Certainly I was taking some time to write this post after I have asked my readers to submit a question for me to answer. 4 questions qualified. In the meantime I have sent an even more detailed answer to those folks, who dared to ask a question.
Now it's time to share my answers in public. I don't want to carry that as liability into the next year. But since I am lazy at the end of the year, while my assistant enjoys a nice skiing vacation in Switzerland, I only will answer 2 of those questions today. I will deal with the other 2 topics in future posts in January.
1. You have hosted some blog carnivals on your blog. Do you recommend that?
Yes, and no.
It appears to me that hosting a carnival gets you more traffic, while using the same amount of time for writing and submitting your articles to other carnivals will get you more back links, which leads to more residual traffic in long term. What do you prefer?
I found the response from the folks whose articles get used in a carnival is less than it could be. Not many digg, sphinn, stumble, or bookmark your post with the carnival edition. That seems to be the reality.
Unless you see hosting or organizing a carnival as part of your content strategy, and you are willing to put some effort to work, you probably should just stick with submitting.
However, if everybody only submits, there won't be good carnivals left soon. Then it might pay off more to organize or host a carnival, again. I noticed that many recent carnivals are basically just link lists. If you don't have any problems with that, Blogcarnival.com makes it really easy to publish such a “list”. You only have to press the InstaCarnival button and copy the HTML code as is to your Blog. Finished.
It's up to you, how far you want to go. I will host other editions on my Blog throughout 2008, but I will have an assistant doing the actual work.
Good observation, I never wrote that post here. I only wrote parts of the answer in my time management series of articles Touch It - Do It - Get More Done! and in some comments on other Blogs, and I believe in one of my newsletter editions. Anyway, the answer is very simple.
You need to teach and train others to do your type of consulting in a similar fashion. Those folks will have to be employed or contracted by you. Then you will have the time to work on your business, expand it, and make it more independent from you.
If you are often hired as consultant for doing project management, then you need to start building a real business, a company around it. You'll need other people doing the work in the future that you are still doing by yourself right now. It's moving from being a freelancer towards being a business owner.
How many times have you watched an Internet marketing video online that promised “great, special info”, but did not deliver? That's really a big turn off.
“A bad video steals you up to 20 times more time than a bad PDF document”
Unfortunately you cannot always tell in advance, if a video will deliver on its promises or not.
I have seen poorly produced, short and long videos that contained more than expected and
I have seen studio production quality kind of videos that didn't tell you anything, except that it must have been expensive to produce.
Too many videos just waste so much time with introductions and typical “Let me tell you my / his / her / their story …” phrases. Too many videos show just faces or other static information. Could be an MP3 audio, and just a piece of written text instead.
I am absolutely tired of this and simply prefer written material, since I can quickly scan through it. Most people also can read faster than those video guys and gals do speak. It's just a waste of time and not to forget a waste of bandwidth.
Of course, there is room for video. The visual aspects can add tremendous value, but not everything needs to be in video. Shooting a video from lame content does not make the content better, it just gets thrown into a different package.
Some folks claim that it takes less time to make a great video than it takes to provide good quality written material. Well, that's true. But only for the producers, who actually have the ability to write good quality content at first place.
All others are just showing their stupid faces into the camera and that is definitely not worthwhile watching. And furthermore they are showing that it is not even worth their own time to create quality content for others. “To hell with them.”
Now, let's talk about some absolutely positive aspects of online videos.
Good reasons for use of video
Showing onscreen actions that would be hard to describe otherwise. Videos are great for tutorials, but should be accompanied with a written add-on, like a cheat sheet.
Another excellent example are the recent StomperNet Going Natural 2.0 Videos (↑) about SEO, conversion, … facts that help you increase your sales. For my personal taste the intros are too long. However the content is very valuable.
Adding artistic, humorous, graphic, … value
or just adding a moving pictures to otherwise great content
Since not everybody is following quality gidelines, how can you protect yourself from wasting time with bad, empty, or hype only videos?
Tips for saving your time
Watch only videos that have been referred to you by a trusted person.
Build a list of trusted, good quality sources.
Watch a video only one time and take notes (if it is worthwhile).
If the video doesn't capture your full attention during the first 30 seconds. Click away.
Prefer material that will give you transcripts of the video content as well. Especially, if you have to pay for a course or something similar.
What additional tips do you have to share?
Leave a comment, let me know.
Being in business means that you have to deal with statistics, reports, spread sheets, … a lot of numbers. Unless you are a statistician, almost everyone will prefer a graphic depiction of the numbers. Actually statisticians prefer graphs, because they have the power to reveal and express correlations in very intuitive ways.
Throw some parameters
on the x-axis,
another on the y-axis.
show changes over time.
add a third dimension
change the level of granularity and aggregation
use circles, bars, lines, colors, and different shapes
map data to geographical regions
use colors, shapes, line styles, etc.
And voilá. You may gain access to understanding very complex developments and dependencies within a glimpse of an eye.
Check out this 22 minutes long video of a presentation at some conference.
About this Talk: You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world” using extraordinary animation software developed by his Gapminder Foundation. The Trendalyzer software (recently acquired by Google) turns complex global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop. Asian countries, as colorful bubbles, float across the grid -- toward better national health and wealth. Animated bell curves representing national income distribution squish and flatten. In Rosling's hands, global trends -- life expectancy, child mortality, poverty rates -- become clear, intuitive and even playful.
You will learn a lot about
state of the World economy
quality of human life
on different continents,
in different countries
most importantly changes over time.
The sheer power of animated graphic data representation
Did any TV reports give you such high a density of overview about where the human race is standing? I guess not. They are accustomed to report about the worst and best cases only. Media in general gives a very poor representation of overall situations.
Policy makers, business owners, and managers need to make decisions based on the overall situation. As this professor points out it is important to have free access to data and have software tools that allow for querying, correlating, and representing data in intuitive ways. That's not only true for global data, that hold true for your business data as well.
Imagine Google pickep up on that idea and gives us Google Global Stats on top of Google Earth.
Now, think about, what extensive data analysis can do for our business.
On Friday I have asked my readers some questions and offered nothing more but my personal, humble answers. Comments were moderated to ensure privacy. The deadline has passed.
Thanks to all of you, who took action and left a comment.
I received 7 comments, which included 4 questions for me to answer. 2 gentlemen expressed their preference in subject, and suggested a direction where I shall “go” with this Blog. One of those gentlemen is actually an “old friend”, who lives in Florida nowadays.
“Nice to hear from you again, Christopher.”
1 comment was spam; a link to an online lingerie store.
The average number of comments per post during the last month was 2.5. Therefore I am quite satisfied with the outcome.
I will decide later, how to answer the questions. At least 1 or 2 might deserve a separate post.