Fun with Tag Clouds

Fun with Tag Clouds

Tag Cloud

Tag Cloud

I’ve had some recent fun with Tag Clouds.  These are the sections of blogs that show the most frequently used words in blog postings; the most used words are shown in larger text, less frequent in smaller text.

Tag clouds are great summary tools.  In my next presentation at the Specialized Information Publishers Conference in DC,  I am presenting on The 7 laws of Internet List Generation.  I thought it would be fun to start the talk with the first slide that shows a Tag Cloud of the most frequently used words in the PowerPoint presentation.


Saying NO to clients and prospects

For about two years now, I’ve been getting calls to act as a consultant for several of my clients.  Normally, this is not my role.  My role at Broadlook, historically, has been envisioning the business logic behind a technology solution, building the product, and then evangelizing the hell out of it.

Sales and recruiting teams, in 22 countries, are power users of Broadlook software solutions.  They are thinking of new ways to leverage technology that I dreamed up…in ways I never dreamed of.  Cool. They are creating their own internal Broadlook corporate training classes, building corporate wiki’s and flying Broadlook Black Belt trainers on-site for advanced training classes.  Very cool.

Here is what bugs me:  They are not talking!   Many clients see the Broadlook tools as a confidential trade secret and an integral component of their business process.  So they won’t talk about what they are doing. Not cool at all.

Here is what happened recently: (more…)

Don’t search the Internet like a database

Having worked with many databases as well as having extensive experience in searching the Internet, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the differences between the two.

When I observe people searching the Internet, there is a common mistake I see them making.  Most people search the Internet like they are searching a database. Don’t get me wrong,  the Internet does include databases. Thomas Register, Spoke and Zoominfo are examples of different types of databases. Via different methods, information is added to these data sources and some sort of query mechanism is provided the subscribers. Can you use the Zoom query on Thomas Register and visa versa? No, these are proprietary systems that have search methods specialized to the content inside them. Each of these databases is limited, incomplete, but stored in a homogonous fashion.

The Internet, in its entirety, is not homogonous.

Establishing an up-front-contract with your prospects

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog about how to sell to me.

Today, I would like to focus on setting expectations for your prospects.  Recently, the Chief Sales Officer and Co-founder of Broadlook showed me an email.  It was from a prospective customer that was bemoaning the fact that he would have to talk to a sales rep, before we started him on a trial of our software.  The bottom line, to him, was that it was a waste of time.  The message was basically, “send me a download link, I’ll check it out and call you if I like it, but don’t call me.”

We had to disappoint him.

Good sales is making sure that you are putting the right tool in the hands of the right person.  Broadlook has 8 different applications.  Each has a different problem that it solves.

In this particular case, the prospect wanted a trial of Diver, our tool for automating the review and extraction of results from search engines.   Basically, if someone does not know how to use Google, we will politely suggest to them that Diver is not the tool for them.  Literally about 1/2 the time that people request a Diver demo, once we talk to them we determine together that they really need our Profiler tool.  That is good selling.

I understand being busy.  However, demanding-because-I-say-so is not a reason for any company to cave in to a prospects demands, especially when your experience shows you that sidestepping a good sales process hurts all parties involved.

What is really crazy is that this is not the first time this has happened.  In fact, about 2 months ago, we looked at this problem and put, right on our Diver registration page, an up-front-contract of what to expect in the process of evaluating Broadlook’s software.

Here it is.

Broadlook guarantee: You want to try our software and you want it right away. We’re going to give it to you.

Here is what to expect:

  1. We ask for a valid email address and phone number. That’s fair.
  2. We will politely contact you and see if you have any questions.
  3. We will show you how to use the software and then get you a 14 day trial.
  4. One week into your trial, we will touch base and see how it is going.
  5. During your trial we may send you emails to trainings, case studies and other information to support your success.
  6. You can always call us and talk to a live person.
  7. We want you to have the absolute best experience possible with our software and we will show you how to use it.
  8. The Broadlook staff will always be courteous and helpful
  9. We want you to be successful.


Even though we’ve put together this clear set of expectations, people still register with phony emails and phone numbers.  It is really funny when they realize that they are not going to get software, so then they register again with real name, phone and email.   Why is it funny?  Because we track IP address of registrations; it is a very standard practice.  So when the Broadlook sales rep gets a lead in our CRM, it will have the phony registrations, right next to the final registration with real credentials.   Many of these turn into sales, so we are still going to be polite and not refer to them as the original name they put in.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Bill Gates          555-555-1212    – Tells us you are not very creative
Genghis Kahn  123-456-7890    – We will drop a mention of ancient warfare during the demo
Screw You         666-666-6666 –  Anarchist,  probably won’t be worth the time
Donato Diorio  414-XXX-XXX   – Just me testing our registration system to keep my reps on thier toes

Basically, our terms are non-negotiable.  Yes, I wrote them myself and stand by them.

So why do people put in phony email and phone numbers?  It seems like a real waste of time.  I believe in saving time on all sides, so we created the Broadlook guarantee, which is essentially an up front contract on what to expect when working with Broadlook.  Once we created this guarantee, the phony registrations dropped in number, but did not go away.

Lastly, will someone, please, tell the people at eGrabber to stop registering to get copies of our software.

Avoiding a Data Nightmare – How data normalization can improve your bottom line

Avoiding a Data Nightmare – How data normalization can improve your bottom line

“Data normalization” is a phrase that leaves a blank stare on most peoples faces.  Here is a secret:  it is really simple.

Here is the inside scoop:  Technology people have a secret club, complete with handshake and everything.  It’s a club that we don’t want outsiders in.  So we create these long phrases that make peoples eyes glass over.  Why?  Because if everyone understood what we do, then we wouldn’t make the big bucks.   Being a recovering technologist, I’m on a continually journey to lose my geek speak. So get ready, here is the skinny on Data Normalization (more…)