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Date posted: February 27, 2013

Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid's Elements.Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid’s Elements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1990s, I did content creation work for a man named Max, a man considered by many to be the Father of Emulation Modeling.

I remember Max as a genius, working alone, who not only was a brilliant mathematician but also held a law degree for the express purpose of defending his software patents.

Recently he was brought back to mind when I read an interview with another Max, MIT physicist Max Tegmark, in an article published in Science Magazine. In that piece, titled “Do We Live in a Mathematical Equation?” Tegmark says it is not enough to say math governs our universe, but that reality itself is a mathematical structure.

“The beautiful mathematical regularities that have been uncovered have typically been unifications, where instead of having one mathematical description for this and a different one for that, we realize there’s a single mathematical structure that encompasses all of it.,” he says. “So for me, it would be a natural conclusion if everything could be unified, if there’s a single mathematical structure that is our reality, and all of the mathematical structures that we’ve discovered before are part of this more beautiful whole.”

In fact, he asserts, there’s no evidence right now that there’s anything at all in our universe that is not mathematical.

It seems that Tegmark is not the only one on this track.

Scientific theorists say if the universe is a numerical simulation, there should be clues to it in the spectrum of high energy cosmic rays.

In a post on the MIT Technology Review, researchers at the University of Bonn say there is a way to see evidence that we are being simulated, at least in certain instances. (This has to do with a number of things that got our heads spinning, like the problem with all simulations is that the laws of physics, which appear continuous, have to be superimposed onto a discrete three
dimensional lattice which advances in steps of time— and whether that lattice imposes any kind of limitation on the physical processes we see in the universe. Turns out it does, and that we could confirm or rule out the theory of simulation by further exploring something called the ‘GZK’ cutoff.)

At this point we were brought back to our Max— and some of the conversations I had that left me, well, grasping for meaning.

I imagine he’d say that emulation, not simulation, is more applicable to the universe.

Emulation is the process of mimicking the outwardly observable behavior to match an existing target. The internal state of the emulation mechanism does not have to accurately reflect the
internal state of the target that it is emulating.

Simulation, on the other hand, involves modeling the underlying state of the target. The end result of a good simulation is that the simulation model will emulate the target that it is simulating.

Enough! As Max used to end some of our sessions.

I’m left with the understandable thought that though I wasn’t working for God, I was in some way doing God’s work.

Date posted: February 25, 2013

A post on Nielsen’s blog points to the extent social media is impacting brand marketing. Citing the Social Media Report recently published by Nielsen and NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, the research shows that consumers are spending considerable time using social media— using it to discover, research, and share information about brands and products.

Among the findings:

  • 60 percent of consumers researching products through multiple online sources learned about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites.
  • Active social media users are more likely to read product reviews online, and 3 out of 5 create their own reviews of products and services.
  • Both women and men are using social media to tell others about the products and service they like— 81% of females; 72% of males.
  • Consumer-generated reviews and product ratings are the most preferred sources of product information among social media users.

The study notes that social media also plays a key role in protecting brands. More than half of social media users write products reviews to “protect others” from having bad experiences, while many are using the tools to engage with brands on a customer service level. Their expectations are considerable: 42% of 18-34 year olds expect customer support within 12 hours of making a complaint or
lodging an inquiry.

While this study clearly focused on business-to-consumer use of social media, I can’t help but think its import has ramifications for the B2B sector.

How are you planning to use social media? What has its impact been for you in the B2B setting?

I’d love to hear your reports from the frontline.

Date posted: February 20, 2013

From LinkedIn:

Over the past few years, I have assigned Marty several feature articles and case studies for Inbound Logistics magazine, and have been consistently impressed with his ability to grasp new concepts, explain technical details in relatable terms, and create engaging, insightful editorial content. He is reliable, adaptable, and an eager collaborator.

Catherine Overman, Managing Editor at Inbound Logistics magazine

Date posted: February 19, 2013

In Part One of this post, we began to revisit a list of ten exceptional B2B content providers posted last summer by Meghan Keaney Anderson on HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Blog. In this post, we complete our look back at content done well.

  • FireRock
    This manufacturer of pre-engineered masonry products for contractors and home builders is noted for its remarkable Pinterest account. Anderson lauds them for “clear understanding of the channel,” as well as geographic labeling that helps users of the site find examples close-to-home.
  • Cisco
    Cisco, the global provider of networking systems from routers to webinar software, has developed an amazing YouTube channel with videos and tutorials to help customers and prospective customers learn the ins and outs of network solutions. Anderson gives them high marks for a) practical advice and b) fully integrated content.
  • GE Aviation
    GE Aviation is using social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, to successfully engage its audience. Notes Anderson: “Part of the strength of their social content is that there is a clear back and forth between the content created by GE and the content contributed by its followers. Every aspect of GE Aviation’s social content is about the community around GE— not just the company itself.”
  • Go to Meeting
    This webinar and remote meeting provider is lauded for making its Twitter stream full of valuable content. They have a number of team members dedicated to the social media channel.
  • VMWare
    This leading virtualization and cloud computing provider gets kudos for its exceptional community development— taking what can be highly technical content and translated it in a B2B-friendly way through its very own online community. VMWare uses the community to be a central hub for finding content, forums, and its existing social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. 

We began this post with a quote by Aristotle on excellence being habit; and with the hope that we might find some practice to emulate in the work of exceptional content providers.

That’s the upside of habit; the downside is that it can develop for bad as easily as good. “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit,” said St. Vincent of Green Bay. The lesson for content providers is not to give up searching for the interesting, or searching to find an interesting way to present what may seem everyday.

After all, every day contains championship content, whether we see it as such or not.

Date posted: February 13, 2013

Bust of Aristotle. Marble, Roman copy after a ...Aristotle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Greeks had a few ideas about doing things well: “We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Much of what we do on this blog is communicate what we believe are good habits regarding business-to-business communications tools and tactics, but also to instill a habit of reflection on our own part. This extends not only to our own
practice, but also to those practicing in the same arena.

With that in mind, we point you to a post from last summer by Meghan Keaney Anderson on HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing blog. The post celebrates 10 B2B companies that create exceptional content. According to Anderson, these companies “create killer content on a regular basis to keep prospects coming back to their website and engaging with their business.” She points to them as an example of how companies have compelling content within, and that the tendency to see one’s own work as ‘uninteresting’ outside the four walls is something that needs to be resisted.

We agree.

After looking at the sites acknowledged by Anderson, we think it worthwhile to revisit them here, as what they are doing might serve as inspiration for developing some good habits. Here’s five of her terrific ten:

  • Intercom
    Intercom, a customer relationship management and messaging tool for web businesses, is touted for its balanced blog. Each post is approached as a learning opportunity. Each post is data-rich. The blog is a good blend of product content and educational material. 
  • Deloitte
    Deloitte is a Boston-based consultancy with services that include audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax. Anderson cites them for their exceptional ‘how-to’ guides, which provide content in a range of formats and encourage open-ended debate on the issues at hand. 
  • Gild
    Gild, a provider of recruiting solutions for technology companies, is celebrated for taking a different approach in its blog and providing exceptional thought leadership content. They have exceptional focus on the problems they address.
  • Kuno Creative
    This enterprise inbound marketing firm receives plaudits for its exceptional e-book library. Says Anderson: “The library is already easy to peruse, but Kuno has also created quick links with search engine-friendly keywords like “Social Media Resources” along the sidebar. These small tricks ensure that Kuno’s content is more aptly found via the search box.”
  • Eloqua
    Eloqua is a marketing automation company, cited for its amazing infographics. One of the things that sets Eloqua apart is that they ensure that the visual display of the information they’re presenting adds value rather than just color. 

 In Part Two of this post on “kudo-worthy” content, we’ll bring you the balance of Anderson’s list of notable providers, who are lauded for an array of topics including social media, video, community development and more. In the meantime, for those who desire a little knowledge (which Aristotle would say is all of us), a little time on the sites of the providers above may prove to be usefully spent.