Archives for June 2004

Generate email addresses for someone whose email you do not know

Alex Monty of Strategic Sourcing LLC has created a no-cost spreadsheet which generates all possible email addresses for a person, once you enter that person’s full name and corporate URL. This is useful when you want to email someone but do not know his/her email address.

Download here:

New Site Guide – Entopia

We just posted on our site guide a profile of Entopia, a five year-old knowledge management company which now has a social network analysis product. As more firms see the insights that social network analysis can provide, I think that you will see more companies getting into this business and competing with firms like Spoke, Contact Network, and Visible Path.

Social networking sites going truly global

Social networking sites are in the process of recognizing that global business doesn’t have to be Anglo-centric. A growing number of native-language sites are popping up, such as eConozco (Spanish) and Viaduc (French). These are not just local sites; they, too have global appeal—Spanish is the second most widely-spoken language in the world.

The international sites are getting in on the act, as well:

OpenBC, the first multilingual social networking site, has added a number of language-related features:
– User interface is currently available in English, German, and Spanish, with more on the way this year
– Profile includes a language field to specify which languages you speak
– Forums and public events can be assigned one or more languages so that you can filter out forums or events in languages that you cannot communicate in.
– Optional configuration to grey out users, dates and forums, with whom you cannot communicate because you do not speak their language.
– Ability to restrict search only to people who speak a particular language or languages.
– Ability to send join invitations in languages other than your primary language.

Orkut announced the ability to specify the primary language of a community. You can include the language field in your search for communities.

Ecademy is taking a different approach, focusing on building local support around the world, and global visibility for its local leaders as “supernodes”. While the site’s user interface remains Anglo-centric, its members certainly aren’t.
– They have local clubs started in over 200 cities worldwide
– They have created Trusted Networks (branded sites that provide a narrower, local view of Ecademy content) for Benelux, India, and Asia-Pacific.
– The Paint the World Blue Club aims to bridge social networks and create visibility for Ecademy worldwide by occupying the top most-connected spots on LinkedIn. They’re accomplishing this through a combination of inviting the most connected people on LinkedIn to join Ecademy, and by building the LinkedIn networks of Ecademists in the various countries. To date, Ecademists occupy over 50% of the #1 spots by country.

What does all this mean to you? For one thing, it means that globalization is now reaching small businesspersons and solo professionals, not just large organizations. You now truly have the potential to develop global business relationships affordably.

It also highlights the need for an appreciation of inter-cultural issues — differences in communication styles, relationship styles, business ethics, etc. What works in Houston doesn’t necessarily in Hong Kong. Hopefully, we go into it with a high degree of tolerance, recognizing that not everyone sees things the way we do. We also owe it to ourselves to learn more about, and then respect, the cultural practices of our new global friends and colleagues.

Has Email Turned Us Into Chickens?

Email etiquette principles

AMACOM Books to publish groundbreaking book on building business relationships online

Scott Allen and I are happy to announce that we have signed with AMACOM Books, the publishing arm of the American Management Association, to publish our forthcoming book on doing business with online relationships—-in other words, how to win friends and influence people online. The tentative title is: The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online. (If you have any other suggestions, please contact us!) The book will be on the shelves in Summer 2005.

We would like to thank our able agents, David Fugate and Danielle Jatlow of Waterside Productions, for making this deal happen. For an overview of the book, take a look at the slides from some of my recent speeches.

Here’s the elevator pitch:

The Virtual Handshake will be the first book ever published which guides businesspeople with everything they need to help them find their next client, their next job, and their next business partner—online! Rather than another theory book or academic book, The Virtual Handshake is designed to be easy to read with practical, useful information. It includes short, focused chapters with dozens of success stories from this new technology, and contains extensive how-to information.

We’ll discuss how to use the new “social software” tools that have emerged in the last few years: blogs (Web journals), social network sites, relationship capital management software, and biography analysis software. On a typical day, 5 million Americans communicate with other people by blogging or publishing some other kind of material online—not to mention the 58 million Americans who use email every day. We’ll also discuss older tools, including contact management software, personal Web sites, e-mail lists, instant messaging, and Web conferencing.

Among the topic we cover:

• The seven keys to building business relationships, online and offline. This is a systematic way to analyze, value, and increase the power of your social network.

• How to pick an online community or tool that works for you

• How to set up your profile so that the people you want to connect with will find you

• How to respond to other people’s profiles in an appropriate and professional manner

• How to avoid common online turnoffs

• How to manage your e-mails rather than have your e-mails controlling you

The top three reasons why we expect the Book to become a bestseller are:

• the topic of online social networks is extremely visible in the mass media, with heavy coverage of such companies as Meetup and LinkedIn, and the pending introduction of major social networking systems by Yahoo!, Microsoft, and other dominant players;

• we have planned an extremely aggressive and broad marketing online and offline campaign; and

• these technologies really work! We have dozens of stories and studies demonstrating that you can be dramatically more effective in business by using the techniques we discuss.

To see a blog, sample chapter, and more information about the book, visit

MarketingSherpa readers pick best marketing & advertising blogs

The readers of MarketingSherpa, one of the Web’s top marketing resource sites, have picked the best marketing, advertising and PR blogs. I know I’ll be adding a few things to my newsreader.

ZDNet social networking article misses the mark (and the facts)

Brad Howarth’s ZDNet Australia article, Social networking tools face uncertain future, completely misses the mark. It would be one thing if it were just another rant about the supposed lack of a business model for social networking sites, but this one is so chock full of inaccuracies as to be worthy of comment:

Inaccuracy #1: “To date only one company, Ryze has announced profitability.”

FALSE., Ecademy and Contact Network Corporation are also profitable. Add to that online communities that technically don’t fall into the social networking category, but are closely related and have proven the model — Craigslist, eWomenNetwork, and many, many others.

Inaccuracy #2: “There is little evidence these companies will generate sufficient revenue from users to be profitable.”

FALSE. It’s simply too early to tell. Most haven’t even tried to start charging for the services, so there’s little evidence to say they won’t be able to, either. The purely social sites like Friendster are just now hitting the early mainstream part of the adoption curve. The business networking sites are still in the early adopter stage — they haven’t crossed the chasm yet, so there’s just no way to say.

Inaccuracy #3: “If social networking is another bubble, it is one that will most likely float right over Australia. Linked-In, boasts 700,000 users globally, but at the start of June had only 8124 in Australia.”

FALSE. Hmm… 8124 / 700,000 = 1.3%. Australia’s 13 million internet users divided by the world’s 945 million equals… 1.3%! Looks like Australia is right in step with the rest of the world when it comes to using LinkedIn. Your own numbers disprove your point.

Inaccuracy #4: “You end up with groups of people in two categories – those that really need introductions and need the service, and those that already have their own networks and don’t need the service. I’m not sure if the two meet”.

FALSE. There are two broad groups of social networking tools. One, the online communities with public interaction spaces, provide the opportunity to build new connections in large quantities. In them, the “social networking” features of tracking “friends of a friend” is really incidental to the group interaction in the discussion forums. I have multiple examples of people who have very strong networks, but by creating a group within one of these sites, have been able to build their audience more rapidly than with a website, and to monetize it as well. One woman started a network on Ryze, and within three months generated $5,000 in revenue from two teleclasses, only marketing them to that group.

The other group are what we call “social network visibility software”. This includes sites like LinkedIn, Spoke, Visible Path, and Contact Network. What these do is give visibility into your network beyond the first degree. No matter how strong your network is, you can still only see into it one degree. There is no way to go into your CRM system, or our Outlook Contacts, and figure out who can introduce you to a particular person. It simply can’t be done. That’s why LinkedIn HAS attracted many very senior people with lots of industry connections — Esther Dyson, Joi Ito, Flip Filipowski, and many, many more.

Inaccuracy #5: “finding examples of people who have profited from them is difficult”

FALSE. Where did you look?!? I took an informal survey of 125 Ryze users. Over 40% had done profitable deals with people they’d met on Ryze. The Ecademy Marketplace is full of people who are doing business on there every day — in the thousands of dollars. A simple survey in the right place would have found those examples.

How do you find out what’s working? Simple. Keep looking until you find one person who it’s working for, and then they’ll introduce you to more. Talk to the nay-sayers, and you’re only going to get introduced to more nay-sayers.

New business search engine

quoting from a press release:


FIND/SVP Partners with Industry Leaders to Launch — The First True Search Engine Designed Specifically for Business Professionals

New York, NY – June 17, 2004 – U.S. businesses are throwing away billions of dollars in lost time due to ineffective and deficient research tools, according to a new study released today by FIND/SVP (OTCBB: FSVP), a leading provider of business research, advisory, and consulting services. In fact, 84 percent of respondents feel that Web searches take longer than they should due to poor results, costing businesses an estimated $31 billion in wasted time. According to the study, 71 percent of business executives are frustrated with consumer search engines, and an astonishing 74 percent are not confident that their results are reliable. Despite this lack of confidence, 67 percent state that it would be difficult or impossible to do their jobs without Web-based search tools.

To solve the issues related with this critical business function, FIND/SVP and Empire Media today announced the launch of, a next-generation, true business search engine designed to meet the search demands of business professionals. ( provides a solution for business professionals in need of precise and reliable business-related information. A newly-formed venture of FIND/SVP, Empire Media, and TripleHop Technologies, is a publicly-accessible search engine specifically created with the business user’s information needs in mind.’s searches are powered by an award-winning, next-generation retrieval technology, which aggregates documents from all major consumer search engines and combines them with results from more than 3,000 business Web sites, as well as access to premium research content from leading business information sources.

“Accurate and timely research is critical to a business executive’s ability to make sound business decisions. However, the engines currently available do not offer executives information that they can fully trust,” said Chris Travers, co-founder of Empire Media and chief executive office of “Because was designed for the business professional, it takes users straight to the most relevant information from the most trusted sources available, saving businesses both time and money and providing accurate support for the most vital business decisions.” is First Search Engine to Think Like an Executive’s powerful technology helps users cut through the clutter and pinpoint precise information from the best sources both off and on the Web. Its innovative clustering technology thinks like an executive by automatically anticipating additional classifications that may be relevant within a search and instantly organizing them into folders with their powerful clustering technology. Searches can be further filtered by file format, site, and source – and search topics and results can be saved for future use.

In addition to its powerful usability features, provides unparalleled access to the best business content. The engine can simultaneously query its own index of hand-picked business Web sites, launch a query into several consumer and news search engines, and connect to databases of premium research content, quickly sifting through terabytes of information to return one merged list of results. Only provides universal access to business research, meaning that users do not need a password to access key business information from premium content sources. Premium content is generally made available on a fee-per-document basis.

For corporations that truly want to maximize worker productivity and minimize the use of consumer search engines, the technology can also be leveraged as a corporate-wide application that enables users to search simultaneously the most-trusted external sources of business information and their company’s internal files, in a fully secure environment.

“The commercial search market is dominated by search engines that must target the broadest consumer audience possible, with the broadest scope of content, in order to sell advertisements for any and every product and service possible,” said Tim Hickernell, vice president, META Group. “The commercial search market has barely begun to address the untapped demand for highly-specialized and screened content and we believe this market is poised for growth in the next three to five years.”

Leading Industry Content Providers Complete the Solution has partnered with some of the most esteemed and recognized business resources to ensure that its users have direct access to trusted information sources. provides universal access to provider content, eliminating the need for passwords and site registration, making searches more efficient. premium content providers include:

The Gallup Organization – leading research firm that helps organizations increase customer engagement and maximize employee productivity
Frost & Sullivan – industry-specific white papers from this international consultancy firm specializing in strategic consultancy, market intelligence, and management training
BNET – creates and distributes white papers, case studies, Webcasts, audio conferences, and other interactive business content and tools
FIND/SVP – innovative knowledge services company offering a full suite of custom business intelligence, advisory, and consulting solutions
ChoicePoint (NYSE: CPS) – leading provider of identification and credential verification services. KnowX, a subsidiary of ChoicePoint, is a low-cost source for instant access on the Internet to reliable and comprehensive data that enhances business decision-making.
NetContent – provides electronic news feeds and newsletters from nearly 2,000 sources including magazines, professional journals, newspapers, and online publications
“Executives cannot make informed business decisions without the right intelligence,” said Jay Gulick, director of BNET. “Our goal is to arm professionals with the tools they need to thrive in the marketplace, and is a great venue to disseminate this information.” is in active discussions with other leading-edge content providers to continue to build proprietary benefits for the business executive, giving them access to the most relevant information available to assist in the decision-making process.

Business Professionals Doubt Reliability of Consumer Search Engines

Despite the importance of online searches, consumer search engines hinder productivity. Seventy-two percent of respondents state that they would be more efficient if better Internet search tools were available. Business professionals also question the reliability of this information, with 52 percent only “somewhat confident” that results originate from credible sources. Other statistics that illustrate the importance of online search and limitations of consumer search tools include:

67 percent of respondents search for financial information and reports, and 47 percent seek competitor information
More than a quarter (28 percent) spend between 6 to 10 hours weekly researching online
Almost half (45 percent) encounter broken links that do not work
45 percent are slowed down by sites that require registration and/or passwords
39 percent felt that information found online is outdated

“We are confident that will become an invaluable tool within the business community, helping executives to work smarter and more effectively,” added David Walke, chief executive officer of FIND/SVP. “ will help all business professionals, regardless of their industry, make better decisions through better information.”

For more information, visit

About is the only publicly accessible search engine for the business community, helping executives work smarter and sort through informational clutter. utilizes the most advanced search technology on the Web to retrieve documents from all major consumer search engines, and combines them with access to premium research content from leading business information sources. is the best place for business people to start their search for the valuable information that will improve the quality of their work.’s results are targeted to business needs, and are presented in a manner that speeds navigation.’s premium content is made available on a fee per-document basis. is a partnership of FIND/SVP, Empire Media and TripleHop Technologies. has been organized as an LLC, with FIND/SVP, Inc. and Empire Media owning 47.5% each, and TripleHop Technologies in the balance.

FIND/SVP, Inc. (OTCBB: FSVP) is a knowledge services company that leverages the expertise and resources of its professional research teams to help its member clients protect and further their business interests. FIND/SVP helps executives enhance their business performance, profit from opportunities and address critical issues through targeted research and advisory work, providing its nearly 2,000 member clients with a competitive business advantage. Founded in 1969, FIND/SVP is the second largest member of the global SVP Group, which serves more than 75,000 executives in 11,000 companies worldwide. FIND/SVP is located at 625 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10011. More information is available by calling 212-645-4500 or visiting FIND/SVP’s website at

About TripleHop Technologies
TripleHop Technologies ( provides advanced context-sensitive search, retrieval, and classification software solutions, giving enterprise users immediate access to the most accurate information. Headquartered in New York, New York, TripleHop’s award-winning MatchPoint enables users to access and share the most relevant information from disparate sources, improving productivity, yielding ROI and freeing up time for proactive activities.

TripleHop Technologies won nine awards or nominations in 2003 and 2004, including “Best of Show” at AIIM, “Trendsetting Products of the Year” from KM World, and “Best Information Software” at I-Expo (France, June 2004).

About Empire Media
Empire Media ( ) is a diversified media group with a focus on publishing and interactive media. The Company was founded in 2002 when it launched “empire”, the magazine of business innovation. It continues to expand rapidly in the field of interactive marketing through its acquisitions of theMighty Seven and oneFN online advertising & promotion networks. Empire is cultivating a high-end customer base that is effective for advertisers looking to promote premium business and consumer products to an affluent audience. It delivers on this promise through its own media properties and through those of its major media partners for whom it acts as an agency and aggregator. The Company also owns the proprietary technology platform, PowermailBox, for email marketing and electronic newsletter distribution.

For more information, please contact:

Danielle Arceneaux
Laura Jensen

More thoughts on structural holes and closed networks

More thoughts on structural holes and closed networks:

In some cases, you can benefit by being in a highly interconnected network, one in which there are virtually no structural holes . This is a “closed network”, “in which everyone is connected such that no one can escape the notice of the others”.

A naturally occurring example of a closed network is a family. Anyone in a large family benefits from being in a high-strength and highly interconnected network. The Kennedy, Bush, and Gore political dynasties are excellent examples in the USA. Any aspiring politician from those families has a huge head start over someone from a less prominent family.

Another powerful example is a business school “section”. At many leading business schools, students are grouped into a section of perhaps 80 students and take many classes together. As a result, they spend a great deal of time together and get to know one another well. This is a very powerful club to join. Precisely because the section is so interconnected, the members trust and support one another.

There are two benefits of membership in a closed network:

+ Improves access to information. Remember the children’s game of “Telephone”? Information deteriorates in quality the more steps it has to pass through. In a closed network, you have multiple ways to get access to the same information, so it is more likely that you will get accurate information. The members of a small fraternity all know a lot of accurate information about one another’s activities.

+ Closed networks make it easier to reward and punish people, which in turn makes it less risky to trust other members. The common group membership provide a check. You are not too likely to rip off another member of your business school section in a business deal, because that abuse will hurt your relationships with the others. The group as a whole can also reward and punish outsiders.

For example, let us say that Ikenna runs a three-person consulting firm, and Neena runs a food delivery business. If Neena provides bad service to Ikenna, she will get no further business from Ikenna, and she will also get no further business from any of Ikenna’s colleagues. Similarly, if she provides excellent service, it is likely that Ikenna will influence his colleagues, or perhaps even hire Neena to cater an event for the firm.

The larger Ikenna’s company, the more motivation Neena has to treat Ikenna well. However, a large organization cannot be a closed network, and so it is more difficult to create consequences for outsiders. If Ikenna works for a huge company like GE, then Neena can provide bad food to him, without hurting her sales of food to another GE office. And good service to GE’s CEO will likely have little influence on catering purchases throughout GE.

Closed networks also exist within open networks; people call them cliques. If Ikenna works in a small department with five other people, that is a closed network. If Neena sells bad food to this department, the consequences for her will be the same as if she sold bad food to a small consulting firm.

The implication for you: it is often advisable to join a formal, small group in which you can get to know everyone. If you are not lucky enough to be born into a large and high-powered family, and not fortunate enough to marry into one, creating such a high-strength network requires a significant amount of time. However, we believe it is well worth the investment.

From favor economy to economy economy

In the latest issue of eWeek, Matt Hicks asks the question, Do Favors or Cash Motivate Online Business Networking? At a recent panel discussion at the Business 4Site conference, social networking site founders Jas Dhillon of ZeroDegrees, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Antony Brydon of Visible Path, and Ben Smith of Spoke offered their opinions.

Dhillon: The biggest motivator for joining a social networking site is the expectation of a mutually beneficial relationship among those in one’s network of friends and business contacts. “Social networking is as old as humanity itself. The whole concept is about reciprocity.”

Hoffman: The editorial value of the connection is more important than any expectation of a direct financial reward. “Like professional networking today, you help your friends and they help you. People accept invites from and send invites to people that they want to help.”

Brydon: “No way. The favor economy is where we started, and we quickly moved to the barter economy and then the economy economy. It’s an ideological point that will become a real issue for what to do to move things along faster [in this industry].”

Smith: Mixed. For enterprises, increased sales is a strong motivator, but not so much for individuals in a public network, which Spoke also offers.

On a related note, in an informal survey of 124 active Ryze users taken in February 2004, 71% reported that they use it for knowledge sharing, while only 55% reported using it for general marketing and only 46% for direct sales leads. 58% use it for business development and finding strategic partners, the #2 use behind knowledge sharing. 49% use it for socializing.

At least for Ryze users, who are admittedly early adopters of the technology, it seems that there’s certainly more to it than direct financial benefits.

As for me, I think looking just for short-term, tangible financial benefits is reasonable, but also short-sighted. If you’re going to make a substantial time investment, it makes sense to expect a return on that investment. But those other things that seem intangible at first—strategic partnerships and knowledge exchange—can actually have as high or higher real return in the long run.