A 5'3 Perspective

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The Most Final, Final Exam

Tomorrow at noon I will officially have completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree. Ironically, my last exam is on forensic psychology, completely irrelevant. Don’t ask me what I was thinking when I picked this one as an elective. Luckily the exam is comprised of only multiple choice questions. If all else fails, pick “C” right? Check this out! Hopefully I have better luck!

Here is a photo found on collegehumor.com of a student you thought to use this logic. Below are his comments from the professor.

“Dear Michael,

Every year I attempt to boost my students’ final grades by giving them this relatively simple exam consisting of 100 True/False questions from only 3 chapters of material. For the past 20 years that I have taught Intro Communications 101 at this institution I have never once seen someone score below a 65 on this exam. Consequently, your score of a zero is the first in history and ultimately brought the entire class average down a whole 8 points.

There were two possible answer choices: A (True) and B (False). You chose C for all 100 questions in an obvious attempt to get lucky with a least a quarter of the answers. It’s as if you didn’t look at a single question. Unfortunately, this brings your final grade in this class to failing. See you next year!

May God have mercy on your soul.

Professor William Turner

P.S. If all else fails, go with B from now on.   B is the new C.”

Wish me luck!

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The Shimmy Shakedown.

Imagine eating 7 pounds of food in less than an hour… makes you feel queasy right? Not for Adam Richman, his job is to entertain North American TV viewers by taking on the most legendary eating challenges. As host of Travel Channel‘s Man V Food, Richman takes you on a food journey to the best restaurants, chip stands, and greasy spoon dinners in the US. Watching someone consume mass quantities of food may not sound appealing, but I promise you it is my absolutely favourite TV series. The best part is that Richman spends the first half of each episode showing you where to find the best food in each city he travels through. Take notes because there are some amazing restaurants you don’t want to forget about. Don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

This video takes you through the making of the 3B (big badass burrito) Burrito at the NASCAR cafe in Las Vegas. I’m pretty sure it could easily feed a family of four and then some.

Time to place your bets on whether or not he can conquer this enormous burrito! I highly recommend watching a full episode to see what the hype is all about! Maybe his next stop will be at the Works in Ottawa to take down three 1lb patties in under 20 minutes! I would definitely line up for a front row seat to watch!

You can follow Adam’s edible journeys on Facebook and Twitter to hear some of his amazing consumption stories.

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This is how businesses will collaborate.

As a (almost) graduate, I have started to attend local networking events to meet Ottawa business gurus. Today I had the pleasure of attending the OCRI Zone5ive networking lunch to learn more about customer relationship management (CRM) in the Cloud.  Key note speaker Rob Baldassare, Vice President Corporate Sales at Salesforce.com, began the session by playing a short video welcoming audience members to the Salesforce Cloud.

This video is not only captivating, but also entertaining as Baldassare comments on the head bobbing and foot tapping in the crowd. I was definitely guilty of both. The next hour was filled with an overview of Salesforce.com, an explanation of social CRM and its importance, and how it can be leveraged.

What is social CRM? Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the speed of light and godfather of social CRM defines the concept:

“CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”

There has been a significant shift of power in the marketplace. Marketers and businesses are losing control over the conversation and communication regarding their brands and offering, notes Baldassare. Managing the market place is becoming increasingly important, especially online. The internet really has changed how business is conducted. Users are no longer just logging on to use the search capabilities, they are spending more and more time using video hosting and social media sites. These new(ish) functions have given consumers the power, intelligence and vehicle to take over brands. It is imperative to recognize that (almost) everyone is using social media. Those who choose to ignore it are doing so at their own peril.

This finding leaves businesses scratching their heads, how do we deal with this excessive power consumers have gained? How do we decide who or what content is most important? Is it the twitter user with 100,000 followers who tweets about a minor complaint more important than the user with 10 followers who is irate? These questions led to the introduction of Salesforce.com’s three pillars:

#1: Conversation on your site.

This one is pretty self-explanatory, you create your content on your own page and you have full control of what is being said and done. This is where most businesses feel comfortable starting off. Think Dell, Starbucks and Salesforce.com. These companies give customers the opportunity to generate new ideas to improve and enhance the functions of their offerings. This has a major impact on creating brand advocates who will be loyal to your company. Giving consumers the opportunity to take part in idea generation is extremely effective, however, it must be something that is supported throughout the entire organization, from CEO to intern. Without employee buy-in this strategy will not be possible as it will add to workload. In the end the extra effort is worthwhile to build brand ambassadors. In summary, you have to have dedicated employees who are willing to embrace customer input.

#2: Creating a channel on a social media platform.

This option reduces the amount of control a business has over its consumers conversations, however, it is still your channel and many programs and dashboard have been developed to help monitor these activities. Salesforce.com is an excellent example of a company that has mastered this pillar. Recently the company focused its efforts on video sharing. Baldassare reports with excitement that each video posted on their YouTube channel receives over 7,500 views a day. This is a very lofty achievement. These videos educate viewers about the product offerings and also act as a sales presentation. What does this mean to the company’s bottom line? Salesforce.com states that these videos are equivalent to having “46 extra super excellent sales personnel working 8 hour days and giving flawless pitches to prospective customers each time”. Enough said.

#3: Listening and engaging.

With millions of blogs and forums, the third pillar is the most difficult to control. Baldassare explains that there is good news and bad news regarding listening and engaging. The good news is that there are tools that can enable effective monitoring including; cotweet, scoutlabs, and Salesforce.com’s most recent acquisition, radian6. The bad news is that a portion of this community is developing ever increasing expectations. This is where the problem occurs. There is a technology disconnect, a chasm between the technologies built in the 1980s and where the conversation is taking place today. So how do companies bridge the gap? We start monitoring the internet, or as Baldassare recalls a comment from a colleague, businesses must “figure out what is happening online”. Anyone who is familiar with the way the internet works understands that this is an impossible feat.There is far too much content online to ever be able to “figure it all out”. We need to have a tool that is able to look at all social media platforms, keep track of conversations, and filter these conversations to the appropriate person to take action. How does a business do this? Think 3 m’s (not to be confused with 3M Innovation); mapping, management and measurement.

Mapping is the link to the customer database. This is putting two and two together. Which twitter handle coincides with the entry in your CRM database? At first this can be done manually, but as your conversation and database grows, it will be much easier to use automation. This is best implemented through social single sign-in (e.g., log onto the company site using twitter or Facebook).  Management refers to the organization of information and then turning into actionable tasks. The main goal is to find the common conversation threads and then take action. The third “m” focuses on integrating the aforementioned into business, typically using dashboards. Measurement will help to give the company a 360 degree view of their customers and help to find opportunities and to wow the marketplace.

And with that, Rob Baldassare leaves the crowd with a video answering his question ‘how can you tell if you’re doing this right?’ If you are interested I’ve added the link here, it is definitely good for a laugh – if you’re into business excitement.

Huge thanks to OCRI Zone5ive and Salesforce.com for putting on this incredible event. Saying it was insightful would be an understatement.

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My New Year’s Resolutions

I know it has been months since we rang in the New Year, but 2011 has been without a doubt the busiest year of my life.  I was completely swamped with school work, extra-curricular activities, and not to mention the two part time jobs I have held. Four months later things are quite different and I seem to have acquired a fair bit of spare time. This free time has given me the opportunity to think about doing things for me, three resolutions to be exact.

Resolution #1: Start jogging outside at least three times a week.

My father is an avid runner who has completed more than a handful of marathons in “Boston Qualifying” times. I always assumed that because he was a good running, I would be as well. Genetics right? Boy was I wrong. This year I want to learn to enjoy running and I figure the best way to do that is to push myself (mind you a new pair of running shoes wouldn’t hurt either – did I mention I’m a shopaholic). I’ve got my iPod charged and my route planned no excuses! I’m going out tonight – and I don’t mean to the bar! There might be 5 Ks but this 1 L is going to kick their butts (cheesy, but true)!

Resolution #2: Relax and unwind.

Initially I had planned to use the hot tub after every run I completed, but why stop there. I am going to start taking some time for myself, nothing flashy or wild, just a few nights off to read, browse the net, learn new things, who knows. This might seem easy, but for me it has become hard to let myself unwind. I seem to always be on the go! Anyone have any good book recommendations?

Resolution #3: Start a blog.

Here I am, writing my first blog entry, so I guess this resolution is off to a good start. I’ve always wanted to dabble in the blogging world but I have been way too scared to get my feet wet. Now it is time to dive in! I love to read blogs and I am always extremely impressed with the content and voice people have. I believe that starting my own blog will enable me to develop as a person and allow me to share some of my thoughts and experiences with others. Let’s just hope I can stick with this one!