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What are some good books on User Interface design? How do you define user interfaces in your software specification documents? The Hub Tech Insider User Interface Design Bookshelf July 31, 2011

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The Hub Tech Insider User Interface Design Bookshelf: Essential UI Design Books for IT Directors, Project Managers, Program Managers, Software Requirements Engineers, Business Analysts, User Interface Designers, Graphic Designers, Interaction Designers and Information Architects.

Some of the tools that I typically use to produce wireframes and mockups to specify software that is under development include traditional desktop personal computer graphics application software packages such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, business graphics and diagramming packages such as Microsoft Visio, and many others, including some on the Mac OS X and Linux platforms.

But no matter which software program you use to prepare your wireframes and mockups, you still need to have the knowledge surrounding what types of controls are available, and the wisdom to know the most apropos situations in which to use those software controls.

It may be surprising to many people that are not involved in the software industry, but it is not always system and application software programmers who are the most familiar with these types of user interface interactivity patterns and controls. User interface designers, graphic designers, and information and interaction architects are usually the ones who specify these types of “Web 2.0” controls.

If you are writing software specification documents, I recommend that you become as familiar as possible with all of the different types of rich internet application controls and interaction patterns that are examined in detail within these books. Programmers and project and program managers will benefit as well.

A great amount of time and effort will be saved if everyone on the project team has familiarity with these fundamental web interface and interaction patterns. Having a common vocabulary with which to communicate to each other in design and development meetings will pay dividends throughout the course of the software development lifecycle.

The ability to suggest an interaction pattern or a type of control that can preserve screen or page real estate, for instance, can make the critical difference in getting a software system design specified in a limited amount of time. Having knowledge of user interface best practices and common user interaction patterns in-house, on the project team itself, can not only save money in avoidance of expensive user interface consultants and UI design firms, but it can also ensure that the tricky question of post-implementation compliance amongst your development team and programming staff.

I have compiled a list of books that in my opinion merit a place on any professional user interface designer’s bookshelf. If you are looking to stock your User Interface library, you really can’t go wrong with this list of books.

I feel that IT Directors, Product Managers, Program Managers and Project Managers, as well as Graphic Designers, Information Architects, and Interaction Designers and Usability Engineers (read this article if you need help understanding what these job titles mean) could all benefit from reading several or all of these books.

I have found in my professional career that having advanced knowledge of User Interface design techniques and best practices aids me greatly in producing high quality project plans and functional specifications for web based applications and their related software development projects. Mockups and wireframes that incorporate the various design patterns outlined in these books have greatly increased my ability to communicate and develop project related deliverables and artifacts for complex and cutting edge user interfaces, particularly those that include social media platform integrations and RIA, or Rich Internet Application, frontends.

The more knowledge that you acquire in your professional career on a software development team, and the more you know about user interfaces for web based applications, the more value you will be capable of delivering to both your employer and yourself in the form of expanded career opportunities.

Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks

By Luke Wroblewski. Rosenfeld Media, May 2008.

Web Form Design: Filling in the blanks, by Luke Wroblewski

Anyone who designs anything for the web needs a copy of this. It makes it so nice to not have to think about designing forms. I can spend my time on more interesting design challenges. This book doesn’t leave my desk.

Forms make or break the most crucial online interactions: checkout, registration, and any task requiring information entry. In this book, Luke Wroblewski draws on original research, his considerable experience at Yahoo! and eBay, and the perspectives of many of the field’s leading designers to show you everything you need to know about designing effective and engaging web forms.

I have found this book to be the most practical, comprehensive and data-driven guide for solving form design challenges and I consider it an essential reference.

The Smashing Book #1

https://shop.smashingmagazine.com/smashing-book-intl.html

The Smashing Book #1

This book is available exclusively from Smashing Magazine. This book looks at Web design rules of thumb, color theory, usability guidelines, user interface design, best coding and optimization practices, as well as typography, marketing, branding and exclusive insights from top designers across the globe.

This book contains ten carefully prepared, written and edited stories that are based upon topic suggestions and wishes of Smashing Magazine’s readers. The topics covered here are fundamental and so the content is highly practical.

The Smashing Book #2

https://shop.smashingmagazine.com/smashing-book-2-intl.html#d=smashing-book-2

The Smashing Book #2

This book shares valuable practical insight into design, usability and coding. It provides professional advice for designing mobile applications and building successful e-commerce websites, and it explains common coding mistakes and how to avoid them. You’ll explore the principles of professional design thinking and graphic design and learn how to apply psychology and game theory to create engaging user experiences.

Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions

By Bill Scott & Theresa Neil

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0596516258?ie=UTF8&tag=looksgoodwork-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0596516258

Want to learn how to create great user experiences on today’s web? In this book, UI experts Bill Scott and Theresa Neil present more than 75 design patterns for building great web interfaces that provide interaction. Distilled from the author’s years of experience at Sabre, Yahoo!, and Netflix, these best practices are grouped into six key principles to help you take advantage of the web technologies available today. With an entire section devoted to each design principle, Designing Web Interfaces illustrates many patterns with full-color examples from working websites. If you need to build or renovate a website to be truly interactive, this book will give you the principles for success.

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition

by Steve Krug

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Make-Me-Think-Usability/dp/0321344758/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c

Five years and more than 100,000 copies after it was first published, it is very difficult to imagine anyone working in web development or design that has not read this classic on web usability, but people are still discovering it every day. In this second edition, Steve adds three new chapters in the same style as the original: wry and entertaining, yet loaded with insights and practical advice for novice and veteran alike. Don’t be surprised if it completely changes the way you think about web design.

The three new chapters are entitled: Usability as common courtesy (why people really leave web sites), Web accessibility, CSS, and you (making sites usable and accessible), and Help! My boss wants me to ______. (Surviving executive design whims).

In this second edition, Steve adds essential ammunition for those whose bosses, clients, stakeholders, and marketing managers insist on doing the wrong thing. If you design, write, program, own, or manage web sites, you must read this book.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Surgery-Made-Easy-Yourself/dp/0321657292/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

It’s been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.

In this how-to companion to Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug spells out an approach to usability testing that anyone can easily apply to their own web site, application, or other product. (As he said in Don’t Make Me Think, “It’s not rocket surgery”.)

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites

http://www.amazon.com/Information-Architecture-World-Wide-Web/dp/0596527349/ref=pd_sim_b_2

Saul Wurman first used the term Information Architecture in his book of the same name. His book was mostly lots of really pretty pictures of media and webs compiled from a graphic design perspective; they were beautiful but never really dealt with the information end of things. Rosenfeld and Morville get it right. They show how to design manageable sites right the first time, sites built for growth. They discuss ideas of organization, navigation, labeling, searching, research, and conceptual design. This is almost common sense, which is often overlooked in the rush for cascading style sheets and XML.

The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-User-Experience-User-Centered-Design/dp/0735712026/ref=pd_sim_b_5

From the moment it was published almost ten years ago, Elements of User Experience became a vital reference for web and interaction designers the world over, and has come to define the core principles of the practice. Now, in this updated, expanded, and full-color new edition, Jesse James Garrett has refined his thinking about the Web, going beyond the desktop to include information that also applies to the sudden proliferation of mobile devices and applications.

Successful interaction design requires more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. You must also fulfill your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won’t help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it.

With so many issues involved—usability, brand identity, information architecture, interaction design— creating the user experience can be overwhelmingly complex. This new edition of The Elements of User Experience cuts through that complexity with clear explanations and vivid illustrations that focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques. Garrett gives readers the big picture of user experience development, from strategy and requirements to information architecture and visual design.

Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability

by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney

http://www.amazon.com/Forms-that-Work-Interactive-Technologies/dp/1558607102/ref=pd_sim_b_3

Forms are everywhere on the web – used for registration and communicating, for commerce and government alike. Good forms make for happier customers, better data, and reduced support costs. Bad forms fill your organization’s databases with inaccuracies and duplicates and can cause the loss of potential or current customers. This book isn’t about just colons and choosing the right widgets. It’s about the entire process of making good forms, which has a lot more to do with making sure you’re asking the right questions and in such a way that your users can answer than it does with whether you use a drop-down list or radio buttons.

If your web site includes forms, then you need to read this book. In an easy-to-red format with lots of examples, Caroline Jarrett, who runs the usability consulting company Effortmark Ltd.(http://www.usabilitynews.com), and Gerry Gaffney, who runs the usability consulting company Information & Design Proprietary Ltd.(http://www.uxpod.com), present their three layer model – appearance, conversation, and relationship. You need all three for a successful form – a form that looks good, flows well, asks the right questions in the right way, and most importantly, gets users to fill it out.

Designing good forms is trickier than people think. This book explains exactly how to design great forms for the web. Liberally illustrated with full-color examples, it guides readers through how to define and gather requirements to how to write questions that users will understand and want to answer, as well as how to deal with instructions, progress indicators, and error conditions.

I found that this book provides proven and practical advice that will help designers avoid pitfalls, and produce forms that are aesthetically pleasing, efficient, and cost-effective.

The book is filled with invaluable design methods and tips to help ensure accurate data and satisfied customers, and includes dozens of examples, from nitty-gritty details (label alignment, mandatory fields) to visual design (creating good grids, use of color).

Defensive Design for the Web: How to improve error messages, help, forms, and other crisis points

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/073571410X?ie=UTF8&tag=looksgoodwork-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=073571410X

by Matthew Linderman and Jason Fried

Let the 37signals team show you the best way to prevent your customers from making mistakes, and help them recover for errors if a mistake does occur. This book doesn’t leave my desk either.

The folks at 37signals have created an invaluable resource: tons of ‘best practice’ examples for ensuring that web users can recover gracefully when things – as they inevitably will – go ‘worng’ !

In this book, you will learn 40 guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown does occur. You will see hundreds of real-world examples from companies like Amazon and Google that show the right (and wrong) ways to handle crisis points.

You can also use this book to evaluate your own site’s defensive design with an easy-to-perform test and find out how to improve your site over the long term.

About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design

By Alan Cooper. Wiley 2007.

About Face 3, by Alan Cooper

Learn the rules before you break them. Please. Pretty please with a cherry on top? Get this book and read it if you are responsible for designing anything more than a simple web site. Good for Flex developers and Ajax developers as well. Lots of patterns that can be extrapolated for Rich Internet Applications.

Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933820217?ie=UTF8&tag=looksgoodwork-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1933820217

Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide” is a terrific and comprehensive review of both the prototyping process and the tools involved. There’s really very little with which to find fault. I found that the book both validated my experience in prototyping and provided new techniques to try out, with many “Aha!” moments in both respects. The inclusion of case studies illustrating the techniques provide additional perspective and make the techniques more “real”. The review of each prototyping technique/tool, whether paper or software-based, includes links to additional resources like toolkits, sample images, and the like – these would be especially useful to someone just getting started with a particular tool. Speaking as a designer who’s typically relied on HTML prototypes and Visio, I must say my interest in Adobe Fireworks and, to a lesser extent, Axure is piqued. I think any UI/UX/IX designer, of any level of experience, would get something out of this book. Not that it would be useful only to them – analysts and software engineers will benefit from it as well.


Want to know more?

You’re reading Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a blog stuffed with years of articles about Boston technology startups and venture capital-backed companies, software development, Agile project management, managing software teams, designing web-based business applications, running successful software development projects, ecommerce and telecommunications.

About the author.

I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. I have been working in the software engineering and ecommerce industries for over fifteen years. My interests include computers, electronics, robotics and programmable microcontrollers, and I am an avid outdoorsman and guitar player. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, follow me on Quora, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool. I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in Natick, MA. I have a background in entrepreneurship, ecommerce, telecommunications and software development, I’m a Technical PMO Director, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of several ecommerce and web-based software startups, the latest of which are Twitterminers.com and Tshirtnow.net.

What’s the difference between a Graphic Designer, an Information Architect and an Interaction Designer? September 15, 2010

Posted by HubTechInsider in Agile Software Development, Definitions, Ecommerce, Mobile Software Applications, Project Management, Social Media, Software, VoIP, VUI Voice User Interface, Wireless Applications.
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Information Architecture is the study of the organization and structure of effective web systems. Information architects study and design the relationships between internal page elements, as well as the relationships and navigation paths between individual pages. They combine Web design, information and library science as well as technical skills to order enterprise knowledge and design organizational systems within websites that help Users find and manage information more successfully. They are also responsible for things like ordering tabs and content sections of a web-based software application.  They try to structure content and access to functions in such a way as to facilitate Users finding paths to knowledge and the swift accomplishment of their User Goals with the System.

Graphic Design is the skill of creating presentations of content (usually hypertext or hypermedia) that are delivered to Users through the World Wide Web, by way of a Web browser or other Web-enabled software like Internet television clients, micro blogging clients and RSS readers. Graphic designers study and design graphic elements, logos, artwork, stock photography, typography, font selection, color selection, color palettes and CSS styles.


Interaction Design is the process of creating an interface for the user to engage with a site or application’s functionality and content. Interaction designers are concerned mainly with facilitating users’ goals and tasks, and use a systematic and iterative process for designing highly interactive user interfaces. Their methodology includes research and discovery techniques such as requirements analysis, stakeholder analysis, task analysis, as well as prototyping, inspection and evaluation methods to define the structure and behavior of a web-based software system.


What’s the difference between Design and User Experience?

  • Design is about changing understanding; user experience is about changing behavior.
  • Design is about intent; user experience is about purpose.
  • Design is about style; user experience is about substance.
  • Design is about the platform; user experience is about the person.
  • Design is about the present; user experience is about the past and future.
  • Design is about action; user experience is about impact.

Providence, Rhode Island based Shape Up The Nation, Inc., raises $5 Million in a Series A round of equity financing August 23, 2010

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Providence, Rhode Island based Shape Up The Nation, Inc., a provider of social network based online health and wellness services, raises $5 Million in a Series A round of equity financing from a group of investors including Cue Ball Capital and Excel Venture Management.

Newton’s MedNetworks, Inc. raises $5 Million in a Series A August 21, 2010

Posted by HubTechInsider in Health Care IT, Social Media, Startups, Venture Capital.
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Newton’s MedNetworks, Inc., a provider of technology for analyzing real life social networks of physicians and patients, raises $5 Million in a Series A round of equity funding led by Excel Venture Management.

BizCloud Introduces BizCloud Corporate Blogging Solution June 28, 2010

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BizCloud, a leading provider of cloud technology and marketing solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, has announced BizCloud Corporate Blogging Solution as the latest addition to their online business marketing solutions. This offering is designed for businesses that are looking to leverage the most effective online marketing tool to help them create and maintain online awareness and communicate their business message to a broader web audience. BizCloud Corporate Blogging Solution gives businesses an opportunity to open up new communication channels with their customers, share expertise, and generate more web traffic.

Corporate blog offers great number of benefits to businesses that integrate it into their online marketing strategy. It allows businesses to differentiate themselves from competition, achieve higher rankings and greater visibility on the search engines, generate more leads, build brand awareness, and much more. BizCloud Corporate Blogging solution leverages BizCloud’s professional bloggers to produce capturing content on behalf of clients’ companies and convey the most engaging business and industry news to large demographics of potential partners and customers.

Vahid Razavi, President and Founder of BizCloud.net, states, “BizCloud Corporate Blogging provides exceptional levels of integrated Corporate Marketing Solutions and business marketing strategy that is flexible enough to augment the current marketing of a company, or to establish new offerings.”

BizCloud Corporate Blogging Solution is suitable for companies at all stages of development. From startup companies looking to establish a regular online awareness, to industry leaders interested in providing a higher level of insight to their customers, no business can ignore the impact of effective online marketing on its bottom line. Through BizCloud’s proven, cloud based blogging platform, companies can keep their customers and partners informed and tuned in at all times. Content is written on behalf of customers by experienced BizCloud marketing staff, and customized to the specific market and industry segment they operate in.

All Blog Posts can be maintained on BizCloud Network for free, or replicated on a separate corporate blog leveraging WordPress Blog Platform. Effective online communication requires a new approach, integrating the best business content, syndication, technology, and outreach that BizCloud can provide.

About BizCloud:

Based in San Francisco, California, and offices in Europe and Asia, BizCloud (www.bizcloud.net) is an online business social utility focused on technology and cloud innovations to assist small business owners. BizCloud has mastered the art of integrated delivery alliances of cloud computing infrastructure, BPM platforms, business applications and service delivery organizations to deliver large inclusive customer outcomes for business owners. These Cloud Integrated delivery alliances cover Sales, Marketing, Operations and Engineering solutions customized to individual business needs.

For additional information, contact: marijana@bizcloud.net

Boston’s Currensee, a social network for foreign exchange traders, raises $8.8 Million April 26, 2010

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Boston’s Currensee, a social network for foreign exchange traders, raises $8.8 Million in a Series B round of investment led by Vernon & Park Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Egan Managed Capital.

How to use LinkedIn in your job search April 4, 2010

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I have written on these pages before about the power of expanding your professional network on LinkedIn. Now I have some new statistics and information that I feel really bore out my earlier comments about the professional social business networking site.


Visitors to the site in 2010 have jumped 31% from 2009 to 17.6 million visitors in February 2010. Your customers, your colleagues, your competitors and your boss are all on LinkedIn. The average memeber is a college-educated 43-year-old making $107,000. More than one quarter of the members on LinkedIn are senior executives, and every Fortune 100 company is represented. Recently, Oracle found their CFO, Jeff Epstein, through a LinkedIn search.


One of the big reasons that LinkedIn works so well for professional matchmaking is that most of the people on LinkedIn already have jobs. But why is that good for job seekers? Well, for one thing, a legion of employed LinkedIn users are using it to research clients before sales calls, ask their connections for advice, and read up on where former colleagues are landing gigs. In this kind of a business-oriented social network, job seekers can do their networking without looking as if they are shopping themselves around. THis population is more valuable to recruiters as well.


In contrast to online job boards, which focus on showcasing active job hunters, very often the most talented and sought-after recruits are those currently employed. Headhunters have a name for people like these: passive candidates. The $8 Billion recruiting industry is built on the fact that they are hard to find, but LinkedIn changes that. It gives the recruiting industry the digital equivalent of a little black book, one that is public ands detailed.


For a generation of professionals, the baby boomers, trained to cloak their contacts at all costs, this transparency is counterintuitive. So far most of the online advice columns have been filled with advice on what *not* to do: don’t post drunken pictures of yourself online, etc. But as more and more companies have turned to the web for recruitment of candidates, it is no longer an advantage for job candidates and job seekers to refrain from broadcasting personal information.


Instead, your new professional imperative should be to present your professional skills as attratively as possible, packing your profile with keywords (logistics engineer, marketing manager, global sourcing specialist) that will send your name to the top of recruiter’s searches. You are also now able to connect your online professional interactions in one place, joining groups on LinkedIn, (LinkedIn has more than 500,000 of them, ranging from groups based on companies, schools, and other professional affinities), offering advice, and linking your blog posts and twitter updates to your linkedin profile.


Look at it this way: you Google other people, so don’t you think they’re Googling you? Part of a networked world is that people will be looking you up, and when they do, you want to be able to control what they find. Helping you present yourself well online is just the start of what you can do using LinkedIn, and with 60 million active users, you should think hard about making it an active and indispensable tool for your career path.


People are in a different context and mindset when they are in and using a professional network. In this networked, interconnected workplace, everyone will have their professional identity online so they can be discoverable for the things that will be important to them. The most obvious thing would be jobs, but it’s not just jobs. It’s also clients, consulting gigs and services.


This new source for recruitment has a complicated relationship with the more traditional staffing and executive recruitment and placement industry. Although LinkedIn is a welcome tool for recruiters, as the LinkedIn software allows recruiters to search its database without access to photographs, thus keeping in compliance with antidiscrimination laws, and to contact anybody in the LinkedIn network. But the Great Recession has forced companies to cut back on their budgets for outside firms. One of the largest corporate recruiters, Heidrick & Struggles, saw their revenues fall 36% in 2009.


LinkedIn’s primary membership is comprised of corporate professionals. Many recruiters spend time daily on the site, reading up on potential candidates, chatting with them in groups and on message boards, and responding to inquires. This approach has been working for many companies: they have been able to use LinkedIn to bring down the time it takes to fill open positions, an important metric among recruiters, by nearly half.


Make sure you always write a personal note when you send a request to connect on LinkedIn. It is very important to complete your profile as much as possible. Get recommendations from former co-workers. Use keywords to bring out the skills you want to highlight. Join groups: recruiters often scour professional groups to round up potential candidates. Answer questions from colleagues that showcase your professional expertise.


Although the prospect of spending all this time online may seem daunting initially, I still recommend placing LinkedIn at the center of your job searching activities. You should be spending a concentrated amount of time on LinkedIn, around 30 minutes a day. I also recommend using a professional picture on your LinkedIn profile page. I recommend against using dogs, cats, horses or cows in the background of your LinkedIn profile picture. I find that many older job seekers are worried that their grey hair or aging appearance will trigger age discrimination. They see that there could be drawbacks to so much transparency, and they fret that using LinkedIn will ensure that employers will potentially know more about them than they should.


These are questions that I have considered from the start of my writings about LinkedIn. Let me tell you what I think about these topics regarding LinkedIn: for all the benefit that LinkedIn brings to a job hunt, it cannot erase the fundamental challenges that exist in the job market. A reality is that many baby boomers are out of work as the industries they have worked in for decades have changes irrevocably. The millenial generation is more affected by joblessness then any generation in American history. These job hunters will need to reinvent themselves in new types of careers. The thing about social networking profiles is that they don’t lie, at least not successfully. You can’t fudge your experience or hide your age, because your connection sknow you in real life. You should post your photo to your LinkedIn profile, as your profile lets you represent yourself as strong as you can, so leverage that to your advantage.


LinkedIn can definitely help you get a job. It can help you expand your professional network, it can help you connect with corporate recruiters and independent staffing firms, land consulting gigs, connect with former colleagues and find out about jobs you never would have known about if you weren’t on LinkedIn. In the end, social networking is just a more efficient way of reaching out to people you know – and people they know. You need to work your professional network, build it before you need it, and use it to help you get an edge in an appropriate way at the appropriate juncture.


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You’re reading Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a blog stuffed with years of articles about Boston technology startups and venture capital-backed companies, software development, Agile project management, managing software teams, designing web-based business applications, running successful software development projects, ecommerce and telecommunications. You can subscribe to Hub Tech Insider’s RSS feed.

About the author.

I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. You can subscribe to Hub Tech Insider’s RSS feed in your RSS feed reader. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool. I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in Natick, MA. I have a background in entrepreneurship, ecommerce, telecommunications and software development, I’m the Director, Technical Projects at eSpendWise, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tshirtnow.net.

Cambridge’s OneForty Inc. raises $1.85 Million in a Series A Round January 22, 2010

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Cambridge’s OneForty Inc., a Twitter application store and e-commerce platform for developers of applications that integrate with Twitter, raises $1.85 Million in a Series A Round from investors including Flybridge Capital Partners, Javelin Venture Partners, Jefferies & Co, Dave McClure, and Roger Ehrenberg.

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Waltham’s ClickSquared, Inc. raises $6.5 Million December 11, 2009

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Waltham’s ClickSquared, Inc., a provider of on-demand intelligent email and relationship marketing services, has raised $6.5 Million from MMV Financial and ROI Capital.

Framingham’s Punchbowl Software acquires Waltham’s ImIn.com for undisclosed terms November 25, 2009

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Framingham, Massachusetts based Punchbowl Software, operator of a party planning web site, has acquired Waltham’s ImIn.com, a group travel site, for undisclosed terms.

LinkedIn workshop hosted by local search firm November 24th in Wellesley November 11, 2009

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LinkedIn has emerged as one of the largest professional social networking sites ever. Are you on it? Do you use it to its full potential? On November 24, TreeTop Technologies will be holding a LinkedIn workshop. Hafiz Greigre, TreeTop’s “Human Hub” (don’t ask me what that means — I’m not entirely certain [chuckles] ), will share his insights and expert advice on the do’s and dont’s of this powerful tool, and what you should be doing with your account and why. This event will be held at The Commonwealth Financial Group, Wellesley Office Park, 60 William Street, Suite 200, Wellesley, Mass. 02481. Space is limited. Please call (617) 795-2550, ext. 100 or email jpierre-louis@TreeTopT.com for more details on the event and to RSVP.

Awareness Inc., On-demand social media marketing software firm based in Waltham, names Pitney Bowes vet as CEO November 10, 2009

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Awareness Inc., an on-demand social media marketing software firm based in Waltham, MA, names Pitney Bowes vet Mark Cattini as CEO. Cattini was formerly President of Marketing Services at Pitney Bowes Corporation.

How to expand your professional network on LinkedIn June 3, 2009

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Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a network increases in proportion to the square of connections.

(The following text is from a note I wrote in response to a sincere letter from one of my professional contacts on LinkedIn who asked me how I am able to expand my network of professional contacts on LinkedIn to such a great degree in such a short amount of time. There are ongoing debates about quantity vs. quality that rage online. I am of the school that you need a high quantity of high quality connections in order to experience the benefits of “Network externalities” or “Network effects”, in much the same manner as I have written about regarding Twitter. A large network allows you to see deep within organizations, check out potential employers, potential hires, and find out so much more than just having a few professional connections affords you. The point of networking isn’t to have communications amongst people already in your address book or the people you currently work with; The point of networking is to expand your professional horizons and connect with people you don’t know but would like to.)

Hi Jim –

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any requests or questions – I love to help any of my professional contacts!

There are a couple of simple techniques you can use to increase your connections on LinkedIn in order to expand your professional network:

1. Research and read articles and blog posts from the LinkedIn experts: I highly recommend Guy Kawasaki’s articles on LinkedIn, and there are many others that are just a Google search away. I read many of these articles and it helped me tremendously.

2. Join Groups on LinkedIn and post connection requests there (if they are allowed) – in LinkedIn groups where they are not officially allowed, you can usually get away with starting a discussion and then placing your connection request at the end or in your signature. This is a very effective technique.

3. If you have a personal blog, place a link to your LinkedIn profile there, as I have done:

https://hubtechinsider.wordpress.com/my-technology-experience/

and then you can get lots of connection requests from that avenue. People like to connect to people in their field of interest or vocation.

4. Start incorporating LinkedIn connection requests into your other online communications (email, facebook, twitter, etc.) to gain more connections.

5. Work on getting your present and past friends and work associates to link with you on LinkedIn.

6. I highly recommend joining an organization known as TopLinked.com, now known as OpenNetworker.com – for $10 / mth., you will begin receiving many requests for connections. I recommend you do research on LinkedIn using the sources I described above in order to decide if a vastly expanded network of professional contacts on LinkedIn is for you. I find that it helps greatly in providing an enhanced “vision” into companies and organizations that you just cannot get with a small number of connections. One of the points of networking is to expand your professional horizons, and that doesn’t really mean connecting to people you already know. Opennetworker.com is also a way of networking, not just some paid service. It means leaving your connections open for viewing on LinkedIn, providing introductions for people from your network of professional contacts, and providing help to people who sincerely request it as you have done. Provide help, information, and networking to your connections. Be a good networker by putting in the effort. It also means never hitting the “I don’t know this user” button; If someone requests a connection you’d rather not be connected with, simply archive the request. Someone reached out to you — don’t repay their efforts with a rude act like hitting “IDK”, as it has repercussions on LinkedIn for people who are simply trying to expand their professional horizons.

Having a large professional network can bring you benefits down the road that you are not even aware of at present. It has already brought me alot of joy. Think of what is called “Network externalities”, or “Network effects”. These concepts are behind the very underpinnings of the World Wide Web and the Internet. Start using them to your advantage.

I hope this helps; Thanks for your nice note Jim!

– Paul

(By the way, if you are currently on LinkedIn and would like to connect with me, please don’t hesitate to send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn – thanks for reading my blog!)

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You’re reading Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a blog stuffed with years of articles about Boston technology startups and venture capital-backed companies, software development, Agile project management, managing software teams, designing web-based business applications, running successful software development projects, ecommerce and telecommunications. You can subscribe to Hub Tech Insider’s RSS feed.

About the author.

I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. You can subscribe to Hub Tech Insider’s RSS feed in your RSS feed reader. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool. I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in Natick, MA. I have a background in entrepreneurship, ecommerce, telecommunications and software development, I’m the Senior Technical Project Manager at eSpendWise, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tshirtnow.net.

Zig Ziglar speaks about Twitter: video May 24, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in Social Media.
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I have been a huge fan of Zig Ziglar since reading one of his books a good 15 years ago.

The Ziglar Corporation are a training and development company that have really embraced the Internet and Social Media. The company is now headed by Zig’s Son, Tom Ziglar.

They have a great blog and do some really good Video Podcasts that are available from iTunes.

Below is a short video with Tom and his Father Zig where they talk about Twitter and the benefit it has brought to the Ziglar Corporation.

Zig Ziglar on Twitter

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Twitter and Network Effects April 13, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in Social Media.
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1 comment so far
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a network increases in proportion to the square of connections in the network.


It is amazing how many people are out there who still don’t “get” Twitter. Twitter is the most perfect example yet of a medium created for and by network effects.

Guy Kawasaki, former Evangelist for Apple Computer, has called Twitter a “weapon”.

If you can’t quite understand how yet, here is something you might not have thought of:

Did you know a 10,000-person reach FM radio station in a town of 200,000 people is worth $3-15 million?

Now compare that to the list of 100,000+ people (“followers” in Twitter parlance) on Twitter that many celebrities, social luminaries and internet gurus have amassed.

Twitter recently passed Digg in popularity. Since January 2009, Twitter has grown by 1600% in the USA. The growth is exponential each month. Celebrities worldwide are flocking to Twitter.

Twitter is surely big now, but it’s going to be huge. How do I know this?

Look around… watch CNN or FoxNews… these mainstream media outlets are pushing their Twitter accounts onto the viewers. It makes Yahoo’s home page when NBA stars get caught Tweeting during halftime of their games.

In effect, the mainstream media is turning Twitter into the new mainstream media.

But…if you’re not famous, chances are you’re going to get lost in the shuffle on Twitter. Twitter has even rigged it so that these famous people and businesses get even more followers by putting them on a “suggested followers” list for newbies that are just getting started on Twitter.

A few people have offered $100,000 – $250,000 a year to be on that suggested users list. Why pay that kind of money? Because being on that list gets you thousands of new followers daily. So what does that tell you? It should tell you that there’s a lot of money to be made by having a large following on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Jason Calacanis, founder of the search engine Mahalo, offered to pay Twitter $250,000 to place his account on the recommended users list. He later claimed he was “half joking”, but he maintains the investment would have paid off. He calculated that the placement would have steered 5MM to 15MM new followers to his account within two years and that many would have navigated to his web site from there:

“If 10% click on a link once a month…you have about 1 million visits a year…I’d pay $.05 for a follower.”

Calacanis contends that lots of businesses could benefit from such large followings. As an example, an airline such as JetBlue could perhaps offer a discount to the first 1,000 Twitter responders and “never have another empty seat.”

Getting back to my radio station example above: in a lot of ways, a large Twitter following is way more powerful than that radio station’s listener following. Seriously think about that because Social Media is EXPLODING and you need to get in on the ground floor and ride the wave up.

Like any network, you get out of Twitter what you put into it. If you don’t build up your following, or network – your tribe, then you won’t get much out of it. If you engage your following, respond to them and in general, show them that you truly understand how to use this new social networking platform and communications medium, then you will begin to reap the rewards of network effects.

Some definitions I found of “Network Effects”:

– In economics and business, a network effect (also called network externality) is the effect that one user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other users.

– The phenomenon whereby a service becomes more valuable as more people use it, thereby encouraging ever-increasing numbers of adopters.

Want to know more?

You’re reading Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a blog stuffed with years of articles about Boston technology startups and venture capital-backed companies,software developmentAgile project managementmanaging software teams, designing web-based business applications, running successful software development projectsecommerce and telecommunications.

About the author.

I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool. I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in Natick, MA. I have a background in entrepreneurshipecommercetelecommunications andsoftware development, I’m the Director, Technical Projects at eSpendWise, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tshirtnow.net.

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