Thursday, July 26, 2007

8 Habits Tag

I am not going to lie. I have never been a huge fan of chain letters or those "get to you know your friends" things. But Ben has tagged me with an 8 Habits deal. Just for you Ben, but I won't pass it on to anyone specifically. However, feel free to comment your own 8 habits.

1. I, too, shave in the shower. I have a wet/dry electric. It is tough without a mirror, so I usually have to go over once the mirror defogs.
2. I, too, enjoy fans and white noise when sleeping. However, I don't travel with any.
3. Each morning I walk the dog right after I get dressed and before breakfast. Usually the same route through my neighborhood.
4. When I get to work, I have a list of sites I look at each morning after I have answered my work email.
5. I am a complusive email checker. I get online and check email while watching TV at night.
6. I love my DVR and have appointment TV viewing. Last night was Rescue Me on FX. Great show. Got home late from dinner downtown, but was able to start the recording and fast forward through commercials. Brilliant.
7. I always try to get aisle seats when I fly. Just like it that way.
8. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I try to get something different off the menu. Unless I have been there enough times I have a staple of dishes I like. Then I just get one of those that I am in the mood for.

Now that you all know the above about me, feel free to buy me a morning (but not too early) aisle seat to fly to LA to see a taping of Rescue Me and get me dinner somewhere I haven't eaten with a hotel that has free wi-fi.

The ClumpChat 1.0 Era is Over

ClumpChat 1.0 has gone the way of a new Fox reality show...cancelled. Turns out too many random chatters could get into the room and ooze dirty talk and spam. Upon trying to password protect the room, the embed function failed. Therefore, you won't see it up on my site or Ben's anymore.

We will work on it, and you may see a re-release with version 1.01.

Should You Listen?

David Freedman writes an excellent article in Inc Magazine about listening to customer feedback. He talks about several companies who have various feedback methods, but choose to ignore some of the complaints. In light of certain companies "firing" customers lately, this article doesn't necessarily suggest going that far, but it does say take the feedback with a grain of salt. Is this person just the squeaky wheel? Would fixing their complaint change your core product or service?

This can be true for membership organizations. I remember getting blasted by a member because we sent out a CD with an auto-run feature that apparently isn't liked by Macs. It can still work though. This avid Mac user went ballistic in an email. Turns out he wasn't even a good fit for our association. I looked at our market research and found that only a few percent even used Macs. He didn't renew the next year, but that wasn't a surprise. One complaint in 5,000 shipped discs.

On the surface, it is easy to say that you wouldn't have changed your process for 1 complaint in 5,000. But, how many times do we knee jerk into fixing things that maybe aren't really broken? Maybe one person sees it as broken, but they really just need glasses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ClumpChat 1.0

Attention all readers and other association bloggers:

Ben Martin found a great tool so that we can chat while blog surfing. We have added the ClumpChat widget to our respective sites (His Blog). This chat room will be held on multiple Blog-O-Clump chat rooms so that anyone on any blog that has this installed can talk to each other.

If you have a blog and want to add it, simply go to:

Then just click on the Embed button and put it on your blog. Hopefully this will continue the conversation. Enjoy...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Association Careers

One of my regular blog reads is the Dilbert Blog. Having worked in corporate cubes and lived the movie "Office Space," I enjoy Scott Adams. His latest post on Career Advice got me thinking:

Which 2-3 things should someone be good at (top 25%) in order to make a great association person?

Here are my three (in no particular order):

1. Listening
2. Communication (written/verbal)
3. Organization/Detail

Honorable mention goes to Creativity.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Generational Issues

The latest Acronym post about Generational Issues got me thinking. I thought about writing a comment, but figured this deserved its own post. I am going to take the contrarian route, maybe spark some discussion. Feel free to tell me I am wrong, or maybe agree with me (as everyone should).

Aren't we making too big a deal about the generational differences? Don't things evolve with the times? As staff turns over and new ideas are introduced, don't they inherently reflect the attitudes and ideas of their particular group?

I know that you want to be proactive and you have to have a plan for the future to make sure you are still viable, but will you really need to change your entire business model? I know that there will be some extreme cases where that will be true as certain products become obsolete, but in most cases it won't.

It is nice to generalize and stereotypes exist for a reason. But not every group is going to change how they do business just because Gen X differs from Gen Y in how they deal with authority or their relationship with their parents.

Don't get me wrong. Understanding the differences can help in many ways. I just feel like we are starting to use the Generations issue as the crux of all planning and strategy, and I don't think we should. It is way too broad and simplistic.

Ok - start the rukus!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Shameless Plug

Andrew Calhoun from the Advanced Medical Technology Association and I will be leading an Idea Swap for Trade Associations at the ASAE Annual Meeting. What a way to kick off your Annual Meeting professional development!

Saturday, August 11
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Engage in dialogue with your fellow trade association executives about the issues that keep you up at night. Are you worried about your membership recruitment and retention, dues structures, or even mergers? Share your ideas, experiences, and processes for keeping your members connected.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ASAE Annual Meeting Events

Maybe it is because I am a year older. Maybe it is because I am leading a session this year. Maybe it is because I have a blog that gets DOZENS of hits each month. Who knows the real reason? But I seem to be more popular this year, because I keep getting invited to new vendor events being held at ASAE Annual. Blue Man Group, a movie screening, a night of blues music - what is a guy to do?

Anyone else getting these? Are you going to anything? Are the Cubs in town?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Audio Visual Needs in Meetings

I was working on my ASAE Annual Meeting presentation today and had to request some AV. Working for the AV trade association gives me a little advantage, but also raises my expectations. If you need AV help for your meetings, our association is a good place to start. Just go to and use the Buyer's Guide to find local providers. Or just use the simple member search under the Membership tab.

Bad AV can really bring down a meeting. And I would hate to see folks pay too much for bad AV.

You can also find things like video conferencing and training solutions through AV. Good Luck!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Different Options

What a 2 week stretch! Our tradeshow set record numbers in every way out in Anaheim. Everyone is happy. Then, the wife and I got to follow that up with a week in Hawaii. Is there a more perfect place on Earth?

As I was in the Honolulu airport reading a magazine before my red-eye flight, an article was talking about branding and how Toyota makes Lexus and Scion as a way to reach different markets and give different people what they are looking for. Gap does it with Old Navy and Banana Republic. The same company is "making" the products, just a bit differently and marketing and branding them differently. That got me thinking, how can we apply this to association life? Can we, as associations, produce a different member experience in order to garner new members from different segments?

I think you can. It goes back to my Repurposing Article. Take what you have and tweek it enough that it is different from the original, but appeals to a different group. Jeans are jeans and a car is a car. I would rather drive a Lexus, but can only afford a Toyota. If someone is saying that about your association, how can you please them?