What Tebbo did next

Looking back at the past five years, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve worked exceedingly hard on three major projects: Freeform Dynamics where, as an analyst, I became deeply involved in social, cloud and environmental aspects of ICT. Then Blue & Green Tomorrow, where I launched, edited and wrote all the news and many features in the print edition. Then 6Connex EMEA where I consulted (and still do) on all manner of things – mainly writing stuff but also getting roped into the technical side of things as well. As a virtual event company, 6Connex also has a strong environmental angle.

Following a particularly large project which almost gobbled me up, I find that I can rebalance my life somewhat. So I’m back to doing more writing – monthly in cio.co.uk, about individual CIOs and their sustainability efforts, and private commercial writing (B2B). I even run the odd writing skills workshop.

I’m also training in media skills either solo, with PR partners, or with Martin Banks, depending on what’s required. Clients are usually blue chip ICT clients but I’ve also worked with a chemical company, a charity, some engineering firms and a university.

No doubt things will unfold in interesting and unexpected ways. They usually do. If anything changes radically, I’ll let you know. You still won’t see many blog posts here in the short term, but I wouldn’t rule it out long term. At the moment, my editing and blogging urges are more than satisfied with The Right Thing To Do?.

So there we are, just in case you were wondering. If you’re not, I guess you wouldn’t have read this far.

 

Know any passionate pragmatists?

The Right Thing To Do? is a blog where experienced people share their insights – the 500 or so words that they hope will inspire others in their quest to make the world a better place.

Posts are run fortnightly and they provide a useful link for the writer's portfolio. In time, we'd like it to be seen as a reliable place for inspiration and conversation. It is non-commercial.

We make it as easy as possible for contributors, often ghost-writing pieces for those who are too busy to do anything but spend 15 minutes on the phone. Everyone, whether ghosted or edited, gets to approve the final piece.

Each post is about life and work and is non-promotional, although contributors usually mention their affiliations (with hyperlink) in their 40-word bio (plus headshot).

The About us page is probably the best place to check us out.

Do you know anyone who's passionate yet pragmatic? (Including yourself, of course.)

Please let us know.

Thank you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Here's a list of the posts we've run so far:

Why things will get better from the work of Matt Ridley, December 22, 2011

Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, Felix Dennis, on Good Fortune January 12, 2012

Never mind GDP, what about Gross National Happiness? from the work of Chip Conley, January 19, 2012

Reconnecting kids with the school curriculum by Ray Maguire, January 26, 2012

Has the Khan Academy found the right way to educate? by me with Jim Farver, February 1, 2012

Why green makes business sense by Ben Goldsmith, February 9, 2012

Is sustainable growth a myth? by Clive Longbottom, February 23, 2012

Rag and bone men of the information world by Euan Semple, March 7, 2012

The power of community by Mark Chillingworth, March 21, 2012

Where's the 'social' in 'accountancy'? by Martin Banks, April 4, 2012

Mind the gap by Hussein Dickie, April 18, 2012

Inhumane HR behaviour by Tracey Poulton, May 2, 2012

Listen! (To the right people) inspired by the Cognitive Edge folk, May 16, 2012

Get on the trust trajectory by Rob Wirszycz, May 30, 2012

Baby, bathwater, beware … by Anne Marie McEwan aided and abetted by me, June 13, 2012

 

 

Would you spam your followers?

Should I spam my contacts? I don't think so.

Why do I ask? Because, I received an email this morning from someone I once knew slightly asking me to advocate something his brother had done. In essence the email told me exactly how he'd like me to spam my followers. 

Here's his approach:

After an intro he says, "I'm writing to ask you very personally for your help …".

I like the "very personally" since it's clearly not. It's a mass mailing.

He asked for 'likes' on three social networks, a Tweet, a Facebook mention and a blog post. He also asked for support on a couple of publicity sites and offered an opportunity for a minuscule and fleeting piece of self promotion.

Finally he describes the product in more detail and asks if I can help him find distributors.

Clang!!

That was the bin.

Am I wrong?

 

Does this interest you?

In December we gave a new blog a low-key launch. We wanted to get people with interesting points of view based on their life experiences to share their views and advice with others. We called it The Right Thing To Do.

Then along came Euan’s book (see the previous post) and he reminded me of what I’ve known for donkey’s years – that a question mark is an invitation to read and maybe participate, whereas its absence suggests a ‘know-it-all’ exhortation.

In the past, I used the question mark a lot with magazine cover lines and column titles. But when it came to The Right Thing To Do, I forgot.

Euan is right. Isn’t he?

Euan Semple’s “Manager’s Guide to the Social Web”

My holiday reading included Euan Semple's, Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social WebIt inspired me to write a review which I'll also submit to Amazon.

Here goes:

SempleBookA simple question mark, for me, symbolises the difference between the old way and the new way of managing and working.

The old way is about command and control and hierarchies while the new is about personal responsibility and networks. The old way was predicated on authority (whether deserved or not) and the new way on inspiration.

The question mark I mentioned represents the difference between being closed (do it my way) and open (how do you think we should do this?).

Given a choice, who would you prefer to work for – someone who bosses you or someone who inspires you?

These, and numerous other thoughts, are what Euan Semple's "Guide to the Social Web" triggered. I reckon that if a book shifts your thinking in a significant way, then it's worthwhile. That makes Semple's book extremely worthwhile. It's a book about management thinking much more than a book about the tools available, although they can't be totally avoided. And it's rooted in practicalities, although you may find yourself resisting some of them. I'd say, "keep an open mind until you've read the whole book."

I'm someone who's been actively involved in social web stuff since just before I first met Euan in early 1985 and I've held several management jobs as well as being a writer and a columnist. (Yes, that's partly a disclosure – I interviewed Euan for a magazine article about his experience of introducing social networking tools to BBC employees and we've stayed in touch ever since. I also mention it to show that I have lived through the old way and the new way and have a certain perspective.) 

I've always, right until I read this book, been a bit wary of Euan's evangelistic tendencies. But he's drawn his conclusions from the university of hard knocks and tends, when conversation time is short, to be long on conclusions and short on explanations. But this excellent book changes all that. It is a book of profound depth which reveals his innermost thoughts on each of his conclusions and practical suggestions while staying humble enough to acknowledge that other ways may suit certain organisations.

He's convinced, though, that successful organisations will all adopt social tools to a greater or lesser degree. This book is a way to accelerate management's insight and understanding of what the social web means and the potential it holds for transforming the workplace. It is not a black and white book that says, "do this, or you're doomed". Semple knows that companies have their own systems and their own ways of doing things and, indeed, that social web tools can be complementary rather than replacements.

It is a business book, aimed at business managers. And it's written in a way that each short chapter is designed to stand alone and can be read on the train, in the bath or wherever else takes your fancy. This inevitably causes some minor repetition, which you notice if you read it straight through (as I did). And, one chapter left me slightly puzzled about something, but this was the topic of the very next chapter. So I was only puzzled for a few minutes.

Have I got any complaints about the book? Well one; I really don't like the white type on a grey background which is used to introduce each chapter. Anything bigger? Hmmm. I wondered why he didn't mention 'search' very much. Then I realised that he's much more in favour of asking questions and getting recommendations than wading through search results of variable quality.

 

The book is 296 pages, it's published by John Wiley & Sons.

ISBN-10: 1119950554. ISBN-13: 978-1119950554.

Online Marketing 101

If you need a crash course in online marketing, you could do worse than browse my recent collection of articles and blog posts by experts on the matter.

I had started off, a month ago, intending to investigate what's out there on the subject of 'web-based business to business collaboration' but, as I collected the links on Scoop.it, I found that 'marketing' was the theme that bound most of my discoveries together. Hence the title of this blog post.

When I was a journalist, I didn't really like having to interview marketing folk because they were too sanitised, too in control of their messages and hard to get real stories out of. (Good stories to a journalist are those which carry at least a hint of disclosure.)

However my Scoop.it investigations gave me a new respect for marketing, it really does seem to belong at the centre of B2B collaboration activities. 

Here's a snap of part of my Scoop.it collection (click on the image to see it full size):

B2BCollaboration1

It was 'curated' by looking at hundreds of suggestions from Scoop.it, reducing them to fifty or so, then throwing out the four or five that didn't live up to the promise of the extract.

The result is a neat little package of pieces, admittedly of variable quality, but all of which helped to round out my existing perceptions of how to approach online B2B collaboration.

Since so much work went into the curation, I thought it would be silly to keep it to myself.

See what you think. It's at http://www.scoop.it/t/b2bcollaboration

 

Why this blog has gone quiet

In December 2010, I wrote a blog post called "The Last Post?". Since then, I've been so busy helping two start-ups, that I barely lift my head above the parapet for my own social media. But I do blog, Tweet and post to Facebook occasionally, if I feel something is worth sharing.

The two startups are Blue & Green Tomorrow, which started life as a "Use your money to make the world a better place" magazine and 6Connex emea which provides a virtual conference, exhibition, meeting, training and collaboration service.

The first kept me busy as launch editor from July 2010 to May 2011 and I joined the second in June 2011.

Blue & Green Tomorrow continues as an online publication under the same publisher, but with a new team, while 6Connex emea will make its official debut in January 2012. (The team has been working with customers and prospects 'under the radar' since it was formed in 2010 as Big Ideas Inc.)

So there you are, if you've come to my blog expecting frequent and interesting new posts, I'm afraid that's not going to happen. But if you subscribe to the RSS feed, then if I do burst into print on my own account, you'll be the first to hear about it.

Update (24/12/2015): I’ve moved the blog off Typepad to here.

Thank you for reading this far.

David