Thursday, October 30, 2008
I chose this book due to a personal desire and interest in running my own online business someday. I created my first web page when I was in the 8th grade, so the interest has grown from there. I hoped to gain some basic knowledge and really an outline of each step in creating an online business. This book did a great job of giving unbiased information for both the beginner and the tenured business owner. With that said, the book is basically broken down just like that. The book starts out with the basics for the beginner and then transitions into the more advanced and tenured sections. This book is a simple and easy read with nothing difficult or technical at all. I really liked that in this book there are checklist given in a number of sections to allow you to stay up to date with your progress on creating your new online business. The only weakness of this book is that it could include a bit more info for the advanced/tenured online business owner. On a scale of 1-10 I would give this book a 9, just because I don't like to read books because they put me to sleep and this one didn't do that.
Yet I knew after reading Chris Anderson’s recent cover story on “Free!” (the basis for his next book coming in 2009) that I was missing out by not having read the book. This is a rich concept, and I wanted to fully understand how it affects all industry sectors today… and perhaps use the concept to sharpen an eventual business plan I intend to draft.
The Long Tail is about several interconnected subjects: marketing, product distribution, new media, the entertainment industry, and network economics. The book’s sub-title—“Why the future of business is selling less of more”—encapsulates the basic concept well.
It was written to inform media and business professionals of an overarching trend that affects fundamental aspects of what goods to produce, how to distribute such goods, and how to achieve success in fast-changing markets.
The primary value delivered by The Long Tail is an entirely new conceptualization of how markets have changed due to three combining forces: the democratization of production means, the democratization of distribution means, and the new connections between supply and demand.
Anderson knocks down many conventional business principles, such as the 80/20 rule, as he provides a picture of how audience participation has forever changed how people buy and sell. In the online world alone, The Long Tail give specific advice for five categories of businesses:
Similar authors, such as Seth Godin, tend to be more philosophical and not rely as much on hard data. I appreciate that Chris Anderson does the necessary research, including source notes and an index, to present this revolutionary concept. I would highly recommend that every business, media and communications student read The Long Tail.
There are many reasons to invest online; it saves you money from expensive commission costs, as well as gives you more financial flexibility. However, online investing comes at a cost which is a higher level of difficulty and risk. Author Matt Krantz, takes you through a step by step guide which aims at making you the successful individual investor.
There are many tools that investing online presents; you are connected to powerful resources such as financial websites, you can see continuously updated, interactive graphs, and you have software available at your fingertips such as Microsoft’s Excel and Money, as well Quicken applications.
Krantz does a good job letting you know the many opportunities of investing online as he walks you through several financial instruments. He covers debt and equity securities which include stocks, bonds, money markets, and mutual funds. He also helps you with concepts like options trading, currency trading, and asset allocation
Instead of focusing and going into a lot of detail on any particular subject, Krantz is vague and gives you basic information and references to websites to learn more. If you are looking to learn a great deal about any one of these instruments, this is not the book for you. However, if you want a general overview of the whole market, you will probably find value in this how to guide. Overall, I recommend this book because it gives you websites with intangible info, and it explains a new concept of investing which breaks away from the traditional form with a stock broker.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Exploring Web Design is a book that covers various aspects of web-design and the web-design industry. The authors appear sufficiently qualified to cover the material presented in the book. The book covers the following areas of website design:
- Introduction to Web Design
- Website Layouts
- Color Theory
- Designing websites for accessibility by people with disabilities
- Developing a career as website designer
- Multimedia and Web Design Technologies
The primary format of how the book is setup is that it presents a concept, provides an example and moves onto the next concept. The book's content is short, concise, and to the point.
Some of the strengths of this book are that it is simple/easy to remember and teaches the process of designing a website rather than focusing on how to do specific designs for specific situations. Some of the weaknesses of this book are that some of the technology referred to in the book is already outdated and there are some problems where black and white examples should have been in color.
Overall I think that this is a good book for those who are looking to get a quick understandind of the fundamental concepts and principles of web design. Personally I learned more about some of the important aspects of web design as a result of reading this book.
- Bill Ebersohl
Thursday, October 23, 2008
MKTG 470 – e-Commerce Book Review
October 23, 2008
UCCS – Professor Tom Gruen
Author David Morris wrote this beginner “How-To” type book (2007) as an alternative to a massive technical manual that shows every possible function of the Flash CS3 Pro software. The format of this book is a step-by-step project that visually guides users to create a striking and impressive web site using the Flash software from Adobe. The author provides an example case, a home-based florist business, and a companion web site from which to download the files to create the case web site. Morris uses simple and clear instructions with pictures of real dialog boxes, and then guides the user to apply these processes to create a working web site and learn many of the needed techniques in Flash-based web site design.
I selected this book because I am interested in web site design at the beginner level. I want to market myself to potential employers and my husband’s small business.
Morris has been a graphic artist and web site designer for fifteen years. Since he was a product manager for several Adobe products, Fireworks and FreeHand, which are used extensively in web site design, he is familiar with the broad power and depth of the Adobe products. Yet, Morris writes this book for a beginner user who is attracted to starting with a simple project that can produce a simple web site by following a step-by-step process.
The primary value of the book is the set of illustrations which directly relate to the case project. I realize that this type of book is aimed at my learning style: to first see, and then do. It is a tangible length of 148 pages, and it can result in launching an actual web site. Other strong aspects of the book include a companion web site with updated material and corrections to the text. Also, the author covers most of the seven C’s, which refer to the quality of the user interface with a web site. Morris illustrates how to incorporate: context, content, customization, communication, and connection.
On the downside, the case exercise requires users to have Flash CS3 Professional software, which I do not have on my home computer. In fact, in the introduction that I read before I bought the book, there is a quote that states, “…on the companion web site…you’ll find all of the files you need to complete the project in this book.” Additionally, only five of the seven C’s mentioned earlier were featured. There are no instructions on how to include “community” or activate a blog, nor “commerce” by including the instructions for safe commercial transactions. To be fair, these web site characteristics are very complex, and again, this is a beginner web site design book.
In the end, I do recommend this book as a beginner project to design a web site with Adobe Flash, and I do intend to use the book to create my own web site.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
For this assignment, each student selected a book of her or his own choosing with the following restrictions:
1) the book must fit the course objectives (i.e., be directly related to some aspect of e-commerce)
2) the book must have a 2006 or later copyright (there are some e-commerce classics, but the field changes so quickly, that students need to be reading current material)
3) no two students can read the same book. So it's first-come, first served, or you snooze, you lose.
In addition to reading the book, students must prepare a 2-3 page written review, and an 8 minute in class presentation. The blog postings are a condensation of the information the students put in their written reviews and presentations.
The blog will have, at mimimum, a set of reviews of 25 books related to e-commerce, a set that reflects what interests a group of undergraduate students in Colorado.
If you have come to the site and are not part of the class, feel free to make comments to the postings. I hope you find it helpful.