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Friday Five – July 22, 2011

Friday Five is my [most]weekly technology tidbits post.

#1 – Google’s ’20 Percent Time’ Will Survive The Death of Google Labs [TechCrunch]

Google announced this morning that it will be shutting down Google Labs, a platform that allowed users to interact and give feedback on experimental products produced by Googlers in their 20 Percent Time.

While many were left wondering, Google tells me that the company has no changes to announce with regards to the 20 Percent Time program; killing Labs doesn’t mean the discontinuation of the one day a week Googlers get to spend on “projects that aren’t necessarily in [their] job descriptions.” “We’ll continue to devote a subset of our time to newer and experiment projects,” Google representative Jason Friedenfelds tells me.

I was going to start out this week by mourning the death of Google Labs, but after reading this TechCrunch article, I don’t think it’s a big deal. The 20% time is the valuable component of the Google Labs puzzle. If anything, maybe this means that Google will actually launch products instead of being perpetually in beta.


#2 – Intranet Portals: Personalization Hot, Mobile Weak, Governance Essential [useit.com]

Early definitions of “portal” focused on the gateway concept, but times have changed: characterizing portals as mere doorways to other places no longer adequately describes the sophisticated role they play. Today’s portals are not just about access; the best ones provide true integration of enterprise information, resources, and tools in a unified user experience. The portal is a dashboard that offers all the enterprise information and applications that employees need to do their jobs.

At the same time, the distinction between intranet and portal is diminishing as companies increasingly adopt a portal perspective for their intranets. The trend is toward “an intranet is an intranet is an intranet” and a portal is just a nicer, more functional intranet that integrates more systems.

The ROI from achieving the full portal vision is clear: saving countless, costly staff-hours that would otherwise be wasted hunting for information on various systems and learning incompatible user interfaces. Of course, the ideal vision rarely happens: for example, single sign-on remains an elusive chimera, though companies are closer and closer to achieving it every time we study this problem.

The biggest finding from our new research into enterprise portals? The sad fact that portals are not adding mobile features at the expected rate. Outside the firewall, the mobile space is teeming with innovation, but inside companies, mobile progress seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace.

There’s a lot of great info in this latest article from Jakob Nielsen. First off is confirmation of a tenet I stand by – stop getting caught up in terminology. There is no more distinction between “portal” and “intranet”. Now if we could talk people down from “the cloud” as well, we’ll all be better off. Second is the fact that mobile is important. While this is a “duh” statement to anyone who has a smartphone or tablet, recognition of this fact (or acknowledgement to do something about it) inside the enterprise always progresses at a snail’s pace. There’s also an interesting bit on governance here, where Nielsen claims that responsibility of who owns the intranet is shifting more towards corporate communications. It’s interesting in the fact that I believe here at Praxair we’re seeing that trend in the opposite direction.


#3 – None of the top 100 best companies to work for block employee access to social media [Stopblocking.org]

Click through to see a video with Mark Ragan and Erin Lieberman Moran of the Great Place to Work Institute discussing why blocking employee access to social media is hurts your company’s hiring ability.


#4 – The making of a social media slut [grow]

Before I tell my tale, let me relate a few of my experiences this week …

  • A very talented friend told me he was rejected for a job at a major ad agency because his Klout score was too low.
  • A B2B marketing agency Managing Director told me he chose between two qualified candidates based on their Klout score.
  • A friend in D.C is creating a Klout 50 Club exclusive to people with high Klout scores. Why? He wants to find good hires for social media marketing.
  • A woman told me her boyfriend was accepted to a prestigious conference based on his Klout score alone.

These experiences occurred in the span of 72 hours.

Klout is the newest fad in the social media space. They proclaim it as a way of measuring an individual’s social media influence using a bunch of metrics they created like “Network Influence” and “Amplification Probability” and “True Reach”. Klout isn’t the first website to take on this space and it won’t be the last. The author goes on to say how he felt “dirty” that he suggested to a recent college grad that she pander to the internet and beef up her Klout score to get an entry level job. Frankly, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. If you aspire to work in the social media world, the most important thing is being up on the daily-changing trends in social media. Klout is the meme of the day and if nothing else it tells an employer looking to hire someone specifically for a social media role that the person at least uses social media. Outside of that specific job world, I don’t see it replacing resumes any time soon.


#5 – The Interconnected World of Tech Companies [INFOGRAPHIC] [Mashable]

The “tech world” is really more of a “tech family.” Between digital giants’ appetites for acquisitions and the tendency of their ex-employees to start new companies, it’s easy to see how nearly every blip in the ecosystem is closely related.

We’ve mapped just a few of these family ties between “Xooglers,” the “PayPal Mafia”, “Softies” and the many other tech connectors who have yet to be nicknamed.

Interesting (and very large) graphic. Give it a glance!

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One Comment

  1. #4. You must not be too overworked, are you? I would bet good money that a huge fraction of managers would give resumes a quick once-over if they could instead look up a single score. It’s the Readers Digest of reducing the candidate pool down to a very few. Nothing like getting THAT task off their desks!

    [Not that I would EVER do this. I’m just saying that many would]. If they are giving this away then Klout missed an opportunity here.


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