66 days and counting until Business at the Speed of Now will be available in fine bookstores and on eBooks. It’s getting closer to the December 6th release date!

The evolution to a world where we do Business at the Speed of Now enjoyed strange bedfellows, about as incompatible as John Candy and Steve Martin in the goofball movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Henry Ford’s Model T brought into reality mass production management, which shaped and continues to shape how we think about organizations.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The great age of the television gave a glimpse of the coming of social media. And the computer along with the Internet put into our hands instant access to the world and to each other.

Evidence grows that The Great Recession may be far more than a recession after all. Its’ double-dip nature may prove that our global economy is instead experiencing the grinding gears of a fundamental shift.

“This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle,” says Jeffrey Emmelt, CEO of General Electric. “It represents a reset. It’s an emotional, raw social, economic reset. People who understand that will prosper. Those who don’t will be left behind.”

A century ago we watched the end of the Agricultural Age as the percent of the U.S. population that worked on farms dropped dramatically in response to phenomenal increases in farm productivity. In the past 30 years the same reset has been happening as the Age of Mass Production draws to a close proven by the rapid decline of factory jobs.

If mass production is dying, what’s being birthed? Mass customization – an age when everyone wants what they want and they want it now! The shift is making YES the only viable value proposition (a service economy in the broad sense), and NOW the only acceptable timeframe.

An odd symbol of the changing world is a little object of much affection, the potato chip. While chips are mass produced, today you can find some 1,400 bizarre flavors around the globe as chipmakers adapt to the regional and individual tastes of its customers. While chips are not customized in the NOW, they serve as a greasy example that even mass produced products must increasingly be customized.

The shift has profound implications to how we think about organizations, and profound implications to the critical nature of individual employee autonomy to make the all essential, in-the-now decisions.

This is the final installment of Part One of our series leading to the December 6th release of Business at the Speed of Now. In Part Two, I’ll explore how the birth of a NOW world came to be as seen through the lenses of the heroes of our age: Superman, James T. Kirk, Spiderman, Austin Powers and t

77 days from now Business at the Speed of Now will be in all fine bookstores and available as an ebook. You can preorder it today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 800ceoread.com.

While the logic of Mass Production enabled the affordability of many products, the television gave birth to an exciting new window into the world for the masses. Only if you lived in Berlin or Leipzig in 1936 and knew someone who owned one of the earliest televisions were you able to watch the first televised and infamous Berlin Olympic Games.  Not until the 1950s were Americans no longer reliant on the newspaper’s still photos and the radio’s ability to transmit voice to see their president — television was commonplace. The human desire to peak into the private lives of others — a harbinger of our love of social media – made televisions shows from Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver on to today’s Dancing With the Stars and Survivor.

The affordability of television was made possible by mass production management techniques, perfecting the products and driving down cost and up quality.  Television more than anything, created a platform for common human experience as we all thrilled on Sunday night over The Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and trembled together watching the World Trade Center Towers collapse on live television in 2001. Whether as Trekkies, ESPN couch potatoes or reality TV addicts (American’s spend 1/3 of their free time watching television and 67 percent of that is on reality shows), we hunger for something missing in our boring lives and hope to somehow experience it vicariously watching others.

Reality television is life at the speed of now, watching people face the daunting challenges of everything from losing a 200 pounds to trying to get along in a house or on an island with a bunch of strange and often odd people.

The phenomenal adoption rate of social media should surprise no one, when you think a bit about our love for the intimate details of some else’s life!

Today nearly half of Americans are members of some on-line social network and 30 percent of these users access some social tool several times a day.

We are social creatures, and the revolution that is coming, is when these tools become commonplace INSIDE our organizations. Today many executives see social media as rather strange and a dangerous waste of time and energy, but once they begin to see how to harness their power inside the organization, social media will become the power tool of great leaders in the decade ahead.

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I recently had a fascinating conversation with social media thought leader Brian Solis, author of “ENGAGE! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web.” A man who practices what he preaches, Brian has built his own brand in no small part because of his access to celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Katie Couric.

“We are trying to take an existing one-to-many approach and adapt it to a Mass Customization world and it just doesn’t work,” believes Brian. In no small part, the fundamental challenge and opportunity centers around the fact that social media is all about the “conversation” and that switches organizational communication from a one-to-many strategy to an opportunity for human touch, an opportunity to create relationships. That touch turns the cold message of the corporation into a human connection and the voice breathes life into every problem and every opportunity.

Brian tells people who shun social media that it is not responsible for the invention of conversation; all it has done is bring out into the open what people are already talking about. But the fear most executives have is that it will expose their cracks for all the world to see. That is certainly true.

An excerpt from the working draft of the book that tells the power of social media to move the world:

In a dark shadow with his voice altered to protect his identity the owner of the Twitter handle @BPGlobalPR told his ABC television interviewer the reason why he had taken on British Petroleum over its handling of the 2010 Deep Horizon Gulf oil spill.

“Well, I did it just as a reaction to the way BP was trying to spin things in the Gulf,” told the man who was spoofing BP and the world by tweeting highlights of crisis management missteps as if he worked for BP.  “I felt they were trying to protect their brand more than they were trying to be proactive and honest about the situation down there.”

Josh Simpson, a 26-year-old Los Angeles comedian, was the man behind the farce that rocked BP and the world. Once the crisis cooled down he felt it was okay to reveal his identity. Gaining some celebrity in the process, Josh plans to continue using the handle but is switching what the BP means from British Petroleum to “Big Polluters.”

Social media is rocking our world.

In Chapter Four I examine the drivers of speed in our modern mass customization-driven economy, social media, cloud computing and the millennial mindset. Researching these topics has been fascinating and fun. Next week I’ll share a millennial story that is right out of the movie Legally Blonde, thanks to Dr. Nicole Lipkin, author of “Y in the Workplace: Managing the ‘Me First’ Generation.

We just had to repost this story via Social Media Examiner.  Talk about dumb PR moves! Enjoy and reflect on how United failed to act in the NOW.

United Airlines refused to treat Dave fairly. So he created the above video out of frustration. Now more than 9 million people know how poorly United Airlines treated Dave. If you Google “United Airlines,” you’ll see Dave’s video comes up on page 2. Translation: This one act is now etched into the annals of time and won’t go away anytime soon.

A couple of weeks ago I read this on Blonde2.0, a blog I always enjoy reading by a truly talented founder and CEO of a consultancy firm “helping brands use social media tools such as social networks, the blogosphere, and social software, most effectively in order to create brand awareness, an online buzz, recruit employees or achieve any other goal online.” This article features UberVU a novel and simple way to monitor social conversations. Let us know what you think and be sure to pop over to Blonde2.0!

As a social media agency, it’s important for us to always be up to date on what people are saying on the Web regarding the brands we represent. I was introduced to UberVU at SeedCamp Paris last year, by their founder Vladimir Oane. UberVU collects all the conversations happening around your brand from blogging platforms, microblogging, social news sites, forums and social networks, and makes music by stringing it all together in a highly intuitive interface. Some of the sites that UberVU covers:

UberVU includes simple graphic indicators in their insights to give you an overall view of the kind of buzz or “the sentiment” your brand is generating in the social sphere. Basically you now have the tools to determine at a glance whether people love you; find you about as pleasant as a bad rash; or somewhere in-between. The question remains whether UberVU can pick up on the subtleties of syntax – meaning, do they understand sarcasm, metaphors, short hand and the like. Especially in the communist world of 140 characters for all twitterers regardless of class or station, the ability, or lack thereof, to pick up on such things can make a big difference in the size of the discrepancy between assumed public brand sentiment and reality. This is why UberVU wants to get smarter and is now asking users to help train its sentiment meter. If you ever find a mention in your stream which was incorrectly assessed by their sentiment measurement feature, you can now “teach” it otherwise.

UberVU’s services are divided into a few categories:

Data Collection

The way UberVU works is very easy. You just pick your search term and voila, you will receive all this information either by going to the site or signing up for email alerts. You can decide how often you’ll receive alerts regarding new mentions about your search term/s.

And now look out James Bond, I believe we have ourselves a corporate espionage feature. UberVU allows you to keep track of  the sentiment around your competitors and see exactly how it compares to your own; where are they stronger; where are their weak points – Perhaps the 3.0 version will feature an ejector seat where you can launch the competition out of their desk chair and into the roof of their startup garage, if you get the urge.


You will receive all the reports and charts that you ever dreamed of. The uberVU charts are interactive – you can drill down to specific days or zoom out as much as you want. You can filter information by platform (i.e. twitter, Facebook), language, location and even sentiment.


You can reply to people’s comments right from UberVU. UberVU also offers translations for mentions because not all mentions will be in your native language. All mentions can be translated into your language of choice, or even filtered to arrive directly in your own language, allowing you to respond to tweets, posts and comments immediately without having to cut and paste to a third party translator. The significance? You can now have conversations with foreigners. Not correspondence, conversations.

Exporting Data

UberVU also includes seamless report making features for charts, PDF’s and the like. Reports like this can really come in handy when you want to show others in your company some of these beautiful analytics.

UberVu recently unveiled three new features; Geolocation, Share Of Voice (SOV) and the Daily Sentiment Breakdown:

Geolocation allows you to see exactly where in the world people are talking about your brand and provides you with a very cool visual heat map:

SOV shows you specifically on which platforms your brand is being talked about the most (i.e Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc).

Daily Sentiment Breakdown is really an add-on of UberVU’s core sentiment feature, only now the results can be broken down across a 24 hour period. What this allows for is the tracking of specific daily initiatives so that users can make incremental adjustments to the tone and direction of campaign strategy – slowly turning that frown upside-down.

In a world that’s trying to assess social media’s ROI, there is no specific platform yet which provides a complete, comprehensive measurement tool. However, I have to say that UberVU is one of the best tools out there right now. For anyone managing a social media campaign, both third party and in-house, there are a couple of social media conversation monitoring services – the most expensive of them being Radian6 and the cheapest of them being Google Alerts, which is free. There’s also an Israeli solution called Tracx. However, for the relatively small price UberVU costs, it is able to provide as comprehensive and insightful a solution as you’ll find out there at the moment.  Stay tuned for more cool features coming from them soon.

This post was originally published onThe Next Web on September 8th.

Beware the shiny object. The appeal of the bright new toy is impossible to resist.

Managers have longed searched for that one thing they need to do that will engage their people, transforming the business and creating the ultimate sustainable competitive advantage. We’ve all read the endless stream of books and through them dreamed of a better way. Who hasn’t tried process improvement, scorecards, lean, six sigma, teamwork, personality styles testing, change management and, of course, the power of the new twist on leadership? Well executed, all of these ideas contribute to better performance. With the plethora of information available, our successes in the world of management and leadership should be clear. Right? (more…)

I would urge all of us to take a look at John Moore’s latest article, “Is it SPAM or just smart marketing?” What is your opinion? The following is my response to John’s weblog. Do you agree or have I missed the point?

John, thanks for framing this issue which goes well beyond this one person, book, DM etc. I have very little issue with the specific incident given the mechanics of Twitter. I do believe it was poor marketing for the simple reason that there was no apparent “connection with intent to engage.” Stated directly, it was useless. Over the years we have all learned that marketing, promotion and sales work best when engagement sets in. Engagement requires some value to be present. In this case there was no value (although had he sent a free copy that would have been value!). In the end, it all seems like a waste of effort that probably generates a few sales “by the numbers” and not much more. Aaron

We are very pleased to let you know that we will be syndicating our blog with John Moore and we invite you to subscribe to “Random Thoughts of a Boston-based CTO”, John Moore’s Weblog. John’s passion for social media, customer experience and business results is refreshing and pragmatic. We’ve been talking to John for some time now. He is an inspiration to us and we believe you will enjoy his weblog. We are honored to be able to collaborate with John.

Here is a brief overview from John regarding his blog and focus:

Random Thoughts of a Boston-based CTO: John Moore’s Weblog is dedicated to providing information based upon the views of John Moore who is currently the CTO and SVP of Engineering of Swimfish, Inc. The weblog focuses on topics including Social Media, CRM, Social Support Communities, SharePoint, Management Best Practices, and Engineering Processes.

For the last decade I have worked as a senior engineering manager for SAAS applications built upon the Microsoft technology stack. This has allowed me to have an exciting day job focused on delivering real customer value in the form of products, services, and social conversations. When I am not wearing the CTO/CIO hat I continue to engage in co-creation of value with customers, partners, and vendors and I enjoy writing this blog, engaging in conversations in real-life and twitter. If you want to learn more about CRM, Social Business Strategies, or any other topic I am likely to have an opinion on, stop by and leave me a note.”

So, stay tuned for more on this interesting relationship. We are very excited about the possibilities as is John.

The movement towards change is a difficult course to navigate for many companies.  Emerging technologies, such as Social Media have thrust change onto many of us like it or not.  Accepting that the environment is changing is the first step.  The size of your company is not always the issue.  I have seen many large organizations (500+) adopt and still stay nimble.  Here are three key ways these companies have  guided their ship though the treachous waters of change:


Growth.  Growth, Social Media, Emerging Technology,This seems to be a very difficult topic for many companies right now.  We are at a critical time when many organizations need to make a decision- do I want to experiment with growth or continue down the traditional paths.  There is an emergence taking place out in the markets, a place where brands no longer wait for consumers to come to them, but just the opposite- Brands go to the consumers, where they are!