Archive for June, 2011

A quick trip to Seattle

Posted by on Monday, 27 June, 2011

Jean and I headed up to Seattle on Saturday to run around the city with Meg, Craig, and four of their five kids: Tim, Dustin, Vicky, and Steven. The six of them had just returned from an Alaskan cruise and were killing two days until their flight home to Tennessee. While we see Craig nearly monthly because of his work, and saw Meg last when she and Craig visited last fall, we hadn’t seen the kids since late 2006 (possibly early 2007) so you can imagine what a change was seen in these now-teenagers.

We had a great time with them all as we ran through the EMP (Experience Music Project) museum, not so much fun in Pikes Place, and then a good time just running around the city working up an appetite for dinner before Jean and I had to head home. It was such a pleasure to be able to joke around with them all, as if not a day had passed (if you could ignore the fact that they all tower over me. Heck I think even Vicky is taller than me now, ok maybe not, but she’s getting close!).

The EMP museum was an interesting place. Jean referenced it on Twitter as being a requiem to punk, and her youth. I’d have to agree. When punk ‘artifacts’ make their way to museum exhibits, the movement is truly dead. Long live punk! Luckily there were also some cool basses squirreled away in the guitar room..

(That last picture is Craig laying down some vocals in the EMP’s sound lab. Pretty cool place to explore different instruments in a pseudo recording studio environment.)

There was also a SciFi exhibit in the same building, highlighting the Battlestar Galactica series (new and old), as well as an Avatar exhibit. Not being a fan of Scifi, most of that was lost on me, though my best photograph of the day (nearly unmodified from the camera) came from the BSG exhibit:

I’m nowhere near what anyone would call a fan of BSG, but I DID have one of these in action figure size when I was a kid. The nostalgia alone was cool enough for me; add in the dramatic lighting and I was sold on this shot.

All in all, a great weekend. The best part though: getting to hang out with Dustin, Tim, Steven, and Vicky again. I mean, it was great seeing Meg and Craig too, of course… it’d just been so long since we’d seen the kids, I couldn’t get over how much they’ve grown, and I don’t just mean physically.  I adore those kids… and am overjoyed to see them growing into amazing adults.

 

 

 

On the value of thought leadership

Posted by on Thursday, 23 June, 2011

It is no secret that anyone working in the social business world struggles daily with how to measure value and return on their investment (ROI) in the space. If we can figure out how to effectively measure our work and translate it into monetary value, we’re golden. Come up with a nice easy formula in the support space to show avoided cost, something like: “total clicks to payload x success indicator x %clients who would call = avoided call ticket x cost per case = avoided cost”  and you’ve got your end of story, right?

Well, not so fast (you knew I wasn’t going to let you go that easily right?). What about measuring those intangibles I spoke of in my earlier post here? How can you effectively measure thought leadership and eminence in the industry? Or rather, and perhaps more importantly, is the value of being a thought leader more important than the simply monthly indicators of engagement and content consumption?

I’m fairly certain you can see what I’d argue here…. that thought leadership, that digital eminence is actually the primary purpose of social business, everything else we do is secondary to supporting that higher goal. Sharing our high value content? Sure, that’s an essential part of what we do…. which goes to support the end result of raising our place in the digital world and the ultimate perception that we are indeed the thought leaders in our industry.

Let me take an exampled approach here, and bear with a few assumptions along the way:
You all know I am passionate about whiskies. No arguments from any of you on that point I’m sure. Amongst my friends (outside of the actual industry) you may possibly consider me as a burgeoning thought leader when it comes to topics surrounding whiskies. But why is that? Is it simply because I consistently post a measurable number of links to quality whiskies related content? Or is it because over time I’ve consistently provided quality content related to specifics of whiskies in conjunction with other efforts I make in other spaces to learn and help teach others about this water of life? I’ll bet you’d tell me the latter of the two choices. But which of the two is more important to you? Is just receiving the content enough to warrant me as a thought leader when it comes to whisk(e)y? Again I’d wager to say, no, it isn’t. Thought leadership is critical to what my boss recently described as “compounded interest”. Which makes perfect sense to me.

Continuing with the example…  let me ask; is my thought leadership in the whiskies world of benefit to you? My guess here is that it is, but only when you need it. I am often asked by friends and family for recommendations of whiskies to give as gifts; and I am happy to oblige, especially since answering those questions typically helps me learn and stay up to date on pricing changes and allows me to hone my skills at choosing decent drams. But it is only important to you because the issue on your plate is what bottle to buy for your friend. If you weren’t in that predicament, my thought leadership in the space wouldn’t be of value to you. This exemplifies my point about thought leadership; that there is value there, possibly great value, but only in a ‘just-in-time’ ad hoc model. Right now, as I write this entry, my eminence (bear with me on that assumption) as a whiskies subject matter expert is irrelevant since I am neither posting specifically about whisky, nor is anyone presently utilizing my knowledge about the topic, so I’m not seeing value right now, nor have I over the course of this month. Last month, however, my thought leadership WAS valuable as I was able to recommend a moderately priced bottle as a gift, making a big impact upon the recipient from what I hear, but also not breaking the bank to do so. In that case, I’d say my eminence could have a direct monetary value had I not been asked and had a higher priced bottle been purchased.

My point in this is to show that thought leadership can only be built over time, and the value only seen at the whim of the client with no way to predict how or when that value will be recognized. Perhaps, in the technical support world it will be in avoiding a call ticket because a client remembered a blog post on the topic which included the answer, or perhaps it will be during a sales call when a client signs a maintenance agreement because they recognize our eminence in the space and know we can help them effectively and efficiently when they encounter difficult issues….

Thought leadership is potentially VERY valuable in these instances, but (like the above example), is not solely a product of just work in social business, rather it is a holistic drive connecting all sorts of activities which combine to build that eminence over time. Eminence which can show value in varied, unexpected ways, which can often skirt any potential to accurately measure and connect effort to value.

Been a bit focused recently…

Posted by on Monday, 13 June, 2011

… on whiskies related endeavours.  You can read about my recent and continued experience with aging my own whiskey here.  Not only that, but I am also working on another interesting project which may keep me just as focused on whiskies for a while.

As part of the 3DC, we’re continually searching for opportunities and getting crazy ideas in our heads. This year has been no different as we follow down paths of thought in an exploratory realm, determine that something isn’t feasible, then adjust and move on. But I’ll tell you now, if we can nail down some requirements and specs, then get funding, we may actually have a mobile 3DC app on the market. I’m not going to tell you what we intend to do with it, as it is still in early EARLY stages of requirements gathering… but if we can pull it off, it is going to be brilliant.

Then again, I’m also investigating other realms of the whiskies world. Who knows what, if anything, will come of this all…. but I’ll tell ya, I’m having a great time learning about all aspects of the world beyond the consumer level!

Until then, you’ll have to be content with my blog posts over on the 3DC site with aging my own whiskey and other random whiskies related topics as we come across them. If you’re dying for even MORE whiskies related content, you can also check out the 3DC’s “Whiskies News & Reviews Daily” over on paper.li: http://bit.ly/k3XNbj It is a GREAT way to stay abreast of all the cool things going on in the world of whiskies!