It’s Moving Day – Find Me Now at SteveWoodruff.com

This will be the final post here at Connection Agent (I think!). As I announced earlier this week, I’ve decided to launch an entirely new site: SteveWoodruff.com

The theme: Discover Your Fit. Because that’s what I do – help businesses and individuals discover their purpose, set new direction, refine their offerings, and craft a clear message.

To say I’m excited about the new direction my business has taken in the last few years is an understatement. It’s really not just a business to me – it’s a mission.

If  you’re a subscriber to Connection Agent, just click here to subscribe to the new feed. Bonus – you can also sign up at the same time for my astonishingly brief and occasionally brilliant e-newsletter, Clarity Blend.

Double Bonus - when you sign up, you’ll get a free download of my brand-spanking-new e-book, Make Yourself Clear: Six Steps to De-fogging Your Direction and Your Message.

Discover Your Fit: The new website for Connection Agent is SteveWoodruff.com

Discover Your Fit: The new website for Connection Agent is SteveWoodruff.com

This book not only contains a distillation of my thinking, developed over many years, but includes many of my go-to people such as Ann Handley, CC Chapman, John Jantsch, Carrie Wilkerson, Dave Kerpen, Tom Martin, Carol Roth, Greg Hartle, Lisa Petrilli, Anthony Iannarino, Phil Gerbyshak, Chris Brogan, Tom Clifford, Dan Rockwell, Jay Baer, Chris Westfall, Susan Cain, Charles H Green, Lou Imbriano, Seth Godin, Peter Shankman, Brian Moran, Michael Port, Alli Worthington, Les McKeown, Bob Burg, Ellen Cagnassola, Mack Collier, Drew McLellan, and Chris Guillebeau. Links to blog posts, Twitter profiles, books – it’s a resource bonanza!

I thank you for being part of my network of readers and collaborators, and look forward to many more years exploring and growing together.

Now…let’s go brew up some Clarity!

Be Clear with Clarity Therapy!

My Second-to-Last Post at Connection Agent Blog

Connection Agent is going away? Yes. And, no.

This week, I’ll be launching a new website at SteveWoodruff.com, which will be the new home for all my writings about marketing (my pharma biz, Impactiviti, retains its own separate identity and site).

So this blog, and the Clarity Therapy blog, will be superseded by a professionally designed and hosted site. The overarching theme will be the message that has been at the core of my work for many years: Discovering Your Fit.

(sneak peek – not quite live yet!)

For a long time here at Connection Agent, I’ve blogged about marketing – and leadership – and network-building – and branding – and blogging/social media – and entrepreneurial business. Since October of 2006, in fact, where my very first post, How to Waste 10,000 Billboards (critiquing UPS’s marketing), still resonates today.

However, over a thousand posts later, I’ve sometimes wondered if I’ve been wasting everyone’s time. Because, truth be told, I often felt a bit like an impostor.

Why? Well, I wasn’t quite sure where my passions about these topics was heading. And there were lots of people with deeper expertise in all those areas.

Lesson for entrepreneurs: keep at something long enough, and the market will tell you what you should be doing. <—(tweet this)

Turns out that my strong suit all along was helping people figure out their purpose, and then set a new direction and distill a compelling message. Really quickly. It took years of just doing it – intuitively – before my mission became clear.

There’s no job description for that, so I made it up (Clarity Therapy). And, it encompasses pretty much everything that I’ve been writing about all along.

I’m still the Connection Agent, and still committed to building opportunity networks that will help businesses and individuals find ideal work. But it’s time to step up and take on the challenge of seeing new generations of talented people find their optimal role in life.

I believe deeply that when we Discover Our Fit, we stand the best chance of changing the world of work, and fulfilling our purpose.

So…let’s do this!

Assuming that all the Internet plumbing does its work*, I’ll see you later this week, over at SteveWoodruff.com (and for some of you, I’ll see you in Chicago at the SOBCon conference)!

*in my final post, I’ll put up all the links to move your feeds and subscriptions over to the new site. There is also a free e-book you’ll be able to download, titled Make Yourself Clear! – Six Steps to De-Fogging Your Direction and Your Message.

Defeating Mis-Matches in Business

Interview with Steve Woodruff, Clarity Therapist

Interview with Steve Woodruff, Clarity Therapist

{Note: I am now blogging at my brand-spanking-new site, SteveWoodruff.com. Just click here to subscribe to the new feedBonus - you can also sign up at the same time for my astonishingly brief  yet brilliant e-newsletter, Clarity Blend (see sample), and when you sign up, you’ll get a free download of my helpful new e-book, Make Yourself Clear: Six Steps to De-fogging Your Direction and Your Message.}

The goal of Clarity Therapy is to “defeat mis-matches – the wrong people in the wrong job; small companies pursuing the wrong types of business; or large companies partnering with the wrong vendors. A lack of clarity leads to tremendous inefficiencies in the business world.”

More? Click to biggify (interview with New Jersey Business magazine). —>

Want to understand what I’m all about? There it is, in a nutshell. Avoiding mis-matches by discovering your fit.

Don’t merely think about finding work. Find your fit.

Twitter Chats and Cocktail Parties

Probably my LEAST favorite social setting is a crowded, noisy, unstructured gathering. Such as a big cocktail party.

Speak before 1,000 people? No problem. Mill around in a crowd, flitting from person to person? I’ll do it if I must – like going to the dentist. My fondest hope in large gatherings is to find one or two like-minded souls, and a quiet corner in which to REALLY talk. The small-talk socializing to get to that point is pretty much a means to an end.

And that’s how I view Twitter chats, the on-line equivalent to cocktail parties.

In her recent e-book (The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership), my LeadershipChat co-host, Lisa Petrilli, describes how our friendship was deepened in just such a social setting. In fact, it was the meeting that week of two like-minded introverts that eventually led to the launch of LeadershipChat.

In the 14 months of co-leading LeadershipChats, I have come to realize that we, as participants, need to have a pretty modest expectation of the one-hour event itself. We’re dealing with the exchange of ideas in 140 characters (a real difficulty for semantics, qualifications, and complex ideas)! And, as in any cocktail party, there’s a lot of superficial chatter happening – even attempts to draw attention to oneself for the purpose of generating retweets. How human…

As for Lisa and me, our goals go way beyond the Tuesday 8-9 pm (ET) time slot. We want to create an environment where new connections are made, business (and personal) relationships are established, and ways of thinking (both old and new) are challenged and hashed out. A lot of that isn’t really going to happen, in-depth, during the hour. That’s where we’re mingling, kicking off dialogue, engaging in sidebars. The real valued outcome is the building of a community that rolls up its sleeves and collaborates during the other 167 hours of the week.

Or, as Kneale Mann often puts it toward the end of a chat, “now book a call with one or two people you’ve met here.” Right on.

Yes, I know that the sheer volume, and at times superficiality (@ZombieChatter BRILLIANT!! RT BillyBromide To lead, first you must live…) , of the tweetstream during a chat can be bothersome – just like it is in a cocktail party. But let’s keep our eye on the ball, and seek to encourage the development of a community of thinkers and doers.

To that end, I have one suggestion for LeadershipChat participants, that may further the dialogue and the learning. Just as Lisa and I write pre-chat posts giving our perspectives in the days before each chat, so I’d encourage any of you to write post-Tuesday-night posts on your blogs (or Facebook, or Google+…) that will expand on a point that is meaningful to you, or attack a deeper question, or express a disagreement with a guest host. Let’s move the dialogue to your sites, where there is more time to move into a quiet corner and really talk. Lisa and I love to comment on, and share, such LC-inspired posts.

Yes, I’m outside of my comfort zone every Tuesday from 8-9 pm. Even if it’s virtual, it’s a cocktail party. But when I consider the wonderful people I’ve had a chance to meet IRL this past year due to LeadershipChat, it’s worth the effort. Now, let’s all help the community reach its highest potential by going beyond the hour of chatter. Lead, by taking the discussion deeper!

P.S. please read Sam Fiorella’s comment below, and read the post he wrote on a very similar theme!

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Hire Steve Woodruff  if your identity and message need clarity (Brand Therapy)

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Finding Your DNA

>> Life and Leadership as an Introvert

Please feel free to subscribe to the Connection Agent blog via Reader (RSS) | via e-mail

Twitter: @swoodruff

The Past and Future of Leadership

This week on Leadership Chat (Tuesday, December 6, 8 pm ET, hashtag #LeadershipChat on Twitter), we’ll be talking about The Future of Leadership. Co-moderator Lisa Petrilli and I are honored to welcome Ted Coine and Shawn Murphy as guests to help lead this on-the-threshold-of-a-new-year topic! (see Lisa’s prep post, What Leadership of the Future will Look Like)

When I think about this topic, I find two voices inside me, vying for expression – the Cynic, and the Idealist. I cannot suppress either one – so I’ll give voice to both of them!

When we are young, embarking out into the real/business world, we often breathe in the heady vapors of everything’s possible!!! Then, after some decades of being pinballed around through life, you realize that, in fact, lots of things don’t change – especially people. It’s a painful realization.

The battle-scarred, experienced traveler gains realism, wisdom, and – generally – more than a touch of cynicism.

So what will the future of leadership look like? Probably, a lot like the past. Because, people, we’re dealing with people – and from time immemorial, people have been driven by greed, ego, selfishness, short-term gain, cruelty, and a host of other unsavory motives. If you have read any history, and if you read any newspapers, you see that nothing much has changed in thousands of years. Sigh.

Or, maybe not. Let’s give rein to some optimism. While human nature remains fundamentally the same, our world of digital networked communications does tip the balance toward a new model of leadership, in some very important ways:

  • The network model of work is slowly displacing the pyramidal command-and-control model. It’s no longer necessary to climb the ladder and lose your soul along the way.
  • The wide-open digital disclosure of information exposes bad leadership practices to a global audience – it’s a lot harder to hide nowadays!
  • Causes and meaningful work are slowly emerging as an alternate model to fitting into someone else’s corporate machine to earn a paycheck.

In fact, new leaders are emerging – and we’re not limited to trying to turn some pre-existing corporate battleship. Opportunities abound in the digital economy for creating new work models, leading like-minded teams (irrespective of geography), and generating outsized influence. So, maybe the future of leadership will look different. Because…well, we’re in charge now. And we don’t have to cash in our ideals.

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Hire Steve Woodruff  if your identity and message need clarity (Brand Therapy)

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Finding Your DNA

>> Life and Leadership as an Introvert

Please feel free to subscribe to the Connection Agent blog via Reader (RSS) | via e-mail

Twitter: @swoodruff

LeadershipChat Plus One

After a few months of planning, it was one year ago this week that Lisa Petrilli and I hosted the inaugural #LeadershipChat on Twitter.

What a wild ride it has been!

We’ve had very lively discussions about male and female roles, courage, work/life balance, loyalty, fear, promotions, lessons from the military…and we’ve enjoyed the contributions of stellar guest hosts and authors like Stephen Denny, Guy Kawasaki, Ann Handley, Steve Farber, and many others.

For Lisa and me, the most rewarding aspect of LeadershipChat has been the community that gathers each Tuesday night; it was our vision to create a climate similar to a Tuscan dinner table, where friends would gather for friendly discussions over wine and good food (we do sometimes open up the chat with pictures of cannoli just to gain a virtual bit of dessert atmosphere!) What has come of it all has been a bunch of real-life friendships, meetings, and collaborations – and that’s just the point. LeadershipChat on Tuesday nights is an introduction to community.

What has been the most rewarding aspect for you? It only seems right, on this first anniversary, to pass the microphone to our valued friends and give you the opportunity to talk about how you’ve benefited from the LeadershipChat community – and how you’d like to grow even more in the year ahead.

So, here’s what we’re asking for this week. Instead of focusing on prep blog posts that Lisa and I write, we’re inviting YOU to write a post (could be on your blog, or Facebook, or Google+ – wherever. Even in the comments below if you’re not a blogger!) expressing what you’re learned and enjoyed from LC this past year, and what you’d like to discuss in the coming year.

This is your chance to tell others – and us – why LeadershipChat has value to you!

We’ll link to your posts on the LeadershipChat.net site, and your thoughts will be the substance of the our conversation on Tuesday, October 11th. Please write your thoughts right now – while you’re thinking about it – and forward the link to Steve (steve at connectionagent dot com) so it will be included on the site for all to see.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to all who have made this community such an encouraging success. In twelve months, we’ve made a good start together. What will the next year of sharing leadership-life bring? Let’s talk about it this Tuesday night at 8 pm ET!

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Hire Steve Woodruff  if your identity and message need clarity (Business Identity Therapy)

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Breaking Free of Powerpoint

>> Trend Currents in Social Media

Please feel free to subscribe to the Connection Agent blog via Reader (RSS) | via e-mail

Twitter: @swoodruff | @ConnectionAgent

LinkedIn, Privacy, and Notification – Let’s Discuss!

[See UPDATE below!]

Quite an unanticipated firestorm has swelled up after I published this blog post (A Box You Want to Uncheck on LinkedIn) Wednesday, which describes LinkedIn’s force-users-to-opt-out-of-social-advertising policy (and shows you how to opt out).

Most of the comments on the blog and via social networks have expressed gratitude over finding out about it – even though LinkedIn quietly (via their blog) introduced changes  in their Privacy Policy back in June. I say quietly because – well, no-one seemed to notice anything!

Technically, it could be argued that LinkedIn did cover its bases in a way that a grinning lawyer might defend – they did give public notification of some form. The fact that virtually no-one knew what the ramifications were indicates that it was a technical notification only – that is, they clearly weren’t intent on making very clear to users what was about to transpire. I just happened, on August 10th, to be the first one to say “Hey!” – and only because I was copied on a private thread of LinkedIn messages by one of my contacts. Smarter-than-me news outlets like ZDNet, and many bloggers, were obviously not informed about the change by LI – one wonders why? It couldn’t be about the potential advertising revenue, could it?? :>}

And that opens up an interesting debate, which I will leave for the comments. How much notification should a social platform company like this give, in advance of a significant change such as including you in third-party advertising? Is technical notification sufficient, or should there be more forthright and comprehensive disclosure? If the latter, in what form(s)?

And how has this incident shaped your perception of LinkedIn as a company?

The comments are yours!

UPDATE: In the midst of negative user reaction and a growing media firestorm, LinkedIn has decided to make a change in the policy. That’s a step in the right direction!

UPDATE: LinkedIn Listens, Reconsiders

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Hire Steve Woodruff  if your identity and message need clarity (personal or company Brand Therapy)

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Rejoice in Inefficiency!

>> Aiming High

Subscribe to the Connection Agent blog via Reader (RSS) | via e-mail

Twitter: @swoodruff | @ConnectionAgent

A Box You Want to Uncheck on LinkedIn

[See UPDATE below!]

Apparently, LinkedIn has recently done us the “favor” of having a default setting whereby our names and photos can be used for third-party advertising. A friend forwarded me this alert (from a friend, from a friend…) this morning.

Devious. And I expect that you, like me, don’t want to participate.

This graphic shows you how to Uncheck The Box (click to biggify):

1. Click on your name on your LinkedIn homepage (upper right corner). On the drop-down menu, select “Settings”.

2. From the “Settings” page, select “Account*”.

3. In the column next to “Account”, click “Manage Social Advertising” .

4. De-select the box next to “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising” .

Nice try, LinkedIn. But, no thanks!

*UPDATE: After you finish with Account, check the new default settings under E-mail Preferences (such as Partner InMails); and Groups, Companies & Applications (such as Data Sharing with 3rd-party applications). It’s a Facebook deja vu!

Follow-up Post: LinkedIn, Privacy, and Notification – Let’s Discuss!

UPDATE: In the midst of negative user reaction and a growing media firestorm, LinkedIn has decided to make a change in the policy. That’s a step in the right direction!

UPDATE: LinkedIn Listens, Reconsiders

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Hire Steve Woodruff as your Brand Therapist

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Role Your Own

>> Is Your Sky Blue?

Please feel free to subscribe to the Connection Agent blog via Reader (RSS) | via e-mail

Twitter: @swoodruff

 

This Week’s Networking Boomerang

What is the value of investing in building a great network of people? I think it was Chris Brogan that recently pointed out the distinction between thinking of ROI (which, in my opinion, is a fine metric for a specific tactical business approaches) vs thinking of the overall value of social networking.

One huge value of social networking is that, when you add value to others and build bridges with them, good people will add value back. It’s the boomerang effect.

Sounds nice in theory, right? But here’s the value in practice, just this week:

Example 1: We had an oven that died. While my wife attempted to find a source in the traditional way, I tossed it out on Twitter, which is now my default Help Desk.

Result? Immediate response by a friend, pointing a semi-local dealer he knew of on Twitter – which company responded immediately by Twitter and phone, and got the business in minutes.

How cool is that?

Example 2: This week, I confirmed a speaking engagement as a panelist discussing social media for automobile dealers. How did I get approached for this? Peter Shankman (who became an Ironman last week – good going, man!). Peter and I got together a few months back just to chat and get to know one another. He recommended me for this opportunity. Then, in order to help with my preparation, I put out a blog post and linked it on Twitter, asking people for links and resources on social media and automotive dealers. Within a few hours, I had everything I needed via crowdsourcing for a post-event list of resources and case studies.

Example 3: I met this week with someone from a healthcare agency interested in having workshops for social media and project management (two of my sweet spots). I didn’t know these folks from Adam and Eve, but they approached me because someone else in my pharma network passed my name along and recommended me. This is the second time in the past 6 weeks I’ve had an agency approach me this way via a third-party recommendation (thanks, Rich and Jon!)

Example 4: We’re about six weeks into our weekly #LeadershipChat on Twitter, and this past week’s on Passion was wonderfully helpful and lively. How did LeadershipChat come about? Lisa Petrilli reached out to me via social networking this spring, we met at SOBCon Chicago, and have been collaborating since. Also, via networking, Lisa got to know Tom Martin, and together with Lisa Diomede, they put together this week’s CocktailsforCauses event in Chicago.

Now, that actually isn’t everything that happened this week. And I’m not even listing the boomerangs that went out for others, which will bear fruit in their lives and businesses. Or the important, sometimes life-saving things that happen via social networks totally outside of “business value.”

When people obsess over the “ROI of Social Media,” I’m forced to smile somewhat. Who can trace the actual ROI of all the hours and effort that have gone into building an opportunity network? But, is there value? – oh, yes! The boomerangs have only just begun to fly…!

Build your network. Feed your network. Be ready for the boomerang.

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Twitter: @ConnectionAgent | @swoodruff

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Four

Thanks for being such a delightful community!

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Twitter: @ConnectionAgent | @swoodruff

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Tweeting with the Stars

What are you doing during Prime Time on Tuesday nights?

I know what I’ll be doing – Tweeting with the Stars! Because starting next Tuesday (Oct 12th) at 8 pm (ET), something new and exciting is being added to your on-line lineup.

And you’re free to not only tune in, but dance tweet with us!

Leadership Chat (#LeadershipChat) debuts on Tuesday evenings, hosted by on-line Twitter emcees Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff. Now I’m not quite sure about Lisa, but her co-host definitely can’t dance – not on-line, not off-line, not line dancing, nuthin’! But we do tweet, and we share a passion for principled, effective leadership. As we’ll bet you do.

So YOU get to be the stars as we all chat together about Leadership topics each week. While these one-hour Twitter chats will be free-flowing, there will also be thought-provoking themes, which we’ll introduce on our blogs beforehand each week – perhaps with some point/counter-point edginess (when I read the article which will provide the topic for our first discussion, I got kinda riled up!). Here’s Lisa’s take on the announcement.

The topics will focus on leadership, but you don’t need to be some kind of executive honcho to take part. The fact is, how leaders lead affects us all, and we hope to enjoy a wide range of opinions on effective leadership. And you should know that I like Lisa very much and all, but I’m from the blow-up-the-old-structures entrepreneurial side of the tracks, and she’s done a lot of that corporate gig thing.

There are other tweet chats out there, and some of them are pretty good, but LeadershipChat will be the best. Don’t take my word for it. This comes straight from the White House:

So join us for the inaugural whirl around the chat floor next week! You’ll come out of it enlightened, exhilarated, or at the very least dizzy with new insights! And in the meantime, follow us on Twitter at @LeadershipChat. Yes, that’s your call to action, but we’re asking nicely…! :>}

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Subscribe to the Connection Agent blog via Reader (RSS) | via e-mail

Twitter: @ConnectionAgent | @swoodruff

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Do You Have a Mission Statement?

I think I finally figured out mine:

My mission is to be a Connection Agent.

I am connecting people and businesses with their true identity and message; with creative opportunities to grow and succeed; and with other people and resources to bring about increasing success.

I want to leave behind a network of people who are richer because of these connections, and who will follow that example by enriching others.

As I look over the entire landscape of my heart and my activities, I think that kinda sums it up.

What about you? Can you arrive at yours a whole lot earlier in life than I’ve been able to?

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Twitter: @ConnectionAgent | @swoodruff

Connect with Steve Woodruff

The Voice behind the Avatar

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Matthew Ray Scott for his Marketing Story Podcast series.

Matthew is an excellent interviewer. I, however, have ordered a new USB microphone/headset after listening to the audio. My current setup is not totally up to par (ooops!).

Much of the interview focuses on small business use of social media. However, somewhat unexpectedly, I kinda spilled the beans on some of my long-term dreams, and my growing vision about how I want to see us use social networking in order to fundamentally change how we approach business.

So – what’s the voice (and heart and soul) behind the avatar? Give a listen and discuss your perspectives (also available for free via iTunes under “Marketing Stories”). And see how our dreams match up!

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Twitter: @swoodruff

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Five in the Morning 022509

mike_sansoneFive in the Morning decamped from NJ today to take a quick visit to none other than IOWA. Mike Sansone, that partriarch of Mid-America bloggers, that mentor of many, Chief Conductor at the Conversation Station and Founder of PaneraU, volunteered to find us five gems this morning. Go and see.

Mike is one of nicest guys I’ve pre-met (still haven’t met face-to-face!) via social networking, and if you’re not connected to him yet, be sure to subscribe to his blog when you’re there, and follow him on Twitter at @mikesansone.

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Five in the Morning 022409

Seth Godin, on the milestone of his 3,000th blog posts, considers himself the “luckiest guy” – and, lets everyone know that the first 2,500 are the hardest! If you like what he does, send him a note of congratulations (seth at squidoo dot com).

Marketing Basics: Conversation. An excellent summary and set of links from that folliclly-challenged Texas marketer, Jay Ehret.

Top Documentary films – an interesting on-line resource for your viewing pleasure. Hat tip: Director Tom Clifford.

Your Pitch Sucks? An interesting service provided by Jim Kukral and a team of PR pros. I like this business model – using on-line tools to rapidly offer distributed, scalable, on-demand expertise. In this case, in the much-needed area of creating GOOD press releases! My question for some of you: can you create a similar business model in your niche area of expertise?

Tom Peters. From Action to Excellence. 57 very pithy points.

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Connect with Steve Woodruff

(Image credit – created via Spell with Flickr)

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Five in the Morning 021909

Before we begin, may I just take a moment and say how much I enjoy interacting with you, my readers, in these early-morning excursions through the blogosphere? It’s fun to find a few goodies each day (so much to choose from!), but it’s even more fun to dialogue with you about stuff you found helpful or interesting.

OK, on with the show…

The Four Horsemen of the Startup. Brief and to the point. Four attitudes to avoid if you’re an entrepreneur starting a company. From the wise and friendly Doug Karr.

Animated advertising icons – the power of strong branding in advertising. Watch this quick clip. From BrandFreak blog.

In Business Week, a profile of social media pioneer Beth Kanter. Nice.

Which businesses are on Twitter? Check out this uber-list on Twibs. Wow. (hat tip: Brand Flakes for Breakfast).

From the Church of the Customer blog, 5 Questions with Emanuel Rosen (on buzz, word of mouth, and marketing). Good stuff.

PLUS – just for fun: 25 “Hidden” Things in Facebook’s Terms of Use (spoof).

Finally – are you going to Blogger Social ’09? Last year’s event was a slam dunk – 80 bloggers from around the world getting together in NYC to get social. This year, the upper limit is 100, and it’s in Boston. Details here – I’ll be there!

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Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog

Connect with Steve Woodruff

(Image credit – created via Spell with Flickr)

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Your Input? Pharma and Social Media

I’ll have the opportunity next week to speak on a panel at the ePharma Summit in Philly, on the topic of social media in pharma.

In the 4 minutes allotted, my goal is to alert the audience (mainly pharma marketers) to the most crucial “cultural” aspects of the social media community as they consider any initiatives. What is the mindset, and what are the expectations of those who use social media?

I’ve tentatively thought of four, but since this is all about the community, I’d like to ask your help and input. What do you think are the most critical things for a marketer (coming from the healthcare space) to know ahead of time?

Here is my preliminary list, subject to revision depending on your input:

- Immediacy. For better or worse, this community thrives on “right now”.

- Participation. One-way messaging won’t cut it. Communications are multi-faceted, 2-way and multi-pronged.

- Long-term commitment. Don’t get in if you’re not going to participate over the long haul.

- Personality/authenticity. We can find impersonal message-driven communications anywhere. Here, we want a face and some reality.

As social media participants, what do you think? Are these the most important “intro” concepts, or can you suggest others? Feel free to give your input in the comments!

Five in the Morning 020309

Geoff Livingston over at the Buzz Bin has some meaty thoughts about personal branding vs “team social media” within a larger company. This is a valuable discussion. Personal branding for a solo entrepreneur is one thing, but how do we approach putting a “face” on an organization when interacting with the world at large? Just for the fun of it, here’s a mega-post with a bunch of recent links touching on personal branding, from David Petherick.

Mario Sundar is on a tear on his personal blog. First, Using social media to help your friends find a job (this is a real passion of mine). Then, Perfectionism ain’t Bliss -  just do it and don’t worry about making it perfect. And finally, some lists of Twitter worthies to follow. Mario, for those who don’t yet follow him, is LinkedIn’s chief blogger; he also maintains his own personal blog.

Image Recognition Software/Service – from TechCrunch blog. This is a big deal, actually. There are so many images now published on-line, a huge challenge is going to be finding/sorting/identifying/filtering. Here is one company (Milabra) that’s making a run at it, and their solution sounds very promising.

It’s easy to just listen to the voices that you already agree with. We also need to consider other points of view, lest we become infected with group-think, or an inflated sense of self-importance. This muse/rant by Kevin Palmer is a needed corrective as we consider the place of social media in the world. Guest post is found on Social Media Explorer blog – it must be good, because I rarely point to the same blog 2 days in a row (nice job, Jason Falls)!

Downturn. We’re in it. From the NY Times Small Business Toolkit section – Lessons Learned from Hard Times Past. There’s a surprise quote in there…

PLUS – What Happened to your Nose? The latest from Ann Handley‘s A N N A R C H Y blog. If you’re not subscribing to this wonderful treasure of muses and amusements, you should be (Ann – the Zamboni reference is a stroke of genius!)

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(Image credit)

PLEASE NOTE: There is reason to believe that the Google/Feedburner changeover has created “issues” with RSS feeds for my blogs (and others). Here are the feeds for my three blogs; if you’re a reader, would you please re-subscribe just to make sure? Thanks!

:: Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog (that’s this one!)

:: Subscribe to the Steve’s Leaves blog (that’s my personal blog – you’ll see a story from there below)

:: Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog (that’s a pharma-specific blog, for my consulting business)

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Five in the Morning 020209

PLEASE NOTE: There seems to be reason to believe that the Google/Feedburner changeover has created “issues” with RSS feeds for my blogs. Here are the feeds for my three blogs; if you’re a reader, would you please re-subscribe just to make sure? Thanks!

:: Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog (that’s this one!)

:: Subscribe to the Steve’s Leaves blog (that’s my personal blog – you’ll see a story from there below)

:: Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog (that’s a pharma-specific blog, for my consulting business)

5-penceNow, on to the show…

Your Culture is Your Brand. From Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. Yes, it was written a month ago, but even in Internet time, ongoing relevance can still apply after 30 days! With the Internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire by email or with tools like Twitter. The good news is that the reverse is true as well. A great experience with a company can be read by millions of people almost instantaneously as well.

Gavin Heaton, the Servant of Chaos, has been churning out some thought-provoking stuff. Here’s a quick read on The Three Stages of Twitter Commitment. And, a very interesting (& longer) post on Happy to be Incomplete, which discusses a river we all must cross (esp. those of us with perfectionistic tendencies – something I know a little bit about).

Lists of 100 _____ (whatever) can be pretty imposing. But if you’re a LinkedIn user looking to use that network more effectively, this may be a gold mine for you. 100+ Smart Ways to use LinkedIn. From Scott Allen.

Are you a Twitter user, curious about why certain posts get Retweeted more than others? Here’s an interesting little study by Dan Zarrella, on The 20 Words and Phrases that will get you the most Retweets.

This is a great thought from Jason Falls, and worthy of robust discussion in the comments. What Happens when Transparency goes Wrong? There’s a lot of information about people (us) floating around out there – how will it be used??

PLUS – A Sunday rumination on Puppy Love. From Steve’s Leaves.

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Five in the Morning 012209

From Mashable - By the Numbers: Inauguration’s Impact on Social Media. Enlightening stats and graphs. Wow! “The social web flexed its muscle yesterday with Twitter reporting five times the normal tweet volume, and Facebook/CNN showing mind blowing engagement.”

David Henderson offers a free e-book: Media Savvy in the Internet Era.

I’m Not your Catcher. My most recent MarketingProfs Daily Fix post. “For a while, I was enslaved, under contract, and you could pitch whatever you wanted at me. I would wear the mask, put on the glove, mutely make signs; but whatever signals I gave you about what I wanted, you simply ignored. You pitched what you wanted…”

Like wallowing in others’ mistakes? The Superlist of What NOT to do in Social Media has been updated! This link is full of amusing stuff.

On the other hand…Getting Great Testimonials, from Andy Sernovitz. Some excellent advice here, with a couple of very creative ideas drawn from two sources.

Social Media Marketing an Hour a DayLee Odden interviews Dave Evans, who wrote a book by that title.

–I guess I can’t count. That’s six, not five. Oh well, why not toss in one more…

AND, just for fun – Making friends in Social Media. Amusing cartoon from our friends at Hubspot.

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Five in the Morning 012109

mattjmcdWhere’s Five in the Morning today? Why, guest-hosted over at Matt J McDonald‘s blog, of course! Matt is a marketing strategist and active blogger based in Charleston, SC, and he has graciously volunteered to give us the high Five today. Thanks, Matt!

And while you’re at Matt’s blog, take a peek at this interesting recent post (great graphic), on a Brand Purpose Model.

(oh, and by the way – all that stuff on the whiteboard Matt is pointing to? It’s his Marketing Axiom of Total Terrestrial Job Maximization contra Displacement (MATTJMcD), for which he hopes to win a Nobel [or at least a Scoble] Prize).

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Twelve (?) in the Morning 011909

dozeneggsUsually, this little early-morning series provides you with five (or so) posts to chew on in order to jump-start your morning with fresh thought.

Today, it’s 12 posts. And, thanks to Robert Hruzek, the work has already been done.

Robert is running a blog series called Blogapalooza (hint: you can still participate!), in which authors are invited to pull out their top posts or lessons from each month in 2008. I took the time to sort through my vast reservoir of on-line bloviations from last year and that post went up on Robert’s blog yesterday. So, your Twelve in the Morning is all here on one link.

Some of you who visit this blog may not know that I actually maintain three separate blogs (my pharma consulting biz; my branding/marketing/social media fulminations; and personal stuff), plus contribute to MarketingProfs Daily Fix. I tried to pull from all of those resources for the Blogapalooza post. So – it’s kind of a 360-degree vista of all things @swoodruff, ranging from the professional to the philosophical to…well, spoofs!

Sorry to be so me-me-me this morning, but Robert put a lot of work into this series, and you really should go take a peek (not only at my entry, but all the others). And if you follow his links, he’ll tell you how you can participate as well!

And, if we’re going to be all about me today, I may as well introduce the newest member of newpup-smthe family (she’s a black lab mix), due to arrive on Friday to the delight of all the kids and the dismay of both cats. We’re still tossing around names – any suggestions for us?

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Five in the Morning 011509

Will Twitter change blog designs in 2009? It’s already happening. Some interesting predictions from Rachel Cunliffe at Mashable (but she didn’t include her Twitter handle in the blog post!)

Charmin kicks butt in NYC advertising campaign. Such an obvious idea, yet so smart. From Jonathan Salem Baskin at DimBulb blog.

The Bull lives! Some brand identities are too powerful to let go. Bank of America preserving the Merrill Lynch name and logo. From William Lozito at the NameWire blog.

Speaking of logos, those Brand Flakes for Breakfast guys point us to a graphical depiction of all the United States (state) logos. Wow – what a variety. Some of these are pretty meh, and someone sold a lot of script font to a few western states. To me, the most visually memorable is Mississippi.

Facts Tell but Stories SellJeff Paro gives us a compact list of 20 typical “plots” around which stories can be built. Found on the Small Business Branding site.

And finally, the question on my StickyFigure blog yesterday – Are you Being Pecked to Death?

————- Swing by Friday morning to find out who our next guest-host will be!

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Five in the Morning 010709

Customers. Where would we be without customers? Talk is cheap, so let’s invest a little time thinking about the people that really count…

That West Coast Diva of Customer Stuff, Becky Carroll, unveils her Top 3 picks for Customer Rock Stars of 2008. Check out these, plus the runners-up, listed on Becky’s Customers Rock! blog.

Meanwhile, back East, Doug Meacham on his NextUp blog (focusing on customer experience) does a riff on Guitar (Hero) Marketing. On that post, you will find my new favorite term. If you’re not following Doug on Twitter (@dougmeacham), you should, and if you miss the opportunity to have him chauffeur you all over Richmond with a belly full of BBQ ribs on your next trip to that fair city – well, you ain’t lived. Bring napkins.

Introducing Casey Hibbard’s book on customer case studies. Stories that Sell.

David Polinchock gets a “Five” mention 2 days in a row. I think that’s a first. But he deserves it, for this thoughtful post on how customer experience interacts with declines in retail stores.  “As we wrote in a piece for the Retail Advertising Conference last year, our walk through the luxury domain of the upper East Side showed that many of the stores up there were just ‘soulless, glorified, two-dimensional web sites; products are presented passively to consumers with no retail-as-theater.’ Who wants to spend time — and money — in a retail environment like that?”

Frank Martin over at Marketing Magic has Three Things you can do Right Now to Jump-start your Marketing. Well, there’s more than three, actually – Frank cheats by using sub-points! But he gets a pass, since this is a good reminder of the basics of taking care of ALL your customers.

Hey, a late entry. David “The Hat” Armano just posted this little blurb about a well-designed blog effort by a bank, making it easy for user interaction. I’m kinda real picky about on-line user design, and it’s nice to see a well-executed setup like this. And while we’re going late entries, we may as well add Drew McLellan‘s just-published post on MarketingProfs Daily Fix, about Dancing with the One who Brought You (talk to your customers!)

And, just for fun, a quick video laugh from Dave Taylor over at Brandgym. This is the top-rated YouTube video in the UK (and in the Top 5 globally) – who’da thunk it??

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Five in the New Year

ny-eve-nyIt’s 2009 (and a beautiful morning here in Boonton, NJ)! And, I’m convinced, it’s a year when many are going to seize the future, thumb their noses at all the bad economic news, and create new careers for themselves.

With that in mind, I thought I’d pull together the year’s first Five in the Morning post with a handful of my posts from 2008 encouraging the networking and entrepreneurial spirit. So….

Do you have an Opportunity Network? (from MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog) – The old corporate safety net is gone. But the new safety network, and the new opportunity network, is here for all of us to weave ourselves into. My faith has grown the longer I’ve participated, that “If we build it, (opportunity) will come”…

Personal Branding – What’s your value-add? (from MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog) – You don’t have a brand worth a nickel unless you are clear in what value you have to offer. That’s true of personal branding, corporate branding, political branding, and whatever other type of branding du jour we’d like to dream up…

You – Projected (from my StickyFigure blog) – My feeling is that if a concept is valid, we should be able to distill it down to a very few words that capture it well. So, with personal branding, here is my take. Two words. You – Projected

I’m Pursuing (Niche) Domination (from MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog)  - What is niche domination? It’s creating, or moving into, a market cavity narrow enough that you can become the big fish, and expansive (or expand-able) enough that you can make a living dominating it…

Be Prepared – Like, Right Now (from my Impactiviti pharma blog) – Your future is in your hands, and you need to be prepared to take the reins at any time. In fact, even if you are gainfully employed, you need to take the reins right now. Let me suggest one simple word for each of us…

But what were my most popular posts of 2008? The StickyFigure Spoofs, of course! And, to launch 2009, here is the latest (or earliest): Social Media Maven named new Head Coach of Detroit Lions.

BONUS – If you haven’t tuned into Rick Liebling‘s Smart People / Smart Ideas series, it’s a good one. Here’s the recap from 2008. You can follow Rick on Twitter @eyecube

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