Five for Friday, July 9

As Apple has surpassed Microsoft in capitalization and is one of the largest U.S. companies – and may become the largest – this overview of their playbook shows how they do it. What’s remarkable is that they were left for dead just over 10 years ago. Although the headline says Invincible Apple, I don’t believe any company is invincible. If Apple becomes evil – and if their rabid fans become disenchanted now that they’re on top vs. the poor underdog – they could fall. Also, it remains to be seen how the Droid smart phone market plays out and how much their ties with AT&T hurt them long term. But for now, they rock when it comes to beautiful, elegant, and simple product design that’s pretty tough to beat. And there are lessons here for any company to adopt, but the key is it can’t be superficial window dressing.

Measurement Guru K.D. Paine moderated #imcchat on Wednesday and passed along a couple of links in the process. What an incredible chat. While I’d heard of K.D., I wasn’t familiar with her work. Until now. Communicators need to demonstrate ROI for their efforts. Particularly in Social Media where at first glance it’s easy for those not actively participating to dismiss much of it as idle chatter. What I like about her approach is recognizing that there’s not one right way to measure because each company has different communication goals. She also identifies 27 unique types of conversations you can measure. What she provides is a practical roadmap that shows you an intelligent way forward that avoids the hype and fuzzy math. And combine this with her Social Media Measurement Checklist and you’re one your way to qualifying your efforts

In an era of everything digital and instantly available, I love the ethereal feel of Susan Burnstine’s photography. She’s found her visual voice through use of homemade medium format film cameras. To me it’s proof there’s always room for something made with our hands – and for unrefined imperfection in a world of digital perfection. She captures mood that elicits an emotional response. See for youself!

How Pete Cashmore grew Mashable – I’m always a fan of learning from others and hearing their story. I think it helps take the mystery out of the business process and provides actionable steps each of us can take in our own work and businesses. The key is to find the way to adapt concepts to fit rather than merely copying – which is no way to differentiate your brand. You need to innovate and reinvent – and for that there is no map. But hearing how others do it shows that they, too, started with that blank slate and figured it out along the way. This takes you to the first of four interview segments and I encourage you to watch them all.

Joe Pulizzi is always a great read and certainly a leading in the content marketing space.
And this is no exception. Why you shouldn’t do content marketing is a great list of red flags and a reminder not to do something just because everyone else is. You always need to tie it back to your business if you’re looking for tangible, measurable results.

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