Archive for May, 2011

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I was going to call this article “All ‘Social Media Experts’ Need To Go Die In A Fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that.

But my title stands. If you call yourself a social media expert, don’t even bother sending me your resume.

No business in the world should want one on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rockstar or savant, either. If you have a social media expert on your payroll, you’re wasting your money.

Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.

Social media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social media, by itself, will not help you.

We’re making the same mistakes that we made during the DotCom era, where everyone thought that just adding the term .com to your corporate logo made you instantly credible. It didn’t. If that’s all you did, you emphasized even more strongly how pathetic your company was. You weren’t “building a new paradigm while shifting alternate ways of focusing customers on the clicks and mortar of an organizational exchange.” No — you were simply an idiot who’d be out of business in six months.

Ready for the ultimate kicker? We still haven’t learned! We got thirsty again, and are drinking the same ten-year-old Kool-Aid without so much as asking for ice. Rather than embracing this new technology and merging it with what we’ve learned already, we’re throwing off our clothes and running naked in the rain, waving our hands in the air, sure that this time it’ll be different, because this time it’s better!

“It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”

Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?

IT’S ABOUT GENERATING REVENUE THROUGH SOLID MARKETING AND STELLAR CUSTOMER SERVICE, JUST LIKE IT’S BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.

It’s about transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now — it doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past. Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye.

It’s about using the tools to market to an audience that wants to help tell your story, because you’ve been awesome at providing them with the service they deserve. United’s reaction to “United Breaks Guitars” WASN’T a stellar example of a good use of social media. It was the exact opposite–it was knee-jerk crisis management that would never have had to happen had United been focused on customer service in their marketing to begin with.

It’s about relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10 percent off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there. If you’re tweeting all your discounts, and none of your customers are on Twitter, then you sir, are an idiot. Marketing involves knowing your audience, and tailoring your promotions in specific bursts to the correct segments.

“Social media experts” don’t know this. They’ll build you a fan page, and when all that work doesn’t convert into new sales, they’ll simply say, “Well, we’ll just post more.”

Don’t be that guy. Real marketers know when to market using traditional methods, social media or even word of mouth. Go ahead. Ask a “social media expert” what a traffic planner does at an agency, then laugh as they quickly ask Google for help finding the answer.

It’s also about brevity. You know what the majority of people calling themselves social media experts can’t do, among other things? THEY CAN’T WRITE. The number of “experts” out there who can’t string a simple sentence together astounds me. Guess what — if we have about three seconds to get our message across to a new customer, you know what’s going to do it?

Not Twitter followers. Not Facebook fans. Not Foursquare check-ins – NO. What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication.

Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first. When Barry Diller was running Paramount, he’d call ten people in his Rolodex each morning, just to say “hi.”  That translated into all of Hollywood knowing this previously unknown executive’s name — because he took the time to reach out and communicate. It also translated into Paramount making billions in a time where other movie companies were struggling.

Do you know your audience? Have you reached out to them? I’m not talking about “tweeting at them.” I’m talking about actually reaching out. Asking them what you can do better, or asking those who haven’t been around in a while what you can do to get them back. It’s not about 10 percent off coupons or “contests for the next follower.” For God’s sake, be smarter than that.

You’d never give the intern permission to write the corporate press release to accompany an earnings announcement, so why the hell are you listening to the 22-year-old who says, “we’re going to do this social media thing because it’s cool?”

Social media is not “cool.” MAKING MONEY IS COOL. Social media is simply another arrow in the quiver of marketing, and that quiver is designed to GENERATE REVENUE.

If you’re doing anything else with social media, here’s a book of matches, and I expect to never see you again.

Originally published by Peter Shankman on May 23, 2011, in Business Insider.

Microsoft to Acquire Skype for $8.5 Billion!

Posted: May 10, 2011 by FMstereo in General, News

Rumors of the acquisition broke last night, and this morning Microsoft has confirmed that they are acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion.Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: “MSFT”) and Skype Global S.à r.l today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype, the leading Internet communications company, for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype.

Skype is the popular voice over internet service that also offers a Mac and iOS App version.

Microsoft reports that Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. The press release also states that they will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

Originally published on Tuesday May 10, 2011 08:32 AM EST. Written by Arnold Kim

In Adam Lashinsky’s latest feature story on Fortune magazine’s new issue — available now on the iPad at $4.99 as single in-app purchase, and free for Fortune subscribers — the author reveals several unknown anecdotes about the company, internal management, and Steve Jobs. The story is full of interesting details for Apple fans and journalists, as well as little known facts about the personality of the CEO, Steve Jobs.Lashinsky, for example, tells the story of the 2008 launch of the iPhone 3G and MobileMe, which didn’t go exactly well for Apple. MobileMe — a rebranded version of iTools and the .Mac service — promised to offer continuous web access to mail and calendars, as well as sync options for iPhones and iPod touches. The initial rollout, however, was affected by slow loading times and servers constantly down, which lead to speculation as to whether MobileMe was really ready for public release, with many questioning the premium fee Apple was asking for one-year usage of the service. In Fortune’s story, Lashinsky says Steve Jobs summoned the entire MobileMe team for a meeting at the company’s on-campus Town Hall, accusing everyone of “tarnishing Apple’s reputation.” He told the members of the team they “should hate each other for having let each other down”, and went on to name new executives on the spot to run the MobileMe team. A few excerpts from the article:

“Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?” Having received a satisfactory answer, he continues, “So why the f*** doesn’t it do that?”

Jobs was also particularly angry about the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg not liking MobileMe:

“Mossberg, our friend, is no longer writing good things about us.”

MobileMe went under major design changes in the past years, reliability improved and the service is now rumored to go under a complete facelift by the launch of iOS 5 with a new name, iCloud.

Lashinsky also mentions the speech Steve Jobs gives every time to a newly-appointed VP, which the author calls “Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President.” The speech focuses on the distinction between “excuses” and “reasons”, and the amount of responsibility a VP has to handle in his every day job. When you become a VP you don’t have any excuse for your failures, and reasons stop mattering the moment you’re appointed.

“Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when he asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: The locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn’t have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. “When you’re the janitor,” Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, “reasons matter.” He continues: “Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.” That “Rubicon,” he has said, “is crossed when you become a VP.”

In his report — the result of hundreds of interviews with former Apple employees and people familiar with Apple’s culture – Lashinsky describes the creative process inside the company:

“The creative process at Apple is one of constantly preparing someone — be it one’s boss, one’s boss’s boss, or oneself — for a presentation to Jobs. He’s a corporate dictator who makes every critical decision — and oodles of seemingly noncritical calls too, from the design of the shuttle buses that ferry employees to and from San Francisco to what food will be served in the cafeteria.”

Other anecdotes from the story:

  • Just two people wrote the code to convert Safari for the iPad
  • At Apple there’s never confusion “as to who is responsible for what.” In Apple’s parlance, a DRI’s name (directly responsible individual) always appear on the agenda for a meeting, so that everyone knows who’s the right contact for a project
  • Steve Jobs meets with executives on Mondays to review every important project. On Wednesdays, he holds a marketing and communications meeting
  • Jobs’s approach to design and “feel” of a product is shared among the whole company, even if 90% of employees have never met Steve Jobs, Lashinsky writes
  • Once a project is nearing completion, Apple spends whatever they need to make it perfect. For example, they contracted the London Symphony Orchestra to record the iMovie soundtracks; they sent a camera crew to Hawaii to film a demo video for a wedding scene; they even staged a fake wedding in a San Francisco church to get a different take on the video, with Apple employees playing guests
  • The executive who runs the Apple online store has no control over the photographic material that goes on the website. Apple’s graphic arts department creates and chooses and photographs
  • Steve Jobs hired dean of Yale School of Management Joel Podolny to run the Apple University, an internal group also featuring business professors and Harvard veterans that are writing a series of case studies to prepare employees for the life at Apple after Jobs. These case studies focus on Apple’s recent business decisions and internal culture, they are exclusive to employees and taught by top executives like Tim Cook and Ron Johnson

You can find Lashinsky’s “Inside Apple” in the latest issue of Fortune for iPad (the article will also be available online for free on Fortune’s website), and we highly recommend it as it’s a very interesting read and detailed take on Apple’s culture, Steve Jobs’ modus operandi and the way employees see the company from the inside. It includes several more details on the Top 100, a secret meeting for Steve Jobs’ top employees and executives the company holds annually in an undisclosed location to discuss business plans and unveil “important initiatives.” The meeting rooms are even checked to be swept for electronic bugs likely placed by “snooping competitors”.

You can download the Fortune app here, and download the latest issue with the full report at $4.99.

Originally published by Federico Viticci in MacStories.


Media research firm Nielsen today announced the results of its Mobile Connected Device Report survey for the first quarter of 2011, determining that Apple held a dominating 82% of the installed base for tablets in the United States during the quarter. The survey found 3G-capable iPads slightly more popular than non-3G models, 43% to 39%, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab proving the most popular competitor with only 4% of the market.
The study also examined the effect of tablet ownership on usage of other devices, with 35% of tablet owners reporting that they had decreased usage of desktop computers and 32% reporting decreased usage of notebook computers. Interestingly, 9% of owners actually increased their desktop machine usage while 13% increased their notebook usage, calling into question just how much of the usage variation is due to effects from tablets.Twenty-seven percent of those who also own eReaders said they use their eReader less often or not at all – the same percentage as those who also own portable media players. One-in-four tablet owners who own portable games consoles are using those devices less often, if at all, since purchasing a tablet.
About half of tablet owners report that they are the exclusive user of the device in their household, while 43% report sharing the device with others. 8% of tablet owners do not use the device at all, with usage instead tied to another member of the household.

Originally posted by Eric Slivka on Thursday May 05, 2011 01:25 PM
Like two knights jostling for the hand of a fair maiden, both Facebook and Google appear to be courting the graces of Skype. A source close to Facebook recently told Reuters that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is thinking about buying Skype outright, as part of a deal that could be worth $3 to $4 billion. A second source, meanwhile, claimed that both Facebook and Google are more interested in forming a joint venture with the teleconferencing company, which has yet to issue an IPO. With discussions still in a nascent stage, both suitors are playing their cards close to their chests, while Skype, rather coyly, has declined to comment on the speculation. At this point, details are still hazy and rumor-infused, though it’s certainly not shocking to hear these kinds of murmurs buzzing around. Skype’s been integrating Facebookmore deeply into its software for a while now and has gradually branched out to Android, as well (albeit with mixed results). Both Facebook and Google would also stand to benefit from Skype’s millions of usersand all the targeted advertising potential they’d offer. Until we receive more substantiated reports, however, all discussions of possible unions remain restricted to the realm of conjecture.
Originally posted by Amar Toor  posted May 5th 2011 at 6:49AM