SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide

Just in time for SXSW, I am really pleased to announce that Cerado has launched a handy "Unofficial Pocket Guide" that is based on the beta of Cerado Ventana. It’s a mobile-friendly SXSW widget that gives you quick access to:

– People
– Agenda
– Books that authors will be signing in the book lounge
– FAQ

It looks killer on the iPhone, and Koan reports that it works similarly sexily on the Nokia N95.

For the People tab, we’ve built a self-reporting directory (instead of scraping the registration database for everybody’s information).  Adding yourself is like adding a blog comment: enter info, click submit, see it immediately.  No email addresses; just your name, photo, and URL.

If you fancy yourself an Early Adopter, feel free to add yourself to the People listing.  Go to the People tab, and simply click "+" — that’s it.  (We recommend using your Twitter stream or Blog URL as your primary link, but you can also link to your Facebook or LinkedIn or other profile as well — how ever you want people who see you at SXSW to keep tabs on you.)

The homepage is here:  http://sxsw.cerado.com/

And you can jump directly to the "Add Yourself" form as well.

Takes two minutes.  Tops.

Here’s what it looks like (click the images to expand).

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide - People   

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide - Agenda   

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide - Shop

However, when building this, we also realized that the whole world isn’t mobile. (Yet.)  So, it’s also available as a widget that you can put on your blog.

The blog widget looks like this:

(RSS readers, you can view or get the blog widget here.)

Major kudos to Sarah Dopp on her mad project management skillz in helping to make this happen.

A Great^H^H^H^H^H Post By David Hornik

David Hornik writes a post that sums up something that I’ve been thinking about lately, having reviewed a number of pitches and proposals that fall into this trap.  David:

"Adjectives are not convincing. Facts are convincing. I may not agree
with the conclusions a company draws from those facts. But I will at
least be in a position to appropriately assess those conclusions.
Whereas adjectives are all about conclusions without the underlying
facts. As an entrepreneur, you are far better off having me determine
that your market is "massive," your founders are "brilliant," and your
product is "elegant," than to tell me that your company has "an elegant
solution serving a massive market designed by brilliant founders." So
reread your pitch and remove all of the adjectives. It will go
massively, monumentally, gargantuanly. colossally better that way."

This one is getting taped to the monitor, just a short reach away from the copy of Strunk and White.

(hat tip to andrew anker for the ^H idea. heh.)

Sell This Man A Car!

David Cushman is doing a little experiment in being a connected, active customer.  Here’s the skinny.  David:

Images
"There’s a prize at stake, of sorts. The winner gets to sell me a car.

I
want to buy a Toyota Yaris – and I’m going to blog about this fact (and
twitter a bit) to see if this simple piece of disaggregated content
gets picked up by someone savvy enough to sell me one.

It’s also a
test of word of mouth because it’s possible that the dealer (owner?)
with the car I want isn’t clued up… but he might know a friend, or a
friend-of-a-friend who is.

So let’s begin.

I’m in the UK.

I
want a low mileage Toyota Yaris in either T3 or TR spec, registered
late 2006 onwards (new shape one). Must have aircon of some form.
Ideally 1.3 petrol but will consider 1.0. Probably go for the five
door. My wife prefers silver (and it will be her car). Ex-demo would be
ideal."

Now, again, there are some basic channels through with customers and vendors typically interact.  From the customer’s perspective they are:

  • Search – Research and look for a solution
  • Shop – Engage in commerce
  • Help – Fix something you already have

Here’s the vendor view of these three items:

  • Market (as a verb, the converse of Search)
  • Sell (the converse of Shop)
  • Support (the converse of Help)

Key point: I feel the friction in this process is a result of the transactional mindset that most vendors are in today.  For if vendors were truly engaging in "customer relationship management," David would already be connected to them.  Instead, we’re trying to mesh the customer and vendor gears, each of which is spinning at a different speed, and rotating in a slightly different plane.

So, going back to the model…David has already nailed the "Search" part of his process, and is moving into Shop.  So, is there a vendor out there who is either (a) actively listening or (b) is connected through a reasonable number of hops to someone who is?  Let’s find out…

VRM Moves Ahead

Great summary of last week’s VRM meeting in London, with commentary by Ian Delaney.  An excerpt:

"One of the latest solutions to the problem of marketing without wasting
loads of money is CRM. Companies collect loads of data about their
customers and potential customers and then target their marketing
efforts at segments of those groups. CRM is ‘lame and bad’, though,
because it isn’t about relationships at all…"

Here’s a link to the whole thing.