Posts Tagged ‘ social media ’

100 days without (b)logging

Today is the end of a 100 day experiment. An experiment to blog through Twitter-powered micr0-bursts rather than full length tomes through WordPress. Tell you what. Twitter is great to bring focus to your message. When you have only 140 characters, you cut out the fluff and focus on what really matters. Our next-gen workers and leaders are more likely going to be comfortable with such instant transfer of insights, ideas, and information.

However, I did miss the artistic canvas to fully explore the treasures of ideation and express it in a form that did merit to the journey. As a poet, I admit, I missed the ability to pen sentences and see them come alive in the form of a new surprise.

I even tried a Twitter experiment to crowd-source leadership insights to put together an e-book. Had more people writing in seeking clarification, than engaging. One even debated that Twitter was so over-rated and he missed the good old telephone as a medium of communication. I’ll let you judge that one.

So, as I end this 100 day experiment, I begin the next phase of inspiration and expression. Where I will focus on the intersection of strategy and technology, my area of expertise and passion.


When Strategy and Technology Collide, Markets Happen!

As I begin wrapping up my Kellogg Executive MBA program (where I focused on strategy and marketing), I find myself passionate about this intersection. Whether you are a startup or a Fortune 100 organization, technology has an ability to

– Create new business models and opportunities, whilst

– Continuing to optimize and accelerate business outcomes.

So, join me as I continue to un-Twitter on this intersection … with a key eye on strategy, organization and execution.


whole foods + whole lot of social-media mess

what a week it must have been for whole foods ceo john mackay and his crisis-pr team!    just a week after a major scientific report that there is really no material health difference between organic and non-organic produce. 

1.  john mckay writes a wall street journal oped on the united states healthcare debate

2. his customers, he picks the ‘wrong side’ of the debate … with a conservative-piece despite serving a largely liberal-customer base

3.  blogosphere and twittersphere explodes in rage .. with some stating that they will not shop at whole foods because of the ‘social darwinism and elitism’ reflected in john mackay’s piece

4.  traditional media picks up the story

5. is formed

6.  welcome to traditional media meeting social media in the age of the empowered customer with a keyboard @ hand …

3 obvious ideas:

a. personal ceo opinion”, really?: ironically there is no such thing as a ‘personal opinion’ for public cxo’s in an age where social media promises to enable personal expression! et tu, social media?

b. understand your customer before you communicate … because social media is the voice of many, not just marketing: you dont need to have a ph.d. in anthropology to know your customer-base, its major likes and dislikes.  if you are in a fishbowl (as they say about ceo’s), communication is hard to begin with.  your every move is being followed, interpreted and amplified.  social media just made it harder.  most companies and ‘social media experts’ belabor about why it is important for companies to market themselves through social media… conveniently forgetting that the power of social media is tilted towards the voice of many … i.e., the customers and quick-to-convert ‘former customers’!

c. b2c brands can become fragile faster than you can say “oh tweet!”:  b2c brands are built on perception.  brands take time and money to build.  like humpty-dumpty that sat on a wall and took a great fall, brands can fall quickly with the nudge of social-media ire.  and despite all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, it might not be possible to put humpty-dumpty together again.  just ask any 2 year old.  

sai at obviousideas dot com

social networking … will the pendulum swing back?

in a world where everybody seems to have something to say in the hope that everyone else is following … we are beginning to see some curbs come into play.

the pentagon reviewed social networking on computers and we see that the marines have banned social networking sites.  that is pretty reasonable given the security risks involved in publishing any-to-any information over open networks.

one person has even gone far enough to suggest that social networking is outright dangerous!

the transient nature of instant-contact and combined with the permanence of communication-records, makes for an interesting environment where folks tend to share things that they might never otherwise consider sharing.  add to that the relative comfort afforded by keyboards that seem to ‘de-personalize emotions’, you’ve got a flood of expression out on in public domain that might otherwise not escape the privacy of ones cranial confines.

makes me wonder whether the pendulum which has swung to the extreme of total openness will begin to swing back … after all, just how much of our time pie can be continue to give up to the social networking slice?  what do you think?

3 obvious ideas:

a. why: consider why you are connecting and communicating through social networking sites.  if its ‘because its the cool thing to do’, you are probably sending the wrong kinds of messages.  it helps to have a pretty solid reason to be out there.  while this might appear to go against the very grain of social networking, let us not forget that social networking on the internet is still about human-to-human contact and you dont want to be out there blabbering from a soapbox like the guys you find at trafalgar square declaring that the ‘end of the world is here’.  (i guess you could say they know ‘why’ they are there)

b. what: consider what the core essence of your message is.  whether you are posting pictures of your weekend party or random musings from the beach, dont lose sight of what the core message is.  communicating for the sake of communicating just adds more noise to the channel and makes for an overall sub-optimal experience … over the long term.

c. whom: its pretty obvious to consider whom you are trying to reach out to.  deeply divisive and polarising topics tend to attract undue interest and intense online debate.  dont forget that the ‘whom’ in this case can be pretty much anyone out there.  so dont get into an online debate or argument with a total stranger … regardless of how passionate you are about the topic.  its just not worth it.

make every employee a network node … to message + market

what a quarter at kellogg!  prof. brian uzzi wrapped up his course on leadership & organizations with a fantastic simulation game that showed the power of establishing a tipping point when it comes to selling ideas and seeking support using a network.  the finals was thought-provoking.  the cribsheet for the final synthesized the core take-aways from a fascinating class. 

which prompted me to think about the chasm between the promise of tapping into social networks and the reality of hitting up against organization structures.  establishing and refining organization structures can tend to make people speak more fluently with each other within corporate walls … but what about the whole wide world? 

3 obviousideas

a. lets start connecting + communicating across corporate functions by focusing on common organization goals.

b. lets continue finding ways to make every employee in an organization a de-facto marketing force … that can connect his/her company with his/her network

c. lets get more creative in terms of how we enable each and every employee in an organization message + market the organization. 

imagine the multiple tipping points possible when organizations are able to tap into global networks and mini-networks … sharing their message and listening to the world-at-large.  we would blur the lines between the organization and the individual, making for richer and more direct dialog.

the world is speaking, in bits and bytes, are we ready to listen?

virtual connections … in a physical space

it just struck me!  that we live in a physical space.  seriously.  regardless of the number of new or innovative opportunities to connect in the digital world, we live in a physical space.  most of what we end up writing, posting, publishing, editing, commenting, debating, discussing, dissing or ignoring online… is connected to events, activities, emotions, outcomes, results, failures and feelings from the *physical space* that we live in.  

sure, we could yammer or twitter amongst colleagues and friends; across corporate walls or countries. but what % of all that digital voice is de-linked from a physical-world?  “reading a book”, “TripIt to Chicago”, “watching the Steelers win”… etc… or, providing feedback regarding physical products/services…

so, the point being?  we are at a point where the cohesive-quality of online interaction needs to overtake the numeric quantity of interfaces.  what’s the point on being a member of 22 different social network sites if you cannot sustain a quality interaction across all of those interfaces?   given ‘n’ nodes in a network, the number of communication channels is the mathematical outcome of ((n)*(n-1))/2.  surely, surely your voice is bound to get lost in all this noise.

hopefully when corporates get around to social networking within and outside corporate walls, they will find a way to solve the noise problem by bringing some structure.  the physical world that companies live in are governed by constructs unlike those that the individual lives in. 

how about we start proving the right incentives?  incentives to reduce noise and bring in quality into the quantity… corporates and organizations can do that.  why not?

in this time of economic uncertainty organization b2x orgs should look at engaging customers and increasing stickiness by providing interaction opportunities that literally pay-back to the customer.  we live in a physical space, so the notion of real money for real feedback / engagement would reduce the randomness and increase the quality of interaction.  now, how do we know which ones deserve a payout?  leave that to the masses to decide… darwinism will rule and organizations will be able to hear the voice of the few selected through the validation of many … how is that for a win-win?

sai at obviousideas dot com

social media in corporate walls … how bounded can unbounded be?

to be or not to be, that is the question.  or, simply put, can the tiger really be tamed?

social media promises to bring back the “human” in “human resources”… and in turn enable these “resources” to be more “resourceful” to their respective organizations.  with an interesting confluence in generations and world views in the modern workplace, introduction of new channels is bound to cause ripples, if not waves.  how do we build boats that are strong enough to stay afloat yet nimble enougth to turn on a dime?

we cannot ignore social media.  it is here to stay.  “to be or not to be” is not even the question.  with thousands of micro-channels for employees to share their news and views, would we rather not have them crowd together in known environs, bound by self-protecting norms?  i.e., yam on yammer than yap on an anonymous site?  “ugh” i say to those that attempt to go nameless and faceless … where is the “social” part?

turns out that the debate is “not quite elementary”.  there are obvious legal and organizational bounds to keep in mind.  social media cannot become the excuse of a soapbox for one and all to proclaim their deepest passions.

how is this for a narrative guideline?  “dont post anything that would not want quoted on the wall street journal, cited by your competition, or read by your grandmother causing her to turn beet red” … fair enough for starters?

what do you think? remember… we are in lowercase land!

sai at obviousideas dot com

social media soup … just it

twitter … jaiku … tumblr … hi5 … plurk … plaxo … bebo … xanga … utterli … imeem … yammer … rejaw … koomk

and of course the ‘old guard’ of linkedin … facebook … yahoo360 …

how do you keep track of all this? is an aggregation service that makes it easy for you to send your updates to one place,, and let it take care of updating all those social media sites where hordes of your followers eagerly await with bated breath the minute-2-minute updates on your life … so goes the social media bug … leaving in its wake a sea of smitten followers … each following the other … connecting us in ways that we didnt know we could back in the stone ages of the internet (circa 2000/1?)

enjoy, and yes, i will be there soon …

sai nagarajan