Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th edition

It’s with great pleasure and a little pride that we announce Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat “4th EDITION” part is important. We know lots of people are waiting for Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation and it’s next in the queue.

But until then…

Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION is about 100 pages longer than the previous editions and about 10$US cheaper. Why? Because Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation is next in the queue.

Some Notes About This Book

I’m actually writing Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation right now. In the process of doing that, we realized we needed to add an index to this book. We also wanted to make a full color ebook version available to NextStage Members (it’s a download on the Member welcome page. And if you’re not already a member, what are you waiting for?)

In the process of making a full color version, we realized we’d misplaced some of the original slides and, of course, the charting software had changed since we originally published this volume (same information, different charting system). Also Susan and Jennifer “The Editress” Day wanted the images standardized as much as possible.

We included an Appendix B – Proofs (starting on page 187) for the curious and updated Appendix C – Further Readings (starting on page 236). We migrated a blog used for reference purposes so there may be more or less reference sources and modified some sections with more recent information.

So this edition has a few more pages and a few different pages. It may have an extra quote or two floating around.

You also need to know that Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History is a “Let’s explore the possibilities” book, not a “How to do it” book. As such, it deals with how NextStage did it (not to mention things that happened along the way). It does not explain how you can do it. This book’s purpose is to open a new territory to you and give you some basic tools for exploration.

There are no magic bullets, quick fixes, simple demonstrations, et cetera, that will turn you into jedis, gurus, kings, queens, samurai, rock stars, mavens, heroes, thought leaders, so on and so forth.

How to Do It starts with Volume II: Experience and Expectation and continues through future volumes in this series. We’ve included a Volume II: Experience and Expectation preview with a How to Do It example on page 302 so you can take a peek if that’s your interest.

That noted, I’m quite sure that you won’t get the full benefit of future volumes without reading this one because unless you’ve read this one you won’t understand the territory you’re exploring in those future volumes.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat’s Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION. It’s so good and so good for you! Buy a copy or two today!


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Panalysis’ Rod Jacka Said It

[Note: this post is from Oct ’07. We’re backfilling again for Joseph’s references in Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation]

Panalysis‘ Rod Jacka noticed that I referenced his email to me in Back from eMetrics Dec ’07 and invited me to both attribute the quote to him and provide the full quote.

I’ll gladly attribute the quote to him (and a G’Day, Mate! back to you, Rod).

What I will do is expand a bit on what Rod learned and is commenting on in his email to me. First, I’m not going to say A/B-Multivariate-Taguchi testing is a waste of time or money. Second, I will note that every time I do a quick analysis of a company’s website I get the same reactions; “…we just did some A/B-multivariate-Taguchi testing and everything you said is what we found out we had to do.” This has happened at IMedia summits, eMetrics summits and countless times with clients.

What’s it all about? It’s very simple, really. It’s all about knowing how the human brain is wired and how it’s going to respond to information in its environment. This is the key to it all and what NextStage has been researching, publishing about and helping clients with for almost seven years now. A web page and more recently multi-media (what NextStage calls “multi-modal”. see Get the attention you’re already paying for (page 2 of 4)) environments are nothing more than demonstrations of what the brain-mind has been dealing with for several millions of evolutionary history. This history exists and won’t be replaced any time soon so make use of it.

Think of it as “Those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it.” My guess is they’re repeating it by spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on A/B-multivariate-Taguchi methods.


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Implications for Web 2.0 and Rich Media Developers

I was reading Anne-Cécile Jeandrain‘s Why and How Do the Telepresence Dimensions Influence Persuasive Outcome? (one of several excellent pieces of research on how virtual environments affect users’ buying processes) last night. It was, is and will be a fascinating read and I know I will visit it again many times over the coming months.

One reason I find it a worthwhile read is because it addresses a challenge NextStage successfully addressed — understanding and measuring a site visitor’s persuasionability and intentions without interrogation — albeit from a totally different direction. This paper and NextStage’s research have direct implications to Web 2.0, Web 1.x and Rich Media content developers.

Let me summarize:

  1. The more direct and immediate response a visitor has to some actions they take on the site, the more positive they will feel about their experience on the site (something I’ll be addressing in an upcoming IMedia Column)
  2. The more interaction a visitor experiences with a virtual environment the more trust they will place in their ability to predict and create desired outcomes in that environment (any game player would tell you this)
  3. The more a visitor experiences success in the virtual environment the greater their desire to return to the virtual environment (something I may be addressing in an upcoming IMedia Column)
  4. These first three, properly done, will greatly increase positive branding experiences
  5. A too rich media experience will likely cause debranding (yep, another upcoming IMedia Column)

I’ll also be investigating each of these elements in upcoming posts.


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The Complete Long Tail Arc

Note: This post originally appeared as the three part Long Tail Arc. It is presented as one post here

The Long Tail, Part 1

I was viewing a presentation by Tom Hochstatter, Director, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and got to the point where “The Long Tail” was mentioned. Wikipedia has a good description of The Long Tail. I should point out that this presentation was posted to the Web Analytics Association’s Standards Committee board with the goal of creating some…huh…standards.

What I wonder, though, is do standards promote stagnation?

The history of technology demonstrates that standardization, good at some levels, is a curse at others. There is the story that our roads are the way they are because Julius Caesar dictated them so (no idea how true this is, but roads do seem to be standard width wherever I go). There can be no doubt that the standardization on petroleum fuels and modern transport design have created a standard we can’t much longer live with.

I’d appreciate knowing what readers think, though. Are standards useful? More to follow, I’m sure…

The Long Tail, Part 2

As I wrote in a previous post, standards are good at certain levels. I’ve mentioned in several Web Analytics Association (WAA) discussions that the WAA needs to get providers to standardize. I’ve heard clients complain and express confusion when moving from one analytics platform to another. Standards within a specific industry allow communities to grow within that industry. For example, you don’t use a rip claw hammer to test reflexes, and the suggestion of doing so indicates you’re not a member in either carpentry or medical communities. That’s an example of the standardization of language creating community; knowing that a rip claw hammer is used in carpentry and a percussion hammer in the medical GP communities.

Another problem exists when the standardization is around certain technological artifacts. An excellent example of this is the Microsoft Windows operating system. If it weren’t such a standard and if parts A, B and C didn’t fit so neatly into parts D, E and F, malicious hackers wouldn’t be having so much success inserting parts G, H and I into it. The standardization of the ‘net is another example. Email and related viruses wouldn’t proliferate if emails didn’t have a standard form.

The Long Tail, Finale

One big plus for standardizing is scalability. Any technology based on only one or two people being able to do use it isn’t scalable. The more a technology is standardized, the more it can be scaled. The more it can be scaled, the more people can use it. The more people who use it, the greater the need for standardization.

Hmm… I see a loop forming here.

I’ve always been concerned that standardization promotes technological stagnation, yet markets can’t exist without a certain amount (usually a large amount) of standardization going on. Anybody remember the dot com boom? Extreme innovation. But markets always shake out and part of that shaking out process is that innovation suffers as a consolidation take place and major players emerge. Fortunately, I’m involved in pure and applied research. As I wrote earlier, I get paid to be imaginative now (lucky me!), and imagination is where innovation both exists and thrives.

And this brings us back to The Long Tail.

I think marketing’s Long Tail is a little different than what most people recognize. Right now the major players (Google and Microsoft, for example) watch for innovation outside their own doors because it’s the innovators that’ll point the way to tomorrow’s markets. The tip of marketing’s long tail is innovation, what happens outside the bounds of standardization and existing markets. It’s the rattle on the snake and marketers need to listen. A wrong step and you’re a memory, but if you pay attention you can catch that snake and make it your friend.


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