Marry Your Clients

A List Apart • September 6, 2011

For better or worse. This catchy theme encompasses lots of good advice about customer/partner/coworker relationships. Check it out—we all get too complacent sometimes and forget to make that extra effort that can help pave the road for successful partnerships.

Cute, once you get comfortable with the idea that switching the point of view—reframing the relationship—can yield some insights. The hard part in the library domain is deciding who your client is. If you are you managing up then this advice might work. But if you're fixed on the users you might decide not to marry them since they are destined to leave you. ( Michalko)

Should You Reward Bad Ideas?

Inc. Magazine • August 30, 2011

Look on the bright side. Not every idea is a winner, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a loser. Often a tiny kernel of inspiration requires a lengthy gestation before it sprouts an innovation, or may simply serve as a springboard for other ideas that do work. Organizations need to rethink the way they deal with the creative process, from evaluation to rewards—check out these examples of companies that go beyond simple thumbs-up-or-down decision-making to foster more innovation from within.

This is why brainstorming—which usually causes me to grit my teeth—feels like an unnatural act. From now on I will remind myself that the good ideas that emerge are very likely the result of having listened to the seventy percent that are off-topic or moronic. ( Michalko)

The Freemium Flaw: The Challenges Faced by Digital's Default Business Model  • September 10, 2011

Pay to play. The Freemium business mode—luring customers in with free, ad-supported services and then converting them to paying users at some point—has met with mixed success. The examples of Spotify, Skype and Evernote suggest a potential path to profitability, albeit a lengthy one. The problem is, with so many digital content startups struggling to monetize their products, someone needs to come up with a better business model.

The author spends some effort in making a convincing argument about what characteristics a freemium approach must have to succeed, only to conclude that it's hard and you support a lot of riders for a small percentage of fare payers. But at the end of the day it's profit—not costs—that determine whether the model is successful. (It took me two days to spring for that Spotify premium account.) ( Michalko)

The Fleeting Value of Content

Six Pixels of Separation/Twist Image • September 9, 2011

The 12-hour challenge. Most digital content has a shelf life of about 12 hours, says digital marketer Mitch Joel, who sums up succinctly why publishers are struggling: "1. Making money with content is very hard. 2. Making your content resonate for a long period of time is very hard." Check out this post (yes, it's older than 12 hours) before you consider adding to the noise.

Interesting statistics. They seem relevant to some of the discussions I've been in where concerns about the changing nature of the scholarly record, the research process and the associated supporting data lead to thoughts that libraries may need to capture the posts, tweets, etc., of faculty. Gives a new dimension to ephemera. ( Michalko)

Missing Entry: Whither the Ebook Index?

TeleRead • September 6, 2011

Making ebooks smarter. The top e-reader devices today lack a built-in indexing function, which can diminish their functionality and value for readers. But rather than inventing a better algorithm, ebook publishers should approach the task by "moving beyond thinking about how to program ebooks to recreate page-based approaches to indexing," says TeleRead contributor Peter Meyers. "That is, book designers, indexers, publishers and e-reading system manufacturers need to think deeply about that fundamental question I raised earlier—why do readers turn to the index?—and then pair those answers with the ways in which screen-based publications can service that need." Check out Meyers' suggestions on how that might be accomplished.

I so agree that the absence of indexing is a serious flaw. Just one more thing that won't get addressed in a standard, useful fashion until there is some convergence of consumer expectation about how a reading device ought to work. Right now the experience is a bit like a print world where what a dictionary provided and how it worked depended on the library in which it was consulted. ( Michalko)

The Marvels and the Flaws of Intuitive Thinking

Edge Master Class 2011 • September 12, 2011

Cognitively speaking. Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman shares the results of years of investigation into the role that environmental setting plays in manipulating human behavior and the power of unconscious thinking. This wide-ranging overview of how the brain works provides insight into the effect that spatial arrangements and visual cues have on the subconscious mind, as well as a fascinating overview of the various ways the brain processes information.

This is an article for Instapaper. It's longer form, requires some attention and explains a lot about how and why we trust our intuitive thinking so much. At least read to the part that invokes a banana. The next paragraph felt like mind-reading. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some projects and methodologies to make archival collections assessment easier?

Get the answer.