The Real-Time Web

Dion Hinchcliffe, the dude from the nice charts, last week wrote an extensive post on The Evolving Web in 2009. One of the key characteristics of Web Squared, a term coined by Dion, is Real-Time. Lately there is a lot going on about the Real-Time web. A few months back FriendFeed started with real-time updates, Facebook tries to copy this and Twitter claims to have real-time search. When a celebrity dies we expect information to be found on Google, etc. etc. Real-time is hot, but also a controversity. Robert Scoble for instance wrote in his blogging week only that real-time systems might hurt long term knowledge and a while back Ben Parr already questioned if Real-Time is the future of the Web.

My take on it is very simple, like everything, real-time has a place on the web. Will it rule the web? I doubt, however we do have constantly increasing needs for information in our ever faster moving world. Therefor we will see many more places where real-time will be incorporated and even might be a differentiator.

Last week Vyoom launched, a social network designed with real-time in it's core. I've played around with it a bit and it allows you to share heaps of information in a real-time manner. This of course sounds great, but what it the use if you social friends are somewhere else. One of the concepts is that you can earn points for activity. The points can in return be redeemed for stuff. Sounds interesting, or is it just a way to capture more members. Feel free to check it out for yourself. Disclaimer, sign-up earns me points!

Welcome to Posterous, Bye Bye to Tumblr

For a quite a while I used a Tumblr log to post snippets of interesting stuff I found around the web, but it never really satisfied me. It's difficult to describe what I missed, but for sure I was struggling with the template options and I really missed a title with every post. It was just not very easy to use.

A couple of days ago, just for fun I tried Posterous. I was impressed by the ease of use to get started. Just email your first post to and follow up on the reply. It's very simple, but yet very sophisticated. I've no hassles with choosing a template, because there just are no templates and every post has a proper title.

Posting to Posterous is very simple, you either email you post to one of the many email addresses or use the excellent bookmarklet. Posterous also has various ways to automatically redistribute you posts to different microblogging, blogs, photo sharing sites etc., but I still need to figure this out in detail.
There is also a nice, a little hidden, function to import an existing blog. I was no effort at all to move my Tumblr log into Posterous. I had a few issues, but they were very quickly resolved by the Posterous staff, excellent service!

On top of this all, it comes with some basic analytics on page views and I've already had more referals from Posterous to my main blog here then I every had with Tumblr.

Tumblr, thank you... You served me well, but I move over to Posterous. The simplicity fits me better.

New Blog Design

Finally I've updated the design of my blog. This was a project that was in the planning for a long time, mainly because I don't have any design skills and needed help. A good colleague, Stella Pahinis helped me out with the header, icon and bullet design. I did the HTML and CSS work myself and dealing with Blogger templates was a bit of a learning curve.

There is a nice story behind the design. I like colorful shirts that are not always appreciated by my coworker, however I feel good and happy wearing them. Therefor I appreciate that the header is based on one of the colorful prints gradually going into a mind-map reflecting ideas and innovation.

The design now also includes a menu bar to quickly find my life-stream, contact information and allows in a later stage for more features to be added. The body text has gotten a bit more spacing and should be easier to read and the information about me is less prominent. I still have future plans and ideas, but you will automatically see them if you frequently visit.

Updated: Added the name of the good colleague that did the design: Stella Pahinis

Twitter for Business - Presentation

At slideshare, one of my favorite places to hang out, I found a great simple presentation by Miss604 on Twitter for business. I felt it was nice to share with you too. Enjoy!

If you find the presentation usefull, feel free to Subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter

Writers Block - Too much Inspiration

Do you recognize this? paralyzed by information overload. In the last weeks I've collected so much information that currently my head is heating up while processing.

A week ago I was in Redmond where Microsoft gave insights into their Online strategy. It was very valuable, because it can be taken into consideration and reviewed for consequences and opportunities when working on product roadmaps. The event as I already earlier mentioned was under Non Disclosure, so I need to be careful about the disclosure. Back in the office after a week of travel is also extra busy. I had to initiate some new projects and in a larger group reviewed many of the product plans. This is always a very inspirational event, because it brings together a group of product influential people. As a consequence of the last two weeks I've too much information and ideas to get aligned. I want it to get out, but somehow my thoughts get blocked by the volume.

I could write about something completely different, for instance why Twitter needs groups or why I didn't upgrade my iPhone and actually feel bad about it. Unfortunately I get distracted by all the other thoughts when I try to do so. Instead I just didn't do anything this weekend. Next week isn't completely fully planned yet, so you will hear from me.

Image credit: Incessant Flux

Dutch BPOS & Azure EBC

I already wrote earlier about my last week visit to the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. Now I want to give you some details on the visit, without annoying any Microsoft lawyers of course.

The Executive Briefing Center (EBC) visit was organized by Microsoft the Netherlands. They invited an interesting mix of partners that either host Microsoft solutions or develop on the Microsoft platform. This mix was very interesting, because the emerge of SaaS and cloud computing does create a greater dependancy between the different disciplines. Not without reason one important goal of the visit was to network.

The name of the event 'Dutch BPOS & Azure EBC' goes into Microsoft buzz words, but it would have been better to call it 'Microsoft Online Strategy'. The Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) consisting of various different solutions and the Azure Services platform are important components of the online strategy. Microsoft shared a good level of detail on the future roadmap, but I can't due to 'Non Disclosure Agreements' go into much detail. However some of the Microsoft messages I did pick up are:
  1. Software + Services is important, because Services grow faster in terms of percentage, but in absolute value the Software industry still grows faster. Don't ignore the Software components and On Premise solutions.
  2. Coexistence between On Premise and Online solutions are an absolute necessity
  3. Identity is key, federation and syndication are essential for dealing with identity
  4. Microsoft is reengineering most of their solutions to improve the online capabilities. This allows to drive scale up and costs down.
  5. High scale computing and improved data center design brings the computing (energy) costs down. The reason for Microsoft to invest in large scale data centers.
These are just some of the messages send out and based in the discussions within the group everybody has their own interpretations on how it will effect you business. All in all it was a very good visit and very well organized.

However the coolest part of the trip was a visit to the Microsoft Studios. The studios are in building 127 just behind the old company store and it's really cool. It's huge and there is a relaxed and creative atmosphere. I was there to record a Exact testimonial for Windows 7 and I will of course let you know when that is ready. It was great fun and it gave a really good Hollywood feeling...

Business Travel = Inspiration

The last few days I spend on a business trip in Redmond at the Microsoft campus. Due to the economic situation I travel significantly less than a year ago. At first it was nice to spend more time at home, but after this trip I realize that I do miss the travel.
1. Intercontinental flights are a good way to catch up on some reading. In the normal connected world it's for me difficult to concentrate for a longer period of time. All the time there are tweets, blog posts,etc. that 'require' attention. This time I finally started to read 'The Inmates are Running the Asylum' by Alan Cooper and already got half way
2. When traveling you get in a different environment and receive new impulses. These new impulses help you think creative and see things in new perspectives. For me this is very inspirational, see also my observations after a personal trip to Switzerland.
3. It gives an opportunity to do face to face meetings with friends and business relations all over the world. I publish my trips with the help of Dopplr in the sidebar of this blog. It's a great way of telling people that I'm in the area and possibly available for a face to face meeting.

In a few hours I will be flying back home and I've to make a choose between sleeping or finishing my book.

Image credit: thinkpanama

Bing versus Google Ego Search

I regularly search for myself on Google. I like to know how I'm represented on the web and it's good for my ego to be findable.  After the introduction of Bing I also had to do some ego searches. It showed some interesting results, but first Google.

Google, for most including me the de-facto search engine, shows the regular stuff when searching for my name. The first entry is this blog and next some profiles of social communities with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn being the most important. This also reflects pretty well the places where I'm most active.

Bing shows some very interesting different results. The first entry is my Google profile that Google itself doesn't even mention. Next this blog, FriendFeed and SlideShare but the social media profiles where I'm most active are completely missing. However it does find a blog post I recently wrote on a Dutch blog, showing that Bing ranks fresh content pretty good.

Unfortunately for my ego I don't fill the full page. I either need to work on this, or just stick with Google.

Stop Your Attemps to Move Mountains!

The last few days I was traveling in the Swiss Alps. The Alps are impressive, sort of intimidating and show how powerful nature is. The Alps dominate the whole country, are often a hassle living and transportation and I'm sure there have been moments that people wished they could move the mountains. Unfortunately the Alps are still there and the people had to adapt.

However this resulted in a lot of creativity when adapting to the harsh circumstances. During my travels I really enjoyed the master pieces of creative and challenging engineering. This already started over a hundred years ago with the rail roads and continues today with road and trains constructions. The Alps are still there, but are a lot easier to handle.

If I reflect this onto business software there are some similarities. Customers in general don't like to move to newer versions unless the new version is at least ten times better. Knowing this we might consider stop our focus to move mountains, but instead be creative and provide innovative solutions that add significant customer value and make the existing solutions easier to manage.

... just some random thoughts...