How I work….

Location: I live in Scottsdale, Arizona

Current computers:  Company issue Lenovo and a Macbook Pro

Current mobile devices:  iPhone 6 and Google Pixel 2

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Evernote, Todoist, Sonos, Spotify, headspace, V60 for coffee, Moleskine notebook and pen

What’s your workspace like? Tidy (ish). Laptop, two monitors. My desk is kept clear for the most part. I have some decent art on the wall to inspire me and I have my own v60.  I’m about to add a standing desk.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? I could say ‘Not opening my emails until 10am’ but the best shortcut is to invest time in building your own process for getting things done. Being able to capture, collect and process all incoming stuff efficiently is key. I can’t recommend enough David Allen’s two books ‘Getting Things Done’ and ‘Making It Happen’ to build a framework for how to, well, get things done. ‘How to be a productivity Ninja’ by Graham Allcott is also a great read.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  errrr. Remembering useless stuff like actors names, bus timetables. Handy in a pub quiz though.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?  Todoist. Hands down.

What do you listen to while at work?  Spotify. I have a couple of playlists that I plough through:  ‘Currently listening to‘, Brian Eno Wants you to Study More, Getting things Done.

What are you currently reading?  Inside New order by Peter Hook; Get Some Headspace by Andi Puddicome, I also have a Rebus novel on the go.

What’s your sleep routine like?  Must try harder. Bed by 10pm, alarm is set for 6am. always awake at 5am. I’m an early bird but it also means I become next to useless by 9pm at night.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  “Don’t rise to it.” When I was younger I would easily get wound up by little things, my Mum and Dad taught me to ignore it. I still struggle from time to time.

“You don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you”
Marcus Aurelius

 

Leadership

I’ve just finished re-reading Les McKeown’s Lead. It is an area I’ve been reading into lately for a number of reasons. Primarily, it was to get a clearer understanding of what leadership really is. It’s a term that gets thrown around, seemingly at will.

Les defines leadership as

” helping any group of two or more people achieve their common goals”

So it’s really about people adding value rather than knowing more than anyone else. It’s certainly not defined by rank or seniority.

This means that there will be leaders scattered throughout any organisation.  They won’t have a fancy title or perhaps even see themselves as leaders. These are people who will do something differently, take on a new challenge, experiment and test. They will quietly deliver projects and actions that help their colleagues, their departments, and their companies achieve their common goals.

In whatever shape or form these actions are, they will undoubtedly take several other members of the organisation with them. And when these individuals act and behave as leaders it will become a natural step rather than a conscious decision to follow.

I passed the Google Analytics IQ Test

At the start of the year I set myself the goal of improving my understanding and working knowledge of google analytics and I specifically set the goal of passing the Google Analytics IQ (GAIQ) exam by the close of April 2015.

This was in part due to a growing reliance on the platform for monitoring and reporting as part of the day to day responsibilities of the team. It was also in response to me recognising that I didn’t know the platform as well as I needed to. Furthermore, it is also something I want my team to undertake as part of their career development, so I was happy to be the guinea pig.

So whilst I didn’t pass it before April, I did pass it.

Google Analytics IQ Certificate
Google Analytics IQ (GAIQ) Certificate

Six newsletters that won’t see me hitting unsubscribe.

I recently culled a load of newsletters. Usual criteria applied: unread, unopened, boring. Some of which I hadn’t even subscribed to. (One was from a company who I had recently applied for a role. Anyhoop, despite several attempts to follow up the application, I didn’t hear from them. Then I did hear from them. They had subscribed me to their newsletter. Which was nice.)

Unsubscribe Graffiti

I digress. I typically don’t subscribe to pure b2b marketing newsletters, simply because I use twitter to find good articles, or rather, because I manage my following and lists pretty well the articles find me. So the list below is a mix of this and that. Nevertheless, I hope you find the same level of inspiration in them that I do.

1. Battenhall. A generalist yet solid and consistently good range of insights into social and comms. If you subscribe you can expect to get ad-hoc updates throughout the week and a monthly roundup. Such as this.

2. Longform. They have perfectly judged the length of it’s content and the time of delivery. So unsurprisingly it pops into my inbox on a Saturday afternoon (Morning if you’re in the US). This means I have time to read it. That said I typically save them to Instapaper which in turn pings them to my Kindle. It’s also my current favourite site.

3. In over your head. First thing I should say is that it isn’t a newsletter. In fact it’s the only blog to which I subscribe outside of my greader/feedly. Why? Because of this post, one of my favourite posts of all time. That aside, I’m a big fan of Julien’s no-nonsense approach to writing.

4. SEOMoz. Perhaps an obvious one. Nevertheless, they have nailed it.  Their monthly Top 10 is absolute gold. They balance their own content with curated content really well. In a nutshell, the best 10 articles on Inbound marketing, design, UX, customer experience.

5. 37 Signals.  Called ‘Incoming Transmission’ it covers topics such as business, web and design. Again they balance their own content and curated content really well so you’re as likely to read something by one of their designers on UX as your are about what happens to a face cloth in space.

6. Brain Pickings. I’ve only been subscribing a little while but blimey there is some fascinating stuff in there. Pure Inspiration. Such as this. I don’t always read it week to week but it’s one of those newsletters that if I unsubscribed I’d probably forget it existed and that wouldn’t be a good thing.

Which newsletters do you refuse to unsubscribe from?

Photo Credit: incurable_hippie via Compfight cc

The problem with social media #1: Free & Easy

Image by ky_olsen via flickr

It’s not free and its not easy.

Of course, the platforms are free and it doesn’t take much to sign up to LinkedIn or friendfeed. You’ll get a few ‘friends’ and a few ‘follows’ without much initial effort. It all seems so easy.

And then, of course, there is the inevitable discussion about ROI. People talk about finding the ultimate measure of ROI in social media, because we all know by now that Dell achieved $6.5 in sales through Twitter alone, and Ford have make excellent ground and so forth. However, what a lot people fail to remember is that both Dell and Ford have experienced huge failures in social media in the past. It’s taken them years to get to where they are now. In short, it’s not the return, it’s the investment.

Personally, I think businesses need to forget, at least in the short term, about the return they hope to achieve from social media, and instead focus on the investment required to make any social media activity a success. I am currently rolling out a social media strategy in the ‘change management’ space. This is a new approach to my client and as such all I will be doing for the next two months is simply listening.In the words of Chris Brogan, I will be ‘growing bigger ears.” And yes, GoogleReader, google alerts, and the excellent addictomatic, are free, but it’s going to take a huge amount of time to distill all the information into a meaningful analysis of, for example, the key bloggers and trust agents within the Change Management world.

This sentiment was in part echoed by BSkyB’s Maz Nadjm (@mazi) and by Fresh Networks’ Charlie Osmond (@cosmond) at yesterday’s Likeminds conference as part of a panel discussion on the key components of a social strategy. Maz stated that it has “taken (BSkyB) years to get to where we are now…and has involved a huge amount of internal education and communication”. These things do not happen overnight. Charlie Osmond at FreshNetworks, reiterated Maz’s point by stating that “it took manufacturers years to get to grips with Just In Time processes, and some are still struggling. The same can be said for social. BSkyB are ahead of the curve but for many companies it will take years and and even then may not crack it.”

Social media takes time. Be appreciative of the resource, and not necessarily financial, that will be required to become ‘social’, or at least be able to identify the communities you wish to be engaging with. Anyone can sign up to a social platform and claim they are engaging, but very few can demonstrate that they have invested properly at the front end, so that they know who they are engaging with.

A new adventure awaits……

via Flickr: geishaboy500

After an eventful 2009, which saw me end my time with Easynet and become another ‘Global Recession’ statistic, I am pretty chuffed to say that a new challenge awaits me today, as I join Changefirst as their new marketing manager.

Changefirst provide change management solutions for the likes of Nokia, Zurich and Virgin Media, and I am very excited to be joining them and getting involved with the many and varied projects that lie ahead. The next couple of weeks will be spent getting to know them, their accounts and strategies, as well as their core methodology for change management. I cannot wait, I am really looking forward to getting my hands dirty again.

Of course, there will be more updates on the adventure as it unfolds.