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Career changing

Mass Innovation September 2010 the Countdown Begins ….

While there is still plenty happening with Maker Faire and Mass Innovation, I would like to step out of that and go back to writing about Community Management a bit with my next blog post. It would not be true to say that I have ceased thinking about these things. In fact, they dominate my days! But I recognize that it can be a bit much.

But I also wanted to acknowledge and thank people. We have gotten a goodly number of votes to present at Mass Innovation. This is the one — we really, really want to present there. There are still, of course, several days (a little less than a month) to go before the voting closes. Nothing is guaranteed, and I am constantly nervous about it. I don’t know how calm I will be in the week before, particularly if the voting is close.

So, for the sake of my husband’s sanity, I do hope you’ll vote for Neuron Robotics to be able to present at Mass Inno. Thank you — and thank you on behalf of my incredibly patient husband.

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Career changing Events Work

TEDxBoston!

My company is presenting there!

Wanna say hi? Then swing on over to here and register (it’s free).

July 27th, 6 – 9 PM, Microsoft NERD Center (1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA). 11th floor.

Or, if you like, watch the webcast, here.

Our hashtag is #NRBR.

Be there. Aloha.

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Career changing

Mass Innovation #16

Welcome to Mass Innovation!

Neuron Robotics President Robert Breznak and I attended Mass Inno together again. And it was a blast as usual. Thank you again to our wonderful Mass Innovation hostess, Bobbie Carlton. How does she do it?

We got to talk about our TEDxBoston pre-adventure, of course.

I’ve been coming since December of 2009, so it’s often an opportunity to see old friends, and meet new ones. #MIN16 was no exception.

We met the following people:

  • Joe Baz of Above the Fold – he is a User Experience Designer – I should’ve talked to him about Ultimate Frisbee!
  • Kristin Brenna of 603 Clothing – they make environmentally friendly custom tee shirts, etc.
  • James Brennan – he gave us some great quick business advice
  • John Hopkins – he gave us some terrific fast financial words of wisdom
  • Jonathan Margalit of Innocentive – they work with around the globe brainpower to solve problems
  • Stephen Potischman of Real Cool TV Productions – they make beautiful web videos
  • Lalitha Ramakrishnan of LSR Associates – they are a translating service, both written and spoken, and
  • Christopher Temper of Baystate Financial Services – he of course provides financial services advice.

In addition, Mass Inno would not be complete without its presentations.

Presentations

First up was Stephen Potischman of Real Cool TV Productions, which I’ve mentioned above. So second was Acquia Drupal Gardens. So they help make the Open Source community software, Drupal, easier and better to use. Third was Episend. So they make it easy to send nontext messages through Twitter and Facebook, etc. E. g. you can send images, files, mp3s and the like. Last was Pietzo Electric Bicycles. The presenter even rode in on one! They are a way to be green and bike to work without one major complaint people have: breaking a sweat in their nice work clothes on a super-hot day (this was the middle of a heat wave, so it was a rather timely presentation).

Networking

Mass Inno is also an occasion to see familiar faces. We saw:

  • Cynthia André of The Founder Institute and Greenhorn Connect
  • Eric Braun of TeamShare Solutions – they are opening up a South Short Innovation space
  • Braulio Carreno – he is a part of the Anything Goes Lab within the Cambridge Innovation Center
  • Danielle Galmore of Steelcase/Turnstone Furniture – they make (among many other things) funky modular work furniture
  • Dave Fogel of Swifton CFOs – they outsource the senior financial level for emerging businesses
  • Allison Friedman of Rate it Green. It’s a service whereby you can check whether a company’s claims of being environmentally friendly are really the case
  • Paul Geffen of The Founder Institute – they provide a means for company founders to get together and exchange equity
  • Ben Hron of VC Ready Law – I’m sure Mike Cohen was around somewhere, too
  • Rama Nandiwada of IT Shore, her company provides scalable software solutions. She’s been an expert at Mass Inno!
  • Rich Sands of R Sands Consulting. He provides strategic marketing for platform adoption
  • Masoud Shadravan. So he’s a software engineer looking for a new gig. Hire him!
  • Christine Sierra of Lexalytics. So they provide sentiment and text analysis solutions, and
  • Marcia Weiss of Collaborative Partners in Leadership. So they work with executives to improve their leadership skills, communication and relationship strengths and teamwork capacity.

Whew! So I think I covered everyone. It was an unexpectedly busy evening; you would think that people would be away for the Summer. So instead, we found a ready audience for showing off the DyIO and talking about our event, #NRBR.

So we always have fun at Mass Innovation. I hope we can present there ourselves one day!

Categories
Career changing

May 12, 2010 Mass Innovation Night (#MIN14)

On May 12, 2010, I attended the 14th Mass. Innovation Night.

As always, the night was hosted by Bobbie Carlton and Dan Englander, with Joe Perry of IBM graciously offering the IBM Innovation space in Waltham for the event.

The following companies had booths:

  • buckts – They make a Firefox add-on to aggregate together shopping, Google search, Facebook updates and the like.
  • Mystery Meet – Boston Foodies discover new restaurants by enjoying a special prix fixe menu at a new Boston restaurant on the second Tuesday of every month.
  • Pearl’s Premium Grass Seed – low maintenance grass seed that grows slowly and seldom needs cutting or watering.
  • Reinforced Care – reducing hospital readmissions by focusing on patient aftercare.
  • Software Horizons – ‘Design Once, Deploy Anywhere’ HMI Technology and
  • WOW Mobile – unlimited US calling, texting, Internet and email
  • .

The following experts offered their services:

Bobbie confessed that Mass. Innovation Nights is one small step to world domination. In Innovation Nights, that is. Hence there is now an effort underway to expand a little. The first expansion is set for Portland, Maine. Stacie Andrews presented about MEInno (Maine Innovation) and MeetImpact. MEInno will have their first event on Friday, August 13th, 2010. Stacie also runs Meet Impact, a calendar for New England events. She took names and websites and/or blogs and promised to create an interactive calendar whereby everyone could share upcoming events.

The following companies had a chance to present:

The presentations were all interesting although I have to give props to Boomerang for including smiling Buddha in their slideshow. For me, the single most useful items seem to be Webinar Listings (I love webinars and they are great for filling scheduling holes but I can’t always find them, so it’s a joy to see them all listed together) and Meet Impact (to eliminate as many scheduling holes as possible).

Oh, and contrary to perhaps popular Tweet, I did not clonk Josh in the head with a mug.

Thanks again to Bobbie, Dan and Joe — looking forward to the next one, which is going to be Thursday, June 3rd, 2010.

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Career changing

May 7, 2010 Community Roundtable

On May 7th, I attended the Community Roundtable’s Live Lunch at Jasper White’s Summer Shack in Cambridge.

In attendance were, among others, Rachel Happe and Jim Storer, Tracy Lee Carroll, Leanne Chase, Barbara Gavin, Paul Geffen, Joe Lima, Cindy Meltzer, Jabu Mguni, Vanessa Rhinesmith, Ellen Rossano, Masoud Shadravan, Mike Schneider, Christine Sierra and Jim Spencer.

Plus … Vanessa’s sweet little 2-month old daughter, Lucy.

And then there was a surprise addition: Jeff Cutler. And I think another … I may have lost track of the participants. Meghan Biro and Kelley Kassa were unfortunately unable to attend.

Barbara very graciously offered two books for review. Joe took one; I didn’t see where the other one ended up.

The real discussion was about work-life balance. As Community Managers, we aren’t necessarily tied to a nine to five-style job. And employers need to understand that we want some balance to our days. The job may be mainly computer work but it is no less tiring.

The discussion also turned to hula hoops (Jim and Rachel brought one, but no one used it although the lobsters in the tank seemed to be likely candidates) and Summer plans (the setting at the Summer Shack does seem to encourage that). Plus the fact that the cultural exchange between Massachusetts and New Hampshire seems to involve Bay Staters going North for cheap booze and Granite Staters coming South for Whole Foods runs. Okay, well maybe not that.

The gist of it all is that, as Community Managers, we are the careful, consideration folks online. Sometimes it’s good to set that aside for a while and just live a little.

Looking forward to the next one, in two weeks.

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Career changing

April 29, 2010 Acquia Webinar

On April 29, I listened in on a webinar being held by Acquia. The subject: Acquia JumpStart Program: Plant The Seeds for Drupal Success. The panelists were Bryan House (who was also hosting), Joanne Dawson and Robert Douglass.

All participants were sent a “Getting Started with Drupal Checklist”. Acquia’s mission is to help organizations of all sizes be successful with Drupal – this includes hosting, development, support and training, among other features. Stated simply, Drupal is an open-source forums (community) software solution (although it can be used for a lot more than that).

Acquia comes into a business and performs the Drupal installation themselves. Since Drupal installation can be rather difficult, this is a significant way to slash ramp-up time. The on-site Acquia personnel perform training, including, on the first day, an introduction, user management, content creation, taxonomy (organizing and categorizing the site), blocks (small boxes/widgets of content that can appear on the sides of a page) and the menu.

One pleasant addition is Acquia’s own forums, which are used to enhance their tech support. They have regular technical support, naturally, but it’s refreshing to see the company using its own product and feeling free enough to allow its users to help one another.

Acquia Drupal currently uses the most recent version of Drupal 6.

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Career changing

May 3, 2010 EditMe Webinar

On May 3rd, I listened in on a webinar given by EditMe. The topic was: Content Creation in the Middle of the Sales Funnel.

The guest speaker was John C. Stone III.

The reason for the webinar was, while prospects come through the top of the sales funnel as always (inquiries), where people download papers, comment on blogs, sign up for webinars, etc., they can take a good seven to nine exposures to the product before they move through the funnel. Essentially, there needs to be a nurturing of these leads in order to eventually convert them into prospects and later sales. The top of the funnel is clogged. How does a company begin to move people down the chute?

Building authentic content offers a lot of value. This helps the top of the funnel with SEO and to bring prospects in. But it also helps with the middle, in order to continue to bring them toward the culmination, which is a sale.

Good content should be sharable, entertaining, stylized, etc.

The first thing to do is, define the revenue architecture. It’s a blueprint for how to attract, nurture, sell and expand profitable relationships with chosen customers.

Look at the Lead to Close process. This is where the greatest level of transformation has occurred in the past few years. What’s the web presence? What’s the content? Is it customized (and is too much time being spent on this?)? Is there an inbound lead capture? An outbound process? Integrating campaigns can help, as can enhancing the web site presence. Social media engagement can increase awareness and build “street cred”.

What’s the Go to Market Strategy? Is the messaging persuasive? Are the programs innovative? How can the company leverage a sustainable content process? It helps to have easily editable, sharable, single source content.

How are the Customer Relationships? Is there good client retention? How is account management handled?

Social collaboration is the key. Sales personnel need to share their information and be able to tap into what is essentially a bank of relevant data about their prospects. The best way to do this is by using easy to use collaborative software — otherwise, it won’t be used by the sales force. This is items like Wikis, blogs, etc. Essentially the idea is to allow for rapid collaborative use. Where EditMe can come in is in creating a uniform sales portal and promoting efficiency as sales representatives will have better and more up to date information at their fingertips. It should be a living document, collaborated on by as many experts in a company as possible. This can lead to more conversions.

The upshot of it all — working together is what it’s all about.

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Career changing

April 23, 2010 Community Roundtable

Today I attended the Community Roundtable’s CR Live Lunch at Flatbread Company in Bedford, Massachusetts. The Community Roundtable is “a peer network for community managers and social media practioners.”.

The lunch is a chance to get together and talk about not just community management but also social media in general, technology and any other subject that is of interest. Today’s discussions, in part, centered around Twitter and its earlier days, e. g. discovering retweeting, etc. Rachel Happe, our hostess, has been on Twitter for quite a while and remembers the community there as being considerably smaller and easier to make connections. She felt she was able to see people she knew either socially or professionally (or both) and then quickly see how (if) they were interconnected in other ways. Some of that has been lost as Twitter has grown exponentially.

The subject of automatic direct messages thanking one for following came up. Everyone agreed that these are essentially impersonal and of little value. However, direct messages should still be read as people do sometimes still take the time to handcraft them.

Since the group was slanted more than usual in the direction of people with more technical backgrounds (versus those of us who were or are more strictly community managers), the discussion turned more technical.

Another topic was company social media strategies. So many companies realize they have to “get on Twitter” but are unclear as to what, exactly, they may be getting themselves into. Once the pipeline is opened, and customer commenting (and complaining!) becomes more open and easier, that pipeline really cannot be shut off. The bell cannot be unrung. Hence companies may not understand that they are essentially getting into a marriage versus a few dates with the hot new technology.

There was also a discussion about meta tagging on the ‘Web. How are things categorized? One question was about music (more specifically, classical music). There is already some offline categorization. So how can that be adequately and accurately transferred to the Internet?

Finally, and this is one of the areas where the Community Roundtable truly excels, the participants talked a little bit about how isolating the role sometimes can be. For a social and community-oriented type of role, a lot of us spend a great deal of time at our desks. Even within a larger company not specifically dedicated to online communities, the role of the Community Manager can sometimes be a solitary one. Being together, exchanging information or tips, or just commiserating, does a lot to dispel any feelings of isolation.

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Career changing

EditMe Webinar

Today I attended (well, I listened to it in my home computer room) the EditMe Webinar. EditMe is a company that puts out WYSIWYG collaborative site software. E. g. you can make a Wiki or a forums site with their software.

I am not a customer but I am interested in pretty much anything to do with Social Media and, in particular, Community Management, as I’ve been managing Able2know for over 7 1/2 years now. It’s funny as I have more Community Management experience than many vaunted experts.

The main takeaways were as follows:

  • The Community is about them, not you
  • Make a big deal about participation. Thank everyone!
  • Use an Editorial Calendar, e. g. keep a schedule of when you’re going to release content, and keep it regular

I particularly loved that last one.

Communities and Social Media aren’t necessarily tough but they can be extraordinarily time-consuming. Everything you can do to help yourself in that area is a good thing.

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Career changing

Job Interview!

I’ve got an interview today, from 12:30 to 2. Since I’ve got to get downtown in order to accomplish said interview, I’m kinda stuck with being unable to eat at any convenient time beforehand. This is normally not a huge issue, but when you’re a serious weight loser such as myself, it can get dicey if you can’t eat every few hours or so. I’ll live, I’ll be fine, I just like more order with such things.

Now, about the interview. It is not specifically for a social media marketing position. But there is some web development needed, so I can get more experience in that area. Plus it’s at a place I like. I don’t want to give away too much but I’m very happy with, for example, the location. I’d get to keep my gym, and be able to use public transportation. Both of those things dovetail with my fitness goals.

Speaking of fitness goals, I’m running a 5K on Sunday. It promises to rain. Ah, well. It’s not like I’ve never run in the rain before. I’m not so sweet that I’ll melt.

In the meantime, as I search for a good pin to put on my blazer, I look forward to today’s meeting and contemplate what it might end up meaning to me.

Onward!