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Monthly Archives: June 2011


The Value of Small + Smart

Posted on June 7, 2011 by butch

Whenever I’m asked about Force 5, one of the things I say about our company is that we are“small and smart.” Most people understand immediately what half of that means. We have only a handful of people on our staff – so, we’re small – pretty easy. Small is good these days. That means we don’t carry a lot of overhead so we can be competitive. Being small also means that we can be pretty agile, too. There aren't too many people or committees required to make decisions. We can quickly decide what to do and move - and that’s a good thing for our clients.

When I say “We’re smart,” I think I run the risk of sounding arrogant. Granted, there are some pretty sharp people I get to work with here (me - not so much.)  The “smart” part is really about bringing in the right resources when we need them. This allows us to assemble the best possible talent for a specific need and remain laser-focused on the client.  Being smart also keeps us fresh and creative. 

From a personal standpoint, being "small and smart" forces me to be more rounded as a business person. It’s made me realize that client issues are most often multi-faceted and that one area of expertise is seldom the cure for a particular issue. This regularly pushes me outside the limits of my capacity and into the realms of more capable people in specialize areas. The results are: wins for the client, wins for Force 5, wins for freelancers, and wins for me.   And who wouldn't want that?


Hungry Twitter

Recent news of Twitter purchasing Tweetdeck and cutting off third-party development of Twitter clients has me wondering where Twitter is headed. Twitter has no doubt proved itself as a contender in the online service arena. But can it prove it’s well-carved niche with the likes of Google and Facebook?

With the limitation of additional third-party clients and Twitter themselves gobbling up the big names in the client space, it’s clear that Twitter is aiming to consolidate and make the Twitter experience more consistent. Is that the only reason? Maybe. Maybe not.

With Twitter’s success comes eyeballs, and lot’s of them. Lately, Twitter has been monetizing the size of their audience with promoted tweets, or purchased tweets that appear on every search and trending topic. It’s a method that has worked so far, but it’s not targeted. Even Facebook will tell you, targeted advertising is where the revenue is.

Maybe their next step is more relevant ads; ads that are based the content of your lists and what you are tweeting and retweeting. Sound familiar? Facebook uses a similar method to target ads on your Facebook profile. It’s a strategy that requires plenty of infrastructure. If we look close enough, some of that infrastructure is already in place with the “Who to Follow” feature.

What is the benefit to Twitter of having users choose a Twitter-branded client instead of the many third-party offerings? My guess is to measure front-end metrics. Fragmentation among clients could make it difficult to truly measure front end user activity. Back end activity is already being captured through the current client calls to the API. This all only makes sense if Twitter jumps into the targeted ad space.

What are your thoughts? Would it affect how you use Twitter if they moved to targeted advertising?


Tough Sell

Posted on June 1, 2011 by ddefreeuw

I was at a convenience store this past weekend and saw the following sign.Sign in convenience store

So the question that immediately pops into my head is “how is it possible that “Unmatched Pleasure” and “tooth loss” appear in the same ad?”

I can’t imagine the marketing challenge involved in trying to sell this product. You have a product that clearly isn't good for consumers and you need to include a warning, which in this case the “warning” type is almost half the size of the headline. The sell has to be pretty enticing in order for someone to think, “wow, using this product is worth the risk of losing my teeth.” I know there are other products with warning labels, cigarettes, hair dryers, my morning cup of coffee – I guess the risk has to be worth the potential reward.