Karen Rubin and Mike Volpe Hosting Hubspot TV's 1 Year Anniversary
Yesterday was the start of my evaluation of Hubspot. There will be a Smashmouth Product Review coming shortly, but I just had to comment on how it got started. After a one hour detailed demo from Bonnie and Chris, and an interrogation by me, Linda and I got to join the Hubspot team and local twitterati for the 1 year anniversary of Hubspot TV. It doesn't impact the review, but it definitely impacts my impression of the company and people. They were all energetic, fun, welcoming, marketing-savants -- great to be around.
We loved every minute of it. Thanks to Dan Tyre and Mike Volpe for hosting us.
As far as the review... I've spent about 3 hours with the product (not counting the time Bonnie and Chris put in), and I've been able to use most of the basic functions without a hitch. I was trying to upload a video and couldn't quite figure out how to upload/host it. For now I had to opt for a slideshare version of our video What Does Sales Want? I'm sure I can get a few pointers from support and put a checkmark next to that issue.
My highest level of excitement though is the fact that SEO and Inbound Marketing written all over it. I can hear "you've got mail" already.
More detail in the official review.
My vacation read was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - an incredibly told story of Dracula from both an historical perspective, a thriller, and a biographical twist. It was a great book and I recommend it highly, but after a couple hours per day, some rain and relaxation, my mind still wandered back to work. Not much, mind you, but enough so that I wondered if I should pay attention to it.
After talking with my wife and Green Leads business partner, Linda (who had no problem forgetting work), I stumbled upon the thought of doing those creative projects that I never have time for. I'm stimulated by creative work such as writing a fun blog article or doing a souped up graphic that is needed for a presentation, creative work for me is relaxing.
So these are the 5 things I did on vacation that were work, but were not mentally taxing in a work sort of way. I came back refreshed, despite the three days of rain:
- Write a couple blog articles - not the tough, fact filled kind, but the light ones that come easily. (I banged out 4 that I'll use for fillers in the future)
- Catch up on RSS feeds - peruse all those brilliant bloggers out there that you never have time to read
- Paint a picture - I've had a diagram that I've wanted to do for a presentation that has been lingering in my mind for months. Drawing stimulates a different part of the brain
- Comment - We all know that blog comments help with organic search results, cross linking, etc. We also know that we all have opinions. So go leave a few. Don't forget though, learn how to use HREF tags so you can link your brilliant comments back to your blog or to other relevant links -- otherwise, you're just typing
- Teach - Sharing what you know is typically a feel good, especially if it is voluntary. Find someone within vacation ear shot that could benefit by learning about twitter, or social media, or anything valuable, and share
One of the blogs I read is Web Ink Now by David Meerman Scott (@dmscott).
Love the insight and tone, and the fact that he rarely lets me down. This week, David posted a great video (below) that he found through Trevor Young (@trevoryoung), that he found from Ross Monaghan (@themediapod) (boy, this twitter RT credit can get lengthy), that was produced by Engage | ORM and besides being a great short production, it too is insightful.
The video compares the rebellious, outspoken, revolutionary aspects of the Punk Rock movement to what we see today with Social Media -- the revolution not quite being politics, sex and drugs, but a revolution in how people communicate, share and propagate ideas. I follow it completely, but I'll add to it in a way that seems to extend or complete the analogy (for me at least).
Punk was Rebellion. Punk was Revolution. Punk was a Protest.
Communities and communications in Social Media are less about a Protest, and more about Sharing. I think that Punk burned out because it was never seen by the masses as acceptable and mainstream behavior. Social Media, on the other hand is. Generations of families are connected on Facebook. Competitors are having open discussions on twitter and even re-tweeting each other. Non profits and causes are thriving due to social media. Professional networks are reaching beyond the Kiwanis club and the golf course with LinkedIn.
Social Media is so much more than Punk. It has survived the early adopters, and it has broken through the mainstream barrier. Just as television and radio communications sparked changes in race relations, sexuality, politics and the balance of world power (different blog post), the new, "Social Media", will bring changes that we can't yet predict. What we can do is participate. Post updates, speak our mind, compare and contrast ideas, and connect with others.
The Clash got it 180° from where Social Media is today:
You have the right to free
Speech as long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it.
Clash, Know Your Rights
Engage | ORM's video:
I have my notebook of ideas for when Linda and I build our green home. It's a few years off, I'm sure, but it's full of sketches, articles, diagrams and some day, this wish book will be our home. I just added the article Eco Principles for Community Living from Treehugger. An excerpt from the article:
"Acclaimed green architect Michelle Kaufmann is now trying to parlay her success with prefab homes into green community living in her new white paper Embracing Thoughtful, Walkable Neighborhoods. Green communities are critical to changing the face of American growth because currently "if everyone in the world lived in a style similar to that of an average American, we would require three Earths to support the demand on our natural resources,” says Kaufmann."
Do you trust the statistics you use when you are making marketing decisions? Yahoo recently published a research study claiming that "77% of consumers identify themselves as green." They go on to state that "23% claim to be deeply committed to environmental issues," and that "71% have an interest in purchasing an environmentally sound car." And, that "72 percent saying they get (green) information in traditional media and 68 percent citing online," and tout portals as still being strong sources of information (of course).
Then there is one very important piece of data buried at the bottom, "respondents were recruited ONLINE." Could this possibly be tainted NOT to represent consumers as a whole? I think so. Online respondents could possibly be on the upper end of the economic scale, education, and already interested in green if they decided to respond to a green survey.
As a marketer, I dig through numbers all the time. Analyst reports, claims on blog articles, even conversational stats. Having taken a handful of probability and statistics courses, some market research courses, and having wanted to make a point or two with numbers myself in the past, I always look for the source. Knowing the source is like knowing the butterfly in the butterfly effect.
Stephen Dubner, one of the Freakonomics co-authors, stated in Global PR Week Blog, that, "The three things marketers can mainly learn from our book include
- realizing conventional wisdom is often wrong;
- dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes; and,
- knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world much less so.
But, keep in mind our methods in “Freakonomics” actually counter intuitive marketing thinking."
My message to marketers and analysts (especially the analysts since they publish most of the data), is when you're trying to make educated decisions and conclusions based upon numbers that figures don't lie, but liars can figure. Check your sources, and if you don't like the source, simply explain why and let others make their own conclusions.
The following short twitter discussion between myself, @damphoux, and @siriusdecisions brought up a topic worth blogging an opinion on. First the tweets, and I reordered them so no need to read bottom up, which tweeps tend to do by default. And, for those of you that aren't on twitter yet, where have you been? Join twitter. I was one of you too, and not long ago, so for the newbies the following is an example of 140 character twitterese:
damphoux : why does @siriusdecisions have invites on blog for linkedin group when they don't accept a paying member? an anti-social marketing tactic?
siriusdecisions: @damphoux Please explain? The group is open to any SiriusDecision advisory service seatholder.
damphoux : @siriusdecisions not a seat holder, love your work, was glad to see public LinkedIn group invite but was bummed when found out is restricted
siriusdecisions: @damphoux Unfortunately we were having trouble with spam when it was more public but we still plan on starting a more public group soon.
damphoux : @siriusdecisions "spam"begs to question what is spam to one might be a gem to another. how should social media filter spam?should it at all?
siriusdecisions: @damphoux Good point. We'll explore this. And thanks for caring enough about it!
So what is spamming in the world of social media? Off the top of my head I can think of 6 forms of what some would call Social Spamming:
Volume Tweets: I see thousands of tweets per day, and although I don't have time to read them all, by using Tweetdeck, Google Reader, Twitter Search and even #hashtags, I am able to filter the good stuff to the top. Some of the tweeps I follow can post as many as 40 or 50 tweets a day just by themselves (or autoposters such as twitterfeed). So @scobleizer has 16,000+ updates and growing, is that spam? I find a great deal of his posts to be worth the read. Do I ever look over to the group he's in (aptly named "lots of posts") and see 20 new updates apiece from those in that group (we all know who they are) and think, "rrrg, just can't spend the time on this right now". Of course I do, but we either get to it or we don't and if we do, we may find something worth a retweet or a clickthrough or a reply. The law of large numbers means that there will be something of value in the volume. I don't consider Volume Tweets to be Spam.
Spam Tweets: We all see these too. I usually see them in my keyword filtered RSS feeds, I have one that searches for the words "appointment setting" OR "lead gen" OR "demand gen" and relentlessly there are a handful of job postings from @wahm_job_leads and "internet geniuses" willing to share their lead gen expertise for just $49.95. LOL. Granted, the gems in these posts are few and far between, but they surface. If we can mine the gems, is it considered spam? Not really, it's the nature of social media. Throw stuff out there and see what sticks. In my case I look for the stuff that's sticking. I designate Spam Tweets as "not Spam", but close.
Spam Followers I (on Twitter, Facebook, etc.): These are funny in my opinion. How many times have you seen your follower count increase only to check out the new followers and see that their account has been disabled? Relentless as they are, I'm sure there may be some value in the network effect of just anyone following you. Maybe they have some groupie followings that click your follow button, within minutes, before the initial follower is disabled. Or maybe they aggregate addresses before they are disabled, not sure. We don't have to reciprocate with a follow. I find that practice of auto-following a bit cumbersome. I always take a peak at a bio and the most recent top 5 or 10 posts to see if I'll find the person interesting, and only then do I follow. Twitter could do a better job cleaning these disabled accounts off the system though, we probably all have a percentage of our followers that just don't exist anymore. Misleading, but it could be factored out. So, Spam Followers I, not much of a pain, just ignore them, might be some value. In the world of network/social media, no damage done.
Spam Followers II (on Twitter, Facebook, etc.): These are the followers that have absolutely nothing in common with you. They are selling something. They are just collecting following/follower numbers. Personally, I see no value in what they are doing (to them), but there is that network effect that someone might find me through them. So do I consider Spam Followers II to be spam? No, just pointless. Can't imagine the insomniacs clicking profiles and "follow" all night long.
LinkedIn LION Linkers: This is different (Linked In Open Networkers). I frankly put this in the same category as Spam Followers II, with a twist. It's more of an open kimono on LinkedIn. It is not just just following, it is a collection of resumes, expertise, and contact information once you link. I don't see LinkedIn as having the same social networking value to the masses of twitter. I consider it exclusive social networking. Other than reading the daily updates of who's connecting with who, and what your buddies are working on (similar to a twitter update), LinkedIn, is in my opinion, a selective way to stay in touch with your real network, and a selective way to gain value from your trusted network. The key words are "real" and "trusted". Am I going to introduce someone that wants an introduction to my trusted colleague because I'm connected with them through some LION user that has 30,000 connections? No freakin way. Same answer I would give a used car salesman asking me for all my friend's names and numbers. So do I consider LinedIn LION Linkers spammers? Sort of, yes. It might excite them to show how big their (ahem) network is, but gimme a break. Whats the value on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn Group/Answer Spam: This is the topic that got @siriusdecisions and I tweeting in the first place. I see tremendous value in bringing value to others, and receiving value from others. I'm a member of two great groups on LinkedIn, Demand Gen Specialists and Craig Rosenberg's Friends of the Funnel, and I use LinkedIn Answers on a regular basis and am actually listed as the top expert in Lead Generation. I work hard to post valuable answers and bring some value to the users. But with every group discussion, and every answer comes a handful of "contact me I can help you" posts that in this environment are unwarranted. I've had people email me and say they are afraid to post a real question in fear that they will get bombarded with unsolicited garbage. Then there is the group members list and the ability to harvest everyone from the list and even join the group and broadcast something (various ways to do this). Again, in a community where you hope to gain value from trusted sources, not the general public, and where you don't take the responsibility of filtering the messages (LinkedIn has little to do this), I do consider LinkedIn Group/Answers to be susceptible to Spam. That said, LinkedIn does provide some level of moderation in this area. Group owners can remove members. They can prevent members from Joining. You can report an Answer as abuse (advertising, self promotion, etc.), although I've never seen LinkedIn take action on these reports. There can be some level of control, but it is control, and in the world of network/social media, control is supposed to be up to the user. There must be a gray area where members/contributors/lurkers are allowed to participate, but once they abuse it, they are removed from the community. It's a big question though. Is it LinkedIn's responsibility or the hosts of the groups, or those that post questions? I find this category to be the most debatable. It goes against social networking, but without the proper tools and controls it is a social mess. I do consider LinkedIn Group/Answer Spam to be Spam.
So, my original question "what is spam to one might be a gem to another" is still open. In twitter or facebook, bring it on. In trusted member sites, such as LinkedIn, it could use some tools to help it work. That said, I still find the gems on LinkedIn, I still find the connections worth making among the unsolicited. So maybe I'm completely off base by thinking LinkedIn should remain a bit restrictive. I've been wrong before. Should @siriusdecisions restrict me because I'm not a seat holder (paying analyst client)? Their decision, a serious one, no pun intended (well ok, it was an intended pun), is their choice. I will say though, I try to add value to those communities in which I participate, so in some respect their community is not gaining my contributions. I still love their research and love their contributions to the marketing/sales world, and know that some day I will be a seat holder.
Next topic: Twitter Groups
Other than general vicinity and locale to your running out of gas, how much marketing does a gas station really need to do. I can see some of the top company branding (Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Sunoco, and Citgo), does anyone really care who they buy gas from? In many cases the only competition that exists is the station across the street. The direction you're traveling on the road may play more to your decision than the brand. Then there is the price sign. Probably the simplest form of marketing in the world. Logo on top for branding, price on the bottom for value, features in the middle (food, car wash). Food as the product feature? Yes. In fact, Pollan says that the typical gas station today makes half their money selling refined oil for your car and half their money selling refined corn as food products to you. Do you stop for a drink? Dunkin Donuts? Or Shell V-Power premium gas?
btw...The photo to the left was taken today. Yes $1.799 (down $2.30 from 5 months ago). Last week when I was in the Netherlands, I did the liter to gallon conversion and calculated $6.20 per gallon. So no complaining! Most of the disparity globally is due to the difference in taxes between countries. Oil prices, however, are now so intertwined with economics and cost of living, don't expect prices to balance out globally.
Cartoon Credit: Gary Larson
I LOVE reading Lifehacker, Treehugger, Engadget and Wired RSS feeds, but over the years they have migrated from blogs with fantastic posts 8-12 times per day, to massive media sites that publish 30+ posts per day, at least a third of which are drivel. I am currently on a business trip and have not been able to read my feeds for a couple days. It's all baked up. Engadget had almost 180 updates, many of which, btw, were crossposted or duplicate posts on Wired. All in all, I had 1500 posts to read, which I didn't. I couldn't. Just not enough time.
Wasn't the whole point of aggregating good feeds together so that one could sit down without surfing, without having to wade through piles of pages, and having everything at our disposal, organized and ready to read? So much for that. Now it's like recieving 8 major newspapers and being expected to find the 10 articles from the stack that are interesting. When are we going to get a Reader for our Reader?
Call me a geek, but I'm a gamer. Competitive scrabble being one of them. I've played some live tournaments, not many, but I've got more than 2000 registered tournaments on the Internet Scrabble Club and a tournament rating of 1112 (at the moment). Tonight was a great night with a triple spanning bingo JUBILEE for 123 points. For those of you not familiar, a bingo is when you use all 7 letters and get a 50 point bonus. A triple spanning bingo is when your word also covers a red triple square.
For those of you that strive to be a scrabble geek...check out the site that collects photos of bad scrabble hands (letters in your tray). VVTTTUU be damned!