links for 2009-04-23

  • Recently I returned from doing some speaking work in south-east Asia to an inbox of several hundred e-mails. Many hoped to interest me in their services. Others suggested subjects for this column. All these messages had one major drawback – they were far too long.
    It takes skill and application to communicate your message in just a few words, which is why good journalists and copywriters are so cherished.
    The internet is the spiritual home of the verbose and self-obsessed. You can easily write as much as you like about your company’s products and services. It is much harder to drive people to your website and keep them there.
    The attention span of a potential customer is very short, so you need to convey a simple message with a clear call to action.
  • Introductions from the right people can make all of the difference between getting invited to interview or not. Hiring managers, especially in difficult job markets, are inundated with resumes from qualified people. One way to make sure your candidacy gets considered is to have someone the hiring manager knows and trusts identify you as a good candidate.
    In many cases, this happens via email. “I met Landon at a recruiting event… I worked with Shelly at my last company…I spent time on the phone with Sam and was impressed by…”
    (tags: career)

  • Maybe it’s unseemly to speak of talent shortages when so many people are job-hunting. Maybe it’s inconsiderate to talk about how desperate employers are for skills when every other news story highlights gargantuan unemployment numbers. And yet, it’s true: Employers are bemoaning the shortage of qualified applicants. For job seekers, that’s good news.
    A common misconception is that every hiring manager and résumé-screener is deluged with résumés from highly qualified candidates vying for jobs far below their level of expertise. Yes, there are numerous candidates for almost every job, but the qualification gap remains.
    (tags: HR career)
  • After decades of time and millions of dollars spent on leadership development and mentoring programs, why are we still facing a leadership crisis at many levels of the business world?
    By now, most business leaders have learned that our job is to expand and develop our own capacity, while simultaneously preparing the next generation of leaders to take the reins. Develop talent, we’ve been taught. Be helpful. Be a coach. Mentor someone. But it doesn’t happen all that often — at least, not in any significant way.
    I believe it’s time for us to set a new gold standard for what it means to be a leader of substance and influence.
    (tags: Leadership)
  • Without a doubt, one of the toughest things to do is to build link popularity for your Web site. This is one reason new domains have such a hard time finding their way into the SERPs and so many small businesses have an uphill challenge trying to compete with the big brands.
    Certainly, the Web allows for some easy ways to generate links, through blogging and social media promotion, but getting those “powerful” links can involve hours of work to build the relationships and content necessary. Even more challenging is finding a way to have the keywords that you’re focused on in the anchor text of those links.
  • Software developer Philippe Breuss-Schneeweiss, creator of a travel guide for mobile phones, is himself in the right place: at the forefront of the growing market for downloadable applications.
    “I saw the previous internet boom but I was working for big companies and didn’t know how I could do something by myself,” he says. “Then when the Android applications market came, I thought this would be my opportunity to start my own business.”
    The Austrian, who has a keen interest in history, had in his spare time been developing Wikitude, an interactive guide with information about landmarks around the world. Putting it on a Google Android phone, which can detect user’s precise location, offered a breakthrough.
    (tags: mobile iphone)
  • Spring is a season for hope and renewal. All that stands between us and an end to gloom and doom are…the facts. But perhaps it is time to give optimism a try. Perhaps all the negativity is being overdone. Clearly, it can be self-fulfilling. Leaders should not be moping about, feeling sorry for themselves and spreading misery.
    According to Peter Shaw, a partner at the coaching consultancy Praesta, when one chief executive asked his chairman what was the most important thing he should be doing at a time like this, his answer was: “Smile”.
    (tags: Leadership)
  • At the Web 2.0 Expo today in San Francisco today, Twitter’s Alex Payne discussed the technical details of the programming language he hopes can help his company handle the upswing in traffic it has experienced over the past few years. The company is leaving behind a programming language that has caused it much pain in the past, and instead embracing a new and somewhat obscure language called Scala.
    Some background: Twitter, a service that allows people to post 140-character messages to friends and the public, was launched in 2006 and is now estimated to have roughly eight million unique users. When a person posts a short message to Twitter, the service posts it to the Web and sends it to people’s cell phones and Twitter software applications. The concept is simple, but under the hood, the technology is more complicated.
    (tags: Twitter)
  • Ever since Google Inc. jokingly announced on April 1, 2000, a new “MentalPlex” search technology that supposedly could read people’s minds, the Web has generated its fair share of April Fool’s day hoaxes. Many of the jokes are designed to generate buzz for a Web site, or done just for plain fun – but if produced too well, the pranks run the risk of people taking it too seriously.
  • Every generation has its inspirational maxim, and it is not surprising that these sayings are often associated with getting somewhere quickly and achieving something meaningful. Who hasn’t heard ‘Just Do It’?
    Back in the day, when men and women wore boots and boots had straps, we were exhorted to pull ourselves up by said bootstraps and achieve the near-impossible through hard work, tenacity and our own initiative.
    These days, our boots may be sneakers or flip-flops, but in the midst of hard times, we’re rediscovering our bootstraps.
  • Makers of personal electronic health records, including Google and Microsoft, are partnering with a growing number of pharmacies, health-care providers, and online services in an effort to better integrate these tools with other aspects of patients’ medical information. The push coincides with the recent $19 billion in federal stimulus funding designated for electronic health records. Despite the increase in activity, however, it’s still not clear how the government incentives to digitize doctors’ data will affect patients’ efforts to collect and curate their own health records.
    (tags: health google)
  • I admit it. I’ve Googled myself. My guess is that you have, too. It’s not because we’re egomaniacs, but that we’re curious to know what turns up. The problem is you couldn’t control the information Google (NSDQ: GOOG) delivers about you — until now.
    If you don’t have a Google profile, there’s not all that much you can do to control what others find about you online. What’s in the public domain is, well, public. Google’s search engine finds what it finds. People who value their privacy probably wish they could do something about that. Now that can.
    (tags: google)
  • Go Daddy unveiled new tools for online businesses including a simple survey tool for instant customer feedback; a service allowing access to hosting accounts while protecting the owner’s confidential information; a new domain extension (.BZ); and a new product providing businesses with a way to make money with parked domains.
    (tags: godaddy)
  • Points to Consider for Twitter-Friendly CEOs and CMOs
    Social media has obviously given voice to employees in ways that never existed before. Early corporate bloggers were often brand enthusiasts themselves and tended to “get” the brand a gut level; soon enough, voice and tone guidelines became more actively put in play to govern blog writing. But Twitter is different. The nature of the medium encourages users to transmit an interchangeable mix of musings about life, work, daily observations and whatever else. Employees on Twitter are either designated brand ambassadors or simply have personal accounts — and these lines of distinction help offer guidance. But that line grays with the advent of the “C-Tweet.” C-level execs are part-lead ambassador, part-celebrity. Twitter accounts can build a cult of personality and extend a dynamic that has long existed for top CEOs into a broader set of C-level executives.

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