Categories
Communication

Why I wish our prime minister would get a stewardess (like his Dad)

George Papandreou is nothing like his father.  He tries sometimes when giving speeches to large crowds, but only in the mannerisms and style.  The most important difference I would argue, is that he is not a womanizer.  And before all female readers close this window offended I need to clarify that this is a serious political point.

Andreas Papandreou famously attached himself (though it was probably the other way around!) to a younger woman, Dimitra Liani, a stewardess at Olympic Airlines.  His sizable grin, even after heart surgery, matched the size of her breasts as the story went around the world.  I still get asked about it when travelling abroad!

It takes a certain kind of audacity to pull off moves like that.  Sure, it can go too far, like Silvio Berlusconi has done.  But with every timid public appearance of Giorgios Papandreou it is striking to think how we would handle an extramarital affair.  I think it would do him good.  He would have to stand up for something and wiggle his way around.  He would have to add an aura, that star power that politicians use when necessary.  He has been cast by friendly US media as “The Greek Thinker” but we all do way too much thinking.  And talking.  It is the actions that have been missing!

So get yourself a girlfriend please Mr Primeminister.  Heck, get yourself a dozen, do a Tiger Woods on us.  And while you are learning how to get out of that, you might get better at international negotiations rather than lying down and playing dead.

Categories
Business Communication Technology

Social CRM is better than flossing

A long time ago I helped develop what was at the time the cutting edge of CRM.  My gripe with traditional CRM systems, even the really big, fancy, expensive ones, was that they made you do double work.  Keep your contact details in one system and then remember to fill in all the details in another one.  Finish a meeting and then don’t forget to open up a different system, find the contact and write what happened.  It is too much like a visit to the dentist for me: yeah I know I should floss every day, it just never finds its way into my schedule!

So my CRM system made sure all the inputs where automatic.  Send an email through Outlook if you want but with the press of a button it gets attached to your contact’s activity record.  Incoming emails can even be tagged automatically based on rules.  They can even autogenerate actions like being considered a lead.  Same with phone calls or any other action.  The CRM is integrated with the ERP system so all products, knowledge base items, prices and customer or company information is in one single database.  Even setting up a meeting is better as it can link to a touch screen enabled monitor at your entrance or meeting room door.  “Enter your invitation number to enter” it says to the visitor.  When you finish your meeting and get back to your desk there is an open window showing that your guest left two minutes ago (he checked out using the same touch screen) and asking what happened at the meeting.  Like everything else in this CRM you can generate next actions easily from any item.

It was cool.  It still is cool and you can buy it as a finished product, complete with a web front end that seamlessly allows you to make any of this information available to the customers themselves as any self respecting company needs to do in 2010 in order to be transparent and online.

Enter sCRM.  Yet another acronym, but this one makes sense as it solves many new problems in one.  What it gives you is a way to very quickly “touch” many contacts.  Open up a project and see all the people involved in the decision.  It shows you how long since you “touched” them in some way.  A “touch” is a contact, but in this day and age it doesn’t have to be an email, phone call or visit.   It could be a comment on their status on LinkedIn or a discussion in a group.  You are in “touch” and in a way that is much more meaningful than calling up out of the blue.

In many ways, the “S”(social) in front of CRM is not necessary.  Customer Relationship Management is one acronym which will always be around as business and life itself will always be about our contacts, the people around us.  We can call it People Relationship Management or whatever else in the future but that is what it is about.  Who are my friends and what can I do for them?  So, if you haven’t tried out Flights, I thoroughly recommend it.  If there are other similar systems out there, I am not aware of them yet.  (Please tell me!)

You can use the free version of Flights (up to 5 objectives and a few other limitations) even for personal goals.  Heck, most people have turned to professional networking tools like Xing, Plaxo, Viadeo and LinkedIn in order to find a job in this climate, they might as well be a bit more systematic about it!

Categories
Communication ENGLISH Technology

How to lose 90% of your web traffic in one day

Looking through all the analytics since moving www.alexanderchalkidis.com/blog  old stuff to www.alexanderchalkidis.com/dotnet it was obvious that Google bots were not going to figure this out for themselves. First I put in a few links in other blogs to see what would hapen. Nothing. If you search for any older articles on Google, you get the old link. Even after a month! So I put more links in other articles, even really popular ones at http://alexartisia.wordpress.com  and other blogs. Obviously the free version of WordPress behaves very differently to a properly hosted one, SEO optimised and all. So then my new www.alexanderchalkidis.com/blog , which is all properly WordPress hosted and optimized started featuring links to the new location. Still Google bots weren’t picking up.

So I shot off a Joomla website to test out how it behaves.  Completely prematurely and it looked terrible at first . I did not update any indexes or submit anything to Google Webmaster tools and see how long it takes them.  It was almost instant thanks to a few well placed links to older articles.   Essentially, what the machine had to figure out is that any link to my old blog can be easily converted to the correct new location, simply by adding a www.alexanderchalkidis.com/dotnet  at the beginning and replacing the “aspx” ending of the file with “html”.

So: http://www.alexanderchalkidis.com/blog/post/2009/12/Will-Xing%2c-Viadeo%2c-LinkedIn-or-Facebook-win-the-networking-war.aspx  is now http://www.alexanderchalkidis.com/dotnet/www.alexanderchalkidis.com/blog/post/2009/12/Will-Xing%2c-Viadeo%2c-LinkedIn-or-Facebook-win-the-networking-war.html

In bold the bits you have to add or change to the old location to get a new – working – one. My six year old son can probably do this, Google bots can’t.  Then again the whole point of the exercise is to increase targeted results without paying a penny in Google AdWords so maybe they don’t want to!  

While in retail with Public I really got excited about the experimental approach to business. Set an experiment up, test it, adjust, measure, tweak and again. Properly done in retail it is phenomenally useful. Now I am using a similar techniques with SEO. The way I handled this change, total visits to www.alexanderchalkidis.com  fell dramatically. From around 800 on an average day (peaks are 2500, lows are 450) it dropped to less than two hundred!

This gave me a unique opportunity to test assumptions about where the actual traffic is coming from.

1. Several permanent visitors which I thought were regular fans, turn out to be corporate (PR agencies probably) searchers, checking whether I have written something about them every day. From the looks of their queries, this is done automatically. Hey, that’s what you get for writing nasty (though true!) things about people!

2. My main loss is articles in minor blogs or websites which are not following up on their broken links, or not bothering to update them. (And just deleting them as they don’t work.) They were sending me a very healthy 30% of my traffic since several articles were deemed as “unique in their perspective”. These were articles I wrote specifically to examine how necessary a “other” opinion was in the cyber world and how it would circulate. Things like questioning whether eye laser surgery is really worth it which may have plenty criticism in the US but not in the Greek language.

3. Several other websites and journalists have tagged me by topic or category. I am obviously heavily plagiarised, thank you very much for the honour! Most do include a link to the original article. Now if only they would update it…  Google searching for one of my articles is up to 70% of what it was before the switch and rising rapidly.

Categories
Communication ENGLISH

THAT is how Onassis fans best

In one of it’s versions, the joke involves Aristotle Onassis on his honeymoon with Jackie deep in Africa.  Night after night Onassis cannot satisfy his new wife in bed as a large negro swings a large fan to cool them.  Eventually Onassis asks the servant to try his luck with his bride while he holds the fan.  Afterwards he asks Jackie:  “Was that better, my love?” to which she responds extremely positively.  Onassis turns to the negro and declares: “See?  THAT is how you need to fan to get results!”

Some time ago I wrote a summary of all the reasons a televisual show about technology is a tough nut to crack.  And then a few days ago I got asked again whether I would be interested in doing a TV show.  As I mulled the question over in my head I wondered:  where did all those ideas about new TV shows go?  Have I just lost interest?  Is the fact that I don’t watch any television affecting my motivation?  Is TV, that same medium that I so enjoyed producing for, suddenly dead inside me?

And then last night I watched episode six of The Pacific.  (My summary of how war film and television shows have developed is here.)  The Pacific started out as pretty bad television really, confused in its targets and only of interest to veterans and their kin for historical purposes.  At the end of episode five, the producers kicked in with the sort of power that Saving Private Ryan had.  Big time.  But that isn’t what interested me so much at this point.  (Though I did make a point of keeping those ten minutes to show my eldest son as an educational tool.)

It was the ecosystem build around the Pacific.  Starting with the great HBO official site.  Click here for a sample relating to this week.  There’s maps, there’s storyboards, there’s books, audio books, veterans, discussions…it is easy to say “well, they did all the work, why not show it?” but this is pretty stellar work.  Not in terms of web presentation or community building online but in pulling together the related work.  It pushes the related issues up in my agenda.  Even if I didn’t have a thing about the second world war I would get interested in learning about all these strange sounding little islands and the related battles.  Heck I even watched the Alister Grierson film about Kokoda in Papua New Guinea!  (Warning: if you are not Australian, make sure you get a version with subtitles, I missed half the story trying to figure out what they were talking about!)  The ecosystem of information around an old war on the other side of the planet seventy years ago increased the relevance of the show to me.  I always like to talks about “hooks” in any marketing concept and this is like a wall of velcro!

It is no profound statement that television is no longer the main attraction.  The interesting part of media production and consumption is now precisely the integration of all available media and products.  Firstly to become part of the consumers’ lives.  And secondly in order to make some money, one way or another, from the whole exercise.  More and more television is a loss leader, supporting or promoting other revenue streams.  This may even be true in terms of it’s reason for existing.  You might do a television programme these days simply to get your hands on enough video material to support a web concept.

Wow, writing a blog really does help you think.  I am now bursting to the seams with new ideas about TV shows.   All I need is a team of people producing interesting content and side products and I will stride in to enjoy myself. 

THAT is how you fan your bride Aristotle!