Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Participate?

Jason Calacannis writes a straightforward post about why he is a "Community CEO". Its short, to the point, and gives a concrete example. Its here.

I take some jibes at the office for blogging, twittering and delicousing. Because when you have a large, active community like Jason does you can leverage it for amazing benefits. I'll admit the value isn't huge for me yet, but I've only really been at it for 6 months.

In 6 months I have over 60 followers on Twitter (most of which are new people in my life and in aligned professions) and blog has started to get some comments and readers. My readers and followers grow every month.

All I do is try to provide valuable insights, write consistently, and participate in other people's conversations. The 2-4 hours a week I put in might grow my community and become a unique professional asset over time. The consistency keeps me well read and directs to me to form my opinions on digital marketing, which often find their way into my work at the office. Actually paying back dividends on the time I invested.

Faith in the benefits of a large, active community and a long sited view justifies the time I put in for me personally. But brands would benefit from the same perspective.

Even if your a company, you can't write a check big enough and buy a community that cares about your brand, its built over time with consistency and value. I know that's not easy, but the upside is that it shouldn't cost a lot either. And while your building you'll probably recognize some benefits you weren't expecting.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blog Legendary

maybe its my fault
maybe I made you think I have a lot of free time to blog
maybe I made it look like these ideas just fell out of the sky
maybe I don't like the NBA and NHL playoffs and leaves me tons of time
maybe you think I put all my ideas in my blog and don't save any for my clients
maybe I made you think I don't need to recharge my batteries on the weekends
maybe you thought its easy for me to keep up quips on Twitter and still have blog posts in me
maybe I never draw blanks on new ideas to write about
maybe my blog posts are cheap cop outs to try and hype up other WKNY work that other people did

OR MAYBE, your just making excuses


Oh, and in case you didn't know. Your blogging owes my blogging $20

Thank you for coming.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ning and the Underpants Gnomes

Article in Fast Company Today about Marc Andreeson's Ning. It talks about the viral loop, that creating a company that successfully get users to recruit their friends is awesome. How VC's love it, valuations go straight to billions and its nearly infallible.

Why haven't you heard of the viral loop yet:

You might wonder how something as profound, powerful, and potentially profitable as a viral loop has remained under the radar for so long. Andrew Chen, a blogger and former advertising executive who worked with MySpace, Hi5, and other social sites, has a simple answer: This critical insight "is worth a lot of money," and the few people who understand it "are all doing their own companies."

Here's my problem. Blogger, Digg, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr. They have the viral loop, loads of users, have sky high valuations and they don't have a profitable business and no one seems to care about that. Not important, at all.
Reminds me of my favorite cartoon that I along with old friend Brett Goffin used to laugh about as we waited for the subsequent burst of internet bubble 1.0 in 2000.
The UnderPants Gnomes. The "Underpants Gnomes" are a community of underground gnomes.

The Underpants gnomes have a three-phase business plan,

None of the gnomes actually know what the second phase is, and all of them assume that someone else within the organization does.

Watch the Underpants Gnomes Episode, its great. Fast forward to last 4 minutes for more detail on the business model.
This time its probably different though, the viral loop is too powerful, those who know about are so secretive and brilliant they are just withholding phase 2 until the opportune moment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So You Want To Twitter

Step 1: Got to and sign up for an account. If you’re not following at least 25 people the experience is kind of lost (some reco’s below). If you tried it before and didn't follow 25 people it doesn't count. Try it again.

Step 2: Download and Install Twhirl

Step 3: Using Twhirl search for people that talk about what you’re interested in, follow the ones with interesting things to say. If you like cooking, search the word "cooking"

Step 4: Once you observe Twitter users you think are providing you value, and you want to get in the coversation, base your post frequency, style, and topics on them.

Here are some people worth following if your a marketer, you can quickly add them by clicking on the Following link from my Twitter page

JasonCalacanis / Jason Calacanis - Cocky, opiniated entrepreneur. Owns

Scobleizer / Robert Scoble - Classic Geek, Loves Technology and Business

jowyang / Jeremiah - Social Media Expert from Forrester

loiclemeur / Loic Le Meur - Owns Seismic, great video's

Armano / David Armano - Designer

darrylohrt / darryl ohrt - Planner

bmorrissey / Brian Morrissey - Ad Age Writer

skydiver / Peter Shankman - Social Media/ PR guy/ high energy creative plane jumping nut

guykawasaki / Guy Kawasaki - Old School Apple Marketer gone VC

THespos1 - Tom Hespos - Agency Owner

mediadarwin - Jim Meskauskas - Gifted Media Expert, Dayjobbing as a Pirate

chucknorris_ - Chuck Norris - Beat a brick wall in a game of tennis

rgleeson / renny - World Wide Digitist

TechCrunch / Michael Arrington - Will tell you who's getting money, who's great, who sucks

ischafer / Ian Schafer - Digital Agency Owner, Creative, Daring, Interesting

sarahcuda / Sarah Lacy - Much harrassed but bright business writer

jasonclement - Search guru

daveknox - P&G brand manager

adrants / Adrants - They know when you are lame

Friday, April 11, 2008

Being a Curator

“The Internet allows every company to become a media company,” he said. “It takes resources, dedication and a nose for creating good content that people want. Brands will become digital curators in high interest niches. This will either be a solo effort, or more likely, in partnership with bloggers, media companies and/or everyday consumers.”

MediaShift . Digging Deeper::The Social Press Release: Multimedia, Two-Way, Direct to the Public PBS

It reminds me of a time I was in a meeting with colleagues who's client wanted ads that showed that they were an "arbiter of culture". I said, "Cool, but would it make more sense to just arbite culture". Its the commitment and change in business practices that makes that tricky.

Some problems you might encounter along the way.
  • If you want to keep content fresh and regular don't expect the same production values as brochures and commercials with 6 months lead times
  • Don't lie to yourself. If the little voice in your head thinks its not 100% authentic, its not
  • Don't expect immediate results, becoming a truly valued source of information takes time, if you expect this tactic to lift back to school sales significantly your too late
  • Accept that the last time you tried this that you sucked and nobody came because you didn't invest in enough promotion, or the content wasn't good enough
  • Don't bet the farm on it. Bet a little bit on it, but stick with it, learn from mistakes, and watch it grow.
  • Your other marketing budgets (TV, OOH, etc...) aren't going away they are just getting diversified and will need to be more efficient