David’s Excellent Adventure

i_love_blogging.jpgAnother blog-worthy happening from last week was a long chat I had with David. He, and our friends over at TalentedApps and Financials Strategy are a few of the people who have taken the blogging plunge to share the knowledge locked away in their heads.

David and I talked about some of the cool side-effects he’s experienced on his excellent blogging adventure so far. His highlight so far was being outed as “David from the Blog” on a trip to Google. He has some interesting stories about helping customers with real problems through the blog as well as some other neat side-effect stuff. I promised not to trump him, so stay tuned. I hope he won’t give us all the high hat now that he’s sheparding GL too.

I was just talking to a product team yesterday about how blogging could help their development team reach out and share setup details with customers more effectively. Guess which team?

Tax.

This either signifies the Apocalypse has arrived or shows that people are beginning to get it. Early adopters have shown the value of publishing content and opening a dialog with customers. My theory is that people follow the path of least resistance when they have questions.

They:

  1. Ask the people nearby: over the cube wall, in the hallway, kitchen, rest room, break room, wherever.
  2. Ask the Interwebs, probably using Google.
  3. Ask the “official” support people, maybe IT, maybe Oracle support.
  4. Read the documentation.

Depending on the person, it’s increasingly likely they give up after each dead end. So, if your best content is third or fourth on the list, it’s not high enough.

No, I don’t think people are lazy, just busy. The path of least resistance allows them to exhaust the lowest cost (to them) methods first, and Google is cheap and easy. Following this theory, product teams should have a boatload of content in blogs that comes up high in relevancy when someone searches for Oracle terms like “advanced global intercompany system” or “balancing segment value“. After all, these people built the products. Why keep all the details locked up inside their heads?

Stay tuned for more. This will get interesting.

AboutJake

a.k.a.:jkuramot

13 comments

  1. Its a shame that ‘Read the documentation’ comes in fourth – I know that list is a ‘Jake’s Take’ – hey there’s a neat blog title for you!
    I know historically Oracle has had not such good documentation but we and others try real hard to make the doc as good as possible. We are now suffering from having so much doc ~600pages last time I checked, that I can understand that folks get googling when they want a specific piece of info.
    We also suffer from the fact that our blog (blowing our own trumpet here) has so much information, ~250 articles, that has not made it into the official doc and has become its own BIP resource on the web. To back that up, the majority of ‘Came From’ hits to he blog are almost exclusively google searches.
    Roll on instantly updateable documentation …

  2. Its a shame that ‘Read the documentation’ comes in fourth – I know that list is a ‘Jake’s Take’ – hey there’s a neat blog title for you!
    I know historically Oracle has had not such good documentation but we and others try real hard to make the doc as good as possible. We are now suffering from having so much doc ~600pages last time I checked, that I can understand that folks get googling when they want a specific piece of info.
    We also suffer from the fact that our blog (blowing our own trumpet here) has so much information, ~250 articles, that has not made it into the official doc and has become its own BIP resource on the web. To back that up, the majority of ‘Came From’ hits to he blog are almost exclusively google searches.
    Roll on instantly updateable documentation …

  3. Quality and quantity of documentation notwithstanding, the big reason specifically Apps doc isn’t higher on the list is that it’s provided in pdf form and not indexed by search engines.

    Searching for database or middleware products provides more Oracle results, but still not as many as you’d expect on the first page.

    The fact of the matter is that blogging services and software are highly SEO’ed by design so the content you blog will come up higher in results than regular indexed content almost all the time.

    One interesting tidbit I learned recently was that official documentation cannot be wiki’ed or democratized because it serves as the warranty for the software. Did not know that.

  4. Quality and quantity of documentation notwithstanding, the big reason specifically Apps doc isn’t higher on the list is that it’s provided in pdf form and not indexed by search engines.

    Searching for database or middleware products provides more Oracle results, but still not as many as you’d expect on the first page.

    The fact of the matter is that blogging services and software are highly SEO’ed by design so the content you blog will come up higher in results than regular indexed content almost all the time.

    One interesting tidbit I learned recently was that official documentation cannot be wiki’ed or democratized because it serves as the warranty for the software. Did not know that.

  5. Not to make excuses but…my priorities at the moment are:
    1) Know the names of the people on my new GL team
    2) Match those names to a face
    3) Understand our project plans
    4) Start to add value to the GL development team
    5) Get to the know the names of my kids
    6) Match those names to faces
    7) Blog
    8) Eat
    9) Sleep

    Just kidding… – I can eat while I blog.

  6. Not to make excuses but…my priorities at the moment are:
    1) Know the names of the people on my new GL team
    2) Match those names to a face
    3) Understand our project plans
    4) Start to add value to the GL development team
    5) Get to the know the names of my kids
    6) Match those names to faces
    7) Blog
    8) Eat
    9) Sleep

    Just kidding… – I can eat while I blog.

  7. > official documentation cannot be wiki’ed or democratized because it serves as the warranty for the software.

    Sure you don’t want the punters messing with the bible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t surround official documentation with democratized commentary/annotations … just so long as the difference is clear.

    Put your documentation in a searchable format, in bite sized chunks (even chapter by chapter), and it will rise from 4th to 2nd in your list. And help take the strain off your consultants and support (not to mention the customers).

    Regards Nigel

  8. > official documentation cannot be wiki’ed or democratized because it serves as the warranty for the software.

    Sure you don’t want the punters messing with the bible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t surround official documentation with democratized commentary/annotations … just so long as the difference is clear.

    Put your documentation in a searchable format, in bite sized chunks (even chapter by chapter), and it will rise from 4th to 2nd in your list. And help take the strain off your consultants and support (not to mention the customers).

    Regards Nigel

  9. @David: I don’t see “Comment on blog posts about me” on that list, must be pretty high.

    @Nigel: Spot on. My observation about the official documentation was one of surprise. I think democratizing the doc makes it better, a la Wikipedia, so I was surpised and bummed that it’s not cool.

    I agree about exposing the doc to indexing too. The one issue is that someone will have to manage the SEO to keep the official content popping up on the first page.

  10. @David: I don’t see “Comment on blog posts about me” on that list, must be pretty high.

    @Nigel: Spot on. My observation about the official documentation was one of surprise. I think democratizing the doc makes it better, a la Wikipedia, so I was surpised and bummed that it’s not cool.

    I agree about exposing the doc to indexing too. The one issue is that someone will have to manage the SEO to keep the official content popping up on the first page.

  11. David, better not put sleep too low on the list or you will not be any good at the list items above. Or maybe that is just a personal problem for me.

  12. David, better not put sleep too low on the list or you will not be any good at the list items above. Or maybe that is just a personal problem for me.

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