April 02, 2004

Brad DeLong Thinks -- You Should Listen

From a political point of view, I'm something of an anomaly -- a free-trade liberal. (Hell, a free-trade quasi-socialist).

Brad DeLong, economics professor at Cal, and former economics advisor in the Clinton Administration, recently posted to his blog a piece he co-wrote with Stephen Cohen, "Thinking About Outsourcing."

I continue to find Brad's thoughts and passion inspiring, perhaps surprising since the subject is, well, the dismal science. He's able to clearly articulate why free trade, and yes, outsourcing/offshoring are good things, but that it needs to be qualified with a social safety net, which will help mitigate the inevitable shifts within a national economy.

Posted by peterme at 09:25 AM | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Enterprise Content Management is a Process, Not A Technology

My business partner Jeff just wrote an essay titled, "Why Content Management Fails," about the pitfalls of standard CMS implementations. CMS vendors have spent years trying to convince customers that content management is a technology, and with the right solution, the problems go away. But in talking to people at organizations big and small, we hear again and again that CMS projects fail. In digging around, we came to the essential realization that "content management" is a process, not a technology.

While we're far from being the only ones who figured this out, it's surprising how firmly held the technological orientation is. It's tempting to blame the vendors (who are in the market to sell Big Applications and all the costly services that go with them), but the bulk of the responsibility goes to the organizations who are not willing to face reality when it comes to the difficulty and complexity of managing content, and thus are easy marks for the supposed magic bullet that solves all their content problems.

At Adaptive Path, In our research and development around content management, what became clear is that the way to address "the content problem" is to separate the "content development" and the "content publishing" aspects of the process. At the outset, focus your content management efforts on the latter -- develop strong metadata, develop templates, and treat the CMS simply as a database, a content repository.

Once the people in the organization are comfortable with publishing content in the new system, then they will, on their own, realize that the system can also make the content development processes run smoother. As Jeff points out, if you try to start with the workflow reengineering, you'll just incur resistance and ire from your staff.

Jeff has developed, with some assistance from me, a really strong one-day workshop on Making Your CMS Work For You, which he's giving on May 20th in Chicago. (Use the promotion code FOPM for 15% off!)

With our user experience mindset, we ended up developing an approach that is a paradigm shift from "business as usual" with CMS implementations, and should, frankly, help organizations save thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, in person-hours and technology costs. One of the workshop's strongest takeaways is that the vast majority of enterprise websites don't need fancy CMSes. With a smart approach in place, these website can, in fact, perform *better* with no-to-low-cost tools.

Posted by peterme at 10:01 AM | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

All the pretty colors...

Making the blog rounds is Newsmap, a tool for visualizing what's getting press around the world.

It's based on a visualization style known as treemaps. I addressed this topic in an interview I conducted with Marti Hearst, where we called out Smartmoney.com's "Map of the Market" as an example of a useful, usable, and engaging visualization.

Newsmap is quite keen, though Map of the Market, with it's green-to-red coding signifying economic trends, packs more of a visceral wallop. Perhaps it would be interesting for Newsmap to not just demonstrate popularity whether a meme is gaining ground or falling. Of course, with news, we'd probably expect most items to lose ground, but it would be keen to see those few things that percolate into the mediasphere.

Posted by peterme at 07:15 PM | TrackBack

Blame Canadia!


Found here.

Posted by peterme at 08:54 AM | TrackBack

March 28, 2004

Things Worth Reading, March 28

"Looking Offshore: Outsourced UCSF notes highlight privacy risk - How one offshore worker sent tremor through medical system", SF Chronicle.
Investigative reporting showing how the management of sensitive medical information is being outsourced overseas. Bits of it read like a good detective story.

"The staggering price of world's best research", SF Chronicle.
All about how journal publishers, namely Elsevier, exploit the free labor of academics for exceeding corporate gain, at the very expense of those same academics. It's only a matter of time before these scholarly journals move online and become much cheaper (if not free). And good thing, too. The arrogance of these assholes is startling.
[I wrote about this a bit back, "As Goes The Typewriter Repairmen..."]


"A City is Not a Tree", by Christopher Alexander. I hadn't realized this essay was online. It's one of my favorites from the very hard-to-find ZONE 1/2.

One of my new favorite websites. Similar to Google News, except with an overlaying of personalization that seems to work pretty good. It's now a regular in my morning reading.

"Caring for Your Introvert", The Atlantic Online.

Posted by peterme at 04:38 PM | TrackBack


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Brad DeLong Thinks -- You Should Listen
Enterprise Content Management is a Process, Not A Technology
All the pretty colors...
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