Voice

In the 10 Golden Principles For Web Apps presentation I do, number three is "voice." That one stumps some people. Yesterday we got a great example of voice at work.

Tumblr saw its 10 billionth post yesterday. To celebrate, they threw confetti all over the dashboard when you logged in.

Tumblr confetti
thanks to artnstuff for the image.

When I saw the confetti flying all over my dashboard, I immediately thought "that's David and his team having fun". Google does this kind of thing with their search page from time to time. Users love it. I love it. That's voice.

#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. leigh

    …And people say VC’s don’t care about brand ūüôā

    1. fredwilson

      Who says that? I saw a guy with a twitter tshirt in my coffee shop yesterday and I was so happy

      1. leigh

        who? ¬†come now. ¬†branding is one of the least respected aspects of many start-ups. ¬†Build a great product and they shall come. ¬†branding is a waste of money yada yada.like a great product a great brand needs a vision and to evolve over time and effect everything from voice to product to customer experience. ¬†but maybe i’m wrong. ¬†There’s lots of smart VCs and¬†entrepreneurs¬†who come to this blog – what say you all about brand?

        1. fredwilson

          If you read the “marketing is for sucky products” post which I regret writing parts of, you will see a huge appreciation for brand. Less for branding

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            I have always thought that marketing and branding were similar and that a brand was something totally different.I always believed that a brand was something the consumer bestows upon a company (if your marketing and branding worked then you and your consumers will agree and you have a brand).

          2. fredwilson

            Oooh. I like that idea that brand is bestowed

          3. leigh

            Brands are bestowed – but that shouldn’t suggest that you can’t help drive that (and even drive the notion of people helping to build that brand)…..if your brand is only being built from your marketing, you’re already in ¬†trouble (and already like 90% of big brand named companies)

          4. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            I have spent 25 years in an industry heavily populated with “brands” and with “labels” and I know nothing about marketing, but I do realize that too many people get confused with “riding a wave” and “creating the wave.”At a point you create a brand, then you have to pivot and be the brand. I hired a marketing firm a few years ago and they sat down with me for an all day strategy session. All I did was give them a list of our consumers and we called them; we had reached the pivot point to where marketing reinforces rather than creates.In fact, I developed my whole business plan for our expansion by discussing it with my consumers; its does not matter what I think but rather what the market wants.Too many times marketing is a one way communication, branding should be a two way communication, and to be labelled a brand is just an achievement that could be very easily lost.

          5. testtest

            The best brands are aligned with society and culture. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” embodied the distrust of talk.As such, the idea behind a brand must already exist, and be¬†palpable in society.In this way the brand represents something greater than the brand itself. An example is the 1984 Apple Super Bowl advert:http://www.youtube.com/watc

          6. leigh

            again the 5 reply limit of disqus! ¬†argh!Steve Jobs in an interview about Apple said that his brand stood for¬†“people with passion can change the world”he was, is and always will be the master of brand. ¬†created a shared belief with his customers and drove that vision from the inside out.

          7. JamesHRH

            Brand is what the market thinks about you.Marketing is what you say to the market.Marketing done right reinforces brand. PR & great offerings build brands, marketing does not. It maintains it.

          8. JLM

            That is about semester’s of wisdom distilled to its essence. Could save a lot on tuition!Well played!

          9. fredwilson

            I suspect getting a well played from JLM is as good as it gets in the AVC comments

          10. Aaron Klein

            Could be a great ecommerce opportunity, Fred. “For just $39, we’ll ship a framed copy of your ‘JLM well played’ for your office wall. Act now!”

          11. fredwilson

            Grimlock should make a well played t-shirt on Zazzle

          12. JLM

            @Aaron.Accept nothing.Question everyone.Expect everything.Do something.Now!Well played.

          13. raycote

            You just rewired my brain!

          14. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            @FREDWILSON: GRIMLOCK ALREADY HAVE HIERARCHY OF AWESOME.TWITTER FOLLOWERS KNOW ABOUT IT.NOT USE IT HERE AT AVC.COM.

          15. Donna Brewington White

            That’s a pretty narrow definition of marketing. ¬†Why wouldn’t building the brand be an aspect of marketing?

          16. JamesHRH

            @http://hirethoughts.blogspot.com/It is actually a really broad definition of marketing. I see Marketing as everything you say to the market. All things, not just ads. Who you hire, how they act, if your CEO get put on CBS at the US Open, blogs, all of it. It all says something to the market.Your brand is built on what people say about you & primarily, by your offering. What you say to the market can reinforce or undermine the two true brand builders.

          17. fredwilson

            disqus feature request. if you run out of replies, you just use @donna (or whatever her disqus name is) and she gets an email and can reply just like a regular reply

        2. awaldstein

          No one really disputes the value of brand or the power of a name as icon. The question of course is how that customer connection happens.This is the big marketing discussion again. It’s been going on since we all lived in caves.Not to make this Saturday’s theme (although i just pushed a post live on “Naming your company” ), it’s less about thinking that the world will find your product while you sleep and more about just not understanding the part that market creation plays in product development and brand plays in naming and community plays your business model.Every week I talk to start-ups with a product without early users who are asking ‘what now?”

          1. fredwilson

            More users

          2. awaldstein

            The only answer there is. Success comes with figuring out how to find them.

          3. testtest

            “The only answer there is. Success comes with figuring out how to find them.”The problem used to be how to make a product. Only certain people had access to capital, tools of production, land etc.Then the problem became how to get access to customers. Only some companies had access to the television complex, mass marketing etc.Now the problem is how to get customers attention. Everyone has access to customers.¬†Working backwards helps. If you don’t start with customer acquisition in mind (one of many factors) then when it comes time to acquire them it’s problematic.

          4. leigh

            I probably use brand and culture interchangeably (just in case JLM weighs in with – that’s not brand that’s culture) and that’s why for me it’s far more fundamental then just naming….(or a tshirt for that matter)I always say, everything has changed since the advent of digital with the exception of how large Agencies and companies build and operationalize brand. ¬†The¬†cynicism¬†i see, has more to do with that then anything else…

          5. awaldstein

            ‘operationalize brand’ is a term I have never used nor thought of even when I ran marketing for $B companies ūüėČ

          6. JLM

            The implications of culture or cult are huge. Apple products feed the Apple culture as much as “special ops” or entrepreneurs feed those cultures.The American Dream is a if not “the” defining idea of our free society. That is why today when it is imperiled everybody is so damn pissed off.This is easily the high-water mark for pissed off since the Viet Nam war era. And interestingly enough it is not about the wars. It is about the economy.

          7. leigh

            diques won’t let me reply to your comment below:operationalizing brand wasn’t relevant before – tv commercials and tshirts were enough to build brand –¬†number one new client i’m¬†dealing¬†with these days are EVP’s of customer experience who work alongside the CMO – a job title that didn’t exist 5 yrs ago. ¬†reply to reply – don’t think community is a new idea but changing evolution of brand to actually incorporate that is. And that, my friend, is my own particular hot button!!!! ūüėČ

          8. fredwilson

            Five reply limit

          9. awaldstein

            No question that the world is a dramatically different place to do business in today.I don’t know your segment but it is not correct to say that pre-now, the world was built on push and that customer experience and community are new ideas.The tech world, specifically the computer gaming world was all about user groups, developer communities and customer connections as the definition of marketing and the guts of cust. service.¬†These groups defined brand, influenced prod changes, built channel and drove revenue.¬†Sorry to rant by community as the backbone of marketing as the driver of commerce as the core of business identity is my hot button ūüėČ

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          BRAND IS JUST FANCY WORD FOR “TELL WHO YOU ARE.”MOST HUMANS THINK IT WORD FOR “TELL LIES ABOUT WHO YOU ARE.”SECOND ONE IS PROBLEM.

        4. Donna Brewington White

          Leigh — Love this¬†question¬†and this¬†comment you made below “if your brand is only being built from your marketing, you’re already in ¬†trouble” ¬†I used to think about “brand” a lot (and am still enamored with the concept) when the majority of my searches were for consumer marketing roles.My fascination began when I was working with a consumer tech startup client where the founder came out of software and had a strong product orientation and gave little thought to brand. I saw them losing ground in a very brand oriented market even though they had an award-winning product. ¬†I often wondered how much the disregard for brand hurt them. Sure, there were other issues, but that question haunts me to this day and I began to be very observant of my clients’ brand-building efforts, or lack thereof.I began thinking that brand is like identity and it is hard to develop a relationship without identity. ¬†It seems that just as we relate to each other as humans based on identity, a company relates best to its consumers/customers when there is a clear sense of identity (i.e., brand).¬†A brand has never been merely the image a company projects but also includes how that company (and its products) are experienced. ¬†However, by some of the marketing efforts I’ve observed, you would think that some companies think we should believe something about them just because they tell us it is true. ¬†One of the things I love about social media and the digital world in general is that companies will increasingly not be able to get by with this type of thinking and are being forced to become more authentic and transparent. ¬†The experiential element will be a necessary part of their identity (and, hence, their brand).¬†@tao69:disqus¬†said it all with his words below: “Be the brand.” ¬†I believe that more and more, a brand will have to be existential in order to be relevant.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            BE THE BRAND IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE BRAND IS YOU. IF NOT BE BRAND, THEN YOU JUST A LIE.

      2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        You own a coffee shop too? ¬†ūüôā ¬†Its Saturday and I couldn’t resist!Imagine if the guy wearing the Twitter tshirt wore in 8X? ¬†“Twitter” would have gone from being about 16″ across to about 36″ across….I need to turn my loyal customers into walking billboards; just got to figure out how to turn gawking into an income stream! ¬†

        1. fredwilson

          Hmm. That’s a good idea. We need a better coffee shop in union square

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            When you get ready to open let me know and I will send out shirts to all our consumers in NYC with your shop’s logo on them!

          2. leigh

            of course you’ll need to hire an Agency/Consultant to decide – coffee shop brand, USV brand, AVC brand or ¬†Fred Wilson¬†brand ūüėČ

          3. Donna Brewington White

            @leigh:disqus¬†— how about Fred Wilson brand and USV and AVC blends?

          4. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Donna,Fred is the voice and personality of a brand…and he could probably talk me into decaf!

          5. William Mougayar

            You could call it One Cup. If you’re gonna have a cup of coffee per day, it better be that ONE cup. (there’s a chain in Canada called Second Cup)

          6. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            IF ONE CUP COME IN 50 GALLON SIZE, GRIMLOCK WILL DRINK THERE.

          7. ShanaC

            bring intelligentsia in!!!  They have a tasting lab, but no proper shop.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        I get lots of compliments on my Hashable t-shirt but every single time I have to explain what it is. 

  2. Dennis Buizert

    I love it when a website does something special at a special occasion. Makes them look human as well. Shows the users they are caring for the engagements with their products.Well done tumblr team, well done on such an awesome product! 

  3. Harry DeMott

    Congrats on the 10B posts. That’s a lot of engagement.Funny story. I was on the west coast 2 months ago having dinner with a bunch of VC’s, and one of them said: “Ever notice how no one out here talks about Tumblr? do you realize they serve up something like 10M pages per day (I forget the number here). But because they are so New York based, and so creative based, no one out here really gets them. To us it is all Facebook and WordPress all the time”Funny how geography can completely warp perspective.

    1. Dennis Buizert

      I’m glad in a certain way no one really talks about Tumblr if you know what I mean.¬†Its a good filter, if people stumble upon it or get referred to them but not get mass covered.I like it when a product grows that way sometimes. Leaves a lot of pressure of the company. Look at how Facebook is screwing up their website right now, so many features get added and a lot are to peoples annoyances.¬†

    2. awaldstein

      Good point. After two+ years back in NYC after 20 on the coast the difference is palpable.On the coast there is a real tech geek environment which I was a part of.¬† In NYC, for me at least, I find it’s all about density and people using technology to just get stuff done and make life better and easier.I shy from generalizations but this rings true.

    3. fredwilson

      That’s why its great to be a VC in NYC

    4. Esayas Gebremedhin

      My no. 1 recommendation to my creative friends is Tumblr. Even here in Europe. ūüôā

    5. raycote

      I’m just a simple user not a developer but I love tumblr.Its sticky like honey.It is so darn easy to use.To me it is the APPLE of the blogging world for the rest of us!

      1. fredwilson

        David Karp would love to hear you call it that

  4. awaldstein

    Saw the confetti mid day yesterday.Made me want to open a bottle of champagne and celebrate with them. I did, of course, post the work day.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      We have to get you a t-shirt that says “I’ll drink to that!”

  5. William Mougayar

    You call it Voice. I would have called it Personality.¬†Tumblr and Google, when they do these little things are expressing the authenticity of their personalities and that makes us associate with them immediately.¬†It’s a subtle fun thing that reminds us the computer is “human” and it has a soul.

    1. awaldstein

      Slight edit William.It’s not that the computer is human, it’s that the network is.

      1. William Mougayar

        That reminds me of the famous line “The Network is the Computer”, but SUN meant it in the “hardware” way, whereas today- the same thing can be said but the network is more human, it’s a social network of humans. It’s the fabric that envelops the hardware it runs on.

        1. leigh

          I am the network (we all are the network)

          1. JLM

            Great comment and this particular community is one of the best! Comity, comedy, competence and color. I always wanted to be a color commentator.

          2. William Mougayar

            The new 4 C’s…Love it.¬†JLM- You do that in your sleep probably….your mind is wired straight into AVC subconsciously.¬†

          3. fredwilson

            Or a poetic

          4. JLM

            @fred wilsonI won a poetry contest in 4th grade. If everyone does not behave, I will be forced to post my poem.I have been addicted to Rudyard K my whole life. RK’s Barracks Room Ballads got me through some scary times.Today when some son of one of my classmates is headed off to war, I Amazon drop on them bit of R Kipling. Can you imagine reading R Kipling in A’stan on the side of a mountain? Some of his best was set in A’stan’s plains. “Go to your God like a soldier…a soldier of the Queen…”

          5. raycote

            Or as the Beatles put it.”The network(life) goes on within you and without you”

          6. ShanaC

            wouldn’t it be more the fair to say the network has emergent human cultural behaviors. ¬†A network of computers don’t have feelings, it is the people behind them that do.

        2. raycote

          I really love that word “FABRIC”.The network is the fabric,the substrate,the conduit,the organizing dynamic,the¬†spiritual¬†tour de force,the soul that breaths lifeinto the emergent gestalt that floats our individual / collective consciousness and creativity .The network fabric¬†underpins everything of evolutionary¬†importance.¬†Network dynamics have a self selecting teleological gradient towards, complexity, interconnectedness, consciousness and dare I say it noosphere.Reality is an infinite regress of stacked network fabrics with ever more volatile flux density stability issues as you move up that stack.YES I KNOW I’M A BROKEN RECORD!BROKEN RECORD!BROKEN RECORD!BROKEN RECORD!

      2. Mark Essel

        I was thinking the people behind the software have personality, and the business empowers them to express it.

        1. awaldstein

          Well said. There are just so many corner cases. Most social platforms are runways for the behaviors of the community. The company behind it shines through through how they exhibit leadership and the context that the interests aggregate around.

          1. JLM

            Please stop making the rest of us look so dumb.Great insights.Well played!

          2. Matt A. Myers

            You don’t want to stumble over to his today’s blog post then..

        2. Matt A. Myers

          I love this.

    2. fredwilson

      Personality would get me less shrugs

      1. William Mougayar

        ah, I see the connection to your 10 principles, of which Voice is one. You can have a Voice but Personality is what sets you part when everybody has a Voice.¬†Voice with a personality…:)

    3. Richard

      Calling it “Voice” has more personality than calling it “Personality” though.

      1. fredwilson

        ūüėČ

    4. testtest

      The soul in the computer is us.Technology is an extension of ourselves. Clothes are an extension of our skin, the wheel is an extension of our feet, the computer an extension of our mind.

      1. Tyler Hayes

        Your comments are consistently poignant and thought-provoking. I suspect that’s intended. Thank you.Ghost in the machine.

        1. testtest

          Thanks Tyler.I hope my comments become obvious once we catch up with the present. 

    5. leigh

      voice and personality are different – I’ll change your mind next time i see you ūüôā

  6. William Mougayar

    btw- ¬†What’s that new pull-down next to our name on Disqus, and there’s a number next to it. Displays some old replies, but not sure in what order, then the number disappears.I appreciate Disqus experimenting and trying things, but this series of trials (with last week’s Top ranks icons) are starting to look amateurish. Have they asked its users for feedback on what they want? I’m a top 25 here, which is probably a top 10 blog for Disqus worldwide and was never been approached by Disqus for a survey or feedback.¬†Why doesn’t¬†@disqus:twitter¬†¬†ask the top 50 users from its top 50 blogs for some feedback on what they want?

    1. fredwilson

      Good idea on reaching out to usersAVC is “disqus labs”

      1. William Mougayar

        Exactly, and we’re the rats!

    2. Dale Allyn

      One may find value in feedback from those _not_ in the “top 50” set as well. Find out why the engagement is less and what might encourage more involvement. ūüėČ

      1. William Mougayar

        Of course, I would take a sample from the top, the middle and the bottom. Point  is Рtake some formal feedback if you want to innovate and seem to be fumbling your way into it. 

        1. Dale Allyn

          Agreed, William. 

    3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      ME, GRIMLOCK GIVE @DISQUS FEEDBACK ALL THE TIME. THEM VERY RESPONSIVE.

      1. William Mougayar

        Here or via email? You’re right that all the feedback they can get is here, and I’ve given it many times, but not getting responses.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          ON TWITTER. USUALLY GET RESPONSE IN 30 MINUTES.

        2. Aaron Klein

          I just visited their new offices a few weeks ago, believe it or not. They’re an incredibly responsive company. I emailed feedback once to [email protected] and it was Daniel (ceo) who responded.Disqus is definitely going places. ūüôā

        3. Mat Mullen

          Hi William – ¬†feel free to send your feedback to [email protected]. That address forwards to our entire company so you’ll be sure to get our attention!

        4. Tyler Hayes

          To expand on Mat’s response, you can also use http://disqus.com/support which sends an email to our support team. We respond to every email and every tweet. And we often share feedback with the entire team.We do try our best to respond to every comment mentioning us where it seems appropriate. If you directly threw us some thoughts here and we missed them, that’s our bad; sorry about that. Feel free to share them here now or toss us an email or tweet.Either way, I can assure you we’re always listening and even if you don’t get a response in the comments your voice is definitely heard.Now if only there were a way to turn on confetti in the comments…

          1. awaldstein

            Tyler is always there to listen and respond. He rocks. I can personally attest to that.But….(if I may speak for William) this is not about being responsive. Disqus most certainly is. This is about nudging Disqus (with affection) about their relationship to their community, the bloggers and commentors.It’s one thing to always be there to answer. It’s another to foster a community to encourage discussion and questions.Tyler and Daniel and the team know that I’m a huge supporter, evangelist of the platform and fanboy so I trust this is taken in the right way,

          2. Tyler Hayes

            All good points. If you (Arnold or anybody) have any more specific thoughts on this topic, please email me [email protected] I’d love to chat and see where this goes.Thanks for the food for thought. For now, time for me to brew a cup of tea and ruminate on this.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      I wonder if¬†@disqus:twitter¬†needs to have a place they can play around with ideas? ¬†I kind of like being part of their lab here on AVC. ¬†I think that some of the things they’ve done — if they described them to us and asked our opinion would have a different effect than their just showing them to us and getting our feedback.I must say that I have been shocked at how responsive they’ve been on Twitter when I’ve ¬†tweeted them about something. ¬†Tyler and the guy before him. And I’ve seen them make changes within hours based on comments made here at AVC.

      1. Tyler Hayes

        Our office is a playground of ideas; we’re a team of ~20 now, and now more than ever I’m seeing thoughts fly around the office, catalyze, and blossom. It’s a wonderful thing to behold and, as we continue to grow and feel comfortable inviting others to our playground, I’m sure the AVC community will be first to know.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Can’t wait.BTW, love the poetic description of thoughts flying around the office.

  7. Peter Sullivan

    People like things that humanize experiences. That includes tech. Tech shouldn’t take over our lives, but mimic and reflect our human needs.Don’t take shit too seriously. We all love fun and¬†humorous¬†things.¬†

    1. JLM

      Don’t take yourself too seriously! Brilliant comment really!

      1. William Mougayar

        Lol. I think he said “shit”, not same as “yourself”. LMAO ūüôā

        1. Mark Essel

          Hehehe, read the same and was thinking man JLM must really loathe Peter (this is clearly not the case, see below).Although in this case I believe JLM’s being literal.

          1. JLM

            Totally wrong! I dig Peter.Don’t start trouble.Plus I never take myself seriously knowing that I am fundamentally full of shit myself.I am just a very very lucky pissant with an obligation to return that luck at every instance.Karma

          2. Mark Essel

            Thanks for clarifying :), Peter’s comment was a bullseye.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      It seems that the best tech actually helps us to be more human…to be more of what is best about being human.

      1. Jon Atrides

        Yes! It also helps us break through the limitations arising out of being human

  8. testtest

    Voice resonates within.¬†The visual¬†realm is sharp and exact, contrasting. That doesn’t resonate.¬†Vision disembodies when we experience it. Voice embodies totally.

  9. Robert Thuston

    I remember a presentation you gave to “Google”. ¬†I took a screenshot of the slides that said… “Six words to live by on the Internet: ¬†Global, social, open, mobile, playful, intelligent, and number seven would be instantaneous”.I’ve gone back to that slide several times as a screen test for ideas. ¬†I haven’t gone back to it in a while… maybe because I have more of an instinct for it now.”voice” is new. I like it.

    1. TedHoward

      Better voice example: Schweddy Ballshttp://www.npr.org/blogs/th…

  10. Esayas Gebremedhin

    I think a lot about this notion of “ideas are not important, it’s all a matter of the right execution” that is going around and I deeply believe that this is wrong.I love tumblr 100 times more than FB, because they re-think and re-imagine things like this confetti “voice”. It’s also about creating life and character that FB always fails to archive.¬†Honestly FB’s success looks to me like an accident and systems like tumblr are way more fascinating as they don’t execute only and they don’t underestimate the importance of ideas.What you get on FB is a page with ugly confetti also known as great executed code that more and more people find irritating.

    1. testtest

      IMO it also has to do with the place Facebook entered the market. During the growth stages of a market ‘does the product function’ is more important than texture and¬†nuance.

      1. JamesHRH

        People hated MSFT products in the ’90’s. They entered early & won dominant mindshare. They locked in users ( at least a generation of users ) b/c the pain of retraining to new tools was so high.The lock in for FB is the 500M users. Hard to walk away from that.

        1. testtest

          And photos.In their position they can just copy any significant features competitors create.Which is why¬†differentiation in the direction that they can’t or won’t copy is so important. Anything else is supplying free R&D.¬†¬†

          1. Brandon S

            Ergo, anything that is created in that space must sneak up on them so that it is a acquisition rather than a project to reverse engineer.  Most larger companies will choose to acquire rather than build if the product is successful and the brand is good.  No?

          2. testtest

            Ergo, anything that is created in that space must sneak up on them so that it is a acquisition rather than a project to reverse engineerYou can do it in plain sight if you innovate in a direction that an¬†incumbent¬†isn’t willing to go, or can’t go. Anything less and the¬†category¬†leader can reverse engineer if they choose.There’s no sneaking on the consumer internet. If you start to become popular you draw attention by definition.There’s different types of innovation. Not just product. The type of innovation used depends on the maturity of the market. For example in a growth market you could use application innovation, which is using a technology for a different application than it’s currently used. Apple did this when they applied the PC to desktop publishing.Most larger companies will choose to acquire rather than build if the product is successful and the brand is good.¬† No?I can think of other factors:- Does the¬†incumbent have core-competency¬†in the area.¬†– The number of competitors in the¬†category.¬†¬†– Why are they¬†acquiring?- Are the brands compatible.- Economic¬†climate.¬†– Future strategic direction of the company.- How commoditized is the product.- What are the switching costs for users.- What are the barriers to entry for the category.- Cost of¬†acquisition.¬†– Potential¬†synergies.¬†– Culture of M&A.- Maturity of market¬†They’re most likely not correct. The point is they may acquire, or they may build, or they may not build, or they may do strategic¬†alliance, or they may harvest and exit, or they may migrate the value, etc

          3. JamesHRH

            Actually, most big companies don’t do any of this.They devolve. They fight internally for budget share or executive mindshare rather than new markets and customers. They choose arrogance and defensiveness over humility and investigation.You can’t attack them head-on, because they have market share & cash. But flanking them with new ideas and creating a new market that the incumbent should have created is, historically, the norm.Again, Trout & Ries basics……

          4. Matt A. Myers

            @chrishuntis:disqus You, sir, are void of a Twitter handle or other means of following you via Disqus profile.

          5. testtest

            I set up my information streams with care. And my current personal configuration doesn’t use twitter etc.It’s ironic in the information age that most of the value is yielded when blocking 99.99% of it out. At least at the personal level.¬†¬†

          6. testtest

            I’ve just reactivated a twitter account from 2007 and connected Disqus to it:http://twitter.com/#!/chris…Hopefully I won’t get hooked and end up tweeting constantly, wearing a twitter t-shirt, hat, and carrying around a twitter mug — it could happen!

          7. ShanaC

            They tried that foursquare. Didn’t work apparently

          8. testtest

            Worked for tumblr.”Tumblr is an emerging player in social media, nearly tripling its audience from a year ago”From:¬†http://blog.nielsen.com/nie…

    2. JLM

      Ideas are more important than anything!When ideas wrestle, even better ideas emerge.The Founding Fathers conducted arguably the most extensive idea wrestling match in the history of the world.In many ways that is the genius of AVC — a salon — wrestling salon of ideas.

      1. Guest

        My wife and I have been talking a lot lately about these old debates and discussions. Some of these debates and this era is probably a bit romanticized by us here in the U.S. BUT some of it was extremely powerful stuff. Real powerful.¬†It is quite funny you bring up the word “salon” as my wife & I are doing little things to bring these back into our lives with friends – these efforts instigated after reading a Ben Franklin book.¬†

        1. JLM

          I love to get a bunch of interesting folks together and just stir up a conversation. People are just so damn interesting.It helps if there is some wine, a fire or a large body of water involved.I have been going to the Red River Shootout — Tx v Jokelahoma — for over 30 years w the same friends just for the convo to & fro. 3 hrs each way.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            How about an AVC cruise?

          2. fredwilson

            i don’t do cruises

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Strike two.Spoilsport.

          4. Guest

            Sorry to any and all OU fans out there but I am cheering for the Longhorn on this one. ūüôā Fire & wine, throw in a little food too. Folks are so interesting indeed.

        2. ShanaC

          Why don’t we bring back salons?

          1. Guest

            I don’t know. My wife and I have been talking about this a bit and trying to discover new ways to bring something like this about. This [AVC] forum is a bit of a salon, of sorts. This Franklin book has got us both thinking and acting on a few things. Franklin seemingly was a fascinating dude.

      2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        IDEA IS LIKE BLUEPRINT FOR CAR.WITHOUT BUILD CAR, IT JUST PIECE OF PAPER. 

        1. ShanaC

          Still, you need a good idea, otherwise you just build lemons.

      3. William Mougayar

        True, but their putting them in action is what created a big impact. Drucker said it best “Ideas are promise rather than fulfillment.”¬†

        1. JLM

          Most money gets made by being 80% right but done on time!Being the first to the Farmers Market is essential to getting the best stuff!

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Unless others don’t know how to do the picking properly..

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Digesting this one, Matthew. Not sure if I am taking this further than you intended, but just as arriving early at the Farmers Market is meaningless if the produce is mediocre, excellent execution of a mediocre idea doesn’t necessarily create an excellent outcome.

      4. raycote

        It seems to me that good ideas well executed led to even more good ideas in an endlessly accelerating creative loop.That process is just a microcosm of human history, an ever accelerating fire ball of creativity played out in the resonant interval between information(ideas) and technology(execution).

        1. JLM

          Iterative learning.

        2. Matt A. Myers

          I like your flow. ūüôā

      5. Matt A. Myers

        It’s the execution part that comes into play when determining if you’ll make money (or your investment) back.

      6. K_Berger

        I don’t agree that ideas are more important than anything.¬† Certainly you need an idea to start with, but a well-executed mediocre idea will always beat a great idea without proper execution.It’s like the untruth of building a better mousetrap.¬† People do not always buy it.¬† Something I have experienced first-hand and am in the process of rectifying.

    3. Guest

      I don’t have any real opinions on the FB v Tumblr stuff but ¬†your comment¬†‘¬†I think a lot about this notion of “ideas are not important, it’s all a matter of the right execution” that is going around and deeply believe that this is wrong.¬†¬†‘ is excellent. Execution is EXTREMELY important but the power of an idea shouldn’t be overlooked.¬†

      1. Dale Allyn

        Brilliant execution of an old idea (or existing application) can be very successful. Poor execution of a brilliant idea can end in abject failure. (Note the use of the word “can”, and not an absolute term such as “must” or “will”. ;)Both are very important. Ideas fuel innovation, but as you say, execution is extremely important.

        1. JLM

          Old ideas morph into principles — don’t spend ALL the money!

          1. Dale Allyn

            Of course. And as you’ve demonstrated in your analog career, an “old idea” (or business, product or application) can be presented to market with brilliant execution and not only profit, but build a very satisfied community of users/customers.¬†Edit for clarification: referring to acquiring companies which are not succeeding and turning them around through better execution and business principles. ūüėČ

          2. JLM

            Still very much a work in progress but I have hired 4 social media folks in the last 3 weeks, so we shall see!This Internet and social media stuff could be huge! <<< attribution to the Wiseman from Lancaster

        2. Guest

          Yeah, both are important and needed. It seems the idea of balance even holds here – between execution and ideation/creativity

      2. raycote

        Maybe I’m working off the wrong definition of “Execution” and “Idea” but this strikes me as falling under the category :- Chicken or the Egg- Horse and Carriage- It takes two wings to fly

        1. Guest

          Nah, I think you are working off the same definitions I had in my head when I replied. I think the two wings to fly is the most appropriate here ūüôā

      3. Donna Brewington White

        I’m with you on this, Geoffrey. ¬†While I understand the thinking behind the execution statement — sort of goes along with “those who can’t do, teach” line of thought, ¬†I get frustrated by the discounting of thought and ideas that I see happening in some circles. ¬†Without ideas, there is no disruption. I guess you could say the same for execution.

        1. Guest

          Yeah, I fall into this too. In biz world the execution is the potentially measurable (usually) and therefore observable, investable and/or bankable. The idea is what can maintain the intangible though – the passion, the drive, the will. The idea can keep that fire burning when one’s soul begins to turn cold and the spirit brittle.

      4. Esayas Gebremedhin

        Geoffrey, I think in the realm of “industrialization of startups” many vc’s , angels and entrepreneurs are confronted with a flood of ideas that most people really can’t or don’t know how to execute. But if you are a real creative/ innovative person, you take executing ideas for granted and worry more about the originality of your ideas. In the last ten years I haven’t struggled much with executing ideas ‚Äď only with coming up with the most sickest. ūüôā

        1. Guest

          I agree with your framing of the issue in the VC and startup world. Happily, the world is not all that. ūüôā

    4. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT IDEAS LIKE TUMBLR HAVE ARE EXECUTION, NOT “IDEAS”.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Execution but based off of refined ideas based off of theories, narratives, understanding users and purpose, having direction, etc.?

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          “IDEA NOT MATTER” MEAN HAVE BIG IDEA EASY, HAVE LITTLE IDEAS REQUIRED FOR MAKE IT REAL NOT.DEVIL IS IN DETAIL. MOST PEOPLE HAVE INSUFFICIENT DEVIL.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            “MOST PEOPLE HAVE INSUFFICIENT DEVIL”You are killing me!!!

  11. Aaron Klein

    One of the best places to build “voice” into an app is email notifications. Soundcloud does this really well.

  12. Douglas Crets

    Eric Ries argues that you should not use traditional PR to launch a product. Make a great product and it will go social and spread. I agree.¬†Companies should hire “voice” into their startup efforts, people who may not be able to execute in engineering, but who get the company, can listen, and can create meaningful community dialogue and memorable moments.Poets of the Tech Age is who they need to hire. Not those big PR firms that are all about pushing and blitzing.¬†

  13. Matt A. Myers

    I have a bunch of fun things planned with my projects, and I’m sure more creativity will flourish with excitement that will come; I can’t wait to hear ideas from the communities once they get going too: the community is apart of voice too afterall, helps shape your voice. ūüôā

    1. Trish Burgess-Curran

      Could not agree more!  And this community is certainly helping me shape (or rather expand) my thinking and my voice.  Great blog!

  14. Donna Brewington White

    The internet is helping companies to act more like people and less like machines.Or at least the invitation is there.

  15. RacerRick

    @dickc:disqus¬†has a great post on having a “voice”…(Cached cause his site is no longer)http://webcache.googleuserc…

    1. fredwilson

      ask the wizard is no more??bummer