Gilbane Advisor 2.2.15 – Groundhog Day Edition

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The Sharing Economy isn’t About Sharing at All

It just seemed that way to some because of the overreach of “social”. It’s about access and convenience, not community.

The access economy is changing the structure of a variety of industries, and a new understanding of the consumer is needed to drive successful business models. A successful business model in the access economy will not be based on community, however, as a sharing orientation does not accurately depict the benefits consumers hope to receive. It is important to highlight the benefits that access provides in contrast to the disadvantages of ownership and sharing. These consist of convenient and cost-effective access to valued resources, flexibility, and freedom from the financial, social, and emotional obligations embedded in ownership and sharing. Read more

The home screen is the new home page

This poses both dramatic challenges and opportunities for the content community. It’s still not clear whether this is a good or a bad thing… The rise of mobile devices and mobile media consumption is likely to only increase the public’s appetite for quality content… But the picture is far from rosy. The supply of content is infinite. Yet time and attention is a finite resource. And brand won’t be enough to win. The reality is that content discovery is a huge challenge for creators and consumers alike. Read more

Another reason the picture is far from rosy…

Don’t Look Now, But Deep Linking Just Got Hot

For apps that is – the web is all about linking. The main reason apps will not replace the web anytime soon is that there is no standard way to link to information inside of apps, and none on the horizon. The recent hotness is interesting though. Read more here and here

The Rise of the Marketer: Driving Engagement, Experience and Revenue

This free research report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Marketo, has a great demographic and is worth well more than the cost. Read more

What Is a Business Model?

Startups need them and more established companies should review theirs regularly. Here’s a useful resource on how the term is used and a handy set of analogies to help you think beyond the obvious. Read more

Speaking of business models…

Dear Zoë Keating: Tell YouTube to Take a Hike

Are there really only two types of business model for the Internet? Unlikely. The broad categories of advertising vs subscription are generally useful and not necessarily mutually exclusive. But as Ben Thompson points out Zoë Keating’s case illustrates there can be an almost comical conversation between a company focused on scale with one focused on a niche.

The difference in business models is far more stark on the web; at scale, advertising is the obvious solution. For niches, though, I strongly believe that direct payment is superior. It’s simply easier to get a lot of money from your best fans than it is to get a little bit of money from many. This, though, is the problem with all-you-can-eat subscription services: they only afford the chance to make a little bit of money from any one customer, even as they increase the friction over free. And, I agree with Keating that the subscription services, including YouTube, don’t understand this… I think it’s more that nearly everyone at tech … is deeply conditioned to think at scale… Niches, though, don’t scale; they go deep. Read more

​Why Enterprise Software Customers Are Not Happy (and What to Do About It)

Enterprise IT companies are not known for producing great customer experience. Their customer loyalty scores are low, down in a range with the health insurance industry… But in spite of some poor customer ratings, many… have been able to thrive partly because they built strong relationships with their primary buyers—CIOs and other senior IT executives. They locked in long-term contracts with these buyers…

When we surveyed more than 5,000 technology decision makers and end users in U.S. companies, we found a massive gap between their perceptions. In six of the eight hardware and software categories, end users gave a negative rating—that is, they were more likely not to recommend a given vendor than to recommend it. By contrast, scores for decision makers were negative for only one category.

Vendors know they need to expand selling efforts beyond CIOs, and not just to CMOs. This is much easier said than done for multiple reasons. Read more

The End of Trickle-Down Technology

Smartphones are not following Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” predictions.

  • Apple offers by far the most expensive phones on the market, but even though the early price-insensitive market has presumably been saturated, the iPhone is actually growing
  • Samsung phones are widely available at multiple price points, making them an easy choice for low information customers on the right side of the cycle, yet the company is struggling
  • Xiaomi has very aggressive prices, but their brand proposition is very much tuned to the left side of the cycle

All of this seems to fly in the face of Moore’s assumption that late-stage adoption would be driven by price and pragmatism (or, in the case of conservatives, necessity). Price and pragmatism might as well be Samsung’s motto, while Apple is super expensive and Xiaomi is avowedly geeky. Read more

The Strategic Value of APIs

Today, a firm without application program interfaces (APIs) that allow software programs to interact with each other is like the internet without the World Wide Web. Just as the World Wide Web opened up the internet’s potential for use by billions, APIs — specifications or protocols for how to exchange information or request online services from an organization — are allowing companies to grow businesses at unprecedented rates by sharing services with external firms.

Yes. And note that it is the more complex and changing information that provides the lion’s share of value, not simply the connection protocol. Read more

From the community

One more nail in Flash’s coffin… YouTube Now Streams HTML5 Video By Default via TechCrunch; The Super Bowl – Twitter versus TV… Is Social Over-Hyped? via MediaPost; Do you know what Bacon Content is?… Is Bacon to Consumer (B2C) the same as Bacon to Business (B2B)? via TahzooHow to avoid being a deer-in-the-headlight of Customer Experience Management via Digital Clarity Group; Are you mature enough for an optimized customer experience? via CMSWire; Don’t plan on using SharePoint online for public websites. via Real Story Group; Do you want a big data salary?… MapR is training 10,000 Hadoop pros for freevia CMSWire


The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year.

Gilbane Advisor 1.20.15

Don’t Try to Be a Publisher and a Platform at the Same Time

Or at least think it through very carefully.

Also, do you really want to be called a “platisher”?

Making these hybrids work over the long term is difficult, because their incentives work against each other. Toward the end of last year, one of the first platishers, Say Media, announced it was selling off its publishing properties to focus on its technological platform. CEO Matt Sanchez explained the decision to jettison its publisher properties as an inability to do both tech and content at the same time:

The conclusion we’ve come to, and one lots of media companies wrestle with is, do you build brands or do you build platforms? Those two are just completely different world views. It’s hard to create clarity for an organization. Read more

Speaking of platishers…

A mile wide, an inch deep

Ev Williams on metrics and value…

Medium had its biggest week ever last week — or so we might claim. By number of unique visitors to, we blew it out of the park. The main driver was a highly viral post that blew up (mostly on Facebook). However, the vast majority of those visitors stayed a fraction of what our average visitor stays, and they read hardly anything.

That’s why, internally, our top-line metric is “TTR,” which stands for total time reading. It’s an imperfect measure of time people spend on story pages. We think this is a better estimate of whether people are actually getting value out of Medium. By TTR, last week was still big, but we had 50% more TTR during a week in early October when we had 60% as many unique visitors (i.e., there was way more actual reading per visit). Read more

Biggest news of 2014

In computing that is, or better, general computing.

Horace Dediu’s choice may sound surprising at first, but what are the competing candidates? (See next item.) Wearables and IoT are moving fast but it is not their year yet. Read more

What Just Happened? (in 2014)

Well here are some other candidates from Fred Wilson. First mentioned:

1/ the social media phase of the Internet ended. this may have happened a few years ago actually but i felt it strongly this year. entrepreneurs and developers still build social applications. we still use them. but there isn’t much innovation here anymore. the big platforms are mature. their place is secure. Read more

​And now, for a sort of different take on this…

A Teenager’s View on Social Media

Written by an actual teen.

As others have pointed out this is one view and not market research, but it is a considered piece and you may find it strikes a chord with teenagers and non-teens you know. In any case social media is certainly a marketing challenge, and for this demographic in particular. This is also a handy cheat sheet if you don’t know how these social networks differ. Read more

Technology’s Impact on Workers

email on top? seriously?

You bet, but naturally you’ll want to know more. First the demographics:

…1,066 adult internet users, 18 years of age or older. The survey included 535 adults employed full-time or part-time, who are the basis of this report. Read more

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2015)

There are at least 1876 marketing technology companies. How can this be?

Last year Scott Brinker’s landscape included 947. If you’re a marketing technologist you might need a raise… Download the graphic and Read more

There’s a blockchain for that!

The code that secures Bitcoin could also power an alternate Internet. First, though, it has to work.

Not all of you will want to invest in this read-more-than-once piece, but it is a good example of the kind of unexpected development strategists and analysts looking ahead need to keep an eye out for. Read more

The web is alive and well

Rumors of the web’s death are being greatly exaggerated, again.

There is a legitimate debate about how we use the terms “apps” and “web”, but also a lot of uninformed pronouncements about a web death spiral. Quartz has a short, accessible post on some aspects of the confusion.

… framing the question as the web vs. mobile is a fallacy that misses the more interesting changes that occur when more devices and more people get hooked up to the web. Read more



The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year.



Gilbane Conference 2014 resources

Gilbane Conference 2014


Below are some posts about the Gilbane Conference 2014. You can also access conference presentations, video recordings, and speaker spotlights. If you see any we are missing please let us know.

CMS Myth

CMS Wire






Gilbane Advisor 12.18.14

The Group That Rules the Web

A very well done short history of Web standards development and how HTML5 came to be. The history is much more accurate than what is usually found in the trade press, and the description of standards development is also right on target. This background will help inform your strategy decisions. Read more

Industry-Specific Apps by IBM MobileFirst / Apple iOS Partnership

Seriously enterprisey iOS apps. Analysis by Ray Wang. Read more

And the designs get the nod from John Gruber.

These don’t look like “enterprise” apps. They look like regular apps — really good ones, the sort of apps Apple would choose to feature in the App Store… Read more

Yes, A/B Testing Is Still Necessary

How to educate skeptical or disappointed execs

Executives quickly pick up on the headline benefit of testing: that A/B tests provide reliable answers to “why” questions. This comes as no surprise, as such testing has long been held up as the “gold standard” for learning cause-and-effect in scientific research, clinical studies and direct marketing. However, many executives eventually reach a mid-life crisis, developing doubts about the direction of the A/B testing program… Read more

New questions in mobile

Fundamental questions from Benedict Evans.

Seven years into the smartphone world, it seems like it’s time to change the questions. The questions that we asked and argued about for the last few years have now mostly been answered, become irrelevant, or both, and new problems and puzzles are emerging.

Hence, the first phase of the platform wars is over: Apple and Google both won … and both got what they wanted, more or less, and that’s not going to change imminently. Within that framework, what happens next?… Read more

Helping users find mobile-friendly pages

Will lack of the new Google “mobile-friendly” label discourage visitors? Why guess? Your site should already be mobile-friendly. Test your pages.

Starting today, to make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for, we’re adding a “mobile-friendly” label to our mobile search results. … Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly TestRead more

Nine reasons to embrace HTTPS

In light of a growing number of cyber security and data privacy concerns, replacing HTTP with its secure alternative, HTTPS, is becoming increasingly important.

That’s two, but then there’s search engine ranking, and more. This is not as technical as it sounds and the list alone makes it useful for business managers. Read more

Native Apps Are Part of the Web

The native versus web app debate is less gripping than it used to be, but developers and business strategists still need to make decisions that will impact resources and market risks. And a more connected world means more connected apps and content for an acceptable user experience. We need good user experiences and openness. Whether you agree with John Gruber’s assertion or not, he exposes some prevalent misconceptions.

… the only people who don’t love apps are pundits who don’t understand that apps aren’t really in opposition to the open Internet. They’re just superior clients to open Internet services. Read more

Can documentation practices make the world safe for CEM?

Technical writers finally get some serious cred. Saving the world in the 15th century, and now customer experience management.

Situated between the developers or engineers and the marketers – between the makers and the shakers, so to speak – technical writers are not fully at home in either realm. And yet it is precisely this threshold existence, their unique combination of coding and communication, that makes documentation professionals and their established practices the indispensable foundation for maturing CEM. Read more


The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year.

How to Manage Multichannel Content Marketing

Content is certainly the unifying element of a brands’ marketing across physical as well as digital channels. Once you have created your killer content how do you maximize its reach? How do you push out your content beyond your own channels in ways that are manageable? This session includes presentations by two organizations that have built marketing strategies based on the centrality of content and the power of effective distribution.

C4. How to Manage Multichannel Content Marketing

Join us Wednesday, December, 3: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at the Gilbane Conference to learn more.

Tim Bourgeois, Founder & Executive Editor, and East Coast Catalyst

Patrick Cassidy, Head of Global Digital Brand Marketing, New Balance, and Pete Strutt, Creative Director, Almighty
The Content-Powered Organization
Keith Guyett, VP of Marketing & Communication, Builder Homesite
Pitch Perfect: How a Content Hub Can Harmonize Your Marketing

Marketing Technologists on Multichannel and Enterprise Integration

Marketing technologists are no longer rare birds, though they are often found in unfamiliar environments with less than obvious plumage. There are marketing technologists in many of our sessions this year, but we have selected a few to look at the two toughest challenges they, and their organizations, face in building modern digital strategies: support for consistent current and future multichannel experiences, and the necessary integration of data from multiple enterprise systems.

Join us Tuesday, December, 2: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Gilbane Conference to learn more.

T1. Track Keynote Panel: Marketing Technologists Discuss Multichannel and Enterprise Integration Challenges

Scott Brinker, Founder & CTO, ion interactive, inc. and Author, Chief Marketing Technologist Blog

Bill Simmons, CTO/Co-Founder, DataXu
Frederick Faulkner, Director, Marketing & Digital Strategist, ICF Interactive
Vikalp Tandon, Director and North America Customer Platform Lead, SapientNitro

Harvard Business Review and WGBH transforming digital engagement

Engaging customers and online audiences requires the right mix of technology, content, and tools, orchestrated in a way that leverages deep customer knowledge to deliver the right content at the right time in the right fashion. That’s a tall order, yet it is a “do or die” imperative for organizations that use content to make a living. In this session, you’ll learn how to transform and optimize customer digital engagement from presentations by two leading-edge organizations that are paving the way to the future using a blend of customer-centric design, dynamic and targeted content, big data and analytics, agile technologies and processes, and a vision for the future. These presentations will inspire you to kick-start your own digital engagement transformation initiatives!

Update: The new site launched a couple of weeks ago. Check it out and meet the development team; Daigo Fujiwara, Kevin Davis, Matt Wagner, Fred Lalande, and Ismail Ozyigit will join Kevin Newman at this session.

Join us Tuesday, December, 2: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Gilbane Conference to learn more.

P1. Track Keynote: Hear how Harvard Business Review and WGBH have Transformed Digital Engagement

Marc Strohlein, Principal, Agile Business Logic and Principal, Agile Business Logic

Kevin Newman, Director of Technology, Harvard Business Publishing
Rebranding and Rebuilding Harvard Business Review

Cate Twohill, Director, Technical Product Development, WGBH Educational Foundation, and George Corugedo, CTO and Co-founder, RedPoint Global Inc.
Big Data & Customer Engagement Lessons from a U.S. Media Powerhouse

See the complete conference schedule.

Speaker Spotlight: It’s more than just making a website responsive

As we did last year we’ve posed some of our attendees’ most frequently asked questions to speakers who will be at this year’s Gilbane Conference. Today we’re spotlighting Arjé Cahn, Co-founder and CTO of Hippo. You can see all Speaker Spotlights from our upcoming conference as well as last year’s event.

Arje Cahn headshotArjé Cahn

Co-founder & CTO, Hippo

Follow Arjé @arjecahn


Given that there are more smartphones than PCs on the planet and both will be important for the foreseeable future, how should organization’s content delivery priorities and technologies change? How is yours changing?

Firstly, of course: mobile is the priority. Period. This means organizations need to really rethink the context in which visitors are coming to their site. Relevance based on geolocation is relatively simple to implement: will they be on the road? at home? at a competitor’s store? These factors should tailor the contextual experience. It’s about more than just making a website responsive. That’s step one, but it’s not what the visitor expects when they use their mobile device to come to you. They expect to be welcomed with an experience that resonates with where they are and what they’re doing. Organizations should carry out top task analysis to identify visitors’ main objectives when visiting their mobile site, and build an experience around it. Ultimately, mobile should seamlessly connect the “online” and “offline” customer experience. With new sensor technologies like the iBeacon and Viewsy, we can use insights from both online and offline to enrich continuous and seamless customer experiences.

Marketing is the most talked about discipline that needs to take on more responsibility for technology to be effective. What can other departments learn from the discussion around marketing technology and marketing technologists.

Marketing is changing. The rise of content marketing really demonstrates marketing’s role as a facilitator of an overarching business strategy. If you look at the businesses with the most successful content marketing strategies, you’ll see that content creation is a collaborative process that is internally sourced, and leverages the subject matter expertise within other departments. As technology becomes a greater part of all business processes, other departments should take note: content has an increasingly prominent role in driving business. Personalized and relevant digital experiences need strong content; an engaging eCommerce site needs immersive and engaging content; good customer service requires relevant content. Therein lies marketing’s responsibility: as a catalyst and facilitator for telling an authentic story that the entire organization buys into and resonates with visitors..

Catch up with Arjé at the Gilbane Conference:

Track C: Content, Marketing, and the Customer Experience

C7. Building Next Generation Web Content Management & Delivery Experiences – Vendor Panel Discussion
Wednesday, December 3: 2:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Register now to hear more from Arjé and all of our speakers.

See our complete conference program for more details.