“All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (from Strength to Love)

This quote jumped out at me as I read this book. I highly recommend this book, btw. Did you know that MLK was extremely conservative in his political/social views? His writings are spot on. Do you see the implications of the quote vis-a-vis Social Tech?

So much has happened since the Fairmont Boot Camp, the subject of the last post. It seems like that Social Tech Boot Camp, combined with the INN article that mentioned me, has pushed me to a new plateau professionally. And yet in the midst of that, I’m being used in new and different ways. It’s impossible to see where it’s all leading. But a good friend and industry associate said at SIIA 2012, “Mike, 2013 is going to be a very good year for you. Hang in there.” To be candid, I’m not sure why he said that. But it resonated. Word.

"Food for Thought" sponsored by Re-Solutions, at SIIA12

Speaking of SIIA12, that was an impressive conference. I think I’m going to get involved. It will likely mean shifting scarce resources from one of my other associations. But given the people, the markets, and the engagement of the attendees, it seems like it might be worth the focus in time and money. One interesting bit of innovation: An attendee who sat in the Fairmont Boot Camp had an inspiring thought. Liz Mariner with Re-Solutions, who’s on the Board of SIIA, asked me to come to her invitation-only dinner party at SIIA and speak to her guests about Social Tech for a few minutes. Brilliant use of time. The space was perfect. I shared some conceptual stuff like Crowdsourcing and ORM as well as some practical tips on Linkedin and Twitter. It was really well-received by all involved.

OK Cleaners, my local drycleaner

OK Cleaners, my local drycleaner

I wanted to share another recent image as well. It’s totally unrelated to insurance, but very much on Social, especially location-based marketing. I’ll go into the details later, but suffice to say that my drycleaner is very smart about marketing. She shows great concern about her customers, remembers small details about them, and always says. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” One time last year, Sue cleaned my son’s Army uniform. Zach and I dropped it off and picked it up. With her huge smile and winsome manner, Sue spoke to us for 5-10 minutes. Ever since then, she always asks about Zach. So when I told Sue that Zach was deploying to Afghanistan in December, a big frown crossed her brow. “Oh, Oh, Oh… so worried,” she said. I glanced at the wall by the register gulping back a flash of emotion. I noticed that Sue had just removed some old Kiwanis baseball team plaques from years past. The nails were still in the wall. So I said, “Sue, do you think you would like to put Zach’s picture up on the wall here? I have his Army picture in my office. Maybe customers would like to see it?” A BIG smile returned to her face. “YES! YES! … YES! YES! YES!” So the next time I came in, I brought the picture with a little note about what’s going on. And there it will sit until next August when he returns, Lord willing. Social, Marketing, Customer Engagement. Local. Excellent.

Lunch at a Soup Kitchen in Akron

Last week, I also took some time to visit a local Soup Kitchen in Akron, located right next to the County Jail, that serves people coming and going from incarceration. Yeah, it was great food, served by ex-cons trying to go straight. But Duane Crabbs is the real deal. He used to be in business. But now he feeds and ministers to the people that need the help the most. South Street Ministries is a ministry my church supports, so I know I can trust it. And speaking with Duane – yeah, it’s legit. Another big gulp.

Talking to kids about "An Infinite God"

And wouldn’t you know, I was in Kansas City this week. The friends I was staying with, insurance peeps I met in the Dominican Republic on the mission trip last year, who live in K.C., asked me to take a few minutes and speak to the kids at the morning Chapel service about the DR. Sure! My meeting didn’t start until 10 and it was right down the street from the school. Chapel was at 9. Sure! So we showed the video and I told the story about the water jug, the teacher, the student, and how God used us to repair a critically important water line spanning a river that had been washed away in the Hurricane Irene flood a couple months before. The kids were enraptured – for a few minutes! Then I lost ‘em! So I quickly ended. But it was good for 7 of the 10 minutes! Ha!

Thanks for taking the time. Enjoyed it. Love to hear your thoughts on any of this..