Quid pro quo will define the author-publisher relationship


Quid pro quo will define the author-publisher relationship

Published on O'Reilly Radar - Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies. | shared via feedly mobile

In a recent interview, author and digital book producer Peter Meyers talked about what we can expect as publishing comes into its own in the digital era. He said customized book apps will largely go by the wayside, and HTML5 as a format will be a bit of a hard-sell to consumers. And using his own experience as a basis, Meyers said publishers aren't in danger of becoming irrelevant.

Highlights from the interview (below) include:

Different kinds of books gravitate toward different kinds of formats — Meyers said the majority of books in the future won't be customized apps. The ones that will be apps will be the ones that require interactivity. [Discussed at the 0:19 mark.]

HTML5 is still a wild card — Meyers said HTML5's core question is transactional: Are people willing to pay for web-based content? Consumers have been reluctant thus far, but as HTML5 gets fully supported, we'll see more experimentation. [Discussed at 1:40.]

Amazon's Fire tablet will be a problem for B&N — Even though both tablets are similar in a lot ways, Meyers pointed toward Amazon's ecosystem and said B&N just doesn't match up to Amazon's content and service offerings. [Discussed at 4:54.]

Will publishers become irrelevant? — Meyers said no. Using his own experience as an example, he highlighted the fact that his publisher (O'Reilly) provides a platform to publicize his work and technological support to produce works in particular formats. What he doesn't get — and said few authors do — is hand-holding, individual attention, detailed line editing, cheerleading and so forth. Meyers said authors need to go in with the expectation that they'll have to do as much for their publishers and their books as the publishers do for them. [Discussed at 5:26.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

Meyers' new book, "Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience," will be released in the next couple weeks — you can nab a free preview copy now — and he'll host a workshop at TOC 2012.

TOC NY 2012 — O'Reilly's TOC Conference, being held Feb. 13-15, 2012, in New York City, is where the publishing and tech industries converge. Practitioners and executives from both camps will share what they've learned and join together to navigate publishing's ongoing transformation.

Register to attend TOC 2012


Stories from the "Breaking the Page" project

The iPad's ripple effect

HTML5 for publishers: Drawing on the screen

What publishers can and should learn from "The Elements"

The paperless book

feedly. feed your mind. http://www.feedly.com


Leading A New Team?

He developed a plan of action that would involve laying off the top two tiers of managers—about 20 people—and asking them to reapply for their jobs.
From Harvard Business Review...

Get Ready for Your Next Assignment

by Katie Smith Milway, Ann Goggins Gregory, Jenny Davis-Peccoud, and Kathleen Yazbak

When Bruce Wilkinson, an executive in World Vision Inter­national’s Zambia operation, learned that he was going to be promoted to regional director for southern Africa, he immediately started reading performance reviews of key staff members and talking to his peers, other national officers in the $2.6 billion organization. In doing so he uncovered a serious weakness: A host of critical positions in the region had gone unfilled for as long as 16 months, leading to lost contracts and deterioration in the programs WVI undertakes to empower poor communities. Human resources needed to step up its game.

But Wilkinson also saw that his appointment offered an opportunity—to both fix broken functions, such as HR, and create new ones, such as quality assurance, that could improve his region’s performance. He developed a plan of action that would involve laying off the top two tiers of managers—about 20 people—and asking them to reapply for their jobs. “You want the elements of your vision to take shape before you start,” Wilkinson explains. “In my case, I was redefining the role of the regional office as a true service center, and managers got the message.”

Most executives know what their next project or promotion will be well before the day it starts, but too few take advantage of their insider status and the time beforehand to prepare well. That is an opportunity lost.

Your next assignment is your next chance to create results—for your organization and for your career. A smart investment of time and effort up front can make the difference between simply getting by and truly excelling, between a dead-end move and a stepping-stone to bigger and better things.

A key factor in your transition will be knowledge—not only substantive information about the project or field, but an understanding of how others inside and outside the organization have tackled similar assignments, what challenges and opportunities lie ahead, and what resources are available and how you can mobilize them to overcome obstacles. Combining insights from our ongoing study of how knowledge is best captured and shared, our experience with consulting and executive search clients, and interviews with successful leaders across different types of enterprises, this article identifies three practical steps for building your knowledge capital to excel in new roles throughout your career. We call them phase zero, learning tour, and affinity groups.

Wilkinson used all three to implement his plan, reinterviewing staff members and translating his network of former peers—the national directors—into a source of feedback. This enabled him to upgrade the HR leadership, add a director of quality, and rapidly fill open positions. Let’s look at each step in detail.

Phase Zero

This is a chance to use your insider advantage to become familiar with a new unit’s people and performance and to discern the opportunities and challenges of your assignment—before it begins or is even announced. In the weeks leading up to the assignment, carve out and hold sacred at least 30 minutes a day to prepare. You may find ways to increase effectiveness, reduce costs, or even reassess a business model. In phase zero you can identify problems and develop a hypothesis for how to solve them—as Wilkinson did in southern Africa. And your solutions can be tested and adjusted as you move into your new role.

Among the likeliest places to look for objective data in this step are company documents—such as performance reviews and reports on services and operations—and feedback from customers and suppliers. For qualitative input, turn to colleagues who have supervised the role, interacted with it, or previously filled a similar role. Push to understand the story behind the story—for example, ask “What challenges might I encounter that aren’t apparent from the description of the assignment?” Finding these people and getting the information you need, without fanfare, will help you understand expectations and possibilities, think through a plan of action, and prepare personally for the transition.

Consider the experience of Todd Hoddick, who in early 2011 became vice president of the North American entertainment division of Barco, a global visual solutions company based in Belgium, in January 2011. Having joined the firm in 2008 as vice president of digital cinema in North America, Hoddick had developed a strong reputation for building a profitable single-business unit. In 2010 he was approached for the new position, which would add rental and staging, digital signage, home cinema, image processing, and corporate audiovisuals to his plate.

thanks from ifranks


Exploding the Lecture | LinkedIn



Going it Alone as a Solo Entrepreneur

In Search of the Sublime

Ad astra per aspera

Stepcase Lifehack Introducing Asana: The Modern Way to Work Together

Asana: A Modern Way to Improve Teamwork

November 2 by | 88 Shares | Featured
Asana's Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, both of Facebook fame.
Working as part of a team and staying connected while doing so is a challenge, and there have been few (if any) easy and reasonably-priced software solutions that handle it well. Until today.
Asana has left beta and is now available to the general public. And it has a lot to offer.
This web application keeps teams in sync with what is essentially a shared task list. Here everyone can capture, organize, track, and communicate what they are working on, all with the bigger picture in mind. Skipping email conversations (which is a terrible way to have conversations anyway) and countless meetings to keep a team on track, Asana lets its users move more efficiently and effectively.
Oh, and Asana is free for teams consisting of 30 people or less. In addition, Asana can be used with as many of these teams as you want.

How Asana Works

By making the task the center of attention in Asana, the way teams look at productivity shifts. The tasks are basically smaller pieces of a much larger set of goals and get assigned to team members and tracked to completion within the web app. Asana allows users to:
  • Capture everything your team is planning and doing in one place. No more jumping from app to app. Everything is collected and lives in Asana.
  • Keep team members in the know. By seeing who is working on what and when, there is a distinction between what is and isn’t important as well as how much more work has to be done to reach the much larger goal.
  • Stay informed. You’ll get essential updates on progress without having to search through old email threads.

Why Choose Asana?

While we’ve yet to put it through the paces here at Stepcase Lifehack — we’ll be doing so over the next 30 days — Asana itself has suggested the following:
  • “It’s ridiculously fast. Thanks to in-house “Luna” technology, Asana is as responsive and lightweight as a text editor. Plus, by obsessively minimizing the number of clicks required to get things done, along with powerful keyboard shortcuts, Asana lets you manage your most important information with ease.”
  • “It’s versatile. Asana is one tool for many uses – from simple to-do lists, to complex projects, and more. It doesn’t force a single workflow, so you can mold it to your own processes and style.”
  • “It’s for the individual, too. Asana is the place to organize your own task list. In doing so, you automatically communicate what you’re prioritizing and everything you’ve done. By being the tool that individuals are using day in and day out, the team as a whole can trust it as the source of truth. We think Asana becomes the best group productivity tool by also being the best personal productivity tool.”
But don’t just take the company’s word for it. The video below offers the thoughts of some of the early beta testers:

Asana may be a new player on a crowded landscape, but with co-founders including Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early Facebook employee Justin Rosenstein firmly behind it, this very well could be the web app that teams looking to improve their overall productivity have been searching for.


What is your Social Strategy?

Looking to break into a social media career? Here’s pretty much everything you need to know about the job and the people who do it every day. Nearly 80% of corporations use social media, so there’s plenty of opportunity for aspiring strategists — especially as the other 20% get on board.

Step 1: Get a Twitter account — 100% of social media managers represented in the survey have one, and you have to know the lay of the land if you’re going to innovate and build a brand on said land.

Step 2: Be ready to wear many hats. When it comes to social media, there’s a lot to tackle, including crafting actual posts, analyzing metrics, training and managing a team, spearheading campaigns, working with agencies and managing a budget.

Want to know if you’re cut out for it? In the infographic "gist" above, you’ll see the personality traits, education, career paths and responsibilities of today’s successful social media strategists. Statistics were pulled from LinkedIn data, job listings for positions in the field, and a report by Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group.

Enjoy, alright?


Contract Workers are happier than Permanent Workers?

Permanent employees often argue that contract work would be too stressful, given the lack of long-term career stability. However, a survey of contract workers suggests that being on a contract doesn’t mean not enjoying your job.

Of the 2011 data, based on a survey of 375 workers and conducted by Monash University researcher Dr Tui McKeown, the page that jumped out at me discussed wellbeing. Here are the key statements that were offered and the main responses, all of which suggest that independent contractors are getting a lot of pleasure out of their careers:
  • At my work, I am bursting with energy. 29% said this happened “often” and 38% said “very often”.
  • At my job, I feel strong and vigorous. Similar numbers: 28% went for often and 37% for very often.
  • I am enthusiastic about my job. Again, the same pattern: 23% said often and 39% very often (and 22% went for “always”).
  • My job inspires me. 14% plumped for always, 29% for very often and 26% for often.
  • When I get up in the morning, I feel like going to work. The most common choice was very often, picked by 33%.
  • I feel happy when I am working intensively. 38% went for very often, and 27% for always.
  • I am proud of the work that I do. Similar numbers again: 34% said always and 38% said very often.

Light Cycle from Tron movie

The original Lightcycle runs on a 996 cc Suzuki 4-stroke engine

Is there a strong market for electric bikes? There would be a bigger share, if they looked like this...

All-Electric Lightcycle (Screenshot from Parker Brothers video)


American retailers eye larger slice of Calgary market

Waves of American retailers are looking for opportunities to expand beyond their overly-competitive domestic market with Canada, and Calgary, their obvious destinations in the future, says a retail report by Barclay Street Real Estate Ltd. Besides giant discount retailer Target’s entry into the Canadian marketplace in 2013, other retailers looking to expand here include Kohl’s, Marshalls, J. Crew, Express, Zumiez, Intermix and J.C. Penney.


Powerline Ethernet Adapters and Powerstrip Liberators

I've used various powerline adapters for several years. They now can go up to 500 megabits per second, but 85 or 200 will be cheaper. I currently use TrendNet Powerline routers.

Why not use wifi? The bands are becoming crowded. You can try to use 5Ghz N routers, and they help, but if all your other devices - your phone, iPod, Kindle all have to use the 2.4GHz wifi, it can get congested. Wireless USB peripherals and Bluetooth also use the same band. Not everything supports the 5GHz band, so your laptop might not
work, or you will need a special card or adapter for your desktop. Then there's securing things and getting the network password right. And in apartments, every one of your neighbors is using the same band.

Powerline adapters need passwords, but they are between the adapters and you only have to use the setup utility once. They are basically ethernet bridges. I have my cable router plugged in where the cable comes in and the signal is best, then have my wifi and powerline adapters plugged into that router (it has 4 ports). I've not had any problem streaming or even sending files between computers. I have several 200Mb/s refurbished models and they work well for that, but I have gigabit switches at my central computer "nerve center". The powerline adapters also make printers a lot easier to setup. I have a Brother printer that is finicky about Wifi: it can attach USB, Ethernet, or Wifi, but even after typing in the correct information when attached with one of these other methods it often "fails to associate". Instead, I just use the powerline adapter, and instantly it is on ethernet with no headaches.

Ziotek ZT1212542 Power Strip Liberator 14-Inch Extension, 5-Pack.jpeg

Well, there is one. A powerline adapter uses up an electrical socket, which is where the "Liberator" comes in. Basically, a 3 pronged pass-through extension cord. The short plug-depth seems to play well with the powerline adapter, and the extension is hefty enough for my laser printer. The Liberators also work well with power strips or even to go sideways when space is at a premium.

There are a few rare cases where powerline adapters have problems. One is if there is something extremely electrically noisy on the same branch (and if it isn't noisy you need the passwords to prevent your neighbors from snooping). This usually involves some huge motor, arc welding, or other industrial process involving intermittent high current. Another thing is if there are any ground loops or ifhot and ground get swapped by adapters or bad wiring. Also it helps to avoid circuits with dimmers and microwaves, though I've only had the problem when some part of the house wiring was wrong enough to show bars on my old CRT TV when the microwave was on. The powerline signal cannot pass through the large (utility pole) transformers. There is a length limit, but I haven't been in a position to see how fast the signal goes at hundreds or thousands of feet.

If wifi works and the total cost of adapters and such is low, it might be a be a better solution, but for reasonable distances where there is lots of interference or if you only have ethernet, nothing beats powerline adapters.

-- Thomas Z

TRENDnet 200 Mbps Powerline AV Adapter Kit

Available from Amazon

TRENDnet 500 Mbps Powerline AV Adapter Kit

Available from Amazon

Power Strip Liberators
14-inches long
Pack of five for $12

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by TRENDnet

Sample Excerpts:

powerline schematic.jpg
This illustration demonstrates how the powerline can be used to extend the range of a home's ethernet without additional wiring or the use of WiFi.