by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 4th 2008 2:00pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 15th 2008 10:00am
from the pardon-our-dust dept
- Floor64 becomes our new parent brand. That's the brand under which all of our products will now reside. It's a brand we've used for years internally (though some have noticed), and now it represents our overall outward brand.
- Insight Community is one of Floor64's two main offerings. This rebranding of the Techdirt Insight Community will allow us to expand beyond the community we've built around Techdirt, to cover much more than just technology and business. The Insight Community is totally redesigned to reflect where the business has been headed over the past few months. If you're already a member, go check out the totally redesigned system. If you're not yet a member, go sign up and start participating (and earning money). If you're interested in sponsoring a case there, go check out how it works and learn about the value of sponsoring a case and engaging with the community.
The Insight Community is all about generating insights for companies, recognizing, as we often talk about here on Techdirt, that there's value in the creation of insightful content. The Insight Community is a platform that makes it possible for companies to generate insightful expertise on demand for use in a variety of different ways.
- Techdirt is our other main offering, and is now solely focused on the blog itself. This should help us avoid some confusion over our different properties and the services that we, as Floor64, offer. Techdirt will remain the same great blog it's been all along, but we'll have some cool new features which we'll be posting about shortly as well. As always, Techdirt, the blog will be focused on providing timely and insightful analysis of technology and business news, with a focus on how technology relates to innovation, public policy and economics.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 15th 2008 10:09am
from the be-smart,-make-money dept
In the meantime, if storage isn't your thing, there are some other open cases within the Insight Community that may interest you, including ones on helping a major beverage company provide online value to its retail partners, the market for accounting software and a look at what Sales 2.0 might really mean. All Techdirt Insight Community cases work on the same basic premise: be really smart, write up your insights and earn money and reputation. We've got lots more coming from the Insight Community in the next few months, but there's no reason to wait. Join now, be smart and earn some money.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 3rd 2008 8:15am
from the moving-on-up dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 27th 2008 11:46am
from the it-all-fits-together dept
So, as we were building out Techdirt's business, working with various Fortune 500 companies to better understand various technology trends, we again began to notice an interesting set of scarcities and abundances. On the scarcity side, companies were really hungry for useful and actionable insight about their biggest challenges. At best, they could hire a big analyst firm or a big consulting firm, which would be excessively expensive, and often wouldn't give particularly useful information. In fact, it was a huge risk, since they would only receive a single answer, as if handed down from a wise man on the mountain, with no idea if it was accurate or not. At worst, they could have internal people try to do the analysis, often passing it off to a junior person to handle the work. Again, this would result in a single opinion (often from someone not very experienced) providing an important analysis that was also biased by coming from inside the company, rather than with an outsider's perspective.
At the same time, we were discovering an immense abundance in the ability to find and communicate with smart, knowledgeable passionate experts, many of whom we got to know via their participation on Techdirt itself, or via their own websites and blogs. At first we began to tap that group informally, to help us with the work we were doing with existing clients -- but we realized it was better to formalize the system, which is how we came up with the Insight Community, helping to eliminate the middle man and solve the scarcity (relevant, timely insight) with the abundance (lots of knowledgeable folks). The trick was coming up with a system that allowed the best, most useful insights to bubble to the top. In other words, figuring out not just how to connect companies to smart people, but to make sure that those companies could get the best, most relevant and insightful analysis out of the most qualified folks in that group of experts. To do that, we put in place a competitive system, that allowed experts in the community to compete to show they could provide the best insight. The end result has worked quite well, making it incredibly easy for companies, both big and small, to tap into this network of experts in order to get the best, most relevant insights into the challenges they face, gaining multiple expert opinions -- and doing so at a price the company gets to set.
Of course, while the "name your own price" model works well in some cases, it doesn't work for all. It can sometimes be an impediment for a company that knows they want something specific and isn't sure how much to bid for it. So, to help with those situations, we wanted to focus on common types of cases that the Insight Community was being used for and start to launch more packaged solutions -- the first of which is Smart Dossiers. Many of the customers using the Insight Community, had used it to get a straight analysis of a company. Sometimes of themselves (to get a quick snapshot of multiple outsider expert viewpoints), but more often of other companies they were dealing with: customers, competitors, partners, investments and investors. For example, we had one company use the Insight Community to create detailed "dossiers" on the company's top customer targets, so that its sales people could be better informed while calling on them. Another firm needed a competitive landscape of a new market it was about to enter, and was able to get a bunch of experts to all weigh in on the competitors in just over a week.
So, yes, we are putting into practice the economics that get discussed here all the time. It's all about taking an abundance and helping them "solve" a scarcity that companies desperately are looking for help solving.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 19th 2008 10:15am
from the thinking-things-through dept
Fair enough. While obviously, we've been thinking about this quite a bit in designing the product, Kevin Kelly's recent discussion on the problems with bottom-up and top-down content creation models really comes into play here as well. While I'm a huge fan of bottom-up "crowdsource" models, I'll be the first to admit that they're not right for everything. And, while some people have referred to the Insight Community as "crowdsourcing analysis" that's not quite accurate either. Crowdsourcing, bottom-up, wisdom of the crowds models work well for any type of system where you are trying to zero-in on something that appeases a wider audience. Zeroing in on factual information, for example -- which is why Wikipedia works. Or, coming up with a set of stories that will appeal to a specific group, such as how Digg picks news stories. But there are times when you don't want the aggregate views of a large audience, but you want a few viewpoints from those who understand something best. These are cases when you're really looking for insight and analysis, not just data or facts. You want creativity and a spark of something different, but you don't want to be overwhelmed.
At the same time, the traditional means of getting such insight and analysis runs into trouble in that you're betting on the single "wise man on the hill" who you hire to provide that analysis. Long ago, companies realized that relying on just a single viewpoint was dangerous. There's much more to be learned by getting together a small group of very knowledgeable, experienced experts in a space who can weigh in directly based on that experience. By having multiple viewpoints you get to learn to important things beyond just the direct insights each participant generates. You get to see where those experts agree (which can be useful) but also where they disagree, which is where you can often pick up real pieces of wisdom in understanding why two knowledgeable people disagree over the same subject.
In our own experience, it's in those kinds of brainstorms, where you line up what insights people agree on and where they disagree, that produces the most useful output. So, the Smart Dossiers product (and the wider Techdirt Insight Community service itself) is an attempt to formalize that process and allow companies to easily, cost effectively and quickly tap into a diverse group of experts who can help provide those multiple viewpoints and help companies better understand themselves, their competitors, their customers, their partners, their investments and their investors. Since we launched the Techdirt Insight Community, companies have been rating and ranking the experts in the network based on the insights they provide. With the Smart Dossiers offering, some of the best ranked members of the community are guaranteed to take part in the analysis, making sure that you only get top notch analysis. It's not about the wisdom of the crowds, but about getting multiple perspectives from experts who know what they're talking about.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 6th 2008 7:00am
from the moving-forward dept
With that in mind, we knew that the members of the Techdirt Insight Community were uniquely qualified to help solve that wide gap in the marketplace, and we've set up the Smart Dossiers offering in response. Companies can now get a SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis on any company they'd like, with a minimum number of guaranteed perspectives from qualified, proven experts in the Techdirt Insight Community. Those experts are competing to provide the best possible analysis, continually ensuring quality analysis. Imagine being able to get a detailed, quick, analysis from multiple different people who have experience and knowledge about a specific sector. Actually, there's no need to imagine it, you can do it, right now. There are a variety of Smart Dossier packages available depending on what your company needs, starting as low as $995.
On top of this, we're also thrilled to be announcing a partnership with Thomson Financial, allowing Techdirt to distribute research from the Techdirt Insight Community (including Smart Dossiers) through Thomson's leading platform for providing research and analysis. Thomson offers deep real-time and after market research to thousands of institutional and business customers in 70 countries via professional subscription networks, including First Call and Investext, and we're thrilled to be a part of that system. As Keith Ackerman, Thomson Financial's Global Head of Next Generation Research, said:
"Thomson Financial views the addition of the Techdirt offering into its portfolio of research as significant. Our financial services and corporate clients have increasingly asked for and are spending more for insights, custom surveys and other kinds of research emanating from the use of expert networks and other types of social media. Accordingly, Techdirt and other high quality alternative research firms that feature these capabilities and research outputs are an important part of Thomson Financial's product strategy."We're announcing both of these at O'Reilly's brand new Money:Tech event in New York, which looks like it will be very exciting. If you happen to be at the event, please make sure you say hello! Otherwise, if you happen to need a quick and useful detailed analysis of any company, check out Smart Dossiers today. Finally, if you think you have what it takes to provide this kind of analysis to companies around the world, please apply today!
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 17th 2008 12:44am
from the join-us! dept
I'm heading over to the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics next week to give a series of talks on entrepreneurship, economics and business models. While there, we'll be holding the first Greenhouse of 2008 on Friday, January 25th, as a part of the Edinburgh-Stanford Link. If you're in the area and would like to attend, it's a great chance to meet with other smart folks and entrepreneurs, to network with them, to understand some of the challenges they face and to share your expertise. It's taking place at the Alba Innovation Center and all of the details are here. And, when you do attend, be sure to come over and introduce yourself!
by Timothy Lee
Mon, Dec 10th 2007 10:32am
from the peer-review dept
Techdirt's own Insight Community is similar in some ways to the Yahoo! and Google Answer programs. The failure of Google Answers might be a reason for pessimism, but I think there are a few key differences that make TIC more likely to succeed. First, the community is sharply focused on a fast-changing industry where expertise is especially valuable. Second, TIC is focused on providing insight and analysis, not just plain facts. With factual questions, a customer will typically be seeking a single correct answer. But with strategic business questions, there usually isn't one right answer; companies are often interested in hearing about several different approaches, and there can be a lot of value in seeing the arguments that experts marshal for various options. Finally, Techdirt is much more selective about the experts it brings onboard, using experts' blogs and other writings as a way of identifying those who know what they're talking about and can communicate it clearly. That gives the TIC a great signal-to-noise ratio.
by Michael Ho
Wed, Nov 14th 2007 11:26am
from the calling-all-experts... dept
- Dow Jones wants to know about social media in the enterprise.
- An investment firm wants to know how WiMax's troubles are going to impact the wider technology ecosystem.
- Another firm is trying to understand how the subprime mortgage mess is going to impact the technology business.