Business 2.0 says 'Accountability Is Always in Style'

· Best Practices

In Business 2.0, Rafe Needleman writes about a “dashboard” product to help VCs monitor the status of their investments:

Dotcom flameout notwithstanding, the need for this product is greater than ever. Venture firms still have billions of dollars invested in technology startups, and there are a lot of people worrying about that money. The startup CEOs are struggling to survive with their part of it, the VCs are trying to help them and also are trying to figure out how to spend the remaining funds, and those who committed money to VC’s want to know if they’re ever going to see a return.

Naturally such a dashboard would be useful to the management of the specific companies in question as well.
This idea, a sort of convergence of the enterprise portal with business intelligence and a portfolio model, has been out there in various forms for some time. I know, for example, that VentureVortex had a product like this in the works a year ago. I’ve lost track of them since then.
It occurred to me the other day that there may have been a slow adoption of BI solutions during the crest of the boom. Aren’t we seeing now that some CEOs preferred plausible deniability over the transparency of the “instant close”?

I get it

· Best Practices, Required Reading, Weblog Concepts

It just clicked for me. Many facets just snapped together into focus. One, explaining why I post in so many different blogs (channels, brands), that almost promiscuous thrill of starting a new blog at the drop of a hat. Another, some recent conversations with business people who understand blogging and are using its process-flow as a basis for actual, real knowledge management (a tired buzzphrase if there ever was one).
I’d rather call it knowledge husbandry to connote the idea of a daily rhythm of proven techniques for putting one’s house in order, and cultivating one’s gardens. The k-house is your computer (digital data storage and retrieval). The k-garden is your blogs. Your blogpatch, if you will.
I’m no gardener, but my partner is, so I’ve witnessed how it works. Every year the garden gets better. Some plants wilt and die, unwatered or getting the wrong amount of sun, wind, predators. But others thrive. Some plants volunteer, not all of them weeds. Other organisms and nutrients join the dance and the ecosystem gets richer through the tending, through the encouragement of good dynamics and deprecation of those that do not bear fruit.
Planning is great, but feeding back what the system is learning from experience is how nature and the universe evolve. Not to get cosmic, but any plan will do as long as you regularly revise the parts that don’t work. Any filing system is fine to start with. Just prune the dead files and occasionally subdivide the overloaded ones.
Back to blogs. What I just “got” this morning is that every project should have a blog. Every ongoing endeavor deserves a journal. Frail memory cannot support our multiphased planet-culture soaked consciousness without the aid the outboard (or backup) brain.
In a way we’re seeing a trojan horse to what many have touted as the next computer interface, an array of time-ordered events and documents (with the UI to be a spacial representation of the timeline, I suppose also browsable by categories), in the infectious adoption of blogs—not just by writers, techies, and artists who, like pornographers, always pioneer a new medium and exploring its expressive range, but as a knowledge format.
Another ingredient that is helping gel these thoughts for me is a conversation I had Friday with Jordan Frank from Traction Software. That disussion deserves its own entry, as it intrigued me a great deal with something that in tackling enterprise knowledge husbandry, goes far beyond my PEP (Personal Expression Platform) writer’s dream application.
One last note. Mike Masnik from Techdirt.com was kind enough to toss a “great blog” into one of his e-mail messages to me. Later, I asked him if I was keeping it up. (“How Am I Driving?”) His reply:

Still been great. Occasionally things are a bit random (but what blog doesn’t have the occasional random post?) and I skip over some of the more specific discussions about things like how do specific things in Radio, but
it’s been good for keeping up on what’s going on in general in the blogspace.

So let me take the opportunity to explain how to focus this blog. Read my recent post about categories and decide which one most closely fits your interests. I cross-post liberally, so you may find that one single category is all you need to follow.

For example, if you want to read about blogging and you’re interest in blog-related memes then the ‘metablog’ category will be sufficient (that is, you don’t need to read ‘memewatch’ also because any entry on blog-related memes will also be posted to ‘metablog’)

If a single category works for you, consider making bookmarking or blogrolling its home page, and/or subscribing to its RSS feed.
So, as reader of ‘knowhow’ who isn’t interested in Salon Blogs, Dreamweaver, or Radio Userland could bookmark knowhow or subscribe to its RSS feed.
What else? The ‘metablog’ category probably carries 80–90% of the posts. All blog pages contain navigator links listing all the active categories, so nothing ever prevents you from peeking at streams you’re not as interested in, but I wanted to mention this to improve your reading experience and give you more control over your own media feed.
Oh, and as an experiment, if anyone links to this entry, please consider using the following linktext: I get it. Thanks! I’d like to track the meme.

UPDATE: (February 18, 2003)
Corrected the permalink linked above to this entry at the site’s current address (for the sake of historical accuracy I’m leaving the original entry as posted at the old address), and updated the linktext to match the entry title and to turn the meme around.
Who cares that “xian” gets it unless you already know me? It makes more sense (to me now) to encourage people to add the words “I get it” to their blogs and link it to my article on “getting it” about klogs, project logs, slogs (schedule logs), and so on.
Searching for “xian gets it” in Google does get the old post as the first result, but who would ever search for that? The answer is no one besides someone who’s already heard the phrase via word-of-mouth. (Frankly, xian is hard to say out loud. It’s more of a written nickname than a spoken one.)
Anyway, it’s much more likely to me that someone may have an epiphany (probably about something else, sure), search for “I get it” and eventually find this new entry. It will be more likely if the fad of linking to the entry takes off as it does in all of my precisely calibrated virtual simulations, MUAHAHAHA.

A CSS Method for Category Filtering?

· Best Practices, Information design, Weblog Concepts

Would it be possible to put check boxes next to my navigator links and have them drive CSS logic to hide entries that are only associated with unchecked categories?
Would this be something like the Jakob/Zeldman buttons for switching from serif to sans-serif? I think I may need to ask a CSS guru, such as Eric Meyer or Eric Costello .
(“Are all your CSS gurus called Eric?”)

Techdirt.com

· Best Practices, Weblog Concepts

Back when I started talking about business applications of (or lessons from) blogging, Mike Masnick sent me an interesting message about Techdirt.com, a multi-author (slashcode) technology/business news blog that’s been running continuously since 1997 (that is, since before the word blog was coined).
One interesting thing is that Mike and his team managed to monetize the project by starting Techdirt Corporate Intelligence. Techdirt CI provides “enterprise blogs to technology companies…. Each gets a customized, private blog that is filled every day with links, summaries, and (most importantly) analysis of all the news that impacts them.”
This is interesting to me, because it’s a passive or “push” blog for the end-users. I suppose this can be thought of as sticking to their core competency and outsourcing the infograzing.
Mike tells me the company is profitable, running off revenue with no outside investment. In a sense I see this as a version of what Megnut’s been talking about (I’d call her Meg but we’ve never met). You can say that Mike (with the help of his cohorts) established himself as a competent blogger (not just poster, but link-sifter, context-provider) and then found a nice independent way to get hired by numerous client to blog for them professionally.
Not as outreach but as intelligence.

TopStyle Blog Information

· Best Practices, Weblog Concepts

Not working on Windows most of the time lately, I haven’t had a chance to try TopStyle yet. I wish they’d port it to OS X!
Anyway, I went from some blog to the Eatonweb portal and then through the TopStyle text ad where, after reading press-release type information about using TopStyle with Dreamweaver MX, I followed a link for TopStyle blog and learned that they’ve built a blog into TopStyle to send out news and updates.
So, another business-oriented use of a blog, and one or more implied professional (if not dedicated*) bloggers. You can also read the TopStyle blog in your browser:

Did you know that a blog is built into TopStyle Pro 3.0?
A blog (short for “web log”) is simply a frequently-updated web site which “logs” other sites of interest. The TopStyle Blog is updated every weekday with links of interest to web authors.
To access this blog from within TopStyle Pro 3.0, just click the “TopStyle News” button in the View Bar (shown below). You can also view the TopStyle Blog in your web browser.