Care like Gary Vaynerchuk

A couple of days ago, tragedy hit a few parts of the eastern United States. Superstorm Sandy caused some serious damage to various cities, one of which was New York. 

It's interesting how in times of tragedy, people seem to band together to win the fight against mother nature. New York was a very interesting case because in some parts of the city, there was electricity and warm/running water; however, some parts were not so lucky.

Many citizens started offering up their electricity to those in need and even offered food, water and shelter. Here is a tweet by someone that I truly admire:


Gary V cares. Gary V has a tribe/company (Vaynermedia) and judging by this tweet, they are like family to him. Everyone should find something or someone to care about like Gary V.

Companies, should not use tragedies as excuses to care, almost over-care about their consumers.

What if companies care about their consumers as much as Gary cares about Vaynermedia?

If you're not already, get into the business of caring.

Truth by Conan

"It is our failure, to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right ... your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention."

Conan O' Brien, 2011, Dartmouth commencement address

A trip to the gas station in 2012

If you were ever a fan of Knight Rider or Thunder in Paradise (Hasselhoff and Hogan ... classics), then you have at some point dreamed of having a vehicle that talks to you. Well ... according to a Fast Company article, Toyota in collaboration with Microsoft and Salesforce will soon bring you something just as good ... a car that tweets to you. 

Imagine if all you needed to do to personify your car was sync up an app on your phone with a unique vehicle identification code. I'm not sure if it will necessarily work this way; however, if it did then the following scenario may just become a reality... 

It's coming close to the end of a given work day in 2012 and suddenly I receive a tweet from @carofshum. It reads, "Hey Shum, I'm a little low on gas ... if you could fill me up soon that would be great. Thanks, much love homie." Luckily for me, I recently just acquired one of those fancy tweeting Toyotas. I decide to boot up my car's personalized app and take a look at the dashboard that displays the level of gas I have left in the tank ... yikes, it's pretty low ... I decide to hit the convenient button that says "Get Gas." 

(At this point you may have a question in this hypothetical story ... if you're a creature of habit, then why must you hit that 'Get Gas' button? You should already know which gas station you need to stop off at in order to get gas? There's probably one on your way home right? ... just wait, the story gets interesting...) 

After I hit this button, the app pulls up a listing of gas prices from nearby stations that are updated in real-time (using crowdsourcing) so as to equip me with the best deal in town. Once I've found a suitable station I click on it to check whether there are any Foursquare specials at that location (extra incentive to go there of course). Turns out there happens to be a station I hadn't heard of that's just around the corner from my workplace and offering a new Foursquare check-in special ... 'Check-in and purchase $40 worth of gas to recieve a free ice-cream!' 

Nice. It's been a long day and I feel like ice-cream ... so I decide to make a trip to the gas station

There are really only two things I wish to leave you with from the hypothetical scenario:

1. Collaboration is a competitive advantage.

2. It all started with a tweet. 

The Joy of Shipping

Hugh Macleod, May 16th, 2011.If you haven't already, I strongly suggest checking out Hugh's cartoons. Hugh inspires me because he ships so often, just like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk

As Hugh alludes to in his post about the starfish cartoon, doing something you love every day, regardless of who is affected by it ... will make you happy. 

This is the joy of shipping. The beauty of shipping is that you don't necessarily have to ship world-changing things, only things that you intrinsically enjoy doing. 

Find something you love doing, create something worth sharing and discover the joy of shipping. 

Product Placement 2.0

Before you read on ... hop over to Facebook ... find a picture you've posted or perhaps one that a friend has posted, which has some kind of product placement in it. One of Facebook's latest features will allow you to now tag this photo with the corresponding brand page! 

This raises 3 questions in my mind: 

1. Why did Facebook choose to launch a feature like this? - Is this Facebook's attempt to grow it's marketing tools offering? One of the things this features allows for is the auto-population of a brand's photo gallery. Brands that are more likely to appear in photos have a higher chance of being tagged and as such have a higher chance of gathering free marketing materials (customers using products)! That leads me to question number two... 

2. Should customers in some way be rewarded for tagging a brand in a photo? After all if companies pay TV shows to have their products placed ... why should they not reward Facebook fans in the same way? It doesn't necessarily have to be a direct monetary reward (in the form of a Facebook credit), it can be something like a discount code perhaps or even a coupon. However ... this idea certainly begs the question... 

3. If customers don't tag brands in their own photos, is it ethical for brands to go out and tag themselves in fan photos? This was the premise of a great article by Todd Wasserman on Mashable. Since brands can now act as people on Facebook (another recent feature), a brand could technically go out there and look through some pictures of all the people who have liked them and potentially start tagging their photos. This seems a little beyond the line because it completely violates the underlying principle of permission marketing that Facebook is built upon. 

Final thoughts: It will be interesting to see how brands use this feature to enhance the permission model and potentially leverage it, rather than abuse it. What are your thoughts? 

p.s. Later this week I hope to record a special episode of The Digital Marketing Lounge with my friend Ben Wise. We will be discussing all things Facebook! If there is something in particular you would like us to talk about, drop it in the comments below! Thanks in advance :)

Transparency Rules (Podcast)

Listen to the episode on iTunes

Listen to the episode online

Episode Summary:

On this episode, Dave Silva and I talk about a mixed bag of news from the past week including: the ongoing Playstation network saga, other PR blunders, Microsoft's biggest acquisition yet and some cool things coming out of Google. Hope you enjoy the conversation! (Runtime: 39:10)

Sources for the discussion:

Interesting sites to check out:

Dave's Blog

The Power of Ideas

The stage was set ... for awesome ideas. Tonight was the inaugural #kwawesome foundation event! It was held at a lovely venue called the Little Bean Coffee Bar and turned out to be a night of pure ... awesomeness. 

If you are reading this and you happen to be part of the Kitchener-Waterloo community, I strongly encourage you to come out to the next event and learn more about the wonderful people that help make this community amazing. There are also other awesome foundations around the world and so I encourage you to seek them out and spread the word because the world needs more of what happened tonight. 

So what happened tonight? 

Well it was pretty simple really ... the stage you see pictured on the left became a platform for a group of select people from the community to come and spread their ideas. 

Close to a month ago, I wrote a post about the spreading of ideas; however, tonight I bore witness to the sheer power of ideas. The feeling in the room as the event was going on was truly exhilarating. It was a combination of excitement, joy and the overall feeling as though you were all part of something awesome. At the end of the night, two people were rewarded with some cash to go and kick start their idea ... but what's more interesting ... is that others who shared ideas were also rewarded by meeting people who were willing to help bring their ideas to life! 

That to me was the most awesome part. 

When people say they want to change the world, the statement is always relative ... because an individual's definition of the world may differ. You have your world and I have mine. Tonight, everyone in attendance had a small peek into the worlds of different people within the community and at some point in the future ... the power of ideas are going to help change those worlds.