Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lessons from PodCamp Toronto 2010 #pcto2010

Lesson 1: there is no better time to know a little or a lot about 'social media' - you're in demand. There were something like 1600 people signed up in Toronto yesterday. I didn't check, but I'll bet the first podcamp had something like 12 people show up.

Lesson 2: business is catching on, catching up - a couple of jammed sessions I sat in on included:

Chris Barger, Director of Social Media for General Motors (who knew?) discussing the role of his group during GM's Chapter 11 meltdown and relaunch.

Donna Marie Antoniadis of co-founder and COO of ShesConnected Multimedia Corp discussing the power of Facebook and throwing up cool Facebook promotions from Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, Jet Blue, McDonalds and others as great examples of business-building through community building on-line.

David Bradfield, Senior Partner, Global Chair, Digital at Fleishman-Hillard tackling the issue of how to deal with social media when it turns against your brand (and there was also a 'boob' story but it didn't translate very well at the back of the room) - a decidedly PR approach to social media (David is a very knowledgeable, great speaker) that unfortunately left me cold.

Lesson 3: the 'unconference' approach to topics has huge value - experts in the crowd, relevant conversation, questions and answers - but not everyone gets it yet (any presentation longer than 10-15 minutes is too long) and it's tricky if there is only one expert in the room (which doesn't happen often).

Lesson 4: I'll never pay $1200 for a conference again. Podcamp Toronto is FREE (as are any huge number of meetups, mixups and mashups going on all the time now all over Toronto on any and every topic). Not only did Podcamp Toronto include first class facilities, topics and presenters, the sessions were live-casted on the web, and podcamp has its own great website, facebook, twitter, etc, etc. It's been a while since I've read Chris Andersons book called Free, but clearly the FREE pricing model extends  beyond the on-line world - at least to conferences about the on-line world! Gotta be a big thanks to heavy-hitter sponsors like Social Media Group, Chevrolet and Rogers for making it possible.

Bottom line on Podcamp Toronto. Great value. The world is still changing fast. Business is hanging in there. It's a good time to be an unexpert.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thanks for the Concern

No, I'm not 22 and jobless or 52 and feeling unappreciated.

But I could use a good proof-reader.

It seems when I under-punctuated my last post - the first paragraph came off like I was down, out and who knows what?

Friends were calling to see if I was ok.

I'm fine.

Reflecting their concerns, I've changed the punctuation from this (potentially all about me, but not really):

Twenty-two and no job. Thirty two, three jobs and a bunch of crappy bosses. Fourty-two, weary and tired of the treadmill. Fifty-two, spit out and unappreciated.

To this (clear and solid transference to others!):

Twenty-two and no job? Thirty two, three jobs and a bunch of crappy bosses? Fourty-two, weary and tired of the treadmill? Fifty-two, spit out and unappreciated?

What's exciting about this is the learning. It's a key reason why I blog. There's always a risk. And often, some learning.

In this case I was experimenting with an 'edgier' intro than usual. Why not, right? Unfortunately, slipping up on the punctuation gave it an edge I never expected.

I'm going to be OK! And thanks for the learning.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hey. Would You Just Get on With it? Some Inspiration.

Twenty-two and no job? Thirty two, three jobs and a bunch of crappy bosses? Fourty-two, weary and tired of the treadmill? Fifty-two, spit out and unappreciated?

It's time to get on with it!

This presentation by ex-Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki is old and famous. But it's inspiring and helpful. Think brand you. Think next Google. And GTF on with it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Instant Value from Twitter - Twitter Search

Although Twitter awareness has broken through almost everywhere in the business world, there's still lots of people questioning its value.

Here's some advice I find myself giving that frequently seems to be a surprise - don't worry about broadcasting on Twitter - use it for search.  

Search for anything - companies I know are using it to track announcements in their industry, competitors, sales leads, interesting content and knowledge. They're using it combination with other tools like Google alerts to stay in real-time touch with what's going on.

Twitter's natural interface is all about broadcasting, so it doesn't appear to lend itself well to search.

But lots of other Twitter interfaces are set up to enable real-time search. I use Tweetdeck - which also integrates my Facebook and Linkedin feeds.

There are lots of others.

To search Twitter from the web, go to, which is awkward but is in the process of being integrated better into Twitter itself.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Video Branding Follow-up and Example

Last night I got this email from an ex-client and good friend Flavio Gomes. Flav is co-founder and President of Logisense Corporation. EngageIP, Logisense's IP billing platform is used by customers worldwide. It's a great example of the use of video for both personal and professional branding.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Personal Branding - To Video or Not to Video

Over a year ago now I threw this video up on YouTube to prove I had a sense of humor. It's a silly video. I did it to offset the feedback on my other videos that I look way too serious. Some just misinterpreted it as a demonstration of my skills with a felt marker.

 Video is becoming a big part of personal branding.  Having watched the evolution that's going on, here are some thoughts:

1) The personal brand video revolution is going to accelerate. It's not quite main stream yet but it will be. From resumes to blogs, vlogs and websites, people on video is going to be everywhere. Check out this video clip that can be inserted into a Twitter profile. The rationale is simple: to personalize content. It's not just Jim's thoughts - it's Jim.

2) Not everyone is going to embrace the move to video. The biggest concern is privacy. It's a big leap to go from content-only to video. Especially for women, just having a profile picture is cause for concern. Taking that to video is very scary.

3) Video adds a whole new dimension to on-line personal branding - appearance. Now, instead of being judged simply on experience, expertise, content and thinking, be prepared to be judged -and judged instantly - on LOOKS. While individual appearance may in many cases enhance other content (isn't that the point?), adding video WILL DILUTE everything else, at least at the first impression stage.

4) Video production is important...and confusing. Up until now at least, the web has put a premium on 'genuine' vs. 'produced'. Video that is professionally shot and edited hasn't necessarily been viewed as being real, and therefore tended to be viewed as a somewhat negative branding technique. However, with services springing up everywhere to produce personal on-line videos it's not clear there won't be growing acceptance of better produced content.

5) Content is still king. The purpose of most personal video is simple - put a face to the name. So, talking for 5 minutes about resume details is boring and unnecessary - there are better ways to do that. However, video is perfectly suited for other tasks - like demonstrating a skill, or a personality trait, or credibility. There are 1000's of YouTube (and Google) videos of pros presenting their material in various settings. That's effective.

6) Smart personal marketers are and will continue to evolve the art of personal video to create personal competitive advantage. That's going to put pressure on all the rest of us to figure out where we stand and what role personal video plays in our marketing mix.

I don't believe it's much of a stretch to suggest that within less than 2 years, all resumes will include personal videos. And 'Extreme Makeover - Personal Branding Edition' will be a huge hit.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

John Keep Your Eye on This One: Foursquare

A couple of months ago I started noticing a couple of Facebook friends enthusiastically posting their latest accomplishments on Foursquare. I paid no attention. But they stayed enthusiastic and kept updating. I noticed that.

Then I started noticing Foursquare's name showing up in the early and not-so-early adopter press. Hmmm.

So, yesterday I downloaded the iPhone app (about 12 seconds, amazing interface) and the Blackberry app (beta, go to the website, copy the link, blah, blah, blah, not 12 seconds - come on BB, apps are killing you but I digress).

Foursquare is game/twitter/crowdsourcing/yelp/tripadvisor all rolled into one. You visit places. Check in on your smartphone to let your friends know where you are. See who's nearby. Write a review. Collect points. Get famous. Move on.

If necessary, in the morning, you can even figure out where you've been.

From a business perspective Foursquare's got some pretty mighty business implications. Slow night? $2 off promotion for Foursquare users. Just show them your iPhone. Get listed in the what's hot. Get dissed in the reviews.

It's early days but Foursquare clearly foreshadows more of what's coming as mobile and other social technologies keep moving forward. Together. Fast.

The founders of Foursquare are moving forward too. It's clear that content, advertising and (from a business perspective this is big) analytics are going to be key new elements of the Foursquare platform.

Check out this Slide presentation if you want a better feel for Foursquare

Monday, February 1, 2010

Personal Branding Plan Presentation, The 5 P's

Personal branding is a way of communicating the unique value you offer.

Working with clients and talking to managers, employees and others, I've found the 5 P's to be a simple, yet effective way to organize thinking and planning around personal branding. Here's a simple presentation providing some basic insight into the 5 P's. With a bit of thought (finish the sentences) you can build a simple personal branding plan.

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