Friday, December 21, 2007

Statistical storytelling

After a few posts on Facebook statistics and a post on Powerpoint as killer app I here give you two videos with Hans Rosling.

He shows that statistics both can entertain and educate. And he's a good speaker and story teller.

The first video is from TED :

(In case the above video does no start, try this link)

The second one is from LeWeb3:

There is also a number of "Gapcasts" available on YouTube to explore and enjoy.

The software he uses is from Gapminder and was acquired by Google earlier this year. Hopefully this will be added to the set of Google services soon.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

More facebook statistics

Time for some more Facebook statistics. You might remember my other posts on the topic?

This time we will look at several aspects:
  • Did the Facebook growth continue to decline as I noticed last time?
    In my last post with Facebook statistics I noticed that the growth had declined, and actually turned into a decrease. What happened since then?
  • New countries added to the set of data - what does the penetration league look like?
    To the initial list of 31 countries an additional 16 is added. Who's in the lead for largest Facebook penetration right now?
  • But is the data for the new 16 countries complete?
    Hey, there seems to be something odd with the data for new countries added. What? Can you spot it?

(Note: If you don't see any tables below it is probably because you are reading this post via a feed reader. For some reason not all my embedded stuff seems to get through. If so, visit to see the tables.)

Did the decline contine?
Have a look at the table below:

This is the growth rate each week for 31 countries (growth of number of users as found in the Social Ad utility).

The countries are ranked according to the overall growth since 1st of November. At the top Turkey has increased the number of users with almost 600%. At the bottom of the list you find Canada with a 10% increase.

The quite red column for Nov. 22nd was when I blogged about this last time. You see that the growth came back the two following weeks.

Dec. 13th is an all-nil column. Apparently the data was not updated at all. This was also the day I noticed the 16 new countries added (see below).

The Dec. 20th column is a very moderate growth week. Why? And compare the discussion on the new countries further down!

What is the usage penetration per country?
That is outlined in the table below. Country population figures are from the CIA factbook.
Note that Canada (with the lowest growth above) comes out on top.

Now, in this table you also find the 16 new countries for which the data is available (as no historic data was around the growth rate could not be calculated). The new countries are marked with yellow in the table.

Among the top ten on the list the only rank change is that Singapore overtook US (!) in penetration. Sweden is still at #4.

Is the data for the new countries complete?
Hm, well. Let us take in consideration the number of Facebook users that have registered in a national network. Next calculate the ratio between the number of people registered in the national network and the number of users in the country.

Below is a table with this ration for all the 16 new countries and some of the other. The list is sorted in descending order of this ratio.

See something strange?
All the new countries come out on the top, all with a ratio higher than 1 (100%).
Meaning that there is more people registered in the national network than user from the country. And this for all of the new countries.

I can't resist to quote Shakespear: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (Hamlet, Act 1, scene 4), as Denmark is among these new countries.

Surely this indicates that the number of users for these 16 new countries are lower than the actual figure. Expect these to grow as Facebook fixes the data. We'll keep an eye on this!

Can this also explain the somewhat low overall growth the last week?

(As the tables will not get indexed I add this: Facebook statistics for
Turkey Israel France Malaysia Singapore China Switzerland Colombia Italy Germany India Spain Ireland Netherlands Australia Saudi Arabia New Zealand Mexico Egypt Lebanon United Arab Emirates Pakistan Dominican Republic Japan Sweden South Korea, Republic of Korea United Kingdom Norway United States (US) South Africa Canada Philippines Indonesia Russian Federation (Russia) Greece Denmark Finland Chile Belgium Argentina Venezuela Austria Jordan Peru Kuwait Thailand Panama)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's Knol? Let's check Wikipedia... It's 1.0!

I guess you have heard of Knol, the recent Google initiative in the area of user generated encyklopedia?

It didn't take long before Wikipedia had an article on Knol.

Personally I see two main differences between Wikipedia and Knol. Both of these somewhat counteracts the general "2.0"-trend as I see it:

One author/editor per article
Knol will, as I understand it, have one author per article. The idea is obviously to make it more transparant who wrote it, and thus increase the credibility of the article.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, have a more collaborational approach to articles. It is basically open for anyone to add and edit the information in an article. To me that adds value. More than one view will be represented in an article, and the whole community can contribute with knowledge.

Get paid by ads
Knol will have ads on each article, and the author will get income from the ads.

This will create a marketplace for the best (most used) words of course. Authors would probably strive to get popular words to write about. If you are driven by the potential revenue from the ads you would not like to write about some obscure, niche, word.

Knol is a standard encyclopedia
Together this two aspects makes Knol very much a standard encyclopedia to me. Just as in a printed encyclopedia the authors gets paid to write an article, and is to a very high degree responsible for the content.

Knol is more Web 1.0 than 2.0?
So - so far I do not see the level of collaboration in Knol that would make it a good collaborative approach. Yes, the set of articles (knols) is collected through some kind of crowd-sourcing. Just as Wikipedia. But the individual article is to a high degree controlled by a single editor.

Just as Web 1.0. A set of web sites, individually owned and loosely coupled through links.

Now, you can probably expect a set of social functionality. Such as the ability for readers to rank articles. But I still expect that there will be one article around each topic. Or? What do you think?

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The "Kollektomat"

I must admit I don't go to church regulary. But on some occations you find your way to a church. Especially at this time of year with Christmas around the corner.

Last week I found myself in Viksjö kyrka. And there I found something I hadn't seen before. A "Kollektomat". An ATM machine designed to take donations at church.

A natural opportunity in todays cash-less society I guess.

You are able to select how much to donate and to what cause. And the receipt you get can be put in the collection basket (or what is "kollekthåv" in English? Anyone?) instead of cash.

Here is a snapshot of the instructions (sorry, in Swedish):
Of course there is a business opportunity here as well. I haven't looked at the business case, but here is the pricelist for the terminal (and the prices excludes the actual ATM terminal).

When I Googled for this type of stuff I found an article from the Washington Post, that incidently was published almost exactly one year ago.

Finally, the Kollektomat has a marketing video on YouTube:


Monday, December 17, 2007

Google Social Contacts - Google Reader steps forward

I earlier asked where Google Contacts where. Then I thought that the new enhancements of Gmail included that.

Later I was a bit disappointed with the new contacts part of Gmail. It didn't seem to add any major improvement.

Now Google Reader has gone social. With the possibility for those of your friends you have in your Gmail chat/Gtalk address book to share interesting items with you.

Works quite well so far. I first noticed this two days ago when two of my friends' shared items turned up in my Google Reader.

Robert Scoble found that duplicates occured. If someone shared an item already in your feeds, or if multiple friends shared the same item. Interesting that the first comment on that post was from a Google Reader engineer - we might see some enhancements soon.

Also announced the same day from Google was Google Profiles. Your profile that will be shown ie when sharing items in Google Reader, but also in Google maps etc.

What's missing here?
The ability to update more that just your name, photo and web sites. It seems like a small step to add the possibility to edit and share other information to selected friends. Your email, phone, address etc. If that is added we get close to the Plaxo value statement, and things gets even more interesting.

All in all, this is very much in line with this article from the New York Times, and this post from Marc Canter talks about email as the basis for a Social Graph. Chris Brogan also had a post on this topic yesterday. Steve Rubel wrote a piece on portals' position in the Social Networking arena some time ago.

But - Google Contacts?
Still I don't see a really compelling address book from Google, but they might be getting there. I still miss an obvious interface towards my Google address book. And an inclusion of Social contacts updates like Plaxo do would be nice.

In the mean time
Feel free to add me as your friend to take part of my shared items. I would love to see yours!

I have not yet added any more friends than the two that initially showed up. It seems like you first need to add a friend to Gmail chat/Gtalk and then add them in Google Reader. As I have not used Gtalk that much I need to build that Social Graph a bit. I understand that the identity is maintained using your Gmail address. I normally do not use my Gmail address for emailing, thus I usually don't publish it.
If you care to add me it is johan(dot)myrberger(at)gmail(dot)com - drop me a mail or leave a comment so I can add you back.

See you (or at least your shared items) in Google Reader!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Facebook "is" is gone

So - finally the is is gone from facebook status updates.

A minor thing perhaps, but some people have felt that the "is" implied some awquard grammar. And especially non-English status updates will benefit from the non-isish way.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DN-phone. Not iPhone or Gphone.

Or "DN-mobilen" in Swedish. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter today launched the DN-phone. Read the article (in Swedish) here.

In summary; it's a Nokia phone (pity it wasn't a SonyEricsson) with a subscription from the Swedish operator Telenor. Sold by Dagens Nyheter, and only to current subscribers of the paper version of the newspaper.

The converged arena
So - what's this? A newspaper acting as a mobile operator? Basically that is what the proposition looks like in general. That it is actually a "real" operator behind it is not that important.

This is another example of the converging and new media landscape. That newspapers have a web site is an old example of this. Today you also see the next steps of this, like newspapers being a provider of blog spaces. Also to a large degree you see interaction with readers being enabled. As one example comments to articles are often enabled.

Mobile services are not new either. Mobile versions of newspaper web sites are there. You can subscribe to newflashes via SMS or MMS. And you can send in news via eg MMS and get featured in the newspaper.

This is however the first time I have seen a newspaper phone being marketed!

The packaging
The neat lesson from the DN phone story is how an existing product (phone+subscription) is modified slightly, rebranded and brought to market through a new channel. They have essentially applied a new business model and go-to-market model for an existing product, and with that opened up a completely new part of the arena.

A lesson similiar to the one about repackaging of candy cars.

The reaction
Apparently the interest was high enough to generate a large number of calls to the switchboard. Will be interesting to see the next chapter on this story.

The numbers
The subscription costs SEK 199 per month ("call-for-all") and must be kept for at lest 12 month.
The same phone with similiar subscription (SEK 199/month and minimum 12 month) would cost SEK 1170 if bought from Telenor directly.

With the DN option you basically get the phone for free (save SEK 1170) and you get free access to the mobile version of the DN web site (
It was only a few days ago that DN also launched an improved version of their mobile site. What I like the most with it is how they use the vertical scrolling in the browser to display comic strips. Try it! Might not be new, but it was the first time I saw comics in the mobile in this way.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Social Media Oracle?

I must admit I don't know much about Oracle as a company. I know they have a database product, but apparently they do much more.

A while ago I started to follow the blog of Oracle Appslab. I picked up one of the posts on my radar and found it interesting enough to follow the blog. Sure enough, it has provided interesting reading. And it is from that blog I have picked up most of the things I mention below. Thus this blog have been my main interface towards Oracle as company, and has shaped my impression of Oracle. And that has been a positive experience.

But that's not all. Oracle seems to have their own blogosphere. Have a look at - a long list of blogs both by Oracle employees and others blogging about Oracle stuff.

The blog I started to follow is the voice of Oracle Appslab. If you read the first post from March this year you get a short introduction to the objectives. And quouting from

Oracle AppsLab is a think-tank developed to drive adoption of new web patterns
and technologies across Oracle’s business and products. We’re a small group
dedicated to living and breathing Web 2.0.

One of the outcomes from Oracle Appslab seems to be something called Connect. An internal, Web 2.0-ish, social networking, thing. Read here for some part of the story. As this is an internal application I have not seen it in action, but I'd love to.

Mix, howver, is something I have tried. Mix is a community for all Oracle customers, where you can interact and discuss product features. read more about the Mix objectives here.

The Working Group
And a few days ago I noticed that Oracle have started The Working Group. A group to discuss how to drive Enterprise 2.0 change from the inside. Sound interesting, and a perhaps a more live-as-you-learn approach than the Blog Council? This is an initiative I will monitor closely, and try to participate.

The last item is OpenSocial. Oracle was part of the initial announcement, but it is not clear to me how Oracle will participate. And apparently it was not clear to Jake from Appslab either.

All in all, Oracle is definately more than just a maker of a database. I am especially impressed by the overall approach around Social Media. What I highlighted here is probably only a subset. So they might be moving towards a Social Media Oracle?

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Office apps as killer apps - part 2: Powerpoint

As a follow up to the post about spreadsheets I now turn to Powerpoint.

If spreadsheets was the Killer App for knowledge sharing, Powerpoint is sometimes the Killer App for presentations. And again, in a negative way.

How many times have you attended a presentation where the presenter simply read statements from slides?

If you haven't seen this video, have a look (and if you've seen it before, it is worth watching again). It highlights a common way to use Powerpoint, using that common way... This might be the only presentation where it is suitable to use Powerpoint in this way!

Don McMillan has a website here.

Now, there's a number of reasons for this. We tend to use Powerpoint for different purposes.

  1. As background for a speach
    To simply serve as a background, highlighting parts of the speach. In this case you probably are best of using as few, and more important simple, slides as possible. The message shall come from you and not from the slides.
    However on many occations people tend to use slidesets which have a different purpose to highlight a speach. This is probably the main reason for Powerpoint being percieved as a speach killer.
  2. As stand-alone reading material
    This is when Powerpoints are sent around to serve as a reading material. People tend to create slides rather than to write documents, which is fine. Compare with reading a comic book rather than a novel. It is easier to browse through in some cases, and the threshold to create the material might be percieved as lower.
    You can pack more details into the presentation. More text to guide the reader is also good. Just think twice before using such a presentation to present something.
  3. More fact based presentations
    This is the tricky area. Should you or the slides speak?
    Most often people let the slides speak. Slides packed with text (and in this context the definition of a "packed" slide has a low threshold).
    I suggest that you consider to speak yourself. Perhaps with a few slides. Distribute a more detailed presentation (before or after) to enable the audience to dig deeper and repeat the information.
    If you include a Q&A part have the detailed presentation handy, so you can bring up specific slides to address the questions.

You can probably define other usages as well. Any suggestions?

And of course there is always exceptions to this. Due to the topic, audience or speaker.

Finally I include two other videos worth watching. Both for the presentation style and for the content of the presentation.

First out is Dick Hardt, speaking about Identity 2.0. He uses many slides. A lot of slides. But it works. At least in this format (video) where Dick acts more like a narrator to the slides. I would love to see a presentation like this live to find out if it works as good when in a live audience.

The second one is from TED, where Larry Lessig speaks about the current copyright laws and argues why these are outdated in the digital age. It is an interesting message, a good disposition of the talk and a nice exampel of a speach where the balance between the slides and the speaker is kept.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

This may become interesting. just launched.

It is supposed to look into the issues large corporations may encounter when entering the blog arena.

One thing that makes this initiative interesting is the list of companies listed: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo. Some rather large ones here.

So, if nothing else, it shows that blogs have entered as a major channel for large companies. Social Media, here we go...

But I am surprised not to find a blog at (?).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Defining a blog

I love the videos from CommonCraft. Just found this one.

It defines a blog quite well. In case you didn't know what is...