Monday, April 25, 2005

Yahoo Group, Blogs, RSS and the Newsletter

Yahoo Group, Blogs, RSS and the Newsletter Comments on some new features: I have been publishing for 11 years now. It is still a challenge to deliver useful content to a very diverse readership. From push to pull technology, plain text e-mail to PDF to websites to HTML e-mail to blogs to RSS feeds. What's best? All you can eat? Anything and everything? It's definitely a challenge - as much for the publisher as it is for the reader. I am going to rephrase a few things from a piece I'll cite below so bear with me for a moment: All too often publishers and analysts work from the premise of what they are able to deliver, or need to deliver, rather than what the consumer actually wants/needs. A thought that is appropriate comes from Richard Stastny's list of ten Skype lessons: "you can compete with everyone, but you can't compete with your customer." When I look at the subscriber base here I see customers that fit into some well-defined categories. There are busy executives and employees from the technology industry who prefer to have periodic, weekly or monthly data, in concise, compact forms - delivered right into their e-mail client. In other words, they do not necessarily want or need a daily site feed from a blog or an e-mail discussion group. On the other side of the spectrum there are members of the Wall Street community and the individual investor camp. I have found that this group, particularly the individual investor, prefers a constant stream of news and commentary in addition to a newsletter. To serve the news hungry group this site has several blogs and a front page RSS feed. To further enhance the flow of material through the site I have set up a Yahoo Group called INFRASTRUCTURE Blogs. Subscribers to INFRASTRUCTURE are welcome to join this group. Here is a link: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/infras_blogs/ If you are a subscriber and would like to join send me an e-mail requesting membership. I will send you an invitation. I want to be clear and say that the Group features are not necessarily appropriate for all of our subscribers. Basically it is designed for those that want a very heavy flow of information. The Group mailing list receives all of the content posted in the 4 Blogs at this site. Members of the Yahoo Group have the option to receive a Daily Digest rather than individual e-mails for each post. If you are not a subscriber, information on how-to-subscribe (at very reasonable rates) can be found here: http://www.infras.com/monsub.html As for the newsletter, that will still be published in Acrobat form, e-mailed to subscribers and archived here at the site - if I might add, also with more frequency. If you have any questions about these features, or, what is best for you, please feel free to contact me. Oh! Before I go, some of you have probably read the post I referenced and have re-phrased in a few sentences above as this one from the EuroTelocblog called the Masque of The Red Death. I think the things that are happening here at this site are relevant to some of the comments made in the article. James Enck, the author, had this to say about a presentation he gave at the Marcus Evans conference on Strategic Pricing for Telecom Content and Services in London: One slide of my introduction contained a quote from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death". For those who haven't read it, basically the idea is that a decadent regime is hiding behind thick castle walls from a plague which is devastating everyone outside, diverting itself by having a masqued ball. Just keep dancing and we'll be fine. An interloper appears, and the king demands that he be unmasked, but the intruder (whether he is merely a carrier of the disease, or embodies some karmic revenge, is unclear) turns out to be the harbinger of doom, already among them. Okay, my use of it was partially tongue-in-cheek, but I had a serious point to make: your assassin is probably already inside the castle walls and you may not even know it. Now, to be fair, my audience of around 50 marketing/strategy people from various European carriers were clearly very bright, successful people, undoubtedly very busy, and probably with heavy expectations upon them to deliver in very fluid markets. However, in my introduction, I asked for a show of hands in response to a series of questions, and was somewhat concerned by what I found: How many of you read blogs? - (three out of 50) How many of you feel you understand what RSS (I gave the long form name as well) is? - (none) How many have heard of BitTorrent or eDonkey? - (Perhaps 5 - 7 hands) How many have used BitTorrent or something like it? - (only one or two sheepish hands) How many have heard of KaZaA? - (Almost everyone - I pointed out that this was the old school) How many are acquainted with Skype? - (Just under half) How many use Skype or have used it? - (Around a quarter) I pointed out that the list I had just run through was a fair representation of some of the most popular activities of broadband users, and in every respect represented some threat to what the telcos are trying to do strategically. We had some laughs along the way, but there were also some long faces as the implications of my message sank in. Full post, a great read, is here: EuroTelocblog : The Masque of The Red Death ------------- Food for thought.

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