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Out Of Office (just for a while)

We have a lot of stuff coming up in FY13, lots of events (one above all, the Regional CEE & Italy MVP Summit during KulenDayz), Build, MVP Global Summit in US, and all the local events, MS and community events that will be held in the whole Region (and they are a lot, believe me..).
There are also lots and lots of online activities, from the forums posts to the webcasts/screencasts, from books and e-books to technical articles. Microsoft MVPs, the User Group Presidents, the Student Partners, the Regional Directors. In a word, the whole community ecosystem is already on track to deliver world-class technical activities f which thousands and thousands peers and users will benefit of.

I thought this was the best time to take some days off and make a blog post using my Windows Phone before the whole “community machine” will unleash its full power.

So now I’m taking a full break, relaxing a bit before the “unleash hell” command will be given 🙂

See you very soon!

Gmail cooler than Hotmail ?

During one candidate review and another (:)), I thought about writing a post about e-mail messaging offering. And this is something I’m thinking about for several days.

I wanted to compare the 2 services from a higher perspective (but you can find a detailed one in the link provided below). I selected Hotmail and Gmail as they are the most used e-mail services abroad (so please bear with me Yahoo and AIM users :)).

So the question on my mind was: why users tend to adopt a Gmail account?

There are a number of features we need to keep in mind.

Free space: Gmail now offers around 8 GB available space while Hotmail offered 5 GB, than 25 GB and now it’s almost unlimited (it detects if you need more space, and then it is automatically increased).

Filtering: they are both doing a great job on filtering messages

Spam: both are good in terms of junk emails. Someone would prefer one service or another but the Junk filters are both pretty good

Forwarding: with Hotmail you can send messages from different accounts (“on behalf of”) like Gmail, AOL Mail and Yahoo! Mail. Same as Gmail.

Advertisement: they both have it (on the web)

Security: they both use https encryption

Privacy: well, Google automatically scans e-mails to add context-sensitive advertisements to them. It seems your e-mails not read by a human but a bot will scan them to send ad-hoc advertisements. Also, senders’ emails are scanned too so (and this is one thing that really concerns me), if you have sensitive data to send to your customers, are you sure these e-mails are not really read by someone? What if you work for a Company which is a Google’s Competitor on a particular are? Hotmail uses Country-based advertisement so Microsoft does not need to scan your email messages. And a question: does Gmail “owns” the content you have in your Gmail account? That’s a question for you guys !

Search: Gmail does probably a better job in searching through your folders and emails as it uses the Google search engine (of course if you don’t access your emails through a client).

Web interface: Generally speaking, the Gmail web interface is thin and fast. Hotmail contains more advertisements.

Mobility: both services are accessible via a mobile phone easily. Of course if you have a Windows Phone 7, Hotmail works best. Same as you have an Android phone and a Gmail account (you have a dedicated application for that).

Other services: of course both of them try to drive their own additional services. Calendars, Contacts, SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, Office Web Apps, Google Buzz, Google Docs….you name it !)

Attachments: both are good now in terms of sending heavy files

There are probably other features I’m missing here but that’s ok to have an overview.

So, in the end, who wins? I think nobody wins and both are winners. So how come Gmail is perceived as cooler than Hotmail? Hence the reason why you tend to adopt one service for another. Does it depend to your needs? I don’t think so. Does it depend on space or spam filtering or mobility access? Not at all, I’d say.

The reason, IMHO, is brand awareness. Again, Google does a better job in branding its own services. Some of them are better than Microsoft’s ones, some of them are not. It’s the way in which it positions itself in the market. As someone said on Twitter: “#Microsoft writes software to sell software, #Apple writes software to sell hardware, #Google writes software to sell users”. This is no secret and an absolutely true statement: it corroborates what I’m saying here.

+ the power of the Long Tail. If you link branding (remember, Google is an Internet Company) with the Power of Mouth, than your chances of success are enormously higher. People talking about this particular feature or service to other people, online and offline, is the secret of success.

So, in the end, is Gmail cooler than Hotmail ? It seems so. And if you think about it, it’s in your head already. You don’t have to scroll down all the functionalities to see which service is best. It seems it’s already a fact (but it’s not, if you drill down into details). And this has been “caused”, believe it or not, by the Long Tail,  the Power of Mouth, together with a good Branding Awareness.

So, to go Off Topic for a while and apply this to other stuff: you can brand anything. I believe a lot of people in the IT Industry think marketing or digital marketing or whatever you wanna call it is just fluffy/it’s not important. But they’re wrong. If you do it wisely and effectively, it’s the most powerful thing you can do.

Even for yourself (go have a look to this book and read it if you’re interested in this…)

Link to: How Does the New Hotmail Stack Up to Gmail?

Word of Mouth

I remember years ago, back in the 80’s, people were quite wealthy in Europe. And, especially in Countries were fashion was (and is) a “pillar”, like Italy or France, there were some brands who were very in fashion.

“Media were not social”, like now, and yes we had those TV commercials but they were not that many as today. I always wondered, thinking about some specific fashion brands, “who was the first to start”. I’m talking about brands who were not even touched by commercials. You were “in” just because you were wearing that specific kind of brand. But my question was, again, who was the one who started this? Who decided that that product was “in” and the masses then bought it ?

Like the “Pareto Principle”, there was a K number of people who influenced the remaining one (20-80 ? Probably 10 to 90).

Now, years ago, I was talking about a Smartphone that I liked a lot. And I talked a lot about that (if you know me, when I’m passionate about something…:)). Then, it seemed many people around me started to buy it. I’m not a conceited person but it seemed, in a way, I influenced my inner circle, the people around me.

If you think it on a global scale, it makes totally sense. People start talking about a product/service, maybe 20% of entire population, and the word is spread.

This is basically what marketing is. There are tons of books related to this, everyone claiming to have the rules and steps to be successful on a marketing campaign or to become a successful marketeer.

But it’s not a 2.0 thing, it didn’t even started in the 80’s where I located my first example.

In 1989, a misinformed German minister, was the unwanted cause of the thousands of people from the East part to massively go to the roads and approach the Berlin Wall, causing the outnumbered guards to open the gates.

In 1870, Otto Von Bismarck, a Prussian Chancellor, got a telegram from the King William the first. William didn’t want another war with the French but, based on the misinformed local media about that telegram, few days later France declared war to the Prussia.

Centuries before, pleb’s tribune Tiberius Gracchus, during some elections, put a hand in his head, trying to inform his party that they were in danger. But the people, they misinterpreted the action and they thought he wanted the crown so, with the help of some of his enemies, they attacked himself and the graccans and they caused his death.

It seems even Mark Antony, as he heard from some people that Cleopatra was killed, killed himself just a minute before he was told the truth (she was just hiding).

As history is written by people, and people sometimes are misinformed, believe it or not think about how many times an event occurred just because of the power of mouth (even if it was not the truth).

Now, in the web 2.0 era, with all the media at our disposal, it’s a piece of cake. Or at least it should be.

Who decided the Ipod is a cool product? Who decided Palm Pre isn’t (:))? We have the “Gorillas”, or Ninja marketeers” for that of course :). But are they really so good in influencing our choices? Yes it’s a balance between the quality of the product and their activities in the market but, again, it doesn’t explain, or at least it shouldn’t, why the Ipod became so popular and replaced the word “mp3 player”.

In the end, and in my honest opinion, is the 10-90 relation that works, together with the word of mouth. Few people, considered as an authoritative source, will influence the others. And then, other people will spread the word with others and so forth…

If I apply this to our world, the IT Industry, we have a number of sources that we consider as authoritative. Just to mention a few, Engadget, Gizmodo, Cnet, Wired and many others.

But what happens if a guy is given a gift just to talk about a product in a good way? Remember the Iphone story and the young journalist ?

Nothing new, I know, but, whether it’s web 2.0 or not, just be careful with what you read: you have more power in your hands than you think…:)

I got it !

After days and days and days of talking and rumors, what was I supposed to do? Simply talking ? Of course not ! (everyone needs to reward himself sometimes :))

treopro

I found the device @ 399 € (Vodafone branded) which is quite good, considering that in Europe, unbranded, it is sold at 100 bucks more. If you want to know more about the Palm Treo Pro, you can find specs and out-of-the-box videos everywhere.

So I won’t cover those topics but expect a solid review from me shortly ;-)

Link to: Treo 800w Specifications – Treonauts

Copyscape

Copyscape è un servizio gratuito che permette facilmente di trovare copie dei contenuti presenti sui nostri blog/siti replicati/copiati su altri blog/siti. Certo, molti contenuti vengono replicati anche in altra forma (parti di contenuti per esempio) e quindi difficilmente tracciabili ma lo trovo comunque un ottimo punto di partenza.

Copyscape

Un altro servizio interessante (a pagamento) si chiama Copysentry che fa il monitoring in tempo reale ed invia la mail di segnalazione immediatamente.

Ricordiamoci però che molti dei risultati potrebbero essere stati inseriti da noi stessi all’interno di siti Web 2.0 oppure replicati da servizi gratuiti di blogging repository. Quindi prima di far partire le denunce aspettiamo un attimino.. :)

Almanacco del giorno dopo

Ogni tanto capitano proprio delle cose strane. Anni fa, quando sciavo (tanto), mi capitava di canticchiare dei motivetti, oppure magari di inventarmeli di sana pianta durante il tragitto dello skilift (per poi dimenticarmeli una volta finita la pista). Di solito comunque capita penso a tutti di canticchiarne uno che si è sentito poco prima o al massimo qualche giorno prima.

Ma recentemente mi sono accorto di canticchiarne uno che non sentivo probabilmente da più di 20 anni ! Sì, in tutti questi anni, per qualche strana ragione, ho canticchiato questo motivetto senza quasi accorgermene.

 

Particolarmente orecchiabile? Qualche ricordo speciale legato a questa assurda trasmissione? Di sicuro la mia infanzia. Carino è comunque carino però addirittura mettersi lì a cantarlo di tanto in tanto ancora adesso mi pare troppo ! Sicuramente lascia un velo di tristezza perchè ricorda un’Italia che non c’è più ed una TV più divulgativa con poco marketing e molti contenuti. Comunque non preoccupatevi: adesso che l’ho trovato, con vostra gioia e gaudio, continuerò a canticchiarlo ancora per parecchi anni :)

Categories: Belinate, Memorabilia

Sunset on Elliott Bay

IMG_5021

Su questo shortcut di Live Maps si vede parte della Baia, dove abito e pure il traffico in tempo reale: utile prima di uscire di casa !

Categories: Belinate, Travels