Mean Guys & Good Guys

A few years ago when my two eldest sons were little kids my mom once commented that when they were playing they were talking about ‘Good Guys’ who were fighting ‘Mean Guys’. She commented that usually kids talk about Good Guys and Bad Guys.

I always thought Good and Mean were good opposites.

A few days ago I realized why.

Calling them ‘bad guys’ doesn’t give you enough information – it implies that perhaps its not their fault, maybe it’s just an undeserved label.

‘Mean guys’ on the other hand, deserve what they get. Their crime is in their poor behavior.

So we’re sticking to Mean Guys – seems like they deserve whatever the Good Guys dish out anyway…

Israel’s Pillar of Defense – An example of Israel’s Antifragile strength

Israel’s recent conflict lasting 8 days ended about as quickly as it began.

From my perspective as an Israeli, I felt we came out stronger for having had the conflict.

The IDF achieved the main goals of the mission – which was to stop the firing of missiles at civilians.
Iron dome was tested and perfected in ways that lab tests could never have done.

Our politicians worked their way through flash visits from Hillary Clinton and Ban ki-Moon and came out in pretty good shape.

But the biggest gain may have been to the millions of people who experienced many unexpected situations.

  • Kids who had to learn about bomb shelters,
  • families who suddenly needed to take roll to make sure everyone was safe when the siren went off,
  • soldiers who hadn’t been under missile threat – learning to work under this new condition

It all made me think of Nassim Taleb’s new book Antifragile – where he describes systems, organizations, and people who benefit from stresses – coming out stronger and more versatile for the wear.

Israelis are Antifragile – Low to mid-level conflict has made us stronger – more resilient and able to handle bigger challenges.
This means that the bet that our enemies have made on ongoing terror has become a stressor that has actually made Israel and Israelis stronger.

Though I certainly don’t wish for conflict – knowing that it makes us stronger is a consolation.




What do Reputation Management and Snorting Nutmeg have in common?

Strange question, perhaps.

It turns out they have a great deal in common!
Over the past couple of days I have been experimenting with Google Correlate , a tool I recently discovered.

Basically, Google Correlate looks at the search volume patterns for any keyword and identifies other keywords whose patterns match.

So in addition to finding useful patterns, Correlate finds patterns that seem utterly meaningless (though perhaps they are statistically significant).

Google Correlate

So it seems the connection between Snorting Nutmeg and Reputation Management is that at both had a huge rise in search volume around the end of 2010, followed by a similar increased interest on an ongoing basis.

Using this tool, we have discovered some interesting patterns related to some of our clients – though there is a lot of chaff to work through!

Meanwhile snorting nutmeg is not recommended, while reputation management is!


Google knows I am from Five Blocks

I recently gave a presentation to a company in New York who has been a client for several months.
The topic of the presentation was what businesses are doing on Google+ and what then should they consider doing. I use Google+ a bit, but preparing for a presentation to a very educated group of Digital brand Management experts at a leading company in NY requires serious preparation. Incidentally if anyone wants a copy of the presentation contact me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+.

The presentation looked something like this:

In order to explain the importance of Google+ I thought it was worthwhile looking at how important it is to Google.
The short answer is – VERY!

Google can use Google+ to create even better connections. And they want as many connections as possible.
I will write more about this on the Five Blocks blog.

In any case, I just opened my browser and saw another example of Google asking to connect my social media to my Google account.
See below:

Note the grey section in which Google asks me – on the search page if I am @sammichelson on Twitter and if so do I want to connect!

Google outsmarts webmasters – chooses “better” titles

As we work with more Fortune 100 companies in various industries, we have decided to study the entire Fortune 100 to learn about what Google tends to rank as well (Wikipedia ranks at#1 for more than half of the CEO’s of Fortune 100 companies!) as well as the type of content, social media, and corporate giving sites that each company is promoting to prominent locations in Google.

Along the way we see some interesting things…
Search for Philip Morris and one result looks like this:

Note the word Logo in the title…
it’s there because the Alt tag on the first image on the page contains that phrase.
My advice: don’t use the word logo in your alt tag of your logo – it may become your site’s title.
Not sure what this new system is giving Google…

Collecting candies at shul – business behavior parallels

At synagogue (shul) yesterday there were two Bar Mitzvahs – and after each of the boys had their “aliyah” the boys were showered (pelted?) with candies. Fun stuff!
From my vantage point off to the side I noticed that different kids prepared themselves and conducted themselves in different ways and I took some mental notes.
After which it occurred to me that these kids were exhibiting the same types of behaviors that I see in the business world. See my notes below:

1) Some kids got to the center area of the shul several minutes early (non-procrastinators)
– of these, some seemed to have chosen a strategic spot (planners)
– others just plopped themselves down anywhere (followers)
2) Playing the odds
– most kids went for the prime area where there is maximum candy and maximum competition. (Competing for the #5 spot)
– some stayed on the periphery, probably figuring there would be less competition (Choosing a market Segment to dominate)
3) Some kids had a plan of how to maximize their take (businessmen)
– Partnerships with other kids (corporate types)
– Using other objects to catch the toffees (inventors)
4) When the candies started to fall
– some waited for the candies to fall into their hands (9-5 job getter)
– some got down on the floor and searched for the sweets after they were already on the ground (eyes open for better opportunities)
– some tried to track the trajectories of specific clusters of falling treats and plan accordingly (entrepreneurs)
5) When all candies had fallen..
– Some kids actually threw some of theirs – (conspicuous consumption)
– Some kids shared their candies with people who didn’t get as many (philanthropy)
– Some kids horded their candy but kept quiet about it (The millionaire next door)
– Some kids flaunted their candy but didn’t share (not my kid, I hope…)

Interestingly it doesn’t end there…

6) Spending
– Some kids ate all of their candies within a few minutes (instant gratifiers)
– Some rationed them out slowly (rationers)
– Some went outside to compete in a game of throwing candies closest to a set point (gamblers)

Not sure of the pedagogical or scientific ramifications of any of this – but I did spot one or two kids who I may want as summer interns in a couple of years…..

Want to Game Google +1?

We are seeing very interesting behavior in our testing of Google +1.

As I mentioned on Rand Fishkin ‘s post a few days ago, we started doing some testing of Google +1.

We tested buying packages of 30, 50, 70 +1’s using Fiverr.
We also tested a system on in which you +1 a bunch of sites (in rapid fire from their site) and other people return the favor. We used this to add tens of +1’s to several webpages.
We also tested getting REAL +1’s from a modest group of people who actually like a page.
We did our tests on pages we wanted to move up as well as ones we wanted to move down.

Conclusions so far –
– Google figured out that the rapid fire +1’s and the bought ones were fake and, they actually removed them from the count.
So we saw he numbers go up to say 60, and then the next day they were down to 10 again.
They could be seeing a large group of users with common +1’s and ruling them out. They could also be looking for rapid fire +1’s.
In any case, our conclusion is that Google has at least a basic system for identifying fake +1’s – which is good to know.

We did not see any evidence of fake +1’s causing a page to move in either direction in the SERPs.

We did see a possible connection between the real +1’s and a ~15% bump in traffic for a site receiving 2,500 visitors/day.

That’s it so far – we will keep you posted!

Why Israel doesn’t care about UN Condemnation

Hey UN,

In case you wanted to know why those damn Israelis are not particularly concerned when you condemn them for fighting back against the Hamas, the Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups hellbent on Israel’s destruction… Here’s why: Subhuman Hamas terrorists target children, attacking a yellow school bus with a high-tech missile

So what’s the big deal – terrorists attack a school bus. Par for the course – what do you expect?

The big deal is where the hell is the UN? No time to condemn this war crime?
Or is it really okay, because Israel is the victim…

food for thought.

Yonatan’s Bar Mitzvah

Very exciting!
My son Yonatan (Jonathan in English) has just reached the age of 13 – so he’s a Bar Mitzvah!
While in Jewish law he is now responsible for his own actions and has basically all the responsibilities of an adult, I am feeling like my job is just beginning.

Now is when he is starting to make decisions about what type of person he wants to be.
Which friends will he choose? Which of his talents will he decide to utilize? How will he get past the inertia that keeps him from achieving more?
While these are his decisions I feel it is my responsibility to guide him and help him understand the options.
[Translation: If you mess around in 7th grade and get lower grades, you will have a hard time getting into the high school that you want to go to in 9th grade]

I don’t think telling him what I think he needs to do will ultimately be the best plan – so here is my thinking at this stage:

  • Try to get him to come to his own conclusions – people usually like conclusions better when they arrive at them on their own
  • Try to be an example for him – knowing that he watches me
  • Letting him in on the types of decisions and issues that I have – and letting him know what factors I use to address them
  • Finding the areas in which our interests overlap and finding ways to interact in that common ground
  • And if all of that fails I am planning to use bribery. (Is that so bad?)