linkedin-blogging-platform

LinkedIn Expands Blogging Platform to All English-Speaking Users

Previously US-only, LinkedIn has expanded their blogging platform to include all English-speaking users.

The professional network expanded its publishing tool late Wednesday, granting long-form publishing power to more than 130 million English-speaking LinkedIn members outside the United States, according to LinkedIn’s Head of Content Ryan Roslansky.

From their blog:

Each week, members publish more than 40,000 posts on average. Posting on LinkedIn is a powerful way for members to underscore their expertise in their respective fields, extend their professional reputations beyond LinkedIn, and have valuable conversations with the largest group of engaged professionals ever assembled.

Venturebeat:

With many other channels available on the Web for networking, LinkedIn has been careful not to become stagnant and follow the likes of Bebo down the path of social networking irrelevance. By opening up its platform to more user-generated content, it’s looking to help drive engagement and encourage people to spend more time with the service. More eyeballs means more advertising dollars, after all.

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How Pulp Paperbacks Changed Publishing

The New Yorker looks at how pulp fiction changed the economics of book publishing:

“Instead of relying on book wholesalers—”jobbers”—who distributed to bookstores, de Graff worked through magazine distributors. They handled paperbacks the same way they handled magazines: every so often, they emptied the racks and installed a fresh supply.

Pocket books were priced to sell for twenty-five cents. De Graff is supposed to have come up with that figure after paying a quarter at a toll booth. No one, he concluded, misses a quarter. Penguins sold for sixpence: Lane believed that his books should not cost more than a pack of cigarettes. This meant that people could spot a book they had always meant to read, or a book with an enticing cover, and pay for it with spare change.

This stuff was not trying to pass itself off as serious literature. It was a deliberately down-market product, comic books for grownups—pulp fiction.

The paperback presented the publishing industry with a dilemma. Many people in the business, whether they actually read books or not, believed that they should be packaged as upmarket commodities, cultural goods for people looking for something superior to mass entertainments like Hollywood movies and, after 1950, television. “Read a good book” is a phrase that has the ring of virtue. It implies that what is, after all, just another form of distraction is more than that. It recommends taking some private time away from the world to immerse yourself in a mode of enjoyment and edification that belongs to an ancient and distinguished tradition.

This marketing philosophy may have reflected the fear that, if books competed directly with the movies, the movies would win. Whatever the thinking, Pocket Books and its progeny defied it. De Graff packaged books as just another form of distraction, and one completely compatible with everyday life. He imagined people reading books on the way to work, during the lunch hour, standing in line at the bank—exactly the way that millions of people listen to music through their earbuds today.”

Full article Pulp’s Big Moment: How Emily Brontë met Mickey Spillane.

5 Ways to Increase Reading Comprehension

From a discussion about increasing read comprehension:

  • “Read for meaning rather than sound. Reading without vocalizing has a lot in common with listening to someone speak. When someone speaks, you hear the words, but you only hear them in connection with whatever thoughts and ideas the speaker is trying to convey. The same is true of reading without vocalizing: You read words for meaning, not sound. You see the word on the page and respond to its meaning without the intermediary step of hearing the word’s sound. You don’t read the words as words — you read units of meaning (like ideas, thoughts, and descriptions) whose building blocks happen to be words.
  • Try to perceive the words rather than see them. Imagine that each word is a symbol (not a sound) that conveys a meaning.
  • Turn off your ears. Pretend your ears have a volume control and turn it to the mute setting.
  • Widen your field of vision. By taking in more words on a line, you force yourself to read more words at a time, and this helps prevent vocalization.
  • Identify the thought units in sentences, not the words, and read thought unit by thought unit rather than word by word.”

Read many more tips in the discussion: How do I stop internally vocalizing words as I read them to speed up comprehension of text in books?

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Brand Voice Is Inherently Inauthentic

Cogent point from a Metafilter discussion of the Twitter account @brandssayingbae: (bae is slang for ‘my dear’ or ‘my boo’ and is an acronym for ‘before anyone else’)

“This is one of the many things about marketing that I find so stupid and so baffling. There’s so much talk in the industry about “authenticity”, yet the entire premise of the enterprise is inherently inauthentic. When you craft a made-up “persona” and “voice” through hours of painstaking statistical research, creepy data mining, customer profiling, spreadsheets, meetings, 60-page Word documents, and multiple rounds of review and debate and focus-grouping? When you pay some employee to play-act on social media as an anthropomorphized version of the ‘brand identity’ you thusly constructed? That’s the fuckin’ opposite of authentic. That’s like sociopath-level inauthenticity.

 

suq-madiq

Inside Stephen Colbert’s Creative Process

Master satirist Stephen Colbert describes how he runs his (now retired) Colbert Report each day:

“I say hello to the guest. I ask them the if they’ve seen the show. Sometimes they have, sometimes they haven’t. I always say the same thing, ‘I do the show in character. He’s an idiot. He’s willfully ignorant of what you know and care about. Please honestly disabuse me of my ignorance and we’ll have a great time.'”

Full interview on Slate‘s ‘Working’ series with David Plotz:

Screencap from one of Stephen’s funniest moments where he broke character.

 

Inside Tolkein’s Creative Process

Really fantastic lecture by Brandon Rhodes walking through the beginning of Tolkein’s writing and the support of a creative community of writers to evoke his best work: (via Metafilter)

While Tolkien had friends who could devise ingenious ways to critique his work without sounding critical, he had others whose remarks were merciless and direct — to the point that Tolkien simply stopped sharing new chapters as he wrote The Lord of the Rings. As programmers we share many of the struggles of writers and artists, and we often react just as badly to critique of our code. From Tolkien’s experience we will draw lessons about how to make critique generous instead of damaging, and actionable instead of personal.

jetpack-3.2

WordPress Jetpack 3.2 Lets You Post to Your Blog from WordPress.com

This is pretty damned snazzy. The latest update to Automattic’s Jetpack plugin allows you to use the same editor as WordPress.com to post to your self-hosted WordPress blog:

With Jetpack connected, you can now publish posts to your self-hosted WordPress site with the same editor available on WordPress.com giving you one centralized place from where to publish content, irrespective of where your WordPress site is hosted. Additionally, the new editor works great on mobile and tablets (and desktops!). To try it out, head over to wordpress.com/post and pick your site from the site picker on the top left of the editing window (after connecting and updating Jetpack).

Full details http://jetpack.me/2014/11/03/jetpack-3-2/

Just update Jetpack on your self-hosted blogs and give it a whirl.

This is another step towards bringing more self-hosted WordPress users into the Automattic ecosystem. I’ve said it before: they have all the ingredients of a social network – it’ll be interesting to see if they try and blend these things together or let the behaviors emerge. Basically everyone should have jumped over to WordPress.com when we had the Ello freakout a few weeks ago.

3 Ways Perfectionism Kills Innovation

broken idea

I’ve got a new post up on the Mindjet blog:

We love to cast ourselves in this drama as we huff and puff and sweat and tear our hair out — “It’s important! Look how hard we’re working! I’m an important person working on important things!’” — but the reality is that you really can’t manage people like this all of the time. You’ll burn everyone out, and eventually, riding dangerously close to deadlines will leave your team frustrated and uninspired. When you’re drinking the cool nectar of a perfectionist fantasy future, you’re missing out on the reality of what’s right in front of you, right here: a problem that needs solving, and that you might have to take more than a few cracks at. You can only start from where you are.

Full post: 3 Ways Perfectionism Kills Innovation

SaaS Businesses: What to Measure

Doing some research on core metrics for the SaaS business model – a lot of this I’m remembering from GetSat and Typepad. KISSMetrics comes through as usual with a top five:

  • MRR – monthly recurring revenue – you can’t count a year subscription all at one time – chop it into twelfths
  • Churn – percentage of customers who bail each month – KISSMetrics says if it is in the double-digits, drop everything and focus on product
  • Cost Per Acquisition – marketing cost divided by new users
  • APC – average revenue per customer – total revenue divided by number of customers
  • Lifetime Value – average subscription length times monthly average revenue per customer

Full post