Archive for Uncategorized

07 Apr 2013

Thin Thinking and Digital Business Integration

No Comments Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

Copper Wire Discovery

A friend shared this joke with me via email the other day.

After digging to a depth of 10 feet last year outside of New York City, New York scientists found traces of copper cable dating back 100 years. They came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a Los Angeles, California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet somewhere just outside Oceanside. Shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: “California archaeologists report a finding of 200 year old copper cable and have concluded that our ancestors had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.”

One week later, a newspaper in New Orleans reported the following. “After digging down about 30 feet deep near a Bayou in the community of Lafayette Louisiana, Boudreaux, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found… absolutely nothing. Boudreaux has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Louisiana had already gone wireless.”

Beware of thin thinking and foolish conclusions

It may seem completely foolish to think that professionals in any industry would come to conclusions anywhere near that stupid, but you’d be amazed. Just think how highly educated, well paid marketers looked at ‘last click attribution’ (many still do!) because they have no ability to measure anything else. Simply because you haven’t got the required tracking capabilities is no reason to use metrics you already know to be completely wrong or useless. Yet, we do it all the time. How many times have you heard, or worse said yourself, “It’s not good, but it’s all we’ve got. It’s better than nothing.” Sometimes it’s much worse than nothing! A “use what we’ve got” mentality can easily lead us to complacency and lull us into thinking we’re measuring something valuable and applying analytics-driven wisdom, when in truth, we are merely deluding ourselves and inexorably harming the enterprise we are trying to support. We, like the Emperor, have no clothes!

Consider the idea that online conversions have nothing to do with offline advertising or social communication. Do you really think an online purchase of more than a million pairs of blue jeans is made because of an Affiliate Marketing program coupled with a nice PPC campaign, re-marketing and a dash of social media thrown into the mix? Really? And seeing your friends and colleagues wearing those jeans, perhaps hearing compliments on them, as well as seeing movie stars wear them in print media magazines or on the stage has nothing to do with it? And getting input from salespeople in shops has nothing to do with it? Of course it has PLENTY to do with those sales!

That’s why there’s such a large conversation about the decline and probable demise of Best Buy. Shoppers want to look, touch and inspect products before they buy. Best Buy is serving as the showroom for every online etailer on the planet. Without a reliable revenue stream of their own, of course, they won’t be able to continue to serve that role. Perhaps all the online retailers will have to chip in to build, staff and maintain ‘Best Buys’ and share in the expense (as there is obviously no profit) of running them worldwide. Perhaps it will simply become a marketing expense leveraged through an industry association or some similar organization.

Offline and online media, paid and unpaid, play a cohesive, connected role in bringing about the final sale of just about everything these days. Even buying an SEOmoz PRO account, which is a 100% online purchase for a 100% online service with no product involved at all, is dependent on word of mouth referrals and in-person first touch and mid-funnel experience with the brand at conferences and events.

My point is simple. If you are charged with marketing a brand, be it large or small, have not only the good sense, but the personal integrity to acknowledge and act on the fact that the sales funnel is a cohesive multi-faceted process comprised of a series of interactions with the brand, online and off. Continuing to silo markting activities into online, offline, paid, earned, social, sales, and customer service teams and departments is not only foolish, it’s deadly.

The time for terminology such as ‘digital marketing’ is long over. Ditto for digital communications and ‘digital’ everything else. It’s just marketing, communications, and everything else. “Digital” is just about new tools and toys. It’s long past time for major brands in particular and SMBs who wish to thrive in the coming century to look at the larger picture of business structure, product/service design and manufacturing/deployment as well as communication with customers in order to integrate these new ‘tools and toys’ into their processes which inform them about what’s broken, what needs innovating/improving, what to invent and sell next year, and perhaps most importantly, which of their products/services have reached the end of its life cycle.


25 Dec 2012

SearchCycle India 2013 Itinerary and Updates

12 Comments Uncategorized

Now 141 strong and counting…

UPDATE 31/01/2013

DLIN: SearchCycle India 2013 goes into overtime – James will cycle all the way to Goa!

I’m back in the States now. James continues to ride (he’s much stronger than I am!) all the way to Goa. Please keep up with daily photos and posts, encourage him, support him, and cheer him on as he rides west from Varanasi into Rajasthan, then south through Mumbai and into Goa for a well deserved few days at the famous beach.

I could not have made the ride without James. His enduring patience, love, kindness, and endless support all along the way made the entire event possible. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t begin to cover my gratitude for all his efforts.

Here’s the link to the Facebook event page for SearchCycle India 2013. Keep your likes and comments coming, everyone!

UPDATE  14/01/2013

Dozens of riders met at the Red Fort early on Jan 5 and rode out toward the Kashmiri Gate. We stopped for coffee and treats and continued on to the bridge leading to Meerut. In the evening in Meerut, we met wonderful entrepreneurs and enjoyed a well deserved dinner and a good sleep before James and I rode out in the morning mist to Gujraula and then on to Moradabad.

Since then, we’ve seen Bareilly, Shahjananpur, and Kannauj where we spent a brilliant day touring and visiting family and ancestral village with Puneet, innkeeper, potato farmer, potato cold storage magnate, and possibly the next mayor of his town. It seems one entrepreneurship isn’t enough.

In Kanpur, we’ve decided that the town gets a bad rap as just a business hub. We’ve met more wonderful entrepreneurs, and stayed at the Little Chef Hotel, an amazing boutique hotel in the quieter Civil Lines neighborhood. People went out of their way to help us get SIM cards and a new bike saddle sorted for me. The press even came out to see what we’re up to. Cycling through India isn’t just unusual… it’s pretty much unheard of. Maybe we’ll change that.

Stay tuned here and on facebook.

Follow @kapgup and @SEOmom for by-the-minute updates


James Muessig (Kent and James Private Travel) is planning SearchCycle India 2013. He’ll be riding the whole route with us and cycling for 45-60 more days, all the way to Goa. If you’ve got questions or advice to share about gear, routes, hotels, restaurants, sites, or logistics, connect with James by posting on the Event Page on Facebook.

I’ll cycle out from the Red Fort in Old Delhi on Jan 5, heading for Meerut. From there, I’ll continue through Jan 30, when I’ll return to Delhi for a few events. I leave for the US on Feb 3 at 3:40AM, so catch me on or before the 2nd if you want to meet up.

And now – drumroll, please – here is the aggressive itinerary James believes we can keep. James and I will be taking copious amounts of photos, uploading to here and to the event facebook page, keeping you posted of our progress along the way. We hope you’ll join us for meetups/tweetups in the evenings, so it’s important that you keep checking back here for updates. We may not cycle as far as we thought or we may get a little farther. And we may make changes in the route as you and other colleagues convince us to visit different places. Here’s the bottom line –

Do you want SearchCycle to come to your town? Take a look at where we are and make a convincing post/comment below. Talk us into coming your way.

See you on the trail!

DAY 1 of  Search Cycle India 2013
January 5, 2013
Old Delhi to Meerut – 68km / 42 miles

  • Red Fort (7:00 AM you Early Birds!)
  • Chandi Chowk
  • North on Netaji Shubash Road
  • North on Lothian Road
  • Kashmiri Gate. Pics in front of important site in first fight for Indian Independence, 1857
    or what the British call the “Mutiny” (they still call the American War of Independence the “Rebellion”)
  • North on Sham Nath Marg
  • Indraprastha College.
    Do we have any graduates riding with us? Shout out!
  • North on Mahatma Ghandi Road
  • North on Timarpur Marg
  • North on Dr KB Hedgewar Marg
  • Tomb of Shah Alam. Not overrun with tourists because it is in North Delhi. When you’re a tourist the last thing you want to see are other tourists.
  • East on Wazirabad Bridge (oldest bridge in Delhi courtesy of Firoz Shah Tughlaq).
    Maybe the new signature bridge will be open.
  • East on Wazirabad Road
  • East on Mangel Pandey Road (Road 59)
  • North-East on Mandoli Road
  • North-East on Sewa Dham Road to the end
  • South-East on unnamed road to Tilla More Chowk
  • East on Pipe Line Road
  • South-East on Rawli Road
  • North-East on Delhi Road (Road 58) to Meerut
  • West on Baghpat Road

Search meetup with Gillian / @SEOmom, 6:00 PM
Baghpat Road Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. We’re waiting to hear if they have a bar) but just in case I will exercise caution and stop at the Khan Market in Delhi on January 4, 2013 and obtain cycling requisites, Bombay Sapphire Gin and Dry Vermouth. I recommend that you do the same. To paraphrase Napoleon, “A peloton rides on its liver.” James will bring my cocktail shaker set from New York.

Hotel for Day 1 –

  • Signature Hotel
  • Baghpat Road, Near T.P. Nagar,
  • Meerut (U.P.) India-25002
  • Ph.: +91-121-2514001/02/03

Get your rest because DAY 2 we will be exploring the Archaeological Site at Hastinapur and learning about Ratnatraya at Jain Temples as we ride to Moradabad, the City of Brass!

January 6, 2013
7:00 AM
Meerut to Moradabad – 116km / 72 miles

  • Meerut Railroad Station
  • East on City Railway Station Road
  • North on Delhi Road
  • East on Mavana Road
  • North-East on Mawana Bypass Road
  • East on Mawana Road
  • North-East on Ganeshpur-Hastinpur Road
  • Hastinapur Archaeological Site
  • Let’s look for what’s left of the palace of the Pandavas
  • Extra points if you find the Kaurava’s place too.
  • Across the Jain Temple Road we will find (you get three guesses)
  • Then the day really begins. 11:00 AM
  • It is time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  • South on the Madya Ganga Canal Road
  • East on the Chandpur Mavana Road across the Ganges River
  • South-East on Station Road
  • East on Chandpur Gajraula Road
  • South-East on Chandpur Pheena Marg
  • Continue on Road 77 to Amroha
  • East on Road 78
  • East on Road 24 to Moradabad
  • Best Western Holiday Regency Hotel

Technologists, Digital Marketers and Entrepreneurs Meet Up 8PM
It’s been a long day. Eat, Drink, and be Merry! Tomorrow is an easy day.

January 7, 2013
Sleep in. Or explore the Peetal Mandi for brass and copper.
11:00 AM
Moradabad to Bareilly –  90km / 49 miles

  • Jama Masjid
  • East on the Jama Masjid Road Bridge
  • South-East on Road 24 to Rampur
  • South-East on Road 24 to Bareilly
  • Manor Hotel, Bareilly
  • 209 Civil Lines, Station Road, Bareilly, India 243001

January 8, 2013
Bareilly Railroad Station
9:00 AM
Bareilly to Shahjahanpur – 79km / 49 miles

  • East on St Chowdary Road
  • North on Lal Fatek Road
  • East on the Grand Trunk Road
  • Rolling through the Uttar Pradesh countryside
  • South-East on the Grand Trunk Road to State Highway 29
  • North-East on State Highway 29 to Shahjahanpur
  • A short jaunt. Plenty of time to look around

January 9, 2013
7:00 AM
Shahjahanpur to Kannauj 122 km / 76 miles

  • Shahjahanpur Railroad Station
  • South on Station Road
  • South on Ghantagar Road
  • South on State Highway 93
  • South on State Road 93/25 South
  • South-West on State Highway 21
  • Cross the Ganges River
  • North West on State Road 21 to Kannauj – Welcome to the Capital of Perfume!

January 10, 2013
Kannauj Railroad Station
9:00 AM
Kannauj to  Kanpur – 84km / 52 miles

  • South on State Road 21 alongside the Ganges to Kanpur
  • Trip Advisor eviscerated the hotels in Kanpur but the
  • Little Chef Hotel Kanpur shows promise.
  • Number 1 tourist destination….Massacre Ghat.
  • There has to be a story here.
  • Big city. Must be places to buy fresh inner tubes and we will need some patches by then.

January 11, 2013
Kanpur to Raebareli –  109km / 68 miles

  • Kanpur Railroad Station
  • South-West on Jaipuria Road
  • South on Kanpur Road
  • South-East on Motilal Nehru Marg
  • North-East on Vidhan Sabha Marg into Kanpur Road
  • East on Shuklaganj Bypass
  • South-East on Highway 38
  • North on Lucknow Road to Raebareli
  • One more day on the road then rest
January 12, 2013
Raebareli to Faizabad – 112km / 70 miles

  • North-East on State Road 15 to Faizabad
January 13, 2013
Faizabad to Ayodhya and back

  • Rest. Rama give us strength
  • Check out the sights in nearby Ayodhya





29 Apr 2012

One eye laughing; one eye crying

1 Comment Uncategorized

On leaving SEOmoz and being a (slow) serial entrepreneur

A Viennese immigrant physician in private practice in New York City, Dr. Stephanie Feilendorf was a groundbreaker in her field and mentor to a scrawny under-age teen who she hired to be a receptionist in her medical office. It was my first job. She protected me, mentored me and provided me with a much needed job at risk to herself and her practice. Dr. Feilendorf had a gift for expressing complex issues with bell-ringing clarity. “One eye laughing, one eye crying,” she said to me as she closed her pediatric practice door for the last time at the age of 88.

I’m not going to tell you that leaving ‘Moz is easy . . . or that I can’t wait to be on my way. If you’re an entrepreneur and a parent you know two things: if you do your job well, your children will grow as you give them wings to fly and when they fly, they will return to visit and it will give you great joy. And if you do the same with your company, it will go and never return. I went into this endeavor with my eyes open, I made decisions that would bring about this day many years ago and I haven’t wavered. I always knew this would not be the easiest of days.

And so goodbye, dear Company, dear friend that took so much and gave back even more. Indeed, it is always sad to say goodbye to a friend.

So, what’s next?

I have had a number of companies. And albeit I haven’t moved through them as quickly as many serial entrepreneurs, and SEOmoz is the largest and best known (by a country mile!) of any I’ve owned, and despite the fact that Rand’s Dad tells me I’m nuts to do this again, there will be at least one more company in my future. So now (drumroll), it’s time to clap hands and demand, “What’s next?”

My passion has always been around entrepreneurship, specifically technology startups. With time to pursue projects I mothballed some time ago, I am…

  • Interviewing dozens of CEOs around the world to determine in what ways tech entrepreneurs differ from their industrial counterparts. Whether a book or a white paper is the result is yet to be seen.
  • I’m writing a book on Corporate Culture in Age of Social Platforms, which will be published by a Japanese publisher. The book may be translated into Chinese, but possibly not published in the original English. If the publisher does not print for the English speaking market, a publisher in London will do so. Talk about a global economy!
  • Engaging in a number of global women-in-entrepreneurship efforts as I am painfully aware that as hard as the road is for male entrepreneurs, their sisters and daughters have an even tougher road to hoe. I serve on boards of directors and advisors for companies in four continents and I’m looking forward to increasing my portfolio.
  • I’m still accepting keynote and speaking engagements around the world
  • I’m super excited to have become an Angel Investor on a broader level. Bringing SEOmoz to birth was a tough go. Thanks to Rand’s amazing success at SEOmoz, future investments will be a lot easier ;). I’m engaging in Angel investment groups from the Pacific Northwest to India and APAC, and I’m headed down to Silicon Valley to hob nob with VCs and learn more soon
  • Through Angel and VC groups, and sometimes through personal references, I am reviewing a number of startup opportunities in need of leadership support to navigate their way to market. So I may find myself back in a C-suite soon.

I’ve always been a master connector. Now I’m asking others to connect me. Send me your brilliant startup ideas, news of meetups and tweetups, investment groups doing interesting things and more. The world is a wide and wonderful place. I can’t wait to explore it some more!

09 Nov 2011

Siri and Charlie: Thoughts On the Future of the [Mobile] Internet

2 Comments Technology, Uncategorized

I think the broader conversation around Siri is more interesting than the technicalities of what it can accomplish today.

If you’ve ever seen the show, The West Wing, by Alan Sorkin, you’ll remember the character of Charlie.

YouTube Preview Image

When the character is first introduced to the president, Charlie finds the president’s reading glasses. As the show progresses, he kept the daily calendar, provided background information on people the president was meeting and took care of the president’s personal social obligations. Charlie would say something like, “You sent lilies to your sister; it’s her birthday.” He did not say, “It’s your sister’s birthday; you should send a gift. Do you want to send flowers? What kind does she like?” It was his job to know, get the job done in a timely manner, and report that the task was accomplished. The president had more important things to do.

During the SMX/eMetrics conference Stockholm in September, 2011, I enjoyed some time with the Mayor of Vaxholm, Per Mosseby(the political mayor, not the FourSquare mayor ;-)). He’s a technologist with several successful startups to his name already. He noted that the future of mobile internet engagement will look a lot like Charlie.  We were amused to see Siri launched only a few weeks after our discussion.

YouTube Preview Image

Siri is the next stage of streamlining and integrating personal life management online – a more integrated version of the apps such as TripIt, the financial software from our banks, PageOnce, and even Yelp and UrbanSpoon. All these individual apps, and thousands more like them, are designed to bring us in-the-moment info when and where we need it. Siri is designed to aggregate functions to become a single streamlined connection between humans and the collective knowledge of our communities and networks on the web.

I believe that history will see Siri as the seminal application that marked the global move from desktop computing to mobile, integrated connections between daily life and the data/knowledge banks stored on the Internet. When internet access is available in a community, research and email communication is greatly enhanced. When high speed internet replaces dial up, people begin to make the Internet part of their daily lives, checking weather, traffic, and news before leaving for work and engaging again when they return home.

When Internet access becomes easily available to a significant portion of the population of a community, mobile computing integrates the web into the entire daily living experience. This integration is only partially accomplished via apps today.

From where I stand to day, it seems to me that Siri is the next phase of a smoother, more complete integration of the Internet into daily life.