donderdag 31 januari 2013

TED: Fahad Al-Attiya: A country with no water - Fahad Al-Attiya (2012)

Imagine a country with abundant power -- oil and gas, sunshine, wind (and money) -- but missing one key essential for life: water. Infrastructure engineer Fahad Al-Attiya talks about the unexpected ways that the small Middle Eastern nation of Qatar creates its water supply.

from TEDTalks (video)

woensdag 30 januari 2013

TED: iO Tillett Wright: Fifty shades of gay - iO Tillett Wright (2012)

Artist iO Tillett Wright has photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LBGTQ spectrum and asked many of them: Can you assign a percentage to how gay or straight you are? Most people, it turns out, consider themselves to exist in the gray areas of sexuality, not 100% gay or straight. Which presents a real problem when it comes to discrimination: Where do you draw the line? (Filmed at TEDxWomen.)

from TEDTalks (video)

dinsdag 29 januari 2013

TED: Mitch Resnick: Let's teach kids to code - Mitch Resnick (2012)

Coding isn’t just for computer whizzes, says Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab -- it’s for everyone. In a fun, demo-filled talk Resnick outlines the benefits of teaching kids to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies -- but also create them. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 28 januari 2013

How much is the right amount to tweet?

Of the many issues when engaging on social media, one of the most central is how much to post.

If you don’t post enough, you’re barely visible. If you post too much, you annoy people who are likely to unfollow you, and you make any individual post far less likely to be seen or acted on.

Last week I was the host for #crowdchat, my first ever Twitter chat. I had avoided doing Twitter chats before, as it would deluge my followers with tweets. However I decided to do it, both to support Crowdsourcing Week, which I am on the advisory board for, and also as an experiment. No-one objected, but clearly only a small minority of my followers were engaged in the conversation.

My average number of tweets is 8.8 per day, with a lot of fluctuation during the week and depending on my travel and work schedule. I don’t count my tweets and I don’t aim for any particular number, I just tweet what I think is worth tweeting, and my number of tweets ends up being pretty consistent month to month.

In my Twitter profile I state my aspiration to be a “contributor to the global brain”. To my mind this means that what I share should add value to others, mainly by pointing to interesting, relevant, and insightful content, and sometimes share of myself for those connected to me. This means that I must be an active curator, with a reasonably high threshold on value or interest for me to share a link across the wealth of content I see each day.

Some analysts have tried to answer the question of how much is the right amount to tweet.

Dan Zarrella of Hubspot has suggested 22 tweets per day is the optimum, based on the observation that those who tweet 10-50 times per day have more followers on average, with a peak around 22. However the causality here is of course highly dubious, with the number of tweets per se not likely to have attracted followers, and those with more followers more likely to want to tap their audience.

A more persuasive methodology is used by Adobe’s social media practice, which suggests 4-5 tweets per day, based on this generating the highest retweet rate.

Source: Adobe

Indeed in separate research Dan Zarrella reports that clickthrough rates on Twitter links fall off substantially as tweets exceed 9 per day.

Source: Dan Zarrella

Below is a small selection of prominent social media participants and their average tweets per day, according to How Often Do You Tweet. The fact that many of them tweet a lot is not a good indicator for most others. They can get away with high tweet frequency because their followers are often deeply interested and feel they have something to offer, but it means that action on any individual tweet is limited.

In the end it is of course a matter of choice and style. There are no rights and wrongs. But if you tweet too much there’s a good chance I’ll take you out of my lists.

Jeff Bullas: 82.8

Guy Kawasaki: 55.4

Chris Brogan: 49.9

Gary Vaynerchuk: 35

Robert Scoble: 27.1

Scott Monty: 17.6

Jeremiah Owyang: 17

Steve Rubel: 11.4

Stephen Fry: 8.6

Brian Solis: 7.2

David Meerman Scott: 4.7

The post How much is the right amount to tweet? appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

TED: Wingham Rowan: A new kind of job market - Wingham Rowan (2012)

Plenty of people need jobs with very flexible hours -- but it's difficult for those people to connect with the employers who need them. Wingham Rowan is working on that. He explains how the same technology that powers modern financial markets can help employers book workers for slivers of time.

from TEDTalks (video)

vrijdag 25 januari 2013

TED: Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why domestic violence victims don't leave - Leslie Morgan Steiner (2012)

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” -- that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. (Filmed at TEDxRainier.)

from TEDTalks (video)

donderdag 24 januari 2013

TED: Steven Schwaitzberg: A universal translator for surgeons - Steven Schwaitzberg (2012)

Laparoscopic surgery uses minimally invasive incisions -- which means less pain and shorter recovery times for patients. But Steven Schwaitzberg has run into two problems teaching these techniques to surgeons around the world -- language and distance. He shares how a new technology, which combines video conferencing and a real-time universal translator, could help. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

from TEDTalks (video)

woensdag 23 januari 2013

TED: Colin Powell: Kids need structure - Colin Powell (2012)

How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children from before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility. (Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.)

from TEDTalks (video)

dinsdag 22 januari 2013

TED: Janine di Giovanni: What I saw in the war - Janine di Giovanni (2012)

Reporter Janine di Giovanni has been to the worst places on Earth to bring back stories from Bosnia, Sierra Leone and most recently Syria. She tells stories of human moments within large conflicts -- and explores that shocking transition when a familiar city street becomes a bombed-out battleground.

from TEDTalks (video)

The Contextual, Sensual CES2013

It’s been a week now since the Consumer Electronics Show closed. I wanted to take that time to read all the reports and get rid of any overhype I picked up because of all those big screens that I saw.

Really the story was sensors. Whether video sensors on glasses, heart rate sensors on watches, or 3D sensors that you can interact with, this CES was more about sensors than anything else.

For a taste of just how big a deal this was this year, check out this video of Primesense’s private suite.

Don’t know Primesense? It licensed its technology to Microsoft for the Kinect sensor. You know, the one that can see you dancing, or gesturing, or moving around. It even does pretty good face detection. It knows I’m playing instead of my sons.

But this year the technology took a Moore’s law-style turn. It got a LOT smaller. It’s now a stick of chewing gum instead of something longer than most of my books. It’s lower cost. Will run less than $100. It’s much higher resolution. It now is so accurate it can see how hard you are pressing against a desk.

Listen to Primesense founder Aviad Maizels talk about his vision for 3D sensing.

Speaking of 3D sensors, I did see the Leap Motion. I like what they are doing too and we’ll do a video in the future with them. But their sensor is optimized for over keyboard use, not room use, so I find the Primesense has me dreaming about a contextual future a lot more.

At CES I had dinner with execs from GM and Ford and they are thinking about how to use these sensors in cars. Both to personalize the car (with a sensor like this they could tell you are sitting in drivers seat) but also to do things like wakeup alarms if you are falling asleep while driving. Also, hand gestures will be more efficient in many ways than voice systems, particularly for moving around user interfaces. Listen in to John Ellis, head of the Ford Developer Program, talk about the contextual future of cars:

The other thing I saw were wearable computers. Listen in to these two visionaries who are building really interesting wearables. Recon Instruments builds the heads-up displays that Oakley is including in its AirWave ski goggles and Pairasight has built a glasses with two 1080p cameras. The Texas Instruments chipset Pairasight was using lets you stream about 1.5 hours of 1080P video on a single battery charge (and the battery is tiny, so this is a breakthrough). Pairasight’s glasses are in prototype stage. Recon’s are shipping now.

That all led me to talk with Don Norman, who I ran into at CES. Don’t know who he is? He used to be a fellow as a User Experience Architect, which was the first time User Experience was used in a title at Apple and later became Vice President of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group, but that hardly explains Don, go read his wikipedia entry.

So, what does it mean?

Well, consumer electronics are about to become anticipatory and personal.

Think about Google Now, which shows you all sorts of ways to live your life better (like the fact that I better leave for my meeting now because traffic is bad on way into San Francisco). Our world will know you at a deep level. Don’t believe me? Look again at the Primesense video. In there is a demo by Shopperception which lets retail stores see what you are buying in real time. Freaky, huh? But you know we’ll let stores do this. Why? We’ll get paid to. I see everyone in Safeway using their Safeway card, which already allows pretty deep tracking of buying behavior. Imagine a display near the cereals saying “hi Robert Scoble nice choice of Cheerios, if you want a second box it’s half off.”

The sensual, contextual age of consumer electronics is here ready or not.

from Scobleizer

maandag 21 januari 2013

Strategic overview of AHT Group: sharing our ventures, projects, and enablers

I believe that open business is an important and valuable foundation for success today. We actively share our activities and priorities on an ongoing basis, and intend to share considerably more over time.

Two years ago I shared our AHT Group Business Model Overview and a year later I published our 2012 Priorities, and found sharing these useful for ourselves and for others.

To help me and our team to strategize and act effectively in 2013 and beyond, I have created an overview that describes the activities, projects, and current priorities across AHT Group, which currently comprises Advanced Human Technologies, Future Exploration Network, and The Insight Exchange.

The document does not explain the relationship between the companies or the logic of our business models. I will extend this overview soon with an updated visualization of our business model.

Below is our group Strategic Overview as of January 2013, with a brief explanation of each of the major elements. We will provide more detail on the ventures, business models, and lessons learned during this year.

Click on image to see full size pdf

Description of the elements of the Strategic Overview:


Expert services: Services delivered primarily by Ross Dawson

Corporate services: Scalable services provided to corporate and government clients

Ventures: Planned new companies, each funded with a limited amount of internal capital with a view to later raising external capital if warranted.

Publishing: Publishing of print and digital books and reports and rich content websites

Projects/ Apps: Web and mobile apps that currently are not planned as stand-alone companies

Events: Conferences, executive roundtables, parties, and other events that complement our other activities


Talent: Highest priority hires as covered on our We’re Looking For Talent site

Team: Practices, structures, and processes that enable high team performance

Content: Content generated that is freely disseminated or published by other organizations

Visibility: How we build the findability and presence for our full scope of activities

Processes: Establishment and definition of processes that support our group’s activities

Platform: Fundamental enablers that drive the business model

We’ll be sharing more from our activities as we believe they will be useful to others.

The post Strategic overview of AHT Group: sharing our ventures, projects, and enablers appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

vrijdag 18 januari 2013

TED: Colin Stokes: How movies teach manhood - Colin Stokes (2012)

When Colin Stokes’ 3-year-old son caught a glimpse of Star Wars, he was instantly obsessed. But what messages did he absorb from the sci-fi classic? Stokes asks for more movies that send positive messages to boys: that cooperation is heroic, and respecting women is as manly as defeating the villain. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

from TEDTalks (video)

donderdag 17 januari 2013

TED: Richard Weller: Could the sun be good for your heart? - Richard Weller (2012)

Our bodies get Vitamin D from the sun, but as dermatologist Richard Weller suggests, sunlight may confer another surprising benefit too. New research by his team shows that nitric oxide, a chemical transmitter stored in huge reserves in the skin, can be released by UV light, to great benefit for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system. What does it mean? Well, it might begin to explain why Scots get sick more than Australians ...

from TEDTalks (video)

How to prepare for the jobs of the future: Learning, Love, Collaboration, Design

A little while back I was interviewed for a cover story on the jobs of the future for the Careers section of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Here are the sections of the article that drew on my thoughts:

According to the futurist Ross Dawson, the world of work has always required employees to be on the front foot.

“Jobs have always disappeared and others come up,” he says. “It’s just that the pace of change has become far faster than ever before.”

Dawson say there are two overarching issues to consider when predicting which jobs will survive the next change to the work world: remote work and automation.

Employees with an eye to the future should ask themselves, “Is it is possible this work could be automated?” and “Is it possible that this work could be done by somebody else somewhere else in the world?”, he says.

The answers to both questions may well shape our employment future. Dawson says automation is poised to steamroll forward to a point at which all call-centre work, for example, can be carried out by voice recognition.

Remote work is quickly moving beyond our comfort zone, he says.

“There is [already] mining machinery in the Pilbara driven by people in Perth hundreds of kilometres away,” he says.

Nonetheless, Dawson says that remote work has more positive than negatives for Australian employees.

“It doesn’t just mean you have competition,” he says. “It means you can do your job for anybody around the world, though some jobs will be lower-paid [eventually] than they have been.

“I think we’ll see global work as a fact of life in most industries and types of work with 10 years. We now have the bandwidth, we’re getting comfortable with the concept of working remotely we have the collaboration tools.”

Given the dawning realisation that most children of today will end up in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet, future-proofing one’s career may seem a fool’s errand. However, Dawson says, a successful worker of the future can be profiled. First, they will be someone who has “learnt how to learn”.

He says we should be self-teaching by setting ourselves tasks such as figuring out how to create a website in HTML, or teaching ourselves to read a menu in Spanish. “We’re finding people who have learnt how to learn know how to engage with a community and tap into others for support,” he says.

Dawson says we should find one thing we know and love, and become world-class at it, “otherwise, you become a commodity”. But you’ll also need people to share it with. “One of the absolute fundamental skills [of the future] will be the ability to collaborate,” he says.

When Dawson envisions careers of the future, he points to fields such as sustainability, community and design as safe bets.

“Not just graphic design; it’s about making everything from roads to playgrounds functional and beautiful,” he says.

The post How to prepare for the jobs of the future: Learning, Love, Collaboration, Design appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

woensdag 16 januari 2013

TED: Cameron Russell: Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model. - Cameron Russell (2012)

Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she's tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16-years-old. (Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.)

from TEDTalks (video)

dinsdag 15 januari 2013

TED: Ellen Jorgensen: Biohacking -- you can do it, too - Ellen Jorgensen (2012)

We have personal computing, why not personal biotech? That’s the question biologist Ellen Jorgensen and her colleagues asked themselves before opening Genspace, a nonprofit DIYbio lab in Brooklyn devoted to citizen science, where amateurs can go and tinker with biotechnology. Far from being a sinister Frankenstein's lab (as some imagined it), Genspace offers a long list of fun, creative and practical uses for DIYbio.

from TEDTalks (video)

The isomorphism of inside and outside – why exploring our minds and the world are the same

On my recent holiday I was in extraordinarily beautiful surroundings, in the Jervis Bay area of Australia’s Eastern coast.

Being in that environment helped me to recall my thoughts from when I was much younger, when it struck me that the world inside us and the world outside are isomorphic: they have exactly the same shape and structure.

We can learn about our minds and the richness of who we are by studying and exploring the world around us, particularly the natural world.

Equally, we can grow to understand the external world by delving into the unlimited richness of our minds. There is as much to discover within us as there is in the entire universe around us.

Years later, after I finally left employment to follow my own path, I travelled for 6 months from London before returning to Sydney to start my first business. My first stop was Rio de Janeiro and then the massive metropolis of São Paulo before wandering on through Brazil, soon heading off from Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, into the heart of the Amazon jungle.

At the time I reflected that within each of us there are highly structured, controlled, moderated parts of us akin to cities, and also far wilder, unstructured, uncharted, and possibly more beautiful parts of us that are similar to jungles and deep forests. Since who we are reflects the external world, both of these poles – and everything in between – are fully part of us.

Through our lives each of us makes choices about which of these domains we choose to spend our time in. We may live in cities, in deep nature, or somewhere in between. Our internal lives may be spent primarily in predictable structures, or we may mainly wander in the less charted spaces in our minds.

At our best, we can take and integrate the polar strengths of structure and chaos, plans and spontaneity, direction and emergence as we lead our lives.

The isomorphism of inside and outside is a metaphor, of course. But it feels like a powerful and useful metaphor to me.

The most important implication is of exploration.

How will we explore external worlds, through travel and stimulation, and what will we learn about ourselves from that?

And how will we explore our selves, discovering more fully who we are, and thus learn about the entire world as a result?

I wish you happy and fruitful exploration.

The post The isomorphism of inside and outside – why exploring our minds and the world are the same appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

maandag 14 januari 2013

Today show: when will we entrust child care to robots?

I was in Sydney over New Year (nowhere better to celebrate it!) before heading off for holidays, and was invited onto the Today national breakfast program to talk about some of the themes from my 2013 and Beyond Appearing and Disappearing framework.

Click on the image below to view a video of the segment.


One of the ideas they wanted to talk about was “robo-nannies”. We originally dreamed of robots that could do more than help with manufacturing and mechanical processes, and we are now on the verge of robots being engaged in what we consider very human functions. However there are a number of elements required before we entrust our children to robotic nannies.

- 1. Practical care and safety.
While some elements of practical care, such as providing appropriate food and avoiding unhealthy food, are reasonably easy to fulfil. However robo-nannies would also have to be aware of not just imminent but also potential danger, such as unstable objects in the house that could be knocked over. Spatial perception and modelling of potential physical scenarios is still a way off what would be required, but is getting there.

- 2. Engagement and education.
This will be robots’ strong suit. Robots that can recognize the capabilities of children and present them relevant and fun educational games will arguably have an advantage over most humans. The key issue will be robot-guided play in response to needs and moods rather than simply being another computer to play with.

- 3. Affection and love.
While this would seem to be the hardest domain, we are already well advanced in reverse-engineering what it is that makes us feel warmth and affection. Over seven years ago I wrote about how the Japanese robot seal Paro is used in therapeutic settings and later about emotional bonding with robots. Clearly robot love will never be a substitute for human love, however it can be a complement and allow the development of other forms of positive emotional engagement.

It will take a while yet until we can fulfil these three criteria, but they are within reach. Many will object that humans will always be better at caring for children than robots. That is absolutely true if we consider the best humans, but there are many people we wouldn’t entrust our children to. If we do not have trustworthy people available as child-carers, we may soon have trustworthy robots who can not just take care of, but also nurture and develop our children.

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from Trends in the Living Networks

TED: Angela Patton: A father-daughter dance ... in prison - Angela Patton (2012)

At Camp Diva, Angela Patton works to help girls and fathers stay connected and in each others' lives. But what about girls whose fathers can't be there -- because they're in jail? Patton tells the story of a very special father-daughter dance. (Filmed at TEDxWomen)

from TEDTalks (video)

A change of tack for Trends in the Living Networks

Happy New Year! I wish you a most wonderful year ahead. I for one am very, very excited about what 2013 holds.

I’m just back from close to three weeks holiday over Christmas and New Year, including some wonderful time on the beach and among the kangaroos in Jervis Bay.

As always after a holiday I have a broader perspective on where I am and what I am doing. The time was ripe for other reasons too, but I realized while I was away that it is time for me approach this blog a little differently than I have.

It is a constant struggle to keep the blog active given all my other activities and commitments, but it is still a high priority so I will do what I can to keep it alive and flourishing.

I will continue to share as I can snippets of ideas from my speaking and media appearances, as well as particularly relevant content that illuminates key trends in how the networks are coming to life.

However there are a number of other ways I will also intend to use this blog, including:

- Lessons from ventures. Our business model (here is the old version, soon to be replaced with an updated framework) is beginning to get some real traction. I hope to share far more on our ventures, how we are approaching our business model, and what we are learning as we experiment with new structures.

- Focus on the individual. When I left corporate world I felt had a choice as to whether I worked primarily with organizations or individuals. I chose to focus initially on organizations, with the intention of later shifting to help individuals create high performance and live rich lives. That shift will be gradual, as I love exploring and creating the future of organizations, however it is time for me to begin sharing ideas on how individuals can best create wonderful futures for themselves and others.

- Book ideas. I have a list of 109 ideas for books I’d like to write. Obviously I will never write them all, but I still aspire to make a dent in that list. For now I am working on one at a time, with a proposal for my next book a current priority. However in the meantime I can share some of the core ideas for my other books in posts, and possibly even start to flesh out some of them over a series of posts.

- Personal thoughts. I have kept a journal since I was 16. One of the most valuable aspects of this is that I have captured ideas and perspectives that would probably otherwise be lost, yet have remained guiding principles through my life. Some of these mental frames came back to me strongly while I was on holidays, and I hope through the year to share some of the ideas that have been at the heart of my personal journey.

I will do what I can to sustain a reasonable pace of blogging so I can share some of the above and more. I look forward to crossing paths on the journey.

The post A change of tack for Trends in the Living Networks appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

vrijdag 11 januari 2013

Domo CEO Josh James: Why I Pay For Twitter Followers

This is a guest post written by Josh James, who founded Omniture (sold to Adobe). He since has founded and runs Domo, a data startup.

Twitter fan Josh James

Who pays Twitter for followers? I do. Here’s why.

For anyone doubting the benefits of a CEO’s presence on Twitter, I can vouch for its impact. Being on Twitter is generating a steady flow of inbound customer leads, partnership introductions and quality recruits for my business data startup Domo.

Growing a notable following, especially in the scintillating world of enterprise tech, can be a challenge. I say that tongue in cheek — but the hard truth is that if you aren’t CEO of a consumer brand like a Richard Branson or a Rupert Murdoch, growing a respectable following takes a good amount of time, work and as I’ve found, money.

This is my journey. I’ve had a personal Twitter account for more than three and a half years. When I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t see the value in using the platform. Audiences weren’t big enough, adoption wasn’t broad enough and most tweets were about what people were eating. So I got my @joshjames handle and kept relatively quiet.

During that time, I was also in the process of selling Omniture to Adobe and wasn’t really in the mood. Post-Omniture, I enjoyed staying on the down low for a while but once I started Domo, I was ready to roll. There was only one problem. I had precisely zero followers. As former CEO of a global, public company, I was used to a big stage. I had friends with thousands of followers, and saw how others had tens of thousands, and some millions.

I started tweeting a few of my startup rules and my thoughts on running businesses and my audience grew — but not quick enough to feel a noticeable difference.

When I would get a tweet, I’d try to figure out who someone was. I’d look at their picture, read their bio and look at their followers. I noticed how I was categorizing people whom I didn’t know. I started seeing people with 3,000−5,000 followers and they were 16 or 17 years old.  I started feeling like a second-class citizen of the Twitterverse. Granted, my followers were great quality and consisted of people with whom I had shared interests, but the size of my audience left me wanting for more.

While my desire for a more sizable following was influenced somewhat by relevance, it was more deeply driven by my longer-term belief that social media could help drive Domo’s business. Knowing social media is the shortest distance between two points, I was really interested in exploring how it could impact Domo’s operations, recruiting, marketing and sales. I wanted a plan to change things, fast.

Enter the idea of a Twitter promoted account. When I told a few people on my team what I wanted to do, I heard a collective groan and felt the eye rolls. My team’s biggest concern was that the act of paid promotion violated the organic nature of social. Some were worried about the fallout: the haters, the people who would scoff because my account was “promoted” and because I bought the “blue check” status symbol, which was the only way you could get your account verified at the time. (Twitter has since changed that policy.)

As I started tweeting more regularly, I noticed how my own tweets were driving thousands of new eyeballs to media websites. One day, for example, I tweeted a story I found interesting about enterprise IPOs. That tweet drove a higher-click through rate than the norm. Ten percent of my followers clicked through to read a 10-page story. I did the math: 10% of my followers represented more than 1,000 visitors. At $40 CPM that was probably generating $400 for the publisher. Now imagine what would happen if I had 1000 times the followers.

That realization made me think about the impact that someone like Jay-Z or Lady Gaga with millions of followers could have. Are they driving real business? The network effect of one engaging tweet has the potential to be astonishing. Huge. Transformative. Different. I love that.

It all reinforced that Twitter has real influence and yes, I want followers.

As we found through our company’s #domosocial experiment, there are a variety of ways to acquire users. You can drive organic growth through your content and get high-quality followers – but that takes a significant amount of time. You can also play the follow-back game, buy Net ads or pay mom-and-pop services.  All of these options work, but they tend to deliver lower quality.

I believe the quickest way to build a high-quality following is a Twitter promoted account because Twitter gives you the ability to target more effectively, whether you are promoting your own account or promoting a specific tweet. You can target based on a keyword and only to people in Silicon Valley, for example. Or, you can target people in Chicago who follow the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Bulls. There are endless ways to match keywords, locations and interests. And in my opinion, the cost to do so is a steal when you compare that cost against other channels of marketing. To me, this is similar to the early days of Internet advertising – new and somewhat uncharted territory for reaching a targeted audience.

In the early days at Omniture, we told everybody that the cheapest way to get leads was the pay-per-click route because it was a land grab at the time and everything was cheap. Now pay-per-click is typically the most expensive way to get leads, but still extremely effective. By the same token, this is the time to grab high-quality Twitter followers inexpensively.

The day I set up my promoted account, I created a campaign that covered entrepreneurship and technology. It was focused and measurable. I also love music, especially Jay-Z and hip-hop, so I experimented with another campaign targeting people with similar interests. Then I hit “run” and the wave began.

Within a few hours I had 100, 300, then 500 new followers. It was hard to keep up with each new profile but I started to notice a couple trends were emerging. First, I was attracting a pretty large contingent of people from towns in India that I never heard of.  Second, every 16-year-old Brazilian Belieber and Australian One Directioner seemed be on Twitter and was now following me. That was just awkward.

I had made a couple of mistakes setting up the campaigns:

Mistake #1:  Not geo-targeting. While India, Brazil and Australia are tech-savvy nations, they aren’t likely markets for Domo for the next year or so. Budget would be better spent on North America.

Mistake #2:  Adding music as a campaign. Music cast a net that was waaaaay too wide and attracted a majority of followers who aren’t likely to grow Domo’s business any time soon.  That said I have a few hundred people to tweet with if I want to get my Justin Bieber groove on.

I scrapped the music campaign and added geo-targeting to the original one. Those adjustments made all the difference. While growth has been much more controlled, my network started to look a lot more like what I was hoping to build from the get go.

I am a firm believer that if you are leading a company, you should be where your customers are. Everyone has customers on social networks and Twitter is one of the most interesting and easiest places to listen and engage. Despite that, according to a recent study by Domo and, less than 4% of the top 500 CEOs have Twitter accounts. That’s still mind-blowing to me.

And as I said in a recent post on Forbes, it’s the responsibility of all CEOs to be social CEOs. Three of the nine Fortune 500 CEOs who are active on Twitter chimed in to say they agree. These executives — Michael Dell; Jack Salezweder of American Family Mutual Insurance, a company with more than $6 billion in revenue; and Michael Rapino, the CEO of LiveNation who has more Facebook friends than any other Fortune 500 CEO — are great proof that being a social CEO is doable. Whether you are CEO of a publicly traded company, or a private one, you just have to believe in the benefits.

The world is changing and CEOs must change the way they do business. It is our job to lead innovation, and those of us who don’t get out in front of it risk getting run over and left behind. Today, we’ve been seeing the benefits of being social in multiple ways. Social media has helped us tremendously in recruiting. I’ve had countless sales reps reach out to me directly, which is helping us reach our goal of hiring 40 new reps by the end of the year. I’ve also had potential partners and prospects connect with me directly through Twitter about doing business together.

We can also use innovation with social media to change the way we serve our communities. I sit on the board of Save The Children, a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the lives of children around the world. I recently decided to see how the network effect of my Twitter following could raise more awareness for Save the Children, and hopefully inspire others to donate and get involved with the work they do for kids. So for my 1000th tweet, I started a campaign offering to donate $1 for every retweeet up to $100K. In less than a week, we had 7,000 retweets but we had reached 7 million people.

That was amazing. I had feedback from followers who said they hadn’t heard of Save the Children before. Other people donated money.  The reach completely surpassed my expectations. I committed to donating right then. And while I don’t plan to do all of my giving this way, it was eye-opening to the see the real, positive impact Twitter could have in raising awareness.

With regards to Twitter, I’m looking forward to sharing more lessons I learn, so stay tuned.  And while you’re at it, you can follow me on Twitter. I’m @joshjames.

from Upside Potential

TED: Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes - Andy Puddicombe (2012)

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

from TEDTalks (video)

woensdag 9 januari 2013

TED: Jarrett J. Krosoczka: How a boy became an artist - Jarrett J. Krosoczka (2012)

When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was a kid, he didn’t play sports, but he loved art. He paints the funny and touching story of a little boy who pursued a simple passion: to draw and write stories. With the help of a supporting cast of family and teachers, our protagonist grew up to become the successful creator of beloved children’s book characters, and a vocal advocate for arts education.

from TEDTalks (video)

dinsdag 8 januari 2013

TED: Sue Austin: Deep sea diving … in a wheelchair - Sue Austin (2012)

When Sue Austin got a power chair 16 years ago, she felt a tremendous sense of freedom -- yet others looked at her as though she had lost something. In her art, she aims to convey the spirit of wonder she feels wheeling through the world. Includes thrilling footage of an underwater wheelchair that lets her explore ocean beds, drifting through schools of fish, floating free in 360 degrees. (Filmed at TEDxWomen.)

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 7 januari 2013

TED: Jonathan Haidt: How common threats can make common (political) ground - Jonathan Haidt (2012)

If an asteroid were headed for Earth, we'd all band together and figure out how to stop it, just like in the movies, right? And yet, when faced with major, data-supported, end-of-the-world problems in real life, too often we retreat into partisan shouting and stalemate. Jonathan Haidt shows us a few of the very real asteroids headed our way -- some pet causes of the left wing, some of the right -- and suggests how both wings could work together productively to benefit humanity as a whole.

from TEDTalks (video)

vrijdag 4 januari 2013

TED: Don Levy: A cinematic journey through visual effects - Don Levy (2012)

It's been 110 years since Georges Méliès sent a spaceship slamming into the eye of the man on the moon. So how far have visual effects come since then? Working closely with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Don Levy takes us on a visual journey through special effects, from the fakery of early technology to the seamless marvels of modern filmmaking.

from TEDTalks (video)

donderdag 3 januari 2013

TED: Hadyn Parry: Re-engineering mosquitos to fight disease - Hadyn Parry (2012)

In a single year, there are 200-300 million cases of malaria and 50-100 million cases of dengue fever worldwide. So: Why haven’t we found a way to effectively kill mosquitos yet? Hadyn Parry presents a fascinating solution: genetically engineering male mosquitos to make them sterile, and releasing the insects into the wild, to cut down on disease-carrying species.

from TEDTalks (video)