Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Finally in CA-LI-FOR-NI-A!

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

So, I have finally made my way out to California!!!! Woohoo!!!!!

It is nice out here…and it is even nicer being on vacation and enjoying the extended relaxation, lol.

But I felt compelled to write because I wanted to focus (again) on community and why it fascinates me so…specifically in retrospect of the communities that I have discovered during my (short) time thus far in California.

For starters, I am currently in the Bay Area, visiting friends and making new friends. And the first thing that struck me while I have been here is all of the young people who populate this general area. Even if they are young parents in their earlier 30s or young college graduates who are working on at startups or their own businesses, there is a general vibe of youth in the Bay Area. And it feels good to me. It feels very different from New York City in that this general youthful vibe is one that is absolutely prevalent throughout the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco and Palo Alto, while in New York City — you sometimes have to search a bit harder for that youthful vibe.

And that youthful vibe got me thinking about the shared ideas, values and goals that a lot of the people I have met thus far throughout the Bay Area. There is definitely a sense that everyone is transitioning from one space to the next and just trying to learn as much as possible from each situation. There is also the high focus on entrepreneurship and/or flexibility within one’s work that I sensed from a lot of people. Also, I picked up on a social consciousness of one’s world and how one is affecting that world. Lastly, I got a huge sense that so many of these people were comfortable with the concept of failure — especially in the sense that if something doesn’t work out, it just means that you find another way to make things work for you instead of giving into despair. And I absolutely loved that vibe.

All of these qualities led me to think of who these people would be in 15-20 years…and I truly believe their lives will be quite different than that of their parents. And then I thought — how are companies and brands going to talk to these people in the future? To me, companies and brands are going to have to get very honest with themselves if they want to target this community — because this community is not interested with irrelevant, wasteful messages nor with a lack of getting things done. This community is focused on not only getting things done but on constantly growing in making things happen. Which makes this community very, very important to companies and brands, why? Simply because they are the ones who are early adopters and who will more than likely create something that will end up being a huge competitor for companies and brands. So why not start speaking with this community now? Why not start learning what is meaningful to them, what makes them tick and what gets them motivated to be a brand evangelist? Why not figure out ways to impress them, further develop your relationship with them and prove to them that you are a worthy focus for their attention?

I say all of this especially because I see this community in myself and I know that with people like me pushing the space of communications in that direction, it leaves many companies and brands little room to deny this community. Hmmm…the next five years are going to be very interesting. 😉


Do Not Break…

March 13, 2010 8 comments

So Lupe Fiasco and Kenna just put out a hot new song called “Resurrection” and the video focuses solely on the crisis and catastrophe that occurred in Haiti earlier this year (I cannot believe it has been almost two months now, wow).

For me, this song focuses the most on is the concept of resurrection — rebuilding oneself, not allowing oneself to be broken by circumstances, forging ahead even in spite of what you see right in front of you. It is about ” the love, the strength, the passion” of people that Lupe Fiasco calls out in the song.

And this made me think even more about the daily assaults upon our personhood to break us down…to make us believe that we should not do the right thing by strangers, that we should not help other people who seem to have nothing in common with us, that we should not open our hearts to the pain of others, regardless of their circumstances. These daily assaults come in a myriad of forms. Sometimes these are outright assaults or sometimes it is just when you are confronted with someone’s lies, thievery or insecurities.

I mean, isn’t this world a funny one in which we all bump into each other, at varying speeds and degrees, knocking each other around with our energies? Whether those energies are frenetic, slow as molasses, airy or heavy — we all are just molecules moving at the speed of sound, light…what have you.

Maybe  if we saw the world like that — maybe if we understood just how interconnected we all truly are…maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t treat people as a threat to our existence or our humanity. Maybe we wouldn’t harm people just because we are broken inside. Maybe we wouldn’t assume that we have to go it all alone in this world and just use people as pawns in our own scripts. Maybe.

And if not…if people are not going to see how interconnected the world is…then I say to all of you who see the world as a big interconnected highway of molecules moving with kinetic energy — I say to you…don’t let anyone break you. Don’t give in and give up hope for a better existence, for a better life, for the chance to rebuild and reinvent yourself every single day.

Instead…Be YOU. And then take who you are and focus on helping other people to understand that, focus on helping other people to not lose hope. Just as we need to do in Haiti…we must do it for everyone.


Oscars + Twitter = Lots of Fun

March 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Just wanted to write a quick post today.

Last night, I watched the Oscars with boat loads of other people. How did I know this? We all live-tweeted the event together…and it was greatness.

Not only did it give the Oscars a bit more hmmmph that it could not provide on its own, it most definitely provided me with such a huge sense of community. The Oscars is not just about who wins — it is also about people paying attention to who wins…if there is no one to witness it, does it really hold that much significance? Does it really stand as the “great” Oscars? Or is it just another awards show without the audience?

Which got me to thinking about the attempt by the 82nd Annual Academy Award show to integrate younger viewers into the fold. I thought their use of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Lautner, Zac Efron and some others was an attempt but not as great an attempt as they are going to have to do next year. Either they are going to keep sprinkling in the young crowd — who by the way really have got to stop slouching in their dresses and hacking on stage, lol — OR they are going to have to integrate the world of digital media in order to garner more audience viewership (young and old). What about turning their forum board on into a space for all of us who were live-tweeting last night? Or maybe highlighting more that there is a Facebook page for the Oscars and they would love to hear people’s feedback on how they can make the show better for next year?

Or maybe the Academy doesn’t need all of that quite yet? Maybe it is just better for all of us in the audience to make our side remarks without the Academy infringing upon our “privacy”? Who knows? All I know is — Twitter made watching the Oscars a lot more fun for me. And maybe…just maybe, I am not the only who feels this way.   😉


Community Is Important For Your Customers AND Your Employees

March 7, 2010 1 comment

I think I have been hammering on about this for sometime now…in this blog, in conversations with friends and family and just to myself sometimes, lol. And before you go any further…here is what spurred this current blog post — this wonderful “Cluetrain Manifesto”.

But now I am going to write about this as much as I do about digital communications, passion and music — why? Because all of them are inherently bond to each other…each of them is bound in the concept of community. That wonderful entity that I love so much — I actually think the word community was made for people like me…people who love to connect with people, who love authenticity and who love helping people…but I digress, lol.

Too many companies fail to understand the vital role that a community plays in the company’s future success. Not your success three years down the line but a decade from now and even further into the future. Marketing as people understand it now will, frankly, no longer exist. Marketing will be essentially community management. Yes, I said it. Marketing as community management will be what consumers and employees demand in less than five years.

Community gives your consumers a sense of purpose and does not leave them feeling as if you just used them for their money – I mean, who actually enjoys feeling used? I don’t care if people look at it as a part of life…no one like how it feels, not really. And your consumers are fed up with feeling used — trust me, they most definitely are fed up. And now they have the means to ignore you, switch teams and leave you in the dust. So giving your consumers more than just your stale and vacant messages is now required of you. But who will build these communities with you and with the consumer?

Yep…you guessed it. Your beloved employees will be building these communities with the consumer.

And I mean beloved. You had better get used to looking at your employees in that manner because they are fed up of being used — not being acknowledged nor encouraged to grow and learn. And they will leave you as well if you continue to ignore the beauty and necessity of community. Not a good scenario for future growth, is it?

Some of you may already understand the importance of building a community and now are wondering how one goes about building a community — check out Jono Bacon’s “Art Of Community” book. I have this book and it is great…it really is. Jono understands approaching people as people — not as cogs for you (the company) to just use for your benefit.

But for all of you who are still resisting this idea of community, especially community between your employees and consumers…I am urging you to STOP.

Just as everyone thought music would solely exist in the hands of the record companies, that passion was something that people should do in only a small portion of their lives and that the Internet would not be able to stand on its own two legs — those people were wrong then just as you are wrong now. So…let it go and recognize that it is okay to be wrong sometimes. Just let go of your old ideas and at least take a peek at what is not coming around the bend but what is already here. And it is better for you to be proactive and focus on building a community for your engaged consumers and employees — instead of being reactive and struggling to earn the trust of your remaining employees and consumers to gain a space in their communities. It is becoming increasingly hard to earn people’s trust…so let your employees and consumers converse with each other and actually build a community now, huh?


Gamers Love Finding Solutions…at least this gamer does, lol

March 1, 2010 Leave a comment

As I look up from my recent download of “Virtual Villagers 3, The Secret City, I think I have to admit to myself — I am definitely a gamer.

Now, I am not a gamer as in I do it all of the time, every second of my day…there is no way I could, simply because I am at work for most of my days, lol. But I do love a good storytelling/simulation game — I really, really do.

My utmost favorite game of all time? The whole Sims series from EA. I just find it so fascinating and enthralling to build these stories, to simulate the lives of these Sims, to direct and see how it all plays out. With Virtual Villagers, I can do the same thing — although it more limited to solving the puzzles on the island.

Then of course, there are my Diner Dash games — that whole series always has me hooked because I love the challenge in trying to beat the level threshold and to rebuild the restaurants, hotels, etc..

Lastly, I just like Sudoku and brain teasers (sometimes) because they help me see how far I can go with the puzzles — I have always loved puzzles and trying to bring all of the pieces together.

Wait…I think I just had an epiphany, lol. I have always loved storytelling, puzzles, finding solutions and determining strategies to win (and all gamers love doing that too, on various levels)….hmmm…I def believe I am in the right space as a marketer, just gotta see how far I can push this envelope so I can do all of these things and have fun every single day. Until then, I’m gonna keep playing my Virtual Villagers 3. Ciao!  🙂


Now on to the geeky stuff, lol…OpenID and email marketing

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I had to get a lot of the other writing out of my system…and it felt good…haven’t done it in a while…but now, with this post, I am ready to address some thoughts I have been brewing on for the past few weeks in regards to my beloved world of digital communications…

So, lately, I have been really focusing on the evolution of Open ID and what it means for email marketing. I think many in the world of email marketing are still trying to wrap their minds around social media, which is sometimes frustrating seeing as technological advances are happening faster and faster everyday. However, with something like OpenID, its ease and simplicity, all marketers are going to have to catch up and fast.

Before we go into the why, let’s determine OpenID is anyways.

Open ID (also, check out this link for more info) is basically a method for people to log in to a multitude of different trusted sites with the same trusted login — thereby lessening the amount of times you have to login to multiple sites and the amount of username/password combinations you have to remember. Does it sound awesome? Yes…especially since I like the idea of having one login to use wherever I go.

On the flip side, would I be lying if I said that it doesn’t worry me just a tad that all of my information, all of my data, all of my keystrokes can be tracked back to one ID specific to me? Yes, I would be lying. But you know what? I am sure that all of that information is available to someone already, if they cared to really look for it. Scary? Yep. Life as it currently exists? Yep.

Anyways, what does this all mean for email marketing? Or the space of marketing overall? Frankly, I cannot decide if it gives marketers a headache or it solves alot of data problems. If the user has an OpenID and decides exactly what information is shared whenever they login into a site, what if they decide not to share anything at all, including their email address? What if the user decides that they do not trust your site (or that they do not trust OpenID on your site) and the user decides not to entrust your site with any of her personal information? You have just now lost out on the opportunity to gain any further insight into who the user is or worse, she left your site without any further interaction and you completely lost out on a potential customer.

Ooooorrrr…you could use OpenID to your benefit. If you add OpenID to your site, which could very well allow you access to a myriad of user data (of course with the user’s permission), you would then have a higher likelihood of sending more relevant messages to users. As for email marketing, OpenID would definitely make it so much easier for email marketers to get clear, correct information attached to a specific email address, which is always extreemely valuable. So, I guess, in the end, OpenID is an overall win for email marketing.

At the very end though, the user just might win since she ultimately controls how/what portions of her data are shared and with whom. Yay for the user!