Poll: Has your reading gone digital?

All of us in publishing are seeing customers migrate to digital faster than you can say “e.” But how are you personally adapting to the world of the digital word?

Answer this poll about the types of formerly print publications that you now habitually read in their digital form:


A Think Different Timeline for Steve Jobs

On October 5, 2011, we lost one of America’s great innovators, Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple.

[Image source: MacDesktops]

From the beginning, Steve Jobs seemed to “Think Different” than everyone else, which made Apple’s 1994 ad campaign so appropriate. The ad began with these words:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers… the ones who see things differently… [T]he only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I can remember each time I first used one of Apple’s products. While working for IBM as systems engineer right out of college and working with both mainframe systems and some not-so-friendly PC software, I got to use a friend’s Macintosh and was blown away by how easy it was to use. Fast forward to the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad, and we now have a world that couldn’t conceive of life without the innovations resulting from Steve Jobs vision and perseverance.

A Timeline for a Lifetime of Innovations 

[Image source: BBC]

I was inspired to compile a timeline of the incredible list of “firsts” that Steve Jobs accomplished throughout his career [Compiled from The Australian, The Apple Museum, and The Telegraph]:

  • 1976: At age 21, Jobs leaves Atari where he was a game programmer and co-founds Apple Computers with friend Steve Wozniak in his family’s garage in Silicon Valley. They produce the Apple I computer, the first single-board computer with a video interface and onboard Read Only Memory (ROM) that told the machine how to load programs from an external source.
  • 1977: Apple II becomes one of the first successful personal computers
  • 1984: The Macintosh, with graphical interface, launched. It reintroduced the innovative Xerox invention of a user-friendly interface with picture-like icons accessed with a computer mouse, now the standard for all computers large and small.
  • 1985: Jobs leaves Apple after a boardroom coup and founds NeXT Software.
  • 1986: Buys Pixar from Lucasfilms and transforms animated filmmaking. Pixar won an Academy Award for computer-animated short film “Tin Toy.
  • 1995: Pixar releases Toy Story in conjunction with Walt Disney Pictures, the first animated feature created entirely by computer. It was the highest domestic grossing film that year and the third highest grossing animated film of all time.
  • 1997: Apple buys NeXT Software for its innovative NeXT Step Operating system which introduced a new technology called object-oriented programming (OOP) which allows programmers to write complex software programs in a fraction of the usual time. Jobs returns to Apple.
  • 1998: Saves Apple with the iMac, a computer with integrated monitor and system unit.
  • 2001: Launches the iPod, the first successful digital music player with a hard drive, along with iTunes software. Also introduces computers with OS X, the modern Mac operating system based on NeXT OOP software.
  • 2003: Apple launches the iTunes Music Store with 200,000 songs at 99 cents each, giving people a convenient way to buy music legally online. It sells 1 million songs in the first week.
  • 2004: Is treated for a rare form of pancreatic cancer
  • 2005: Apple expands the iPod line with the tiny Nano and an iPod that can play video.
  • 2007: Unveils the iPhone.
  • 2008: Introduces Macbook Air, the world’s thinnest ultralight laptop computer.
  • 2009: Goes on medical leave to treat an “undisclosed medical condition”, and 6 months later returns to work after receiving a liver transplant.
  • January 2010: Unveils the iPad, creating a new computer category of touchscreen tablets, selling 15 million in 9 months.
  • May 2010: Apple becomes the world’s most valuable tech company and rivals Exxon Mobil as the world’s largest company.
  • January 2011: Takes medical leave but remains chief executive
  • March 2011: Unveils the second-generation iPad in a surprise appearance to standing ovation
  • August 24, 2011: Resigns as chief executive of Apple.
  • October 5, 2011: Apple confirms Jobs’ death at the age of 56.

Wired magazine summed up Jobs’ contributions in an article by Michael Calore:

With Steve Jobs’ passing, we have lost one of the greatest technological innovators of our time.

Jobs wasn’t just a savvy businessman, he was a visionary who made it his mission to humanize personal computing, rewriting the rules of user experience design, hardware design and software design. His actions reverberated across industry lines:

  • He shook up the music business,
  • dragged the wireless carriers into the boxing ring,
  • changed the way software and hardware are sold and
  • forever altered the language of computer interfaces.

Most importantly, Jobs remembered to focus on what most technology companies forget; he focused on the people, you and me, and created technology for everyman that you didn’t have to be an engineer to use. And he made tech gadgets that not only blew us away with their function but were also oh, so cool and stylish that we all fell in love with them.

Steve Jobs made “Think Different” more than an ad slogan, he made it a mantra that changed the world forever.  He will be missed, but his legacy lives on in all of us who dare to “see things differently“.

[Image source: PopsOp.com]

PC era over, here come tablets and smartphones?

The PC is dead; here are mobile devices, says original IBM PC developer.
Mark Dean, one of the original “gang of 12” who built the IBM PC in 1981 said the PC is going obsolete- and the era of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones is here. 
Dean today is IBM’s Middle East and Africa CTO, and was remarking on the the official 30th birthday of the original IBM PC,which celebrated three decades last month on August 12, 2011. 
In a blog post on August 10, Dean declared:
PCs are being replaced at the center of computing not by another type of device though there’s plenty of excitement about smartphones and tablets but by new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress. These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives.
This is sad to me since my first job was as a systems engineer with IBM and I got to see the launch of other ground-breaking products like the PS/2, and we all heard the story of the IBM PC in training classes.  

However, in an article in Tech Republic, Jason Hiner says that the rumor of PC’s death is greatly exaggerated– or at least a little premature. 
Hiner’s interpretation of Dean’s statement is that:
computing is no longer about a box but is being absorbed into everything and is now about creating experiences that connect people and enable them to do work wherever there — instead of just when they’re sitting at a desk in front of a PC screen.
Dean also admitted in his blog post that he personally doesn’t use a PC very often anymore. He wrote:
I, personally, have moved beyond the PC as well. My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness its decline. But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing. They’re going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.
Do you think the PC is dead and gone, just on life support, or still has a lot of life in the old guy yet?  Write me and let me know… 

Keyword Stuffing: When good SEO copywriting turns bad

The following is a guest blog from one of the top ecommerce copywriters in the country, “Jim L.” from New York City. One of Jim’s and my pet peeves is SEO copy gone overboard. This is when companies forget direct marketing copywriting principles and try to game the system by giving too much of a good thing and “stuffing” their online copy with unnecessary keywords that only gets their search rankings penalized.

While SEO is important, so is legibility and creating and keeping interest in the customers once they arrive at the site. Unnatural language can drive your audience away!

Below are some real life examples that Jim provides of bad copy written for keyword density rather than the audience vs. some top-performing subject lines:

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Pushy, pushy: Emerging media that’s displacing existing digital media

Continuing the discussion of disruptive media from July 12’s “Upsidedownland: How many industries has the Internet disrupted?“, today we look at some digital media tools and tactics that are being pushed out by other emerging media trends in an interview with digital thought leader, Steven Brita, VP, eCommerce and Digital Strategy at Atlantic Coast Media Group (ACMG).

Today, the “tried and true” new media of just a few years ago are themselves getting replaced and having to adapt to even newer media.

Texting and social media displace email

Social Media and Texting are Killing Email. Image courtesy of http://www.neboweb.com/blog/smack-email-list/

A prime example I brought up in my interview with Steven Brita is email. Formerly the top go-to customer retention marketing method for most digital marketers and a must-have for ecommerce, personal email use is diminishing as mobile devices, Facebook and texting are rising.

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