Tag: social media

2011 The Year of 52 Phone Calls #yearof52calls

One of my 2011 goals was to find a new way to deepen online relationships.  Since some of the people I wanted to chat with are not within the cities I lived in, in 2011 I had to overcome location. So I wanted to try a different channel, what I came up with was “The Year of 52 calls”. The premise was to call a different person every week throughout the year. Sounds easy right? Well after making it through the whole year I partially succeed at my goal!

I partially succeeded in number, but I fully succeeded in making some awesome connections even better! I think for 2012 I am going to continue on this path, but with major refinements. Below are the results of the fun I had and people I called.

 

Week 1:

Called Robyn Flach 1/7/2011: we talked family, business happenings, social media in the social context.  Scheduled a lunch appointment.

Robyn Flach

 

Called Sarah Kay Hoffman 1/7/2011: left Sarah and voicemail, she left me a tweet about not using the phone well.

 

Week 2:

Called Nicole Nicolay 1/12/2011: left a voicemail about what I was doing with the year of 52 calls.  Gave her my phone number and told her if she wanted to call that would be totally cool, but know running a business and being a mom life is busy!

Called Alissa Ausan 1/12/2011: left a voicemail

Voicemails for 52 Calls

Week 3:

Called Shelly Kramer 1/18/2011: Talked with Shelley about the business for 2011. Found out a little more about company. She helps companies with strategic planning and content management. Talked about Yammer and streamlining communication.  What I do for Target, what I have planned for 2011.

Week 4:

Called Leigh Caraccioli 1/27/2011:Had a wonderful conversation with Leigh about all things going on with her business, the family, and her book she is writing. I did not know about the book, so this was an awesome surprise. I also learned that her husband works for a company based out of Minneapolis and we started talking about her and her family coming up here to hang out. Leigh and I have known each other online for 2 years and this was the first time she and I talked on the phone.  This phone call is why I am doing this activity!

Leigh Caraccioli

Week 5:

Called Katie Felten 2/04/2011: This was the first time we had ever spoken via the phone. Katie and I had a wonderful conversation about finding what the next steps of career are, exchanging social media stories, and told her about my tracking airport check-ins to find and connect with people.

Katie Felten

 

Katie Felten

 

Week 6:

Called Kris Colvin 02/17/2011:  Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring….so wanted to talk with Kristi too!

LeeAnn Youngquist and Kristi Colvin

Called LeeAnn Youngquist 02/17/2011: Let a message for following up a previous lunch that was cancelled.  Really looking forward to catching back up with LeeAnn!

 

Called Ria Sharon 02/18/2011: So I used skype for the first time for the year of 52 calls!  Ria and I have known each other online for roughly two years.  We had a wonderful conversation about business, how to succeed and creating new business models instead of fixing the ones we have currently.  Ok now my head hurts!

Ria Sharon

 

Week 7:

Called KT Wall 3/09/2011: Great conversation about life in Atlanta. Working for the Ad Agency in Atlanta and many of her friends getting married this summer!

KT Wall

 

Week 8:

Called Angel Oakley 3/11/2011: Since Angel and I were both attending #ungeeked in May I wanted to get to know her before going to the conference. We have a great conversation about Chicago and owning her own business.

Angel Oakley

 

Week 9:

Called Me Amy Roark 3/20/2011: This is was a reverse rule for the year of 52 calls, but hey I am making the rules! Amy and I got to know each other and discussed some strategies about marketing, cultivation, and formal ask for money for a whole new community of givers.  This conversation brought to light an uptapped market in Minneapolis!

Amy Roark

 

Week 10:

Called Sima Dahl 5/19/2011: After meeting Sima at #ungeeked in Chicago, I had to talk more to this very powerful, energetic, get stuff done woman!  We had a wonderful conversation about personal brand (and my take about some of it being bullshit, she agreed partially), speaking, and running her own business.

Sima Dahl

 

Week 11:

Called Erika Napoletano 6/06/2011: I finally got up the nerve to call Erika! This was a long process for me gaining the courage to talk with her live.  I am so glad I did! We talked about live in CO, writing 2 books (that are completely unrelated to each other), and just getting to know each other stuff.

Erika Napoletano

 

Week 12:

Called Peggy Fitzpatrick 6/29/2011: Peggy and I met and hit it off big time at #ungeeked! During all of the transition stuff to Virginia I wanted to chat with her about some east coast stuff. Plus I wanted to catch up on all the happenings since the conference!

Peggy Fitzpatrick

 

Peggy Fitzpatrick

 

 Week 13:

Scott Wild Called Me 9/16/2011: So this was a turn of events, Scott called me after a question I made on twitter. We had a great conversation about relocation and catching up after doing a podcast with him and folks from TodayMade.com

Scott Wild

 

Week 14:

Called Liza Sperling  10/07/2011: Liza and I met while I was out in San Francisco back in May 2011 for the SMOC Conference. I wanted to chat up to see how Liza was doing and hear about the Valley happenings.  We talked strategy, job seeking, and tech stuff!

Liza Sperling

 

Week 15:

Called Jen Howver on 10/13/2011: Jen and I actually went to High School together and she reached out to me via twitter about a year ago to reconnect. We also had a chance to reconnect IRL at #ungeeked in Chicago. We caught up about all the moving I had done, ungeeked related news, and general family things.

Jen Howver

 

Week 16:

Called Cassandra Girard on 10/17/2011: Cassandra and I met through Tara Hunt when Buyopshere.com launched about a year ago. We have still connected through the year while the evolution and revolution of their business model on the web. Cassandra and I chatted about release of version one of buyosphere community. Very excited I have had the opportunity to participate and add some value to their evolution!

Cassandra Girad

Week 17:

Called Brianna Foulds 10/26/2011: Brianna and I have known each other across the social web for the last couple of years. I reached out as part of this Year of 52 Calls starting back in May of 2011. Because Brianna lives in LA and I at the time lived in Minneapolis made lining up the day to chat difficult.  We plugged thru it though throwing messages back and forth until we finally connect.  We had a wonderful conversation about relocation, reestablishing networks, and just plain getting to know each other! It was finally great to see hard work pay off!

Brianna Foulds

 

Week 18:

Called Kasey Skala 12/29/2011: Kasey and I met in Minneapolis a few years back. I had planned on making him a part of the #Yearof52Calls and finally made this happen. It just so happens Kasey and I  are now in the same business model of working for a corporation that sells and operates franchises.  I needed to get some advice, insight, and knowledge dropped on me about this business.  So Kasey and chatted about processes, people, and especially technology.  We will be doing this again!

Kasey Skala

 

Missy Berggren called 12/29/2011: A reverse #yearof52calls Missy Berggren called me after I posted a funny comment on one of her facebook posts.  She got a kick out the topic that a feller would touch with a 10 foot pool! We had a chance to catch up and touchbase since I had moved from Minneapolis in July.  See how the connected world leads to more connections through different channels!

Missy Berggren

 

Experiences:

  • Seems awkward at the beginning when I say who I am and they pause.  Typically I ask do you know who I am or no?  Keith Privette from Twitter, usually blings the light bulb.
  • The conversations do not seem to flow as easy as they do online.  Adding voice and natural conversation ques seem a little awkward on the phone. 3. Conversations enhance the on and offline relationship.
  • Making the time to make the phone calls. If you don’t setup the schedule and figure out who you are going to call….you don’t do it! Next time around I am setting up a 6month schedule.  Then 3 months in setting up the next 6 months!
  • Keep track of new people you establish a rapport with! These are great candidates to connect with early to strength the connection!

 


Ooops forgot the WHY!

So the previous post talks about WHY in the title and after reviewing the post I did not even scratch the surface or even answer the question of Why.  So this post is the follow up to Why you need a Social Business Analyst.  The Business Analyst has evolved to be a very intragel part of the software development lifecycle and plays a major role (yes this is a biased opinion) in keeping the worlds of business and technology synthesized.  The role has evolved to be a skilled and well positioned professional for a company, thinking about how to integrate the business’ strategy, process, technology, and implementation of a its Social Business architecture and operations.

Just check out a google search on Social Business Jobs, you will notice many of the skill sets this implementation needs, now look at what a good Business Analyst comes with, now integrate their personal and professional social profile and BOOM the Social Business Analyst.

Here is a diagram of the dynamic skill set of the Business Analyst:


The Social Business Analyst

The Social Business Analyst



Here are some criteria to answer the question Why:

1. We know how businesses work better with technology

The Social Business Analyst is well versed at understanding what the business processes are and how they are made more efficient within technology.  This understanding is critical to implementing the Social Business, because about 70% of your business is run with technology.  The other 30% is run by people making decisions about the information coming from those technologies.  Scary, hey….not really technology has freed us up to actually have more conversations and better data for making decisions.

If you look at the Enterprise2.o & “Social Media” landscape, technology plays a huge part in your ability to execute your strategy and operations.  People will say “It’s not about the technology, blah, blah, blah!”  I disagree!  It is about technology and technology from the perspective it helps make your Social Business run efficiently, effectively and in the most cost effective way.  A Social Business analyst must know how this ever changing world of social technologies (Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Jive, SocialText, Crimson Hexagon, Radian6,  and operational technologies (SAP, PeopleSoft, Concur, Salesforce.com, SAS, POS, Sterling Commerce) must integrate to make the Social Business work.


2. Organic nature of requirements gathering

Yes, you heard me right requirements come to a project or initiative in very organic and dynamic nature.  There may be methodologies methodologies step by step processes, structured traceability, but how to get and gather requirements can be rather  organic.  This typically is the best way to design solutions that people will actually use.  When you become to robotic or “order takerish” with going to meeting, gather, document, ask questions, going to another meeting, gather, document, send email, meeting…..can you see how fast collaboration, organics, and innovation gets stifled in this process.  A good Social Business Analysts does not have to think “Oh what is my next step in this methodology”, we just think this way, to easily get, analyze, model, document, use, and communicate information for the betterment of the business.



3. Document and model everything

Yes almost to a fault….but isn’t this what is going on all over consumer technologies these days.  The Social Business Analyst document requirements in an organized fashion so people can actually use the information to make decisions.  You will never see me produce a laundry list of requirements!  We make pictures for all of our words in the form of process models, state change digrams, user interface process models, conceptual data models, and wireframes (yeah we like to mock up screens to get people talking).  This helps the widest audience use information to make decisions.  Managing this information in well architected, maintained, and open tools makes a project or initiative run soooooo much smoother.  If you run projects devoid of these tools or run your organization like the “cobbler that never provides his\her children with no shoes” it will be a painful thorn in your side. I have seen both and thorns hurt!



4. We are  precocious 5 year olds when it comes to asking questions

Why do you do that?  Why is that free form text?  Why is there so many hand offs?  Why don’t you make that required?  Why not a drop down there?  Why did you change for two days ago?  Why would a customer do that? What questions do you want to ask of your information? What market-share would you like to capture? What do you want to capture from the customer engagement? How many users will you have? How will you service these requests? Who will use this?  What do you think?

See this is what we continually do when we receive information or produce it for people to talk about.  Typically the highlighted question is the one we use when we bring information to the table to discuss.  The questions we use come from a place of curiosity, fill in the blanks, connect the dots, validate the dots we have connected, and always wanting to make the business more efficient for their customers, employees, investors, and communities.



5. We love figuring out how the ecosystem works together

There are no silver bullets! We understand that to solve most business problems an ecosystem must be developed and implemented to help support the ecosystem that is the business.  Being that social, enterprise2.0, and cloud technologies are maturing everyday, businesses need people that have been maturing along with them, hence the need for the Social Business Analyst.  With the world of clouds, API’s, sharable on just about everything, consumer technology outpacing corp technology and most businesses needing to work internally and externally, a Social Business Analyst help gather, present, and make recommendations on a platform basis, not a silver bullet.



6. We like data and finding new conversations for improving

Yes based on using the information above you achieve good data in and good data out.  We continually think about the questions a business is going to have along the way once the information is being populated.  We understand the value of good data architecture, good information management, what a required field does to the process, what free form text fields vs structured data in drop downs gets you down the road.

I personally love “geeking out” with data architectes to understand how we structure the data to get it back out to make good business decisions.  Once did a project in Mexico City where every data field was in english and in spanish behind the scenes so you could run reports in spanish and english.  This skill set comes in very handy with working with monitoring tools of the social landscape.  Having a solid understanding and the ability to speak with data and information geeks will make a Social Business Analyst vital to your team.



7. Connecting the dots quickly is our DNA

The dot connecting is really evident when you go back up and look at the Social Business Analyst cube.  See the solid and dotted lines intersecting all over the place.  Those are just the dots to connect the resources together.  Now image all the dots that need to be connected across your organization…..now think about the dots connecting the internal to the external…..now lets go really big the dots that are connecting all your costumers.  Got it mapped out? Well if not a Social Business Analyst kinda sees the language of the matrix when it comes to this.  The good part, with the skills above we model, decompose the information, organize it, and “bucketize” it for easier consumption and decision making.

There is the WHY of putting this job description on the docket for 2011.   The WHY on hiring a Social Business Analyst in 2011, if you are heading down the “social” path (eventually it is the path, but that is another discussion). I do believe a the Social Business Analyst plays well in the Marketing, Advertising, Communication, Digital, Customer Service Call Center, Sales, and HR sandboxes.

What are your thoughts?  What is missing?  What were your perceptions going into this information and now what are they? Look forward to hearing from you in the comments!  I want to thank Jessi Howard for emailing some feedback on the  Social Business Analyst Job Description post (see email is not dead!) and encouraging me to explain the WHY in a little more detail.  Thank you Jessi!


Want your Social Business Group to succeed, report to the C-Suite

We have begun the era of businesses turning the corner of complete change in the way they are managed internally to be more affectively run externally for their customers, investors, and communities.  There are many blog posts, articles, and conferences being dedicated to this very topic.  Since it is relatively new on the business management landscape, people and companies are trying to figure out what works, what does not, and what does the future hold.

I decided to take a stab at the actual organizational setup, roles and types of people that will strategize, plan, operationalize, and support the social business structure.  The one common sentiment that appears quite often is “how do we get buy-in from senior leaders and the c-suite”  I think the best way to get buy-in is to have direct reporting and governance over the organization, people, goals, objectives and measurement of success.  This gives the senior leaders direct line of site to the people and structure for it to succeed.


Wikipedia Definition of a Social Business:

social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. The profits are used to expand the company’s reach and improve the product/service. This model has grown from the work of Muhammad Yunus and others.  Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point. Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors.

I really like this approach to the definition of a Social Business!  It seems a more practical and applicable to most business settings today, whether it is a private, public or non-profit type of organization.

Peter Kim of Dachis Group

Its goal: helping organizations improve value exchange among constituents.  Social Business Design uses a framework of four mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive archetypes: ecosystem, hivemind, dynamic signal, and metafilter. This model can be applied to improve customer participation, workforce collaboration, and business partner optimization. Doing so provides insight to help measure and manage business to produce improved and emergent outcomes.  To learn more, I encourage you to read our complete thinking behind the concept of Social Business Design.


Here is my diagram of an approach to structuring your social business group organizationally. This will be the basis of the ideas below:

 

Org Chart Social Business Group

Org Chart of the Social Business Group


There are some main components for this structure to be affective and effectively run. The following will be discussed in this post:

1. Planning

2. Business Metrics

3. Get the People out there

4. Eclectic Group of Roles and People

5. Solid Line and Dotted Line Management

6. Reverse Mentoring


1. Planning

The planning is a critical function of the Social Business.  The planning has to have an understanding of the collective needs and wants of the organization.  A centralized function around planning will provide an enterprise view of all the competing needs and wants of the organization. What the Social Business Group will have the ability to do is collectively prioritize all of these competing needs of all your organizations.  One of the byproducts of this centralized planning of the internal and external social business is that silo’d organizations start to share goals, objectives, and measurements of success.

The planning also leads a more collaborative effort to tactical and operational execution of these needs and wants.  The Social Business Group will have the ability to flow work back and forth between their group and organizations that will more than likely have the people to execute the tactics.  Depending on the needs and wants the Social Business Group can execute for an organization, which allows organizations within the enterprise to expand and contract based on the needs and wants.  This cuts down on hiring for duplicate resources for tactical execution.  The Social Business Group can synthesize organizations inside the enterprise to leverage one resource for these execution tactics, instead of 4 organizations hire 4 people and they end up all doing the same thing and costing the company four times as much.  This group ensures the planning and execution of the social business both internally and externally.


2. Business Metrics

The Social Business Group is driven by Financial and Non-Financial metrics.  This group will be responsible for continually monitoring the effectiveness of the needs and wants based on pure financial returns, non-financial activities that will help drive financial return, and reviewing short and long term course correcting success.  The Social Business Group will be held responsible for reporting the success and or failures of executing needs and wants.  This group will be held to review activities in the future.

So if the need or want has a business case of a return of financial investment in 3 years, when that 3rd year rolls around the group will be responsible for reporting on these numbers.  If the numbers are not reached there will be accountabilities and responsibilities that will need to be explained and corrected to find a new program to find that return or documented so history does not repeat itself.  There will be a repository built for keeping track of these programs.  The following areas below could be some areas that the Social Business Group will be responsible for planning, executing and supporting on an ongoing basis

a. The hiring and retention of employees

b. Finding leads to and tracking the success of closing for financial success

c. Increasing customer satisfaction

d. Increasing market-share for a product or service

e. Increasing spend within the current loyal customer base.

f. Decreasing expensive Call Center phones and leverage more online customer service channels

g. Drive purchasing on niche markets with niche ways of marketing and advertising.

h. Decrease operating costs by reducing duplication of efforts across the silo’d organizations.

These are just some of the financial and non-financial accountabilities and responsibilities the people, processes, projects and technologies will have in this group.  To achieve any of these metrics the Social Business Group must be sharing, collaborating and ensuring people and technologies are working together to achieve.  The days of silo’d achievement metrics are over if you want to succeed.  Success is NOT derived in silos anymore.  Unless there is a group fully dedicated to ensure shared metrics are achieved then they really are never achieved.  Look at your goals and objectives for 2011 see any shared goals with other silos and your bonus tied to if achieved or not…….didn’t think so.


3. Get the People out there

The Social Business Group does not sit in cubes all day long taking orders or waiting for the next project come in.  They are fully integrated with all business functions throughout the organization.  They need to seek out the individuals that want to energize the company using new collaborative processes and technologies internally and externally.  Most businesses are operating outside their firewall with business partners as well as consumers and investors.  This group is always seeking ways to understand the flow of information for decision making and moving the organization and its people forward.

This group is responsible for making sure there are seamless leveraging of the processes and technologies. This group is held to a make sure groups are interacting sharing and collaborating to ensure shareable metrics achievement, sharing of successes and failures, and reusing as much process, information and technology as possible.  This cuts down on 8 monitoring tools for 6 different organizations and 6 different groups managing their business and people in a silo.  This is complicated and not much costly.  The organizations cannot honestly report if they are being successful for the organization as a whole without the infusion of the group ensuring cross collaboration and initiative completion.

About 60 to 70% of these folks will have community management in their DNA.  They will always be seeking out people, technologies, and paths to succeed.  They will continually look to help, but within helping discovering new ways the organization or people can achieve success.  This group of folks will be involved and engaged behind the firewall as well as beyond it.


4. Eclectic Group of Roles and People

The Social Business Group looks very different than most traditional organizations within the enterprise.  Since the group will need to be proactive as well as reactive when it comes to technology, people, problems, issues, and solutions, they need to have this eclectic look, feel and interaction, mainly between the people and technology.  Organizations will no longer have the ability to isolate the process from the technology or the people that asks for technology and the people that deliver technology.  This group will be a reflection of the mantra “Business is IT and IT is Business”

This group will have marketing, business technologists, subject matter experts, project managers, art directors, call center operations leaders, interactive technologists, “infrastructurists”…..This will be an eclectic group of individuals working together to make the group be efficient and the enterprise to be efficient in the execution of needs and wants.  This group will be responsible for blending all things traditional with new,  this silo and that silo and business and technology in specifically in the areas of:

  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Customer Service
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Communication
  • Initiative Management and Metrics
  • Product\Service Management


This group will keep the ecosystem of internal and external in balance and understand when it is not in balance.  They will have the ability to understand and react because the relationships of trust have been built with key partner groups and issues or innovations can help efficiently because the time and people were involved all along the way.  The only way to achieve this balance is to have an eclectic team working for the betterment of the organization as well as themselves.


The following picture shows the different roles or titles that will reside inside the Social Business Group for the enterprise:

titles in social business group
titles in social business group



5. Solid Line and Dotted Line Management

The solid and dotted line organizational structure is the most interesting of organizational design.  The solid line gives you control and dotted gives you influence or responsible for execution.  Both of these relationships are completely necessary for this organizational structure to work.  It essentially boils down to top down and bottoms up meeting up for organizational success and execution.  The dotted line provides visibility and shared responsibility in making sure each organization is successful on its own as well as part of the whole organization.

Having the dotted line to these organizational units shows solidarity with these organizations as well as a shared responsibility that if this organization needs to be working with another organization or an organization could use another organizations resources or help; this group ensures and communicates these actions.

With the solid line in place to c-suite this group is responsible and accountable for organization goals, objectives, mission, metrics and return. There is no red tape, there are no trickle down or roll ups, there are just direct line of site of investment and return for the whole organization. This essentially becomes an strategy, planning, operations and tactical execution area for the executive office and officers.  Being that most Executive Offices represent the whole organization, they should have a group dedicated to making this a reality.  A SWAT Team for the Executive Office of real hard core business and technology planners and executors that are flexible and adaptable  for real return for the organization.


6. Reverse Mentoring

The senior leaders of most companies need to be brought up the digital and community interaction landscape. By leveraging the solid line organizational structure the Social Business Group is responsible for training and educating of the people they are reporting to. This will help with vision, business direction, business decisions, and investment.  I have found once you unlock the navigation and using the tools within internal and external communities, senior leaders feel a part and then take the responsibility for furthering the execution and success of the Social Business structure for their organization.  Once the senior leaders can see how shared goals, responsibility, and information are used for true financial returns they cannot get enough of the interactions with the people and tools.

This is for the betterment of the organization and the people.  The one thing I would caution against doing is isolating this group from the rest of their people while they “get up to speed”.  Building “walled gardens” for them to play to learn will have adverse affects when trying to integrate back into the fold of the whole company.  In their “walled gardens” the senior executive WILL NOT get the sense of all perspectives from top to bottom, because they are only learning from their peers.  The public learning together does a lot for building trust and relationships in an organization at all levels.

So what do you think?  Will this work in your organization?  Do you see any other benefits to this centrally located organization? Please let me know in the comments.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be easy.  This one won’t be just snap together a org. chart on a powerpoint and it happens.  This one takes into account the people and behaviors that will need to change along with this.

Like I infamously put it at a #jmu612 event here in Minneapolis “We are fundamentally changing the way business has been done for the last 50 years,  if you try and take this on yourself or within one silo’d organization, it’s like climbing Mt Everest in your boxer shorts, you’re never going to make it!” You need a team, you need buy-in, you need technology and you need new ways.  Without it,  good luck….


Social Media+Technology+Outdoors misfits or fit

So you have seen me talk a lot about how Social Media, Technology, and the Outdoors lately so I wanted to write a post about these Misfits or Fit for connecting us as people. Yes I know you probably read that first sentence and said to yourself  “What? Are you kidding me I go to the outdoors to get away from all this wacky stuff!” Sorry to tell you, your data is calling your bluff.   Yes I would not be totally “transparent” (for my big word users) if I did not agree with that statement a little….but I am going to start a discussion that hopefully has a long tail for outdoor retailers, outdoorsy people, technology retailers, technology innovators, government agencies, non-profits and businesses that relay on people engaging and communicating with the tools and technologies in the outdoors.

Ok here we go. I have been part of many outdoor activities since moving to Minnesota. I have duck hunted, deer hunted, fished, boated, hiked, canoed, motorcycled, rode bike, skied, ice fished, and my favorite RV camping. After reading that list were you like really? Yes the suit 5 days a week is my Clark Kent side. So living an outdoors lifestyle (and believe me there are people way more hardcore at this than I) as well as being involved in many online social communities I have been watching, listening and participating and discovering some patterns that I want to explore with people, companies, and organizations.

I have thought through some initial ideas to get this conversation and action going on how social media+technology+outdoors are truly socially connecting us on and offline for good. I want to explore the data, social objects that people are putting out there, for deeper and richer connections between the people, their technologies, the outdoors, the brands that support these activities, the brands that support them, and how to create real return on investment (have a couple of real dollars in real dollars out ideas) by companies and consumers in this space. Yes, I know the initial reactions are “Keith you are crazy people go to the outdoors to get away from technology and especially social media” Well unfortunately, your data is telling a different story…..so you may want to have a talk with it!

I have teamed up with the fine folks managing the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/St. Paul in particular Rick Mahn to leverage the rich social media savvy, technology curious, and experienced people in this community to bring this to light. I have also been in contact with many local providers of products and services within the outdoor space to participate in a the discussion as well to see where this conversation goes. Currently these fine folks have signed up for the first part of a two part plan to kick off the engagement, discussion, ideas, collaborations, co-creations, and real business that can be done based on this topic. The outdoor industry accounts for $5.075 billion dollars in 2009 that is just the retail side selling products and services.  Then when you couple in the resorts, campgrounds, guide businesses, hotels, rental shops, RV Boat ATV Dealerships, restaurants, technology services and social media tool side of that money and there are many many many systemic value points to listen, engage, make happy, service to convert into real dollar values.

The participants to kick off the discussion will be as follows:

  • Molly Solberg from Duluth Pack: Molly is the Director of Social Media and Business Development for Duluth Pack.  She is actively managing the twitter account as well as Duluth Pack Blog.  Molly has also initiated a Social Media Breakfast Duluth community also! She not only works for a 128 year outdoor company, but she lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle in her personal life too.
  • Kim Opitz representing Crestliner as a vendor: Crestliner (twitter acct) celebrates 65 years as an innovator in the aluminum market; delivering a complete line of fishing, fish and ski, pontoon and jon boats to enthusiastic consumers across the United States and Canada. You can find them engaging their communities at Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, andVimeo
  • Adam Jochum from Crow River Coffee Company: Adam runs Crow River Coffee Company in Watertown, MN.  He has graciously offered up his studio that normally broadcasts Spacevidcast.com live.  His studio will allow us to have fully interactive discussion with a live feed of the social platforms as well as a livestreaming of the discussion.  This is cool! Adam and Crow River totally fits social media+technology+outdoors, because who doesn’t drink coffee in the outdoors.  It is a great themed back drop to the whole first part of this experience.
  • Rick Mahn from Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis St. Paul: Rick has an extensive IT background and understanding of infrastructure, Rick brings the knowledge and skill to help build your personal or professional network through years of exploration of social media, learning its strengths and weaknesses. His practical experience in the industry combined with his love of communication and team building have enabled him to bridge the gap between personal and professional networking with great success.  Rick is also one of the founding members of the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis St. Paul.  Rick has established a community of well over 2,000+ community members here in Minneapolis St. Paul. We will have to confirm during our livestreaming discussion but I do believe he is the Social Media Title holder for most community members, longest consistently running SMB, and the SMB with the most sessions 29, to date.  We will ask him!

So that is the first part of the plan.  Now for the meaty, juicy, slap some pepper jack cheese and big piece of bacon on part two of this plan. Rick and I have had several discussions about how we can take this discussion into the outdoors and really see if we can fully make the equation of social media+technology+outdoors come to life.  I do believe we have hit on a plan……now before I go any further you will have to wait a little for part two, but I think we will make it worth the wait, right Rick!

So here is the plan a 2 day Social Media Breakfast camping experience at a campground.

  • The tentative agenda would look something like this:
  • Day 1 Arrive at the Campground, SMB’ers with or without families set up campsites and connect throughout the day.  Meet each other.  Meet sponsors. Meet each others families.  Maybe have some technology based contests.  Hopefully we have some vendors, retailers, service provides that would like to participate in their element.
  • Day 2 The regularly scheduled SMB would take place from 8am to 10am. This would be at a couple of the campsites sitting around the campfire ring (with or without fire….still deciding) with hopefully the same participants (maybe even some more based on the longtail discussion) from the livecast discussing what has happened since the livecast, what is on the near horizon, and what does the future look like. This would be a fully interactive discussion, hence in the circle around the campfire ring.This camping adventure would take place sometime in May or Jun 2011.

The livecast of this discussion will take place on October 13th, 2010 starting at 7:30pm.  Yes we are doing a livecast with video, chat and twitter stream!  So start preparing questions or comments that are on your mind?  What areas would you like us to touch on?  I am really looking forward to this ongoing discussion.  Any person and business is welcomed to just jump in where ever.  I have even thought about starting a bi-weekly or monthly twitter chat under the #hashtag of #smtochat, but we will take 1st things first.  Lets see how the livecast goes!  Be on the look out for details and links to the live webcast!

Additionally, I want this to be an ongoing discussion, so if want to continue the discussion after the livecast just use the hashtag #smoutside10.  At anytime we think that another livcast should take place with different participants, it is a ok too.  If anyone wants to give me a 2011Keystone Springdale 303BHSSR you could do that too (I am totally kidding……our beloved @pulling was totaled out in a hailstorm this year).  This is definitely going to be a community effort.  Leave some comments, we would love to hear from you!


A Business Analyst on a Social Media Team….Blasphemy!

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

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!

 


“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!

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What does the C-Suite and other Senior Leaders value about a Business Analyst

Being that the Business Analysis discipline and role is becoming more standardized and consistent with the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge®) and a Certification called the CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional™). What do senior executives and leadership feel about this discipline and role?   There is no right or wrong answers just starting a dialogue to find out the views and opinions that are out there within the Social Platforms community.

Would also like to know how Business Analysts can play a vital role in the era of companies moving towards Social Business Architecture, Enterprise 2.0, Social Media, and Social Technology Platforms.

I obviously have my biased opinions and views on the subject, but would really like to know other views.  Especially from the people that make strategic decisions about an organization.   They ultimately sign off on spending money on this discipline. I would love to get a cross section of senior leaders from the C-Suite to the Rank and File (which is where I am at on the ladder) to weigh in on this often overlooked or generalized role in most companies (believe me I have worked at many).

The one main stereotype I am trying to break most of all is “Well anyone can be a BA, so just give them the title” Additionally, I am always interested in new ideas.


Now that was a discussion Thank You caribouchat13

I had such a wonderful morning with a great group of people and  I wanted to share a LOT more than 140 characters.  I was invited to attend #caribouchat13 this morning thru a twitvite from Sarah Kay Hoffman.  She wanted to meet me IRL, so she made a point to make sure I got the invite (love these invites).  I don’t know how the other 12 went, but I had an absolute blast sharing, connecting, and meeting this group of people this morning.

I would like to thank @gialyons  @asquibb  @warehousemedia  @socialnicole  @bobstanke  @sarahkayhoffman  @JasonSandquist  @joelecarlson and special guest appearance via Skype from the UK @mngurl1183 for putting the rest of my day on cloud nine and energizing me to tackle just about anything!

The social dynamic was awesome! We did a little roundtable introducing ourselves, so people got to know who each one of us are aside from our twitter handles.  I have a greater appreciation for people’s perspective based on the live version of themselves versus the bio and link!  Then since we all have some way or another shared experiences, emotions, information, connection we started talking…..no real format, no real structure, no real rules. It equaled total awesomeness (I don’t know if that is even a word, who cares that is how I feel).

  • Justin Ware shared about his venture into freelancing work doing some cool things with media and video
  • Anna Squibb shared the awesome things she has going on at www.caringbridge.com (they are hiring!!!!)
  • Gia Lyons shared the awesome stories what she has going on at Jive Software www.jivesoftware.com (personally big fan especially for #scrm space)
  • Jason Sandquist shared about people looking for him via google and some search are quite funny!
  • Bob Stanke shared even though the commute not the best (same for Jason) would not trade because company works for www.lifetimefitness.com
  • Joel Carlson gave us some background about twitterviews and what his is in the market looking to do.
  • Nicole Harrison shared about consulting about social media to non-profits and challenges of teenagers and social media (you do have a permanent record)
  • Sarah Hoffman shared about some upcoming potential jobs and working on some studies about GenZ (kids that are 1 or 2 now or not even born what is tech and social going to affect how they see the world.  FASCINATING!)

All of these introductions spurred some many different conversations about kids, family, work, RV’ing (Go figure), clients, who is using what, where and who is hiring, who I can connect you with.  All things in a group discussion that makes me happy.  The best part I felt there was going to be real action taken based on this conversation, that is the best part.  I know I am scheduling some lunches and connecting on some initiatives!

There was such honesty and genuineness to our conversations it was like we had known each other for years.  That is one of the social dynamics I see flowing from online to offline is the genuine connectedness in our communication.  We share, we care, we understand, we listen, we communicate with no barriers.  The tail of the relationship is I feel much longer these days.  It is not just the every three to six month lunch, well it is that, but so much happens relationship wise in between there to stay connected based on being socially connected online as well.  I wish every meeting, every project, every problem could be solved and acted upon like this group came together this morning.

The other thing I saw in our communication was the willingness to help connect people to jobs, so those doubters that say social media can’t find me a job, it is maybe true to a point, but it sure can help you find the people that can find you a job.  Four of the individuals were looking for a more permanent job solutions and right away without hesitation people started sharing their connections, it was about as fast as you can fire off 140 characters!  That was one of the best displays of human connectedness I had seen in a long time!  Give yourself a pat on the back for sharing and trying to help someone else out today (you know who you are!)

So I just wanted to say thank you to all the folks above for truly making this a wonderful day! Thank you Sarah and Bob for having 12 of these and inviting me to the 13th.  I look forward to more and more of these #caribouchat meetings!  I also look forward to scheduling some one on one coffees or lunches with you also.  Clear your August I am taking a day!

Thank you also to Katie Little @mngurl1183 that skyp’d in from the UK to join the discussion.  That was AWESOME! Distance be damned! I was able to use my new #evo with mifi and my laptop for a full livestream thru skype.  Thanks Sprint, HTC, Sony Vaio, and Skype for making that possible!

ps We also ran into Sarah Smith @SarahResults! So nice to have these encounters happen also!

pss.  This is my very 1st post on this website, been under construction for a while.  I just might become more than a microblogger and comment leaver!  We will see.  I do believe this will be more me and www.pullingtin.com will become more outdoors adventures…who knows, I want to keep it loose but with purpose to share, connect, discuss, or help!  Tell me what you think drop a comment.


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