Difficult conversations at work

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When the outcome of a conversation is in doubt, don’t do it by email. And show up in person if you can.

The synchronicity of face to face conversation gives you the chance to change your tone in midstream. Ask questions. A great question is usually better than a good answer.

And don’t forget–the value of a long pause is difficult to overstate.

July 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Comic for July 31, 2011

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July 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Gillmor Gang 7.30.11 (TCTV)

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The Gillmor Gang — Danny Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, and Steve Gillmor — covered the gamut between Google+ and well, Google+. The new social platform continues to delight and confound the early adopters in record numbers. @scobleizer remains optimistic that the search giant will roll out filtering features to cut down on the noise of squids, kittens, and well, Scoble comment farms.

@dannysullivan would prefer Google unleash the hounds of celebrity and brands, surprised as he and we are that the Plus team was caught flatfooted by the viral adoption of the field trial, or whatever Danny calls it. When we (Danny and I) started complaining about the lack of iPad support and Robert about the perils of high speed Scoble flow via the iPhone, @kevinmarks pointed out the ANdroid support sucked for tablets in general. All in all, much to look forward to and little or no competition from Facebook for Google to worry about.

July 31st 2011 Google

The Weekly Compete Pulse

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Did you know that we’re moving? Over the next week you won’t be able to avoid this knowledge. We just started an internal competition called Compete Moves where contenders check in and tweet #competemoves as much as possible. We’re sorry, we’re just excited. Check out a picture of our new office space here! But amidst all of the packing and relived stories about odd cubicle collector’s items, we happened upon some great articles for online marketers.

What’s one way to engage your social media audience? Give them the opportunity to compete for prizes! Now, it’s one thing to say you’re going to run a social media contest and it’s another thing to actually garner participation. Mashable tells us how to be calculated farmers when trying to get the most out of our “crops”:   HOW TO: Successfully Run a Social Media Contest

Last week we told you you might want to wait to begin building your brand page on Google+. This week, we’re allowing you to take some preparatory steps to get yourself ready for the big debut. Walk yourself through these important pre-boarding questions by Search Engine Watch so that you’ll be more than ready when the time comes: Google+ Strategy: 5 Tips to Help Marketers Get Ready for Brand Pages

How does one choose between a lion and a snow leopard? Well, since the lion is the newcomer we need to hear what she has to offer. Apple isn’t telling us, but Lifehacker is: Top 10 Secret Features in Mac OS X Lion

Crowdsourcing isn’t just for “cheese-flavored chips and ironic T-shirts anymore” says Jim Hmurovich of AdAge. Its principles can be applied not only for building up iconic brands and products, but also for doing public good. Check out how this key marketing principle can be utilized in a very unique and exciting way: Crowdsourcing for America’s Children

Let’s face it, we can’t get enough advice about how to increase SEO rankings. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refresh your strategy, check out this post by Search Engine Watch: Local SEO: 10 Tips for Ranking in Your Area

For more competitive intelligence and online marketing news, subscribe to the Pulse, Compete’s monthly newsletter. The Pulse includes the latest industry news, web analytics, market research, Compete PRO education and tips, and much more.

July 31st 2011 Google, Marketing, Social Media

Understanding Blogging Arbitrage

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This guest post is by Kevin Muldoon of WordPress Mods.

As I used to run a few poker discussion forums and information websites, a large part of my income over the last several years has come from poker referral commissions. Commissions have dropped every month over the last few years, which is not a big shock since I sold my last gambling related site about five years ago. What was a big shock was the recent poker ban in the USA, resulting in thousands of dollars being taken away from me every month.

Strangely, this has not necessarily been a bad thing for me—quite the opposite. Having a constant stream of income every month for several years was great, though it did make me lazy in many respects. With these commissions gone from my monthly income, I have found myself really focused to get things done and get things done sooner.

The first thing on my agenda was to reduce outgoing costs. Sadly that meant letting two regular writers of my blog go (for the time being) until I can reassess where income can be improved. I enjoy writing so I don’t mind taking on extra writing responsibilities for my blog, though it did make me analyze my own duties more.

What is your time worth?

One of the biggest questions I had to ask myself when my income dropped was, “How much is my time worth?” If you make money from a number of different areas online (e.g. affiliate commissions, blogging, flipping websites and domains, etc.), this isn’t an easy thing to answer, particularly if your schedule changes from day to day.

If you are a blog owner and spend a lot of time writing articles for your own blog, there is a more suitable question to ask: “How much is my time worth as a blogger?” This is something I asked myself when thinking about the long-term posting strategy for my blog. Is some of my time better spent writing for other blogs and websites?

Consider a blog owner who writes one 1,000 word article for his blog every single day but unfortunately has no money to spend on writers. If he were able to find a good writer it would be in his interests to hire him if he was able to secure a writing job for himself at a much higher rate.

For example, if the blog owner got a blogging job that paid him $50 for every 1,000 word article, they would have the funds to hire a blogger at $25 per 1,000 word article. The blog owner would of course expect that the articles were of an equal or higher quality of his own. The outcome being another article being published on his blog plus $25 in profit from his own writing position.

In economics this is known as Arbitrage. Arbitrage is the concept of taking advantage of the difference in price between two markets. If someone can exploit this, their profit will be the difference in prices. Those who have dabbled in PPC marketing will be aware of this concept, as it’s used by many affiliate marketers to make money through Adsense. (In short, they bid low for certain keywords on PPC services and hope to make a profit when the user clicks on an Adsense advertisement which pays out more.)

Therefore, blogging arbitrage could be described as:

The difference in price between the rate you personally charge as a blogger and the rate you can pay to other bloggers to take over your writing responsibilities.

There are some things to bear in mind when applying this strategy:

  • You need to take a note of the time you are spending writing articles for others. Getting paid twice the rate you pay out is irrelevant if the articles are taking you three times as long to write.
  • A little time needs to be set aside when hiring writers for your blog, as it can be time consuming emailing them with advice and guidance, proof reading their posts, and then arranging payment.

Taking advantage of blogging arbitrage

I don’t believe that any blogger should spend more time blogging for others than on their own site. It’s important to have an input into your own blog and not let additional work slow your blog’s progress.

There are benefits of using blogging arbitrage, though. Not only is it an extra way of making money, it also helps promote your own blog. Most blogs have an author bio at the bottom of each article where some information about the author and a link to their website can be found. Therefore, writing for other blogs will bring you some extra money and traffic back to your blog.

The additional income is something that is vital for bloggers who are starting out and are looking for ways to increase their profits, so the benefits of using blogging arbitrage will decrease as your blog becomes more successful.

Nevertheless, I think that it is an important principle to understand. Have you ever used blogging arbitrage? Does it sound like a tactic that could help you make your blog more profitable?

Kevin Muldoon is a webmaster and blogger who lives in Central Scotland. His current project is WordPress Mods; a blog which focuses on WordPress Themes, Plugins, Tutorials, News and Modifications.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger


Understanding Blogging Arbitrage

July 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Goodbye, Google Friends!

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Google Friends is Google’s monthly newsletter that included the latest announcements and product releases. 13 years after the first newsletter issue, Google announced that Google Friends will be retired.

It’s hard to believe, but this monthly missive is now 13 years old. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it over time, and wanted you to know that we are retiring it in its current form.

As you may know, the Google Friends Newsletter was created by Larry Page in April 1998, when Google was still on Stanford servers. In the early days, the Friends notes offered newsy details like “We are gearing up to do another crawl. We should start within a few weeks” and tips on tweaking your search queries.

Obviously a lot has happened since then, including changes in how we communicate updates to all of you. So this will be our last Google Friends Newsletter. We started the Official Google Blog in 2004 and joined Twitter in 2009, and we’ve seen dramatic growth on those channels. Meanwhile, the number of subscribers to this newsletter has remained flat, so we’ve concluded that this format is no longer the best way for us to get the word out about new Google products and services.

Google Friends started as an eGroups mailing list, then it became a Yahoo Group and was later moved to Google Groups. “We used the company eGroups to mass-mail our Google Friends newsletter to users, because Larry’s brother, Carl, was one of eGroups founders. Larry had done the configuration for the original eGroups server himself, and for a while the company’s computational heart has lived under his desk. The same week we announced our deal with Yahoo, Yahoo announced they were buying eGroups for $428 million (Yahoo has been very kind to the Page family),” remembers the former Google marketing director Douglas Edwards.

The early issues of the newsletter include a geek-friendly changelog of Google’s search engine. You’ll find about the long-gone operator flink: (forward links), the PageRank bar displayed next to each search result and Google’s plans to “have a much bigger index than our current 24 million pages”.

“After combining our web server and search engine for better performance, we have been experiencing intermittent problems with our system being down for short amounts of time fairly frequently. If you have trouble getting to the system, try back in a minute or two, and it should be back up.” (July 1998)

This is a paragraph you’ll never find in a Google blog post, Twitter message or a recent Google Friends issue.

{ Thanks, Tomi. }

July 30th 2011 Uncategorized

Weekend Coffee Links: Chicken Feet Edition

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Welcome to the weekend, Kids. You made it through yet another week. Give yourself a hug. Or maybe just give yourself an adult drink of your choosing. To help you ease into another great Summer weekend, we offer these links as a token of appreciation for hanging out with us all week.


  • David Sedaris & Chicken Toenails:  Sabre and I heard David Sedaris read this story live when we went to go see him perform a reading in Schenectady, NY.  It was pretty cool to hear him read and edit at the same time. Now it’s all printed up in the Guardian.  My, how things grow. If you like David (and really, how could you not?), you’ll like this one.
  • In praise of verbal stumbles: Everyone who told you that all those “ums” and “uhs” were hurting your speaking ability? They lied. Turns out we like a little disfluency.
  • I don’t want to get big and bulky: Interesting article on how the media perpetuates stereotypes to make working out less effective for women.
  • 34 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 34 Years Of Living: Okay, fine, I admit I’m kind of a sucker for these posts but I can’t help it. And if it helps my case any, this is actually an especially good one. I promise!
  • Single girl behaviors:  A compelling post from Nicole Antoinette about why people who say you shouldn’t look to your partner for happiness are just haters.  As an unmarried female who thinks most couples are completely unhealthy and codependent, I’m not sure I agree with this. But it’s an interesting viewpoint. I’d love to see a counter.
  • Why you can’t find clothes that fit, regardless of your size:   Turns out it’s a conspiracy and has nothing to do with all those donuts you ate for breakfast. Okay, it has a little to do with those.
  • Gus vs Pool :   Just…just watch. Who hasn’t wanted an indoor swimming pool?
  • Do online friends matter as much as real ones: Admittedly, the article is a little less interesting than the question posed, but I thought it was an interesting topic. And my answer would be, yes, they definitely do.
  • Little boy doesn’t want to get married: Okay, five of you sent this to me this week so either you were trying to tell me something (BACK OFF!) or you just really, really thought it was funny.  Going back to Nicole’s post, I found it kind of sad. That kid is gonna be dealing with this crap his whole.entire.life.

And that’s it from me. What caught your eye this week? Also, don’t forget to vote for me in the SMB Influencer Awards. They’re almost done, I promise. 😉

July 30th 2011 Uncategorized

Templates for Google Contacts

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Gmail added a new feature that makes it easier to add a new contact: templates. If you click “More actions” when you create a contact or edit an existing one, you can select the business template to quickly add fields for the job title, company name, mobile phone and work phone.

The default template is more generic:

Google Contacts lets you add or delete fields, but you can’t delete the fields from a template. Hopefully, Google will allow users to create custom templates and import some of the data from Google Profiles.

{ Thanks, Herin. }

July 30th 2011 Uncategorized

Google Related

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Google Toolbar 7.1 for Internet Explorer has a new feature that shows Web pages, news articles, places, images and videos related to the current page. The feature is called Google Related and it’s a bar displayed at the bottom of the page.

“Google Related is a browsing assistant that offers interesting and useful content while you are browsing the web. For instance, if you’re browsing a page about a restaurant in San Francisco, Google Related will assist you by displaying useful information about this restaurant such as the location of the restaurant on a map, user reviews, related restaurants in the area, and other webpages related to San Francisco restaurants – all in one place,” explains Google.

If you go to the Wikipedia article about Adele, Google Related shows 5 YouTube videos, 5 articles from Google News and 5 pages from Google Search.

Google Related is another feature that requires sending the list of all the pages you visit to Google’s servers. To find related pages, Google needs to know the URL of the page you’re visiting. The so-called “enhanced features” (PageRank, SideWiki, Google Related) send Google a lot of useful data. One of the most interesting ways to use the data is a feature that shows if a site is slow. Like all the other Google Toolbar “enhanced features”, Google Related can be disabled from the “Options” dialog by clicking the “Privacy” tab.

Apparently, Google Related only works if you’ve configured the toolbar’s search site to be Google.com (United States of America – .com), so you may need to change this setting to enable Google Related.

July 30th 2011 Uncategorized

"It will be good exposure"

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Well, it might be.

Now that everyone, every brand, every organization and just about every person is in a race to build trust or an online following or a reputation, the question of working for free in exchange for exposure confronts us all.

Should you art direct a new ad for the local zoo, merely to build your cred? Should you give that speech for free, because people who pay speakers will be in the audience? Should you contribute code to the new kernel because people will see what you’ve done? Appear on a talk show, do a signing, call in to a radio show?


Unsatisfying, but true.

Exposure, the right kind of exposure, is good practice, an honest contribution and yes, a chance to build credibility. Make it a habit, though, and instead of exposure, you’ve set yourself up a new standard– that you work for free.

Alas, one more decision you need to make.

Some designers (and authors) violently disagree with my case by case approach… they think the entire profession is cheapened by spec work and work for exposure–they argue that solidarity is the only response. I’ll point out that these very designers belong to organizations that ask speakers to speak for free… for exposure.

If you’re an unpublished author, you’re certainly better off doing a lot of writing online (even entire novels given away) for free before you veer in the direction of doing it for a living. In fact, most people I know (in every field) don’t do nearly enough work for free, they’re not contributing enough to their community, not adding their expertise or their ideas to the conversation. As a result, they’re either invisible or seen as not interested.

Punchline: just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s a good idea (or a bad one). It means you should think hard about how everyone benefits (including you). [PS a video from last year you might enjoy, complete with Y! tie.]

July 30th 2011 Uncategorized