Archives for posts with tag: conversations


The early stages of the digital revolution was led by programmers and computer scientists. One of the most important outcome of the last years was replacing the need for privacy with the need for visibility. While this exchange has many benefits, it doesn’t help people to develop original thoughts.

I’m not handwringing or whining about this outcome, but I believe we’ve gone too far. The visibility and connectivity bubble is about to deflate and we’re about to enter the age of digital enlightenment. Programmers and computer scientists will continue to be an important force in the digital revolution; leadership will come from thinkers, intellectuals, artists and storytellers. These people are driven by an emerging vision that’s much more individualistic, centered around humanity, intimacy and, yes, feelings instead of connecting the world into a data-driven monster.

Sharing has become a robot-like behavior

More and more people retweet links without even reading them. Check-ins on Foursquare have become bot-like behavior, Facebook should change its brand color to pink: it’s a unicorn world. Meaningful conversations are uncommon on any of our favorite platforms. The whole idea of conversations has turned into a huge echo chamber, filled with people backslapping each other: You think like us and you’ll be part of us.

The Web will gain in importance over time: Our kids will live on it, learn from it, get most of their information from it. I’m not interested to see our future grow up in a virtual echo chamber where being more equal than anybody else is being rewarded.

The mindful Web

There’s a reason why people need to take a sabbatical from the web. It’s exhausting to exist in the echo chamber, being reactive and celebratory. Once in a while we need to take some time to think.

Who said it has to be that way? Shouldn’t we design technology that makes us much smarter, supports constructive dialogue, filled with quality content and intimacy? Less immediate gamification gratification, more different points of views.

We see the beginnings of this new age: Brainpickings, Cowbird, Twenty@. We’ll see if any of these will pan out but as long as we’re trending towards a more balanced digital world, we’re going to continue to see brighter lights. A digital world that teaches us, just like we learned to respond. And marketers, as the Zeitgeist amplifiers, will play their part by intensifying the new habits and behaviors.


We all live in bubbles, no matter where you work and live.

Your department might be a bubble, never really engaging with the other departments and understanding their challenges.

Your company might be a bubble, rolling along nicely, respected by the market, the analysts, and the business community. Until the day you have to declare bankruptcy. Just ask Blockbuster.

You might live in a bubble within your community. Not knowing the neighbors, not interested to improve the overall community, not caring about anything but your own family. Until the day you need help and nobody cares about you.

It’s easy to live in a bubble, quietly getting on with your own life in comfortable semi-isolation.

You need to get off your butt and leave the bubble.

Find ways to have as many professional conversations with anyone outside of your department. Have as many chats about something with anyone. It doesn’t have to be about work, it can be about sports, the last book you read, the latest song you love.

Talk with competitors. Make contacts at conferences and invite them to lunch. Have a chat about the competitive landscape, be open about your problems and concerns. This is not about spying, this is about learning from each other.

Meet your neighbors. I’ve lived in apartment buildings where I never talked to my neighbors. And I regret that. I’m grateful to know people that go to sleep close to my own bed. A brief chat can make the day brighter. Someone to ask for a favor makes life easier. Feeling a sense of community is an important part of the human experience.

Never stop doing this.

People don’t get old by default. People get old when they lose touch with the outside world. They don’t get challenged anymore, they don’t talk to enough people to learn things they didn’t know. They get scared of the world, just experience it through their self-constructed bubble.

Leave the bubble as often as you can. Or, one day, you won’t find the way out.


2011 will be the year when co-creating and collaborating through Social Media will begin to become more important than using the channels or people as messaging tools. And Customer Service will be become the transformative force to deliver on this promise.

Many enterprises we talk with consider this as their highest priority. They understand the need to improve quality of their Customer Service.

Changing from defensive to pro-active Customer Service is a natural adjustment to the changes in our daily behavior. We don’t care where service comes from (Customer Service, Marketing, Clerk, etc.), we just want good service.

One of the key changes will be pulling Customer Service out of the dark alley into the light of transparency. While many companies started to listen to customer expressions, they still try to take the conversation “off-line”, “off the grid”. They treat customers like parents their kids when they have an adult conversation: “Nothing to see here.” This paradigm will be reversed in 2011:

  • Customer Service will become public. Utilizing the channels to spread the word about good experiences. And providing a psychological barrier for each stakeholder to deliver sub-par service. It’s tough to perform badly in public.
  • Enterprises will reverse their strategy from passively waiting for customer feedback to actively looking for it.
  • Customer Service will be moved (figuratively and literally) from the edges of the enterprise to the center. This will require organizational changes that will impact each division and stakeholder.

All these changes will finally help delivering on the promise of “Service as Marketing”.

It’s going to be an exciting 2011.