A new home for the KaneCo Conversations blog

January 7, 2010

As of 1/1/10, we’ve moved the Kane Consulting blog from this wordpress address to our website.

You can find it (and our latest post) here.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the blog, we hope you’ll consider subscribing to an RSS feed from the new location.

Thanks for your support.


Five Things Marketers Could Learn from Ashton Kutcher

December 11, 2009

I try to keep up on news in my industry, so it was with great interest that I read the latest cover story in Fast Company about fellow Twitter lover, Ashton Kutcher and his production company, Katalyst.

The cover provocatively asks if Kutcher could be “a new kind of media mogul.”

My answer?

Unequivocally.

As a strategist, I can recognize a solid and smart marketing process when I see one – and Kutcher’s is watertight:

  1. Be hot, famous and prolific in some key social media channels.
  2. Watch as step 1 generates a large following of gawkers and fans.
  3. Watch as steps 1 and 2 attract large corporate brands who want to sell stuff to hordes of gawkers and fans.
  4. Let those brands piggyback on, or co-opt the content within, the aforementioned channels.
  5. Monetize participation, release co-opted content to the aforementioned hordes and make beaucoup money.

As the article states, Kutcher intends to become, “the first next-generation media mogul,” using his own brand as a springboard and syndication system.

And, I have no doubt he’ll be successful at it.

But his strategy (heck, his whole company) is uniquely suited to capitalize on Kutcher’s stature, connections and lifestyle.

So where does this leave the rest of us whose personal brands aren’t so much springboards as they are teeny planks?

Me? I was never on a TV show. I’m not married to a celebrity. I have no pre-existing corporate endorsements. I’ve never punk’d Justin Timberlake so bad that he nearly cried (btw…that was a great episode, AK).

And yet, I’m working this space just as aggressively as Kutcher and his posse. And, I’m looking to magazines like Fast Company for ideas and inspiration on how to be successful in my own right.

Is there anything a regular lady from the Midwest like me can learn from “team Ashton?”

While the consensus online seems to be that Fast Company took a gigantic jump over a very attractive shark in writing this article, I still think the answer is “yes.”

1. Find your hook

I’ve got two words for you: trucker hat. Kutcher knows the value of a gimmick, a prank or a well-positioned must-have accessory, and he works that sucker for all its worth.

Do you have a “trucker hat” idea for your business?

  • Is your value prop that you “do good work?” (Congrats, that’s true for every other company in America too. What else you got?) Are you the “first,” the “best,” the “only,” or the “award-winning” anything?
  • Is your hook easy to identify, ubiquitous and a key player in every facet of your overall marketing strategy?
  • Will your hook translate well across multiple platforms and media spaces?

2. Mix the mediums

Social is not the end-all, be-all of marketing. Part of the key to the success of Kutcher’s company is that they are integrating content across multiple platforms, and seeding projects in television, movies and the Web.

Are you thinking outside of the social media box, too?

  • Are you creating marketing content that is snackable, portable and customizable across a range of platforms?
  • Are all your marketing channels designed to work together symbiotically?
  • Are you keeping an eye on emerging technologies so you can be the first to identify the new places where your clients or customers might want to play?

3. Pretty it up

Yeah, Kutcher’s good looks are doing him some favors in his race to “mogul-ness.” But, “be hotter” isn’t a real practical strategy for the rest of us to pursue. Perhaps a more tangible lesson we can learn from this former model is that working your looks is just as important as having them.

Is your company ready for its close-up?

  • Do you have a consistent and appealing visual identity across all your marketing platforms and spaces?
  • How is that headshot of yours holding up? (Is it reinforcing your brand, or is it just a so-so pic you shot with your laptop cam?)
  • Are you striking some awesome, “blue steel” marketing “poses” via your podcasts, video and writing?

4. Keep an eye on the Benjamins

Kutcher knows Hollywood, and he’s cannibalizing that world to build his new business model. One lesson we can learn from him (and that world), is that everything costs money. (In Hollywood, it takes a village to raise a celebrity…and all those villagers need to get paid.)

Are you ready to capitalize on your new media investments?

  • Are you approaching your contacts and pitching unique marketing partnerships where you can share the work and the wealth?
  • Do you have clear strategies in place for ensuring that the content you give away will come back to you as revenue down the road?
  • Have you identified some companies who are doing this well? Are you tracking their every move and taking copious notes?

5. Enjoy yourself

For all we know, Ashton Kutcher could be reading Ayn Rand books in his spare time. But in public, the AK brand is all about having fun. And you know what? People loooove to have fun, and they are attracted to other people having fun. Marketing doesn’t get any more simple than that.

Are you having any fun?

  • Do people enjoy reading/watching/listening to your marketing? (Um…do you?) Is it interesting? Provocative? Funny?
  • Are you enthusiastic about what you do? Are you letting that enthusiasm bleed into and invigorate your brand?
  • Are you remembering to break a few rules now and again?

Ultimately, Ashton is an anomaly…

So it doesn’t really matter if he’s the “first next-generation media mogul,” or not.

Really, the more interesting question is…

…who will be the second?




Social Media Monitoring and Measurement – A Customized Recipe.

December 1, 2009

A few weeks ago, Jennifer and I had the opportunity to participate in a master class with one of the PR industry’s most widely respected thought leaders, Brian Solis.

Among the plethora of smart ideas he presented, one topic was near and dear to my heart…social media monitoring.

Since I joined Kane Consulting, I’ve researched and experimented with the slew of tools that have been created to automatically monitor and measure conversations taking place across social media, and quite frankly, was coming up short.

I began creating my own systems – using one tool here, another there, going straight to the source here – hunting, pecking, uncovering, and analyzing gobs of data until it started to paint an accurate picture. And, generally after days of research for a particular client or project I’d be asking myself – is this worth it? Am I supposed to be putting this much time into all of this? Am I missing a better solution?

Well, my methods were validated as I sat in my seat listening to Brian Solis deliver his presentation.

Social media measurement is not standardized. It is customized.

Here’s where we come back to strategy. The how and what you monitor and measure must be in line with your strategic goals. And, one client’s goal or definition of success is not the same as another client’s.

We can run numbers and data on just about anything, but if it’s not in line with what you’re trying to achieve, so what and who cares?

The answer to “so what” and “who cares” is where the customization comes into play. It’s where the work begins. Where meaningful benchmarks are set; goals are established, and the distance between is measured and evaluated for progress and improvement.

Think about the end product, combine the right ingredients, taste, tweak, repeat.

This is the piece that no tool, no matter how sophisticated, can do for us.

Want it done right? Go to the source and do it yourself.

The online world is full of various social media search engines. As with any technology, some work better than others. They are quick, convenient, and can give us gobs of data.

Guess what, folks… these engines are no Google (and even Google is still working to perfect their own social search solution). The exact science behind social search is still being defined. Take a closer look, and you’ll see that each engine has its own algorithms, and will return results differently. If you want to use social search tools or software to click and create a report, be prepared to go through the results with a careful eye before passing it along (unless of course, you don’t anticipate anyone else reading it or using it to take any action, in which case, you better re-think your strategy).

Another tip I gathered from the PR master class with Brian Solis is that the most accurate data is found directly at the source. (This is no secret, right? If you want to know what time your friend’s party starts, do you ask the friend, or a search engine?)

Sure, it takes a little more time. And yes, you’ll need to dump the data into your own spreadsheet, weed out things that don’t apply and then run reports by hand. But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s worth the extra effort to have the most accurate data from which to measure progress and make strategic decisions.


TWEETWALLS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE "YO MAMA IS SOOO UGLY…"

November 23, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you: The Tweetwall – the hottest new accessory for events in the digital age.

If you haven’t seen one yet, give it time. They’re quickly becoming ubiquitous.

(How ubiquitous? How about the fact that you can now tweet prayers to appear in an aggregated feed for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?)

For those of you who are new to the concept, a Tweetwall is a projection of an aggregated; auto-refreshing conversational feed, that’s often occurring simultaneously as a real-time event or gathering.

As an events tool, Tweetwalls make a lot of sense.

Increasingly events have “back channel” conversations that are equally as compelling as the “front channel” ones. Incorporating a Tweetwall into the experience allows you to marry these on-line and offline conversations and connections.

Additionally, live streaming, social networking and virtual reality have begun to blur the distinction between being virtually present at an events and actually being there in the flesh. A Tweetwall is an excellent way to give your virtual friends a seat at the table too.

But, like any other technology advancement, there is a wrong and a right way to use a Tweetwall.

Before you jump in, here are some tips to help you avoid making any rookie mistakes.

Tweeters + Speakers = Not a Match Made in Heaven

The first exposure most of us have with Tweetwalls are at conferences or workshops where the feed is being projected behind a live presenter.

At first glance, this seems like a natural and smart move.

But as one who’s coordinated, watched and presented in front of Tweetwalls for over a year, let me be explicitly clear on one thing. In my opinion…

Tweetwalls do not belong behind presenters.

Never.

Never ever.

It’s an ineffective logistics choice from many perspectives:

  • If you have one presenter competing for focus with a wall of moving images, the wall will win every time. The images effectively neuter the presenter and dim the volume on any words that come out of their mouth.
  • By giving the audience play-by-play equal standing as the presenter’s words, you are creating an environment that nurtures a horde of armchair Simon Cowells – each one free to lob critiques at a “performer” who has no idea they are being publicly judged and no ability to defend themselves (as the comments are often appearing literally, behind their back.)
  • Presenters – especially solo presenters — can’t talk, and read your real-time feedback on their talk, simultaneously. And increasingly they are facing rooms full of people who are looking down and typing, so it’s impossible for them to distinguish who is unhappy with the presentation and who is just IMing their friend. If you hate the session, be a grown-up and just walk out. That’s a clue that every presenter can understand.
  • Even if your audience is professional about their tweets, all it takes is for one person to highjack your hashtag and say something inappropriate on your big screen (such as “you suck, get your fat ass off the stage.”*) for you to have a PR nightmare on your hands. Sadly, anonymity tends to breed brutishness in audiences, and a cutting remark never remains alone in a feed for long.
  • Even if a presenter stinks, we should honor the fact that it takes connections to land the gig, time and skills to build the presentation and guts to get up on stage. Any presenter, whether they are good or bad, deserves the time and space to present their materials without a wall of “co-presenters” metaphorically jumping in to add their comments very 10 seconds.

Good Places for a Tweetwall

Make no mistake, I think that Tweetwalls belong at events…just not behind the speakers.

So what’s a better way to use them?

  • Place Tweetwalls within other areas of your event space so they can be accessed without pulling focus from your programming (such as hallways and lounge spaces).
  • Tweetwalls are a great feature for events where there is no formal programming (like an open house or party). In these cases, the wall provides a natural and dynamic center of attention and hub for on and off line conversation.
  • Get away from the “wall” concept and focus on creating other forums where you can aggregate event conversations. For instance, dedicate a page of your event website to the feed or create a conference-specific mobile app that will allow people to observe and engage wherever they are.

No matter what format you choose, just make sure your Tweetwall strategy is a solid one:

  • Your Tweetwall should be set up to auto refresh, so it is self-maintaining.
  • Your Tweetwall can (and should) be visually branded to match your company or event. (It is a communications tools like any other you would employ.)
  • Your Tweetwall feed should be monitored, (essentially you are inviting people to participate in a dialogue within your brand space – you don’t have to moderate the conversation, but it’s good business sense to at least know what it consisted of.)

You don’t have to do all this leg work yourselves. My friends at Clockwork Active Media Systems recently build a new tool called tweetwally that can do a lot of this work for you. I highly recommend checking it out.

Don’t Forget: Tweetwalls Never Die

It’s tempting to think of Tweetwalls in one-off terms: you build it, post it and then shut it down when the event is over.

But the reality is that your Tweetwall feed is full of valuable content that will continue to live online long after your event has been put to pasture.

So give some thought to how you can mine and capitalize on this content:

  • Are you reviewing the feed post-event and following back anyone who chimed in the conversation whom you didn’t already know?
  • Are you capturing quotes from the feed that you could use for future marketing purposes?
  • Are you following up with anyone who made disgruntled comments to let them know that their voices were heard?
  • Are you generating any post-event blog posts to address the “uber” dialogue that you see running through the feed?
  • Are you pulling out constructive criticism from the feed and relaying it back to your presenter(s) in a format that will help them to improve their presenting skills?
  • Are you shifting the conversation over to a future event’s hashtag so you can effectively end this conversation and begin another?

Tweetwalls are undeniably cool. And I believe they signal the beginning of a natural evolution to a future where events will have indistinguishable on and offline experience.

Just be sure to use them strategically.

Virtual sticks and stones also break no bones, but a mismanaged Tweetwall can certainly hurt you.

*Sadly, this is an actual tweet I saw displayed during someone’s presentation.


TWEETWALLS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE “YO MAMA IS SOOO UGLY…”

November 23, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you: The Tweetwall – the hottest new accessory for events in the digital age.

If you haven’t seen one yet, give it time. They’re quickly becoming ubiquitous.

(How ubiquitous? How about the fact that you can now tweet prayers to appear in an aggregated feed for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?)

For those of you who are new to the concept, a Tweetwall is a projection of an aggregated; auto-refreshing conversational feed, that’s often occurring simultaneously as a real-time event or gathering.

As an events tool, Tweetwalls make a lot of sense.

Increasingly events have “back channel” conversations that are equally as compelling as the “front channel” ones. Incorporating a Tweetwall into the experience allows you to marry these on-line and offline conversations and connections.

Additionally, live streaming, social networking and virtual reality have begun to blur the distinction between being virtually present at an events and actually being there in the flesh. A Tweetwall is an excellent way to give your virtual friends a seat at the table too.

But, like any other technology advancement, there is a wrong and a right way to use a Tweetwall.

Before you jump in, here are some tips to help you avoid making any rookie mistakes.

Tweeters + Speakers = Not a Match Made in Heaven

The first exposure most of us have with Tweetwalls are at conferences or workshops where the feed is being projected behind a live presenter.

At first glance, this seems like a natural and smart move.

But as one who’s coordinated, watched and presented in front of Tweetwalls for over a year, let me be explicitly clear on one thing. In my opinion…

Tweetwalls do not belong behind presenters.

Never.

Never ever.

It’s an ineffective logistics choice from many perspectives:

  • If you have one presenter competing for focus with a wall of moving images, the wall will win every time. The images effectively neuter the presenter and dim the volume on any words that come out of their mouth.
  • By giving the audience play-by-play equal standing as the presenter’s words, you are creating an environment that nurtures a horde of armchair Simon Cowells – each one free to lob critiques at a “performer” who has no idea they are being publicly judged and no ability to defend themselves (as the comments are often appearing literally, behind their back.)
  • Presenters – especially solo presenters — can’t talk, and read your real-time feedback on their talk, simultaneously. And increasingly they are facing rooms full of people who are looking down and typing, so it’s impossible for them to distinguish who is unhappy with the presentation and who is just IMing their friend. If you hate the session, be a grown-up and just walk out. That’s a clue that every presenter can understand.
  • Even if your audience is professional about their tweets, all it takes is for one person to highjack your hashtag and say something inappropriate on your big screen (such as “you suck, get your fat ass off the stage.”*) for you to have a PR nightmare on your hands. Sadly, anonymity tends to breed brutishness in audiences, and a cutting remark never remains alone in a feed for long.
  • Even if a presenter stinks, we should honor the fact that it takes connections to land the gig, time and skills to build the presentation and guts to get up on stage. Any presenter, whether they are good or bad, deserves the time and space to present their materials without a wall of “co-presenters” metaphorically jumping in to add their comments very 10 seconds.

Good Places for a Tweetwall

Make no mistake, I think that Tweetwalls belong at events…just not behind the speakers.

So what’s a better way to use them?

  • Place Tweetwalls within other areas of your event space so they can be accessed without pulling focus from your programming (such as hallways and lounge spaces).
  • Tweetwalls are a great feature for events where there is no formal programming (like an open house or party). In these cases, the wall provides a natural and dynamic center of attention and hub for on and off line conversation.
  • Get away from the “wall” concept and focus on creating other forums where you can aggregate event conversations. For instance, dedicate a page of your event website to the feed or create a conference-specific mobile app that will allow people to observe and engage wherever they are.

No matter what format you choose, just make sure your Tweetwall strategy is a solid one:

  • Your Tweetwall should be set up to auto refresh, so it is self-maintaining.
  • Your Tweetwall can (and should) be visually branded to match your company or event. (It is a communications tools like any other you would employ.)
  • Your Tweetwall feed should be monitored, (essentially you are inviting people to participate in a dialogue within your brand space – you don’t have to moderate the conversation, but it’s good business sense to at least know what it consisted of.)

You don’t have to do all this leg work yourselves. My friends at Clockwork Active Media Systems recently build a new tool called tweetwally that can do a lot of this work for you. I highly recommend checking it out.

Don’t Forget: Tweetwalls Never Die

It’s tempting to think of Tweetwalls in one-off terms: you build it, post it and then shut it down when the event is over.

But the reality is that your Tweetwall feed is full of valuable content that will continue to live online long after your event has been put to pasture.

So give some thought to how you can mine and capitalize on this content:

  • Are you reviewing the feed post-event and following back anyone who chimed in the conversation whom you didn’t already know?
  • Are you capturing quotes from the feed that you could use for future marketing purposes?
  • Are you following up with anyone who made disgruntled comments to let them know that their voices were heard?
  • Are you generating any post-event blog posts to address the “uber” dialogue that you see running through the feed?
  • Are you pulling out constructive criticism from the feed and relaying it back to your presenter(s) in a format that will help them to improve their presenting skills?
  • Are you shifting the conversation over to a future event’s hashtag so you can effectively end this conversation and begin another?

Tweetwalls are undeniably cool. And I believe they signal the beginning of a natural evolution to a future where events will have indistinguishable on and offline experience.

Just be sure to use them strategically.

Virtual sticks and stones also break no bones, but a mismanaged Tweetwall can certainly hurt you.

*Sadly, this is an actual tweet I saw displayed during someone’s presentation.


The Top Five Essentials for a Successful Company Twitterfeed.

November 4, 2009

It’s started.

Companies everywhere seem to have received the “We gotta be on Twitter!” memo and are swarming to the application to fire up a feed.

But does anyone care?

Since I’m a “heavy tweeter” and follow a lot of people, I seem to be on the radar of many of these corporate feeds.

The number of corporate followers I get seems to double each week. While the amount of time I have to vet each follower is growing smaller.

As result, I’ve developed a Twitter litmus test to help me decide which companies I should follow back.

Corporate marketers? Take note:

1. Is Your Company’s Twitter Profile Complete?

Your Twitter profile is your company’s online business card. Make it an effective one.

  • Include a picture. It’s O.K. if that picture is your company’s logo. Just make sure it’s a version of the logo that looks good on multiple color backgrounds. I view my Twitter stream in Tweetdeck against a black background. If you use a gray logo with a transparent background as your avatar, I will literally never see your tweets going by.
  • Tell us where you’re located. I make it a point to follow local companies. Leave off your locale and you could be missing the opportunity to transfer the Twitter conversation to a face-to-face forum.
  • Write a keyword-rich, informative company description. Don’t waste this valuable (and searchable) real estate with dippy slogans like, “We work hard, but have fun too!” or obtuse mission statements like,  “Creating authentic experiences for consumers.” I want to know, in a glance, what you do and if it’s relevant to my business.
  • Include a URL. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a link to your corporate website. But it does have to be a link to a location that will provide me with more detailed information on what it is that your company does.

2. Does Your Twitter Profile Show Your Company Having Conversations with Actual People?

When I’m vetting a company, the Twitter profile page is an invaluable research tool.

  • Do you have hundreds of followers, but follow none of your clients or customers back? (My first impression? You don’t seem like a very nice person to do business with.)
  • Do you follow a ton of people, but have no followers in return? (My first impression? You probably post some pretty boring tweets.)
  • Is your feed full of posts, but includes no @ replies? (My first impression? You like to talk…just not to us.)
  • Is your feed full of @ replies, but no posts? (My first impression? You don’t have much to say, so you use gratuitous, “Me too!” and “LOL” comments to make your company appear “engaged.”)
  • Is your feed full of retweets? (My first impression? You have nothing original to say, so you repeat others’ tweets so you can appear relevant in the space.)

3. Is There a Sense of Human Voice in Your Twitterfeed’s Content?

Nearly all the companies that I see jumping on the Twitter bandwagon are under the mistaken impression that it’s the world’s cheapest and fastest broadcast medium.

Couldn’t be further from the truth, my friends.

If I want to know all about your company’s news and hear how awesome you are, I will go look at your website. If I want to engage with you and learn more about why your business may be relevant to mine, I will go to Twitter.

You need to have something interesting to share with me when I arrive.

You wouldn’t just walk around a cocktail party distributing promotional flyers and call that effective networking. Treat your twitterfeed the same way.

Ask questions. Be helpful. Throw your two cents into conversations. And most importantly, give me a sense that there’s a person behind the Twitter curtain.

I don’t care if that person works in marketing, PR, or the C-suite. I just need to know that they are a human.

4. Does Your Company Use Twitter to “Sell” or to “Brand?”

What is your social media content strategy? If you don’t have one, don’t be surprised if you don’t see a big return on your Twitter investment.

Write your tweets so they sound like the sponsorship messages you hear on public radio, not the ads you hear on a Clear Channel station.

Go ahead and mention your company. Share with us what you do and how you feel about the work, (Feelings? In business communications? Why yes!) and ask people questions about their businesses in return.

Structure your content so that the process of sharing and “telling” your story also serves as the “selling” of your company.

5. Does Your Company Respond to Followers and Follow Backs in a Genuine Manner?

I met a really great business contact recently and had some lovely face-to-face discussions with him. Shortly thereafter, I looked him up on Twitter and started following his company (he manages their feed).

In response to my follow, I received an auto-generated direct message with a generic “thanks for the follow” and an offer for me to download “an exclusive whitepaper which could help me double my follower count overnight!

Needless to say, this person is no longer one of my business contacts.

If I meet you, and you know my name, but you treat me like an anonymous cog when you reach out to me through social media channels, I will treat your business like an anonymous cog in return.

Treat your clients and customers like you’ve had a dirty one-night stand with them, and you’ll see a whole other side of Twitter’s power – a side that has the ability to break your company’s reputation just as easily as make it.


Saying Goodbye to the MIMA Summit

October 19, 2009

Like a recent high school grad packing up to go to college, the process of putting to bed my fourth and final MIMA Summit has been one tinged with nostalgia, laughter and some sadness (but surprisingly, few regrets).

From my first Summit back in 2006, (Me to MIMA: “Can I see the budget?” MIMA to me: “Um…budget?”) to watching a crowd of over 1,000 people geek out to Seth Godin a few weeks ago, it’s been a long and exciting journey.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way…

1. User Experience Doesn’t Just Apply to the Web

In my world, “users” live on and off line. Anytime I create an experience that someone is going to interact with, explore and well, live within, I call that a “user experience.”

And when it comes to planning events, creating a good user experience is my number one priority.

Think about it, the best events (like the best web sites) are designed in such a way that you don’t even know why you like them, you just do.

It’s the little touches and attention to pre-event details that make that happen.

Before each event, my team and I walk through each step of the day with the user/attendee in mind…

Photo courtsey of TKA Photography

Photo courtsey of TKA Photography

  • What door will they walk through when they arrive?
  • Should there be a sign there?
  • How big should the sign be?
  • Will the facility be O.K. if we mount a sign or do we need to have them supply us with an easel?
  • If we need an easel, how much will the facility charge us for it?
  • Will our budget allow for that?

And so on…

Multiply this process by hundreds of decisions, and you can see why this process is labor intensive, but also critical to each event’s success.

2. Fortune Favors the Brave

Since my client has been a rotating cast of MIMA board volunteers, it would have been pretty easy to play nice and produce a safe and tidy event year after year.

Unfortunately, “safe and tidy” hold little interest for me.

Each year, I brought some big ideas and goals to the MIMA table and fought hard to gamble on taking the more difficult road in order to achieve the bigger success.

My pitch to MIMA?

“I’ll handle the guts, and you guys will get the glory. Please, just trust me.”

And you know what?

For the most part, they did…year after year.

So thank you MIMA. I am tough and I push. But I also know that you’re sitting at the top of a much higher hill than when I started working with you back in 2006, so it wasn’t all for naught.

3. The Bigger They Come, the Softer They Fall

I’ve dealt with hundreds of speakers while producing the Summit. And I’ve seen my fair share of douchebags and divas from among their ranks.

Interestingly, the speakers who cause the most ruckuses are the ones I never expect to be a problem. The more famous they are, the nicer they end up being (yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Godin. You are a delightful and quirky little dude).

If I’ve learned anything about working with speakers who are “internet celebrities,” it’s that you need to watch out for the mid-level fame chasers.

(That, and, the end of the day, everyone still needs to have access to a bathroom before they go on stage.)

4. Technology and Conferences Were Made to Be BFF

One of the best parts of producing the Summit was the opportunity to create experiences for people who love technology.

Since this playing field is constantly changing, it’s been hard work to keep up and keep it relevant. And it’s forced me to look at tools not just as pretty cherries that we can plop on top of the Summit experience, but as vehicles for increasing dialogue, interaction and the exchange of information.

It’s been a challenge, but I must admit, I’ve loved every geeky minute of it.

The intersection of on and offline experiences via events is a rapidly emerging playing field and I intend to keep my company firmly in the center of the all excitement in the years ahead.

5. You Can’t Do It Alone

Here’s the truth, 2006 Summit presenters…you didn’t meet me in person when you spoke at that Summit because I couldn’t walk.

(Yep. I ran that sucker flat on my back with a spinal cord injury, on the floor of little room in the corner of the Depot.)

Want to know how I pulled it off?

I got peeps.

I’ve probably worked with over 100 volunteers in my four years of planning the Summit. And I owe each and every one of them my thanks for helping me get the job done.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to the people who’ve signed up for multiple tours of Summit duty: Kary Delaria, Andrew Banas, Nate Mueller, Jackie and Brian Johnson from Fresh Color Press, Story Tellers Media & Communications and past and present MIMA board members Kelly Burkhart, Kristina Halvorson, Julie Vollenweider and Matt Wilson.

Bonus lesson: People don’t read programs.

Seriously. What’s with that?

That’s all….my big revelations and remembrances from four years of Summit excitement.

Thanks to everyone involved with the conferences for the memories, the support and even the bitchy survey results (I read every last one of them).

Good luck to MIMA on their plans for the 2010 event and don’t worry about me folks….

…me and my peeps? We’re just getting started.