Archive for the ‘change’ tag
A growing crop of Silicon Valley startups are finding ways to make money and make a positive impact.
Change.org is one of the most successful examples. The company generates revenues through its cause-based ad model (last year it brought in about $15 million), and is arming ordinary people to strike out against perceived injustice. “If you show them that their voice matters, you can radically change behavior,” founder and CEO Ben Rattray said in a recent interview.
After months of testing, Change.org is ready to launch a new revenue model that is geared to consumers, not organizations.
If you’re perusing the site and come across a cause that is particularly close to your heart — anything from a plea to Verizon to nix contracts or a campaign against Twitter to ban “thinspiration” hashtags – you can pay to promote the petition.
“This is what our users wanted,” said Jennifer Dulski, Change.org president and COO in an email interview. Dulski said the team is consistently asked how supporters and petition-creators can promote their campaigns to more people.
Organizations already have the ability to sponsor petitions, which is the primary way that Change.org makes its money. It’s not disimilar to how Facebook asks brands to pay to promote posts on the company page.
San Francisco-based Change.org has grown to 35 million registered users around the world, and its petitions often garner thousands of signatures. Generally speaking, the more signatures a petition receives, the more likely it is to catch the attention of the press and/or key decision-makers.
Related: Change.org CEO Rattray will speak at HealthBeat, our San Francisco-based conference on May 20 & 21, on the topic of consumer-driven health care reform.
By targeting consumers, the team expects to pull in steady revenues in smaller dollar amounts. Contributions are capped at $1,000 per user per petition, but beta tests found that 98 percent of contributions were under $100. During the test period, a total of 800 people contributed to promoted petitions.
Change.org’s ad-based business model has been critiqued in the press. Clay Johnson, author of “The Information Diet” told the Wall Street Journal he has “huge problems” with the site as it is a “lead-generation business disguised as a social-change organization for whoever is willing to pay them for the email addresses.”
But Change.org is proud of its B-corp status; Rattray recently told me that unlike most non-profits, the company can afford to hire the best talent.
Has Change.org crossed the line between change-making and profit-making? Leave feedback in the comment section below.
Images at Change.org office // Christina Farr
Filed under: Business
Today’s guest post is written by Mark Story.
Cathryn Sloane’s article “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25” caused a bit of firestorm last month.
The debate surrounds how experienced – and old – someone should be to succeed as a social media practitioner.
I weighed in, as did the Huffington Post. and most people took Cathryn to task for suggesting young people “get” social media and are the ones who are best suited to incorporate it in a business setting.
I’d argue there is a bigger point here: You have be a social media grown-up; and that may or may not be tied to years of experience.
Being a social media grown-up means you have the essential skills to be a really good practitioner. Most of these skills are gained with time and with experience, but just like “you can’t fix stupid,” you can’t teach smarts. When seeking to fill social media positions, I would rather hire someone junior with less experience who is bright, because I can’t teach someone to “get it.”
So what is “it?”
Three Critical Traits
1. Excellent verbal and written communications skills. Twitter and Pinterest may have lulled some people into thinking words don’t matter anymore. Wrong. They matter in social media more than ever. You must have good verbal communications skills because you will be engaging in conversation, teaching, and evangelizing. In order to do so, you must be articulate and clear.
As for written communications skills, you cannot be successful at social media without being a good writer. Almost every aspect of online communication (more so in client-driven work, which makes up a large part of the social media world) involves informing and persuading people via the written word. You will need to reply upon your writing skills to tell a complex and compelling story; and sometimes you’ll have to do it less than 140 characters.
2. Tolerance for change and intellectual curiosity. In social media, the only constant is change. Today’s successful Pinterest was yesterday’s much-discussed Quora or Empire Avenue (read: #fail). New tools and tactics come along monthly.
If you want to have a career in social media and be a grown-up, you need to stay on top of what is out there, if for nothing else to make a recommendation to your boss or your client on adopting a social media platform.
Way too many organizations become entranced by the latest shiny object. The social media grown-up knows what’s new, how it works, and if it might add value to the company or clients’ social media efforts.
3. You must provide sound advice. Cathryn Sloane’s controversial statements stemmed from this: She referred to her generation of digital natives as those who are most comfortable with, and fluent with, tools such as Facebook and Twitter because they grew up with them.
True as this might be, knowing how to post status updates in Facebook is vastly different than offering social media advice to a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, or even a shop down the street. Each client has differing communications objectives, constraints, and sometimes legal requirements.
Experience helps to inform the counsel you give. This is not to say that someone who is in their 20s is not as seasoned as someone in their 40s, but let’s not confuse being fluent with the tools with getting paid to give strategic advice and execute tactics on a very large scale.
I could continue, but I’ll stop at these three core competencies to be successful in social media. These are the “must-haves.” You can be a social media grown-up in your 20s or in your 40s, but don’t forget that good communication, intellectual curiosity, and sound advice are all at the heart of being a good practitioner – and a social media grown-up.
Mark Story is the author of “Starting Your Career as a Social Media Manager,” to be published on September 1, 2012. He is a new media director, blogger, podcaster, professor and Social Media Old Guy. You can follow him on Twitter at mstory123.
Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel, and Elena Tsemberis of Montclair High School started a campaign on the political action site Change.org after learning that a woman hadn’t moderated the U.S. presidential debates since 1992. More than 120,000 people signed the petition. With their help, CNN’s Candy Crowley will moderate the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on October 16.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
You can see the full list on the Google Search blog but here it is broken down by category, excluding some of the more user interface or smart answer options.
- ng2. [project codename âOther Ranking Componentsâ] Better ordering of top results using a new and improved ranking function for combining several key ranking features.
- Ref-16. [project codename âOther Ranking Componentsâ] Changes to an “official pages” algorithm to improve internationalization.
- Bamse. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- Bamse-17L. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- GreenLandII. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] We’ve incorporated new data into the Panda algorithm to better detect high-quality sites and pages.
- #82353. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] This change refreshes data for the Panda high-quality sites algorithm.
- komodo. [project codename âQuery Understandingâ] Data refresh for system used to better understand and search for long-tail queries.
- #82367. [project codename âOther Ranking Componentsâ] This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- Lime. [project codename âFreshnessâ] This change improves the interaction between various search components to improve search results for searches looking for fresh content.
- #82666. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- #82541. [project codename âOther Ranking Componentsâ] This is one of multiple projects that we’re working on to make our system for clustering web results better and simpler.
- PandaMay. [project codename âSearch Qualityâ] We launched a data refresh for our Panda high-quality sites algorithm.
- Hamel. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] This change updates a model we use to help you find high-quality pages with unique content.
- #82301. [project codename âIndexingâ] This change improves an aspect of our serving systems to save capacity and improve latency.
- Panda JK. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] We launched Panda on google.co.jp and google.co.kr to promote more high-quality sites for users in Japan and Korea.
- rrfix4. [project codename âFreshnessâ] This is a bug fix to a freshness algorithm. This change turns off a freshness algorithm component in certain cases when it should not be affecting the results.
- JnBamboo. [project codename âPage Qualityâ] Weâve updated data for our Panda high-quality sites algorithm.
- NoPathsForClustering. [project codename âOther Ranking Componentsâ] We’ve made our algorithm for clustering web results from the same site or same path (same URL up until the last slash) more consistent. This is one of multiple projects that we’re working on to make our clustering system better and simpler.
- bergen. [project codename âOther Ranking Componentsâ] This is one of multiple projects that we’re working on to make our system for clustering web results better and simpler.
- Zivango. [project codename âRefinementsâ] This change leads to more diverse search refinements.
Snippets & Sitelinks
- gas station. [project codename âSnippetsâ] This change removes the boilerplate text in sitelinks titles, keeping only the information useful to the user.
- Manzana2. [project codename âSnippetsâ] This launch improves clustering and ranking of links in the expanded sitelinks feature.
- yoyo. [project codename âSnippetsâ] This change leads to more useful text in sitelinks.
- Challenger. [project codename âSnippetsâ] This is another change that will help get rid of generic boilerplate text in Web results’ titles, particularly for sitelinks.
- #80568. [project codename âSnippetsâ] This change improves our algorithm for generating site hierarchies for display in search result snippets.
- SuperQ2. [project codename âImageâ] We’ve updated a signal for Google Images to help return more on-topic image search results.
- CapAndGown. [project codename âImageâ] On many webpages, the most important images are closely related to the overall subject matter of the page. This project helps you find these salient images more often.
- Vuvuzela. [project codename âSafeSearchâ] We’ve updated SafeSearch to unify the handling of adult video content in videos mode and in the main search results. Explicit video thumbnails are now filtered more consistently.
- ItsyBitsy. [project codename âImagesâ] To improve the quality of image results, we filter tiny, unhelpful images at the bottom of our image results pages.
- Labradoodle. [project codename âSafeSearchâ] We’ve updated SafeSearch algorithms to better detect adult content.
I recently heard from a TED speaker who was able to quote, verbatim, truly nasty comments people had posted about her talk.
And yet, I’ve never once met an author who said, “Well, my writing wasn’t resonating, but then I read all the 1 star reviews on Amazon, took their criticism to heart and now I’m doing great…”
There are plenty of ways to get useful and constructive feedback. It starts with looking someone in the eye, with having a direct one on one conversation or email correspondence with a customer who cares. Forms, surveys, mass emails, tweets–none of this is going to do anything but depress you, confuse you (hey, half the audience wants one thing, the other half wants the opposite!) or paralyze you.
I’m arguing that it’s a positive habit to deliberately insulate yourself from this feedback. Don’t ask for it and don’t look for it.
Yes, change what you make to enhance delight. No, don’t punish yourself by listening to the mob.
The last week has been a bit of a blur – and I was just not able to finish off the five must-read posts last week … so I’m jamming two weeks together now. Slightly early … and maybe you’ll find this an antidote for insomnia on Sunday evening – or an inspiring way to start your Monday. Either way – I trust you will enjoy these five great reads.
- Trevor Young hits it out of the ballpark with his great post I’ve Seen Marketing’s Future and its Name is Amanda Palmer. Superb thinking and connecting of the dots
- Kate Carruthers looks at the big shifts between the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries – focusing on the digital economy and the digital revolution
- Any marketing practitioner will know – often through bitter experience – that our jobs are infinitely harder than they used to be. But Bill Lee says the evidence is clear – Marketing is Dead
- The climate change deniers can deny all they like. But Bill McKibben says you just need to follow the figures to realise just who the real enemy is – Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
- I’ve been saying it for years – share the message but OWN the destination. But Ray Wang pulls no punches –> Brands are dumb if they drive traffic to Facebook. Read it and weep suckers!
Inuit says 53 percent of companies “reinvented their business” to survive since 2010. The pivot is a buzz word in Silicon Valley, but may be one of the smartest moves an entrepreneur can make.
A good business owner can’t be afraid of change. Markets change, consumer attitudes change, technologies change, and so companies must also change. The majority of changes small businesses make today come in the form of “overhauling” the product or service. Next in line are changes to infrastructure within the company or changes to the staff.
Pulling the trigger is undoubtedly one of the hardest decisions to make, but you are in good company. Some big names in Silicon Valley have performed the pivot, including Twitter co-founder Evan Williams who originally founded Odeo, a podcasting company. It didn’t take off like Twitter has, but while it didn’t crash and burn, Williams eventually put the Odeo up for sale.
Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom was also in the pivot boat. His app Burbn was a location-based app, which included users taking pictures of their surrounding and tagging the location of those pictures. Systrom noticed that people were more interested in the photo features than the app itself. So, he pulled the photo technology out of Burbn and created the very popular Instagram, which recently sold to Facebook for a whopping $1 billion.
Need more pivot inspiration. Check out this infographic from Intuit below:
Filed under: Entrepreneur
Commuting to work via bike is a great way to get exercise and save on gas money but if your office has a strict dress code it may seem like you can’t both ride a bike and wear a suit. If you’re willing to take a few minutes and pack a more formal change of clothing you can look sharp at the office and still bike commute. More »
Remember the S1 and S2 Sony showed us a while ago? Looks like the company is still thinking in unconventional terms when it comes to tablet design.
Images of the new Sony Xperia tablet have just been leaked (supposedly they’re press photos). We’re also hearing that the tablet may feature beefy quad-core specs, a Microsoft Surface-like peripheral keyboard, an Android operating system, and a tiered price tag ranging from $400 to $600.
The designs we’re seeing today show a super-sleek device that’s long and narrow, certainly a change of pace from the two standard tablet sizes and resolutions: the “overgrown smart phone” seven-inchers and the “iPad or similar” 10-inch devices. But the new designs suggest that Sony has abandoned the wedge shape it was playing with during the S-device stage.
Uniqueness aside, this outside-the-box kind of form factor is something app developers love to hate, since it can wreak havoc on how their work is displayed.
Still, Sony’s been known to throw device design curveballs in the past. In this gallery, you’ll see the new tablet pics, with a couple of S-tablet images thrown in for comparison. You can see the dual-screen, foldable, candybar-style design was clearly “out there” by anyone’s standards.
We’ll likely know more about this device later this month; it could be released as early as September. Stay tuned!
Filed under: mobile
If you play video games such as World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, you’ll want to change your Battle.Net passwords right now—Blizzard, maker of said games, has had a security breach. More »