Crossing the Chasm: 23 Years Old and Still Going Strong

Crossing the Chasm: 23 Years Old and Still Going Strong

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore, is held in high regard at Zer0 to 5ive. In fact, it’s required reading for the account teams and some even refer to it as the “Company bible.” Moore’s book focuses on the specifics of marketing disruptive high-tech products during the early start up period, giving organizations a roadmap on how their products can successfully “cross the chasm” into the mainstream market.

One of the most vital aspects of Crossing the Chasm is positioning. Moore states that positioning is the most discussed, yet least understood, component of high-tech marketing. To simplify positioning for his readers, Moore provides the following 4 principles:

1. Positioning, first and foremost is a verb, not a noun
It is best understood as an attribute associated with a company or product, and not as marketing contortions that people go through to set up that association.

2. Positioning is the single largest influence on the buying decision.
It serves as a buyer’s shorthand, shaping not only their financial choice, but even the way they evaluate alternatives leading up to that choice.

3. Positioning exists in people’s heads, not in your words
You must frame a position in words that are likely to actually exist in people’s heads, and not words that come straight out of hot advertising copy.

4. People are highly conservative about entertaining changes in positioning
In general, the most effective positioning strategies are ones that demand the least amount of change.

Once a company has established its positioning, the organization must effective relay it in an “elevator speech” – a short summary used to quickly define an organization or product and its value proposition. The name “elevator speech” reflects the idea that this statement should be delivered in the amount of time one elevator ride takes. So how do you combine all that you would want a potential buyer to know in 30 seconds? Moore provides an equation, which Zer0 to 5ive uses for every client messaging engagement:

For (target customers)
Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
Our product is a (new product category)
That provides (key problem-solving capability)
Unlike (the product alternative)
We have assembled (key whole product features for specific application)

While it may look simple, it’s merely the first step in the positioning exercise. It does provide a strong foundation so that, when you’re honing the elevator pitch or supporting messages, you always have a touchstone with the essence of the problem the company or product is solving and the benefits they it provides.

Zer0 to 5ive highly recommends Crossing the Chasm for anyone engaged in high-tech marketing. And while it may be 23 years since its first publishing, Moore has released an updated version in 2014 to help today’s emerging technologies cross the chasm and achieve widespread success.

Post by Sarah Manix
Zer0 to 5ive Strategist

5 In-Browser Tools That Make a Web Developer’s Life Easier

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A web developer’s life is often burdened with the task of writing thousands upon thousands of lines of code and sometimes, it’s nice to have little shortcuts to ease up some of the load. Below are five tools that I have found to be incredibly helpful for streamlining the process.

1. Blind Text Generator

Need filler text for that page design? This dummy text generator has the standard Lorem Ipsum, as well as passages from Cicero, Werther, and my favorite, Kafka! What makes Blind Text Generator different from other dummy text sites is its ability to automatically add tags, which saves you the trouble when coding HTML mockups.

2. Border Radius

Rounded corners are a feature introduced with CSS3, eliminating the need to use graphics to round out divs and other containers. The CSS code for rounded corners is a bit complex and requires several versions to cover all the major browsers. Border Radius not only allows you to preview the corners, but also generates all the code for you.

3. ColorZilla

ColorZilla ia a browser plugin for Firefox and Chrome that enables you to use an “eyedropper” anywhere on the web. The hex code automatically copies to your clipboard whenever you pick a color, making it easy to paste into Photoshop or your HTML editor. ColorZilla also comes with a built-in color browser for quick reference and a shortcut link to a code generator for background gradients.

4. Pixel to EM

EM is the unit of measurement that ensures every browser and device displays text size consistently. Just as the title says, this tool is a pixel-to-EM converter that translates a pixel measurement to EM for you. It also provides a chart with the most common sizes and percentages. No more fancy equations!

5. WordOff

Sometimes, when you copy text from a Word document or existing webpage and paste it into a WYSISYG editor (like WordPress), an annoying thing happens where snippets of unwanted HTML tags appear in the code and you end up with the meticulous chore of hunting for and deleting each one. Paste the messy code into WordOff and it will remove the tags for you.

Post by Jen Tabangcura
Zer0 to 5ive Developer

 

Protecting WordPress Media Uploads Unless User is Logged In

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Sometimes developing even the most simplistic solutions can be difficult. We have worked with several clients that have requested to keep their uploads folder private. While there are some plugin solutions that may assist in this – I figured I would post a simplistic way to do this manually to keep your code clean.

How does it work?
We will be modifying the .htaccess file in the root of your WordPress directory and telling it to redirect uploaded files if a user is not logged in. We will also add a redirect parameter to tell WordPress how to handle users so they will be correctly redirected to the file after logging in.
**Note: If you are using a custom plugin for front-end login screens (such as Profile Builder) you will need to modify the code a bit to pass a redirect parameter to that login screen, but this should give you a good start. **

WordPress and .HTACCESS
WordPress will generate an .htaccess file when you change your permalink structure. Because of this behavior, we need to make sure that we understand how to input custom htaccess rules in the file so that WordPress will not overwrite them when changing this structure. Let’s get into the code.
**Note: This tutorial assumes that you keep all your uploads in the same folder by unchecking “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders”. **

The code
Navigate to your .htaccess file via FTP in your WordPress root. If you do not see one – login to WordPress and update your permalink structure (Settings -> Permalinks -> Choose Post name). Now that you have an .htaccess file, edit it. We will be adding this code to our .htaccess file:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -s
RewriteRule ^wp-content/uploads/(.*)$ dl-file.php?file=$1 [QSA,L]

Make sure to add the code above the generated code that WordPress uses below (anything outside this WordPress will not touch).

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress

Okay, now what?
Now we have control – we can do anything we want when an uploaded file is accessed. Each time an uploaded file is accessed we are telling it to run code we will create in a file named “dl-file.php”. Create a file named “dl-file.php” (without the quotes) in the root of your WordPress directory. Now, add this code inside the file to control our uploads:

require_once('wp-load.php');

If (!is_user_logged_in()){
$upload_dir = wp_upload_dir();
echo $upload_dir['baseurl'] . '/' . $_GET[ 'file' ];
wp_redirect( wp_login_url( $upload_dir['baseurl'] . '/' . $_GET[ 'file' ]));
exit();
}
list($basedir) = array_values(array_intersect_key(wp_upload_dir(), array('basedir' => 1)))+array(NULL);

$file = rtrim($basedir,'/').'/'.str_replace('..', '', isset($_GET[ 'file' ])?$_GET[ 'file' ]:'');
if (!$basedir || !is_file($file)) {
status_header(404);
die('404 — File not found.');
}

$mime = wp_check_filetype($file);
if( false === $mime[ 'type' ] && function_exists( 'mime_content_type' ) )
$mime[ 'type' ] = mime_content_type( $file );

if( $mime[ ‘type’ ] )
$mimetype = $mime[ ‘type’ ];
else
$mimetype = ‘image/’ . substr( $file, strrpos( $file, ‘.’ ) + 1 );

header( ‘Content-Type: ‘ . $mimetype ); // always send this
if ( false === strpos( $_SERVER[‘SERVER_SOFTWARE’], ‘Microsoft-IIS’ ) )
header( ‘Content-Length: ‘ . filesize( $file ) );

$last_modified = gmdate( ‘D, d M Y H:i:s’, filemtime( $file ) );
$etag = ‘”‘ . md5( $last_modified ) . ‘”‘;
header( “Last-Modified: $last_modified GMT” );
header( ‘ETag: ‘ . $etag );
header( ‘Expires: ‘ . gmdate( ‘D, d M Y H:i:s’, time() + 100000000 ) . ‘ GMT’ );

// Support for Conditional GET
$client_etag = isset( $_SERVER[‘HTTP_IF_NONE_MATCH’] ) ? stripslashes( $_SERVER[‘HTTP_IF_NONE_MATCH’] ) : false;

if( ! isset( $_SERVER[‘HTTP_IF_MODIFIED_SINCE’] ) )
$_SERVER[‘HTTP_IF_MODIFIED_SINCE’] = false;

$client_last_modified = trim( $_SERVER[‘HTTP_IF_MODIFIED_SINCE’] );
// If string is empty, return 0. If not, attempt to parse into a timestamp
$client_modified_timestamp = $client_last_modified ? strtotime( $client_last_modified ) : 0;

// Make a timestamp for our most recent modification…
$modified_timestamp = strtotime($last_modified);

if ( ( $client_last_modified && $client_etag )
? ( ( $client_modified_timestamp >= $modified_timestamp) && ( $client_etag == $etag ) )
: ( ( $client_modified_timestamp >= $modified_timestamp) || ( $client_etag == $etag ) )
) {
status_header( 304 );
exit;
}

// If we made it this far, just serve the file
readfile( $file );

What exactly did we just do?
The first line of code

require_once('wp-load.php');

is just telling the PHP file to load the necessary files to call WordPress functions.

The next little snippet is the key:

If (!is_user_logged_in()){
$upload_dir = wp_upload_dir();
echo $upload_dir['baseurl'] . '/' . $_GET[ 'file' ];
wp_redirect( wp_login_url( $upload_dir['baseurl'] . '/' . $_GET[ 'file' ]));
exit();
}

We are validating that the user is not logged in (if you have certain users you need to restrict you can modify this). Since the user is not logged in, we will redirect the user to the login page. Once the user logs in, it will automatically redirect him/her to the file. Although some modifications were made to the code, original credit goes tohttp://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/37144/protect-wordpress-uploads-if-user-is-not-logged-in.

Hope this helps!

Travis Hoglund
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Developer

Top Ten Technology Tweeters: Part II

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A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the Top Ten Technology Tweeters. However, anyone that actively engages in social media knows that a “Top 10” list won’t even begin to cover influencers in any category – let alone technology!

Every day, I click “Follow” on insightful, interesting, funny and resourceful tweeters so, without further ado, I give you: Top Ten Technology Tweeters: Part II:

@karaswisher: Kara Swisher is a news-breaker, short and simple. She writes for WSJ’s All Things Digital, but if you follow her Twitter feed, you may just be among the first to know.

@GuyKawasaki: Guy Kawasaki is a former Apple employee and current co-founder of Alltop. Somehow, in between his busy work schedule, he manages to share concise, often hilarious articles to over one million followers. What I like most about Guy’s feed though, is that it is highly visual, full of infographics and videos.

@Scobleizer: Robert Scoble, the blogger behind http://scobleizer.com/, has a unique way of incorporating his personal experiences as a current Rackspace employee, and former Microsoft employee and Fast Company blogger into the day’s most relevant news. His tweets are highly engaging and humorous.

@jonahlupton: Jonah Lupton has founded more companies than I can name, but his latest tweets are largely focused on his coverage of other entrepreneurs. There’s nothing more interesting than a good dark horse story and many tech entrepreneurs and start-up founders provide just that!

@kheussner: There are a lot of serial tweeters from @gigaOM, but I prefer Ki Mae because she tweets out only the most interesting and relevant stories, with little to no nonsense in between. Also, I just saw her on a PCNY panel and she was informative, engaging and concise – just like her Twitter feed.

@pkafka: PR folks know Peter Kafka as one of the most coveted tech reporters in the business, but in between trying to get an exclusive for my clients with him, I rely on his Twitter feed for a streamlined view of the day’s “must-know” stories. Importantly, Peter tweets news from a variety of sources, not just links to his own stories.

@alexia: Alexia Tsotsis is the co-editor of, arguably, the most influential tech news site there is: TechCrunch. But don’t let that fool you; her Twitter feed is so much more. Daily anecdotes, pictures and re-tweets from other influencers round out her feed, and her humor and realism make it a must-read.

@Gartenberg: Michael Gartenberg is an analyst at Gartner. For the most part, though, Gartenberg leaves the analysis off of his Twitter account, and what we’re left with are hilarious quips on tech news and witty conversations with other major players in the Twittersphere.

@peretti: Jonah Peretti is known for co-founding @HuffingtonPost:, but I tend to follow his tweets for the latest from his more recent endeavor, @buzzfeed. Jonah’s tweets are full of parody, top 25 lists, memes and hilarious, sometimes heartwarming, imagery from around the globe. Buzzfeed doesn’t exclusively cover technology – in fact, it’s not even a main focus – but Jonah’s industry experience and influence shine through in his own tweets.

@loic: Loic Le Meur and his wife, Geraldine, are the masterminds behind the highly influential Le Web (@leweb) technology conference in Europe. With over 100K followers, you can count on Loic to deliver the latest tech, start-up and breaking news, alongside updates on the latest Le Web event.

As my Google Reader grows and my “Following” list gets larger, I’m sure this list will continue to expand, so look out for the next, next top 10 list of Twitter accounts to follow!

Post by Kristen Everett
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Strategist
Twitter: @krissyeverett

Top Ten Technology Tweeters

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When it comes to Twitter, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless number of folks tweeting about technology. In the world of PR and marketing, those Tweeters dolling out nuggets of wisdom, linking to articles and providing industry insights can be a major resource. But how do you know who’s worth following among the millions of techies tweeting their days away?

Here’s my list of the top 10 Twitter feeds. Take a look and do yourself a favor: click “Follow.”

@HuffPostTech: Everyone loves the Huffington Post, but the online newspaper’s technology Twitter handle provides a perfect mix of news, opinions and funny quips.

@DaveMorin: If you didn’t already know, Dave Morin co-founded the “personal network” app Path. His tweets cover news from big brands like Amazon, Facebook, and Apple – but his own brand of commentary is that which only a start-up founder can provide. Also his wife, Brit Morin (@brit), is the founder of the lifestyle brand by the same name. Her Twitter feed and website are chock full of products, tips and tricks for today’s digital generation.

@chr1sa: Like gadgets? Wired Editor-in-Chief, Chris Anderson will keep followers updated on the latest, greatest and weirdest gadgets out there.

@PeterShankman: As PR pros, checking Shankman’s HARO emails are a big part of our daily activity. But the CEO and angel investor is also a social media guru who tweets prolifically on technology and business.

@JennyDeluxe: It’s certainly worthwhile to check the feeds of all the New York Times’ tech reporters, but Jenna Wortham tops my list with a mix of consumer tech news, event coverage and juicy gossip from NYC’s emerging tech scene.

@Jack: As the co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square, Jack Dorsey knows technology. However, as a frequent “re-tweeter,” his feed not only contains his own commentary on the latest tech news, but the valuable insights of other Tweeters as well.

@arrington: Michael Arrington’s Twitter feed highlights the latest technology news posted to TechCrunch – makes sense, he is the founder of the tech news staple site. Also, check out his personal blog Uncrunched, full of the viral videos, personal software and gadget reviews and detailed stories of his career in tech.

@mashable: Pete Cashmore, one of the top tech and social media bloggers around, tweets link after link of news from his highly popular tech news site,Mashable – which is no small feat – we’re talking dozens of stories a day. It’s a good thing Pete’s not hard to look at because you’ll be seeing his avatar all over your Twitter feed!

@sarahcuda: If you can’t make it to California anytime soon, you can count on Sarah Lacy, a former TechCrunch-er, to keep you posted on all things start-up and Silicon Valley through her Twitter feed and news site, PandoDaily.

@kevinrose: Kevin Rose founded Digg, arguably the best social news site around – you’d recognize their logo. More recently he’s been investing in start-ups with Google Ventures. Here’s the takeaway: Rose knows up-and-coming technology, Rose invests in up and coming technology. He’s not only smart and witty, but if you have an interest in tech, you can learn a lot from his musings on Twitter.

And one more for good measure…

@Zer0to5ive: We may not be serial tweeters, but when we tweet it’s relevant and informative. Also, we’re just a fun bunch!

Post by Kristen Everett
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Strategist
Twitter: @krissyeverett

A Review of Introducing HTML5
introducing html5 book review

This book shows you all the new tags that HTML5 introduces, how to use them, and how they will be practically used in the future. The book also touches on SEO and how HTML5 will help search engines become more efficient.

Remy Sharp and Bruce Lawson made this book very informative, while keeping it simple to read. The book reads cover to cover very quickly – it is not boring like most “coding” books. I strongly recommend this if you are just learning HTML5.

Key Takeaways

  • HTML5 is not near as strict with syntax – it is very “loose.”
  • Header, Nav, Aside, Article, Section, and Footer tags will become very useful in the future – especially with SEO standards.
  • The new <details> tag will introduce expanding/collapsing areas that require NO Javascript!
  • The <ol> tag is back! It will now feature several parameters to accomplish a lot of new things (start, reversed, etc.)
  • Stream Audio and Video that is cross-browser compliant without the use of deprecated <object> or <embed> tags.

My Favorite Feature: The <canvas> Tag

This remarkable tag will allow us to do incredible things in HTML5 that we could never do before without the use of a lot of Flash. Want to know the best part? It will be cross browser compliant and work in Mobile browsers, such as Safari on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

You can purchase the book and see a lot of great HTML5 examples here

Post by Travis Hoglund
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Developer
Twitter: @thoglund

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Video Investment

Video is increasingly becoming a preferred channel to market a business and engage with target audiences – customers, media and influencers – that is much more exciting and entertaining than text and photos.

Video can put a personality to your brand with an authenticity that is only available through face-to-face interaction. It is also affordable. The software and cameras available today are cost-effective, making this investment a winner for your business.

Here are five ways to make sure your video communications are maximized:

1) Content
It is critical that the content of your video is informative and will give the viewer a clear takeaway. Whether the video is a product demo, customer case study, tour of your facility, or a message from your CEO on a business topic, it should be direct, to the point, and provide valuable information to the viewer.

It is also important that the video is short – no longer than 3 minutes long. If you need more time, you probably need to think about doing a series of videos!

If the video is a product demo or presentation, keeping it under three minutes may be difficult. Consider developing a “teaser” or trailer that gives the user a quick overview, and then offer the opportunity to watch the entire piece. This way, you get can communicate your key points to the casual viewer and also offer a more in-depth piece to those who want to engage on a deeper level.

2) Interactivity
Adding an interactive element to the video can increase engagement and help you measure the effectiveness of the piece. One way that you can add interactivity is by adding a request to take a poll or survey that is hosted on your website or a third-party survey provider such as Survey Monkey. This can add a level of personal touch to the traditional “tell us what you think” request and gives you the opportunity to assure your audience that their opinions matter.

3) Quality
While videos can be captured easily from a cell phone or computer, it is important that the quality is not totally sacrificed – inferior quality can deter potential viewers. Depending on the topic and tone that you want to convey, it may be worth investing in a third-party vendor to help capture the video and ensure the lighting, sound and overall quality are professional and coincide with the topic being covered. For a video of your CEO providing insight on a critical business issue or a product demo, it is important that your content or message is not lost as a result of poor video quality. Videos taken with a cell phone or flip cam device may be perfectly acceptable for certain uses, such as a quick customer interview at a trade show, or tour of an office. Just be aware that the level of production quality that is put into the video correlates with the perception from the viewer.

4) Optimization
According to a recent Forrester Research study, videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first-page ranking than traditional SEO techniques. Creating a video and posting it to YouTube with a title and metatags makes the content searchable, just like an article or content on your website. The great thing is – it is more likely to be viewed because people like watching videos more than they like reading websites or whitepapers.

However, since 20 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, it is challenging to get your YouTube video found. For effective YouTube SEO, identify the target key words your audience is searching for and incorporate them into your title and tag your video with them. Also, make sure your YouTube channel has a complete bio that also coincides with the content on your channel. Another way to make sure your video gets attention is by embedding it on your blog or website. You are more likely to gain viewers if you embed the video than if you simply link to it, so embed wherever you can.

5) Sharing
45% of videos are found through networks, such as YouTube or Facebook, and 44% are discovered on blogs and websites – so it is important to balance where the video lives and how it can be shared. Posting a link to the video on your Facebook and Twitter accounts can help get the word out and will also help promote others to share the video with their networks as well.

Additionally, if you submit a video to social video bookmarking sites (such as Digg.com, Video Bomb, Flurl, or StumbleVideo), you have the potential to gain a lot of viewers if enough people vote for your video.

Finally, if possible, incorporate videos into your email campaigns. Video in email is said to be able to boost conversion rates by as much as 50 percent!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share your message across multiple communication channels. With video you can derive several benefits without a huge investment.

Kathleen Fusco
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Strategist
Twitter: @kathleenz10

7 Tips for Conducting Skype Media Interviews

Skype is continuing to gain popularity with reporters. Whether you are responding to breaking news, pitching a distant media market, or offering up a client or spokesperson that is traveling, Skype provides an easy-to-use, cost effective and flexible tool for conducting media interviews.

Here are 7 tips for maximizing the success of your Skype media interview.

  1. Use a Secure Connection – Make sure you have a secure Internet or Wi-Fi connection, and test it out in advance of the interview. Forbes offers a good point to make sure your computer has plenty of battery power.
  2. computer webcam skype
  3. Choose a Quiet Location – Pick a quiet location that will help you concentrate and project an professional image. Keep your colleagues in the office informed so that they do not interrupt you during the interview; consider taping a short note on your office door.
  4. Create an Optimal Background – Use a simple and professional backdrop to avoid background confusion. Check that you have the proper lighting to avoid unusual shadows. In addition, CNN suggests avoiding patterns that come across as too loud on screen, such as bright stripes, that make it hard to focus on the spokesperson.
  5. (more…)

The 4C’s of 3 Conferences

I just finished a whirlwind of 3 “tech” conferences in 4 weeks: EDUCAUSE (higher ed tech), Aspire 2011 (LivePerson’s global summit on customer engagement) and Defrag 2011 (internet innovation around information transformation).  Three different conferences, three different vertical markets, three different locations and three different “feels”.  But that’s not the interesting part.  The interesting part is that all three talked about the same four things and those things weren’t so techy:

  • Culture
  • Connection
  • Collaboration
  • Content

It was astounding to me that culture – what many might think of as the least techy thing of all – was so important in so many of the presentations.  Why is that?  I’m not sure I know, but what I think is that the past few years – fueled by technology – have created a major shift in how we work, learn and engage – and that culturally, we are trying to keep up.  Education, application development, customer service – they are all feeling the same impact.

As importantly, in many cases, we weren’t talking about tech at all, but rather content.  Content that drove learning, content that created leadership, content that engaged buyers.  “The pipes don’t matter!”  “The LMS as we know it is dead!”  “It’s online and offline – content when and where you want it.”

The best part of all of these conferences for me was that at some level they were all about marketing.  Defining what’s important, where the engagement needs to happen, how the engagement needs to happen and how the brand and culture need to be consistent and honest.  All of this against a backdrop of incredible speakers who challenged us to be honest, to challenge status quo, to look beyond the obvious.  Oh, and that it’s okay to be a Geek.

I can’t give these conferences their full due – literally too much content (!), so check them out yourself with their Twitter hashtags: #EDU11, #defragcon, #Aspire2011.

Michelle Pujadas
Zer0 to 5ive Founder and Co-CEO
Twitter: @Pujadas