Paul Russell

Things I find interesting/beautiful.

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Stack ranking gets the axe at MS

If there was one thing that united the very — ahem — fractious employee population at Microsoft it was their hatred of the stack ranking system by which employees were judged as worthy either of a promotion or the axe.

Now, that system, under which business unit leads had to grade subordinates as top performers, average performers or poor performers, is being dismantled, according to this Verge report, citing an internal memo from Microsoft HR poobah Lisa Brummell.

Finally. Blows my mind that this practice carried on for so long.

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Interesting video from Oracle on the future of customer experience. Inevitably it’s all ‘swooshing’ gestures on glass computers, but there’s some interesting thinking here about what it means to support customers in a truly multi-channel way.

Filed under crm oracle customer futurism

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Twitter’s new Lead Generation cards go global, stimulate huge engagement

From John Koetsier @ VentureBeat:

Lead Generation cards are pretty much what they sound like. Tweets with lead generation enabled include a simple way for interested consumers to give their e-mail address to the advertiser, right on Twitter, without leaving the web page or app. Then the advertiser can follow up and, perhaps, close the sale, or at least nurture a customer.

Finally I’m starting to understand why Twitter wants the world to move away from third party clients. Controlling the client gives them a much tighter loop for innovating on features like this than would likely have been possible with third party clients.

Conversion rates are apparently around 4%, which is pretty awesome.

All of the above said, I still think they could’ve monetized with third party clients if they’d given it enough thought. Twitter was a stronger, more innovative ecosystem when third parties were allowed at the table. What if twitter had exposed ads /via/ third party apps? Possibly even with a cut of advertising revenue in it for the app developers now /that/ would’ve been an interesting model.

Filed under twitter advertising

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Daring Fireball: Nintendo in Motion


Here is what I’d like to see Nintendo do.

Make two great games for iOS (iPhone-only if necessary, but universal iPhone/iPad if it works with the concept). Not ports of existing 3DS or Wii games, but two brand new games designed from the ground up with iOS’s touchscreen, accelerometer, (cameras?), and lack of D-pad/action buttons in mind. (“Mario Kart Touch” would be my suggestion; I’d buy that sight unseen.) Put the same amount of effort into these games that Nintendo does for their Wii and 3DS games. When they’re ready, promote the hell out of them. Steal Steve Jobs’s angle and position them not as in any way giving up on their own platforms but as some much-needed ice water for people in hell. Sell them for $14.99 or maybe even $19.99.

Yes, please.

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If you put 20 poets into a conference room and ask them to solve world hunger, I guarantee that their collective output will be a poem. Or 20 poems. Put 20 project managers into a room and you’ll get a 50-page multi-generational plan. Twenty executives? A one-pager that commits to putting 20 project managers into a room.

Plop an engineer into that meeting with the 20 project managers and the output of the team changes — for the better. I don’t know a single engineer who has the patience to put up with process heaviness or indecisiveness-framed-as-thoughtfulness. And not a one would think that you can’t engineer your way into a shorter, more efficient meeting.

5 Steps To Avoid IT Project Failures, Informationweek

A good (if moderately sarcastic) read.

Filed under it enterprise architecture project management software engineering

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Fixing app discovery on the App Store

From John August via John Gruber:

Most people don’t realize there’s a whole parallel industry devoted to the App Store charts. Apple could get rid of it by removing one button.

What would go in place of that “Top Charts” button? Maybe “Favorites,” with a custom-generated list of popular and well-liked apps tailored to the user. Maybe promote the “Staff Picks” section to its own spot. Hell, let’s dump “Genius” and put in both.

Maybe Apple could make that Favourites button work using actual on-device behaviour.

Apple could use something like amount of time each app is running, but I think that might favour particular classes of app. Just because you don’t use an app for very long doesn’t mean it isn’t a great app. Case in point for me would be something like (or Dark Sky if you want an actual app). I don’t use for very long, but I do use it often.

Apple could use number of launches, but I think that just has the opposite bias.

Instead, my preferred metric would be the number of days the app was launched since installation. If you’re launching the same app every day, it doesn’t matter how long or how often you launch it, you clearly find it useful.

Gather these metrics for each user, then find users with similar results (e.g. using a Self-Organising Map), and recommend apps that score well for others that you don’t have. Bingo. Personalised app recommendations based on the apps people really use.