As my work / life changes, I find myself reading a lot, but not posting as much as I would like … except on our family blog, where the evolution of our amazing kids is documented in nauseating detail. So I’ve been trying to think about how to do a better job sharing all the great material I’m coming across online, and I thought I would give this thing (which I’m tentatively calling Nat’s Nibbles) a try. I’m modeling this type of blog post after a couple of blogs that I follow regularly, that do a really nice job capturing interesting stories and trends:
- Steve Portigal’s blog called All This ChittahChattah. From my vantage point, it seems as though Steve been writing consistently for years. I first got to know him through his newsletter Fresh Meat, later through his contributions to a list that I manage called anthrodesign, and through his blog. He’s now also working on a book. If there is someone I could learn from in terms of writing habits, it’s Steve! He periodically posts ChittahChatttah Quickies like this one, which is one of the inspirations for this new type of post I’m trying today.
- Dina Mehta has had a couple of different incarnations on her websites and blogs over the years. Her latest site is called Conversations with Dina. She frequently posts Reading Bytes like this one which I find interesting and easy to consume.
- Adaptive Path keeps a nice blog, maintained by members of their staff. They have a blog post format called Signpost for the Week Ending … which they use to capture some of the interesting material they’ve come across.
I’m using these as a model for what I’m trying to do here … it should be interesting to see how it goes! So here are some of the highlights from my reading and browsing this week, grouped into a few themes:
Applied anthropologists in the news:
- A thoughtful and emotion-laden post by Mark Dawson entitled Why I Chose Not to Get a PhD.
- An article about the work of Dan Russell, an anthropologist focusing on the user experience of search at Google.
Amazon’s eBook strategy:
- An article by Charlie Stross about Amazon and their eBook strategy. I learned some new vocabulary words in this one! He says that “the peculiar evil genius of Amazon is that Amazon seems to be trying to simultaneously establish a wholesale monopsony and a retail monopoly in the ebook sector”.
In case you didn’t know what a monopsony is (I didn’t!), Stross defines it as:
a market form in which only one buyer faces many sellers. It is an example of imperfect competition, similar to a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers. As the only or majority purchaser of a good or service, the “monopsonist” may dictate terms to its suppliers in the same manner that a monopolist controls the market for its buyers.
- I also found this article about Amazon and Best Buy of interest. The other graph in this article demonstrates without question that Amazon’s growth trajectory is clearly related to the introduction of One-Click, Amazon Prime, and (most recently) their focus on the ebook market. I’ve been interested in the happenings at Best Buy since I read about their foray into a Results Oriented Work Environment (ROWE), as written about by Dan Pink and referenced in one of my earlier blog posts about improving employee satisfaction. In spite of their interesting work on HR practices, I’m not surprising to see them struggling against the efficacy that is afforded to busy people by rapid ordering and shipping through online retailers.
I have been waffling for months now about whether to make my electronic book purchases via the iTunes Store (where I buy all my other media, and prices and selection are good), or Amazon (where I have purchased most of my books for years). There are pros and cons to the user experience of both the iBook and the Kindle app for my iPad, but the killer feature on the Kindle Reader for me is unequivocably the ability to read books both on my iPad and in a browser. There are a few heated threads on this topic in the Apple forums, which Apple continues to ignore. But I know they are listening, because I posted to the thread and my post content was edited! Anyhow, I’m still experimenting with both, so this perspective on the Amazon as retailer was of interest.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work trend:
- The first article from Gigaom is about the need for IT functions to effectively enable mobile access to enterprise applications via improved API management.
- As a rabid Apple fan, I couldn’t help but enjoy the flurry of blog posts around Forrester’s recent report about Apple products in the workplace. Here is one from the CNN Technology column and from Engadget – whose graphic appears below:
In 2008, Forrester encouraged IT departments to eschew supporting Apple products. So it’s even more compelling that they are now making the connection between the employees they call HEROs (Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives) and the need to support a more flexible approach to enterprise IT. A quote from the report via the CNN article:
“Most of the Macs today,” writes Johnson, “are being freewheeled into the office by executives, top sales reps, and other workaholics. Forrester believes this is the same demographic that we’re now calling the “power laptop user,” and according to the latest Workforce Technology And Engagement Survey, power laptop users make 44% more money, use more collaboration apps, and carry an average of three devices wherever they go.”
And Forrester goes even further to suggest that enterprise IT will see a 50% uptick in spending on Apple products this year.
Ok, well, that was more like a seven course meal than a nibble! But hopefully that will not be the case once I’ve cleared some of the backlog. I’ve read lots of other great stuff in the past few weeks, which I hope to share them in upcoming posts. In the meantime, I’d be interested to know what you think of this first attempt to deliver Nat’s Nibbles!