Results tagged “blogs” from VANTAN.ORG

Announcing my INSEAD blog

May 21, 2008 12:27 AM

Yes, I have started my own INSEAD blog. It will chronicle my life before, during and hopefully after my MBA. You can find it at

Zanat0s, fabled Greek INSEAD blogger, had lamented in our Facebook group as to why my batch had yet to produce one MBA blog…

Well, at the time my plans weren’t officially made known at work, so how could I announce my INSEAD blog until now? :P

I will try to split myself between this blog, the new blog and a few other blogs. I think I may just end up updating the first two! Of course I want to tweak my blogs and add more features but have no time so will just add new content for now.

Another classmate asked how anyone could possibly upkeep a blog while doing our MBA. Firstly, to me, sitting down and blogging is not difficult provided I have something interesting to say. Of course I anticipate there will be busy days, even weeks, but there should be updates.

You only do your MBA once in your life (even if many of my classmates have more than 1 degree already - swots! :P). So why not chronicle it and also be a spokesperson for your school, and inspire prospective students?

The Blog Factor

March 14, 2008 12:22 PM

SXSW Music panel. Panelists: Gerard Cosloy, Amrit Singh, Sean Adams, Maura Johnston, Carrie Brownstein, Jason Gross

Official description: Music blogs have emerged as tastemakers by incorporating unfiltered opinion, audio/video playback, and immediate publishing. As their initial impact expands into the realm of record labels and event promoters/sponsors, can they retain the personality and quirks that first distinguished them?

Singh shares how his music site received a warning that a music track was posted without permission. Johnston is careful not to do this, citing an incident how they had permission from an EMI publicist to post music, and later received a warning from another department of EMI that they couldn’t. i.e. in some cases one arm doesn’t know what the other arm is doing.

Cosloy says this usually happens with the big artistes and labels. Unknown artistes, conversely, are usually overjoyed when their material is featured.

What makes a good music blog?

Good writing. The same standards applied to music magazines, can be applied to music blogs. Music blogs can also be less commercialised than websites from recording companies.

Adams notes how many music news websites hurry to report sensational news which is lacking in depth. On the other hand, the diversity of music blogs today means that there are now many blogs with very few readers. Brownstein notes many blogs also follow the ‘insular cycle’ by repeating the same news.

Johnston thinks this is because reporting budgets have been reduced. She says Nick Denton gets around this by asking readers for tips, so he gets news from the primary source, or pretty close to it.

Adams also noted how Paris Hilton got more coverage because of her celebrity status.

Gross cites a recent study which found that blogging has a bigger impact on sales than MySpace. [anyone have a link to this study? I think it’s this one.] Panelists think this is because MySpace can only feature a few bands at the same time.

What’s the best way to get journalists to cover your music?

  1. When emailing the press about your music, always send the download links and not the music as an attachment! Their mailboxes are already full.
  2. Send music to publications that cover your genre. e.g. Adams has been inundated with funk CDs he’d never listen to.
  3. Make your CDs easy to open - don’t shrink wrap them. Sometimes this alone influences whether it gets opened and listened to. (Singh)
  4. Don’t send a tome - one person sent a 50-page press release. Panelists agree they wouldn’t read so much.

The Future of Corporate Blogs

March 11, 2008 10:03 AM

Mack Collier (The Viral Garden), Kami Huyse (Principl, My PR Pro), Mario Sundar (Community Evangelist, LinkedIn), Lionel Menchaca (Dell)

The Dell blog was first conceived in April 2006 and Michael Dell himself was involved. 48% of the commentary about Dell was negative, and something had to be addressed. Michael Dell has been supportive of what Menchaca and the team has been doing. The Dell blog currently receives 1 million pageviews per week.

LinkedIn’s blog was started 8 months ago, also to have a two-way conversation with users. User education was the primary goal.

Huyse observes that the two blogs were started after a problem was perceived. So we should ask, What are my consumers’ needs. Still, even after launching corporate blogs they’re trying to figure things out. We have to look at what people use - like Twitter or Facebook.

Measurement tools There are ways to measure users’ reactions. - The number of responses in the Blogosphere. But it must be compared with rivals. You may get 100 comments but your rival could have 500. - Tonality of the comments. - Survey. More ‘old school’ but it helps you make decisions. - Focus groups.

Basically, find out what your communities want, and deliver it.

Menchaca elaborates on Dell’s Ideastorm. The first step is listening, the second step, analysing and the third step, taking action. This is the core of any social media Dell undertakes. Ideastorm is a mix between a message board and Any user can log in and contribute ideas on how Dell can improve on something. The community itself votes the idea up or down. It’s solely community-driven; Dell is not involved.

Then the core team looks at the top ideas and looks at how they can be incorporated into the business. Ideastorm has over 600,000 comments so far.

LinkedIn enabled ideas to be contributed by users.

Their three goals:

  1. User education. LinkedIn created product demos to show how features could be used, and what were their benefits.
  2. Customer support.
  3. Corporate information. They wanted users to get information directly from LinkedIn rather than from gossip blogs.

Sundar uses social media tools like Twitter to monitor their users. For example, Steve Rubel once had a problem with LinkedIn. Within an hour, Sundar had taken action and fixed the problem. Without such social media tools, LinkedIn would not know of these issues —> presumably, if the users didn’t bother to lodge a complain through the formal channels.

Menchaca cites examples of how Dell has also addressed major issues like the battery recall. He looks back at how Dell has progressed from phone support, to email support, to chat support and now, social media. It can be used to change perceptions. There’s nothing but your customer at one end, and you at the other end fixing the problem.

Importantly, Dell empowers its employees to apologise! There is real power as it humanises a big corporation. Also, the blog team is passionate about what they do. Once this momentum is going, it convinces more sceptical people to change their mindsets. Also, he re-iterates Michael Dell’s support for this.

Sundar describes Dell’s experience as ‘The Gold Standard’. He suggests using a Wiki as a product database and to help resolve issues. In addition, blogs can be a quick response tool for your users.

Trends Huyse notes that the user will expect more as companies give more. Menchaca says blogs are here to stay. The purpose of a blog is to facilitate a two-way discussion. From a corporate perspective, that’s certainly relevant. One key plan for them in future is internal collaboration, like having a forum that pools ideas from the blogs. He tells Sundar he is in fact looking at a wiki. Dell still relies on using emails for tracking, which isn’t optimal.


  1. Gal was a personal blogger and has now been hired by Microsoft to blog professionally. How can she manage having two different ‘personas’ online? Sundar takes this question. He too has a personal blog and admits this has suffered as there is only so much he can handle. But he advises not to neglect the personal brand.

  2. Another lady asks how Dell integrates all customer feedback. Menchaca says Dell has an internal system to do so; it’s not publicly available.

  3. Third lady asks if users’ feedback only matters if they’re online in the first place. [Didn’t quite catch the gist of her question, please correct me if I’m mistaken] Sundar notes that LinkedIn’s users must be online.

  4. Guy asks about corporations’ fears in receiving comments. Sundar advice: Put ourselves in their shoes. If we had a personal blog and got flamed on it, how would we feel? Menchaca adds that they’ve asked themselves, why put up negative things about Dell which their competitors can see? The point is to bring up points to facilitate a conversation. Soon after launching the Dell blog in July 2006 he posted news of the Dell laptops exploding and linked to it. He received lots of calls and emails asking him what he was doing. His response was that people were talking about it elsewhere and it had to be addressed —> what better place than on Dell’s blog?

My verdict: A pretty good panel - frank and helpful.

Technorati tags: corporate blogging, Dell, LinkedIn, SXSW

A Singaporean behind the Dell blog

December 12, 2007 12:50 AM

Wilson Tan, who's been an advisor to the Dell blog since its launch, is coming home to Singapore. Dell gave him a glowing tribute on its blog.

Wilson has been really dedicated to his clients. While I was at SXSW with him and the Dell team, he was always there for them, looking for new opportunities and contacts that could further promote his client. Behind the scenes, he guided the team on replying to comments, many from irate customers like myself :)

Not surprisingly, his company has retained the contract with Dell. I'm looking forward to meeting up with Wilson when he's back in Singapore!

While cross-reading 'Naked Conversations' and 'The Corporate Blogging Book', I came across this post, The Pursuit of Busyness, by Associate Professor Andrew McAfee of the Harvard Business School, and can emphathise with it. He writes about how employees are often shy to embrace Enterprise 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis etc) as well as the new mindset.

I'm at Vox

July 18, 2006 6:29 PM

If you've been wondering what I've been up to, I'm busy with my new test blog at Vox. It's the latest initiative of Six Apart, the company which brought you Movable Type, which powers this blog.

This is my home page:
My Vox home page

This is my book page:
My Vox book collection

Do pop by and drop me a note! [Update: Just found out you can only do this if you are already a Vox member. ]

I'd love to send invites, but have none to give. Maybe in time. Let me know if you want one.

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