in Indiana? Or, even the inroads that ordinary folks are making in Lynchburg, Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia as they help their neighbors and friends get involved with social media?

    While you and TechCrunch and Mashable and more are all great teachers and leaders, we’re back here trying to make it all work. We’re in the trenches, doing face-to-face and hands-on teaching to those who can’t download the tech bloggers or who don’t have time to read them. All you have to do is look over your shoulder. We’re here.

  34. Hi Robert – I’ve followed you a long time, and I even follow your followers. Heck, I’ve even connected with a few of them (like Doug Karr above). Frankly, you may be looking in all the wrong places…or at places where something might be taking place under your nose without a visible presence – yet. Like Douglas in Indiana, a group of us are working hard to get people connected along the James River in Virginia.

    It’s not easy, because some people just don’t want to do it. And, for the others, they’re working so many hours in a day just to meet payments and stay alive that another learning curve just isn’t in the picture right now.

    Not to mention all the areas that still don’t have broadband…if I repeated what you said in parts of Virginia along the James, they’d think I was nuts. In fact, they wouldn’t know what I was saying, because they can’t download YouTube, let alone have enough juice in that telephone line to complete 140 characters on Twitter. In fact, they may think Louis Gray is a Civil War hero.

    Instead of worrying about businesses not connecting with customers, how about a little concern about the folks who cannot connect AT ALL? That digital divide is bigger than you think. At the same time – look at the miracles that Free Press has accomplished in North Carolina. Or what about the work that Douglas Karr has accomplished in Indiana? Or, even the inroads that ordinary folks are making in Lynchburg, Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia as they help their neighbors and friends get involved with social media?

    While you and TechCrunch and Mashable and more are all great teachers and leaders, we’re back here trying to make it all work. We’re in the trenches, doing face-to-face and hands-on teaching to those who can’t download the tech bloggers or who don’t have time to read them. All you have to do is look over your shoulder. We’re here.

  35. Linda: I hear you. But if the business right next door to Facebook (literally) isn’t getting it, there’s a long way before most businesses around the world get it.

    Keep up the good fight. It’s worth it. Let me know how it’s going.

  36. It’s hard to believe you guys are still taking about having a “web presence” for a small biz as the next best greatest thing. If a small biz isn’t getting it by now they never will, I fell like this thread is talking place in 1999

  37. It’s hard to believe you guys are still taking about having a “web presence” for a small biz as the next best greatest thing. If a small biz isn’t getting it by now they never will, I fell like this thread is talking place in 1999

  38. If the business right next door to Facebook isn’t getting it, then I feel better about the progress we’re making. Equalizers are good things, mostly. =) Will let you know…thanks!

  39. Great point Robert… I expected somebody prominent like you in the 2.0 world would eventually address this issue.

    A good example of the techno-mindset of the Web 2.0 world is the recent O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, where one can hear in person the continual refrain on the same subjects and concepts that tech blogs are covering anyway (i.e. the future of Twitter ). Although everybody in the 2.0 world knows that the real estate industry has been avid adopters of social media, not one speaker was invited from the real estate 2.0 world. Lots of talk about that during the recent Real Estate BarCamps that happen monthly all over the country (bet most people didn’t realize that).

    I also would like to find the people building industrial applications and marketing strategies using social media. They may have day time industrial jobs and are not as active as the rest of the social media pundits, but their contributions would elucidate in specifics how the social media is being used.

  40. Great point Robert… I expected somebody prominent like you in the 2.0 world would eventually address this issue.

    A good example of the techno-mindset of the Web 2.0 world is the recent O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, where one can hear in person the continual refrain on the same subjects and concepts that tech blogs are covering anyway (i.e. the future of Twitter ). Although everybody in the 2.0 world knows that the real estate industry has been avid adopters of social media, not one speaker was invited from the real estate 2.0 world. Lots of talk about that during the recent Real Estate BarCamps that happen monthly all over the country (bet most people didn’t realize that).

    I also would like to find the people building industrial applications and marketing strategies using social media. They may have day time industrial jobs and are not as active as the rest of the social media pundits, but their contributions would elucidate in specifics how the social media is being used.

  41. I’m in a mix of these issues from both angles – I run a couple of web sites, blogs, do some freelance web design.

    Businesses lack the time and funds to put the necessary time into ‘web 2.0′ activities. Just keeping up with ensuring receivables get paid takes a lot of punch out of the small businesses (that make up most of the economy).

    Do they twitter and get three more tables filled for lunch, or work with the raw material vendor to reduce all costs 5%? Or get the catering customer to finally pay a two month bill?

    The other side of the issue is business owners who do spend time on improving their sites, think that ‘flash’ is all they need to get more customers. It’s the equivalent of the corner convenience store plastering all available windows with neon sales posters compared with the upper scale coffee shop across the street with calm decore doing five times the beverage sales.

    For most businesses, and that’s the small and mid-sized outfits that employ most of the people in this country, they need to be able to see clear and easy ROI for web sites for them to make improvements or change work-flows to incorporate facebook, twitter, etc.

    The old good quote: “We waste half of what we spend on marketing, but we don’t know which half” applies to web sites.

  42. I’m in a mix of these issues from both angles – I run a couple of web sites, blogs, do some freelance web design.

    Businesses lack the time and funds to put the necessary time into ‘web 2.0′ activities. Just keeping up with ensuring receivables get paid takes a lot of punch out of the small businesses (that make up most of the economy).

    Do they twitter and get three more tables filled for lunch, or work with the raw material vendor to reduce all costs 5%? Or get the catering customer to finally pay a two month bill?

    The other side of the issue is business owners who do spend time on improving their sites, think that ‘flash’ is all they need to get more customers. It’s the equivalent of the corner convenience store plastering all available windows with neon sales posters compared with the upper scale coffee shop across the street with calm decore doing five times the beverage sales.

    For most businesses, and that’s the small and mid-sized outfits that employ most of the people in this country, they need to be able to see clear and easy ROI for web sites for them to make improvements or change work-flows to incorporate facebook, twitter, etc.

    The old good quote: “We waste half of what we spend on marketing, but we don’t know which half” applies to web sites.

  43. I suspect that most of the more polished blogs are writing what their current audiences are interested in reading – and I also suspect that the majority of their readers are not the businesses you write about in this post.

    Most business owners are so busy working IN their businesses they don’t focus a lot of time working ON their businesses – and they especially are not focusing on how to “bring a business into the modern age”.

    Even those that are seeking that information do not have the backgrounds to understand what those more polished blogs cover. They are big on the “what you need to do” and really slim on the “how to do it yourself or hire someone who can make it happen”.

    Have you read any of the posts on my blog? I specifically write for very small businesses in a way that those who have not been immersed in PPC, SEO, SEM, and all the other acronyms can comprehend.

    So far the most brilliant bloggers – some famous like Louis Gray and others little known like Mike Tekula and Keith Hagen – seem to about the only folks who “get” why I write what I do.

    I would love for you to read some of my posts and let me know if what you are suggesting in this post is what you find. I write what business owners need to know from years of experience.

    Most importantly I explain WHY something needs to be done and how it will benefit their business. I also explain that answers are almost never either/or because there are a thousand individual variables that affect their success.

    Each may only make an improvement of 1-3% but those small percentages add up. Do you know how many small businesses have been seriously burnt because the experts they hire believe whatever someone taught them? They have no idea of the WHY behind what they’re doing much less what negative effects are happening due to their focus on one metric.

    Here is a common example. In ppc you do not get to have both improved ROI and MORE sales from any specific existing traffic. You slide results between those two options. If you drive profit per sale up you WILL reduce sales. If you drive MORE sales you WILL reduce profit per sale. So few ppc “experts” realize this and seriously injure their clients’ revenue!

    I already know that my blog lacks polish and is missing some pages any SEM dealing with Corporate accounts would have. It does already contain quality content, proven strategies, and plugins to encourage interaction. Installing Thesis is in the works as are other improvements. I rely on volunteer assistance from another blogger for technical enhancements and he has a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) and family and limited time – for now.

    My focus is on substance and assisting those businesses who can not afford to hire (and would not be able to understand) Bryan Eisenberg. They will not even hire someone like Steve Krug or Rob Snell until they know whose recommendations they can trust.

    If I AM doing what is necessary your input could make all the difference in success and failure for many small businesses.

  44. I suspect that most of the more polished blogs are writing what their current audiences are interested in reading – and I also suspect that the majority of their readers are not the businesses you write about in this post.

    Most business owners are so busy working IN their businesses they don’t focus a lot of time working ON their businesses – and they especially are not focusing on how to “bring a business into the modern age”.

    Even those that are seeking that information do not have the backgrounds to understand what those more polished blogs cover. They are big on the “what you need to do” and really slim on the “how to do it yourself or hire someone who can make it happen”.

    Have you read any of the posts on my blog? I specifically write for very small businesses in a way that those who have not been immersed in PPC, SEO, SEM, and all the other acronyms can comprehend.

    So far the most brilliant bloggers – some famous like Louis Gray and others little known like Mike Tekula and Keith Hagen – seem to about the only folks who “get” why I write what I do.

    I would love for you to read some of my posts and let me know if what you are suggesting in this post is what you find. I write what business owners need to know from years of experience.

    Most importantly I explain WHY something needs to be done and how it will benefit their business. I also explain that answers are almost never either/or because there are a thousand individual variables that affect their success.

    Each may only make an improvement of 1-3% but those small percentages add up. Do you know how many small businesses have been seriously burnt because the experts they hire believe whatever someone taught them? They have no idea of the WHY behind what they’re doing much less what negative effects are happening due to their focus on one metric.

    Here is a common example. In ppc you do not get to have both improved ROI and MORE sales from any specific existing traffic. You slide results between those two options. If you drive profit per sale up you WILL reduce sales. If you drive MORE sales you WILL reduce profit per sale. So few ppc “experts” realize this and seriously injure their clients’ revenue!

    I already know that my blog lacks polish and is missing some pages any SEM dealing with Corporate accounts would have. It does already contain quality content, proven strategies, and plugins to encourage interaction. Installing Thesis is in the works as are other improvements. I rely on volunteer assistance from another blogger for technical enhancements and he has a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) and family and limited time – for now.

    My focus is on substance and assisting those businesses who can not afford to hire (and would not be able to understand) Bryan Eisenberg. They will not even hire someone like Steve Krug or Rob Snell until they know whose recommendations they can trust.

    If I AM doing what is necessary your input could make all the difference in success and failure for many small businesses.

  45. whose going to pay for all that integration which really won’t do anything but drive up their bills.

    the amount of business gained from the cost is minimal for almost all small businesses, and web 2.0.

  46. whose going to pay for all that integration which really won’t do anything but drive up their bills.

    the amount of business gained from the cost is minimal for almost all small businesses, and web 2.0.

  47. I was just thinking something similar when talking to a local print shop who ia moving and stuck with the ‘dilemma’ of customers knowing his location. It comes naturally for us but not for them….

  48. I was just thinking something similar when talking to a local print shop who ia moving and stuck with the ‘dilemma’ of customers knowing his location. It comes naturally for us but not for them….

  49. As someone who runs an Internet / web production company building sites for businesses of all sizes, it is really difficult to get client buy in for these things. I absolutely agree w/ you and the opportunity / value proposition for these businesses is 100% there; however, it is often difficult to get buy in. I have often wanted to do something that could benefit these small businesses, but eventually end up getting drawn back in to working for larger companies / Internet start-ups / web application development. These sectors seem to simply have more time / money to spend on this stuff. Junoon is probably simply busy making great food and if they have a website w/ their address, phone number and menu, they consider it sufficient. And in some ways, if their business is healthy, they are busy and they don’t have an eye on expansion – they might be right.

  50. As someone who runs an Internet / web production company building sites for businesses of all sizes, it is really difficult to get client buy in for these things. I absolutely agree w/ you and the opportunity / value proposition for these businesses is 100% there; however, it is often difficult to get buy in. I have often wanted to do something that could benefit these small businesses, but eventually end up getting drawn back in to working for larger companies / Internet start-ups / web application development. These sectors seem to simply have more time / money to spend on this stuff. Junoon is probably simply busy making great food and if they have a website w/ their address, phone number and menu, they consider it sufficient. And in some ways, if their business is healthy, they are busy and they don’t have an eye on expansion – they might be right.

  51. Robert, I hear you. I am about to give a presentation on Social Media to all of the local Chamber of Commerce executives in my state. I’ve found this to be terribly challenging because one would think that of all organizations out there chambers, who exist primarily to benefit businesses through networking, would be the biggest supporters of social tools. Not the case here.
    Out of 50 chamber websites we reviewed only 1 had any sort of social presence (a facebook fan page – ugh). The process was brutal as most sites were 1998 era If the chambers don’t get it (who should be leading their members) God help the rest.
    So the challenge lies in speaking to an audience who has a very different world view and trying to resonate with them. Talking about tool specifics would be a waste of time. So I’m approaching this from a tool agnostic point of view and speaking to how these changes are relevant to them.

    The presentation will cover 4 main points:
    1. The world has fundamentally changed.
    2. The exclusivity you once enjoyed as an institution is no longer.
    3. Your type of organization is in the best position to benefit from social tools and use social tools to provide benefit to your members.
    4. Action steps to take now.
    Good amount of Q&A

  52. Robert, I hear you. I am about to give a presentation on Social Media to all of the local Chamber of Commerce executives in my state. I’ve found this to be terribly challenging because one would think that of all organizations out there chambers, who exist primarily to benefit businesses through networking, would be the biggest supporters of social tools. Not the case here.
    Out of 50 chamber websites we reviewed only 1 had any sort of social presence (a facebook fan page – ugh). The process was brutal as most sites were 1998 era If the chambers don’t get it (who should be leading their members) God help the rest.
    So the challenge lies in speaking to an audience who has a very different world view and trying to resonate with them. Talking about tool specifics would be a waste of time. So I’m approaching this from a tool agnostic point of view and speaking to how these changes are relevant to them.

    The presentation will cover 4 main points:
    1. The world has fundamentally changed.
    2. The exclusivity you once enjoyed as an institution is no longer.
    3. Your type of organization is in the best position to benefit from social tools and use social tools to provide benefit to your members.
    4. Action steps to take now.
    Good amount of Q&A

  53. At least that business is interested in finding out what to do. They will eventually start making progress. Just last week I told a local business I was unable to find them online and they could get listed for free.

    Their response was “everyone” in town already knew where they were. (Highly unlikely even in a town of that size.) They did not need to advertise or have an online presence. I should mention that in many small and even medium size towns such as theirs, lack of competition has created a dirth of motivation to improve.

  54. Great comment. Sometimes watching the media around a few “in companies” makes me feel like I am sitting in the high school cafeteria watching the cool kids have fun at the other table.

    Back then, there were plenty of kids having fun at the other tables, and the same is true now. So Robert, you can keep writing about the hot Silicon Valley elite, and us regular folks in the middle of the country, will be just fine.

    But if you want to experience technology with a Midwest flare, come to Indy for Mira on May 16. Meet the companies making exciting things happen here ( and employing quite a few people along the way) http://www.techpoint.org/Mira/nominees.htm.

    And if you do come, I’ll buy your ticket to the event!

  55. Thanks for this useful post…good to hear you look out past the tech echo chamber.

    How is it useful?

    I set up my fiance with a blog at http://www.sorrisoveloce.com (built on wordpress). She blogs a little, links out, no big SEO tricks, and her ranking on google when someone in Torino searches for a dentist is very high. Not easy.

    A little online video so people know her, and clients from Torino and also from other regions of Italy find her.

    It is a whole different game, the conversation.

  56. Thanks for this useful post…good to hear you look out past the tech echo chamber.

    How is it useful?

    I set up my fiance with a blog at http://www.sorrisoveloce.com (built on wordpress). She blogs a little, links out, no big SEO tricks, and her ranking on google when someone in Torino searches for a dentist is very high. Not easy.

    A little online video so people know her, and clients from Torino and also from other regions of Italy find her.

    It is a whole different game, the conversation.

  57. When most business owners don’t understand marketing in general, how can we expect them to grasp the use of the Internet and social networking?

    A friend in the insurance business recently asked me to help him with his marketing. At one point, I suggested mentioned creating a blog-based website (he has no site now), and he said, “That’s too far out there for me.” I thought about it after and realized that my friend doesn’t even understand how to use direct mail. My suggestion pushed way past that and expected too much too soon.

    That said, he runs a very successful agency using tried and true tactics-cold calling, setting up appointments, traveling, and making presentations.

    I worry, however, that those efforts will become less successful as his business doesn’t enter a potential customer’s thinking because they rely on new media to create a list of potential agents.

    That illustrates the growing digital marketing divide. Companies and business that get it (and actually do it well) are finding success, while others stuck in a traditional marketing mindset are-or will be-well, stuck.

  58. When most business owners don’t understand marketing in general, how can we expect them to grasp the use of the Internet and social networking?

    A friend in the insurance business recently asked me to help him with his marketing. At one point, I suggested mentioned creating a blog-based website (he has no site now), and he said, “That’s too far out there for me.” I thought about it after and realized that my friend doesn’t even understand how to use direct mail. My suggestion pushed way past that and expected too much too soon.

    That said, he runs a very successful agency using tried and true tactics-cold calling, setting up appointments, traveling, and making presentations.

    I worry, however, that those efforts will become less successful as his business doesn’t enter a potential customer’s thinking because they rely on new media to create a list of potential agents.

    That illustrates the growing digital marketing divide. Companies and business that get it (and actually do it well) are finding success, while others stuck in a traditional marketing mindset are-or will be-well, stuck.

  59. You said personally they do. Why? You know about them. Do they need or even want more business? Do we know? If they’re a small, family run business, doing well, and staffed to capacity, maybe they’re simply content with life.

    I’m not convinced every business needs or wants the web. It’s a tool and has value, but if the return on the value is minimal for a business doing well, especially one like this example, the ROI/ROE may not be worth the investment to embrace social media.

    Truly I’m just thinking about this as I’m a proponent.

  60. This post really made me think about the subject and wonder. Why do we have this perception in the first place? I tend to agree, but as a tech blogger of sorts (not in the league with those mentioned) I have a voice in my head that says it’s not the core competency for TechCrunch,Mashable, Louis Gray or Chris Brogan to tell a business how to embrace social media. They’re technology and SM people who may not have the depth of knowledge about the individual business segments to give the best advice. When I consult in the tech field, I know many of the nuances that business processes in finance, professional services, manufacturing and health care (as examples) have in technology requirements. It seems logical to me these nuances of difference carry through and business advice on SM from Venture Beat or Steve Gillmor would inherently miss the mark.

    In some way, I think those folks are doing what they do best and leaving something that isn’t their core competency for others who can give the attention it deserves. And while it isn’t as highly visible (consulting simply isn’t as sexy a story on the web as TechCrunch), I certainly see a high number of businesses who really get and use social media in creative ways that are dramatically altering their business. And I think the number is growing, but don’t have anything other than my own reading and gut instinct to support that.

    Just another perspective.

  61. This post really made me think about the subject and wonder. Why do we have this perception in the first place? I tend to agree, but as a tech blogger of sorts (not in the league with those mentioned) I have a voice in my head that says it’s not the core competency for TechCrunch,Mashable, Louis Gray or Chris Brogan to tell a business how to embrace social media. They’re technology and SM people who may not have the depth of knowledge about the individual business segments to give the best advice. When I consult in the tech field, I know many of the nuances that business processes in finance, professional services, manufacturing and health care (as examples) have in technology requirements. It seems logical to me these nuances of difference carry through and business advice on SM from Venture Beat or Steve Gillmor would inherently miss the mark.

    In some way, I think those folks are doing what they do best and leaving something that isn’t their core competency for others who can give the attention it deserves. And while it isn’t as highly visible (consulting simply isn’t as sexy a story on the web as TechCrunch), I certainly see a high number of businesses who really get and use social media in creative ways that are dramatically altering their business. And I think the number is growing, but don’t have anything other than my own reading and gut instinct to support that.

    Just another perspective.

  62. @Doug, What about ChaCha… Angie’s List and eTapestry. They have all made it on key Valley blogs… Just a FYI

  63. tech bloggers cannot advise other businesses because all they know about is tech.

    I work in a restaurant on week ends that is right on south park st in sf (yep, inn front of Twitter’s ex-offices). There isn’t an ounce of new tech integrated in this business. First learn how to flip a crepe, and then think if you need to tweet about it to make it happen.

    I agree with your point of view (as I am a tech geek myself), but web 2.0 technologies are not mature enough to be easily integrated in rusty business models.

  64. tech bloggers cannot advise other businesses because all they know about is tech.

    I work in a restaurant on week ends that is right on south park st in sf (yep, inn front of Twitter’s ex-offices). There isn’t an ounce of new tech integrated in this business. First learn how to flip a crepe, and then think if you need to tweet about it to make it happen.

    I agree with your point of view (as I am a tech geek myself), but web 2.0 technologies are not mature enough to be easily integrated in rusty business models.

  65. Jesse – Two out of those four articles really directly apply to most businesses. The Cotweet article seems like it’s really appropriate to almost any type of business -we all need CRM tools, and twitter is a mess in that area. The article on TodaysMama shows a business much more about how it can find and use social networks that are more specific to the individual needs of the business. The fourth article (allowing certain friends)is more appropriate to 2 types of people than anyone else: public sales/marketing/PR types, and and current or future job seeker (which realy encompasses us all but….)

    The problem: Placement. “Location Location Location”

    I have to wonder how many non-tech business readers you’re reaching on your blog and Louis’ blog. Certainly Louis’ seems more tech-market driven. What about simultaneously publishing articles like this on more business oriented sites?

    Robert’s point was essentially two-fold 1) Not many bloggers writing about solutions for general down-the-street businesses, and 2) of those who are writing about those solutions, most are winding up in “new-technology” blogs.

    Where’s the blog that the business readers read? How about getting these kinds of articles in the NYT and WSJ? Thats one start.

    And also, what about a “business blog” where are those?

  66. Robert is 100% correct and here’s why:

    I don’t go anywhere unless I can a) FIND the place on google (etc) and b) Find out more about the place on google (etc).

    Beyond that, do they need things like Facebook Connect? Sure they do, restaurants want to fill more seats at more empty hours – easier to do with online tools. I can imagine all kinds of little toys we can build for the restaurant market that are designed to catch people at their desk, and let them know when is the best time for them to come in, get the best service, and the best price. They don’t know they need this yet, but as soon as they have it, and they’re not sitting idle from 2-5pm they’ll wonder how they ever survived with out it. Make all these tols work on the mobile (which is where this is all going – desktop power in our hands) and now, I can order lunch before I get to the restaurant…maybe get a 5% discount for ordering from the phone before I come in. The restaurant is happy, they just added a whole extra seating to the lunch hour. (Ztables x Ypeople x Xseatings) how much more money can they make. And how much better is the service going to be for each customer?

    It’s not about expanding advertising and increasing hte hecticness of their businesses, it’s about relieving that. Making it easier to serve at least as much as the current, if not more.

    Look -When people started selling POS systems into restaurants, the restaurants didn’t think they needed them. Show me more than a very small handful of excellent restaurants that don’t use those today. You’ll find a very small minorty of good restaurants that don’t (and wouldn’t benefit) but it’s a minority. The very same will hold true for social media enhancements

    And this only addresses restaurants. I haven’t even gotten to Hardware Stores. :)

  67. Robert,

    I have a question for you and your community…..I just read your post about “What are the tech bloggers missing? Your business!”

    With this in mind, can you provide me with:

    1. Can you provide a company and/or platform which incorporates all of these elements(facebook integration, facebook connect, interactivity, mobile client, community, twitter and SEO, etc, etc). ….so small businesses can easliy populate thge content and let them engage with their current customers, and communicate (and bait them with offers for bring them in) with potential customers.

    I am consulting with small businesses and have not been able to find the turnkey platform which which incorporates all these elements.

    Can you suggest a platform that incorporates ALL these elements ??

    Samples are appreciated.

    Your feedback is VERY, VERY MUCH appreciated.

  68. Robert,

    I have a question for you and your community…..I just read your post about “What are the tech bloggers missing? Your business!”

    With this in mind, can you provide me with:

    1. Can you provide a company and/or platform which incorporates all of these elements(facebook integration, facebook connect, interactivity, mobile client, community, twitter and SEO, etc, etc). ….so small businesses can easliy populate thge content and let them engage with their current customers, and communicate (and bait them with offers for bring them in) with potential customers.

    I am consulting with small businesses and have not been able to find the turnkey platform which which incorporates all these elements.

    Can you suggest a platform that incorporates ALL these elements ??

    Samples are appreciated.

    Your feedback is VERY, VERY MUCH appreciated.

  69. Certainly not me, I’m too busy trying to figure it out for the urban folks. I’m sure someone is trying though because there’s so many “SEO experts” out there(read their twitter bio)…You let me know so I can point my clients to them.

  70. Certainly not me, I’m too busy trying to figure it out for the urban folks. I’m sure someone is trying though because there’s so many “SEO experts” out there(read their twitter bio)…You let me know so I can point my clients to them.

  71. If you guys in the tech community want to “help’ small business so much ask yourself when was the last time you linked to one, or talked about one on your blog, or had one biz, help another biz link to each other, or god for bid re-tweet something we do or say?

  72. If you guys in the tech community want to “help’ small business so much ask yourself when was the last time you linked to one, or talked about one on your blog, or had one biz, help another biz link to each other, or god for bid re-tweet something we do or say?

  73. What are tech bloggers good for?

    1. Obsessively and myopiaistically looking at every problem as merely a technology issue.
    2. Creating fake drama that even early 2000s bad MTV can’t top.
    3. Incestuous endless linking loops. Dave Winer and Joi Ito says this…
    4. Shrilling for whomever or whatever suffers to bow to their egos.
    5. Playing fake friends social networking games all day long. People beyond reach of keyboards do not exist.
    6. Screaming “you don’t get it” (the end is near) to anyone who dares not play their reindeer games. The world are unsaved tech-clueless morons. Send in the drippy evangelists.
    7. Attending conferences and not bothering to listen to anyone speak, hallway action, and tap-tap backchannel de jour. Rudeness as a verb.
    8. Name-calling. Anyone not on the gameplan, label a troll.
    9. Whining. If they have a problem with such and such, expect weeks and weeks of clueless rants and temper-tanrums about this and that. They are the centers of the universe, you know.
    10. Not understanding the dynamics of anything other than IT.
    11. Wholesale inability to make critical judgments, nary a bubble that can’t be loved.
    12. Lacking a sense of humor. Double for satire and sarcasm. No such thing.
    13. Original content. All rehashes of rehashes, reviews of staged reviews, comments on stories already written, filler ‘citizen engineer content’, install Linux on your iced-tea maker….et.al.
    14. Not having a knowlegde of anything historical, the future is all that matters.
    15. Knowing anything of the literary sort. Books? Those don’t come in RSS feeds.
    16. Not giving deference to subject matter experts who write real content, but don’t blog or social-network communicate in the “right” way. I’m taking my ball and going home.

  74. What are tech bloggers good for?

    1. Obsessively and myopiaistically looking at every problem as merely a technology issue.
    2. Creating fake drama that even early 2000s bad MTV can’t top.
    3. Incestuous endless linking loops. Dave Winer and Joi Ito says this…
    4. Shrilling for whomever or whatever suffers to bow to their egos.
    5. Playing fake friends social networking games all day long. People beyond reach of keyboards do not exist.
    6. Screaming “you don’t get it” (the end is near) to anyone who dares not play their reindeer games. The world are unsaved tech-clueless morons. Send in the drippy evangelists.
    7. Attending conferences and not bothering to listen to anyone speak, hallway action, and tap-tap backchannel de jour. Rudeness as a verb.
    8. Name-calling. Anyone not on the gameplan, label a troll.
    9. Whining. If they have a problem with such and such, expect weeks and weeks of clueless rants and temper-tanrums about this and that. They are the centers of the universe, you know.
    10. Not understanding the dynamics of anything other than IT.
    11. Wholesale inability to make critical judgments, nary a bubble that can’t be loved.
    12. Lacking a sense of humor. Double for satire and sarcasm. No such thing.
    13. Original content. All rehashes of rehashes, reviews of staged reviews, comments on stories already written, filler ‘citizen engineer content’, install Linux on your iced-tea maker….et.al.
    14. Not having a knowlegde of anything historical, the future is all that matters.
    15. Knowing anything of the literary sort. Books? Those don’t come in RSS feeds.
    16. Not giving deference to subject matter experts who write real content, but don’t blog or social-network communicate in the “right” way. I’m taking my ball and going home.

  75. To add to what you say – I follow the rules of 3 – Video, audio and print. I want people to have voice on my audio version, but I feel like I’m pulling teeth to get them to do it.

    I offered any Tech Blogger to send me a favorite article and I would turn it into a Podcast episode. So far, only one person has responded to it.

    By putting this into audio format, not only is a tech blogger going to get exposure on another site, they will also get 2 forms for people to ingest – audio and written.

    I have no doubt that someone is eventually going to take this offer and end up getting a lot of exposure from it.

  76. To add to what you say – I follow the rules of 3 – Video, audio and print. I want people to have voice on my audio version, but I feel like I’m pulling teeth to get them to do it.

    I offered any Tech Blogger to send me a favorite article and I would turn it into a Podcast episode. So far, only one person has responded to it.

    By putting this into audio format, not only is a tech blogger going to get exposure on another site, they will also get 2 forms for people to ingest – audio and written.

    I have no doubt that someone is eventually going to take this offer and end up getting a lot of exposure from it.

  77. Steve: I think the real opportunity in social networking relates to just what you’re talking about. Lot’s of business owners and companies do’nt understand marketing, OR technology. But what they DO understand how to be social. They understand how to network with people in the real world. The opportunity of social networking is giving these people the chance to learn the marketing and technological skills they need to really succeed in today’s world, in a language they can understand: friends, connections, community. We in the technology and marketing worlds are coming together more and more in the social networking arena, and have now the chance to bring all these other businesses with us.

  78. I spoke with the tourism director for the Town of Appomattox yesterday, and offered to provide a free Web presence for Appomattox businesses in my directory for that town/county. Most (I’d say 90%) of the businesses in Appomattox rely only on Chamber membership listing online and free ‘yellow page’ listings online to count as their Web presence. I’m about to email the Chamber to let them know about this deal, too (normally I’d charge $25 for 500 words on a page for any free directory listing, a package I haven’t pushed in the least with current economic conditions in town). I’ll let you know how that goes, Robert.

    I must tell you, however, that this area received broadband one year ago, and it doesn’t extend beyond town boundaries. So, businesses that appear to be located in town, yet are on the edge of the county/town line, may not have broadband. This is an interesting scenario, as the Civil War Sesquincentennial begins in 2011, and Appomattox is where the Civil War ended. Talk about a job cut out for him – that new tourism director has it.

    If you have any further suggestions, please let me know (anyone).

  79. There are dozens of us!

    However – with small businesses – trying to convince people that they “Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”

    Well that is a challenge!

    But as for folks trying?

    Mike Moran – Frank Reed – Rick Spence – the list goes on and on …..

    Regards

  80. There are dozens of us!

    However – with small businesses – trying to convince people that they “Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”

    Well that is a challenge!

    But as for folks trying?

    Mike Moran – Frank Reed – Rick Spence – the list goes on and on …..

    Regards

  81. Robert, Dig a little deeper into the Indianapolis tech scene if you’re looking for tech bloggers that address real business issues. Indy is quietly developing into an software, data center, SaaS and cloud hub that offers talent pool, competitive salaries, and awesome cost of living.

  82. What Robert seems to be trying to say is that on a grand scale none of the big blogs are really doing you guys much service. I’m sure he knows that he’s just a geek, writing about geek stuff. He said we went looking for the articles about business and couldn’t find much of anything.

    Douglas, you talk about promoting local businesses. This is great, but if its only local, then it’s not getting out there to the rest ofthe people that might benefit from your experience. How can we as a community maximize and leverage your knowledge and experience?

    Silicon Valley is where the TECH news is made. Business news of all other type is made elsewhere. (and there but the Valley is small compare to the World)
    The Valley is making the tools for the businesses but how do the businesses use them, what do they want? I have a pretty good idea, I’ve serve technology to small & medium sized enterprises throughout the northwest.

    This isn’t about “web presence” That’s yesterday’s news. And Yes if a business didn’t get it they are going to get it. But Social Media is a whole new ball game. It’s not about “presence” . It’s about “enagagement” Its about interaction with the customers, future employees and the community. A “web presence” was about putting up a billboard on the information super highway (sound 90s enough for you?). If you didn’t put up billboards on the real life highway, why would you want virtual ones? But the face of the matter is, every business interacts with its customers, employees, and the community as a whole. It IS what they do. Social media extends that interaction in to the online world. Why is this important? 75% of all people under the age of 35 in the US have a a Facebook or Myspace account. (IIRC) We’re nearing that percentage with the 35-50 demographic. Most children today GREW UP on Facebook and Myspace -it’s the playground that they experience. Businesses are going to have to be able to speak to this side of their community.

    But the people to tell them how to do it are in short supply. If Robert Scoble can’t find them, I have to imagine there just aren’t that many. I know how Robert absorbs news. He’s big on telling people like me how to do it.

    So how do we as a community make this really happen for the business community?

    If it’s not really out there, how do we make it happen? How do we get that completely business oriented blog site to take off? How do we attract some talent to it? How do we get writers like myself & Jesse, who can provide some business focus, the right eyeballs reading them. Out of the geekdoms and into the boardrooms and into the mom & pop shops.

  83. Excellent way to look at this. That could be a great way to help these business owners understand and embrace the opportunities that exist with social networking.

  84. I will try once more since the first response got deleted, maybe because I referenced bloggers who **do** attempt to do this (myself included.)

    With the SME space – the biggest issue is that too many people ‘don’t know what they don’t know’

    And yes there are many of us trying to convince them, verbally and in writing.

  85. I will try once more since the first response got deleted, maybe because I referenced bloggers who **do** attempt to do this (myself included.)

    With the SME space – the biggest issue is that too many people ‘don’t know what they don’t know’

    And yes there are many of us trying to convince them, verbally and in writing.

  86. Robert, technology overall, in regards to small businesses is divided three ways:

    1. Those who lead in technology and/or are quite advanced. These small businesses have web sites (that look good, blogs, CRM, etc, etc). Often times they lead like this due to management that gets it on a personal level but also sees tech as a way to advance the company overall.

    2. Those who use technology out of a necessity. Sure they do email marketing – but that’s about it. They do it maybe 6 times per year and they put 100 images of their latest product in the newsletter as well. They try – keeping customer records in MS Access or Excel – but that’s about it. They are always trying to keep the water from rising too fast in their “boat” of business. Know what I mean.

    3. Then there are those who really can get by as they are with no or litle tech. Maybe the local pizza shop or old school accounting office. 1MB of memory on an old computer, no network. The on button is filled with dust.

    Millions of us are on Twitter – but guess what it looks like many people are twittering about twitter. I don’t think there are that many businesses – “succeeding” using Twitter. WSJ says so, in finding ONE success story, but it’s hype.

    There will always be a digital divide. PERIOD.

    Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com

  87. Robert, technology overall, in regards to small businesses is divided three ways:

    1. Those who lead in technology and/or are quite advanced. These small businesses have web sites (that look good, blogs, CRM, etc, etc). Often times they lead like this due to management that gets it on a personal level but also sees tech as a way to advance the company overall.

    2. Those who use technology out of a necessity. Sure they do email marketing – but that’s about it. They do it maybe 6 times per year and they put 100 images of their latest product in the newsletter as well. They try – keeping customer records in MS Access or Excel – but that’s about it. They are always trying to keep the water from rising too fast in their “boat” of business. Know what I mean.

    3. Then there are those who really can get by as they are with no or litle tech. Maybe the local pizza shop or old school accounting office. 1MB of memory on an old computer, no network. The on button is filled with dust.

    Millions of us are on Twitter – but guess what it looks like many people are twittering about twitter. I don’t think there are that many businesses – “succeeding” using Twitter. WSJ says so, in finding ONE success story, but it’s hype.

    There will always be a digital divide. PERIOD.

    Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com

  88. This is a great post. It hits the heart of the matter. These tools are just crying out to be used by “ordinary” businesses to create extraordinary returns. It’s unbelievable the blindness we can have. We pay to much money to have a TV ad, and yet every company in the World can have a virtual TV network with Worldwide reach for almost nothing. Wal-Mart has thousands of stores, one in every town, but today, even the smallest business can have, not just a store, but a cash register in every house in America, and get the customer to be their own sales clerk to boot! And why aren’t they blogging everyday, new pictures, the latest things happening at their store, restaurant, creating interest, creating energy, twittering, facebooking, and all these incredible tools, most are free! Peter Drucker would say they are too busy solving problems to create opportunities. “Don’t Solve Problems. Create Opportunities.” he famously said. There is so much dead energy. These sites are silos at best, most are just fliers just so they can say they have a website. When it comes down to it, business is primarily social. You do business with who you like, with who woos you, who’s fun energetic and makes you feel good. If they only knew how their websites are subconsciously doing the opposite, telling visitors almost to stay away and don’t come back, and most people never do nor think about the business again. You’ve hit the nail on the head. This is the crucial missing link in the system, how to bring this whole thing together, and as Drucker famously also said, “All the money goes to the company who provides the crucial missing link” Too many people are also doing stuff they hate just for the money. That’s the definition of the Wasteland mentality, a slave mentality. So I hope this new era ushers in a wave of energy to unlock that old paradigm and give people fresh hope, fresh lives, new awakenings on every level, in other words, what has been termed in the past a new “Golden Age” sorta, well not sorta, like the Renaissance and that Ionian Greek period.
    If this were a horse race, the runners are entering the gate!

  89. This is a great post. It hits the heart of the matter. These tools are just crying out to be used by “ordinary” businesses to create extraordinary returns. It’s unbelievable the blindness we can have. We pay to much money to have a TV ad, and yet every company in the World can have a virtual TV network with Worldwide reach for almost nothing. Wal-Mart has thousands of stores, one in every town, but today, even the smallest business can have, not just a store, but a cash register in every house in America, and get the customer to be their own sales clerk to boot! And why aren’t they blogging everyday, new pictures, the latest things happening at their store, restaurant, creating interest, creating energy, twittering, facebooking, and all these incredible tools, most are free! Peter Drucker would say they are too busy solving problems to create opportunities. “Don’t Solve Problems. Create Opportunities.” he famously said. There is so much dead energy. These sites are silos at best, most are just fliers just so they can say they have a website. When it comes down to it, business is primarily social. You do business with who you like, with who woos you, who’s fun energetic and makes you feel good. If they only knew how their websites are subconsciously doing the opposite, telling visitors almost to stay away and don’t come back, and most people never do nor think about the business again. You’ve hit the nail on the head. This is the crucial missing link in the system, how to bring this whole thing together, and as Drucker famously also said, “All the money goes to the company who provides the crucial missing link” Too many people are also doing stuff they hate just for the money. That’s the definition of the Wasteland mentality, a slave mentality. So I hope this new era ushers in a wave of energy to unlock that old paradigm and give people fresh hope, fresh lives, new awakenings on every level, in other words, what has been termed in the past a new “Golden Age” sorta, well not sorta, like the Renaissance and that Ionian Greek period.
    If this were a horse race, the runners are entering the gate!

  90. I’m gonna add one thing to that. By not interacting these Mainstreet Companies are giving the impression to potential new customers that they’ve something to hide. That helps cement that wall in the customers mind (if they’re even thinking of them at all, which they probably aren’t) which is why businesses need to use these tools to constantly be interacting, creating awareness and credibility.
    Leo Laporte certainly is no “ordinary” business but if “ordinary” business’s just watched was he was doing, get that vibe into their own businesses, they wouldn’t even have to be so interested in tech to get into what he’s doing, to take cues from it and apply it to their own success.

  91. I’m gonna add one thing to that. By not interacting these Mainstreet Companies are giving the impression to potential new customers that they’ve something to hide. That helps cement that wall in the customers mind (if they’re even thinking of them at all, which they probably aren’t) which is why businesses need to use these tools to constantly be interacting, creating awareness and credibility.
    Leo Laporte certainly is no “ordinary” business but if “ordinary” business’s just watched was he was doing, get that vibe into their own businesses, they wouldn’t even have to be so interested in tech to get into what he’s doing, to take cues from it and apply it to their own success.

  92. Robert, you are talking about how to help a restaurant like Junoon. But the majority of tech bloggers, media, analysts do not focus even on the larger enterprise tech buyer like a Citi or a GM – it is largely a vendor driven world. Vendor pr around new products, their earnings releases etc drive most reporting and blogging.

    I have long felt the CIOs and CTOs and IT directors are the unsung heroes in our industry. They get none of the stock options or the fame, but make tech work…the more we can write from their POV the better it will be for the industry

  93. Robert, you are talking about how to help a restaurant like Junoon. But the majority of tech bloggers, media, analysts do not focus even on the larger enterprise tech buyer like a Citi or a GM – it is largely a vendor driven world. Vendor pr around new products, their earnings releases etc drive most reporting and blogging.

    I have long felt the CIOs and CTOs and IT directors are the unsung heroes in our industry. They get none of the stock options or the fame, but make tech work…the more we can write from their POV the better it will be for the industry

  94. I think you’re right Robert. I work as a project manager in the Digital Media department of Europe’s largest conservation charity and I notice a real disconnect between the the ‘geeks’ and the business itself.

    The reason I started selfwinding.net was to try and address that disconnect. There’s such a wealth of knowledge here that can be applied to business and the more they (the business) understand, the more they want to do and the more we have to do. All good for everyone.

    It’s a very new project and I’m looking for other digital media professionals to contribute – you’d do at a push. :)

  95. I think you’re right Robert. I work as a project manager in the Digital Media department of Europe’s largest conservation charity and I notice a real disconnect between the the ‘geeks’ and the business itself.

    The reason I started selfwinding.net was to try and address that disconnect. There’s such a wealth of knowledge here that can be applied to business and the more they (the business) understand, the more they want to do and the more we have to do. All good for everyone.

    It’s a very new project and I’m looking for other digital media professionals to contribute – you’d do at a push. :)

  96. Great post and fantastic replies.

    I run a business search and local microblogging site in the UK. I totally agree with JS. Most are time short so unless you can show them what the ROI for using your service they won’t stay long.

    Many ‘Social’ services are precisely that and as such don’t translate very well to business.

    Yes many businesses use sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc but how many of those can honestly say that they receive significant new customers from those sites.

    The two quesions most businesses want your site to answer are

    1. How will your site help me find new customers.
    2. How will your site help me retain existing customers.

    I think social networks need to innovate around those two questions in order to convince businesses to invest their time (and Ad spend)

  97. Great post and fantastic replies.

    I run a business search and local microblogging site in the UK. I totally agree with JS. Most are time short so unless you can show them what the ROI for using your service they won’t stay long.

    Many ‘Social’ services are precisely that and as such don’t translate very well to business.

    Yes many businesses use sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc but how many of those can honestly say that they receive significant new customers from those sites.

    The two quesions most businesses want your site to answer are

    1. How will your site help me find new customers.
    2. How will your site help me retain existing customers.

    I think social networks need to innovate around those two questions in order to convince businesses to invest their time (and Ad spend)

  98. “I don’t go anywhere unless I can a) FIND the place on google (etc) and b) Find out more about the place on google (etc).”

    He may be 100% correct as far as your buying patterns go. Still uncorroborated if he is correct as far as the other 6+ Billion people in the world goes. Show me the data beyond anything anecdotal.

  99. “I don’t go anywhere unless I can a) FIND the place on google (etc) and b) Find out more about the place on google (etc).”

    He may be 100% correct as far as your buying patterns go. Still uncorroborated if he is correct as far as the other 6+ Billion people in the world goes. Show me the data beyond anything anecdotal.

  100. Hi Robert -

    Excellent observation… and really a major problem/issue if you step back and think about it in terms of the billions of dollars companies large and small spend on technology.

    I’m not a regular blogger (which hopefully doesn’t disqualify my comments) but what you’ve experienced is why I left the corporate world 12 years ago to start a consulting business around helping people and organizations make better use of the technology THEY ALREADY OWN.

    The truth is stuff doesn’t have to be brand new or the latest gizmo to be of value. Individuals today have more power at their fingertips (courtesy of a PC loaded with Microsoft Office and has high-speed access to the Web) than entire Fortune 100 companies had just a generation ago. But they’re only taking advantage of a sliver of its potential because most of what could be really helpful to them is talked about in technospeak… something the majority of business people don’t understand, and are too busy to learn.

    It may be simplistic, but I think what you’ve (accurately) described is something I called the “culture” of technology in my book “Winning Clients in a Wired World” (John Wiley). Back in 2004 I described it this way…

    “If you’ve ever felt as if you’re missing a technology gene, or that you just don’t get what everyone else does, let me put your mind at ease: It’s not you; it’s the “culture” of technology. Developers focus on *features* (what the program does); users care about *benefits* (what the program can do for them).

    “To be fair, the people developing these tools are only responding to user demand for more and more functionality. But in the process, programs have been loaded with layers of labyrinth-like menus whose features, in most cases, remain undiscovered and unused. Left to themselves to figure it all out, most users get confused and frustrated.

    “That said, you don’t need to become a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, you just need to master a few processes and procedures—and then implement them. As you do, realize you’re not alone. Everyone wrestles with technology. Others have faced your problems and found solutions. Later on, I’ll show you how to connect with them.”

    More than a decade of working with business people, mostly in sales and marketing roles, has proven to me that given clear direction and described from that perspective of “here’s why what we’re talking about matters to you”, most people are eager learners.

    It could be something as basic as understanding how to navigate Google and limit your search to exact phrases, titles, or certain web sites. That may seem incredibly old hat to your readers, but I assure you the majority of the Internet-using public does not know that they can do those things… much less how. And when you show them, it’s like turning on a light in a room that’s been forever dark.

    If you’re interested, I’d love to explore this subject further with you. There’s a tremendous opportunity to help lots of folks at the core of what you’ve surfaced. You are welcome to contact me at the email included with this post. I’ll reach out to you separately with an email or phone call early this week.

    Hope we can connect.

    Kind regards,

    Kip Gregory

  101. Hi Robert -

    Excellent observation… and really a major problem/issue if you step back and think about it in terms of the billions of dollars companies large and small spend on technology.

    I’m not a regular blogger (which hopefully doesn’t disqualify my comments) but what you’ve experienced is why I left the corporate world 12 years ago to start a consulting business around helping people and organizations make better use of the technology THEY ALREADY OWN.

    The truth is stuff doesn’t have to be brand new or the latest gizmo to be of value. Individuals today have more power at their fingertips (courtesy of a PC loaded with Microsoft Office and has high-speed access to the Web) than entire Fortune 100 companies had just a generation ago. But they’re only taking advantage of a sliver of its potential because most of what could be really helpful to them is talked about in technospeak… something the majority of business people don’t understand, and are too busy to learn.

    It may be simplistic, but I think what you’ve (accurately) described is something I called the “culture” of technology in my book “Winning Clients in a Wired World” (John Wiley). Back in 2004 I described it this way…

    “If you’ve ever felt as if you’re missing a technology gene, or that you just don’t get what everyone else does, let me put your mind at ease: It’s not you; it’s the “culture” of technology. Developers focus on *features* (what the program does); users care about *benefits* (what the program can do for them).

    “To be fair, the people developing these tools are only responding to user demand for more and more functionality. But in the process, programs have been loaded with layers of labyrinth-like menus whose features, in most cases, remain undiscovered and unused. Left to themselves to figure it all out, most users get confused and frustrated.

    “That said, you don’t need to become a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, you just need to master a few processes and procedures—and then implement them. As you do, realize you’re not alone. Everyone wrestles with technology. Others have faced your problems and found solutions. Later on, I’ll show you how to connect with them.”

    More than a decade of working with business people, mostly in sales and marketing roles, has proven to me that given clear direction and described from that perspective of “here’s why what we’re talking about matters to you”, most people are eager learners.

    It could be something as basic as understanding how to navigate Google and limit your search to exact phrases, titles, or certain web sites. That may seem incredibly old hat to your readers, but I assure you the majority of the Internet-using public does not know that they can do those things… much less how. And when you show them, it’s like turning on a light in a room that’s been forever dark.

    If you’re interested, I’d love to explore this subject further with you. There’s a tremendous opportunity to help lots of folks at the core of what you’ve surfaced. You are welcome to contact me at the email included with this post. I’ll reach out to you separately with an email or phone call early this week.

    Hope we can connect.

    Kind regards,

    Kip Gregory

  102. Conrad,

    You just defined your ideal client:. “…clients who dont care about anything but how much can I pay you to get me more customers”.

    I guarantee you there are people out there who want to put $1 into Conrad and take $2 out.

    Talk about what they care about, not what you care about.

    Mark

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  104. Travel Biz, I sent you a email a couple of weeks ago, I’m a Rackspace customer, the guy in Hawaii who is trying to work w/ you and Rackspace to help our small biz, we spoke briefly too

  105. What Robert seems to be trying to say is that on a grand scale none of the big blogs are really doing you guys much service. I’m sure he knows that he’s just a geek, writing about geek stuff. He said we went looking for the articles about business and couldn’t find much of anything.

    Douglas, you talk about promoting local businesses. This is great, but if its only local, then it’s not getting out there to the rest ofthe people that might benefit from your experience. How can we as a community maximize and leverage your knowledge and experience?

    Silicon Valley is where the TECH news is made. Business news of all other type is made elsewhere. (and there but the Valley is small compare to the World)
    The Valley is making the tools for the businesses but how do the businesses use them, what do they want? I have a pretty good idea, I’ve serve technology to small & medium sized enterprises throughout the northwest.

    This isn’t about “web presence” That’s yesterday’s news. And Yes if a business didn’t get it they are going to get it. But Social Media is a whole new ball game. It’s not about “presence” . It’s about “enagagement” Its about interaction with the customers, future employees and the community. A “web presence” was about putting up a billboard on the information super highway (sound 90s enough for you?). If you didn’t put up billboards on the real life highway, why would you want virtual ones? But the face of the matter is, every business interacts with its customers, employees, and the community as a whole. It IS what they do. Social media extends that interaction in to the online world. Why is this important? 75% of all people under the age of 35 in the US have a a Facebook or Myspace account. (IIRC) We’re nearing that percentage with the 35-50 demographic. Most children today GREW UP on Facebook and Myspace -it’s the playground that they experience. Businesses are going to have to be able to speak to this side of their community.

    But the people to tell them how to do it are in short supply. If Robert Scoble can’t find them, I have to imagine there just aren’t that many. I know how Robert absorbs news. He’s big on telling people like me how to do it.

    So how do we as a community make this really happen for the business community?

    If it’s not really out there, how do we make it happen? How do we get that completely business oriented blog site to take off? How do we attract some talent to it? How do we get writers like myself & Jesse, who can provide some business focus, the right eyeballs reading them. Out of the geekdoms and into the boardrooms and into the mom & pop shops.

  106. Bruce: for a travel biz I can think of a whole lot of ways to improve engagement with your business.

    There are different constituencies who are looking to travel. I’m very close to planning a vacation for me and my family. Maryam’s pregnant, and we have a two-year-old. So we’re looking for a certain kind of information. Do you have a community of people who match us who’ve been to Hawaii that we can talk with? Why not?

    I’m sure there are lots of other kinds of constituencies, too. Arrington from TechCrunch just was in Hawaii. He’s a single guy with a hectic lifestyle. I’m sure other people would love to talk with a community of people like Arrington who’ve been there and know the best things to do.

    All of these require putting a community onto your website and putting real people there.

    Oh, and you live there. You’re the expert. Do you have a blog where you tell us every day something cool about Hawaii? Where is it?

  107. I recognize I am little off topic here. We’re ready to bring ya here when you’re we ready. Yes, we blog everyday, http://www.hawaii-aloha.com/blog we podcast twice a week (for almost 3 years now) http://www.hawaii-aloha.com/podcast http://www.hawaii-aloha.com/podcast Let me think about you question about engaging like customers, it’s a pretty good one.

    My take is who the hell in there right mind is gonna give US any kind of free advertising, people in the blogging community simply do not take bloggers like me seriously, will not cross link, post etc. cause we ARE a business.

  108. Our goal is to share with the world Hawaii from the perspective of people in the tourism industry who actually live here in Hawaii. Our story is that of a husband and wife team who have built our business organically for 10 years against all odds, something like that anyway LOL

  109. Robert you’re definitely heading in the right direction. I’ve been wrestling with these issues for a month and the closest I’ve come is that it’s my “Marketing Campaign”. I think I’ll start to focus on your other point of what story I’m trying to tell and then what I’m trying to sell! But maybe ultimately we are just trying to sell ourselves and the blogs reflect that. Those that don’t have content, borrow some, others invent!

    By the way I’m publishing and IT Project Methodology but I’ve ended up doing product development, marketing and just plain thinking all at the same time. Any advice?

  110. Agree re: Chris Brogan. Also appreciate the fact that when he was in town here in Indy, he spent some time with some local techies. We didn’t get any airtime, mind you… but we were put on his prospective sponsor list. lol.

  111. Does Junoon “need” a Web presence? Well, that depends. Do they want to be found on Google? Do they want geeks to be able to reserve a table via OpenTable? Do they want reviews on Yelp? Do they want to find new clientelle that doesn’t know about them today? Do they serve Silicon Valley’s best people?

    If they do, they need to cater to people who use the web.

    Personally, yes they do.

    Now that we got there, what could we do to make their business even more successful?

  112. Robert is 100% correct and here’s why:

    I don’t go anywhere unless I can a) FIND the place on google (etc) and b) Find out more about the place on google (etc).

    Beyond that, do they need things like Facebook Connect? Sure they do, restaurants want to fill more seats at more empty hours – easier to do with online tools. I can imagine all kinds of little toys we can build for the restaurant market that are designed to catch people at their desk, and let them know when is the best time for them to come in, get the best service, and the best price. They don’t know they need this yet, but as soon as they have it, and they’re not sitting idle from 2-5pm they’ll wonder how they ever survived with out it. Make all these tols work on the mobile (which is where this is all going – desktop power in our hands) and now, I can order lunch before I get to the restaurant…maybe get a 5% discount for ordering from the phone before I come in. The restaurant is happy, they just added a whole extra seating to the lunch hour. (Ztables x Ypeople x Xseatings) how much more money can they make. And how much better is the service going to be for each customer?

    It’s not about expanding advertising and increasing hte hecticness of their businesses, it’s about relieving that. Making it easier to serve at least as much as the current, if not more.

    Look -When people started selling POS systems into restaurants, the restaurants didn’t think they needed them. Show me more than a very small handful of excellent restaurants that don’t use those today. You’ll find a very small minorty of good restaurants that don’t (and wouldn’t benefit) but it’s a minority. The very same will hold true for social media enhancements

    And this only addresses restaurants. I haven’t even gotten to Hardware Stores. :)

  113. Agreed. Brogan rocks. But he focuses a bit too much on social media. Most businesses don’t even do the fundamental stuff well (most businesses’ sites really suck, just like the two I gave above). If you don’t understand the fundamentals, how are you going to get into Twitter or Facebook? http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

  114. Linda: I hear you. But if the business right next door to Facebook (literally) isn’t getting it, there’s a long way before most businesses around the world get it.

    Keep up the good fight. It’s worth it. Let me know how it’s going.

  115. If the business right next door to Facebook isn’t getting it, then I feel better about the progress we’re making. Equalizers are good things, mostly. =) Will let you know…thanks!

  116. I spoke with the tourism director for the Town of Appomattox yesterday, and offered to provide a free Web presence for Appomattox businesses in my directory for that town/county. Most (I’d say 90%) of the businesses in Appomattox rely only on Chamber membership listing online and free ‘yellow page’ listings online to count as their Web presence. I’m about to email the Chamber to let them know about this deal, too (normally I’d charge $25 for 500 words on a page for any free directory listing, a package I haven’t pushed in the least with current economic conditions in town). I’ll let you know how that goes, Robert.

    I must tell you, however, that this area received broadband one year ago, and it doesn’t extend beyond town boundaries. So, businesses that appear to be located in town, yet are on the edge of the county/town line, may not have broadband. This is an interesting scenario, as the Civil War Sesquincentennial begins in 2011, and Appomattox is where the Civil War ended. Talk about a job cut out for him – that new tourism director has it.

    If you have any further suggestions, please let me know (anyone).

  117. At least that business is interested in finding out what to do. They will eventually start making progress. Just last week I told a local business I was unable to find them online and they could get listed for free.

    Their response was “everyone” in town already knew where they were. (Highly unlikely even in a town of that size.) They did not need to advertise or have an online presence. I should mention that in many small and even medium size towns such as theirs, lack of competition has created a dirth of motivation to improve.

  118. Great comment. Sometimes watching the media around a few “in companies” makes me feel like I am sitting in the high school cafeteria watching the cool kids have fun at the other table.

    Back then, there were plenty of kids having fun at the other tables, and the same is true now. So Robert, you can keep writing about the hot Silicon Valley elite, and us regular folks in the middle of the country, will be just fine.

    But if you want to experience technology with a Midwest flare, come to Indy for Mira on May 16. Meet the companies making exciting things happen here ( and employing quite a few people along the way) http://www.techpoint.org/Mira/nominees.htm.

    And if you do come, I’ll buy your ticket to the event!

  119. @Doug, What about ChaCha… Angie’s List and eTapestry. They have all made it on key Valley blogs… Just a FYI

  120. You said personally they do. Why? You know about them. Do they need or even want more business? Do we know? If they’re a small, family run business, doing well, and staffed to capacity, maybe they’re simply content with life.

    I’m not convinced every business needs or wants the web. It’s a tool and has value, but if the return on the value is minimal for a business doing well, especially one like this example, the ROI/ROE may not be worth the investment to embrace social media.

    Truly I’m just thinking about this as I’m a proponent.

  121. Jesse – Two out of those four articles really directly apply to most businesses. The Cotweet article seems like it’s really appropriate to almost any type of business -we all need CRM tools, and twitter is a mess in that area. The article on TodaysMama shows a business much more about how it can find and use social networks that are more specific to the individual needs of the business. The fourth article (allowing certain friends)is more appropriate to 2 types of people than anyone else: public sales/marketing/PR types, and and current or future job seeker (which realy encompasses us all but….)

    The problem: Placement. “Location Location Location”

    I have to wonder how many non-tech business readers you’re reaching on your blog and Louis’ blog. Certainly Louis’ seems more tech-market driven. What about simultaneously publishing articles like this on more business oriented sites?

    Robert’s point was essentially two-fold 1) Not many bloggers writing about solutions for general down-the-street businesses, and 2) of those who are writing about those solutions, most are winding up in “new-technology” blogs.

    Where’s the blog that the business readers read? How about getting these kinds of articles in the NYT and WSJ? Thats one start.

    And also, what about a “business blog” where are those?

  122. Steve: I think the real opportunity in social networking relates to just what you’re talking about. Lot’s of business owners and companies do’nt understand marketing, OR technology. But what they DO understand how to be social. They understand how to network with people in the real world. The opportunity of social networking is giving these people the chance to learn the marketing and technological skills they need to really succeed in today’s world, in a language they can understand: friends, connections, community. We in the technology and marketing worlds are coming together more and more in the social networking arena, and have now the chance to bring all these other businesses with us.

  123. Robert, Dig a little deeper into the Indianapolis tech scene if you’re looking for tech bloggers that address real business issues. Indy is quietly developing into an software, data center, SaaS and cloud hub that offers talent pool, competitive salaries, and awesome cost of living.

  124. Excellent way to look at this. That could be a great way to help these business owners understand and embrace the opportunities that exist with social networking.

  125. Conrad,

    You just defined your ideal client:. “…clients who dont care about anything but how much can I pay you to get me more customers”.

    I guarantee you there are people out there who want to put $1 into Conrad and take $2 out.

    Talk about what they care about, not what you care about.

    Mark