Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Groupon LinkedIn facebook Twitter RenRenLinkedIn started the latest round of Social Media IPO mania with a now $7.11B valuation, followed quickly by Groupon’s SEC announcement of its intent to raise $750M for their IPO.  2011 is the “Chinese Year of the Bull” with RenRen, Kaixin001, and several other social-media knockoff companies following suit. Twitter’s much anticipated IPO and the recent estimate of Facebook’s IPO to exceed $100B will occupy our attentions for months.  With the addition of several other technology companies (Pandora, Zillow, Avaya), will we be caught up in a buying frenzy or is this ultimately good for the sluggish economy? Will this be the “Great Social Media Bubble” or economic salvation?

Bubble History

First, a quick “bubble” history lesson (and we will keep the complex economic theory to a minimum, thank you).    In general, bubbles occur when high volumes of trade occur at values of an inflated nature.  The bubble rapidly inflates by the high volumes of trade, but is unable to sustain itself and collapses, also known as “boom and bust.” Bubbles are not a newly crafted phenomenon.  The term was coined from the South Sea Bubble in 1720, from the overvaluation and speculation of the South Sea Company. Most of us now know of Tulip Mania from the 1630s, where a single bulb was valued at roughly $37,000.  There has been a major bubble each century, with at least 3 major ones in the 20th century (ending with Dot-Com) and at least one major one (Real Estate) in this new century.  While there is great debate on how to predict bubbles, they – like visiting in-laws – can appear without warning, have damaging long term effects, and have the ability to baffle even rational, intelligent people.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Are we setting ourselves up for another bubble or is this ultimately good for our economy?  There is little doubt that values of these companies are mathematically inflated, with LinkedIn trading as high as 31-times its annual sales.  Groupon’s intent to raise $750M comes under speculation (read Forrester Research Sucharita Mulpuru’s fantastic article) as the company still can’t reach profitability with its $644M in revenue in Q1.  RenRen was just recently stalled as they were given a Hold rating by underwriters Deutsche Bank, who helped lead their IPO to $14 and are now down to just under $9.  The others will rush to market prior to Facebook’s much anticipated 2012 IPO.

WWRHD: What Would Reid Hoffman Do?

A big piece of this is what do newly printed billionaires do with their money?  If you believe that Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn and now valued around $1.5B) will reinvest his newly minted money back into LinkedIn, new ventures and ultimately back into the economy, you probably fall into Jean-Baptiste Say’s camp, who said that buying power would only increase with more production. Namely, the way out of economic hardship is by reinvestment – that it is irrational to hoard it.  If you think Reid will stockpile his new found gains and wait until economic conditions favor it, you probably fall into John Maynard Keynes’ camp in which saving will ultimately lead to the bubble bursting. Lack of reinvestment – due to a myriad of reasons (unstable economy, for example) – keeps the bubble from sustaining itself and lends to its collapse.

Now what?

With a new CNN poll suggesting that 48% of Americans believe an economic depression – not just a recession – will occur within the next 12 months, do we care? 44% of Americans in that same poll stated that they will NEVER buy stocks again, leaving the decisions up to the remaining 56% of us. What is great about bubble is they are totally unpredictable. What is not unpredictable, is that the economy and how to ultimately handle these future IPOs will be much debated for the 2012 election cycle. Until we figure this out . . . Reid, if you are reading this, I have this great idea for start-up. Call me!

Read Full Post »

Previously submitted on Forbes.com

Age is all about perspective.  At 40, I am ancient, old to a 20 year old, but I am delightfully spry to a 60 year old. It all depends on your vantage point.  So, what is your perspective when I tell you I vividly remember an episode of The Twilight Zone that has stuck with me to this day.  In it, a man dies and is greeted by an angel who tells him he has died and he can have whatever he wants.  He wants to go gambling – he wins every time. Luxury accommodations, beautiful women on his arm – done.  He was a thief in life, so he asks to rob a bank.  Arrangements are made and he gets away with the money – no problem. But after a short while, he gets bored and wants to lose at gambling, get caught at the bank, not have every woman he sees, etc.  The angel is confused and doesn’t understand.  The man says that maybe he doesn’t belong here and should be “in the other place” (early television code for Hell).  The angel tells him the memorable catch phrase “You don’t understand, you are in the other place.” (Insert insidious wicked laugh and fade to black).

Hell is getting everything you ever wanted.  Or, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Having just attended a few conferences and events with denizens and practitioners of social media, I heard from many of them that they just got X installed (new software, new listening platform, new campaign management software, new iPads, you-name-it) and now don’t know what to do with it.  Be careful what you wish for . . .   In the mad dash for social media excellence, we jump at the next new shiny object or get talking into spending valuable budget on something we yet do not understand.  This isn’t even a training issue on how to use these tools and technologies.  This is a fundamental issue about setting clearly defined goals and objectives, appropriate utilization of resources, effective measurements, and communicating updates and milestones.

Social Media Goals:

Congratulations, you just got that $3,000/month listening platform that has been on your wish-list since Santa last visited. Now what?  It is installed, you are trained, you have sold your boss on all the great things you are going to do with it.  Now what? You cant effectively measure if you don’t have your goals firmly in place.  This holds true for anything you have acquired to help you along the way, the tool or technology is only as good as the pathway you lay out for it.  If you don’t know where you want it to go, it cant take you there. Where is your audience? What do you want them to do? What do you want to do to help get them there? Do you want to improve your reach? How about audience engagement and what does that mean to you? Do you want them to take some action? Do you know who your key influencers are and what they are saying about you now? How do you change that?  If you cannot answer or address these questions, these new toys are only going to get in your way, slow you down.  It is a car without a steering wheel – it doesn’t matter if it can do 120 miles an hour if you cant steer it.


New tools and technology is great and can certainly be helpful, but you need the right resources in your organization to utilize and help.  Social Media is not free – there is a heavy pricetag for social media resources.  These people need it in their DNA.  I was recently at the Radian6 conference in Boston. Keynote Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) joked about clients finding 25 year olds to run their social media programs and then being devastated with the lack of results. This isn’t an young person vs old person game.  It is about using resource appropriate to your goals and objectives; then, using that new technology effectively.  Just because they are 25 and have stubbly facial hair does not alone make them effective social media marketers.  Conversely, it doesn’t make them bad, either. Find the right resources to help you with your tasks.  Are you selecting them because the “look” hip or “are” hip?  Does your program require hipness?  Do you need seasoned veteran or do you need new thinking? For what tasks do you need these lenses?  Finding the right types of resources for your program is in many ways more important and more overlooked than any new technology.  A great staff of people with basic internet access and free accounts can run a great program.


“If you cant measure it, it’s not successful,” an old boss of mine used to say.  I am not sure I fully believe that, but it is an effective guidepost.  Social media has evolved past the heady days of no accountability and now requires marketers to “sing for their supper.”  You have to measure your programs, benchmark success, evolve and grow.  But what do you measure?  Again, if you just received your first bit of technology to help you run your programs, or to measure your programs, do you know what to measure?  Is 100 tweets good for an event?  How about 400 retweets?  Are 10k “likes” a good number? How about going old school and measuring page views – what is a good number here?  The answer to these question are “yes, those are good numbers, if that is what is important to your program?” Is it important to your program? Do you know?    We tend to rush and start with big harry audacious goals (BHAGs for those who are acronymic).  Start small, measure what is important, set a baseline and grow.  It is – at its core – pretty simple.


We all report to someone.  Do you have a strategy for communicating your successes?  How about your failures? This is all new territory so you will fall down and scrap your knee a few times.  It’s ok, we’ve all been there.  The point is that you have to develop a strategy to prove your new tool and its worth.  You need to show what you are doing, how it impacts the business, why it matters.  Guess what, your co-worker down the hall is doing just that for their program, plus you just received a big gift with this new technology or tool.  It is time to repay it.  Develop a dashboard from your measurements and show it off. Come up with a nice infographic and really engage in some graphical storytelling.

Be careful about getting what you wish for, it can be hell to pay for it.

Read Full Post »

The Silicon Valley Enterprise Social Media Council (SVESMC) is a group of Bay Area social media practitioners (no vendors) from CA Technologies, eBay, Ariba, Cisco, Taleo, Xerox, PayPal, EMC, Symantec, Wellsfargo and SAP.  The objective of the group is to network, discuss challenges and share social media know how with enterprise peers who live and breathe social media.

On March 25th, SAP hosted the first quarterly social media summit for the group that was started in late 2010. Fittingly, the first group members were “recruited” via Twitter. Our currently close to 30 members regularly meet for a monthly dinner and share expertise in conference calls, via a LinkedIn group and Twitter (follow the public list @SocialB2P/SVESMC).

The summit was a full success with non-stop passionate discussions, sometimes taking a panel into an unexpected direction but only because there was so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and share. Overall, I was very pleased to see that SAP holds up well in social media compared to its peers; and I got a lot of great new ideas, and made new friends.

Ironically, we asked everybody to turn off their Twitter and other social media tools for the day to keep our discussions open and confidential. Without violating this agreement (“what happens in Palo Alto stays in Palo Alto”), I can share some key findings from the summit:

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

By guest blogger Petra Neiger

Tweet chats are not new but they are still a relatively new phenomenon in the Business-to-Business (B2B) world. Why is that? Maybe it’s because a group tweet chat requires more effort to organize and conduct than simply asking a social media enthusiast to share a few thoughts on a particular topic.

Additionally, many marketers still wonder about the value that social media offers to B2Bs. The fact is that more B2Bs are beginning to embrace social media as a way to expand their reach and engage with their audience. According to a MarketingProfs.com article citing SPSS’ 2010 B2B Customer Engagement survey, 64% of interviewed companies are now using social media to engage customers. This is the story of a group at Cisco that regularly uses tweet chats for business.

The Cisco Collaboration Solutions Marketing team (@CiscoCollab) was the first group at Cisco to launch a series of monthly tweet chats. The nature of their solutions – collaboration technologies – implied an audience that was already more online savvy than some other segments.

Therefore, tweet chats seemed like a natural extension of their existing Twitter activities. Since the first Collaboration tweet chat launched in March 2010, they have created a repeatable process to increase their efficiency around logistics and merged this program into their larger customer and influencer outreach initiative. The results: well-attended sessions month after month and increased name recognition for #CollabChat, the organization’s tweet chat program. To date, the team has had 4 sessions with an average of about 1,200 community post views each.

Kira Swain (@kiraswain) and Laura Powers (@powersla), the Social Media Managers behind these tweet chats, sat down with me a few days ago to help demystify group tweet chats. Here are some best practices they shared along with some additional notes from yours truly.

1. Find Your First Guinea Pig.

If this is your first group tweet chat, do a quick survey among your subject matter experts (SMEs) to see how many of them are on Twitter and what they do there. Those people should be your low-hanging fruit, partner with them first. Not only will they be more comfortable answering dozens of questions at the speed of light, but they will also bring their own followers into the conversation, thus giving this program some viral buzz.


Read Full Post »

It feels to me that the honeymoon phase of Twitter is over – or at least it should be.

While there are still thousands of users joining Twitter every day, many of us have now been using the tool for years, which means that rules and conventions have developed. Most of them make the use of Twitter more effective and enjoyable, some of them seem to clog up space that could be utilized for more meaningful communication.

Here my personal list of “The Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Tweeters“:


Read Full Post »

I am generally not a fan of the “viral video.”  I get the value, but most of what gets passed around to my in-box tends to be the “dancing kitten” or “funniest-home-video-dad-gets-hit-in-the-groin-by-his-5-year-old’s-baseball-bat” variety.  What I gravitate toward, however, are the videos that show you a new way to view the world, on innovation, on perspective. Take the mundane and make it extraordinaryInspire me.  That is what I love about this video and why I have Tim Clark’s blog to thank.  If you are not one of the 13 million who has seen this already, take 3 minutes to view it.  The premise is “Can you quickly get people to change their behavior if you add an element of fun to it?

How does this fit into Social Media?  I operate from the premise that we all are overwhelmed with information in our daily lives – texts, emails, URLs, videos, blogs, msgs, etc.  In fact, my blogging to tell you that you are inundated with information becomes the social media equivalent of Schrodinger’s Cat.  My blog, while well-intentioned (and brilliant!), becomes part of your daily noise.

What if we focused our energies in 2011 on solving the problem, not just improving the tactic.  Our usual approach is to improve the tactic, the function.  We build a better escalator – faster, smoother, more colorful perhaps.  How about we start with the problem, devise a way to successfully implement toward that goal, and then – here is the tricky part – actually execute against that idea!  Crazy, I know!  Instead of building a better escalator, make the experience of coming up the stairs more enjoyable and arguably more fruitful for the denizens of the subway.

What do we want to solve in 2011?  How about how we communicate, how to filter out the noise, how to connect with like-minded individuals around the globe, to connect with people on a meaningful level?  Let’s solve that.  In the “valley of innovation,” what we tend to hear – and far too often – are ideas like . . . .

  • It is like facebook 2.0,
  • It is Twitter only with x features, y faster, for z cost,
  • It is email  . . . on steroids.

Let’s throw the old premises out the window and invent from the problem we are trying to solve.  That would make a great “Top 10” list for 2011.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have a xylophone ramp to build.

Read Full Post »

The Power of the Individualby Todd Wilms

When it comes to the numbers, bigger is better.  500 million active facebook users – impressive.  65 million tweets a day on Twitter – wow!  85 million people in 200 countries trust their business profile to LinkedIn – astounding.  However, in our rush for all things “bigger,”  “greater,” or “more” we have missed the biggest number of them all – 1. One. The gender neutral, third person singular.  Uno.  Never before have we had a greater opportunity to tap into the power of the individual, the power of the one.  Influencers to obsessives. Let’s face it: a dedicated someone has more sway than the largest group of uninterested followers or disinterested bystanders.

While attending the Bees Awards with a group of colleagues in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I was pondering how they could make a goat cheese pizza the size of my thumbnail (complete with tiny slice marks) while admiring the obvious signs on the statues in the Legion of Honor – “this is not a coat rack” next to the Degas or “please do not place your drinks here” next to the Rodin. Before I do like so many of us do – taking refuge in my Smartphone – I met Marcy Mendelson.  Marcy is an acclaimed Bay Area denizen and photographer.  She is also a passionate cheetah conservationist. Intrigued, I set down my goat cheese pizza on the nearest Faberge‘ egg I could find and engaged in an actual conversation.

For the love of all things cheetah . . .

Marcy is fascinated by cheetahs (I know, you have heard the “while-attending-an-award-ceremony-I-met-cheetah-girl-story” before, right?) (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.