Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun:How to Pronounce Eyjafjallajokull, the Icelandic Volcano

Info:How times have changed: 2000 vs 2010

From population shifts to the downsizing of technology, from box office numbers to endangered species, the world has indeed changed over the last decade.
Full story at io9.

158 items sold every single second; 13.7 million in a day at Amazon on Nov 29th has announced staggering sales figures from this year's Cyber Monday event, the Internet's version of Black Friday discount shopping.

The company's stats reportedly show that November 29 (Cyber Monday) was Amazon's busiest day of 2010. On that day, worldwide visitors bought an average of 158 items every single second, totaling a "record-breaking" 13.7 million items sold.

"According to comScore, overall online spending in the United States surpassed $1 billion on Cyber Monday in 2010, up 16 percent versus [a] year ago. Clearly, Amazon took a huge piece of that particular pie," writes TechCrunch.

Amazon also revealed that the third-generation Kindle e-reader was the most popular holiday item, based on the number of units ordered.

Thanks to the Kindle 3's strong sales this year, Amazon dubbed the device its worldwide bestselling product of all time. Previously, Amazon's bestselling item had been "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

"Kindle's $139 price point is a key factor -- it's low enough that people don't have to choose," saidJeff Bezos, founder and CEO in a press release.

Though Amazon did not outline the Kindle's exact sales figures, Business Insider states that Amazon is probably "on pace to sell 8 million Kindles this year."

80+ Terrific Tech and Gadgets Resources From 2010

Twelve months is a long time in the consumer technology arena, which explains why this roundup of the best of Mashable’s tech and gadgets posts from the past year is such a fantastically mammoth list.

From facts about big tech brands to unusual laptop sleeves and geeky tees for kids, we’ve written a lot for gadget-lovers in 2010, so take a look below for the ultimate catch-up resource on all things gadgets and tech.

We hope you enjoy the roundup of the results of our labors from the past year — please be sure to bookmark, subscribe, sign-up, follow or “like” to see much, much more of the same in 2011.

Gadget Resources

Our gadget-related lists have brought you stylish accessories, green gadgets and useful kits in 2010. Here’s a list of lists.

Tech Resources

From sci-fi predictions that came true to tips for eye health, 2010 has seen a varied and interesting mix of tech topics on Mashable.

Tech Company Resources

Whether you’re gaga about Google or mad keen on Microsoft, we’ve delivered fun facts and other insights into the tech companies you care about.

Geek Fun

We’ve had tons of fun in the past 12 months with some light-hearted articles looking at all things geek. Here’s a review for you…

Online Resources

Beyond the hardware side of things, we’ve been busy online in 2010, offering you a variety of how-to guides, websites to bookmark and entertainment options you’ll find waiting for you on the web.

Apple Resources

Whether you’re a full-fledged fanboy or just an Apple admirer, we’re sure you’ll see something click-worthy in our list of all things Cupertino.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Okea

Disney’s Innovative Tech Makes Its Theme Parks More Fun

Those “imagineers” at Disney World know waiting in line too long can spoil your fun. That’s why they’ve created ingenious ways to cut down on wait times at Disney’s enormously popular theme park.

According to The New York Times, Disney has combined high technology with imagination to track visitors and keep them constantly entertained. Nestled inside a high-tech command center that could double as a set on a James Bond movie, technicians monitor banks of cameras, using color-coded mapping software and an array of secret tracking and counting techniques that monitor the numbers of visitors in the rides and restaurants of the theme park.

If those cameras and sensors detect, for example, that lines at thePirates of the Caribbean ride are getting too long, they can dispatch more boats to move additional visitors through. If the ride’s already running at its maximum capacity, they can direct a “cast member” playing Captain Jack Sparrow to pop out of one of the discreetly placed doors and distract the bored visitors.

Some of the rides, such as Space Mountain, are equipped with 90-second video games to keep people occupied until they’ve made it to the front of the line. And, there are iPhone apps available that notify visitors where they can find a cast member playing Sleeping Beauty, who will be more than happy to sign autographs.

Disney has always been secretive with its technology, but somehow The New York Times was able to find out that future plans for the Disney parks might include wristbands with chips inside that transmit the visitor’s name, credit card number and favorite Disney characters. This will enable guests to pay for drinks and fun with a swipe of that wristband and even have robotic characters inside some of the attractions call out their names.

And that’s just the stuff they’re telling us about. Creepy? Maybe. Innovative? Definitely.

Thought Leadership: What it Involves?

“We would like to be thought leaders” is a common statement you will come across in most strategy meetings of companies these days. “Thought leadership” is a term that has come into its own in the past few years and is one of the primary communication methods that enterprises are using to connect with customers. However, given the growing number of proclaimed “thought leaders” and social media platforms strewn with blogs, tweets, videos and the likes, the term is fast becoming one of the most overused buzzwords. The scenario gets more complex what with customers becoming increasingly involved and influencing the buying process more so than ever before. It’s imperative to reach the target audiences with innovative ideas and information that stands apart from the crowd.

So what does it take to be a different “thought leader”?

The sheer volume of white papers, case studies and blog posts is no longer enough to establish one’s expertise. Rather, the hallmark of a true thought leader is one that presents new and challenging ideas along with quality and relevant insights to challenges that customers face today. What really differentiates a thought leader from others is the recognition and acknowledgement from the public that the company is a renowned expert and providing value rather than just another company selling its products and services.

The 5F model for successful thought leadership campaigns:

Focus - on the customer

Most organizations create content revolving around their products and services. However, what people really need care about is how you can help them address their issues and deliver solutions for the same. By providing the audience with fresh, educational content and useful insights on current trends, rather than just a sales pitch, thought leaders can demonstrate that they understand the problems that customers face and are committed to resolving them. Cisco’s large scale thought leadership program for the Cisco Global Education Group is driven by partnerships with number of leading corporate, government, educational and endowment groups to help improve education, technology infrastructure on a global basis. With numerous initiatives that span research, publications, marketing, and events, Cisco is seen as a market leader and expert in the education space.

Fresh perspective

Rather than just propagating or repackaging the same topics that everyone else is discussing, thought leaders need to stand out with a new angle or a new approach, idea or concept. With original ideas, new concepts or approaches forming a basis of a unique opinion that strikes off by itself in a crowded marketplace, thought leaders can help take the organization and customers forward. Deloitte’s Risk Intelligent Enterprise program takes a strong stand on what “risk intelligence” is about and how it relates to business strategy. With a series of white papers and publications, this innovative program goes well beyond conventional thinking and focuses on the upside of taking risks in a the downturn as well and helps companies understand one of today's most critical management issues in a thoughtful, creative, and responsible way.


The best thought leadership programs are built around evidence-based research. By backing new ideas and viewpoints with hard data and facts, a company can establish its expertise and influence in that subject. It also helps to showcase the company’s ability to offer something truly valuable to its customers. IBM’s Institute of Business Value has a long track record of churning out publications backed by substantial research findings. Its Global C suite study for instance gives practical insights for organizations that can facilitate their business strategies.

Facilitate- knowledge sharing

The willingness to openly share important information and best practices is what differentiates a true thought leader from the rest. Most companies tend to hold back crucial information to generate enquiries and lead generation. However, by openly sharing their resources and expertise with customers, they can promote themselves as the go-to authorities and knowledge experts in that space. McKinsey’s solution to this is reflected in its popular microsite, ‘What Matters’, that convenes outside experts and McKinsey consultants from around the world to offer a broad range of expert views on key global issues to clients and others.

Fix attention- Engage the audience

By creating compelling content that are relevant to customers and driving them to contribute and share with their connections, thought leaders gain a tremendous opportunity to influence agendas and establish standards in the market. It is also important to demonstrate that the company encourages and listens to customer feedback - online communities, discussion forums and chat rooms are key ways to foster a relationship with customers and engage directly with them. Dell has a large social media presence with over 3.5 million community members spanning across it’s blog Direct2Dell and IdeaStorm, along with popular networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flicker. And through these platforms, Dell actively works on customer engagement by providing them meaningful information, inviting them to brainstorm, share opinions and feedback.


Thought leadership is a fine balance between meeting customers’ desire for something relevant, and interesting, and meeting organizational growth strategies. When done right, thought leadership is an effective strategy to get noticed in today's increasingly competitive marketplace. It allows a company to inject its brand’s personality in a crowded marketplace and gives a human face to its point of view. And it works because it gives consumers what they want: useful, relevant information, not a sales pitch, a chance to engage in a two-way dialogue with companies they consider doing business with. So it’s time to do a “mirror-mirror” & ask yourself “who is the real thought leader among all”.

This exclusive guest post was written by Karthik Nagendra who handles handles the Global Thought leadership Marketing initiatives at Wipro Technologies. He also regularly blogs at and can be followed on Twitter at

McKinsey Top Ten Articles of 2010

In this, our final Top Ten Newsletter of 2010, we've rounded up the most popular articles among readers this year. Topics they were most interested in include decision-making biases, digital marketing, and management in uncertain times.
Global forces: An introduction graphic1. STRATEGY Global forces: An introduction Five crucibles of change will restructure the world economy for the foreseeable future. Companies that understand them will stand the best chance of shaping it. A related video highlights the value of tracking global forces and how to build them into corporate strategy.
Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch graphic2. BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment. In a set of accompanying podcasts, leading experts offer their views on how these trends will evolve and change business models.
A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing graphic3. MARKETING A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing Assessing its impact as well as its volume will help companies take better advantage of buzz. An accompanying podcast focuses on how marketers can use word of mouth to influence consumer behavior.

4. STRATEGY The case for behavioral strategy Left unchecked, subconscious biases will undermine strategic decision making. Learn how to counter them and improve corporate performance, and explore an accompanying interactive showing the biases most pertinent to business and the ways they can combine to create dysfunctional patterns in corporate cultures. Plus, take this brief survey on how you make decisions, and we'll send you feedback on how your decision-making style compares with those of other respondents and on how to avoid any biases you may be prone to.

5. GOVERNANCE Why good bosses tune in to their people Know how to project power, counsels Stanford management professor Bob Sutton, since those you lead need to believe you have it for it to be effective. And to lock in your team’s loyalty, boldly defend their backs.

6. ORGANIZATION How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results Executives can thrive at work and in life by adopting a leadership model that revolves around finding their strengths and connecting with others.

7. CORPORATE FINANCE Creating value: An interactive tutorial In this video presentation, McKinsey partner Tim Koller explores the four guiding principles of corporate finance that all executives can use to home in on value creation when they make strategic decisions.

8. ORGANIZATION Retaining key employees in times of change Many companies throw financial incentives at senior executives and star performers during times of change. There is a better and less costly solution.

9. MARKETING Unlocking the elusive potential of social networks To realize the marketing potential of virtual activities, you have to make them truly useful for consumers.

10. ORGANIZATION Boosting the productivity of knowledge workers The key is identifying and addressing the barriers workers face in their daily interactions.