Monthly Archives: April 2009

Mesh Update

MESH certainly started off on the right foot this morning with two stellar key notes, back-to-back.  The first got us thinking about how we can make money. The second showed us how we can give it away (well sort of).

Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Floor64

Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Floor64, was the first keynote speaker. He went through 487 PowerPoint slides (yup, you read that right!) in just 20 minutes to get across some interesting points. During his presentation, Mike gave us a view into competitive business practices in the 1600’s, and compared them to copyright and other issues that content owners and brands are facing today.

The interesting part of his presentation, however, explained how businesses today need to find new ‘scarcities’ in what they do and take those scarcities to a larger market. He reinforced that a business model will have a multiplicative effective if it does indeed have true scarcity. The idea is to grow a community and combine it with true scarcity to generate revenues.

He showed us a couple of great examples of how this approach has worked.  One of them was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who made $1.6M by selling music you could get for free, simply by addding value. The secret sauce / formula for success: Connect with Fans (CwF) + give them a real reason to buy (RtB) = $$$.

Overall, I found his presentation to be dynamic and thought provoking. In fact, I think the idea of finding new scarcities is going to be nagging away at me every time I speak with a client.

Mike’s session was live-blogged, so you can click here to get the full scoop.

Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org

The second speaker was Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org, a peer-to-peer online microlending site. Talk about an inspiration. You could actually hear and see her excitement and passion in every word she spoke and hand gesture she made. What an unbelievable speaker. Probably one of the best I’ve ever seen.  No wonder that she’s a contender on Time Magazine’s list of the Top 100 Most Influential People (you can vote for her here: http://is.gd/oNob).

Jessica gave us a glimpse into the genesis of Kiva, and how the site has evolved. Close to $67M in loans have been made through Kiva to date. Considering that each loan is generally $25 to $50 a piece, that number is quite impressive. 

To explain what worked for Kiva in getting the organization to where it is today, Jessica focused on 5 key areas: 1) Know your mission; 2) Stay open; 3) Iterate; 4) Focus on individuals; and 5) Just start.  I think these are good rules for any of us to live by. And for other non-profits, I think this statement (relevant to #4) says it all: you can’t bond with a marketing brochure or statistic (i.e. you need to personalize the connection).  

There are a couple of great quotes from Jessica that sum up what a dynamic person she is: “Reality has outpaced my dreams”; “I’m not rich, but feel like I could retire on happiness”.

Aside from checking out Kiva in more detail to figure out which entrepreneur I want to invest in, I know the one thing that I plan to do in the future is give out Kiva gift certificates to clients as end of year gifts, instead of the usual fare. Although I have such a bad memory, I’m hoping someone will remind me of this idea when that time rolls round again.

Jessica’s session was live-blogged, so you can check out all the details here.

~ JE (Twitter: JodiEchakowitz)

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Mesh 2009

Over the next couple of days, I’m going to be at the MESH Conference. This will be my third year at the conference (I missed the first one due to a pending trip to Tokyo) and after reviewing the agenda, it looks like there are going to be some interesting sessions to attend. I’m also looking forward to meeting some folks that I’ve connected with on Twitter in person (love those mesh breaks!); and networking with colleagues and clients who are also attending.

What’s different this year, is that I have two clients who will be participating on panel discussions.  Kevin Talbot, Co-Managing Partner at BlackBerry Partners Fund will be participating on the “Benefits and Risks of Building for a Platform” discussion with Jevon MacDonaldAngie Kramer, Digital Creative Director at Capital C, who is focused on @thehypercube campaign, will be participating on the “Using Online Word of Mouth” panel, moderated by Sean Moffitt.

While I would love to sit in on both panels, they unfortunately run at exactly the same time (2:50pm on Wednesday, April 8th). It’s a tough choice, but I think it’s going to be the Word of Mouth panel since the Hypercube initiative is the first of its kind in Canada, and the call for entries closes just a few hours before the panel begins. And of course I’m extremely curious to hear thoughts, comments, feedback and questions from the audience.

I’ll be tweeting from MESH and also plan to blog about some of the sessions I sit in. So if I don’t get to meet you there, you can at least track down my thoughts on the conference here.

~ JE (Twitter: JodiEchakowitz)

Measurement Metrics Around Twitter

The Echo Communications team is working with a dynamic and innovative team of creative artists at Capital C to drive media coverage around the Hypercube initiative.

If you haven’t yet heard about this brilliant campaign, you can check out the Social Media News Release or read some of the great articles that have been written about it, such as this one by Jennifer Wells at the Globe and Mail, or this one by Media in Canada or these posts by Jesse Hirsh. Or, if you’re going to MESH next week, you can hear Capital C creative director, Angie Kramer, speak about it on the WoM panel being led by Sean Moffitt.

To monitor the buzz that’s been generated through this campaign, we’ve been using Radian6. It does a great job of tracking everything from blog posts to online news feeds to tweets, and it’s certainly made my life a lot easier in knowing who is saying what about @thehypercube

But the one area where I find it falls short (are you listening product development peeps at Radian6?) is taking monitoring (of Twitter, specifically) to a measurement level.  For example, I’m able to run a great report that shows me the details of more than 3,000 tweets that reference @thehypercube (this excludes any tweets made by @thehypercube). But what it doesn’t do is offer any details as to the impact of the ‘conversations’ that are taking place.

It would be great if there was a quick and easy way to run a measurement calculation that figured out what the value of each tweet is (or each impression – if you look at it from a marketing/advertising perspective).

In the early days of my PR career, we would measure the column space of each article with an advertising equivalent (today PR folks use MRP or other approaches – but that’s a post for another day). To measure the value and net impact of Twitter buzz, perhaps it’s as simple as plugging everything into a spreadsheet and creating some fancy formulas to figure it out. But I would ideally like to see a quick and easy way to do this within Radian6!

What’s clear to me, is that the world of PR and marketing is in desparate need of best practices for social media measurement. So many great tools exist to monitor buzz, but now we need to find a way to put a dollar value to each blog post, tweet, re-tweet or comment.

~ JE (Twitter: JodiEchakowitz)