Automattic Helps WordPress Be More Social

buddy-pressLate last week the parent company of WordPress, Automattic, unveiled BuddyPress which is designed to build social networks around WordPress sites reports

While the idea of being able to build a social network is certainly not new (Ning has found some considerable success here) the ability to do it around existing WordPress sites certainly deserves notice. With millions of blogs and sites using WordPress the impact could be significant.
Matt Mullenweg of Automattic lays it out in his blog saying

“There’s been a dearth of Open Source tools that enable the social web. I don’t think BuddyPress will be something you use instead of your existing social networks… but if you wanted to start something new maybe with more control, friendlier terms of service, or just something customized and tweaked to fit into your existing site, then BuddyPress is a great framework.”

CMO’s Want to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too

AdAge reports the latest Spencer Stuart survey shows 300 CMO’s cake(chief marketing officers) looking to survive the downturn by concentrating on short-term strategies at the expense of mid and long term outlooks. Even with this attitude they are able to say that they can emerge after the clouds break on this recession with the growth they all need. While the article charges these folks as traditionally optimistic this type of thinking appears to be more wishful than anything else.

Another Stuart survey showed that the average tenure of a CMO these days is 28 months so maybe this is why long and mid term growth strategies are more easily shelved. By the time a new CMO in a sizable organization gets their ‘sea legs’ half of that period could well be gone thus not leaving much time to anything but short term survival moves considering the TTL (time to live) these folks have.

AOL Making Noise with Another Ex-Googler Hire

It was only a matter of time but it appears as if the time has arrived. While the buzz from some folks inside of AOL aol-logois very positive about the addition of Tim Armstrong it is going to get louder as more major hires are announced. The first is the hiring of a new top ad sales executive for the company. Not a surprise considering Armstrong’s pedigree and the importance of showing that AOL is still in the business of generating revenue through its properties.

As reported by the WSJ

Jeff Levick, who has worked at Google since 2001, most recently as vice president of industry development and marketing, is the latest in a series of Google executives who have announced plans to leave the company.

Good Review, Bad Name for a Search Engine

If ReadWriteWeb hadn’t looked at one of the newest players in the search engine game it may not have been duckduckgo_logo_apr09found based on its name, Duck Duck Go. Before there is any further discussion about the merits of the engine one has to wonder why this name? Using a play on the name of an ages old kids game to represent results that are picked (I am guessing here) is a stretch at best and a brand manager’s nightmare at worst.

So what’s in a name? In this case it remains to be seen. The engine itself seems pretty cool. One feature that I found particularly useful was the ability to click on an icon and search a term on 27 other sites including Twitter,, NY Times, cnet and more. On that front alone the search engine may be worth an occasional visit. Gee, I wonder what the chances of Google doing something similar?

Flickr Takes Some Shots from Yahoo Layoffs

While it is no surprise that Yahoo started announcing the layoffs of between 600-700 people this week (the flickr-logonumber varies according t the source) there is a bit of a surprise in what business units were targeted. The biggest surprise comes from the cuts made at Flickr.

Om Malik of Gigaom gives some interesting insight into these changes by sharing the announcements he picked up from various engineers through tweets. While layoffs do seem to be a part of it there seems to also be some voluntary exits that go along with the forced reductions. While this is completely conjecture on my part, the experience I have had is that when there are voluntary exits that coincide with layoffs that is not a very good sign. Most people are happy that they didn’t get let go and move on with their jobs and just deal with the ‘survivor’s guilt’. If folks are jumping ship of their own accord in conjunction with the layoffs then you have to wonder what is actually happening there.

Disney Jumps Through Hulu Hoop

Disney has announced it has acquired a stake in Hulu that is thought to be as high as 30% according to the folkshulu-logo over at Mashable. Disney has now joined NBC Universal and News Corp. in this venture.

The momentum this gives the video site is very real as it looks to jump on a position in the market that perhaps YouTube may be too late to the game on. YouTube has just started to strike deals with the major media producers and their lineup of available programs to watch is not as impressive as Hulu’s.

Search and Tech Giants Named to Help Government Set Policy

potus-sealTechCrunch reports that Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt and Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie have been named to President’s Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The council is designed to help the President and Vice President form policy related to science, technology, and innovation.

The council has an impressive roster of people associated with major academic and research organizations

The group is co-chaired by John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Eric Lander, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project; and Harold Varmus, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a Nobel laureate.