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March 19, 2004


Zane Safrit

Jennifer Rice,, poses an excellent question. What's the difference between napsterizing and or bite-sizing. Napsterizing knowledge or bite-sizing it. And how's the difference, if any defined in the world of blogs.

Well, it's kinda like steps on a long walk. I'm a marathoner (ok, I've completed two) and all those long runs are made up of itty-bitty, sometimes slow, often painful steps. Journey of a hilly 20 miles starts with that first shuffle.

That's how I look at Napsterizing and bite-sizing. Napsterizing is the long-run. It's the wholeness of expereince you hope to create with lots of bite-sized chunks of knowledge. Napsterizing comes from sharing bite-sized chunks. You don't get one without the other.

The most powerful napsterized experiences come from sharing bite-sized chunks of knowledge so integrated, so interconnected that they weave a fabric of knowledge that is a bit greater than the moutful of bite-sized chunks.

Our company, Conference Calls Unlimited, offers bites-sized samples of our services. Free web or free audio conferences. And it works.

We're also giving away webinars from Jackie and Ben, their books and also Seth Godin's books. It's very successful. Again, in bite-sized chunks that over time we hope we can then show we've napsterized ...something unique.

Ben McConnell

Peter, not too worry too much, for your concerns are common: If I give away too much knowledge, won't that help my competitors?

Napsterizing your knowledge *may* help your competitors know what you're doing (if they're paying attention), and they may or may not decide to internalize that knowledge. But there's a good chance they already had the same ideas and are working on similar plans.

Yet, all of that matters none to customers and prospects who are trying to solve real-time problems and issues.

Tim O'Reilly often discusses O'Reilly & Associates' plans for the year ahead at industry conferences. Inevitably, someone will tell him afterward, "Well, you just gave all your competitors some great ideas!" He doesn't mind, though. It's execution of ideas that matters more, and his company's strong execution is part of what drives O'Reilly's customer evangelism.

Peter Caputa

Thanks for the comments! I am a little more assured that it is a good idea to blog with a little less restraint or concern.

Jennifer Rice

Peter, you ask some great questions. The book Customer Evangelists discusses the importance of making customers part of the process. By facilitating a feeling of ownership in your company, customers are more likely to be loyal evangelists. I don't think you should have a problem blogging about your competitors as long as you do it professionally. A factual presentation of the differences between your company and your competitors is much different from -- and much more accepted than -- picking at what they may be doing 'wrong.'
On your concern about giving away too much information to your competitors... your success will ultimately come down to execution and speed to market. If you can move faster than your competitors and you execute well, you should be able to gain a first-mover advantage combined with the customer-evangelism power from your blog. If you know your stuff, and are confident in your cause, Napsterizing and building community should be good tools for you.

Peter Caputa

I want to add another important reason why we are blogging our biz plan:
To engage creative people (eg bloggers) in helping us come up with the next set of features.

Peter Caputa

I am an active reader of blogs, especially marketing and business blogs and i also keep several blogs myself.

many biz blogs seem to be written by consultants. i run a company that is an online marketing service for events. we keep a blog about what we are developing, how to use us, general news about events and promotion, how-to's on promoting events, getting feedback on new ideas and features.

we are relaunching in April with a lot of new functionality. we have a business plan geared towards pitching potential investors (like most business plans). We have also begun writing the biz plan in blogging format. we plan to publish everything from the standard .doc biz plan except for some of the competitive information and financial information.

We are also blogging the business plan with a lot of quotes from books and blogs and links to a lot of bloggers who have had an effect on how we have designed our application.

Our goals for doing this are:
-To verbalize and educate our direction and plan, so that people will understand what we are doing, since it is unique and has never been done before.
- To get feedback on our ideas and our application.
- To generate some buzz that may result in people registering and using the site and general "awareness" for our business.
- To find potential investors and other personell as well as collaborators.

What I am concerned about is:
- Giving away too much to potential competitor's with more resources, that may be able to capitalize or commercialize our ideas.
- Comparing competitors with us or just talking about them which could land us in legal trouble.

What do all the experts here think?

Ben McConnell

What's key to know about Napsterizing knowledge: The more you give away knowledge, the more valuable it tends to become.

Specialized knowledge you share on your blog is spread easily from blog to blog, expoentially increasing the chances it will reach someone who craves more of that knowledge in the form of a product or service you offer.


In addition to providing a series of bite-size stories/observations, a blog also typically represents the philosophy, opinions and experiences of a single individual.

This is one of the things that makes a blog enjoyable - the human touch - that is missing in a site that is just a bunch of bite-size chunks of knowledge.

So I see a blog as being a collection of bite-size chunks in the context of a individual that brings character and pizazz to the equation.

Marc Orchant

Jennifer - great question. My answer, which doesn't apply to all blogs equally is that in general I think we're all Napsterizing by sharing intellectual capital. The Bite-Sized Chunks I see on blogs are the scripts, code snippets, PDF files, and other take-aways some bloggers offer. For me BSC has always had an element of viral potential - that is, you can pass it along to someone else. So, when Cory Doctorow recently gave away his new novel in electronic formats, that was one BIG Bite-Sized Chunk!

But it worked. Sales of both of his books continue to do well and there was a decided uptick in sales of his previous novel. Seth Godin, Bill Jensen, Tom Peters, and many other authors done the same thing by giving away sample chapters.

At the Customer Evangelists University, Ben and Jackie observed that the software industry (my biz) has the Bite-Sized Chunk "thing" down. We offer an evaluation copy of our software and let people take it for a test drive.

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