13
Feb 17

What does it mean to be CURIOUS?

Last week I wrote a post on LinkedIn about What Skills Are In Demand For Grads. I used survey results from a recent “WorkForce Prepardeness” report compiled by PayScale and highlighted the top hard and soft skills employers are looking for.

To be honest there weren’t too many surprises, but there was one “soft skill” in particular that I believe requires some more discussion.

According to the survey 16% of Hiring Managers believe that new grads lack curiosity.

I thought that was very interesting. What is it about curiosity that would land it on a soft skills for employees list? To be curious means that you wonder about things. You want to know more. You seek out knowledge. And, you are excited to do that. As I considered the importance of curiosity to hiring managers I realized that it isn’t that different from what I look for in an engaged student.

Curiosity Definition from Google

When I have a student with a strong desire to know or learn something it is an exciting moment — they question, they engage, they bring in more information. They seek out other sources. Their excitement is invigorating and challenges me to be a better teacher. So why wouldn’t this be an important skill that employers need in their employees, especially now?

Technology continues to drive change in so many ways that no one can “rest on their laurels” at work anymore. Platforms get updated, new tools come out, technology enables us to do things faster, more efficient and more effectively. Naturally it makes sense that employers need employees who are CURIOUS.

So how can a college student foster curiosity and even more importantly prove it on a resume or LinkedIn profile?

Step 1: Practice

As a college student the easiest way to foster your curiosity is to practice it! Take the extra step in your classes to bring the professor outside readings, or ask questions outside of class about a topic of interest. Seek out new sources of information that will help deepen your exposure to a topic.

Step 2: Share

Share your knowledge with professors and with friends. Consider writing about what you are learning on a blog or on a platform like Medium or as long form posts on LinkedIn. As you share what you are learning or questions you have, others outside of your university experience will connect with you and answer questions and provide further resources.

One great tool to help students find information about different topics is Twitter. It is no secret that I am a supporter of Twitter and have been for a very long time. If you follow the right people it is a great platform to expose yourself to new ideas, current events, and points of view different from your own. Hashtags can be very helpful as well.

I recommend to my students who are in Marketing and Digital Marketing to follow a group of individuals I’ve been connected to for a very long time. They continue to keep me current and allow me to be on top of my game as I bring current marketing trends and information into the classroom.

Here are several of my Twitter Lists of people to follow:

So students how about you practice being curious? Start your own Twitter list and see how it works out for you. Consider following organizations, associations and people in your discipline who are on Twitter. Then, take information you learn from them and talk with your professors.

Challenge yourself to become that “curious student” and start a habit that will benefit you for a lifetime.

 


26
Sep 14

EPIC 2015. Welcome to the Future.

I started teaching Internet Marketing in Y2K. Yep, I’ve been teaching this topic since:

  1. Google was a fledgling little company — they filed for incorporation in 1998.
  2. Before Facebook existed — they launched in 2004, and opened up to more than .edu in 2006.
  3. Before Twitter came on the scene — they started gaining popularity with a launch at SxSW in 2007
  4. Prior to YouTube — which had it’s first video uploaded in 2005
  5. Amazon started selling things other than books — which began in 2000 when they opened their kitchen store

I’ve been around long enough to see many things come and go, and to build curriculum that I believe will help my students to leverage the good side of all of this tech.  I’ve also been around this stuff long enough to see the dark side. To watch, and wonder, and worry about where it all taking us.

Like many people I watched Minority Report which came out in 2002 with fascination and thought…there is our future.

 

But perhaps most prophetic of all was a little film created in 2004 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson as part of a presentation they gave that year as they considered the future of journalism. They released a second version in 2005.

I began showing this video in my classes as soon as it came out. It sparked a great deal of conversation because it was future looking. Students were often skeptical of the concepts raised and didn’t really see the issues with a network that is built to show just those things that are relevant to someone based on their browsing and reading history.  The history of the early start of social networking sites, Google, Amazon, and RSS feeds is fascinating. And then somewhere in there…they move from what they know…to what they envision.

You can watch EPIC2105 here:

And so here we are. 2014.

We have Facebook which serves up maybe 10% of the content an individual is subscribed to. We have retargeting of advertising. We have Twitter which is rumored to be planning an algorithmic timeline approach based on individual interests. We have Amazon which feeds us up recommendations and content based on what we’ve searched for both in Amazon and on the web. Google results are personalized to location and ads are served up to us based on our browsing history. We have multiple “Buzzfeed” type sites that serve up snippets of information that we share to our friend networks, influencing what they see. News items come through our Facebook feed, or on Twitter. Our newspapers are getting smaller, many of us use the Daily Show and Colbert Report to get our news.

We are tracked, data mined, and put into content buckets. We are segmented. We are wearing technology that monitors our every move, and Apple has provided us with an Apple Watch that will make our days more convenient and will make sure our heart still beats.

So you tell me? Are Minority Report and EPIC 2015 just works of fiction or are they prophetic works that envision our world today?

Judge for yourself.  I already know what I think.


19
Sep 14

Teaching Twitter at #WEOC14

I will be presenting tomorrow at Senator Patrick Leahy’s 18th Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference. My topic is Twitter. I’ll be kicking off the afternoon with a beginners workshop and then ending the day with an advanced workshop.

The challenge, of course, is that there is only one hour for each workshop. However, I think I’ve captured the basics in my presentation decks.

GETTING STARTED WITH TWITTER (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

Learn the basics of Twitter from crafting a strong bio, to navigating the interface, and constructing meaningful content. We’ll debunk myths about followers, learn how to manage the settings and get you ready to start Tweeting like a pro! This workshop is for those who are getting ready to kick off a Twitter profile. Either you’ve never used Twitter before, or you have just started and are not sure what to do next.

I love teaching a “getting started” workshop on this tool. I’ve been Tweeting since 2007 — I can’t believe it’s been over seven years that I’ve been working with this tool.

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I get a lot out of introducing people to just how powerful and interesting this tool is.  In this workshop I’ll cover the basics. From what Twitter really is to understanding the interface and how to write your first Tweet. My goal by the end of the hour is to get people interested enough that they will jump in and give it a go!  View my presentation.

TAKING TWITTER TO THE NEXT LEVEL (2:15 p.m – 3:15 p.m.)

Move beyond the basics of Twitter and learn how to curate and leverage favorites and lists. Participate in Tweetchats to promote your brand and build connections. Manage multiple accounts with third party software, and track clickthrough rates. We’ll also cover basic Twitter analytics to measure success. This workshop is for those who have been using Twitter but want to take it further. Ideal for small businesses and individuals alike.

In this more advanced course, we’ll be covering some great features of Twitter. I’ve highlighted ways in which I use Tweetchats, will be talking about some tools that I’ve used to manage Twitter, and the new release of Twitter Analytics — which I’m really having fun exploring. twitterstatsnew

 

Here’s the presentation for this session.

This is my first year at the Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference and I’m looking forward to talking with the attendees about something that I enjoy so much.

Oh, and this is also a perfect opportunity for me to plug an upcoming version of the Twitter for Dummies series featuring former Champlain College student Brittany Leaning as one of the authors!

twitterfordummies


12
Sep 14

Providing Economic Opportunity for Women in Vermont

18th Annual Women's Opportunity Conference I love living in Vermont. Not only is it a beautiful state, we have amazing conferences and opportunities for individuals to learn and grow.  One such opportunity is looming on the horizon and I’m privileged to be one of the workshop presenters.

The 18th Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference kicks off on Saturday, September 20th at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT.  This conference, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy is designed to provide women in the state with a way to brush up on their skills, get support for entrepreneurial projects, and help them take their small businesses to the next level.

And it’s FREE.

And there is childcare!

Yes, at a time when conferences are available to people all over the country for big fees — often unattainable by many hard-working Vermonters — Sen. Leahy brings together individuals from all over the state who donate their time to help other Vermonters.  Then, he and his staff make the conference free for anyone and take down one of the biggest barriers for women by providing child care at the site.

Brilliant.

Donna Carpenter, President, Burton SnowboardsTake a look at some of the amazing individuals who will be presenting on topics that include Leadership, Financial Management, Entrepreneurship, Social Media and Marketing, and even Cyber Security (for a full list, take a look at the speaker’s bios):

  • Donna Carpenter: President of Burton Snowboards will provide the Keynote
  • Chris Herriman: Economic Development Specialist at SBA
  • Susan Palmer: Leadership Consultant
  • Heidi Krantz: Agricultural Business Advisor for VTSBDC
  • Carmen Tall: Teacher with Mercy Connections
  • Sara Munro: Director of Communication and Strategy at Vermont Design Works
  • Barbara Dozetos: Owner of Above the Fold Marketing
  • Kelly Walsh: Director of Girls’ Programs at Vermont Works for Women

There are many more individuals who are coming together to provide coaching, tips, and information to conference attendees.

I’m looking forward to presenting two workshops on Twitter — two out of the 30+ workshops that are being offered on this day (here’s a list of all the workshop offerings).

Getting Started with Twitter

Learn the basics of Twitter from crafting a strong bio, to navigating the interface, and constructing meaningful content. We’ll debunk myths about followers, learn how to manage the Twitter_logo_bluesettings and get you ready to start Tweeting like a pro! This workshop is for those who are getting ready to kick off a Twitter profile. Either you’ve never used Twitter before, or you have just started and are not sure what to do next.

Taking Twitter to the Next Level

Move beyond the basics of Twitter and learn how to curate and leverage favorites and lists. Participate in Tweetchats to promote your brand and build connections. Manage multiple accounts with third party software, and track clickthrough rates. We’ll also cover basic Twitter analytics to measure success. This workshop is for those who have been using Twitter but want to take it further. Ideal for small businesses and individuals alike.

This conference has been going on for many years, and it is uplifting and pretty cool overall that year after year Vermonters come together to offer up a wide range of workshops and coaching options for one another. The more we can do to encourage and empower women businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and employees in the state, the better off for all of us.

I hope I get a chance to see you on the 20th. Please come up, introduce yourself and say hi!


25
Aug 13

Day 3 at Inbound13: Data is complex, we need more women, and water is transformative

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Day 3 at Inbound13 started with hardcore data, included amazing advice about making marketing great, inspirational #boldtalks — one of which highlighted the need for more women to jump into building businesses and startups, important hiring tips from a very tough interviewer, and an emotional story of a life turned around that has resulted in saving countless other lives in the process. So many great things happened on Thursday that it’s taken me this long to put it all together in this post, between coming back home, prepping classes, a full day of new student orientation and student meetings. So lets get right to it shall we?

Lesson 1: Champlain College Students are AWESOME. Alright. I know. I did this for each post! Today’s post is dedicated to Brittany Leaning a 2012 grad who started interning for Hubspot last summer. Flash forward one year and Brittany was responsible for the Hubspot Social Media Command Center at Inbound 13. They trended on Twitter for all three days with #inbound13, had over 70k mentions, and pretty much rocked the social conversation. She managed a team, kept them motivated and clearly had a great time. I might also mention she was responsible for inspiring the amount of orange Toms that all the Hubspotters were wearing. You can follow Brittany on Twitter at @bleaning. You really want to. Trust me.

Lesson 2: Big Data is Complex, somewhat overwhelming, and fraught with challenges. Do you know Nate Silver? If you do, you know Nate is a statistician (pretty famous for polling and transparency). From Deadlinedetroit.comWe listened to him first thing in the morning right after a late night listening to One Republic.  Ordinarily math is hard. After a late night, and early in the morning it is even harder. But even with that Nate’s points were quite interesting. Some of the big takeaways from his conversation that I will remember include the importance of understanding that overreliance on technologies — especially things that are programmed, like GPS software, or competitive chess, or political forecasting — can get us into trouble. We need to remember that after all people programmed that software. So it could be that the information we are getting is actually a bug in the software. That is the challenge of so-called “big data” which Nate said is better termed “rich data”.

There is a widening gap between what you really know and what you think you really know

There are three different dimensions to rich data:

  1. Big Data Bias:  We can’t possibly process all the data that is available so we get filtered data. Just look at media as an example. They report on a very small slice of information, and it is often skewed to a narrow view.
  2. The Signal to Noise Ratio: As the amount of information increases, the complexity of relationships in the world increases. Relationships, interrelationships, cause, effect…yikes!
  3. Feature or Bug?: Even artificial intelligence has its limits!

Silver suggests that we cope with this by:

  1. Thinking probabilistically. Much like the weather service in forecasting hurricanes. They need to be able to convey uncertainty.
  2. Know where you are coming from. Know your biases and what your gaps might be. He showed two great examples, one of the path of the fleet from Japan that attacked Pearl Harbor. They sailed through the gap created where we had no observation points. The other example was of those people who are more aware of their gender bias and more willing to admit it are less likely to actually discriminate. Those who believe they have no bias are more likely to discriminate.
  3. Survey the data landscape. Make sure that you have a quantity of data, high quality of data, and you have a variety of data. If you are missing one, you won’t have the full picture.
  4. Try and err. You get your competitive edge when you try something, and experiment and make this an ongoing “life long” process.

Finally, have you ever thought what it took to get our economy really growing during human history? Clearly Nate has. There were three things that made the industrial revolution happen:

  1. Accumulation of knowledge (Context)
  2. European enlightenment (Culture)
  3. Marketing economy (Competition)

Consider these the three Cs of the economy!  Oh, and a great shout out to Nate for him calling out the academic community for taking too long to publish in academic journals. Because it takes 1-2 years to publish something, there is little help provided to society — so we should replace them with blogs! Now there’s an interesting thought.

Lesson 3: We need more Women. This was a theme that was prevalent in several talks at Inbound. But perhaps most startling for me was from a short, but sweet #Boldtalk from Katie Rae the managing director of Techstars in Boston.

No slides. Just 15 minutes of awesome.

Her main points were simple. 1) Start up ecosystems are fundamental to the health of any economy, and 2) We need more women entrepreneurs.

We talk about being an entrepreneur by creating a very scary image: 24/7, bad ass, boy culture. You can’t be an entrepreneur unless you are a 19 year old college drop out. Almost everyone fails at it. In truth, about 20% of startups are successful. And not all startups create such a culture.

It was perhaps this point which was an “aha” moment for me:

Women calculate risk in a fundamentally different way than men do. Guys will go for the big risk big reward. Women will calculate their chances of winning, and if they don’t think they have at least a 20% chance of winning, they’ll go do something else. The marketing of this gets women to opt out before they get started.

So what does this mean for a start up culture? Rae recommends we:

  1. Change the way we talk about start ups.
    • We have to get real about the chances of winning. It is much higher than 1%!
    • We have to get real about what it really looks like inside a start up.
    • We need to expand the circle of people who want to play in this game.
  2. Set up a structure that allows people within startups who are similar to each other cooperate and learn together. People get better at what they do when they compete with and learn from others who are closer to their skill level.
  3. Change the funding gap. Only 4% of venture capital is going to teams that include women. We MUST do better!

 

Lesson 4: It isn’t really that hard to be a GREAT Marketer. Really. Just ask Rand Fishkin. CEO and Founder of Moz (formerly SEOMoz) had a great presentation about being a great marketer.  You can look at the whole thing right here: http://www.slideshare.net/randfish/secret-ingredients-of-better-marketing. Here’s the cliff note version:

Great Marketing is:

  1. Transparent
  2. Authentic
  3. Fun
  4. Empathetic
  5. The Exception

Now…go over to his presentation and look at his examples. They are super cool.

Lesson 5: To work at Hubspot you might need to get past this guy…and he is no pushover. Marketing students in colleges all over the country take note! Mike Volpe, the CMO at Hubspot gave a great presentation on “How to Build and Manage an Inbound Marketing Team”.  And wow I certainly got some great insight that I will add into my Marketing Capstone Curriculum for sure.

His process is definitely not traditional. He screens fast and has some deal breakers right at the top. He uses the internet to find out information about potential applicants and asks a set of tough situational questions. No “where do you see yourself in 5 years” questions for Mike. No. He goes straight to either a Funnel, Lead Scoring or Website Homepage scenario question.

So how does he start his hiring process? This is what Volpe outlined for us.  It starts with a simple scan of the digital application resume:

  • No AOL or Hotmail or paper resumes. Yep, that’s right. If he sees you have an AOL or Hotmail email account you automatically go in the no bucket.
  • Demonstrated track record of success and growth. That means putting results down in your resume/LinkedIn profile.
  • Demonstrated domain expertise and Inbound Marketing experience

Then, he opens up a browser and proceeds to look up a candidate online to see what content they have. He is specifically looking for:

  • A strong LinkedIn presence. He will especially look for mutual connections (so if you want to work at Hubspot you should make friends with Hubspotters!)
  • Decent sized digital footprint
  • Decent quality digital footprint

If he likes what he sees, then you’ll get an in-person conversation where he’ll provide you with a set of questions so he can really gauge your fit. Questions that start something like this: “Pretend you are the CMO for this company, and you have to decide what your marketing team should focus on. What do you do?” He said that the best people ask a lot of questions to learn more about the situation, then based on their experience they dive in and start providing their answer.

I really like this approach actually. It tells the candidate a lot about the company culture and what the expectations are, and it helps the hiring manager to really gauge where a person might fit. If they are great on strategy but not so much on number crunching, they’ll have a better handle on the overall fit of the individual.

So marketing students, take note. Build your digital footprint, gain experience through internships, and be prepared for scenario-based questions!

Lesson 6: Water is Transformational.  I can’t possibly do justice to Scott Harrison’s presentation about his life story and building Charity Water. Honestly I tried to take notes, but I wasn’t very successful. While Hubspot hasn’t posted it yet, Scott spoke at LeWeb back in 2012, and this is pretty similar to what we watched on Thursday. It’s about 50 minutes long. And it is so worth it. Grab a tissue. At the end of the presentation Scott asked all of us who attended HubSpot if we would do our own campaign. Many of us stood up, myself included. I’ll be starting mine shortly. Will you? Watch this and then click here to go to my.charitwater.org. They are a great charity, and I love their structure — they offer a 100% model: Always use 100% of public donations to fund clean water projects. Overhead comes from a completely different pool of donations from foundations, private donors, and sponsors.

So go ahead now. Get comfy. Grab your tissues. Watch this presentation. I’ll be back another day with more blog stuff.

 


22
Aug 13

Day 2 at #Inbound13 Words of Wisdom, Proud Moments, and One Republic

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Day 2 has ended here at Inbound with an amazing finish…but I’ll get back to that finish a little later in my post. Like yesterday there were some amazing experiences and surprising lessons, so let’s get right to it.

Lesson One: Arianna Huffington is AMAZING. Let me just state that again, clearly just in case you didn’t quite get it. This woman is AMAZING. Strong, powerful, funny, candid, direct. She nailed today’s keynote. As in the HIGHPOINT of this conference for me. Why?

Um.

DUH!

Her speech was about leadership. She had notes. No slides to be shown. It was just her. Just her talking and connecting with the audience.

I feel like what she had to say was all about advice. How to stay connected — not to technology — but to the other individuals in our lives and most importantly to ourselves. To take and savor moments and to recharge, rest, regroup, and unplug. Don’t get caught up in the random stuff of the day but rather connect to yourself so you can be a better person, partner, employee, parent, leader.

It was this focus on connecting with yourself that really resonated. Moving away from a 24/7 ideal of who has the least sleep wins. Who has the most money wins. Who has the highest level job wins.  She called it a culture of burnout. She called out men for creating this culture (and apologized but was clear in saying that they really had created it…and guys, you have.) and called out to women to change it.

Burnout is the disease of our civilization. Women we have to lead the way out of it. Men you have designed the world we are living in. It’s not working for men, women or polar bears.

IMAG1197

Perhaps most importantly she emphasized that in order to be creative in a constantly changing environment where we must evolve continuously, leaders must make space to allow for not just their own creativity, but the creativity of their employees as well.  This space includes letting go of projects that don’t really matter, taking naps (YES!),  stop holding grudges against others (it just takes too much precious energy), and redefine what success really means.

Money and power is a two-legged stool. We need to have a third metric of success that emphasizes our well-being, wisdom, capacity to wonder, and ability to give back.

Amen.

Lesson 2: Brian Solis is AWESOME. Yes I know, I said that yesterday. Today he spoke about key themes from his book, What’s the Future of Business? or #WTF for short. Brian spoke about a wide range of things, but his focus really was on this concept of Generation C. His definition was actually one I really like, as I am very skeptical about this whole generational cohort thing. He said,

Generation C is the generation that is connected by the way we live our life. It’s a lifestyle, not an age group.

IMAG1201

So we know that we can’t do business the “old fashioned way”. That’s been the theme of the conference. But Brian always has a great way of just cutting through the hype and making it real. He told a story of conducting a keyword analysis on consumer generated content for an “unnamed airline”.  He said, “The experiences of others becomes your brand.”  Ok. I get it. But then he showed this:

IMAG1203

Now I REALLY get it. Don’t you?  He said a bunch more awesome stuff, but this post is only for the big highlights. Watch the Inbound13 hashtag for videos of the different speakers.

Lesson 3: My students are AWESOME. Wait…I said that yesterday too didn’t I? Well, technically I said they were AMAZING. Today I had the pleasure of getting a personalized tour of Arnold WorldWide offices in Boston from Champlain Alumna McKenna Tatro who is their HR/Recruiting Coordinator. Great office space. Really cool awards and vibe all over the place. But I have to admit I was really impressed with their beer and their beer vending machine.

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But seriously, what was I really impressed with? I bet you can’t guess!

McKenna is a Vermonter. Through and through. She took advantage of every opportunity at Champlain, worked hard…and I mean held down a demanding manger position at a local hotel, and went to school full time to get her Marketing degree in 2011. I remember a time when she never saw herself leaving Vermont. And here she is, just TWO years after graduating giving her old marketing professor a grand tour of one of the top advertising agencies in the world.  Sweet!

Lesson 4: Marketing and Sales still don’t work well together. I attended an encore presentation of a session I missed out on yesterday entitled, “SH$% Your Marketing Professor Never Told You: How to Build a Rock Star Team that Drives Revenue and Aligns with Sales” presented by Liz McClellan, Vice President of Field Marketing for PGi. Her whole presentation was about how Marketing and Sales don’t get along, and what the marketing team has to do to get along with the sales people, how to hire the right people to fit, and how to create a strong team environment.

I have to admit that I haven’t really emphasized the challenges between marketing and sales in my classes because…well I thought that was in the past. I hadn’t really heard it was still an issue. But I can tell you based on the people in the room, their interest, and their questions, it is clear there is still a problem. So I’ll be sure to talk more with my students about the challenges of working in organizations that are still operated as silos and what they might expect between departments, as well as what it might be like to work on a cross-functional team.  Yep I should be able to squeeze that somewhere in Week 8.

Honestly though, the best way to teach these kind of issues is outside of the classroom in internship experiences. So hey Liz — we have dynamite students at Champlain and you seem like a firecracker of a manager where they could learn a lot. Do you have an internship program by any chance?

IMAG1220

Lesson 5: Earplugs at #inboundrocks are a really smart thing. Hubspot hosted One Republic and Wildside in a private concert tonight. I didn’t make it to Wildside (sad…but much fun was had at the alternative I chose, which while epic is certainly not something to post on a blog!) but I did make it to One Republic. It was loud.

And well, I admit it, I’m old. Older than a lot of the people (not all of them) who were there. But it did seem that I was the only one with ear plugs. Hmmm…I’m so surprised that @hubspot did not give out orange ear plugs. I think that would be brilliant of them to do. Fun branding that is super functional and saves hearing!

Perhaps this little Vine will give you a small taste.

Of course some pictures would be cool too don’t you think?

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And with that, my friends I’m going to end this post and go to bed. Much more shenanigans to be had tomorrow, plus the long drive home, so my recap of day 3 probably won’t happen until Friday.

I can tell you that this conference is a very good conference, and I’m not seeing half of the things I could be seeing. Jam packed and full of good information — look out students because I’m going to come to classes next week with so many new examples and inspiration!

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21
Aug 13

What I learned at my first day at #inbound13

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Inbound 13 is like SxSWi, only a little smaller, more intimate, and more focused on a specific company, Hubspot.  It’s a four day conference with jam-packed sessions of awesome.  Here are my highlights from last night and today.

 

Lesson 1: My students are AMAZING.  Well ok, I knew that already, but I had a fabulous dinner with a group of amazing women who graduated in ’08, ’10, ’11, and ’12 — and they are all doing amazing things here in Boston.  It is an amazing gift to have been a small part of their lives during college and be able to get together with them, and help them all connect now. The networking around the table was super cool.

Champlain College Alumni in #BOS

Lesson 2: Talking the talk means walking the walk. This conference is big. Over 5k people have descended here at the Hynes Center in Boston and the place is a zoo. As much as Hubspot wanted the wifi to work and the sessions to go smoothly they’ve had to contend with overloaded wifi, a dearth of plugs, and standing room only sessions. By the Keynote today at 2 p.m. they were already modifying things. Agendas are changing on the fly,  they are expanding sessions, and shifting things behind the scenes to accommodate the crowd. An event planners nightmare…an attendees convenience. Kudos to the whole Hubspot team. I’ve never seen such a responsively designed conference. (see what I did there?)

Lesson 3: Seth Godin. Is. Amazing. There is nothing more I have to say here. Really. You already knew this. Seeing him live was a highlight (but sorry Seth, not THE highlight for me). Words of wisdom just fly from that man. The tweet stream tells much of the story but some gems for me included:

  • Mass Marketing = Average
  • The internet was the first medium invented without marketers in mind.
  • You can not buy your way to share of voice.
  • And probably most importantly for future students of mine: “If you ask ‘what do you want me to do’, you are part of pack.”  This is a race to the bottom.”

Lesson 4: Hubspot is pretty cool. I knew they were doing some good things. I learned that from @pistaschio and @bleaning. But as I watched the keynote unfold this afternoon I was super impressed with their platform. I am now on a campaign to see if I can get it in my classroom. (Hint Hint @mvolpe@dharmesh and @bhalligan).

Lesson 5: Laura Fitton is a genius. Alright, I’m not sure if the BoldTalks are totally her brainchild, but I know she organized them and they. are. awesome. So inspiring. Short 20 minute talks covering all areas. Today I learned from @jasonkeath on how to brainstorm, @mitchjoel on the “one screen world” and “remote control of our lives,” @cspenn on comic book heroes and using social media to make a difference, @JarrettBarrios of the Boston Red Cross and his story of the Boston Marathon Bombing (let’s just say WOW!), @ducttape on Marketing Confluence (I’ve used his books in my classes!), and @brian_wong of a new startup called Kiip who is revolutionizing mobile advertising, focusing on “achievement moments.” Did I mention all of these are inspiring?

Lesson 6: There is actually someone who talks faster than me. That would be Hubspots “Social Media Scientist” @danzarella. Whirlwind fun times with stats galore today. Learned some fast facts…so fast that I had a hard time capturing them. But it was a fun time!

Lesson 7: Brian Solis ROCKS! Ok, I know, another one that is no surprise. But this evening I met him with a gazillion other people at an after party, had a great chat about my classes — and he actually remembered me. We’ve been tweeting at him and with him in my classes for several years, and I met him once at SxSW. He gave me an extra book for my students too! If you haven’t heard of his new book What’s the Future of Business, read this post from Hubspot: http://blog.hubspot.com/brian-solis-wtf-future-of-business-im-hspr. But first here’s a pic of me with Brian. Yeah. Totally awesome!

Elaine and Brian Solis

Lesson 8: Conferences make me sleepy. Non-stop fun all day, plus meeting at night and a whole round to do again tomorrow means a lot of energy expended. Most important to pace myself. There are still TWO DAYS to go!

Bonus Lesson: Check out Charity Water. You’ll be glad you did. More on this tomorrow after the One Republic Concert (oh, did I forget to mention that one?)

happy lolcat


08
Aug 13

Doing something NEWISH in NEWISH ways

In just a few short weeks, the new academic year begins. This is the time I use to prep my classes, think about new things to try, old things to keep or toss or change. It’s a time of excitement, organization, and process that I’ve come to both enjoy and dread at the same time.

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Preparing a college course is fraught with uncertainty.  Essentially I’m thinking through what I believe students need to know in a field that changes daily. In a field where I don’t know what the jobs will be in two years. I’m also preparing material for students I haven’t met yet, trying to figure out the best way to deliver that content to a room of individuals who will have their own dynamic, learning styles, interests, passions, and abilities.

For example, in my Marketing Metrics and Analysis class (MKT355), all students have to have taken Digital Marketing. However, some of them might have taken it as they studied abroad, others might have taken it over a year ago from someone else. Can I assume that they retained that knowledge? That they have actually achieved the learning objectives so I can start day one in MKT355 with new material? Naturally I cannot. I have to bring everyone up to speed in each of my classes. Make sure we have a level start and build from there.

So here I sit, trying to figure out the best path. The best structure. It has to be cohesive enough to deliver on promised learning objectives within 15 weeks in a way that builds knowledge , structured enough to ensure I cover all the main points in the 15 weeks to get to those learning objectives, and flexible enough to accommodate student needs and the inevitable changes that will occur thanks to Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the digital marketing universe.

As you can see, it’s no easy process — teachers all over the world go through it.

From the outside looking in, though, it can be very hard to understand that process. An employer or business person, for example, only knows that they need a specific skill set when they need it and they wonder why colleges aren’t teaching the skills they need right now.  It is easy to assume that if you’ve been to college, you know what is going on in a college classroom because you remember your experience. So it is even easier to call out professors and tell us to do our job differently or better or change what we do because you might remember a class that had a great deal of potential, but didn’t reach you, or you are thinking about a lecture-style delivery, or you never had an internship, or you just flat out picked the wrong college for yourself.

There is a  great deal of conversations going on about K-12 and Higher Education in the U.S. and what it means to educate a person for today’s world vs. yesterday’s world. Skill sets that we needed pre-digital and pre-connectedness we no longer need, while today’s workplace demands skills that, in some cases, weren’t even around four years ago!

So, when someone who I pay attention to in order ensure I stay relevant in my classroom challenges me (ok, really educators) to be innovative, I take notice.

And that is what happened back in January.  It was a simple question posed by @chrisbrogan via Twitter.  He tweeted, “Who is an INNOVATIVE educator you know (you KNOW, not you’ve heard of) on Twitter? 😉.  Perhaps you saw the exchange or participated in it? He got a lot of answers.  From me, he got a question.  My question back was, “What do you mean by INNOVATIVE?”. (One of my students at the time,  @nikkiTrex responded to him as well.)

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Clearly, I’ve been thinking on this exchange for a long time. Actually this post has been one of those that has been a “work in progress” since that exchange.  One might use professorial words like “ruminating”  or “cogitating”.  As an educator I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people who are not educators talk about how important it is to have innovation in the classroom. But when you ask them what that is, or what it looks like, that’s when things get really difficult.

Innovation in the classroom = doing something newish in newish ways.

What do I do with that? What does it even mean?

As you can imagine, I’ve let this roll around in my head for some time. For that I have to thank Chris. But what I wish was that he took it further and told me more specifically what he means by this.

At Champlain, where I teach, and have had the privilege to teach for thirteen years, we see ourselves as innovative. Our motto is “Let Us Dare”. We have professionally focused majors, with an integrated liberal arts curriculum that forces students to confront their thinking about themselves, their community, our country, and the world through a myriad of different lenses. We have a non-credit bearing required program that gets students thinking about and experiencing service, what it means to have a career, and how to be financially-savvy. We have programs that are national leaders, and we change the curriculum in response to the needs of employers more than we change it based on accreditation. VP Chuck Maniscalco had a recent post about what we do that makes us special.

At the end of their four years with us, students get jobs. In the Marketing area our 2011 stats show that 95% of our marketing grads were employed within the marketing field less than 6 months after graduation. 100% of marketing students were employed in some capacity less than 6 months after graduation.

But…is that innovation? Or is that just what has to happen today to justify our existence?

So Chris, as I get my classes ready for this fall, I need more feedback from you. What do you mean by doing something newish in newish ways? For context, here’s what I will be doing in the classes I’ll be teaching this semester (please check out our catalog for the course descriptions):

  • BUS 110: Business and the Entrepreneurial Mindset (#ccbus110). It’s for first year students enrolled in the Stiller School of Business. We take them through the main areas of business as they work in teams to run a virtual coffee shop. Key assignments include visiting local coffee shops (we have a ton of them in #btv), creating a marketing brief, solving HR issues, managing inventory and operations. All the faculty teaching the course are also competing against one another to see who comes up on top at the end with their coffee shop.
  • MKT 350: Digital Marketing (#ccmkt350). This is a required course for all marketing majors as well as PR students (and has been since 2000 when it was “Internet-based Marketing”). It’s the entry into the Digital Marketing specialization. As a project-based class, students form teams, or work as individuals, to help a small business client of their choosing with their digital marketing. The students conduct a full environmental scan after they have interviewed their client and present their research results at midterm, and then they spend the rest of the semester building a recommendation paper for their clients. This paper covers all of the content they learn during the semester, from analytics and metrics to measure, SEO keyword strategy, SEM including creating, buying, and placing of ads, email marketing (they actually create a test email campaign for their client using a tool like Constant Contact), blogging and micro blogging, social media marketing, mobile marketing, gamification and whatever else needs to be covered based on what is on the horizon. So for this semester you better believe we will be talking about the possibilities of Google Glass.
  • MKT 355: Digital Marketing Metrics and Analysis (#ccmkt355). An elective course for marketing students and others who have successfully completed MKT350, this course is all about learning the current world of digital marketing metrics. Students will not just learn tools in this class, but actually learn about the process of goal setting, figuring out how and what to measure so they can know if they are reaching their goals, and most importantly how to know what data is helpful and not helpful in that process. They will take part in our local Web Analytics Wednesday events with local experts like Gahlord Dewald,  have speakers (thanks Danny Brown), work with Google Analytics, and have sprint projects with real clients to help those clients better manage their data and analyze it for business decisions.
  • CCC410: Marketing Capstone (#ccc410mkt). A required senior-level class for marketing students where they will develop their own Personal Digital Identity, have class speakers, explore career choices, think deep thoughts about ethics, and get themselves ready to be successful once they graduate. Here’s a few examples of students who have done this really well: Nichole Magoon ’11, Hans Bardenheuer ’12Brittany Leaning ’12, Samanthan Winchell ’13, Nikki Tetreault ’13 (there are others, but you can look at past posts tagged CCC410MKT or MKT 420 or Social Media Ninjas to see them).

Note that in the Marketing classes, students will participate in tweetchats including blogchat and u30pro, read blogs and follow key people on Twitter, and will not have traditional text books — they will have to read what I’m reading which I share through Twitter in our class hashtags and via my delicious account. There are not tests or quizzes either.

So Chris, what, in your opinion, as a social media expert, author, and entrepreneur, should I do in my marketing courses that I’m not already doing? Based on what I’ve written above and the course description, how can I do something newish in newish ways this semester?

I’m all ears.

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