‘Trickies’ Related to Modern Marketing

Accountability Communication Transformation

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Key Point: The world of marketing is getting turned upside down, yet it remains so much the same. Sellers always look to find ways to emotionally connect so we might purchase products. How do we navigate through it?

I just attended the kick-off of the 2018 SXSW extravaganza in Austin, TX. So many insights are washing over me, that I’m honestly struggling a little to sort through what’s going on and how it’s personally impacting me. Let me give you some examples of this headspace swirl I’m in.

  • I had a chance to hang out in a cool, intimate setting on E. 6th St. (Dirty Sixth, they call it), with people like Michael Loeb (a high impact billionaire), and “Mr. Crush It,” Gary Vaynerchuk. I was heartened by their genuine focus on encouraging and investing in leaders and companies that both advance humankind AND make lots of money. They both talked about generosity and abundance. How cool is that?
  • I also was intrigued to hear 18-year-old entrepreneur, Connor Blakley, founder of YouthLogic, school the audience about how Gen Z thinks and acts. He actively helps brands work with high impact social influencers (Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Kendall Jenner, etc). They have an inordinately big impact on brand performance, (ask Snapchat). And if you don’t understand micro-influencers, you are out of the loop.
  • Then I come to grips with Google owned YouTube’s AI driven business model and realize that when I watch a video, their algorithms will move me to more extreme videos. The sad news is that the algorithms seem to point us towards the more intense or inflammatory information, leveraging our natural tendencies to see “what’s behind the curtain.” YouTube knows we have a natural curiosity to dig deeper, because the more and longer we look at videos, advertisement sales go up (see Professor Zeynep Tufekci’s op-ed from this Sunday’s NYT).
  • And then I learn about new research from MIT, and find out that lies or false stories spread farther and faster than truthful content. To make it more uncomfortable, the research points out that real people, often barely credible ones from a “follow” metric, are capable of spreading falsehoods every bit as much as “bots” or trolls. Geez (see this article by Sinan Aral).

Ok, and just to put all this in perspective, I went to a health fair at SXSW and bought, from a classic “snake oil” salesman, what are essentially punched out metal dog-tags that apparently will change my electrical system and right 60-plus years of abuse to my bod. (Garrett was so disgusted with my naivety that he reminded me that his mother once banned me from watching the shopping network after the arrival of the electronic 6-pack abs maker ☺).

So while social media, macro and micro social influencers, bots, trolls, hucksters, AI, learning algorithms, fake news, conspiracies, etc. will explode and become trickier in attempting to manipulate us, we more than ever need value-based leaders and astute consumers of content.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. As a consumer, become more aware than ever that little or nothing shows up by coincidence in our online world. Become more knowledgeable of how big content purveyors like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, really work. Nothing is ever truly free. Be aware of the sincerity of influence from people you follow.
  2. Leaders – If you’re not truly advancing humankind in the best way, then ask yourself if your business model is worth selling your soul for. Why, not how, might we make the world better AND make money?

Modern marketing and ethics in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: De-monetization, shadow banning, etc, are also new terms that I’ve learned from those trying to navigate the algorithms of giants like YouTube and Twitter within the last couple years. As recently as March 12, popular vlogger and overall positivity-machine Roman Atwood announced that he was going to stop daily vlogs on YouTube and focus his efforts in a separate direction because he believes YouTube has intentions to force daily vloggers to fade out. (He has 14 million subscribers, btw). It’s wild out there, but thanks to awesome information from festivals like SXSW, and ongoing discussions, we can all attempt to navigate these rapids as best as possible. Hopefully world improvement and money making won’t capsize in the “stream.”

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

From Code to Click

Accountability Growth mindset Transformation

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Key Point: Why would almost 200,000 people spend thousands of dollars and invest a week of their lives to attend a SalesForce conference? I think it partly has to do with the totally accessible movement defined as “From Coding to Clicking,” and the truly millions of opportunities being created as a result.

We all will literally have the ability to create and co-create digital experiences and applications without writing any material software code. Using the amazing platforms built by public cloud based powerhouses like Google and SalesForce, most of us will be able to become data scientists and software “engineers.” IT and business is merging into a fully integrated partnership, and it’s rapidly happening at an individual level as well. When we get the ability to fully leverage these big system platforms, the investment starts to turn into how well you and I can use the full potential of these amazing foundations. Let me give you an example pertaining to SalesForce. To promote this technology mastery, there is a SalesForce certification for almost every role in any organization. When one applies certification competence, we become much more valuable to our companies, others and ourselves. We build more personal equity. I’m going to share a just a few examples of the hundreds of certifications offered by SalesForce through their learning and certification platform called Trailhead:

Administrator’s Certification: Confirms you have the skills and knowledge to customize, configure, and manage a SalesForce implementation.

Developers Certification: Platform Developer 11; gain skill and knowledge in advanced programmatic capabilities of the SalesForce platform to build custom applications on their platform.

Marketers Cloud Social Specialists Certification: Add skills in the social landscape and components of Social Studio; including post creation management, analysis of conversations and reporting.

Specialists Certification: (This would be for executives). Learn how to lead and optimize the full use of the SF platform. And Google has the same “mastery” mentality and learning opportunities.

While these platforms are essentially equal for all, building on top of them is totally unique, customizable and scalable in distinctly different ways for each participating organization. Hence, the more each of us know about harnessing them, the more advantage we and our organizations have.

You might ask, “so what?” Great legacy firms like Microsoft and Cisco have been genius at applying certification learning systems for years. The big difference I’m noticing is that in most cases those certifications were limited or focused on IT or engineering roles. In the case of Google’s Cloud Platform and SalesForce, EVERYONE and EVERY role ideally becomes “certified,” and a power user. Not on every aspect of the full platform, of course, but as the system applies to each individual role.

At SalesForce’s DreamForce 17 conference, which just concluded, 175,000 (that’s the announced attendance) followers descended on San Francisco for four days. It was mind blowing to see the movement and momentum. And when SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff had a fireside chat with Diane Greene, Alphabet board member and head of Google Cloud, their partnership vision sparked a “WOW.” Everything in the public cloud harnessing the world’s leading AI/machine learning, predictive data science and search, etc, all at warp speed as these two giant forces connect to drive exponentiality. Talk about 10X.

The leading companies in attendance at DF17 want their employees to obsessively focus on applying their purpose to customers by leveraging every bit of advantage these platforms and their robust eco-systems provide. In that context – speed, agility and adaptability becomes THE advantage. That’s why the notion of rapidly progressing from “code to click” has huge momentum. Whatever market your company is in; financial services, construction, food services, etc, can be great at providing customers indispensable value. If you want to build your own software platform and apps on your own infrastructure, well, good luck. I’m “shorting your stock.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Determine what you will become certified in to make yourself more of a digital expert. Even if your company doesn’t use Google or SalesForce, think about making yourself way more marketable by becoming certified on these or other leading platforms. In most cases, these certifications are online and free.
  2. Business leaders and all levels of employees must be futurists, humanitarians, innovators AND technologists. What will you put on your resume to demonstrate that you are progressing in the technology category? Every role requires it.

Lorne

One Millennial View: Well, the homework didn’t end with your last earned degree. I’ve taken a few minutes to research what SalesForce has to offer in their Trialhead course department, and you can certainly access a wealth of information. While taking online coursework may seem daunting, you can’t really put “Watched Stranger Things Season 2” on your resume, so balancing your time by binging on a certification may be a great idea. You know, then go back to Stranger Things.>

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Dogfooding: The Company & You 

Accountability Management Organizational leadership

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Key Point: “Dogfooding” is a matter of integrity. You likely guessed that this refers to the adage many of us have heard: “Eat your own dog food.” The following outlines Facebook’s approach on the subject:

“Dogfooding” is a common practice of most IT companies for fixing the bugs in the application they create, but Facebook goes a step beyond by using the technique to retain employees, according to a report from The Economic Times. Facebook is using this technique to engage its young employees, with most of them being in their twenties and edgy and/or impatient… James Mitchell, head of the Hyderabad office (India) says, “Dogfooding is one of the best outlets that we can provide for young, enterprising intelligent minds. It binds them to the product and the company very strongly.” He says that Dogfooding is the standard through which voice of the employees can be heard. Facebook employees hack, test, and beat up all their products before (and after) they hit the market.

As per Facebook, Google and other leading companies, it’s strategically important for employees to “dogfood” its own products. And I believe this concept applies to us personally, too. One example is that I strongly believe we personally cannot stay in the high performance zone indefinitely. In full, high-performance, we eventually become fatigued and stressed so we need to intentionally REST. Leading firms like The Energy Group, who study this process deeply, understand and teach groups how to flow from high-performance to rest, and back again. They advise everything possible to avoid prolonged time in the fatigue/stress zone. If one stays too long in this stress zone, well, unintended bad things typically happen to us.

I’ve written about the importance of personal energy management a few times over the years. Most of my readers know my team and I have been leading an intense enterprise initiative since January. It’s been relentless; The thinking, planning and execution. It’s involved many 14-hour days, weekends, travel, and the excitement/anxiety associated with high risk/return movements. So… Dogfooding… Both my team and I need to internationally REST. Take some white space, and reenergize before we step on the gas again.

Character Moves:

  1. Dogfood your company products.
  2. Dogfood your beliefs and values. Both 1 and 2 are about integrity.

Dogfooding in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: Millennials all want to move a million miles an hour towards our goals, and certainly don’t live with much patience. But, even NASCAR crews have to take a pit stop and “check their tires.” If you need kibbles and bits of advice, this is a good one to chow down on.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Determine your MTP: Massive Transformative Purpose

Accountability Purpose Transformation

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Key Point: A well-defined MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose) is instrumental in building a different and more valuable kind of company. And most successful new startups these days have this defined before they even kick-start. And an MTP is not primarily about making tons of money for shareholders (although when the MTP is achieved, that’s what happens too). It’s a much bigger inspirational WHY the company exists in the first place.

This past week I met with a 24-year-old Canadian entrepreneur who just sold his first start-up to a global company for $xx millions of dollars. He knows this “take over” company will scale his MTP, and make it a world wide reality. I remember talking to him about his idea a few years ago. There were a number of more prestigious and certainly hipper things this guy could have done in the short run, including but not limited to grad school, high end consulting, big company management, etc. But, he had a massive thought about changing the lives of the elderly incontinent by taking advantage of digital sensors and the ubiquitous wifi/Internet now available to nursing homes. So, what did he do to prove out his thesis that the elderly incontinent deserved the dignity and well-being to live in clean adult diapers? (Not “sexy” at all and for many people his age, well beyond interest, focus or comprehension). Well, he and his team decided to take a minimal viable prototype to nursing homes and learn from there. The entire start-up team stayed at three different nursing homes over a 12-month period. Yup, these 20-plus year olds moved right in to those homes, often staying in sleeping bags on the floor of an unused space, literally living with residents and staff. They knew their technology would work, but to really understand the impact of their product, they immersed themselves in full observation. The result was a dramatic improvement to the prototype, and ultimately a big win for the nursing home residents and their beleaguered care givers… No more middle of the night wake up calls – less sores, infections and indignity. Purpose matters. A massive transformative purpose matters even more. It is really thinking BIG! This mindset applies to our current giant or more modest challenges; from adult diaper wetting to feeding all the hungry. 

So WHY does your company exist? What difference does it make in the world? Simon Sinek talks about the “why.” See the following from an article in Dare2: “Exponential organizations talk about the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP). It is no longer enough just to be in the market to create profits for your stakeholders. Customers and employees are attracted to companies that aren’t purely commercial, but have a greater purpose and communicate this purpose. Zappo’s MTP is ‘Delivering Happiness.’Yeah, maybe on paper they are selling shoes, but there’s a big difference for employees who wake up every morning to sell a lace up shoe in size 8 versus an employee that wakes up to deliver happiness in size 8. MTPs also give companies a much bigger board to strategically play with. Google’s MTP is ‘Organizing the world’s information.’ The breadth of this makes projects like autonomous cars and Google Glass — products that otherwise seem really out of touch with Google’s strategy — fit perfectly because it supports their greater purpose. Even Coca-Cola has an MTP. It’s ‘Open Happiness,’not ‘We are in the market to maximize the benefits for our shareholders and be the leading distribution chain for sugary soft drinks.’ Most startups are born with an MTP. It is their guiding light. The upward bound that holds all their activities together. ” 

When in NYC last week, I heard about an MTP regarding nutritiously feeding the entire world for pennies a day based on open source thinking. A very talented software developer got tired from having to break development activities to eat. So, he quit software development and hacked a basic nutrition formula that would cost effectively provide all of us our daily needed source of nutrition and then open sourced it. It’s called Soylent! Their MTP: “We at Soylent seek to use science, technology, and business as tools to improve the quality and accessibility of nourishing food. We aim to provide complete nutrition to all while reducing the costs of its production. To accomplish this mission, we have focused on creating a line of products to provide affordable, convenient, complete nutrition that is accessible to all. When we say “all” – we really mean all. In the last three months, we have already donated more than half a million meals to food banks around the country, with the goal of donating 1 million meals this year.” Read more on their site.

Character Moves:

  1. Do you work for an organization with a clear sense of WHY and greater good, purpose? And what about an even bigger thought? A Massive Transformative Purpose? Don’t be afraid to be part of thinking BIG. Like Google’s Ray Kurzweil notes, “If you want to be a billionaire, help a billion people.” Why would one want to work for a company or organization that just wanted to make a lot of money for a bunch of rich people? Especially if it diminishes humankind rather than advancing it? Think big, be big for humankind. Now is the time.

MTPs in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: Wow, good for those guys! When you hear stories of how entrepreneurs actually get up and DO, it’s always inspiring. That’s why I recently wrote this piece on a guy I admire, Gary Vaynerchuk… It’s people like this that can really fire you up, make you ask how you can better tackle your day, and think BIG, no matter what industry you’re in.

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Head in the Cloud

Accountability Productivity Transformation

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Key Point: We can’t afford to waste time redoing work. I was reminded of this the hard way last Thursday night. The experience negatively impacted my readers, writing partner/editor, company team members, dinner guests, and me. I was very frustrated and this cascaded to my executive assistant and IT support team as well.

I write my blogs in advance of the night Garrett and I review it and schedule publication. We know it’s important to our readers to receive the blog consistently (every Tuesday and Friday like clockwork). Quite a few of our North American readers make it part of their personal routine to read it first thing the morning it’s published. So it’s important not to miss. It usually takes me 1.5 to two hours to write the draft of one blog. This past week, I wrote blog No. 2 of the week on a Tuesday flight to Toronto. After getting the draft done, I saved it on my device, an iPad Pro. I knew I had meetings all day Thursday and a dinner meeting Thursday night, resulting in a very tight timeframe for Garrett and me to review that night before scheduling publication for Friday 5:00 a.m. PST. As soon as my Thursday all-day meeting ended, I grabbed my iPad and expected to pull up my draft, add a few finishing touches, send to Garrett and head out to my dinner. Easy, peasy.

Surprise… All my company email had completely disappeared off my device. My blog, sitting in a draft folder in outlook, was inaccessible. Two hours later, after heroic efforts by my exceptional assistant and a top notch IT teammate, my email was restored. However, the event permanently wiped out my draft blog with zero recovery options. So two hours late for my dinner meeting and having to do a complete rewrite, well frankly, I lost my energy and practical window to create a new blog. Garrett, his ever creative and resourceful self, wisely chose to write an apology blog and attach a helpful article. You know the rest.

With current advanced cloud based networks like Google’s, the process of digital work is changed forever. I’m writing this blog in my Gmail account, and that is now securely stored in the Google cloud. So what happened last Thursday will not happen to me again. I will never press “save” again and store content in a folder held on servers behind a fire wall and/or on any device. With my drafts in Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, etc, my blog will always be available. All I need to do is grab ANY device, log in and my stuff is always there. There is a remote chance that the Google network could go “down,” but if that happened we’d likely be experiencing some catastrophic “world” event in which having access to my data would likely be a secondary priority.

Cloud based storage and fantastic productivity/communication platforms like Google’s G Suite results in the work experience changing for the better, forever. Accessing content from anywhere there is internet access, on any device, at any time, allows us FREEDOM and CHOICE; two huge contributors to personal happiness. And how we work is being transformed as well. Being able to video connect individuals and groups easily, having multiple people from anywhere working on a single version document, resulting in one version of truth, integrating with search, etc. etc; well the possibilities regarding reinventing work are limited only by our imagination. It is very exciting, and possibilities for 10x work improvement are literally endless.

In my new role as Chief Evangelist, my team and I have the unique opportunity to make Google’s G Suite platform available to 5,000 of the best teammates in the world. Thinking about how these superb workers are going to apply this tool set/platform almost makes me giddy with excitement. The key thing to understand is that this initiative includes superb new technology AND is also first and foremost about being able to contribute and create more effectively, individually and collectively. We will also be able to more seamlessly integrate work into the way we want to live today!! This is BIG and it is TRANSFORMATIVE! Lucky us.

Character Moves:

1. Commit to working and creating with the most modern collaboration, communication and innovation tools/platforms/systems available. In today’s work this means your digital device has platforms like Google’s G Suite and applications like Slack, WhatsApp, Linkedin, etc.

2. Recognize and embrace these modern platforms from the perspective of living with more autonomy, unleashing your creativity, connecting better with others and becoming richer in every way. And as I often say: Do it now because you’re worth it.

Clouds in the Triangle,

Lorne

P.S. if you need any help learning to use these digital tools /platforms find a 9-year-old like my grandson; they are excellent tutors and fun to hang out with too!!!

One Millennial View: As my Dad knows, I often have to push myself to “do it now.” I can be a world-class procrastinator, and sometimes try to convince myself that I’m magically “more effective” if I’m on a tight deadline (probably B.S.). Thankfully, these easily accessible applications play a huge role in my professional and personal life, and despite any challenges that 2017 might bring, it’s incredible what we have access to. What a time. There’s no excuse not to utilize them.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis