Jim Cramer & tulipomania

I really like this video which unspy posted on my blog earlier.

To me its just not fair that hedge funds and corporations can manipulate the stockmarket. It’s the notion that there is no such thing as “market correction” or equilibrium. I believe George Soros said this as well in his book. It’s not a science because there’s humans involved. 

Financial market regulation was an area I could not ignore in my studies as a lawyer and accountant. In fact, I did a thesis on it =P Shenanigans and antics pulled by Jim Cramer’s days as hedge fund don’t give normal people a chance in the stock market. They’re shifting huge piles of money around in back rooms to create artificial lifts in stock prices or spreading rumours to make a stock go down. Essentially, they are screwing with people’s money and the overral stock market. It’s nothing new, its always been going on. 

The fact is that some CEO’s have lied and financial reporter’s don’t do enough digging around to reveal the truth. Financial reports don’t necessarily tell the truth either – sometimes the real info is hidden deep in the notes or in off balance sheet financing and never reported. If it is so opaque what trust do we have in financial markets? There always seem to be a hidden truth and unbelieveable faith that things will get better and an ideal of constant growth.

It’s tulipomania all over again. Check this from wikipedia:

“Tulip mania or tulipomania (Dutch names include tulpenmanie, tulpomanie, tulpenwoede, tulpengekte, and bollengekte) was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the newly introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed.[2] At the peak of tulip mania in February 1637, tulip contracts sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble.[3] The term “tulip mania” is often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble”

I’m out like the bubble bursting,

Matthew Ho

Blogs as a source of authority – ReadWriteWeb’s v Wikipedia

Occassionally I read the website “ReadWriteWeb“. It’s a blog about online/digital media. They recently discovered that they were blacklisted by Wikipedia after a contributor tried to link them as a source. The editor Richard MacManus made his submission via the usual process, by submitting his case on Media Wiki talk pages and the debate was fleshed out. He also submitted his case on his blog, getting even more attention since it is a top 20 blog. The debate from Wikipedia admins, contributors, the ensuing comments on his blog, as well as the decision to remove has all been interesting.

This was the comment I left on his blog:

“I think this is a fascinating article and case study on why ReadWriteWeb was blacklisted on Wikpedia. I can see why they blacklisted you, but that should have been against you personally not the blog for some comments that you made 3 years ago.

I read your blog occassionally, because it was starting to get referenced and digg’d – so obviously the wider community thinks it is a good source of web 2.0 info. the fact that your syndicated by NYT only adds to the arguement that you should be removed, and rightfully that has happened.

I’m still curious to the general debate of whether blogs can be a seen as a credible source of information, not only for wikipedia but also for reference purposes (academic and in general). what about blogs outside the top 20?”

Background

By way of background ReadWriteWeb’s editor must have done something dodgy whether inadvertently or on purpose, by adding his website multiple times as a source of reference. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it came to the attention of the editors and the was a bit of war of words and the editor used some not so nice words. This happened three years ago. We all know that even one year in the internet industry is like 7 years in the real world (Sidenote: I’m approaching one year in the industry). The pace of change and practices change quite rapidly. As one of my colleagues, Aaron noted, the business models change.

ReadWriteWeb is clearly a well known source of web 2.0 info. It is ranked #17 out of all blogs on the internet for readership with 275,000 RSS subscribers. It has content syndication with the New York Times – they use it in their tech blogs for additional content. It was the only blog in the top 20 blacklisted. The majority of those blogs even have their own wikipedia page! If it wasn’t for the personal actions of the editor and the original comments of Hu12 admin stating that blogs as a source are not verifiable/reliable/credible because they are self published, this would have never seen the light of day.

Which really brings me to a related issue:

Can blogs be citied as as source of authority, whether in wikipedia or in general?

I want to repost some of the comments I found on the Wiki spam page, arguing the case for submission. More importantly it is their views on blogs as a source of authority which I want to highlight. As a former law grad raised on evidence law, legal referencing and even simple academic guidelines, I find it very fascinating.

Why RWW was originally rejected

Comment by Hu12:

* Blogs, and Blog sites are Link normally to be avoided
* ReadWriteWeb Fails Wikipedia’s core content policies:
* ”Verifiability”
o ” Questionable_sources”
o “Verifiable Reliable Sources”
o ”Self-published sources (online and paper)”
* ”Reliable sources”
o ”Self-published sources”

1. Arguement for removal:

“I am a regular reader of RWW and I believe that it qualifies as a legitimate osurce for news and information. They do not merely recycle press releases but actually engage directly as journalists, talking directly to technology leaders and performing original reporting. The question of whether it is a “blog” and therefore does not merit inclusion is a red herring as the very definition of “blog” is vague (chronologically ordered website? the same could be said of the New York Times). Really a “blog” is just a content management software package that runs underneath a website but does not dictate what the site’s purpose is. Granted a tech blog hosted on blogspot.com or wordpress.com (free hosts) is probably on the far side of the line dividing legitimate sources of information, but RWW is far from that and should not be lumped into that category. I dont feel that th etraffic/readership issues are salient, but as far as credibility goes, RWW enjoys the same press status as print magazines, and should be treated in teh same manner. I have no affiliation with RWW whatsoever, though I do maintain several blogs of my own and write for BeliefNet.

Regards, Aziz Poonawalla

2. Arguement for removal:

Respectfully, I’m floored that this discussion is taking place at all in 2009. There are published tabloids and even minor newspapers with less credibility that ReadWriteWeb. This distinction between ‘blogs’ and ‘newspapers’ is worse than archaic; it fundamentally dismisses the immense disruption in the media industry. Blogs like that are more transparent and verifiable than many papers by virtue of their readership and topicality. And, frankly, there’s an odd double standard at play. Mashable, TechCrunch and GigaOm all have their own entries in Wikipedia and cover similar beats. Moreover, at least in this editor’s opinion, Marshall and Richard’s credibility on certain topics has proven to be more viable than the posts on at least one of those sites. I strongly urge the Wikipedia community to remove this blacklisting and reconsider its policy around blogs. It made sense in 2004. In 2009, there are now major blogs at the New Yorker, the Atlantic and the New York Times. Because the form is a reverse chronologically ordered list of entries, does it suddenly become an unreliable tabloid? I think not. Vetting should be based upon more than that, particularly the expertise and proven track record of the writer. That expert vetting is important to both Britannica and Wikipedia going forward. I hope you all get it right here.

-Alexander B. Howard

My thoughts

I’m going to talk about the topic in general, not specifically readwriteweb. I think the editor blew it a bit out of proportion but I’m glad he did because he highlighted a very good issue that had attracted a lot of intelligent debate.

Blog when they first started becoming developed were self published and generally, were not really edited for quality. However, nowadays, many newspapers, companies, communities, and groups are using blogs. They are becoming very professional in nature, similar to newspapers and books. Within their genre, they can be highly authoratative. In some cases, blogs have the same status in the media as newspapers and books. If the readership, editorial quality, sources, reputation and most importantly their content is credible, they why can’t they be referenced? If the New York Times can be referenced, why can’t their NYT blog be referenced? It usually written by the same writers and probably goes through the same level of editorial review as regular print articles. If the blog writer does their research, links to their sources and does proper journalistic investigation, how is that any less credible?

Of course not all blogs are like this. There is a lot of rubbish out there too (but then so are some books!). To dismiss blogs as inclusion in wikipedia because they are self published it is a futile argument, since wikipedia itself is self published. Can the wider community use blogs as a reference for example a student writing an assignment? Just like other sources, it should go through a rigurous criteria however, it would be slightly different since it is an online source. The fact is print and newspaper readership is dying out, and online has become a new source of information. A lot of news and information can come from blogs – it has been embraced by the public and is gaining ground as a source of info.

Look at wikipedia itself. The first time I heard of it was when my manager send me a link about wooden pylon term a client of ours was using. This was 4 years ago, when wikipedia was still in its infancy. Now, wikipedia is seen as just as credible as Encylopedia Britannica. They have tests and it matches up as a source of credible information. Encyclopedia Britannica itself is moving to a wikipedia type model, where users can submit content and there are professional staff editing the content. Whether they can keep up is another question!

You have to examine each blog on its own merit – not all blogs can be referenced. I will write some more thoughts about this later as I have to head off but I leave you with the wikipedia policy on verifiability and the reason why Read Write Web was removed:

1. The use of links to ReadWriteWeb is not disruptive. If an individual editor is repeatedly adding spam links to it, have an administrator block that editor.
2. While ReadWriteWeb may or may not be reliable, non-reliability on its part would not, in and of itself, justify blacklisting the website.
3. ReadWriteWeb is well-known and publicly objects to the inclusion on the blacklist. The perception of Wikipedia as unfairly blocking the use of links to the website is not helpful to Wikipedia, whether or not the blacklisting is otherwise justified.
4. While the participation may be (and is probably) skewed as a result of ReadWriteWeb’s public objection to the blacklisting, the great majority of commenters on the applicable discussion page support the removal of the entry from the blacklist. Since the removal is reversible, continued discussion can confirm whether my removal has general consensus. In the meantime, the removal seems less likely to cause problems.

I’m out like blogs as a source of authority,

Matt Ho.

Projections for ’09: A good year?

After completing the lengthy 2008 post,  I’m going to write briefly about 2009 so far and what I hope to do.

From a professional perspective:

– Work more with websites. I would like to work with Umbraco, Sitecore, Reddot, Fatwire etc.., which are open source content management systems. More like finding out what the client wants, developing a strategy and design, managing the build and overseeing the process.

– Online Display Advertising – I’ve very keen to look at stuff like banner ads, learn about adblaster, open ex ad serving and the like.

– Become involved with social media. I would like to experiment with online marketing campaigns involving social media. I haven’t done any yet, but I am eager to do a viral campaigns using Youtube, social bookmarking, etc….I’m really into social media from a personal perspective because its interesting. However,  it’s hard to see how it can be monetised & the commerical appeal – there’s no real formula.

– I’ve started up a work basketball team @ Alexandria. Unfortunately, I’ve sprained my ankle but hope to be back soon. It’s the first sports team @ Next Digital, Sydney so should be an interesting ride.

– I’m attending a few events in the next month or so:

I would like to attend events,  every now and then to hear industry thoughts, meet people, etc…The event that I really want to attend is Wiki Wednesdays if they ever hold it again. Its for people that are involved in wikipedia’s which leads to……..

– Working on a wiki using Confluence. Its my pride and joy at the moment, and I’m currently the residential expert. I hope to evangelise a wiki culture into our business and show others how to use it. It was my suggestion back in October when I posted about it on my internal work blog, and it slowly coming to fruition.

– continue to find out more about folksonomies, search engines, cloud computing (my favourite topic area at the moment), and RSS.

– I currently have an allocation of work time to study search engines and I will be going for the Google Advertising Professional Exam.

– I hope to find a mentor at work or outside of work.

From a personal perspective

– I would like to do some travelling this year around Australia. I’ve seen so much of the world (Europe, states, Asia, etc.) but I’ve never seen Ayers Rock, WA, Great Barrier Reef, etc… This year I will tick one of them off my list.

– International travel – if not this year then the next. I just had a look at tickets to South America, maybe somewhere like Brazil or Peru would be cool.

– Get my own car & move out!! These two things have long been overdue. They both will be done (or a least one!) by the end of the year.

– I would like to sign up for this local mentoring service. I saw a notice at the library asking for mentors, and I feel like I could help someone. I also believe that I should do some volunteer work if I can find the time (there always is time, I just can’t find it :P)

– Fix up this website and get a proper website. It’s ok having a stock standard blog, but I would like to upgrade the website.

– Sign up for a gym – something I’ve also been meaning to do. I have the form on my desk and was about to complete it, but then my ankle injury hit.

I’m out like moving out,

Matt

The Future of Digital 2009 – AIMIA

Today, I went to the AIMIA conference on “The Future of Digital 2009”. It was pretty interesting.  My company, Next Digital was the main sponsor and my general manager Stephen Lord was one of the key speakers.

There were a lot of companies represented like Microsoft, BBC, Communicator, News Ltd, ABC etc…. I figured if I was going to make it in this industry, I had to attend events like this, meet people and hear what people had to say.

John Butterworth, the CEO of AIMIA (Australian Interactive Media Industry Association for you noobs) gave a quick overview of the digital future. In 2008,  digital spend was $17.9 BILLION (yes BILLION!) and  25% of business revenue was generated through digital. After that, he said “Look around you at the 100 faces here in this room – this is the future of digital”.  It was exciting and also a bit scary at the same time! And hey, I was a part of the 100!!


The Agency – Stephen Lord, Next Digital

The next speaker was Stephen, who spoke about the agency perspective. He gave a brief overview of the major digital events that happened in 2008 such as:

  • the iphone and the apps store (converging mobile and web)
  • online viewing overtaking tv spend for the first time
  • twitter coming of age and how the events of Mumbai were microblogged. At work we use yammer and its great! Its like a corporate twitter
  • political parties using digital channels  – Obama’s heavy use of digital (YES WE CAN!!!!!)
  • cloud computing  – one of my favourite topics

twitter

If 2008 was the year that digital spend increased, then 2009 will be about measurement and ROI. It’s true.  People are spending an increasing amount of time online and in front of the computer.  In fact people even do two of the activities simultaneously –  engaging in multiple media channels. Look at me now – I’m blogging as I watch House in the background! Digital spend will only increase as marketers direct more of their budget into digital as it is more accountable that TV, radio, print, etc… (did someone mention a recession?). But most importantly, this is where the audience is, hence marketing dollars will follow.

Digital will reach a tipping point – a point where more dollars spent won’t equal more results. Hence the search for accountabiliy and better measures. What are we measuring now as digital marketers, bloggers and media planners? Page views, bounce rates, CTR’s (click through rates)? Puh-lease!!!!!! That is so old school. None of these really tell you anything. So what if your page achieved 1,000 unique views, CTR of 18%. It doesn’t mean jack. We have to find new measures to determine engagement, influence, involvement, and stickiness. The metrics we use have not kept up pace with a constantly evolving digital world.

The thing about digital is that every user leaves a digital footprint. It is a captive and active audience and we need to understand how to better measure that. In the past, we were hunters / seekers of information (early to mid 90’s). Then we become do-ers, and now we are in a stage of feedback 3.0, where people are having true conversation in the digital sphere.

The Evangelist – Michael Jordahi, Microsoft

The next speaker was Delic8 Genius, aka Michael Jordahi, a developer Evangelist for Microsoft. So what exactly is an evangelist? I had a discussion with Peter about this on the way down since he knows a few. In fact, I met another Microsoft one from the UK, a pretty cool guy. An evangelist is someone that encourages people to adopt new technology, that engages with people about it, explains how it works, gets people to sign up for licenses and so on.

He actually was a really good speaker, like he had drank 3 redbulls before he got up. Pretty funny guy, and very passionate about Microsoft Surface, bordering on a sales pitch. I didn’t mind, because of the energy he brought and I really like the concept of Microsoft surface. FYI When you go to a lot of marketing presentations/industry events they tend to end up like sales pitches.

microsoftmilan

He gave us an overview of how we had from old school user interface (UI) to GUI to NUI (natural user interface). He compared them to reading a book vs watching a movie vs playing an interactive computer game.

He had a lot of interesting stuff to say, such as how we are no longer restricted to computers, keyboards, and mouses. Examples like Microsoft surface, Toncidot – this little cube you can move around to replicate real world movement, this sphere type device, holograms, etc… He even brought out October’s Esquire magazine cover which had a digital cover.  His view of the future was technolgy and social interaction (real not like facebook or myspace) becoming one.  His opinion was the natural surface and augmented reality was the future (I actually have no idea what he meant by augmented reality) but half the crowd was nodding.

The client – Paula Bray, Powerhouse Museum

I can’t believe she got up and held a deck full of powerpoint slides in one hand and navigated the actual preso with the other slides. I just thought it was going be dead boring and she did didnt do anything to prove me wrong. She was representing the Powerhouse Museum and started going through their website, some of their interactive display thingys. I rolled my eyes (and I suspect half the audience did too). HOWEVER, the next part of the presentation started to get real interesting.

She spoke about how the Musuem developed glassplate negatives of historic shots of Tyrrell. I don’t think anyone actually understood what Tyrrell was about but that wasn’t the point. They had all these old historic shots and so did the National Library. So they put them on FLICKR, the photo sharing website.  They were generating some pretty impressive stats re number of views. Then they decided to put their collection on the creative commons license, which allows anyone to use the image and it kinda of exploded. They let go their collection and people were helping them out by providing meta tagging, geo tagging (locating them on google maps), people started to mashup the pics with Google street view and so on. The craziest thing was that they started to upload pics of how Sydney looked in the past and how it looked now. Then it snowballed because people started contributing their current pics, and even going to the trouble of finding the exact same shot.

tyrrell

In fact, the best thing was when they were searching for Mosman Water falls and wanted to find out exactly where this thing was. They posted a query on FLICKR, and someone answered the query in 30 mins and directed them to a real estate website.  Paula, went out to the property, discovered the waterfalls in someone’s backyard and took pics to compare and share. It was pretty amazing, the find and the altrustic of this John Doe contributor on FLICKR. So they got in contact with him and tried to find out more about him, got him to come to the musuem (he hadn’t been in a decade), so now he takes his family regularly there and writes about the musuem on his blog.

To think that a government institution, a public musuem was prepared to do that was pretty amazing. The philosophy was to create a musuem without walls. They let their collection go out on a commons license (IP lawyers hide yourself!).

The futurist – Jen Wilson, Lean Forward

Let’s just say she was interesting. Every speaker had an agenda, and her’s was mobile. If I could describe her in a few words it would be “mobile evangelist”. Accordingly, the future for her was “mobile”. Not phone, but mobile, a point she distinguished.  About a year ago, I wouldn’t have thought so either. She gave a view of the world as everything going mobile – your camera, your car, your kitchen sink, etc…

iphone_inhand1

In fact, she was probably the most interesting speaker because she really was talking about the future and was saying things I hadn’t really heard before. Of how mobile was breaking down the digital divide. For example, fishermen in Kerala using mobiles to arbitrage in the local fish market by calling into the port and finding out which fish markets were low and then supplying those markets.

I think she could have spoken all day and night about mobile.  Then she had a little rant about the “evil empires” ala how Google and Microsoft want to control everything…..Oh and did I mention that during the entire conference she was texting on her iphone? I only discovered later when I googled the conference and her twitter account came up, she was updating her twitter account every few mins!!!

That’s been one long recap of the AIMIA conference.

I’m out like the future of digital,

Matt Ho.

Sensis SME e-Commerce Report

The share market rebounded today! Yay! Give me my share of $10bn handout, Krudder!

I’m currently reading the Sensis e-business report titled “The Online Experience of Small & Medium Enterprises”. It’s very stat heavy, and gets boring after a couple of pages. Basically, its an annual report that looks at the usuage of the internet, computers, email, etc..  by SME’s. There’s also some comparison with last year’s stats and overview of consumers/household usuage.

Nothing suprising in there, but handy to know. Yes, 98% of businesses use a computer for email and 14% of individiduals keep a blog (I help make up that 14%!!!). Since I have a few blogs do I constitute more of that 14%??

If you want to read it, click here and the other Sensis reports can be found here.

We had two interesting work presentations recently, one on banner advertising and another on interactive video. When I get some time, I will write briefly about them.

And I’ve also come across WordPress MU – “multi user”. It allows an unlimited number of blogs and users to form a network. This could come in handy to create a network of blogs.

Currently, I’m looking into free wiki’s out there – if you can recommend one, please hit me up in the comments section.

I’m out like $10bn handouts,

Matt.

Too much coke…..

Just drank too much coke.

Two things I’ve come across in the past 24 hrs:

Confluence. I’ve spoken to two friends about creating a wiki, and I’ve been recommended Confluence made by Atlassian, a company specialising in collaboration software. It’s also got a sharepoint extender which could come in handy as my company uses it. Sharepoint seems more useful for document management as opposed to using it for wiki’s and blogs. Twiki is also available as free open source.

– Yahoo and Google merger deal: This has been going on for a while, looks like its closer to happening subject to anti trust and regulatory review.

I’m out like too much coke.