Marissa Meyer is eliminating remote work at Yahoo. Even though she might be right about the benefits, it is a missed opportunity to innovate.Read more
Some of my LinkedIn connections have endorsed me for skills I haven’t delivered to them. Ever the cynic, I ran a test to see how useful endorsements really are. I didn’t get the result I expected.Read more
For the past few years, the leading edge of online marketing has been “content marketing”. As advertising becomes increasingly ineffective at driving sales, and as most lead generation tends to come via search engines, marketers have figured out how to produce content that ranks well in search, which brings traffic, which converts to sales/revenue/whatever.
The problem is that as more and more people buy into this, there has been a subtle change. Now the industry is engaging in “marketing content” rather than “content marketing”. The result is a flood of low quality content. Ten thousand blogs, all rehashing the same information in slightly different ways. So much duplication and plagiarism that it’s impossible to tell who had an original idea, if anyone. Read more
I’ve spent a good part of the holidays trying to reconcile the over-saturation in my life. Of the large number of things I’d like to be doing, I’m coming up against the realization that I’m attempting to do too many of them. The result is a spectrum of underachievement. Read more
Let me start this with full disclosure. Although I am not a member of the wine writing community, I have close ties to it. I have a business relationship with two of the writers who have complained about theft of their content, and I know several more personally. Additionally I have business and personal relationships with several small wineries and winemakers.
I’m also a wanna-be writer, although not in the field of wine journalism, or more accurately in the field of writing about wine. I say that because calling some of this “journalism” would be an insult to the word, even the watered-down definition that has emerged in the Internet age.
Natalie MacLean stands accused of appropriating wine reviews from other writers, reproducing excerpts without permission or acknowledgement. The details can be found on this article from Palate Press. Interestingly, another set of allegations emerges in the comments, but that’s for others to pursue. Read more
The path to a stable democracy is to measure government in terms of value, rather than size or cost. Return on Taxation should be the metric that both liberals and conservatives maximize.Read more
This is a story of feature creep. We started with an idea that was truly useful: link shortening services. These services allowed people to take bloated SEO-laden links (like the ones on this blog) and reduce them to compact links under 20 characters. Perfect for pasting into an e-mail, even better for a length-limited Tweet.
But link shortening isn’t rocket science, and I’m guessing even the US Patent and Trademark Office thought the idea too obvious for a patent (I mention this only because that in itself is an anomalous achievement, but I won’t digress into another patent rant here). So competitors emerged pretty quickly. How do you distinguish yourself in the link shortening business? Simple, add statistics! (BTW “statistics” is the plain old boring word for “analytics”, which is a made-up crapword designed to fool marketers into thinking they’re not doing math).
Then after statistics, some brain cell thought up the idea of loading the target window in a frame, adding a “value-added” toolbar. Not that the value add was provided to the user, who got to lose a little screen space and not see the actual target URL, but for the person providing the link, who presumably could track minutiae like how long you spent on some page.
Next, services hopped onto the bandwagon. Twitter, Facebook, RSS feed aggregators and others all started adding a link-shortening, information gathering layer to any links posted on their sites.
So now we have a link on Twitter that goes to a short link generated by the author of the tweet. The author of the tweet has copied a link found on Facebook, which then redirects to a short link to a blog aggregation that goes to the bloggers short link that then goes to the post.
Six degrees of redirection. Each one making the web more brittle, more subject to the loss of an intermediary, less permanent, less connected. Every time one of these services goes out of business, hundreds of useful connections between content will get lost forever. None of this is good.
Justin Trudeau is entering the race for the leadership of the Liberals. Polls within the party are said to show that he’s likely to win. While this might not be a great thing for the Liberals, it’s great for the country.
If the Liberals elect Trudeau, they’ll be sending a clear signal: that their collective wisdom favours the iconic over substance. It will show that they believe – as a whole – that a descendant of the Marilyn Monroe of Canadian Politics (no I’m not talking about Maggie here) will lead us to the nirvana of the centre left.
The challenge with Canadian politics is that our multi-party system won’t work as long as the method of electing representation is the primitive first past the post system. With our irrational fear of coalition governments, and an increasing tendency to move the locus of power from Parliament to the Prime Minister’s Office, it’s virtually impossible to construct a government that is representative of the will of the Canadian people unless they’re presented with a binary choice: Leftish or Rightish.
The Right suffered from this for years, with votes split between the Progressive Conservatives and Reform; now the Left suffers with a split between the Liberals and the NDP.
Justin can fix all that. In one decisive stroke, the Liberals can transform themselves from a crusty dynasty in need of renewal into a national joke. One can only hope that the liberals will subsequently poll in the range of the Natural Law Party. Centrist voters will be forced to choose the NDP in spite of it’s soft socialist heritage, the Conservatives will be back in opposition, and we’ll have a government that is less unrepresentative of the national character. Refugees from the Liberals will join the NDP, taking it further toward the centre, and all will be well.
So go for it, Justin, for the good of the country.
A recent change in U.S. patent law allows third parties to discuss a patent’s merits and submit evidence of prior art. This provides a new method for challenging some of the utterly moronic patents the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has let slip by. Read more
Twitter has generated a fair bit of unrest lately, much of it in the developer community. The main source of this unrest is changes to their API that make life nearly impossible for third party Twitter clients. Needless to say, this has riled up a good portion of the developer community. Read more