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Date: Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 19:13

It's been awhile since I blogged, but (early) New Year's Resolution is to do more of this and *much* more frequently.

I recently moved roles over at Cisco to the Chief Technology & Architecture Office, working for Dave Ward (Cisco's CTO & Chief Architect for Engineering) and with lots of great other folks who you'll hear about soon. I'm focused on driving new software solutions and offerings to market - from concept and initial architecture to delivery. We have some amazing things coming down the pipeline and more on that soon, I promise. I'll also be traveling a bit more speaking at events and discussing some of our roadmaps and what we see happening in the industry as a whole as we move increasingly into a virtualized world where new network architectures need to connect to and drive business outcomes via new technologies (and yes, lots of software in there). 

Tomorrow we're hosting the Annual Technology Trends & Predictions Event, which will go into what we expect to see in 2014 for not just Cisco but the industry as a whole. It's my first public gig in my new role, and it will be a live broadcast event (via Cisco IPTV & WebEx). You can register here.

Dave & I will be speaking on the Future of Internet Architectures, including how open and programmable interfaces are not just a necessity but a must for today's infrastructure, and how services and APIs essentially *are* the new platform. We'll go into a few hints of what is coming down the pipeline, discuss Open Source, of course SDN & NfV and more, and what all of this means for customers, partners, developers - and even business users. That's all I'll disclose... for now. You'll have to attend in order to get the full scoop. :)

There's a great roster of speakers including Susie Wee (VP & CTO, Networked Experiences), Guido Jouret (VP & GM, Internet of Things) and Maciej Kranz (VP of the Corporate Technology Group) who will be walking through different aspects of multiple technologies, solutions and shifts we across the entire market as we move into 2014. Please use the Twitter hashtag #CiscoTechRadar when tweeting during the event as well - we'll have people responding and also ensure we answer questions post-event via that hashtag. 

It will be a great event, I promise you that. Typically this is just an analyst, press and investor event but this year we're opening it up for the public to attend too - make sure you register to attend, and get ready with some good questions - we want to talk about what's coming in 2014 and I expect you guys to step up with some great questions to ask us. Post event I'll be sure to recap it here and happy to answer any Q&A that didn't get a chance to be answered as well. 

Cheers, and look forward to seeing you all tomorrow!/LC

 

 

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Applications, Cisco, Community, Develope..."
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Date: Thursday, 16 Feb 2012 17:06

I've gotten a decent amount of pings over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and also directly about my Juniper.net account bouncing and why.

First: I apologize for that. I've reached out to folks at Juniper to add a re-direct in there for you so you'll be connected with the right folks moving forward.

Second: Yes, because you have asked and I have not yet answered most of you - I did decide to leave Juniper Networks and last Thursday was my last day.

Third: Yes, I do have a new opportunity I am heading to, but I have a few weeks before I start. The what, the where - none of that is relevant right now. Why? Because I'll pop up in a few weeks. And you'll hear about it then. It's an awesome gig, it's with a great team and there's a whole hell of a lot to do. And I'm psyched (understatement). But that's for another post.

When one makes a decision in their career sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's very difficult, and this for me was the latter simply put because of an amazing, passionate group of individuals I worked with at Juniper and the wonderful partners, developers, consultants, customers and individuals I had the joy of getting to know. Period. But when making decisions like this I've learned (and thank you Sheila for reminding me) that you need to take out the emotional and look at the facts of what you truly want to do. When I did that I saw a very clear path towards the decision that I made.

Ah, Juniper. What a freaking ride it's been. Our team (known as the Developer Business Unit or DBU) was a start-up, kick-ass little engine that could. In under one year, we joined the Eclipse Foundation, created the framework and model for new ways to look at networking through Programmability (because it's not just about a box anymore - it's about the magic that happens inside and exposing it through APIs and new software that drives value not only for businesses but for developers by giving them the tools to build more intelligent applications and services), getting the keynote and I think surprising the pants off of everyone at JavaOne ("What's a networking company doing at a Java developer show? Don't you just sell boxes?") and the beta of the Juniper Developer Network, which included a full application and code gallery (Diet Coke, Clif Bar, and Quaker Instant Oatmeal should have sponsored NagiP, the IT team and me for that one. But hey, if you hit the dates you promised people and knock numbers out of the park, sleep doesn't matter, right?).

What a year. Some of the most trying work I've done (if I ever have to explain to someone again why you build a community, you don't "launch" one . . .) but also some of the most rewarding. And definitely with a team that I'll never, ever forget and will continue to call my friends.

  • Eddie Amos, Jeet Kaul, and Mike Harding - the three headed monster (in a good way!) that continuously paved the way for things to get done from marketing and evangelism to engineering. I can tell you as someone that needed air-cover more than once in a while to get new things done, these guys did it. They are high on the get-it factor, they push the needle when it comes to execution, and lay it on the line for doing the right thing for the business. Looking back, I've learned a tremendous amount in just over a year working with these guys. And yes Jeet, I do remember and will be forever grateful for that night two weeks into my role at Juniper when I know you should have been home eating dinner with your family but you took the time to explain the intricacies of networking hardware to me. :)
  • The brilliant and always inspiring Hal Stern who I think finally has figured out that sometimes I didn't answer his calls because his thinking was just so over my head from a technical perspective that if he wrote it down in email I could at least Wikipedia it :)
  • Ivan Vojvodic, who was a great partner and colleague in driving multiple inroads and ventures with partners and development organizations.
  • The Junos and Space SDK teams: Saurabh, Connie, Bijou, Karthik, Usama, Brian, Parag, Pratik, Sunit, Sree, and the rest of the crew who do amazing work and I know will continue to build amazing things.
  • From the marketing side: Anna Griffin, Juniper's VP of Global Branding & Advertising, who has an amazing awareness and knowledge of brand and the right way to go about building a strong one, Barbara French who took the time to sit down and actually understand the goals of this "new" developer and software business and truly help us deliver from the analyst perspective, Adam Christensen, my buddy from IBM days and Juniper lead for Social, and of course, Brad Brooks who I wish I got to work with a bit longer and who brings loads of leadership and talent to the team (and although he'll never admit it and I'm not sure if he knows it, is usually one of the smartest guys in the room).
  • Lastly, Nagi Punyamurthula and Helen Sebhatu - countless hours spent on website coding, events, partner strategies and evangelism, building new programs and who I could count on for anything and everything when we were building JDN and multiple different programs - you guys are the best. Period. 

I don't give compliments that often to folks - maybe it got knocked out of me at MSFT or maybe I'm just not that good at it - but when I do, I mean them. That said, the DBU team is hands-down some of the best folks I've ever had the joy of working with, and I wish them and Juniper the best.

Signing off for now./LC

Email: laurencooney@gmail.com/Twitter: @lcooney

 

 

 

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Juniper, Web/Tech"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011 15:10

When I was offered my role at Juniper to take on the new developer initiative, I was ecstatic at the possibilities it offered me.  The businesses I like to work for and work with have dynamic people, great products, and disruptive ideas. Juniper offered me the opportunity to lead one of these disruptive ideas, The Juniper Developer Network (JDN), and as you all know by now, I jumped at it. :)

Today, I'd like to talk about the beta version of JDN, why we have it, and why it's so important to the bigger picture of how the networking paradigm is shifting - and why it's time to join the revolution developing with the Junos Developer Platform.

What JDN Offers:

JDN is a robust technical community (we have over 500 development organizations involved) for developers wanting to build new networking applications with Junos and the Junos Space SDK. We offer:

  • Products: Get the Junos and Junos Space SDKs. Our APIs give you the ability to build innovative applications for your network, so check them out. With the Junos Space SDK, we're development language agnostic - you can use Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, .NET, and more to develop with our RESTful APIs. A huge plus.
  • A Network Application Gallery: From management and monitoring to performance and more, we have the network applications you need to be successful. Or, if you have applications you'd like to sell, we've got an easy upload component for you to get your application or service listed in the App Gallery.
  • Code & APIs: We’ve got great code and components to dive into and download for use in your applications.
  • Training: Check out our learning resources for information on training, case studies, and more.
  • Community & Development Partners: We’re working with the best of the best when it comes to partnering with great development organizations, consultants, and community partners. Check out the resources they have to offer you.
  • Direct help from Experts to get started building your Application. Simply email us at helpmebuildmyapp@juniper.net and we'll get back to you on ideas, technical questions, and more.

What JDN offers doesn't end there. Not only is it products and educational material for folks building applications, but we have The Junos Marketplace  so developers that have built great applications with our SDKs now have the ability to post these to get extra publicity, including access to new customers, Juniper partners and customers, and potential revenue from selling these applications. Right now we have what is called a "try-and-buy" where you can go to the Gallery to get access to trial versions of the applications you're interested in, and if you like them, work with either us or the developer who built them to purchase. Longer term, we will be implementing a commerce component to sell these applications and services directly from the site. We know getting new customers is important, and to do this you need more visibility for your applications and services. With the Application Gallery, we're here to provide that for you.

With JDN & new technologies, we're making development easier and your solutions smarter. In addition in our Technologies section we talk about some of the new things we're working on to make our network systems smarter, such as protocols like OpenFlow and ALTO. Although as developers you don't need to fully understand these to utilize them  (we're working on building these into our routers and switches  so it "just works" for you) what they do is make applications run faster and take better paths through the network for optimal delivery of your applications. It also allows for new insertion points to happen in the network for revenue generating services. We call this "Programmable Networks" as essentially it allows you to program from the software level how your networks work, run, scale, and more. It allows innovation to happen bi-directionally with the network informing your applications and vice-versa - your applications delivering information into the network for better solutions all around.  

With Programmable Networks, smarter Juniper systems enable better software apps and services because of better data to use in applications (through our Junos and Junos Space APIs), faster ways for your applications to get through the network and to the end-users, and better customer and subscriber experiences - along with more potential to create revenue generating services.

At the end of the day, our #1 job is to help make developers, partners, academia, enterprises, service providers, and ISVs successful whether they are building applications to use in their own environments, building applications to sell and promote, or want a network solution for their needs from our App Gallery.

Now this is beta. There are a few kinks we are working out. Because of certain IP restrictions, it takes a sign-up to get our products (which are free). We're working internally to minimize this. I like products to be free and easy to access, so know that we are working on making this a reality.  There are a few other minor things we are working on as well, which you'll see on the site.

What we would really *love* is your feedback. We're not "launching" a community here, we're building one. And to build it the right way we need your input on what you'd like to see on the site, improvements we can make, and more. We'll roll into GA in 2012 but to do this the right way let us know what you'd like to see. You can either ping me directly or send email to developer@juniper.net. This is going to be your site - and we want your help to build it right.

The networking paradigm is shifting quickly and there's a revolution about to start with network software development. The Junos Developer Platform and JDN give you the tools and products to be ahead of the curve and start innovating now. 

Find out more and join today: www.junosdeveloper.net or http://developer.juniper.net

Enjoy!

/LC

JDNRegisterNow

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 16:19

You hear the word network and application together more and more frequently today. Why? Because you actually can build applications more easily than ever using tools that are developer and network friendly and utilize tools you already know how to use (ie: Eclipse IDE).

Historically there's been a divide. But the network and applications need to work together.

FerretingInfo

The good news? The divide between IT and Developer is getting smaller and smaller - you can now access the network through a series of APIs and an orchestration layer that make it easier to build and scale applications specific to your network. The two need to work together to be successful. We're making this happen today through what we call "Programmability," which enables developer access to data trapped in the network - without frustrating the network engineers who have to deal with the network intricacies (which is *not* an easy task). Essentially we're making it simple for developers to access this network data without mucking up the network.

MakingItHappen

Now, let's dive into an example.

Junos Space SDK is a toolkit for developers to build and deploy applications across their network. Easy enough. But what we're finding is that it's not taking months to build these applications anymore - it's taking a couple weeks. And these applications are pretty complex. By utilizing RESTful web services & APIs, developers are building faster and smarter apps - smarter because the application is able to access data from the network.

Here's a great example of one of our partners, Firemon, and what they've done with the Space SDK. Firemon has almost finished their security application that enables visibility for security breaches across the (your) entire network. It allows network security managers to see how attacks propagate through the network and show them where to stop attacks at the perimeter. Check it out here:

 

 

We have lots of amazing appplications that have been built with Junos Space SDK, and soon you'll see more of them.

If you'd like to start building or get our help doing so, just reach out to us at helpmebuildmyapp@juniper.net - we've got a slew of experts ready to help you start developing.

For more information as always, ping me direct (lcooney@juniper.net). I'd love to hear questions, feedback, and more.

/LC

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Applications, Juniper, Web/Tech, applica..."
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Oct 2011 16:17

Juniper = Networking, right? Well, that's not quite true anymore.

Juniper still offers lots of great networking equipment, but we've also been growing our software offerings for the past few years (albeit a bit quietly) and this year at JavaOne we really wanted to showcase what we're doing.

No longer does Juniper only = Networking, but Juniper also = better web applications for developers.

We call this "programmable networking" but I think of it more as intelligent development with a self-adjusting network to make your apps work/run better & faster and include more data that can provide your end-users with better experiences. Long-winded, but that's essentially what it means (no lingo there folks).

Why does this matter for you as a developer and how are we doing this?

Current situation:

  • IT is transforming as technologies are increasingly moving to the cloud
  • If you sit in IT, it's no longer just "good enough" to add value by saving money and optimizing equipment - you have to add value to your company.
  • Good information is often stuck in silos - organizational and technology silos. From databases to networking boxes, good data is tough to get.
  • The current offerings of developer tools out there now aren't *great* to get this data - cludgy, clunky, and hard to use.
  • The pressure of changes to systems or applications to be built in days instead of weeks or months.

Juniper's vision for a programmable network is changing this. Let me explain how this applies to application developers:

  • Juniper is essentially unlocking the network (black box) for developers to utilize data in their applications. This means better data. More real-time information. And better performance and end-user experience for applications (ie: faster, more personalized apps).
  • We're decoupling software from systems - so you can go do what you want with previously unavailable data.
  • With the IT situation outlined above, the goal is to make everything programmable - for developers to alter, utilize, build, export, etc - simply. RESTful APIs. New Protocols. And more intelligent tools that you actually already know how to use (ie: Eclipse IDE).
  • We have a few tools, the Junos Space SDK and the Junos SDK - that offer APIs into these network elements for the data to be pulled out and utilized in your applications. 
  • We're working with new protocols and standards to help drive programmability not only into the networking boxes but also into your applications. For example:
    • Applications that are aware of the network:  you can now utilize previously unavailable data from the network when building apps. You can now use code to make the network adapt to what you need for your app.
    • Networks that are aware of applications: Which path is the best for your app to go through the network to reach your end-user faster? How to do you load-balance traffic to make this happen? We're working on technologies that make this happen real time and with LOTS less work. Coding to use network value natively inside of applications.

Bottom line? You can now build what you want, with you want. With great tools. Potential has been fully unlocked. You have the keys to make better, more intelligent, and faster apps. Creativity is up to you.

For more details, check out our Slideshare account on how we're making this a reality.

We'd love feedback on what we're doing. What else can we do? How can we better help you build your applications?

You can always reach me at lcooney@juniper.net - and for more info, follow us at @junosdeveloper for updated information on this.

Oh, and PS: We have something BIG coming in November. You'll have to wait to find out about that, but let's just say it ties LOTS of this together :)

/LC

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Applications, Juniper, Web/Tech, apis, d..."
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Date: Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 17:19

As promised, more information on what we're doing at JavaOne!

As most of you know, the divide between developers and their ability access the network (or even want to, for that fact) has been a major problem for a long, long time. To me at least (coming from the software side) the network is just this big box that either is up or down, and if it's down I'm frustrated, if it's running I don't even think about it. But there's actually a lot of information in there that's relevant to developers - and it actually can be used if  it is unlocked in a simple enough way to use the network data in web applications and services.

Well, Juniper provides that key to unlock the box. You're going to learn lots more about the ways this can be done at JavaOne (types of APIs we offer, ways to actually get more visibility into your network through new technologies, make your apps run faster, more efficiently, and include better data - and how to apply this to your apps - today). This will actually be part of the focus of the keynote we're giving on Tuesday at 8:30am. More to come on this very soon.

In the meantime though, here's a quick list of sessions that some of our folks are doing that will be discussing these topics:

  • Hal Stern, VP & Chief Troublemaker (I mean Architect) will be presenting on "Networks as Information Factories"  on Wednesday, 11:30 AM, Hilton San Francisco - Plaza A/B. You'll get some great detail on Cloud Computing, Big Data, and how you can utilize more intelligent information on these things to create better solutions.
  • James Kelly, one of our top network engineers (and probably the coolest guy you'll meet at the show) will be discussing open innovation in networking software and how to use APIs from the network to build new services and applications. His session is: Tuesday, 01:30 PM, Hotel Nikko - Carmel I/II

Any questions on what we're up to (because it doesn't stop after JavaOne!) or interviews, ping me direct as well and I'll connect you to the right folks at Juniper so we can meet. There's lots more  coming... so stay tuned. 

Looking forward!/LC

 

 

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Applications, Juniper, Web/Tech, APIs, d..."
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Date: Thursday, 22 Sep 2011 15:33

Folks, it's that time of year again... gearing up and getting ready for JavaOne 2011, which will be in San Francisco from October 2-6th. Juniper is a top sponsor this year and you'll be hearing many things from us at the show that will likely be new to you - especially on the developer front (www.juniper.net/developer  for more details!)

At Juniper, we've been busy working on some great things for developers - and over the next few weeks and months you're going to start hearing a lot more what this is about. Think about accessing network data without having to understand the intricacies of the plumbing associated with it. Access to new APIs and protocols that will unlock intelligent data that you can use in applications, services and more. It's a new era in networking - and it's going to be awesome.

To kick things off the right way, we'd like to extend an offer to folks to get a free Discovery Pass for Javaone this year. It gives you access to sponsored  sessions, keynotes, booths & pavillion areas, and more!

It's simple:

  • Go to Twitter and follow us @junosdeveloper (www.twitter.com/junosdeveloper)
  • Retweet that you followed us and got a free JavaOne pass with your name and email address, tagged with #JuniperJavaOne (something like: "Free JavaOne passes @junosdeveloper! Follow them and RT this and get one too! lcooney@juniper.net #JuniperJavaOne" )
  • Be sure to include your name & email address with the tweet
  • Within 24 hours you'll have a Discovery Pass access code in your email inbox!

We have 500 passes to give away - so first come, first serve.

And once you're at the show - be sure to catch up! It's been awhile since I've been back at JavaOne and I've definitely missed it!

For more details, check out:

http://www.oracle.com/javaone/network/face-to-face/partners/juniper-networks/index.html

Cheers/LC

PS: For Juniper employees, we have a limited number of passes as well - please contact us directly as you are not eligible (sorry!)

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Wednesday, 22 Dec 2010 17:12

Today is my last day at Microsoft.

It's truly been an amazing ride. I joined Microsoft in 2008 to lead the Web Platform & Standards team...  and what an experience it has been. Looking back at what we accomplished, we really built a strong foundation for so many things at Microsoft. We built the Microsoft Web Platform, our first web platform that allowed for a one-click installation of all the web development products at Microsoft. We created and launched the Windows Web Application Gallery which included community applications such as DotNetNuke, Drupal, and more for developers wanting to jump-start their web experience. We furthered the relationship and got more internal support for PHP (huge win!). I got to work with the Open Source team on building Microsoft's first open source foundation, CodePlex (now Outercurve). I worked with brilliant teams to help launch BizSpark and WebsiteSpark. I got to lead efforts around the web keynotes at MIX. Oh - and I spent my first of many all-nighters driving launches with amazing engineering teams. You don't know how to truly launch a product until you're taking calls until 3 and 4am in the morning in order to go out the door with a new product at 6am that same day :)

But all rides must come to an end.

I received and accepted an offer last week to work at Juniper Networks as their Director of Community Evangelism. It was a role that was too good to pass up. Looking back at what I truly have passion for, it's really forging that new road - doing things that are brand new, creating that path, pushing the norm, and getting companies on board to move in new directions. Not only is Juniper a stellar and very impressive company, but the role is something I had only dreamed about. After ten years working in the developer community space, I now have the opportunity to really craft and build the vision, the infrastructure, and deliver on building out a brand new space for developers to connect, develop, and learn more about the products and solutions that we offer. Oh, and there's much more coming that I can talk about later in January after I start.

In addition, I get to work with a super smart team to drive this. During the interview process I was just blown away by the folks I met - so much passion, drive, and vision for the solutions and the product. I looked at a variety of roles in different industries, but this job really impressed me. I thought I'd be lucky to get the job. Then I got it - and accepted that day :)

Oh - and there's more! After almost 3 years in Seattle, I made the decision that it's time for me to be home - or what I now consider home - back in the San Francisco Bay Area. My boyfriend and I will be moving back down at the end of December and residing in Marin. Before I moved, I really took the Bay Area for granted. This opportunity at Juniper has allowed me to head back there. It will be GREAT seeing the old crew again and hitting up all the new tech and networking events. I've really missed them!

But back to Microsoft...

Microsoft has a stellar team and I have no doubt in my mind that they'll continue to move in the right direction around their web strategy. I'd like to thank so many people there for inspiring and educating me - those people who are still there, and a few of those that have recently left - - Brian Goldfarb, Guillaume Roques, Brad Becker, Zubair Murtaza, Steven Sklepowich, Michael Bach, Mark Brown, Laurence Moroney, Sheila Gulati (who hired me!), Janie Schwark, Adam Seligman, Eddie Amos, Dan'l Lewin, Matt Thompson, Neil Leslie, Turi Windsteen, Sam Ramji, Robert Duffner, Peter Galli, Grace Francisco, Eric King, James Senior, Daryll McDade, Brandon Watson, Michael Joffe, David Lowe, Scott Guthrie, Bill Staples, Mai-lan Tomsen-Bukovic, Cyra Richardson, Crystal Hoyer, Emilio-Salvador Prieto, Mitra Azizirad, Walid Abu-Hadba, Anil Reddy, Julia Tubino, Karl Noakes, Chris Wilson, Bradley Millington, and many, many more.

What a ride it's been - and I can't wait to start my next adventure!

In the meantime, you can reach me at laurencooney@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @lcooney (I'm sure you'll be hearing plenty about that 14 hour drive we're embarking on shortly!).

Happy Holidays!

/LC

 

**Update: for some reason hyperlinks aren't working on Typepad, please see www.microsoft.com/web and www.juniper.net for correct links**

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "ASP.NET, Community, Microsoft, Open Sour..."
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Date: Friday, 12 Nov 2010 02:13

A fellow social media "junkie" and I were chatting yesterday about different ways to look at the ROI of Social Media. Traditionally companies have looked at ROI very differently - for example, how much is invested in a campaign, or the promotion of an event - and then how many resulting downloads were achieved or number of people that attended an event. It was pretty cut and dry - very simple and to the point. Given the advancement of technology over the past five years and the introduction of true social media platforms, the concept of ROI has drastically changed, mostly due to the new (and improved!) ways that companies can reach potential users, build new communities, and drive revenue to their products.

Social Media and Community also affect brand awareness, recognition, and publicity of your product/service. This is probably another blog entry as I just want to focus on concrete reporting for this discussion.

As someone involved in social media and interactive marketing, this is a challenge that I face every day. At the beginning of the year, I set the goals for my business - how many people will download X product, how much new revenue can we bring in across Y platform, or how many people will join Z community to help us build out our user base. And then of course there's usually some sort of percentage increase I need to hit along the lines of market penetration or share of a certain market. Just to make it fun. From there I need to build out my plan and sell it to executive management - showing them that I will pay for a number of different services or campaigns that will *ensure* we hit these numbers. And then? I can spend. It's a difficult process - so I wanted to break down some of the ways I look at ROI and the methods I use to reach customers - and hopefully this will help you.

Here are some tracking methods and best practices for social marketing that may be helpful when measuring your return-on-investment:

(A) Community Metrics:

It's never an easy task to create a series of metrics that deliver on what ROI is here, but some ways that I look at how to measure success are the following:

- To start: How many current users do you have? What is your goal for the year?

- Measuring month over month increase, including repeat users and new users (separate these into 2 buckets, it's the only way to clearly distinguish increased number of community members). You can break out quarterly results easily as well, and alter methods you are reaching people given success/failure with current methods.

- What does your traffic look like? How long do users stay on your site? What number of page visits are you looking at compared to number of pages looked at during each visit (you can tailor content based on this information as well).

- Users. How active are your current users? Do they reach out to other possible new users to bring them into the community? (Tracking community member's blogs is an easy way to do this, you can get estimates of this number). Also, offer community members incentives for bringing in new users: a discount on a certain product or a month free of a certain service if they bring in X amount of users is very helpful.

- The pull method. How are you bringing users to your site? Advertising? Facebook pages? Twitter? Emails from your field marketing team to potential users? Partner and Channel outreach programs? How much are you spending on this and (assuming you are tracking links) what is the increase you're looking at month over month for each method? How many dollars are you spending on each method? Recommend giving each outlet a different tracking link to see how successful each one is.

- Tracking & Reporting. Use something like WebTrends to track (this is the service that most companies use) but there are other services out there that track users as well - Mint is a good service, and there are quite a few others.

- SEO. Look at SEO as an indicator for success - have you optimized your site? When you do, is there an increase of visitors based on this that are coming from Google or Bing? Get rid of those 404 errors as well - they make users leave the sites immediately.

- Finally, downloads. How many product downloads did you get? Do you see an increase to these month over month as you focus on community? How about purchases? This will be critical to track.

These metrics obviously depend on if you have users officially sign up for your community or if you just track them via how much they use your community resources. Historically I'm not a fan of having people register until they sign up for a trial or a download. I usually estimate a 50% drop-off rate by forcing registration unless there is a clear offer or incentive for them if they register. Recognizing them as active users by an icon or something similar is a nice to have, but more and more this is not enough as other community sites are offering incentives for participation.

(B) Social Media Metrics

Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Digg? What do you use to reach out to users socially and how do you measure this?  

- Running a Facebook campaign. There are a number of ways to do this. You can create a page on Facebook for your product/service. From there, you can track monthly users, how many people have liked your page, comments, and weekly visits. They'll even send you a nice report each week that summarizes your efforts here. Recommendation: Keep updating the content. No one likes a stale page. Provide incentives like discounts on products/services to keep folks coming back.

- Twitter. Period. Regardless of how people judge Twitter (many people think it's just an awareness engine) it can be used to boost your brand and your revenue. Look at Dell for example. Twitter drove over $3 million in revenue. And you can't beat those results. They provide special deals and coupons only through Twitter to their followers. You can track these results as well. Optify has a great set of tools that can help with this, as well as other social media tracking. comScore is also a good resource to consider.

- Integrating Facebook and Twitter into your web properties. This is relatively easy to do and you can track how well it works by most likely using the reporting you already have on your website. Integrate Facebook and Twitter buttons on the top of your site, but also integrate these directly into your site - have a relevant Twitter feed for anyone that tags (#) your product/service, or have people directly "like" your product on your site through Facebook. For examples check out Starbucks or Levis. These guys know how to do it right. They bring the user right to the site, and allow them to participate in the site through social media.

- Ad buys. Some companies use large campaign and advertising companies for this effort purely due to scale, and if you're a large enterprise, it may make sense. But if you're a SME, consider experimenting on your own. You can buy sponsored Trending Topics and Tweets on Twitter now. From the research I've done, you pay a lump sum for this, but you can easily track how successful you are. Facebook ads are extremely cheap compared to other ads as well, and you can always use Adsense or AdCenter to round out your campaigns. Note that all these efforts will give you direct results that you can report. I always recommend piloting first to see which engines you want to use.  On average you're looking at approximately $5 per thousand views on Facebook, and about $15 or so for the same on Bing or Google.

- Blogs. You can't forget this. Use your internal channels, your community, and other loyalists to help with the outreach. Peer to peer recommendations are always more relevant and seem to be more honest than direct marketing from your company. Give folks different tracking links. See how internal blogs do versus external blogs.

- Social Tracking Tools. Other tools you can use to track success are Google Alerts (which I am a big fan of when looking at the products my team is managing and bringing to market) and HowSociable.com - which gives you a great idea of how well you are doing across several social media sites.

- Look global, but think local. Make sure your international sites are using these techniques. Create best practices for them to use, package them up and deliver a webcast on how you're implementing these. Know that the international teams may need to tweak these efforts due to cultural differences. Ask them to track and report back to you on a monthly basis so you're standardizing on one scorecard. Sometimes creating a contest or something like this can be helpful here - or mapping your efforts to the immediate sales goals each subsidiary needs to achieve for the year works as well.

- Direct Correlation. Over a period of time (I use month over month for executive level reporting) how many downloads or purchases did this lead to? Directly correlate dollars spent with the goal you want to achieve. If you're successful in technique and seeing an increase but didn't hit that goal, it doesn't mean failure necessarily - but it may mean you need to invest more dollars to get to that expected result - or you may be overestimating your market and need to tweak these efforts based on what is working the best.

All of these are trackable and provide direct results that you can show to your management - and will help you map to your ROI.

 

A few other things to consider as well - you will be looking for quantitative data much more than qualitative. When I've worked with executives across the numerous companies, we're not looking for fluff, we're looking for hard numbers that can really show success. Where estimates are nice to have, you need to look at the numbers. I always look at my dollar numbers invested and the results that I get from them. That's the bottom line.

Hopefully this is helpful as you look at how you measure the success of your business. Feedback and other ideas welcome, as this is an ever-evolving process.

/LC

 

*Note: this is my personal analysis and research of how I collect or would collect data, and is not a reflection on how Microsoft or IBM (companies that I work for or previously worked for) use data collection or analyze success.

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Community, Marketing, Web 2.0, Web/Tech"
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Date: Saturday, 30 Oct 2010 17:05

Classic. Everyone qualifies! :)

 

Dilbert.com

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Digital Marketing, For Fun, Web 2.0"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Oct 2010 02:21

Over the past few weeks I've been digging into a plethora of new digital marketing and social media tools. No longer can we look at a "Share this on Facebook/Twitter" button on a web page and think we're really going social - with the new tools and technologies out there we're not. Digital and Social Marketing has grown exponentially in the past few years, and even as I look back at some of my posts on Web 2.0 (From my "Why do I Twitter" post in 2008 to my Web 2.0 Predictions post) newly available technologies have really pushed social and digital to a new level.

When I was working with Anant Jhingran over at IBM in Information Management, one of the things we constantly thought about was how the Semantic Web and Web 3.0 were going to affect the social, digital, and development landscape. Surprisingly enough, this was in 2007 and now these practices and principles are now just coming to fruition. Not only are these ideas moving to the forefront - they are being applied and utilized - and not only by software developers - the end users are largely not technical.

Right now, I'm seeing a few trends from smaller companies in this area - most likely soon to be adopted by larger ones - that embrace these technologies & practices.

In no particular order:

(1) Using new web technologies, companies can now create very detailed SEO and SEM strategies specifically tailored to customers. Why is this important or different than how it's done now? Because this can now be implemented much more quickly than individuals or firms doing this with people. It's automated (with some companies even using artificial intelligence) and it takes away the guess-work. Right now it can take months for an agency or  individuals to establish a plan and execute this across websites and through campaigns. With these new technologies, it will take a matter of weeks and will be able to scale better than before. Think webmaster and SEO tools on steroids - and  automated. Plus it costs less, and we love economies of scale.

(2) No more guess-work needed. Reach out to potential customers when *they* want to hear from you. So many of us have been on the tail-end of this - and it's painful. You're driving a campaign, trying to get leads by getting folks to download a product, then attempting to figure out when it's best to contact those leads after you *think* they've experimented with the trial version enough. Or using social media to reach customers - when is the best time to tweet, Facebook, or blog about a launch, update, or product feature? Yes, we can take educated guesses or use basic analytic engines to figure out the timing estimates here, but that's still heavy-lifting and lots of experimentation. Right now I'm seeing companies focus down on how to actually figure out when is the right time to reach out to customers - using a mix of technologies and analytics engines. Right now some agencies have built scrapped together tools that do this, but we'll be seeing much more "do-it-yourself" tools and larger companies embracing these technologies moving forward.

(3) Your information will be out there, whether you like it or not - and companies will be utilizing it to market to you. You've probably been following the privacy debate for awhile now, but last week it hit new levels as it was unmasked that Facebook applications (and their companies) had been collecting user data - breaking Facebook policies. Now Facebook has pretty good principles around privacy, but some companies are in business purely to get information about you - and sell it. Rapleaf, for example, is one of these. Om Malik did a great write-up last week on this, focusing on how these firms work. Rapleaf's CEO Auren Hoffman has addressed this concern, and focuses on how the company is providing a safe environment for consumers (while still collecting data and creating user profiles based on this). Just to be transparent, I do know Auren and I think he's got a great thing going here - Rapleaf is a smart company in a market where there's a lot of demand for user data. Do I think it's right? Not necessarily, but it is business.

What are some of the caveats of these trends you might ask? I'm still a bit skeptical on how well these technologies work - and if they're stable enough to scale across large enterprise organizations. And regarding privacy? If the government decides to put some restrictions on it, things will possibly change, but that said, it *is* the internet and how can government actually control that? Haven't they tried this before? There's also been some good discussions on how companies must balance old marketing practices with the new ones - which I think most enterprise companies are doing now.

 Regardless, Web 3.0 and the semantic web are affecting the way we do social and digital marketing in a way that Web 2.0 didn't. And it's time to embrace these changes or be left behind.

/LC

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Community, Marketing, Web 2.0, Web/Tech"
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Date: Friday, 15 Oct 2010 19:16

Some interesting tidbits I picked up this past week around digital marketing statistics and trends. Interesting to watch this market really pick up, especially over the past 2 years.

Links for Today:

Search is Still the King of Online Ads : Q2 Ad Revenues are up 13.9% over 2009 - to 6.19 Billion. Search still leads, but Google is betting on in its display market to go big soon, although there's been little growth in this area. And the kicker? Lead-gen is drying up (FINALLY).

AppNexus: A Good Company to Watch: Advertising on-demand. A very interesting business model and one I believe we'll be seeing more of as this market continues to grow.

Changing Customer Behavior Through Facebook? A short read from HBR, but interesting to see how companies are driving positive customer perception through Facebook.

 

 

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Nov 2009 20:38

After dealing with some major blog issues, moving to Microsoft Live Writer, and then realizing Twitter and doing short postings is really "where it is" - I have moved my blog over to Tumblr.

You can find me now over here: http://lcooney.tumblr.com/

All the same great content, updated more frequently, with some cool new functionalities (Twitter and FB integration, as well as better video and picture qualities). Plus it just looks nicer :)

I look forward to you following me here! http://lcooney.tumblr.com/

Cheers - /LC

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Wednesday, 03 Jun 2009 16:00

There are 3 things I’m truly passionate about: technology, developers and users, and simplicity of products and solutions. Today we’re announcing something that falls into all 3 categories – and I’m very excited.

The IIS SEO Toolkit (beta) is a collection of free, easy to use tools that help you improve your website’s relevance in search results – by recommending how to make them more search friendly. You can download it via the Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 Beta.

Essentially, there are 3 tools that make up the IIS SEO Toolkit - Site Analysis, which suggests changes that can help improve the volume and quality of traffic to your Web site from search engines; Robots Exclusion, which makes it easier to control and restrict the content that search engines index and display; and Sitemaps and Site Indexes, which can help inform search engines about locations that are available for indexing.

SEO should not be hard. It’s not meant to be rocket science – but frankly, it’s more difficult than we think. I’ve read various different tutorials and articles and it gets really frustrating for me, as a lightweight developer, to figure out the best way to improve my search rankings on Google. (yeah, I said it – so there :) ). This toolkit fills the gaps for me – someone with my skill set can just plug my URL into the tool and poof! - -  I get reporting on various links, info on page load time, info on user routes, and lots more. And it works for any website – not just sites built with Microsoft products. For example Digg could use this to see how well their website is search engine optimized. Just run it and go.

The IIS SEO Toolkit is great for you if you want to -

•Optimize the content and structure of URLs and your site content for search engines

•Drill down into how to optimize the Web sites tagging, links and other site structure

•Make all pages on my site easily discoverable by search engines

•Check to see if all pages on your site load correctly and don’t break when I make a change

Essentially, the SEO Toolkit provides assistance with 2 areas when looking to improve your website:

(1) Site Intelligence

•Reporting and error identification for broken/invalid links, duplicate content, tag validation, etc.

•Visibility into user routes, referring pages and other patterns

•Drilldown into page resource usage and load time

(2) Search Relevance

•Best practice rules for optimizing URL structure for search engines

•Automatic generation of search engine support files

 

It’s a great product – and we’re really excited about this. This is part of our larger effort over here on the Microsoft Web Platform team to make great products that help developers and users build amazing and successful web solutions. This is the first of MUCH more to come over here – so stay tuned./LC

 

*BTW: Follow us here on Twitter… *

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Thursday, 14 May 2009 01:14

I love this term. Yes, it tends to be overused and sometimes misused, but essentially for me, it means one thing: doing what’s best for developer communities. I’m not talking just about the Microsoft developer community, but the community as a whole – all developers with lots of different programming backgrounds – from HTML and CCS to PHP, ASP.NET to Java – and more. And usually I find that if we can do what’s right for the community, it’s a win-win for both organizations and communities out there.

At Microsoft I find it’s sometimes a mixed bag. The terminology that I use is that we’re a huge ship – and it takes awhile to get people in line to move that ship in the right direction. Cal Evans outlined this beautifully in a blog entry recently – and I think he gives a fair assessment of where we’re at and some of the things we could do to improve. 

That said, our teams that are driving the Microsoft Web Platform are really working to nail this. We started out with a vision – a very simple statement with lots of work that goes on behind the scenes.

 

image

 

It’s been 10 months since we kicked off this effort, but we have seen some amazing results to date, including:

- The introduction of the Web Platform Installer (WebPI), which streamlines the download/install process of our web stack (no more 10 websites to visit – only one!)

- The delivery of the Windows Web Application Gallery with the most popular open source applications out there – for installation on top of the Microsoft Web Platform (no more configuration pain!) – and, if you have an application you’d like to showcase – we’ll do it – marketing & distribution included :)

- The inclusion of PHP into the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (we do listen, I promise)

And the community is responding – we’ve had over 1.5 million downloads of our products through the WebPI since January of this year (!!) and almost 150,000 applications from the Windows Web Application Gallery downloaded since March 17th.

But let me get to the point that I’m trying to make here about the success of what we’ve done:

With greater success comes greater responsibility. And we want to deliver to you a better, more interoperable community-driven platform going forward.

What does this mean? Well, for starters it means that we’re going to be looking into the broader community to create guidance around certain things – such as OpenID (yes Chris Messina, we’re getting there) and other standards-based efforts. We’re also going to be continuing to work closely with the PHP community on different things we could do better for PHP developers working on Windows. We also want to include various tooling options that help developers build web projects faster and better – even if these don’t come from our own engineering teams.

That said though, as my team embarks on planning out our next steps – we need your help. What do you want to see? How would you like to participate?

Some of the things we’re looking for specifically are:

- Feedback on the WebPI: What’s missing? What would you like to see included?

- Feedback on the Windows Web App Gallery: What apps would you like to see? Could we improve this experience?

- On the Microsoft Web Platform as a whole: how can we make this better? What products do you want to see better integrated? We’re planning on integrating more with Azure, but are there other products out there we could provide guidance for and/or include?

- Guidance: What tutorials would you like to see?

So the action item here? Let us know what you want to see. We’ve been pushing hard to make this happen internally at Microsoft, but the community feedback is absolutely critical for us to take the next steps to make this a true community platform.

So on that note – you know how to get a hold of me – lcooney@microsoft.com or www.twitter.com/lcooney – or even better, let’s discuss here on my blog. We’re open for business. /LC

 

Community for Communities_photo_blog

(photo credit: Jim Grisanzio, Sun Microsystems) http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimgris/542408040/

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Community, Microsoft, Open Source, Web 2..."
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Date: Monday, 11 May 2009 18:19

As you may have seen, we’ve decided to have a little fun over here at MS lately – doing a bit of a spoof on Magnum, PI. If you haven’t figured this out – WebPI (Web Platform Installer) = Magnum, PI = Cannon, PI. We like word plays over here, when we can get away with it :)

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You see, Cannon PI, our title character, is a problem solver. He doesn’t use traditional methods or practices to solve problems, as you’ll see in future episodes (hint, watch this blog this week for another update). He’s dedicated to his job, his Ferrari, his hair, his women, his booze – and, well, helping people get the products and solutions they need to be successful. You also may catch a few people (ahem, Scott Guthrie and Soma) in this episode, and there *may* be a few additional cameos of other folks coming in the near future – so stay tuned.

In the meantime, enjoy – and, if you have other problems that you need Cannon, PI to solve, respond on this blog thread and we’ll see what he can do. After all, he is our hero. /LC

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Apr 2009 21:09

Last week I presented to Women@Microsoft, a group of about 100 or so women that hold monthly meetings down at the Microsoft campus in Silicon Valley. It was an awesome group, and I thought I’d post the presentation here.

As a side note – I got called from one of the General Managers at Microsoft to take this job almost based entirely on my blog and also on my twitter account… so you never know what can come from something as simple as building your own personal brand. :)

 

Brand-ology: Tips & Tricks on Branding Yourself from a Chick who Lives It!

Building your own personal brand used to be about a logo, or a tagline. Today it’s changed – now it’s about the picture you have posted on your Facebook account, or the Tweets you send via Twitter during your workday (and sometimes in your off-hours!). Can something this simple make you successful – personally and professionally? How do you build your own personal brand both internally and externally through these Web 2.0 communities? Thought you’d never start a blog? Well, time to think again.

Lauren Cooney will be discussing her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, in blogging, and also in building her internal and external brand at Microsoft. Come prepared for some great (and easy) tips you can use to build out your network, some laughable stories that you can learn from, and great takeaways and suggestions for building your own personal brand.

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Community, Microsoft, Web 2.0, Web/Tech"
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Date: Tuesday, 07 Apr 2009 04:11

This looks slightly scary, yet hypnotically magnificent. I am going to have to go track down a theater in Seattle to go see this for sure… In watching the trailer, it reminds me a bit of the surreal environment I lived in right after college - San Francisco in early 2000s – the parties, the madness, the money… and then the fall. Wait – or is this a premonition for what we WILL experience? You tell me…

I think this is a must-see for this weekend. Especially since I am expecting this.

Enjoy – and if any of you have seen this – I welcome comments/feedback! /LC

 

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“On the 40th anniversary of the Internet, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC tells the story of the effect it is having on our society as seen through the eyes of the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of, visionary Josh Harris. Award-winning director, Ondi Timoner (DIG!), documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade, to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives.”

Author: "Lauren Cooney" Tags: "Film, Web/Tech"
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Date: Sunday, 05 Apr 2009 03:45

On March 18th at MIX 09 we released ASP.NET MVC 1.0 which helps Web developers build Web applications that are easy to maintain, offer complete control over page markup as well as greater testability.

Building on that release we announced on April 1st that we are making the sources of ASP.NET MVC available under the OSI-approved open source Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL). The Ms-PL contains no platform restrictions and provides broad rights to modify and redistribute the source code. You can read the text of the Ms-PL at http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ms-pl.html. The source code for ASP.NET MVC 1.0 is now available under Ms-PL in a zip file on the ASP.NET MVC download page.

Here are links to some more informative blog posts on the Ms-PL release:
Scott Guthrie: ASP.NET MVC 1.0
Scott Hanselman: Microsoft ASP.NET MVC 1.0 is now Open Source MS-PL
Phil Haack: Open Source License For System.Web.Mvc
Miguel de Icaza: Microsoft releases ASP.NET under the MS-PL License

ASP.NET MVC is a part of the ASP.NET Web application framework. For more information:

How do you get it? Well, as you know from previous posts, our Web Platform Installer makes it quick and easy to install not only ASP.NET MVC but a host of other products you need to get started building your Web solutions. If you are already using ASP.NET MVC and and would like to educate others we even have an ASP.NET MVC Training Kit to give you a head start.

We hope that all Web developers, including the Open Source community, will be able to leverage our ASP.NET MVC offering to build cutting-edge Web solutions that benefit everyone.

And as always, feedback welcome./LC

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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Date: Saturday, 04 Apr 2009 22:34

After all the issues I encountered with Typepad a few weeks ago when we were launching the Windows Web App Gallery and Web Platform Installer, I’ve been trying a couple different types of software to figure out what is reliable, scalable, and easy to post to. Right now I’m in the process of trying to salvage this current blog (Tumblr is looking quite nice if that doesn’t happen) so a few folks suggested trying Windows Live Writer.

So far very easy to use, no delays in formatting, and seems like there are quite a few options for inserting pictures and such (below is a pic from Web 2.0 Expo of Brian Goldfarb and myself, taken by Terry Chay who FINALLY remembered me after a few chance meetings. :) ).

I tend to be a bit ADD about my blog, so hopefully this will get my writing more frequently and having less pain while doing so.  It also includes some cool funtionalities like maps, videos, tables, etc – that Typepad doesn’t.

So here’s the pic (note Brian is loving his “I <heart> Silverlight t-shirt like a CHAMP), and here’s also to another try at Typepad. Let’s see how this works… /LC

 

Web2Expo_Cooney_Goldfarb

Author: "Lauren Cooney"
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