Experts in the Industry: Shel Israel (1 of 45)

Thank you Shel for being my first guineau pig. Anwers to my questions from my Experts in the Industry: 45 Interviews in 45 Days post.

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I write and speak about social media and I’m good at it because of the passion I feel for the subject. 
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
Desperation. My dotcom PR business tanked. If I was going to be broke, I wanted to do something I loved and that was writing. I asked four people if they would write a book with me. Scoble was the 4th and the 1st foolish enough to say yes. 
If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
Twitter. Because they have the greatest potential to grow the furthest and make the most ROI. 
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Barack Obama, doesn’t everyone? 
Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
Nope. I have no passion for toothpaste. 
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
Time is the one resource you really cannot replace. Use it wisely and have as many enjoyable moments as you possibly can.

Experts in the Industry: 45 Interviews in 45 Days

I’m trying a little experiment. If it works, it could make for some interesting insights. If it doesn’t, you’ll still get some interesting perspectives. I’m interviewing 45 interesting people in the 45 days leading up to SXSW. To that end, I sent an e-mail out last night inviting a number of luminaries in the world of social in to answer a few short questions:
UPDATE (3/27): I’ve obviously run WELL beyond my initial 45 and we are now past SXSW. HOWEVER, I’m continuing the series as long as I have interviewees. I’ll probably cap this at 90 but if you’re on the list below and don’t have a date assigned to you, I would still LOVE to get your answers.
NOTE (1/29) – there are some add’l questions in the comments that interviewees may want to consider from GGroovin, Alex, Debra, Chad, and Geekmommy
  • In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
  • How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
  • If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
  • Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
  • Would you join a toothpaste community? Why? [for background on this question, see the “Would you Join a Toothpaste Community”]
  • Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
So far, here’s the list of folks that have either 1) already answered my questions or 2) have responded that they are willing to participate. For the folks that have already responded, I’ve put dates next to their names. First up, Mr. Shel Israel who responded within a couple of hours of my e-mailing him.
Here’s the roster:

*Trying not to shaft folks by putting up their post over the weekend.
**With so many folks agreeing to do this interview, I’m going to start doubling up
over the next couple of weeks.

I have a number of other folks that I’ve invited to participate but if you know somebody that is a MUST interview, let me know. Also, it’s not too late to add a question or two. Just post ’em in the comments.
If I’ve reached out to you via DM, you can e-mail me answers at stroutmeister AT gmail dot com
UPDATE 1/28 Just added Sam Lawrence, Greg Verdino, Doug Haslam and Adam Cohen, Peter Naylor, Mari Smith, Lionel Menchaca, Jennifer Leggio, Ann Handley, Dave Evans, Ben McConnell, Amber Naslund, Christine Perkett, Brooks Bayne, Leslie Poston, Marcel LeBrun, Laura “Pistachio” Fitton, Jim Turner, Francine McKenna, and Scott Monty

UPDATE 1/29 added Josh Hilliker, Bill Johnston, Jason Falls, Marvin Chow, Tim Walker, Stowe Boyd, Natanya Anderson, Patrick Moran, Sam Eder, Kathy Warren, Rachel Happe, Francois Gossieaux, Paul May, Gradon Tripp, Wayne Sutton, Lani & Benn Rosales, Ken Burbary, Mike Walsh, Sara Dornsife, Mike Lewis, Chris Brogan, Ari Herzog, KD Paine, Shannon Paul, Mack Collier, Doc Searls, Alexis Martin Neely, Aronado Placencia and Dennis Howlett

NOTE: Okay, I’ve officially exceeded 45. But that’s not a bad thing. Not changing the title of the post though.

Insight’s from the AMA’s M-planet’s Conference

The keynote at the AMA’s M-planet Conference kicks off with Dennis Dunlap, CEO of the American Marketing Association talking about the importance of scenario planning for CMO’s as they move forward. This approach should avoid missing opportunities while not betting the farm on a trend or technology that may or not pan out. Two examples Dennis gave that reinforced this message were:

  1. President and founder of once great Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), Kenneth Olsen’s, prediction in 1997 that “there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
  2. Business Week’s prediction in 1968 that stated “with over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.”
Not a bad recommendation given the associated risks although I imagine this type of approach is hard for many companies to execute on given their quarter to quarter type of approach. By the way, Dennis/AMA took an interesting approach in his kick off by bringing four actors who were playing the roll of the CMO of the future (circa 2015). While innovative, it came off as a little bit contrived because you could tell that the actors had memorized their lines so it wasn’t as authentic as it could have been. I give Dennis an A for effort and a B- for execution.
Next up, Anne Mulcahy who is the chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation. Anne (pictured above) started her keynote by citing a number of statistics including the fact that Blackberry owners check e-mail on average 50 times a day and ironically that there are thousands of blog posts created every hour (which is exactly what I’m doing as she speaks). Most importantly, Anne did mention the importance of figuring out the impact/value of social media. Glad to know this is on her mind.
One thing I like about Anne’s talk is that she is talking about the importance of “listening” to their customers. The approach that Xerox is taking is more CRM and focus group oriented which is a good first step but it’s too bad that they aren’t taking it a step further and listening to the socialsphere. 
Anne went on to stress the importance of going back to basics with a focus on brand, messaging, and measurement. Certainly good advice to live by but nothing radically new. Anne did conclude during the Q&A; portion of her talk with a recommendation that companies don’t retrench but instead act boldly! This means that they need to listen to what their marketing departments have to say and to explore new avenues for growth opportunities.
More to come…
I missed Amex CMO, John Hayes, keynote because I had to jump on a conference call so here is  a nice wrap up of that session written by @marketingshift.
Next up is Mary Dillon, EVP and Global CMO of McDonald’s. Now there is no doubt in my mind that Mary is incredibly smart. She’s also quite eloquent. However, her presentation is a mix of cool McDonald videos/commericals and a very high level discussion of the way she/McDonald’s think about global brand. Obviously this is an interesting topic for some folks but I can’t help but think that there are a number of people in the audience (small businesses in particular) that are scratching their heads saying “how does this help my 15 person business exactly?”
Unfortunately, Mary yadda-yadda-ed over the most interesting part of her presentation which for me was McDonald’s covert but clever Lost Ring game. She did mention that it was a tricky concept to sell to her senior team. I can only imagine being a fly on the wall of that meeting.
NEXT UP: My session which is titled – Competing in a World of Networked Organizations: Implications for Marketing. Obviously I can’t live blog this section so I’ll either find the Twitter hash tags for this one (should be #mplanet) or I will do a summary post sometime this evening including my portion of the PPT which I will post on slideshare.

Stranger in a Strange Land
I’m at the AMA’s M-planet Conference in Orlando, FL, sitting of to the side of the show room floor (see picture). As I sit here recording this uttercast, I’m amazed by what a stranger I’ve become in this world of marketing. And that’s not necessarily a good thing, especially when I am a marketer myself and I’m supposed to understand the mindset of other marketers better than anyone else at my company.

The three points I made in today’s recording are:

  1. I shouldn’t be surprised that this is somewhat of a traditional conference because that’s what most of my marketing brethren/sistren are expecting (and that’s not a dig on anyone).
  2. This is a good reminder as to why I need to get outside the fishbowl. It’s fun to talk to my social friends and it’s why I chose to have dinner with Greg Verdino of Crayon last night but at the end of the day, it’s the marketers here I need to connect with.
  3. My job is to help the folks here understand how social media/marketing and online communities can be a game changer. That’s not to diminish other marketing channels like e-mail, SEO/SEM, online advertising, etc. but to let folks know that there is a game changer out there that will give them more than a .05% incremental return on their investment.

On that note, I’m off to network, watch some panels (with a little live blogging/tweeting where appropriate) and then some evangelizing during my speaking slot at 2:00 PM.

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