Joomla jumble

In a confusing progression of version numbers, i.e 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, to 2.5, Joomla 2.5.0  GA (general availability) is set to be the next release on 24th January 2012.

Notable dates after this are:

  • 24th February 2012 – Joomla 1.7 reaches end of life and is no longer supported
  • April 2012 – Joomla 1.5 reaches end of life
  • September 2012 – Next version of Joomla is released

After a first look at the beta release this latest version looks good and offers some core improvements. These are well reported in the Joomla Community Portal so I won’t repeat here.

Touchline customers will be offered migration options from 24th January but contact me if you want more information.

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Twitter – inane drivel

Inane drivel

A stream of inane drivel

There are many good reasons why a business should use Twitter, most of which are to do with brand promotion including news, advertising, special promotions and support. Another may be simply that your competitors are using it and you feel the need to match them (although also see Don’t Compare). Twitter can give the impression that your company is young and trendy, which for some industries is an advantage.

But therein lies a potential problem. In the early days of the web, company websites were often the sole responsibility of a junior in the IT department who was keen on playing with new technologies, with no budget and no buy-in from senior management. The result was that, despite substantial central marketing budgets, the company message and image (on the web at least) were in the hands of an enthusiastic junior baggy jeans and an overriding interest in Star Trek. And so it may be with Twitter, for a new generation of social media enthusiasts, resulting in a stream of inane drivel in the guise of customer social interaction.

For a Twitter account to have real business value, it needs to be under the control of senior management with a consistent style and message. Thought needs to be given to what you want to achieve using Twitter and how you can build credibility as a source of useful information relevant to your customer community. As with your website, you will need to track your impact in the Twitter community, whether it’s increased sales, better support or other measurement related to your goals.

If used properly Twitter can improve relationships with customers, increase sales and help in developing customer networks. Improper use will damage your company reputation through a lack of substance or inappropriate messages.

Don’t Compare

Think differently

As Steve Jobs said “think differently”

For Product Managers, the process of developing their product backlog will, at some point, lead to drawing up a feature comparison matrix or gap analysis to compare their product area with the competition. This is often driven by the sales teams for whom it provides a useful checklist to show to new prospects in a battle of who has the most features.

So what if we don’t compare?

The real art of Product Management is to look beyond our present feature list by observing and understanding what our customers are trying to do right now and by defining what they will need to do in the future. The interaction of creative and talented groups within the framework of thought leadership and technical excellence leads us to a vision of where our product should be going, how it will be used and how it may look. It’s within these areas of thought that we can reach the Holy Grail that is disruptive innovation.

Once the vision starts to become clear, we realise that the gap that we should be interested in is the one between where we are now and where the vision takes us. Taking the strategic route puts us ahead of the competition by redefining the market and driving market needs. The conversations with customers then become more about how the product not only solves their present problems but also takes them into new market possibilities and provides them with new ways of working.

So rather than taking the ‘me too’ approach we can aim for greatness in our own right.