Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011: My Noteworthy Stories from the Year

The end-of-the-year rehash of stories has been going on for ever -- for traditional media, it's a great way to rerun content and occupy time and space during the holiday break. Some blogs that publish regularly like to do the same sort of thing. In my case, I really wanted to come up with some sort of stupid, bad-marketing award for UPS and their international shipping. But then, as I looked back over the year, I realized that 2011 was packed with stories that seem bigger, stranger, and stupider.

For me, I think that the biggest WTF story of the year has to be the Netflix trainwreck. Netflix took shoot-from-the-hip to a whole new level, alienating their customer base and destroying their brand equity. For me, the service went from a small, unquestioned recurring charge for the convenience of new DVDs and occasional streaming content to an unnecessary expense. But beyond the "what this means for me as a customer" story, the whole thing unfolded in such a bizarre way. While you might want to use elements of the story as "a teaching moment", it sort of begs the question of how you might find yourself down that path in the first place.

If you had to pay for subscriptions to Techcrunch, 2011 would have been the year that I canceled mine. Somewhere between the AOL acquisition and the subsequent merger of AOL and Huffington Post, the site made a pretty significant pivot from the type of content that had initially drawn me to it. Gone were the insider stories that brought you trends and insights from the technology world; instead, their content became sort of a yet another 'press release+' site. Even when I occasionally click back looking for old content or for any news on a slow news day, I remain put-off by the layout. In contrast, Michael Arrington's personal blog tends to be much more of what I liked in Techcrunch -- real analysis of some of the things going on in the high-tech world, punctuated by a post about a company. Ironically, I just clicked over to catch this story about yet another departure from the Techcrunch old guard, Heather Harde.

I wrote several posts on the economy, jobs and hiring in 2011 that generated some good traffic. My post Growth Hacker vs VP of Marketing drew the most traffic for the year, with my post on daily deal sites following close behind. None of my posts will break any traffic records at Comscore, but sometimes it's nice to know people actually do read your posts.

Themes That Sparked My Brain in 2011
There are several areas that really lit a fire in my thoughts and will probably continue to shape my thoughts through the next year.
  • Moneyball, Stats, Analytics, and Big Data
  • The Internet of Things
  • The Psychology of Customer Experience
I think that these topics are converging in ways that will shape and reshape our world for years to come.

One of the Most Interesting Things that I Read in 2011
While I didn't post a link to this on the blog, I find that it keeps coming up for me in conversations. Long and short, here is a link to an interesting post from a Google engineer on what's wrong with Google+. I love the way that he explains platform -- and the unexpected repercussions when implementing platform at Amazon. It's a long post, but after you get through it, you'll walk away with an appreciation of why even some Google products that seem awesome just don't work the way that you might expect them to -- or evolve in the way that you might have liked them to.

Anyway, I think that's enough rehashing 2011 leftovers for me. Here's wishing everyone a wonderful new year.

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