Yelp leaps into the underserviced consumer review space in Australia


Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp, is in Australia for the launch of Yelp Australia. I was invited to interview him on Monday (embargoed until today) as part of a major media campaign to kick off the site.

Australia is the 13th country where Yelp has launched, with up until now all the action outside North America being in Europe. Stoppelman said that they are patient and take the time necessary to get quality data from the outset, so that users’ initial experience is positive.

In this case Yelp in July announced an exclusive deal with Sensis, the Telstra subsidiary that operates the Yellow Pages in Australia. This deal provides Yelp with the initial data to launch, plus a partner for monetization, with Sensis’ sales staff offering customers Yelp advertising options. Local search is a highly sales-intensive business, so the Sensis deal means Yelp can effectively build presence and monetize with limited local staff. It is in the process of hiring community managers in Melbourne and Sydney, where it is initially focusing.
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How Scott Berkun crowdfunded and self-published his latest book


Author and speaker Scott Berkun has some great books out, including the very well-known The Myths of Innovation.

For his latest book, Mindfire, is a collection of his essays and articles.

Before its release, Scott wrote Why I’m self-publishing my next book, giving some really good reasons:
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5 facets of employees’ increasing technology expectations


Earlier this week I spoke at an excellent event organized by Canon for the CIOs of major organizations. During an extended lunch, a diverse range of ‘celebrities’ including TV personalities, authors, and musicians gave short presentations. I spoke about how the evolving intersection of technology and society is shaping employees’ expectations, particularly in the technology they can use. I wove a broader story about social change and its implications, though I briefly brought out five points on what employees expect from technology.

1. Excellence.
When people go into organizations, they have extremely high expectations of the technology they are given to use. This has been honed by extensive use of intuitive, responsive, flexible consumer technologies, and the reasonable view that organizations should be able to provide technologies that are at least as good as those consumers have access to.
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The secrets of BigCommerce’s success


In the Kochie’s Business Builders program that I hosted on Sunday, I interviewed Matt Barrie of, and Eddie Machaalani and Mitch Harper of BigCommerce, both fantastic Australian online business success stories.

Following the excellent interview, below is the interview with BigCommerce’s founders. They recently raised US$15 million from US VC firm General Catalyst Partners in their first external funding round since they were founded.

The interview brings out the reasons for their success: great products and an intense focus on marketing. Their story offers great lessons for any online business.

Here are a few of the insights they shared in the interview:
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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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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: 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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Using social media to track and drive organizational success metrics


This week I was MC for the AHRI HR Technology conference, and ran one of the workshops on the following day, on Creating Results Using Social Media.

A real highlight of the conference was the Social Media: Risks and Rewards panel, which I chaired, with the participation of a fantastic cast of Peter Williams of Deloitte, Steve Barham of LinkedIn, Laurel Papworth of The Community Crew, and Sam Mutimer of ThinkTank Media.

It was a fabulous discussion, and we covered a lot of territory in the conversation.

One of the many topics discussed was the use of social media to track metrics and correlate these with organizational success metrics.
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The Question: What is the most interesting thing you came across today?


Twitter has moved from asking ‘what are you doing now?’ to ‘what’s happening?’, and now describes itself as an ‘information network‘.

The Twitter News Network is a manifestation of the global brain, in which we create value for others by contributing to the visibility and availability of high-value information.

While many contribute nothing of value to Twitter, many extraordinarily talented and interesting contributors are doing what they can to add value to others. It is a choice we make, by how we engage in our social networks.

If we consider what we can best contrbute to global consciousness, it is very likely the most interesting things we come across. The most intriguing, through-provoking, stimulating ideas, whether they be in the form of an article, a video, a conversation, or anything else from the vastness of media and ideas we encounter each day.
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Looking for talented editors/ writers / project managers / social media on cool tech, media, and future topics


We have just posted an ad on Elance, looking for editors/ writers/ project managers for some of our existing and forthcoming online publications.

Please apply on Elance if this seems like a match, or pass it on to others if you think it might be of interest. If you have questions before applying you can use our contact form. We hope to find some awesome people!

Talented editors/ writers / project managers / social media for cool tech and future topics

We run a series of content websites on topics related to technology, media, and the future, among many other activities.

We are looking for highly talented editors/ project managers who can drive quality content and traffic on these sites.
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Compulsory viewing: A CEO perspective on the business value of internal social networks


A few days ago Arie Goldshlager pointed me to the fantastic video below of Giam Swiegers, CEO of Deloitte Australia, talking about the company’s use of micro-blogging. Shortly after Forrester announced that Deloitte Australia’s Yammer network had won its 2011 Forrester Groundswell award in the category of Collaboration Systems.

Undoubtedly a major factor in Deloitte Australia’s success in internal social networks is the unreserved support of its CEO. However, as the video below clearly shows, Swiegers is not a man who likes social media for its own sake.

He simply recognizes that it can help lead to outstanding business outcomes. As an accountant and business leader, he sees the business value of using social networks well, and has helped Deloitte Australia to tap that value.

Here are some of the things that Swiegers says in the video:
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