What’s the difference between a snowstorm and an earthquake? Well, with a snowstorm, you typically get notified ahead of time, you can plan thing out, you can buy a parka, boots, snow tires for your car, etc. With a earthquake, no one ever know when those will happen – in fact the other day they…
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Back at the turn of the century (yep, about 15 years ago) I worked for a web design firm here in Silicon Valley. The atmosphere was heady with the scent of startups hitting some amazing valuations – seems like everything with a dot com after its name was going insane – companies like Webvan were […]
You don’t need much more evidence than the last years numbers from Kickstarter to understand that crowdification is in full swing:
- 3.3 million people from all over the world
- There were $529 million in pledges
- Funding over 22,000 projects
You can see: the crowd is fully engaged. We no longer want to sit back and be told what we get – we want to actively participate in the product creation process. We want to build too.
Gone are the days when you can decide what’s best for your customers – they want to be intimately involved from day one – not just in the feedback after your product hits the shelves, but from many, many days minus launch, preferably during or even before the inception stage. Today, customers not only expect their products and services to do more than ever before – they expect to be in the drivers seat before you even put pen to paper on your next product.
Some fight this. Some still hew to the old belief that they know what their customers need, and they are going to give it to them, whether they like it or not. However, these companies will soon be few and far between. Instead of fighting it, why not embrace it?
Give your customers and prospects something to do. Take a look at some of the tasks that your employees are doing and see what you can push to the crowd – if they are willing and interested in doing the work, why not let them? All you need to do is to implement a process to control the quality of what goes out.
Of course, like anything where you engage your customers, it could be a double edged sword: its a new communications method for your customers, so they may use it to complain about your current product offerings. but at the same time, you could glean excellent insights into what your customers are looking for.
Case in point: My Starbucks Idea. A number of years ago, Starbucks opened up a website to gather and rate ideas from customers – both for areas of improvement and new product development. If you take a quick look at the numbers, there has been a ton of customer engagement, and a lot of really good ideas which benefit their customers came out of the woodwork, were developed and launched. Starbucks leveraged this tool to not only engage and involve their customers, but to also offload new product development ideas to their customers. Sure, some of the ideas didn’t go anywhere, but I’ll bet that a large number of their new product found its genesis in a customers mind.
Why not do the same for your customers? I’ll bet that you have some of your own raving fans out there who would love to be a part of the new product creation groups for your company. When you reach out, I’d bet you’d be pretty surprised by the cool stuff the crowd can come up with.
Yes, even a Veronica Mars Movie.
via Kickstarter – 2014 By The Numbers
I might not be as famous as Robert Scoble or Pete Cashmore but I do get my share of LinkedIn requests and one should, as with most social networks, be a little discerning about who you connect with. Maybe its not as important on Twitter or Facebook, but on LinkedIn, I think your circles definitely make a big difference. As such, there are some red flags which I use to determine pretty quickly (at last count I get over 50 requests to connect a day) in order to determine whether or not I’ll agree to connect with you. If that sounds imperious, so be it. We should all be discerning with our connections, don’t you agree? Maybe this kind of thinking is controversial and exclusive. You tell me. Even though some of the stuff below is pretty basic, I still get it.
- A photo. C’mon people. It’s 2014, and pretty much EVERY phone has a camera in it. I still get requests from people with no picture. Why is that? My immediate thought is: what are they hiding? Why don’t they have a picture there? Are they too new? If you ask me – no one should bother – and maybe even LinkedIn should make this a requirements – that you can’t initiate any connections unless you have a profile picture uploaded.
- A crappy photo. Your photo should be a more or less professional shot with just you in the picture. Pictures with your significant other are awesome for Facebook – I share my Facebook pic with my wife so we have the same picture. Plus, please make it a portrait close up of your face! I see all these pictures where people are standing in a room or something and I can barely see you. Plenty of times when I go to meet people who I’ve never met before I check out their LinkedIn profile so I know what they look like. I’ll bet I’m not the only one. If someone is late to a meeting with you, it may be that they couldn’t recognize you from your LinkedIn profile. Again, an easy fix, or seriously, get a professional portrait done. If you live in the Bay Area, my wife is an awesome photographer and can do your pic for you. Just email me and we’ll set something up for you.
- A practically empty bio. Please people. Maybe this should be a more blanket statement “Before you try to connect with anyone on LinkedIn, make your profile as complete as possible” Yes, that means spending time getting a great photo done, completing all of your job history, all of your education, everything you do, then working backwards to write yourself a killer bio.
- Your title is “Sales” or “Business Development”. I know why you’re connecting with me, dude. You want to sell me something. I get that. And I don’t blanket not connect with you just because you’re in sales. It really depends on your whole picture, your whole bio, everything that you represent. If you’ve don’e something cool in your past or currently, I’ll connect with you. But don’t just try and pitch me right away. Build the relationship first. Then, maybe, if you’re stuff if great, I’ll buy from you and or refer you to someone else. But you have to have more than a one line bio and a title and no picture.
- For a bonus point: put your email address at the bottom of your bio. It makes it easier for me to ask you why you are interested in connecting with me BEFORE I do it.
So think before you connect:
- Does my pic look awesome? Would someone recognize me from it?
- Is my bio the best it can be?
- Is my profile complete?
- Is my email address in my bio?
- And finally : put yourself in my shoes, if you were me, would I connect with you?