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Too many options, too little time

(ps – total rant)

Why do we consistently need to focus on “Who is the next Google killer?” or “What is the next Twitter?” Google is here and it is successful, Twitter has a loyal following and is continuing to grow in numbers. Can’t we be happy with what is at our finger tips and continue to review what is new and integrate that into our daily life? Can’t we live with enhancements to the current offerings rather than look to transplant ourselves somewhere else? What is our obsession with moving from one thing to the next?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love technology and innovation and am glad that we currently have at our disposal the tools that we do. I use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms to stay informed and keep in touch, but I am not looking for the next replacement to any of those. I have also worked in Social Media for over 12 years, so I am very glad to see where it has come from, but…..

With the options that are current at our fingertips, it is overwhelming, IMO. Some people are here, some are there, and some are not anywhere. How do you choose where to go and who to interact with?

This reminds me of when I was growing up – OMG, I am starting to sound like my parents now. Back in the day, we had minimal TV channels and things were on at certain times of the day – no TiVo, no DVR, just live TV. I remember running home from school or waking up early so that I could watch a show and when I would run into my friends, we would talk about it, because that was the only thing that was on TV, or the only option that we had. (I love my DVR and love that I can fast-forward through the commercials).
For kids, and adults for that matter, it is tougher now and the conversations begin with “What shows do you watch?” or What are your favorite games?” and if you don’t watch the same shows or play the same games we initially think that we don’t have anything in common with that other person. 

Is it just me, or are things beginning to move a little fast? Is there such a  thing as too many options?

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There is no “I” in team, but there is a “ME”

When I was at SXSW, the last session that I attended was Hitting Bombs: Better Social Business through Sports Metaphors, hosted by Tim Walker, Kyle Flaherty and Aaron Strout. It was a very interactive session with a lot of experienced individuals in the room sharing their favorite expression and how it related to their professional life, not generally specific to Social Media, but specific to specific situations in business. Great session and stories, thanks guys!

Fast forward to last night

I was watching the Red Sox game vs. the Texas Rangers. As you may, or may not know, the Red Sox have been in a slump, starting off the season 4-9, their worst start since 1996. Many players are slumping and not hitting, but I want to point to 1 specifically, Big Papi, David Ortiz. Last night he was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, and for his 4th at bat, Mike Lowell came in and pitch hit for him. Mike Lowell ended up walking during the at bat, and the Sox ended up leaving the bases loaded during that inning. At the end of the inning, David Ortiz gave Mike a pat on the back, un-tucked his shirt and then went back down into the club house to take a shower. Now I would not have a problem with this if the game was over, but it was the 7th inning and the Sox were losing 6-4.

Fast forward to the next inning (bottom of the 8th)

Darnell McDonald (just called up from the minors) come up to the plate with a man on and hits a 2 run Home run to win the game. The Sox tie the game, and hold the Rangers during the next inning to no runs.

Fast forward to the next inning (bottom of the 9th)

Darnell McDonald comes to the plate with 2 outs and 2 men on, and hits a ball off of the Green Monster to make the game winning hit – the team meets him on second base, congratulating him, giving him high 5’s, celebrating, it was a great occasion to be a part of from a “Team” standpoint. Something that could have a long lasting effect on the way that younger and older players play, a good bonding experience (like the Varitek/ARod fight of a couple of years ago) but….where was David Ortiz?

During the celebration I was looking and looking for him, but I did not see him (if he was there, then I do apologize).

It is important to celebrate the good times, and also figure out how to get through the bad times, as a team. It is the same in business as it is in professional sports. We need to understand that we are not always on our game, and when we are not, expect to be “pinch-hit” for. We have all been there before, but the fact of the matter is that the Team comes first, and you do not.

There are so many overview blog posts from SXSW that I almost did not plan to write one up, but then thought, “Why not?”

The event is great on many different levels. The networking opportunities are never-ending. There are so many people there (attendance increase +40% compared to last year) that you run into people that you know (or recognize) on every corner. There are a lot of smart people that attend the event, and I was very happy to network and meet all of the people that I met. This was my 1st year attending, and I will say that it did live up to most of my expectations. I do have 1 complaint that I have heard many people talk about, and I also wanted to add in my .02.

Sessions
Everyday there are a ton of sessions. The variety of topics that were covered ranged from “Protecting your teenagers online” to “How the porn industry leverages Social Media.” I think that the variety in sessions really displays how important Social Media is in everyday life, both professionally and personally. An increase in variety though, generally means an increase in sessions – which ends up being a decrease in quality and watered down content.

I was only able to attend about 5 sessions the entire time that I was there, but I was also informed by people that have attended the show before that 5 was actually a good amount. To my dismay 2 of the sessions were “iffy” at best and not billed up to what there were supposed to be. I have also read that the Keynote with Twitter CEO Evan Williams on Monday was a disaster, with ~80% of the people leaving before the end (I was not there, but that was the general feeling from the people that I had talked to).

First, let me say that I respect every speaker at SXSW and all of the sessions that were held. It takes a lot to get up in front of any crowd, create a descriptive presentation, present it and take questions. I have done this a couple of times and I still get that pit in my stomach beforehand. Sometimes I am able to walk right through the presentation and everything works out, and sometimes I am off of my game and lose my audience. I get that, which is why I am a professional speaker. I also accept that. You only get better at things through practice.

While I was sitting in some of these sessions, I started to wonder how many times that some of these speakers have ever sat up in front of a large audience and ran through a presentation. How many have ever attended SXSW, sat through a session and thought, you know what, this session could have been better, and here is how. It is very important to experience an event like SXSW before you jump into thinking that you can submit a session, get it voted on and then you are off to the races.

In closing, I really do want to say that I respect all of the speakers at SXSW. It is easy to judge coming from the outside. I just hope that in the future, that we can improve the quality of the sessions.

The title of this post is the same as the title for the Editors note in this February’s Inc. – The Magazine for Growing Companies – magazine. I found it to be a very interesting Editors note, and wanted to highlight the closing point from Jane Berentson:

“Maybe we should replace “the customer is always right” with a saying that is more appropriate for the times that we live in: Customers and companies should do right by each other.”

The paragraph before that is actually better:

…customers, too, have a responsibility to make a commercial transaction easy and pleasant, and if something goes awry, they should make their feelings known in a way that’s considerate – and considered. It’s always been possible to complain about a sloppy salesperson or a slow waiter or aggravating help lines, but the Internet makes it possible to criticize in a public forum, which increases the string of that criticism exponentially. The web shouldn’t be a tool for cleverness or cruelty at the expense of someone else. Care should be taken.”

Now I understand that in some cases, emotions get the best of us, but time and time again I have also recognized the way that some of our expectations have become unreasonable. I briefly talked about this in a prior blog post, “Have we become spoiled”, but after reading this Editors note, and observing some recent incidents on Twitter and elsewhere, I wanted to revisit the concept.

Take this potential scenario from Twitter:

Customer – I just had the worst experience with Brand X

Brand X – We are sorry to hear that, please email us (help@brand_x.com) and tell us your story.

Customer – I just sent an email to Brand X and received an automatic email saying that they will get back to me in 7-10 days #fail

Customer – So much for Brand X addressing my situation, can’t believe that I have to wait #fail

Is that really a #fail? As a customer, you were able to vocalize your opinion to your network of people. Brand Y actually did engage with you and sent you down a communication path to inform them of your experience.

Somewhere along the road though, you are not satisfied with that. Is it because you have 10,000 followers and believe that you should be treated differently? What about everyone else whose email are waiting in that queue, why do you all of a sudden feel that your complaint should be put above everyone else’s?

If you do right by them, odds are they will do right by you!

 

In a time of immediacy and the Internet, with the information flow as fast as it is, why is NBC still holding on to the “tape delay” aspect of the Olympics? Why can they not understand that people want to see events live and not have to tip toe around the internet during their day in order to not find out who won a specific event?

Now I understand the whole “commercial” part of the Olympics and that everyone wants to be in “Prime-Time, but it is not like some of the most popular events are not happening at night. Is NBC just living in the past? Are they afraid that they can not work in a “Live” workplace?  They could still stream the events live on their website and place banner ads where they please. I really think that they are missing out on a significant opportunity here.

I don’t know, maybe it is just me, but I really think that the format needs to be changed with having this coverage “Live” and as it happens. #fail IMO

Employment

I am currently employed at Autodesk as a Senior Manager of Online Community and Social Engagement. My team is responsible for the Customer Support initiatives across all of our Social channels.

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