Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Catching Back Up with Shirky

I took a small break from my Here Comes Everybody reading. Fatherhood, a trade show, and a growing stack of magazines will do that. But last weekend I had a chance to read a little bit more, and wanted to share my favorite nuggets.

Shirky quotes investor Esther Dyson: "When we call something intuitive, we often mean familiar." Have you looked at your membership offerings/benefits/communications to see if they are intuitive or just familiar?

Shirky borrows another quote from author and activist Cory Doctorow: "Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about." At ASAE Annual, many were talking about their social media strategy and what to do. Focus on facilitating conversation, not just content generation.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ideal Conference

Lot's of folks have talked about San Diego and the ASAE Annual Meeting.
BMart (aka Captain Fogdirog)
JNott (aka McLovin)
Kevin Holland
New Association Blogger Caron Mason
Lisa Junker compiled a list on Acronym, including some of these too.

It got me thinking of a few posts Jeff did back in June (here and here) about cool conferences. I wanted to pose a separate question. If you could start a conference from scratch for association professionals, how would you do it? Location, sessions, timing, registration, special events, cost - the whole nine.

Let's hear your ideas!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Fun Stuff in San Diego

With ASAE Annual now over, reflection is necessary. I will say that this year's social aspects of the meeting were phenomenal. Great networking opportunities. Great receptions. Great parties. It was fun meeting some folks IRL (in real life)for the first time. I was also able to make many new friends that I am sure I will keep up with through the power of social media. That way when we get together next year, it will be like we never left. Here are my highlights:

- YAP 80s/90s Dance Party. Truly the party of the year. Too many photos are online that will incriminate many of us.
- Monday night reception hopping. Too many stops though. I need to pace myself.
- Food and Wine Classic. Very cool on the USS Midway. Thanks Boxwood.
- Closing Block Party. Great setup. Wish I could have stayed longer.
- Opening Reception. Nice beer tasting on the Embarcadero.
- Padres game. Petco Park is nice. It was also fun to see the Philly fans sulk.
- Last but not least, Fogdirog. Nuff said. (Check out the link)

Some other big launches at or around the show:
- Social Fish
- A List Bloggers

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thoughts from ASAE Annual in San Diego

I was bad. I didn't blog one post from San Diego. I am going to recap San Diego in two posts, one on the serious stuff and one on the fun stuff. This will be the serious one. I think I can break it into three lists: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:
- San Diego is a great city. Everything was easy to get to and fairly easy to find.
- There was plenty to do. If you were bored, it was your own fault.
- Most of the A Listers were in attendance. You know who you are. You're kind of a big deal.
- Plenty of sessions on Social Media, including a social media lab.
- Environmentally friendly badge holders.
- Free Wifi in the convention hall.
- The number of ideas I now have to sort through.

The Bad:
- Speakers were still tethered to mixers by long cables on their microphones.
- Too many receptions on Sunday night. It's ok to let people have something the same night as the Food and Wine Classic.
- Too much cheese with singing and dancing routines before general sessions.
- It's a shame the Blue Ocean Strategy session ran late and she didn't get to go through the whole thing. But she also needed to tailor it more to her audience.
- "Green" badge holders broke easily.

The Ugly:
- Me trying to hang with the youngin's.
- Taking the red-eye back on Tuesday night.
- Having to wait a year to do it again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Don't be too picky

Miriam has a great post on Acronym that I wanted to talk about in a different vein. I want to caution people not to be too picky. I know I have posted several suggestions about what ASAE could/should do, but that is me thinking like a member. I am sure we all have members who are always offering suggestions. Some good, some you have just smile and nod. I am guessing I fall into both categories.

Because this is what we all do on a daily basis, we are prone to be the worst critics. When you see something that isn't quite right or could be better, put yourself in ASAE's shoes before you comment. If it was your conference, when and how would you prefer your members to tell you about it? Then do that.

ASAE is going to put on a good show. There will certainly be some things I look for and try to implement that I see them do. And I am sure I will have comments for the evaluations too. And dang-it, if the AV isn't right this year...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Great Words that Really Don't Exist

I know Elizabeth hates quote marks.

I know Maddie wants some words/phrases to go away.

So I am pushing for some new words/phrases to be added to the lexicon. Mostly because I am not that smart when it comes to the English language and want to make things easier on myself. Plus, I looked dumb in my last post. So I am lobbying to make myself (and W) look smarter!

Proposed additions:
#1 - Inclusionary - works better than inclusive in some instances, right Jamie!
#2 - Commoditization - the turning of things into a commodity.

Bonus - for all you SNL fans: Dignitude.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ANPMP is Officially Relaunched

A while back, I tried to launch an open source association. Last week I said I would relaunch. I have.


This one is using Wordpress and BBPress. I am sure I will weave in some other open source apps over time.

What now? Join. Participate. Discuss. First up, logos and graphics. Tag 'em in Flickr.

The Buzz Topics

Diversity and Social Responsibility

I want to start off the post with a disclaimer, I am not against these things one bit. So please don't think that. I think we should all make efforts to be inclusionary (evidently not a word) and to do our part in being socially responsible.

But haven't we beaten these topics into the ground? They aren't new. In fact, it seems that we are talking more and more about them, but with less and less new insight. Can't we just figure out a few low-key ways to enable people to increase diversity and social responsibility where needed and/or where they can and let it snowball from there? I feel like dialogue and hollow or poorly executed programs are all that seem to flying around.

I hate to complain and not offer any solutions, but I don't have any right now. I just think if the time and effort spent on dialogue were channeled into actual actionable items, we might get people more engaged in both topics.

OK, let the wrath begin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More ASAE Annual Thoughts

One of my yearly comments on the ASAE Annual post-meeting survey has been about the sessions. There are just too many offered at the same time. I was sitting down planning my sessions and found many I wanted to go to, but were in the same time slot. For example, on Sunday from 1:30-2:45 there are 25 Learning Labs. Doesn't that seem like a lot for one time slot?

I understand more choice is better and there are lots of different types of attendees, but I would rather have more, shorter sessions. Break those up into groups of 12 and make them 45 minutes. Force presenters to skip the fluff. Or, have them offered twice during the convention.

Just some thoughts. Hopefully this isn't viewed as a complaint. Really it is a compliment. The sessions and speakers are great. There is just too much I want to do and not enough of me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ASAE Annual Thoughts

I just figured out my schedule for ASAE Annual. Wow, lots to do. I have a packed schedule, as I bet most do.

For my fellow trade association folks, I will be leading a discussion in the Decision To Lounge at 3pm on Sunday. It will focus on how trades can use the DTJ study.

Not sure I like the pre-reg process for Thought Leader sessions. Didn't even know I had to until it was too late. Oh well.

Here is a pet-peeve. Exhibitor phone calls pre-show. When did this become acceptable? I can deal with the postcards (even though I think I have gotten one from every single exhibitor). But stop calling me. Just because I am going to the event doesn't make me a qualified lead.

I hope the AV in the meeting rooms is better this year. If not, I really hope ASAE will let us help them with it in the future. It is our industry and we have offered to help. I hate being at a conference with bad AV and then telling people I work for the AV trade association.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Relaunching ANPMP

Back in February, I started an open source experiment creating ANPMP - Asssociation for Non-Profit Membership Professionals. Using Drupal and trying some other open source products, I wanted to create a web-based assocation with low startup costs. I actually got 8 folks on board, even though I really didn't do anything with it except post to this blog. 5 of those were people I have never met and are all outside the DC area.

Turns out, you really need time and a very good backend web/database brain to make multiple, database heavy platforms work. I didn't have the time, nor the information architecture knowledge to get this to work how I wanted. Time being the biggest factor.

So, I am relaunching just using Wordpress and bbPress. Ben's post inspired me to re-think this and try again. Plus, I have used Wordpress before, so I won't be learning a totally new thing like Drupal. My plan is to have something up by San Diego. I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Big is Your Social Network?

As I approach my 200th LinkedIn contact, I noticed a tab I hadn't noticed before. Network Statistics. Right now, LinkedIn tells me I have 198 contacts. My 2nd degree (friends of friends) is a whopping 16,700+.

Anyone who asks why would I want to market using social media can now be shown some legitamate numbers.

Now only if you could import your Facebook friends to LinkedIn like your outlook or webmail address books.

The n00b

Again, Seth Godin gets you thinking - Should you ignore the n00bs?

This is from the end of the post:

The words and interactions you use often have a sophistication that will confuse some portion of your audience.

Why not consider making it easy for the confused to ask for help? And treat them with respect when they do. If you don't create a little confusion, it's unlikely you've built something remarkable.

And to go one step further: sometimes it's okay to lose the n00bs. Not in an arrogant way (except for some brands) but in a way that says, "this might just not be for you..."

Is your association trying to be something it's not just to get more numbers?

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Cowbell

I was catching up on my blog reading when I came across a post by Seth Godin about singing it. He linked to this post which I wanted to pass along here. Brian Clark make a few great points, most of all:

Successful content relies on the hook, the angle, the tiny little element no one else takes time to notice. It’s not that others are more talented than you, it’s that they work harder finding the winning difference.

In the blogging game, there are two typical winners:

The person who gets the scoop.

And the person who notices, thinks about, and amplifies the cowbell.

Guess who endures?

PS - one of the best SNL skits, ever! Walken and Ferrell are genius.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I have to complain for a minute

I try not to pummel specific companies who mess up with customer service, but this one takes the cake. Meeting News has got to be the worst publication customer service ever. I have now gotten 4 calls in the last 3 weeks by people trying to renew my free subscription. I don't want it. I don't read it. I don't want to keep getting a magazine I instantly throw in the recycling bin. I am trying to be more green.

I even got 2 calls on the same day. Why can't they actually just get me off their mailing and call list? I have tried asking nicely and more aggressively. Stop calling me! Actually take me off the list.