Twitter as a Personal Productivity Tool

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

When people think of Twitter, many associate it as a place to post just about every meaningless thing you are doing, as well as reading the latest gossip straight from your favorite celebrities, but Twitter can be something completely different – a productivity tool. In this small article, I will try to explain how you can use Twitter to gain insight into the world’s trends and the minds of great leaders as well as to use it as a source for managing your most important data consumption.

Twitter as a Knowledge Exchange Tool
Your Twitter account can be your window to the rest of the world on what you find interesting and valuable to share. Your “tweet” becomes a vote towards a stream of information flowing through all of the web users, where your tweet becomes an influence in that stream. In other words, the more tweets there are about a specific subject, the more likely that it will reach a broader audience. Twitter can also be very narrow and specific. You can use it to follow professionals concerned with particular interests. These professionals will likely share valuable information on those topics as soon as they discover them.

When was the last time you spoke to a Nobel laureate, world leader, or a successful business man? With Twitter, you can “follow” these people and gain the knowledge of the valuable pieces of information they share. Sometimes, it will be small thoughts, and other times they will direct you to a wealth of knowledge sources. You can comment back to them on what they have shared by using the format “@username” and this will reach their account.

So how can you incorporate yourself into this knowledge stream aside from commenting? First, integrate your current information consumption applications with your Twitter account. Many applications and web services allow you to integrate your Twitter account so that you can share content with a single mouse click. When you are reading an article or when you stumble into something of value then you can just click on the Twitter share button and the content will be shared. This form of sharing is an automated way that consumes about 1% of one second of your time each time you share content. Other people will be able to see what you have shared and comment back to you. And this is only a very simple way of sharing knowledge, Twitter is highly flexible in allowing how you decide to share information.

Twitter as your Information Consumption Tool
Once you are comfortable with Twitter, you could switch to the service as an information consumption tool. If you are familiar with RSS and RSS Readers, you will understand this part (if not, look for an article to learn about RSS first). Many of us use RSS Readers for information consumption. However, Twitter offers a more “submersive” way. First, you can identify the places which you have RSS subscriptions for. Many of them will also have Twitter accounts. For those that don’t, there is a very usefull service called TwitterFeed. That free service creates an instruction that sends the RSS feed postings as tweets to your account. You can have more than one Twitter account if you want to segregate the topics.

Once you have integrated all of the information streams so that they all run through Twitter, you have created a highly efficient consumption tool. With Twitter, you can even specify accounts that are of so much importance to you, that you get an SMS in your cellphone with the “tweet”. This is very valuable for people that need to be notified of information changes instantly, like for example when a site goes down or has been penetrated by a spammer, or when a stock goes down or up to a particular price level. Any information change can be programmed so that you are sent an SMS immediately.

These examples serve as a general introduction to the practicalities of Twitter and are aimed at people who care about time and efficiency. As you can see, Twitter can serve as a gateway of valuable and timely information that you can consume and share. You have access to influential leaders and what they are working on. You can reach the content, or the content can reach you through instant notifications to your mobile. You can reach millions of people and millions of people can reach you.

Categories: Business, English, Internet

So what’s gonna happen next…

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

People have a tendency to see the future as a linear function of today’s trends. In the case of the Facebook era, most people see Facebook becoming the principal source of information consumption. To many people, Facebook is the main reason they go online. The rest of the Internet does not exist to many.

Let us rewind a bit; back in the days, in the 1990s there was the browser. It was really confusing to most and so it was mostly adopted by tech savvy people, and then came along America Online (AOL). AOL simplified things to a point where the Internet made sense to the average Joe. For almost all, AOL was the Internet. In fact, domain names were almost irrelevant. In substitution, people new AOL Keywords. Businesses would advertise their AOL keywords so that customers could reach their internet content. AOL became so big, so quick, that coming from nothing, they went on to have such a high market capitalization to the point where they managed to lead the astronomic AOL Time Warner Merger, estimated to have an aggregate value of $350 billion at that time. It would not surprise me that Facebook achieved three digit billion dollar valuations also. Now we all know the fate of AOL.

Facebook is the new AOL. In the evolution of the web, we have gone through cycles of open products and closed products. Mozilla browser – open, AOL – closed, Internet Explorer – open, Facebook – closed. A quick glimpse to the past 20 years of history will show you a cyclical pattern, and there is no sign of this changing. So what’s happening?

We are going through an evolutionary process where when a new technology is introduced, consumers must first go through a comfort period – a closed period. Thus, when Mozilla came out, it was open, but it was too complicated for regular folks and as a result came AOL. Once people felt comfortable browsing, internet browsers took over the experience, open. As we now add a social layer to the Internet fiber, we must take the masses once more through a closed system, while the incorporation of the social layer gets deeply rooted. Through this 20 year period, smaller cycles of other internet technologies have gone through the same process, but we need not get into those details.

So, what’s gonna happen next…

Facebook has done the job of transitioning the social layer element of the Internet and as history shows, we will eventually come out into the open web again. Instead of logging into Facebook, the social layer will permeate throughout the whole web – think “like” buttons. Instead of a singular social place, the entire web will be social and the social intelligence will be distributed – think Diaspora. The social component will feel natural to the average user because of their experience with the closed Facebook system, and the user will easily navigate and interact with this new integrated component.

The lesson being here, that in order for the masses to adopt a new technology, it is most likely that the most effective way of achieving adoption is by having a single standard, where the user interacts in the comfort of uniformity. Uniformity stifles freedom and creativity, thus uniformity will be replaced once the user obtains mastery of the new technology and the comfort isn’t needed anymore.

So can you guess what’s going to happen with the iPhone’s closed iOS? Yes, Android will eventually replace it.

 

Categories: English

Nueva red para Abogados, Abogadas y Estudiantes de Derecho en Puerto Rico

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Nuevo espacio cibernético para estudiantes y profesionales del derecho en Puerto Rico


Un grupo de estudiantes de tercer año de nuestra Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Puerto Rico acaba de lanzar DerechoPR.org, una plataforma multimediática dirigida a concentrar en un solo lugar discusiones e informaciones gestadas por abogados y abogadas, así como estudiantes de derecho.

Un centro de informaciones jurídicas

“La idea es poder acentuar las características comunitarias de esa comunidad jurídica puertorriqueña, concentrando las discusiones, dinámicas y proyectos que se han estado gestando de manera aislada en un solo punto accesible a todos los profesionales y estudiantes de derecho”, explicó Rafael Sosa Arvelo, co-fundador del proyecto, quien lleva diez años desarrollando proyectos en la web.

DerechoPR.org tendrá en un solo lugar todas las convocatorias de actividades jurídicas alrededor de la isla, así como foros de discusión, plataformas de blogs, una recopilación de vídeos jurídicos,  y  una colección de resúmenes de jurisprudencia. La Red será de membresía gratuita y exclusiva para abogados, abogadas y estudiantes de derecho, pero sus contenidos serán accesibles a todas las personas, lo cual ofrecerá la ventaja de poder publicar dentro de un portal bien posicionado en los principales motores de búsqueda, evitando que las aportaciones individuales sean enterradas en la inaccesibilidad al tener que competir con los contenidos de portales mejor posicionados.

Oportunidades para hacer “networking”

El proyecto también tiene como propósito ser otro espacio para la creación y desarrollo de relaciones profesionales tipo “networking”, tanto entre colegas abogados y abogadas, como entre estudiantes de derecho, y entre estudiantes de derecho y profesionales del derecho. Cada aportación –ya sea, en los foros, en los anuncios de eventos o en los blogs– estará identificada con el nombre de la persona, el cual contendrá un enlace a su página de perfil que permitirá que miembros con intereses comunes sepan de la existencia del autor o autora y logren desarrollar iniciativas en conjunto. “A veces las personas indicadas y las oportunidades están ahí, pero no sabemos que existen, no hay un punto de conexión”, comentó Sosa.

Otro tipo de “networking” posible será entre profesionales y futuros profesionales con potenciales futuros clientes. “Cada vez más las personas buscan satisfacer sus necesidades de información a través de Internet, por lo que ir desarrollando una presencia cibernética a través de plataformas bien posicionadas y accesibles debe ser parte de todo plan de desarrollo profesional”, señaló Eugenio Martínez, otro de los estudiantes involucrados en DerechoPR.org

Derecho en Puerto Rico

Categories: English Tags: ,

Entrepreneurs

Here’s an inspirational video for entrepreneurs I saw at one of the TED lectures.

Categories: English

Company Ideas: Amazon

It is clear that Amazon has pushed its Kindle product aggressively and with the newly granted patent, they stand to control the market leader position for the near future, but how is Amazon to 1.) Compete against the invasion of tablets that has begun with the iPad and is expected to grow with many other companies like HP and Toshiba, when the Kindle’s price point is so similar to tablets, and 2.) Retain customer loyalty for its Kindle platform and become the default source for ebooks?

Here’s how I believe this could be achieved. First, I will talk about Kindle Credits – a way that can both promote an increase in sales and a higher likelihood of a customer opting to purchase a Kindle. Second, I will talk about Kindle’s Books for eBooks, a program that can be promoted as a way to increase customer’s loyalty on the Kindle product.

Kindle Credits
As explained above, tablet PCs, starting with Apple’s iPad are quickly becoming the new form of portable electronic media consumption. Amazon quickly launched Kindle for iPad, before that they had also launched Kindle for iPhone, but their dominance over the market of ebooks is more threatened when Amazon has to compete within a system like Apple’s iPad and iPhone, which have their own competing eBook stores. Ideally, Amazon will have the most control over the market if customers buy the actual Kindle hardware.

So, how do we get people to pay for a Kindle? Kindles have continued to go down in price, but at $189 for the cheapest model, they are still fairly close to tablets which  can do many other things. Aside from price, Kindle can offer the eInk technology and a much lighter and thinner device. Getting to the right price can be achieved with a loyalty promotion that I call Kindle Credits.

Kindle Credits are credits that go towards the purchase of the Kindle hardware with purchases made on Amazon. For example, every time a customer purchases a regular book through Amazon or an ebook, the customer would receive an email informing them that they have obtained 2 credits towards their purchase of a Kindle. Like the miles program, once they reach a certain number of credits, they get the Kindle for “free”. This serves two purposes – one, it serves as an incentive to buy more from Amazon, and second, it reduces the price barrier of the Kindle in a direct proportion to a customer’s commitment with Amazon.

Even though the Kindle can finally be purchased for “free”, it really wasn’t. The customer will have purchased several Amazon products in order to get the Kindle, and thus, it will value the Kindle – unlike other products which are not valued because they are given away. In fact, the Kindle Credits could, upon fine tuning the most effective form, be restricted to only giving credit for purchases of ebooks, which would serve as an anticipation of the Kindle hardware. This way, customers can be incentivized to buy Amazon ebooks, rather than Apple or other company’s ebooks, despite reading them on devices like the iPad. Then, after reaching the amount of credits needed for a free Kindle, they would have a risk free option of switching to the Kindle hardware and dumping the tablet way of reading.

Kindle Books for eBooks
This program is aimed towards solidifying even more the loyalty to Kindle by offering Kindle owners a program where they can ship their old physical books to Amazon, and they can get the eBook version in return. I have lived in several states and have spent considerable amounts of time in different countries. Yet, it is impossible for me to carry all those books, which I might want to read or reference to at a given point. Instead, they are left abandoned because of the hassle of carrying them. Those loved books can be saved forever and reached anywhere, striking into the very hearts of passionate readers who would love the idea of having a full library – their library at their fingertips always, everywhere. Furthermore, it serves as a much stronger bond to have your full library under the Kindle brand, than to just have a few ebooks purchased sitting there. Those old books will serve as a magnet for coming back and purchasing the new ones, because they are all part of their library.

Amazon could then leverage the current press attention to “green companies” and announce a recycling program with the returned books, or they could just funnel the books to the used books for sale channels. Either way, they can get a second benefit from the byproduct of the old physical books. They could also strike a deal with the publishers who are willing to engage in the switch in some form – maybe by giving Amazon a higher sales margin for those types of transactions, or another form of creative deal that would serve to reduce the initial cost of making the switch between physical to digital.

Categories: English

Social Media and Technology Trends Video from The Economist

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Short video on the direction of technology and the Internet and how powerful it has become in comparison to traditional media.

Advice to a Young Man Interested in Going into Law

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

A twelve year-old boy wrote a letter to Justice Felix Frankfurter requesting advice on the ways to start preparing while still in junior high school. Frankfurter responded:

My dear Paul:

No one can be a truly competent lawyer unless he is a cultivated man. If I were you, I would forget all about any technical preparation for the law. The best way to prepare for the law is to come to the study of the law as a well-read person. Thus alone can one acquire the capacity to use the English language on paper and in speech and with the habits of clear thinking which only a truly liberal education can give. No less important for a lawyer is the cultivation of the imaginative faculties by reading poetry, seeing great paintings, in the original or in the easily available reproductions, and listening to great music. Stock your mind with the deposit of much good reading, and wide and deepen your feelings by experiencing vicariously as much as possible the wonderful mysteries of the universe, and forget all about your future career. With good wishes,

Sincerely yours,

Felix Frankfurter

Categories: English Tags: , , , , ,