Archive for the ‘social networking’ Category

U.S. Education in a Global World is Not Adequate

In mindset 3.0, research, social networking on May 27, 2008 at 10:17 pm

For those of you who have ADD (can’t view anything longer than 2 minutes), this 8 minute video is arguably one of the most important points of view to illustrate why our global interactions and negotiations with our foreign neighbors is failing.  I work with clients and organizations that face the challenges described in the video with fact-based support, yet, the unwillingness to advance and move forward is crippling and thus contributes to the unpreparedness of young people to compete successfully. 

This video puts into perspective why our unemployment rate in the United States continues to increase; our young people are simply unprepared en masse to deliver to the world and be what we need for them to be in the year 2028.  Affirmative action will no longer be needed in 2028.


Poor People Have Poor Ways: Poverty Czar is NOT Answer

In Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0, poverty, social networking, Uncategorized on April 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

What is poverty? According to American Heritage Dictionary, it is “The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.” Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton spoke today about creating a cabinet level position in which the primary purpose would be to end poverty in the United States. Mrs. Clinton gave her support to an idea long advocated by the King family, a cabinet position that she said would be “solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it, that will focus the attention of our nation on this issue and never let it go.”

I am not so sure that a cabinet level position would fundamentally change the condition of people who experience poverty and those that experience extreme poverty in this country. Let’s look at some facts and recent illustrations of what I refer to as “poor people having poor ways” which underscores the mindset and behavior of people who tend to experience poverty.

Currently roughly 12% of the U.S. population fall below the federal poverty threshold. There is however some controversy regarding the federal poverty line, arguing that it either understates or overstates the problem of poverty. According to the United Nations, which defines poverty among high-income OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ) countries as those earning less than 50% of the median, 17% of Americans lived in poverty between 1999 and 2002, the second highest percentage of any high-income OECD country.

Human Poverty

Poverty is not just a financial state. Being poor affects life in many ways. The human poverty index uses indicators that capture non-financial elements of poverty, such as life expectancy, adult literacy, water quality, and children that are underweight. The 30 territories of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development use a different index which includes income and long-term unemployment; and not water quality or underweight children. This implies that the poor in richer territories are materially better off. This is clearly not the case. Otherwise, we would not need to create a cabinet post for a poverty czar.

Nearly half the African-Americans in a recent study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite. Further, the United States still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion in the fully industrialized world.

We could cite many more illustrations to be fair. But not until we change our mental models about how we view people, getting away from being judgmental, helping others without compensation and doing so unconditionally is the way out of poverty. What I am afraid of is that some national figure will get nominated who is well connected, Congress would deliberate and ultimately approve the nominee, then a bunch of high-priced consultants who know little about poverty will be hired and create a national report on poverty with recommendations. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This issue has to be taken to the streets like presidential candidate Barack Obama has done. Use of social networking in a vigorous and relentless way. Providing tools like PCs (not old machines), for educational attainment, free high-speed Internet access, communicating with people via text messaging to remind of certain events and activities, creating “Meetups” weekly that engage, involve and excite people to change their mindset and their behaviors. Instead of going to the club, pool together talents of parents to conduct tutoring sessions. For example, if one parent is a math whiz, one is an english prodigy, and the like, have sessions in the home where it is safe and compelling to learn sans the television and side conversations. This the framework for the poverty czar to get things done because there are 196,000 search results for “poverty in america” so the work is already done. It is now time to execute much like what Obama has done to change the collective minds of people across America. It’s time for a different pace of action with fresh faces and relevant ideas and the willingness to change course.




Women Create Successful Recipe for Business

In mindset 3.0, social networking, Third World Business on June 24, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Known as a “kitchen incubator,” La Cocina (la-koh-SEE-nuh) is a shared-use space created two years ago to provide a platform for women entrepreneurs without assets. Offering a low hourly rate for access to 2,200 square feet of restaurant-quality kitchen space, the nonprofit La Cocina also provides training from high-profile mentors and technical assistance on creating business plans and building marketing programs. To read the full story, click here.

When I read these stories, it is further validation that the basis for our social networking site, which is to provide “free of charge” marketing to people from developing countries or in support of people from developing countries, is further evidence we have a tremendous business opportunity on which Google and Yahoo have not given much credence to, at least not yet.

Visit the La Cocina, to see relevant and real-life innovation at work. Taken from the La Cocina website. “Welcome to La Cocina Community Kitchen, a nonprofit shared use commercial kitchen and business incubator. La Cocina was founded to serve as a platform for low-income entrepreneurs launching or expanding their food businesses. La Cocina assists low-income food entrepreneurs by providing access to a fully approved and equipped commercial kitchen and to the training and technical assistance they need”.

So, the more people that know about La Cocina, the more opportunity. Again, we focus on synergies that can help these innovators create scale, earn more business and create value for their families. This is www.spangy.com up-close and personal on why our business is so exciting.

Self-Indulgence and Vanity on the Rise…Why Big Media Should Care

In marketing, narcissism, reality TV, research, social networking, super bowl on February 28, 2007 at 5:15 am

Before I began to peck away at this post, I thought long and hard about the most recent study that reports that vanity is on the rise among college students and more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors. I had this huge thought bubble above my head that said “WOW”.

What makes this worthy of note is that the researchers used an instrument called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006. Now, I graduated from High School in 1982, so they just missed me, but what is the line between positive self-esteem in young people and being narcissistic, self-centered, and egotistical and perhaps a bit like Paris Hilton? It’s interesting because if someone asked me to name someone that fits the survey findings, it would be her, to be sure.

So, I did a little research of my own to find out about this potentially dreadful disorder. And yes, there is an official disorder, called narcissistic personality disorder. Now, does this mean that Michael Jackson, and many of the reality TV stars, or lonelygirl15, and anybody with a pulse shooting his or her own video and posting it to one of the hundreds of video sites, has this dreadful disorder?

Now, if you are a big media company, how should you process this information to help you clients enjoy new profits and to introduce successfully new products? This is very serious business if you are a big media company. The challenge, is that many of the social networking mediums promote exclusiveness “inviting people to be part of one’s network” rather than inclusiveness “welcoming” anyone. To illustrate, my favorite cousin, who I still call “squirt” even though she is now 25, gorgeous and 5 ft. 9 inches tall, told me that she would have to accept me as her friend when I went to her MySpace page. She did accept me into her inner circle. But for large media, the opportunity is to create a powerful, new and compelling paradigm shift.

Big media has to market based on two factors. The first, I call the experience spectrum. Second, I call the recommendation spectrum.

The experience spectrum helps to unlock how the different context of people and their experiences influence decision-making or product selection. For example, if you were raised poor or middle class and hit it big, you are likely to want designer labels and expensive merchandise. Can you say, bling, bling. On the other hand, when you see people who have matured who might fit this mold, they have a powerful and uncanny insight into how young people think, act, behave and what they desire. Think Russell Simmons, for instance.

The problem for big media is that they tend to hire MBAs who think they know it all, and whose results demonstrate that they clearly do not. What’s more, companies insist on hiring people, not for their depth of insight based on the “experience spectrum” but rather where they got their MBA. This requires a gargantuan paradigm shift for big media and marketers that rely on big media to get out the word about their products. So, what you have is constant reshuffling at firms like NBC Universal, Yahoo, News Corporation and so on. The root cause is that most of the women and men are well-heeled MBAs really don’t have flava and depth in their insight; a spreadsheet and competitive analysis has limited payback and even more limited of a shelf-life. I guess that’s why Chelsea decided working for a hedge fund is better than working at McKinsey.

The recommendation spectrum is next. Simply, this is the powerful influence that people’s experiences with a product or service have. Here’s a thought, during episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, allow the viewing audience to actually vote on commercials in real-time. You ever attend a webcast and the moderator asks you to vote and you see the results right before your eyes, just like that. Input your age, gender, and response to the commercial. The value proposition is huge. The intelligence would be more valuable than a Super Bowl spot.

This is the kind of tectonic, paradigm shift bid media needs to promote. The ad industry, networks, marketers and academics should examine this and try it. People love polls, if they are simple, and easy to understand. This strategy strips away the whole notion of vanity and narcissism to how people think and how they really feel. I truly believe that young people want to have authentic and engaging conversations, you just have to keep it honest.

For big media, technology plans and social-networking must include more thoughtful attention to the “experience spectrum” and the “recommendation spectrum”. To be sure, cites like Yelp are beginning to figure out this whole recommendation thing, so check them out. Why couldn’t the same model be applied to local television shows and based on your location (you local cable operator knows where you are) you could interact directly by rating an experience you had or what you like in restaurant or family entertainment experience during summer break. Let me know what you think and think big thoughts.

MySpace is Ruining Today’s Young People

In big media MySpace advertising global, ecomagination, GE, green, social networking, social-tainment on February 23, 2007 at 8:29 am

Here’s proof. Read this highly credible source and have a talk with yourself if you’ve been naughty or speak with your kids and don’t take for granted what they tell you.

Challenge for big media: sex and vanity sells so much so that it is all encompassing. You can to a high quality site like Brightcove, and the sexual images simply grab you. Which is why MySpace will likely never see the GE ecomagination campaign on their site–perhaps, I might be wrong about this, but companies like GE won’t have anything to do with this type of marketing. So, what Internet properties lends itself to a high quality audience that has relevant messages, and would attract this type of campaign?

Try, www.spangy.com or www.care2.com. Spangy is an upstart, and Care2 has been around for a while and claims to have over 5 million members.

Unfortunately, young people, at least in the United States and perhaps the UK can’t seem to get beyond, wanton hedonism, vanity, sex and over indulgence. This presents a vexing challenge for big media who incessantly try to crack the code with this demographic. Forget it! As my blogging buddy Brian Balfour would suggest, quality of traffic is more important than quantity. So, while everyone salivates over the millions of eyeballs of this lustful demo, one can only ask, “show me the money” and truthfully, it’s really not there. Best wishes and let’s hear back from you.

MySpace and Facebook are Losing Their Way

In big media MySpace advertising global, social networking on January 18, 2007 at 12:00 am

I was reading my buddy Brian Balfour’s blog, and what I realized is how much in awe of MySpace that people seem to be. I love MySpace users personally, because once they tire of the constant maintenance and conversations that are much ado about nothing, they will eventually move on. The real opportunity to provide a place for those people to rebound and connect with people who share thoughts in more than a couple grunts or phrases (e.g. sup, whre u at, miss u). This is typical of the world’s most popular social networking site.

I want to share with big media companies that my prediction is coming to fruition. MySpace will face a similar fate as Enron, or Arthur Andersen if they are not careful. This is also the reason that even Rupert Murdoch’s wife is having difficult time convincing the Chinese officials to allow MySpace to enter China. According to the latest piece on CNNMoney, MySpace is launching parental notice software to “appease government critics“. An emerging Spangy, site soon to be in alpha asks the question, what if MySpace had a ratings system? Good point. Would any of the 33 State attorneys general want even their 16 or 17 year old to participate on MySpace? Sixteen is the age they are trying to get MySpace to increase its age to from 14. The problem with this is that it does not address the remaining 15-17 year olds who are still defined as children and susceptible to predators, and other manipulators and scamster–despite having one’s profile set to private. The fun of MySpace is meeting new people supposedly and not necessarily the same people you spent 8-10 hours with at school. What do you think?

The Bartender and My Wife on the MySpace Generation

In big media MySpace advertising global, marketing, social networking, social-tainment on December 31, 2006 at 4:24 am

I just had the most intriguing conversation at a local restaurant recently. I asked the bartender if he uses MySpace, and he replied “yeah, somewhat” “all the high school kids at work are on it.” I asked him to elaborate. He said, they are always asking him to ‘check out’ their pictures or they would say, “I will send you a message” and he retorted, “I will see you tomorrow at work, can you just tell me now.”

The conversation is fascinating to me as a 43 year old consultant, who has been involved with social networking sites as they are called for almost 10 years. But I am deeply interested in the psychology behind the use of MySpace. I asked the bartender, if young people actually desire to have a “real” conversation, sans the computer. His response, “most young people don’t know how.” I inquired further of our babysitter, who is in the 11th grade. And she said it’s fun to look at other people’s page to see new updates.” When I try to dig deeper, I get nothing–it’s as if I am speaking another language–I then ask myself, are we THAT shallow? That simple in our thinking that we simply want to look at someone’s ghastly page that is barely legible and certainly not comprehensive—the notion today is that these types of “spaces” allow young people to express themselves and share who they are.

Once I return home, I turn to my wife from Berkeley where all people have a sense of intellectual depth—right? Not so. I asked her, do you think young people want to have real conversations today. I added, “Are people that obsessed with popular media about Nicole Richie’s eating disorder or rail thin appearance that “real” and “relevant” content does not matter. She said, “for the most part, yeah.” I told her that I disagree. I said to her that I believe people are smarter than that. She said, to me “look sweetie, people don’t care about anything that does not impact or directly affect them.” I said to her no, I don’t believe people are that simple—is that just in the United States?

Back to the bartender, after a bit more discussion, he actually used the same phrase as my wife. People don’t care about 500,000 people being slaughtered in Darfur or 11 year olds being trafficked for sex, or anything else for that matter. My wife, said, I dare you to go the store and ask anyone you see, if they have even heard of Darfur? I didn’t take her up on it, I think largely because we live in suburban America, where defending our country, losing weight and saving for retirement tends to be the top priorities.

However, I believe that young people want something more with the time they spend. Is that too altruistic of me? Don’t they at least want to start a legitimate conversation about something other than mindless chatter and cryptic messages left on their MySpace blogs? Ironically, this very proposition makes MySpace the perfect destination for pedophiles, fakesters, phishing schemes, sexual predators and spammers. People are so hungry for attention, and approval that a guy just released for sexual assault against minors can get a response from the people my wife says exist in abundance; I disagree, but the numbers signing up on MySpace might prove that my wife just might be correct—I sure hope not. MySpace is similar to an unsafe neighborhood—and I know, people will tell you to be careful and set your profile to private. But then, if these are largely people you know, why not just call, send an e-mail or text them?
As young people become young adults, their priorities will change—having a real job, rent and babies will do that to you. The business challenge for big media is that executives tend to be short-sighted and lack truly innovative models and thinking to execute radical new ways of engaging nomadic consumers of digital content. In fact, YouTube was started 17 years ago, believe it or not—it was called America’s Funniest Home Videos. It was one of the first viewer or user created content shows.

I think my wife and the bartender are wrong—however, she makes a strong case that a lot of people visit MySpace, that they must be doing something right—no, it’s no different than a mall—they walk around and typically don’t buy anything because they really don’t have any money to do so. This is no different on the web, which is why there is skepticism of the MySpace type experience and similar sites.

Perhaps this underscores the point of my wife and the bartender: people seem to care about trivial, silly, esoteric nothingness–it is hard to monetize this over the long-haul for sustainable revenue in hopes that someone will buy something to contribute to long-term shareholder value.

I disagree with the bartender and my wife. So what’s the answer?

Social Networking: Doing Good by Yahoo!

In cause marketing, social networking, Yahoo on December 22, 2006 at 12:10 pm

Yahoo has a new capability recently released called Yahoo! For Good. This is an awesome strategy–once people get used to it. The comfort level is there and it appears to regular people. What’s more, for copycat portals like Google, which will likely roll out with something similar, it will be interesting to see how people will respond when they do.

For big media, this is a great opportunity to get, albeit in a less “noisy” way their message. I could envision companies like the American Cancer Society or Youth Aids, to which I donate on a regular basis advertising here. I just hope that the agencies see the value proposition. Safe community, trusted brand, real people, good cause. Makes sense to me. Great job Yahoo!

Horizontal Conversations

In big media MySpace advertising global, marketing, mindset 3.0, research, social networking on December 16, 2006 at 4:47 pm

Richard Edelman shares his thoughts about the notion of advertisers having horizontal conversations with customers and consumers. My response to his post is shared below:

Richard, your post highlights further the great paradox for big media and large companies that rely on big media as the dominant communications platform. Much like the younger generation who often has difficulty communicating in real world settings using clear sentences, despite their outrageous salary demands, big media and large companies don’t know how to initiate and participate in “horizontal conversations”—it might as well be Mandarin to many corporate marketing heads and executives.

I am excited about the future because you can begin to see companies swirling around more intimate ways to communicate. The problem is that large enterprise MUST contend with shareholders and Boards of Directors that are singularly focused, so it becomes difficult in spite what they say in the annual reports.

The real adaptation will occur as younger board members (under 50) start to dominate in all industries. This is when a real floodgate of horizontal conversation will take place–and it will be global and it will be real. We’re coming with the solution in February 2007.

Wallop is Slick But…

In social networking on December 14, 2006 at 11:54 am

Wallop: Seeding a social network by ZDNet‘s Donna Bogatin — ‘Get into Wallop, make it yours!’ is the exhortation of the Wallop social networking site, but it is not necessarily easy to ‘get into Wallop.’ I spoke with Wallop’s CEO about how the new site aims to gain traction in a crowded, MySpace dominated, online social networking world.