The hottest summer months in Delhi are May and June, with temperatures going as high as 45 ⁰C (~113 ⁰F)! It only begins to cool down when the ‘First Rain’ of the monsoon season decides to descend and make the days cooler, greener and less dusty.
Besides the hot weather, June has been a busy month. The highpoint was a Kids@Work day that brought in about 20 Rainmaker’s kids, ranging from an age of six months to twelve years. The kids spent a good part of the day at FirstRain India. It was great fun to watch FirstRain parents and non-parents taking care of the little ones. I am very impressed (and proud) by how hands on all the Rainmaker parents are!
Below are some snapshots from the day:
Current and future Rainmakers work in perfect harmony
Who is the better programmer- father or son?
Going home a winner!
At FirstRain India we like to host numerous events that every Rainmaker can particiate in. We divide everyone into event teams (a lottery system) comprising folks from different departments, getting together to participate in fun, as well as competitive events, throughout the year. This allows people from different departments to come together and team up to excel in an entirely different setting. The events range from quiz competitions to ramp walks to decorate your bay and the events culminate with a prize trophy to the winning team at the annual offsite event. The new teams were created this summer and the first task assigned to them was to create a name, logo and punch line for their team.
Finally, June ended with a small party in our cafeteria for all the employees who had June birthdays. All the June birthdays gathered around the cake (including myself) and so a case for me of have your cake and eat it too!
Next week, FirstRain COO YY Lee is traveling east to Boston for the 2012 Enterprise 2.0 Conference. Enterprise 2.0 is an annual conference & expo for social enterprise tools and technologies. The conference focuses on the importance of embracing new enterprise technologies, as they are developed, in order to maintain competitive advantage within your industry. It’s a subject of great interest of FirstRain and our customers, and we’re really happy to be participating in this great conference this year.
The conference takes place from June 18th- June 21st, 2012, at the Hynes Convention Center. YY is a special guest this year, participating as a panelist on the “Innovation versus Integration” panel, which takes place on June 19th at 2:30pm in room 311. The panel, led by Oliver Marks, will discuss how new technologies are influencing the current role of HR and how they are directly changing companies’ innovation.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @firstrain for continuous updates on Enterprise 2.0.
To learn more about the Enterprise 2.0 conference, visit http://www.e2conf.com/boston/.
Note: This post was originally posted on my personal blog “Chitchating about Information Delivery” on June 11th, 2012
Last night, the TV was on- only the dog was watching, but as i walked by i noticed this:
On Dateline NBC, the ubiquitous peacock on the left side of the screen and #DATELINE the Twitter hashtag on the other. I have seen #hashtags on many a commercial, news show etc. and often even within TV shows, the Tweet this with #hashtag bla bla bla – but haven’t really seen it being used as part of the brand name of a show so blatanly (ok i admit i don’t watch much real-time TV, so correct me if i am wrong!).
It reminded me of a blog post I read a while ago about Facebook, where the author made what i thought at the time was a very astute point about the following URL- www.facebook.com/nike . Why would Nike who has one of the most recognized brands in the world be willing to supersede their branding with facebook’s? Had facebook ubiquitously become the brand identifier for big brands? I couldn’t find that post or the author as i wrote this, but i think it went on to talk about how Facebook was going to be the defacto platform.
Now, most of us when we think about hashtags think about Twitter- no doubt #hashtag adoption started becoming mainstream with Twitter. The # symbol, called a hashtag, is typically used to mark a keyword or topic in a Tweet. Any user can categorize or create hashtags or follow and search topics using Twitter or various services built on top of Twitter. I remember seeing #hashtags start in August 2007 and becoming excited about the power they could have in information delivery and consumption.
But hashtags are used in many other applications, take for example Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) like Yammer or Salesforce’s Chatter- that encourage the use of the #hashtags for classification, to find other people talking about specific topics, to display the ‘categorized’ content within one view etc.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know i have been talking about ‘tagging’ for a while and even wrote a very popular ebook on the subject. Hashtags are just an extension of tagging, but the conversations that occur around them make them way more valuable then traditional tags- that were mostly consumed by search engines.
So this morning, i was reading this TechCrunch article on Twitter’s new Brand pages, that launched with #NASCAR. Since #hashtags were on my brain with the #DATELINE revelation i had last night- i thought it was very timely since i have had a #hashtag post coming anyway.
From the Twitter Blog, you can learn a bit more about how these Brand pages are created. In describing how the Pocono 400 race was covered through #NASCAR it states “Throughout the weekend – but especially during the race – a combination of algorithms and curation will surface the most interesting Tweets to bring you closer to all of the action happening around the track, from the garage to the victory lane.” -
It will be interesting to learn more about how Twitter is creating these Brand pages, what control will the brands themselves will have (are they the curators or is Twitter??), how will the algorithms work? Are they automatically removing tweets that would be brand offensive?, how valuable it will be to consumers, how long before people start to ‘game’ the system and how will Twitter combat that- and ultimately how else will #HASHTAGS create new consumption and interaction models for content inside and outside of Twitter?
Lots of exciting things happening at FirstRain lately! With a mixture of some great new customers, fun company events, new FirstRain faces, giving the office a fresh, new look, and a big award announcement— June has been busy and we’re only eight days into the month!
First, we announced this week that FirstRain is a finalist for the 2012 American Business Awards in the new product or service of the year, business-to-business products category. As a finalist, FirstRain will either be the Gold, Silver or Bronze Stevie Award winner in the program. The ABA will present the awards at two award ceremonies, the ABA traditional banquet on June 18th in New York, and a new tech awards event on Monday, September 17th in San Francisco. A fantastic honor for us.
Last week, the FirstRain team held one of our traditional potluck lunches. Jordy brought in a special French dessert, baked by his mother, who is in town visiting from France. Our special guest was Eugene’s new 1 month old daughter. Our potluck lunch turned into a baby shower, welcoming her to the FirstRain team— our youngest and smallest team member yet!
Along with Eugene’s beautiful new daughter, we are excited to welcome two new additions to FirstRain this summer, Patrick and Sebastian. Patrick is a student at San Jose State and is working with Eugene and Connie in our accounting department. Sebastian (who worked at FirstRain last summer) will be assisting Ryan and the marketing team this summer, before starting college at NYU this Fall. We’re thrilled to have them.
Last night, some of the FirstRain team participated in the annual Splash and Dash race at Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino, CA. We had 9 rainmakers competing in the race, Doug and Aaron finished first for the relay teams, but everyone did a great job and all finished the race strong. Afterwards, everyone went back to Penny’s house for a barbeque. We will partake in the event again in August, when our east coast team is in town to join in on the fun.
Looks like another FirstRain summer is definitely off to a fun and full-forced start!
John Stepper a blogger whose job is to “change how people work” using collaboration platforms, communities of practice, and public social media channels at Deutsche Bank, recently blogged how your best use of social media may not require a single post. The focus of his post (and most of his blogging on the subject) is on regulated firms, including both financial service firms like Deutsche Bank and other industries that deal with similar requirements such as pharmaceuticals, energy etc.
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time talking to people about the use of social media in a B2B environment, regulated or not. There is, of course, the very well established and vendor-serviced market of social media monitoring and measurement from a PR/Communications/Brand perspective. But increasingly, companies are seeing the value of social media within other functions in their enterprise, and as Stepper points out in his post, value from Social Media can come without the need to actually create and post content by every employee.
I think it goes beyond embracing the 90-9-1 rule that “1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing.” This is now a given and as Stepper says, it should be embraced not fought against. Many organizations just can’t afford to have everyone—especially revenue producing functions—creating social media content and listening and learning using either consumer-oriented or professional PR tools. I, however, do encourage every single enterprise employee to use social media to build themselves a brand and engage with their customers and markets—just leave the ‘heavy ‘lifting’ to others.
The conversation about Social Media is very often focused on what I would call the outbound: building the brand, supporting and connecting with consumers, monitoring and measuring marketing campaigns, etc. But there is certainly a shift afloat about using Social Media to get a deeper understanding of customers and markets—especially in the B2B space. Here at FirstRain, we are seeing how our customers who have been early supporters and leaders in ‘outbound’ and ‘customer listening’-focused social media are now looking for targeted and useful ways to provide highly relevant ‘read’ views for specific job functions. International Data Corporation (IDC) analyst Sue Feldman has pointed out that the sheer volume of what users receive sometimes obscures what’s important and relevant, especially as their ‘day-job’ is not to monitor and engage in social media. Our launch of FirstTweets™, where we are extracting business intelligence from the full Twitter feed was driven by these specific needs.
Take, for example, common use cases we are seeing among enterprise sales account managers who are finding daily value in FirstTweets. The typical territory and market intelligence needs for a major accounts sales rep in this kind of role can include:
Now imagine, as an end user, trying to cast a net wide enough using keywords to capture relevant information that would cover the requirements above across all the standard social media channels. Without tools like FirstRain—which filters out the non-business content and categorizes it into targeted business topics—it’s effectively impossible, yields a huge amount of additional noise, and just wouldn’t be practical for the sales reps who would benefit from such intelligence.
I think we still are in the very early stages of B2B sales organizations using social media content like Twitter to improve their sales processes by truly understanding their customers and markets. And companies will quickly figure out that, sometimes, the best use case for social media may not require any posting for the majority of their employees—just the right tools to help uncover the highly relevant, contextual information their employees need to accomplish their most important goals, which in case of sales is closing deals!
Our world is surrounded by software. Every day teenagers spend more than 10 hours a day on line interfacing through a software layer – texting, facebook, tumblr, TV, movies – all are constructed in software and people use a software layer to interact. Even as a CEO, my day is dominated by software – Office apps, Twitter, Skype and even Words with Friends.
Software is changing our world in as profound a way as the book did starting in 1440. The book, following the invention of the printing press, democratized knowledge. Anyone who could read and write could share ideas and change the way other people thought. By 1500 there were 35,000 book titles in print and over 20MM books printed. 60 years after the invention of the computer the influence of software on our world is still growing exponentially.
And it touches everyone. Poor illiterate women in India running micro businesses through a cellphone. CEOs and bankers. Students at a Palo Alto High School. And so when I was invited to give a TEDx talk at Gunn High School two weeks ago I chose to talk about how being able to code – or at least understand enough structured logic to create software apps – is as important now as being able to read and write.
Technology is now where the jobs are, where the growth is, where the source of the major revolution of the next 100 years starts. It’s an exciting place to be and it’s a meritocracy. Everyone can learn it, just like everyone can learn to read and write.
Here’s my talk:
And the most exciting thing for me giving this talk was that at the end I was surrounded by teenage girls thrilled to have their interest in software and technology endorsed and confirmed by my talk.