Why I Follow…Kirsten Wright

For today’s FollowFriday recommendation, I return to the West Coast to spotlight another person I’ve never met, but certainly exchanged plenty of messages with – Kirsten Wright (@kirstenwright).

Kirsten has recently ventured out on her own as a freelancer; you can find her at Wright Creativity. I had no trouble discerning many months ago that she has a strong entrepreneurial streak (though only in her 20’s), and I like to see the kind of initiative and creative thinking that Kirsten has consistently displayed in her blogging and other networking efforts.

Kirsten open shares and dialogues on-line, as I’m sure she does in person – perhaps one day I’ll find myself in Orange County and finally get to meet her. She also worked with me on the design of my Twitter background, all done remotely, and she showed herself to be very customer-focused in that endeavor.

If you want to have a friend who likes to write and make nice designs, follow Kirsten. She’s a keeper…

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

R.I.P. iPhone

The music played on. The purveyor of said music, however, was mortally wounded.

My iPhone was a regular companion on trips to the gym. Not that I’d do much surfing or calling when working out, but the iPod music aspect was a nice-to-have. On rare occasions, the iPhone would slip out of the gym shorts pocket and clatter onto the floor, but no harm done – it’s a tough little device.

Not tough enough, however, to withstand a 60-lb. dumbbell. Today, unbeknownst to me, it happened to glide silently to the floor while I was bench-pressing. The music did not skip a beat when the fatal blow was struck – in fact, I didn’t even know the iPhone was damaged until I picked it up and saw a strange separation on the side, and a spiderweb-like pattern across the front screen.

Now I’m a practical kinda guy, and don’t get too attached to things. But that was MY iPHONE! Which goes to show that the depth of brand attachment is sometimes shown in the grief of loss.

No tears were shed, and I don’t plan to buy a smartphone coffin and conduct a burial service. But I do plan to replace this thing pronto. Because now I can’t imagine being without it. You won, Apple. I’m addicted.

[Update - managed to transfer the SIM card to a cheap GOphone, so now I can use my cell # and wait until the new iPhone model is launched in July. But will I suffer the "bends" of iPhone withdrawal? Stay tuned!]

Why I Follow…Craig DeLarge

Once again, we come to a Friday on Twitter, and once again, I abstain from making a de-contextualized (is that a word??) list of recommended followers in favor of simply putting the spotlight on one.

Today – fellow pharma social media guy Craig DeLarge (@cadelarge on Twitter).

Thus far, it is rare to find people within pharma companies who openly and transparently network on-line. In fact, I can count the ones I know on one hand. Craig is one of the first I met, and he has been networking quite generously for a long time.

His blog (WiseWorking) is full of interesting ruminations. He tweets as well, but he’s one of those folks whose on-line presence is strongest on Facebook. I kinda use Facebook. Craig knocks it out of the park.

But the best thing is meeting him. He’s a wonderful conversationalist, a smart guy, full of ideas, and very personable. He lives out loud on-line – sharing very openly – and he’s that way in real life too. I had dinner with Craig and another fellow this week and we could have gone on for hours. I’m better off knowing Craig, and I expect that you will be, too. [Oh...and yesterday was his birthday, Facebook tells me. A belated Happy Birthday as well!]

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Getting Started: Social Networking

It can be a little bit intimidating for many folks, getting started with social networking. What’s a blog? How can I use LinkedIn? Should I be on Facebook? Does Twitter matter? How do I start?

Cover_smEvery active networker had to just…start…at some point. Maybe we can make things a little easier.

Here is a free e-book(let) download for those looking to get involved (or more deeply involved) with social networking: Getting Started with Social Networking. A condensed slide show is also available here on Slideshare.

The e-booklet is only 15 pages, but it’s packed full of helpful links and advice. Briefly, the What and Why of social networking is covered, then in a very practical step-by-step fashion, the How. Plus, there is a bonus Appendix with worksheet to help you define your “personal brand” and refine your message.

There is also a special Appendix with resources for pharmaceutical professionals.

Many thanks to those bloggers who provide such valuable/linkable content, as well as those who helped with suggestions, reviews, and edits;  Chris Brogan, Angela Maiers, Kirsten Wright, David Armano (cover graphic), Robin Broitman, Ann Handley, Mike Sansone, Doug Meacham, Tom Clifford, Ross Teasley, Jonathan Richman, Marina Martin, the Mashable team, the Commoncraft team, Molly Infolode, Jennifer Berk, Byron Woodson, Liz Scherer, Dawn Foster, Dan Schawbel, Brian Solis, Guy Kawasaki, Nick O’Neill, the Butterscotch team, the eHow team, Alison Driscoll, Kirsti Scott, Dave Fleet, Darren Rowse, Paul Chaney, Gavin Heaton, Liz Strauss, Lisa Hoffmann, Beth Harte, Karen Swim, Mack Collier Shwen Gwee, John Mack, Deirdre Breakenridge, and Ellen Hoenig Carlson (hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone!)

Feel free to share the link, or forward the .pdf file, freely to any who may benefit from it.

AND – if you want more (free e-book) starter guides, check out this one by the always-helpful Amber Naslund, and this broader view from Antony Mayfield.

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Crossing the Threshold of Easy

For years, I read about Skype, and enjoyed the concept, though I didn’t use it. Didn’t have the need for free point-to-point Voice-over-IP, given my calling patterns and calling plans. It meant a little bit of trouble – hooking up a mic/headset, calling through my computer – not hard, but it was a few steps I didn’t feel like taking.

The quality of VOIP kept improving, however, and many people signed up for Skype accounts. Then they added video. Now that’s interesting – but again, it meant hooking up a webcam, doing an initial setup, taking some steps to use it – a change in workflow. Nah.

easyAfter managing to spill some coffee on my laptop keyboard, I had to buy a replacement Dell, and this model had something new to me – a built-in webcam and a built-in mic/audio system of reasonable quality. Finally, I re-considered Skype, because it had crossed the Threshold of Easy – a quick download, and it just worked. Plus it gave me something new: on-demand and free video calls.

I’m not tech-shy, but I’m not a first-adopter – I don’t chase gadgetry and spend lots of time doing configuration and troubleshooting. I want stuff to offer me some kind of benefit and at the same time, delight me with ease of use. That’s why I was so relieved to get rid of my cell phone and become an iPhone fan – it not only works, it leaps over the threshold of easy. By and large, the Tivo experience has been that way as well.

Over the years, I’ve had a chance to use, and sell, lots of products. Most suffered from a distinct lack of ease of use. Software interfaces designed by engineers who care only about functionality have been a particular grief. If you’re making my life harder instead of easier, you’ve already failed. Go back to the drawing board, and include a creative usability person in the ground-level design process.

If you’re going to create a product or service, put an awful lot of effort into crossing that threshold. It may well be the difference between something that garners a few percentage points, and something that’s a smash hit. Make it, not just able to do things, but EASY.

What are you a fan of that crossed the threshold of easy for you?

Why I Follow…Paul Chaney

For today’s FollowFriday recommendation, I present the Social Media Handyman – Paul Chaney (@pchaney on Twitter).

Why? Because Paul embodies what social networking is all about. He’s helpful. He shares generously. He’s human. And he’s a lot of fun to talk to when his voice is about gone in a Texas hat shop!

Paul’s a regular guy. One of his recent tweets sums it up well: @HeyAmarettoLove the “I’m over 40 and ok with it” statement on your page. I’m over 50 and, well, sorta ok with it.

If you want to learn more about social media, and get lots of useful links and insights, follow Paul. He’s pretty handy with this stuff…

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Your Bullet Points, My Kevlar

I’m in a break between sessions at the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers Conference, and I’m going to rant. Join me.

I just witnessed, once again, a blizzard of bullet points. A presentation that appeared to have, as its goal, accomplishing a systematic walk-through of logically connected concepts and words – a projected Table of Contents of Information Impartation.

In other words, a typical Powerpoint session.

Presenters – your job is not to transmit a glorified Morse code of bullet dots and text dashes. You need to make it your purpose to:

Engage - get my attention immediately and show me right off what you have that is important for me.

Inspire - touch my emotions with a story that I can relate to.

Impart - drive home the one or two truly key concepts that need to be remembered and acted upon.

Motivate - move me to action.

Envision a pyramid. See that top 5%, that peak? That’s what you want to get to – some new conviction, some new action, some change. In your first few minutes, convince me WHY I need to change. Show me where I am, why that is not the best place to be, and where I need to go. Show me how to change, how to take action, and tell me about yourself and others who have begun that journey. Give me tangible steps to begin, and reasons to hope for success.

Always return to that pinnacle, that What’s the Point?, and how I can move across that gap from where I am to where I should be. Give me some other parts of the pyramid if you must, but in the first 10 minutes, fill my mind and heart with that peak. Paint me a picuture with stories, warn me about dangers, convince me to take action, show me how.

But don’t just shoot bullets – I have Kevlar on. Don’t walk me through a projected thought map until and unless you have won my judgment and my heart-assent that THIS MATTERS.

That is all. Except for whatever you’d like to add in the comments – rant away with me!

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