Tuesday, February 27, 2007

L'espresso praises Sitòfono

L'espresso, the weekly newsmagazine leader in Italy talks about Sitofono and its value proposition for all the activities that have a point of presence on the Internet.

Sitofono is like a doorbell for your site. If the metaphore "website" = "shop/studio" is true, Sitofono is your first voice contact, that is to say the second thing you look at after reading the bronze plate.

Luca said:
(Free translation)
At present, we are focusing on the Italian market, but we've already planned the expansion towards Europe and North America, i.e. countries where the usage and the success of VoIP technologies is really relevant.

(Source, Italian)
Attualmente ci concentriamo sul mercato nazionale, ma stiamo già pianificando il lancio nel resto d’Europa e in Nord America, Paesi dove l’utilizzo e il successo delle tecnologie basate sul Voice over ip è davvero molto importante.

That is to say: stay tuned :)

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Friday, February 23, 2007

Innovation Resistance (Part Three)

Following the previous posts a bout Innovation resistance Part One and Part two, here is the third and last part.

As I already said, resistance to any form of change is a natural reaction. I tried to classify the first three forms in this "post trilogy", here is the last and more general one.

The third form of innovation resistance is the lifestyle lock-in.
When we propose innovation, we are always replacing or modifying someone's habits and way of thinking. We are removing the safe harbors of being acquainted, accustomed to this or that behaviour.
When we find someone that has made the first step to change (the so-called early adopter), he/she finds often stuck in a dilemma: "if everything has been working fine so far, why do I have to change?". People go back to their habits at the first "serious" difficulty. What's never clear is how to quantify the "serious" value. People tend to change lifestyle only if they see that there is a net advantage in changing.
Example. The video recorder allows timeshifting, so that you are not put into slavery by TV schedules: how many times you hear people saying "Sorry, today I can't go out because I have to watch the latest XYZ episode"? The timeshifting "feature" came up only after some early adopter put it in practice, in real life. Word of mouth did the rest.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Innovation resistance (Part Two)

In a previous post I started talking about Innovation resistance (part One). In this post I presented the first (and the most common) type of resistance, which comes in the form of "Truth" by Conventional Wisdom.

The second form is the lack of necessity.
One of the most common sentences is "640 k ought to be enough for anyone". Even if it's a false Bill Gates Quote, it resembles the main idea of being satisfied with the things you already have.
Do you remember people speaking like:
- "Why do I have to bring a telephone with myself? I don't need it. If I cannot be reached right now, I'll be available at home, or at work."
- "I don't want to spend 400$ for a GPS navigator: my tourist guide and driving map are enough, for 7$ each. Anyway, I never get lost." :))

The Lack of necessity is a form of "luddism", that is to say we are skeptical about the fact that we may need something new.

An "old" story about a fisherman and a businessman describes the situation in which we find a typical "resistance" from lack of necessity. It's worth a read: even if you disagree either with the fisherman or the businessman, you've got the hint to think about it...


Technorati Tags: , , ,

Innovation resistance (Part One)

The main foe a start-up company has to face is innovation resistance.
Resistance manifests itself in various forms, and in different moments of the product lifecycle.

The most common form (and the first to come up) is the Truth of Conventional Wisdom.
This form of collective knowledge, sometimes misidentified as "common sense" does not take into account new, previously unknown knowledge.
Anything that goes against the CW is slowed down in its race. Any technological innovation had to slowly permeate the collective thinking, to create awareness and confidence in order to overcome this problem.


Technorati Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Firefox and Thunderbird VoIP Extension released

I'm happy to announce that a new version of Firefox VoIP Extension and Thunderbird VoIP extension are available on http://labs.abbeyphone.com
They work on Windows, MacOS X and Linux platforms.

The only thing you need is an abbeyphone account, get it now, it's FREE :)

Please note that they are still beta releases, that is to say that there is some undocumented feature, and some uncovered bug around.
Anyway, this Firefox VoIP version solves some minor bugs and the more important bug when working on blogs and content management systems, which has been spotted by Russell Shaw

Enjoy your calls, and if you want to have a chat just call me: my number is 210001182!

Technorati Tags: ,, , , ,

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Web design is CRAP!

First of all, I want to thank Giacomo for citing me as a source of book titles :)

He points out what is the Zero principle of design: "if you want to break the rules you first need to know the rules to be broken".

And the rules are CRAP :)

That is to say, Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity.

1) Contrast
The idea behind contrast is to avoid elements on the page that are merely similar. If the elements [...] are not the same, then make
them very different.

2) Repetition
Repeat visual elements of the design throughout the piece. [...] This
develops the organization and strenghtens the unity.

3) Alignment
Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarly. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page.

4) Proximity
Items relating to each other should be grouped close together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units.

Rules, conventions, and the "common sense" build up what is a good design.
The thing is, what makes a "good design" is not what makes an "excellent and innovative design".
What makes an innovative design is something that goes beyond common sense, rules, conventions.
It is about creating something really new, something unprecedented.

We all know that, the Web is an infinite source of designs and attempts of establishing a new way of communicating "things".
Most of them are just failures. Until you find something that is really capturing, it stimulates your neurons in a positive way, it programs your will to go on, to follow the Cheshire cat...


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Where are the Voice2.0 developers? Partying somewhere else, I think

Mr Blog recently published an interesting post about "Where are the Voice 2.0 developers?"

He quotes one of my posts, and I needed to stop and open my dictionary because I didn't know the idioms "Talk the talk, walk the walk".

PhoneGnome has offered a free API for almost a year now. But where are the innovators? We even offered to provide a free PhoneGnome box to those publishing apps to the User Contributed Library.

People say they want this stuff. They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

English language improvements apart :), I want to clarify this point: my company released a "Voice Over Web" SDK in May, 2006 right during the VON Europe conference in Stockholm, and I was happy to see that Phonegnome has been following a well beaten route[1], and that we were heading the same direction.
That is to say, it wasn't my intention to say "I wanna play with that toy".
I was just so delighted that I "placed some bets" after a glance at my crystal ball.

Unfortunately our SDK has been coldly saluted: even if we received praises and some good technical feedback, we haven't seen experiments worth noting -yet.
My opinion is that we came to the party earlier than expected, and the place was nearly deserted. The party people was feasting somewhere else, with widgets, gadgets, del.icio.us ajax scripts and rails, maps, identity and Single Sign On APIs, and so on. Now they finished building their websites, and found themselves in an embarrassing silence. Websites are mute. Websites need Voice.

In fact, during the last two months we've been contacted by a wave of independent developers, entrepreneurs, old friends, all of which are interested in building a "website with Voice in". All of them need to provide a communication tool to their community, all of them need a turnkey solution because they don't want to bother with the "telecommunication matter".

Opening up (or licensing) your technology (or product) to make it as widespread as possible is a strategy that's been historically used to impose well known dominant designs: VHS (over Betamax), Google maps, Intel Centrino (over Transmeta), NTSC in USA and PAL in Europe. It's a combination of open architecture and bandwagon effect.
Everybody wants to ride the tide.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mobile Ad Targeting for 3 Italia

Christine Herron cites a recent research results about mobile Ad Targeting and its effects

Adriano Gaved from mobile media company 3 Italia recently shared the results of an internal case study on mobile content ad targeting. The big takeaways from their testing:

  1. In mobile content, carriers will be disappointed to discover that the consumer's expectations around content consumption will trump his or her preexisting norms around mobile usage. e.g., free and advertising-supported is the standard content model, rather than premium payments. (Notable exceptions: users are willing to pay extra for games, adult
    content, and music.)

  2. Each time you divide a target cluster, you will double the clickthrough rate.

That is to say, we Italians are avid consumers but... greedy?
Exception is -as always is- Porn.

Anyway, what's really interesting is the fact that you need to segment your user base, in order that you can obtain more performing Ad.
3 Italia tests stopped at a certain level of granularity. What Christine wonders is if they stopped because they just reached a sufficiently effective CTR or if they failed to achieve reasonable improvements by segmenting more.

In addition to that, I wonder if they are segmenting on mobility attitudes by interpreting the cell registration data (like long-distance-workers, sales representatives moving by car, sales representatives moving by plane, etc.)

Technorati Tags: ,
, ,

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ten things you need to know about "ten things you need to know about" lists

  1. Lists should be guidelines. But they pretend to be commandments.
  2. Lists are usually a personal representation of a more complex world: each reader would have pointed out different aspects, not just those ones.
  3. Lists represent a "compressed archive" of some more thoughtful reasoning. They cannot replace a well-written document.
  4. There are no good lists and bad lists: lists have no soul, no will :)
  5. There is a tendency to grow the list in a more structured way, thus transforming the list into a document tree. But want to save the trees, don't we? :)
  6. When someone reads a list, he/she feels an incoercible desire of building up his/her own list.
  7. Most of the bullet points are just obvious statements we could have made without them.
  8. A list cannot contain sufficient information to strengthen or weaken an argument. It's insane to pretend that a list can save you from a higher-pitch-debate.
  9. When you feel confident that the list has been "marble carved" in your brain, the first thing you do happens to violate the guidelines contained in the list!
  10. Sometimes it happens that the list is made of 13 or 9 elements. Some weird mental constraint (it has to be long enough, but not too long) lead the writer to cut out 3 interesting ones or to add one dumb bullet point to it. Like this one is!

Technorati Tags: , , ,