I recently attended a technology conference at my alma mater, Anderson School of Business at UCLA (http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/). The event, geared toward women in technology, boasted an elite panel of women successfully maneuvering the tech environment. The dais included:
Jane Buckingham, President, Trendera
Gina Binchini, Co-founder, Ning (www.ning.com)
Michelle Crames, Co-founder, Giiv.com
Carrie Nedrow, Program Manager, Intuit, Inc.
Cynthia Neiman, VP Marketing/Business Development, Mattel Digital Network
Here are some of the highlights of the event (including the occasional comment from me):
- Women influence 80% of all buying decisions yet most tech developments are created by men. (Interesting, isn’t it. I wonder what would happen if more developments in tech were actually created by women. Hmmmm…)
- Any form of media takes 10 – 15 years to come into its own. (Social media is certainly on its way although still in its infancy. Can you imagine what we’ll be able to do with social media once it matures? And, yet some nay-sayers think social media is merely a passing trend….like the icebox.)
– Social technology mirrors how we live our lives. Facebook is a conglomeration of our friends; Linkedin reflects our professional relationships; Twitter allows us to connect with those we wish we were friends.
– Social dynamics are the native behavior of the web.
– Getting the conversation started with your target audience, and keeping the conversation going, is the blessing and the curse of social media.
– How do you craft an engaging post that draws in your consumer and promotes a real conversation? How do you make your post compelling enough to engage fans? (As I read various twitter, Facebook and LInkedin posts, that’s a question we all need to be asking ourselves.)
– Where are your influencers? Your trendsetters? How can you engage them into evangelizing your offering?
- Measuring your success is critical.
– Start with your definition of success. (This can really be a challenge – to understand what success looks like for you – especially when it means going against conventional wisdom. Be brave! Good fortunes go to those that are brave.)
– Become metric driven.
– Make the most prevalent question in your organization, “what does the data tell us”. (The data never lies. Darn!)
– Know your strengths.
– Creative problem solving is a necessary skill in today’s economy.
– Build your team around your weaknesses.
– Be passionate about what you do. (You would think this would be common sense but I’m continually amazed how entrepreneurs can let their own business crush their passion. You’re the boss. Fix it! )
- Keep your brand fresh among your different constituents.
– The most successful brands have a consistent look and feel across all platforms; online and offline.
– Creating a user community around your brand is a good way to get through the clutter.
– Consider creating your user community on www.ning.com and use as the social destination for your community.
Using a wheel as your visual, picture your Ning community as the hub, with the spokes being represented by twitter, email, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. Start your conversation in the spokes. Drive the conversation to the hub and back out to the spokes again. (Interesting concept!)
It was a great evening. The evening was even more fun as it was shared with my web designer, Zoey Smith of Zbra Design. It gave us a nice opportunity to discuss the possibilities for the online future of Synnovatia. Stay tuned! We’ve got some exciting things up our sleeves….