JaySmallarchive Small Initiatives site archive, 2009-earlier. Use menu links for Jay Small's new blog and Ka Small's APODEXI site.

August 2008

Posted by Jay Small

News alerts that lit up pixels on my screen the past two days got me thinking:

  • CNN.com sent a breaking news email just after 10 p.m. Eastern last night: "Barack Obama tells packed stadium he accepts Democratic nomination 'with profound gratitude and great humility.'" His nomination long ago secured, this speech was a media-friendly event planned for many weeks; I can think of no urgent need to know he accepted the nomination in it. (All such CNN alerts carry the same subject line -- "CNN Breaking News" -- which seems silly but may, in fact, be a clever ruse. I would not have opened the message if the subject line clued me in on its content.)
Posted by Jay Small

Links in search of steady work:

Pardon the quiet

17 Aug 2008
Posted by Jay Small

Last week it was business travel. This week posting will be light because I am working the annual online conference we at Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group put on for the local and corporate leaders of our newspaper division.

Next week I have no excuse, so just in case you care, I'll try to make things more interesting around here after the company confab.

Traveling ...

12 Aug 2008
Posted by Jay Small

I hopped on a quick business trip to California yesterday, so expect slow posting here. I encountered a pleasant surprise en route -- and the fact that it was such a surprise just tells you how low travel in these United States has gone:

Continental Airlines still serves modest hot sandwiches, free, on flights long enough to warrant them -- including my connection yesterday from Houston to Los Angeles.

I rarely fly Continental -- Knoxville tends to be more a Delta spoke, if anything -- and judging by the surprised looks on others' faces when the sandwiches came out, other infrequent fliers were just as amazed.

Posted by Jay Small

The Philadelphia Inquirer will hold back much of its content from the Web until it has appeared in print, says Mike Leary, managing editor, in a memo to staff picked up by Romenesko.

Jeff Jarvis, already on a roll on the subject of curmudgeons, declares Leary's decree "suicide." To Steve Outing, it is simply a "discouraging" step backward.

Outage two-fer

06 Aug 2008
Posted by Jay Small

At the moment, both Bloglines and LinkedIn are down -- the former showing a generic "back-soon" splash, the latter claiming an upgrade is under way.

(Unless it's one whoa-nelly upgrade, I can't imagine prime time is the best time for a scheduled service window.)

Anyhoo, I see no blog buzz on these outages. What's the scoop?

Five minutes later: LinkedIn is back, but if it's upgraded, the new stuff has all the subtlety of a recluse spider.

Posted by Jay Small

No one told me this was Top 5 List Week. I spotted another useful list in Webland, this time, the five hidden costs of content management systems over at Vitamin.

In a nutshell:

  1. The cost of training
  2. The cost of quality
  3. The cost of functionality
  4. The cost of redundancy and flexibility
  5. The cost of commitment

In my experience, over the years training costs on modern CMS have dropped, but costs of commitment -- which I will extend to include costs associated with keeping internal customers happy -- keep growing no matter how good, or new, the system.

Posted by Jay Small

Chris O'Brien provides five steps for newsroom innovation in a post at MediaShift Idea Lab. In short:

  1. Make it [innovation] a priority.
  2. Create a process.
  3. Foster new collaboration.
  4. Offer incentives.
  5. Evaluate and learn.

All great advice, and the details support it well. I jump off, however, whenever people say no one in media exerts this effort, as O'Brien warns:

"Newsrooms should, but won't, offer financial incentives. They should, but won't, offer bonuses or revenue sharing for ideas that prosper."

Posted by Jay Small

Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher, writing at GigaOM, describe the top five reasons technology executives fail. The short form:

  • Failure to build a world-class team.
  • Failure to execute.
  • Failure to lead/motivate/inspire.
  • Failure to manage operationally.
  • Lack of financial acumen.

Abbott's and Fisher's explanations focus on technology executives -- for example, the admonishment that "your senior technology officer does not need to be the brightest technical mind in the business." Their logic, nevertheless, also applies to other kinds of executives, from creative leaders up to CEOs.

Posted by Jay Small

Change keeps life interesting, and Ka and I have had our share.

She now works as a principal in the financial services practice at The IQ Business Group. She says she'll still post to her blog here at SI as time allows.

We both are nearing the halfway point in our MBA studies, and just completed final exams for summer term. That means a bit of time off from classwork, which gave me just enough time to:

  • Upgrade the system that runs the SI site from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6.
  • Lay in a new design while I'm at it.