I’ve known Mark Wallace, VP of social media for EDR, for a few years now. He and I were part of the exec team at Shared Insights (along with Jim Storer) — a company that ultimately merged with Knowledge Planet to become Mzinga. The reason I mention this is that Mark and I have spend A LOT of time together… in a good way. From trips to Vegas (conference related) to attending Tool concerts together, we’ve had a chance to bond well beyond a tradititional business relationship.
I am building a community for environmental and property due diligence professionals for Environmental Data Resources called commonground and have succeeded and failed enough times over the years to recognize how to create a vibrant and valuable community.
I originally got involved in online communities back in 2001. I worked very closely with Jim Storer at DCI building online communities in support of our exposition, conference, and seminar business. I remember when we sold our first web seminar for crmcommunity.com members to Siebel Systems (will always be one of my favorite sales of all time) when web seminars were an emerging trend. I remember the high fives flying.
I think I would invest in HubSpot. In addition to the fact that I really like their business model, I feel like they are a company that has truly embraced social media through all aspects of their business. And, I really find value in the products and services they deliver.
If I had to pick one, I would have to say Leonard Abess, Chairman and CEO, of City National Bancshares. What an amazing story. He succeeded where most other banks failed, distributed $60 million in bonuses to his current employees and former employees, and did not show up to take credit for the success when the bonuses were paid out. He is the true definition of a leader and team player. I would love the opportunity to meet him.
I don’t think I would join a toothpaste community although it certainly sounds appealing! What I would like to do is to spend time with the folks who manage that community. I suspect it would be a fairly challenging task. Imagine what we might learn!
Three of the most important things I have learned over the years are:
- Communication happens in three ways – face to face, over the phone, and online. Ignore that as part of your social media strategy and you are doomed to fail.
- Members, partners, and the community owner, need to receive value. If they do, they will participate and even spend money.
- It is important to make time. Find a way.