Friday, September 16, 2011

ADAge + MBA Online = Awesome Infographic

Media Consumption - 2011
Created by: MBA Online

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What can happen in 60 seconds?

Turns out a WHOLE lot!  Check out this fascinating infographic that clearly illustrates the amount of activity that occurs on the internet in just 60 seconds.  We can only imagine these numbers in five years!

Thanks to A Momentary Flow for the visual.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The State of Unemployment

Huffington post recently shared a  timely infographic illustration of the state of today's unemployment in America.  The graphic, shared via a great reference for those of you who like data visualization as much as we do, depicts unemployment rates across industries within the last two months.  With the ups and downs of today's economy, it is helpful to have a reminder that indeed some industries are starting to look up.

Learning From Mistakes

Jeff Stibel recently wrote a post in the Harvard Business Review regarding the value of learning from failures - especially those who have had recent blunders in the world of social media.  The article references personalities and companies who have experienced the backlash - or forgiveness - of their "social tribe."  A few referenced examples include the infamous Congressman Weiner, Kanye West's apology for stealing the mike from Taylor Swift and the insensitive promotion pushed by Kenneth Cole during the launch of their Spring collection (the tweet referenced their new line as the cause of civil unrest in Cairo).  In summary, he emphasizes the need to be transparent, authentic and honest when using these channels; essentially be true to who you / your brand.  Sounds simple enough, although apparently many companies and personalities are proving it to be a challenge. 

While the entire article is a fascinating read, one internal practice of his company is truly worth sharing; "The Failure Wall."  In the corridor, they have an affectionately named a wall in which everyone lists three simple things: 1. A time in which they failed 2. What they learned from the failure 3. Their name.  This practice has had a profound effect on the company, allowing the team to not only accept that failure is a part of growing and learning, but to recognize the value of what can be learned from their co-workers' mistakes.  Truly a brilliant idea considering the demand for best practice examples and innovation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Social is Your Business?

 Image via Socialcast

While many of your first responses may be something along the lines of "very, we have a Facebook and Twitter page" or "we're on the cutting edge and exploring the potential of Google+" there is yet another side to social networks.  Increasingly people are finding themselves involved in their company's own internal social network.  So, while much of the attention is given to the aforementioned networks, there is a growing number of networks being developed specifically for internal communication, collaboration and transaction.

Below are a few examples of some of the hottest business social networks on the market:

Yammer -  "The Enterprise Social Network" formed back in 2008 may be the most popular and is currently used by over 10,000 businesses including AMD, eBay, 711 and Groupon to name a few.  CNN recently produced a video explaining the network with interviews from CEO (and PayPal Co-Founder) David Sacks.

Convofy – As Inc. reports,"What makes Convofy different from the competition is the ability to do real-time annotation of Web pages and files, including PDFs, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets, right in the app. When you click on a thumbnail of a PDF in the message feed, for instance, the full file will pop up in a new tab. Then, you can use a Markup tool do things like highlight text and make comments.” Convofy is an application that is downloaded to your desktop and the basic version is available for free.

- Taking things a bit further, Bizzingo has launched its first phase of Bizznet; a B-to-B network with "the overall goal is to create highly index-able (and searchable) profiles that will allow prospective partners, vendors, and customers to identify potential areas for commerce and collaboration" as reported by Eric Sass of MediaPost.  As chairman and CEO of Bizzingo, Douglas Toth, stated: "'s new, exclusive business-to-business search platform and social network actually delivers targeted leads and, for the first time, opens up the power of the Internet to millions of businesses who only seek to market and connect to other businesses for the purpose of transacting business." 

Socialcast -  Founded in 2005 and acquired by VMware in 2011, Socialcast adds yet another integration to the mix - outside partners.  Again, as MediaPost summarizes well, "[Socialcast] announced that businesses, which use its software to create proprietary social networks, can now selectively add partners, suppliers, and customers to these networks in special guest profiles, called "External Contributors," with access restricted to certain discussion groups, forums, or projects.  This step should make the social platform more collaboration- and transaction-oriented. Previously the proprietary networks supported by Socialcast were basically limited to the actual employees of each business. While network administrators could add non-employees, they were then included as full members, which might not be appropriate for some outside business contacts. Socialcast is also introducing a new org chart feature, which should help everyone keep the boundaries straight."

In summary, it seems like calling these companies a mere "social network for your business" just doesn't do it justice.  Indeed they are prime examples of collaborative enterprise and lend insight into how we will work in the future.  More on that to come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Get Ready for HTML5

Photo thanks to Echo Enduring Blog

Perhaps the in the most provocative statement of his recent speech, Roger McNamee, a Facebook investor,  asserts that "social is done, it is now just a feature."  To back up, he is certainly not stating that the idea of social media is over, just that if you are going to form a start up, perhaps it may be smarter to invest in an application verses a network.  To be more specific, an application best suited for HTML5, which will change everything.  As he puts it, "In HTML5, an ad is an app, a tweet is an app, everything is an app.  It's a blank sheet of paper, and creativity rules again."   How exciting!

A few more great quotes pulled from Business Insider's take on his recent speech at the Paley Center for Media:

  • Don't try to be "social": the big social platforms are created. You can't create a social company, it's just a checkbox. "The last 500 social companies funded by the VC community are all worthless. I'm serious."
  • But this creates an opportunity: while everyone is focused on social distribution, there's a huge opportunity to get content right with HTML5. "Let's create a new product, the way music videos were a new product."
  • The iPad is the training wheels for HTML5. iPad apps show us what we need to beat in terms of creating a better experience on HTML5.
  • In HTML5, you don't need to have display ads: Amazon can have a section of its store as an ad. So if you're reading a book review, you can buy the book right from the page.   
  • Because HTML5 can make sites rich and interactive, engagement on a site can go from seconds to minutes.

Special thanks to Larry Hill for bringing this article to our attention.  In fact, if you have a couple of minutes, this is well worth the read.  

Google Puts Their Hat in the Content Ring

Google certainly has been busy!  Yesterday, thanks to Creativity Online, we learned that Google has put out their second  issue of "Think Quarterly".  Currently a UK edition, it is a fantastic POV on Innovation with contributions from some of today's biggest thinkers and doers.  As they explain in the opening paragraph, there is an incredible amount (exponential if you will) of information out there and in these times of "where do I begin?" Google offers a fantastically designed and curated cross-section of information from their own vast reach.  Check it out here!

Whole Foods and McDonalds; Making Changes for the Kids

Whole Foods also recently announced their "Whole Kids Foundation" which seeks to increase produce consumption in children and reduce childhood obesity.  While they have already given considerable donations to organizations such as, they are now working on initiatives that include "campus teaching gardens."  Very cool!  What better way for kids to learn (and love) fresh food than to make it themselves.  Kudos!
 In related news, we have heard a lot about Happy Meal bans over the last year and multiple conversations regarding the content of these meals.  In fact, it seems to be more mainstream to expect fast food companies to own up to their part in the problem of childhood obesity and begin to offer solutions.  Today, McDonald's took a step in that direction by publicly announcing a shift in their Happy Meal offering.   The new effort is expected to start in September and reach 14,000 stores by April as MediaPost reports.

In addition to reducing the amount of potatoes (from 2.4 ounces down to 1.1 ounces) they are reducing sodium by 20% and "will work toward additional reductions in sugars, saturated fat and calories by 2020."  Each improved Happy Meal will still cost the same but also include a healthy side dish;  apple slices, carrots, raisins, pineapple slices or mandarin oranges. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A New Economy?

Last week we organized a Simulcast of TED Global taking place in Scotland.  The day was filled with incredible "ideas worth spreading."  One that stood out came from a man named Kevin Slavin, an "algoworld" specialist who has an incredible ability to understand "culture physics" or the correlations and numbers that increasingly determine the information that we consume.  While his presentation is not posted on the site just yet, he did inspire us to do a little bit of research on him and his company Area/Code - which recently joined Zynga New York.

We were excited to stumble across their work, not only because it is entirely inspiring, but also because it wonderfully exemplifies "Game-a-fication" or "Game Theory."  Macon Money in particular stole our attention, and apparently not just ours, it recently won the FutureEverything award for outstanding innovation in art, society and technology - how fun!

Described as a "community-wide social game [that] uses a new local currency and builds person to person connections while supporting local businesses" the initiative is funded by the by the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation.  We highly suggest that you read a bit more about it here and look to see similar efforts on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Facebook + Skype

Facebook announced today a new partnership with Skype to launch Facebook video calling.  If you remember, Miscrosoft (a Facebook investor) bought Skype for $8.5M back in May, looks like this may be the first of many upcoming strategic partnerships.  There is a lot of flurry going on around today's "awesome event" as Zuckerburg describes it.  Stay tuned for some more big announcements from Facebook - rumors are it may be something for the ever increasing tablet market.

Via LinkedIn

Friday, July 1, 2011

Social Circles

Google has been up to a lot this week.  Most excitedly, they announced the beta launch of Google+ in direct competition to Facebook.  The difference with this social network is the inclusion of "social circles" in which you can create your own, smaller more personal and private communities.  Therefore you can separate what the group of friends you hung out with on Saturday night sees from a client you just didn't feel comfortable "declining" as a friend.

Image via The New York Times

The service will also offer group chat, similar to GroupMe, making sharing + connecting that much easier between you and your network.  Will Google+ actually make a dent in Facebook?  Or will it fall in the bucket of previous efforts such as Wave or Buzz?  Only time will tell, but many are saying this is their best try yet.

Zero Moment of Truth

Google has recently released a new eBook, "ZMOT" - the "Zero Moment of Truth" by Jim Lecinski, the Managing Director of US Sales & Service and Chief ZMOT Evangelist.  Adding to the discussion around collaborative commerce and the evolving relationship between consumers and brands, this is a timely resource from one of the largest and arguably most influential entities today.  The download features strategies to win in a shifting marketing landscape and eye opening statistics that may impact your consumer facing as well as listening strategies.

Tara DeMarco at BaazarVoice does a nice job of summarizing 5 big ideas from the white paper in a recent post "Winning the Zero Moment of Truth".   In short:

1. Embrace pre-shopping as part of buying.
2. Your brand is what customers say it is.
3. Conversation is a real-time focus group.
4. Stop interrupting; be there when shoppers need you
5. Serve shoppers, or your competitors will.

The next decade will prove to be an exciting one as more proven tactics and best practice case studies emerge!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2015: Its Mobile

Digital Life: Today & Tomorrow from Neo Labels on Vimeo.

Cliff Kuang may sum it up best at the end of the post, "The future somehow doesn't feel like the future anymore, because the present is just changing too damn quickly."  Great point, especially during these exponential times, but there are still some pretty staggering numbers that certainly illustrate mass change in the not so distant future.  Most specifically, access - for example, it is estimated that 20 homes in 2015 will have the same amount of traffic (through game consoles, TV, teleconference, ect.) as all broadband traffic in 1995!

If you are into numbers, infographics and nerding out on the implications of the digital world, "Digital Life: Today and Tomorrow," created by NeoLabels, with a script by InĂ©s Leopoldo of Mitsue Venture is a great way to spend 7:37 minutes.  The full video is featured above.

Thanks to Fast Company's CoDesign for the original post.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Infographic: Greater Food Culture

Ever wanted to see all of the renowned food personalities in one place?   Well, now you can!  Thanks to HartmanSalt for creating this Subway inspired interactive Infographic.  While it is a bit confusing and could draw a few more connections (for instance, shouldn't John Mackey be tied to more than just "local"?) overall the graphic is a great snapshot of the food culture's movers and shakers.  Check out the full interactive version here.

via HartmanSalt

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

As Twitter Matures, what's on the Horizon?

In the first of two posts by Peter Yared at VentureBeat, he asserts that "as Twitter becomes the go-to source of information for news, celebrities and more, it’s differentiated from Facebook, which is very focused on what your friends are posting."  Based on this insight, he goes on to suggest a few opportunities for the microblogging platform in upcoming years.  You can read the inspired full post here.

In short, below are the (mostly interface) advancements he suggests:
  • Integrate a dynamic news view
  • Offer news streams for events and locations -
  • Show photos, videos and other media inline
  • Develop inline comment threads
  • Improve search
  • Develop more Twitter widgets for websites  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Look into the Future of Education

"How might the mission of a university change in the 21st Century?"  Three professors at Harvard Business School asked themselves this very question 6 years ago.

"Their eventual answer: Throw open the doors to older adults—and give them the tools to help change the world."

More specifically, they developed the Advanced Leadership Initiative almost three years ago, addressing what they term the "Third Stage" of education.  The program gives late-career professionals, think CEO level, access to just about all of the school's resources for the year of their fellowship with only one caveat -- they must develop a "social purpose project" addressing significant societal banes, such as education, health and the environment.

The initiative, truly of the 21st century, embraces open-source methodology, requires the discipline of a self-starter and hopes to spread to schools across the country.  How inspired!!

You can check out the full article on WSJ here, but one other interesting snapshot we thought to include is this simple bar graph created by Met Life/Civic Ventures illustrating the percent breakdown of those considering an "encore career."

So, what would be yours?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Food For Thought

Good Medicine Magazine published an enlightening infographic illustrating why the cost of some food items are more expensive than others.  Its a wonder why these two Federally influenced initiatives are flipped and no wonder why health advocates such as Robin O'Brien and Jamie Oliver are driving cultural acupuncture around the topic.

In related news, the Sisters of St. Francis in Philadelphia are bringing heat to McDonald's, asking their board of directors to issue a report "assessing the company's policy responses to public concerns regarding linkages of fast food to childhood obesity, diet-related diseases and other impacts on children's health."  They aren't stopping there either, with support of Corporate Accountability International, full page ads in some of the Nation's biggest media outlets issue an open letter to McDonald's CEO imploring him to "stop marketing junk food to children."  AdAge covers the move in more detail here.

Thanks to Maria Popova for bringing the graphic to our attention.

IFT: Top 10 Food Trends

According to IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) the weak economy is still driving many of American's eating habits.  A full list of the trends can be found in a recent post to their site.  While they are all interesting and worth the read, we can't help but notice the 6% increase in "three meals per day" mostly attributed to breakfast growth.  It will be interesting to know if breakfast sales at restaurants are seeing enough benefit to offset operating costs as most people (73%) are keeping it at the kitchen table.

Photo Credit: Flickr user doc18
Article found via @jambutter

Tweet On!

Ever wondered what happens to those 140 characters after you press enter?  Madras Geek has created this inspiring little infographic to help shed some light.  Enjoy!

What's in Your Queue?

A recent study just found that the majority of of internet traffic in North America comes from Netflix, that's right, Netflix.

"Even more than YouTube?!" Yep.  Even more than YouTube.

Apparently the site is now responsible for 30% of "peak downstream" content. So while the company is currently given credit for turning the way we rent movies on its head (sorry Blockbuster) could it soon be considered a viable threat to cable TV subscriptions?  I mean, if we can have Netflix for as low as $10/mo without the commercial interruption what's to stop many consumers from considering the switch?  As Netflix continues to license and make more content available with potentially shorter wait times, it will be fascinating to see what other market share they can start taking.  Honestly, if I were Hulu, I'd be a bit scared.

Regardless, one thing is for sure, Time's assertion that "Bandwidth is the New Black Gold" is right on.

Thanks to Sam Decker for his tweet that inspired this post.

Monday, May 9, 2011

HBR Article of the Year: How will You Measure Your Life?

Asked to speak to last year's Business school graduating class at Harvard, professor Clayton Christensen gave us all a big dose of inspiration -- and guidance. Not by applying his business principles to our careers, but more importantly to our lives. While I still believe life is a bit messier -- and that we learn a lot from the decisions we make -- Clayton's perspective helps us keep our eyes (and hearts) on what really matters so we can consciously work to avoid making short-sighted choices that strip life of the joy and depth we all want most. Playing really big, this was recently recognized by McKinsey as the #1 HBR article of 2010.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Volunteering for the time starved

Ever find yourself with a few minutes to spare while you're waiting in line at a packed movie opening or a busy restaurant?  Ever wanted to use some of that time to share your skills to help support the causes you care about most?  

If you are familiar with "The Extraordinaries" app, you already know there is a way for even the busiest of us to give back.  Now the product has focused on Sparked, the next evolution of this innovative way to volunteer.  

The site takes you through a short series of questions to address the causes you care about most and offer specific skills to get involved.  (Of course these smart folks have integrated social media into the system, allowing you to see who else has similar skills and interests).

Once you've signed in, you are given a challenge.  They are simple and less time involved, so you are able to "microvolunteer" when its most convenient for you.  For example, I entered "Education" for a cause, and "Marketing" as a skill.  The first challenge I was given was to provide feedback on a non-profit website.  In addition to providing my own advice, I can read others and give a "thumbs up" to other site volunteers' suggestions - very cool.

Such a smart way to make volunteering tangible, convenient and catered to one's skills.  Check it out for yourself when you have a spare moment and let us know what you think!

HBR: From mudane to amazing!

Bill Taylor recently posted an inspirational challenge on HBR -- "How to Turn Anything from Adequate to Amazing."  He references a great example of taking a seemingly mundane business, in this case a parking garage (as pictured above), and turning it into something more, a civic space.

He asserts that despite the perception of your industry seeming not as "cutting-edge" and or "glamorous" as the likes of Google or Apple, there are opportunities to turn those assumptions on their head.  We couldn't agree more.

photo from NYT: High-End Miami Parking Garage

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What influcences you?

Trendwatching just released a great summary on what they call "The F-Factor" - or the increasing influence of the three "F"s - friends, fans, followers.  As we've covered in some of our previous posts, the new chain of influence continues to define social commerce and generate new avenues for brands to interact and learn from their consumer.

Specifically, they list five ways in which the "F-Factor' influences the consumer decision process:

  1. F-DISCOVERY: How consumers discover new products and services by relying on their social networks.
  2. F-RATED: How consumers will increasingly (and automatically) receive targeted ratings, recommendations and reviews from their social networks.
  3. F-FEEDBACK: How consumers can ask their friends and followers to improve and validate their buying decisions.
  4. F-TOGETHER: How shopping is becoming increasingly social, even when consumers and their peers are not physically together.
  5. F-ME: How consumers’ social networks are literally turned into products and services.

What was that last thing you discovered through a post, article or "like" shared by one of your friends?

Lets get persona

Great "how to guide" on using personas to navigate effective paid, owned and earned media in the rapidly growing Hispanic online community.

Read Jose Villa's article and key takeaways here.

Check out the website featured above:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Collaborative Commerce

Books Videos

We've spent a lot of time recently thinking about how business will be done in the future -- looking into the impact of social tools, the evolution of the consumer and opportunities for business growth that may not have existed five years ago.

Through all of this research, we curated quite a list of inspiring books, quotes, and videos that not only informed us, but also inspired us.  So, as true believers in the value of "knowledge flows" above is a aggregate of resources - an "inspired bibliography" if you will.

And of course, we'd love to keep adding to the list! Please share any additions with us!

Social Business

Here's a great article on "10 Ways To Use Twitter for Business" by Jeff Bullas.  He also links to some interesting Case Studies that illustrate the positive impact companies like Zappos and Dell have garnered from the use of social tools.

Have you started to experiment in social tools to drive business results?  Any words of wisdom to add?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Exponential Change

We've talked a lot about exponential change lately -- the explosion of choice, the brain freeze.  This is a fun little photo to remind us of just how far we have come in the last decade.

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