Walt Mossberg vs. Klout

Walt Mossberg

Let me start off by saying that I think Walt Mossberg, Tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal and co-executive editor of All Things D, is a brilliant tech journalist and I’ve admired him since I began reading the WSJ in college. This is not meant to be an against the man himself, just a conversation around the current state of journalism and word-of-mouth marketing.

Walt, and several others (like David Pogue of the New York Times), write and share for media outlets that reach a wide audience. Once in a while, I naturally stumble upon these outlet reviews within my Zite app or through Twitter or Facebook. But honestly, these journalists have to play to a wide audience and offer me very little in what I’m looking for.  I am interested in products that help me be more efficient in daily life as a 30-something tech professional who is often on the road, domestically and internationally. Sure, there may be some younger journalists at WSJ, All Things D, NY Times Bits, etc., but I organically and accidentally get my recommendations from my peers in person and on various social networks and aggregators like Zite. No publication can always be so precise.

Klout

I have never been an advocate for Klout, but they apparently they acted upon their statement in a conversation we had in 2011.

2011 Convo

Recently, Sony, via Klout, contacted me and nine others in the NYC area, to try out their new laptop, the Vaio Duo. The “perk” was that they would give us brand new Duos and fly us out, in a helicopter no less, to The Hamptons for a night. I bit. I was thinking, “I don’t know what my Klout score is but I know that it’s not high. This is something they only do for major players.” But then I started do some research and it appeared that the idea was to market this laptop to, well, professionals who travel.

Most of who were “perk’d” joked that there was someone we knew that had way more influence than we had.  Why us? As I started to get to know these other folks, I soon began to realize that we all had something in common: Travel.  Granted we all have a decent online footprint, but not massive audiences.

Frankly, I get asked by friends and family almost daily about tech products specific to their needs. “What laptop,/mobile/tablet/app/software/social network/eye apparatus/etc. should I get since I…..?”  In person, forget about it; I get my “brain picked” before I can ask about their kids, job or life. Through social networks, they know that I work in the tech industry and am often travelling around.

Our ages probably ranged from 25-40, but I can tell that all of us were that friend. Klout made it easy for Sony to find us. 

The Real Influencer?

What will determine what someone buys? Of course, it depends. While I’m sure that Sony reached out to the major media publications and the likes off Mossberg, Pogue and those from tech blogs, I think adding the combination of ads and other forms of top-down targeting along with this “middle-down”, specific approach will help get the word out about their product.

My friend, Lachlan, was visiting NYC on the Sunday I returned from The Hamptons. I told him about the trip and brought out the laptop from my overnight (I met him before going home) bag. He played around with it, looked at his wife and seriously stated, “THIS is exactly what I’ve been talking about. I need this.” It could have been a Klout AND Sony commercial.

There are 1000s out there like me and it’s now easy for the average joe to find one of us, that is looking for something very specific. I’m not saying that the tech writer is going the way of the newspaper photographer. But, I kind of am.

As for the Vaio Duo

I would NEVER have bought the Vaio. I’ve been a Mac and Google user for years and wouldn’t even consider purchasing Windows or Sony machine. This also appeared to be a trend among the others that Sony had selected.

Being a Mac fanboy since 2005, I had little expectations of working with Windows on a regular basis. The hardware has me using it daily though. It’s way too early to write a proper review on it, but I do love it so far. I keep finding myself touching the screen on my MacBook Air. I personally won’t be switching my life out of the Apple and Google ecosystems, but when friends ask about options, I now have an understanding of Sony products and a deeper knowledge of the benefits and drawbacks of Windows that I can confidently bring to the table.

Related:
The Sony Vaio Hamptons Crew list on Twitter. 
The Weirdest Gift Bag I’ve Ever Gotten
 
by Roni Weiss, who was also on trip.

@selfishmom WFH (Working From Helicopter) on Vaio

 

On PRISM

Crack and cocaine dealers are stuck with using throwaway pre-paid mobile phones. They know that having a mobile connected to their name is not safe. That channel was cut off to them a long time ago. HBO’sThe Wire, anyone?

I am not surprised nor bothered one bit by the “news” of government agencies having the ability to access our online data. In fact, I’m now beginning to believe that alls this hype around the story is a good thing. The internet and cloud technologies allow for the most advanced work efficiencies (what I do professionally) in the history of mankind and we’re only going to get more efficient. Anyone with horrible intentions will have to some other means to communicate and collaborate. Any criminal with any sense would know this already, but all this hype may cause the next group of nitwit terrorists (a la the “loser” Boston Bombers) to think twice of using such effective communication channels.

I don’t mind that certain key terms or phrases of plots surface to government agencies. Knowing how monitoring technologies work, I can say that it’s much more efficient to listening to phone calls. Using cloud and social technologies on the daily (probably hourly), I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to organize and collaborate with like-minded individuals efficiently without this amazing toolbox that the internet provides.

Is cutting these internet channels off from those with horrible intentions (now they know nothing here is private) such a bad thing?

Now SOPA, PIPA and CISPA are WAYYY scarier than PRISM in my mind and well worth fighting against.

(Further discussed on Facebook.)

Related:

Robert Scoble’s post on Facebook:

Why is the PRISM story going to disappear within two weeks? 

30,000+ people die in cars every year in the US. We don’t care. We get into cars every day. We really don’t care about this threat. Even though the consequences are MUCH worse than anything PRISM does. The good of driving outweighs the bad of death, etc.

PRISM hasn’t killed anyone (that I know of) and possibly has saved us from harm. We really don’t care about our loss of privacy (I see it every day as I look around at everyone using grocery store loyalty cards, credit cards, and hand over a ton of data to big companies from Casinos to Hotels to social networks).

We are still headed into an Age of Context where systems are going to use our private data to see new patterns and help us live our lives and companies will use that contextual data to serve us better. And governments will continue to use them to spy on us (aka try to catch terrorists). Either way, the good far outweighs the bad. So we will continue to push into the future. This week will just be a slight speedbump.

Anyway, where were you all when cameras started appearing everywhere taking photos of people running red lights in San Francisco? 

Truth is, we give away our liberties and privacy all the time. The Golden Gate Bridge just turned on cameras that capture everyone’s license plate. Do we care? No, because now getting across the bridge is one to 15 minutes faster. 

I just can’t see the story lasting more than two weeks. 

Do you disagree? Why?

 

 

Paid Music Service Comparison: Spotify, Rdio and Mog

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Spotify: The most users, but it with that attention it seems to be the one with the most artists pulling out or blocking (they may all be the same, but I don’t know)
Rdio: The best of the bunch for me. Make sure that you don’t pay the $15/month!
Mog: Under the radar. I like them, but the user experience needs much improvement.

 

RIM’s Playbook = Standard Enterprise Issued Device?

I’m rather consistent in ripping my work-issued Blackberry, but I’m now changing my tone on the Waterloo, Ontario based company. There’s been a lot of talk about their new Tablet, the Playbook, set to be released this month. Since they are going to be using the Android platform on their Playbook, RIM is now a HUGE player in my eyes.

The Enterprise Landscape

I’ve only worked at two corporations in my life and both time I was issued a standard basic laptop that compared nothing to the personal Mac I had at home and eventually brought in everyday. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that most everybody who has Blackberry has it because work gave it to them. Not for all, but for many Blackberry has become “the work phone”. They clearly have a strong relationship with Fortune 500 companies and are in great position to turn the Playbook into “the work tablet”. However, I’d like to take it a step further…the Playbook could be “the work computer”, period.

The Work Computer

I try very hard to make my iPad my only work device, it just isn’t there yet. I have a Zaggmate keyboard that is great for writing and taking notes. Picture this: the Playbook (or any tablet) has a magnetic cover like the iPad but when you turn it over it becomes a bluetooth keyboard (I know you if you have read this, product development guy at _____! :)). I’m sure you’ll be able to share your screen on the a larger monitor for yourself or for presentations. With everything moving to the cloud, any tablet should be powerful enough to handle day to day work processes. A tablet is ALL that most will need. Security is something that Blackberry sold well (not sure it’s justified), so they’ll continue to run on being “the most secure device”.

RIM is Positioned

With its relationship with enterprise companies, RIM’s Playbook is positioned to replace the Dells, HP and whatever basic standard PC that companies give out. I have not seen the Playbook yet, but I’m assuming I’m going to say it’s just not Apple. However, if most companies will be dishing them out as the standard “work computer”, I’d be happy with one.

Of course, I could be wrong, it could just the be the tablet that is “great for email”. 😉