Wanted to share info. about a great service that seems super relevant for this crew – FounderDating (no, it’s not romantic). Norfolk Area of FounderDating is kicking off Round 2 of accepting applications into this private group for people looking to find a Co-Founder of their startup business!
Click here for more info on FounderDating.com
FounderDating (FD) is an invite-only, online network for entrepreneurs to connect with cofounders. What makes them different?
High Quality – members are carefully screened for quality and readiness (no recruiters, etc.) Applications and members’ identities are confidential, but a few of the folks who are part of the network are former founders or early employees from: stackmob, snapfish, Zynga, Loggly and Gilt just to name a few.
Balanced – 50% engineering & 50% non-engineering
No Idea Necessary – FD is about the people, so you don’t need to have an idea, just be ready to work on a serious side project
If you have applied in the past and received an email about not being accepted in Round 1 you will be considered for an invite in Round 2Zack Miller and I can work with any type of groups like alumi associations, professional organizations, and government agencies to ensure their members know about FounderDating and can apply. Just let us know how we can work with you to announce this round and opportunity to your club via email or other appropriate channels? If so, I’ve included a small blurb below. Also, we are happy to jump on the phone/skype or scheduled a face to face visit and tell you more about us or answer questions about FounderDating.com.You can read more about FD on here and hereHere are Photos from the Round 1 Members Kickoff:
Comments Off on Do you want to invest in Hatch? Its an incubator ya know
I went back to my northern roots on that title hey! Wanted to share an email I received from Zack Miller of We are Titans about the incubator for startups he has created called Hatch! There is a deadline for applications coming up fast. So make it a point to check it out and if you are serious about your idea for a business, well then what are you waiting for?
Now that is one side of the equation the other side is investing. If you are wanting to invest some serious money in some businesses that are not yet supported and are in your own backyard. Well here is your chance. To start investing today reach out to Zack Miller at [zack dot miller at wearetitans dot net ] about the details about how being on the ground floor in your community with investing is the new black!
+++++++++ Below is Zack’s Email to the Community ++++++++++
A lot of people talk about generating new high-tech jobs in the region and attracting fast-growing startups to downtown Norfolk and other parts of the region.
We’re done talking. This summer, we take action.
On June 15, the visionaries who created Start Norfolk and brought TechCrunch to Granby Street are launching Hatch, an 11-week long startup accelerator. Hatch will put a handful of teams from around the Mid-Atlantic region through the crucible and create new companies.
We know this will work because we’ve already done it. The two weekend long startup marathons known a Start Norfolk resulted in the formation of 19 companies. Many of them have already launched their products. And that was just two weekends.
Imagine what we can accomplish with 11 weeks. This time, however, we can’t do it alone. The startup companies can’t quit their jobs or put them on hold for 11 weeks and still eat and pay rent. That’s why we’re raising $25,000 for each team. As a result, we need $200,000.
If you invest $10,000? A cornucopia of payback. First, publicity. Hatch will be a very public event. The City of Norfolk has contributed the Design Center, a retail space near the corner of Main and Granby Streets (directly across the street from the new urban park, The Plot). People walking and driving by will see the companies working around the clock (and your logo on the storefront window). The center, which has great meeting space, will become a hub and hangout for area entrepreneurs and their service providers all summer. Also, we’re great at getting press coverage. Here’s what we got for a couple of weekends and the TechCrunch event. Imagine what we’ll get for an 11-week event.
Comments Off on Lethal combination of books for any business! #startnorfolk
Since I am heading off to #StartNorfolk in a couple hours wanted to share some info with the folks that will be there this weekend to consider picking up this lethal combination of business books as they kick off their business dreams!
I have read 3 and half of these books (Meghan and Nancy still working on yours!) and I have come to the conclusion! If you are a business owner, getting a business off the ground, reinventing your business, and or innovating your business these 4 books have to be read together!
Suggestions while reading these books:
Take notes with a pen and paper (old school I know)
Highlight and dogear the crap out of these books. You will come back to those, TRUST ME@
Start constructing the what, how and why plans, strategies, tactics and metrics for your business or career development while reading.
Find the patterns of how to’s and why’s between the four books – WRITE THEM DOWN! They are there!
Encourage many at your company to read these 4 books together.
Talk with the authors online. They are all available & very conversational!
Pick these books up today if you have not already. I have made it easy and provided a link to the books on amazon and also the authors online information. Have fun!
“Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.
Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.”
“Use this book to bring true business discipline to your social media program and align with your organization’s goals. Top branding and marketing expert Olivier Blanchard brings together new best practices for strategy, planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and optimization. You will learn how to define the financial and nonfinancial business impacts you are aiming for–and achieve them. Social Media ROI delivers practical solutions for everything from structuring programs to attracting followers, defining metrics to managing crises. Whether you are in a startup or a global enterprise, this book will help you gain more value from every dime you invest in social media.
You’ll learn how to:
Align social communications with broader business goals and functions
Plan for effective performance measurement
Establish clarity of vision, purpose, and execution
Implement guidelines and operations for effectively managing social media
Get started by “listening before talking”
Integrate social media into long-term marketing programs, short-term campaigns, and brand initiatives
Use social media to deliver real-time, optimized customer support
Leverage mobility and the “on-the-fly” social media culture
“As an industry, interactive is different. The work entails elements of software development, marketing, and advertising, yet it’s neither purely technical nor traditional “agency” work. Delivery methods are different, and because the industry is relatively new, the gap in understanding between the clients buying the work and the teams building it is often wide. Enter the geek girls guide. Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker don’t just tell you how to deliver digital work, they demonstrate how to think about it.
Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process helps clients, agencies, and industry professionals better understand the critical role of interactive project management, and presents a collaborative, people-focused approach to delivering high-quality digital work.”
“Every successful brand in history is inherently unpopular with a specific demographic. Somewhere along the way, people felt they had to be popular in order to be successful, when in fact, the opposite is true. The brands playing in the space you want to dominate have already figured out the inherent power of being unpopular. In The Power of Unpopular, you’ll discover the difference between flash-in-the-pan brand tactics and those designed to place you miles above the competition.
Brand Personality: What’s yours? Explore the importance of taking a stand and why brands become road kill without a distinct personality.
Community: It’s the number one thing that unpopular brands have figured out—learn how to build yours.
Brand Advocacy: It knows no scale and your fans don’t care how big you are. A guide for businesses on the proper care and feeding of their biggest asset.”
I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Olivier, Nancy, and Meghan over the years. I know one of these days Erika and I will meet IP (In Person, looking forward to that!!!). Jason and I have only occasionally tweeted back and forth. So there are my disclosures. In no way was I paid or asked to write this post. I just sharing great people with other great people I know!
In running your business, project, or strategy where do you focus:
So this is a fundamental path you and your company are going to need to examine for moving into the next evolution of business. Will you be accepting mediocrity, status quo, and “well that is just the way we do things here” if dedicating too much of your focus on the NaySayers in these areas…YES! Business leaders, workers and agents of change really need to start looking at these fundamental activities to get desired outcomes.
Or will you be focusing the above things on the people and teams that demonstration:
2. Plan the Work, Work the Plan
3. Willingness to change
4. Bring solutions or options to the table
5. Want to be accountable and responsible for a body of work
By refocusing the attention, energy, and rewards to the bottom list you start getting in return the desired outcomes. Too many times I see the Naysayers winning in this game and then blown away when the leadership makes demands to have the bottom list. You can only wish in one hand for so long without cultivating and rewarding people and teams for the desired outcomes.
In my book if you don’t have something documented, modeled out, or dates and activities planned out you don’t have accountabilities and if you don’t have accountabilities you don’t get a say. Hence Naysay all you want you, I do not understand the words that coming out of your mouth!
This was just swirling in my head past few months. You did notice I gave NaySayers second billing in my title, right? What do you think?
You should attend unGeeked if you are responsible for developing or managing your company, organization or client’s social media, marketing, branding, advertising, on-line community, customer service, or recruiting campaigns.
Branding, Marketing and PR VPs, Directors and Managers
CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of mid to large companies
Not-for-Profit Organizations – Cause Marketing Professionals
Recruiters, HR and Legal Professionals
Community Managers, Social Media Managers
Customer Service, Sales and Advertising VPs, Directors and Managers
The format is “open discussion” The topics focus on enhancing, positioning and leveraging both the internal and external brand. Power Points are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among Discussion Leaders (speakers), regional leaders and attendees are encouraged.
Who is speaking at unGeeked?
Spike Jones, Jason Falls, Barry Moltz, Heather Taylor, Anita Campbell, Olivier Blanchard, Hajj Flemings, Lou Hoffman, Chris Heuer, Amanda Hite and Jeff Willinger and more.
Join Chris Brogan and family, while his friends deliver comedic insults, banter, tongue-in-cheek criticism and outlandish stories along with heartwarming tributes to honor one of our most recognized social media thought leaders, while supporting the charity SitStayRead.
Roast and Auction to benefit Chicago Charity SitStayRead Literacy Program. Items for auction:
One lifetime membership to Exploring Social Media (valued at $300 per year) – from Social Media Explorer
Two certificates each entitling the bearer to a 6 bottle in-home wine tasting for up to 14 people with private wine adviser for 2 hours (valued at $350 each) – from Wines For Humanity
Two Chris Brogan T-Shirts from Mom Pop Pow
Newest author, Olivier Blanchard is on the forefront of spearheading theSocial Media ROI initiative. A copy of Social Media ROI is included with 3-day Registrations.
Currently we have this thing about customers opting in or opting out. If they opt out most companies pine over how can we get them to opt in and continually push market in a shot gun fashion around them hoping someone will forward it to them…..costly.
On the other side you have the people that opt in and what do businesses turn around and do, push market the hell out of these customers. No analysis done around who should get what message, when, why and then the customer gets the dreaded noreply@ email address in the From: so you cannot communicate your frustration with said business……ummm costly and annoying.
So how does the opt in become a two way form of communication between businesses and customers. Data, yes the sexy ever glamorous darling of the businesses, Data. Yeah right who I kidding data is not sexy, but it sure is useful! What businesses need to do is partner with their customer around data. The customer has the ability to proactively collect a lot of information about themselves now and the data the business collect about the customer has holes in it to be affective. Typically most businesses have cookies, email address and minimum information about connecting the exact purchases done by their customers.
With so many customers collecting, storing, analyzing, and utilizing their data to make personal business decisions, like where I buy, how much can I spend, and how much I have spent. On the flip side businesses are collecting, storing, and analyzing the data they are collecting with one two pieces or really three pieces of demographic data missing First Name, Last Name, and email address tied to purchasing actions. Missing the actual person and who they are leaves gaping holes in analyzing to take the correct actions. Being able to line the data profile the customer is building and data profile based on a Cookie ID can lead to a powerful conversation, trust relationship and actual deepening the selling and buying between the two.
Enter a company like Buyosphere!They are allowing customers to store and maintain all the purchases they make based on the receipts they can obtain online and eventually the receipts they receive offline, then get them to their online profile. This purchasing information is the start of the two opt-in of sharing information between businesses and customers. With the customers currating and storing their purchasing data and most businesses wanting to know their First Name, Last Name and email address on those purchases, why not have conversations about sharing this information with each other. Businesses that are in a more brick and mortar setting need to find ways to get this purchase information to their customers! Plus we can save a whole lot of trees by not giving out paper receipts too…
Businesses need to invest in emailing receipts to the customer at the time of purchase, giving them a way to enter a code online to get the electronic receipt once they get online, start putting QR codes on the receipt, or maybe bumping phone to POS to get receipt record onto phone (keep in mind this only covers 30% of customers with smartphones).
What this allows the customer to do is curate their purchases and share the data socially or privately with the businesses they are demonstrating purchasing power with said business. This is the start of the 2-way Opt-In partnership around purchasing power using the opt-in as the contract, the handshake, the trust. The businesses offering these types of services and two way opt-in relationships will be able to increase marketshare, service customers based on mutual respect based on buying and selling, and keep the customers you have long term. In business keeping the ones you have is waaaaaay cheaper than always trying to acquire new. I do believe if the customer felt a little more in control of this opting-in action they would probably be more willing to opt-in! I know I would!
Now the flip side of this 2-way Opt-In relationships are the businesses and needing to earn the trust with this Customer information and not get all up in their customer’s grillz with their Pushy MCPusherton marketing and advertising. They have to allow the relationship to build and grow. With always checking in after sending your Customers information, like “How did that feel, was it pushy?” or “Did we hit the mark based on your activity?” This will gain trust and loyalty like nothing before. Image the cost reductions of trying to acquire new costumers and increasing the spend by already existing customer. Just remember this is earned in the long term and screwed up in an instant. Gut feeling is most businesses would have more fun interacting with their Customers too. Employees would have more satisfaction about a job well done or finding new ways to strengthens the relationship with their Customers. I see productivity gains and reducing talent turning over, which is reduction of expenses. When you make you company fun with happy Customers and happy employees really cool things can happen!
So go forth and build and synthesize your data businesses and customers, the economy will thank you! “In the form of a wholly logical data model, in the form of a buying river!”
Well that seems to be the general feeling I get discussing this topic with marketing, communications, pr, and leadership in those groups. So I am going to present why this role is highly suited for being part of the social team. The core skills and specialties of this role make integrating social strategies, processes, and technologies for problem solving and innovation essential to be apart of these newly forming teams. The following are my reasons to challenge the blasphemy or heresy perspective and rhetoric!
A Business Analyst………
1. Looks at problems and assesses viable solutions using people, process & technology
Yes the Business Analyst realizes there is no silver bullet. You need all three aspects of people, process, and technology to problem solve or innovate. The Business Analyst is aware the solutions will work these things as an ecosystem. The Business Analyst will ask the right questions, document the information gathered, analyze that information and have the ability to put that information into readable content for business and technology disciplines to understand. Business Analysts helps the social media project teams co-create these solutions in a rapid fashion because we understand how and what the ecosystem needs for execution. One of the biggest soft skills we use is curiosity to discover information. With every problem or potential idea to innovation we turn into a 5 year old kid discovery their world around them…..we all know a 5 year old right?
2. Diggs for information to get solutions
Business Analysts are tenacious to find, illicit, document, and fix information for a solid solution for a problem or innovation. We are good at asking questions for clarification, we will admit when we don’t understand or don’t know, but with that admission we will educate, find, and ask again if need be. This is all done from a place of curiosity, wanting the people, project, and organization to succeed. We explore the possibilities of where it could be or what it could be. All along the way we keep documenting with content to ensure we have words, pictures, and prototypes to make better fact based decisions. Well on occasion a little leap of faith based on experience is needed to be worked in also. The question why comes up a lot, but in a curious manner. That is the best way to spot a good business analyst! How do they ask the question Why?
3. Documents for review, clarity, and decision making
Documentation, Documentation, Documentation……yes I know what you are thinking. Good Business Analysts make this documentation flexible, dynamic, and not set in stone. Every hour on a project or a team the information you need to make good decisions changes. Now with social we see this information changing every minute. You need a role that can absorb information and categorize and reproduce in a rapid fashion. Now think about all the disciplines operating on a social media team: interactive designers, creatives, lawyers, HR, marketing, advertising, technical architect, infrastructure architect, testers, project managers, customers, call center reps, PR, Communications, etc etc. Yes I take the approach the social media\social business team internal and external are one team (future post on social business, enterprise2.0, and social media is much larger and more dynamic than what I have seen at any company today). Think about all the information that is being created that needs to be curated and reproduced for decision making and impact analysis.
4. Presents information for diverse audiences
Business Analysts are smack dab right in the middle of the ecosystem. Being that we have functioned within the Business culture and Technology cultures we have to take all the information above and synthesize this information for non-business people understand businesses and non-techie people understand the worlds of technology. With this skill set comes the ability to fashion a presentation around 1 screen or one process model or one requirements traceability diagram. Oh there is that word Requirements. Those silly little information snippets that cause most projects headaches and heartburn, if not gathered, managed, and traced to other forms of requirements to ensure connectability and workability of the solution or innovation. All your business, test, project, and technical information should plug into the requirements traceability hierarchy…..another blog post hey? Oh and the presentation does not mean powerpoint, most good Business Analysts want to present diagrams or working prototypes based on the requirement statements.
Information Integration with a Social Business Analyst
5. Talk business and tech languages and dialects
Yes we speak that foreign language called “techie”, but we do speak a special dialect of “techie” called “biz techie”. Yes that is right we understand how technology makes businesses work and how businesses make technology work. I do believe this is probably most crucial part of being apart of the social media team. Majority of the execution of the social media\business plan and strategy will be done through technologies or technologies will be apart of most of the activities. Business Analysts can quickly and effectively put together the tools and processes necessary for social media execution and operationalization for long term success.
The Social Business Analyst
So there you have it the blasphemic reasons why you need to really start looking at this role, skill, and people with the Business Analyst title to be apart of your social media\business team. Now a word of warning some folks are walking around with just the t-shirt that says they are a Business Analyst. It is a little like me wearing a professional baseball teams uniform and calling myself a professional baseball player.
So what do you think sound advice or blasphemy? Need to hire or heresy? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Comments Off on “My Boss Is an Idiot” post in Social Media
So I have been reading a lot of articles about people expressing discontent for their direct manager, supervisor, boss or boss’ boss across the social landscape. These articles also chronicle the backlash that ensues from the companies towards these people. I see both sides of this argument! The question I have is post a reflection of the person that says it or the person they are directing the post at?
I am not going to be wishy-washy on my perspective. I read and feel this is a reflection on the “manger” being called an “Idiot”. Yes I do take into account that 10% of the workforce does take up 90% of time with no real value (another post). So that means 90% of the employees are trying to make progress, add value, and truly execute at their highest potential for their company.
For me it is my simple logic good, great, or inspirational leaders or managers (there is a difference) don’t get publicly scrutinized they are held up and interviewed or asked to do speaking engagements. When you are producing good workers, good working environment, and inspiring people you typically are not being a called an idiot in public (exception all people have their trolls).
Which brings me to my question: “Which is worse for the company the one person that calls his or her boss an “idiot” or the boss that could be managing 25 or more people in said company?”
Potentially you have a manager or leader with 25 people not executing to their fullest potential, 25 people lacking inspiration to do good work, and or 25 people not delivering to full capacity for their return on salary. This is “manager” is costing the company way more money than someone posting “My boss is an idiot” on a social platform. Not to mention it is quite expense to fire someone these days.
So how did you answer that question? If you answered the guy or gal that posted it…..ummm you can stop reading at this point or you can read further and accept a challenge. Your choice.
So next time if you are the person monitoring their employees and brand across the social platforms, you may want to come back behind the firewall and investigate the one being called the “idiot”. Really dig into what negative return on investment this manager or leader is providing towards your company. If you take it a step further, you may find your next inspirational leader or manager from the person that posted it (in most cases it takes a lot of courage and bravery to take this step). The other benefit of the investigation (with all like police dramas right?):
1. Finding better ways to engage your employees.
2. Discovering employees may not be in right seat on the bus (this is ok internal talent movements are cheaper)
3. Finding new challenges for both individuals that benefit them as well as the company.
These are all great opportunities to bring engagement and relationship building inside your company to a whole new level. This public information is a chance to engage in different ways than we have done so in the past. Seize the opportunity and move the needle for your company. We will really start to move closer to full employee engagement within your companies. If companies stop chalking everything up to disgruntled employees get rid of them, there are some real opportunities on both sides to learn and grow together. This is definitely not the easiest or smoothest of paths, but the payoff could potentially be huge for the employee and the company.
I would really like people to weigh in on this one! I want to know if I am way off. If I am TELL ME! I like learning through discussion!
Comment Lines are open and ready to assist you! Oh and it is free!
Yes the Business Analyst (BA) role is changing rapidly right before our eyes. That is why I have reclassified myself as a Business Analyst 3.0. I think BA’s really need to educate themselves on all the social technologies and software as a service models both from a external perspective and internal perspective.
We will be called upon to integrate and implement these two worlds both from processes and functions seamlessly! For the first time in technology history we as consumers and employees have better access to technology than our employers.
We as Business Analysts better learn how our skills can help the business and technology groups converge on these platforms for quicker, more robust, and often ever changing technologies that can keep pace with the ever changing business environment.
Expect the ever looming skill that needs to be there is curiosity and willingness to collaborate with all kinds of disciplines. This challenge I think faces all disciplines but ours in particular because we need to make all the disciplines and information work together (biased perspective I know). Soft skills of finding new people to interact with outside the typical corporate industries is where our learning and evolution as Business Analyst 3.0 needs to take place.
For example check me out on twitter and the people that are following and interacting with me…..it is for the most part an eclectic group of individuals from a wide range of industries. Which I think helps enhance my analysis and design skills as a Business Analyst! I think the pendulum swung too far to Generalists then back too far to Specialists. I am proposing a new paradigm Specialties. This paradigm understands the fact of specialties each discipline brings to the table and learns how to work within the encroachments. The “it’s not my job or role” mentality is out the window with the bathwater and the baby of 2009! If you can not bring together strategy, process and technologies for problem solving or innovation, I would highly encourage to find those that can and learn from them as quick as you possibly can!
Look forward to seeing more and more people within the SDLC community embrace the social scene online. Look top left at the icons click on your favorite channel and let’s connect!