Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday's Links: This Week...On Monday!

Most Fridays I compile a short sampling of links that have tickled my interest that week. With Thanksgiving and four glorious days of football watching, I regret that this post was delayed until today. With that said...

Can you really see who viewed your Facebook profile? Rogue application spreads virally. - no, no you can't install a program to see who viewed your Facebook profile. Its. A. Trap.

Google buys Groupon for $2.5 billion? - No one knows...but everyone is assuming...

10 Ways to Be a Better Manager - I find myself at on a regular basis to read their how-to style business articles.

The Algorithm + the Crowd are Not Enough -just read this compelling post about the limits of the current model for web applications...and the return of the editor? Could it be? Read a sample here:

Why does a page rank first in Google for a particular query? Why does one link stay on Reddit’s homepage for hours while another, with a similar number of votes, fall off in just a few minutes? Why does Facebook show me ads for customer service jobs at Comcast? Why did Amazon recommend buying whole milk with this Badonkadonk Land Cruiser?
If we don’t understand why these suggestions were made, couldn’t that bias us against trusting future recommendations from these services?

Fred Wilson recently  made a compelling case that we shouldn’t invest in something we don’t understand:
…sectors of the venture capital market are filling up with investors chasing returns. And some of them do not understand what they are investing in. I got a call a few weeks ago from an individual investor who wanted to invest in one of our portfolio companies. He asked about the company and from his questions it was pretty clear he did not understand the business very well. He went ahead and made an offer to invest. That scared me.
I’ve been visited recently by a number of foreign investment vehicles, many of whom are investing billions of dollars of sovereign wealth. They all want to get into our funds and our deals. When I talk to them about why, they can’t really articulate a cogent argument about the economic potential of the social web. But they see the returns and want some of them too. That scares me.

I’d argue that some people will find it equally hard, and perhaps similarly foolish to trust suggestion/ranking services whose algorithms they can’t understand. These same people might turn to recommendation sources they can easily grasp and results they can logically dissemble.
My point isn’t that Google, Netflix, Amazon, Yelp or any of the others are doomed. But I do think there’s an opportunity brewing for entrepreneurs, websites and companies to add editorial components to the algo-crowd paradigm.

Overview of B2B Social Media Applications- Marc Hausman

If you haven't already read the post, Marc Hausman, CEO of Strategic Communications Group, lays out the three main B2B applications for social media.

They are:
  1. Social Media for PR
  2. Social Media for Corporate Positioning
  3. Social Media for Sales

"During the past four years, Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) has designed, executed and evaluated nearly 40 social media campaigns for the world’s largest, fastest growing and most successful technology companies.  Our clients have included global brands such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, EMC, Sun Microsystems, British Telecom, NeuStar, Monster and BearingPoint, as well as emerging vendors like Merchant Link, Cimcor, ePok and govWin.

While the practice and influence of social media can be applied across the organization, our experience teaches us there are primarily three high-value viable applications of social in a B2B environment."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Straight to the Point Podcast: Hank Dearden of Capital Cabal

When I joined Strategic Communications Group almost seven years ago to head up the firm's marketing and business development efforts, one of the first tasks I had to take on was identifying venues where I could interact with local technology and marketing executives. The year was 2004, and most of the tech networking events in DC had been swept away by the dot-com bust. However, a revival was about to occur, lead by one man, Hank Dearden.

I'm happy that Hank has taken some time to sit down with me and share his experiences standing up and growing a professional networking organization, The Capital Cabal. While I am very much a proponent of social media and online communications as a way to develop and maintain relationships, in person interaction is absolutely key to any B2B or B2G sales and marketing campaign.

What did we cover?
  • How important are networking events in the DC area?
  • What are the marketing strategies he used to grow 2nd Tuesday with little to no budget?
  • How important is it to include off-line or face-to-face (FTF) events in your overall marketing mix?
  • Is the DC area tech community strong and growing or still suffering from the effects of the recession?

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio...

or just click play...

Listen to internet radio with JeffMajka on Blog Talk Radio

Off Topic: Blood Glacier

Well, of all the crazy things I have ever seen, this may take the cake. A bleeding glacier?

Nope. Its iron rich water created by bacteria in an underground lake. Really...

Read the story here: Extreme Weirdness: Antarctica’s “Blood Falls”

A bleeding glacier. Discovered in 1911 by a member of Robert Scott’s ill-fated expedition team, its rusty color was at first theorized to be caused by some sort of algae growth. Later, however, it was proven to be due to iron oxidation. Every so often, the glacier spews forth a clear, iron-rich liquid that quickly oxidizes and turns a deep shade of red. According to Discover Magazine
The source of that water is an intensely salty lake trapped beneath 1,300 feet of ice, and a new study has now found that microbes have carved out a niche for themselves in that inhospitable environment, living on sulfur and iron compounds. The bacteria colony has been isolated there for about 1.5 million years, researchers say, ever since the glacier rolled over the lake and created a cold, dark, oxygen-poor ecosystem.
Even weirder: scientists think that the bacteria responsible for Blood Falls might be an Earth-bound approximation of the kind of alien life that might exist elsewhere in the solar system, like beneath the polar ice caps of Mars and Europa.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Procrastinating? Here are 4 ways to fix it.

I found an interesting page today on how to stop (or lessen) procrastination, a malady that I suffer from time to time. Most "get stuff done" blog posts I read are either way mamby-pamby or just too dry. This one is helpful without talking about my chakra or recommending that I set up a complicated filing system. Read the whole article here and here is a quote that describes four powerful solutions to procrastination:

1. Stop and think. When we allow the above thoughts to go on without really being conscious of them, we procrastinate. When we actually pause and think about those thoughts, we can rationally see that they’re wrong. Instant gratification in the form of goofing off or eating junk food can lead to problems later. Fears are overblown and shouldn’t stand in our way. Not having negative consequences now doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences later. Our future self isn’t as bad-ass as we like to think. So think about what you’re doing, and start to do the more rational thing. Use the strategies below as well, but thinking is the start.

2. Enjoy the process. When we dread something, we put it off — but instead, if we can learn to enjoy it, it won’t be as hard or dreadful. Put yourself in the moment, and enjoy every action. For example, if you want to go out to run, don’t think about the hard run ahead, but about putting on your shoes — enjoy the simplicity of that action. Then focus on getting out the door — that’s not hard. Then focus on warming up with a fast walk or light jog — that can be nice and enjoyable. Then feel your legs warm up as you start running a little faster, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. This process can be done with anything, from washing dishes to reading to writing. Enjoy yourself in the moment, without thinking of future things you dread, and the activity can be very pleasant and even fun. And if it is, you won’t put it off.

3. Set up accountability. If no one is looking over our shoulder, we tend to let ourselves slack off. So set up a procrastination-proof environment — find people to hold you accountable. I joined an online fitness challenge this month, for example, so that I’d report my workouts to the forum. I’ve done the same thing for running, quitting smoking, writing a novel. You can even just use your friends and family on Facebook or email.

4. Block your future self. Your future self is just as likely to put things off. So block that sucker. Use a program like Freedom to block your Internet access for a predetermined amount of time, so your future self has to actually focus instead of reading blogs. Turn off your cable TV, get rid of the junk food in your house, cut up your credit cards … do whatever it takes to make it really hard for your future self to procrastinate or give in to temptation, or at least force your future self to pause and think before he does anything dumb.

Pretty obvious- but sometimes its good to read what you already know, but need to hear again...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Compelling Content is the New Advertising

As more and more companies adopt and incorporate social media into their overall marketing structure, understanding of what makes social media marketing effective is spreading. Back in the day, most companies would consider the "social media box" checked if they found a young, college graduate to set up a Twitter account. Now, a more sophisticated, strategic approach is being rolled out in many places...

We at Strategic have always said that creating and aggregating compelling, value added content was one of the keys to successfully building and engaging with a targeted audience. You company has just as much right to a computer screen as the New York Times, but if your content stinks, guess who is going to get the traffic. Your content has to be the Three E's: engaging, education and entertaining. And it has to be distributed to the right folks in the appropriate way. Tweeting your latest press release is a waste of time.

More and more people are getting on board with this approach. Check out this latest post from Copyblogger, "3 Steps to Foolish Online Advertising" (I highly suggest reading the whole thing...)

Remember this first and foremost – educate first and foremost. Give people something they can use, and they’re primed for more value. And that’s exactly what the Motley Fool report does.
While delivering on its promise and providing value, it becomes clear that this information is just the tip of the iceberg, and clearer that deeper analysis is valuable and worth paying for. That’s the natural point to make an offer – when people have been educated enough to do business with you.

Do You Have to Pay for Advertising?

Absolutely not. We’ve been preaching for almost five years that compelling content is the new advertising, thanks to the fact that compelling content spreads for free via social media.
People actually want content.

Compelling content is the new advertising. Compelling content is the new marketing. Compelling content is the new...everything.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Links: Edelman, Twitter, Mergers, Microsoft, Jackbe

It is Friday! Time to review some of the interesting, compelling, fascinating blog posts, news stories and whatnot of the week.

Study: Social awareness up with consumers, businesses should follow
"Americans seek deeper involvement in social issues and expect brands and companies to provide various means of engagement," said Carol Cone, Managing Director of Brand and Corporate Citizenship with Edelman. "We call this the rise of the 'citizen consumer'."
The study found:
• 30% of consumers believe government should 'do the most' to support causes, an 11% decrease Year over Year (YoY)
• 23% believe 'people like me' should do more for causes, an 8% increase YoY
• 87% believe that businesses should be more involved with social issues
• 74% believe a combination of brand and consumer 'doing good' for causes is the best option
• 47% believe brands are working with causes only for the publicity

Ad agency abandons website for Twitter presence
A few weeks ago, a Swedish ad agency moved its website to Facebook and, before that, another agency based their web presence entirely on Youtube. Now, another agency has decided to ditch its website and establish its online presence elsewhere - this time on Twitter.

Government is hot, hot, hot for M&A
Investors were not kind to publicly traded government services companies in Q3 2010. In fact, you could say these companies took a beating from their investors. The federal services space took the brunt of it, with pricing down 19%, while defense prime contractors declined 5%. Even worse, valuation multiples are at the lowest levels in the past decade.

While this sounds like a lot of ‘glass half empty’ perspective, it isn’t all bad news. Recently ACG National Capital member Jean Stack of Houlihan Lokey wrote an article in Washington Technology regarding mergers and acquisitions in the government services sector. She, like so many others, predicted the M&A pace will remain strong into 2011 even though the industry has experienced downward momentum in pricing. Why? Companies and investors are cautious about organic growth prospects and are looking at M&A opportunities in order to support growth.

Create Mashups in the Cloud with Microsoft Azure DataMarket and JackBe
Mashup tool provider JackBe is working with Microsoft to create dashboard apps using Azure DataMarket. In our coverage of the DataMarket, we noted that it's a marketplace, not an app environment. That's where JackBe comes in. JackBe can run in Azure to help end users create their own mashups using data sources from the marketplace. JackBe shares an example app in a company blog post. The example is a logistics app designed to plan routes to keep perishable food fresh and incorporates the following data from the following sources:
  • Bing maps: with Navteq dynamic routing information and Microsoft's Dynamics CRM on Demand customer data;
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Demand: customer order data, and real-time Weather Central information visualized in Microsoft Silverlight, this App also supports write-back capability to the Dynamics CRM;
  • Microsoft SharePoint: aggregating information on delivery trucks and their locations;
  • And from Azure Data Market services: dynamic fuel prices and geographically correlated fuel station locations.
There's a video on the blog post that explains how it works.
The advent of cloud computing and big data makes huge amounts of data available to organizations, but it's not always clear how to make practical use of it. Tools like JackBe can help turn all this data into something end users can work with minimal support from IT.

And finally, the GOP won the House of Representatives but didn't quite gain control of the Senate.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Is This The Right Way to Court A Customer? Sue them?

Google is suing the US government for not buying Google Apps. Hmmm. I just read this on check it out for yourself...
Google Sues The US Government For Only Considering Microsoft Solutions

Eric Goldman alerts us to the interesting bit of news that Google has sued the US government -- specifically the Department of the Interior, for not seriously considering Google Apps when it put out a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to handle its messaging needs. Specifically, the DOI stated upfront in the RFQ that the solution had to be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. Google is making the argument that this is "unduly restrictive of competition," and it seems like they've got a decent argument there.

Most of the lawsuit details the history of meetings and conversations between Google and the DOI, where Google sought to convince the DOI that its solution was acceptable. The DOI justified limiting its offerings to Microsoft, by saying that Microsoft had two things that other solution providers did not: unified/consolidated email and "enhanced security." Google disputes this (not surprisingly) and notes various problems with Microsoft solutions -- including well reported downtime issues. Google protested the RFQ when it was released, but the GAO dismissed Google's protest saying that since Google does not have a GSA schedule contract (i.e., what you need to sell to the gov't), it was "not an interested party." Anyway, should make for an interesting lawsuit if it goes anywhere...
Wait? What? Google isn't on the GSA schedule? Kind of a oversight, don't you think?

(Full disclosure: Microsoft is a client at my employer, Strategic Communications Group.)

Things Politicians Say- 1917 Edition

This always happens to me when I'm looking up information about a company or technology or whatnot. I end up at Wikipedia and stumble upon something astounding or remarkable....Never fails.

So, here is something that made my jaw drop...from the bio on James W. Gerrard, Ambassador to Germany (1913-1917)...

In 1914, he was the Democratic - Tammany Hall candidate for U.S. Senator from New York. He defeated Anti-Tammany candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Democratic primary, but lost the election to James W. Wadsworth, Jr. On the declaration of war by the United States, he was recalled from his post of minister at Berlin...

Gerard once said in a speech: "The Foreign Minister of Germany once said to me your country does not dare do anything against Germany, because we have in your country five hundred thousand Germans reservists [emigrants] who will rise in arms against your government if you dare to make a move against Germany. Well, I told him that that might be so, but that we had five hundred thousand and one lamp posts in this country, and that that was where the reservists would be hanging the day after they tried to rise."[1]

Wow. Just reminds you how much America has changed in almost 100 years. Can you imagine any politician of any political party saying something like that? And this from the guy who beat FDR in a Democratic party primary...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Links: Verizon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Foursquare, Facebook, AOL

Here are a few of the reports, articles and stories I found interesting this week.

Get ready for Verizon's 'Dream Phone'

The forthcoming Verizon iPhone will test those investments. As noted, wireless data usage on the device is a major burden on AT&T's (T) network; iPhone users who complain about AT&T service don't always realize how much they contribute to the strain, partly because the iPhone persistently reaches out to AT&T's towers, switches, and computers to grab data. While Seidenberg wouldn't comment on the iPhone specifically, he and Lowell ­McAdam, his operating chief and heir apparent, seem confident the Verizon network will hold up. McAdam points out that Verizon already carries a data hog of a phone, the Motorola Droid (which runs on Google's (GOOG) Android operating system), and that the average Droid user consumes more data than the average iPhone user.

IDC: Apple passes RIM to become No. 4 global mobile phone vendor

According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Apple's record quarter was enough to land it a fourth-place spot on the list of global mobile phone vendors, behind Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics, BusinessWire reports. Though Apple has consistently been a top smartphone vendor, this marks the first quarter that Apple has cracked the top 5 list of global mobile phone vendors.

Ozzie's 'doomsday' memo warns Microsoft of post-PC days

Departing Microsoft executive Ray Ozzie's just-published memo is a "doomsday-ish" missive that calls on the company to push further into the cloud or perish, an industry analyst said today.

Ozzie, who replaced Bill Gates as Microsoft's chief software architect in 2006, is leaving the company, although Microsoft has not disclosed the date of his departure.

His "Dawn of a New Day" memorandum, which was dated Oct. 28, is an attempt to focus Microsoft's attention on the day when PCs will no longer rule consumer or business computing, said Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash. research firm that specializes in tracking Microsoft.

AOL To Sell Pacific Corporate Park to CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust

AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) today announced that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of four office buildings it no longer utilizes and two undeveloped parcels of land on the East side of its Dulles campus to CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust for $144.5 million. As of October 29, pro forma for the sale AOL has approximately $750 million of cash on hand.

On its "latest statistics" page, Facebook says "there are more than 150 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices."

Does this mean Foursquare, the startup Facebook Places most closely copies, is doomed? It only has 4 million users. It had an offer to sell to Yahoo this summer for more than $100 million. Should CEO Dennis Crowley have taken the money and run?

Surprisingly, the answer to both those questions might still be "no."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Top 16 Public Sector Social Media and News Sites You Should Know About

I'm always a bit flabbergasted when I meet someone in the government marketing space, mention GovLoop or Gov2Social, and I get a blank stare. I know we are in the early adopter phase of using social media to help contractors find and close deals, establish partnering opportunities and grow stronger relationships with government...and I know that just because I know something, doesn't necessarily mean everyone else knows it too...

But how can you not know about GovLoop?

OK, so in the interest of spreading the good news about social media and the public sector contracting business, here is a list of top social media and news sites that you should know about...

(this isn't a comprehensive list-- please leave a comment if you feel I've left something important out...)

  1. GovLoop - the Facebook for government, GovLoop has 30,000+ people registered there
  2. GovTwit - is a large repository (3,000+) of twitterers in federal, state and local government and the contracting community
  3. FedScoup - an aggregation for must read government business blogs, news sites and social media streams
  4. MeriTalk- smaller than GovLoop, MeriTalk positions itself as the social network for government IT people
  5. FutureFed - learn about Microsoft's solutions and ideas for a more efficient and effective public sector
  6. Brightside of Government - Microsoft's social media platform for state and local government executives and the unique issues they face
  7. Gov2Social - a repository of social media implementations, case studies and" how-to's" across all levels and functions of government
  8. Google Public Sector- thoughts from Google's government group
  9. IBM Center for the Business of Government - collection of white papers on the issues facing governments today
  10. FOSE - the ur-trade show for government IT
  11. FCW and GCN- two magazines from the 1105 Government Business Network that cover the technology policy and management community and government IT specialists respectively
  12. Governing is a online magazine that focuses on the issues most important to government leaders and employees
  13. Washington Technology- also from 1105, this magazine focuses on the contracting community, especially technology providers and partners
  14. Federal News Radio (AM1500) is a local DC radio station that covers a myriad of issues pertinent to the government employees and contractors. Also available over the Internet...
  15. Dorobek Insider- one of FNR's hosts is Chris Dorobek who also puts out an informative email newsletter and website
  16. GovExec- focused on the needs and interests of government employees


Monday, October 11, 2010

Windows Mobile 7 Day!

As a proud owner of a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone, I've been hearing about and interested in the impending launch of a new operating system for a while. This new OS for smartphones has been in the works for quite some time. I saw a demo on it last year and played with a live version at the Microsoft Partner Conference earlier this year.

Looks like there won't be a Verizon WM7 phone for a while but the initial reviews are in and all are generally quite good.

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Handsets

Microsoft Corp. lifted the curtain Monday on a lineup of smartphones using its revamped Windows Phone 7 mobile-operating system, the software giant's boldest move to remain a player in the increasingly competitive mobile business. Microsoft unveiled seven handsets planned for its global launch. Marquee partner AT&T Inc. showed off three of the devices, the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Focus, the LG Electronics Inc. Quantum, and the HTC Corp. Surround, which are priced at $199.99 with a two-year service contract. They will go on sale during the week of Nov. 8.

Microsoft announces ten Windows Phone 7 handsets for 30 countries: October 21 in Europe and Asia, 8 November in US (Update: Video!)

It may have "Windows" in the branding, but Windows Phone 7 is not the desktop PC experience shoehorned into a cellphone. Microsoft tried that with Windows Mobile... and we all know how that turned out. Today, eight months after the Windows Phone 7 OS unveiling in Barcelona, we're finally seeing the official launch of the retail hardware: nine new WP7 handsets, some available October 21 in select European and Asian markets and others from early November in the US. The phones will find their way to over 60 cellphone operators in more than 30 countries this year. Microsoft tapped Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung to deliver the Snapdragon-based handsets with a carrier list that includes AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Vodafone, TELUS, América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom AG, Movistar, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, and Telstra. And that's just for the first wave -- Microsoft has even more handsets coming in 2011 including the first for Sprint and Verizon in the US.

Windows Phone 7 launch day app roundup

With thousands of developers churning out thousands of apps, we've no doubt exploring the Marketplace is going to be a full-time job for at least a day or two after you nab your Windows Phone 7 device this fall -- but with all the hullabaloo today, we thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight a few that Microsoft and its partners have been talking about recently. Dig in!


  • Tetris (EA): If you don't know what Tetris is -- or if you don't agree that it's a must-have on any gaming platform, regardless of size or age -- you need to go back to school. Tetris school. Available this fall.
  • The Sims 3 (EA): We imagine this will be a pretty faithful reproduction of the version that's been available on the iPhone, albeit at a slightly different screen resolution and with the addition of Xbox Live support. Available this fall.
  • Monopoly (EA): Do not pass Go, do not collect $200... because you just spent it on a Windows Phone. Available this fall.
  • Need for Speed Undercover (EA): Fan of driving and racing titles? The Need for Speed franchise continues to grow by leaps and bounds -- so now that EA's involved with the platform, it's no surprise that one of the NFS titles will be right there near the launch. In this case, it's Undercover.

  • ilomilo (Southend Interactive): AT&T locked down an exclusive on this one through the end of the year, downloadable for free from the Windows Phone Marketplace -- and from the looks of it, that was a smooth move on their part. The basic idea is to get two characters to unite by traversing crazy terrain, and the screen shots posted on Southend's blog look really promising.


  • U-verse Mobile (AT&T): Hold up -- don't skip over this one just because you're not a U-verse subscriber! Yes, granted, U-verse TV users will be able to use the pre-installed U-verse Mobile to schedule their DVRs -- and with some packages, you'll be able to download shows right to your phone for free -- but AT&T's switching it up a bit by offering the service to anyone with an AT&T-branded WP7 device for $9.99 a month as well, regardless of whether you've got U-verse on your boob tube. It's not clear whether the change will eventually filter down to the iPhone version of the app, but seeing how it's a new opportunity to make money, we'd imagine so.
  • Slacker: A pack-in app for the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile USA, Slacker's app will be a solid alternative for anyone not interested in paying for Zune Pass (and heck, even if you do pay for it, you'll probably still want it). It integrates directly with the platform's native Music hub.
  • Netflix: Though Microsoft didn't show anything new with Netflix today, we already know from prior demos that it'll support Watch Instantly -- not just queue management -- which is pretty huge. Notably, T-Mobile's HTC HD7 will have it pre-installed when it launches in mid-November, just like Slacker.
  • T-Mobile TV: Oh, and one more T-Mobile pre-load (as the name suggests). As far as we can tell from T-Mobile's announcement, this looks to be T-Mobile's answer to services like Sprint TV, MobiTVAzteca America, family holiday movie favorites and more." Both live and on-demand shows will be available -- perfect to take advantage of that sweet HSPA+ rollout, eh?
  • IMDb: Yes, IMDb's website looks straight out of 1995, but no worries: the ubiquitous all-knowing movie database looks much better on Windows Phone 7.


  • eBay: Microsoft didn't spend much time talking about eBay's Windows Phone 7 app today, but from what we did see, it looks right at home in WP7's unique user experience. You can expect they typical eBay functionality -- checking out auctions, keeping track of your sales, bidding on stuff, and adding items to your watch list.
  • Fandango: Like Netflix -- another movie-centric app -- Microsoft didn't actually mention Fandango on stage today, but we're willing to bet it's a pretty hot download, particularly when the time comes for Inception 2: Nightmare presales to go live.


  • Twitter: Twitter's support for Windows Phone 7 is especially important because Microsoft has chosen not to support the network out of the box -- it's only got Windows Live and Facebook at launch -- so we've got a hunch that this will be one of the top downloads in the Marketplace for a long time to come. Interestingly, it appears to be one of the most complete implementations of Twitter on a mobile platform to date, allowing users to browse timelines without even logging in to an account.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Meet the Media" but For How Long?

I attended a fun event this morning out in Tysons Corner. It was a "Meet the Media" event put on by the good people at BusinessWire. Today's event had a great panel of local, hard working, respected journalists:

  • Bill Flook, Washington Business Journal
  • Gautham Nagesh, The Hill
  • Rob Pegoraro, The Washington Post
  • Paul Sherman, Potomac Tech Wire
  • Nick Wakeman, Washington Technology

I've attended a few of these events over the years- they are a good venue to see fellow marketers and communicators over danishes and coffee. However, they tend to be mostly the same with the same two messages...

PR people- I emailed you and no one responded- how do I get my press release picked up by your publication?

Press people- Stop spamming me and send me a great story how and when I need it, and, oh, be honest with me.

Given the decline in the media's business model (especially trade journalism) and the rise of social media, you would have thought that the issue of "how to pitch journalists" would have receded a bit in importance. But no. When I asked the panelists if they receive more or less pitches and whether those pitches were better or worse than before, every single one answered "more" and "worse." Not good.

It's especially noteworthy given that a B2B social media marketing campaign has as its core activity the creation (and distribution) of content to gain an audience (just like a media outlet). And now that corporations are hiring journalists to write and report on the industries they used to cover for trade mags, the relative decline of traditional journalism seems obvious. In a world where credible, valuable content is prized, no matter who created it, the PR world really needs to move past, "I emailed you and no one responded- how do I get my press release picked up by your publication?"

Monday, September 27, 2010

22 Social Media Marketing Management Tools

I read a fine listing of powerful social media marketing tools last week at Top Rank Online Marketing Blog. I didn't have a chance to repost the list then, so here goes... (please click above to read the whole article)

Shoutlet – Manages social media marketing communications with one platform for building, engaging and measuring social media. Includes multiple account and platform support, social CRM and ecommerce for Facebook, email marketing and mobile features.

Direct Message Lab – Provides consulting, implementation and a platform (REACH) for centralized management of social media promotions & contests, advertising and measurement.

Objective Marketer - Offers social media marketing and analytics with integrated campaign management (Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, YouTube), multi-channel execution, engagement reports and user management.

Wildfire Interactive - Platform for easy creation, implementation and management of branded interactive campaigns including: sweepstakes, contests and give-aways.

StrongMail Social Studio – Comprehensive social media marketing platform with a referral marketing platform, social sharing tool and campaign management application. (Disclosure: StrongMail is a TopRank client)

Sprout - Cloud-based visual authoring software used to build interactive Engage Ads and Engage Apps that deliver rich, interactive, and social content across the web and mobile devices.

Spredfast - Enterprise social media management system that allows an organization to manage, monitor, and measure its voices across multiple social media channels. Also offers a white label option for agencies.

socialTALK – allows brands to create (text, photos, videos), manage (customize workflow & approval process), publish (single source, scheduled publishing to multiple platforms) and measure (aggregated analytics dashboard) their content strategy and posting schedule.

Crowd Factory – Suite of social media marketing tools include Social Campaign, that enables marketers to acquire new customers through simple social gestures and custom social marketing campaigns while easily tracking ROI.

Awareness - Social marketing hub that centralizes social media content publishing, management, measurement and engagement. Also includes access to 7 white-labeled, best practice social networking applications.

@this moment – Built on the @this moment platform, DEC is a system for managing a brand’s presence across multiple online environments combining multimedia UGC, and a variety of real-time inputs which are distributed across social platforms including YouTube Brand Channels, Facebook Fan Pages, MySpace Brand Communities & the iPhone.

MediaFunnel – Offers a Business Social Media platform for Facebook and Twitter supporting multiple users per profile and editorial review. Includes monitoring and integrates with

Virtue – Works with clients and agencies through a Social Relationship Management (SEM) platform offering Facebook tabs & applications, a publishing feature for Facebook & Twitter and mobile solutions.

Sprinklr – Social media marketing platform and consulting services for consumer & B2B marketers as well as agencies. Provides social media audience research, acquisition, content promotion and measurement tools.

Janrain – Web based platform of tools including: Engage to make it easy for users to connect a site with their social networks, Federate to facilitate navigation across multiple web properties & partner sites with a single log-in (currently supports 16 networks), Capture to leverage user data for personalized experiences.

Sprout Social – Affordable social media dashboard, monitoring, team workflow, influencer and contact management, performance metrics and daily or weekly email summaries. Supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and Foursquare.

Sendible – Social media marketing platform that supports 30+ networks & services offering management of: accounts/profiles, messages & content, social contacts, content discovery, engagement, blog content & promotion, monitoring and analytics. Also offers a white label version for agencies.

KickApps – Self service social media web site authoring and social content management system system supporting video, social networking, social graph & activity streams, apps & analytics. Enables web publishers and marketers to develop branded communities, social applications and interactive widgets on their websites and across the social web. Solutions for small and large business.

Postling – Local business social media marketing platform to create content, stay organized and reach customers. Currently free for small business or personal use. Social Marketing –  A social marketing suite, including feed-enabled social gestures and widgets, social dashboard, segmentation tools, influencer identification, conversion tracking and built-in friend casting.

HootSuite - Social media dashboard for managing social content and engagement on multiple networks with team workflow and statistics.

Seesmic – Web and desktop tools to manage social marketing activity on Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Google Buzz and Linkedin plus a plug-in marketplace for more social management options.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chris Brogan on his Methodology for Work/Life Balance

Just a quick post to share Chris Brogan's "Time and Your Family" post.

The number one question I receive with regards to my own work structure is how I manage to do all that I’m doing and still show up as a member of my own family. It’s not easy, and it requires a lot of “ifs,” but I can share my methods, and maybe you can see what matters out of the list for your own pursuits. Fair?
My method, in a box, is this:
  • Goals
  • No’s
  • Chunks
  • Reviews
  • Communication
Read it...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facebook, Richard Clarke, and Kids Today

I'm catching up on a lot of blog posts, videos and news that happened while I was away (see my post on Alaska). I think it is important to take time off once in a while mainly as it gives you a fresh set of eyes on your industry and it trends. Here are a couple of links I'm finding compelling today...

The reviews are coming in for "The Social Network" by Aaron Sorkin about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Sounds like its a good movie and going to be a big hit. Here is a roundup of reviews so far...

Levis is putting its $100 million dollar advertising account up for review. The goal?

According to people familiar with the situation, the review is an effort by the marketer to consolidate the nearly 20 media agencies it works with around the world to one or two agencies.

Is this consolidation a one-off event or evidence of a general trend? My guess is the latter.

In interesting talk by Richard Clark on the keys to cyber security

More M&A transactions that spotlight the importance of marketing dashboards powered by sophisticated analytical engines. "IBM to acquire analytics provider Netezza"

Should alcohol ads be allowed in college newspapers? The kids at UVA and Virginia Tech sure think so. They are suing the State of Virginia in order to overturn a ban...and the Supreme Court is looking at the case. How would you feel if your biggest possible advertiser was prohibited from buying space in your publication? Does Jagermeister really need to advertise in order to convince their best customers to have a shot tonight?

Seven Best Things To Do in Alaska

I returned from a 12 day holiday in Alaska yesterday. If you haven't visited the "Last Frontier" yet, I highly recommend it. It's beautiful, mostly wilderness and there is tons of stuff to do.

I recommend:

1. Deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Alaska for halibut and lingcod- use Pro-Fish-N-Sea out of Seward.

2. A day cruise along the Kenai peninsula fjords to the see the massive glaciers that drop into the ocean.

3. Short 2-3 hour hikes into any number of national and state parks, like Exit Glacier Park.

4. A flightseeing trip to Denali National Park- I used Talkeetna Air Taxi based in, yes, Talkeetna. And pick the glacier landing option. Yes, you get to land on a glacier. And your flight might be delayed due to a moose on the runway.

5. A day long bus tour into Denali National Park to view moose, caribou, bears, wolves and lynx- as well as spectacular mountain scenery.

6. The northern lights in Fairbanks. Amazing! (but impossible to shoot with a mobile phone...)

7. A stay in Girdwood, just south of Anchorage.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10,000 Enormous Trends in Social Media Right Now (Not Really)

I've been catching up on a lot of reading today- perusing the marketing social media blogs- and I've found a lot of good stuff. One thing I noticed is that it seems that the only format people write in now is "top ten lists."

  • Top Ten Muskrat Flavored Social Media Popsicles
  • 27 Must Have Twitter Followers in the California Penal System
  • Three Key Techniques for Spamming Anonymous Strangers in the Vain Hope of Getting More Facebook Fans
  • Four Absolutely Critical Hello Kitty iPhone Accessories

The other popular way to write a blog these days is the "How to" or "Where do I find" types

  • How Do I Get Hot Girls to Follow Me on Twitter? (Now available in seven easy installments of $199 each!)
  • How Can I Get To Be Mayor Of Yankee Stadium When I Don't Leave The House?
  • Which Social Media Network is Best for the Buying and Selling of Monkeys?
  • How Do I Grow Revenue at My Failing Business Using Social Media but With No Budget, Time, Effort or Creativity?

Anyway! Here are some of the really good articles I read this week:

5 Huge Trends in Social Media Right Now (Mashable)

They are:
1. Social Scanning
2. QA and Intelligent Information Discovery
3. Group Buying
4. Mobile Meets Loyalty
5. Checking-In to Entertainment

Questioning the Prominence of B2B Search (Strategic Guy)
Is SEO really that important to B2B marketers?
A good friend and long-standing client pointed me to a BtoB Magazine article about a recent survey entitled "The Impact of Social Media on Search." The nearly 500 marketers queried reported their most important goals for social media marketing as the following:

-Building brand awareness (81%)
-Increasing traffic to a Web site (77%)
-Generating leads (67%)
-Providing deeper engagement with customers (66%)
-Improving search results (57%)
Maybe not...

Lastly ReadWriteWeb has a cool flowchart on How to Evaluate New Twitter Followers

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dog Days of August

August is always a bit of a slow month...given that, I've had some time to catch up on the neverending firehose of news, media, content and social media interactions aimed at me. :)

Here are a couple of stories that caught my eye:

Chris Brogan has an interesting post about the tension of real world friendships and "ambient connectivity" in "Is a Social Crash Coming?"

Rohit Bhargava updates his famous 2006 post on social media optimization (SMO) with lessons learned over the past four years: "The 5 NEW Rules Of Social Media Optimization"

AdAge has a very interesting story about how the Steve Slater situation is causing JetBlue problems with their social media and branding efforts, and how they are dealing with it: "How Steve Slater Is Stifling JetBlue's Social-Media Strategy"

The Social Times showcases Pete Warden, the founder of OpenHeatMap. Pretty cool stuff...

Lastly, my agency, Strategic Communications Group, is having a busy summer as we've added two new clients so far: TerraGo Technologies and Whitney, Bradley and Brown.

Friday, August 06, 2010

New BlogTalkRadio podcast with Robert Johnson, CEO of Cimcor

I'm excited to have had the opportunity to sit down and record Straight to the Point podcasts with a large number of marketing and business experts over the years. Some folks I've gotten to know pretty well after their session. But there are literally hundreds of people I respect and I've known for years that haven't yet appeared on STTP, for whatever reason. My latest podcast is with just such a person- Robert Johnson, founder of IT security vendor Cimcor Technologies.

Imagine the power of a self healing enterprise network. A corporate or government environment where hacks, attacks and other security risks would be more than merely detected. The network would automatically take corrective response…in near real time. In this new podcast Robert does more than ask you to imagine. He discusses the self-healing capabilities of networks…today.

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio...

or just click play...

Listen to internet radio with JeffMajka on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Talking Shop with LiveOffice

Cloud computing was the theme of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this week. I’m not sure if that was the official theme but the cloud seemed to be on everyone’s lips, however tangentially their company’s offering supported the concept.

LiveOffice, the largest hosted email archiving provider with 10,000+ clients, seems well positioned to take advantage of the business world’s move to the cloud. I got to sit down with Amy Dugdale, their Director of Marketing, and talk shop about LiveOffice and its offering to the market.

Here is a snapshot of our discussion:

Tell us a little about yourself

I got my start in marketing working for global public relations agencies like Hill and Knowlton and Weber Shandwick. The Internet boom of the late 1990’s was a great time to be learning about and developing a deep love for the technology world. I was hired seven years ago by the founders of LiveOffice. Now I’m part of the team charged with developing and executing marketing strategies to attract clients in a variety of verticals that are in need of an archiving solution.

What’s the deal with LiveOffice?

LiveOffice was founded in 1998, is currently located in southern California and has 150 employees. We are experts in archiving solutions for companies of all sizes. We can archive several data types including email, IM, Reuters, Sharepoint, mobile device communications and social networking website content. From the beginning, we have had a completely cloud-based offering (no hardware or software required and no lengthy implementation times). Our current offering includes LiveOffice Personal Archive, LiveOffice Discovery Archive, LiveOffice AdvisorMail, LiveOffice Email Continuity, LiveOffice SharePoint Archive and LiveOffice Social Archive. For all of our solutions we offer an unlimited storage package for a flat fee per user per month. Our clients range from 25 person professional services firms to 25,000 mailbox financial behemoths. The widespread adoption of LiveOffice archiving solutions is related to three strong market drivers: regulatory compliance, legal discovery and mailbox management.

How long has LiveOffice been a Microsoft Partner?

LiveOffice has been a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner since 2000. With the growing adoption of Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), we recently developed a connector that integrates LiveOffice archiving with Exchange Online (one component of BPOS). This As a result, in the last year we have developed a very close relationship with Microsoft’s Online Services team.

What are your goals for WPC 2010?

Our main goal is to raise awareness of LiveOffice’s capabilities for Exchange online archiving with Microsoft partners and integrators. This is our first year exhibiting at WPC and we’ve had an absolute blast! We have been meeting with our existing contacts at Microsoft and finding many more new ones. It’s a real eye opener to see the amazing Microsoft partner ecosystem and all the different companies developing exciting solutions in the cloud. We’ll definitely be back next year…

FYI- LiveOffice’s CEO Nick Mehta was featured in Redmond Channel Partner magazine this month. Here is a blurb from the article, “Get Comfortable with the Cloud”

As CEO of LiveOffice LLC, Nick Mehta is in the thick of cloud computing. He also has a lengthy IT resume including vice president stints in software at Veritas Software Corp. and Symantec Corp., time as a venture capitalist and experience as an executive at a storage software startup acquired by Microsoft (XDegrees). We asked Mehta where he sees some of the best opportunities for Microsoft partners to add value in the cloud:

  1. Single sign-on (SSO). “SSO is going to be better when BPOS upgrades with the current product wave. Even then, two-factor authentication is an area where I’ve seen a lot of partners add a lot of value.”
  2. Migration. “There’s commodity-level migration, then more-subtle projects, such as calendar and tasks. E-mail has gotten easier; Microsoft has good tools. Every partner will do it, but some will do it better than others.”
  3. Integration with internal systems. Prime candidates include other e-mail systems, custom systems, fax systems and unified messaging systems. “Some partners have done connectors,” he says.
  4. SharePoint. “It’s a platform rather than a product,” Mehta notes. Several partners we spoke with for this article anticipate vast functionality improvements in SharePoint Online shortly.
  5. Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). “I don’t think people have scratched the surface on OCS, at all. Most partners, like us, are focused on e-mail,” Mehta says.
  6. Integrating the Microsoft cloud with other cloud apps. “Integrating between BPOS and, is an example. I think that’s a great opportunity there. Most of these clouds have nice APIs so it’s actually doable.”
  7. Putting IT at ease. “This is a little more fuzzy. A lot of partners are talking to people who are running Exchange internally, or maybe Lotus or GroupWise. The partner can help the IT person define what their responsibilities will be now. A partner can come in and say, ‘Look, here’s what our customers have done, here’s how their jobs have changed.’ My experience in the cloud is that the job doesn’t go away. It changes, but it’s still very important. You still need this interface between the cloud and the users.

If you’re a partner, you can win some good-will with the customer by broaching that up front.”

This was originally posted on

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

High Energy at WPC10 with Dan King of New West Technologies

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference here in DC amazed me with its high energy and the enthusiasm of its attendees. Everyone I talked to was excited about the news, gossip and stories they were hearing from around the Microsoft partner ecosystem. One guy talked with was Dan King, CEO of New West Technologies, and he almost single handedly could have been an alternative energy source for the show.

Here are some quick snippets of our conversation:

Who is New West?

New West Technologies is a company I founded back in 1992 that sells systems to people with money. Ha! No, seriously, we are based out of Portland, Oregon and we are an organization of geeks who love playing with gadgets, electronics and computers. We been fortunate to turn our passion into a business than solves problems for our customers.

Over the past few years, we have focused our energies on successfully integrating POS systems with mobile technologies and helping our retail industry clients save money. As a company that a OEM builder, an ISV, a VAR and a consulting practice, we bring to the table a variety of capabilities- a strength that led to us being named the 2010 Microsoft Partner of the Year.

Who are some of the clients you’ve worked with?

Our clients are mostly small businesses with retail space, like apparel stores, liquor stores- hard goods type shops. It is amazing the impact a well thought out technology solutions can have. One client is a parking lot. Yes, a parking lot. They increased revenue 15% by installing a mobile POS system that allows people to buy car washes while their car was sitting in the lot. 15% to the owner of a parking lot is a huge increase.

Another client is the Portland Children’s Museum. We worked with them to install a POS system that made it easier for customers to buy tickets and saved the museum $47,000 in one year. You can see the whole story in our YouTube video:

Originally posted on

Friday, July 16, 2010

Conversation with Sean Harris of PassLogix

I was eager to meet up Sean Harris of PassLogix at the Worldwide Partner Conference. Security and identity management have been issues that have continuously plagued the IT world…seemingly forever. Sean is the Vice President of Sales for PassLogix and is on the front lines of working with enterprises to solve the most vexing security issue: password management.

Here is a quick recap of our conversation:

What is PassLogix?

PassLogix has developed software that takes away the need for users to manage their own usernames and passwords. Aside from the fact that remembering twelve passwords is an enormous hassle, most people tend to create a security vulnerability for their company by using one simple word as their password, and then never changing it. PassLogix helps clients to ensure that their enterprise level password strength is strong, lower help desk calls (by eliminating the need for users to remember any passwords) and even integrating password management with card readers at the desktop level.

PassLogix was started in 1996 and has 23 million users. Their software can be implemented by companies of any size from small businesses to large enterprises like Kaiser Permanente, HSBC and the US Post Office. Being size agnostic and complete scalable, PassLogix is seeing increasing demand as companies are embracing the cloud and using a combination of local applications as well as those served over the Internet.

How long have you been a Microsoft Partner?

PassLogix is a long time Microsoft Partner. However, in the past year and a half, that relationship has grown markedly stronger. PassLogix has developed strategic relationships with most identity management software vendors. Microsoft recently rolled out Microsoft Forefront, a identity management solution that provided us a opportunity to seamlessly integrate our product with theirs.

What do you think of WPC 2010?

While we were here last year, this is the first time we have been in a booth. It is a fantastic opportunity to network with our Microsoft contacts- some of whom we’d only spoken to on the phone! It is great for relationship building to put faces to people’s names. We are also excited to meet and learn about other Microsoft partners. For example, we have had numerous conversations around how to integrate identity management into the Unified Access Gateway environment. We’ll be working with Microsoft’s other UAG partners to ensure that as companies continue to embrace the cloud they won’t expose themselves to security vulnerabilities.

(This post originally appeared on Microsoft Partner News)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interview with Kristin Bockius, Microsoft’s State and Local Government Relationship Manager

Originally posted on

The Worldwide Partner Conference is hopping down here at the Washington Convention Center. The energy level is high as 14,000 attendees network with each other and learn about the latest Microsoft software and services. One attendee I had a conversation with was Kristin Bockius. She works in the Public Sector group at Microsoft and leads their efforts to build relationships with state and local government clients and partners that service them. She is is an thought leader in how to utilize social media marketing techniques. Here is a few snippets of our conversation:

Why are you here at WPC?

I’m here mainly to connect with partners that sell to state and local governments or have an interest in tapping into this huge marketplace. I’m particularly keen on showing how they can use effective social media marketing campaigns to grow sales and strengthen client relationships. For example, if a partner isn’t using any social media tools now, they can still work with us to leverage the social media properties Microsoft has already built, like, and, and

Can you share some examples?

Sure. Infostrat is an IT consulting company and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. I recently sat down with them for a social media consult. They were very interested on how to leverage social media in a business to business (B2B) and a business to government (B2G) situation. I shared a set of best practices that we’ve developed at Microsoft and now they are going to be launching a new marketing initiative with social media at its core.

Another company is SpeakTECH. They already have embraced the benefits of social media marketing as cost effective way to reach to prospects and customers. The challenge is here is how do we at Microsoft co-mingle our social media marketing activies with theirs in a way that effectively but appropriately drives new sales.

Lastly, I’m also going to be talking with Zones about how they can expand their already successful business into the sometimes hard to penetrate state and local government marketplace.

This is your first time at WPC. What do you think so far?

I’m psyched to be here. For one, I love DC! Plus, compared to other trade shows, everyone here is really engaged and enthusiastic.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Facebook Worth $23 Billion? and Other Questions

Is Facebook worth $23 billion or $12? Whatever Facebook is worth in the end- those are some really big numbers...

Twitter Places is targeting Foursquare and Gowalla (again). I haven't seen the benefit of location based social media. Although I do have a Foursquare account, I haven't used it much. Do you use it regularly? What do you get out of it?

Worried about a large asteroid hitting the earth and wiping out life as we know it? Don't worry, the Russians have our back.

My agency was just selected by TerraGo Technologies to provide integrated public relations and social media services with the goal of increasing awareness for TerraGo's software solutions among decision-makers at government agencies and industrial organizations. TerraGo is a really cool geospatial data company that delivers software applications that extend the access and application of maps and images for non-GIS users and customers. I'm psyched we get to work with them.

Lastly, take a moment to vote for Ryan Zimmerman for the All-Star Game this Monday. Not convinced? Click below to see the video of him hitting a walk off home run last night...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Braun Jones of WWC Capital Group, latest on Straight to the Point Podcast

For as long as I've been recording podcasts for the Straight to the Point series, I've been focused on how marketing executives have been addressing larger business problems from a marketing perspective. I've been really lucky to sit down with some outstanding professionals from Microsoft, British Telecom, Socialware, BearingPoint and others.

Last week, however, I shifted gears a little bit and interviewed Braun Jones. Braun is a principal at WWC Capital Group, which is an investment banking and private equity firm dedicated to serving middle market companies in need of capital or seeking advisory services to complete a sale or an acquisition. I wanted to sit down and pick his brain about economic and market trends that affect the environment that marketers have to operate in.

What did we cover?
  • What does the economic outlook look like right now? Five years down the road?
  • How does he make transaction decisions?
  • What kinds of start ups are getting investments now? What technology trends are "hot"?
  • Is the government contracting market ready for another round of mergers?

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio...

or just click play...

Listen to internet radio with JeffMajka on Blog Talk Radio