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Business Bloggers Creed October 29, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog business tools, blog debate, blogocombat, CEO blogs, deep blogology, ecommerce blogs, Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, Visionary Leadership.
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Here’s my newly polished, never publicly revealed, and rather robust Business Bloggers Creed:

I will never use a blog for anything other than web-based communication and online community formation, for the benefit of the audience and not my company.

I understand that to step into blogging with my old clunky MBA Business As Usual mentality, is to be wearing the wrong pair of ideological shoes. I accept the fact that to blog is to transform my company’s internal culture and external presentation as a whole.

I submit to the truth that a blog cannot be an isolated experiment, it must come from a deep need and necessity to connect candidly with customers, and care for their needs.

I surrender to the judgment of my customers. If they think something sucks, then it sucks. No matter what I’d prefer to think, no matter what management tells me, no matter what my colleagues say. I promise to exalt the user over the muser, the consumer over the marketer, and the customer over the internal culture and structure.

I will help customers gain deep expertise on the products we sell and the environment in which those products are, or can be, used.

I will not attempt to pervert a blog into acting as a Business As Usual advertising, sales, or multi-level marketing machine.

I will talk more about other bloggers and business writers than I do about myself. I will put my mentors and role models in the spotlight, and be very low key and shy about my own expertise, services for sale, and client project work.

I will never display sleazy links or dubious ads, such as online gambling sites, pharmaceuticals, real estate loans, discount software, erectile misogyny dysfunction, or other typical scumbag

I will blog only about what I personally, genuinely care about.

I will never write a post with the ulterior motive of purely seeking to boost traffic, as in opportunistic topic selection, or superficial pretence of relevant substance.

I will never promote a product with paid enthusiasm.

I will never rant about things about which I don’t know shit.

I will never kiss the ass of the MSM or, in a deluded state of grandiose ego, think I need mainstream journalists for any purpose, least of all “media attention”. I don’t need corpses to clap their hands for me.

I will always side with the blogosphere against any MSM or corporate accusations.

I will only attack ideas I see as harmful, counter-productive, misanthropic, or deceptive. I will try not to attack the persons holding and advancing these errors, unless they relentlessly attack me personally. Then, I won’t fight back, I’ll simply and swiftly destroy.

I will never attack a person as a person, but will pit text against text. Even if my favorite mentor and role model says something stupid or destructive, my words will move out and defend the truth, without the slightest care about damaging a friendship.

When it comes to truth, I have no friends. I will speak my mind about anything and anybody at any time, and I can never be persuaded or constrained to do otherwise.

I will bite the hand that feeds me, if it feeds me a line of bullshit.

I will never attack my loyal allies publicly, but only send a discreet email, when I think they’ve done or said something wrong.

I will attack anything or anybody, as I see fit, with no fear and no emotional hysteria or personal animosity.

I will strive for harmony, cooperation, diversity, freedom, and compassion in the beloved blogosphere that gives us all a level playing field in terms of communication and networked interactivity.

I will be constantly strive to improve, enhance, and perfect my blog.

I will share my expertise on blogging, my product field, my personal interests, and my hobbies, with all who seek it.

I will interact with everyone equally, giving no preference to those considered wealthy, successful, or celebrities. I judge “wealth”, “success”, and “celebrity” in far different terms than the world does. I am a blogger of immaterialism and inner riches.

I will not abandon or forsake my blog, unless I have tried everything in my power to avoid quitting, but life pressures force me to do so.

I will not post material to my blog, and ignore the other bloggers out there. I will gladly and abundantly post relevant, substantial, amusing comments at as many other blogs as possible. That way, I am enriching other blogs, while coincidentally possibly attracting others to my own blog, but my primary goal is to help others succeed.

I will seek out new blogs to enjoy, and encourage new bloggers to press on to the promised land.

I will try to always be inspiring, brazen, self-confident in the pursuit of noble ideals.

I will use my blog, not to push my company, not to hype my products, but to help others solve problems, succeed in work, and enjoy a lifestyle.

I will blog because I believe in human equality, freedom, and community.

I will blog because I want to help, not because I want a narcissistic platform for personal or professional vanity and exhibitionism, or simply because it’s “cool” or “mission critical”.

I will practice and proclaim the blogo-gospel of the 9 Core Values of Blogging, Absolute Switched On User Empowerment, Universal Content Utopic, and Global Democracy Revolution.

How to formulate a Vision for your company September 1, 2006

Posted by electrica in CEO blogs, Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, Visionary Leadership.
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I think the Vision comes from the front-line workers and the customers, which is then absorbed and crystallized by the Leader.

The Leader is not the only Visionary, and if the Vision comes only from the Leader, the Vision will not correspond to the reality of the sales situation and the needs of your customers.

The Leader sets the Example, more than formulating or enforcing the Vision.

The Leader gets in-depth information about customer needs, organizational capabilities, and where the Future will likely be.

A customer-based Vision will always beat an organization-based Delusion. The prime example of this is the automobile industry.

The housing market is providing another lesson. Huge, hard to heat and air condition, stereotypical  $300,000 homes in America have been all the rage.

Until lately. Now the trend seems to be headed to more modest, compact, simple accomodations.

Displaying wealth with items that deplete it is beginning to be seen as a type of consumer insanity.

Anticipation of the future must be derived from a true sense of customer needs evolution, where the trends are headed, not where you think they should be, to favor what you’re already doing or wanting to sell.

We must stoop to conquer.

Stoop, get low, humble, bend down and converse with customers, let them define what we sell, rather than the Old Economy of telling customers what they should desire.

Back to Vision, the Leader should not only get it from the customers, sales staff, and service rep input…he/she should gather, crystallize, and then set the example.

I worked once for a telemarketing firm. One day the CEO came up, with his brother, from Texas. Young guys, late 20s. I had a problem, and I went to their office to seek advice. They were playing cards and pretty much blew me off with, “Hey, it’s a numbers game. Just keep calling.”

No solution to my problem. I quit the next day.

They should have been on the phones, demonstrating how it’s done.

That’s how you motivate your employees: get down there and show them how to do it. Don’t just tell them: “This is the Vision. You will now obey and implement it. I have spoken.”

I’m sure you aren’t like this, but many are. They are trapped in the old, outmoded, discredited Command and Control mentality.

It’s now Converse and Comply.

Converse with customers to know their real needs. Converse with sales staff to know the real benefits of product and demands of consumers. Converse with support staff to know the real logistics of serving the customers and helping sales to function. Converse with service department to know the real weaknesses and defects of products.

Comply with all this data, develop everything based on this rich and relevant input.

That seems to me how Vision is formulated.

Not “where do we want to be in 10 years?” Rather: “where are customer needs today and where are they likely to be in 10 years?”

That’s your Vision.

new marketing practices and attention scarcity August 25, 2006

Posted by electrica in basic blogology, CEO blogs, Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, online marketing.
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In his Edge Perspectives post “Mastering the New Marketing Practices“, business book author John Hagel III (co-author of Net Gain), says there are 3 major business economic shifts changing the marketing environment.

New marketing practices need to firmly based on the following upheavals:

(1) From scarce shelf space…to scarce consumer attention.

(2) From economies of scale in production…to economies of scope in customer relationships.

(3) From passive indoctrination and compulsive consumption to active participation and informed negotiation.

Consumers are aggressively informing, and defiantly arguing with, each other about products, rather than obediently absorbing ad messages.

Consumers are providing massive input into the production and distribution of goods they used to have no say about. Choices are based on vendor comparisons and user reviews, more than official marketing and sales promotions.

User generated content and consumer-producer-distributor hybrids are ruling the waves of commerce, turning the tide away from mass unilateral marketing to customized need sastisfaction.

Attention is now the commodity that is an endangered species. Web surfers, blog readers, video posters…everybody is busy moving and creating and consuming as fast as they can. We have all engaged in simultaneous online chat, blog commenting, mp3 downloading, and music listening.

Now the challenge is to stand out in the midst of competitive enticements, user-environment distractions, and extreme multi-tasking.

We must meet Scarcity of Attention with Rarity of Relevant Content. Astonish. Over-gratify. Satiate. Shock your market and industry with extreme excellance, unimaginable creativity, and super profound professionalism.

In other words, we must work to produce, based on customer needs and opinion input, a product that goes off the scale with style, sensibility, and satisfaction. A valuable and desirable enhancement of the user’s life, safety, productivity, prestige, ease, and pleasure. A must have for the clued in. A mandatory accessory for the enlightened.
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While there is a broad recognition among marketers that attention scarcity is becoming a big issue, the response has been increasing desperation to get some of that scarce attention. Intrusive ads are appearing in more and more places – projected in lights on the sides of buildings at night, plastered on the sides of farm animals in fields and running on video displays above urinals.

Rather than just focusing on how to get attention, vendors might also want to consider how they can help their customers receive attention that is important to them and not just from the vendor, but from others that matter to the customers.

Vendors also tend to commoditize attention, viewing attention as a fungible good that can be bought and sold.

Successfully attracting attention requires an understanding that attention is highly context sensitive – it is both deeply personal and social at the same time. Attention is deeply embedded in, and shaped by, relationships. These relationships are not static, but increasingly dynamic. The key challenge and opportunity for vendors is how to participate in, and enrich, these relationships in order to construct more value for their customers and to amplify the value of attention.

Vendors also narrow the focus very quickly from attention to intention, asking “how can we more effectively intercept people who have already formed an intent to buy?” The missed opportunity is how to engage the attention of customers at a more fundamental level in ways that create more value for the customers and for the vendor.

Finally, vendors tend to develop a narrow focus on new, network-enabled marketing tools like blogs, wikis, virtual communities and social networks, treating them like a checklist to be deployed like artillery in a military campaign – “yes, we’ve set up some blogs.”

Few of them systematically ask how these tools might be used to increase return on attention for customers. Even fewer ask who else already has deployed these tools and how they might help their customers find and connect to these resources and perhaps where they might participate in existing environments in ways that provide more return on attention.

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It takes more than setting up blogs, podcasts, and video to generate attention and build customer loyalty. You need to have an underlying reason for all this new technology. “Because XYZ Company is doing it” is the worst reason on earth. You better be doing it for the benefit of your customers.

Complaints. Suggestions. Advice. Requests. Questions. Insight. Anecdotes.

Your customers can provide all this great input for the advancement of your corporation. But you have to be willing to listen, learn, and implement.

Cascading Project Proliferation. transparent CEO blogging. August 5, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog evaluation, CEO blogs, deep blogology, Discrete Strategic Transparency, Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, Personal Blogging, Uncategorized.
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A CEO blogger speaks recently of self-assigned chores that seem to somehow expand as they are pursued. Like the “fix it” mode goes berserk. Perfectionism kicks in. Work ethic obsession outbursts persist in the new dimension of infinite sequence chains massively self-propagating eternally.

The industrial managerial psychologists have a word for this, “cascading project proliferation” or “autonomous task sprawl” or “retroflexive recursive feedback entropy  syndrome” or “dynamic loop psychosis”.

Neologisms, tools with which to handle these nearly ineffable realities of life.

This type of sleeves rolled up, jacket off, deck shoes commentary on personal life, mixed with business insight or better, philosophical questions, is my favorite type of candid blogging.

There is a power in discrete transparency, and it’s euphoric.

The way it works is:

(1) You are bothered by, or pensively contemplative toward, an item.

(2) You briefly mention in your blog how it annoyed or impeded you. This is a quick connect with common folk via customized anecdote.

(3) You then build an abrupt bridge, connecting the complaint or observation with a broader business reality or practice.

(4) You demonstrate that the business and personal realms can mesh, to the productive gain of both your organization and your audience, as they benefit from a humanized real life example of a difficult to grasp or esoteric principle of business.

It’s what I call Discrete Strategic Transparency. As opposed to reckless, indiscriminate gushing of private, trivial, and inappropriate details. A “need to know” basis. A controlled revelation of personal details, with a larger objective in view.

Discrete Strategic Transparency enhances the credibility and persuasive power of a blog, by helping readers to relate to you as a regular individual with good insights and astonishing brevity of narrative.