free html hit counter August 2008 - John Battelle's Search Blog

New Post at Amex Blog: Marketing as Product Development

By - August 30, 2008

This latest post is some sketching for a longer riff I’m eager to dig into. I love the fact that I can do sketch out loud thanks to American Express. Here’s the first few grafs:

Over the past several posts I’ve been talking about the role of search, conversation, and media in your business. While not explicit, each of these posts was about one thing: Marketing.

Marketing is one of the most misunderstood practices in business today. For most of us, marketing is about convincing potential customers that our product or service is worth their money. And while that’s certainly party true, it never struck me as the whole narrative.

Where does marketing really begin? As management guru Peter Drucker stated it, “Marketing is the whole business seen from the customer’s point of view.” Put another way, every single interaction the customer has with your business can and should be seen as marketing.

I’ve argued elsewhere than a truly successful business is one that is an ongoing conversation. Those conversations are marketing – if you add value and connect to your customer, you’re succeeding. If you don’t, you fail.

It’s easy to know if you’re succeeding while having those conversations – we’re all pretty good at sensing when customers are happy as we directly interact with them. But we often forget a crucial ongoing conversation that usually occurs beyond our personal presence: The conversation between the customer and our products.

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Links, Etc.

By - August 29, 2008

Friday linkday:

Via Churbuck, a nice walkthrough of how to use Google search tools to understand site acquisition and traffic patterns.

As long as we’re in a learning mode, here’s a post on using FriendFeed as a business tool.

The IE8 beta is out. I need to grok this. It’s got some stuff in it that effects the advertising ecosystem in serious ways that I have yet to grok, and am not seeing much coverage of. More at Forbes and Ed Bott.

Mashable reports on a bucket of money for JumpTap, a competitor in the mobile search arena, an area I am increasingly finding interesting.

Like reggae? Me too. Given it’s Friday, check out Steel Pulse via BBtv.

Who Stole The Mojo?

By - August 27, 2008

Perks defined Google for years, and defined most Silicon Valley culture as well. Microsoft has been famous for its perks since the early 90s, in fact. So when a number of posts, sparked by a NYT article (now nearly two months old) claim that the era of perks is over at Google, it prompts musings such as this one in ComputerWorld, claiming Google has lost its mojo.

I’m not sure that’s true, at least not yet. Perhaps amongst IT managers, that’s true (ComputerWorld being an IT publication, after all), but I am not sure IT managers ever had more than a passing interest in Google’s “mojo” to begin with.

The piece is entirely anecdotal, so the conclusion must be as well. For now, the jury is out.

I Know, I Know. But This Post *Is* About Search and Google, So All Is Well At SearchBlog

By - August 26, 2008

I hear you all. What is Battelle on about, all this music stuff, all this non search stuff? I am sorry, but you have to trust me, it’s going somewhere. I’m following a hunch, of a sorts.

Today some bankers from Piper Jaffrey came by, and they asked me the same question I was asked by two or three reporters who were writing pieces on Google’s 10th anniversary. (When is it, anyway? I am sure it’s this year, depending on how you count…).

Anyway, the question is this: So what’s next? What might unseat Google?

I find the question interesting, mainly for its lack of historical perspective. The answer, I think, is pretty damn easy.

No company will unseat Google (though ultimately, one company will get credit).

Culture will. Unquestionably, inevitably, Google will be surpassed by a cultural shift it will be incapable of exploiting. And that will be OK.

Why am I so certain of this? Well, history, for one. And my own experience, for the other.

Allow me to explain.

It’s my theory that world-changing companies occur when one and only one thing happens: Our culture shifts its relationship to technology. It’s a complex set of parameters that allow for such a shift, but it’s happened three times in my professional life:

1. IBM and DOS. This is when computers became accessible to determined early adopters, and a democratized culture of digital information storage and retrieval began.

2. Microsoft and Windows. As much as I’d like to give this to Steve and the Mac OS, the winner was Gates and Windows. This is when we went from speaking the arcane language of computerese (.exe? .bat?) to the language of “hunt and poke” via a visual interface. A major step forward in how culture relates to information, and therefore, to itself.

3. Google and search. As I have argued many times, search is our latest interface to information, and it’s one based on natural language, albeit typed words, rather than spoken.

So, what might be #4?

Isn’t that the hundred billion dollar question?

I have (my own) pretty clear answer to that. Happy to tell you. But I have to write the post I promised here first. Damn. I really miss having the time to write….

Where's Battelle?

By - August 25, 2008


CrowdFire was consuming. It will take me some time to get back in the groove. I have to say, I’m really, really floored by what our teams did on site at Outside Lands, and what CrowdFire has the potential to be. Check it out, here. And here’s my shooting, I’m not even close to finished uploading stuff….