Friday, April 25, 2014


Passing the Scan Test 

With dozens of different presentations, web pages and white papers for different companies in the last few months, I always use the Scan Test.

What did I see First? 

  • Where did my eye go?
  • What was communicated there?
  • Did it actually say anything? 

And, why did I put a picture, change fonts, italics or underline it? 

Did I use a picture to draw the eye down the page....

To where we really communicate what is different and important about this particular product to this particular person and create an emotional attachment or intellectual resonance with the viewer?

Or should we have just used a graphic and accepted that few people read?

On the other hand, I focus on B2B Technology Marketing. Most of my customers actually care about their technology, their job, and their reputation. The people I want to reach are highly-connected information junkies. They read a lot, write often, and value their time.

To reach them, we must provide the in-depth explanation of what, how, and why of the product, the use case and the architecture behind it to be credible. The presentation must be concise with the ability to drill further in the areas where the reader is curious.

 So I write and I edit and a make certain that when you scan, you get something valuable.

Never a Wall of Text...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Heartbleed: Open Source Branding

We all know Heartbleed, the branded, logged version of CVE-2014-0160. The logo is everywhere.

Codenonmicon claims independent discovery of the bug, but they get undisputed credit for branding Heartbleed. The branding package was simple: The name, the logo, a branded URL and a page that clearly communicated the situation in simple text. 

Rather than protect the considerable Intellectual Property a great name and logo represent, Codenonmicon provided the logo with No Rights Reserved. At this point, even the most jaded IP lawyer will recognize CC0.

As a result there are hundreds of millions of instances out there. The value of that is staggering.

It is a brilliant example of the ease of Open Source Branding.

Not everyone can or should Open Source Intellectual Property. My test of whether to do so is very simple:

  1. When it's value increases with adoption. 
  2. When it is not core to your company's value proposition
  3. When you are willing to take responsibility for it. 

Codenonmicon is not in the logo or naming business. They are security specialists who happened into a great idea with a good designer, but I'm now one of the hundreds of millions of links pointing back to their web site. Well done!

Some facts:

  • On April 19th, 2014 Google Image search returns about 512 Million instances of the logo on the web. 
  • Searching for CVE-2014-0160, returns just over 1.5 Million pages
  • The Wikipedia article has 693 edits in the 9 days since it was created. 
  • The Heartbleed logo is provided under Creative Commons CC0 license: No Rights Reserved
  • Heartbleed is an exploit of the Heatbeat function of SSL.
  • Codenonmicon is clearly a play on Cryptonomicon.   
I should not have to explain what Cryptonomicon is... 

Friday, April 4, 2014

I miss Snail Mail.

Checking the mail meant something different when the postman was your connection to the outside. no matter how impatient you are for the news, you could only check it in a relatively short window - maybe an hour or two each day as you anticipated the daily rounds of your letter carrier. 
These days, you can pretend to be doing something when all you are really doing is waiting for the mail.