Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Alistair Croll
Technology marketing entrepreneur and writer, with a background in Internet technologies, product management and the web.
Technology marketing entrepreneur and writer, with a background in Internet technologies, product management and the web.


I have a big favour to ask. If you're in tech and IT—whether that's a small startup or a big enterprise—please take ten minutes to complete this survey. I'm trying to understand the drivers and challenges of cloud adoption today.

Even if you're not in tech, I'd really appreciate you reposting this to your network or sending it to people who could answer it. I'll be publishing the results free of charge once I've finished the analysis.

Post has attachment
At last!

Post has attachment
Forget "mobile first." Try designing for interruption instead.

Mobile devices aren’t consumption devices, they’re prosthetic brains. And that means they need to tell us when they have useful information (interruption); and answer our questions (contextual search).

Saying “mobile first” is wrong. Too often, that just means “make this web page work on a tablet.” Just as web designers who simply took offline documents and rendered them in HTML missed the point of the Web, so mobile designers that simply make the web work on a phone miss the point of mobility.

Mobile isn’t the point. Interruption is. Stop worrying about taps, screens, or swipes. And start worrying about how to interrupt your users well.

Post has attachment
Big Data is this generation's civil rights issue. I came to this conclusion after a chat with some civil rights leaders in Atlanta a few weeks ago. These guys had marched for their rights in a different time, and understood what they'd fought for. But they didn't have the technical background to recognize the slippery slope on which we were slowly, inexorably sliding.

When bank managers tried to restrict loans to residents of certain areas (known as redlining) Congress stepped in to stop it (with the Fair Housing Act of 1968.) They were able to legislate against discrimination, making it illegal to change loan policy based on someone’s race.

But we’re not discriminating if we tailor things to you based on what we know about you—right? That’s just better service. Everywhere from tailored credit-card limits like this one to car insurance based on driver profiles, companies are making judgements and predictions based on what they know about you.

Big Data is a civil rights issue, but it’s one that society in general is ill-equipped to deal with.

Post has attachment
The Lean Startup model is all about customer development—making what you can sell, rather than selling what you can make. But how do you find out what you can sell? Simple: get out of the office.

While that sounds simple, the reality is many entrepreneurs don't know where to start. We're not inclined to physical interaction. The Web gives us hundreds of ways to interact at a safe distance, and this is a bad thing when you're trying to decide whether your idea has legs.

As part of Lean Analytics, Ben and I have been looking at some tricks for finding people to talk to. This seems blindingly obvious, but sometimes it's the stuff right under your nose that's most useful.

More details on the Lean Analytics blog.

Post has attachment
A couple of weeks ago, +Ben Yoskovitz and I launched the website for Lean Analytics, a book about using data to build a better business faster. 

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we're showing what that launch looked like. Since it's a book on analytics, we decided to track everything, and then explain what happened. We even compared how +Eric Ries , +Tim O'Reilly , +Julien Smith and +Avinash Kaushik compared to one another in terms of traffic and getting people to register.

If you're launching a startup and want to understand how to track your launch, this post pretty much spells it all out for you. It's a taste of some of the things we're working on for the book, which is due out early next year from O'Reilly Media.

(Oh, yes: we've put all this into a nice infographic, which you'll get if you sign up on the site.)

At this year’s Foo Camp, I had some really interesting conversations with people about economics. There’s a sense in the tech world that there is a genuinely new economy emerging, and we don’t know what it will wind up looking like.

There are plenty of reasons to feel this way:

- Crowdfunding and microfinance tools like Kiva and Indiegogo;
- The demise of long-reliable economic indicators like GDP;
- The liquidity of online transactions with trust and rating systems that facilitate barter and reduce the ability for central institutions (such as governments) to track traditional currencies;
- Our ability to easily track new currencies such as reputation, and to “bank” reputation for a while, even though these don’t register on traditional accountants’ balance sheets;
- A big decentralization of businesses, with the App and eBay workforces swelling to hundreds of thousands of people;
- Tools that reduce the friction of transactions, making it possible to pay for economic resources such as labor by the drink (Taskrabbit, Mechanical Turk, and so on.)

+Tim O'Reilly stacked the attendee list with disruptive startups and breakout success stories from Kickstarter, as well as smart economists and professors. This is the genius of Foo Camp: conversations happen because interesting people are getting scruffy and unkempt together.

After the event, I wrote up some of my thoughts in an attempt to define this shift in economic sentiment. But what to call it? Peer Economy? Hidden Economy? Post-industrial Economy? Everything seems cliché. Nevertheless, there’s something there.

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Preamble to a weekend of Foolishness.

Post has attachment
Some Sunday reading: The company we expect you to be.
Wait while more posts are being loaded