Thursday, October 20, 2005

Apparently I've distinguished myself

Well, this is a surprise. Vancouver Community College, where I volunteer my time on the Program Advisory Committee, has seen fit to present me with an Award of Distinction, for "outstanding contributions to my field of endeavor". This is flattering in itself, but this is a new program for the 40th anniversary year of the college, and apparently I'm getting the first one. Although there will only be one per year from now on, this year they're presenting one for each decade the college has been around. The other three people (alphabetically, of course): * Ujjal Dosanjh, the Federal Minister of Health, and former Premier of British Columbia * Paul Mulangu, who founded the Centre of Integration for African Immigrants (CIAI) * Eliza Olsen, who founded the Burns Bog Conservation Society Wow. Two prominent community activists and a federal cabinet minister. And lil' ol' me. Thanks.

Speaking at Vancouver Enterprise Forum

I have been invited by Dick Hardt, the CEO and founder of Sxip Identity, and the driving force behind Identity 2.0, to speak at Vancouver Enterprise Forum on the 5th of October. I'll be speaking about user-generated content, and will be sharing a stage with some very bright people from all around the Web 2.0 scene, like Paul Kedrosky of Ventures West, Roland Tanglao of Bryght, Andre Charland of eBusiness Applications, Geoff Hansen of Rocket Builders, and of course, Dick. It's going to be a lot of fun - hope to see you there! I've just taken a look at the Sxip press release on this. Dick called me a Luminary... it's usually the other way around. LOL.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Marketing and user-generated content

Most marketing people I meet are frightened and confused by the explosion of user-generated content. It turns their whole world inside out and they don't know how to make heads or tails of it. They feel like they've walked into a room full of strangers all involved in deep conversation and they don't know how to butt in. Maybe I'm standing too close to the wireless hub, but it seems increasingly straightforward to me: The most effective marketing is a compelling story. These stories become part of my own narrative; not a story told to me, but part of the story that I tell about myself. The stories we tell each other about ourselves is the glue that holds a community together. I think that this is where traditional marketing types begin having some difficulty. It's a difficult leap to make, to agree that they won't *own* these stories, that they belong to the people, but I believe this is fundamental. If you (the company) let it be my story, you lose some control, but in exchange you get to be a part of something far more fundamental to my identity as a person. For example: Why is "adopt a child" so much more powerful than "send some money"? Because it becomes a story I can tell. The picture on the fridge is of a person that I know about - I can tell my friends what she's like, what clothes I bought her, how she loved the teddy bear the best, how the glasses helped her to read for the first time. It becomes part of the narrative of my life. So, the moral of the story? Don't butt in. You can't control this conversation - it's not yours to control. Buy them a drink so they don't need to break the flow of their conversation. Give them a place to talk, give them something to talk about; make it compelling and you will be at the heart of it more surely than if you crash the table and break the spell.

still life with corn dog

still life with corn dog
still life with corn dog,
originally uploaded by Bongocopter.
Thanks, Gizmodo, for using this photo as the caption for an article on memory-stick hosted email applications. My daughter's art has now been seen by thousands of gearheads around the world. I love the web.