Senator Fred Thompson and the Marketing of a Presidential Hopeful: A NextStage Analysis of the Fred Thompson for President Homepage

[[updating lost posts in prep for Reading Virtual Minds Volume 2: Experience and Expectation]]

(yes, I’m still exploring that SEO/SEM thing)

I’ve been thinking for a while that NextStage should do an analysis of Senator and actor Fred Thompson’s campaign site. What’s been stopping me is that he’s not officially announced he’s running for President and he doesn’t actually have an official campaign site that I know of (remember, I’m remarkably out of the loop on politics). The reason I decided to run an analysis is because I’d heard he was going to make his official announcement sometime this coming week.

I went to because they list official campaign sites and found I’mWithFred listed as his official site, so I was off and at it.

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Here is Senator and actor Fred Thompson’s official campaign site homepage as it appears today, 1 Sept 07. We analyzed it using NextStage’s TargetTrack (it’s now included in our Membership package) tool, as we do with all such things.

What got me right off the bat is that this homepage uses a V8 Rich Persona. This got my attention because way back in Feb ’07 we analyzed Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign website and found it had a V7 Rich Persona. One of the most obvious differences between the two is that Governor Romney’s messaging was originally designed for individuals who “…like to talk things over with a knowledgeable person who needs to point out the negative aspects of a decision in order to be taken seriously.” Senator Thompson’s messaging is designed for individuals who “…like to talk things over with an authority figure (real or imagined) who needs to point out the positive aspects of a decision in order to be taken seriously.

This difference is telling in how these two campaigns perceive who their candidate is and what that candidate’s strengths are on a personal (hence “Persona” level).

First, I do note that Governor Romney has changed his messaging style since Feb ’07. With that in mind, Governor Romney originally wanted people to perceive him as someone who could show them the error of their ways and set them on the right path. Senator Thompson is using a very different psychological strategy to gain voters; he wants people to see him as an an experienced person who can help them achieve more.

In more obvious terms it would be phrased this way; Governor Romney was saying to voters, “You’re doing it wrong, do it my way. It’s better.” while Senator Thompson’s message is “You’re doing a good job. Let me show you something that might help you out.”

We’ll be watching to see if Senator Thompson’s messaging changes once he officially starts his campaign.

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Google’s Vulnerability

Note: numbers have changed since this was written in Jun ’07

I was invited to write something about Google and privacy earlier this week. I’ve already written quite a bit about online privacy in the blog. Also, fellow KMM bloggers Marshal Sponder wrote Google as Big Brother – Privacy Scores – and Google and Privacy – should we be concerned?, and Fard Johnmar wrote Google, Health Search Engines & Your Privacy, both excellent reads.

It’s right about here that I write something about NextStage having a different take on things, isn’t it?

Here at NextStage, we take a different look at things (didn’t want to disappoint you). I want to consider something I read in Looking for Google’s Future? You Can Find It On EBay and Public Data Gone Wild: The Google Public Sector Initiative from an evolutionary biology perspective.

Oh…come on…did you expect something different?

An Evolutionary Biology perspective?

Yes, as Wikipedia defines it, “Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. One who studies evolutionary biology is known as an evolutionary biologist, or less formally, an evolutionist.

Google is #241 in the Fortune 500. That’s a nice place to be but not from an evolutionary biology perspective because — if we just limit our study to humans and their organizations, what they build, what they create, what they think of as “theirs”, what they own — the human species is actually something like a Fortune 6+ billion.

Yes, there’s a lot of us out there and we’re making more every second. At an amazing rate.

Google isn’t making more googles.

In fact, Google being #241 of 6+ billion means Google is one of the largest predators on the planet. There are only 240 larger predators and lots — I mean lots and lots and lots of lesser predators.

It reminds me of a song I heard as a kid. About Big Bad Short Fat Irving, the 142nd fastest gun in the west. “There were 141 faster than he but was a’gunnin’ for 143.”

Large predators, the ones near the top of the food chain, are very vulnerable. Look at polar bears, wolves, lions, tigers. Top of the food chain doesn’t get you much because to get to the top you tend to specialize and when you specialize you lose the ability to adapt “downward” so to speak.

Google “preys” (we’re using metaphor here) on other companies. YouTube, for example. eBay, for another.

Google also preys on us and with good reason. There’s lots of us out there. About 6+ billion, in fact.

Here’s another evolutionary biology fact; the larger the predator the more prey it must consume. This is why the largest creatures tend to consume the smallest creatures — think whales and krill. The only way to satisfy their hungers is to devour massive amounts of little tiny things.

I look at my bank account and Google’s and I’m…umm…tiny. I look around my neighborhood and all together, we’re…umm…tiny. I don’t think there’s anything or anyone in my state (NH, at present) that’s anywhere near #241 in the food chain.


Fortunately, I also know that the tiny creatures are also the most adaptive. We have to be. There’s sooo many of us. And we’re sooo tiny. By comparison. You don’t see a lot of dinosaurs hanging around, do you? Nope. The smart dinosaurs turned into birds in order to survive. They got tiny (by comparison).

So I’m not really worried about privacy. I’m not worried about becoming prey in any way, shape or form. I’m too tiny in comparison. I can feel the bow wake of the whale before I become one of the many in the mouth full of krill, and if I stay away from where the lions, wolves, tigers and bears are, I’m good.

Google is the one that’s vulnerable. Their very size and position on the food chain means other creatures, able to evolve more rapidly (ie, able to respond to market forces, pressures, demands, …hostility, …) will eventually deal with them. It’ll be like those old dinosaur movies; the two great dinosaurs will wrestle their way over the cliff or into the lava flow and we, the clever little mammals, will scurry away, chuckling all the while.

Of course, if Google wants to come along and gobble up NextStage — I mean, if they want to come a’ courting — I don’t mind climbing a little higher on the food chain myself.

Remember Big Bad Short Fat Irving? Look out #143. I might be a’ gunnin’.

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Keywords, Search Engines, SEO, Learning, Placement

Note: this post is from eight years ago. Remember that. Search has changed amazingly since then.

Now here’s an arc I’ll bet you never thought you’d see; Joseph learning something.

Gosh, that could be taken as an egotistic remark. I don’t mean it as such. I meant that most people wouldn’t think they’d see someone experimenting so openly.

What the heck, most people probably don’t know me.

I wrote two posts yesterday, Why my Juanita Bynum post failed to get traction and Romney, Mitt Romney, Governor Romney, Social, Social Networks, Social Media, Video, Multimedia, TV, Advertising. The former was a ponderance of whether or not the ubiquity of netenic tools are evolving our language hence our thought structures, the latter was a test of same (at least the title of the post was a test of the same).

I queried some SEO folks about the former and my friend Jan Limpach of Cleveland search engine optimization firm Keyphrase-Marketing responded with “The fact we are having this conversation I think answers that. <g>”

Imagine my chagrin when I did a search today for the Romney, Mitt Romney, Governor Romney, Social, Social Networks, Social Media, Video, Multimedia, TV, Advertising post and learned that the post showed up as #1 on Google’s web listing (out of 440,000) and #1 on
their blog listing (out of 213) when I searched on governor
romney social networks
. Searching on just governor
had the post as #5 out of 20,052 on the blogs. I stopped
looking for where the post showed up in the web listings.

As KMM Wisdom Keeper Easton Ellsworth wrote, “Nice headline, Joseph!”.

I’ll see how this post shows up in various search engines, then I’ll start incorporating human syntactical elements into the titles per some other suggestions Jan gave me. Lastly I’ll see if I can devise a pseudo-syntax that can act as a organic-inorganic thought translator…hey, wait a second. I already did that. That’s what Evolution Technology does at its base.

Never thought to apply it to this, though…hmm…

Oh, Joseph has a new toy! Joseph has a new toy!

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What does NextStage do?

Once again I was asked “What does NextStage do?”

This is an agonizing question for me. People expect a short, quick, succinct answer. I give them what I believe is a short, quick, succinct answer, “NextStage does research” and the conversation spirals downward from there. This happens a lot, the spiralling. I described it in The NextStageologist on Mars and Second Life? I don’t find you interesting in Real Life

This time, though, I got a completely different response, “Very interesting Joseph, let me chew on this for a while and get back to you.” along with a description of the individual’s position in their company.

The funny thing is that my response was my usual response. NextStage does research, tool development, trainings, presentations, consultations. The overriding theme is “How do people interact with information?”

This means what we do today can be very different from what we did last week and will probably be different from what we’re doing next week. Do we work on websites? Yes, and not exclusively. Do we work with print? Yes, and not exclusively. Do you work with video? Yes, …

But if you ask “Do you work on how people interact with information? So you help companies figure out how to modify what they do in print from what they do on the web and TV?” Yes, very good. That’s it pretty much.

A client once told me we do market research. Not sure I agree, but there you have it.

What amuses me is that this blog is pretty much a synopsis of what we do. Branding studies, how to use online video to capture market share and drive business, when to use sound files and why, how and why do audiences segment the way they do, …, and it all comes down to “How do people interact with information?”

So bear with me for a paragraph or two…

NextStage researches “how people interact with information”, something that grew out of my 1991 thesis, “How We Learn to Learn”, basically a blend of anthro, linguistics, semiotics and half a dozen other major fields and about 120 disciplines. The reason the research set is so rich is because, when I couldn’t find an answer to a problem in one field, I started modifying the problem model until it had similar macroproperties to solved problems in at least one other field and usually several. The next step was to determine how the macroproperties translated between disciplines, apply the learning of the solved metaphor to the unsolved metaphor, experiment with the translated paradigm to determine what properties were extant between metaphors then solve accordingly.

Because of this, Evolution Technology borrows from fields as diverse as quantum-magneto-hydro-dynamics and immunoassay development.

Okay. So how do companies use our research, tools, and consulting to help them?

Well…this is where it gets pretty interesting.

Higher Ed uses our tools and consulting to help them capture more of a decreasing market; first time college students. We’re helping them on several fronts; marketing, social networking, social media, creating rich personae of their target audience, …

All of which, to me, is “how people interact with information”.

Event organizers use our tools and consulting to help them expand into other product offerings via understanding how to translate their existing successful brand into recognizable brands in other markets.

Again, “how people interact with information”.

An F500 used us to help them understand why their employees weren’t accessing their employee site, and what to do so that employees would access the employee site.


Media buyers, media planners and some SEO firms use our tools to determine where to place ads online and in print so that the ads will have the greatest impact.


Companies use us to help them develop successful WOM and viral campaigns, …


Most engagements begin with conversations (a discovery process). Is the potential client having a recognizable problem? Can they explain the challenge? How is this a challenge? To what? In what way? What would be the best possible outcome? What would be the best possible solution? What would be an acceptable solution? What would be a horrible solution? … I’ve been told that I can be both intimidating and frustrating, but companies still come to us (we don’t advertise and have been reactive for a while now).

NextStage is blessed with being in a position to focus its attention on whatever catches my interest. I’m blessed with being interested in things that most people won’t care about for several years yet. Another thing that grew out of my thesis is NextStage’s proprietary Evolution Technology. Most of our tools are based on various models inherent in the technology.

I hope this helps. I much better talking on the phone. I’m much better answering questions, otherwise I tend to ramble (you couldn’t tell, I’m sure).
Also, my apologies if this seems glib. That is not my intent. I simply don’t know how to answer the “What does NextStage do?” question quickly and succinctly.

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Nothing New Under the Sun (The Complete Humanic Search Engines Arc)

Note: this four part arc is presented here as a single post

Return of the Humanic Search Engine, Part 1

I seem to be encountering search engine material quite a bit lately. One item which caught my eye, “Guides Do the Steering” in the Jan 07 Omma, reminded of a conversation I had a few years back with some folks at Progress Software. The article mentions that the ChaCha search engine uses 15,000 “guides”. These guides are real people all over the US and are subject matter experts, or SMEs.

These SMEs will help people find what they’re really searching for. It made me think of what I wrote in another post, “It’s not a matter of information overload, it’s a matter of data mining at the personal relevance level — There’s a search engine tool I want to see.” The intersection of these consciousness streams is what flashed me back to that afternoon with Progress and why, once again, there’s nothing new under the sun. We’re going to be exploring this in a three part arc starting today. Stay tuned…

Return of the Humanic Search Engine, Part 2

Progress had invited NextStage to create a “success” metric. This metric could be used to determine which partner was going to be the most successful, which meant it could be used to predict a company’s likelihood of success, which meant it could be used to determine which companies it would be a good idea to partner with (for the record, NextStage picked “four for four” of the top economic performers in the Progress partner stable simply by analysing all the partner homepages using its TargetTrackTM tool. This is documented in Chapter 4 of Reading Virtual Minds).

During the conversations around creating that success metric, we talked about what Progress was doing to make itself more search-friendly. One thing they’d done was higher a bunch of “search experts” and by that I mean “people who really know how to search real well”. These weren’t SEO companies per se although some may have worked at search engine companies and optimizers at the time. What they were, more to the point, were people who were SMEs in how to search. They were hired by different companies to do two basic things.

Return of the Humanic Search Engine, Part 3

One, these SMEs were going to create kind-of-sort-of training material. This material was to be used by people wanting to search for things so they’d learn how to search properly. What?

Two, these SMEs were going to help Progress make their site more search-friendly by helping Progress redesign their site along the ways people wanted to search. (and by whose definition, that?)

My skepticism showed, I’m sure. For One, a tool is going to have either limited use or few users if substantial training is necessary in order to use it (something which was picked up in the Noisy Data thread). For Two, what’s in the parentheses has it all; whose definition of “the ways people want to search” are you going to use? What people? Which people?

Now ChaCha is bringing back SMEs to help people search.

Return of the Humanic Search Engine, Part 4

NextStage recognizes well over 5,000 cognitive, motivational/effective and behavioral personality types, ie, “different ways people do things”. This allows us to create very specific personae for our clients and to accurately understand behaviors and behavioral motivators for an incredibly large population.

One way to think of things is that there are three ChaCha SMEs for every NextStage personality type. That would be great.

But another way to think of it is ask “How many of NextStage’s 5,000 personality types are represented by ChaCha’s 15,000 SMEs?” or, more to the point, “How many different ways can ChaCha’s 15,000 SMEs search?”

I wish ChaCha the best in this and am rooting for them. I also worry that their 15,000 SMEs might be simply 14,997 other Progress SMEs “who really know how to search real well” but not necessarily the way I or others need something to be found.

In any case, there’s nothing new under the sun.

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