The Top Button

I ran into Adam Metz on Monday while lobbycon’ing the SNAP conference. We had a really fascinating conversation spanning a broad spectrum of topics but one in particular is spurred him to write an introductory post.

"If I were able to define the solution, I’d have a bestselling book on my hands. My conversation with Jeff only defined the problem, and I hope this becomes the start of a larger conversation about RSS engagement. We temporarily labeled this problem The Loop. Maybe I called it that because I lived in Chicago for a few years. But this loop is a loop that stubbornly remains open. The question is this: how do you effectively put a metric on one’s engagement with an RSS feed?"

I say introductory post because we are both hoping that this topic rises to the level of being a broader conversation. The metaphor he used is the top button of the shirt, which is always the toughest to get buttoned. In the RSS world we can measure adoption in terms of subscribers, albeit not with great reliability, but we still struggle with measuring impact.

In other words, I can tell you how many people subscribe to a particular feed and I can even tell you what feeds have clusters of common subscribers, I can tell you what posts are clicked on, and what links are clicked through, but the thing we struggle with is measuring what you find meaningful and what impact that has for you.

Adam calls this an engagement metric and right now it’s something everyone is doing anecdotally if at all. Buzzlogic is an interesting company you should check out, but their solution is to measure influence and that’s not the same thing as measuring impact.

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Leopard Pricing Thoughts

But first, I learned more about Leopard from Siracusa’s awesome review than from anything Apple put out…

I had an interesting conversation with myself in the Apple store while pondering buying an indivdual license or a family pack for $75 more (we have 3 Macs). My first thought was whether or not Apple is enforcing the licensing, so I walked over to the other side of the store and googled on it, finding Gruber’s post on Daring Fireball where I learned that the licensing isn’t enforced by the hardware.

So there I am in the middle of the Apple store in SF with a single license in one hand and a family pack in the other. Even though Apple will surely would not miss the extra $75 from my wallet, I bought the family pack. The thing is that I basically feel like I get a lot from Apple’s software so the idea of paying $200 for 5 Leopard licenses seemed fair to me.

I would like to say that I bought the family pack for my 3 computers because I’m an honest person yada yada yada, but the truth is that I simply feel that $200 for 5 Leopard licenses is really fair, even if I’m only using 3 of them. I get alot out of my experience with Apple, their apps are good and I use them everyday (indeed, I shit-canned Entourage and went back to iCal, Apple Mail, and Address Book).

Counter that to my recent purchase of Windows XP where I was pissed off about forking over $200 for a single license of a 5 year old operating system that has crappy included applications that I wouldn’t use. If the decision were about Vista vs. Leopard, you bet I’d take the single license instead of the family pack upsell.

It’s actually a conflict for me because it reveals a selective application of morals that I’m not really comfortable with.

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