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I was thumbing through old Quora posts and noticed I had made a ringing endorsement of Google Glass.  “How could it not work?” The medical field alone would be enough to keep it an exciting new product. Wrong!

Many years ago I worked for McCann-Erickson, a top 3 advertising global agency. McCann handled Coca-Cola. They had just brought on a new creative director, Gordon Bowen, who stood before the entire NYC office in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria and he smilingly told us, “It’s Coke, how hard can it be.” It practically sells itself, he implied. Coke was gone within the year to a group called Creative Artists. A west coast talent agency.

So here’s one for the prognosticators.  Expect to be wrong. Even when you know you are right. Don’t be paranoid, but keep an eye toward the future knowing there are no absolutes.

I love to position myself as a beyond the dashboard planner. It’s where, I believe, the successful marketers need to play. But you get a black eye every now and again. Expect it. Learn from it. Parlay it.


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There are two fundamental behavior types on the social web: giving and taking. Givers are those trying to help others, either via original thought or curation.  All those posts on Twitter that start out “7 ways to increase your…”,  those are from givers.  Takers are people looking for information. “Where is Lone Survivor playing? Who is the actress in Vampire Diaries?”  Takers are also looking to get answers to questions. Platforms like Ask, Jelly and Quora come to mind.

If, as a brand, you look at the web from this Giver-Taker point of view it will help you with your customers. SEO people get this. The reality is, though, not a lot of people are in the market looking for brighter brights in clothes washing.  One of the guard rails in my Slideshare presentation on social media dos and don’ts is “Care about what your customers care about.”  If you understand your customers “taker” behaviors and have a brand plan (1 claim, 3 support planks), you can align your social giver content in more targeted, higher-value ways. 

So the keys are: Know what your custies care about. And have a brand plan that gives form, relevance and meaning to your sharing. Otherwise you are just pizzling in the ether. Peace.

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The first web portal or big web project I ever worked on was ZDNet.  It was mid- to late 90s and they were in a dogfight with C|Net for audience. The key care-abouts were what they called the the 3Cs: Content, Commerce and Community.

Content was what ZDNet owned, having come out of the print publishing area. Commerce was all about hooking up buyers and sellers rather than selling on the site and Community was more about aggregating a class of reader than about creating interaction among those readers.

This was all before social networking and social media took off. These ZDNet guys and girls were inventing community and social on the fly. Community is still a big wielder of weight on the web. It’s mobile and location based, and, and, and, but it is still ripe fruit.

Many builders of community look at the offline world for inspiration: book clubs, quilters, home brewers, support groups. People who used to meet in houses or libraries – willing to commune over a topic. But what’s exciting and entrepreneurial today, though, is bringing together communities of like-minds interested in topics not found in the offline world. Quora would be a good place to mine for these. Moreover, it might be a good place to start these communities. Ning attempted to cash in here, but it was cumbersome and had to be orchestrated. Quora already has the settlers. Mick Jagger might say “It’s just a click away.” Peace!

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