- Politics – Implementing changes at a big company is like steering a massive ship – it takes time, and a lot of effort. There’s a lot of personalities involved. There will be proponents and champions as well as blockers and gatekeepers. Knowing how to speak with executives while tactfully navigating the cluster of people is imperative. Politics and risks are huge facts of life that cannot be glossed over.
- Structure – Big companies come with big structures. As much as you may jump and grimace at “structure”, structure gives us balance and the ability to prioritize. As a co-op, I learned the value of structure through workflows, time management, and simply, how to build an analysis.
- Professionalism – I’m hiring in a startup. Yeah, you can wear a t-shirt, if you want. We’ll throw a stress ball around and crack jokes, but you can bet we will be professional with each other and with everyone we encounter externally. Too often candidates think professionalism is just “thank you” and “yes, sir”. Professionalism is about communication – both explicit and implicit. It can be silent communication through your body language. Professionalism is how you receive feedback, speak on the phone, and write an email. Too often candidates rely on what they think is good to him/ herself but fail to recognize what’s good for others.
- Connections – Humans are social creatures, so relationships are vital to us. In the business world, relationships enable sales, recruiting, etc. I didn’t do a great job of connecting and forming good relationships with the full-timers. I did, however, form very good relationships with my fellow co-ops that later led to all sorts of opportunities. This is where I strive to better everyday in daily interfaces.
- Reality – This sounds simple, but it’s not. Reading the best practices in books and learning about case studies is one thing, but reality sets in in the real world that toss much of what we hope and dream for out the window. That’s not to say things can’t be better, but there are details that make businesses so much more complex. Striving for better is always the goal, but failing to realize the holistic picture of yesterday, today, and tomorrow’s business can lead to disaster.
|Michael Zeto of AT&T and former Founder and CEO of Proximus Mobility (sold) kicking things off for Mobility LIVE! Day 2’s keynote!|
- Global data traffic to grow 13x in 2017 from today. That’s an outrageous number, but I’m not arguing
- Georgia was ranked No. 5 in “app intensity” by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). App intensity is the number of app economy jobs compared to the overall jobs in the state
- Razorfish, the marketing/ digital advertising/ etc. agency, is spearheading the Atlanta Pulse initiative to bring together all the happenings around Atlanta into a common platform. Gone are the days (to come anyways) of searching Facebook for what friends are recommending, Yelp! for restaurants, etc.
- 38% of 2-year-olds have operated a mobile device; 13-years-old… the average age of the first phone (see Common Sense Media)
- Sees mobility in two lights — Leadership & Innovation and Scale (able to capture opportunity now)
- Cites Forbes’ 2014 ranking of Atlanta as the number 3 best city for young entrepreneurs (see Forbes)
- Five main trends: Relationship marketing, video, smarter smartphone, wearables, education
- For Relationship Marketing, the key is marketing at SCALE! That is, how are organizations reaching consumers on a relevant, personable context?
- Customers believe word-of-mouth over advertising to the tune of 92%!
- Use advanced analytics to engage audiences
- David cited Atlanta-based InsightPool as a key player in Relationship Marketing saying, “Delivering sincerity at scale”
- Video-wise, content should be available anytime, anywhere. AT&T obviously plays a significant role in this with its large LTE network (and beyond)
- For wearables, the trouble is getting people to actually want to wear it. David cites 75% of people know of wearables, but only 9% want to wear it
- Need to blend high tech with high fashion. enter: Atlanta-based Memi – smart jewelry “made for and by women”
- Smarter smartphones really involves making the smartphone the keystone to everyday life including, but not limited to: the connected home, car, TV, music, health, etc.
- David talked about FIXD, a startup by several Georgia Tech grads who have introduced a way to plug a dongle to the car’s OBD port that sends data to your smartphone to share information including if you have a warning light — what’s that mean? What’s the impact if you ignore? What’s the potential repair estimate? etc.
- On the education front, David sees a gap to fill in the next generation of STEM leaders
- David showcases Great Parents Academy who works hard to develop education apps that are engaging for kids
- Today, we’re in the “Age of the Customer” — this was a prevalent theme throughout the conference where the Customers (users in most cases) have the power to select on-demand what they want to engage in
- Shift in focus to “How to win in the age of the Customer?”
- There’s also a shift from “system of record” to “system of engagement”. For this, look no further than Uber which disrupted one of the oldest, entrenched industries
- Also, look at how to bring social into the enterprise to engage employees (B2E — Business to Employees)
- Panel included: Troy Brown of MSL Group (a PR agency) who is bringing app development (and really acumen) to the agency; Sanarr McLaughlin is the Manager of Interactive Marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG); Chris Bigda of The Coca-Cola Company over Connections Planning and Investments; Lisa Cantrell of Turner Broadcasting serving as the Director of Digital Strategy and Activations; and Erin Arnett, an Account Director of Yahoo!
- For Chris, “connections planning” includes the paid/ owned media
- Lisa must consider the sizeable and highly variable audience to which Turner broadcasts to with channels including CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, etc.
- Per Alia, 86% of time spent on mobile is in-app vs. internet (see Forbes)
- There’s a growing interest and attention in anonymous content. Think: Snapchat (kind of), [Atlanta’s own] Yik Yak, etc.
- The Coca-Cola Company doesn’t store so much consumer data (except for owned data through programs like Coke Rewards). Instead, the Company partners with other companies for more data (like agencies, McDonald’s, etc.)
- Mobile marketing is more “finite” by being a lot easier to measure than TV (conversions, impressions, etc.). There’s a better sense of Return on Engagement
- One area of opportunity is the growing fragmentation of screen sizes including this “phatblet” phenomenon whereby many companies are designing mobile web-responsive sites. However, their digital ads are not properly formatted
- Panel included: David Wilkinson, VP of Global Channel Sales for NCR; Jeffrey Smith, the COO of PeterBrooke Chocolatier; David Kaiser of Great American Cookies as a Vice President; and Brooks Robinson, Co-Founder and CEO of Atlanta’s Springbot
- First, what a SWEET group of panelists! (See what I did there? Well, they said it before me…)
- For Wilkinson, he’s focused on the omni-channel experience. Mobile is really an evolution of the physical store front
- Per Wilkinson, the “consumer driving the experience” — not different from the general theme of the conference
- Jeffrey noted how his company’s many stores were moving towards mobile Point-of-Sale to better engage the Customer right as he/ she walks into the store. In fact, he was touting NCR as his POS of choice with Silver to leverage iPads
- There’s a shift in the mentality and even the demographic of the employee behind the retailer when utilizing a mobile POS including getting out from behind the counter which used to be a natural barrier that isolated the cashier from the customer
- 95% of PeterBrooke customers are women on the regular. Irregular probably being around Valentine’s Day or when men get in trouble with their significant others…
- The demographic for PeterBrooke is also a little older where some consumers still don’t have smartphones. So for the Company, the phone number is key as an identifier (reminds me of WhatsApp)
- For Kaiser and Great American Cookies, they have 5 different brands (including the cookie cake company we all know and love (okay, me especially), Marble Slab Creamery, etc.)
- Kaiser and Company are looking at mobile as a means to have a strong online order platform
- Like PeterBrooke, Great American Cookies is looking at NCR for Silver as their POS of choice. I’m wondering now if this was all a set-up that the two retailers are touting a fellow panel member’s new product… Hmm…
- The cost and set-up of using a mobile POS is minimal with incredible benefits including the ability to engage the EMPLOYEES through learning management. Also, these POS systems enable better customer experiences by connecting loyalty programs
- Great American Cookies noticed 60% of visitors a couple years ago to the mobile site also signed up for their loyalty program (that’s a great attach rate…)
- For Springbot (very cool company that I’ve heard a lot about in the Atlanta startup scene), they can see data for hundreds of stores. They’ve noticed big shifts of mobile traffic from 19 to 28% over the last year
- Like the earlier panel “Prove It”, Brooks sees a lot of merchants forgetting to mind the message and formats of their email marketing campaigns. If emails aren’t formatted properly for the mobile device, merchants aren’t going to reach customers (who can read that??!)
- Speed of the site from an infrastructure perspective is a growing critical element… one that even Google’s ranking system takes into account
- Springbot sends nightly email with recommendations to the customer (the retailer) on improvements — go beyond just dashboards and reports by actually suggesting
- David Kaiser is a HUGE advocate for a simple box that can aggregate and consolidate data across multiple POS systems. For Great American Cookies’ franchises, they can sit on different POS’s… getting meaningful data can be a challenge
- A lot of excitement and interest in Apple Pay as well as Apple Passbook as means to not only pay via mobile to engage new, younger audiences, but also the ability to replace merchant-specific apps. Most consumers really don’t want to download and install new apps
- Merchant-specific apps really have to add a lot of value in order to get engagement
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my Neo Moment with you, my blog readers, but I wanted to talk about it and perhaps you’ll have your own. The Neo Moment, to me, is this enlightenment and awakening of Neo, the protagonist in The Matrix. In the Matrix, there was a time when he was resurrected in the first movie, and he woke seeing the world for what it really was. At that moment, he stopped hoping and thinking he was The One, and just firmly knew he was The One. As he awakened to the world around him, he saw the Matrix in all its green numeric beauty.
My Neo Moment lasted a bit longer than a few seconds, but it was a moment where I started seeing the world much differently. It was when I started living life how I wanted to while also looking for ways to improve the world. To me, it was a moment where I started questioning normal, old-school conventions in favor of more… shall we say, “disruptive” ways of doing things. In many ways, it was my moment where I started coming up with ideas (potentially for different startups) in everyday things. I started just asking random people questions including flight attendants on Southwest on how to improve their provisioning, call center interactions with customers, etc.
I’m not the only one with a Neo Moment, of course. In fact, I’ve heard of a few Neo Moments recently that have and will continue to have a significant change in my friends’ lives.
- GiveLiveExplore.com – Matt Trinetti is a friend from Georgia Tech who up and decided that he needed to take a break from the consulting life. He kept hearing this little voice in his head to quit — you can read a recent article he wrote about this in the Huffington Post. In fact, he ended up taking a 7-month sabbatical (spearheaded with a one-way ticket) from a cushy consulting gig to travel to Iceland. The things he learned and experienced taught him so much that he quit his job immediately after his sabbatical, and is now a traveler and writer.
- TheWhole-Hearted.com – My new friend from Starbucks Ayan ventured to Brazil as part of her MBA program. Exploring the favellas and watching how technology has proliferated even into these neighborhoods has brought incredible life and opportunity to its people. She’s also been hearing more about how companies need to find purpose and impact the world in a positive way to really thrive — lessons she’s learning in her MBA program. When I met her in December last year, she was confused and unsure of her direction. But since then with all these new experiences, she’s been more and more sure of her direction, and she’s thrilled to be paving the way to finding that intersection of business and purposeful spirituality. She aims to travel the world, and bring that intersection vis-a-vis corporate social responsibility and social enterprise.
- TitinTech.com – Unsure if I can really say Patrick Whaley’s (CEO) Neo Moment was what really inspired him to push Titin Tech further, but I think it’s definitely lit a particular fire. Patrick had an idea to having weight compression clothing that would fit more naturally on athletes rather than bulky weighted vests. He had this idea early in his life and started working on it in 2006, I believe. In May of 2009, Patrick was mugged and shot and left for dead. He, luckily, survived, and utilized the very-near-death experience to work on his Titin Tech product that much harder, while also using his story to reach audiences as he used his product as part of his recovery. Today, the company is thriving, and he even posted a picture of Titin Tech at the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals practice facility yesterday. The World’s Only Weight Compression Gear. Patented. Boom.
- My Neo Moment came during my time at Emory getting my MBA. After Georgia Tech, I was always traveling doing consulting. It wasn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, I absolutely loved it. However, I also knew that I wanted to build my own company. I just didn’t think it’d be so soon with Body Boss. I entered the MBA program to be better prepared for business obstacles in the future (a lesson taken from Scouting — “Be Prepared”). What I didn’t realize was the greatest take-away from the MBA program was the time I would get to focus on myself, focus on building Body Boss, workout and play soccer more consistently because I wasn’t traveling.
For me, I’m thrilled to have found my calling and where I’m heading. It’s incredibly frustrating at times, and forces me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. However, I’m happy where it’s putting me, and the steps I’m taking.
What’s a Neo Moment you’ve had? Where/ how do you think your own Neo Moment is taking you?
- “Do you have an app?” Absolutely. We have native iPhone, iPad, and Android apps (for smartphones and tablets).
- “Can you still printout group workouts?” Yes, we still give you the ability to print out personalized workout cards for all your players or select groups.
- “What if I have younger players?” Well, players of most ages should train. Younger ages shouldn’t necessarily strength train with weight, but they can still exercise. With Body Boss, you can create Workout programs that are specific for kids and including video tutorials on how to do them. You can engage the younger players while actually coaching them on how to perform drills, and you can even upload video tutorials so parents know what to do and how to motivate their kids.
Yeah… that’s how that went. But we also had a greater time at this clinic because of the way we engaged coaches and focused in on not necessarily the benefits right off the bat, but instead, we opened around pain points. See, the old-school way of doing things was always to either write down a workout on a whiteboard or use Excel to printout workouts, and then have the time and energy to enter all that data for the team back into a spreadsheet. Clearly, you can see the annoying and time-consuming efforts in that. We challenge the old-school way of doing things by introducing technology into an otherwise low-tech world with Coaches.
We started with…
And ended with…
- Pain and annoying things evoke such a great emotion from prospects – it’s easy to understand
- Having a board where our customers could share a voice created a way to coalesce their emotions in sometimes succinct messages, and thus, rally any passersby and fellow colleagues throughout the Clinic
- Hand-writing the reasons also showcased the variability of handwriting legibility/ readability which in the old-school way of printout and submit, was an evil coaches had to deal with
- Made for an easier way to pull in passersby into our booth. Coaches could be pulled in not just by our handsome faces and siren-esque voices, but also by our visuals including a big TV monitor that looped through video tutorials, our app on multiple devices, and of course, our Spreadsheets SUCK whiteboard
- Can be used to re-engage with the leads generated and be a great talking point with future prospects
- Showcased the pain points of the old-school “it’s always been that way” methodology
- Definitely left an impression with coaches with a standout, memorable booth