Product ops, growth, co-founder of Closr.to
Fascinated by the challenge of scaling moments of connection and joy.
@howiegoldfarb @belllindsay Someone please do this....or better yet a don't feed the trolls convention that disappears the junk stuff off into the outer regions of the universe...
2 months ago on Content Creators: Enough with the Boring
Good one Lindsay.
You know what I noticed the other day, people who create content seem to spend a lot of time separating what they create from what they're thinking about. It really helps to have your 3 or 4 meaningful, ongoing storylines in a queue that you use to both share and also create from. Who knows if they had it, but I could imagine "making friends" as a great queue for Sesame Street....nearly endless supply of things to think about, share, and create from.
That's quite the comparison =)
Toni Morrison is excellent, definitely agree re: creating emotional relationship to the text. I remember first thinking about how that functions with music as sub-text in great movies. It makes all the difference to engage people in a nuanced, thoughtful, emotional way.
2 months, 1 week ago on Why Good Writing Matters – Toni Morrison vs. E.L. James
Really insightful piece Susan - I always shake my head when startups (and plenty of established co's) suggest that the product or service they provide is just. so. amazing. that community will scale around it organically. The stuff you outline here, especially about setting minimal but flexible / thoughtful boundaries and caring for community... every good community manager knows it but too many CEOs think it's a nice to have. At this point with entire companies like Airbnb (whose core product is platform that spurs community) you'd think people would get savvy.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on How Boundaries Nurture Compassionate Community Management
@steve_dodd Nicely said. It's really the manipulation and laziness that makes us tune out, Millennial or otherwise.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Millennial Truths: What Marketers Don’t Want You to Know
Struck by how the early days of growing anything is really about finding what matters (helping people access jobs in this case) and then committing to giving more than you get. Albert is certainly the epitome of that, and he's as as honest as they come. That goes a long way and at 3k+ members I'd love to see this thing start to grow exponentially, it does a lot of good in the world.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Community Builders: Albert’s Job Listings & Referrals
Lot of good ground covered here - one thing that stuck out to me was how important discovery is...that's more obvious for owned platforms, as you noted the different ways you can segment content, but I think it's really a core human characteristic that's often ignored across all audiences.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Understanding the Real Influencers for Your Buyers
Fascinating episode. Some of the way X-ers on the hangout describe social media is similar to how a 17-year old recently described Instagram to me. She was talking about social signals on Instagram, and how both the like or lack of as well as how quickly someone likes or responds to something you do signifies the depth of the relationship or your overall popularity. Have a feeling that's in operation more than people might admit in other generations, too.
Also I think the immediacy / intimacy thing is not well understood. First to respond holds a certain value, but it also often incentivizes less thoughtful responses. This has less implications for "your cat is ever so LOLZ" than it does for deeper human expression like "trying to figure out if I need to change careers because I don't feel fulfilled."
2 months, 4 weeks ago on GenX Think Tank: Social Media’s Impact on Relationships
@Howie Goldfarb @Danny Brown @JoeCardillo Yup. Wasn't disagreeing w/either of you, was making point about disconnect between what's being sold. Taylor Swift, Bret Michaels, and others all sell a brand whereas social media rockstars typically sell themselves on the basis of providing strategy that will move people's business forward but frequently fail to deliver because they're too busy focusing on the celebrity aspect.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on RIP The Death of the Social Media Rock Star
Yeah, you hit it pretty head on Howie. There is a place for rockstars and recommendations (celebrities still wield serious purchasing influence according to the high schoolers I know, and there's quantitative evidence as well) but the difference is that Taylor Swift isn't selling anyone strategy. That's what's flawed about the idea of social media rockstars, and why Bret Michaels is selling dog collars in Petco and not running a marketing or biz intel firm.
Wow, this is on point Susan. I think we're seeing even news orgs messing this up, not just content marketers. The idea that there is a formula / easy way to get the data to tell you what your headline should be, it's troubling because it doesn't take into account the context that you talk about. Contextual questions like, what is your audience's existing perception of your brand? What do they get from you that they can't get elsewhere? What could they get from you that they currently get elsewhere, and why?
3 months, 1 week ago on What Content Marketers Get Wrong about Click Worthy Titles
Found this point particularly intriguing ---> "Introspection and self-reflection led to more meaningful shifts in ‘ways
of being’ than external changes like the economy or a layoff." My dad's generation (he's in his 70s) I don't think spent as much time on the introspection....they seemed to either clock in & out or match their identity to a job, as opposed to seeking personal transformation and then a career to match it.
Most GenX and Millennials I know seem to care about that introspection, but if we're being realistic the latter has a lot more room for it - or perhaps no choice not to b/c of economy and other factors.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on GenX Think Tank: Reinvention
@susansilver Definitely agree re: ambiguities, I've done a lot of work for / with startups and the point at which you stop having obvious cause & effect and start having to think about your data ecosystem is earlier than most people think, probably in the first 100 customers and/or users.
3 months, 3 weeks ago on What data can do, and what you will need to do yourself
@steve_dodd @JoeCardillo Absolutely. My guess is that part of what Fred was saying was that the market / valuation for social media was mature, which is probably true. In other words, the market & investors finally agree that this social media thing is around to stay, and that it'll make money at large scale. I'm not sure that's much of a revelation but I come from an entrepreneur / building technology structure standpoint and I am thinking of what platforms mean to users at scale and not to the buyers of those users (ostensibly, that's what the market really cares about).
3 months, 3 weeks ago on 5 Social and Mobile Trends Smart Marketers Cannot Ignore
@hessiejones @Susan_Silver Agree w/you Hessie, it's not an all or nothing thing at all there are plenty of reasons to provide people with personalized advertising / sponsored content. I think that middle ground lies in giving consumers better tools / more control over what they see and when. Of course I understand the market perspective which is that programmatic and other adtech approaches are raking in the $, but there's plenty of non-sustainable stuff going on that simply looks like traction when in fact it's transition (for ex. are we seriously still running display ads with a .003 CTR and considering that success? That's madness.).
Interesting post Susan, way more useful than the typical "next year's trends" thing on most blogs.
Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures) just wrote up a year end recap where, in part, he described social media as mature ---> http://avc.com/2014/12/what-just-happened/
I was struck by how that contrasts with some of the things we're talking about, especially re: privacy, algorithms, analytics. I'm still working out my thoughts on it (post upcoming) but I don't think I agree with him on that point. You can't control an ecosystem, but you can align it...and right now the structure of social platforms & ad tech is oriented towards controlling users in unhealthy ways e.g. "hey you agreed to this 10,000 word T&C that says we can do anything."
Social platforms and by extension marketers have to care more about the audience / user experience, or risk losing them (thinking here of the Millennial Think Tank episode you linked to in which the whole panel admitted to searching for things separately rather than clicking through ads they are actually interested in b/c they hate the targeting)
Happy new years y'all - hope 2015 brings good heart/mind work for Gini & Team, and the whole Spin Sucks Fam
3 months, 3 weeks ago on Spin Sucks Brings You: The Best Year Ever!
Great recap Amy.
Two thoughts struck me reading this: many of these insights are overlooked by the mainstream (sadly, but also advantageous for ArCompany's work), and that distintermediation (bundling & un-bundling) is clearly at work when it comes to both how Millennials consume content AND view themselves...almost as if we are following the web as it breaks down into smaller chunks and reassembles into meaningful structures. Significant changes in how we build careers is a good example of that. One year on and I'm still re-reading and thinking through Andreessen's interview w/CNN: http://fortune.com/2013/11/21/inside-the-mind-of-marc-andreessen/
4 months ago on Top Insights from our Millennial Think Tank 2014
@hessiejones @Susan_Silver I part of the reason for the extremes is that we're constantly sold the "hey this is about discovery & inspiration" mantra as if there's no tradeoff and also no alternative, but I don't think it has to be that way.
I believe a social web that allows us degrees of anonymity and identity makes sense and can be built, but something like that requires social platforms themselves to opt out of a zero sum game of "we own and can do whatever we want with literally everything you do as a user or not." That's a totally unsustainable model in the long and probably medium term.
4 months, 1 week ago on Beyond Binary: How The Social Web Is Failing Us, and What Comes Next
@AmyMccTobin @hessiejones @Mikal Belicove Another thing that might be playing into that old school mentality: because Millennials are switching roles & jobs quicker mentorship looks different, in particular it's less institution centric...I've noticed this particularly in 20-30 age range.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Are Millennials Mucking Up the Mentor Pool or Are We?
As a Millennial who mentors a range (X, Y and Z) and also as someone who's got a range of mentors myself, I'd have to agree that the idea that we can simply learn everything we need to know from an app or a video library is absurd. Also, that narrow perspective you point out misses one of the primary characteristics of mentorship: that the best ones often become bi-directional, and there's very little you can do to encourage a video library to get better.
@steve_dodd @hessiejones @AmyMccTobin @Howie Goldfarb The insights piece is huge. Look, I don't trust any platform or technology that sells you the same metrics / goals as the rest of their customers (FTR impressions have been and continue to be useless).
Not that they're not useful to suggest where to look next, but there's a difference between observation and insight (as nicely lined up by Gunther Sonnenfeld here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141125185331-5891280-insight-the-thing-that-makes-or-breaks-businesses) and the reality is that what's important to one person, team, business, etc... may be worthless for another. So when people talk about doing social or not doing social, they're engaging in a zero-sum-game. We've been sold this idea that you just get online, you start doing a bunch of things, you find the one-size fits all metrics and bam you'll start making money. That's madness. And that's why, as you say Steve, that knowledge of the customer is the most important place to start and it's why Hessie's point about sustainability and evolving with customers is critical.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on The #FutureOfBusiness Is Social: Adapt Or Die
@40deuce Sounds great Sheldon, will loop in with you in next few days!
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Millennial Think Tank: What We’ve Learned and Why We’re Launching Think Tank for Brands
Hey Tyler I wonder if you have any thoughts re: Pinterest? Curious if there's any research or if Blurbi has discovered anything there
4 months, 3 weeks ago on How your B2B Company should Share Content to Social Media
Hey @AmyMccTobin, I was thinking about this post the other day, I wonder if you could share your perspective on how you think about trust...how you think about it with this team and how it's worked over the course of your career, etc.....
4 months, 3 weeks ago on How to build a Superb Team: Chemistry is Almost Everything
Well said Amy, for the record I wouldn't work with Steve Jobs either. That's a pretty big gamble and if I'm in for a large risk I'd rather bet on people who work well together and have vision....I think what people don't realize is that while Jobs was brilliant, he was also an outlier, and those two things are not automatically correlated.
5 months, 1 week ago on How to build a Superb Team: Chemistry is Almost Everything
@hessiejones @Amy McCloskey Tobin The hierarchy thing is big - I was at a talk last night where the speaker defined entrepreneurship as discovery vs. management as delivery. I've always admired people who build lightweight, flexible structure that empowers and helps humans to work together.
The reality is that entrepreneurs don't like structure, we don't like process, because that delivery / process mindset often impedes discovery and imagination...yet clearly there has to be some structure. That balance is an art and science that very few have mastered, because the vast majority of management thinking structures are fairly useless and in fact often counterproductive to the way entrepreneurs think and act.
@hessiejones That's why I've reduced my intake of news....without context (and by context I mean, how might this matter to me / relate to the human experience) there's almost no way to process all that information ("pipeline bursts in Ukraine!" "woman falls off train trestle in Munich" "Guns n Roses releases new retrospective" .... these all blend in without context). Frankly, news orgs are guilty of chasing the 50 million "facts" model and it's at least in part because trad. media made so much money off of gated access and arrogantly thumbed their nose at the web, then expected the same level of profits when they grudgingly made the transition.
All of this is consistent with the bundling / unbundling of content...Marc Andreessen has some interesting things to say about that disintermediation about halfway through this interview: http://fortune.com/2013/11/21/inside-the-mind-of-marc-andreessen/
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Millennial Think Tank: How Millennials Consume News
I think one of the most interesting insights here was the way that everyone on the panel seems to cross check individual stories across outlets. This is consistent w/both responses we got about how Millennials watch the ethics of a brand over time, and research into how people do a great deal of research before buying or contacting a company.
Interesting post Susan. I think a lot about ecosystems, and there are some good points here about how to organically build a community. Part of that is about fostering creativity / discovery, and it's more subtle than most people think.
I often find myself re-framing things I'm working on in the community / ecosystem building sphere from "what are my goals" to "what kinds of things do I want people to understand / what ways of being & behaviors do I want to encourage?" ... helping to drive those underlying behaviors leads to more accountable metrics anyway, and it's more transparent because there's nothing quite like saying "hey we want you to walk away feeling smarter, having fun, and with something that matters to you." The other stuff always follows.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Gygax Magazine: When community goes right
@hessiejones @JoeCardillo @susansilver You're right about that. It's one reason I believe strongly in and live by lean startup methodology...too often there's this arrogance of, hey I know what's best for the market...it causes a lot of pain for companies over time.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on The Dance Between Brand and Consumer Goes On; Are You in Sync?
Well said Hessie. The conversation is kind of mindblowing to me because this:
"Ultimately, what matters is that consumers
have a payment option that is widely accepted, secure, and developed
with their best interests in mind."
translates to this: we've already decided what people want, why don't they just listen to us?
Talk about not building with your customers. That's an uphill battle not worth fighting.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on The Early Ditchers of Apple Pay Have it All Wrong
Wow. @susansilver this is solid stuff. I've got a lot of thoughts, but foremost among them comes right from the top point: brands are asking about what their return is, but they are not asking what their customer's return is (and I don't buy for a second that the customer's return is the product; the experience and alignment of beliefs are critical as well, and data/privacy are huge drivers for a negative or positive in those areas).
That's the whole damn point about doing community, conversation, social media, whatever term one wants to latch onto. Brands still don't realize, it's not about them. It's also not completely about the customer. It's about value that's created together (and how many brands are truly doing that? as opposed to talking about it, crowdsourcing some photos, and signing off on impressions...)
The why is so, so important. I remember looking at a survey of a few thousand Millennials and it addressed how much time they spend on mobile / tablet and I started thinking about how people interpret those sort of stats as a holy grail. But you can get people to "engage" with your content and they might still hate you, or be there because they are curious to watch a trainwreck and you just don't know that you happen to be that trainwreck.
That's where I get geeked on the ppsychology / sociology stuff. And the answers always come from your audience / customer. You might not like the answers, but they're present.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on What are consumer insights and where do we find them?
This one was particularly interesting for me, since I'm not a sports fanatic.
I'm in favor of and believe that transparency is fairly inevitable, those sports and sports brands that embrace it as a way to hold themselves accountable and mandate real, sustainable growth are going to win in the long term. I wonder how much of the problem is really guts & vision at the top, since the real problem here for many sports is "we've always done it this way" instead of "we're always looking for ways to grow and develop."
Also, we didn't have anywhere near enough time to get into Nascar, but the green.nascar.com initiative is fascinating.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Millennial Think Tank: The Future of Sports
@susansilver The perceptions and attitudes thing is big, I think part of what's going on is the shift in power...it used to be the association / leadership of a professional league had a lot of say, e.g. the NFL defined what was good / important culturally and controlled the conversation around tradeoffs whereas now that's not possible.
Same goes for golf. The tradeoffs of not building courses that are environmentally friendly, not combating racism / sexism...well, the PGA, golf courses, and local golf associations no longer get to decide how the tradeoffs work and if they want to attract audiences they'll have to build the nuts & bolts + brand of the sport with audiences instead of delivering a product and saying take it or leave it. Obviously it's not hard to see where I stand, I like the idea of continuous customer development. It's much easier than shoving things down the throat of the market, and there's value in it for everyone.
Couple of interesting threads stuck out to me, both in participating and in reading the recap here:
1) The whole "pays attention over time" thing, we've seen that before a couple of times in regards to brand ethics and how brands share their story across different channels. Not surprising that Millennials apply that to both personal and business relationships. I think it reflects a long view of signal v. noise, and that brands OR individuals that help us w/information overload by being more direct, consistent, and honest in their communication get rewarded for it with a great deal of trust (think of the brand ethics moment we had where nearly everyone on the hangout agree that a Coca-Cola or other large co that was honest about their failings and what they were working on actually prompted more trust). And conversely, we punish and/or cut out those that aren't.
2) Re: the In Real Life thing, I'm actually less worried about that than most. Maybe that's generational? E.g. that being a (nearly) digital native I simply accept that it takes time to get to know someone online and am watching for various signals over time? What I've seen is that it's both possible and rewarding to develop relationships online, and frankly I don't really distinguish between the two like I used to. But, as I'd said on the hangout I think the web is still a long way from representing the concept of human discovery as we experience it offline so we're still working against that.
6 months, 1 week ago on Millennial Think Tank: The Impact of Social Media on Personal Relationships
This was a really interesting one to go back and think about. We've talked before about how Millennials seem to value experiences over owning things, but there are deeper implications for brands / companies, too. One thing this episode of the think tank suggests to me is that companies are going to need to think about how to help their customers /audiences collaborate with people they are close to, and that matter to them. That alignment is going to be very painful for some co's.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Millennial Think Tank: Relationships, Traditional Values & Gender Roles
This is a good one Jure - it reminds me of something I read this morning about cust. development from the founder of Groove (Helpdesk software): http://www.groovehq.com/blog/customer-development
Having a testing mentality and being willing to learn go a long way, but most people pay lipservice to those ideas, as they do to the idea of truly understanding one's customers. It's really a community building / partnership exercise, that then gets fed back into the culture of a company and also the design / technology being used or built.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Do you really know your Customers?
Definitely agree w/you on the $4k-8k as ideal range for a good 60sec+ video. Video / film more than almost any other medium is where poor editing/production gets exposed and to be honest, I tell people they're better off not doing it rather than doing it badly.
7 months, 1 week ago on Video Production: The Benefits of Going Pro
@KevinVandever I would *love* a copy of the book. Let me take you out for coffee next time I'm in LA? ;)
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Happy Birthday, Spin Sucks!
@Frank_Strong @JoeCardillo Interesting - I actually think you define the problem well, what I'm grappling with is the fact that the conversation is shaped by the structure of the web, and social networks. I guess part of my point is that the content + conversation is still very limited, and frequency hopping won't be understandable or addressable until marketers and content creators get the structure that they're being forced to work within. There are ways for marketers to hack that process, but they have to first unattach from some of the common and short sighted perspectives that social networks, marketing technology, and "Big Data Gurus" are positing as revolutionary.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Frequency Hop: The Social Conversation Fragments
Congrats Gini & team, that's impressive stuff!
Been thinking a lot about this Frank. Writing something and will cc you when I finish it, but basic idea deals with the fact that social networks use words like "discovery" and "connection" and then ask "what do you want to see / engage with" but don't truly let us answer the question.
Instead, we are ID'd by who we follow and what we look at (instead of being asked "what matters to you"), shown a bunch of junk, and then (poorly) targeted across the web. It's very, very far from the complete human experience and until we are shaping products instead of them shaping us it'll remain a problem. That means taking the hard route, e.g. building things like Wolfram Alpha. I think it's doable and we're seeing glimmers of that kind of web. But marketing and social networks are largely self-referential echo chambers where people don't want to hear things like this or take the risks necessary to build a world that's truly about inspiring and reaching other humans.
@Kelsey Vere @Howie Goldfarb Grey area, hasn't been completely worked out yet...you are probably correct, but if someone takes a partial screengrab and links back to the author's full version, that may fall under fair use. Some of it addressed by this: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/website-permissions/linking/
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws
@bobledrew I like CC as well - and Wikipedia has a pretty thorough and accurate rundown of public domain image sites http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources
Re: governing laws, lot of nuance there, which you can get a sense of from blogs like 1709 - http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/
@Howie Goldfarb Also the Guns n Roses box set. Can't get through a webinar without that.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Use Visuals in Your Content Marketing
@LauraPetrolino True. I purposefully try to steer clear of being negative, but there are definitely some bad examples out there.
@biggreenpen Will get the Paula seal of approval! I hope.. = )
@JohnMTrader Very good Q. Not something I get into in detail but it will be addressed in part. One of the advantages of creating good, inspiring visuals is that they are more universally relateable...we respond to human / easily recognizable imagery across cultures.