22 March 2015

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20 March 2015

Microdomination: How to build a mini-business empire around your personal brand

1. When did you buy the book?

I bought the book last Jan 22, 2015.

2. What made you buy the book?

The book's cover struck me for it contains keywords that are relevant to me:
  • social media
  • content marketing
  • mini-business empire
  • personal brand
The book costs twice the regular price of best-selling trade books and its thinner by half--just as thick as my little finger.  But surprisingly, this books packs a punch. It is extremely well written. I said  to myself as I browsed through it: "I must buy this book." So there.

3. Who is Trevor Young?

You may like to visit Trevor Young's website and see for yourself: http://www.trevoryoung.me/

4. What are the most important things that you learned in the book?

These are the seven powerful characteristics of micro mavens.  I'll copy verbatim to give you a feel of the Young's writing style.  He will develop each of these points later in the chapter (see Microdomination, p. 37):
  • The power of sharing: the art of keeping it real; when it comes to micro mavens, what you see is what you get.
  • The power of blogging: a blog or content hub serves as the digital heart of the micro maven's personal and professional brand.
  • The power of social participation: being out, loud and proud across the social media universe adds a human dimension to the micro maven's brand.
  • The power of relentless giving: the micro maven mindset that comes with always giving value to those around you without expecting anything in return.
  • The power of building a community: how micro maven's deepen the intensity of connection with their tribe by making it all about their followers.
  • The power of generating revenue from multiple sources: a portfolio approach to income generation not only gets the micro maven's creative juices flowing but also spreads the financial risk.
  • The power of pressing the flesh: the secret to social media success is offline relationship, taking it to the streets brings the micro maven brand to life.
When I read these descriptions of a micro maven, I said to myself: "Hey, that's me!"

5. What is a maven?

Young gave the following definition from www.websters-oline-dictionary.org:
A maven (also mavin or mayvin) is an expert in a particular field, usually one who is self-appointed and who seeks to pass his knowledge on to others.
Actually, Young got the maven word from Malcolm Gladwell:
I have loved the word maven ever since author Malcolm Gladwell breathed life into the term in his best-selling book The Tipping Point.  Gladwell described three consumer archetypes that need to be involved if an idea, product or message was to spread across society like a virus: he called them mavens, connectors and salesmen. According to Gladwell, Mavens are the information specialists, the go-to people if we have a question about something: they are constantly involved in the gathering and sharing of information... In retrospect, many of the micro mavens I write about in this book might personify Gladwell's definition of maven, but they also have a fair sprinkling of connector and salesmen about them--that's what makes them so interesting! (MicroDomination, p. xvii)
6. What is the meaning of the word "micro" in micro maven?

Micro means "small".  A microscope helps you see small things like bacteria. A micrometer is a tool for measuring small things, such as the width of your hair 10-100 micrometers (or microns).  Similarly, a micro maven is an expert in a very small or narrow field, e.g. old typewriters. But like a lens that focuses sunlight on a sheet of paper and burns a hole in it, micro mavens excel in talking about one small topic and builds his business empire--or maybe just a little business--around it.

7. Does the book give examples of micro mavens?

Young described several micro mavens in pp. 12-21.  I'll list down the top 10:
  • Christ Brogan: ww.chrisbrogan.com
  • Jonathan Fields: www.jonathanfields.com
  • Marie Forleo: www.marieforleo.com
  • Chris Guillebeau: www.chrisguillebeau.com
  • Daniel LaPorte: www.daniellaporte.com
  • Trey Ratcliff: www.stuckincustoms.com
  • Darren Rose: www.problogger.net
  • Pamela Slim: www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
  • Gary Vaynerchuk: www.garyvaynerchuck.com
You may like to check each of these persons by visiting their websites. I don't want to put hyperlinks, because Google may be suspicious of several links in a row and may shut down my blog for being a link-bot.

7. What is the outline of the book?

Here's the table of contents:
  • Part I: Introducing the Micro Mavens: (1) From small-time personal profile to global microbrand; (2) Meet the micromavens.
  • Part II. Exploring the Micro Maven: (3) Micro mavens: the  sum of many parts; (4) The seven powerful characteristics of micro mavens
  • Part III. Becoming a Micro Maven: (5) Introducing the micro maven blueprint, (6) Develop a platform, (7) Build your brand, (8) Grow your business, (9) Live your dream.
  • Part IV. The Micro Maven in Action: (1) Profiles of five micro mavens; (2) Starting your micro maven journey.
8.  Is it possible that the book is not for me?

This is what Young said:
It's important to acknowledge what microDOMINATION is not.  This is not a get-rich-quick book.  Seriously.  It's not about making your fortune working just four hours a week and selling millions of dollars of products via the internet while sipping margaritas by the pool.  Like anything in this life, hard work and a laser-like focus are required if you want to break through and make a name for yourself in your chosen field, and thus reap the rewards accordingly.
If you want to make a million dollars quickly and with minimal effort, please, this book is not for you. (MicroDomination, p. xxiv)
9. How did this book change your life?

I have just overhauled this blog, the QuirinoSugonJr blog, last January 2015, after deleting many, many blog posts, in order to focus my content on the tagline, "social media scientist".  And since that time, I became serious in Twitter @QuirinoSugonJr.  I have grown to love Twitter more and more as a way to promote my blog content, using tools such as Tweetdeck and Twitter Analytics.  All these I owe to Trevor Young, for this is what he said about Twitter:
Twitter is right up there as the social network of choice for micro mavens.  The micro mavens featured in this book as a rule are super active on Twitter. 
While Facebook is the Big Kahuna of the social networking world, with one billion registered users compared with Twitter's 500 million accounts (albeit only 140 million that are apparently active), the latter punches seriously above its weight and, in many ways, is more influential than Facebook, despite the disparity in their respective user base numbers.  This is because Twitter is very public, it operates in real-time, and its data is mined by Google (you could also add the fact the media is all over Twitter as a source of news and information)....
Twitter is like your local bar or cafe, only it's virtual, global and operates in real-time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This is the forum where the micro maven excels, and with some genuine effort and investment of time, you will too.  Take a seat at the virtual bar and chat to peeps as they come up to order a drink, or simply swing by to have a chat because they have read something you have written or are big fans of your podcast. 
(MicroDomination, pp. 98-99) 
10. What is your rating of this book?

This is a book I always put beside my desk whenever I blog or tweet.  Usually I flip the page at random and read what I see.  Even if I have read these pages before, the content never grows stale, but remains fresh as the morning dew. To be a serious micro maven requires a lifetime of study, but I am glad Trevor Young has written a book to guide me. So I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

12 March 2015

How Facebook's patent finds influencers and experts

Cosine and sine curves

Last 10 Feb 2015, Andrew Garrod Bosworth and Michael Patrick Murphy of Facebook was awarded the patent for the application entitled, "Identify experts and influencers in a social network," which can be used by a network for more effective advertisement targeting.  The patent number is US8954503 and is available in Google Patent Search. The patent was filed last 3 Mar 2011, so it took nearly four years before the patent was awarded.

The patent description is long and may be difficult to read.  Also, the pictures are not available, but the descriptions in the paragraphs are detailed enough to let us imagine what the pictures of the network described look like.  In this blog post, I'll try to to discuss the main points of the patent and describe their significance.

A. Information Sharing in a Social Network: Share Velocity

There are three main types of actions that you do in a social network that makes an article shared from one person to another, and these are posting, reposting, and sharing. Let us just call all these actions as simply shares denoted by $x$.  For a given topic--it can be as general as "smartphones" or as specific as "iPhone 6"--we can graph the number of total number of shares $x$ over time by summing up the shares for each hour, day, or week, depending on your chosen smallest time interval of integration. What you'll get is an shares $x$ vs time $t$ graph, which is similar to the spacetime plots in physics, with $x$ interpreted as position.

Now that we have the position vs time physics analogy in place, we can do something that we do in physics: take the time derivative of $x$ in order to get the velocity: \begin{equation} v = \frac{dx}{dt} \approx \frac{\Delta x}{\Delta t}. \end{equation} In social network terms, the share velocity $v$ is the time rate of change of how an article is being posted, reposted, or shared. Usually, we expect that once the article is published, the article would initially experience a positive velocity as it is being shared more and more. After a while, the actions on the article would plateau at a constant velocity, then nose dive with negative velocity, before returning to zero velocity, as the article is being shared less and less and no more.

Number of shares vs share velocity vs time
Fig. 1. Number of shares vs share velocity vs time.
B. Influencers and Experts: Local Bumps in the Shares vs Time Curve

But here is something interesting: the shares $x$ vs time $t$ curve may look like a bell curve in general, but there are local bumps in this curve.  That is, if the actions $x$ vs time $t$ curve is a mountain, then there would be little bumps called hills.  These little bumps are due to the Influencers: these are people who may not have a large network, but who nevertheless exerts a great influence on many members of the social network by compelling them to share his posts, like a small stone that falls from a cliff and starts an avalanche.

What the Facebook patent claims to do is to find those influencers by finding who was responsible for those bumps or hills in the actions vs time curve. To do this, the patent proposes that you look for the urls responsible for this bumps at the time whentime the action velocity attains a local peak value, then find the the sharers of each of these url back in time, just before the local velocity is about to become significantly positive.  The sharers that we find here are the influencers.  If we continue bactracking the url shares, we will find other influencers, until we reach the original author or the expert.

C. How Facebook will use its algorithm to earn money from advertising

All these discussions on the physics of finding influencers and experts is fine if you are only interested in publishing your work in refereed journals.  But Facebook is a business, which needs to survive by making money out of its algorithm. One business model that the Facebook patent proposes is to charge advertisers more for showing their ads to experts and influencers than to ordinary members of the social network:
For example, if the CPI (Cost Per Impression) model is used, each time the product advertisement is delivered to an expert of the product, the advertiser may be charged USD 0.20. Each time the product advertisement is delivered to an influencer of the product, the advertiser may be charged USD 0.15 or the same amount as the expert. Each time the product advertisement is delivered to a standard user (i.e., non-expert and non-influencer), the advertiser may be charged USD 0.05 (i.e., an amount lower than the one charging for the experts and influencers). Because the experts and influencers can provide information about the project and influence other users' opinions regarding the product, the advertiser is likely to be willing to pay more for advertising to the experts and influencers of the product. (Patent US20120226748)
So if you are an expert or an influencer, be prepared to receive more targeted advertising from companies who wants you to review their products, write about them, and share your knowledge to everyone.