Back to the University of Stirling after 10 years

I am very much looking to the next weekend. The University of Stirling, Scotland, celebrated its 40th anniversary of the University of Stirling. For me it will be the 10 year anniversary, having studied in Stirling from ’94 till ’98. One of the guys has organised a reUNIon for all of the alumni of ’98, you can find more information at this facebook event group.

(University of Stirling, 10 years ago)

The class of ’98 is spread out all over the globe. Amongst the people who are on the facebook distribution list some live in california, canada, or other far away places by now. Still, I will be able to meet quite a few people again, after all these years, which makes it ever more exciting. Having pints at the students pub with everybody, picnicing at the Loch of the Uni, may be even pub crawling through Bridge of Allan, like in the messy days. And after that I’ll visit some friends in Glasgow. More about my travels will be posted to my German blog (in German, sorry about that).

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The rise of the twitter spammer

I was going to comment on Pete Blackshaws Post „Twitter Spam„, but unfortunately, the long and complex typekey registration process put me off. So I will comment here and trackback, why not. And I can even add my own screenshots.

In his post, Pete suspects twitter now having spam profiles. I second that, I have a Chinese Hotel,a kidney stones and a prostrate cancer follower. Seems like twitter is slowly becoming a playing field of professional spammers, too.

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The fascinating Word of Mouth effects of the iPhone.

iphone 1 for illustrative purposesIt’s amazing how much unfounded gossip there is about the fact that Steve Jobs might reveal the iphone 2 on June 9th. One of the first „solid“ rumours I saw was at Gizmodo. Since then, new rumours, hints and other gossip has increased.

I subscribed to an RSS Newsfeed of Google News with the keyword iphone. There is so much happening, it’s amazing. If apple had tried to construct a viral or word of mouth campaign around the iphone, they couldn’t have done a better job than the web just did. Or may be they did help spreading the word?

Some more of these clues and assumptions that are spreading around the web are mentioned in an article of Newsweek:

Jobs‘ secretive computer and gadget company, has been quietly positioning millions of units of a mysterious new product—almost certainly the new iPhone—in key markets since March. And yet, incredibly, not one credible image of Apple’s new product has yet been published.

[…] One clue: Jobs began racking up serious mileage on his corporate jet during the company’s final quarter of 2007, as he likely finalized deals with distribution partners in Europe and Asia, and perhaps scrutinized the first 3G iPhone handsets to come from his partners‘ factories. Morgan Stanley’s Kathryn Huberty was the first to spot the enormous jump in Jobs‘ airplane expenses—to $550,000 from $203,000 during the previous quarter.

[…] By May 6, it became clear that AT&T was getting ready for something big, with a blogger publishing an all-hands memo to employees at AT&T stores telling them they couldn’t take vacation time between June 15 and July 12. That news hit amid widespread reports of iPhone shortages in Europe and across the U.S.

Cult of Mac even listed some of the Specs the new iphone should have (some have been rumoring around for quite some time, admittingly, but the info about the size – 22% thinner – is new). A seemingly rather complete list of the current rumors can be found at mobilecrunch, rated with a „Pre-keynote Legitometer“.

With all the clues, hints and gossip around the web, it appears to be like a giant world wide scavenger hunt. The whole setup and effect should be every marketers dream (and every ad agencys dilemma, since less or no advertising will be needed for the launch). Once the product itself carries viral potential, it automatically triggers word of mouth. The iphone is a classic example of this.

PS: if all goes well, I will be owning an iPhone 2 by next week 😉

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ebay: auctions vs fixed price, which one will succeed?

Fixed price models were a thing of the last 100 years – now we all thought that auction platforms like ebay would revert to variable price models. Not so. Even worse: ebay might have been a fad, argues Nick Carr, citing an article of business week.

Auctions were once a pillar of e-commerce. People didn’t simply shop on eBay. They hunted, they fought, they sweated, they won. These days, consumers are less enamored of the hassle of auctions, preferring to buy stuff quickly at a fixed price.

In fact, fixed price is gaining ground:

At the current pace, this may be the first year that eBay generates more revenue from fixed-price sales than from auctions, analysts say. „The bloom is well off the rose with regard to the online-auction thing,“ says Tim Boyd, an analyst with American Technology Research. „Auctions are losing a ton of share, and fixed price has been gaining pretty steadily.“

With users increasingly being able to research prices online, the need for speculating at an auction site decreases. At some point it’s pretty clear what a gadget should cost – so why bother bidding in an auction in which probably everyone has the same knowledge about the likely price ceiling? Why not buy it right away somewhere else?

Interesting thought: decreasing information assymetry will lead to an increase in fixed price deals (online, where things are comparable within a mouse click). Make sense, somehow.

[update: ReadWriteWeb has some more background to this.]

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