Haven’t posted in a long time – you’ll find me @Twitter

So I haven’t posted in a long time.  Months in fact, I’ve just found out that for right now, I don’t quite have the time between my work at Abunga.com and life to write down my thoughts in paragraph format.

So instead I’ve been Twittering.  50% of you are thinking, “What?” and the other 50% of you already know.

So come follow my thoughts there for a while.  I’m just on a bloggin hiatus, I’ll be back.

Follow me – I’m @gavinbaker

Google Reveals Scratch-and-Sniff technology for search on April 1

Google’s just brought in a new technology for their book search called “Scratch and Sniff” – check it out on the book below.

The Cheese Companion

Happy April Fools Day!
Gotta love companies with a sense of humor. What are some other companies that have played jokes today?

Have you been KNOX’D?

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I saw that two guys here in Knoxville I’ve connected with via email and twitter in the past couple weeks, Patrick and Casey have launched a new project. It’s called Knox’d.

I’ll let Patrick’s description stand on it own.

Information seekers in Knoxville, TN have a new way to get the latest headlines and information from the best of the city’s Web sites. It’s called Knox’d, and it is my latest side-project I developed in partnership with soon-to-be fellow Scripps project manager Casey Peters.

Knox’d has one goal: to aggregate the latest news and information (including jobs, real estate and classified listings), in one location. It seeks to fill the technology gap between the folks that use RSS (me), and the folks that don’t.

The site uses a format very similar to one like Popurls, or Alltop.

Eitherway, it’s very cool to have our own local feed aggregator and I’m fortunate they’ve chosen to include my blog in the listing (thanks guys).

Check it out!

I’ve got a new business card

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As I was writing my last post about Kip Knight and eBay, I noticed it was just about a month to the day between my posts.  I consider this a bad revelation as I’ve really been trying to post at least once a week, if not more.

I’ve had a lot less time to blog recently because of a new development in my life – new business cards.  These new cards have a pretty significant change that indicate the new development; I’ve accepted a new position at Abunga.com as CEO. It’s quite the jump as far as work, and I’m really in a trasistion period working to re-allocate current responsibilities  to make room for the new ones I’m taking on.

For those interested, our previous CEO Adam Slack, made the decision to return to his other companies.

Anyway, exciting times ahead, but sorry if my posting gap starts to grow.

Have a great day.

Kip Knight shares how to utilize the power of all to build your business

I was fortunate to attend the Cincinnati area AMA lunch today, where Kip Knight, Vice President – Marketing of eBay spoke about “using the power of all of us to build your business” where he outlined his thoughts on the trending of business and marketing of companies moving into an open sourcing and collaboration model and away from the command and control model so many companies are familiar with.

Kip covered ground quickly, and interspersed his big ideas with humor to keep it light. As a result I left with a couple pages of notes. While Kip didn’t plant to many new ideas in my head, he proved a great review of blogs and articles I’ve read in the past few months. It’s also great to see yet another industry leader such as eBay to embrace these ideas.

You can view my full notes here (pdf download), but I thought I’d share a couple things he mentioned which I found very helpful and interesting.

First, Kip talked about a couple methods/programs they use to monitor the pulse of the eBay community.

* Voices – They fly in 20 users (sellers/buyers) each month and senior management with other key employees sit and talk with these users. Learning what they like about the site, what they don’t like, features they’d find helpful, etc. Once these users visit they become part of the Voices community and can be called in the future to answer questions and provide opinions on new ideas.
* Visits – This method takes 3 ebay employees to visit site users in their homes and watch them sell/buy on eBay. One employee asks questions, another takes notes, and the last video tapes.
* Views – Once a quarter, they conducts topical focus groups around the country on topics that are important to the company and it’s user base. i.e. Topic for Q2 2008 is safety

Secondly, he mentioned a couple stats I found very intriguing, the first of which is that 40% of the things sold on eBay are sold/listed via their API. 40%! That’s huge!

He also mentioned Wikipedia and how it’s huge user base allows for it to have a minimal staff of 5 full time employees, yet it is very agile in maintaining it’s product (obscenities last online for 1.7 minutes). It blows my mind that they are that quick in removing information that doesn’t conform to their community rules.

His talk sparked quite a few questions and ideas that require a bit more development, but I’ll follow up with additional posts later as those thoughts tie in for me, especially how they work with Abunga.

He also endorsed a book that I’m currently reading which is “Ultimate Question: For Unlocking the Door to Good Profits and True Growth” by Frederick F. Reichheld. The book focuses on the use of what is called the Net Promoter Score, boiling down to the question – would you recommend us to a friend? Pretty simple question, but very pertinent.

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Have a great Easter.

The sandbox just got bigger – taking advantage of the network

I ran across a quote (emphasis added) yesterday in  a post on Rowan Simpson’s blog where he was summarizing his time at Webstock.

Tom Cotes, who gave the best explanations I’ve heard to date for why it’s important to think outside of your own little sandbox. Succeeding online means thinking about how to take advantages of the network rather than just simply trying to build the best website.

I love this quote.  In fact I’ve printed it off and put it on my wall.  The Internet has changed and is changing and while it’s always been a network of computers, it’s moving toward a network of interconnected people and websites.

So in building a website or revamping one, the question can’t be “how do we draw everyone here and keep them here” but how do we produce content, or features that fit into the daily lives of Internet users?

Now, there might be some Goliath sites may not have to conform to these new “rules” as immediately because of their sheer magnitude, but take newspapers for example.  Here in Knoxville our local paper is owned by Scripps, and they’ve attempted to bring about a  social-media-esque way of working with the news.  They didn’t do this because this is what they were used to. They do it because they have to do it to compete.

For Abunga this means, where and how can we leverage the power of the network? It involves asking, is this feature networkable?

We’ve got a great site, but how do we plug into that network so it’s easier for you to use us?

What do you think?  Is he off base?  Am I off base?

What a Quote

I’m late to the party, but I just saw this quote about 5 minutes ago.

We don’t need web-based versions of our desktop software. We need web software that takes advantage of being online.

Quote of the day in my book.  We need stuff that is designed with interactivity and connection in mind, not just solo me, on my computer.

Quote from Allstair Croll’s GigaOM post about Google Forms


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