Oct 29, 2008


There is a lot of buzz around (here comes the laundry list...man we marketers suck!) collaboration, unified communications, knowledge mgt, social media, social networking, web 2.0, web 3.0, semantic web, presence, iphones, tags, folksonomy, user contribution, social bookmarking.....yadda, yadda, yadda. Whether you view these as technologies, services, apps doesn't really matter. What matters is what you do with them and what you get out of them.

Social media and collaboration can be broken down into five key experience categories:
  1. How it makes us feel. We are using it to emotionally connect with friends and family. To build a social support mechanism so to speak. Examples: Facebook, mySpace, Twitter.
  2. How it builds on what and who we know. We use tools and services to build our knowledge and our network of people. We want to know things, know people and some of us want to be known. Examples: Wikis, Blogs, Friendfeed, Linkedin, Ning, Squidoo
  3. How we use it as a soapbox to tell people what we think about things.We write posts and comments about things that matter, things we like, things we don't like and ideas we have and invite people to join in the conversation. This conversation creates an iterative thinking dynamic where people can interact, persuade, argue and explain. We voice our opinions and test our thinking. Examples: Blogs, Ning, FriendFeed, Knol
  4. How we use it as a gateway to share our information, experiences, successes and failures. Whether it's pictures, career successes or a video of that big ass fish you caught we want to share. Examples: Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, Google Reader, Google Notebook, Facebook, Linkedin
  5. How it enables us to do stuff. Whether it is to make an idea real, raise money, manage a project or do something on the side we want to get things done. Examples: Basecamp, BatchBook, Freshbooks, eBay.
My question is when will a social media application do these five things in an integrated fashion? Perhaps the better question is should it? From a business perspective the social media application that can accelerate and institutionalize knowledge, create tribes of collaborators and subject matter experts, build strong professional AND productive relationships that create results will be the killer app! If you've got something in mind...I'm all ears.

Tribal Leadership, the case study

Tribal Leadership, a book I recommended in an earlier post, toured Zappos.com and below is a play by play breakdown of that video. This company clearly is a "Stage 4" tribe and they get it. Here's why:

First, they get the fact that what matters the most in any business is people.

Second, they understand the importance of creating an atmosphere that is fun, comfortable and collaborative and fosters community.

Third, coaching and goal setting is extremely important as is recognition of achieving goals.

Fourth, executives have an open door policy and they sit in cubes. No offices, no bull, no favourtism.

Fifth, they know what key metrics matter and they measure and publish their results.

Enjoy the video.

Tour of Zappos.com, A "stage 4" tribe (at least!)
:10 Fun time
:33 Nap time
1:15 Emotional Connection with customer
1:49 Key performance indicators - measure, measure, measure
2:16 The three important questions around customer loyalty
2:30 Introducing "Doc". Coaching, goal setting and recognition.
3:18 Special group dedicated to research and resolution for customers (The "R" Desk)
3:40 Showing results for all to see
4:30 Lot's of smiling faces, party environment
4:55 Monkey row, where the execs sit. Free books for all staff and no "class" system
6:00 Open door policy, stir the pot and hear the buzz. No disconnected executives here!
6:15 Business units sit together. "Ride Shops", "Outdoor shops"
6:25 Sectioning of sites around themes like "running" and creating communities with blogs and events

Additional Articles on Zappos:
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh: Customer Focus Key to Record Sales During Retail Slump

Tribal Leadership, the book

There are few business books that stand the test of time. The ones that you can re-read and they still make sense. Books like Good to Great, Built to Last and In Search of Excellence are a few that come to mind. The book Tribal Leadership is one that may qualify as re-readable! The concept is very simple but real. If you get right right down to the core of human nature we are members of tribes of interest, community and necessity. I'm hearing the word "Tribe" being used in my daughters school. This book talks about the different types of phases that tribes go through...and how they evolve from a me to a we culture. I recommend you add this book to your business library. Zappos.com, a "Stage 4" tribe are providing a free audio version here.

Oct 28, 2008

Thank you!

ProductCampToronto is this Sunday! Wow. The event is "sold out" with about 160 folks registered and we have a fantastic slate of sponsors who are underwriting the cost of this event so participants don't need to open their wallets to participate....we want all participants to open their minds and mouths and participate!

Thank you for registering, thank you for sponsoring, thank you for participating and contributing. This is going to be a great event.

Oct 26, 2008

Plagiarism, Concealment or Coincidence? The Case of Bob Beck

It appears Bob Beck plagiarized the work of Charles H. Green. Both are consultants / trainers. The evidence here looks very convincing. Spread the word about Bob Beck.

read more | digg story

Introducing the Zoomer!

Moses Znaimer, founder of Zoomer Media, and Executive Director from CARP (Cdn. Assoc. of Retired Persons) has a vision for us folksover 4 5. It's about time! A Zoomer is not just about age it's about
a mindset and a desire to excel in life. I'm a Zoomer and I won't settle for stereotypes as I progress in life. I'm 45 and listen to Katy Perry, pretend to be Iron Man, joke around with my 21 year old daughter and hang out with my 12 year old daughter. I'm going to buy Rockband this weekend and will belt out some tunes while members of my family play drums and lead guitar.

Here's an interview of Moses done by the CBC

1:00 - Moses starts thinking about what to do for Zoomers (including him)
1:20 - Journalists and advertisers are stuck and don't get it
2:25 - Boomers have the money
2:40 - Zoomer TV application filed to CRTC in 2000
3:10 - We are aging differently then our parents
3:20 - Moses is accumulating and creating media around the Zoomer market that advertisers have yet to realize is attractive

I'm heading over to the Zoomer Show to hang out with my contemporaries on November 1st. Twit me if you're gonna be there.

Oct 22, 2008

Going Global! It's not that hard

Google Analytics report 

Google Analytics, as many of you will know, is a free service that you can use to track how many people are visiting your site. It tells you things like how many unique visitors you are getting, what pages they read, how long they read them and where they live. There is a bunch of other things that it tells you. What is amazing to me is that this service is free and that it provides rich reports that tell me a lot about the people that read stuff on this blog.

The map above shows you where people are from that have been reading my blog over the past month. As I earn and build a readership (hopefully more comments will be coming to create some debate and discussion) I hope to build some global relationships with business professionals. This blog could be a good way to get that done. What do you think?

Oct 20, 2008

What have we created?

What were we thinking? Let's face it most people find advertising misleading, telemarketing annoying and direct e/mail a nuisance. People are skeptical when they see "special offers" and are fed up with bad customer service. People timeshift TV shows, delete unread emails, screen calls and avoid any form of contact with those of us who market and sell stuff.

People have brought their distaste and negative experiences with advertising, marketing and selling to their day jobs and put in place mechanisms and behaviours that protect them from solicitation, selling and marketing. They let themselves be "selectively" marketed and sold to when they need information and access to intellectual capital. They do everything they can to get free advice (proposals, free briefings, "pre-sales" consultations etc) without making any financial commitment to the service/solution provider. Can you blame them? Heck we've created a "marketing monster"!

We've made our bed and now we've got to sleep in it. There are ways to have honest exchanges with prospective buyers. I'll delve into this in later posts.

Oct 19, 2008

Value Proposition, Smalue Proposition!

I meet with customers regularly and I've come to the conclusion (so far) that value proposition is in the eyes of the beholder. The beholder of value is the prospective customer and the customer. Not the sales dude, the marketing guy, the owner, the president of your company. The biggest risk we all take is not staying in touch with the customer and diligently assessing their "value compass".

Value propositions, those statements that people use to "define" what's unique about their company, products and services can be dangerous. Why? I think too many companies establish a "value prop" and then hang their hats on it. It then sits in the corner gathering dust.

I'm of the view that customers are more interested in meaningful relationships with you and depending on what's important to them they define what value they want and need. This may sound a bit confusing but I'm learning that each customer picks tangible and intangible things from what you offer AND do with/for the customer....and they constantly reassess that value based on their ongoing experiences or lack of experiences with you.

These value priorities are contingent on what matters to the customer at that given moment in time both personally and professionally. You can't waive a generic value proposition in a someones face and expect them to go "ya, great that's exactly what I need". What you can do though, is give examples of how others are getting value from their relationship with you. This creates a meaningful conversation which can lead to a meaningful relationship.

What do Product Managers Do?

The folks over at Enthiosys have an interesting post called "Revenue Products need Product Managers, not Product Owners". In the post they define what product managers do as:
Product Managers bear primary responsibility for the success of their products (services). They drive vision, roadmaps, target segments, market success metrics and customer acceptance. When executives demand one neck to choke, a Product Manager steps forward.
Head over to this post and give it a read and add to their conversation. Even if you are not a software product manager read the post. Regardless of what products you make the information and advice they give is invaluable.

Consider raising this topic at ProductCampToronto.

Oct 12, 2008

Here's the main area for ProductCamp Toronto

Picture 032
Originally uploaded by b2bspecialist
Well, this area will be filled with at least 70 people on November 2nd! This is the main foyer where PCT participants will register, mingle and chat and where you will vote with your "stickies" for the sessions that are most important to you. All part of the "Open Grid" concept.

There will be four or more break out rooms on the same floor for each session. Where you see the windows where light is coming in is an outside patio where folks can get some air and chill out.

This venue, I'm told, has wireless connectivity.

Oct 11, 2008

What B2B Topics interest you?

My pet project, this blog, will evolve into the center piece of my B2B Specialist "persona" or brand if you will. With that in mind I need to earn an audience of readers with an aim to establish an inter-professional community of B2B marketing enthusiasts, students and collaborators.


So, your voice counts! If there is something that you want to learn, share and get perspective on let me know. This B2B marketing blog isn't about me as much as it is about the B2B marketing profession and the loosely knit community of professionals that are challenged to produce results for their companies.

What topic areas would you like to see posts about?

(FYI - this post made using Windows Live Writer)

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Oct 10, 2008

A tour of ProductCamp Toronto's Venue

Picture 030
Originally uploaded by b2bspecialist

Barry Clavir, one of the lead dudes helping us with PCT, and I paid a visit to Ryerson today to conduct a site tour for PCT. Here is a photo of one of the session rooms I took to give PCT campers an advanced look see. For more photos of the tour visit my Flickr Group...enjoy!

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Oct 4, 2008

Less then 1 month till ProductCamp!

PCT, big banner

We're less then a month away from Canada's first ProductCamp!We're excited and hopeful that we will have a great turn out on November 2nd.

Here's a quick update:

  • We are firming up sponsors and it looks like we're going to be able to offer a free T-shirt to participants. Here's the current list of sponsors with more coming on soon.
  • This weekend we hope to have the preliminary "Open Grid" posted so you can get a feel for what's planned first thing when you arrive. It will explain how the day will unfold.
  • I'd like for you to visit this page that outlines our goals for this event and to read our "cause". If you think it sucks feel free to change it/make it better. That's what this is all about...community creating and making change
  • And finally, please ensure you now formally register as a participant so we know who's going to show up....we need this because we want everyone to be fed, have a shirt etc. Please register here.. our goal is to have 100 people attend this event!

Remember this event belongs to us all. An event that creates and brings together a community of people interested in the product management profession. Those that want to better their skills, social networks and careers. I think it will also create new friendships and professional relationships. Let us know what you want to get out of PCT.