Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Bigger Ant Hill

Great news from the WOMMA Summit today – Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, co-authors of the book, Citizen Marketers have joined Sean O’Driscoll, Jake McKee and their fabulous team at Ants Eye View. The move expands Ant’s Eye View’s services by adding industry expertise in word of mouth marketing, digital strategy, customer evangelism and social media.

Ben and Jackie have been recognized as two of the web’s most influential marketers with over 120,000 daily readers of their Church of the Customer blog and best selling Word of Mouth Marketing books, Citizen Marketers and Creating Customer Evangelists. Forbes has described their work as “the word of mouth gospel.” As Ben says, "We're very excited to be part of a group that helps business get smart about being social. It's a good time to help convert that into action at a larger scale."

I am so happy for Ben and Jackie as I’ve found their books ignited my strong interest in word of mouth marketing and ultimately, social media. I met Jackie at my first WOMMA summit in 2005 when she keynoted and captivated the audience with her stories of customer evangelism. Her storytelling of the success of a YouTube Shakira video where fans danced to Hips Don’t Lie was captivating. By the end of the keynote, the whole room was dancing with Jackie. I was so inspired by Jackie’s speech that I made sure that Ben came to Seattle to keynote the annual Seattle Direct Marketing Association (SDMA) conference the following year. I think the association still has a few hundred books if anyone is interested. :) Last year when I was laid off, Jackie wrote a blog post which helped bring much needed visibility to my job search. Needless to say, I am grateful for their support and friendship.

I’ve known Sean for a similar amount of time. Rather than boring you with more minutiae, let me just say that Sean is one of the most outstanding individuals that I know in Seattle. In addition to his superior drive, integrity and intelligence, he is forthright, helpful and very humble. A true leader that anyone would want to go to battle with. In a short year, Ant's Eye View has built an impressive roster of clients like Cisco, Apple, Pemco and a bunch of others. I am truly delighted to see these talented individuals team up together.

Sean and Jake’s goal has been simple, “to field the most experienced and capable team in the industry to serve their clients.” I’m confident that this announcement delivers on that promise and more!

Congratulations and best of luck to all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Social media makes the world a smaller place

As some of you know, I’ve been in Vietnam for the last 2 weeks working with the Lift9 research team. Vietnam is a fantastic place and our wonderful team has really made me feel welcome.

During my visit, I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and family using all of the social media tools.  Once I got accustomed to the International Date Line and being a day ahead, the tools of social media have enabled me to continue conversations as if I was still at my desk.  Using Twitter, I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends, wherever they are.  For example, Seattle friends Paolo Tosolini and Eric Weaver have also been away at the same time; Paolo in Italy and Eric in Mumbai. Yet, as Paolo said, “We are on the opposite side of the world, yet tweeting like normal. very cool.”

It’s been pretty interesting to participate on Twitter in such a different timezone than I am accustomed to. Not only am I getting up when people I’m used to seeing are going to sleep, but it’s been cool to tweet live with friends in Asia, Australia and Europe.

I haven’t been as creative as Paolo and Eric in taking video of their trips, but I have been updating trip photos to Twitter, Facebook, and Posterous.  Most of my photos have been food related, showing exotic meals and street food, but I’ve also taken photos of some unique scenes like this one of a man and his son at an outdoor cafe.

iphone 021

I’ve only been using my iphone to take photos, but I’ve been pretty excited about the results. Of course, using tools like FlashforFree and Photoshop Mobile have helped dramatically.

In addition to the Twitter and the photos, I’ve used Skype to keep in touch with family and the office. Once my wife figured out how to use it, it’s been a godsend.

We’ve all talked about how social media has made the world a smaller place.  This trip, I have experienced it first hand.


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