Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Ode To Ada Lovelace Day: A Shout Out To My Two Favorite King Penguins

It's Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate women in technology. And to mark the day I wanted to give a shout out to two women in technology i know in particular.

Someone once wrote to me that they thought having a woman as a CTO was like seeing a King Penguin in the Arctic - very rare and very cool.

I have had the rare pleasure to work with two such women. Vanessa Williams and Tisha Kanfi.

Vanessa was the tech director at MacLaren Interactive in its hayday and is the CTO and co-founder of our start-up oponia networks.

Tisha Kanfi is the technical director of Twist Image and as the important role to ensure that our creative minds will never be hampered and instead, enabled by technology.

And oddly, today of all days the two of them got to meet. I would have liked to have been a fly on that particular wall.

Happy Ada Lovelace day. And if you have the time, do flip through my postings tagged women as many of them are about women in technology... :)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Social Influence & The Future Of Marketing

Three Spheres IIImage via Wikipedia

In my post, "My Network Is My Search Engine" I focused on the important of social networks in terms of content filtering. But the truth is, that with the fast paced proliferation of social networks, it's only a matter of time before our networks are completely ubiquitous.

What happens if social networks become "like air?". What changes will happen to our world if they are integrated into every service...search, e-commerce, blogs etc. etc. While it's still in it's early phase, semantic services are leading the way to create this social level on top of everything...and services like Facebook or Google friend connect are attempting to link our networks to the very fabric of the way we utilize and experience the commercial Web.

What will this mean for marketers? We know that clients recognize that word of mouth is important but they often still view the world in terms of mass viral vs. influence. At SXSW Charlene Li showed mock-ups that had 'Amazon in the future' where you could filter recommendations based on your personal network vs. the general public. And many people have been looking at spheres of influence (individuals, close ties, weak ties, friends of friends) and how they might change the way we use the Web for a while now.

But maybe it's time we stopped just imagining that this is some far off future. I mean how far off do we really think this is? 1 year? 2? 3 at the very most and that means companies that want to leverage this as a competitive opportunity need to consider how they are approaching social ecosystem strategies today.

If social networks become part of everything tomorrow, how would what you do every day change? I've already have a whole bunch of ideas and frameworks in my head including of extensions of my Green Man Marketing presentation. Now the hard job. Applying and refining them.

We may not know for sure what the future will look like, but one thing I'm sure of, social influence will be a cornerstone for the future of marketing.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Personal Branding & The Art Of Engagement

Classic "one-knee" proposal, ca.Image via Wikipedia

In these tough times, a lot of people are getting laid off. Even in digital, I'm hearing of more and more people who are moving around.

Just the other day, I got a linkedin invite from someone who had been a digital strategist who was looking to connect. I won't name names because it's not that important but it struck me that the strategies we build for brands online are ones we tend to ignore for our own personal brands.

I mean, I didn't personally know this guy/gal. And yet, s/he wanted to go straight from nothing to personal connection.

And you gotta wonder, if this is how they approach personal branding, how will they be as a digital strategist? Well the truth is, they might be a brilliant but I'll never find out because I'm not likely to be interested in them now.

There are probably a lot of people out there now looking to connect and network for current or future employment opportunities. So here are some suggestions on how to go about networking in the online space....

1. Start following the people who you want to network with

Pretty much we all want to know who is following us so if you follow me, i'll likely go to your link/twitter/tumblr account and see who you are. It drives awareness so if nothing else, your name will be somewhat familiar to me.

2. Start a blog
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. Blogs are sooooo 2005. But the truth is, i've hired or contacted people for jobs just based on their blog content. You can tell a lot about a person by the blog. It drives familiarity.

3. Link to things I say that you think are smart (well ok, if you think anything I say is smart)
Bloggers are notoriously sycophantic and will almost always check on who is linking to them. More importantly however, if you start to talk about something I'm saying, it gives me an idea of what you think is important and how you think. I might even make the first move and comment on your blog especially if you are being provocative. And thus we have our first moment of engagement. And even better for you, if i make the first move.

4. Work on on-going participation

Now I know who you are. I'm getting an idea of how you think. You follow my blog and likely I probably follow yours too. Maybe you comment from time to time. Maybe you reply to something I"ve said on Twitter. We are definately on the road to getting to know each other.

5. Engagement

At some point one of us might make a move to be more officially and personally connected. And that would be the time to invite me to linkedin. I have a general rule that I don't accept friend or linkedin requests from strangers. But you're not a really a stranger anymore.

Any more suggestions? Feel free to plop them in the comments. Come on, don't be shy. Make the first move. Let's get to know each other better ;-)

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