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September 09, 2004
Thursday
The best of Eyetrack III
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Sui Generis 
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A very interesting project called Eyetrack has been conducted by the Poynter Institute asking what people see when they view a news website or multimedia feature. Is it what the site’s designers expect? ... Perhaps not.

The Eyetrack III study literally looked through the eyes of 46 people to learn how they see online news. Here is the review the study’s key findings. For example:

We observed that with news homepages, readers’ instincts are to first look at the flag/logo and top headlines in the upper left. The graphic below shows the zones of importance we formulated from the Eyetrack data. While each site is different, you might look at your own website and see what content you have in which zones.

eyetrackIII.jpg

Advertising is also taken through its paces:

We found that ads in the top and left portions of a homepage received the most eye fixations. Right side ads didn’t do as well, and ads at the bottom of the page were seen, typically, by only a small percentage of people.

These are but two highlights. Prove them right and read the whole thing, here are the directions:

eyetrackIII_2.jpg

August 27, 2004
Friday
VC or not VC?
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Sui Generis 
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Doc Searls has some wise words about the good news of Technorati VC funding:

I always thought bragging about bagging VC money was kinda strange in any case. If you were starting a new business in a non-tech sector, would you send out a press release bragging about your banker, and how much he loaned you to get going? I know it’s different in tech, but does it have to be that much different?

He also recalls a buzzword onslaught from an acquaintance who was on his Nth startup at the hight of the dot-com bubble who presented his business as “an arms merchant to the portals industry”.

When I pressed him for more details (How are portals an industry? What kind of arms are you selling?), I got more buzzwords back.
Finally, I asked a rude question. “How are sales?’’

“They’re great. We just closed our second round of financing.”

Thus I was delivered an epiphany: every company has two markets--one for its goods and services, and one for itself--and the latter had overcome the former. We actually thought selling companies to investors was a real business model.

That is probably one of the best and certainly the most succint analysis of what
was wrong with the dot-com era I have come across. It is true that with innovation, a new language needs to be invented too, sometimes. But there is no excuse to underwrite non-existent business model just because something is new, revolutionary and exciting.

What dot-com era has not really taught most companies is that the user rules. It wasn’t the bloated IPOs and young CEOs that sank the companies, it was the markets that found their offering wanting…

On the other hand, you need capital for development in the technology sector. It is a dilemma of most entrepreneurs that need and can get investment face at some stage. Do you keep your independence or have some money to try more new things before your business grows big enough to accumulate it?

Yeah, it’s a tough one. 

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