Posts tagged ‘networking’

June 24, 2011

I Like It Rough And Slow

Written by Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder

Yes, you read the title right. I like it rough and slow. I’m a little different that way. Perhaps hardcore might be another descriptive term. Or.. someone might say “he has an appreciation for the unusual”.

You see, I find opportunities where others might discount none to be. I look for the little clues that signal these potentialities. I’m willing to venture through unusual circumstance, that others would shudder at, to perhaps find that rare gem of an opportunity.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not talking about sex. Yes, I was leading you on; intentionally.

Rough Riders

I’ve always been a traveler – a bit of a nomad. I grew up that way and it in large part defines me. I feel trapped, or better, caged and bound, if I am unable to experience new vistas and experiences. I meet interesting folk this way. Sometimes, the people I meet have ability to transform and positively impact not only me, but the opportunities before Chalkboarder.

As I write this, I am up all night, at Boston South Station, waiting for the final leg of a six day journey across the USA. I boarded Amtrak Empire Builder in Oregon five and half days ago. We were almost a full day late into Chicago. Let’s look at the results from enduring lack of showers, lack of beds and lack of sleep this week.

  • Amtrak Regional Operations Director – Pacific Northwest. I bumped into this gentleman at the hotel they provided me for a half day in Chicago, between trains. An excellent representative of great customer service; honestly inquiring to my welfare and comfort. We’ll have coffee sometime later this summer.
  • Amtrak Empire Builder Cafe Car Attendant – Actually, someone I have had twice before using Amtrak between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. We remembered each other’s names and chitchatted at length. He owns a restaurant in Milwaukee, WI and I gave him pointers on his social media.
  • Harvard Behaviorial Health Professor – my seatmate from Chicago to Boston; one heck of a conversation, culminating in contact info trade and the possibility of reconnecting for coffee on Harvard’s campus.
  • Al Jazerra English Senior Technical Producer, London UK – this young gentleman and I had an outstanding conversation in Chicago, and have already traded tweets. I’m a big news junkie and he was grilling my opinions on the political landscape of the USA. Perhaps the most solid connection of this trip, and my introductory relationship to the Arab World.
  • Brooklyn Latino – this father and daughter made the trip with me across the country. His daughter, same age as my littlest, and I shared quite a few giggles. The father, while not fluent in English, and I got to know each other and have made plans to hang in Brooklyn sometime soon, where he will introduce me to his ethnic neighborhood.
I met others, such as the young gentleman who shared the very early morning hours with me here in South Station, who is from Worcester (pronounced Wooster in these parts) and just transformed a layoff from National Grid into an excellent new opportunity. He checked out Chalkboarder’s website and immediately referred four local Boston/Worcester businesses to me.
This is why I like it rough and slow. I am most definitely in need of a shower (I stink!). I need to do laundry. I’m coffee’d out. My ass hurts from sitting. My right knee is killing me with an arthritic dullness from not walking. I took a nap on the marble floor of South Station just before writing this..
Travel by airline, as the majority of travelers do, simply does not provide you with these opportunities to connect. It simply can’t. Why?
  • Everyone is stressed out.
  • You hurry through the system in lines.
  • Time is rushed. Get here, get there, don’t talk to others – such a isolating experience and yet so ironically, all together.
  • You can’t move about and randomly get into conversations with your other travelers.
So… how do you like it? Fast quickies with strangers? Or taking the time to get to know people?
April 30, 2011

Social Media Profession Saturation?

Is the profession of social media becoming competitively saturated?

Early adoption of social media led to great communicators becoming industry leaders as social media professionals.

Communicational icons, such as Amber Naslund, Brian Solis, Paul Barron and Chris Brogan sprinted out of the gate, blazing a new industry called social media.

As the growth of social media has exploded, giving rise to official professional associations such as Social Media Club and educational programs such as “boot camps” and Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate, leaders in this industry – the true professionals – have eschewed monikers such as “guru”, distancing themselves from too-narrowly focused “ninjas” and those out for a quick buck.

In a conversation last week with a significant franchisee of Papa Murphy’s Pizza brand (with tens of locations and direct corporate HQ relationship), it was shared that they are approached three or more times a week by so-called social media professionals, offering to “build them a Facebook fanpage”. The franchisee laughed in frustration, stating they had established a strong gate-keeper, because nearly all of these approaches were unable to provide the metrics ability businesses require.

On another front, the critique of traditional public relations and marketing firms was heavy over the last few years – that they didn’t “get” social media. With these traditional communication providers unable to advantage social media for their clients, the clients turned to either outsourcing or handling it themselves. As recently as December 2010, I was approached by a national public relations firm seeking a statement of Chalkboarder’s social media abilities – that they could subcontract for the benefit of their clients. Many of these communication firms have now put serious investment into gaining that social media knowledge in the last 18 months.

My question is this: as traditional public relations and marketing firms increasingly offer skilled social media services to their clients, does this reduct the opportunities for other talented communication/social media professionals? Are brands going to return to their public relations/marketing firms that they have had prior relationships with and eschew social media professionals that “got it” early on? Is the industry becoming crowded? Is there value to membership in a social media professional association like Social Media Club versus more traditional associations like the American Marketing Association or Public Relations Society of America?

An additional question would be – how can brands determine the true reach and effectiveness of social media service providers?

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO – Chalkboarder

February 24, 2011

Social Media Panel at Foodportunity Serves Up Mike Thelin, Nick Zukin, Gregory Denton & Carrie Welch

SOCIAL MEDIA PANEL @ FOODPORTUNITY SERVES UP MIKE THELIN, NICK ZUKIN, GREGORY DENTON & CARRIE WELCH

BUY TICKETS NOW FOR MARCH 7TH EVENT


Portland’s food community gathers to talk food with tastes from some of the new kids in town — St.Jack and Aviary, as well as Beaker & Flask, KOi Fusion, Lincoln, Accanto, Genoa and Serratto.

PORTLAND, Oregon (February 15, 2011) – Think of the food blogger you follow daily, but have never met. Or your favorite butcher, artisan chocolate maker or cheese guru. Portland will once again host Foodportunity, an opportunity for people from all different food and beverage careers to mix, mingle and talk about food. Meet local chefs, food writers, photographers, publicists, artisan producers and farmers who have all contributed to Portland’s thriving independent food scene. A regular event in Portland, Foodportunity will be held on Monday, March 7, 2011 from 6-9 p.m. at the Heathman Restaurant and Bar. Tickets are $20 in advance, $26 at a later date (w/ all handling fees) and include bites from a collection of Portland restaurants such as Accanto and Genoa, Aviary, Beaker & Flask, KOi Fusion, Lincoln PDX(Culinary Artistry and Sunshine Tavern opening

Spring 2011)St. Jack, Serratto and The Heathman Restaurant and Bar. Tickets are available now through Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/154180.

“Our last Portland event was a hit and food professionals love the chance to catch up with colleagues or meet someone new in the food community,” said Keren Brown, Foodportunity founder. Foodportunity is one of the few events of its kind that brings Portland’s food community together in one location on one night – a true meeting of the minds and tastebuds!

Grazing is Encouraged…

Portland restaurants will serve up some tasty bites included in the admission. Beer and wine will be available from a cash bar, and a wide range of food products from local companies will be available to sample. Companies interested in showcasing their product may contact Keren Brown, Kerenlovestocook@gmail.com.

Down & Dirty with Social Media

New to the Portland event will be a social media panel made up of some of our favorite Portland social media stars including Mike Thelin, a local food writer, Cooking Channel contributor, and food event maven. Joining Mike on the panel will be Carrie Welch, formerly the Vice President of PR for the Food Network, Nick Zukin, food writer and host of www.portlandfood.org and executive chef Gregory Denton of Metrovino. Learn a few insider tips to starting a social media campaign in your restaurant or food business and share your personal experiences on Facebook and Twitter.

Speed Networking – for Foodies

The first 30 Foodportunity ticket-holders to send an email to infopdx@foodportunity.com will get a seat at the “speed networking” session, hosted by Byron Beck, a freelancer for national and Oregon-based publications, who also appears on television and radio, has his own blog at byronbeck.com and contributes to pdx.eater.com. What better way to meet so many foodies at one time (for 1 minute each) and hand out business cards in this intimate and fast-paced setting.

******

About The Heathman Restaurant and Bar

The Heathman Restaurant exemplifies the best of the Pacific Northwest using seasonal ingredients inspired by the flavors and cuisine of France. Recipient of the James Beard Best Chef: Pacific NW award in 2001, Philippe Boulot partners with the region’s select growers, producers and vintners to find the highest quality ingredients. Boulot was honored by the Academie Culinaire de France as the Academie’s Chef of the Year. The Heathman Restaurant and Bar was chosen as one of the “Best Bars” by Portland Monthly. For more information, please call 503-790-7752 or visit www.heathmanrestaurantandbar.com. The Heathman Restaurant is located in the historic

Heathman Hotel at 1001 SW Broadway in downtown Portland’s cultural district.

About Foodportunity

Keren Brown, aka Frantic Foodie, conceived of the food networking idea known as Foodportunity and has held more than a dozen food-related events last year in both Seattle and Portland. Recently recognized by MarthaStewart.com as “Doer of the Week”, Keren also organizes monthly events for Seattle food bloggers where she holds Q&A sessions with famous authors, tours of food companies and other events to help bloggers interact. Keren’s food events information can be found at Frantic Foodie in the Seattle PI, www.FranticFoodie.com and on the events page of MyNorthwest.com. For more information, visit www.foodportunity.com/portland and follow us @foodportunityOR and #Foodprtpdx and #Foodprt.

December 19, 2010

Presenting in the Ignite Style

A Different Way to Present Concept


This past month, I was invited to participate in Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Conference Ignite presentations. Having never presented in the Ignite style, I decided to research effective methods of communicating in this presentational mode.

For those of you who have never done nor seen an Ignite presentation, it works like this. Presenters get five minutes for their topic and provide twenty powerpoint slides. The slides are assembled into one combined presentation and they auto-flip every fifteen seconds.

This means, as the presenter, that you can’t control the advancing of your topic slides – they change every fifteen seconds. Talk about presenter pressure! I already knew that I wanted to talk some smack to the USA restaurant industry and did some research through Google and YouTube on effective Ignite presenting skills.

The key lessons I learned from this research (which caused me to chuck my first draft) were these:

  • Go thematic. When preparing your presentation, stay in a generalized topic, meaning, don’t try to push a lot of details.
  • Use imagery. The slides are there to reinforce what you are speaking too.
  • Put tiny clues into your slides to keep you on topic; maybe one or two trigger words.
  • Be a storyteller. Structure your five minutes like you were telling a story to peers at happy hour.
  • Stay away from a bulletized presentation style.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Stand in front of bright lights when you practice. Don’t worry about messing up – in fact, what counts is your ability to recover if you get stuck.

Here is the Youtube video of my Ignite presentation at PSU’s Digital Marketing Conference 2010. I planned my target audience to include social media, as a way to get exposure for Chalkboarder. Mind you, by mid-way through my presentation, my microphone hand was noticeably shaking. It had been nearly thirty years since I was on a stage that size with lights that bright.

Another of my favorite presenters from the day…

Paul Ting: Add Some Australianisms to Your Social Media

I want to give props to everyone who organized and ran Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Conference, especially those involved in producing the Ignite Series. They all worked supremely hard to deliver professional results.

Here are all the other links to the Ignite presentations from that day:

Jennifer Wakayama: Ugly Kitchen Contest
.
Andy Van Oostrum: A Planning Framework for Personalization
.
Don Bourassa: Location Based Services for Great Advertising
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Kim Stetson: Digital Organization
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Mary Nichols: Social Media for Product Development
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Matt Selbie: Customer Retention & Marketing
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David Smith: Convert Listening to Revenue
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Taylor Ellwood: Imagine Your Reality Business & Social Media
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Charlie Levenson: Everything I Learned About User Experience
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Bret Bernhoft: Free Tools
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Ayleen Crotty: Customer Superstars
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Jennifer Hancox: Digital Marketing for Restaurants & Bars
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Jeff Simmons: Grassroots Marketing Through Social Media
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Lydia Smith: One Path, Many Ways: The Camino Documentary
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Siouxsie Jennett: Google Adwords vs Facebook Ads
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Mark Brundage:  Building Communities to Create Growth
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Mark Wills: Everything You Need to Know About SEO
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Kent Lewis: A Path to Retirement Using Social Media
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Kate Ertmann: 3D Trends Marketers Need to Care About
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Rhiannon West Chamberlain: Social Media & Travel

.

Everyone did a fantastic presentation. I believe for most, it was our first Ignite experience.

October 11, 2010

It Takes Two

It Takes Two

It takes two to tango is an idiomatic and well-worn expression in the United States. Often spoken when describing personal relationships, it is also used to describe peer or business relationships. As brands have jumped on the social web express, how many have signed contracts with or hired web community managers and assumed that these individuals or outsourced providers can take the ball and run with it, without support?

We’ve learned at Chalkboarder that some clients are a “bear” to fully collaborate with. It seems no matter how many times a week we seek raw content from these clients, it’s damn difficult to get collaboration. The reasons are varied, of course. Some clients are simply so busy managing day-to-day operations that social community management and content production is a big after-thought.

Other clients have assumed that, since they have a community manager, that’s all they need.

I’ve spoken with other social web managers who’ve experienced this as well. One, a mentor and friend, recently told me one of her clients cut short the relationship, stating that they were going to do it on their own. My friend described to me how the former client had, in her estimation, only used her minimally, despite repeated requests for raw content and collaboration.

If you’ve hired a web community manager, are you giving them all the tools and ingredients they need to do outstanding work for you? Take a look at this – don’t assume that just because you hired a manager that the social media show is a wrap. Hiring a web community manager without providing collaboration and raw content is a lot like a restaurant hiring a talented chef into a well equipped kitchen, but then not supplying food ingredients for them to work with.

If you truly desire to take advantage of the social web, you have to provide good quality raw content to your community manager. Better yet – flood them with good raw content. They’ll generate wildly distinctive and effective dialogues, build communities and drive sales if you do.

I’m curious how many other web community managers struggle with this?

August 21, 2010

Gnomedex – Futurism and Humanity at it's best.

I’m at Gnomedex in Seattle, listening to leaders in geek, tech, futurism and social web give presentations on their various topics. My main intent being here is to determine what the future of social web connectivity and village building will look like over the next two years.

I originally came here for this purpose to gather this information and be of better service to clients. What’s really happening is my own building of village.. of community, internationally.

So many of the presentations here have focused on the use of tech to better humanity. What an awesome focus..

You can follow all the tweets from #gnomedex. There is also live-streaming, but we only have an afternoon left.

October 28, 2009

Social Web: Mobile Devices Are Changing the Hospitality Industry

After reviewing an article on the mobile device wars – this paragraph jumped out at me:

“Today, Gartner predicted that this year, worldwide smartphone shipments would grow by 29 percent year over year to 180 million units, exceeding laptop unit shipments. From this year, Gartner predicts that end users will spend more on smartphones than they will on notebooks. The analyst firm expects that most PC manufacturers will move into the smartphone market (where Apple already is with iPhone).”  iPhone cannot win the smartphone wars. betanews

There’s a flirtation beginning between hospitality and technology. Some operators have been caught by technology’s wink and are fully responding, driving toward a marriage of the industries. I’m going to state that those operators “get it”.

Other operators have adopted a more cautious “is this for real?” attitude towards technology’s flirtations. These operators think that tech is pretty damn cute, but maybe a bit flighty. Jump in, friends. If you don’t, you might just pass up a hot relationship.

Then there are other operators who don’t even realize they’re being flirted with. I don’t know what to say to them – other than you need to get out more often.

Am I making predictions? You bet! Technology and the social web are fundamentally changing the restaurant and lodging game – faster than you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this..

October 7, 2009

Emergent Social Technology Is Changing Hospitality Right Now: Supply Line

Tuesday’s front page FohBohist Amanda Hite shared an outstanding video produced by The Economist – titled “Did You Know 4.0 – The Media Landscape”

The video visually and effectively describes the cresting radicalization of mobile and social web technologies that are already changing the Hospitality Landscape. Are you prepared for this tsunami to affect your operations?

How will emergent mobile and web technology change the hospitality industry over the next couple of years? Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing communications with Nadia Aly of Microsoft, Michael Atkinson (FohBoh CEO), Paul Barron (Fast Casual) and others who are thinking about this topic.

Much of the dialogue here on FohBoh has centered on how operators should prepare for and take advantage of social media and social networking. There’s been less dialogue on how emergent technologies and applications can improve the efficiency, productiveness and financial return for suppliers and distributors. How can the supply/distribution chain quickly assess and implement new web and media applications to provide greater service to operators?

Let’s look at the various sides of emergent technology and web applications in this light.

Supplier/Distributer Social Networks

What are the advantages to a supplier or distributor in embracing social networks like Facebook or Twitter?

• Increased face-time with operators at their convenience.
• Mini-sales campaigns through social networks.
• Paper-less marketing.
• Introduction of new products through social networks and online redemptions.
• Directly engaging suppliers/food manufacturers through the distributor.

I’ll give you an example, based on years as an Executive Chef. My life as a Chef is busy; this you know. I usually do not have a lot of time to meet personally with the Sales Rep. Often; the Sales Rep drops a sell-sheet, which I might just throw in the trash due to my workload.

It’s likely that I am logging into Facebook at the beginning or end of a day. In the future, my full-line distributor has posted a food manufacturer profile; perhaps with a short video showing me the best product they have to offer and explaining it. Maybe that is a new potato product from McCain or a new green To-Go container from someone else. That message might also offer me a deal if I click on a digital coupon to take advantage. The message is there at my convenience and puts me directly into engagement with the manufacturer.

• Delivery Logistics/Announcements
• Short Orders on Trucks
• Last Minute Deals

Again, let’s go to the future for the Chef. Wouldn’t it be great if the transportation director at the distributor could send a Twitter message to me letting me know the truck is an hour or more late (or – broken down a few hours away)?

I’d be thrilled as the Chef to get advance notice early in the day on my Twitter account that the truck doesn’t have the dried mushrooms I ordered; well, not thrilled, but at least the distributor is giving me and my Sales Rep a heads up so we can figure out a solution as soon as possible.

You know, that Twitter message you sent me 4 pm on Ordering Day, about the buy three cases get one free – I might just take you up on that, especially if I could Tweet you back and say put it on my order. Last minute sale, anyone?

I’m sure there are others here who can think of the social network benefits suppliers and distributors could bring to operators.

QR – Microsoft TAG ~ The Next Evolution of Bar Codes

QR / TAG is the next generation of bar-coding. FOHBOH has an example of the FOHBOH TAG on the front page.

Michael Atkinson posted a great article on Microsoft TAG and QR late Tuesday night – pointed at operators. Let’s look at how manufacturers, suppliers and distributors could take advantage of this intriguing application.

What if the Chef could pass his camera phone over a TAG printed on the delivery invoice, get a secure link to all the invoice data, download that data in comma-separated format and import it right into his inventory management software?

Here’s the benefit to the operator. First, transparency and accountability in the inventory process. There’s no room to manipulate the inventory to skew the cost percentages at the end of the month. The only real variable becomes waste. The distributor is the data entry into the inventory, not the Receiving Agent or Chef.

Second, the ending inventory becomes a different process. If the purchases are being put into the inventory equation on delivery and the sales of inventory are being redacted on the sale – at the end of the period a report of what you should have on hand is generated. With that, inventory becomes a process of marking discrepancies (“hmmm, now where did that go?”).

Third, real-time financial data. Instead of the Chef or Receiving Agent physically updating the purchase cost of items, it’s done automatically, creating a financial document, the inventory that is transparent and last cost purchased. How many inventories have you seen where the prices were at least a few months old? With the volatility of markets, how does that reflect an accurate snapshot or report of your financial position?

What about putting a TAG on a head of beef at birth? Some of my ranching friends are not going to be real keen on this idea of trace-back ability. That TAG gets updated with every inoculation or inspection the animal receives. It gets updated when the animal is moved from ranch to feedlot and then updated again when run through the slaughterhouse. The information on the TAG is then shot-gunned to every portion cut with new TAGS. What does this mean in today’s guest-driven market?

• Product Recall – Instant TAG scan of the steaks in the Chef’s cooler with the mobile phone. Chef knows immediately.
• Empower Restaurant Sales – The restaurant can scan the tags on cryovaced portion cuts and inform their customers that the steaks this week are from Bar-O Ranch in Wyoming, grass-fed on prairie grass and fattened in Nebraska. They could even tell their customers when the animal was born. How powerful is that message from the restaurateur to the customer?

Again, the opportunities to use this new technology are endless. A winery could TAG their bottles with tons of specific information. The wait staff could – heck, even the customer could – scan the TAG on the bottle and know the details of terroir, date of harvest and time in cask.

What if the food manufacturer put a redemption TAG on the case delivered to the operator that they could scan with their phone and email in? What if the distributor put a TAG on the invoice informing the operator of special announcements? What if industry suppliers put TAGs on their magazine advertising containing deals or further information – does this mean the end of product request cards that you have to mail in? What if the manufacturer distributed through Twitter or Facebook to distributors a message with an embedded TAG communicating something compelling with a call-to-action? What if a Sales Rep showed a TAG on his phone that the Chef scanned with his, again sharing a message from either the manufacturer or the distributor?

Here is the TAG I use for Chalkboarder.com.

Chalkboarder.com Services MS Tag

Chalkboarder.com Services MS Tag

Nadia Aly from Microsoft shared with me several other sources for learning about TAGs:

Conclusion

The Social Web, new applications and social networks are creating vast opportunities for unique developments in our industry, not just for operators, but also for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. The industry engagement across the board is about to explode. All stakeholders in our industry have the opportunity to be incredibly more dynamic, efficient and communicative. How is your organization preparing or strategizing to capitalize on this tsunami?

As always, blog posts here on FohBoh are invitations for engagement and dialogue. We’d love to know what you think about this… got ideas?

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