Idaho Republicans are in Trouble

I should preface this by stating that I am not a political pundit. I am not a Republican or Democrat. I am the person at the polls who wishes I could vote for NOTA. This is probably the first time I have ever posted about politics. But that being said, I’d like to make a prediction.

The Idaho Republican Party will loose a record number of races this next election season.

Why? Because of John Foster. When John showed up at the IBR he turned the publication’s web site on its head. He took a closed site that required a subscription and not only ripped down the walls but added a blog to the front page. He then preceded to fill it with good relevant content that people wanted to read. Not just reporting on stories. Not repurposing old content. He blogged. He connected with his readers and he connected his readers together. He got it.

And the IBR benefited. A thousand fold increase in web traffic. He turned a (virtually) non-existent web presence in to a gathering point for Boise’s thought leaders. He may not have captured as much attention, or eyeballs, as some of the local competitors. But he captured more engagement. And what it more critical to politicians (or businesses) engagement or attention?

The Republican party is loosing a lot of respect among Idaho’s business leaders. Many of the people I talk to who are actively concerned with economic development (business owners) are struggling with many of the leadership decisions some of our political leaders are making. That little bit of room is all that John and the Dems need.

By opening up a dialogue with the people of Idaho (using new media tools of course) the Democrats can start engaging in a way that the Republicans won’t. Not that they couldn’t but looking at our current Republican leaders I doubt that many of them would be willing to start blogging. They are in a position of control (this is Idaho after all). It will still be considered too risky. The Democrats on the other hand should have no problem using tools that have been working well for their national counterparts.

I’ve said it many times before, new Media is about engagement. It’s about connecting with people. That’s what today’s consumers and voters want. Don’t make me shallow promises you have no intention of keeping. Don ‘t tell me who you’re not. Show me who you are. Show me that you understand who I am.

If John does with the Democrats what he did with the IBR Idaho will see a some major political shake-ups.

Whatever happens I only have one request:

John, Please start a blog of your own. Come back to the conversation.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

UPS Whiteboard is pointless

So apparently UPS has some cool ads, done by some cool director. The only thing I really liked was the music, You can listen to the full song here.

I don’t watch TV anymore (only what I download of iTunes) so I never saw the commercials. But I did see the billboard while in California, driving down Melrose last month going to visit my friend Nick, for

Being a self proclaimed Web 2.0 geek I instantly had visions/delusions that UPS was using some of the new collaborative “whiteboard” technology that has begun springing up. GE has launched a great example of what I was thinking of. Combine this with a skype call and you can instantaneously collaborate with a client on what it is that they want.

Instead at UPS I am prompted to enter a friends email as well as my own and a short message. Still I am thinking that this may be some sort of invite (keep in mind I didn’t sit through the whole flash presentation which might have explained all of this). I entered my message and was greeted with this.

Needless to say I was unimpressed. What a missed opportunity to really create value for your clients.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Micron is blogging

Apparently Micron has been blogging since late ‘06, although not very regularly. I don’t know of anyone that knew about this. I asked some of my friends that work there and they didn’t know. It seems that they have been quietly experimenting with blogs. There are no links from the front page, and no references on there site map, nor any references in there RSS feeds.  There are a few references buried several layers deep in the site. One of the only external references I’ve found to it at all is via StumbleUpon.

It seems a little bit curious though. Here’s the main blog page link: Micron blogs. There’s one on Automotive Memory and Imaging that has trackback capability but no comments. There’s one on Consumer Electronics also with no commenting but it also has trackbacks and only one post. There is one, which seems to be the most active, on Energy Efficiency, it has commenting enabled and the most recent post has a comment. The Mobile Theatre’s link is broken from the blog page but does come up when you type it in directly. This seems to be centered around a BSU competition of some sort.

Did anyone else know about this? I am pleasantly surprised that Micron is doing something like this. I think that these are all great topics for blog.  I would like to see commenting opened up on all blogs as well as more activity, but at least it’s a start.

What do you think of this effort? I’d love to hear from someone at Micron about this and what else they have planned.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

New Channels of Engagement

I find myself debating with people about the business relevance of New Media tools. For the last two years (and probably for the next two years) I have dealt with sceptics who question the validity of blogs, podcasts, wiki’s, forums and online social networks (LinkedIn) as a viable communication medium.

Lately I have been fielding the same questions about communities like Twitter, Ning and Second Life. In my last post I wrote about the problems with e-mail: The channel is clogged.

The same problem exists with radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, spam, and telephone marketers. The channels are clogged. When users no longer find a particular channel useful will they use less channels? No, they will find or make new channels.

This is what Twitter, Second Life, MySpace, blogs, etc, are: new channels of communication. Ironically, this is what TV, radio and the printed press started off as: channels of communication. Then people started asking what the business application was. Now these channels are so clogged with ‘business applications’ (ie marketing) that we have to find new channels of communication in order to talk to each other.

In a previous post I talked about what New Media could learn from the “demise” of old media. My recommendation to Marketers: Tread lightly, don’t yell, don’t interrupt, engage, add value, participate.

The same is happening in our workplace. We don’t have enough channels for the amount of information we have (and we haven’t seen anything yet). All of our old channels were designed in a different world; a world of limited information. This is why I blogged about the death of e-mail. As we have created more information we have crammed it in the same channels: e-mail, TV, radio, etc.

New Media is a channel, how we use it is what makes it powerful or just another annoyance.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Who Killed E-Mail?

We all did.

“I’ll just send him/her a quick e-mail .”
“Can you send that over in an e-mail?”

E-mail is very convenient. It’s simple, fast and quicker than picking up the phone. Unfortunately in most business settings, other than the phone, it is the only way people communicate.

This is a problem.

How many emails do you get a day? 100? 200? Sadly those numbers aren’t uncommon. Most of those emails had information that we did have to make available to the other person, but it didn’t have to go out in an e-mail. If companies used blogs, wiki’s and forums as a part of their intranets I’m willing to bet that 3/4 of the internal emails we send could be eliminated.

The e-mail channel is clogged because it is the only electronic channel we have.

E-mail sucks for collaboration. More on that later.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Wikipedia is the best thing ever!

“Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world, can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.” - Michael Scott

I am a huge fan of The Office. The above quote is from April 5th’s episode. in a very tongue in cheek way, the writers of The Office are highlighting an ongoing social debate. There is constantly (and will continue to be) a debate over the validity and accuracy of information on Wikipedia. To me this is a non issue, for others it is THE issue.

For me what it has done is shown what is possible. People want to share knowledge. People want to colaborate. People will use New Media tools. And most importantly when I talk to clients about wiki’s it gives me an example of a technology that everyone is familiar with.

A wiki is a great piece of technology. How you use it is up to you. If anyone is using a wiki in their workplace please leave a comment here. If you have an example of wiki’s that you use when trying to explain them, other than Wikipedia leave that comment as well. Or if you have your favorite Office quote you can leave that here too.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

New Media Trifecta (part 1)

There is a “perfect storm” coming to American businesses.

Trust - People’s trust is at an all time low (and for very good reason). This doesn’t just effect customer relationships, but also employee, partner and stakeholder relationships. Do your customers trust you? Do your employees trust you? Do you care? (If the answer is no please stop reading and just go away.)

Retention -

- People - Unemployment is at an all time low: 4.4% nationally, as of this writing. Add to that that in less than 5 years Baby Boomers are going to start retiring at the rate of 1,000 a day and there are not enough Gen Xers to take their place. Add to that that Gen X has been career hoping all their lives and shows no sign of stopping.

- Knowledge - What is going to happen to your IP as Baby Boomers exodus the work place for greener pastures? How do you keep all those ideas the creative Gen Xers bring to a work place if they are continually career hopping. How do you pass that knowledge off to Gen Y and ensure that it sticks? In order to fill some key positions companies will have to start outsourcing more or allowing for remote/telecommuting employees.

- It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, competition is so fierce that companies must innovate to survive. Yet it is difficult to allocate the resources to innovation when companies are constantly forced to do more with less. How can you dedicate a team of people to one product that may or may not pay off? How can you assign employees to another project that will require MORE MEETINGS?

How Are American Companies Supposed to Stay Competitive?

I believe that New Media offers a powerful solution to this problem.

This is part one of a very long post. I realized that it was getting too long so I decided to post this first part. I’m still working on the second part and doing a little research on it. If you have any feedback or suggestions or tyrades, please launch them here.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Consultants and MBAs

Justin, over at the Treasure Valley Consultants blog asks:

“Do consultants and entrepreneurs need these advanced degrees (MBA’s) to be in business for themselves?”

The answer is obviously; No

Should a consultant or entrepreneur have an MBA? It depends. What your goals are? Who are your clients? Experience is obviously much more important. I am working on my MBA and have found the information invaluable. I have found it even more valuable because of my experience.

Will my clients care once I have my MBA? Maybe, maybe not. Will my clients benefit from me having my MBA? Yes.

Great; another MBA Graduate? Last year I would have told you that the world does not need another MBA graduate. I still don’t think that the world needs another MBA graduate. I would say that there are business people (especially consultants) who could benefit greatly from receiving an MBA (as could their clients).

Don’t want to go back to school? If you don’t want to do the formal education route you get this information on your own. You can read the books and get the case studies from HBR and MIT. You could even gather your smartest friends together and have monthly “classes” to go over the topics. You can even check out the Personal MBA project. But if you’re not financially committed to the structure that an MBA offers would you do it? Maybe, maybe not.

We don’t need no stinking paper? While I don’t put much value in the piece of paper you get at the end of the program, there are plenty of clients, potential investors or future/current employers that do. It is already proven that people with an MBA make more money than someone with equal experience who does not have an MBA (in many cases significantly more).

Wanna be a rock star consultant? If you’re a consultant I advocate constant education. Read everything you can get your hands (or aggregator) on. Take some type of continuing education classes; you can’t learn everything there is on your own, get help. Start a blog. Besides being a great platform for self promotion, any blogger will testify that their blog is a part of their learning process. If you are not interested in a lifetime of continual learning, go get a “job”, being a consultant (or any type of entrepreneur) will not be a good fit.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


Bad Behavior has blocked 2418 access attempts in the last 7 days.