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What’s emerging in emerging media at South by Southwest (SXSW)

March 19, 2013

What ideas and new technologies/devices made a splash at SXSW Interactive this year?
Major themes I explore in my vlog include:
1) Focus on hardware instead of software
2) Space – the next frontier for entrepreneurs
3) Big data at SXSW

3 Strikes You’re Out – CLP and UI Social Media Crisis Communication during Hurricane #Sandy #CTsandy

October 31, 2012

If you live in the state of Connecticut you electric needs are services by one of the following two regional utility companies: Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) delivering electricity to 1.2 million CT customers  and United Illuminating (UI), a smaller utility provider, responsible for densely populated Greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas with 325K customers. Read more…

How to Google-ize your job

October 1, 2012

Google Campus in Mountain View, CA (image by Yang and Yung on Flickr)

Following the advice of one of my colleague I just finished reading Steven Levy’s “In the Plex,” a comprehensive look into one of the most unconventional companies of our lifetime – Google. While the book was not as entertaining as Steve Job’s biography I read a few months ago, it left me wondering how would it be to embrace a culture where change is the norm, where data rules and where failure is described as “not attempting the audacious.”

Here are a few tips that I picked up that can help you Google-ize your job. Read more…

Will increasingly passive fans change your social media strategy and how you measure success?

September 13, 2012

Social marketers, raise your hand if you are frustrated with your social media program producing very mediocre engagement results despite your ongoing efforts to produce user-focused content and actively engage in relevant social communities. Are you scratching your head and beginning to doubt the validity of your social media marketing program design? Are you seeing your attention/traffic metrics growing, but your engagement/participation metrics plateauing or going down? GlobalWebIndex Trend report might have an explanation for this trend.

Remember when social media made its debut in late 1990s and early 2000s it was mostly about self-publishing and conversations between friends and peers. GlobalWebIndex Research shows that social media usage is changing from peer-to-peer conversations & sharing to more of a listening channel where large numbers of mainstream users configure their social media channels to hear from and only occasionally interact with public persona, organizations and companies whose products and services they use. Surprised? I am not since I have been seeing this trend in social media programs I administer. Read more…

Working smarter among distributed teams

March 12, 2012

My coworker and friend, Wayne Kurtzman, who is a veteran of South by South West Interactive events told me long before we came to Austin for SXSWi 2012 that there is great value in dropping on panels you were not originally planning on attending. All right, I thought, there are plenty of panels I want to go to at SxSW. Why would I go to something that does not interest me while there are lots of events that are very relevant and, frankly those are the events my company expects me to attend while I am here. Feeling confident in my decision I opted to fill my schedule to capacity with relevant panes and felt good about taking advantage of every little panel, meetup or presentation in the area of social media for big brands, social marketing for(particularly for B2B) and social content creation. While I did not leave room for serendipitous findings, serendipity found me! Read more…

How Guy Kawasaki’s Chat with Vic Gundotra Changed My Thinking about Google+

March 11, 2012

The Austin Convention Center ballroom is huge and it was filled almost to capacity when Vic Gundotra, VP of Social Business at Google [G+ profile] and host, Guy Kawasaki [G+ profile], author and CEO of Alltop took the stage on Friday, March 9th, 2012 for a fireside Chat about Google+ (part of SxSW Interactive 2012).

Neither the host not the audience were going to let Vic get away with carefully prepared formal statements about Google’s strategy towards the social network and how it was going to affect Google’s search algorithms. Of course Guy Kawasaki made sure of that by challenging Vic to uncomfortable questions and pushing him to give strategy insights that were not previously revealed.

You can read many reviews of the fireside chat done from the online privacy perspective as well as the strategy perspective. What I can offer here is my interpretation of where Google is heading with their social media strategy which certainly improved following Vic’s chat.


It’s interesting that Vic did not use the word “social network” at all when describing Google+. Instead, he described it as a social layer across all of Google services. As a user of Google+as well as multiple other social networks it was helpful to understand that Google was not out there to replace Facebook or any other social network. Read more…

Newsjacking with David Meerman Scott

March 9, 2012

Day 1 of South by South West Interactive 2012 welcomed its attendees with the expected long registration lines with an added bonus of  torrential downpours and unusually cold weather in Austin. However, because of a great advice from a colleague of mine, Wayne Kurtzman, I  arrived a day earlier and avoided all this registration madness and instead caught a session with David Meerman Scott who was there to promote his ebook on Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage

David is a seasoned presenter who knows how to tell great stories. In fact his entire presentation was based on examples that drove home his overall message of the importance of listening and reacting to news in real time. Read more…

Three leadership qualities I learned from Steve Jobs

December 21, 2011

“Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO!”
~ Apple Computers ~

The 1997 quote from the famous “Think Different” marketing campaign for Apple products might have been conceived to represent the elusive qualities of Apple product users, but it is also a very good description of Steve Jobs himself whose business philosophy and colorful life has been described in his biography written by Walter Isaacson.

Yes, I did read the 600+ pages of Steve’s life including the proud and not so proud moments both as a leader and as a family man. I saw him as a youngster who thought the rules did not apply to him, a young college drop-out who chose to study Buddhism rather than finish Reed College. I saw a young entrepreneur whose way to get what he wanted was by either yelling or sobbing uncontrollably in front of his business partners and finally I saw him as a powerful CEO whose way to approach difficult problems was to avoid them all together including avoiding his early cancer diagnosis that might have cost him his life. Was Steve Job’s way to get what he wanted right? Not exactly. Was it successful? You bet. Read more…

No need for a lab coat when using social media for research

December 8, 2011

I recently had an interesting exchange with an acquaintance of mine who is in charge of multiple customer research initiatives that are based on traditional research methodologies including surveys and focus groups. He openly expressed his disapproval of using social media for any type of statistically valid research due to his inability to control where his social data is coming from. While he continued to list all important points that make traditional customer research far superior from what I can gather through social media monitoring service I could not help, but notice a bigger point that he was missing entirely:  ubiquitous access to social data that anyone (with or without a research lab coat) can begin to manipulate and analyze for relevant insights.  This creates opportunities for anyone (and marketers in particular) who are willing to learn a few tricks of the trade to use social media data not to replace but to supplement their formal market research initiatives.

Jason Falls and Erik Deckers in their recent article “How to Use Social Media for Research and Development” take a similar stand on empowering everyone marketers, product managers and small business owners to take advantage of data from social media conversations. How? They lists two major ways:

1)      REACTIVELY by using free or paid social data monitoring and mining tools to access, analyze and gather insights from existing conversations

2)      PROACTIVELY by seeking customer answers to direct questions posted in social channels.

Let’s analyze both from two different perspectives:  a small business owner’s point of view who often needs to rely on himself to perform all relevant research activities as well as a marketer in an enterprise setting who has an ongoing need for relevant customer insights that limited corporate market research resources cannot satisfy. Read more…