The speech is titled Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age but the speech gives great insights into what Pixar looks for when they are hiring people. (Video is only 9 minutes long)

The two points that I really liked were

1 - Mastery - This is the opposite of how a normal hiring person would think, in that Pixar is not looking for someone who is a master of one particular job related skill but that the person has
mastered something. This shows Pixar that this person has the can do personality to master something which can be channeled into Pixar's business.

2 - Breadth - They are looking for someone with experiences not just experience.

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John Cage as far as I can tell gets credit for the quote.

Get the poster at the
Imaginary Foundation. Lots of other cool prints and shirts.



Being forced to change is never an easy idea to accept if your business was previously making lots of money. We are now seeing large companies in huge industries failing because they did not plan, innovate or notice the world was changing around them. The mad scramble in the car industry is occuring but traditional media is also in crisis mode. Just this past week multiple articles have brought this to light. Most of these articles are about prints decline but it is safe to lump all traditional media into most of these discussions. (TV is actually closer to more solutions than print and radio.)

First one from Techcrunch is that newpaper ad sales have gone from really bad to really really really bad. Q1 ad sales down $2.6 billion. Let that sink in for a moment...... I am sure there is lots of blame to go around in the industry but that does not move the industry forward or does it?The print industry in the next article blames Google for stealing their ad revenue.


The American Press Institute met in Chicago and came out with a plan to save the newspaper industry. And in this plan they lob some stones at Google and Amazon (brillant!). Their plan is horrible. Lets make consumers pay for content, show the same old ads, lobby for policies that help us, invest huge amounts of money to create a platform for the industry to charge for content and a bunch more bad ideas. Techcrunch has so nicely embeded a copy of the white paper. (This meeting of the newpaper big wigs is walking a fine line of anti-trust as well)



Then here are a couple of guys with some opinions on what is wrong with the newspaper industry and they provide some sounder solutions.

Clay Shirky does a deep dive, in his post titled Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, into the history of newspapers and how they need try new things to figure out what is next. He states we are currently at the point were everyone knows the model for the industry is broken but no one knows what will fix it. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the post.
"This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model."

Next up is Kirk from Post Advertising he wrote Redefining Advertising to Save Journalism. He is getting closer to a solution. The newspapers need to change how they advertise.

Traditional media know how to create great content. Now they must learn how to customize and leverage that content to captivate an audience while driving marketing results for a client.

New types of advertising solultions for marketers need to be developed and the only way to figure out which ones will work is to test them. Some bombs are going to happen but when gold is struck it will be a nice payout. More brainstorming between traditonal media and their advertiser is needed to create new forms of advertising.

This is startingto happen, as I am actually working with a radio station on creating a unique strucutre for my company to "advertise" on their website. The ideas we are bouncing around involve revenue sharing (CPA or affiliate deals if you will) for customers that they send to us and buy, mixed with on air mentions, banner ads and even tweets by their on air personalities. In the end if done right the station has the potential to actually make more money than they would from their normal rates. In additio the station can make money post the advertsing run if we negotiate an extended cookie.

The industry needs new people brought in to start coming up with creative advertising programs. Tradtional media has good content and they have eyeballs/ears that can be monetized but status quo or just the same old models re-applied to new technology is not the solution.

To end is a YouTube video called The Day Media Died. A nice remake of Don McLeans American Pie that summarizes the fall of big media buys.
















As a tinkerer I tend to take traditional tools and apply them to day to day things. In the current start up I am at, I sometimes work on business development as well as investor relations. Which means making phone calls and emails to people that may or may not want to hear from me. And it is sometimes very difficult to gage someones interest level.

Most people try to use read receipts for emails they send out to confirm someone opened their email. This works some of the time but to me it feels invasive to the receiver. So instead of using this method I add tracking to links I send to individuals. For example I was approaching some resorts about our products and during the call I said I can send them some sample websites we manage and market. A pretty standard thing to do. But the links I provide display like this

Silver Lake Resort - in Orland, FL

but have a destination url like this http://www.silverlakeorlandoresort.com/GetMicroHomeScreen.event?insertcontactsnameoridentifier

The part in red is they key. I insert an identifier for the contact which allows me to then via analytics see if that person went to the site, how long they stayed, how many page views etc... Which gives me a much better idea of the person's interest. For those using Google Analytics go to the Content section, then the Content Drilldown and then search the identifier.

I am now getting my fellow co-workers into this habitat and they are enjoying it. There is a thrill of knowing what you emailed out was used by the recipient and gives you more confidence when you know they have spent sometime looking at your website(s).

Got other great tips for using analytics for not so normal things? Post them in the comments




1 - Have quality tweets in place before you do a big follow campaign.
I always make sure I have 3-4 good quality tweets on my profile before I start following a bunch of other people or if we are doing a big email blast with a twitter follow badge on it. The strategy here is that people may not know your company, may not know what twitter is or may not be sure how you are using twitter. So all of these people may come to your twitter page and if you have 3-4+ good quality tweets then those potential followers have a higher propensity to start following you. I know it seems basic but we have all been to some company twitter pages and bounced due to bad tweets.

2 - Be A Magpie .com = FAIL (not linked on purpose) - This tool, if you will, basically allows companies to use willing twitter accounts for their advertisements. The willing twitter accounts get paid for selling their souls and the company may get a short term boost. But this is not conversation this is advertising. This strategy may work in the short term but long term this is not a social media strategy it is a gimmick. Let the conversation happen naturally. As a company you can provide fuel to help the conversation happen but let it naturally be set on fire.

Don't get me wrong I am all for affiliate marketing on twitter but used in the proper useful context. An example would be someone tweets "looking for a good flight deal. Ideas?". A smart affiliate would @reply with a link to some deals where they get a cut.



Have some tips, leave them in the comments!


"We cannot insure success, but we can deserve it." - John Adams











Tracking is one thing that businesses often over look with their social media strategy. And they shouldn't because if you are in charge of social media you want to show what your doing adds value (meaning put some hard numbers and cash to all your socializing).


0.) (Yep starting at zero b/c you should have already done this) Get a Google Analytics account setup on your website/blog. Go here to do it


1.) Start adding tracking to the end of your URLs before you shorten them.
Here is an example:
I want to tweet about my blog post "The Top 5 People to Follow on Twitter" and here is what the normal URL looks like

http://www.innovationbuzz.com/2009/02/top-people-to-follow-on-twitter-imho.html

Now I am going to add a "?" past the "html". This "?" tells the web browser to ignore everything past it. Then I added 3 pieces of data that I pick.

  1. utm_Source=
  2. utm_Medium=
  3. utm_Campaign=

These 3 data points are tracked in Google Analytics for slicing and dicing.

Source is the referring place so in this case it will be Twitter. Easy enough. This will allow you to create reports showing all conversions from a source in this caseTwitter. So the high level.

Medium
is a Tweet but other mediums would be email, facebookstatus, blogpost etc.... This will allow you to create reports showing all conversions from a medium in this case tweets. This level is digging down more.

Lastly Campaign for me is Top5TwittersPost but this could be a sale name or promo code. This level gets us down to the exact thing we posted.

To create the url before shortening it one last thing you must know is that you have to put a "&" between each piece of data which lets Google Analytics see those pieces separately. Here is the end result for my URL.

http://www.innovationbuzz.com/2009/02/top-people-to-follow-on-twitter-imho.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=top5twitterspost



2.) What the Hell Do I Track and How Do I measure Value?

There are primary goals to track and secondary goals. All have value.


















Primary Actions
(the value is easy to see)
  • The visitor buys something - You make $
  • The visitor fills out your lead form - You have hooked a potential customer
  • The visitor signs up for your newletter - You have permission to email a potential customer
  • The visitor signs up to receive your catalog - You have permission to mail them your catalog
  • The visitor starts a chat session with your customer service or uses the "click to call" function. You have a chance to help the visitor buy something.
Secondary Actions (The value not always a hard number but still valuable)
  • The visitor checks out your careers page. HR spends lots of money trying to recruit new employees so if your social media gets someone to apply you saved them $. (Side note use social media to promote job openings)
  • The visitor shares something from your site on a social network. Integrating social media share features allows your visitors to distribute your content to their network. This is like a personal recommendation by that visitor. Huge! People trust recommendations from their friends a ton. I know not a hard number but huge value.
  • The visitor spends more than X minutes on your site so there is a Y% chance they will come back and buy something. You will have to dig your own figures up in analytics but figure out when people spend more than X minutes on your site they eventually purchase something Y% of the time.
  • New visitors. Bringing new people to your site is big. This means you are extending your reach beyond your core.
  • Do you have more things to track leave them in the comments.
Tracking these actions can be done in Google Analytics via the goal tracking and ecommerce tracking. Go here to learn about setting up goal tracking and here for ecommerce. Some of this may already be setup which makes it that much easier.

3.)Setup Automated Reports
This is a the biggest time saver. Within Google Analytics you can have any report emailed to you on a regular basis. Here is a quick tutorial

On top of every report there is an email button. If you click that you are given options on scheduling reports. Not sue why this is buried in
Here is what that screen looks like. So I recommend a weekly and/or monthly report at a minimum showing the goals you have met via social media. Show some value to what you are doing then ask for more resources and maybe even a raise!! And if you need help setting these up ask around the office or do some research online.





Dig Deeper
- Twitter Integration into Omniture
- Anlytics Guru for Google (read this to blow your mind on analytics)

I am going to try and be more regular with some link love to sites and products I am liking.







Chicago Convergence - "Collaborate about new ventures in technology, interactive media, social change and the arts; digital expressions of ideas with global scale." If you work in Chicago and are in marketing or advertising in any capacity across any channel come and join this community (powered by Ning).







23andMe - This is the personal DNA mapping company that was started by one of the wifes of the Google Founders. The main reason this has come back on my radar it now only cost $399. Still a nice chunk of change but you learn about your health and what you are predisposed to possibly getting, along with seeing your ancestry and they have a community.









Scooters Frozen Custard - If you live in Chicago or are visiting this place is amazing. They just opened their doors for the season. They always have great new flavors.










Diners, Drive Ins and Dives - This is my new favorite Food Network show. Guy Fieri goes to all these great off the beaten path joints that make some amazing dishes. And for some reason the way Guy eats makes it look like the best thing he has ever tasted. Seriously he has some weird gift.

Besides following my friends on Twitter I like to follow other interesting people from all walks of life. Here are the people that I currently think have the best tweets.

1 - JasonFried - From 37Signals. His tweets stimulate my design and business senses. Plus he also adds some humor here and there.

2- KristenNicole2 - Kristen is the Queen of social media information. Tweets about the latest and greatest in social media and mixes in some personal tweets which I like b/c she is from Chicago.

3- Avinashkaushik - The Analytics Guru for Google. His tweets are insightful, thought provoking, hilarious with a dash of analytics humor (ok more than a dash). If you are serious about getting your site to perform better this is the guy to learn from.

4- Flor__- The best product/brand in the world. They just started tweeting but are doing a mix of announcing specials, telling people what they think is cool in design and just interacting with their peps. They recently launched an Outlet Store which was announced there.

5- SmashingMag - Their tweets keep you thinking about to improve your website which any person involved in a website should be thinking about constantly. And if you are not reading this blog and are doing online design/usability work go read it religiously.

Related - Twitter Professors
Follow Me on Twitter Gforst

If you have favorites feel free to leave them in the comments. I am always looking for good people to follow!

This presentation by Josh Palau, from Avenue A/Razorfish, does an excellent job of explaining how to properly use social media as a company. One of the best presentations I have seen on integrating social media into a company.


Watch Social Search Optimization, Josh Palau, Avenue A | Razorfish in Webisodes and Game Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Found this b/c I am apart of the Chicago Convergence site. Which I highly recommend Chicago Marketers to join.




















People always want to have more friends or followers. There are many reason ego, distribution, being social and many more. But people usually hit a ceiling through traditional means (email checker, look at friends of friends etc..) so here are a few tips to get more.

1
Add your pages to your signature, blog, profiles, business cards, presentation and anything the public sees. I recommend sprucing them up a bit with a display Url that is more friendly but here are my links.


Twitter - www.twitter.com/gforst
Linkedin - www.linkedin.com/in/gforst
Facebook - www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Forst/502565050

Then my email signature looks like this


I do not add my Facebook link b/c I don't like to mix to much business in my Facebook account. Something to think about but always something you can add or take away as you want.

Then if you notice in the right rail of the blog I have a link to my Twitter account and my Linkedin account.

2
If you are a business search your current customer list to see if they are using the same networks as you. Then friend them.

3
Search social networks to find people talking about your product

This is pretty straight forward if you have a product find people directly talking about your product or industry and friend them, join the group, become a fan. (Again don't lampoon the conversation) . For example if you are in the Orlando vacation package business search around for people talking about Orlando vacations, Disney vacations, Universal vacations and so on.

Searching on Twitter is a question I get a lot. Here are two sites to use.

search.twitter.com (formerly summize - Twitter bought them)
www.twitscoop.com

Also check out Filtrbox. They do the dirty work for you and email you daily on what they find.

4
Look for old colleagues out there. Think about some of those great people you have meet and try to find them.

5
In the case of twitter and blogging post good content and people will find you.

Other resource:
Kevin Rose Post on increasing Twitter Followers

1- Read the Clue Train Manifesto


This book will give you the best overview of how social media is turning business on its head. The book is $10 and it is a quick read. No excuses!

2- Don't Just Push Your Product 
Companies see social media as another "channel" to sell their product and thats it. Yes social media can help you sell more products but let's see if this annoys you.  

Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product Buy My Product

As you will learn in the Clue Train Manifesto there are conversations happening out there about your products or industry and you can either join the conversation or lampoon the conversation with your selling. Obviously lampooning is not going to work longterm. The internet has truly given the consumer the power so as a company you must talk with them not at them.

3- Make it Normal Conversation
Don't use jargon or PR talk when you use social media. The term social means people use it to be social which inherently means fun. So talk with people as a human not as a company talking to a customer.

4- PR Has Changed
The old model of PR is dead. Read this post from TechCrunch. It was written for startups but it applies to almost all businesses.

5- Opposite of Nike









Don't just do it! Businesses do this all the time. Oh we need a blog, we need to twitter, we need to Digg etc... This goes down the food chain of a company and someone does all this stuff really quick just to appease the boss or whoever wanted to jump on the social media bandwagon. They just do it and it fails. I call this the H.I.P.P.O. Effect. Think your social media strategy through.

Have more tips add them to the comments!


Social media has hit the perfect storm, it is accepted in the "mainstream" and there is a recession.  Weird to think about it but that is the perfect storm for businesses to jump into social media.  All the talk with my senior exec friends is leveraging Facebook, Twitter, blogging etc... The main reason they are talking about social media is because it is essentially free.  Which with a recession "Free" is always a good thing.  That coupled with millions of people using these applications it is the perfect storm.


This perfect storm is going to produce some amazing business  social media (see Burger Kings Sacrifice a Friend app) and it will create even more dreadfully awful business social media (see thousands of Facebook pages that create no value).  Companies are not blind so they know they need to figure out a "strategy" for social media but they never take the time to understand it.  Hence some really bad social media comes out of these companies.  And this bad social media can come back to bite you in the ass.

So I am going to start posting weekly about social media - how it should be done, examples of good and bad, strategies, growing your followers and more.  To start I am going to post my 5 Tips for Businesses Using Social Media.




We all know the buzz around how Barack Obama's campaign utilized social media to its fullest potential. And played a huge role in his victory.

Finally a big company with the time and money has done a nice brief on how they did it. Edelman, of PR fame, has created Barack Obama's Social Media Tool Kit that you can read here.

Lots of good stuff in it. One of the many gems I took from it was blogger conference calls.

Also checkout the Obama iPhone App. I thought it was pretty ingenious.

Thanks Mashable for the original find!



So today I was signing into Gmail and they asked for a new password because they determined my current password was weak.  I know my password is sort of weak but there are more than 6 characters and it is a mix of letters and numbers.  So there are 3 things that strike me as weird.

1 - I wasn't sure if it was someone phishing

2- My wifes password is super weak if mine is weak

3- The Google tool asking for the new password rates your password (weak, strong etc...).  I typed in my old password and it said was strong.  Confusing i know.

So I had my wife sign into her account to see if this was just implemented and she was not asked for a new password.  The only thing I can think of is the hack at Twitter was recent, which I do use.

Also I was forced to change it.  Now way around it that I could find. 

Anyone else getting this request?

This is my annual post about my favorite things from the previous year.  They are in no particular order.......



Orbit Baby Stroller


This stroller is amazing.  I became a father in 2008 hence the stroller but seriously this thing is amazing.  It is not a stroller it is a system.  I see people wrestling with their strollers like a greased pig all the time and the Orbit Baby solves this problem.  Here is my original post about the Orbit Baby


Top Golf Driving Range
In 2008 I officially became a golf nut.  Granted golf nut does not equal good golfer.  Anyways here in Chicago they opened a new golf range that is some mix of golf, darts and bowling but at a driving range.  They have a wait staff that you can order food and drinks from so it is already 2 times as good as your average driving range.  If you can't play golf this is next best thing.  My original post, Not Your Dad's Driving Range,  sums it up nicely.


Google Reader

Google Reader helps me churn through lots of information in one sitting without spending all my time my time bouncing around from site to site.  Plus I have them organized in a way that lets me focus on themes.  For instance I am an online marketer so all my feeds from those sites are labeled together so if I want to catch up on that stuff I read those post.  If I am catching up with my friends blogs I have them grouped together.  Once setup, which is easy, Google Reader really makes it easy for me to keep up with all my favorite sites.  Plus it makes it simple to share things you like or think a friend might like.


Picasa Photo Software (free form Google)

The online photo world is crowded but Picasa (owned by Google and integrated with other Google products) has in my eyes set itself apart.  The software is free, has easy to use features like a red eye reducer that works, a movie/slide show creator, upload to web, email option and a ton more dead simple tools.  Granted I still use some other photo sites for other reasons but this is my main desktop app to keep my photos organized.

Daily Bugle Podcast
These two british guys (Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver)  get me through my daily commute. They  do a weekly-ish podcast about world news mostly.  Andy Zaltzman is from the Colbert Report.  You can subscribe to it via iTunes or here.

- This post as usually will be a two parter!  I know the suspense is killing me too-