February 15, 2010

CASE Conference and Social Media

I was lucky enough to speak at last month's CASE Conference.  After being connected through a mutual past colleague, I was even luckier to co-present with Tamsen McMahon of Sametz Blackstone Associates on the Why and Why Nots of Social Media. The presentation was jam-packed as social media was definitely a buzz topic over the two days I was at the conference. There were many questions and much interest and I only wish we had more time for both the presentation and taking more questions.

This was my first time presenting at CASE and Tamsen certainly set me up for success.  Presenting has always been somewhat of a high for me and this was no exception.  Presenting can be nerve-wracking; and it can be a whole lot of fun.  Going in to every presentation I do, I try to promise myself three things: 1) Be relaxed; 2) Understand that I won't hit every point I prepare; and 3) Try to interject some humor.  Now, not everyone will get every joke you make as that is typicallly the case for me, but it at least keeps you making yourself laugh.  That is my #1 rule for not only every presentation, but every day. :)

Our presentation can be found on Slideshare. I am actually not a client of Tamsen's or Sametz, but it's amazing how similar our approaches and philosophy on digital media are despite being new acquaintances.  At the end of the day, there are variety of organizational structures, policies and strategies that can work, but they've developed a method that will help determine how social media will work in any organization.

When it comes to any space within social media, I feel that you need to be a consumer first. Your plan has three simple steps.
  1. Learn -  Learn your way around the space and discover how other users are utilizing the platform.
  2. Interact - Now that you have a sense of the space, use it more frequently and understand its intricacies. Communicate and be a part of the conversation.
  3. Engage - Now that you've built relationships and have become knowledgeable of the space, share content and conversation that will engage your new connections.
If you follow these three basic steps, I ensure that you will become a more comfortable and engaged user of social media.  And this method works for both personal and corporate use. For any marketer or communications professional, I feel that you should learn, interact and engage as a consumer first to truly understand the space.  You can stagger these steps in parallel for each and learn about your product, service and market while engaging as an individual user.  After all, your audience is your brand and to quote Tamsen from another session during CASE, "social media allows you to understand your brand."

February 13, 2010

Video (and Internet) Did Not Kill the Radio Star

A recent tweet by a friend that runs the barnerblog, a blog about his thoughts on music and more, motivated me to share my love for music.  All kinds of music. Even teen pop.

A one hour commute can lead to many things - catching up on phone calls, car karaoke, marketing ideas, and the horrible habit of texting/blackberrying at stops in traffic or lights (no more carexting is my newest New Year's Resolution as I'm not sure yet how I'm doing with the first one). With a commute an hour long, many have recommended I get satellite radio. 

No thanks, people.  Typically, people are critical of it, but I've always been a fan of good, old-fashioned FM radio. And with the variety of music that I'm interested in, I'm able to continously find what I want.  Mix in a couple sports talk radio stations and a little NPR if I'm really desperate and an hour of commute time goes by in no time. 

Maybe everyone else is just looking in the wrong places or listening to the wrong stations. More likely is the fact that you don't like the wide variety of music I do. When I say I like everything (but country), I mean it.  You hear that phrase all the time, but I'm serious.

Here's your proof. In my commute home one night, these songs were all played on the radio, different stations of course. This legendary commute set list was sung by none other than yours truly. 
  • The Pixies - Here Comes Your Man
  • Pearl Jam - Just Breathe
  • Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
  • Ke$ha - Tik Tok
  • Matisyahu - One Day
  • Taylor Swift - Fifteen
  • Muse - Uprising
  • Aerosmith - Dream On
  • Miley Cyrus - Party in the U.S.A.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
  • Pearl Jam- The Fixer
Now, that is some variety. It was quite a run of songs that I wanted to listen/sing awkwardly to. After the first three, I had to start keeping track. I even tweeted how shocked I was about the first and how this blog post would eventually be forthcoming (2 weeks later).

In my commutes, I've seen this string of "listenable" songs happen a lot. Now, I'm not saying I'd download all of these on iTunes, but I'm pretty sure at least six of them are on my iPod.  Call me out for singing horrible pop songs, but don't tell me that radio is dead.

February 9, 2010

Changing of the Guard

Many times in an organization or a sports team, there comes a time when new leadership is necessary to take your oganization or your team to the next level.  In start-up ventures, you see this moment of transition being even more important.  There comes a point where the business' founder realizes he or she does not have the skillset and expertise to bring the organization to the next level.  Some times, they purposely do not want to pass along the organization.  This could lead to a failed business or one with stagnant growth.

You know who needs a change in leadership?  The Celtics.  No, I'm not asking for Doc Rivers or Danny Ainge to get fired or to look for a new owner.  I'm talking about the entire team - ownership, general manger, coach and players - finally realizing that the true leader on this team is Rajon Rondo. 

When this team loses, it's not only because they look old, but they typically don't have one individual this year that rises above the others in terms of taking charge.  On many occasions, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have all been that guy on this team and on others.  This year, that's not true.  Ray, while he's been the only healthy one this year, has not been shooting as years past.  With their injuries, Kevin and Paul are not the same players.  Rajon, despite hitting the floor more than anyone in the league, can easily take control of games and he's done so many, many times this year. His penetration, his defense and his passing are all-nba.  His shooting is certainly improving and that cannot be debated when you look at his field goal percentage this year of 53%. But it's time for his own organization to truly realize this is his team.  Don't just say he's the glue to the team.  Act like it.

He's been a quiet floor leader in the past, but he needs to be even more now with this particular team.  And what shows that he is becoming more comfortable as a leader is his willingess to call the team out with his words now.  I have no idea if he was referring to one individual or to many, but the fact alone that he said it shows his growing leadership skills. 

Yes, he plays with three future Hall of Famers.  But they are not at the top of their game at this stage of their careers. Rondo is by far their most imporant player. This entire organization, and even more so the New Big Three, needs to follow him and let him lead them to the finals. It is his team now. That is the only way this team goes anywhere this year...and likely the next couple years while all or some of the New Big Three are still in Boston.