Dave Taylor: The Future of Findability

by Teresa Valdez Klein on October 25, 2006

The following are my notes from Dave Taylor’s keynote speech on the future of findability. Our fabulous Tris Hussey is also liveblogging this conference over at the Tucows blog.

  • Every business will need to be findable in order to survive. If your clients find your competitors before they find you, you’re out of business.
  • Dave Taylor has the pink Motorola RAZR Phone a purple snap-on cover for his RAZR…phones will soon become as much of an interface for findability as the PC. You can ask your phone, “where’s the closest __________?” and if your business isn’t in that directory, it doesn’t matter how good your product is. You’re out of business.
  • You must read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point because he talks about how people are always influenced by thought and opinion leaders. Every market segment has them, and the first thing you need to do is identify which ones are relevant to your business. You need to get your product in their hands, and you must accept that you don’t control the message.
  • Homepages are obsolete
  • Companies aren’t organizing themselves to create the best, most relevant and most findable content.
  • Companies are holding press conferences, news bureaus and meetings in Second Life.
  • You must be on social networks like MySpace.
  • Put your URL on your schwag and bills to draw people in to your website. Have a sense of whimsy. Perhaps you could have your CEO sing a silly song and advertise that on your invoices…
  • Find your next great employee or joint venture partner online, take a look at LinkedIn or Facebook (for up and coming hotshots)
  • Find bloggers and get them involved in the beta testing of your product.
  • Whether or not you are blogging, the blogosphere exists. You must be aware because bloggers are more likely to be the thought and opinion leaders. Even if your customers don’t read your blog, the journalists at the trade magazines they do read are reading the blogs.
  • Your computer, telephone and television are going to be interchangeable. You must reinvent your business to fit into that space. Your competitors are. The companies that rise to the surface tomorrow will be the ones that are thinking and acting on these issues today.
  • Your content must be fresh in order to stay relevant in the search engines. Google “dances” and changes its algorithms all the time.
  • Transparency is a little bit of a red herring. How transparent do you need to be? It’s a wild and wooly world out there. You need to find what the thought and opinion leaders in your space are doing and find the people who are creating the best practices on transparency.
  • “A blog is just a tool.” Subvert it to your will and the needs of your company. You don’t need to have comments. There are consequences for those choices, but you can make them.
  • Blogs are really cool because they’re cheaper, more search engine friendly, easy to manage and fun to produce, establishing a dialogue with your customers (think “focus group”), you can schedule publication in the future of posts you have written in advance, and you can work with others to produce your content.
  • Q: Is there a place for offline advertising and marketing, especially when you’re launching? A: Of course, but print ads are not enough anymore. You must have an online presence. “We will always have offline. We will always have Paris, but the world is moving online…I have the world’s biggest focus group and it doesn’t cost me a dime.”
  • Write about what you know to become THE person to quote in your industry when the press come looking for a quote.
  • If you can send an e-mail you can blog.
  • Pinging search engines to let them know you have new content. Make sure all those pings are in your defaults. Letting them know they should index it.
  • The reading list. The Tipping Point, Influence by Robert Cialdini. Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail and Dave’s own Growing Your Business with Google.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave Taylor 10.25.06 at 10:44 am

Nice writeup, Teresa, but one correction: I don’t have a pink RAZR, I have a purple snap-on cover for my regular grey RAZR ($4 on eBay). :-)

2 Teresa Valdez Klein 10.25.06 at 10:58 am

A guy who blogs AND can tell the difference between pink and purple? I’m impressed :-)

3 Erik Schmidt 10.25.06 at 9:18 pm

I’d also recommend the book Ambient Findability, by Peter Morville.

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