Weekly Blog #4: The Long Tail

Can you imagine your life without a search engine?  I must say that mine would be hard. The internet search engines help me find anything I want online. All I need is to type a few words and in seconds all the information I was looking for is displayed in from of me.

Lately, I’ve been planning to take a big trip with my husband. We would like to go to a place that I have never been before. I`m considering parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. I`m spending sometime on researching about the different areas so I can make a decision. I found Wikipedia a great source. I just type the continent or country and I have broad information including, physical geography, territories and regions, economy, language, history, etc. Wikipedia gives me much more information than I need in order to make a decision.

While I`m trying to learn about these places I also search for flights at Kayak.com.
Kayak gives me the best fares. I no longer need to go to a specific airlines and check one by one. In Kayak I have a list of all flights available from all major airlines. In addition, if I want to book a hotel Kayak displays the best deals. It`s easy and saves my time while searching for my vacation. The Travel Blog is also a great source.

I feel amazed by all the things you can find online You can find everything out there in The Long Tail. And if you  find a niche that is not fulfilled you can definitely do it with a website yourself because it will be useful to someone else.

Personal Blog #2 – Immigrant

Many of us don`t have an idea of how challenging the life of an immigrant is. Many times in the past, I thought that living in a country other than your own was an easy task. However, once I experienced this myself I started to have a different perspective.

I`ve been living in the USA for almost three years now, but I`m still not used to being here. When you are in a new land the process of adaptation is long. You have many factors that make the process harder. Language, being away from your family and friends, culture, customs, prejudice. It`s a long list.

Personally, two things affect me the most. First is the language. When I got to the USA, I could not speak English. During these three years, I have tried hard to be immersed in the language and gradually I feel that I`m making some progress. Many times now I talk to myself in English and my dreams are in English. I feel that it’s a little weird but I can`t remember the last time I dreamed in Portuguese.

However, I don’t think that even with all my effort my English is good enough and because of that I feel at a disadvantage in the job market place. I have some breakdowns now and then because of all I have to do to keep up with the language. The stress just increased since I started going to Grad. school. Sometimes I feel that I`m torturing myself. But I know that in the end I will have a happy future.

The second thing I want to mention is family. I miss them every single day. It`s so hard being far away from my family. The last time I saw my little sister I could not believe how big she was. When I left my home she was just this little girl and now she is a teenager. When you realize that you are not part of this change it hurts.

But don`t fool yourself and think that my life is horrible and you should never try to do something different in your life. Many good things happened to me since I moved here. I left many special people but I also meet special ones. And all the difficulties I`ve been through made me a better person.

The change and the unknown can be scary sometimes but don`t let this get in your way. Let the wind take you away to new places and bigger dreams.

Weekly Blog #3 – Do we need a Bill of Rights for the social web?

At this point with all the platforms out there I don`t think that a Bill of Rights would be relevant. Let`s face the reality. We choose to share our information with the world. It`s our decision to have a Facebook account, Orkut, LinkedIn, blogs, and dozens of other social media tools.

The companies don`t force us to sign up to their service. We join because of our need for interaction with family, friends and many other things that are out there. Not to mention that it also gives us the feeling that we are part of a group, that we are part of the new tech revolution.

The other day I was attempting to play the Mafia Wars game in Facebook. I was frustrated because in order to play the game I would need to allow Facebook to share my profile information including photos, my friends’ information and other contents though I don`t know who would get the information.

My frustration grew once I started playing. I had another surprise. Even after sharing my information and being able to be in the game I would need to have a certain number of people joining in the game with me so I could keep playing. Therefore, I needed to invite my friends to be part of the game as well, so Facebook could gather more information.

After complaining to my husband for a while it sunk into my mind that we live in a capitalist world. Nothing is free. Everything is The world in which we live  is a big market place, everyone selling and buying. So how can I expect to do something without giving back? It is not possible.

In the same way I would like to have the right to know where my information is going, companies have their right to use our information to some extent. If you are using their service you need to pay for it in some way. Would you let someone live in your house using everything you have for free?

We don`t need a Bill of rights. We need to decide if we want to be part of the social media experience. If you don`t want to be exposed don`t use the service. No one is forcing you do to so.

Personal Blog #1 – Stereotypes

Aren’t you tired of stereotypes? I am. It really bothers me when people assume things based on the little bit they know. Last week in Brazil, we celebrated “carnaval”, one of the biggest holidays in Brazil. After hearing that, people came to me and start saying crazy stuff. The way they talk it seems that Brazil could be summarized by naked woman everywhere, soccer, and violence in Rio. It is disturbing.

It is true that we have good soccer players, that on carnaval you will see people wearing different costumes, and that Rio de Janeiro is dangerous in some parts. However, who told these people that those are the only things that happen during the 365 days in Brazil?  Sorry if I`m destroying someone`s dreams but the reality is different. Even if we love to celebrate,  we don`t party everyday. We have our chores, like the rest of the world.

For example, look at my boring life back in Brazil. At 6:00 am I was awake having a quick breakfast before going to the super-crowded bus or metro. An hour later, or sometimes more than that if stuck in traffic, I would be at my job. For the next long 8 hours I would work like crazy, hoping that everything is done on time because I still would need to go to school after work, and five extra minutes means more people in the bus, more traffic, arriving late in class, lower grades. I could`t have lower grades, otherwise how would I make it to my master’s dregree? So even being tired, many times having a headache, other times falling sleep,  I was in school from 7:15pm to 11pm trying to learn as much as I could. By midnight I was at home. Usually I would go to bed around 2:00 because of my assignments. And the next day I would do the same. Does that sound like a party to you?

So please if you happen to meet me someday never say: “You are from Brazil! That is so cool. Oh you girls are something, all these little bikinis. Do you know Pele? Ronaldo? Soccer? Brazil must be so beautiful. I would love to go there but all the violence I`m scared. Sorry I can`t say anything in Spanish. You speak Spanish right?”

Please check this first:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/02/AR2010010200619.html

By the way feel free to check out more information related to Brazil.

Hope we can be friends some day.

Weekly Blog #2 – Who was the first blogger?

Do you know that in 2004, “blog” was classified as the “word of the year” in the MerriamWebster dictionary?  That there are over 200,000,000 blogs?  But where did this blog idea started? I believe that there are many debates over who was the first blogger.

It is not an easy question. You can’t just, say, look who wrote the first blog in 1997. It’s somewhat more complex than that.

We have Justin Hall who in 1994 started to share deep details of his life on his personal website, links.net. At this time, we didn’t have the term “blog”. However, what his site was doing is pretty much what you see on blogs nowadays.

Then we have Jorn Barn, another person who had a big influenced in the blogosphere. He created the term “weblog” after playing around with the words web, link, list, and log. The name was to describe the process of “logging the web”. Peter Merholz later shortened the term “weblog” to “blog”.

In addition, I need to mention Dave Winer, the author of one of the oldest blogs, “Scripting News”.  He also offered free blog hosting on his site. Winer once said, “Everyone gets their own personal website. I want to help you do this.”

After all, it is complicated to say who the first blogger was. Looking to all these guys you easily see that all of them contributed to the existence of blogs. I vote for all of them as the first bloggers.

Enjoy the snow!

Weekly Blog #1 – Are there really 95 theses?

After reading The Cluetrain Manifesto , I cannot agree that there are 95 theses. Many of the theses you can combine to make it easier to understand them. You may disagree, but it worked for me. Before you go against my idea let me show you how I grouped some of the 95 theses.

First, start reading the first six theses and you will see that what the author is saying is that markets are conversations, consisted of human beings, who share information by talking to each other. These days, the internet provides for the communication in the marketplace. Anyone can get on the internet and share information. Word-of-mouth exists in every place. I must say that with the word of mouth by internet is even faster because you can spread the word to many more people in seconds. Anyway, let`s go back to the 95 theses. Reading numbers 1 to 6 there is something clear to me: “Markets are conversations!” Now we have 90 theses. However, we can still narrow this number.

Now let’s see 8 to 13. What I understand is that technology is connecting outsiders, employees and organizations, which change the dynamic of organization in the marketplace. The market is getting smarter, consumers know more about products than the companies do. Now companies need to learn how to work with this new way; otherwise they cannot keep up. Therefore, we can simplify all these ideas as “The connection between companies and new markets is important in order to succeed.” How many do we have now? 85 theses?

If you are into combining theses in this way, I would encourage you to try reviewing theses 14-95 and see what summary theses you can come up with .

By the way, I’m not trying to criticize the Cluetrain Manifesto. I`m just trying to simplify so I can absorb the lessons faster. This book is great! I recommend it, especially after listening to my teacher last week. He said, “When you go to an interview talk about ‘markets are conversations.’ It will make a difference.” I will try next time.