We’ve all heard marketing statistics, like:
“4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum.”
I joke and wonder, “Is that 80% of those surveyed or did they only ask 5 dentists?”
Still, we’ve learned over the years to take statistics with a grain of salt.
Where I stop shrugging these number off is when I see a statistic that flies in the face of personal experience. It’s like seeing a ‘57 Chevy with only 200 miles on the odometer. You know there’s either an incredible and fascinating story there, or a load of bull.
With that in mind, here is the statistic that caught my attention:
“58% of SMBs say that London cloud computing will make their companies more competitive.”
Source: Microsoft Partner Network Facebook Page
Linking to article: How you can earn the MPN Small Business Competency
Now, “58%” may not be that fascinating to you, but it nearly broke my ‘awesome story vs. bull detector’ meter. The reason being, if you see wording like the Facebook post above, your brain sees those numbers like this:
And that’s part of the problem – marketing hype like that skews perception. The SMB customer / partner / employee thinks, “Am I in the majority or the minority? Is there something I’m not doing?”
Here’s the other part of the problem – that study doesn’t represent the opinions of 100% of SMBs. It’s not even 10% of SMBs saying that! In fact, it’s just the voices of a teeny tiny itty bitty sliver of SMB folks the surveyors happened to talk to.
Cloud products, cloud vendors, cloud conferences, cloud EVERYTHING.
The time has come to cut through the Cloud Hype!
Since the Microsoft Partner Network Facebook post “58% of SMBs say cloud computing will make their companies more competitive” was the straw that broke the cloud camel’s back, here are the issues I raise:
Issue #1 – It should read “58% of SMBs surveyed”, not “58% of SMBs”.
You’re as much a marketing company as a software company, Microsoft. You know better than this.
Issue #2 – 58% is an awfully round number, isn’t it?
Thinking back to my ‘4 out of 5 dentists’ example above, I wondered what the smallest sampling could be (without rounding) that would produce that percentage. I did the math and it just so happens that the smallest sampling possible is 50 users. Check it for yourself: 29 (58% of 50) + 21 (42% of 50) = 50. (*Hint: 58 is only divisible by 1, 2, 29 and 58, so it’s not rocket science).
What we do know is that they talked to at least 50 people. But I’m sure it was much more than that though, right? How much more?
Issue #3 – How Big Was that Survey Sample?
I ask this question because most SMBs I talk to are constantly hearing that cloud is what they should be doing. Most of them are completely inundated with the cloud message like the blinding lights of paparazzi at a movie premier. They’re starting to either become desensitized to it, frustrated by the repetition, or they start to panic. (See sub-rant at the end).
“The research conducted by Edge Strategies includes survey responses from IT decision-makers or influencers at more than 3,000 SMBs in 13 countries.”
For the sake of fairness and time, I’ll not even touch the definition of “IT decision-makers or influencers”. (You’re welcome).
Slightly Longer Answer:
About the Research
The Microsoft SMB Business in the Cloud 2012 research report was designed and conducted in conjunction with Edge Strategies Inc. in December 2011. The research questioned 3,000 SMBs that employ 2 to 250 employees across 13 countries worldwide: Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.
They even included a little infographic with several sets of other statistics and no less than 17 tiny little clouds on it. I won’t repost it here for fear of copyright infringement. But, you can click on the link above to see it. You can also register (FREE) to download a copy of the Cloud Adoption Study for yourself in PDF format.
Issue #4 – How Many Small Businesses Are Out There?
Ladies and gentlemen, this question gets more exaggerated answers than a convention of people telling stories of ‘the big fish that got away’. Regardless, let’s follow this particular vendor-supplied set of numbers. The reason being, we need to know how many SMBs are out there so we can calculate what percentage of the SMBs they polled, right? That way we know if it’s 5 dentists in one room or an overwhelming majority of the dentists worldwide.
According to Julie Bennani, General Manager, Microsoft Partner Network:
“Despite a sluggish global economy, 50 percent of SMBs say cloud computing is going to become more important for their operations, and 58 percent believe working in the cloud can make companies more competitive. There are over 148 million SMB businesses worldwide needing relevant technology solutions, out of which approximately 50% are Small Business organizations.”
OK, let’s take 50% of 148 million and say 74 million “Small Business organizations” to be on the safe side.
Issue #5 – What Percentage of the Small Businesses Did You Survey?
Simple math here:
- 3,000 surveyed divided by
- 74,000,000 “Small Business organizations”
- Equals, um: 4.05405E-05
- In human terms, that’s 0.0000405
- Let’s try human terms again: 0.00405%
- Last one: 1 person out of every 24,691 “Small Business organizations”
Let’s put that 0.00405% number in perspective, shall we? Here are some terms we can wrap our brains around.
- The circumference Earth is 24,900 miles (or 131,472,000 feet).
- 0.00405% of the circumference of the earth = 5329.95 feet, or slightly over one mile.
Beating the dead horse now.
Someone hired you to come to Earth to explore it, and out of 24,900 miles around the equator, you could only pick one mile. Even if you sliced that mile into 5,280 little chunks that were 1’x1’ squares and spread them all over the equator, you’d get a lot of plant, animal and sea life, but you’d never be aware of the North or South Pole. Or of Australia, or Detroit, or Paris. The point is, with a sampling that small, you’d be missing a lot of the picture.
Don’t email me. I know, Detroit and Paris aren’t on the equator. The surface area of the Earth (including water) is roughly 198 million square miles x 0.00405% sampling = 8,027 square miles. That’s smaller than the size of Massachusetts (8,262 square miles). Not exactly a typical sample of the Earth, would you agree?
The horse is in really bad shape now.
Let’s come back to the idea of our earlier graph for a moment. How big was the voice of those 3,000 SMBs polled? Look below.
Do you see the Red poll sample slice in the round graph above? No?
Let’s try 400% zoom…
See it yet? Nope? Sorry, 400% zoom is as high as Excel goes.
Let’s zoom in more with Windows Magnifier in Windows 7…
That skinny line in the center of the blue is 3,000 SMB voices out of 74 million SMBs, or 0.00405%.
Let’s be clear.
- I’m not picking on Julie Bennani at Microsoft
- I’m not picking on the polling vendor Edge Strategies
- And I’m not picking on the 3,000 SMB people who gave of their valuable time to let their voices be heard.
I am picking on THIS:
Microsoft Partners in the SMB space and Microsoft customers in the SMB space are being given a tiny sliver-sized piece of data that’s being delivered in a manner that makes them think they need to get out of a big red 42% losing minority.
I mean, if “58% of SMBs say cloud computing will make their companies more competitive” what does that say about the 42%?
- Do the 42% hate the cloud?
- Do they not understand the cloud?
- Is it possible they’ve never heard of the cloud?
- Do they not want to be competitive?
- Are 42% of the SMBs just a tax write-off for folks in the 58% who own multiple businesses?
Honestly, I love Microsoft products and deeply appreciate the people who make and support them, but I detest the hyperbole in marketing and nonsensical licensing. And constantly having cloud computing shoved down my throat as the Soylent Green of the future is giving me marketing indigestion.
…and just in case anyone has continued reading this far…
Sub-Rant – Why Do I Let This Cloud Hype Get Under My Skin?
To me, all of this hype is reminiscent of the dot com bubble. Like the industrial revolution, the dot com revolution was a good thing. And ‘cloud’ is good too, in moderation, and when it makes good business-sense. Like most of you, I use the Internet and cloud computing in one form or another every day. I like it. It brings awesome stuff into my work and personal life.
However, during the dot com bubble there was so much marketing hype and hysteria that I personally saw offline companies having meetings to decide if they needed to destroy their current business model or reincorporate just to add ‘dot com’ to their company name. It wasn’t curiosity or concern, it was straight-up fear. Fear of missing out on something. They were literally panicking that they were being left behind. Panicking is a bad business model.
Here are some other bad business models for consideration:
- Believing that if everyone knew what YOU know (or think you know), they would think and feel the same way you do.
- Yelling into a marketing bullhorn trying to cause a cloud stampede.
- Building an awesome product that your customers and partners love, but killing it right as it starts to take off.
- Doing the above-mentioned item repeatedly.
- Making it impractical or impossible for your partners to sell your products due to licensing restrictions.
- Competing with your partners.
- Trying to convince your partners that you know more about what their customers want than the partners do.
- Having enterprise partners take an exam and thinking they now fully understand and are qualified to service SMB customers unique needs.
- Putting a lower-case letter ‘i’ in front of everything, charging a premium for your products, and farming out manufacturing to someone who only pays workers $14 A DAY. (Yes, some will argue that it’s a good business model, and I’ll argue back that it will catch up with them.)
OK, that last one wasn’t particularly SMB, but it’s still a bad business model.
In all seriousness, the constant nagging and unfounded hype is damaging. It’s exhausting customers. It’s alienating partners. It’s a game of ‘who can scream cloud the loudest’ and nobody wins. And if you believe the hype, any uptick in sales only garners more funding to crank up the volume on the bullhorn.
SMB is not a value meal size on the IT fast food menu. SMB is a 74-million-piece puzzle, and it doesn’t make one huge pretty picture. You can’t ask four one-thousandths of one percent what the other 99.996% want or need. You have to be at the coal face, and that’s where the partners are – the SMB partners, not the Enterprise guys certing up with Gold SMB exams who think that SMBs are a bunch of yokels who haven’t heard of Office 365 yet. Our job is to help SMB clients make sound business decisions based on facts, budget, bandwidth, market conditions, the individuality of the company, and small business experience – not on panic, not ‘one-size-fits-all-and-everybody-wants-to-pay-monthly-plus-owning-servers-is-stupid’ hype, and certainly not on ill-fitting solutions that are simply lower cost for you to support or higher margins for you to sell. In short, you think you know what you’re doing in SMB, but you’re wrong. We can help.
Please listen to us. The Small Business Specialist Community is viable and valuable. We have everyone’s best interest at heart, and we have no reason to yank your chain or lead you astray. We want everyone to win.
Far too often the conversation is one-sided. And when it’s two-sided, saying “That’s Good Feedback” and then not using it is like someone handing you medicine and you just throw it in the trash or let it expire on the shelf – the feedback is only beneficial if YOU USE IT.
This is not just a marketing problem or a product group interaction problem. This issue comes from the top down. Specifically, at the WPC 2010 in Steve Ballmer’s keynote he was correct when he said:
“The cloud does change and makes us reinvent our business models, yours and ours. But it’s a change that’s inevitable. It’s a change that allows us all to deliver new value. It’s a change that, thankfully, is not happening overnight, and it is a change that I think we have well embraced together.”
So if we’re embracing it together, you’re listening to our feedback, right? Not exactly. His very next words were:
“I’ll have a number of breakout sessions with partners, where I’m sure I’ll hear various things about how we are competing with you when you don’t want us to, and how we can improve channel conflicts. I’m sure I’ll hear about margins and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But, we will factor those inputs in. We will continue to tweak and tune. We will continue to support you and drive this move to the cloud together. If you don’t want to move to the cloud, we’re not your folks.”
He didn’t say ‘be IN the cloud’, he said ‘MOVE to the cloud’. That was two years ago and it still stings to hear a CEO waive off “partner” concerns with the words “blah blah blah blah blah”. I can’t imagine ever saying that to one of my partners or customers. Well, at least not without getting slapped in the face or fired.
How Much More Do We Have To Take?
In summary, the future of SMB product looks sparse and half-hearted. The company shrouds our collective digital futures under extra levels of Non-Disclosure Agreements. Good product improvement ideas get shot down because the concrete has already dried before we even get to see the plans for the foundation. Years of valuable talent have left the teams faster than air escaping a popped balloon. Everything is played close to the vest just so the marketing department can have their big reveal of a beta or customer preview at whatever the next big trade show is. And everyone contorts to twist around gag orders because the almighty “market buzz” makes the shareholders happy. What about what makes the customers happy?
Side-rant: Asking folks already under NDA to sign extra NDAs on top of existing ones is like giving your spouse an updated prenup for an anniversary present. “I love you dear, you know I do, and I trust you. My lawyer just thinks this is in my best interest, ya know? No hard feelings. Love ya!” What does that say about the trust relationship?
I’m not sure how things work up in Cloud City, but in SMB the cloud is a tool to be used judiciously, not the defacto and ultimate destination. Our ‘administrator’ has a name, and it’s not Lando Calrissian. If you honestly believe that the other 99.996% of SMBs are nothing but 2-250 user companies with fat pipes, a distaste for on-premise equipment and a love of perpetual software rental, you’ve already lost.
Or maybe you WANT to lose? Maybe you don’t want to be in the SBS / WHS / WSSe business anymore? Sure, product support is a cost center. Perhaps the goal in SMB is like Ballmer said – you go ‘all-in’ to the cloud. Partners become little more than migrators of their client data up to your servers. Perhaps your new customer model comes with a choice – either fit into a nice tidy little cloud rental box or else “we’re not your folks”? (And just maybe, out of generosity, you’ll throw a whitepaper at them if they insist on ‘doing it the hard way’.) If so, then obviously our customers aren’t your folks either. You’ve got a LOT of people out here who still want to be your partner. They’ve got the SMB experience, the skills, the desire, and the customers to back it up – don’t blow it Microsoft.
I live every day in the SMB space, and I Am The 42%.
Forget everybody else in the SMB 150…
Eriq Oliver Neale:
Eriq Neale has been into Apple before the rest of us are getting into Apple, into Kerio before the rest of us were into Kerio, and wrote several key books on prior SBS editions. He was even a SBS support engineer before coming a SBS consultant and thus played a key role in helping consultants understand the support view and Microsoft support understand the community.
The international SMB MVP Tour / Roadshow / Geekfest comes to Louisville, Kentucky next week. There’s even a video about it!
Date: Thursday January 19, 2012, 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM Eastern
Free lunch is provided by Penn Station.
THERE ARE STILL SEATS AVAILABLE!
Louisville registration URL for this FREE event:
The presenters for Louisville are:
- Kevin Royalty [SBS-MVP]
- Tim Barrett [SBS-MVP]
The Tour will also be in Ohio a few days earlier…
Date: Monday January 16, 2012, 9AM – 1PM Eastern
Columbus registration URL:
See you there!
An international tour for SMB IT Pros is about to start rolling, and the first stop on the tour is in Cincinnati, Ohio next week.
Title: SMB MVP Community Roadshow Sponsored by HP and Microsoft
Date: Wednesday June 1, 2011
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Cincinnati State – Evendale
Address: 10110 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45241
Registration URL for Cincinnati: http://cinpa201106.eventbrite.com/
- SBS 2011 Standard
- SBS 2011 Essentials
- Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials
- Windows MultiPoint Server 2011
Some of the MVPs presenting / attending:
- Amy Babinchak
- Jeff Middleton
- Kevin Royalty
- Tim Barrett
- Possibly more!
This is the first stop on a HUGE tour that will be hitting locations in the USA, Canada, Europe and down under in Australia! The tour will be coming to Louisville as well – more news on that date and time soon.
The Cincinnati Networking Professionals (CiNPA) SBS SIG is hosting a Windows Small Business Server 2011 LoadFest, and since our regular KYSBSUG event was canceled due to bad weather, we’re crashing the party!
Note: Even if you can’t attend in person, you can watch the LIVE streaming webcast. Scroll down to the bottom for info on the webcast.
In-person Event Details
Title: Small Business Server 2011 LoadFest
Date: Saturday January 29, 2011
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Hamilton County Community Mental Health and Recovery Services Board
Address: 2350 Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Cost: FREE, but registration is required
Map: Click here
Registration: REGISTER TODAY
What to bring:
- A server (physical or virtual)
- dual or quad core processor
- 8GB RAM minimum
- 250gb drive (or a pre-prepared equivalent virtual environment)
- Power cords
- Power strip
- Small network switch with CAT5 cable
- A copy of SBS 2011 Standard from the Microsoft Action Pack, TechNet MSDN, Volume Licensing, or the SBS 2011 Trial (available here).
Note: This is a 6+ GB download, so it’s best put it on a flash drive and not a dual layer DVD. Details for creating a bootable SBS 2011 flash drive are on the blog in a previous post.
Also bring your laptop for taking LOTS of notes.
Matt Hester from Microsoft is attending, and is going to pick up some of the food costs.
Streaming Webcast Details
Time: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9AM – 6PM Eastern
Location: Your personal computer
Note: The remote streaming will happen in 2 parts (9AM – 1PM & 1PM – 6PM). We’ll try to answer questions via the Q&A as time allows. But please keep in mind that on-site attendees will get the primary focus and support, since this is a hands-on event. The streaming is a courtesy (not a remote lab)
I got an email this morning from the Microsoft MVP program, and it looks like I’ll be on the SBS MVP roster for another year.
This is the fourth year I’ve received the MVP award, which is really cool.
Congrats to all the folks awarded today. Once again, I feel like the least qualified person in the room. I always look to Despair.com to provide some humbling reminders to help me keep things in perspective. (A couple of really good ones spring to mind.)
And lastly, one I think about when writing my cartoon…
You can view the whole collection of demotivational posters here. They’re really cool!
This should be an interesting year.
One sunny day while mowing the yard with the old John Deere I thought, “How cool would it be if I could mount a Small Business Server on this lawn tractor?"
The answer (as you already know) is “not very cool”. Nobody wants to see a lawn mower running Exchange and SharePoint.
Obviously, I need to drink more fluids when mowing the yard in the hot sun, but that’s neither here nor there. The proverbial wheels were turning, and I started brainstorming for something much faster and infinitely cooler than a green and yellow tractor…
a.k.a. “The Stig” (nobody knows for sure)
Not only is Matthew a fantastic network engineer and wheelman, he’s got some beautiful muscle cars,
like this supercharged 2008 SRT8 Dodge Challenger:
A Challenger is much cooler than a John Deere, but it gets even better!
Recently, Matthew expanded his stable with the addition of a rare (one of only 20 ever made) 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR convertible. A street-legal race car.
VIPER SRT10 ACR SPECS – BONE STOCK
- 8.4-liter aluminum V10 engine
- 600 horsepower
- 560 lb. ft. of torque
- 0-60 in 3.4 seconds
- Top speed 184 MPH (202 MPH w/o the rear wing, but you’ll die)
This video of a white hardtop ACR on the twisting Virginia City Hill Climb
(Nevada State Route 341) is pretty terrifying.
Suffice it to say, the word ‘awesome’ does not even begin to describe this car.
So one night Matthew and I discussed the viability of mounting a Microsoft Windows Small Business Server in the Viper, and “Project Daffy” was born.
“Why a goofy name like Project Daffy” you say? Check out what happens when you invert the Viper ACR logo:
Can you see Daffy Duck on the right? Thought so.
The trunk is so small, there’s not even a spare tire – just an air pump (left).
Enter Greg Starks – SMB Solutions Program Manager at Hewlett-Packard. Greg has been with HP and Compaq for over 20 years, has presented at over 10 SMB Nation events, and he really knows his stuff.
a.k.a. “Mr. Awesome” (of that we *are* sure)
We needed something that had enough horsepower to run a server OS, but not so big that it wouldn’t fit in the Viper. With limited space, heat and power requirements, it was a tall order. Greg hooked up Project Daffy with the brand new HP ProLiant MicroServer and got it to us in time to make it to the racetrack!
HP MICROSERVER SPECS:
- AMD Athlon II NEO N36L processor 1.3 GHz
- Supports up to 8 GB PC3 DDR3 RAM
- Embedded NC107i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
- OCZ Vertex 2 200GB solid state SATA II drive*
- Cold boot to SBS 2011 login – 2 minutes 45 seconds
- Shut down – 14 seconds
- Operating System – Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard
*We took out the stock 160 GB LFF SATA drive and used the SSD instead to mitigate vibration from the car. (The SSD isn’t a factory option.)
The HP MicroServer is physically small enough (10.5" x 8.3" x 10.2") to fit perfectly in the Viper trunk with room to spare. The MicroServer doesn’t come with a DVD drive, so we took an ISO of SBS 2011 Standard Edition and made a bootable flash drive and installed SBS 2011 that way – no problem.
After the OS installation, we did some testing with the UPS to estimate battery life (about 55 minutes). SBS 2011 runs on that SSD like a scalded dog!
The next step was powering it and mounting it in the car.
- APC Smart-UPS 1500VA battery backup
- Buffalo WHR-HP-G300N 802.11b/g/n wireless router with DD-WRT
- TP-LINK TL-WN722N USB wireless n adapter w/ SMA connector
- External 6” 2.4 GHz omni-directional magnetic mount antenna
- 2.4 GHz Yagi 20 dBi WiFi antenna w/ SMA connector
- Acer Aspire One ZG5 netbook (Windows 7)
- “The Boom” – inverted DirecTV dish mounting hardware for Yagi mast
- “The Surfboard” – various mounting hardware from Home Depot
Due to the irregular shape of the Viper trunk, we used a spare piece of cardboard as a template to map out the shape, and then transferred that outline onto a plank of 3/4” plywood (“The Surfboard”). After some lengthy trial and error moving things around, appropriate measurements were laid out to make sure that there was sufficient room for the equipment, padding, cabling, and tie-down equipment.
HEADING TO THE TRACK:
It’s a pretty long drive from Louisville out to the Mt. Park Dragway in Clay City, Kentucky (about 120 miles). When we got there it was so cold out that the grass in the shadows was still frosted even though the sun had been up for a few hours. Sadly, that morning one of Matthew’s friends lost control of his Corvette on the track and put it into the wall! Fortunately he’s OK, but the same can’t be said for the Vette. Even with safety equipment, racing is still a dangerous occupation.
Mounting the server and network equipment in the Viper trunk went surprisingly smooth. All of the planning and measuring paid off and it fit like a glove. We powered up the server and the router and ran some connectivity tests while Matthew drove around the track. As long as we kept the Yagi antenna (attached to the netbook in our makeshift pits) pointed at the Viper, we never lost a single ping. That’s pretty impressive considering that the antenna was INSIDE the trunk. The car body is fiberglass (except for the carbon fiber rear spoiler) so there was nothing externally on which to stick the antenna.
Side note: One of the coolest parts of the whole project was seeing the looks when people walked around to the back of the car to see what was in the trunk.
The phrase of the day was, “You put a *server* in a Viper!?”
Everybody thought it was cool! So did we. My face hurts from grinning.
Using the netbook back at the pits, we logged into the HP MicroServer via RDP and ran System Information for Windows (SIW) to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the CPU and SSD drive with the trunk closed. Since it was such cool day, all the temps stayed nice and chilly in the server. In fact, the only moving parts in the entire trunk were one cooling fan in the server and another one in the UPS. The rig doesn’t build up much heat anyway.
By design, the Viper ACR doesn’t have electronic traction control. On a cold day with cold tires, the lack of traction control meant that Matthew couldn’t safely punch the pedal to the floor without risking having the Viper suffer the same fate as the Vette. We know what the car can do in warmer weather, so there’s no doubt that that we truly have The World’s Fastest Small Business Server on our hands.
PICTURES OF THE COMPLETED PROJECT:
If you’ve got questions about the project, please feel free to post them in the comments below.
PICTURES – You can see the rest of the pictures on Flickr (test fit before tie-down and different views of the car, etc.)
VIDEO – Matt Hester (IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft) shot some video of Project Daffy today, so you may see it on his blog soon. If he does, we’ll link to it here.
THANKS – Super-special thanks go to Matthew Snoddy (Network Therapists) and Greg Starks (Hewlett-Packard) for making this dream a reality. Props to Andrew McIntosh too for the UPS, and to Lauren for assistance in the pits.
You guys absolutely rock!!
Trend Micro is coming back to Cincinnati, Ohio again for some FREE training on the new Worry Free v7:
Event: Cincinnati SBS SIG – Trend Micro Live Training
Date: Saturday August 21, 2010
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT
Venue: Max Technical Training
4900 Parkway Drive, #160
Mason, OH 45040
Map to venue: Click here
Registration URL: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22AY73GFTUS
This is an all-day event, and lunch will be provided courtesy of Trend.
Seating is limited so REGISTER TODAY!
WEBSITE CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE
Tonight the blog was successfully upgraded from WordPress 2.2 to WordPress 3.0. All of the plug-ins got disabled, then the site was upgraded, and only about 25% of the plug-ins got turned back on. (Fewer plug-ins mean faster page load times.) The hope is that the blog will be faster, easier to manage, and still maintain the same overall look and feel.
Here is a list of the 3 major new features on the blog.
NEW – Voting Feedback
The blog has always allowed registered members to sign in and post comments. But a new feature that got added today is a quick 1-5 star rating system for each blog post.
The goal is to provide a quick and easy way (one button-click with no login required) for readers to provide feedback. Here’s how it works:
All new posts start with a default rating of 3 stars like this…
With 1 mouse click you can vote posts as low as 1 star or as high 5 stars:
|1 – Needs Work
|2 – Below Average
|3 – Average
|4 – Very Good
|5 – Excellent
If folks indicate what they do and don’t like (eBooks, meetings, webcasts, comics, downloads) by voting on the posts, that’ll be helpful feedback about what content you want to see more of on the site. All voting is completely anonymous.
As always, logging in and posting comments or questions the traditional way is still welcome. If you login and post a comment, I get an e-mail right away with your response.
NEW – Twitter Integration
Once you click on the green “retweet” button, Tweetmeme will ask you to login to Twitter and will pre-populate a Twitter post with a shortened URL. You can edit the post, then hit “Tweet”.
I’m not sure if this feature will stay or not, but I wanted to try it out.
NEW – Mobile Phone Support
There’s another plug-in for mobile web browsers that is supposed to make the site easier to read on iPhones and such. If anyone has an iPhone, check the site out and let me know if it looks OK. That plug-in is called WordPress PDA & iPhone.
Where to Download these WordPress Plug-ins
In case you’re running WordPresss for your website and are interested in installing similar features on your site:
- GD Star Rating – Looks awesome but is not working with WordPress 3.0*
- Vote-the-Post – Not as pretty but works out of the box.
- Tweetmeme – Could be cool, could be annoying. We’ll see.
- WordPress PDA & iPhone – For you peeps on the go.
*Note: If GD Star Rating gets an update soon, I’ll definitely switch to that, but Vote-the-Post should be fine for now.
All plug-ins listed above are free downloads.