First came computers, the big giant ones that occupied a whole room; too much for an individual. Then came those mini desktops that were only to be found in work premises for extremely crucial work. Slowly the trend changed, technology improved, therefore reducing the size and they were welcomed into our homes. In the last few years, technology has sky-rocketed leading to the emergence of laptops.
As a technical architect and a start-up enthusiast, part of my work is consulting organizations on how to go about implementing and monetizing their ideas. The past decade’s experience of working in this field, as well as having successfully built the product and development teams of two start-ups (which secured VC fundings) ensures that a lot of people are willing to share their ideas so that I can advise them on the implementation.
I originally wrote this post on the 13 Llama Blog.
Having your own website and maintaining it has its own set of wins and losses. If your site is not popular enough, that’s a heartburn.
Then one fine day, you get TechCrunched or Mashabled or Redditted – and boom, comes a spike. Or even better, you start doing well on your own and the traffic grows. Soon, this traffic becomes so big, that your existing hosting plan starts creaking and squawking under this load.
This post is for those of you who have a site which has loads of traffic, so much so that the site performance is under impact due to it. Like quite a few of our clients. *Touchwood*
Desperately trying to keep this series to a one a month affair, so that my blog does not look like a link farm … eep! I am even afraid to type that … but I have to say this .. I don’t want my blog to end up being a link farm. There I said it!!
Having said that, there were quite a few articles which I wanted to share this month!
Computer.org put together this list of algorithms which had the greatest influence in the 20th century. Now, that’s a lot to think about … some of the algorithms which are mentioned, I had studied as a student! I would not say cutting edge, however, they did have a huge impact.
Funny, I did not see the Y2K or the Bubble Sort algorithm (which every green gilled programmer ends up using).
I am a big fan of Darren Rowse and the words of actionable wisdom he shares on ProBlogger. Every blogger wants comments on his posts and although I haven’t had much comment love from you folks, I would still prefer genuine comments as opposed to spammy comments from Black Hat SEO agents.
In this post, ProBlogger teaches how to correctly post comments on popular blogs. It’s a great way to get noticed, start interacting with like minded people and get some trickle down traffic on your blog.
In India, Google has a huge 97% market share in search engines. That’s huge! If you have been an internet user in the past month or so, you would have noticed a slew of Ads on Google Search. Warming and touching this Ad reminds us of how we use search and how Google search is now accessible for mobiles.
I am not going to give the answer away, read this article on Medium!
Starting an organization is difficult. Especially when you have to arrange the financial support to aid your endeavour. This article on Edupristine helps us in finding different ways in which one can raise money to fund their venture.
This article is close to me for personal reasons as well .. not only have I worked with this organization, but also I am trying to start an organization and this article has come of use already!
Step aside Big Data, there is a new buzzword in town … it’s Deep Learning!!
Yes, we already have Neural Networks, and Machine Learning … Deep Learning goes a step further. Do take some time and read this. It’s on the climbing slope of the Hype Cycle right now. If you can talk more about it, it will get you noticed
It is not often when students talk in awe of their teachers. I have been fortunate to have met such teachers … some of whom I have already mentioned in the past.
In this case, the university staff were on a strike, but the professor still went on to teach his class and emailed them in advance to come attend that lecture. It’s a heartfelt email where the professor brings the focus on the value one must place on education and how individuals should look at learning.
Every technology that is embraced by the world goes through a process of adoption. Gartner instituted this as the hype cycle.
What is the Hype Cycle?
The hype cycle talks about how any technology goes through the process of being talked about, being heralded, being written off and finally being adopted in mainstream businesses.
The graph you see above you shows the x-axis as the different stages of technology adoption, starting from the trigger or the invention of that technology, to the expectations of that technology by the enthusiasts, to the stage where it is discarded by early adopters to being finally understood and put to good use by smart users.
Obviously on the y-axis you have the expectations of the world.
Gartner brings in a third dimension to this graph by indicating a time period on when the technology will be a mainstream one. In this graph for example, the Cloud Computing technology is supposed to go mainstream within the next 2 to 5 years. This was made in 2012, so to interpret it correctly we should say that Cloud Computing will be embraced by all around 2014. People who are following the news of Cloud Computing can relate to the Trough of Disillusionment!
How do you interpret the Hype Cycle?
The hype cycle represents the time when a certain technology gets adopted by businesses. So, it has different implications for different people.
Learn to work with this technology early on, preferably in the Slope of Enlightenment phase. It will open up doors to many career pathways. Learn technology while everyone else is learning and learn it fast!
CTO of a start-up
Basing your product on a certain technology base will help your start-up catch the eyes of an investor. Your organization needs money and making the smart move to get the market talking about your technology adoption can get you that added PR. Keep an eye out for technologies lying in that Trough of Disillusionment phase, see how they can mesh with your product/services. Try a few prototypes, it’s well worth the efforts.
CTO of a mature organization
More often than not, you would be in charge of the operations team as well. In some few cases, you would also be the visionary of the organization (this should actually be your role). Try to find technologies which are about to hit the Plateau of Productivity and see which ones suit your requirements. It will bring efficiencies in your operations.
Keep in mind, that for most of these cases the idea would be to beat the competition in adopting a certain technology, so the focus would be on adopting the technology before it becomes mainstream.
At the end of the day, it is all Hype
Hype is after all extensive publicity. It is used to get the attention of people.
Bear in mind that if you do not want undue attention and if it is not broken, then you do not need to fix it.
However, some times you do get cues on possible disruptive technologies, be on top of those, since they have the potential to change your world. For e.g the way aeroplanes changed the shipping industry.
Sometimes all talk is still action!
King Henry VIII had come into power in the 15th century. Now being a ruler who commands (and demands) respect, he also participated in jousting matches. In one such jousting match he was heavily injured and had almost lost the ability to climb stairs. In order to continue functioning as a ruler, he had a special system of blocks and tackles made, wherein his servants could lift him up and down the stairs. One would wonder why not simply lift him on four shoulders and carry him … to those I say, you need to know how heavy he was … 30 stone, that’s 190 kgs!
The same principle is used in stair lifts these days. A stair lift is a device used to transport wheelchairs and people up and down a flight of stairs. The lift is attached to a rail which either runs along the ground or along the wall, and it is strong enough to bear the weight of one person. Here’s a brief schematic of how it works … simple and yet ingenious. The system involves a chair attached to a rail (which goes along the stair case), in most cases the rail is taking the support of the wall, however it can also be running parallel to the ground. The individual has to sit on the chair, and he is transported along the stairway.
This device shows great promise … especially in nations where the average age is on the other side of 30. A device that can help the disabled, the elderly to easily navigate stairs. Now this is an interesting device. Technology that not only enables, but also aids the needy.
This is not a new technology, there are companies out there like this one for example, who have the capabilities to fully customize a stairlift in your home. Not only will they make a custom design for you, but also deploy it at your home. This device seems to bring joy to so many people.
Kudos to Henry VIII for coming up with this solution, and thanks for modern manufacturing, this device is not just meant for the royalty anymore!
One of the major traffic sources for personal websites and blogs is Organic Traffic, i.e traffic originating from search engines. People working on the web would quickly realize that search traffic can also be bought through Pay Per Click (PPC) Programs such as Google Adwords and Bing Search Advertising. However, for those of us who do not have Venture Capital funded blogs to run, we still do things the old fashioned way … we write good content.
Content is still King
The good thing with this idea is that search engines such as Google do give more weight to things such as meta descriptions, meta keywords, and other Search Engine Optimization (SEO) wizardry which was erstwhile known to a few. Web applications like Google Webmaster Tools (GWMT) and Bing Webmaster Tools (BWMT) are making it easier for website owners to recognize these things and highlight important data to search engines.
This move gives the power back to the people, instead of focusing on complex discussions such as Information Architecture, Content Taxonomy, Tagging and Keyword Optimization, you just have to worry about one thing, and one thing only. Good quality original content!
How do these search engines make sense out of this content? Well, they look for patterns within the page. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, one of my classmates (who went on to become an ethical hacker) had written a similar piece of code for his final year engineering project. It’s a decade since he wrote the code, we can assume without a shadow of doubt that the search engine algorithms would be a lot smarter now to extract the right content. Smart enough to discern between the signal and the noise.
So how do site owners help search engines find important data?
One method is to use the tools that they provide us – the WMTs. However, each search engine has it’s separate nuance, and hence there was a need felt for a common standard … a standard which we, the content creators can use to signal to the search engines … that hey … this piece right here … yes this bold sentence … is meant to be special. It might mean something special to the person searching for it … it’s a beacon … a beacon of data.
Defining Schemas for better results
This is where structured data comes into picture. In early January of 2011, the major search engines came together and helped define the format of this structured data via schemas. You can see these formats on schema.org. An excerpt from their home page –
Search engines including Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.
Many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web.
What this means for us, is that if we use the mark-up defined for each of the individual schemas in our content, then the search engines will display this data in interesting manners to the people searching for that very piece of information. Wan’t to see an example at work? Here is one
Last week, I instructed my developers at EduPristine to start making use of certain schemas in our mark-up. It’s less than a week, and we can already start seeing them pop-up all over our search engine results.
Why Should You Bother
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that in the game of organic traffic acquisition, the more interesting and relevant your search engine listing, the higher the chances of getting a click on your listing. Thus, marking of your content is bound to increase your organic Click Through Rates (CTRs). You can get this data in Google Webmaster Tools, better to check your current set of keywords (and their CTRs along with average ranks) and then compare the change when you start including schemas in your content.
If you have not heard about structured data or implemented schema.org before then I can guarantee you an increase in your CTRs and in your organic traffic.