Follow-up: Dow Jones Webinar, The Impact of Web 2.0 on Competitive Intelligence

Dow Jones presented a free webinar on the topic, The Impact of Web 2.0 on Competitive Intelligence last night (for me). The session features Knowledge inForm’s Cynthia Cheng Correia.

Firstly… Wow! Cynthia’s content was not only detailed, but well presented and thought out for her audience. I have to admit, going into the webinar I wasn’t expecting much (not any slight on Cynthia, I’ve just never taken part in a free information webinar before, so my expectations were low).

What I got out of the webinar was a much better understanding of the framework needed to assess and take advantage of Web 2.0 in your daily CI tasks, be they gathering, analyzing or distributing information and insight.

I wont post the full deck here, but I will take one of the slides that neatly summarizes Cynthia’s main points and reproduce it here. When the recorded presentation becomes available you can get the full low-down. (Guessing it will be here when that happens). Link to the archive is here.


As I mentioned, I pulled out some good insight for myself and how we’re using portions of Web 2.0 at Microsoft.

  • Content & Information is moving towards Collaboration and Knowledge. E.G. as people interact, knowledge is harnessed via the interaction, rather than just collection.
  • Web 2.0 can have a massive effect on how we currently plan and project manage. Prioritizing the right forms of Web 2.0 information sources at the right time.
  • There is still a need for a clear framework for collection and idea of what you end result you are looking for – otherwise you end up with the firehose, rather than a funnel.

And one caveat:

Definitely keep an eye out for when Cynthia delivers this presentation again, it was well worth my time – even at 11pm here in Singapore.. and that’s a rare occurrence!

**As a side note: I think Web 2.0 should be renamed “the Web” (Web 2.0 is what the Internet is all about now). I think there is just as much jaded concern and mistrust around Web 2.0 as there was for “e”-everything back during the Bubble.


Is CI a generalist or specialist role?

“Mile wide and an inch deep” is something that I catch myself saying more times than I care to admit. It stems from the fact that I believe I know a little about most competitors in my market (enough to be dangerous) but not absolutely everything about their technical or business strategies.

Would I call myself a generalist though? In the harsh light of day, I would have to admit – in the realm of CI, I am a generalist. I cover multiple markets, multiple types of analysis and tend to be a jack of all trades. I pride myself in being able to jump into a new technology market or competitor and come up with insight. However, in the realm of marketing, I’m a specialist. The mile wide and inch deep argument is a little like an iceberg. While I may be covering a large number of competitors, touching and interacting with several business groups and stakeholders, at the core I bring specialized CI skills to the table. Here’s a very top-line explanation of what I mean.


There’s a lot of arguments for and against being a generalist and I’m none the wiser as to what’s the best positioning for a CI professional. Two interesting takes on the argument come from Pras Sarkar, from Yahoo! Research and Seth Godin

Five key tips on being a brilliant generalist according to Pras:

  1. Stay up-to-date with your area of generalization
  2. Know what to explore and what to ignore
  3. Be critical of new technologies
  4. Visualize the results of all new pursuits and endeavors
  5. Don’t over-generalize

While Seth swings the opposite way, stating:

“When choice is limited, I want a generalist. When selection is difficult, a jack of all trades is just fine. But whenever possible, please bring me a brilliant specialist.”

I tend to side with Seth on this in my case. Proactively positioning myself as a CI Specialist, rather than a generalist. Regardless of what the mile wide part is, the deeper value is the core CI principles, techniques and skills I can bring to a discussion or team. However, Pras’ advice makes a lot of sense for the “mile wide” portion. Using his framework to assess and sanity check what competitors and what markets I need to keep in my periphery.

So how do you position yourself?



Playing around with slideshare today, a great service for sharing presentations via email or embedding them in blog posts.

Having huge problems with getting slideshare to work with my WordPress blog. Still a great service, just not the one for me.. your mileage may vary.

Also having an issue with Google Docs (again nice service, just there is a 10meg limit on PPTs).

Luckily we live in a competitive market and authorSTREAM came to my rescue.

This is for all the times my parents and friends ask me what I actually do here in Singapore!


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “SPY not a Business ppt Presentation“, posted with vodpod

Visualizing Data – Code_Swarm

O’Reilly Radar has a fantastic post on Michael Ogawa’s “code_swarm”, an elegant visualization of the birth and development of an Open Source software project. In the case below it’s Python, but Michael has also covered Eclipse and Apache. Code_Swarm clearly shows the way interactions build into a critical mass, as new information and code is put into the project and as side-projects orbit, fuse and spin off as the software takes shape.

Visualizing data is, in my opinion, one of the hottest areas of analytics and by extension, market research, intelligence and CI.

Imagine, if you will, a series of customer interactions leading up to a unexpected loss to a competitor. Instead of code changes or documents being the swarm; emails, phone calls, marketing efforts, support interactions and so on could all be thrown into such a visualization model. Tracked back against a point in time or an specific activity, patterns could emerge that could be easily leveraged for competitive intelligence.

Apart from anything else, presenting data (at a very high level) to a senior audience would be a great opportunity to share an experience, to visualize a time series and to ultimately want to move into the “now what do we do phase”. For me, there is an increased level of buy-in that is afforded when you all share that common experience.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “code_swarm – Python on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

PS: Hoping the video embeds correctly!

I’m on Twitter!






In an effort to try a few more communication tools, I’ve created a Twitter account. You can find me at

Be great to hear from any of you who are using it, or let me know what your twitter ID so I can stalk you in the nicest possible way 🙂


Peak Email

My one-time partner in crime and fellow Oracle Collaboration Suite lover, Matthew Moore, has summarized 20 or so years of communications development in the IT industry and posted it for all to share.

I’m biased, but Matt’s bang on the money with this one. Email definitely needs to know it’s place in the whole communications scheme of things. It’s just one medium, one conduit for receiving and managing information. Email is elegant with some things and not for others.

One thing I would love Matt to add to this view is the both the device and application side that all of this gets delivered in. I’d personally love to try Twitter as a medium, but I don’t want to have to hop around to five different sites and have a bunch of separate data streams adding to my information glut.



Will someone come up with an uber communications suite that allows me to “send as” but compose and store in a single view. I’m off to a Gartner event today and I’d love to take the morning’s Twittering and save it as an email and then send to my stakeholder – seamlessly – compose and post to Twitter (for those looking at the feed live) and then take that feed and shoot it in an email at the end of the day. Ohh and while I was at it, post to this blog at the same time (send as check box – Blog, Twitter, Email).

Now that would rock my world.