Thursday, May 17, 2007

Book Promotion Reports for Coolhunting

Among our objectives on this Coolhunt program was a desire to find new ways to publicize the release of a new book on the Internet. The publisher, AMACOM Books, who paid to have this online program produced, is hoping for sales at the end of the day to cover the marketing costs. The authors, who benefit modestly from sales and more from reputation enhancement, desire that the book gets an opportunity to reach its target audience.

At Patron Saint Productions, we try to find novel ways to bring books to the attention of readers without bothering those who aren't interested. It's a delicate operation, blending these interests into an online publicity campaign. I think you might find this behind-the-scenes look at some of the results to be interesting.

Access to the following reports normally is limited to campaign insiders. We are able to make these reports available here with the blessings of AMACOM Books:

Discussion Group Postings Report

(Microsoft Word document)

Shows the 50-plus discussion groups where we posted a message about the Coolhunt program and offered to send an excerpt from the book upon request.

Blog PR Report

(HTML document)

Shows a couple dozen blogs we approached -- besides those visited in the Coolhunt. We visited blogs listed in the Author Questionnaire completed by Scott Cooper, as well as blogs found through our own searches. At these blogs, we either posted comments or asked the blogmaster to post an announcement about the Coolhunt program. We offered the blogmasters free review copies of the book.

Review Copy Requests
We pitched media contacts, offering a review copy of "Coolhunting" and a press kit. Here is a list of the media who responded to our pitches and requested a review copy of the book. Due to privacy concerns, we are not releasing their contact information:

Kristin Clarke, CAE
ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership
CATEGORY: Magazine, Journal, or Newsletter
TOPICS: leadership, business

Geoffrey P. Lantos, PhD
Professor of Business Administration
Stonehill College
TOPICS: business, marketing
NOTES: Marketing Program Director at Stonehill College, and Book Reviews Editor for Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Product and Brand Management

Roy Bragg
San Antonio Express-News
TOPICS: San Antonio, general interest

Mary Beth Guard
Executive Editor
Bankers Online
TOPICS: banking, finance

Mark Gibbs
TOPICS: technology, computers
NOTES: Contributor to NetworkWorld

Marie Leone
Senior Editor
TOPICS: finance, business

Jason Thibeault
GoWare, Inc.
TOPICS: technology, computers

Paul J. Wilczynski
Krislyn Corporation
TOPICS: business

Ari Herzog
TOPICS: travel, entertainment
NOTES: Freelance writer and reporter for such publications as The Boston Globe; launching new blog

Mordechai (Morty) Schiller
TOPICS: marketing, Judaism

Allan Alter
Executive Editor, CIO Insight
TOPICS: technology, computers

Chris Locke
TOPICS: business, Internet
NOTES: author of Cluetrain Manifesto and Gonzo Marketing

Alan Chumley
TOPICS: public relations, media

Guy Kawasaki
How to Change the World
TOPICS: entrepreneurship, business

Dion Hinchcliffe
Web 2.0 Blog
TOPICS: technology, Internet

Tom Davenport
Babson Knowledge
TOPICS: business, management

Friday, May 11, 2007

Coolhunt Log #20 - Friday, May 11, 2007

Coolhunt Log #20
Friday, May 11, 2007

On Stage:
Scott Cooper, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Steve O'Keefe, moderator

MODERATOR: This is the last day of our month-long coolhunt. Could you tell us where you're calling from?

SCOTT: I'm calling from my home office in Newton Highlands, MA.

PETER: I'm calling from Switzerland.

MODERATOR: Today, on our last coolhunt I was hoping we could go over where we've been and talk about where we're going in the future with social networking. Can you tell me what you think about the list of all the sites we've visited that Gary Michael Smith posted last night?

PETER: I can't believe we've visited so many sites.

SCOTT: I was pretty impressed when I saw the list.

MODERATOR: Some of the things that jumped out at me is that we had a very protracted and good discussion about who are the news originators, places that have reporters doing research and bringing out facts. Then we looked at how searchers for information would find sites -- the whole yin and yang about new forms and old forms of finding information.

SCOTT: I was struck after looking at the list and reading some of my emails. In an email from the New York Times about a column from David Pogue, Asking the Crowd to Spread the News. He says that we haven't even scratched the surface about the audience supplying materials. Why isn't there a website that says, "Yes, this is going around and you'll be vomiting for two days"? There should be a map of such information. I just reminded me that we really were coolhunting over this past month.


PETER: I would like to know what all the other crowds are thinking and reading. I think it's a double-edge sword, creating news stories and making them available. You know what to expect from certain branded, boilerplated sources. If old-time media does it right -- whatever that means -- there will always be a place for those types of news providers. Getting access is
another story. Will people stumble across it or will there be more organized dissemination that will tell me all the stories that I'm normally interested in.

MODERATOR: The New York Times really never has had an opportunity to know what readers thought about its stories until recently. Now this has changed with journalists' blogs. Let's go to the Apple Store. If you look at this cutting-edge site you'll see "moving stills" as well as video in the advertising and display of presentations. Going into the store and looking for a particular product such as a power cord you'll find eight matches. Under the description of the product is a customer rating. You don't even have to drill down into the product because the customer rating is so important. Based on the rating, the shopper will drill down into the sites of particular products. I'm used to seeing customer reviews on books such as those with Amazon.


SCOTT: We make that obvious in our book Coolhunting by writing that power is gained by Amazon by giving power away in the form of user reviews.

MODERATOR: Reviews probably are only going to grow and wisdom of the hive will grow as well because reviews probably will not ever be removed.

PETER: I noticed the rankings on our Coolhunting book based on ratings. One reviewer says that Amazon nearly always processes orders quickly, but if you have any problems you can almost never get a person on the phone the settle it.


MODERATOR: We looked quite a bit at citizen reviews and ratings. We looked at tagging, digging, rating, and reviewing as well as censorship. Look where it asks if reviews are useful to you, allowing readers to rate the value of the comment. Where does the helix stop?

SCOTT: I think it's linked to the other discussion we had about the news business. If you let the swarm through all these mechanisms, it's empowering the swarm to take early steps toward self organization. I rarely buy books from Amazon -- preferring to go into bookstores -- but I'll look at reviews and listen to snippets of music online. And the reviews will often give totally opposing viewpoints even though they're listening to the same thing. So the collective intelligence allows the swarm to feed off such information.

PETER: This mix can tell us where the next big trends are. The New York Times has added a new feature allowing readers to dig or post information. This will allow them to know more about what people think about the Times' articles.

SCOTT: I notice that U.S. newspapers in general are so far ahead on this. Peter reads the New York Times and a Swiss newspaper and I read the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily newspaper, and the foreign papers are less user-friendly regarding blogs, comments, etc., not allowing web 2.0 services as with U.S. news services. A couple years ago there was an article about the bloglessness of German politics. Politicians still think that handing out pens at a supermarket is more effective, or setting up a table and giving out something for free, including a printed copy of their campaign platform.

MODERATOR: We've seen that in many cases, elitists are afraid of the wisdom of the crowd as with the censorship of Google in China and suppression of news in Afghanistan. Can you talk more about this battle between the receiving elite and the growing power of the crowd.

SCOTT: Here's one specific example of the enabling of the swarm. I listen to a lot German lieder and British art songs. Gramophone, a venerable record review magazine in England that's been around for about 100 years, had long been the arbiter of taste and quality for such vocal music. Reviews from "experts" makes one wonder if they ever actually listen to the music. But now, blogs and forums by younger people make for a much broader discussion of what makes for good music. These experts no longer have hegemony because of new technology.


PETER: "Elite" is the wrong word. Not all bloggers are equal. It's a meritocracy.

SCOTT: Let's talk about what "elite" means. First, it comes from the French for "select." More often than not the elite select themselves. Mike Arrington has not set himself off as one of the elite. He's just a guy who wants to provoke and share in a conversation, whereas others end a blog reminding readers how much of an expert they are on a topic.

MODERATOR: It was fascinating during our visit to Debian that the group had quite an elaborate structure, unlike something like YouTube. The web right now is struggling to come up with guidelines for bloggers' epics. You seem to be saying that the rules already are in force by people blocking you from email.

PETER: In the standards world, there is the International Standards Organization (ISO) group in Geneva. In the networking world, it competed against the much more self-organizing and less hierarchical Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and lost. If given free reign, the crowd is much more capable of setting up its own ethics and rules of operation than a formal group. It's a stable, robust, and self-correcting system. The crowd is very efficient in policing themselves.

SCOTT: Regarding the code of conduct among elitists in the blogosphere, such as Tim O'Reilly who issued a call for a bloggers code of conduct because of the case of Kathy Sierra (Creating Passionate Users) where she was threatened by readers as reported by the BBC and the San Francisco Chronicle.


SCOTT: See his "Lessons Learned So Far."


MODERATOR: Also, see the Word of mouth Marketing Association.


MODERATOR: One person meritocracy is another person's cesspool. People who contribute often are driven offline by the rude behavior of others who post vitriol material. You're saying that the hive can narrow the range into some kind of consensus. How do we deal with the issue of poor manners, spammers, etc.

PETER: The few bad apples such as spammers spoil all our fun but sometimes the entire swarm is spoiled. I think people have learned from the mistakes of the past. Most is self-correcting and self-policing. Many just withdraw from a community when they don't like it, making it self-correcting. I'm quite an optimist.

SCOTT: So am I. I have to say that the swarm on MySpace is self-protecting, keeping off bad programming. I don't know the answer, but I feel that MySpace is populated by so many teenagers, making it a problem. I think it'll work out it's own problems, though.

MODERATOR: Allowing more content to be posted on your sites by the hive is labor-intensive.

SCOTT: You could create a site like Wikipedia and let users create and update it.

PETER: In our case we had to change our community model and start asking for registration in our second version of a website to limit users to a higher quality.

MODERATOR: I wonder if the verification letters required on some sites was a hive-generated concept.

PETER: I think it was a professor who developed the "captcha" algorithm. It's again a great example of the power of the swarm.

MODERATOR: Regarding prediction markets where large groups of people steer decision making on a large scale such as in the stock market, how about using prediction markets in medicine? An op-ed in today's WSJ basically argues that Congress needs to back prediction markets for the gambling industry.

SCOTT: A lot of the ways in which prediction markets could be used turns our stomachs. The military had to take down one model because Congress said it was immoral. But whether you like it or not, it still proves the point about the value of collective intelligence.

MODERATOR: The article talks about a lot cases. A consensus plan suggests that a safe harbor will encourage experimentation. The goal is to allow the federal government to have prediction markets. I'd like to move to my last point on altruism, people releasing copyrights and companies letting go of trademarks. Everything we've covered in the coolhunt seems to say that if you drop your protection and let things go, you'll be better off.

SCOTT: There's a growing recognition for the need to consider stakeholder rather than shareholder value. This is a first step toward altruism. It's a step in the right direction.

PETER: It's a great starting point. The point is that all those communities are driven to a certain extent by altruism. The programmers are motivated by recognition of their peers, and ultimately the well-paying jobs. Prediction markets only work if you have real skin in the game, if you have a stake at risk. In the SpineConnect case they hope to start a company with their
altruistic endeavors. You need to have a healthy respect for your own well-being as well as be concerned with the well-being of the entire society.

SCOTT: Aristotle said "For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."

MODERATOR: We've been speaking for the past month with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper, the very generous authors of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing. Gary Michael Smith, professor at the University of New Orleans, has transcribed our journey to over a hundred websites, and has posted them at Any final words

PETER: This has been an extremely enriching experience.

SCOTT: I'd like also to add Rachelle to the list to thank.

MODERATOR: We're going to post some of the documents from this campaign to give those who are interested the opportunity to view them. I'd like to thank everyone for listening and invite them to comment.

Copyright Notice: Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this log as long as the contents are not altered and this notice is intact.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Coolhunts for 4/16/07 to 5/11/07

Monday, April 16, 2007

New York Times online



Tuesday, April 17, 2007



Who Is Sick?


Open Directory Project

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

They Rule

Free Beer

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Creative Commons


Rite Solutions

Friday, April 20, 2007

Galaxy Advisors




Monday, April 23, 2007

O'Reilly Radar


MySpace is Better Than Porn

Pete Cashmore post



Daugter needs to take summer college classes Max State Int.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New York Times article

Wikipedia, Virginia Tech incident


Assignment Zero

JoVE: Journal of Visual Experiments

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

O'Reilly Radar

Hive-Mind Backyard Beekeeping

Debian Social Contract



Thursday, April 26, 2007


U.S. Politics section of InTrade

Hollywood Stock Exchange

Iowa Electronic Markets


Blog post about the stock option crisis at Apple

Friday, April 27, 2007

We Feel Fine

Trip Advisor



Monday, April 30, 2007


New York Times Online, Got Roomfulls of Stuff? Now sites will help keep track of it

Tuscaloosa News


Groups tab

Get Free Get Wild

Michael profile

Tuesday, May 1, 2007




Kyte TV

Wednesday, May 2, 2007



China google censorship


Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Wall Street Journal online

The Financial Times of London

All Things Digital

The Boston Globe


Friday, May 4, 2007

The New York Times, Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?

Emerging Writers





BookExpo America



Monday, May 7, 2007

Hybrid Vigor

Cooperation Commons

Alliance for Discovery

The Peer to Peer Foundation

Howard Rheingold

MIT Media Lab and Architecture departments

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Forrester Research

Boredom Drives Open Source Developers

Forbes Special Report on Networks: Community


Post about shoplifters at Wal-Mart


Samuel Bowles

Science Magazine last December


Wednesday, May 9, 2007





google belgium yahoo



Democratizing Innovation

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SpineConnect Demo

SOLAS XLIF Discussion link

Possible XLIF with decompression?

Add a Case

Friday, May 11, 2007

David Pogue, Asking the Crowd to Spread the News

Apple Store

Coolhunting Amazon ratings

Gramophone Magazine blogs and forums

Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users

Tim O’Reilly, Lessons Learned So Far

Word of Mouth Marketing Association

Coolhunt Log #19 - Thursday, May 10, 2007

Coolhunt Log #19
Thursday, May 10, 2007

On Stage:
Scott Cooper, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Raymond Miles, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Haas Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations Group, University of California - Berkeley
Scott Capdevielle, CEO and Founder of Syndicom and SpineConnect
Steve O'Keefe, moderator

MODERATOR: I'm calling from my business office in New Orleans. Could you tell us where you're calling from?

PETER: I'm calling from my home office in Switzerland.

SCOTT: I'm calling from my home office in Newton Highlands, MA.

MODERATOR: We have two special guests with us today. Raymond Miles is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Haas Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations Group at the University of California at Berkeley. We also have Scott Capdevielle who is CEO and Founder of Syndicom and SpineConnect. Ray and Steve, can you tell us where you're calling from?

SCOTT C: I'm calling from Derango, CO.

RAY: I'm calling from my office at the Haas School of Business in Berkeley, CA.

SCOTT C: We're going to start with a website that we've built to help surgeons connect with one another. I can give the user name and password so those following along can log in. This is our demo server. Direct your browser to Log in using "demouser" and "password."


SCOTT C: I was a student at Berkeley and started reading books on organizational design, and I kept running into books by Ray Miles. After reading one particular book I became enamored with the concept so I looked him up and went to his office. Finding him sitting there at his desk we starting talking, and he ended up becoming a consultant to my company and a mentor to me. I started working on a concept later and came to Ray with some needs I saw about being an entrepreneur. Roadblocks I saw included the fact that innovators were at a tremendous disadvantage when they were working with a large company. So back in 2000, Ray was trying to understand why open source software organizations were out performing groups who kept their information more concealed.

RAY: We saw that when knowledge was freely exchanged everyone prospered more.

PETER: As a recent example, we found that the more companies collaborated over the course of a year the higher their productivity and high levels of success.

MODERATOR: so what you're saying is that When there's networking across and between corporations, the performance exceeded those of the more closed off ones?

SCOTT C: What Ray discovered back then is that there's a new organizational form. I wanted to know if I could apply that to medicine, and we chose spine surgery. Orthopedics is the fastest growing medical field in terms of innovation. We had to figure out what would be an appropriate way to use open source. Historically, "Hallway Consult" is the way info was transferred among professionals.

MODERATOR: Can you show us how people interact with this software?

SCOTT C: Click on the Groups link at the top of the page. We find that primary growth is through the fellowship program. this site has become popular when fellows have finished their 1-year training but want to stay connected. Click on the Browse button on the left panel and click on Browse Group. Then click on Cleveland Clinic. Then you can submit a request to join this group. You can also create your own group by clicking on the second button, "create a group," in the left panel.

SCOTT: Thus far, it appears that these are largely communities of practice. Peter and I have recently been discussing differences between COINs and communities of practice. I'm curious: what innovations have emerged from the collaboration among these groups and surgeons?

SCOTT C: What we recognized is that if we wanted to create a collaborative network, we had to get the members together first. Once you create a group you can invite members by sending an invitation. When you look at a member's profile you see their training, interests, and other groups they're members of. Back to the menu bar, select Groups, then click on the SOLAS XLIF Discussion link.


SCOTT C: We've created a "Technology Fellowship" page here because we understand that people learn more effectively by being trained by their peers. SOLIS is a society and XLIF is a product and a procedure.

MODERATOR: It stands for eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion, which sounds painful.

SCOTT C: When you first join, you need to go through the training, then you're free to post your case to get the feedback from the expert doctors who have driven the technology. Now, click on the case "Possible XLIF with decompression?"


SCOTT C: What you see here is a surgeon describing his patient in much detail. You can view case the specifics of his case, as well as x-rays, right there by clicking in the proper section on the site. Participants will discuss the case and how they would approach the it if it were theirs.

RAY: This is appropriate collaborative behavior conducted on the web, which had to be learned since doctors were not use to collaborating using this technology.

MODERATOR: How has it been received by users?

SCOTT C: People have been excited about creating a network of supporting peers. Surgeons are doing more cases because they're getting more confidence by hearing more feedback from their peers.

PETER: How do you get participation?

SCOTT C: There's no reward in the open community. Fundamentally, when people reach a certain level in their career, they get success by sharing their knowledge.

RAY: Scott and his group recognized themselves as examples of excellent consultation. There was recognition, but it was coming from Scott and his group, which was very useful early on, but it carried over to surgical colleagues once they saw the usefulness of this site. Now, appreciation for the site -- and the consequent recognition -- has been growing and has become the norm across the group.

SCOTT C: The surgeons now are coming to us with queries about new applications, so we created a research tool. We wanted to know where we could improve, and the users opened up to their communities. It is important for data collection and reporting to be useful. Go to Add a Case on the left side, select the Private Group radio button, then Continue. This page allows you to add images and files.


SCOTT C: In one situation, a doctor posted his case here and was contacted by someone who currently was reviewing a peer-reviewed research paper on the topic. He gave useful, unpublished, information that probably helped the patient greatly avoid a potentially dangerous and painful surgery. So far we have 10 patents in various stages of submittal for spinal implant treatments and devices. We created a process and methodology to enable teams to form to create patents rapidly. So now we have mechanical engineers with medical device experience involved, as well as patent attorneys, at a cost of less than $1,000 per patent. It's a manual process right now that had to be architected via software and currently is in a design phase. The allocation of equity is part of the software.

RAY: These Colab Comm (surgeons and other skills) have behaved pretty much as we thought they would and they do agree on the distribution of shares. The contributions of the team leads everyone to behave correctly in the allocation of equity. This is becoming model behavior, and we had predicted that this would be emergent -- that collaborative communities would develop the capability to behave in their relationships.

PETER: Who brings in the other experts such as lawyers and technicians?

SCOTT C: I've gone out and talked with dozens of patent attorneys and mechanical engineers to find those with an entrepreneurial mind and attitude. And I've been introduced to the surgical community by others as well. We envision creating a learning community and connecting everyone. Our community is a qualified open community.

PETER: You need 10 years of training just to understand the language.

MODERATOR: Right. Some of the names of the links are such that I can't even figure out what they are about.

PETER: Even looking at programmer's open source community sites, they seem pretty rude to outsiders.

SCOTT: At what point in the innovation process do you find that those involved begin to want to protect their property?

SCOTT C: A venture comes to me typically, and I agree to facilitate a round of interviews with all essential personnel required to take this to submit a patent. I ask the inventor to divide the pie and figure out how much work and what kind of work and complexity is going to be involved.

SCOTT: Do you have any instances of innovation where there's no desire for remuneration?

SCOTT C: I had a knee surgeon come to me about these plates that he uses as standard equipment. He wanted to create his own plate and didn't care if he made any money. He just wanted to stop paying $1,000 for something that should cost $50.

SCOTT: Have there been any discussion of a creative commons approach to some of these innovations?

SCOTT C: You could use the knee plate example and our own example of developing commodity products where patents have expired. We're a small company and doing what we can to keep on our core mission. We'll probably open more in the future to a creative commons format.

RAY: What Syndicom has done is take what we've anticipated would happen and make it happen. Within a domain where everyday behavior was different, it has changed to be more collaborative. These are true collaborative communities where innovation develops. You're tapping into the creativity of the community in a much more generous way than what's happened in the past.

PETER: This seems to be one of the most advanced social communities I've seen. While the software may be nothing more than a beefed up version of a Yahoo group, true innovation has grown from it. I'm wondering if all this trust building is because they know one another only online or is it because they've known each other from face-to-face acquaintances at conferences?

SCOTT C: We've actually seen surgeons who have shared cases online but haven't met until a conference. In our second year now we've seen surgeons go abroad and do surgeries with donated equipment. When they leave, the surgeries go back to the way they were done prior to the surgeons' visits. But we're now trying to change this by having surgeons train others abroad using our software.

MODERATOR: Have you done anything to address language issues for international doctors.

SCOTT C: No, to date everything has been in English, but we haven't had any problem since English seems to be a common language among surgeons.

MODERATOR: How about remote surgery?

SCOTT C: We have one customer who has asked about his, and we might approach that in the future. But our current process really just augments current procedures.

RAY: We had not found anything like Syndicom, so when we wrote our book we created a fictional company. So what Syndicom has done is to become this company -- in real life.

GARY: Are there any plans to create a print version anthology of particularly interesting cases that can be researched and read at a glance, such as the knee plate case or the one where the patient avoided the dangerous and painful surgery? This could prevent surgeons from having to sift through so many cases.

SCOTT C: Good question. We actually do put out an email newsletter to highlight cases. Also, a couple surgeons have approached me to publish a compendium of cases.

MODERATOR: We are out of time. Thank you, Scott, Peter, and our special guests Ray Miles and Scott Capdevielle. Listeners, please post your comments to the blog -- whether they're about any connection problems you're experiencing or commentary on the subject of today's coolhunt. The transcript of today's coolhunt will be posted with previous ones at The Swarm Creativity Blog: Join us on Friday for the next installment of our live, online coolhunt with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper.

Copyright Notice: Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this log as long as the contents are not altered and this notice is intact.

Thank you.

Coolhunt Log #18 - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Coolhunt Log #18
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

On Stage:
Scott Cooper, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Steve O'Keefe, moderator

MODERATOR: I'm calling from my home office in New Orleans. Could you tell us where you're calling from?

PETER: I'm calling in today from my home office in Switzerland.

SCOTT: I'm calling from my home office in Newton Highlands, MA.

MODERATOR: I'd like to encourage everyone to see the review of Coolhunting in the Wall Street Journal. Any comments on the review from the authors?

SCOTT: Wow! I like that it's above the fold. I like that it also reviews Chasing Cool, and uses our book to talk about the misconceptions of the other book. They mention how we differ from the marketer authors of the other book by our different definition of "cool." And even though we never mention Jessica Simpson in our book, it's nice that the reviewer points out that our definition of cool would have nothing to do with someone like her.

MODERATOR: It also mentions Paris Hilton as another example of what the crowd wants to see the most of, although it may not really be what the crowd wants. Did anyone post any messages yesterday?

PETER: I posted a comment at Forrester Research, sent a message to the editor at Forbes, emailed Sam Bowles soliciting a comment, and I couldn't think of what to send to Xanga.

MODERATOR: We have some special guests tomorrow, don't we Scott?

SCOTT: We coolhunted to SpineConnent, and Scott Capdevielle contacted us and offered to give us a tour of his website. His mentor was Ray Miles of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and Ray should be a guest as well. Today, we're going to TechCrunch.


SCOTT: We'll scroll down to the article War of the People Search. Michael Arrington is a blogger we've mentioned before. I'm very interested in talking about how the use of people searching on the web fits in with what we've been talking about. We're writing another book and are very interested in this topic.

PETER: Mike is probably the most popular bloggers in the web 2.0 environment. He is an influential trendsetter.

SCOTT: He's a coolhunter and a coolfarmer.

PETER: Exactly. You can read his posts and reactions to posts, and see that he's very positive. He mentions the CEOs of search companies such as ZoomInfo.


SCOTT: Let's search Peter Gloor in ZoomInfo.

MODERATOR: We noticed that there's no way to comment on the Wall Street Journal's book review of Coolhunting. We need to talk later about online copyright law. Back to ZoomInfo, we notice that the site matches names with job titles and companies.

PETER: You'll notice that there's a number of Peter Gloors because it's a very common name. I'm the fifth one, but one even states that he's not the Peter Gloor at MIT.

MODERATOR: So, about half of these are you but the profiles have not been consolidated into one profile?

PETER: That's correct.

MODERATOR: ZoomInfo is not user-generated content. Profiles are created by ZoomInfo and contain numerous references that they hope are correctly associated with the correct person.

PETER: They must be using statistical information to find information. I think they are doing an extremely good job putting together a conhesive, comprehensive history.

MODERATOR: While you see Peter's PhD and Master's studies work, my name only shows the grade school I attended, which I still think is amazing.

SCOTT: In the second paragraph of Michael Arrington's blog is the article You're nobody until. . . . It's funny and sad about a woman who is an epidemiologist who added her husband's name and fell off the face of the virtual earth. ZoomInfo is a fabulous way to get basic information.

MODERATOR: One of the reasons ZoomInfo an important site is because the swarm puts it there by popularity among browsers.

SCOTT: If you click About, then go to About Michael Arrington, the first link PANEL, you go to another story by Askteruck. It says he cuts through marketing BS to modernize the people search, and Google is probably looking at these engines to see which one it wants to buy. There's a fascinating slide by a guy named Dustin, a link to Facebook data. It takes us to Flickr that shows the slide getting six hundred million searches per month!

PETER: It is all about social networks, us being social creatures, and us using the web to find out about it. Thirty percent of all searches are about people.

SCOTT: Now let's go to Spock. What's interesting about Spock is that it makes it possible to tag people, adding keywords, to enhance profile searchability.


PETER: Compare wikipedia and ZoomInfo: Wikipedia shows that people can correct mistakes, whereas in ZoomInfo the information stays forever. My hunch is that there is a correction way but only by writing to ZoomInfo to ask them to make a correction. In one case, a professor was labeled as a movie director when in fact he only made a 3-minute film years ago. It took him two years to get Wikipedia to change it because they thought he was trying to take away someone's credential.

MODERATOR: Great article about the bad article problem at Amazon regarding correcting bad data, which seems to hang around a long time. I've tried to get negative comments removed from Amazon but it's remarkably difficult. Last year, all the anonymous reviewers' names were revealed for about 2 days at Journalists discovered this and downloaded enormous
examples of authors glowing about their own books.

PETER: This is a great example of the power of transparency. Such examples make people much better behaved.

MODERATOR: The Arrington panel discussed the issue of how these databases get corrected, and it was mentioned that it's policed by the community.

PETER: I'm using the same effect in my class, a virtual mirror to every student so they can see how they're viewed by others.

MODERATOR: I just did an experiment by searching Michael Arrington in Wikipedia and ZoomInfo. At TechCrunch you'll see 151 profiles whereas Wikipedia has only one profile. ZoomInfo offers snippets of info. I hope we'll have time to talk about that copyright issue.

PETER: It occurs to me that all the ZoomInfo information may not be authorized. I notice my information may have been taken
from bio information that I've given at conferences.

MODERATOR: I put my picture on ZoomInfo because it looked like a valuable site for reputation management. I think this shows that people are more interested in the Internet for a) themselves and b) others in that order. It looks like ZoomInfo allows you to groom your own information more than Wikipedia -- the former inviting you to post information whereas the latter asks you not to. You're not supposed to add your own information on Wikipedia.

PETER: Enforcing the rule that someone else must write about you as in Wikipedia shows that another human being must feel that you're important enough to be written about. My hunch is that they have editors to whom others can complain if they feel something is incorrect.

MODERATOR: We don't mean to condemn Wink and Spock by not looking at them. We just don't have the time.

PETER: I actually tried Wink but was pretty disappointed because it didn't find me. And being a researcher in social networking, I know I left traces in MySpace, etc. so I feel I should have been found.


MODERATOR: I'm going into a discussion on copyright now. Go to Google to do a search by typing in "google belgium yahoo." The first and fourth results take you to the same place.


MODERATOR: Now, go to the copyright link at the bottom of the page.


MODERATOR: Google recently came to a settlement on this, linking to websites in Belgium. Papers in Belgium say that pointing people to articles in Belgium newspapers is a violation of copyright law. U.S. law says using snippets are fine, though. However, you can't make money from using others' snippets. Also, titles are not copyrightable. So the Belgians are saying that snippets are too much to use legally. The other article I wanted to take you to is on ZDnet. Type in "journalist at center of youtube case" in the search bar and you get 20,000 matching results -- none of which are the article.


SCOTT: I put "journalist center YouTube Case" and I found it as the 8th or 10th article.

MODERATOR: This is a helicopter videojournalist who had some of his content put on YouTube without his permission. He was the first to sue YouTube for copyright infringement. The decision in this case could dramatically shape precedent of such cases. You can see a discussion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is a very interesting case where Google is saying it
has the right to post what it wants.

PETER: I'm on Google's side here.

SCOTT: Me too.

PETER: It's such much more valuable if we can get access to information. But the journalist is afraid of losing market value but really is giving them more visibility, making them more accessible. It's altruism. I once discovered in a website that someone had cut up one of my books, scanned it in, and put it on their website. I ended up linking to this site.

SCOTT: We've talked about this other time -- how giving things away for free can have great value. Our colleague at MIT, Eric von Hippel, put his highly successful book Democratizing Innovation online for free download, and it hasn't hurt the sales. He also has an earlier book from 1998 on his website, also downloadable for free.


MODERATOR: sold 20,000 hardback copies of a self-published book that he posted online. It'll be interesting to see if publishers will become more altruistic in the future.

SCOTT: Peter and I have been talking a lot about -- for want of a better word -- altruism in business. Altruism is not far from self-interest in this regard. We believe that if you give away, you'll reap benefits. One of the principles we incorporate in coolhunting is to gain power by giving power away.

MODERATOR: Letting go of content can actually increase value.

PETER: Ecofarms combines making lots of money while trying to make the world a better place.

GARY: If we could take a minute before we end this coolhunt I'd like to go back to Type in "Gary Michael Smith" then "New Orleans" for location. I notice that 19 of the 20 links are actually me. Why so many?

SCOTT: It seems to be culling information from Google and other search engines since it's not really giving personal information such as what schools you attended, where you worked, etc. But I notice that the Gary Michael Smith I've been working with on these coolhunts over the past month is the same Gary Michael Smith who wrote a book I bought for a friend.

GARY: That has to be The Peer-Reviewed Journal about setting up the editorial office of a peer-reviewed scientific specialty research journal.

SCOTT: No, actually it's The Complete Guide to Driving Etiquette.

MODERATOR: We are out of time. Thank you, Scott. We've been talking today with Scott Cooper and Peter Gloor, co-authors of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing. We also were joined by Gary Michael Smith, our transcriptionist who also is author of several books. Listeners, please post your comments to the blog -- whether they're commentary on the subject of today's coolhunt or about any connection problems you've experienced. The transcript of today's coolhunt will be posted with previous ones at The Swarm Creativity Blog: Join us Thursday for the next installment of our live, online coolhunt with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper and our special guests Raymond Miles, former dean of the Haas Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations Group at UC Berkeley and Scott Capdevielle, CEO and founder of Syndicom and SpineConnect.

Copyright Notice: Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this log as long as the contents are not altered and this notice is intact.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Coolhunt Log #17 - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Coolhunt Log #17
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

On Stage:
Scott Cooper, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of
Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of
Gary Smith, moderator

MODERATOR: I’d like to welcome everyone to today’s coolhunt for Tuesday, May 8. We are hosting daily conference calls with the authors of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing published by Amacom Books. You can view logs of previous Coolhunts at The Swarm Creativity blog at On stage today is Scott Cooper and Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliates with the Sloan School of Management, and co-authors of Coolhunting—Chasing Down the Next Big Thing. I’m Gary Smith and I’ll be moderating today’s Coolhunt. Authors, can you identify yourselves so we’ll know your voice and tell us where you’re calling from today?

PETER: I'm Peter Gloor and I'm calling in today from my home office in Switzerland.

SCOTT: I'm Scott Cooper and I'm calling in today from my home office in Newton Highlands, MA.

MODERATOR: I'd like to remind everyone of the rules of the Coolhunt. We do at least one site, one blog post, one comment on another blog, and try to make one personal connection via email or phone. This is the final week of our 4-week program. I’m going to mute the audience now to keep down any potential background noise, but listeners can make comments by pressing 6 to unmute themselves. Peter is going to start the coolhunt today, so where are you going to take us first?

PETER: Today we're going to look at social networks, particularly how altruistic they can be. A good starting point is the Forrester Research blog. Charlene Li has come up with a way of grouping everyone on the web by activity: 52% are inactive, another 33% are spectators (such as going to YouTube to watch videos), and there are 19% who will go to FaceBook or other social networking sites.


SCOTT: I recently read an article on Slashdot that stated the reason that 52% is inactive is because they're not bored.

PETER: They have better things to do!

SCOTT: The article stated that a lot of the collaboration that happens on the web can all be traced back to the boredom levels of the people who are involved. I don't really believe that, but I thought it was funny. I can see the headline: "Boredom Drives Open Source Developers."


PETER: If you scroll down a little bit on the Forrester article, you see the motivation for people to become creative thinkers. At the highest level, 13% of all web users publish their own web page or blog, or post videos on YouTube, for example.

SCOTT: That 13% is comprised of online adult consumers in the United States, so these figures are not worldwide. And, according to Li, to become a creator simply means you have to do one of these things one time within a 1-month period. It's still a very high number, but it's just a snapshot in time that someone did something once.

PETER: On the other hand, it's my experience that people who have done these activities once are usually repeat users. They might not go back to the same blog, and they might not like uploading videos, but they are active on the web because they have discovered how fun it is to be active. Let's go to the Forbes Special Report on "Networks: Community" and look at what types of people comprise that 13%.


PETER: For example, we have self-help groups, and the largest group network of all, the church, as well as other charitable networks. As Scott and I have said many times, networking is not new. It's as old as man. Thanks to the Internet, it has become more global and much easier to network with each other.

PETER: Here’s an example of old-fashioned face-to-face networking. When a new member of a church needed a dentist, she solicited recommendations from her fellow parishioners. She got 30 or 40 recommendations, and they were all highly personalized. This is a very practical, hands-on way of coolhunting.

SCOTT: That's just like something I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, where I was looking at online reviews of a local Chinese restaurant, versus the official newspaper review.

PETER: The point is, if you know your friend’s tastes, then his recommendation becomes much more valuable than a stranger's. If I read the blog of a total stranger, I have no idea what he likes. If I talk with my friend whose taste I know and trust, his recommendations carry a much higher weight.

PETER: Another interesting thing on the Forbes page is that you can vote on your favorite networking site. We have looked at a few of them so far throughout this month of coolhunting. Even more interesting, you can view the results. I found the Xanga site to be very interesting.


PETER: If you're interested in what a large population of people thinks about a topic, you can post about it here and wait for a comment. For example, let's look at this recent post about shoplifters at Wal-Mart.


PETER: In one day, this post has received more than 140 comments. There is a range of comments in support of the concept and also against it. Now, I would like to talk a little bit more about people collaborating in social networks, and the altruistic uses for networking. Let's look at an article on kidney donors.


PETER: This is a great example of the power of large networks. As you might know, there are potentially many more people needing kidneys than are available for transplant. What this professor has figured out is a way of matching people who are willing to donate a kidney with potential recipients. He has figured out an algorithm for this. This is incredible because it means survival for thousands more people. It's an example of a very altruistic use of social networking -- using it for the greater good.

PETER: As our last stop on today's coolhunt, I'd like to take a look at research by Samuel Bowles, Research Professor and Director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute.


PETER: Let's look at his paper that was published in Science Magazine last December.


PETER: This is a description of his experiments where he has shown that altruism is good for mankind, which is not necessarily an obvious conclusion. What Bowles has done is proven mathematically that altruism is good. In his research, the individuals who survived were the ones who were willing to sacrifice themselves in order to ensure survival of the other members of the tribe. He's proving, genetically, that groups that have an altruistic gene have a better chance of surviving than the ones that are trying to cheat each other.

PETER: He defines different levels of altruism, and for each he defines mathematical properties of what is needed to succeed. He models different types of behavior in groups of people, the groups where members of the team behave altruistically to each other; they do better in their activities.

SCOTT: We're still working these ideas out, but we discuss them in a recent article in the Sloan School of Management magazine -- the ideas of doing what's good, getting power by giving it away, concentrating on the swarm rather than focusing on making money. All of these are altruistic ways of doing business. The term "altruistic" has a certain connotation to people and when used in a business sense, it is incorrectly perceived.

PETER: Perhaps we need another word. "Swarm business" might be a good way of describing it. For example, Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, who instead of giving severance packages to employees it laid off gave them capital to fund startup biotech companies.

MODERATOR: This is a novel approach. But how would altruism play out in more competitive fields, such as scientific publishing where researchers careers -- and lives -- are contingent on getting that big NIH grant because of some cutting-edge research they just published in a peer-reviewed scientific research journal? If someone else gets hold of their research and publishes it in a journal that has a faster receipt to publication turnaround time than the one to which they submitted, they could end up having to go back into private practice to survive.

PETER: That’s an excellent point.

SCOTT: I don't have data to back up what I'm about to say, but it's an educated hunch. Two things are changing it. The idea behind Creative Commons, a willingness to share very widely in exchange simply for the recognition that it's your work. It doesn't get stolen. You don't worry about remuneration and proprietary concerns. Also, the new generation of scientific researchers is comprised of kids who've grown up in this world of social networking. There's a generational clash between the 60-year-old professor, wanting to keep his research secret, and the lab post-doctorals who have a completely different view of the world. They get online. For example, see ArXiv, at Cornell.


SCOTT: This is a place where scientific publishers can upload papers. Popularity is judged based on downloads of the papers.

MODERATOR: In this case, the researchers will get much more visibility and recognition than they would ever receive from publication of their paper in the print –- or even the online versions –- of a peer-reviewed journal.

We are out of time. Our Coolhunts take place daily, Monday through Friday, from 2 pm to 3 pm Eastern time in the United States. I’d like to thank Scott Cooper and Peter Gloor, co-authors of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing. Listeners, please post your comments to the blog -- whether they're about commentary on the subject of today's coolhunt or any connection problems you experienced. The transcript of today's coolhunt will be posted with previous ones at The Swarm Creativity Blog: Join us on Wednesday for the next installment of our live, online coolhunt with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper.

Thank you.

Copyright Notice: Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this log as long as the contents are not altered and this notice is intact.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Coolhunt Log #16 - Monday, May 7, 2007

Coolhunt Log #16
Monday, May 7, 2007

On Stage:
Scott Cooper, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of
Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of
Steve O'Keefe, moderator

MODERATOR: I'd like to remind everyone of the rules of the Coolhunt. We do at least one site, one blog post, one comment on another blog, and try to make one personal connection via email or phone. This is the final week of our 4-week program. Last week we found that Mike's book reviews beat out the New York Times book reviews. Scott, were you able to post to any sites.

SCOTT: I posted a message either via email or by commenting on a blog to every site we visited on Friday.

MODERATOR: I'm calling in from Toronto today from Annick Press. Where are you two calling from today?

SCOTT: Today, I'm calling from my home office in Newton Highlands, MA.

PETER: I'm just returning from a conference in Greece. I'm back in my home office in Switzerland.

MODERATOR: Scott, where are you and Peter taking us today.

SCOTT: We're going to start at the Hybrid Vigor website, and their blog. This is a research organization that focuses on collaborative problem solving for research applications. You can see at the top of the page the five areas of focus: Earth Systems, Health Determinants, Interdisciplinary Practice, Human Perception, and Understanding Risk. The director, Denise Caruso, writes a "Re:framing" column in the New York Times Sunday Business section, and she's the author of a book titled Intervention. Here in her column, she mentions how The Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University is arts driven, similar to how the MIT Media Lab is media driven.


PETER: In the article, Red Burns makes a point on not wanting to use competitive people as researchers. She says the twin forces that fuel innovation at I.T.P. are collaboration and diversity. For instance, based on an analysis of four different organizations, two key criteria -- likeability and competence -- emerged as the basis for creating four employee "archetypes": the lovable fool, the competent jerk, the lovable star, and the incompetent jerk. While research shows that everyone wants to work with the lovable star, and nobody wants to work with the incompetent jerk, when faced with the choice between competent jerks and lovable fools a little extra likeability goes a longer way than a little extra competence in making someone desirable to work with. What matters is that you have competent skills and are able to work within a team.

MODERATOR: Peter's referring to the third article where Professor Burns talks of selflessness, which is brought up in the book. We think normally that this stimulates growth, but research shows us that this is not true.

SCOTT: It's very important what Burns says about about competitive people missing the periphery -- the broad swarm of collective intelligence out there.

PETER: There are people who can predict trends, whether or not they're considered "experts." Both experts and non-experts lead to much better results because they complement each other. Google has lots of prediction markers, and they're doing their own research now on prediction markers by using people who are very good at predicting.

SCOTT: Back at Hybrid Vigor, go to Cooperation Commons under Links on the home page. This is an interesting group similar to Hybrid Vigor, but they're actually coming together to study cooperation in collective action. Scroll down to see the signers Howard Rheingold and Andrea Saveri. Click on the About tab at the top of the page. Here's a brief explanation of the Cooperation, to determine how swarm creativity can be used to solve problems. Rheingold coined the phrase "virtual community." All this helps to produce materials geared to promulgate creativity. The blog on this site is particularly interesting.


PETER: I'm reminded of another website called Alliance for Discovery. At the site, click on Overview to see Julian Gresser in his attempts to create COINS (Collaborative Innovation Networks) such as the Ten Cube Project. (Benjamin Franklin had developed a form of COINS.) Here's you'll see his discussion of COINS. He also talks about a new power source developed by COINS, illustrating the power of COINS. I had dinner with Julian, who's a lawyer, and I learned a little about his background.


SCOTT: Back to Cooperation Commons, and click on Resources, then External Resources and The Peer to Peer Foundation. It looks like Wikipedia.


PETER: This is because an open source piece of software called Media Wiki.

SCOTT: This is another one of the driving theoretical concepts on the web. It encompasses human to human collaborative projects, coordinated under peer governance. Down toward the middle of the page you'll see a list of topics that are being discussed and collaborated on. Click on Topics, then Open Music Practices. The list of articles listed gives you an idea of the broad scope for collaborative effort involved.

PETER: This is the power of swarms. The fact that a conductor composed music in collaboration with others is rare because this usually is done by one person. But one conductor composed entire operas by collaborating with jazz musicians who got to know each other during travel, and who also were similar in their own genetic mindsets. I bought a CD and actually got an email from the publisher thanking me and telling me that I'm the tenth buyer of this $15 CD.

SCOTT: This peer to peer example is a teaser to encourage those following along to look at other similar sites.

MODERATOR: It's interesting that you can find forms and other information by those who are willing to share.

SCOTT: Back at Cooperative Commons, go to Meta Collab. As it says here "Meta Collab is an open research, meta collaboration (a collaboration on collaboration) with the aim to explore the similarities and differences in the nature, methods, and motivations of collaboration across any and every field of human endeavour."

PETER: Now the risk of running totally open is that you open yourself to spammers. This is why it's mandated that you have to create an account.

SCOTT: And anyone can create an account by typing in hidden text to show that you're not a machine. Now, click on the link "work towards the development of a general theory of collaboration." This is the open, collaborative research page for developing a general theory of collaboration (GTC).

PETER: Do you know if he's quoting the German philosopher Niklas Luhmann? One of his main works is "Social Systems" (Soziale Systeme) from the mid-1980s, which I believe is one of his few works translated into English.

SCOTT: Go now to some work I'm doing at MIT's Media Lab. But first, go to Rheingold's website. Read About Howard by clicking on the link under the picture.


MODERATOR: He's the founder of one of the first virtual communities in 1985.

SCOTT: I'd encourage everyone to explore all the many links on this page by Rheingold. Now, go to This is a relatively new research lab at MIT by both the Media Lab and Architecture departments. It addresses the ways in which people use mobile technology (cell phones) to redesign connections between people to build greater virtual communities to improve lives using these technologies. Now click on Projects to see the list beginning with Smart Mobility. This is the bus system of the future for social networking portals to order busses and invite people into their neighborhoods. It involves all sorts of technological solutions. Click on Elens. Now, click on "Elense web site." I think this is one of the coolest things anyone is doing at MIT. Frederico and colleagues have gone to Spain to empower teenagers with cell phones to tag buildings in towns, building a virtual community to upload messages to reguide people to have a completely different experience than traditional tours provide. Now go to Field Trial to see how this is building a virtual community of these teenagers, a different way to social network.


PETER: Another theme for consideration is the topic "Is social networking hype over its peak or not?"

SCOTT: I think this deserves a lot more time to discuss, tomorrow perhaps.

MODERATOR: This coming Thursday we have a special presentation.

SCOTT: SpineConnect founder Scott Capdevielle will give us a virtual tour of how their COINS was started.

MODERATOR: We are out of time. Thank you, Scott and Peter. We've been talking today with the co-authors of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing. Listeners, please post your comments to the blog -- whether they're about any connection problems you're experiencing or commentary on the subject of today's coolhunt. The transcript of today's coolhunt will be posted with previous ones at The Swarm Creativity Blog: Join us on Tuesday for the next installment of our live, online coolhunt with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper.

Thank you.

Copyright Notice: Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this log as long as the contents are not altered and this notice is intact.