Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire; I led their social media efforts from 2007 past their IPO. These are my thoughts on tomorrow's social products, today.

Beating Blogger’s Block

I started blogging years ago. Nearly 6 years ago.

It has unquestionably changed my life and my career in the years since. But, I don’t do it anymore. At least not with the passion that I originally started blogging with and that bothers me.

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I’ve written over a thousand blog posts since then but here on my personal blog it just doesn’t feel fresh, fun or exciting anymore as it was during those early days.

What went wrong

1. I blog for a living. Here a blog, there a blog, just too many blogs. 

2. It’s been an interesting roller coaster of a year (to say the least)  

3. Twitter killed Blogging for most of us

Why this bothers me 

Blogging is a really good indicator to identify how passionate you are on your favorite topics.When I started blogging I’d spend hours after work writing about topics I love. It’s that passion that slowly helped me find social media and LinkedIn way back when. And, so when I find myself not blogging actively anymore it bugs me.

I don’t want that and I need to change things up. I need to blog. And, I need to start today.

What’s next? 

The blog definitely needs more regular, interesting content and I’m gonna make an extra-effort to do exactly that. Oddly enough, there’s far more interesting stuff happening today in social media than there was a few years ago; so much so that there’s tons of noise and hopefully the content I create here will cut through that noise.

Over the next few weeks you’re going to see content that will focus on three key attributes.

1. People: Meet professionals whose work I admire. Capture that on the blog. 

I meet tons of interesting folks in the social media space whose work I find relentlessly fascinating. Expect to hear more about them on the blog as I get them to share lessons learned while working on real world projects in social media, whether it’s in PR, Marketing or Journalism.

2. Always unique, always differentiated. 

Using Quora for the first time was a huge aha moment that reminded me of my initial experience blogging. What Quora does best was provide a platform for sharing what you’re good at while bringing you an audience of interesting people in that space who’d love to hear from you. That’s what a good blog is supposed to be while giving you the control over every aspect of content and design.

So, you’re gonna see a slew of content that I can provide unique insight into and hopefully we can reach many more readers like you who will find that content useful. All I’d ask is for you guys is to share posts that you find useful, when you find em useful.

3. Give more than you get

In the past, there have been days where I’d put together a hastily scribbled post just because I’d want to get to my quota of one post a day. Now, granted this is a part of the Writer’s Block that hastened the slow-down of my blogging, but as I look around I see a a few awesome bloggers who generate a ton of quality content on a regular basis. And, I know it’s doable.

Blogs that I love reading on Flipboard. Blogs from my good friends, for example, Jeremiah who has been churning out some stellar content for years or Adam who more recently has been kicking but with some super insightful posts these past few days.

It’s time for me to get back to blogging…

Filed under: Best-of, Miscellaneous, ,

#NotAtSXSW

For the past four years, I’ve made the annual trek to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Conference and have fond memories and some great friendships that were forged during those weekends. This weekend will be the first year in 5 years (I even made it last year despite the chaos) that I’ll be missing out on the action – partly due to a bruised rib and partly cos I haven’t had a chance to breathe since my return from Toronto.

Bringing #SXSW to Twitter

Over this weekend, I’m gonna do my best to avoid staring at my Tweetdeck screen that will taunt me with tweets from friends streaming into Austin, sharing their Instagram photos or checking in non-stop over this weekend, I figured why not get other non-attendees together do something constructive – a Twitter chat.

Who better to host the chat than Mack Collier. Mack and I started blogging at roughly the same time over 7 years ago, we shared the stage at Southby years ago and he runs a weekly twitter chat (#blogchat) on topics related to social media every Sunday. And, that’s exactly what we’re doing this Friday to distract ourselves from SXSW.

Here are the details:

  • Time: Friday, March 10 at Noon Central for an hour (see Mack’s post here)
  • Topic: Using Social Media tools to network (here’s a hint on some of the things we’ll cover)
  • How to: Log onto Twitter (ideally use a desktop app via Tweetdeck or Hootsuite). Create a search column for #notatsxsw and you’re off to the races. And, hashtag your tweets #NotAtSXSW

How do I participate? And, what’s a Twitter Chat?

To the uninitiated, Twitter chat is an online unconference, if you will. What’s an unconference, you ask. Well, never mind. It’s a great way to bring together peers with a common interest on common topics. Frankly twitter chat will be a perfect example to illustrate how to “Use Social media tools to network”. For you newbies, here’s a short description from Mack on how Twitter chat works:

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, you know that there are a lot of conversations happening at any one time, and it can sometimes seem like a jumbled mess. But when we add a hashtag like #blogchat to our tweets, then it becomes much easier for us to track and keep up with the conversation that’s happening!

Think of the #blogchat hashtag as a ‘mark’ that we add to our tweets, then if you are searching for the term ‘#blogchat’, you can quickly and easily see all the tweets that are related to our discussion!

The only difference this time is we’ll be using the #NotAtSXSW hashtag both during the chat as well as for the rest of the week, as we lead up to it. So, look forward to seeing you guys there. Don’t forget to follow @mackcollier and you know me – @mariosundar. See you guys on Friday!

Follow me @mariosundar

Filed under: HOW-TO Use Social Media, Twitter, , , , ,

Do you view your career as a startup?

I first met Reid Hoffman, nearly six years ago (Thanks, Kay!) as I was being interviewed by the then executive team at LinkedIn for my role as social media guy. Since then, what has always struck me the most about Reid is his simplicity coupled with his enthusiasm in debating complex topics, whether it’s a philosophical discussion on social media to something as simple as the importance of adding commenting to our blog.

 One of my favorite pics from the old days – Reid Hoffman (center) with Jean-Luc Vaillant (left) and Allen Blue (right) at our old Palo Alto office

Working at LinkedIn during those early days was a great opportunity to watch, discuss and learn from him on a slew of topics and it’s great to see that Reid’s now shared many of his learnings into his recent book – “Startup of You“.

There are tons of valuable insights that Reid and co-author, Ben Casnocha, have assembled in the new book. Insights that are simple on the face of it, but you’d be surprised at how unheeded some of them are. Here are some:

  • How to establish close professional alliances who can help you and whom you can help in turn.
  • Why the most powerful networks include a mix of both allies and looser acquaintances.
  • Why you should set up an “interesting people” fund to guarantee that you spend time investing in your network.

The other parts of the book that I also found fascinating include the anecdotes, like this one:

I [Reid] first met Mark Pincus while at PayPal in 2002. I was giving him advice on a startup he was working on. From our first conversation, I felt inspired by Mark’s wild creativity and how he seems to bounce off the walls with energy. I’m more restrained, preferring to fit ideas into strategic frameworks instead of unleashing them fire-hose-style. But it’s our similar interests and vision that have made our collaborations so successful.

We invested in Friendster together in 2002. In 2003 the two of us bought the Six Degrees patent, which covers some of the foundational technology of social networking. Mark then started his own social network, Tribe; I started LinkedIn (LNKD). When Peter Thiel and I were set to put the first money into Facebook in 2004, I suggested that Mark take half of my investment allocation. I wanted to involve Mark in any opportunity that seemed intriguing, especially one that played to his social networking background. In 2007, Mark called me to talk about his idea for Zynga (ZNGA), the social gaming company he co-founded and now leads. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to invest and join the board, which I did.

An alliance is always an exchange, but not a transactional one.

Now, some folks may think that these alliances are an exception:

All of which prompts a question: in a winner-takes-all world, do the networks of the rich and powerful become self-reinforcing? For all Hoffman’s claims that the lives of successful Silicon Valley zillionaires are a useful model, one cannot escape the sense that he moves in a rarefied world in which a you-scratch-my-back chumminess excludes the less fortunate.

I beg to differ. These mutual alliances model is one that all successful professionals follow. These alliances can be found everywhere in our careers. And, we do it all the time.

Now, some professionals may have an old-school way of thinking where they stop looking at professional enrichment once at a job. Though this may have worked in the past, I couldn’t agree more that in today’s economy it’s imperative that we not only keep our skill sets updated constantly but more importantly, that we also actively nurture our relationships that matter so much. As Reid shared with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times last year:

The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone. No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach your career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.

I highly recommend this book if you believe the world of work is undergoing a dramatic change and if you’d like to learn some of the basic lessons to equip you to deal with those paradigm changes successfully. So, I wanted to share some reasons why I think it may be worth your while to take a read. Tweet me your reactions to the book.

I look forward to your stories.

Follow me @mariosundar

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Colleagues, ,

Why LinkedIn Events matters more Now

Think of every event or conference you’ve ever attended. Think of the two questions that’s been foremost on your mind in finding value from the right events, besides avoiding these guys or worse still running into these guys:

1. Which of my friends are attending this event? 

This is probably the #1 question that bugs conference organizers and event attendees. Think of the last time you’ve attended an event or a conference? Your first thought that helped you decide should you spend that extra few hours after work, driving all the way to an event was – are my peers, colleagues or former colleagues gonna be there. Is it gonna make it worth my while?

LinkedIn Events you may be interested in does just that as it prioritizes the results showing you just the ones your connections are gonna be at, making it easier for you to decide which ones to RSVP for.

Showing you the events that your friends are attending, gets you to those events

2.  Is this event worth my time? 

Given the time and cost investment associated with events, attendees also wanna make sure that they are making new connections that will prove to be invaluable to them in the long run. Enter, Attendees you may want to meet.

It's People You May (or Should) Know at the Event or Conference

This feature is priceless (like People You May Know) as it allows you to connect with these potential contacts you should be networking with. This is something that only a site like LinkedIn can provide using the relationship graph that exists on the site today, friends of friends and all that cool stuff.

I’d give LinkedIn events a try just for the above two features, but I bet there are other reasons to try it out as well. Let me know what you think about the feature by leaving a comment and I’ll make sure it’s shared with my colleague Jimmy Chen and team.

As a critical part of networking, you can now leverage the relationships you’ve built on LinkedIn over the years to inform your experience attending events, making it more productive.

Related posts:

  1. Here’s Jimmy’s post from the LinkedIn blog
  2. TechCrunch’s take on LinkedIn Events’ intelligent recommendations & search by Leena
  3. TNW’s Cheri on LinkedIn’s bigger, better and more user-friendly Events upgrade

Filed under: LinkedIn Features,

Grab a glass of ice water in Outlook Hell

I assure you I won’t begin every post of mine with a Steve Jobs quote. Only whenever appropriate. Mossberg relates this classic anecdote where Jobs famously quipped that iTunes on Windows PC was “like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.

TouchBase and Calvetica: The 2 iPhone Calendar apps that saved me from Calendar Hell

Alas, Mac desktop users are stuck with the reverse problem – serving poutine at Four Seasons – also known as a clunky, bloated Outlook that aims to embarrass the user and make it terribly hard to gain any utility from it.

But, this past week, I stumbled upon 3 great Mac calendar apps (2 on the iPhone and one on the desktop) that take the sting away from Outlook (keeping it safely in the background) while surfacing key functionality where needed, when needed.

1. Why Calvetica? (Yes, it’s $0.99 and is so worth it; so pony up)

Cos simple’s always better than complex.

If Apple had spent sufficient time designing a calendar app this is what they’d have ended up with instead of the underwhelming Mac calendar app. The app looks gorgeous (think Helvetica) but more importantly it reduces the number of clicks to get to important parts of the calendar as well as to visualize your calendar. Plus, it does a neat sync with Exchange.

They also have a more robust calendaring 2.0 version (that includes task management) for $2.99 that I wouldn’t recommend. This app tends to look a tad more noisy than the classic version and lacks its minimalist tendencies.

2. Why TouchBase? (Another $0.99 well spent)

When one click is always better than two, or three, or more.

Of what use is a calendar app when it takes forever to say, inform your fellow meeting attendees that you’re late for a meeting or to postpone it. Plus, it takes forever to find the address where your meeting’s taking place and I could go on.

TouchBase’s strength is the same as Calvetica – great design that surfaces to your finger tips, the most important relevant information around  a meeting intelligently. For e.g.

First off it creates these simple visually simple cue cards that pull all the relevant information for a meeting (including participant’s contact – phone and email addresses provided your address book has them). The best part of this is the “I’m here late” or “I’m running late by…” tabs that makes sending out a SMS or email to participants a one click process.

I just used it earlier today to save me a few minutes of frantic back-and-forth with my calendar and email when all I needed was to click once, and send auto-formatted SMS or email to say I was running late and bam! it was sent.

3. Why Fantastical? (a pricey desktop calendaring app at $19.99)

When you just wanna type in a calendar event that gets added magically to Exchange or iCal. 

Now, the missing piece of the calendar puzzle is Microsoft Outlook on a Mac laptop, the bull in a china shop. Plus, it’s always a few clicks away to create a calendar event, moving away from your current application, getting to the calendar tab, opening an entry and awkwardly adding multiple details for an event, finding the right time before sending out.

What if you could open up a calendar entry from a keyboard entry no matter where you’re at. The best part of this app is yet to come – natural language recognition, like Siri. So just hit – “Project meeting with Ed and John from 2 to 2:30 today at Boardroom” and it applies all the criteria to your calendar invite right from your Mac Menu bar. Love it. So much.

And the fact that it adds a neat calendar to the Mac menu bar (which unfortunately lacks one) is the icing on the cake. Either way, the above 3 apps or maybe 2 (#2 and 3) finally provide a glass of refreshing ice water in a calendar hell. BTW, if you’ve any suggestions for similar Mac apps (desktop or iPhone), leave a comment.

 

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Are you in Social Media? Come, join our LinkedIn group!

As LinkedIn’s social media guy for the past nearly five years, I’ve had an opportunity to talk to tons of folks at similar roles at companies big and small. Many of these conversations yield valuable insights into running social media programs but they never gets shared with the larger community who’ll find that super-useful.

With that goal in mind, a few of us folks, have created a group on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn group for Social Media practitioners

 

The Group Goal:

  1. Learning is good, Sharing is better: We wanted to get social media managers at companies sharing the lessons they’ve learned doing social media with the broader community
  2. More signal, less noise: No matter where you go as a social media manager you find groups with thousands of members who may or may not be working on social media projects. There’s a ton of noise out there that we’d like to avoid.
  3. Real social media expertise: There is a dearth of real knowledge on how social media is implemented by companies. And, companies are still grappling with questions after they have jumped onto the bandwagon. The group hopes to share some real-world wins with companies.

We had an original goal of hitting 50 group members in the first few weeks and and we have more requests than we can handle. And, we hope to grow the group purely through good old word of mouth. So, if you know someone who is implementing social media at companies or small businesses, you may wanna share this group with them.

What is the group mix? 

To achieve our goal of surfacing real world examples and helping the social media community, we aim to grow the membership along three broad categories. If you’re in the space, you’ll probably recognize a lot of the folks mentioned below. Here are some examples of the social media folks (areas as broad as community, marketing, PR at companies) you’ll find in our group today.

I. Companies, Startups, and Universities 

  1. Lionel from Dell
  2. Tom from Kodak
  3. Sonal at Xerox PARC
  4. Esteban at Samsung
  5. James from Genentech
  6. Ian from Stanford University
  7. Christopher at AT&T
  8. Umang from Microsoft
  9. Ryan at NBC
  10. Vanessa from Hilton …

II. Social Platforms 

  1. Yours truly at LinkedIn
  2. Karen from Twitter (just started at Twitter this week)
  3. Ramya at YouTube News and Politics
  4. Oliver from Google

I’ve also invited the social / community folks from Google, and Google+, but they are yet to join. I’m not sure who currently runs Facebook’s blog (social and community efforts) let me know or ping them with the group link. Or, just leave a comment.

III. Events, Conferences and Media

  1. Kristie from Social Media Club
  2. Amalia from TNW
  3. Robyn from RWW, besides others…

This should give you an example of what to expect should you join the group and your peers you’ll find in the group.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to surface any shared learnings we have as a group that will benefit the larger community of social media practitioners.  So, come join us.

p.s. Wondering why we picked LinkedIn groups. I considered a broad range of options and LinkedIn was not only the ideal setting (given most social media managers at companies can be found on the platform) but it’s also a great way to check out their latest social media work (through their up-to-date LinkedIn profiles vs. using Google Groups for e.g. that’s more email based).

Are you in social media? Come join us!

http://lnkd.in/social-media-group

Filed under: Best-of, Miscellaneous

What Would Steve Jobs Do?

The entire technology world has collectively mourned this past week, the recent passing away of Steve Jobs. There have been numerous eulogies (most of them very well written) but the most important ones will always remain the personal anecdotes about Jobs. I myself mourned his loss with this tribute, and readers of this blog and my tumblr have probably read the countless posts I’ve written on Jobs, his words, and his work.

What would Steve Jobs do?

What would Steve Jobs do?

But, I think it’s easy to deify the man with all those eulogies and forget what he really stood for. I though John Lilly from Greylock Partners really nailed it by putting things in the right perspective.

I’m a little uncomfortable with the outpouring of sentiment about people who want to be like Steve. There’s a sort of beatification going on that I think misses the point. He was never a nostalgic man at all, and I can’t help but feel like he would think this posthumous attention was, in a lot of ways, a waste — seems like he’d have wanted people to get back to inventing.

Amen to that. I think this echoes one of my favorite essays of all time – Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson – which Emerson begins with:

To believe in your own thought, to believe what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men – that is genius. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton, is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they thought. A man, should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament from bards and sages.

So, what would Jobs do? John’s post, borrows from Naval’s tweet, summarizes thus:

Be yourself and work as hard as you can to bring wonderful things into the world. Figure out how you want to contribute and do that, in your own way, on your own terms, as hard as you can, as much as you can, as long as you can.

Oddly enough, that line reminds me of another line from Self Reliance and I think this is a great message to takeaway with us, as we aim to accomplish the best that we can, in our chosen lines of work — with passion, dedication and integrity.

Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place that providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating through all their being.

So, let’s get out there and kick some butt! And, really make a difference in our lives and that of the people around us. Thank You, Steve!

#RIPSteveJobs

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Companies: Why your LinkedIn Page is now a really big deal

As we’ve hinted at in the recent past, LinkedIn just launched the ability for companies to update their LinkedIn Company page, like companies could have been able to do on their Twitter and Facebook pages. In the past, LinkedIn’s Company page was populated only with select auto-generated content like job changes for e.g. Now, things have changed.

Moving forward, all companies or small businesses with a LinkedIn Company Page can customize updates to their followers (whether it is a customer, job seeker or a prospective client). Here’s why it’s a pretty big deal.

What’s new?

With this new release, companies (with an assigned administrator and whose company page is set to “designated admins only”) will have the flexibility to share the latest on the company directly to all of their followers on their company page’s “Overview” tab.

Keep in mind your status updates can be up to 500 characters long and can support URLs with multimedia as well. Given that any LinkedIn member can comment, like or share your Company’s status update, this is a great way to build engagement with customers, potential employees and prospects alike. – Ryan Roslansky, who runs our Company Pages product (though Ryan manages the larger team, I found that my colleague Mike Grishaver runs the specific product itself. Hat tip to Karen Chin!)

Why should it matter to companies or small businesses

1. The confluence of company and brand 

So, why is this a big deal for companies? For starters, this is something companies had been clamoring for a long time and given the recent pace of adoption we’ve seen with millions of company pages and tens of millions of LinkedIn members following companies already, the scope and impact of Company Pages is only gonna grow.

What I find most exciting about this development is that, while Twitter and Facebook focus solely on the mainstream consumer brand experience and its accompanying follower base, a LinkedIn Company page is probably the only place that you can cater to both external (consumers) and internal (employees) audiences. That’s a rare combination, which while possible on Twitter / Facebook, is way more powerful on LinkedIn, given the professional scale. (Disclosure: As a reader, if you don’t know this yet — I work at LinkedIn)

2. It’s just before the tipping point 

Getting in sooner vs. later on social platforms not only lets you claim your ground, but also helps you build a larger following faster. So, building a huge follower base on Twitter these days is more difficult than during those early days. On LinkedIn, the number of company pages, the audience and timing feels like it’s just before the tipping point.

It’s large enough to be a happening place (over 120 million professionals) but it’s not big enough that its unwieldy (only 2 million companies have their profiles on yet), so it’s a great point in time to create one for your company or small business before you get lost in the ensuing land grab.

3. Find a targeted audience and measure yourself

This is probably the most important reason for the right company in the right space (B2B for e.g.) or small business to capitalize on the opportunities posed by LinkedIn. The people on LinkedIn are different from the folks on other social networking sites.

As a marketer, if your goal is to reach professionals there is no better place on the planet than to engage with them on LinkedIn. Let the facts speak for themselves, but I’m amazed at how huge Fortune 500 corporations like IBM or Microsoft are on LinkedIn compared to their equivalent on Twitter for e.g. Here’s a sample:

  1. IBM Company Page: ~450,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  2. Microsoft: ~330,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  3. Oracle: ~230,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  4. HP: ~350,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  5. Google: ~320,000 followers, +10,000 employees

And, I could go on. But, if you’re running social media teams at any of the millions of companies on LinkedIn and you’re not taking a more active role on your LinkedIn Company page, you should be fired.

And one more thing.

ROI. As someone who runs social media for a social media company, it’s my job to figure out measurement models on the key social networks that LinkedIn (the company) has a presence on. LinkedIn Company Pages comes with an analytics component that’s similar to the one you’d find on Facebook for e.g. More on that in another post.

In the coming weeks, I’ll delve into more Company Page details. Follow me here.

So, whether you work for a large company or a small business, you better be setting up a LinkedIn Company Page. And, if you have one already. Start talking, start sharing your updates now — to the people who matter most to your business: Your Employees. Your Customers. Your Prospects.

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features,

Pinterest: Attack of the Tumblr Clones

Pinterest has been in the news lately. Pinterest, who?

I bet most people reading this blog are wondering what is Pinterest? TechCrunch just quoted their CEO about Pinterest joining the ranks of Twitter and Facebook as self-expression engines?! Not sure whether Twitter or Facebook are self-expression engines today, but Pinterest is one of many Tumblr clones that’s been killing it, lately.

Episode I: Tumblr’s raison d’etre?

A while back I’d asked whether Facebook is a walled tumblelog, and since then Tumblr has taken off in a big way. I mean, BIG way. Tumblr has established itself as the de facto social creativity platform on the planet. They’re the intersection of social and the creative arts (much like Apple’s at the intersection of tech and liberal arts) and Tumblr has excelled at scaling their site (with its GIF-heavy traffic) while maintaining their niche street cred.

Yes, I've to quote Jobs in every post I write. Pic Source: Gdgt

Episode II: The Attack of the Tumblr Clones

Enter 4 new sites that are carving out a name for themselves by emulating the tumblr model: focus on creativity (fashion, style, photography, etc.), make it super-easy way to create content, reblog, and like, and most importantly — create a vibrant community that loves said niche creative content. Each of them are doing it in their own way, and some of them have hit critical mass: Pinterest (Shopping), Instagram (Photography), Fancy & Everlane (Shopping).

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Episode III: The Commercialization of the Tumblr model

For now, I’m gonna focus on the two that are closest to Tumblr’s model of “self-expression” but aim to monetize your creativity by focusing on stuff that you can buy. How do they do that? By making it easy for you to “want”, “pin”,  or “fancy” stuff that you can buy. I didn’t say that; they did.

“The best way for a startup to get a dataset like that is to create some sort of self-expression platform, a way to express what you’re into …,” says Lavingia, who also designed the Turntable.fm iPhone app. “You can’t directly ask users, ‘Hey we’d love all of your data! List the songs you like and the albums you’ve bought and the places you’ve visited and the food you’ve eaten.’ But you need these answers to ultimately make money.”

It’s one of the reasons, I don’t “like” stuff on Facebook, since I think it’s like a holiday party turned pyramid scheme garage sale. How long would you stay at that party? Also, Pinterest shouldn’t be talking about “getting a dataset” at this point. I think Lavingia has a knack for designing socially desirable sites (Turntable, Pinterest) and they are obviously focused on exploding the virality of Pinterest, but talk of monetizing my wants at this early stage creeps me out.

I spend a lot more time on Tumblr and Quora these days than on Facebook, primarily cos there is a vibrant, authentic community that I enjoy hanging out with; not because I feel like I’m being sold to. The minute I feel that my actions subject to relentless ads, I’d spend less time there. But, maybe the masses are different and could care less. I think the key is how the ad’s done, cos we all know, ads (besides death and taxes) is a constant in life.

Tumblr too, has wisely avoided this conundrum thus far but I find it interesting that sites like Pinterest will come out and embrace the fact that they want to monetize your expression. I think, Alexia, nailed the conclusion.

And we become so obsessed that we fail to fully realize that our self-expression is subsequently being catalogued, repackaged, and sold to the highest bidder — if a company has reached that stage in its growth. For a chance at reaching the top of that pyramid, hell maybe it’s worth it.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s worth it. Sometimes you just wanna go, where everybody knows your name. That is all.

Filed under: Pinterest, Tumblr, , , ,

Zuck & Bezos: LEAVE JOBS ALONE!

Problem with the game now, there ain’t no innovation
I see my shit all in your shit, we call that imitation
And they say that’s flattering, but I ain’t flattered at all
Matter fact y’all need to practice that more
- J. Cole, Cole World

I’ve been planning to write a post ever since I watched Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote (where he launched Timeline – more on that later). But, then just last week I saw this and it creeped me out. So, Jobs, steps down as CEO and every Zuck, Bezos and Harry decide to literally rip off the presentation style of Steve Jobs. That’s just not cool.

But, I digress. Let’s catch some make-believe as CEOs try to play Steve Jobs.

Zuckerberg as Jobs

WTF! 7 minutes of Andy Samberg introducing a tech conference. You know that even in SNL segments we can’t take Samberg in more than 3 minute bytes. And, what’s with all the awful “humor” (I’m Zuckerberg, he’s Andy Samberg, and we couldn’t have Eisenberg here, so I’ll mimic Eisenberg). C’mon, guys. This ain’t high-school no more.

What’s worse is that this is a bit that Jobs introduced in his keynotes. First, in 1999 when Noah Wyle (who played Jobs in “Pirates of the Silicon Valley“) played Jobs on stage before Jobs’ adoring fans. Noah’s intro was less than a minute long. That was it. Well timed humor about the movie and a joke or two about Jobs temperament – for another minute. And, he’s gone. That’s how it’s done.

And, Jobs himself has overplayed that shtick. More recently, PC guy (played by the ever-adorable “The Daily Show” “reporter” John Hodgman) did a “I’m Steve Jobs” shtick and it was funny, short, and poked fun at Microsoft. Who doesn’t like an anti-PC ad, eh?

Bezos as Jobs

So, in short. The Samberg shtick was pure Jobs imitation. And, more importantly, it wasn’t funny and was way too long.

Things got a lil’ creepy when Bezos, whose maniacal laughter I fear, decided to jump on the “I’ll present as Jobs” world. This is him introducing the new Kindle at Amazon World or whatever it’s called. What’s with the deliberate stilted pacing that’ll make any viewer go nuts. C’mon, be yourself. Smile a little during your presentation. Don’t take yourself so seriously. And quit ripping off Jobs’ style. Trust me, it ain’t flattery.

One of the comments on the above Youtube video nailed it.

I love how dramatically he reveals things a la Steve Jobs to none of the cheers typical of an Apple presentation.

mgaums 1 day ago

This one’s even better…

and not a single fuck was given that day.

That crowd seemed so unimpressed it was almost sad.

TADA KINDLE FIRE!!!!!

yeah and?

MegatronSmurf 1 day ago

Please leave Jobs alone

As Jon Stewart would say: Zuck, meet me at Camera 3 (y’know, for a 1:1) – you’re a smart guy and developers love you. I know that for a fact cos they hate to see you embarrassed. I remember what a hard time they gave Sarah Lacy when you did a terrible job answering simple questions at SXSW.

They idolize you, the same way Mac fanatics adore Steve Jobs. There are very few folks in our tech world, who commands that adulation. You’re finally creating products that restore a sense of childlike wonder (more on Timeline later).

That doesn’t mean you can replace a black turtleneck sweater with a North Face jacket, sneakers with Adidas flip flops, Noah Wyle with Andy Samberg and turn into tech world’s great Houdini.

So, stick with creating great products, figuring out what works best for you on stage in your own unique way (it takes a while) and don’t let your handlers play you around.

And, I’ll let Jobs himself describe why a f8 or Amazon presentation will never be a Jobs presentation.

The problem with Microsoft is that they just have no taste. Absolutely no taste.
In a sense that they don’t think of original ideas.
So, I guess, I’m saddened not by their success. I’ve no problem with their success.
They’ve earned their success.
I have a problem that they make really third-rate products (replace with presentation).

There’ll never be another Jobs. You know that. So, quit trying.

Filed under: Best-of, Jeff Bezos, Leadership Communication, Mark Zuckerberg, Public Relations, Public Speaking, Steve Jobs, , , ,

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