Coolhunt Log #18
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
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 amazon.ca. 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: SethGodon.com 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 Wink.com. 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: http://swarmcreativity.blogspot.com/. 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.
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