SEPTEMBER 25, 2008 4:06PM

Sail On, Open Salon: Strategy and Solutions (Part Deux)

Rate: 12 Flag



(Dog, that graph as the headpiece is a real grabber, ain't it?

Caveat: The people in the following drama exist only in virtual reality. Their avatars are their own, but the thoughts, ideas, speeches and actions attributed to them emanate solely from the perfervid imagination of one maleficent mutt.)


Ogunquit was a nice break. I trotted up to Kennebunk and pooped on Pappy's golf cart . Think I'll amble on down to Belmont after class and potty on Mitzi's marigolds.

Prof. Caveat: Class, if any of you are here without having read the original case, please do so first. No pulling a Carnak, please. Mr. Samsa, would you care to start the case?

Greg Samsa : Umm, dunno Professor (geez, should have stayed out of the Pub last night) I think the dog ate my casebook (oops, sorry). Can't I go at the end?

Caveat : Mr. Samsa, as you well know, the end, so to say, is reserved for our friend Mr. Romney, (seen diligently doing his nails up in the Skydeck) who has perfected the art of the "Summary Statement" taking up maximum air time while saying absolutely nothing original. You may begin.

Greg: (Heck, I can wing it. After all, I am a cockroach). Well, Professor, like you've always taught us (did I pucker my lips enough?), I would first like us to push some numbers. And a member of our study group, quant jock non pareil, Mr. Rob St. Amant will help us do that. (Boy, Rob will owe me BIG for this free air time.)

Rob: If someone would please set up the screen while I reboot my laptop, I will show you the Powerpoint presentation I have prepared....

Caveat: Mr. St. Amant, Mr. St. Amant, pray do not be anachronistic. We are in the 70's, remember, even VisiCalc hasn't been invented -- roughly the same era as this Text Editor. So describe your methodology and make your case.


Rob: The result of my labors is presented in Fig.1 below, said graph being copied from Excel to Paint for Chrissake and then the .bmp file to My Pictures thence to this estimable Editor. (Admiring gasps. Graphs were good. And the dogwork counted for a coupla extra Brownies.)


The graph shows that we are presently at around 5400 OpenSalonistas and growing. We are currently taking in, let me rephrase that, adding 60-70 new members per day, and this trend has been accelerating somewhat. At this rate ceteris paribus (gotta throw at least one c-p in there) we can extrapolate to over 1 million members by the year 2048. (Cheering and clapping. I mean the guy's just blowing them away.)

Next we studied member productivity. The results are presented in Figure 2 below.

PostsApparent member activity (derived from CID numbers of posts) has been growing exponentially, reaching 350 posts/day average this month, with a peak of 554 posts on September 16! Curve-fitting a second order equation to the data extrapolates to more than a million posts per day by Election '12. Haha, we know not to extrapolate exponentially, and this Election '08 may have something to do with the current logorrhea..... but still, one can dream. (Loud, sustained applause.)

But these are only surface statistics. We've got to peel the onion (Groans). We've got to drill down to the next stratum. (Geez, why is Caruso looking daggers at me? OOPS, I was about to commit the cardinal sin of poaching my own study buddy's material. Could have been BIG trouble.) So I will now ask our drillmaster Ms. Caruso Wegie herself to continue the analysis. (Phew, I hope she's cool. Talk about the edge of the abyss.) And Greg, would you please distribute the handout outlining our statistical methods. Thank you.


Caruso: Brother Robert (Rob is dying. Forgot it was a JD/MBA. Never a good sign when they start with that moot court "brother" jazz.) was about to tell you next that the pertinent metrics ought to be active members and actual posts. ( Phew. It has let him off the hook, the kindly kitty. Rob's gonna owe two people big time now.)

We defined an active member as someone who had made at least 2 posts since joining -- a rather low bar. Results of random statistical sampling (detailed in your handout) are shown in Table 1 below:


Across all sampled groups, only 13% could be regarded as Active Members. This translates to about 700 active members currently. And the median number of posts made since joining was 8. (Mild applause, statistics can be so boring.)

Something didn't quite jibe here. Statistically this meant that we should have about 5600 posts from Day 1 (Go Hillary!), yet the latest post on the Activity Feed had a CID number over 20000! Were the statistics wrong (my stats are NEVER wrong) or were posts disappearing into the ether? After some more sleuthing using rather ahem, elegant, methodology we found that only 25-35% of assigned CID numbers ended up as actual posts!

(Read all about THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING POSTS in the handout)

And applying a factor of 30% to the latest running CID of 20000 results in about 6000 posts having seen the light of day so far, which is pretty darn close to my statistically derived number! Thank you, thank you. (Class is applauding now.)

Therefore, my friends, whereas we started originally with gross numbers (mild dig at Rob), we can apply factors of 13% to the membership roll and 30% to the daily posts to come up with the following net activity:

Active Members: 700

Actual Posts per Day (Sept.): 100 average, 150 peak


Now that we have established the baseline data, we can more rationally examine what Prof. Caveat has termed (could have said "so elegantly termed, but this cat puckers up to no one, especially dogs) the Boundary Parameter problem between publishing and social networking and whether/how the two halves may live up to their promise.

We shall look at

  • Resource Allocation -- the Holy Grail of the OS Cover being a scarce resource
  • Inventory Management -- the problem of the dispiriting, unread posts: "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen...."
  • Management Effectiveness re the publishing promise -- editorial bias? effective agency for increased readership?
  • Social Networking Effectiveness

To take us through this part of the analysis we have our study group members, the estimable Maestros Liz Emrich and Susan Mitchell. (Caruso takes her seat to sustained applause.)

Caveat: I'm afraid we must break here. Mizzuz (comes out sorta garbly, this is the '70s remember, Ms. had just been invented and the well-known Eastern BS was still debating whether its few women could wear trousers to class -- and yes, students were addressed as Mister and well, Miss, for the most part) Emrich and Mitchell will lead off our next session. DAMMIT, SIDDOWN ROMNEY , we'll do without your hot air summary today.

Mr. St. Amant and Ms. Wegie, I commend you for your excellent presentations, as always. Alpha plus.

As for you, you gobbet of exoskeletal existential angst, Samsa, you might think you slithered successfully out of this one, but you'd best be spending less time at the Pub and be prepared to sum up your group's case next time. Class dismissed.

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I must say, I am quite presentable in public! Thanks! (It will take me a bit to digest all this, though. . .)
Presentable, heck, you stride over the piece like a Colossus. Apollo Belvedere in his glory. Couldna done it without you. You were boffo, man. You wowed 'em.

Now I hope I can ride your name recognition coat-tails (like McNasty clinging to Palin, not coat-tails, skirt) to at least a few more thumbs, darnit.

Take all the time to digest you need. It took me a good three days to undigest, at least two of them in the Editor!


one maleficent mutt.)

This is why I skip faculty or work meetings whenever possible and refuse to really learn how to distress others with PowerPoint.

You are so funny and on point.
Thank you, Dorinda.

So maybe it's a blessing in disguise that the text editor won't allow one to attach a Powerpoint file. Can you imagine what we'd be inundated with? I mean folks would probably be pulling out their foils from the last time they sold the virtues of 3,5,7 hydroxyl polychloromethanate at the Tractor Pull Convention and blogging them!

Yes I agree with almost EVERYHING.

However, preceding my two daughers my ex and I saw a tractor pull in Tallahassee ON PURPOSE to get away from heavier issues we had. We just had to . . . it was upsetting.

Now we have two kids.

It was a humorous tractor pull. Really I could list details no one would care about.

But the indirect result was two kids.

Tractor pulls can have an influeuce. He would never voluntraly reay anyone anything at OpenSalon. I'm betting if I asked him he would post that goint to that tractor pull was his undoing.

important public letters
Very interesting statistics!

A side effect of this very clever analysis is that I am now missing New England and it is soon leaf time there.......
Rob's rule 4 and Rob'e rule seven well and truly nailed.

Now the more I'm thinking about this the more valuable your methodology becomes. You have an excellent tool for investigating EPs and tag distro.
But the cover is ephemeral. I can see you using something like the 2am new user method, three times per day, since Kerry has already stated those cover refresh goals, but keeping the data that backs up whatever conclusions you arrive at will be ponderous.

One thing that should be noted. Kerry has, or should have, access far more significant data than this. I've never met a Content Management System (CMS) written in PHP that didn't have oodles of reporting modules.
What we have here is a reverse engineering of the data the OS-CMS has been hoarding to itself. First rate C3!

In all friendship and civility to Kerry, Joan, Jerry, Rachel and Chairman Chris what has been done here should give them pause. Despite their efforts to hide behind the Editorial curtain, it's clearly being pulled back.

I'll be looking forward to pt 3.
Dorinda, your Tractor Pull story reminds me of Hurricane Gloria... a far reach you say.... wait for it.

Hurricane Gloria hit Our Fair City (Click and Clack fans will get the reference) late September, 1985, with plenty of advance warning. But being younger and maybe a tad more reckless then, Dog decided he had to go into work. Of course, by 11 AM or so, all power had been lost, power lines, trees down all over, so dog turned tail and made his precarious way back to his kennel. What's a mutt do back home in the middle of the afternoon by candlelight, window taped and shuttered? Nine months later was born our pride and joy and apple of our eye and heart of our hearts!

Thank you, Artsfish. But you say more with one picture than I can drivel with oodles of drool. As to the leaves, it's early yet. Only the darn river birches have turned a mottled yellow brown, and they've been shedding twigs and branches and, of course, leaves from June.
But in two or three weeks it will indeed be glorious.

Figures don't lie, but liars can figure. What is this post saying, is all I'm asking.
To paraphrase the great Paddy Chayefsky in Marty: "I don't know, Ange, what do you think this post's sayin'?" Hey, I've said everything I know I learnt from the movies :-).

That's not supposed to be snarky. One thing the well-known Eastern BS did do very well is its variant of the Socratic method. This is one dog's attempt to further the dialog about the space in which so many of us seemingly dwell 24/7.

Are we having fun yet? I've heard of "data hounds", but I never took that literally :).

This is neat stuff. It at least dimensions the OS universe, so, if nothing else, I can be setting my expectations more realistically as to how many potential readers, how many "thumbs" to expect etc.
Keep woofing, dog ;o).
What? I scored only 2 out 10 on Rob's Top Ten List? How's about #3 : v.g. writer; #5: insights about Mitzi; #8: expert on CID/UID/AF/EP on OS; #9: personal story of dog as man or was it man as dog and #10(as amended): good friend to KATZ and BATZ in comments.

What's that? Even with a 7 out of 10 I don't rate a cover?

Swoof (Sulking, sorrowful woof)
I had just finished the prerequisite and this piece when my OS mailbox announced a note from a personal friend in Albuquerque. She wanted my updated personal e-mail. I think there's bad news coming about a friend. I hadn't known she was a member. When I went to her "blog" (UID in the mid 5,000's) there was the default screen. She had no doubt TheGoogled my name. Anec-woofs from the readers.
That's a good woof for an example of beyond the OS boundary limit social networking. Also that Google is picking up our posts and that people can find us here.

I tested out the proposition by Googling some of the names here, and for the most part it does point to our OS habitat. Not that too many people are looking for Caveat Canem Croceum, but who knows? Agents, publishers, the Humane Society -- I'm HERE.


Thank you. Astute as ever, you pointed out what I hoped people would see as the point (so far) of this exercise: that illuminating the size of our OS universe and trends therein with actual numbers, rather than leaving it in shadowy vagueness, would help in terms of expectations, decision-making (both personal and organizational), and, where needed, improvement.
Slobbering St. Bernards! That was like dredging the Hudson. And an update to my recent comment. My friend Susan is now half way between the default page stage and the magic number. (It was bad news. I had a gut feeling.) But her accidental arrival at OS has piqued her interest. Susan Ostlie's first attempt is at
Ahem, altered (umm, some of us detest that word) lynx-like eyes will please note. (During my 2:00 AM strolls, had to go all the way back to Freaky Troll's annunciation on Aug. 30 to find a reference! Btw, these rambles led to some astounding discoveries of hidden talent. Two of my personal favorites are the Acne Guy and the Gamour Girl :-).

Most of the number crunching re EPs, Cover, churn etc. is done. The results are not without interest, as they say.


I'm so glad you brought to our attention the first Google-powered UFO landing on our idyllic island. Her work is truly beautiful. I went over and mighta left some drool chains on her design (when it dries, it can be called foundried art :-)). I hope she'll be with us for a while.

Damn you, Type you comment. How about a preview button?

That first line in my previous comment reads much better if punctuated as follows:

Ahem, altered (umm, some of us detest that word): lynx-like eyes will please note.