Getting followed by the best

Robert Scoble
Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble has decided finally to follow me on Twitter. I’m not sure what prompted him to finally join the DogWalk, but since I’ve been following him and commenting on his blog for a while, maybe he just found me interesting? I dunno, but sure glad to have him aboard.

On the Internet, if people know you are a dog, they will follow you anywhere.

Four stages of a on-line service company

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I was reading and commenting on a post by Bob Scoble in which he rails on Facebook for bumping Joel Comm due to him having too many friends, fans, etc. which probably just amounted to a whole bunch of traffic out to Joel’s friends for which he should probably be footing the bill.

It got me thinking about almost every other online business out there and the stages it goes through. Here we go:

Stage One: “That is a stupid idea. It will never work.”
Stage Two: “Hey, that is pretty cool. How are you making money? Call me to invest when you are making money.”
Stage Three: “You suck. You owe me for making you what you are and you are not giving me what I expect, even though I built my entire life around you, paid you nothing and had expectations of you that you never promised me.”
Stage Four: “You are too big, powerful and are monopolistic. Kill the beast!”

In between these stages are statements peppered with “You know what you ougta do..” and “I would buy advertising on your site to help you grow if you only reached this demo or that demo,” blah, blah, blah.

Why do people continue to use free services to further their career, business or other interests and then think they have a right to complain about how a service treats them? You paid nothing for the service and you are owed what you paid for it. Nothing. If it doesn’t meet your needs, then go find something that does.

Or build it yourself and then you will find out what it is like to have thousands of users who are each all willing to pay you nothing for your efforts, drink all your beer and then complain about you and your lack of “give a crap.”

Or buy stock in the company you are supporting if you believe in them that much. At least then you will have an ownership stake and you’ve bought your right to complain. But, as an owner, you would then be paying for the cost of supporting users who do not pay you and will only be loyal to your brand until the newest best thing comes…..

Oh, look, is that a Twitter screen over there?? Is that the coolest thing or what?!?

How we are all connected

Today, I heard from a long-time reader who emailed me just to let me know she was still reading and that she had been enjoying the blog ever since she first saw it.

Wow! Whenever I get an email like this, it is truly a humbling experience. Even though the DogWalkBlog gets lots of traffic, when a reader takes a few moments out of the day just to say she enjoys reading it touches. That is what blogging and Twittering and all this stuff is about; one touch, one moment.

I’m writing this immediately after looking at the pictorial spread in the Wall Street Journal. In a sea of 1.5 million people, photojournalists are able to pick out one genuine smile, one face full of hope and one little girl who gives her dad a “thumbs up” with an orange glove.

I aspire to be that lens. Always.

Blame the terrorists.. again

41nhb5qfrl_sl500_aa240_Generation Y isn’t lazy, impatient, demanding, high-maintenance and self-absorbed. They are just living life fully, in the moment, every day. Why? Because of terrorism.

Huh?

Yes, says Tamara Erickson in a recent podcast posted on Bnet.com. GenY came of age during the era of terrorism and that affected them so much that they seek to be in the moment just in case everything comes crashing down around them in a single, unpredictable moment.

Perhaps they seek to be in the moment because they have been handed everything by their Boomer parents? Perhaps they don’t know how to delay gratification. Maybe? Even just a little bit? Is there no depth to which GenY will not stoop to blame someone or something else for their failing?

There are all sorts of other tangents that Erickson goes down that are flawed reasoning. For example, she suggests that corporations give them a task, but don’t over-train them, let them figure it out. The problem there is GenY really has no skills nor do they have any sense of when a project is complete or well done. The conclusion most would draw is “If my boss has a problem with the quality of my work, he will give me feedback. Otherwise, its all good.”

Sounds like a theory being backed into a book.

The ROI of “social networking”

Soccer photo from the Mead Cup Soccer Tournament in Dayton, Ohio
Soccer photo from the Mead Cup Soccer Tournament in Dayton, Ohio
I received a panic email from a graphic designer at a local city magazine yesterday who desperately needed some photos of a soccer tournament. “Anything you have showing local kids playing soccer!” she said. Since she was referred by someone who had faith that I would come through for her, it was hard to say no, even though I really didn’t have the extra time.

Fortunately, we had commissioned a photo shoot for TourneyCentral a few months back and the photos were still on my MacBook Pro. So, I opened the folder, pulled out a few dozen photos, threw them in a gallery using Photoshop, put them up on some Web space and sent her the link.

“Email me the file names of the ones you want, give the photographer credit,” I wrote back.

Within an hour, she had her local photos, I made another contact in the local publishing community who sent me back a huge “sigh of relief and gratitude” email (on a holiday week), reaffirmed my value with the local chamber contact who referred me, gave some more exposure to a local photographer, subtly plugged the Mead CUSA Cup Soccer Tournament and maybe created some business opportunity for myself later on down the line.

What I did not do was calculate an ROI for this act of networking.

Why didn’t I? I’m in business and the responsible thing to do — I’ve been told — is to have an ROI for everything I do. What was the return on my spending an hour of time and effort I did not really have to spare? How did your actions affect the bottom line of your business? You paid to have those photos taken; why did you just give them away to a publication? What is the ROI on spending another hour writing the blog post you are reading now? All of these things I heard in the back of my head as I was doing this act of kindness for this very desperate graphic designer who probably was behind schedule through no fault of her own.

Again, knowing all this, I did not calculate an ROI.

Is what I did considered social networking? Yeah, I think it is. It is no different than sending folks tweets on Twitter and helping out with requests for code or software recommendations or sharing a MacBook Pro power adapter when someone sends out a “help me” tweet. Nor is it any different than spending time commenting on a blog post that may not have examined all the facts entirely.

I propose a new standard for ROI on social networking: If you ask what the ROI is for social networking, you are already convinced emotionally that you need to do it. Go with that, jump in and tweet, blog and link in and the “financial ROI” will fall into place.

Some things I know

I just got done speaking with an American Express rep to pay my bill. I had to call them because I missed the bill pay window between 3:00-7:00am where their web site will actually work to pay my bill.

It got to think about stuff I “know” to be true, even though other dogs swear they aren’t having the same problems.

I KNOW the Amex web site will not work during business hours.

I KNOW the Chase drive-through will make me wait for hours after 2:00pm on Fridays.

I KNOW the shake machine at the Burger King in Englewood will be broken.

I KNOW Time Warner will not really send someone out between the hours of 8:00-12:00am and I should just set aside an entire day.

I KNOW the only flights that ever leave on time from the Dayton International Airport are the first one and the last one of the day.

I KNOW any rental car company will not have a sub compact car available when I arrive.

I KNOW I will not be able to get out of Meijers without waiting in line at the register, even though I will have found everything I needed.

I KNOW my cell phone bill will never be what I was told when I signed up for the plan.

I KNOW the latest gadget I bought will not be compatible with anything else I own.

I KNOW that “no assembly required” really does require assembly.

I KNOW the directions someone just gave me that includes the phrase “you can’t miss it” will not actually get me where I’m going.

I KNOW portable electronic devices will have a 50lb power brick attached to the cord.

What else do YOU know that customer service reps tell you never happens to other people?

Contributed:
@Eva_Abreu via Twitter: I know that I’ll press 3, then 6, then 2, then hold for 13 min. only to get disconnected!

A funeral dirge for trade shows?

maclogoApple announced today that will no longer participate in Macworld Expo, the largest annual show for Mac enthusiasts. In a press release, Apple says:

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Appleā€™s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Are trade shows becoming obsolete? Apple seems to think so.

At TourneyCentral, we’ve scaled back from a couple dozen local shows and two national shows (NSCAA and US Youth Soccer) to just one per year, the NSCAA. In short, much of the material was a repeat of the shows, the exhibitors — with the exception of the NSCAA — were treated like second-class citizens that were allowed to pay, but not participate.

Perhaps this was Apple’s experience, but most likely not because of their size and heft. But, for smaller companies who have other choices to reach their audiences, this sounds like “permission” to break away from the “must show” trade shows.

Yet there still exists that fundamental human need for touch. As trade shows become less and less attended, what will replace that? Tweetups? Webinars? Live TV shows? More likely, the answer will be some combination of all of these, initiated or complemented with Twitter, blog comments and posts.

With any luck, we’ll start meeting people again in laundromats, grocery stores, bars and dog parks. And, maybe we’ll even unplug the cell phone from our ears and turn to them and have a real conversation.

What do you think is the future of trade shows?

3 things to know about Twitter

Everyone is doing top 10 things or 40 things you need to know about something. That is too much for my canine brain to process.

So, I am starting the Three Things Revolution! Follow me!

Three things you need to know to use Twitter:
1. Get a Twitter account at http://twitter.com
2. Write interesting tweets
3. Follow some people

That’s it. Everything else will flow from these three things. Trust me.

So, to recap:
Get. Write. Follow.