Stop Learning to Fish…Go Fishing now!!

gone fishingI believe in the fast moving Information and Technological Age in which we live the old adage :  Feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day, Teach a man to Fish and you feed him for Life has changed to –

Feed a man a Fish and you feed him for a day,

Teach a man to Fish and you feed him for Life.

But if he never goes Fishing he will starve eventually

When we wrote the Grumpy Old Managers’ Guide (note the positioning of the apostrophe) several years ago, we said the best way to adjust and adapt to technology (Social Media in particular) and discover its potential in business was to use it for something you enjoy.

Rather than treat the Computer as something you have to use at work to do Spreadsheets and answer email start to explore what it can do to improve your knowledge of things you enjoy – Wine, Gardening, Music etc etc.  We suggested that kind of exploring will open you up to Blogging, Twitter, Facebook etc and give you some appreciation of their use in your business. Continue reading Stop Learning to Fish…Go Fishing now!!

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Walk, Talk, Email….but Look Out!!

I had planned to  follow up my recent blog Walking, Talking and Emailing around with some warnings and advice.  Such as Look where you are going, dont email and text while walking etc etc.

I was going to point out there is an iPhone app that lets you see where you are going and that texting and while walking has been banned in a New Jersey town.… but on that very day….

I had a meeting with colleague who arrived limping.

When asked what had happened he told me the sorry story.  He had been walking through a carpark to his car when a text arrived.  As you do he looked at his phoneand opened the text message as texts are surely the most urgent communication of all these days!!

And  the next thing he knew he was on the ground having been hit by a car that come around a corner and having not seen him or maybe moreso not expecting to see anyone had hit him.

A very sore leg and foot plus a dislocated shoulder were the least of his concerns…… his bag containing his MacBook Pro had been run over by the car’s back whell and ahs iPhone had been smashed after being flung from his grasp.

Tp make matters worse his back up disk was in the bag as he was taking it to his offce.   Suffice to say the MacBook and the backup disk were smashed and very little data could be recovered.

As a result it has taken As long to mend his lost data as it has his near broken bones.

So the messages here are Walking and Texting dont mix and backups need to be keep well apart from the main drive.   I find the Cloud the way to go this days with all my key info backed up twice a day using Dropbox ….. a largely free service that gives you access to your info where ever you are.

Perhaps I should rename that blog ….Walking, Stopping to look left and right and then Talking and Emailing around

Community Signage Networks – Engage, Educate and Entertain

Social Media/Networking and community attitudes in general are driving changes in the way people view advertising.  The old style based on interruption (eg TV commercials, pop ups etc) are now seen as annoying and something to avoid. The quality of ad content is another factor …people no longer accept being shouted at and treated as sheep that need to be driven to buy more.

The Internet is driving a change towards an expectation of being educated, engaged  and entertained. As such business needs to deliver valuable information if it expects to sell……not merely promotions.

Some recent research shows that businesses that use Social Media well spend 80% of their time on the 3 E’s and 20%  on promoting or selling.

At the same time people and business are more concerned about environment and community issues.  Business also craves cedibility as they seek to develop their own consumer communities and develop brand advocates.

As such there are moves beyond old style sponsorship to leverage credibility from Sports, Charities etc to a much closer involvement between business and Not for Profits.

Governments also are seeing the need for closer alliances with business and the need to use new ways to raise money outside the normal Govt Budget process. A m,ajor State Govt Dept is about to  undertake a multi million dollar project with no budget.  They want to work with business to leverage expertise and fund with advertising.  As they say “we have assets and we am willing to trade”.

Then we add a new approach to the creative approach to advertising which sees products promoted within programs (eg MasterChef) which includes ad agencies now creating TV programs as a vehicle to sell their clients.

Online we see Branded Content rather than pop ups and click through,  where advertisers sponsor sites, pages etc where the independently produced content is relevant to the type of advertising.

What can we learn from this in terms of the expected rapid growth in Digital Out of Home Signage..

Not for Profits (incl Govt Agencies) can now “own” their own signage networks to display material important for them to Educate, Engage and Entertain (eg Smart Bus Stops) and at the same time use them to generate revenue.

Shopping centres and streets are used now for Charities to sell badges, raffles etc and seek donors and major companies love to make big donations to look good.

Lets take a quick example of the Heart Foundation which does all of the above and also uses Digital Signage now.

They also run a Tick program which delivers credibility to food etc manufacturers by providing an endorsement for healthy products.

They could now go to venues with Digital Screens and have them join the HF Community Info Network.  They would also go to advertisers (their current supporters) and sell them on paying to support branded content on the network.

As such the ads would be in sync with the community health messages ….  screens could be used to download Videos, Diets, BMI calculators, apps etc, which could include direct sales of “sponsors” products.

The times are right on many fronts as listed above to take a new approach to digital signage and this Community approach is definitely one way to do this.

Dont leave it to the “experts”!

With 25 years experience in the IT industry and more recently using IT services to help my clients build their brands and business .. I am always concerned that IT tends to see budget and good as mutually exclusive.

Recently I saw a response to a request in LinkedIn for an iPhone app developer that was asking if budget or good were the key criteria for selection.

And when I see those words as options in one sentence generally get me on my soapbox. Too often it appears that IT people are prone to over quoting and under delivering.

Having been part of the problem in the 80s and 90s I understand that it is the lack of clarity in definition and specification by the end user that often causes costs to be higher than they should.

But I know also that ignorance by end users can lead to bliss for some providers who charge way too much and deliver way too little.

Too often these days I come across clients who have spend many thousands on websites that deliver nothing. They have been designed and developed by Techos and / or Graphic artists around look and feel whilst ignoring the most important aspect – that it is the content – Call to Action, Stories, Testimonials etc. – that drives interest!!

This has probably resulted from a lack of involvement by those that best understand the business and the clients and have left it to the “experts”.

So my message is dont pay too much by making sure that you are clear in difining what your clients, prospects and stakeholders expect from your investment and not just leave it to the “experts”.

I dont want to see IT viewed like lawyers and the like by charging too much because they know the rules and assume the clients’ ignorance.

So before you call in the “experts” make sure you know what your expected outcomes are … or keep your money in your pocket.

And that is one reason I have stuck with one provider for 10 years … he makes sure I get my outcomes right before he starts the meter running.

WARNING!!!!

This video sums up my point very well…. but if colouful language and esp the f… word and sexual references are likely to offend please don’t bother!!!

Peek behind the curtains … before you knock on the door

Some great Apps on my iPhone that help me find what i am looking for in terms of nearby businesses and a recent article in the paper about the breakdown of communities got my brain ticking over.

It seems that most people have in the past promoted the Internet as a way to open up the world as a marketplace, which resulted in the local shop asking “well what’s in it for me?”  But now the tools of Social Media and the Moblie Net (used to be called a Mobile Phone) has given us a much more local focus.

On my iPhone I click the Google App and then say what I am looking for (eg Coffee Shop) and it will in seconds give me a list of the nearest coffee chops sorted in order of distance and include address, phone no, website link and in most cases a recent review.  And then there is another App – AroundMe  that helps me find the nearest Bank/ATM/Pub/Parking Station etc etc ..

I assume if your business Googles well these Apps will promote you but if you don’t you may well be invisible!!

The article I read talked about the breakdown of the neighbourly interaction that was a key part of society 10/15/20 years ago. It seems most people don’t know their neighbors, they don’t talk or socialise in any way.

And with all the stories about home invasions, domestic violence, drug labs etc in average suburbs, maybe we are a little scared of what we might find over the fence.

So is Social Media a way to rebuild the neighbourhood by letting people find our who lives nearby and what they are interested in, getting to know them and chat online before meeting.

It seems to work on dating sites, it certainly has worked for me on LinkedIn.  I now have lots of face-to-face contact with people I met as a result of finding them or them finding me on LinkedIn.

We talk about building communities using Social Media – in terms of people who support a brand, a business, a celebrity etc. but maybe we need to re-established the old fashioned neighbourhood interaction by first getting it going online.

Rather than knocking on the front door or even saying hi over the back fence perhaps Social Media will let us peep behind the curtains and get to know who lives around us.

But who will set up this neighborhood infrastructure online … who has something to gain from it … perhaps the Local Council … but I suspect most of us won’t live long enough for them to get around to something so radical.

Well who else wants to be seen as Mayor of the Local Neighborhood …  could it be the Local Real Estate agent … maybe … I think I feel another blog coming on!!!

Forget the PC … Everything I need is on my SmartPhone

iPhone
iPhone

Just when you accept its time to explore the Net etc on your PC, now you don’t need to because everything you need and more is on your SmartPhone/iPhone.

While there are some incredible applications for all manner of purposes – business, leisure etc – available for your iPhone many are also available for other new phones that are capable of accessing the Net.

There have been 1 billion applications downloaded for the iPhone! So when Apple says there is an app for everything they mean it.

So now from my phone I can manage my Facebook accounts and do everything I can on my desktop with ease on the fly.

With Tweetdeck I can keep track of Twitter and monitor the brands I work with instantly wherever I am.

I can use Google Maps to not only find an address and get detailed instructions on how to get there, as you do with the GPS in your car, … but I can also look at the image of the street and the building I am looking for using Street View. Not sure why anyone buys a handheld GPS anymore when your phone can do better!!

Also having Google at my fingertips means I can find almost anything I need to know at anytime … Great for Quiz Nights …. I guess. If thats not enough I can get more details using Wikipedia on my phone.

There is another application called Evernote that allows you to collect thoughts and ideas on the run and sync them to your Mac when you return to the office. This can include voice, image and video notes all in one easy to access place.

With WordPress on my phone I can write my blog anywhere anytime … as i have done sitting in bed, on a plane or train or relaxing in a coffee shop.

Stitcher allows me to collect a personalised stream of information in audio from talk radio, news and information sources such as CNN, AAP, ESPN and TechCrunch. This can be personalised for me and/or for my clients and I can listen to it anywhere anytime.

And finally the must have a killer app for the iPhone which is, believe it or not, called Bump. It allows you to exchange contact info with other iPhone users by simply touching phones. For sometime I have been predicting the death of the business card … well this could be it!!

Of course there are many more, but these are the ones that are very useful to me in my business … of course sending and receiving email on the run and accessing the Net have been available for ages but now phones are going to the next level and making access to this sort of thing much more usable.

Although you don’t need an iPhone for much of this I do think that maybe it finally is time for this PC biggot to accept that I would be better of with an iPhone and a Mac … or maybe just an iPhone. There is even a small projector that clips on and would allow me to run PowerPoint presentations straight from the Phone!!!

And even with all this potential at their fingertips there are still the Grumpy Old Managers who yearn for a simple phone with big buttons to press … because all they think a mobile phone is for is to make and receive calls!!!