Archive for April, 2010


Foursquare visit

I had the pleasure and the ultimate geek experience this week to visit the foursquare headquarters in New York City with my friend BJ Emerson. BJ is Social Technology Officer of Tasti D-Lite, blog author of “Social Tech Blog” and his favorite line is “When in Doubt Geek it Out!”

BJ scheduled time with Eric Friedman, Director of Client Services of foursquare to demonstrate the Tasti D-Lite loyalty integration with foursquare. I was honored to sit, listen and observe the demonstration. I did my best to keep up with their geek speak and BJ took “when in doubt geek it out” to a whole new level.

I am an enthusiastic user of foursquare and so are some of my friends and colleagues. Currently Lorri Wyndham, Operations Manager, COMPUTER EXPLORERS is Mayor of ICED Headquarters (COMPUTER EXPLORERS corporate office location). Charmayne Redd, Director of Advertising ICED is Mayor of Northwest Forest Conference Services. Both Lorri and Charmayne are investigating the new features available on foursquare to create specials and coupons for a venue.

If you are not familiar with foursquare read Jennifer Van Grove’s post on Mashable – Foursquare: Why It May Be the Next Twitter. In Jennifer’s posts she talks to Dennis Crowley, co-founder of foursquare who says “the point of the service isn’t I’m here, but I’m here, so now what?” Using foursquare check-ins and activity have a meaning. As a game you collect points for every check-in. After checking in at the same location multiple times you become Mayor. Lorri and I constantly battle for Mayorship of ICED. To date she is Mayor but Eric awarded me with the official foursquare Mayor shirt!

Like any great social technology app foursquare integrates with Twitter and Facebook. While traveling this week I am personally using foursquare checkins to inform my family, friends, coworkers and franchisees of my whereabouts. I am using the tips and to-dos feature to find specials, coupons and to locate restaurants and shopping in the area. If it’s not listed I have the opportunity to add the venue and my tips.

At this time I don’t see foursquare as an application for COMPUTER EXPLORERS. I plan to continue exploring and learning more and I am confident that sooner rather than later foursquare will find a home with COMPUTER EXPLORERS!

Servant Leadership

I am a member of  inHouston – Premier Professional Business Networking. I have been part of the Ning, fan of the Facebook page and a member on the LinkedIn group for several months. There are a list of “Community Rules” listed on the Ning that are very easy to follow:

  1. Practice the “Golden Trifecta” – be appreciative, courteous, and respectful.
  2. Extend a warm welcome to new members – a helpful and welcoming community benefits everyone.
  3. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or perspective – we’re here to learn together.
  4. Keep the signal-to-noise ratio high: please refrain from posting off-topic messages.

After listening and learning online I decided it was time to venture into the real world and meet some of the members. So I attended my first  network meeting called The UpTown Mixer. It is held once a month at the Tasting Room UpTown Park and attended by 300+ people. inHouston was founded by Eric Standlee. Eric is the ultimate connector! If you Google his name you will find pages of information. To say he has a digital presence is an understatement. He also has a strong reputation within the group and is very well-respected.

At first it was a little overwhelming to attend a network meeting where there are 100s of people! What I quickly learned is there is a networking pay it forward etiquette (servant leadership) used by members!

  1. Extend a warm welcome with a firm handshake when meeting someone.
  2. Exchange business cards and learn as much as possible about the member.
  3. Immediately introduce new members to someone within the group.
  4. Use servant leadership – give and it will always come back to you. Ask what can I do for you? Who can I introduce you to?

I received invitations to connect on LinkedIn immediately following the Mixer. I also received emails from individuals that I briefly met asking me “how can I help you, what is the perfect connection for you?” 

Most of the members I met were using LinkedIn exclusively and didn’t see a reason to engage with Twitter. Then I met Michele Price, The Breakthrough Specialist. We immediately connected and she looked so familiar to me but I couldn’t  pin point how. I learned that we don’t live near one another, I’ve never attended a Mixer before and I wasn’t familiar with her business. She said she used Twitter and as soon as she told me her Twitter handler was ProsperityGal it all came rushing in! We were following each other on Twitter and just days before she was kind to message me that I had a broken link in a tweet. I recognized her from her Twitter profile but didn’t put “Michele” to “ProsperityGal”!

Networking online is beneficial but meeting followers IRL (in real life) is amazing!  I am excited to attend as many of the Mixers as I can and practice “servant leadership”.

Stand for Something

A local church displays a motivational quote weekly. They are always inspiring and sometimes very humorous. The posting for last week was: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” This was unfamiliar so I did a Google search and found the photo of The Statue of Liberty with the quote by  author Les Brown. He has another motivational quote that caught my attention: “You must remain focused on your journey to greatness.”

 

There are times when I lose my focus and my sense of purpose. My goals seem out of reach. I let outside challenges consume me. My journey to greatness becomes a burden. I doubt my ability to accomplish my goals. When this happens I become tired, defeated and lose my motivation. It’s crippling and very unproductive. I go to work daily completing tasks with very little feeling.   I drove by the church motivational board daily and one day I internalized the message. Why wasn’t I taking a stand for what I believed in? What would it take to get back on track  to accomplish my goals.

I took a stand. I confronted what was not working. I wrote my monthly letter to our franchise system with a very direct message. I spoke to my partners (vendors) and outlined my expectations. I visited with co-workers and supervisors to eliminate my complacency and theirs. I am once again committed to taking risks due to the optimism I have in the future and ignoring the dissatisfaction I have of the past. 

As I continue my journey to greatness  I’m fully committed to success!

My own, my team, my franchise.

Personal Branding

As I dig deeper and deeper into social networking I have thought a lot about personal branding.  What do I want to be known for?  Who should I connect to and why would they want to connect to me? Who do I know that can introduce me to who they know, etc.

I attended a local seminar last week on personal branding. The presenter Robert Earl Reed did a great job reminding me that I am not my job. Yes, I am President & CEO and I take the responsibility seriously but I endorse the company, COMPUTER EXPLORERS through my own exceptionality. I liked how Robert presented that personal branding is remembering the “you” (your own uniqueness) when endorsing the company you work for. He said we should remember “it’s the people moving the brand, product and/or service.”

Robert referred to an author Tom Peters who wrote an article in 1997 called  “The Brand Called You” in FastCompany.com. It’s a great article and here are some of the things I took away:

  • “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are all CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU.
  • Start right now: as of this moment you’re going to think of yourself differently! You’re not an “employee” of General Motors, you’re not a “staffer” at General Mills, and  not a “worker” at General Electric. You don’t “belong to” any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn’t to any particular “function.” You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description.
  • Ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about? If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.
  • There are four things you’ve got to measure yourself against. First, you’ve got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague. Second, you’ve got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value. Third, you’ve got to be a broad-gauged visionary — a leader, a teacher, a farsighted “imagineer.” Fourth, you’ve got to be a businessperson – you’ve got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.”

One of Robert’s suggestions to the class was to start with personal landing page to establish our own identity. The page should list all of our social network links.

So I’ll work to move away from my company logos (brands)

COMPUTER EXPLORERS brand mascot

and focus on my own identity starting with my new personal landing page www.debevans.org