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10 Lists of 10: Insights on Social Media, Product Marketing and More

May 27, 2013

Top 10 Lists on social media, product marketing and more

Introduction

Because “lists of 10” is a popular format on this blog, I decided to round up a “list of 10 covering the lists of 10.” Without further ado, I present you with my ten favorite lists of ten.

1) 10 Reasons Print Rules in The Digital Age

Call me old fashioned: this post provides ten reasons why I enjoy magazine subscriptions to The Economist and SI.

2) 10 Steps to Creating Blog Posts Your Readers Will Love

My ten step process for writing blog posts. Since this post is a compilation of past posts, I didn’t use the process this time.

3) 10 Reasons Texting Has Taken Over the World

10 reasons texting has taken over the world

Texting is not limited to the younger generation – in fact, texting is taking over the world.

4) Unable to Attend an Event? 10 Ways Twitter Fills the Gap

You simply can’t make it to all events. And when you can’t, turn to Twitter to fill the gap.

5) 10 Reasons Storytelling is The New Product Marketing

Storytelling is the new product marketing

Calling all product marketers: tell good stories.

6) 10 Reasons to Skip the Web Site in Favor of Twitter (When Researching a Company)

When I research a company, I find it more useful to skim through their home page, then jump directly to their Twitter profile.

7) Top 10 Tips for Social Media Time Management

How to manage your time on social media

Intimidated by the amount of time social media consumes? Check out this list of tips on social media time management.

8) The 10 Things Marketers Should Do When Starting a New Job

When Marketers start a new job, they should engage with Sales right away, among other things.

9) 10 Reasons Social Media Addicts Should Go Camping

Camping lets you take a break from social media

Want to get off the grid and disconnect from social media? Go camping.

10) 10 Reasons Product Managers and Event Managers are Kindred Spirits

How product managers and event managers are alike

This list argues that documents how: product managers and event managers do a lot of the same things.

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An Open Letter to Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!

March 4, 2013

Image source: User gaku on flickr.

Dear Ms. Mayer,

First, a belated congratulations on the birth of your son. Congrats, as well, on your new job. Speaking of the new job, it seems your “no work from home” policy has generated a lot of commentary and discussion. Some are in your camp, while others disagree with you.

Image courtesy of Planning Startup Stories and Huffington Post

It seems most organization’s internal memos find their way “out,” so I was reading the one announcing the policy change (posted at AllThingsD). In the memo, a number of goals were outlined:

  1. We want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum.
  2. To become the absolute best place to work.
  3. We need to be one Yahoo!

With respect – and, knowing what your goals are, here’s how I would have done it.

1) Create an awesome office environment.

Image source: Robert Banh on flickr.

Look to your competition (Google – a place you may know a thing or two about). They provide office environments that workers love (perhaps more than they love their homes). Google provides free food, of course (and many other free services), but it really goes beyond that. The free stuff provides a foundation on top of which a flourishing, in-office culture develops and grows.

How you create awesome office environments depends on Yahoo’s culture and personality. Just copying Google won’t necessarily work. But here’s the great thing about doing it this way: you’ll be able to draw in those remote workers because they’ll decide that the perks of being in the office outweigh the conveniences of working from home.

So don’t compel them to come into the office, but create an office environment so awesome that it’s hard for them to stay away. An awesome office environment will naturally lead to higher morale and job satisfaction scores. On the flip side: if your current office environment remains unchanged, but you compel employees to come in and work there, can you really expect to achieve great things?

2) Identify the teams for which collaboration is most productive.

To be a rock star in Accounts Payable, you don’t need to collaborate (with others) as much as the rock star in Development or Product Management.

And while I can understand that HR policies need to apply to the entire herd, I think the “spirit” of driving more collaboration should be aimed at the particular groups for which it’s most productive and valuable. I think these teams should sit in the same physical space:

  1. Engineering and Development
  2. Sales (based on region)
  3. Products (product management, product marketing)
  4. Marketing
  5. Customer and End User Support

I’m a firm believer that a great idea can surface from a product manager speaking to an attorney and an accounting director. So I understand why you want all groups in the office together.

To start, however, focus on initiatives to get particular groups collaborating – then, find opportunities for cross-collaboration (e.g. product management and customer support, to help build better products based on what customers are telling you).

3) “Hack” your way to new products (in the office, of course).

It’s a “what have you done for me lately” world and I’m sure you’re focused on delivering results now. But consider things like overnight hackathons and Google’s “20% time.”

Hackathons can produce long term gains, while adding fun, excitement and “bonding opportunities” to your office environment. After all, with a hackathon, employees are required to come into the office – but this time, there’s an explicit purpose or goal. It’s not just, “come in, go to your desk, thank you very much.”

With regard to the separate activity of “20% time,” recall that without it, the world may not have Gmail.

Conclusion

Full disclosure: I’ve never run my own company before. So take this advice with a grain of salt. While some have disagreed vehemently with your policy, you’ve taken a stand. Best wishes on achieving your goals. The new home page looks pretty nice.

Sincerely,

Dennis Shiao


My BFF and I Agree: 10 Reasons Texting Has Taken Over the World

February 4, 2013

Why texting has taken over the world

Photo source: User kamshots on flickr.

Introduction

I used to think texting was something that teens did: a form of instant messaging to gossip, coordinate meet-ups and talk about cute boys (or girls).

Nowadays, however, I find myself using texting as a primary form of communication with my peers – I’m talking folks, like me, in their 40’s. It’s also prevalent in the business world, from the meeting room to the board room.

Texting as Your BFF

Admit it: texting is your BFF. And it’s taken over the world. I pondered this phenomenon when I exceeded (for the first time) my texting limit earlier this month:

Oops! I texted too much this month

With each subsequent text incurring an overage fee, I decided to stop texting until the start of the next billing cycle. But lo and behold, it couldn’t be stopped! Friends and family continued to text me. And I had to reply to them the old fashioned way: email.

Let’s consider how (and why) texting has taken over the world.

1) It’s asynchronous.

Consider the phone call. You dial your friend. She hears the ring and has to be available to answer it. She answers and you talk. What if you simply needed to tell her that you’re running 10 minutes late? Does that really require the dial-answer-communicate cycle? Or how about a text that says “Running late. Be there in 10”? Done.

2) It’s threaded.

I remember receiving text messages on first generation cell phones. The user experience was poor. We’ve moved light years ahead on smartphones. Now, my conversation with each contact has its own “record” and I can see the back-and-forth messaging in one place. It’s like a permanent instant messaging window, holding the entire history of our conversation.

3) It’s universal.

Texting is universal

Photo source: User oregondot on flickr.

Whether it’s an iPhone, an Android phone or my parents’ 90’s era flip phone, every cell phone supports texting. This is one “application” in which you and your friend don’t need to download the same app. The app is built in to your phone.

4) Its notifications receive valuable screen real-estate.

While some may change the notifications settings on their phones, for most of us, an incoming text message receives high “priority.” The message pops up as a notification, usually accompanied by an audio alert. To check email, you have to open your email client. Texts, on the other hand, are visible the moment they come in.

5) It’s great for sharing photos.

Texting is Instagram without the filters. Long before Instagram hit the scene, people were sending each other photos via text message. Take a cute photo of your kid? Send it to family via text. As mentioned (above) with “notifications,” family members will see that photo right away. If you sent it via email? They’d probably see it much later.

6) There’s an expectation of near-immediate response.

Let’s say you need to urgently reach a colleague and she’s in a meeting. Do you interrupt the meeting and pull her out of it? Do you call her cell phone? Maybe in days past. These days, you send her a text message (perhaps labeled as “URGENT”) and chances are she’ll take the needed action. Immediately.

7-It’s short, it’s Twitter-like.

Tweeting is like texting

140 characters or less. It’s a big part of Twitter’s popularity and charm. With text messages, you get an additional 20 characters, for a total of 160! Endless email chains. Friends who just can’t seem to stop talking. With text messages, you get none of that. Instead, it’s 160 characters (or less) and you move on.

8) You can text in groups (if you want).

Yes, your 1:1 conversations can be extended to groups of friends (or colleagues). In a work setting, this could be especially useful when traveling together to a conference: coordinating meals, meet-ups and the like. In addition, there are numerous apps available to help you send group text messages on the cheap.

9) It delivers the entire payload at once.

Many email clients have a “preview pane,” in which you can read the body of the email (or the first portion of it). With texting, the entire payload of the message appears in the message notification. Often, I’ll receive a text, read it (via the message notification), then put away my phone. This adds to the efficiency of texting. Unlike email, there are times you don’t even have to open the “application.”

10) It’s resilient.

During natural disasters, voice service may be down, data service may be down, but text messaging is likely to survive. So your email won’t get through, your web site will be unreachable, but you can still send that text message. I’m sure texting is an important tool used by relief organizations and first responders today – and its use cases are sure to grow.


10 Reasons Print Rules in The Digital Age

November 12, 2012

Image source: User delusionalcubsfan on flickr.

Introduction

I subscribed to a magazine just once in my lifetime: it was in high school and I responded to a promotional offer for a 12-month subscription of SPORT magazine. According to Wikipedia, the magazine was shuttered in August 2000.

I’m now onto my second-ever magazine subscription, which is somewhat ironic in this day and age. Why did I do it? Because an airline (which I don’t fly any more) sent me a notice in the mail, indicating that a significant number of my frequent flyer miles were about to expire.

One way to consume those miles is to purchase magazine subscriptions. And I did just that, opting for 12 month relationships with Sports Illustrated and The Economist. In this era of tablets and smartphones, I’ve discovered a number of benefits of old fashioned print. Here are ten of them.

1) Raises questions from the kids.

I have one child, so when I say “kids,” I mean my daughter and her grade school friends. Today’s generation engaged with technology moments after exiting the womb. And it amuses me how much technology shapes their world.

When kids saw the DVD display in the ceiling of my car (a technological marvel when it was installed), they were amazed that a physical disc is needed to watch a film. One child asked, “Can’t you download the movie onto that?” So with magazines, it’s great when kids ask me what is “that thing” I’m reading? After all, it doesn’t reside on a tablet.

2) Opening and viewing a two-page spread is (still) magical.

A two-page spread in Sports Illustrated, featuring Oscar De Lla Hoya

Yes, the iPad, with its retina display, provides visually stunning images. But there’s something about opening up a two-page spread in Sports Illustrated (SI) and “taking in” the image for a little while. After the 2012 World Series, SI published a three-page spread, with the third page tucked underneath the first page. The top half was a panoramic shot of the Giants’ AT&T Park. The bottom half was Comerica Field. And it was awesome.

3) Gives you an excuse to go offline.

It’s rare to be offline these days. We’re always an email, text or phone call away from work, family and friends. But with a magazine, I can head to a park bench, tuck my phone in my pocket and read an entire issue from front to back. Note: despite that statement, I’m rarely able to make it happen.

4) Creates an appointment-based experience.

I love checking my mailbox for the week's issue of SI

I’m a creature of habit, a lover of routines. So I love going to my mailbox every Thursday and grabbing the SI from among the circulars, junk mail and related offers. It’s like the days when I was a Netflix subscriber and I’d look first for that red envelope. I save portions of my Thursday evenings for reading the latest issue of SI. And that routine is supreme.

5) Allows you to fully immerse in something.

Related to being offline, the magazine allows me to go somewhere quiet and fully immerse myself. SI keeps me up to date on the sports world, while The Economist keeps me current on the world. How often can you claim that you’re fully immersed in anything these days?

6) It’s so retro, it’s in.

Publishers are shuttering magazines and newspapers and moving things online (if at all). In relative terms, there’s a dearth of print publications out there. So I when I walk through town toting my SI issue, I’m not afraid to show it. I’m retro and I know it.

7) Engage with advertisements. Yes, advertisements.

I pay attention to the ads in SI

Sure, magazines have been far less successful of late in selling ad pages. If magazines were pizza, we’d all learn to appreciate the thin crust variety. But what I’ve found is that the ads that do make it in are quite contextual to the adjacent pages. And that’s good for readers.

Unlike online banner ads, I pay full attention to the ads in magazines. Banner ads can be contextual, but the amount of targeting and re-targeting done is reaching the point of creepiness. So  I love knowing that my viewing of a print ad is not being track by Big Brother Online. At least not yet!

8) Page turning feels right.

Yes, we’re all used to the swipe of an index finger to turn a page. But we do that so much that I’ve come to enjoy the physical page turning involved in magazines. And that also applies to books, for which I’ve been reading the old fashioned format (print).

9) Multiple ways to hold and fold.

On a tablet, it’s portrait or landscape. With a magazine, there are more ways to hold the pages. Do I spread out both pages, or do I fold the two in half? Or, do I fold half of the right page over the back of the left page? The possibilities are endless.

10) Exercise more fingers.

With a tablet, it’s all about the index finger, with occasional thumb action. With print, I’m able to keep more fingers in shape by involving them in the experience.

Note: I invite you to connect with me on .


5 Reasons to Join a Tribe on @Triberr

September 29, 2012

Introduction

Over a year ago, Jenise Fryatt (@JeniseFryatt), the Master Connector, invited me to join a tribe that she organized on Triberr – a “community-building platform for bloggers” and “reach multiplier.” Jenise had organized a tribe of meetings and events professionals and thought that my blog (on virtual events) would be a good fit for the group.

The idea is that you share (promote) tribe members’ blog postings on Twitter and they do the same in return (for you). When you join the tribe, you supply your blog’s “feed URL” (also known as the RSS feed URL) and every time you publish, the rest of the tribe “sees” your new post.

From there, each tribe member can click “Approve” to auto-publish a link to your post via Twitter. If you approve multiple posts at once, Triberr staggers the schedule, so that the tweets don’t all go out at once. When I first joined the tribe, I figured it would be a nice way to receive additional traffic to my blog. That’s been a given, but Triberr has provided me with a whole lot more.

So here are five reasons to consider finding (and joining) your own Triberr tribe.

1) Expands the reach of your blog postings.

Before Triberr, I’d publish a new blog posting, tweet a link to it, then repeat that tweet a few more times during the week. I’d hope that others would see my tweet – and if I was lucky, retweet me (thus sharing my link with their followers).

With Triberr, I get a “built-in endorsement network,” a set of people who see (and may choose to share) each and every post that I publish. The tribe brings a quantity and quality of reach. Combined, they have a significant quantity of followers on Twitter. But it’s the quality that’s more important to me: the tribe brings a diversity in followers that’s impossible to achieve alone.

2) Find interesting posts and articles to read.

I love to find interesting and thought-provoking articles to read. Twitter (and related apps, such as Flipboard) have helped in the discovery process, since a prominent activity on Twitter is the sharing of links. Triberr helps in my quest to discover great content.

On a daily basis, I’ll check the “New Posts” area of Triberr to see what my tribe has recently published. And this ends up becoming part of my reading list for the day. If you find the right tribe, they’ll constantly feed you great content (their own!).

3) A community assembles and grows.

I love how Triberr calls itself “a community-building platform.” It’s so true. Going in, I knew a number of my tribe members already (mostly via Twitter!). But being part of the tribe has helped build a sense of “team” and togetherness.

I’ve gotten to know my tribe-mates better, as we’ve bonded via our collective writings. And by extending my blog’s audience by way of the tribe, I’ve found and discovered new contacts in the industry – and they’ve discovered me as well (i.e. subscribed to my blog, followed me on Twitter, etc.)

4) Provides great content for you to tweet.

While some may find this hard to believe, there are times when I don’t have much to tweet about. Consider it a 140-character form of writer’s block. That’s when I turn to Triberr. Sometimes when I forget to check “New Posts” for a day or two, there will be 5+ posts queued up there. And if I’m short on tweets that morning, I’ll review, read, then approve the posts and wha-la! I’ve just scheduled 5 tweets to go out that morning.

5) Spark ideas for new blog posts.

When my writer’s block moves from Twitter to my blog, I can look to my tribe and consider what they’ve written about recently. That can give me topic ideas for my own blog. I consider it “food for thought” to help feed my own blog’s editorial calendar.

Conclusion

Triberr, and especially the “Got Your Back” tribe to which I belong, has been fantastic. Between “blog promotion” and “being part of a community,” I value the latter the most. Whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years, consider finding a tribe to join. If you can’t find one, create a new tribe and invite your network to join!

Useful Resources on Triberr

  1. How Triberr Works,” from WikiMommy.
  2. A Guide to Getting Started on Triberr,” from AllTriberr.

Note: I invite you to connect with me on .


The 5 Things I Do in the First Hour of My Day (Before Breakfast)

September 13, 2012

Introduction

Complete serenity. Early morning is my favorite time of the day. The coffee is brewing while the sun has yet to rise. There’s not a sound in the house (besides the slow drip of the coffee) and I’m basking in solitude. I suppose it’s “me time.” The first sip of coffee gets me started and I’m off to the races. I don’t try to solve the world’s problems in the first hour of my day, but I do just enough to set up the day for success.

Here are the five things I do in the first hour of every day.

1) Check on things that require an immediate response.

Sometimes, I’ll wake up (fully rested) before my alarm goes off. That’s usually a sign of a very productive day to come. More often, I’ll waken to the sound of my iPhone alarm. Then, without turning on the light, I’ll spend the next 5 minutes checking work and personal email.

It’s mostly a quick scan through the emails that arrived overnight, to see if there are any matters requiring immediate attention or response. Once I’ve completed the email check, I’ll get out of bed and fire up the coffee maker.

While the coffee is brewing, I’ll check Twitter. I don’t check on tweets, but I go specifically to “Interactions” to look at mentions, retweets, new follows, etc. Based on that, I suppose you could call me vain (and I’d admit it). I usually don’t check Facebook this early in the morning – that will come in the second or third hour of my day.

2) One word: COFFEE

The morning serenity is great, but nothing is more enjoyable to me than the morning cup of coffee. And I don’t do just a cup, mind you. I fill up a Thermos with about 14 ounces of fresh brewed Joe. My daily grind is two third’s Starbucks French Roast and one third Peet’s Major Dickason’s blend.

Call it a French Major, if you want – it tastes great. I like to savor the coffee, too – I’ll find myself taking the last sip more than an hour later. So coffee, if you will, completely comprises the first hour of my day.

3) Determine what to read, but I don’t actually read it.

Next step: grab the newspaper off the front stoop. Whoops! All of my newspapers are online. I have a set of 5 core web sites that I check every morning. If I’m ambitious, I’ll also peek at my RSS subscriptions in Google Reader.

The goal is to cobble together the interesting articles that I should be reading. At the same time, I’m identifying whether there are time-sensitive articles that I need to read right away. For the most part, though, I spend the first hour of my day curating, rather than consuming.

For each article I find interesting, I paste the content into a text document using Notepad on my Windows laptop. After I’ve completed my curation, I’ll paste the entire text document into Google Docs. From there, I can read all of the articles when my schedule permits – on laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. – without all the banner ads, site navigation, pop-ups and web site overlays.

4) Create a short list of things that must get done (today).

There are more things to get done than the day is long. So I try to be realistic. I’ll prioritize my task list and figure out the handful of the most important things (that must get done today).

Of course, as time permits, I’ll get to other items on the list, but I find that narrowing the list is quite effective. It ensures that I’m focusing on what matters most (that day) – and, I find that I do a better job on the smaller bites that I’m chewing.

5) Set up the rest of the day for success.

Like my approach to curating the morning headlines (rather than reading the articles entirely), I don’t try to accomplish everything in the first hour of my day. Instead, my goal is to get the framework in place to make the rest of the day productive.

I’ll scan my Outlook Calendar for scheduled meetings and mentally prepare for them. I’ll do some research to get me prepared for an upcoming meeting. I’ll also do some mental preparation around the short list that I’ve compiled. If I need to write a blog post or a product sheet, I’ll start thinking about headlines and outlines.

Conclusion

Right about now, I’m finishing up the last few sips of my coffee. I’m an hour into my day – and while I haven’t taken the world by storm, I’ve gotten the pieces in place for a good one. And with that, it’s time for … breakfast!

Note: I invite you to connect with me on .


Summer Reading List: Books on Happiness, Neuroscience, Games and More

August 9, 2012

Introduction

I know just what you’re thinking: summer is just about over. The cross-country flight has been flown and the week at the beach is over. I hear ya.

But a long weekend is but a few weeks away (Labor Day) and it’s never too late to pick up some great books for the Fall (or for, gasp, the holidays).

What follows are recommendations for books I’ve read recently. I must warn you: the list contains neither the super-latest releases nor any current New York Times bestsellers. Without further ado, here’s my list of five:

1) Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

I read this book one year ago. I purchased the book expecting to hear about Tony Hsieh’s approach to delivering great customer service at Zappos. And while the book does include insights related to that, it’s scope is really much more.

Hsieh relates a compressed life story (his own) and how he sought to discover meaning and happiness. The book is filled with a series of entertaining personal anecdotes. Hsieh wraps things up by discussing the science of happiness and declares that the meaning of life is to discover it.

This is my favorite book of all time and has completely changed my outlook on life. For the better.

  1. Read my prior book review on Delivering Happiness.
  2. Check out the book at Amazon.

2) Brain Rules by John Medina

Earlier this year, Medina was the keynote presenter at a conference I attended. I couldn’t attend Medina’s session, but I knew from the related tweets that the audience found it interesting. Later, I’d bump into other attendees and Medina’s session was mentioned often.

I decided (then) to add “Brain Rules” to my reading list and it didn’t disappoint. Medina is a neuroscientist and the book helps us understand how the brain works. This understanding can help us design more effective meetings, classes, events and more.

  1. Read my prior post on how to use Brain Rules to make your next event more impactful.
  2. Check out the book at Amazon.

3) Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal

Coincidentally, Jane McGonigal also provided a keynote presentation at the same conference (as Medina). While I also missed McGonigal’s session, I had already read her book. McGonigal presents research from a number of scientists to explain “why games make us happy” and describes how games can be applied to solve problems at a global scale.

I liked this book so much, in fact, that I organized a digital book club in which we assembled via Google+ Hangouts to discuss portions of the book.

  1. Read my favorite quotes from the book.
  2. Check out the book at Amazon.

4) The Third Wave by Alison Thompson

Thompson’s book makes an impact right from the first page. She describes rollerblading down the street. They were the streets of New York City and she was headed south towards the World Trade Center. And it was September 11, 2001.

Thompson, who has training as a nurse, provided emergency response to victims (on the streets) and witnessed the collapse of the second tower. She volunteered day and night in the days immediately following 9/11 and returned there for weeks afterwards, lending a hand each and every day.

Thompson traveled to Sri Lanka to assist victims of a 2004 tsunami and provided relief efforts to earthquake victims in Haiti. “The Third Wave” is Thompson’s “volunteer story.”

It’s not just touching, it’s inspirational. Reading about Thompson’s selfless acts have inspired me to “do more” for the larger world around me.

  1. Check out the book at Amazon.

5) Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

This book is the story of TOMS, a shoe company who matches “every pair of TOMS (shoes) purchased with a new pair given to a child in need.” (they now sell more than just shoes). Like “Delivering Happiness,” the book does more than just tell the story of a company’s growth.

Mycoskie provides prescriptive advice on how you (the reader) can start something that matters, yourself. With chapter headings such as “find your story,” “face your fears” and “be resourceful without resources,” Mycoskie made me think about jobs in my future – and how they ought to have a meaning larger than just “maximizing profits.”

  1. Check out the book at Amazon.

Conclusion

I hope you found my recommendations useful. If you end up reading any of these books, return here to leave a comment. I’d love to hear your feelings and reactions to reading them.


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