Tag Archives: Energized

I would rather …

I would rather die of passion than of boredom — Vincent van Gogh

March 30, 2014 marks Vincent van Gogh’s 161 birthday. March 29 marks my considerable lower number birthday. I

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

didn’t know that van Gogh was also a “March Baby” until I was doing a bit of research about him after being taken with the quote which prompted me to write this post. But the timing, coupled with the inspiration, seemed an appropriate opportunity to write.

Dear readers, if you’re still there for me, know that in my absence I have been working hard to come up to speed in my newest endeavor. For those of you who may not know, I’m honored to be working with the Salesforce Foundation supporting the world’s best nonprofits and higher educators with their digital and social media programs. My only purpose at the Foundation is to help organizations – amazing, inspiring, and excellent organizations – be even more amazing, inspiring, and excellent.

I’ve had many “I can’t believe this is my life” moments in the short time I’ve been working with the Foundation, and the promise of many more to come. But here’s the thing, I am also getting to feed my customers’ thoughts, challenges, and feedback to the incredible product team who is equally up for the challenge of building the future. It’s a thrill ride. It is the junction of my passion and my skills.

It is – simply – a #DREAMjob.

My involvement with my customers has already profoundly changed the way I view time. I’ve never had more to do – never – and yet I feel more invigorated than ever. Somehow, I’m also finding the time to give back to my community more than ever, taking up hobbies, learning a language, and enjoying my family deeply. Time has expanded in this even more deeply passion-driven version of my life.

In previous (and also awesome) roles, I was always busy. Hell, anyone who knows me knows I prefer to be at least a bit over-committed in my professional life. But this is a different level of busy, this is the kind of busy that is impossible, but worth trying. Worth really, really going for it. Why? Because I get to work with the people who are literally building the future.

I am honored. I am challenged. I am up for it.

Happy Birthday, Mr. van Gogh. And to you, whoever you are, may your day shine brightly and your talents expand to reach the challenges in front of you.

Learn more about the Salesforce Foundation, their 1/1/1 philanthropic model, and how their customers rock it out. And then spread the word. 

Have a thought, feedback, inspiration, or comment? Do tell!

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March 26, 2014 · 7:13 am

Yeah, I Love This.

This weekend we held our third Annual Florida Salesforce.com User Group Event, “Dreamforce to YOU – Florida“. It was our most ambitious effort to date, with 12 sessions spanning from Project methodologies to a highly attended Developer Deep Dive session. We had two guest speakers this year, and with them onsite, it brought our Salesforce.com MVP count up to 4 – I speculated that meant we were likely the highest MVP count per capita on Saturday ( I could be wrong, but it was fun to think so!).

But the BEST thing – the most exciting moment – for me was when attendees stopped me in the hall and said things like, I can’t WAIT to try the new formula I just learned! or I think I may have just found a job!. That’s what this whole Community thing is about, really.

How did this happen?

I started attending the Salesforce.com Orlando User Group over 4 years ago out of desperation – I needed to find employees who were creative, passionate, and really really into Cloud Computing. I was having NO luck through traditional methods. Cloud computing was then (as it is now) a hot profession, and talented folks weren’t just sitting about hoping someone would call. So after trying to get my HR department fired up to help me (no luck at the time) and then outsourcing through local headhunters, I faced the hard reality that it. Just. Wasn’t. Happening.

My last ditch effort IMMEDIATELY paid off. I met my first hire at that first meeting. He was a super star (still is!) looking for his next new challenge. He was just the guy I was looking for: smart as a whip, creative as hell, and looking for a tough puzzle to solve. I had a really tough puzzle and we made it official as fast as I could get the paperwork pushed through. That was the beginning of a great era: the era of getting things done.

I credit the Salesforce.com User Groups for making that year ‘happen’. I know I’d never have been able to push the ball as far down-field without the Community.

From there, the User Group and the extended Community has personally brought me friends, new skills, creative ways to attack my org’s issues, camaraderie, and the constant drive to do better. I’ve connected to some of the smartest people I’ve ever met (and that, my friends, is saying something!) through this Community. I was happy to become a co-leader of the Orlando User Group when there was a need shortly after I joined the User Group. Since then, we’ve had three Dreamforce to YOU events, many local User Group meetings, socials, and impromptu meetups. It’s been a fabulous ride!

Why is Community #AWESOME?

The idea for Dreamforce to YOU was simply to bring a day of content and collaboration to our Orlando User Group members. Co-leader Joshua Hoskins and I had just returned from Dreamforce 2009 and were totally

out of our minds with enthusiasm. What struck us then (and still gets me now) was how quickly things were accelerating in this space. We thought our members would probably take a Saturday to get together to talk about it. We were right! The first Dreamforce to YOU has very little resemblance to the event we put on this year – but the bottom line is the same.

It’s GREAT to have the camaraderie, connections, creativity, and collaboration an active Community brings. If you have a passion, and want to surround yourself with the people who can help you become the best version of yourself in that space, search for an organized community. There are Communities for just about everything now … and thanks to the little ol’ interwebs, a quick search gets you all details you need to jump in.

Find YOUR Community. Then Jump In. If you do it with a vengeance, it’ll pay off in spades (for you and for the group). I promise.

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Filed under CRM Evangelization, Service, Social, User Group

I’ll be reblogging all #DF2UFL posts to my site & hope to see you there (http://df2ufl.eventbrite.com/) on Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dreamforce to You - Florida!

We love our Sponsors!

It’s true. We just simply couldn’t do this without them. We’re bringing Salesforce.com users together for an entire day of content, best practice, learning what’s new and how to use it in your company. We’re custom building the agenda based on the attendee preferences, AND we’re not charging people to attend. So, without the funding the Sponsors provide, we literally wouldn’t be able to make this event happen. Most of these Sponsors are active with our User Groups already, and all of these Sponsors are dedicated to helping to promote the event so we can meet our Event Team goal of building up the core User Group community which benefits us all.

Thank you from the Dreamforce to YOU – Florida Event Team to our 2012 Sponsors for supporting the Florida Salesforce.com Community!

Take a minute to get to know our dedicated 2012 Sponsors

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Filed under Service, Social, User Group

A Truly Anti-Social Nerd Comments on The Social Phenomenon.


WelcomeToTheSocialEnterprise (Dreamforce 2011)

Hi. I’m the truly anti-social nerd referred to in this post’s headline. But it’s simply because I am a nerdy person with some real weirdness about me that renders me a bit socially awkward, not that I don’t like people. In fact, I do like people. Very much. I like people so much that for the past (muffled) years, I’ve been fascinated by and driven to protecting consumer data on behalf of all people everywhere. That sounds a bit overstated, but part of my raison d’être has been maintaining compliance and leading the enterprise definition of respect for  the consumers housed within a highly enriched marketing database over 70 million distinct individuals strong.

Individuals. People. Who I knew only by their transactions and artifacts. But who (because I am a nerd, remember) remained very real to me even in their data form. Truth be told, I’m creeped out by indiscriminate  dissemination of personal information. After all, I’m a private person (I said in my blog). Further, I believe that you (the collective you) should have the right to be as private as you want to be.

And that’s the key. As you want to be. So if you don’t want to be marketed to or sold to over the phone, you shouldn’t be. If you want to opt out of future marketing messages via email, so be it! You have that right and all organizations that want to sell or market to you (or anyone like you) have the responsibility to LISTEN. That’s why the past couple of events I’ve attended this month have been especially compelling to me.

The tides are changing, Customer, and the current is running with YOU in mind.

Dreamforce 2011

This year, the Salesforce.com Global Gathering – Dreamforce – surpassed  all other conference attendance records in the enterprise software arena with over 45,000 on-premise attendees and 35,000 joining online for live keynote and event streaming. Additionally, the pre-event Community Conference was manned by Customer Advocates recognized by Salesforce as brand-evangelists and designated by Salesforce.com as  MVPs. These MVPs (full disclosure: I was named an MVP earlier this year) were encouraged by Salesforce to use their “usual-suspect” social channels to promote the Community Conference sessions and events. As a result, each of the sessions in the Community Conference sold out. Via word of mouth brand-evangelists promotion by Salesforce.com customers. Using social tools available to most consumers. This Voice of the Customer amplification of brand loyalty and advocacy often resonates more honestly with a consumer than the slick marketing we’ve been fed our whole life. In other words, as a consumer you may be apt to view customer feedback – especially from someone you perceive to be “like you” – as more credible than the marketing or sales served up by the business.

You can imagine the Chatterati creating as much value as an SVP in the organization by sharing their institutional knowledge and expertise – and we should look at compensation structures with that in mind. – Marc Benioff

That the Community Conference was well attended largely through word of “mouth” across social channels  is a tremendous illustration of the power of the consumer in today’s leveled playing fields. But using Dreamforce as an example, I’ll happily point out some other terrific examples.

The Dreamforce event was branded an official welcome to the ‘Social Enterprise’.  Keynote announcements focused heavily on how Salesforce.com and the industry at large would offer up powerful Social tools to augment and enrich the relationships between customer and company. However, it was what was going on at the event that really served to spotlight the power of Social Monitoring tools, and social as a viable channel in general.

But before I go too far down that path I want to mention that in the Day I Keynote, Marc Benioff reminded all of us of the impact the social channel has had on the Arab Spring activities taking place in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Undeniably, the Voice of the Citizen has been raised and has acted as a catalyst of major change.

So, for the Execs in their boardrooms stating that Social is nothing more than kids on facebook and that “no-one knows how to generate results” via Social: do me a favor, please search the last 6 months news results for: Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain. What Benioff said onstage during that Day I Keynote was this: “The technology is creating the change and the transformation…It’s not so long from now that we’ll start to hear about a Corporate Spring…an Enterprise Spring…When will the first CEO fall for the same reason?… I think about that myself every day… It is more important to listen than ever before…That’s the Social Revolution.”

Dreamforce speakers in multiple sessions stressed the following: have a genuine need identified and a genuine approach to content and context. Begin with a plan in hand prior to becoming “customer facing”. Want to Learn More?
  •  In the “A Roadmap for Social Transformation” session, Charlene Li (@charleneli ) with the Altimeter Group gave some terrific structural feedback and measures for  the organization’s Social Maturity.
  • Dr. Natalie Petouhoff’s series sponsored by Salesforce on Social in the Enterprise was echoed by her moderated session at Dreamforce. I’ve attached a link to the 3rd installation in the session which echoes the idea of Social woven into the organizational DNA can have direct and indirect positive impact across the entire company. She also gives some very simple details on related metrics to get your creativity revved up.
  • Who’s Who in Social Media was a session dedicated to giving Social vendors 5 minutes to hock their wares, hopefully with some contextual value for the Marketer in the room. To learn about the presenters and their tips, tricks, and offerings, take a peek at the presentation slideshare. 
  • Of course, Radian6 is (rather) newly acquired by Salesforce.com and at the hub of Salesforce.com’s internal Social strategy. There were may shout-outs to Radian6 at #DF11, and some terrific sessions (which are slowly being posted to the YouTube Channel). For a really nice, concise presentation on guiding Social in your organization, take a peek at this pre-Dreamforce offering. Good stuff, here.

So, you can probably tell that I had a fun, nerdy time at Dreamforce. It does my nerdy, anti-social heart good to see the light bulb coming on in the heads and hearts of traditional marketers that their methods probably have to change. Because you (the consumer) are empowered and have the ability to amplify your voice almost as effectively as they do. On the cheap. And they don’t like it, but they’re going to have to learn to deal with it or they will lose your (my) affection and my business.

Social CRM Strategies for Business Seminar Series

One week later, I was lucky enough to keep the incredible journey going when I attended this seminar in Palo Alto presented by BPT Partners. This was a deep dive presentation facilitated by most of the principals of the BPT Partner gang: Bruce Culbert, Paul Greenberg, and Jeff Tanner. The speakers were thought provoking and really tied to the idea that Social is a normal (and persistent) human behavior, the technology is what adds the newness. Where consumers are ahead of the curve is in their adoption and mastery of the toolset that aids their social behavior.

CRM is the only science of business that attempts to reproduce an art of life. – Bruce Culbert

Some terrific resources from this event (that all tie back to the simple truth that we really have to LISTEN to actually have the ability to ENGAGE)Brian Solis' Conversation Prism are below and I recommend getting rampant about following the musings on the folks I reference in this post if you’re into this stuff (and I bet you  are if you’ve stuck with me this far).

I highly recommend this 4th edition of CRM at the Speed of Light which encompasses Social. This book was written by Paul Greenberg (@pgreenbe) and has been used by this Nerd to underscore the need for C-level buy in to the C-Level directly! Never hurts to use a visual aid and walking in to the President’s office with this book tabbed and highlighted showed that I was ready to go, a real nerd about this stuff, and not the only one in the world as seriously into these ideas as I am. I have bought this book for employees, bosses, and newbies and I recommend it now to you.

I was thrilled to meet and learn from Dr. Jeff Tanner (@tannerismontues) at the seminar. His take on Social, CRM, and Marketing is captured in his blog as are the links to his recent books. I haven’t read Dr. Tanner’s books, but  found him to be thought provoking even as he underscored the “Listen first” message. He shared a fabulous video contrasting B2B Marketing fundamentals over time that is tremendous. Watch the video here. I literally got goosebumps it so perfectly illustrates the leveled playing field.

Like snarky intelligence? With a dash of genius and threaded all the way through with make-sense goodness? I do! So it is for this reason that I note Esteban Kolsky (@ekolsky)as a terrific source of industry news, viewpoint, and value. If you’re a data-driven type like me, Mr. Kolsky is a great fit in that he never strays far from the path of if you’re not measuring it, it ain’t happening.

So, enough is enough! This is what I’ve been immersing myself in and pondering on for (kind of a lot of) years now. I may not be the biggest Social butterfly at the (in real life) party, but I’m rooting for the consumer all the way as you wield your power in the Social arena. I’ve got your back, and am aiming soundly at making your interactions with my clients better, more meaningful in the NOW and something that they can use to really understand how to interact BETTER with you (as defined by YOU) in the future. Then what I want you to do is to be so impressed with their genuine concern for your preferences and their dedication to being AWESOME in your eyes that you trumpet it from the highest tweet cloud, the most traveled Facebook page, and your personal blog. Your glowing recommendation is a proven better tool to create new customers than their traditional marketing efforts. And it’s cheaper, too.

That’s Social. And I like it.

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Filed under CRM Evangelization, LinkedIN, Social

Failure is an Option.

Every journey has unexpected twists and turns. This year for me (both personally and professionally) has been riddled with them. I’m pretty good at planning to work and working my plan, but at times this year even the best plans were waylaid by situations beyond my control. That’s reality, folks.

Some of those situations were really devastating. At times, I felt ready to throw in the towel and at times my convictions were tested. On the whole, 2010 was a tough year for me, I’ll tell you. And I’m a pretty tough cookie. I called upon my mentors, my friends, my family, and my dad (he of the dial-a-pep-talk fame). Even with such tremendous support, I recognized a different level of challenging. I found myself thinking about “making it through this” quite a bit. And “this” kept being redefined.

So, when life comes at you harder than you expected, what do you do? I think a lot about winning.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  –  Thomas Edison

Honestly, It’s about continuing the journey. Success is reading the map, the conditions, and adjusting your course. the one-two punch of unforeseen situations can be exhausting. Was and is exhausting. I can share with you that there were times this year I found myself thinking, “What else could possibly go wrong?” and then steeling myself superstitiously as if simply asking the question would bring more bad. In fact, just writing that last sentence scares the hell out of me on some level.

But here’s the thing: something will go wrong  if wrong means “not the exact way you planned it”. I also know – with absolute conviction – that those things that went “wrong” in my life this year have also been the very same things that taught me a great deal about how to handle tough situations with grace. How to put things in perspective. How to remember the little things. How to love people while they’re still here. How to let crazy people be crazy and stay out of their drama. How to find the funny in anything. How to stay creative even when tired. How to keep. getting. up.

I’m reflecting on this now in mental preparation for the new year. I won’t miss 2010 for its challenge and heartache, but I will remember 2010 as a year of tremendous personal and professional growth. I’d love to tell you I’ve been energized by my successes this year but since they were in the “well, I got through that one” camp, I’d be lying to you. I’m still tired, but I’m happy to report I’m certain of my success. I’m planning on my success.

Now, you may not care about my success but what I’m getting at here is this: keep going. I can promise you that failure is only one of your options, not your foregone conclusion. Keep going. You never know, your success may be just around the corner.

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Filed under Corporate Culturati, life-work balance