Allianz and FC Barcelona Micro-Conference: The Future of Health

Smart clothing combined with a new generation of sensors as part of intelligent hardware components is one of the biggest markets when thinking about the future. This is not only a question for the insurance industry in order to create new business segments. There are also a lot of benefits for sport clubs by tracking the activities, health and workout data of their players to optimize the practice and to prevent potential injuries. Read more

Urban Loop System – Elon Musk next big thing

There are so many stories going around about Elon Musk and his ambitious plans around self-driving cars and renewable energy. But there are also other goals that Musk would like to accomplish. One of these projects Musk is running beside the car industry is the ‘Urban Loop System.’ Based on a recently report from Mashable.com Musk would like to solve the traffic problem with the mass of people using subways as well. Read more

Samsung unveils the new of the old future generation of TV

We have seen films in which James Bond (or his “friends”) stands in front of tranparent TV screens, planning to save or change the world. We have seen Minority Report where Tom Cruise catches whoever and whatever in an impossible mission which becomes mission possible before it even happens. And we have seen visions of future screens here and here.

These were films. Are we living in this cinema world soon…?

Well, this “Smart Window” technology Samsung which is being promoted at CES 2012 is somehow groundbreaking and breathtaking. Lovely Ashley Esqueda is definitely real and checks out the new Samsung technology at their booth with a little demo of the window.

Would you want that “Smart window” in your living room where you can switch from looking out at the blue sky and watching Roger Moore or Samantha Morton at the beach? Or would you just be happy to have one more free wall without a black screen? I would.

PS: And if this is going to be the future, then I doubt the Accenture study forecast that states consumers will buy fewer TVs. How about you…?

Personal Branding – how to build your career 3.0

Personal branding is the way to stand out of the crowd and being noticed in some special way in the business world which makes you unique. It is your value proposition for the future of your career. In a session at the webinale09 I held a speech about ‘Career 3.0 – split between personal branding and productivity’ and gave some projections on the relevance of social media activities and how these affect your career development.

Today, we want to learn from Dwight Cribb, founder of his successful recruitment agency, what professional recruiters think about personal branding and what is the relevance for personal branding. You can follow his offline and online thoughts via his Twitter account.

Q: What is the first thing you do when somebody is being suggested as a perfect candidate?
Dwight Cribb Of course I will first probe what the relationship between the candidate and the person suggesting him is. Supposing that the recommendation is made during a phone conversation, I will in parallel check the candidate’s profile on Xing. If that does not provide the information I require I will probe deeper with people search engines.

Q: Let’s imagine somebody is not doing anything for personal branding. This person is not blogging, micro-blogging or social networking. Does this have a positive or negative impact on your perception of that person?
Dwight Cribb This largely depends on the type of position I am recruiting for, both in terms of seniority and discipline. I would normally expect someone in a directly client facing role or someone who communicates directly on behalf of a division or company to have at least some presence on the web. It is, however, true that not being on a social networking site is today more of statement than being on one. A few years ago one could be forgiven for thinking of people who had not yet discovered Xing, LinkedIn and facebook as being somewhat backward or conservative. As it is today largely impossible to not have noticed these networks flourish, we must assume that those not on them have shunned them on purpose. This may be a good strategy if one relies on others to communicate with clients and the public, especially as a senior manager. A C-Level executive will through his utterances on social networks have a severe impact on the brand communication, it thus needs to be 100% in line with the other communication, if not it will cause at best confusion and at worst it will undermine the credibility of the brand.

As for blogging, I think that is a very personal decision and I would never think badly of anyone who did not blog. I may, however, think badly of someone who blogs badly or in a manner inappropriate to his or her position. So overall it would not reflect badly if I found out nothing about a person online, it would just peak my interest and make me more curious to receive other information in the form of a CV or a recommendation from a third party.

Q: Will personal branding and the individual online reputation replace the traditional CV some day?
Dwight Cribb I doubt whether it will replace the CV, it is more likely that it will continue to augment the CV. Online reputation is a fantasy product. We each spin our profiles in a manner which we feel supports the image we want to convey. It is self marketing. A CV is more strongly based in chronological fact and provides a picture which comes closer to the reality than the pictures which get drawn in communities.

Q: If everybody has a strong personal brand, don’t companies fear these people could get chased by some competitor and recruiters? Or that employees just work for their own career purpose?
Dwight Cribb Most successful employees work for the own career advancement. But in the long term they will only achieve this by delivering results to their employers, because people are very good at spotting meaningless self marketing and will not fall for it for long. Good employees have always had a strong personal brand (also called reputation). It has been true in all areas and across the ages, if you do something well you will be admired by your peers and your reputation will spread. This means that others will try and employ your services, sometimes via a recruiter.

Q: What is your advice on how companies have to handle personal branding of the employees in the future?
Dwight Cribb Let people define themselves what they are comfortable with. Give them a clear guideline what company resources and what company information they can use to build their reputation and to what extent they must make clear what is their opinion what the company’s.

Q: What do you think of the personal web managers vision?
Dwight Cribb There are instances where this makes perfect sense, but I belive they are far and few between. This is a role which has precedence in the offline world, many high-profile business people, politicians and celebrities employ someone with this brief. Whether they do their job online, offline or in both really does not make much difference. We have come to expect that the picture we get presented of these people has been scripted and planned in detail. We even often admire the way in which they craftily manipulate their image. But I think we would be less inclined to condone or accept this level of abstraction in communication in our closer environment of colleagues, family and friends. A facebook status update from a friend loses relevance if I know that it was posted his or her personal web consultant, who was busy making them be liked by their friends and acquaintances.

Q: Give us 3 tips how to create a personal brand, please.
Dwight Cribb Be yourself, be honest, laugh at times.

Thank you for your time and your advice, Mr. Cribb.

UK: Internet users love browsing social media – less shopping

A recent study by Hitwise reveales that UK Internet users are spending more time browsing online media than ‘going’ online shopping. In March 2009 9.8% of all UK Internet visits were directed to social networking websites and 8.6% to online retail websites. Compared to 2008, the figures turned around (online retailers 9.7% – social networks 8.2%).

In the passed year, online retailers sawe a downsize in traffic from paid search like sponsored or paid for links on search engines (i.e. like Google, Yahoo!, Live and Ask) – 2009: 8.9% and 2008: 10,1% of visits to online retailers came from a paid search listing.

“The growth of social networking, online video and the continuing popularity of news websites has meant that an increasing proportion of consumer’s online time in the UK has been devoted to online media,” commented Robin Goad, Hitwise’s Director of Research.

The traffic that Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and the likes generates for online retailers increased in one year from 5.2% to 7.1%. And social networks now generate 58.3% more traffic than webmail providers (Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and GoogleMail). The best performing categories in 2009 were Auctions, Fashion and Department Stores.

“Social networks are a relatively small but fast growing source of traffic for online retailers,” commented Goad. “At present, only a minority of retailers pick up a significant amount of traffic from social networks, but many of those that do have seen a positive impact on traffic. For example, fashion retailer ASOS has a strong presence on Facebook and in March received 13.3% of its traffic from the social network. Another example – in a very different market – is online bookseller Abebooks, which currently receives a quarter of all its UK Internet traffic from social networks, more than it gets from search engines.”

Spot On!
Is this showing a trend that people are willing to buy products in social networks? In the UK, it sounds possible. It could be the next step. We all know that the easy purchase process is a winner – for companies and customers. Thinking of the future of social networks, companies should consider engaging with customers much more on social networks while also integrating ‘light’ e-commerce opportunities in their Facebook Fan pages or in their company profiles at XING. Or at least indicate and lead the way for customers to some good offers or marketing activities. And re-thinking efforts on big spendings for paid search is definitely something that needs to be thought about…

Parody: Is Twitter out and nanoblogging the next trend?

If you are on Twitter there are three things we don’t like: people that talk to much, the speed of the service and the interruption time. Now, there could be a new alternative to Twitter called Flutter.

This nanoblogging service will restrict users to blogging in 26 characters or less. A new blogging trend? At least if you believe in the theory of Matt Ibsen, founder of Flutter…

The cool idea about Flutter would be that you can update your updates from other social media sites and Flutter will automatically cut them down to the 26 character limit. A brevity which all our followers and friends will appreciate…

Sure, this is a fictitious parody on the latest innovation drive in the ‘social media industry’ by the Slate Magazine. The world needed someone to make some fun out of the latest madness around Twitter.

Spot On!
Some questions we do not need to ask for evaluating Flutter: Did we all get the benefit of the business? What is their business model? If it is really a great concept… why do we see such a ‘poor’ delivery on the concept by the execs? Why don’t the execs explain the essence of their business model in 26 characters? This could be an interesting approach for Twitter’s 140 as well…

In some way this parody reminds me of…