Techmeme: The power of the headline

I first wrote about Techmeme over 5 years ago. Today Techmeme remains the reference point for what’s hot in technology news. Bloggers and publishers strive to appear on its pages, not just because of the traffic it drives, but also because the people who visit Techmeme are among the most influential in the business.

Founder Gabe Rivera has just shared some insights into how particular articles are selected as the lead article on Techmeme for a particular breaking story. For the first few years Techmeme used only an algorithm, however it has had human editors to complement the algorithm for almost three years now.

It turns out that one of the reasons to have humans is to select the stories with the most informative headlines. In an aggregator site, headlines are critical, as they need to tell as much of the story as possible. The rise of the web has had a big impact on headline writing, not least for search optimization, but also increasingly for aggregation.

Here are some of Gabe’s tips on how to make your story hit the front page of Techmeme:
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Freelancer.com: There has never been a better time to start an online business

The most recent Kochie’s Business Builders program focused on online business. It started with an interview with me about the big picture, after which I went out to interview two of Australia’s most successful online businesses: Freelancer.com and BigCommerce.

Below are the videos of the interview I did with Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, together with some notes from what he said.

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Revisiting the Newspaper Extinction Timeline on its first anniversary

The Newspaper Extinction Timeline below was launched one year ago today. It received plenty of attention, getting published in newspapers and other mainstream media in over 30 countries, and being seen well over a million times.

Newspaper_Timeline_front.gif

Click on image to download full framework

Today a commenter on the original post asked me if anything had happened over the last year to make me change my forecasts. The answer, in short, is no.

If you look at the broader factors that we used in assessing the underlying trends, as below, things have played out much as expected.
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KBB: Interview on the essentials of online business

Kochie’s Business Builders program on Channel 7, which focuses on helping growing businesses improve their performance, has just started its fifth series. This series they have dedicated a complete program to an “online bootcamp”.

The program starts with an interview with me, after which I go on to interview two of Australia’s top online businesses: Freelancer.com and BigCommerce on their secrets of success.

The program has been excerpted in online videos. The kickoff interview is below. I will post videos from the other interviews shortly.

Here are some snapshots of what I cover in the interview:
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Six thoughts on the Klout scoring changes

Today influence ratings service Klout significantly changed its rankings. Last week Klout CEO Joe Fernandez announced there would be changes, saying “a majority of users will see their scores stay the same or go up but some users will see a drop”. It seems that was not correct, and rankings levels have been revised such that most people’s scores go down. The results appears to be plenty of unhappy people.

Before I offer a few thoughts on this, it’s worth addressing those who say they couldn’t care less about their Klout score. It is absolutely fine, and quite possibly the most appropriate response, not to care a jot what number a service happens to attribute to your influence.

I’ve written extensively on this blog about influence and influence networks over the last six years, and in fact our Future of Influence Summit 2009 had Klout CEO Joe Fernandez and other luminaries of the emerging influence space speak on the business models for influence and reputation panel.

The reason is that, like it or not, the measurement of influence and reputation is one of the most important changes we are seeing in society. We see the ‘reputation economy’ as one of the ExaTrends of the decade.

In a world in which influence has become completely democratized, having measures of influence and reputation will drive many facets of society. Of course, the validity of the influence measures we use is a different matter, but an increasingly important one.

Here are a few quick thoughts on the changes:
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How tablets are changing how we consume news

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has just released some great research on how people use tablets (still mainly iPads) to consume news. The infographic below summarizes the findings – click on the image to go through to the original full-size version.

The very short summary is that those who own tablets usually access news on their devices, they access more news than before, and that substitutes for other news sources. However not many are paying for new on their tablets yet.

The survey results, combined with the announcement lower cost tablets such as the Kindle Fire, are entirely consistent with the arguments I made when I released the Newspaper Extinction Timeline, which is now a few days away from its first anniversary.

There are still major uncertainties on issues such as news pricing structures, screen technologies, and device formats, however the trends are clear. News will be accessed where we are, and delivered on screens larger than those on mobile phones.
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The future of Chief Marketing Officers and leadership

Last week I attended a breakfast organized by IBM for a small group of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and influencers, hosted by its Australian CMO Mark Willson.

IBM had recently launched its global CMO study, showing what CMOs are thinking about marketing today and in the future. At the breakfast it gave us a sneak preview of the results from the Australian respondents to the study.

We were shown four infographics that highlighted the results as a starting point for a robust breakfast conversation. It was a very interesting and useful conversation; I thought I’d highlight just two of the many issues we discussed.


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Book research: Looking for case studies/ leading practice in using crowdsourcing

I am in the final stages of completing a book on how to use crowds and crowdsourcing effectively, which I am co-authoring with Steve Bynghall.

We are using brief case studies liberally through the book, however we need a few more to flesh it out.

We’d love to hear from you if you have been using crowdsourcing tools or approaches extensively enough to have learned useful lessons, and believe you have valuable insights to share from your experience.

To offer your case study or experience, please use the contact form on crowdsourcingresults.com. Please let us know very briefly:
– what you have learned
– what you have found most useful in your use of crowdsourcing tools
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The global state of the mobile industry

Mary Meeker, formerly of Morgan Stanley and now of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, continues to do her annual presentation at Web 2.0 Summit, providing an unparalleled compilation of research about the global internet industry.

There is a lot to digest in the 65 slides of the presentation, so I thought it was worth pulling out some of the more interesting ones on mobile. Below is the full presentation, plus six charts giving insights into the state of the global mobile industry.

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)
Here are the 7 selected charts with brief commentary:
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Workshop slides: Creating the Future of Professional Services

I am about to hop on a plane to Hawaii, where I will be running the ‘keynote workshop’ on Creating the Future of Professional Services for global accounting network DFK International’s annual North America conference on Maui. While it’s pretty crazy, I will only be there for as long as I spend travelling to Hawaii and back. I just have too much on now, including a lot of other client work and finishing a book very soon. In any case I intend to enjoy my brief sojourn in the sun :-).

As usual I will share my slides, mainly for workshop participants, since the slides are not intended to be used as a stand-alone, but also for anyone else who happens to find value in them.

The original idea was for me to do a keynote, but we soon developed the idea to be a half-day highly participatory session that will go into detail on pressing practical and strategic issues. There are five sections to the workshop, each with a presentation supported by the slides below, and then activities including discussions, case studies, exercises, strategy frameworks, and action plans, which are described in detailed handouts for all participants. The five sections are:
* Driving Forces
* High-Value Client Relationships
* Power of Networks
* Levers of Success
* Leadership

Here are the slides: