Since last post, I got used to the idea that I am an independent consultant (I already had a company); to make it happen, I’ve met many web entrepreneurs who asked what I would do. Truth be told, my answer depends a lot on how much you know about the web:
- for newcomers (and I might have found a continuous stream of those) I can expose the principles of making money on-line (funnel, community structure) and help you decide what would be a good starting strategy;
- if you already have some activity, but face some decisions (stalling community, investment) I can offer data-based strategic moves — I’m actually surprised at how few companies sell non-generic data analysis (among what I’ve seen, East Agile might be the only one);
- if you are an experienced social media player, I can audit your control panel, process, threats assessment and explain the principle behind the latest trend in SNA.
The distinction in three is a little bit artificial: I’m assuming, as an independent, my main asset is to be flexible and tailor my service.
Someone also suggested me to teach social media principles to advertising agencies, or to make user-friendly video presentation of the latest discovery in Web Science — more excellent ideas, if you ask me. Anyway, prospects seem good, and I haven’t stopped finding ways to advertise my service: meet-ups, IQVine and, what appears to be the most promising expert community: Quora.
The project was started by Facebook early developers. It has a common ambition with Wikipedia or Google: be a repository of, and structure all knowledge — but mostly resembles Facebook. It’s blue, has an omnipresent News Feed and seemingly redundant Alerts, Friending (asymmetric, though) and all the fun happens with Likes and in the non-hierarchical comment threads. Your identity on Quora is actually based on your Facebook “real person” account; no institutions can speak as such, and you can’t separate facets of your life: your love for gourmet tea with an unsanitary interest in Open Web standards. (Both interests are well covered, as you would expect on any Silicon Valley seeded service — however, when I mentioned my concern to filter by interests, rather than merge quirky hobbies and tech standards, the founder was surprised.)
The readership on Quora is supposed to be huge, and the visible following orders of magnitude bigger than on this blog — obviously. In addition to that, instead of having to pick one of my drafts in here and polish it to release in the void of your comments, I can answer someone’s expressed concerns, compare my positions with other people responding to a similar angle; readers don’t hesitate to thank me, edit or vote up my rants… Therefore, it seems like the necessary thing to do to post there what I could not motivate myself to publish here. I’ll probably keep on blogging, and will certainly promote my proudest answers here, but I’d recommend you check my profile, and the whole website actually, because it is great.
Many prospects have asked a sample of what I can do, and I was thinking about describing elementary analysis: virality and SNA, adoption threshold, centrality and activity correlation, including sample code. I’m not sure about the proper language to use (R, awk, SQL, pseudo-code) but this represents more than one post. Several open questions on Quora are close to that too, so I’ll probably cross-post, a summary there and sketches here.
I’ve also accepted to teach Digital Economics to CS Masters; more work, good complementarity with what I want to do; yet again, sleepless nights in perspective, but the promise of interesting posts. I haven’t decided what kind of interactions I want to have with my students, but a blog is likely so far.