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Clay Shirky in his recent post "The Collapse of Complex Business Models", describes a well known business concept: substitution  Companies always face the threat of substitute products and this is what is happening in media.  Substitution, as Michael Porter describes in his book "Competitive Advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance" is one of the "five competitive forces determining the profitability of an industry." A complex business model is unsustainable in an environment in which the economics have changed so completely.  We have created a new delivery infrastructure for media and traditional media companies need to asses how big a threat YouTube and other delivery channels are to their current business.

I suggest that those interested in this change in customer behavior, reread Michael Porter to become familiar with "relative value" of products, the "changing role of the user", the buyer's propensity to substitute" and the S-shaped substitution curve, for greater insight into how industry changes and how competitors succeed or fail when challenged.

Semantic, Structured Authoring


Semantic, Structured Authoring is an important concept in writing content for the web.

Semantic authoring has been defined as "to compose information content semantically structured according to some ontology". (If you've never encountered the word ontology before, the dictionary defines it as "the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of being".) A much better explanation of semantic authoring is "knowledge markup". Simple tags such as <policy> aren't the only way in which knowledge is categorised, indexed and labelled within XML. Tags can contain attributes (such as the id attribute in <section id="upg11">), and metadata can be stored in tags separate from the content itself (such as <author><firstname>Tony</firstname><surname>Self</surname></author>).

The most common semantic markup languages for documentation are DocBook and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). DITA specifies a number of topic types, such as Task, Concept and Reference.

Within DITA, a Task topic is intended for a procedure describing how to accomplish a task; lists a series of steps that users follow to produce a specified outcome; identifies who does what, when, where and how . A Reference topic is for topics that describe command syntax, programming instructions, other reference material; usually detailed, factual material .

In Coherence Group��s business, writing structured content is important because we combine knoweldge, learning and software development in to performance support tools so that knowledge workers can avoid the integrative effort of putting this content together themselves.


Today I published a new blog post in a blog called:  Not Otherwise Categorized..., a blog by Seth Earley of Earley & Associates.   I have been doing a lot of work in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, so I posted MOSS 2007 Requirements Gathering: Fast and Focused to discuss the process  we've use for requirements gathering and analysis.  The post notes our reliance on Agile and Lean software development methods to accelerate MOSS development and implementation and to increase the accuracy of requirements analysis.  Of course, the key is user involvement and enough user feedback to avoid rework caused my misunderstandings.

I have found Nouriel Roubini's comments on the economy insightful and on target.  Sometimes called "Dr. Doom" for his gloomy predictions about the world financial markets, Roubini has been exactly on target with his analysis of the timing and depth of the financial crisis.  His latest analysis about the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solution exposes the flaws in the governments approach to the bailout.

In addition to the article linked to above, Roubini was the academic lead on the World Economic Forum's Financial Development Report 2008. The report provides a rigorous analysis of the world's financial systems and capital markets.


The Financial Development Index captures measures of financial stability related to financial turmoil in the US, UK and other countries. The Index puts these measures in the context of a broader assessment of financial development which we hope will promote a balanced agenda with respect to reform."

 James Bilodeau, Project Manager, Financial Institutions Community

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