Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Cold Beer Is Better Than A Cold Call!

I don't know about you, but I hate making cold calls. I do it when I have to, and I'm actually not bad at it, but I hate it nonetheless. The good news is that Social Media gives us the tools to avoid ever having to make another cold call. Used properly and creatively, the information flow and personal data available via Social Networks is invaluable for business development. As a self-professed Social Media "addict" I work hard to put my addiction to good use for my business. Here is one of many examples of how I have used Twitter and other tools to build a worthwhile business opportunity.


I work at Myxer, and we provide an outstanding platform and large audience for content creators who want to reach their fans with mobile entertainment. Tens of thousands of Indie bands and artists use our free service to create and share ringtones of their music with their fans. I am also an avid podcast listener, and through podcasting I became a fan of the talented musician Matthew Ebel whose music was frequently featured on podcasts I listen to regularly including Adam Curry's Daily Source Code and CC Chapman's Accident Hash. A while ago, I thought it would be great to get Matthew and his music on Myxer and started looking for ways to reach out to him. Then I saw this Tweet from CC Chapman flow by on my Twitter stream:


I had some interactions with CC on Twitter before, so on a whim I decided to see if I could use CC to get an introduction to Matthew. Using PayPal, I sent $10.00 to CC Chapman with a note saying something along the lines of "if you can introduce me to Matthew the first beer's on me!" It worked! Soon I saw this Tweet from CC:


Shortly thereafter I was able to exchange emails with Matthew, thanks to CC, and so a connection was born. Over time, we did indeed get Matthew's great music on Myxer. In fact, this past summer we participated in a fun and timely experiment with him by sponsoring his Electric Bicycle project on Block Island, dubbed the MyxerCycle. To memorialize his electric bike project, Matthew put together a great 5 part video series about the MyxerCycle which you can see here.

I hope this helps quench your thirst for some examples of using Social Media for business and, at least in this case, proves that a "Cold Beer call" is much better than a Cold Call!

If you have never had the chance to see or hear Matthew Ebel, here is a fan-created Music Video (and link to a free Ringtone) of his popular song "Drive Away" from his aptly titled, "BEER & Coffee" CD. Cheers!

More from Matthew Ebel at Myxer

Beer Glass Photo Credit: Okea -

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Learn Baby Learn: Turn Your Social Media Addiction Into An Asset

They say it is a jungle out there, but this past week the jungle was in Melville, NY. Specifically, Jeff Pulver's first ever Social Media Jungle was held on November 13th, and I was fortunate to be one of the 50 or so participants and one of the 15 discussion leaders. I am careful to say "participants" rather than "attendees" as this event was unlike a typical conference. Everyone in the room actively contributed to the discussions inspired by each presentation. The day was thick with rich content and thought provoking questions and answers. I am honored to have shared the floor with the other presenters including Jeff Pulver, Chris Brogan, Jeremy Epstein, Leslie Poston, Howard Greenstein & Dean Landsman, Nelly Yusupova, Brett Petersel & Oz Sultan, Steve Lubetkin, Jonathan Yarmis, Ben Grossman, Jamie Thompson, and Justin Oberman. Kudos to Jeff for organizing a very special event, and congrats to Jeff for already landing a commitment to hold a second Social Media Jungle event at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2009!


As someone who is arguably addicted to Social Media, in my presentation I tried to give a real world example of how I use my Social Media addiction (specifically to Twitter) as an asset to the benefit of the company where I work, Myxer. I break the essence of using Social Media for Business into 5 key actions represented by the word L E A R N.

L: Listen. Social Media provides you with the tools to be the ultimate eavesdropper and be a fly on the wall to virtually thousands of conversations. What should you listen for? Your name, your company, your product, your industry.

E: Engage. Social Media provides you with the tools not just to listen, but to easily step into a conversation and engage with strangers. With that in mind, you must be REAL and be OPEN.

A: Accept. Now that you have listened and engaged, you need to accept what is being said about you, your brand, your company, your product. Take the feedback to heart because to the world at large, their perception is their reality, whether you agree with it or not.

R: React. What you do next is important. Are you going to be defensive or helpful? Remember, just as you started your Social Media exchange as a fly on the wall, there are others now listening to you, and seeing how you engage with your "followers."

N: Nurture. Social Media is all about relationship building. That first random encounter can, over time, become a valuable and rewarding relationship. Nurture your Social Media connections and you will build an army of evangelists for you, your brand, your product, your company, etc.

Thanks to Sanford Dickert, you can see a video of the entire presentation below. I have also posted the slides on Slideshare.

How have you turned your Social Media Addiction into an asset? Please share your view in the comments.

Blocks Photo Credit: Heath Doman -

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Saturday, November 08, 2008


Consistency is good. I have always like consistency. Even annoying things are easier to deal with when they are consistently annoying. I am no Spock, but I believe I am generally a logical thinker, and when things are consistent they are much easier to approach with logic. Chain stores should be consistent, and it is that consistency that makes them appealing to us. It is good to know you can walk into a California Pizza Kitchen anywhere in the country and get the same good food, prepared and presented in exactly the same way. There is comfort in such consistency. Don't get me wrong, I am not a stickler for chains and franchises and I love the unexpected standalone experience... but there is something to be said for the consistency of a well managed established brand.


I didn't realize just how consistent some retail chains were until I tried to replace my phone the other night. I got a new Sprint HTC Touch PRO (which is an amazingly great device, by the way) at Best Buy and I thought there was something wrong with it (as it turns out, the phone is fine... I was a knucklehead and didn't bother to read the manual more carefully...). In any event, I went to a nearby Best Buy store on the way home from work to exchange the phone. As the HTC Touch PRO is a new phone and a "hot" item they were out of stock and did not have a phone to replace mine. The Best Buy mobile clerk gave me her business card with the direct extension to the Mobile department (2270) and said they expected to get some more Touch PRO phones delivered in the next few days and I should call before coming.


Being impatient when it comes to my gadgets, the next night I called to see if the phones had come in. I dialed the extension 2270 and after a few rings the phone was answered, "Best Buy Mobile." But alas, the phones had not come in. A man on a mission, I decided to check with some other Best Buy stores in the area. I looked up the main number for the next nearest store and called. When I selected the choice to "speak to a sales associate" it rang and rang, but nobody answered. I hung up. I was not surprised, but I WAS determined to replace my phone. I looked at the business card in my hand from the "other" Best Buy store and wondered... then I tried it. I called the new Best Buy store that I had just hung up on and tried the same extension, 2270. Sure enough, someone answered, "Best Buy Mobile." Even better, this store had the phones. Off I went to the store...

I was pretty impressed that Best Buy stores are so consistent that the departments have the same telephone extensions and I wonder if other retail chains are similarly organized. What do think? Do you prefer when things are consistent? Is that important? Feel free to be consistent, or not, and share your thoughts in the comments. Oh, and just for fun, call your local Best Buy and see if extension 2270 rings through to the Mobile Department. Let me know!

Photo Credit: photopalace -

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