I will be introducing a new category for this blog called, ‘Today’s Hot Steer’. It’s not what you think so don’t let your mind wander.

‘Today’s Hot Steer’ will bring you * insert your own powerful adjectives here * tips, resources and killer apps that I know will leave you either speechless or pleasantly satisfied. You may get the occasional ‘Ah-Ha’ moment and sometimes, the ‘So What?’, ‘What Should I Do With This’ and the ‘I’m Way Ahead Of You Kevin’ moments.

Many of these resources can be for your own personal use, for work or your business. Some resources may not be directly related to the subject matter of this blog, but because not clueing you in may affect my ability to stay guilt-free, I’m obliged to share great stuff with you. Indulge me, if you may.

Alright, let’s kick this category off with something you’re already familiar with: Open Source.

I’m sending you to a website which collates all Open Source applications that work on the Windows platform (I’m sorry Mac-ites, you might wanna sit this one out). You’ve just gotta to see it to believe it, so head on over to OSSwin Project.

If you’re a home user or a small business owner who cannot afford the time to browse through OSSwin Project’s comprehensive offerings, you might prefer MozOO and TheOpenCD. Both offer a free download of their CDs, comprising of quality Open Source tools that should suit your needs perfectly. They do offer a ‘Purchase’ option of the CD, but you might want to try that option only, if you’re averse to downloading anything.

These are Open Source tools that just about covers everything you need to have a fully functional PC at absolutely zero cost. If you possess more than one computer in your office or home, and are constrained by the legal bindings of your proprietary software, you now have possibilities.

It’s worth at least a thought.

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Web 2.0 Collage

I’ve hardly even related to you in detail what entails the 1st Internet revolution (Web 1.0), and here I am writing about the 2nd one (Web 2.0).

I apologize. But quite frankly, Web 1.0 ain’t all that interesting. It was merely a period of adjustment for us, to get ourselves accustomed to the relatively mundane activities on the Internet. Partially due to the fault of the fragmentary promises of the dotcoms. They toyed with our emotions whilst on the brink of implosion. Some may argue that their online ventures were far too ahead of its time. Clever.

Fast forward to 2006 and the Internet is now woven into almost every company’s IT fabric. Internet technologies have become a backbone for what companies implement internally and how products and services are now distributed. Step into any business today and try telling me they’ve not deployed some kind of Internet framework for their organization. This is a far cry from six years ago, when the majority scoffed at its very idea.

Is there a reason why the vast majority of businesses are now scrambling to make Internet technologies part of their daily operations? Quite simply, they’ve finally come to their senses. Internet technology – like most technology – is there to help create competitive advantage. The popular idiom, ‘The Early Bird Catches The Worm’, rings true here. And it’s precisely why I need to inform you of the 2nd revolution.

You may or may not have heard of Web 2.0. Can’t blame you if you haven’t. It’s one of those terms where nobody saw coming. More than likely, the vast majority of folks out there hardly realize there ever was a Web 1.0, never mind a Web 2.0.

So what is Web 2.0?

I can’t say for sure. There’s a reason why, and I admit, it’s a pretty lame one. It’s because there isn’t a universally accepted definition for it. Ask five random Silicon Valley marketers and you’d probably receive 17 different definitions. Go figure.

But from an entrepreneurial point of view, I’d probably go with Jeremy Wright’s definition of Web 2.0: “profitable online businesses.” It can’t get any simpler than that.

I’m sure you’re itching to find out what a Web 2.0 site looks like. Well for starters, there’s Digg, Flickr and Technorati. You could very well be using those Web 2.0 sites already (I’ll be writing more about these kinds of sites in future). And to quench your insatiable curiosity, I give you, All Things Web 2.0.

Instant Messaging, an application once pooh-poohed by media hawks as a toy fit only for kids, is now taking center-stage in this era of Web 2.0. It’s giving e-mail a run for its money and more companies are beginning to sit up and take notice (never underestimate the influence of the IM generation). That’s because IM is so versatile in its applicability. It offers an opportunity for immediacy in any given situation. Its popularity is boosted by the fact that MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are offered as free services.

You might even consider incorporating IM as a form of customer support for your business. Big businesses are seriously pondering this option. And you know if Microsoft is offering ten tips on using IM for your business, you have to sit up and take notice. If having all three IM applications at your disposal on one page is more appealing to you, then try using Meebo (does Web 2.0 spring to mind?).

As an entrepreneur, you’d do well to keep an eye out for new opportunities being paraded by Web 2.0’s evolution. Venture capitalists are loosening their purse strings once again because maybe, just maybe, this Web 2.0 is the Bull Run they’d been waiting for.

Now, if I can only remember where I’d placed Warren Buffett’s business card?

 

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 Death Of A Salesman

I’m hazarding a guess.

There must have been at least one point in your life, where every time you heard the doorbell ring, you’d cringe. You knew it had to be another smooth talking, door-to-door salesman – about to wax lyrical about your house, your good looks and before realizing it; leaves you standing with the ‘Super Broom DMX 5000’ and $69.99 poorer.

Hey…it happens to the most discerning of us. No biggie. Do what I do – just pretend you ain’t home, even though your TV could be blaring loudly in the background. It’s not a very nice thing to do, but it works. This just got me wondering though…whatever happened to that bow-tied encyclopedia salesman? When was the last time you’ve seen one of those? They’re as elusive as the yeti, yet nobody seems to know why.

I have a few theories. It might have been Microsoft’s release of the less bulky, Encarta CD-ROM, in 1993. Or Encyclopædia Britannica’s electronic venture. Or quite simply, the Internet. But my most plausible theory for the disappearance of the encyclopedia salesman is due to one man – Jimmy Wales.

The founder of Wikipedia, who turned a radical concept into a global source for authoritative referencing (this is open to debate) in less than five years, Jimmy Wales has intentionally applied the chaos theory to the encyclopedic world. He, I believe, ‘killed’ the last of the encyclopedia salesman.

With more than two million Wikipedia articles (The Encyclopædia Britannica can boast only about a 120,000) in several different languages, there’s information about practically anything you could possibly think of. Try it out for yourself.

Do a search on Wikipedia for a topic of your choice, and see if it pops up. 

Search Wikipedia

You might want to try either of these independent search engines that specifically searches in Wikipedia as well:

  • FUTEF: search engine that currently searches Wikipedia only
  • Qwika: search engine that is specific to searching wikis in all sizeable languages
     

Wikipedia is the world’s largest encyclopedia. And you own it. As an owner, you are also given the license to write and edit any article that you think needs correcting or updating.

What if you may need to use the information for a project, but you’re afraid of infringing on any copyright law? No worries. Wikipedia’s free licensing mode gives you absolute freedom to do as you please with the information you see. You can copy it, redistribute it, repackage the information and sell it with no fear of receiving a cease-and-desist order.

Jimmy Wales describes Wikipedia as having free access to “the sum of all human knowledge” and it’s quite easy to see why. It’s probably the most referenced site on the Internet. It’s a blogger’s Holy book; turning to it for answers when they need it. Mainstream journalists are joining in the fray too. It’s hard not to turn your back on it when it’s perfectly built to be current and all-inclusive.

But of course, like most good plots, there must be a twist thrown in there somewhere. That comes in the form of what Wikipedia’s detractors would like to call, ‘credibility’, or the lack of it. What credibility can Wikipedia possibly have when any Harry, Dick, Jane and Sally (did I miss Tom?) is allowed to poke around and modify articles? A valid question. One that had me bothered too, until I heard Jimmy Wale’s reply.

He said, Wikipedia’s credibility is based on the social concept of cooperation. A policy of neutrality.  A close circle of volunteers (can’t remember the exact number) – are constantly monitoring the changes that any one of us makes. Once a change is made, it enters a page called, ‘Recent Changes’. If the changes are suspect, leaning towards vandalism, then this group of volunteers spring into action and revert it back to the original article. Communication among volunteers is conducted via technologies such as RSS and IRC.  

A very workable system I admit, but its still without its flaws. Apart from the occasional vandalism that slips through the cracks, the problem of unjust biasness towards a more familiar Wikipedian with higher standing is conceivable. Therefore, is there really equality when determining what materials gets published and what is dumped into the digital incinerator? How does one really determine that the article published has escaped any kind of slanted prejudice merely because of greater ranking within the Wikipedian ‘in-crowd’?

The nit-picking is elevated to a higher degree when questions about quality and accuracy of articles are posed. How do you know which entry to trust?

Another potential issue with Wikipedia is striking the balance between the past and present. Because Wikipedia is web-based, celebrity gossip and breaking news are fairly common entries. The very virtue, which sets Wikipedia apart from traditional print encyclopedias, appears to be a liability. Do entries about current events take precedence over past events? 

Ok, so I have more questions than answers, but I realize that Wikipedia is still at its embryonic stage. It will only get bigger and better. If you’re keen on familiarizing yourself a little better with Wikipedia’s less-than palatable internal operations, feel free to read Aaron Swartz’s, Raw Thought.

On a more optimistic note, it’s exciting times ahead for the educational sector as Wikipedia’s new project, Wikiversity, aims to provide access to freely licensed learning materials for all age groups. It is a community where teachers and learners are strongly encouraged to participate. It’s another fine example of what the wiki model can conjure up.

Now, if you had it up to your neck with all this talk of Wikis and you’re desperately in need of a ‘fixer-upper’, I have the perfect solution for you. I want you to mosey along over to wikiHow (you read that right, another wiki!) and type into its search box, ‘Save Me’. And see what pops up.

This wiki model works exactly like Wikipedia’s. It’s a community-powered how-to manual which aims to be – you guessed it – the world’s largest how-to manual. Never thought it possible to get rid of a hickey? Well…eh…now you can (can’t imagine the number of marriages this how-to might save!).

Hmmm, maybe Jimmy Wales could do something about those pesky bill collectors.

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Have you ever just paused for a second and wondered, what life would have been like if the Internet did not exist? Yeah, I know…it’s almost unthinkable. 

The Internet has become an integral part of our lives and it’s partly due to the large chunks of communication that we conduct online. The collaboration via e-mails, the free exchange of ideas and information that we perform on a daily basis is to a large extent, what brought about the Web in the first place. 

What we perhaps tend to forget, is that during the early stages of the Internet, there was a huge availability of free software and programming languages (paying over-the-top prices for software today tends to induce such amnesia).

It was available freely mainly to get the Web to where it is today. In the process, a few individuals have reaped, massive financial rewards, where for them, like Warren Buffett, donating 37 billion dollars to a charity organization is merely chump change (you can tell I’m bitterly envious, can’t you?). 

Call it utopian or otherwise, but we have benefited tremendously from the development of the Internet. And this development has spawned a whole community in and of itself. It’s called the OSI – Open Source Initiative. Open sourceOpenSource is what is used to describe the free usage of software I alluded to earlier. But there’s more to it, as explained on OSI’s website:

“The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.

We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits.

Open Source Initiative exists to make this case to the commercial world.

Open source software is an idea whose time has finally come. For twenty years it has been building momentum in the technical cultures that built the Internet and the World Wide Web. Now it’s breaking out into the commercial world, and that’s changing all the rules. Are you ready?

So as an user, you are attributed rights to take freely, an open source’s application source code, modify it as you please, as long as the distribution terms of the software is complied with.

The open source community is one that challenges the absurdity of having to pay exorbitant prices for proprietary software, or even paying for software, period. Mind you, the open source community is not some, ‘fly by night’ bunch of misfits, who sounds the clarion call for ‘free-dom’, every time Microsoft releases a press statement.

Open source has become a serious contender to companies selling proprietary software. More and more businesses and non-profit organizations are turning to open source for business solutions and even as part of their innovation strategy. William C. Taylor and Polly G. LaBarre, both of Fast Company fame, have expounded on this growing popularity of open source in their new book, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. If you’re harboring doubts about the viability of open source in business, their book can help alleviate them.

Linux, Unix, Wikipedia, Mozilla Firefox, are some examples of open source development. You could well be using an open source application right now in the form of the Firefox browser.

So Why Should I Care About Open Source?

Well for one, you could be saving a whole lotta cash. Because apart from buying your PC, everything else – you can get for FREE. And that includes your operating system.

I just mentioned the Firefox browser – a direct competitor to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The OS’s equivalent to Microsoft’s Windows would be Linux. You can get an open source version to practically any software that is commercially available on the market today – it’s just that those who live outside of ‘Geekdom’ are not aware of this.

There are of course the cons of choosing the open source option over the commercial equivalent – one of which is – if you’re need of technical assistance, it’s not as easy as picking up the phone and speaking to the tech guy. You will need to get your hands dirty by rummaging through the forums to get the help you need. This could be time consuming and slightly frustrating in an emergency situation. But if you’re the kind of person who enjoys getting under the hood of your car and tinkering with the engine, then open source is probably your cup of tea. The money you save makes a difference.

Is Open Source The Same As Freeware?

No. Freeware is free for you to download and use, but the copyright belongs strictly to the programmer, developer or originator of that software. You are not allowed to toy with the code.

What About Shareware?

No, shareware is not similar to open source as well. Shareware is usually offered to you as a free download for a specified amount of time; otherwise known as a ‘free trial’. After which, you are required to buy the product. 

To get a better idea of how freeware and shareware works, head on over to Download.com. Browse through its offerings of freeware and shareware. You might wanna grab a Subway sandwich though. It could take some time getting through even a quarter of that site.

Open source has its fair share of fanatics and critics. It has drawn enough attention to itself to force some leading analysts and researchers to address this issue. In my upcoming posts, I will be pointing you to valuable open source applications that I know you will be delighted with. Whether it’s for home or business, you’ll definitely find a use for it.

Who knows, commercial software may even be a thing of the past for you.

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Cheerio, Mate

05Sep06

Steve Irwin

A True Entrepreneur

1962 – 2006

“He died doing what he loves best.”


Entrepreneurs

Business Pundit published an article last week; ‘Entrepreneurship, Age, and Money – Is It Better To Start Young or Wait Until You Are Older?that makes for an interesting read. Couple of points that I would like to make, but for the sake of brevity, I want to highlight just one. This pundit says:

“The truth is that you are likely to make less money over your career as an entrepreneur than you would in the corporate world. Research shows that only the top quartile of entrepreneurs make more wages than their corporate employed counterparts. That means 75% of entrepreneurs would be better off financially with a regular job. You could counter by saying that wages may suffer but you can build wealth through your business, but you would be wrong again. The majority of entrepreneurs have $20,000 or less in business equity, and 30% of them have zero business equity. Surprising? Probably not given how many new businesses fail.”

Yeah, all of the above could be true, but I think deciding to be an entrepreneur is not really about the money. To some, it may be. But the ones that I know of, money was never the primary issue to go it alone. It’s something much deeper than just dollars and cents. It is about making a difference in society. It’s a kinda calling, that not everyone receives and that’s about as much as I can agree with the pundit, where he says:

“It irks me a bit to read some of these blog posts around the web where people write stuff that basically says entrepreneurship is for everyone, and if you aren’t an entrepreneur you are a loser corporate drone. The irony is that successful entrepreneurs who sell their companies usually end up as “corporate drones”, working at the acquiring firm for a few years. There is value in what you can learn working for a corporation, and there is value in waiting until you are older to start a company. I did it at 26 and that was probably too young. There was so much I didn’t know. But then again there was so much I learned too.”

Entrepreneurship is a harsh lesson in reality.  Point out one successful entrepreneur who hasn’t stumbled and emptied out that carton of tissue boxes from wiping away the blood, sweat and tears and I’ll shovel your driveway this winter (did I mention that Singapore does not have that problem). And that’s why, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I think it was Thomas Edison who said, ‘Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.’ I reckon therefore, all entrepreneurs are geniuses. But it’s that 99 percent perspiration that decides if you’ll be a successful genius/entrepreneur or not.

Sure 75% of entrepreneurs would be better off financially with a regular job. After all, what’s so difficult about working for somebody else, apart from the daily commute, the office politics, the constant backstabbing, the fiendish cackles emanating from your boss’s office, getting the blame for something you did not do, someone else getting the accolades for something you actually did do, the possibility of losing your job no matter how outstanding a worker you are, picked as the sacrificial lam…I think you get my point. So what if the money is better?

Entrepreneurship is about taking control. Taking charge of designing your own lifestyle and that of your family’s. It’s difficult – but not impossible. The satisfaction does not come at the end of month – where you receive a check from your boss – but with every brick that you lay for your business’s foundation.

But let’s face it, in this day and age where almost everything is handed down to us on a silver platter, not everyone views working for themselves a brilliant investment. Now, try telling that, to Thomas Edison.


Thought I should point you towards a handy little blog post by Andy Wibbels entitled: 40 Questions About Blogging (+ 40 Answers). He has taken the most common questions asked by his readers about blogging and answered them as only Andy can.

Then head on over to Mitch Wagner’s article entitled: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About RSS. It’s a little reinforcement on what you might have already read about RSS.

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Face Of Your New Customer  

What I believe to be pivotal to your entrepreneurial success, is acknowledging ‘the face of your new customer.’ And this was what I had planned to tell you in my last post. 

Marketing communication is not what it used to be. Gone are the days where simple branding and advertising campaigns were enough to attract handsome profit windfalls for businesses. If you get a chance, try and get a comparison on ROI based on traditional marketing campaigns over maybe the past 2 years. What you will probably find is a declination in ROI from these campaigns.  The reason for this is simple. It is the current evolution of consumer behavior.

Consumers have evolved into a traditional marketer’s nightmare or what is more popularly known today as, customer evangelists (Ben Mcconnell and Jackie Huba have written a book specifically about this and it’s nothing short of insightful).  If you thought customers were a tough bunch to deal with before, well, you’ll be pleased to know that the cliché, ‘the customer-is-king’ rings truer today than ever before. In fact, with this new shift of power to consumers who are now defining brands specific to their wants, businesses that are unable to cope are gleefully sent to ‘The Customer Rules’ slaughterhouse.

Yes, a new regime has stepped in and customer loyalty is being redefined by customers themselves.

To get a better understanding of how a customer evangelist behaves, let’s turn to Ben Mcconnell’s and Jackie Huba’s ‘The Customer Evangelism Manifesto’ (you can download this 21-page manifesto for free from this site). The manifesto says this about the customer evangelist:

  •  They passionately recommend your company to friends, neighbors and colleagues.
  •  They believe in the company and its people.
  •  They purchase your products and services as gifts.
  •  They provide unsolicited praise or suggestions of improvement.
  •  They forgive occasional sub-par seasons or dips in customer service.
  •  They do not want to be bought; they extol your virtues freely.
  •  They feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Where once corporations were defining the value of their products, the customers of today are questioning its logic. It’s no secret that the Internet is responsible for giving rise to this consumer-centric culture, spawning a new breed of citizen marketers. The technology that consumers have at their disposalWhat's Left Of The CRM Team can propel any of the Fortune 500 into convening two emergency meetings – one with their overpaid lawyers and the other, to fire the entire customer relationship management team.

 

Like a bad habit, industry analysts have been quick to pigeonhole this technology that consumers have at their disposal. ‘Consumer-Generated Media‘ is what they’ve named it. Personally, I think the term stinks. I don’t know why exactly, it’s just a little too idiosyncratic in meaning for me. Fortunately, Henry Copeland feels the same way and has explained succintly, what I’m not able to.

This power-shift is not all doom and gloom for you though. In fact, if you can take the time to study the role today’s consumer has undertaken, and take complete advantage of their behavior gain his or her trust, you will reap the rewards – in larger quantities than you would’ve bargained for.

One company that seems to understand customer-centric selling and is proving it by doing it well, is Lexus. In ‘The Mind Of The Customer,‘ Richard Hodge and Lou Schachter expound on how Lexus, Nokia and UPS are evolving the art and science of their corporations’ selling process to match the changes in consumer behavior (there’s a hint for the aspiring Fortune 500-ers). The big boys have started to take notice and are doing something about it. Not all, but some (I will be highlighting companies in future posts, which are taking the right steps towards finding their way into the consumers’ good books. You can use them as your personal case-studies).

The Must-Have CustomerIn The Must-Have Customer: 7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven’t Got,’ Robert Gordman, a veteran in the business world, writes about creating a ‘sweet spot,’ that will propel your company from average, to industry leader. A case in point; Domino’s, whose ‘sweet spot’ is, “fresh, hot pizza delivered in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed.”  The ‘sweet spot’ is one of the keys to winning the customer you haven’t got. And not forgetting, keeping them too. The book is an eye-opening read, because like me, many of you may understand its concept, but few are able to implement it.

I would like to leave you with this excerpt from Robert Gordman’s book:

“Success in business is not about beating the competition; it’s about serving your customers. Over the past decade Wal-Mart has been blamed for the untimely deaths of hundreds of small merchants. I disagree. In my view it’s really more a question of suicide than murder. The grim reality is that most of the small retailers tried to compete directly with Wal-Mart on price (which no one can do), and killed themselves in the process. The smart retailers–and there are plenty–however, didn’t see Wal-Mart as a competitor at all. Instead, they identified a must-have customer who was more interested in quality, service, reliability, or any factor other than price. They repositioned their business to serve those customers in a unique way, and they thrived. Today, retailers wait in line and pay premium rents to be next to a Wal-Mart. Next time you drive by one, see if you can find an empty store in the same shopping center.”

Source: Robert Gordman (2006). In The Must-Have Customer: 7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven’t Got. Truman Talley Books.

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Well, not literally anyway. Coremetrics released a survey on August 22 called, “The Face of the New Marketer,” (hence, the sordid headline). The findings, based on the opinions of 120 senior marketing professionals in the US and UK, interestingly points to a growing trend towards developing skills in Internet marketing techniques. One skill in particular was SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization. Here is what John Squire of Coremetrics had to say:

“This study found that analytics and search engine marketing are being prioritized because they can reap enormous return and have a direct impact on an organization’s online, and even offline, revenues,” said John Squire, vice president, product strategy and general manager, marketing services at Coremetrics, a provider of on-demand web analytics and precision marketing solutions , which conducted the survey. “But, as the marketing role becomes much more scientific, many marketers are finding that they are not equipped with the skills and best practice knowledge needed to tackle today’s challenges. A divide is opening up between those organizations that have the resources and expertise to optimize their online marketing and those that haven’t, with the former gaining the competitive edge. Marketers that acquire such skills are becoming the new heroes in their organizations.”

This is further indication that traditional marketing methods are not enough to create success stories from your business endeavors. Internet marketing techniques must be incorporated to ensure you stay competitive; no matter the kind of business you’re involved in. As you can probably tell, traditional marketing firms are only just starting to take notice of the need for being technologically savvy.

Entrepreneurs are known to adapt extremely quickly to changes. Some of you already knew what these firms are just starting to find out. Coremetrics’ study was probably just a reaffirmation. For those of you who are just getting your feet wet with Internet technology, then there’s no better time to start utilizing these techniques than now.  By starting now, you can still gain an edge. I can assure you that there are many business owners out there who are still steeped in the belief that the Internet is about as useful as using a pick-up line on a nun. Don’t ask me why. Maybe to them, old habits die hard. And so will their businesses.

The survey also revealed analytics and measurement as a major priority for businesses. I think this is a given. You need to keep track and test everything in your business to see what works and what doesn’t. Yes, I said everything. The emphasis on ‘everything’ takes on even greater significance when you realize that the relative ease of measuring stats online makes for not doing it inexcusable. Successful businesses do it. It’s what sets them apart from those companies that ask, “Where did we go wrong?” If you have to ask that question, it may already be too late.

ClickZ has a growing number of articles that does a fine job of easing you into understanding actionable analysis. The least these articles will do for you is to drive home the importance of using analytics in your business. Have a read.

Now that I’ve got that bit out of the way, let me come to what I really wanted to write to you about…or…maybe not. I’ve taken up too much of your time. I’ll post it on my next update. It is somewhat related to this post and just as important. Maybe, even more.

Till then…

 

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Now that you understand what a blog is, I think its time I introduce you to its engine, a turbocharged 12-cylinder 750 horsepower (but purrs like a pussycat) file format called, RSS. If the name is not menacing enough, well, it was not meant to be.RSS Logo

Why would you be interested in getting to know RSS a little more intimately? After all, most of us rarely lift the bonnets of our Fords, Toyotas, BMWs, Hondas to understand how and why engines power our car the way they do. There’s just not enough time in a day and moreover, we just don’t want to get our hands dirty.

Well, RSS is a little more different than a car engine. Let me correct that; it’s a lot more different. If you’re planning to start a blog, paying attention to RSS will guide you towards increasing your reader base and potentially turn you into something of a cult figure in the eyes of your readers. Vice-versa, it will help you keep track of blogs you find interesting – without having to fire up each blog individually. This means, you don’t even have to visit the blog you plan to read at all.

How is this possible? By using something called an RSS feed reader, sometimes known more menacingly as ‘the aggregator’. But however its called, its job function is exactly the same.

If you’re a news junkie, then RSS is like a Godsend. With fresh news dripping into your RSS feed reader faster than the time it takes to decipher a Rumsfeld’s press statement – you’ll be taking your news addiction to a whole new level.

Take the time to read this short primer on RSS. If you’re pressed for time, then just watch this video. It will take about 4 minutes, but contains enough information to instill in you the confidence to take on RSS once and for all. 

 

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