Why B2B Needs Content

It’s clear why business-to-consumer companies are frequently also ‘content’ companies. Telling a meaningful story about a product or service requires a narrative everyone can follow and engage with. Does a software or technology firm need to do this? Don’t they just need to showcase the technology and let their readers put it together themselves? And can a technology, tool, or component many end users never see in the finished product really be a ‘story’?

Continue reading

Algorithm Nation

It turns out that the Computer History Museum in Mountain View was once The Computer Museum in Boston, next to the Children’s Museum on Fort Point Channel (an area I know pretty well from my days at Thomson just down Congress Street). Now it’s just a server’s throw away from Google headquarters, which might explain the almost complete absence of admittedly minor players in the development of computing and digital like, say, Microsoft and America Online.

While light on the ‘whys’ of the development of the industry in general and Silicon Valley in particular (such as the intersection of the defense/aerospace engineering industries with the 1960s counterculture so wonderfully chronicled in “What the Dormouse Said“), there’s lots of great gadgets and a reasonably thorough coverage of the development of machine computing. And of course, towards, the end, some misty-eyed moments of 1980s Christmas morning nostalgia (is that you, VIC-20, old friend?).

Context Is the Query: Rethinking Content and Search

By combining search and browsing history with geographic and other spatial information, mobile devices have greatly accelerated the ability of our favorite applications and websites to predict, suggest, and refine responses to a query–or respond even when no overt query has been made. In other words, context itself has become the new query.

Continue reading

Strange Bedfellows: Social Media And the National Security State

Perhaps the last two trends we’d ever imagine converging are the decades-long path to individual self-expression via technology with the rise of mass surveillance via the national security state. But, on this auspicious fifth of November, we do well to remember how all this came to be.

Continue reading

Seven Branding Lessons from iOS 7

Now that the pixels have settled a bit on the iOS 7 release (which, despite some early detractors, is turning out to be one of the more successful releases in the company’s history), let’s look at what all this signifies about Apple as a brand, and what branding lessons we can take away from the industry and user chatter.

Continue reading

Sending the Right Message

If the brand is the message, content strategy is how it gets delivered:  the sum total of the activities to enhance the written and spoken expression of a company’s brand.

The term ‘content strategy’ is best known in its digital context: the structuring, development, and management of content for websites and digital applications. However, in a broader definition that includes all channels and contexts, content strategy would come closely on the heels of brand strategy (the identification of a company’s unique positioning and personality). Much as with a graphic design brief, the brand strategy becomes the basis on which communications can be built and a ‘strategy screen’ to determine if those communications continue to be on-brand.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Computers

Had a major nostalgia kick (the funeral of Margaret Thatcher maybe?, the new Liberace biopic on HBO?) and ordered a Commodore VIC-20 on eBay. That’s right, the 5K RAM superstar that introduced millions of kids in the early 1980s to PEEKs, POKEs, GOTOs, and the rest of the colorful verbal arsenal of the BASIC programming language. I could have gotten a Commodore 64, but Bill Gates apparently said at the time I’d never need that much memory.

Continue reading