If you think China will always be THE source of smart, young talent … uh…

A colleague just passed this along: Northern Hemisphere population is no longer at replacement levels – potentially dire consequences .

This has far-reaching business implications – both domestically (one MORE argument that you can’t build too many biz plans around the aging of America) but globally — notably, and unlike Japan, China will *never* grow rich.. it will, however, grow old AND poor … and relatively soon …



Social media and grey hair

Paul Seaman’s “21st Century PR Issues” rarely fails to stick delightful verbal needles in conventional wisdom. In that regard, his Social Media Reality Check 2010 doesn’t disappoint us. http://9mp.com/jes3A

As I read his posting, what came to mind was a topic of conversation I’ve been having with two other colleagues for, well, a clutch of years now.

Companies have stories to tell. If we anthropomorphize for a bit and talk about business ventures as ‘beings,’ they want you to know about them, they need you to know why they’re different, why they do things the way they do, and why they charge what they do.  And how they do this is through the voice they’ve had for decades – PR, corporate communications, advertising.

So, a new kid on the block says, “no, this is ALL wrong, the voice of the whole is made up of the individual voices of the crowd.” That new kid is social media. Reduced to black and white, it smacks of a very old divide between control (some would say dictatorial) and freedom (some would say anarchical ranting).

I have a crackpot idea that the blossoming of grey hair on people ‘of a certain age’ is the universe’s way of reminding us that the world isn’t black or white – but often something in between. And so it is, I’m guessing, about this false distinction ‘tween what companies need to tell the world and what the wisdom of crowds can tell us.

I think there’s something very important in finding alignment – sometimes at least – between what companies want people to know about them … and… what buzz exists in the many social media venues.  Companies need both – they need strong and clear messages that help them rise above being seen as ‘also-rans’ and they need to be comfortable with the new places, new players and new rules of places created by the likes of Facebook and blogs.

In a phrase: social media is growing up.

Perception Drives Actions

Three words.

What makes you different from your competition? Why should anyone see your company, your products, your services, as anything but a commodity that can be found, exactly the same, in the offerings of a dozen other places? If you charge a premium for your services – do they know why?

People start business with a vision – the belief that their uniqueness will serve customers — and themselves.

The magic is in connecting that vision to what people carry around in their heads.

And the first step is finding out what people REALLY say about you, what their worries are, their gripes, their understanding or misunderstanding of what makes you special.

MindshareMining is a service that helps you discover that buzz.

Gerald Ford, walking, (er) gum-chewing, and thumb-typing

There’s a slow food movement. Maybe there should be a slow analysis movement.

I was in a brainstorming meeting the other day. Lots of smart people, enormously healthy egos, and the ‘name of the game’ was throwing as many ideas (good, bad, indifferent) up on a whiteboard. Two guys off to the side didn’t really seem to be caught up in the effort — despite the fact it was *their* group that needed new ideas for a project.

‘looked over and both were busy thumb-typing. SO, I did what any curmudgeon-for-hire does in those situations: I stopped the brainstorming and asked the young Masters of the Universe if they’d like to share their tweets with the rest of the us.

Serious hateful glares…  I pretended to look slightly hurt by their disapproval.

Afterwards, one of them came up and said he was pissed off that I’d done that – that he is FULLY capable of doing a lot of things at once. I said I didn’t believe that argument and “neither do learning theorists!”

Truth is, I’d heard that argument, several times, but short of spending time doing searches (instead of more productive activities) I figured finding a reference was a “someday maybe” kind of thing.

Lo and behold, in a recent Arts & Letters Daily, an article to *exactly* this point:

enjoy: http://chronicle.com/article/Scholars-Turn-Their-Attention/63746/

(just to clear up a silly bit of sanitization, the original quote by Lyndon Johnson describing the intellectual heft of Gerald Ford was “he’s not smart enough to chew gum and fart at the same time.” )

play a game, change the world

Got this a few minutes ago and it passed the ‘will this interest me enough to get me to stop sipping my espresso’ test. I’m seriously intrigued by this gaming-to-learn venue. ‘not entirely sure why

And why I’m posting it here? Companies are often a bit like very large container ships – a little slow to change course. Consultants can come in, charge big bucks, and leave clients with long strategic ‘to-do’ lists all gussied up in PowerPoint decks.


OR, maybe, using games like this can get ideas into heads.

As I say, I’m intrigued.

Mindshare Mining: Reputation Management “for the rest of us”

From an introduction blurb:

A small company’s online presence — its mindshare among target markets — always matters. Always.

Value judgments about reputation and ability, mental pictures of products-at-work, and final buying decisions depend on how convincing your online presence is — relative to that of your competitors.

Your products, services and, indeed, your entire business may depend on impressions formed in a few seconds — followed by a few simple mouse clicks.

While crucial to your business success, measuring and assessing your competitive mindshare is not magic. It’s just hard work that requires business experience, technological savvy, a keen ability to insightfully connect the proverbial dots, and a commitment of that precious resource of time.

The short of it? Big companies know the critical importance of managing the ‘buzz’ about their brand, their products, their services and their people. More often than not, pricey management consultancies are brought in to help company’s with this effort.

Lot of time. Lot of expense.

Point is, for small companies, this reputation is every bit as critical. In some cases, even more. But – it’s a luxury. Neither the time nor the funds are possible.

MindshareMapping.com is planning on changing this.

Mrs Robinson would be whispering “atoms” these days

Atoms, not bits, will make the next great wave of bazillionaires. We’ve been talking about desktop fabrication for years but …the sticking point has always been it’s-still-a-plastic-model-of-something-we-make-with-our-fabricators-not-a-Real-Thing problem. AND, that’s where radically low volume factory runs in China, enabled by CAD plans whipped up somewhere else (and reality verified by desktop fabs) and the near-zero container-transportation costs will make a difference. A big BIG difference.

Do a google search on “Atoms are the next bits”…