Three Things Clients and Customers Want

Seth Godin's Blog • August 16, 2011

Pick one. Seth Godin says most customers want three things: results, thrills and ego-stroking. And while it's difficult to provide all three, you can differentiate yourself by offering at least one.

So think about which of these the library is best positioned to offer. If you said "results" I'd argue that the big networked information hubs do that better. Customer relationships, that is, ego-stroking, both up and down the academic pecking order is part of the library's future. ( Michalko)

Framing Changes Everything


Perspective counts. "Asking the right question" has become a mantra among strategic management gurus, but it's sometimes difficult to see the flip side of a problem when you're boxed into one perspective. Check out Luciano Passuelo's explanation of why it's human nature to focus on the trees rather than the forest.

In discussions about the future of the library we hear lots of leaders who are willing to take risks. What gets in the way is what Passuelo calls "loss aversion." We start to worry about what we will lose if we take on that new thing. If we start relying on the collective collection, what will become of the scholarly record? If we invest ourselves in augmenting current content, who will do preservation? Etc. See this summary from our FutureCast conference earlier this summer. ( Michalko)

Great Content Is Like Pornography

Six Pixels of Separation by Twist Image  • August 18, 2011

Content rules. Marketer Mitch Joel offers some basic ground rules for what makes content "great"—including sticking to a schedule and location that your readers can anticipate; ensuring your themes are relevant to your audience; and remembering that there are exceptions to every rule.

Good rules and worth your time to scan. I think the hardest of them is that "great content is contextual." Making the content truly relevant to the targeted consumer is hard. This rule may be one of the reasons we've seen the "localization" of the news business with services like Patch and the national newspapers that are still around have local and regional news sections. ( Michalko)


Slate • August 10, 2011

No pain, no gain. Writing is hard work, as everyone who's ever spent time staring at a computer screen hoping for divine inspiration will attest. Enjoy Michael Agger's tongue-in-cheek search for ways to speed up the process.

If you have to write and you have deadline you'll recognize yourself here. I did. "Maybe banana nut. That's a good muffin." ( Michalko)

Can 32,000 Data Points Yield the Perfect Book Recommendation? • August 16, 2011

Algorithmic affinity. Rather than rely on user-submitted and social recommendations, BookLamp uses a sophisticated algorithm that analyzes text to create BookDNA profiles that help readers find new books to try. "The analogy I use the most is that if you've eaten a chocolate cake and you wanted to find other cake that tasted the same, you'd need to know not just the ingredients, but the percentage and the preparation," says BookLamp founder Aaron Stanton. Check out the article and then click through to the site to find new authors you might enjoy.

Well, maybe later. The site as it is now was 0-3 with the first set of favorite authors I searched— Shirley Hazzard, Jonathan Carroll, and John Calvin Batchelor. ( Michalko)

The Visionary

The New Yorker • July 11, 2011

Second thoughts. This in-depth interview with techno-eccentric Jared Lanier (author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto ) sheds insight on his unusual background and how it has colored his love/hate relationship with the technology he helped create.

Good profile of a person who has drawn my interest over a span of years. He's often vague or purposefully obscure but I have to love a guy who hasn't bought a nice car because "the thing is, we'd just beat the hell out of it," he said. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, about how many ILL requests were filled among ARL libraries in 2008?

Get the answer.