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The Blur

It’s been awhile since I wrote here, April 14th to be more precise. Much has happened since I last shared with you, I went out played drums, traveled with my bride, and spent a lot of time reading and researching, but most of all, I took a break. I took a break to experience some new and different things. I highly recommend you take a timeout to learn, and to have new experiences other than what your regular routine and work might be. Otherwise, everything feels like a blur before your eyes.

Many of you should understand what I mean by “The Blur”, and how the blur might impact you and your world, mostly your business if you own or run one. I’ve been talking about it for years here on this blog. Two things probably make you feel like you are out of control, by trying to keep up, and not willing to change how you think about the future of your business.

The world moves at a faster pace than we can possibly keep up with, and much of what we see doesn’t well into our daily routines, it’s just not easy or comfortable, it means putting ourselves and possibly our businesses in a vulnerable place. If you frequent this blog, you’ll know this is not a new, I’ve said this for many years.

Most people are trying to build the next Microsoft, the next Twitter, the next Facebook, and even the next Amazon. The problem with that thinking is this, you’re looking into the past, you aren’t looking ahead, you aren’t paying attention to what people want! Do they want another Facebook, another Twitter, and are I say it…..another Microsoft. I think not.

Yes those giants are building and getting bigger, even expanding. In November 2012, Microsoft expanded to Vancouver with another sweat shop called, Black Tusk Studios, a game developer. In March 2013, Amazon opened a new development centre in Vancouver. Facebook opened an office in Coal Harbour downtown Vancouver, and in June 2013, Twitter announced plans to open a world-class Global Centre of Excellence in Vancouver as well. So, you’re already too late aren’t you?

Why are they moving to Vancouver? They are trying to find more talent and take them south, you can’t compete with Twitter & Facebook on the recruiting front, they often pay software developers in excess of $100,000 per year right out of the gate. They are scooping up developers, and they MUST have a degree from a top 100 University. Unless you have large amounts of funding, and lower your standards, you should stop and regroup before you spend another dime.

My advice is, and always has been, if you want to build the next best thing, drive down main street and ask yourself what’s missing. Start there, and then do your homework, even if you think a value added service should be built to an already existing success like Facebook or Twitter, if yes….then do your homework.

Mobile is a huge market, 40% of Facebook’s action comes from Mobile, that should be an obvious indicator to what’s happening.

All this movement is happening fast, it’s a blur. It’s like life it’s self, time keeps on ticking, it never stops, but we tend to.

The best way to slow it down is to take time to regroup, spend time with those you care about most, then regroup, re-strategize, surround yourself with smart people, and get to work. Life doesn’t have to be a blur, and neither does your business. Take the time to bring clarity to your work, build a clear vision, not a something moving so fast it’s a blur.

 

Whatever Happened To The Internet As A Destination?

Today I have been hanging out on Google+, Twitter, FaceBook and a few other Social Networks. All this hanging was bothersome, why?

It got me to thinking back when the Internet was new, there was very few places that dominated your time on the Internet, at least not since AOL. Today we are sucked into big sites like FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on. Think about how uch time you spend there, think about what you did before these sites came to be.

Can you even remember what the first thing you did back before these Social Networks? I used to spend a lot of time using Gopher, remember that one?

Today we are immediately, automatically taken to FaceBook or Twitter, we don’t even flinch or think twice about it. It’s like the Internet has lost it’s glitter and has taken a back seat to Social Networks.

The Internet has far more to offer than just Social Media Networks, it does doesn’t it? I hope so, if not, we will wonder aimlessly through the desert once again.

So whatever happened to the Internet as a destination?

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The Future Of Business Is Not Playing It Safe

The title may mess you up a little, but just keep reading and you’ll find the nuggets, if you get what I’m talking about.

A little over a month ago I spoke at a large conference, I was pretty bold, I told people that I hated FaceBook, and that I will offend someone before I’m finished. I did. I also shared that we are hypocritical, for example, I told business owners to give something away for free to those who repeatedly came back to your business, blog, website, anything that you would come into contact with a customer. People actually gasped, I can’t do that one person said. So I asked them, If you won’t give something away, someone else will, but why is it that you won’t give anything away, but yet you are the first one in line when someone else does? Is that you?

Why is it that we build a business, we do everything and anything to get it to a profitable state, we suddenly go into management mode. We actually stop doing what got us profitable, or maybe even successful. We took risk after risk, we didn’t care what anyone said, we didn’t care what anyone thought, we just stepped out and made things happen. We weren’t playing it safe, we were putting ourselves out there, willing to take the hits, the no’s and even the snickers. So what happened?

Giving something away is not a high risk act, in fact, it should be a well thought out strategy. And why wouldn’t you reward those who got you to where you are, they bought you product or service, they even invested time in reading your blog, they probably attended a talk you gave, but yet you still remain closed to the idea.

I’ll bet most of risk something higher in value while building you business, why is it then, once you enter management mode you are reluctant to risk anything? Again I ask you, is this you? If so, maybe it’s time to take a breather and spend some time doing something you may not have done in a very long time.

THANK YOUR COMMUNITY!

Thank them by giving them credit, write about them, brag about them, and maybe even give them something for free. That smacks of the Open & Free Business Model doesn’t it? Without your community you have nothing. In fact, if you fail to do this, you are playing it safe. Don’t do business in a safe manner, always challenge yourself to step close to the edge, learn to trust your community, afterall, they came to trust you first.

The Future Of Business Is Not Playing It Safe, keeping doing the things that made you profitable, and most of all, thank your community.

The Future Of Business – Findability

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I spend almost 90% of my time on Twitter, it’s where my research comes from, my business, and most of my relationships. Twitter is the service I use to expand, learn and teach what I do, FaceBook, has it’s place but I rarely spend much time there, why? I use TweetDeck , I feed multiple social networks this way, including FaceBook. Rumour has it TweetDeck is about to be purchased or already has been, by Twitter, that’s good news in my books. Twitter will be able to add so much to the experience of using their real-time service.

The secret sauce if you will, the secret tool is not that secret when trying to maximize Twitter, it’s the search in Twitter that brings the most value in terms of data. If you spend enough time listening in the Twitter search, you start to see trends, interests and needs, businesses don’t pay enough attention there in my humble opinion.

The #FutureOfBusiness hashtag is where I like to hang out, to see what others are saying and thinking about on this topic, we are headed to a day of the open & free business model. But what does that mean really. Does it mean everything is free and open, of course not, it is however, a strategy, a successful business model. So how do all these social networks fit into the equation?

Think about where you do business today, what is the business model you execute today, does it leverage social networks? And if it is, how did you determine which social network to invest your time and money in? I’m almost certain very little research went into that determination, you probably just sensed you should be on FaceBook because most of your friends and business associates said you should be there. When a business owner asks me if they should be on FaceBook or any other social network, I like to ask them why they think they should be there. Almost everytime it has nothing to do with a business case or sound data to backup that question, it is always an emotional reason, like the fear of loss. That’s not new, it’s as old as time that emotion, but it has as much power as worrying, and probably the same results worrying brings you.

So where do you spend your time and money in terms of social networks, and why? The Future Of Business is not social networks, it is however, social & mobile. Social Media is not new, the conversations you and I were having offline our entire life, has merely gone digital, they are now happening on the Internet. The difference, the world can now listen in and share your feelings, spread your conversation everywhere. Everything will create a stream everywhere.

With 3 billion people yet to hit the Internet, being found should be your primary concern, it’s going to get noisier than it is today, findability will determine the life of your business online. The best way to be found, create more content than you consume, then leverage every social network you can to help that cause.

So where do you do business, which social network do you use the most, what is the hardest part about being found for you, how do you get found? I would love to hear your thoughts on findability, not SEO.

The Top 3 Social Networks

In my last post I touched on our aging population and how the Baby Boomers creat a problem, but they also present endless opportunities. As we become more mobile and social, I thought it would be interesting to look at some data in regards to the social networks I use. The real question I am asking these days is, will these networks be around in the next 5 – 10 years? I think the social part will be embedded into everything mobile, Twitter is really a glorified version of IRC don’t you think, just more open and out there, not private or closed. Real-Time is probably the key to everything mobile.

Social

Social Media Networks are very popular, and they are growing at an exponential rate, the world is loving these networks, and that creates challenges for the business world. There are hundreds of social networks on the Internet, but the most popular ones we hear about most tend to be the three below. We have become a connected world, this trend is not going away. Here are the Top 3 Social Networks I use, Twitter is my Primary Network and that’s where you will find me 99% of the time.

FaceBook is the most used of these three, but I don’t spend much time there, it’s too cumbersome in my humble opinion. FaceBook does have incredible support and huge numbers compared to all the rest, check it out below.

FaceBook

– More than 550 million active users
– 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
– Average user has 130 friends
– People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
– There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
– Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
– Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
– More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
– More than 70 translations available on the site
– About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
– Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
– More than 2.5 million developers and partners from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
– People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
– Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
– Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day
– More than two million websites have integrated with Facebook
– There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
– People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
– There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products

Twitter

– 351 Employees
– 190 Million Registered Users
– 65 Million Tweets Per Day
– 800 Million Search Queries Per Day
– 80% of visitors are outside of Twitter.com

LinkedIn

– As of January 2011, LinkedIn has more than 90 million members in over 200 countries around the globe.
– A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.
– Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.
– LinkedIn started off 2011 with about 1,000 full-time employees located around the globe.

What are your top 3 social networks?