Away for a week

Regular readers will know that I disappear once a year for about 9 days to go on the annual ski trip, I am heading off today to Charlotte Pass for a few days of skiing and R&R. However this year is a little different in many ways.

Firstly given my personal life changes it will be strange, but also having setup Inspecht I will now have to work a bit while away, and finally I have to study for my final PRINCE2 exam. Previously I have tried to keep work completely separated from the holiday but given I now work for myself I don’t have that luxury I also have to pay for the trip somehow.

So while I am away, be good, have fun and when I return I will get back into a regular posting schedule. You might also want to check out The Scoop podcast early next week as we recorded a follow on to Generation V.

Do you have a Knol?

A Knol is a unit of knowledge, well according to Google that is. Their new information source has been moved into public Beta. Basically Knol is sort of like Wikipedia but each entry is authored by a single individual who has complete editorial control. Google provides the following outline in the help:

So what subjects can I write on?

(Almost) anything you like. You pick the subject and write it the way you see fit. We don’t edit knols nor do we try to enforce any particular viewpoint – your knol should be written as you want it to be written. Of course, Knols are subject to Terms of Service and Content Policy to ensure a good experience for all users and compliance with applicable laws.

What if someone else has already written an article on that subject?

No problem, you can still write your own article. In fact, the Knol project is a forum for encouraging individual voices and perspectives on topics. As mentioned, no one else can edit your knol (unless you permit it) or mandate how you write about a topic. If you do a search on a topic, you may very well see more than one knol in the search results. Of course, people are free to disagree with you, to write their own knols, to post comments and ratings.

Can I collaborate with other authors?

Of course. For each knol you can choose to write on your own or collaborate with other authors.

An interesting experiment, as mentioned by Mashable is might just end up like Squidoo but it could also turn into something completely different. I could also see the format working internally to organisations for building content. Some organisationa have not yet got their minds around wiki’s allows anyone to edit, where a tool like Knol might be used as a stepping stone towards wikis.

Generation V podcast

Yesterday while I was in the middle of my PRINCE2 course I ducked outside (literally outside in the freezing Melbourne wind) for 30 minutes to participate in The Scoop podcast for MIS Australia hosted by Mark Jones. The topic Generation V, or generation virtual. I was a little uncertain what to expect as the fellow guests are in my mind fairly “heavy hitters”: Gartner VP Stephen Prentice; The Project Factory head of virtual worlds Gary Hayes; and Talent2 CIO recruitment specialist Paul Rush, oh yeah and me.

The podcast starts off with a discussion on virtual worlds but then moves into identity, reputation and trust, we then discuss some fo the impacts for enterprises and recruitment. The podcast ends with all four of us providing tips for CIOs listening to the podcast.

Yet another jobs site

I do wonder when enough is enough in the niche/regional job boards arena but I guess we are not there yet as Jobsreel seems to have completed a very soft launch. I say soft as I’m not really sure they have launched, they only have 1 job listed, and it’s one of their own.

They do have a twist to the whole job board thing, more video interviewing.

You create a video profile (resume) which is kept online for 12 weeks (hmmm not sure about that) and be available the recruiter or employer of the jobs you apply for. The second part is the ability for the recruiter/employer to ask applicants up to 5 questions which they have 30 seconds to respond.

If an employer wants to ‘interview’ you, this can also take place online using video.

Nice idea, but not sure it will take off.

Thoughts of Australia university graduates

At the beginning of July Graduate Careers Australia released a series of reports on what university graduates are thinking and how these thoughts match those of employers. The survey had 32,000 responses over a 9 week period in mid 2007.

The highlights of the report are available in the press release however I have reproduced some of the findings below.

Firstly graduates want what all generations have wanted “good training and development and interesting, challenging work”, also students are presenting to employers very well and indicate that they plan to remain in their ‘ideal’ job. However the question of if their graduate job was their ‘ideal’ job was not clearly answered, and I suspect not. Over 75% want a job the gives the work life balance over with a higher salary. A third of graduates said they would remain in their ‘ideal’ job for 5 or more years, while over 50% of employers felt graduates would leave within the first 3 years.

However there are also some differences in perception between the graduates and employers:-

  • ‘Opportunities for advancement’ was ranked first by employers, but fifth by students;
  • job security was ranked important by over 80 per cent of students, relative to just over 20 per cent of employers;
  • ‘Making a contribution to society’ was important to over 80 per cent of students compared with just under 50 per cent of employers believing this was important;
  • students were more willing to work additional unpaid hours to progress their careers than employers believed they would be;
  • company-paid training and development was clearly the most attractive non-cash benefit to students, followed by additional leave and performance-related bonuses

There are some other very interesting results in the survey. For example Generation Y was lower than both Generation X and Baby Boomers when is came to “Working for an ethically responsible, or
environmentally sound company”. Further employer and graduate expectations around benefits were slightly different. While both agreed that training and development was important, graduates rated superannuation as important, whereas employers felt this was the least attractive benefit they could offer. The least attractive non-cash benefit a mobile phone, and the least expected benefit was a car allowance.

The mobile phone item is interesting as the Microsoft sponsored survey I refered to last week had 48% of students wanting company paid for mobile or smart phones.

New job site for startups

Over the weekend I saw on Techcrunch that a new job site for startups in the US was launched, Startuply. There are a few of interesting things here. Firstly it is not really a new site more a re-launch of Jowba, secondly they have taken funding and support from Y Combinator, finally they have a very nice user interface making job search easy.

A few of the user interface features I liked:

  • Roll over job ads, no need to click on the ad to get a summary
  • Pictures from the company
  • Maps of the company locations
  • Company profile pages
  • Searching by funding, with maps
  • Searching by company size
  • Very simple job application process
  • Job widgets to allow companies to have jobs posted on their site

While not all of the features are suitable for all types of job boards and some are just “neat” it doesn’t stop the fact that some Australian job boards could learn a few things on how to build a innovative user interface.

Finally the site is free to post jobs so I am not sure how they are going to make money, but I am sure there is a plan.

Social networking sites in Australia

It seems that Australia’s have fallen in love with social networking sites, in particular Facebook. In February this year Hitwise released a report on “What are Australian’s doing Online” and after using the internet for search (10.8%), social networking and forums (8%) are our second most popular past time even more so than News & Media (6.75%).

So what social networking sites do we like? Well Facebook, MySpace and Bebo of course!

What is really interesting here is that Facebook alone has had a 11-fold increase in traffic in the 12 months to May 2008. Facebook is now ranked as the 4th most visited website in May 2008, up from 6th in April. Not only is traffic increasing so in our engagement with social networks, where on average we spent over 28 minutes on the sites, compared to only 11 minutes across all websites.

Based on the above results yesterday’s post where we found that in a US survey 40% of Generation Y’s expect to have social networking sites in the workplace is not surprising we are seeing these sort results in Australia. So why are these tools becoming so engaging?

“The increased user-engagement on Facebook is due to the proliferation of third-party applications; particularly ones that serve a useful function, such as travel planners or book-sharing programs. Additional features for connecting users, such as ‘People You May Know’ has also helped increase user traction on Facebook” said Sandra Hanchard, analyst at Hitwise.

I would suspect that Australian web users are becoming attracted to user generated content, others opinions, folksononmies and collaborative working. This is unfortunate for most organisations as they have neither the management or technical infrastructure to support these new working methods.

Social media and Generation Y

A recent report from Microsoft and Insurity in the US found that 71% used IM and 77% used social networking sites on a daily or frequent basis, with over 2/3rds of them belonging to 2 or more social networking sites. But surprisingly 15% said they did not belong to a social network site. While this might not be news what their views were of access in the office might surprise you.

Over 75% say they would expect to have or use the following within a professional workplace:

  • web-based searches (80%)
  • office productivity applications (79%)

However less than 50% would expect or use the following:

  • social networking sites (40%)
  • company provided virtual meetings (42%)
  • personal instant messenger (45%)
  • mobile or smart phones paid by company (48%)
  • Wikipedia or other Wikis (49%)

Now while less than 50% wanted access to these tools can your organisation really afford to “turn off” these potential employees given the current shortage for talent?

For IT department that lock down every piece of technology, 91% said having more access to innovative technologies would influence their decisions in taking a job. Only access to flexible work schedules or location was considered more important to these respondents. To make things even worse for the average IT department the ability to work with newer, innovative technology was ranked more important than than:

  • being able spend time on outside charitable efforts (70%)
  • being able to work with people their age (71%)
  • opportunities to work on collaborative team projects (72%)
  • and the ability to telecommute or work from home (77%)

Now what about a workplace that provides access to these basic tools but also has collaborative tools to enable blogging, social bookmarking, tagging and other Enterprise 2.0 tools? I suspect they would attract Generation Y candidates, don’t you?

Traffic to job sites

I am in the process of preparing some research on the internet traffic for the top job boards in Australia, from a general, niche and aggregation sense. While I am still preparing the details and looking at some comparison information the top sites are:-

It will be interesting to see the full results.

iPhones are all the rage

With claims by Apple that they sold one million 3G iPhones in the first 3 days it is no wonder that everyone it talking about them.

One of the key attractions of the iPhone since day 1 has been the amazing user interface, superb screen and general Apple industrial design. One of the key detractions was the lack of Enterprise class applications. Well that has all changed.

First Apple released MobileMe a push email and calendaring application (that doesn’t support Tasks which is insane) that includes support for Microsoft Exchange.

In the last few days we have seen launches from the likes of Salesforce and Oracle with applications specifically designed for the iPhone.

IT departments all over the world are now having to seriously look at how they support this device within their enterprise architecture. Such as VPN access from the iPhone to the corporate intranet. That will be interesting as for most they will have never touched an Apple computing device other than an iPod.

The next interesting step is how these devices can be used for Enteprise 2.0 implementations such as collaboration, wikis, and bookmarking.

Will the Apple be the next RIM?