Archive for November, 2010

25th

Man, am I grateful for 2010.  After such an awful 2009, taking a leap of faith and moving in a new direction in 2010 has been a huge positive, both professionally and personally.

Professionally, starting a business, albeit a simple consulting business has stretched my capacity in many ways.

  • Think more critically about where I add value
  • Focus on tangible wins for my clients
  • Constantly increase my business IQ
  • Take care of business details, like P&L, taxes, expenses, etc.
  • As always, keep the new business pipeline moving
  • Keep the burn-rate as low as possible
  • Leverage Social and practice what I preach

Personally, above all, this has been a leap of faith, a surpassing reliance on my creator.  If you want to know more about that faith, send me a note off-line.  But suffice to say, my MO is: “Work like it all depends on me. Pray like it all depends on God.”  Been saying that since 03/17/91 …

What am I grateful for today, on Thanksgiving 2010?

  1. A genuine, authentic relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – first and foremost. By his grace…
  2. Diane, a soul-mate and best friend that I share my life with and who understands and affirms the concepts of “Love and Respect“.
  3. Two gifts from God in Zach and Kelle, given when I deserved them not, and who have become incredible individuals in their own right.
  4. Fantastic fellowship with like-minded friends who are walking with me and encouraging me through ‘good’ times and ‘bad’.
  5. A business community that has given me opportunity to add value and serve in tangible ways and which has compensated me fairly for that so that I can pay the bills and press on, continuing to do more on many levels.

I know, in fact I hope, not many will read this today.  But when you do stumble across this post, what are your thoughts? Looking back on 2010 and beyond, what are you thankful for?  Thanks!

18th

Reflecting on the last 90 days…

Books – I gotta’ tell ya’.  I’m pretty excited to be listed as one of the crowdsourced authors of Enterprise Social Technologies, the new book about to be released by Scott Klososky.  Not only was the Chapter on Sales really fun to work on, and a great learning experience, but it has been fun working with Scott.  Every now and then you run across somebody that can really help you grow as a professional.  Scott is one of those guys for me.  And of course, as I mentioned before, the concepts to Enterprise Social Tech are spot-on and have connected a LOT of dots for me relative to e-business, sales, marketing, and Social.

Yes, I’m still working on my own book.  I haven’t made a ton of progress on it during the second half of 2010, but I expect to spend some time on it between now and the end of the year.  One thing’s for sure – it’s going to be chock full of very tactical and practical Social Tech tips that readers can implement and see results from right away.

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Mobile – on a personal note, my Droid Incredible has been a great addition to my professional tool set.  I can see why SmartPhones in general are quickly replacing flip phones and older technology… and why the Droids are doing so well against the competition.  For $99, I can’t imagine a higher ROI device in my hands right now.  I’ve been using the camera, video, and voice recorder to capture sound bites. (You’ll see some of that in a music vid I’m working on for the Aartrijk Brand Camp from October).  Been using Gmail, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Search, of course Messaging, FourSquare, mapping and GPS, and the Car Panel.  I also downloaded the “Text Away Message” from State Farm and have been using that.  The Droid has been a great tool.  One big disappointment was the loss of all my contacts in some sort of Google crash.  Never did find out what happened.  The good news is that I have SO many ways of contacting people, I didn’t miss a beat.  Netnet, I HIGHLY recommend getting a good SmartPhone.  It really opens the door to Social Tech and a whole lot more.  And once you learn how to use it yourself, you’ll see how to use it for sales and marketing.

What do you use?  Does it make a difference Socially?

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Social Tech – The more I research and learn about Social, the more I understand that it is BY FAR the most powerful thing to come along business-wise in years.  It dwarfs e-commerce in the same way that e-commerce dwarfed voicemail/email… and in the same way that voicemail/email dwarfed fax machines and overnight couriers and so on down the line.  Social Tech is INCREDIBLY powerful.  If you are skeptical of that statement… I’m not sure what to say other than to suggest that you check your sources of information.  We are what we feed our brains.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Social, it’s that Social can be used to develop a POWERFUL River of Information – a stream of knowledge generated by people a lot smarter than me that comes to me (for free) and raises my IQ on a host of topics I’m interested in.  And on the flip side, it has allowed me to turn OFF streams of useless information.  But that’s just the beginning.  I could go on and on.  Rest assured – Social is not a fad.  Nothing lives forever, but as I said a few years ago about e-commerce on this blog, if you didn’t master e-commerce, you wouldn’t be ready for what’s next (Social).  Now, if you don’t master Social, you won’t be ready for what’s next, something that will almost certainly build on top of Social Tech.

Agree or disagree?

The End of an Era – Well, I shot my son’s last soccer game.  The End.  In truth, it was a bitter pill to swallow on several levels.  Click on the photo.  For soccer enthusiasts, note the hyper-links at the top.  The opposing team took advantage of an unresponsive ref to neutralize Houghton’s best scoring chances.  My take?  It was God working in my life plainly nudging me to move on.  I’ll finish out the year with the Zips and see if they can win the National title and that’ll be it.

As always, Comments are welcome.

5th

In case you are curious about the “#” marks in the headline, notice that these ‘hashtags‘ make the subsequent keywords searchable both on Linkedin and Twitter newsfeeds.  So by inserting them in the status updates and tweets, you help interested readers run a live search on those terms within those Social Networks.  Helpful.  And that’s just one of several uses of hashtags…

Wanted to share and hear from you on the following graphic from the Webinar I ran last week for PIMA.  (Btw, if you want to view the full Webinar, it will be available for one more week to the general audience before PIMA moves it to the Member’s-only portal.)  What’s your take on these stats?  I’ve got my own opinion, but curious to hear from you and chew on this.  Please Comment below.  Subscribe to the Comments RSS as well so you get an email with subsequent Comments.

I attended two meetings this week that I think relate to the subject of SocialTech & Social Media Marketing and Insurance.  The first was out in Wichita, KS.  Without disclosing confidential stuff, the salient point is that while farmers seem to be below average in adoption of Twitter, Linkedin, etc., they have the tools in their hands (and Combines as it were) to take advantage of Social.  They just need a good reason to engage.  (And that’s what we’re going to give ‘em.)

The second was a meeting of senior executives with insurance affinity marketing organizations associated with PIMA.  Again, without going into confidential stuff, I think we’re really making progress on the applying Social tools to accomplish organizational goals. For that, I’m very encouraged.  (Of course, these data-points are a small subset of many other things… )  Good things on the horizon for PIMA.  I think it will be the place to be.  Affinity distribution of insurance products lines up nicely with Socially Directed Buying (B2B) and Socially Facilitated Selling (B2B) – IF you do it right. Apparently with the above graphic, that exactly what the members are trying to do.  Encouraging.  Please Comment below.

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Another event coming up, one I’d recommend for independent agents or agencies.  Should be a really good use of time.

- from IIABA and the Agent’s Council on Technology:

The Social Web and Insurance–Finding Success & Lessons Learned
Live webinar–Nov 16, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Agents & consultants overview the lessons learned over the past 18 months and the best practices agents can use to help ensure a successful experience. Panelists include agents Claudia McClain & Angelyn Treutel and consultants Rick Morgan & Mike Wise. Some of the subjects treated will be: does it really drive new business; how important is blogging; where do I get content; how does social networking fit into an overall marketing strategy; how do I budget my time for social networking?
To register– https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/360600848

Btw, if you haven’t already, perhaps listen to the podcasts on this very subject.  Part 1 and Part 2
Zach Wise Houghton College Men's Soccer Class of 2011
Bitter-sweet Moment – Senior-night for Zach Wise at Houghton College Men’s Soccer.
Boy, that went fast.  But Wiz is finishing strong with his best season ever.
YES! Way to go, el-Capitain!!! Strong! Respect.
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