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Archive for November, 2009

To celebrate thanksgiving this year, I thought I might share my Top 100 list of things I am thankful for. In no particular order:

  1. Blue skies.
  2. Night thunderstorms.
  3. Nutella.
  4. Gravity.
  5. Fine English saddles.
  6. Cheese.
  7. Architects.
  8. Seat belts.
  9. Planet Earth.
  10. Croissants.
  11. The DOW hitting 10,000 again.
  12. Satellite technology.
  13. Courage.
  14. Antibacterial soap.
  15. Power outlets. Especially in airports.
  16. Wi-Fi. Especially in airports.
  17. Artists.
  18. My parents.
  19. The number 2 pencil.
  20. The internet.
  21. Emergency exits.
  22. Toilet paper.
  23. Skim milk.
  24. Sail boats.
  25. Yogurt.
  26. My wife and kids.
  27. France.
  28. Sushi.
  29. Rollercoasters.
  30. Deodorant.
  31. Skype.
  32. My brother and sister.
  33. Fishermen and farmers.
  34. Helmets.
  35. Petits Beurre, de LU.
  36. Canon cameras and lenses.
  37. My friends.
  38. My enemies.
  39. Bailey’s Irish creme.
  40. Ice cubes.
  41. My extended family.
  42. Cartier.
  43. Washing machines.
  44. Power tools.
  45. German cars.
  46. Provence.
  47. Extra virgin olive oil.
  48. Spring.
  49. Summer.
  50. Fall.
  51. Winter.
  52. Birthdays.
  53. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
  54. Dental hygiene.
  55. Astronomers.
  56. Dogs.
  57. My childhood.
  58. Movies.
  59. Smart phones.
  60. Bespoke tailors.
  61. The path less taken.
  62. Triathlon.
  63. Duct Tape.
  64. Twitter.
  65. Performance fabrics.
  66. Kate Winslet.
  67. Jazz.
  68. Laughter.
  69. French patisseries.
  70. Slow motion.
  71. Cormack McCarthy.
  72. My readers.
  73. Medical research.
  74. US foreign policy in Europe since 1944.
  75. A proper cup of coffee.
  76. Haribo Cola-flavored gummies.
  77. Blue jeans.
  78. Designers (engineers and otherwise).
  79. Rubber bands.
  80. Paris and New York in the spring.
  81. Honey.
  82. Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Faconnable, Yves St. Laurent and Francesco Smalto.
  83. Benevolent space aliens.
  84. Air travel.
  85. Brave, selfless people.
  86. The Mediterranean Sea.
  87. The perfect gin and tonic.
  88. Afternoon tea.
  89. The USA.
  90. England.
  91. Guitars.
  92. Kevlar.
  93. The International Baccalaureate.
  94. Cashmere and Merino wool.
  95. My health.
  96. Old people.
  97. Laptops.
  98. Traditional French cuisine.
  99. Stereophonic sound.
  100. Every single day.

Missing from the list again this year:

  1. Alarm clocks.
  2. Disease.
  3. Selfishness.
  4. Sociopathic bosses.
  5. Celery.
  6. Pollution.
  7. Bigotry.
  8. Cancer.
  9. Religious and political extremists.
  10. Poverty.
  11. American Idol.
  12. Adolf Hitler.
  13. Easy Listening radio stations.
  14. Awful advertising.
  15. Land mines.
  16. Plastic shopping bags.
  17. SyFy Original movies.
  18. Social Media hacks.
  19. Rabid raccoons.
  20. Long lines.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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Conferences are great. You learn stuff, you meet people, you go back to work all jazzed up and energized… But let’s be honest: There are some things you just can’t get from a conference, like real training and “how to” knowledge.

From my perspective no matter how much clarity I bring to topics like R.O.I. and social media measurement, building and managing social media programs, brand management in the era of the Social web, etc. at conferences, there is only so much I can teach you in an hour, or thirty minutes (and even 10 minutes, in some cases).

Based on feedback from a pretty big number of conference attendees over the last year, it became clear that something was missing from the picture: Think of it as a gap between the short conference format presentations and high-commitment 3-8-month long consulting engagements.

That’s when my mind flashed back to the courses I used to take from the American Management Association (AMA): Full day trainings on just about anything you might need to increase your value to your organization, from Best Practices in to “how to” courses. The format was simple: One day out of the office, learn everything you need to learn from an expert in the field, come back with copious notes, and get back to work with a valuable new skill.

Bonus: The playbook you bring back with you in the form of notes and course content. That’s yours to keep. Forever.

I loved those things. They made me smarter about the world, better at my job, and payed off in major ways – both for me and my employers… which is probably why they didn’t mind paying for them several times per year.

The single-day AMA trainings I was sent to typically used to cost my employers about $2,000 between registration, airfare, hotel and food (about the cost of going to a conference these days), which I always thought was a little steep. (Multi-day trainings went up from there.) Different value than attending a conference, sure, but in the back of my mind, I always knew the model could be streamlined and the costs made more accessible.

Long story short: It’s obvious that business managers increasingly need real social media operational training, not just neat case studies and presentations about social media tools, so I am launching a series of AMA-style trainings to address that need.  If you’re a business manager or social media practitioner and you need to learn how to better develop, integrate, manage and measure social media programs, this is for you. Though the official launch will take place in early 2010, the very first of these trainings will take place in London on December 4th:

Event Number One: Red Chair London

The course I will teach in London is designed for C-level business executives, Marketing and PR directors, Agency honchos and Social Media managers wishing to deepen their operational understanding of Social Media.

The course is designed for decision-makers and managers looking for real training on how to actually plug social media into their organizations and make it work. Not just from a strategic angle, but also from operational, tactical, and analytical standpoint. (Yes, this is what you guys have been asking for. I am finally bringing it to you.)

The day will be divided into four sessions:

  1. 9:00am – 10:30am           Social Media Program Development (Strategy)
  2. 10:45am – noon                 Social Media Program Integration (Operations and Planning)
  3. 12:45 pm – 2:45pm          Social Media Program Management (Execution)
  4. 3:00pm – 4:30pm             Social Media Program Measurement (Data analysis, benchmarking, ROI, etc.)

We will break for morning tea/coffee, lunch, and again for afternoon tea/coffee. (All included with your registration.)

Red Chair London is being kept purposely small (20 seats)  to foster a roundtable-style atmosphere for participants in which all questions will be answered, no matter how technical or complicated. I can handle it.

Registration is only £650 per person (about $999 US), and we have created some pretty awesome group discounts to make it easier for companies to send more than one manager (or client) to the event. (My advice: Pool your resources and buy group tickets instead of just individual ones.)

The best part is that attendees don’t have to fly anywhere or book a hotel. If you work in and around London, you can swing by your office early that morning, spend the rest of the day with us, and go home when we adjourn.  No flying, no hotels, no extra expenses. Simple, painless, convenient.

Although seats should go fast (we’re limited to only 20 seats), I am all about treating my readers well, so here’s a treat for you. (This isn’t on the eventbrite registration page.) The first 6 people to register using the keyword “paddington” will enjoy a special BrandBuilder discount off their ticket price.

Red Chair London will be held at the posh One Alfred Place business Club, which is the perfect venue: centrally located, beautiful meeting rooms, awesome food, providing just the right mix of business focus and comfort. If you aren’t familiar with One Alfred yet, you’re in for a treat.

All that’s left for you to do now is either register or pass the information along to your peers, bosses, colleagues, friends and clients. (Or your marketing, PR and ad agency partners if they don’t seem to know how to take your social media presence to the next level.)

Seriously, if you know someone who should attend, be their hero and send them this post’s hyperlink. Red Chair may not come back to London for quite a while. We have a lot of cities to cover in the next 12 months. Get a jump on the competition.

While we’re still putting the finishing touches on the Red Chair website, you can go register for the London training here.

Event Number 2: Like Minds Immersive

If you can’t make it  to Red Chair London or prefer a lighter version of that type of training, check out December 3rds’ Like Minds Immersive instead. (Hey, not everyone wants or needs to get a Masters in Social Media Operational Management just yet. Baby steps, right?)

Some differences:

  1. It’s in Exeter, not London.
  2. It’s on Thursday December 3rd (the day before Red Chair London)
  3. It only lasts 3 hours
  4. It’s a little easier on the finances (Only £200)
  5. The content is designed to be more accessible to junior managers and folks not yet fluent in Social Media management than Red Chair London.

Who should attend Like Minds Immersive?

  • Devon area business people who can’t make it to London on the 4th.
  • Anyone looking to advance their strategic and operational Social Media management skills but isn’t ready for a full day of advanced training yet.
  • Managers and business owners looking for structured, step-by-step how-to social media training they will be able to apply to their business right away.

You can register for Like Minds Immersive here.

Now spread the world, ye of internet fame, and help me finally bring real Social Media wisdom, best practices and savoir-faire to the world.

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I keep running into this every few months or so. It always makes me smile because it’s so true:

The master in the art of living makes little distinction
between his work and his play
his labor and his leisure
his mind and his body
his education and his recreation
his love and his religion
He hardly knows which is which…
He simply pursues his vision of excellence
in whatever he does
leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing
To him he is always doing both.

- Zen Buddhist Text

If you’re any good at what you do, and by good, I mean really good, work is play.

Always.

I’m sorry that BrandBuilder blog postings have been a little scarce lately. On the one hand, I have been traveling a lot. But there’s other reason: For the last few months, I have quietly been working on some pretty exciting projects with some of my favorite people on the planet, and I should finally be allowed to start talking about them very soon.

So patience, Grasshopper. We’re almost there.

I could be wrong, but my hunch is that you’re all going to like what I have in store for you guys in 2010 and beyond.

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