Sam Eder, CMO of Small World Labs, is a good guy. A funny guy — one that doesn’t take himself too seriously. I first met Sam as he was planning for a social media shootout panel last year at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference that he put together for Sam Lawrence of Jive, Michael Wilson (CEO of Small World Labs) and Rob Howard of Telligent. What validated Sam’s good sense of humor (along with cementing my appreciation of him) was the video that Sam did with Michael.
In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I think I’m good at combining my passion online social technologies and offline networking (especially events with open bars) to market Small World Labs.
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
My first foray into social technology was when I was hired in 2000 to be a marketing specialist for Apple’s Learning Interchange (ALI) – an online community for educators. I watched ALI grow exponentially and was indelibly marked by one concept: It may be ok for “experts” to tell you something but it doesn’t mean as much as it would coming from a peer.
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?
Assuming that I can’t write in Small World Labs here (which I would in a heartbeat), I’m not exactly sure whom I’d pick. While there are a bunch of success stories out there, I’m not seeing anyone who embodies the full promise of “social” from product to marketing to operations.
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Based on the use of social media alone, I’d have to go with Barak Obama. In social media circles we talk about conversations and transparency esoterically (at worst) or campaign by campaign (at best) but he is actually turning the philosophy into high-level policy. While I may not agree with everything he does, I appreciate the manner in which he is using technology to open up government to ongoing conversations with the public. I hope that there are CEO’s and MBA program’s all over the country taking notes about this model of corporate communications.
Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
While I love talking about social media marketing strategies, it would be the same as listening to me talk about toothpaste to my mom (who, to this day, still can’t explain what I do for a living). So, yes, not only would I join, but I participate in “toothpaste” communities ALL THE TIME. A good community should never be judged by its subject but by the passion of its members.
Nothing fires me up in the morning more than knowing that we are helping organizations put together vibrant and passionate communities online, regardless of size and subject matter.
My Social App of Choice (bonus question)
I’ll be unoriginal but I’ll pick Twitter but for an odd reason. I love twitter because it embodies the simple truth of the social web: You don’t need a ton of bells and whistles, at the end of the day all you need is the ability to connect with people and share your thoughts.
There is not a day that goes by that I’m not amazed at the quality of my peers in this industry. That said, every week meet/read someone who is claiming the mantle of social media guru that clearly is not. These folks hurt not only the medium but also our businesses. For that reason, I’m on a quest to stop using “web 2.0” buzzwords and talk about social solutions in terms that impact business, such as customer retention and acquisition. At that level, it is much harder for flimflam artists to subsist on theory and force them get down to real business measurements. Who is with me?