“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
Last week Like Minds ran some free events for Social Media Week, one of which was on Social Influence. The participants debated digital influence over and over, bringing their different views of what they considered influence to be and what it looked like. Followers, shopping, reach, action, volume – these were the things that were discussed. You can hear many of their thoughts here.
Then this week, we got word that Like Minds was the “most influential on Twitter” for the whole of Social Media Week globally. That’s quite an incredible thing to have said about us. This is based on the number of tweets with our hashtag and/or Twitter account mentioned, which we led.
However both our debate on social influence and then this stat that we were the “most influential” trouble me. On one hand, I don’t agree with either of them, but on the other hand, there is some truth in them in the way that they are perceived and the end result that they have had. Let me explain a bit more and then let’s discuss it:
My dear friend Trey Pennington wrote a great tongue in cheek post last week on “4 keys to increasing your Klout Score“. The first half is now to get a higher Klout Score, which is a service that supposedly calculates your social media influence.
Then Trey writes in the second half:
THE REAL KEY TO INCREASING YOUR INFLUENCE ONLINE (and off)
None of the suggestions mentioned above has anything to do with real influence. Real influence is complex, multifaceted, and environmentally constrained (time, space, people, place, topic, occasion, etc.). Influence is more significant than two digits can capture (though Klout is necessary nonetheless)…..
Even so, as I ponder the real keys to increasing real influence, the words of Zig Ziglar ring in my ears and reverberate in my heart. A definite key to increasing your influence is found is Zig’s counsel: “You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough people get what they want.”
Don’t worry about increasing your Klout score (or twittergrader ranking or whatever comes next). Just use whatever gifts you have to help other people accomplish their dreams. If you’ll help enough other people get what they want, you’ll have all the influence you’ll need.
If you are helping one person, you are influential in that persons life. But if you are helping two people, you have the opportunity to increase your influence.
Note that I said opportunity. Unless you actually do create bottom line influence, it’s theoretical and not actual.
I lecture on influence and have been reading about it for years, and still I find it a hotly debated topic. Perhaps I just lack a framework ;-)
So I’d like to hear the smart inputs of the Friends who hang out here: what do you define influence as?
We learn by engaging, asking questions, getting our heads around an issue, right? Then why are conferences full of one way presentations?
I clipped this article over a year ago and was re-reading it today, called Presentations vs Discussions. In it, Fred Wilson makes the case that those exceptional class room experiences, those board room meetings that really change the direction of the company, those conferences where the light bulb really goes on, are not the result of presentation, but – to use my language – participation.
A presentation is like a TV show. It’s a lean back experience. A discussion is like an online chat room. It is a lean forward experience. They are not the same thing and in many cases they work against each other.
And then concludes
Presentations are important. I do a lot of them and post all of them on this blog in advance. I am not saying they don’t have a role. But if you want to foster real engagement and real discussion, they are not helpful and in fact I think they are hurtful.
What’s really great about the post is the 145 comments that proceed the blog post – the participation after the presentation, as it were. And thus this gets me thinking. We need presentation and participation. Presentation sets the scene and gets everyone up to speed, but it’s participation where the learning takes place – because as we say, if you’re not talking your’re not learning.
I’ve always made an effort here to encourage participation and it’s been my delight to engage in some wonderful relationships as a result of it. But I’m aware that it wouldn’t have happened unless I had presented something to begin with.
On another note, I’m aiming to change the design of this blog a bit to help make it easier to both get hold of the presentations here, and more importantly, participate.
Whether it’s the tiny experience of meeting someone for the first time, or the heights of being immersed in three hours of theatre, we have come to know that these experiences don’t just happen and require design and preparation in order to increase their effectiveness.
Whilst we could talk through framework after framework, I have found the simplest way to begin creating great experiences is to create alternate realities.
This is what Pine and Gilmore say in their seminal book, The Experience Economy, when describing what an experience as an economic offering is. And I think an alternate reality is a pretty good description, because when it comes to an experience:
The easiest way to get an overall perspective to this is delivering an alternative reality. For instance, if you want to deliver really great customer service experience, then ask yourself how do you create an alternate reality when it comes to service and support? Well, if most service and support is reactive, than one way to create an alternative reality is to have proactive support. Apple, when creating their Genius Bars, or the Geek Squad and their PC repair stations, have both created alternate realities to the usual “send your PC off to be fixed and see it again in 6 weeks” of customer service, and instead made 24 hour turnarounds in your local store.
Breaking down how we create an alternate reality is another thing, but the general mindset is very useful for beginning to build experiences that are remarkable and in turn, are talked about.
In preparing for our Like Minds itinerary this year, I’ve been thinking again about how people learn and how events should help them learn. In particular, I’ve been thinking about a diagram I blogged about almost a year ago now:
This is the cone of learning by Edgar Dale, which says that we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, but 70% of what we say and 90% of what we say and do.
This is great news for event producers, right? Because now all we need to do is get our attendees talking and they will start learning more.
Well, it should be great news, but it isn’t. Unfortunately, most events focus on people listening and they are unlikely to change this because we have adopted the view that the best events are those who have the most and best speakers. We don’t have the view that the best events are those which help you learn.
In Let Attendees be Participants, I discussed the major root of this being an obsession with new content. On Twitter we love the newest thing, and it is new content that really drives the Twitter ecosystem. No wonder then that when these same people get together in a room, it’s to hear more of the new stuff.
The reality is, however, that whilst events run in this way might have buzz and get more people along, they don’t help people learn. And ultimately, the only reason people go to the event is about association rather than learning. Essentially, these events become networking events rather than learning or thought leadership events.
I can’t emphasis this enough. Scientifically: if an event is just you listening to speakers, you aren’t learning, and they are ripping you off.
But enough doom and gloom and onto your thoughts and some creative room for us to brainstorm.
My question is this: how should we be talking at events?
At Like Minds Conference last October we did a 20 minute insight, and then we would ask the crowd to turn to the people next to them and discuss what they just heard. In addition, we have facilitators going around who sparked conversation and helped people reflect on the content.
Whilst this was certainly better than the panels that we’ve had last time, I think there is too much start-and-stop for people to really get into things.
What I want to try at our event is having a 2 hour session, during which we will have a number of 20 minute insights, a few interviews, and then time at the end to digest it and reflect the key learnings. But enough of me:
The BBC asked this question a while ago while citing some of the greatest leaders of all time.
My opinion is that leadership as a skill can be learnt. I would consider much of leadership being wrapped up in teamwork, influence, strategy, and so on, and these are things that you can most certainly learn. I know this because I’ve learnt them! For many years I struggled with leadership and with building teams of people, but through being more prepared and investing in learning these skills, I’ve increased in being a leader.
I would clarify here that I also consider being a manager and a leader as two separate things. Managers aren’t necessarily leaders.
I so consider that, however, there are always people who will carry a far greater ability to lead. Like Churchill, or Alexander the Great, or Jesus, or Steve Jobs.
Are they born with it? I don’t know if it’s whether they are born with it or whether they are nurtured into it a very, very young age through particular circumstances. It’s hard to say.
With a high level of interest in young leaders, Masters of Public Administration and MBA degree programs often feature teamwork, strategy, and other elements of leadership.
You might not believe it but there was a time when I was really bad with people. In fact, I was so bad with people that I have the nickname ‘Scary Scott’ at the Christian Union because whilst I was on-target with my bible skills, I was wildly off-target with my people skills.
Luckily, I believed that you could learn leadership, that you could learn people skills, and that what one man can do, another can do. So it is that the connected, engaging, Like Minds uniting person you see before you is actually a result of nurture more than nature.
So today I just want to quickly distill HOW for me I learned to become a people’s person, and it’s wrapped up in what are the 4 ways to focus when you meet new people. What that means is this: there are 4 ways that you can focus upon meeting a new face, and each focus is where you put your energy and attention.
As it happens, these 4 lessons are very applicable to our digital selves, and also to brands and businesses:
This is where many people are when they meet new people – they are so self-consumed that they don’t actually take good notice of the other person. I think we all are here sometimes when we are particularly distracted – perhaps we’re stressed, have received some good or bad news, that type of thing. But some people just live here all the time.
I might add here that online, this is where I think a large number of bloggers and tweeters live. They write from a very condescending perspective, only ever talk and link to their own stuff and so on.
Likewise, a lot of businesses market at this level. They brag about their features and their product without much regard to how others might feel about it.
If you’ve ever met someone and immediately there’s something about them that is our of the ordinary – either their appearance, their attitude, something they said – and you couldn’t get it out of your mind, then you’ve experienced this second way to meet people.
You do get some people that continually exist here – they are very much about how they felt about a person and their reactions to meeting someone new are only based on their own feelings. So it logically progresses that anything they say in meeting this person is to change how they feel themselves about this person.
I find that online we get people doing this in comments a lot. They respond to someone based on how they feel about what they said in the comment (normally a criticism, right?) You can spot it a mile off.
I’ll be quite honest with you – I’ve spent a lot of time here and sometimes regress when I face criticism myself. It’s an easy thing to do, and I would continue to do it were it not for my knowledge of these two better ways:
I would say that I spent a lot of my life here. I desperately wanted to be valued and so I would be focussing on what others felt about me. You know what this is like: saying things you think they want to hear, making your actions about how they’ll perceive you and so on.
Needless to say, this is a very, very taxing approach. And digitally it causes burnout. I can’t tell you how exhausting is it blogging and tweeting endlessly so that people will perceive you as some kind of Robert Scoble. I remember in July of 2009 and I was desperately trying to get into FriendFeed so that people would perceive me as an expert and hire me. I spent countless hours saying a lot of stuff and got nowhere with it. Why? Because I was all about how people felt about me, and not about:
I wrote sometime ago that Social Media 101 was making people feel special. There is a saying in our church that people don’t remember what was said, they remember how they felt, and this is true for life. Scientifically, if you meet someone and make them feel great, they’ll remember you in a great light.
I remember when I learned this principle at 18 or 19 years of age, and it turned my life around. I began to focus on other people when I met them – being interested rather than seeking to be interesting – and it made a world of difference. Not only did it help me meet more people and more quickly connect with them, but it also changed my whole outlook on life. I now no longer try to ‘meet people well’, I just love finding out about them! It’s not a trick, it’s a genuine desire to find out about people!
When we use Social Media in this way – focussing on how people feel about themselves by encouraging them, providing them with utility and things that enhance their life (rather than getting us click throughs) you’ll find that you engagement goes through the roof. Your numbers might not, but then numbers don’t matter so much when you are adding real value to people.
This is something that my friend Robin Dickinson is exceptional at. He has spent hours helping and valuing me, and I have found so much energy and strength from our relationship. I’ve got his back whatever he does! In fact, you can check out his Sharewords post which is the perfect example of how to use social media to focus on others feel about themselves.
Apple have now launched the Mac App Store – the translation of the hughely successful App Store designed to deliver apps for the iPhone and the iPad onto a full blown computer running a full blown operating system.
Whilst PC Mag has already produced a hands on walk through that I shan’t be repeating, and Techcrunch gave their treatment here, I’m going to keeping this to the innovations of the App Store and what it means for the future as opposed to today.
Let me say right off of the bat that I think this is industry changing. I wrote about the 5 Innovations of the iPad last year and predicted the arrival of the App Store on the Mac because of the ease and process of the ecosystem. I said that this new iOS ecosystem is “how computing should be” and now it’s come to fruition.
In many ways, this revolution is just a packaging of smaller innovations from Apple as well as others and a general shift towards apps – but – it is Apple who have made that all important first move. So let’s unpack them.
So here they are, tahe 5 Innovations of the App Store:
One of the benefits of Macs over PCs was that Apple could deliver a complete product – that from the hardware through to the software, it was designed and made to work harmoniously and seamlessly. But, when one moved away from iPhoto and Safari and the other preinstalled software, expertise was required that not everyone has. Files had to be downloaded, mounted and installed, accounts had to created and various payment gateways had to be navigated.
The long and short of this meant that those who are not early adopters or at least the daring early majority would not use the software that they had access to. My wife, for instance, despite being pretty savvy with her Mac just won’t go and install Chrome despite Safari’s sloth-like speed. My mother in law as well, who has mastered iPhoto, had no idea how to install a little plugin to make her photo books work better.
And even early adopters like you and I tire with having to search through Google or other sites to find new software, and then go through the rigmarole of creating an account, paying, managing updates on all the various programmes, etc.
But now consider that with the App Store, I have:
And perhaps just as importantly as all the above – the App Store works in the same seamless, easy and delightful way that the iOS App Store works. Which leads to:
I don’t know how many iPhone and iPad owners there are out there. But however many tens of millions of them that there are, they’ve all been using the App Store since they got their first device.
So perhaps that’s an incredible innovation right there: the app store isn’t really new, at least from the stand point that there’s barrier to entry. It gets all the power and novelty of new without the user support headache.
One can’t underestimate the power of this. For 7 years, since the launch of the iTunes Store, Apple has been training us for their future. So now whatever Apple releases through their ecosystem, we’ll buy it, with the strong selling point that we already know how to use it and like how it works.
Google’s Chrome netbook is one of many moves towards the cloud that sees more and more business being done exclusively online. Yet Apple have maintained a strong application focus, MobileMe being their only online software. Now, Apple and many of the apps that we use on iOS and our Macs, like Evernote or Dropbox, do use the cloud, but there’s something more than the cloud that I think the App Store is leading towards: mirroring.
Consider this rather regular scenario. You’re documents are on Google Docs, and normally you’re fine on the iPad. But for some reason the internet won’t work and bang – you’re fileless. Or how about you saved some pages in Safari for offline browsing, and when you opened them, they refreshed and you lost them. Or let’s say you DO have Google Docs – now you’re restricted because you’ve got to deal with the lame way that it works on the iPad.
The cloud is great but let’s be clear about it: it’s only for storage. What I love about Evernote is that it stores things in the cloud, but I’ve always got offline versions on my Mac and my iPad. And this is what mirroring is about.
Mirroring is having the same workflow and essential setup on your iPad as you do on your Mac.
When I talk about cloud to my wife she switches off. You know why she loves Evernote? It’s because it’s the same everywhere she uses it. And with the Mac App Store we are now moving to a place where your actual setup is the same no matter which device you are using.
Ecosystem, workflow and applications are the important words here. I am totally convinced that Apps will overtake the browser because they are purpose and custom built to the needs of the app. Take Evernote again as the example: it works so, so much better as a desktop or iPad app than the web version. And this is the case for pretty much every app. With a browser my workflow is very constricted (unless I’m a geek), but with apps I can have a real workflow. Take for instance the Mashable Mac App. My wife would chose this over a browser any day of the week (were she even just a jot interested in social media, that is.)
This is why I actually use my iPad better for organising my life because of the apps I have and the way they all interlink.
Developers win with the App Store. It means they are now in the easiest channel for their apps to be installed by consumers, and the same benefit that the iOS App Store has had for, let’s be honest, booming the app industry into an actual industry, will now extend that same benefit to desktop applications (or more likely, desktop versions of existing iOS apps, because people are becoming more familiar with them than desktop-only applications.)
We, the consumers, win because we get an easy to way to get apps. As in point 1 – I can’t wait to NOT have to offer as much tech support because my mother in law can now download apps herself without my help (well, once I’ve installed the update for her, that is!) I really do see this as a major step forward in making computing simple for all people.
I remember when I first moved to Mac that what marvelled me the most was the ability to just get on with my work and not have to keep maintaining my system. That same ‘I can just get on with it’ benefit is coming to the early and late majority through the App Store because now they can just get on with it.
And of course, Apple win hugely out of this arrangement – all the more reason for them to keep making things simpler and better.
This might be a bit of a no brainer, but the App Store actually is innovation. It’s taking learnings from other areas that have each been moving the baton forward and now applying them to the Mac platform. And importantly, it’s new. When I see a lot of Mac updates or Windows updates, often they are just ‘enhancements’, but this is truly an innovation. It changes the way people will consume applications.
What will the repercussions of this be? I think apps might become more disposable. At the moment, if I take time to download an app, I’ve probably done research before and then when it comes to downloading, the work that I’ve put in means I’ll give the app a good go.
But with one click downloads and a simple way to find new apps, I think they might become more disposable. Of course the upside is that these apps are more discoverable, but the emphasis now must be for them to really deliver. The apps that will do best here of course have already trained the user in using their app on the iPhone first.
Many, many years ago I was frustrated that I wasn’t experiencing the successes in my life that I saw others were. People would do things that I wanted to do, but I excused them as impossible for me to ever attain.
There’s no surprise then that I was also jealous of people – wanting what they had, because I couldn’t have it.
I’m talking here about things like someone fulfilling a part of their life’s calling, achieving a career succes or financial success, being daring enough to just do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, travel to a certain place, and so on.
Then came the precious day when this clip below got up out of being a victim and into being a victor. It’s a short part of the film The Edge, staring Anthony Hopkins and Alex Baldwin as two men who get lost in woods and are hunted by a bear. After loosing one of their comrades to the bear and being faced with what many would consider an impossible situation, there comes this scene:
If you can’t see the above video, click here.
I want to encourage you today that it is true – becuase I have tested in my own life again and again – that what one person can do another can do.
It first begins with acknowledging that what you want to achieve can be done. If we can fly people to the moon, if people can do extraordinary things like they do, if miracles can happen like I’ve seen and witnesses, then it can be done.
The next step requires us to take ownership. If you can take leadership of your life and responsibility of your situation, without looking to others as the keepers of your successes or failures but become responsible for them yourself, and get into the driving seat of your future, tearing up every excuse and not accepting them any longer, then there’s no telling where you’ll go.
As the the top comment on this clip on YouTube said, “In 2002 I was down, and out, hooked on drugs going no where. I literally repeated this to myself over, and over, and in 1 yrs time my life completley turned around. I have been drug free since, and my life is an enjoyment today.”
I wasn’t hooked on drugs like this person, but still to this day, I repeat it to myself again and again: what one man can do, another can do.
Here’s to a victorious 2011,
That’s what Mark Dorey asked in one of our conversations this week, and I’ve got to say, it challenged me to think through what the secret is to it – if indeed there is one!
What follows is a padded out version of my reply to Mark in the comments – I trust it’s a practical tip to help you write more practically!
Everyone knows the saying that common sense isn’t that common. That’s the trick here – well, kind of. For me, it’s common to use my iPad in a certain way, or common to use Social Media or run events in a certain way, or clean my house or cut my hair a certain way. And this is common sense to me because it’s common to my senses.
And guess what? We don’t write what is common sense because we think it’s common and not that special.
So the secret is to begin rethinking what is common.
Think about the way that YOU use Twitter, the way that YOU are productive everyday, the way that YOU get on with people. All of these things, and many, many more, are great how-to posts in the waiting and add that practical takeaway value that every blog needs because everyone needs it!
Start taking what is common and make it practical!