Friday, October 18, 2013


I dusted off this very old thing because I can't long form post from Linkedin!

I was reading an article in Forbes on the RIM Cofounders' potential bid to buy back the company.  Names are hyperlinked for profile information.  The profiles on Forbes contain net worth and source of wealth.  For Mike, it stated:  "Source of Wealth: Research in Motion, self-made."  It made me reflect on the term self-made because I've heard numerous people referred to lately as 'self-made'.  In my experience, there is no such thing.

I believe the words of one of my former employers who had read something to the effect, "success happens when preparedness meets opportunity." Becoming prepared in that sense certainly takes a lot of hard work.  I also believe that opportunities can be manufactured through smarts and learning from the best.  But more than anything, I believe the events that shape our lives and the people we meet that influence us, have a lot to do with luck, chance and good fortune.  A myriad of people have taught me, inspired me, and have afforded me opportunities that have lead me to where I am.  Today and each and every day, there are a ton of people with whom my ongoing success depends on and thus we are truly interdependent.  So I don't believe that anyone is self-made and I really think the term is almost an affront.


Friday, February 26, 2010

It's About Authenticity

Sport Illustrated writer Luke Winn just wrote one of my favorite articles of the Winter Olympics titled "Ain't not party like a gold medal party" about the celebration of the Canadian Olympic Women's Hockey Team. In light of the controversy created by what Winn called the "latest moronic piece of news," he writes an article about the "most authentically cool celebration [he's] seen at the games".

The IOC falls into a bucket of people that do not understand the forces behind the progressive maturation of our culture. Social technologies have made us all more transparent and honest in the way we communicate and act. We see more and more salutes to people in positions of power who lighten up and communicate openly and honestly rather than behind the veil of scripted, well rehearsed, politically correct rhetoric (as with Arnold's video tweet).

This isn't surprising to those of us that actively follow trends and research in today's communications. We try and help businesses understand research showing us:
  • 75% of people don't believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements (Yankelovich)
  • Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities). (Yankelovich)
  • 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know (EConsultancy);
These trends are telling people that there is low trust in traditional communications, the way we've scripted and shaped and delivered messaging. This is not just related to advertising, but to media and communications in general. People report their own news on blogs now and turn to each other for product and service recommendations.

Maggie Hendricks from Yahoo reported on Jon Montgomery's "needless apology", telling Jon and the rest of us that we don't always have to listen to our PR people. Luckily, Jon showed us all including the Olympic women's team that people want to see us be ourselves because we relate. Until I saw the girls celebrate, Jon's victory walk was my favorite moment of the games.

For those out there that remind us that this issue is about under age drinking and smoking bylaws, I'll submit that last week's story about Alexa Gonzalez showed us that 'zero tolerance means zero intelligence'. As Winn reminds us of how much we appreciate authenticity, perhaps the IOC can show us that they recognize the spirit of our athletes and the work they have put into their victory.

But as a more general theme about our changing communication, we feel that people want truth not spin. We want positive, not negative. We want to celebrate achievement rather then harp on disappointment. We want understanding, not judgement. And most of all, we want authenticity. Way to go girls - luv ya!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How can you build trust and why is it important

The following is a good bit of content that Michael Charles wrote for our 'about' page on I'm publishing it here because I think it does a good job of explaining why trust is important. For more on this topic, see this post by Greg Ferenstein.

so, what exactly is this mashedin thing all about?

It's about creating a sense of trust among people who've never met.

In the offline world, when we're introduced to someone, we quickly discover mutual connections that allow us to make judgments about the trustworthiness of the new acquaintance. So you used to work at WidgetCorp? Do you know Jane Schlumpford?

We've created a way to replicate that experience online. Whether you're displaying the MashedIn widget on your website or blog, or just linking to your MashedIn profile on outgoing emails, now you can show strangers how they're connected to you through the social networks you already use. Maybe they're not strangers after all.

how will this help me build my online reputation?

MashedIn really becomes potent when you add the ability for visitors to leave recommendations that can be viewed by other visitors.

People no longer trust testimonials published by website owners rather than by fellow users. Why should we believe that "Bob from Arizona" is a real person? Wouldn't you rather be endorsed by someone whose authenticity can be confirmed by checking their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile?

MashedIn makes it easy to gather recommendations from your existing customers and contacts - simply by sending them a link to your widget and asking for their kind words. Your MashedIn widget can be placed on multiple sites so recommendations can be gathered wherever you have a presence. All of your recommendations will be displayed everywhere your widget appears.

is this really the best way to build trust online?

We've got some evidence to back us up:

  • "90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users." (Econsultancy, July 2009)
  • "Recommendations from family and friends trump all other consumer touchpoints when it comes to influencing purchases, according to ZenithOptimedia." (AdAge, April 2008)
  • "Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities)." (Yankelovich)
  • "67% of shoppers spend more online after recommendations from online community of friends."(Internet Retailer, September 2009)
  • "Customer reviews are the most effective social tactic for driving sales, followed by question-and-answer features and a Facebook fan page where companies post information." (Etailing survey of 117 companies, September 2009)
  • "Some 70% of Americans say they consult product reviews or consumer ratings before making a purchase, according to an October 2008 survey by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, a research and consulting firm." (Business Week, October 2009)
  • "The Trust in Advertising survey of 26,000+ found that Consumer Recommendations are the most credible form of advertising." ("Social Media Marketing: The Right Strategy for Tough Economic Times", Awareness, 2008)
  • "56% of UK website owners say that user-generated content lifts conversion levels; 77% say it increases traffic; and 42% say it increases the average spend on site. (eConsultancy survey of 360 website owners across all sectors, November 2008)
  • "84% of marketers agree that building customer trust will become marketing's primary objective."(1to1 Media survey of the 1to1 Xchange panel, April 2008)


Monday, February 01, 2010

What are the odds we're connected?

I've had a lot of people trying out MashedIn after our official release last Thursday. Most of them fill have a ton of common connections because I know them so the shared connections box fills up. But one assumption we are going on right now is that if a local small business, a business professional or a local contractor finds one or 2 common connections with a new visitor to their website or profile, it's a huge success. Is that a good assumption? How many connections is it necessary to show?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Way to See Common Connections

Any of our current MashedIn beta users will notice that we have now included Linkedin as a widget option. This means that widget owners will be able to add Facebook, Twitter and now Linkedin to let visitors to see common connections. If you are already using a widget, the linkedin option will now be visible to your visitors. Give it a whirl and let us know of any bugs you see happening.