The wisdom of Seth Godin: Choose Your Customers First

We’ve all heard it – start by finding a group of target customers that has a problem (a “pain“) or an opportunity (a “gain“) that you have the skills and tools to address. But Seth Godin reminds us that the desirability of a customer set goes beyond pains and gains to the issue of, do you want to do business with these people ? Are they willing to pay what your product or service is worth ? Do they have integrity ? Will they carry out their end of the bargain ? Think about that before you launch your business. When you decide, design your product or service so it will attract your desired customers and not appeal to the customers you don’t want to serve.

Seth offers a few examples for all of us to consider:

“The real estate broker ought to pick which sort of buyer before she goes out to buy business cards, rent an office or get listings.

The bowling alley investor ought to pick whether he’s hoping for serious league players or girls-night-out partiers before he buys a building or uniforms.

The yoga instructor, the corporate coach, the app developer–in every case, first figure out who you’d like to do business with, then go make something just for them. The more specific the better…”

Massive Open Online Courses – There Is a New World Unfolding

Following up on his 2005 book “The World Is Flat”, columnist Thomas Friedman has spent a lot of time and energy tracking the progress of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their impact on traditional colleges and universities.

When Friedman recently visited Coursera, founded by two computer scientists from Stanford, it had 2.4 million students taking 214 courses from 33 universities. Udacity and edX, a nonprofit created by Harvard and M.I.T., also offer MOOCs. Although the number of students completing the final exams appears to be low, the courses can be rewarding for both the students and the professors teaching them.

Besides the wide availability of high-speed internet access, the major force pushing the change is the world’s demand for competence more than credentials. “There will be less interest in how you achieved the competency – in an online course, at a four-year college or in a company-administered class – and more demand to prove that you mastered the competency”, Friedman says. This means that higher education must move from a model of “time served” to a model of “stuff learned”.

He sees some universities where students are directed to study the basic material online at their own pace, then go to the classroom to apply the knowledge through discussions with a professor, lab experiments or other hands-on exercises.

The online courses can come from anywhere. Friedman cites a Harvard professor who reports that “Harvard Business School doesn’t teach entry-level accounting anymore, because there is a professor out a Brigham Young University whose online accounting course ‘is just so good’ that Harvard students use that instead.” As Friedman puts it, “when outstanding becomes so easily available, average is over… The world of MOOCs is creating a competition that will force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy or face an online competitor.”

Friedman quotes M.I.T. president L. Rafael Reif: “I can see a day soon where you’ll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world — some computing from Stanford, some entrepreneurship from Wharton, some ethics from Brandeis, some literature from Edinburgh — paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion. It will change teaching, learning and the pathway to employment. There is a new world unfolding,” said Reif, “and everyone will have to adapt.”

What do you think ?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/opinion/friedman-the-professors-big-stage.html?ref=thomaslfriedman&_r=0
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/opinion/sunday/friedman-revolution-hits-the-universities.html?ref=thomaslfriedman

Protecting Your Online Reputation (part four):

Tracking what people are saying about you

So far, you’ve taken the first steps of protecting your data transmissions, and capturing social media sites and domain names related to your business.

Now it’s time to start watching for what other people are saying about you on the internet. There are several tools that you can use, and we will show you two of them here: Google Alerts and Social Mention. Both are free. Other popular choices include TweetDeck, HootSuite, and paid services like SproutSocial or, for the larger company, Radian6.

You will find that these tools work better for some companies than others. Searching for SCORE (www.score.org), the volunteer organization that helps small business owners and people who want to start a small business, results in a large number of posts about sporting events, with a smaller number of posts relevant to your search. As they say in the weight loss ads, your results may vary.

Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) is a good tool for monitoring comments about your company, your competitors, and your industry. With the Google Alerts tool, you can search news items, blogs, and video for a search phrase of your choice; choose how often to be notified; and pick the email account you want to use. For example, if you want to see news about the Olympics, your report could look like this:

Social Mention (www.socialmention.com) gives you a long list of posts, photos and videos related to your search phrase. It also gives you analysis of the sentiment of the posts (positive/neutral/negative), the top key words being used, the top users, the top hashtags, and the top sources. This makes it easier to ‘drill down’ on the results of your search.

Searching for posts related to your name (or your company’s name, or your brand’s name), or your competitors, gives you an opportunity to respond quickly to both positive and negative comments. Want to learn more about protecting your online reputation? Contact Pat Huston (pat@pathuston.com), Bob Gaynor (bob@pathuston.com), or go to www.pathuston.com.

Protecting Your Online Reputation (part three): capturing your domain names

By now, you’ve seen how many social media sites there are, and decided which ones to reserve for yourself.

Your next decision will involve spending some money to purchase domain names. There are about as many choices of domain name as there are social media sites, so unless you have the resources of Coca-Cola or Bank of America, you probably won’t be able to buy as many domains as you want. Again, pick the most important ones for you.

In today’s world, you have a physical identity and a digital identity. Your name, or the name of your business, can be a domain name. To protect your online reputation, you must own your name (or as many variations as you can afford to buy). If someone else owns it, then you have no control over it. Well, almost no control.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has established a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy to resolve disputes over the registration of internet domain names. When someone registers a domain name, he or she agrees that the name will not infringe upon the rights of any third party, and agrees to participate in an arbitration process if a third party claims infringement.

To succeed in the claim, the third party (you) must generally show three things: the disputed domain name is ‘identical or confusingly similar’ to a trademark or service mark that you own; that the existing registrant does not have any rights to the domain name; and that the registrant is using the domain name ‘in bad faith’. Notice that this policy applies to names that are trademarked or service marked. (A word to the wise: if this looks interesting, see an attorney.)

The ICANN policy gives you some rights to recapture domain names after the damage has been done, but you are much better off protecting your name before someone else can use it against you.

Choosing the domain names you want and seeing which ones are available will take you on another trip to www.knowem.com. Enter a name that you want to check. For example, when the name “”samplechamber” is entered, here’s what you see:

When you see the domains where your name is available, you can decide which ones to claim for yourself. You can register these domains at sites like GoDaddy.com, eNom, NetworkSolutions.com, 1&1.com, and many more.

After you decide which domains to buy, you also have a choice to register your domain with your own information or with domain privacy. The ICANN generally requires that the owner of a domain name be identified in the “WHOIS” directory with mailing address, phone number and email address. Sometimes spammers and identity thieves will use this information in ways ICANN did not expect. Several domain name registrars offer domain privacy, replacing the buyer’s information with the information of a forwarding service. Other registrars offer ‘who.is guard’ and ‘domain locking’. Check out the features offered by your domain registrar.

By owning your name online, you have taken another step to keep the bad guys from using it (or your company’s name, or your brand’s name) against you. Want to learn more about protecting your online reputation? Contact Pat Huston (pat@pathuston.com), Bob Gaynor (bob@pathuston.com), or go to www.pathuston.com.

Protecting Your Online Reputation (part two):

Capturing your social media identity

Once you’ve protected your communication with existing social media sites, your next step is to find and capture your name, the name of your business, and the name of your products in other social media. This will keep critics or competitors from using a site with your name to damage your reputation. Your goal is not to use all of these sites for your business, but to keep critics or competitors from using them.

One way to find out what names are available on social media sites is to go to www.knowem.com. Enter a name that you want to check. For example, when the name “samplechamber” is entered, here’s what you see:

When you see the sites where your name is available, you can decide which ones to claim for yourself. Keep your ID and password, and other registration information in case you decide to use these media later, or you need to renew your registration.

Taking these precautions will take you a long way toward keeping the bad guys from creating a social media site with your name (or your company’s name, or your brand’s name) on it and using it against you. Want to learn more about protecting your online reputation? Contact Pat Huston (pat@pathuston.com), Bob Gaynor (bob@pathuston.com), or go to www.pathuston.com.

Protecting Your Online Reputation (part one):

Protect your wi-fi connections

If you’re like a lot of people, you use public wi-fi service offered by locations like Panera Bread. Unfortunately, some miscreants hang around public wi-fi sites using software tools to capture your passwords and other security information. When someone else has access to your account, it’s a lot harder to protect your reputation.

The good news is, many social sites have made a change to support start-to-finish encryption of your sessions with the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This keeps your important information out of the hands of people with bad intentions.

Google has implemented encryption automatically – you don’t need to make any changes. Here is Google’s explanation. Looks a bit out of date, but informative 

LinkedIn uses encryption automatically for some kinds of transmissions, and gives subscribers the option to select SSL start-to-finish. They warn us that some third-party applications may not support SSL:

The road to selecting SSL for LinkedIn is a bit long. Click on the dropdown menu next to your name, then choose ‘settings’, click the ‘account’ tab, then click ‘manage your security settings’. Finally you will see this:

Twitter reportedly made SSL their default setting in 2011, but it would be worthwhile to check your settings. Click on the drop-down menu next to the silhouette on the top menu bar and select ‘settings’. You should see this (the selection for ‘password reset’ is optional but a good choice):

Facebook – check your setting by clicking on the dropdown menu next to ‘home’, select ‘account settings’ then ‘security’, and you should see that secure browsing is enabled. If not, edit the setting.

Taking these precautions will take you a long way toward keeping the bad guys from scanning your signals for passwords. Want to learn more about protecting your online reputation? Contact Pat Huston (pat@pathuston.com), Bob Gaynor (bob@pathuston.com), or go to www.pathuston.com.

Ask Patti “what’s with the power of interests listed on my linkedin profile?

Great question. Did you know that your interests (many can be added separated by commas) can become hyperlinks to those that share same in kind? Once you have edited to create your interests, your profile view becomes a link to others connected or not. How cool is that….

 

Don’t forget the groups you are a part of as well. Same difference only to groups …..get linkedin to work for you by employing this often missed opportunity. Powerful way to connect to others that have similar interests and groups to you.

and thanks again for a great question

 

Ask Patti “How do I control my group updates?

Pat:

I’m getting swamped with Linkedin messages (over 50 in less than 2 days). Most of them say See what….. is doing. Why am I getting all these so suddenly? What can I do to stop or reduce them? I don’t think I’ve connected to most of them.

 

Lee

 

Hello Lee!

 

Ah…the updates from linkedin groups….overwhelming eh? Go to your groups (up top under groups) or under your name (settings). Chose the hyperlink to the group you want to edit. Once inside the group click more and unclick the updates, activities, or discussions (etc).

 

Repeat for all groups that you are a member of. I am active to only a handful……You’ll need to decide what groups are most meaningful top you. Does this help?

 

Set it and forget it:)

 

Cheers!

 

Pat Huston
Geek Speak LLC
Clearwater, Florida

Ask Patti – Where do I go for gas on linkedin?? (super connected people)

Patti,
I wanted to THANK YOU once again for taking the time last week in discussing the importance of utilizing social media at our Professional Networking Group with the Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance. Just to jog your memory, I’m the one who spoke up and said that after attending many of these P.N.G. meetings, this has been, by far, the best training that I have ever experienced with this group. I also spoke with you after your presentation. I own and operate an event based business, through a franchise (Maui WowiHawaiian Coffees & Smoothies), but looking to go out on my own and create my own concept. I really appreciate all of your insight and if at all possible can you please forward me your presentation and any other material that you find beneficial. Also, I would like to “connect” with you through LinkedIn.Can you give me some immediate pointers?
Again, I really appreciate all that you have done and if there is ever any classes, seminars or training that you have, I would be very interested in attending.
Thanks again and take care.
Ask Patti says:
You need gas to drive a car……10 super connected people (500+) per week until you get to 15 million 3rd party connections….Just use advanced search for LIONS and sort by connections.
EASY!!

Ask Patti – Your linkedin Dear Abby

Hi Patti,

I have a friend who owns a placement services company for IT professionals. He has agreed to keep his ears open for me and has said he is going to send my resume to a company he knows will be hiring soon. In the ‘People You May Know’ section, I see the president of the company he told me about. Do you think it’s a good idea for me to try to connect directly with him? He doesn’t know me at all and I don’t think he would even be aware what my friend has offered to do for me.

Thanks,
Monica

Hello Monica,

Good sleuthing! You want to join groups he is a part of and pretty much familiarize yourself with his background….(imagine you are sitting in his office noticing his pictures degrees etc..see who he is connected to …and search his company for other employee profiles to review………you can click on his company profile if he has the widget….

Remember the more connections you have the greater depth you’ll have inside linkedin. Super connectors are the gas and ….good gas mileage.

A pleasure to be a resource.

Patti