Friday Soul Food for November 16th, 2012

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week:

Musings from DreamForce 2012: The Largest Technology Conference on the Planet

Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to attend DreamForce 2012 the largest technology conference on the planet, which was held in San Francisco with over 95,000 registered guests and 950 breakout sessions. DreamForce completely blanketed downtown San Francisco including the Moscone Center and all the adjacent hotels and featured notable keynotes by the likes of General Colin Powell, Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin companies, Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, Mark Benioff, CEO of, Dr. Dean Ornish and Tony Robbins to mention a few.

It is purported that70% of businesses today are using social which in turn provides a $1.3B boost to the economy.

Social has become one of the two top ways to connect with customers, all made possible by the convergence of “cloud, social and mobile spheres”. Trust and transparency foster authentic connectedness and rightly applied the social revolution can become a TRUST Revolution as “what happens in Vegas ends up on Facebook.”

There are 6 ways to move the needle on your business imperatives using Social; Sell, Service, Market, Collaborate, Work, & Innovate- but they ALL begin with Listening. Sentiment Analysis, Crowd Sourcing, Collaborative Design & Intention Analysis all are made easier through the advent and application of social media. Brand is the sum of all these conversations. Today we call it Social Business but soon it will simply be referred to just business as usual…

DreamForce featured more than 75 sessions to choose from on the Marketing/Social Media track alone. Here I was forced to prioritize, schedule and then move maniacally like a presidential candidate from venue to venue in the final days of an election cycle- but it was totally worth it.

One of the most enlightening sessions was a session entitled Metrics that Matter in Social Business Innovation by John Hagel of Deloitte & JP Rangaswami Chief Scientist of SalesForce.

Here these two thought leaders helped me reframe Social not as an emerging fad but as the centerpiece of community in the digital age.  We are and have always been creatures of community. Eons ago, community occurred around the camp fire. Fast forward thousands of years and community was in the town square. Fast forward yet again, and community is engaging via social media. This is why if Facebook was a country, it would be the third most populated country on earth!

Social technology has brought a new age of interaction to the business world, turning nameless faceless data made up of social security, phone numbers and FICO scores into real people that demand to be treated as such.

The 4 ways to measure the true impact of social media include:

  • Financial:Has revenue or profit increased or costs decreased?
  • Digital: Has the company enhanced its owned and earned digital assets?
  • Brand: Have consumer attitudes about the brand improved?
  • Risk management: Is the organization better prepared to note and respond to attacks or problems that affect reputation?

The collaboration of shared knowledge, shared experiences, and shared content are the core of social business value. However, interactions in social media aren’t here today and gone tomorrow. They can remain in recorded history in perpetuity. Clearly, the expressed sentiment of customers and employees is critical to the successful design and implementation for any business. Social will provide new vistas of value in the future as well as open the organization to new risks.

Here are some interesting social media stats-

  • More than 600 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each month with average user spending 20 minutes per visit & 23% of Facebook users checking their account five times or more every day
  • 1 million accounts are added daily on Twitter & average time on site is 13 minutes
  • Twitter handles more search queries per month than Bing & Yahoo combined – 32 billion
  • Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform to achieve 10 million unique visitors & average time on site is over 14 minutes
  • LinkedIn gains two new members every second & average time on site is 8 minutes/session
  • YouTube handles 20% of the entire internet’s traffic and has over 4 billion views per day

Side Note: “Four more years.” A short enough message, but one that has set Twitter’s record for the most new tweets-per-second record, reaching 327,000 a second at its peak. The message was sent from U.S. President Obama’s Twitter account at 4.16am GMT, once Obama’s re-election to the White House for another four years became certain.

Technology is a great servant but a horrible master. With smart phone adoption the fastest of any technology in human history, and today with more smart phones on the planet than toilets and toothbrushes, access to information (resources) is unprecedented. It is our resourcefulness in using these technologies to inform, educate and shape our workplaces, educational systems and customer experiences that becomes critical. To quote Rangaswami, “Health services will not get better if we design better thermometers.  Measures don’t work to make things better in Healthcare and Education. It’s how we do it that changes the quality of the outcomes.”

The more things change the more they stay the same…Human constants such as valuing trust as the basis of all real relationships, the importance of connectedness and community and the need to be heard & valued remain constants.

These constants however meet the dynamic and disruptive forces of globalization & emerging digital technologies at unprecedented rates of change that in turn are upending our business models, dis-intermediating conventional systems and processes, and creating new opportunities for innovation and value creation.

Brand no longer resides in the purview of one brand manager or brand champion, and now is shaped by thousands of customer encounters and experiences that good or bad will be shared across the digital community and ecosystem in a heartbeat. The best we can do is create the conditions for an authentic brand experience, then listen well and act quickly as the era of the connected, self-directed consumer and empowered citizen continue to build steam and shape our collective future, redefine the nature and contract of work, and add another step on the ladder of the history of that social, relational, communal being we call human.

Who Am I

Interesting what each of these young people turned into. See if you can guess the answers…

Click here!

15 characteristics of an excellent entrepreneur

Adapted from a recent blog written by Tim Bell

Kelly O’Neil, in his “The Secrets of Success” blog, outlined 15 characteristics of an excellent entrepreneur. This is a result of his association with extraordinary and successful entrepreneurs. In his blog, I learned that excellence is not inborn–it is something you have to work at. A high performing entrepreneur values his word and looks for ways to improve himself and his business. Unlike others who dwell on problems, he finds solutions to them. He learns from his mistakes, considers suggestions from others, and excels in his undertakings. He is willing to take risks and to do what needs to be done. These traits eliminate mediocrity. More specifically, O’Neil identifies these 15 traits as markers of true excellence. Great entrepreneurs…

-Aren’t just working for the money. They care about their company beyond the profits and take great pride in its performance, impact on society, and ability to help others through its offerings.
-Are truthful. They do what they say they are going to do, when they say they are going to do it.
-Embrace opportunities. They look for — and find — opportunities to improve themselves, their work, and their business.
-Are focused on solutions. They don’t bring problems to the table without recommending a solution.
-Focus on CAN. High performers focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t accomplish.
-Don’t blame. When they make a mistake they own it, fix it, and learn from it.
-Are busy, productive, and proactive. High performers are out there getting the job done.
-Are life-long learners. High performers constantly work at educating and improving themselves.
-Consistently do what they need to do. No matter how they feel or what curves life has thrown their way, they get it done.
-Have a desire to be exceptional. They will typically do things others won’t do.
-Accept feedback. High performers aren’t just open to feedback, they are more likely to act upon it.
-Set higher standards for themselves. The result? Greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and (of course) better results.
-Are more interested in effective than easy. High performers look for the course of action that will produce the best results over the long term.
-Finish what they start. Even when it’s not fun.
-Are resourceful. They figure it out and get it done….

In summary, excellence is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.

A Commercial On a Building in Berlin


Click here!

More to Learn from Dogs and Cats

Click here

Thanks this week to DreamForce, and to the imitable Larry H for innumerable sharing and excellent pairings!

Pay it Forward…


“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

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