29 April 2011

Friday Top 5

This weekend, I'll be performing in Under a Desert Moon with my belly dancing company (Raquettes Badia) from the studio where I take lessons (Sahara Dance). Sahara puts on shows three times a year, but UDM is the BIG one: four shows over two days in an actual theater with professional lighting and whatnot. Top 5 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  1. Getting to dance with a fab group of women I've been privileged to work with for the past 4 months.
  2. Seeing if I can duplicate the gorgeous stage makeup KiKi L'Italien showed me how to create in March.
  3. Seeing my folks (it's not a recital if your mommy isn't there).
  4. Getting to perform our piece more than once. You spend 4 months learning choreography, you want to do it more than once.
  5. The cast party at Guapos Sunday night. Margaritas all around!
I think there are still tickets available, so if you're free Saturday or Sunday afternoon or evening and want to see some awesome belly dancers shake it, come on out!

28 April 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another post in my irregular series, "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody."
"The military often talks about 'shared awareness,' which is the ability of many different people and groups to understand a situation, and to understand who else has the same understanding....Shared awareness allows otherwise uncoordinated groups to begin to work together more quickly and effectively."

Shirky, chapter 7, page 165
Shirky uses the example of: we both see a fire, one of us grabs an extinguisher while the other calls 911. But that's a fairly easy situation to understand, with a clear course of action. Same thing if, say, your significant other cuts his finger while preparing dinner. And, of course, with the military, people not only have a shared understanding, they also have shared training. You see the same sort of thing with a team of medical people in the ER or operating room. And we've had recent experience with large-scale shared understanding (facilitated by social media) with the uprising in Egypt.

I find myself wondering how this might apply to associations. Certainly, our members should have the basis for shared understanding at some level: after all, they must have something in common that made them want to associate in the first place. But how often does this kind of spontaneous action happen? In my experience, not very often. That, in turn, makes me wonder why. Is there something structural that prevents this? Member apathy? Control issues by staff, boards, and/or committees? Something else?

Has your association experienced something spontaneous happening as a result of shared understanding among the members? If so, what was it? If not, why do you think that is?

27 April 2011

What I'm Reading

26 April 2011

ISO Presentation Magic

Through some poor planning on my part, I find myself giving three presentations to three different groups on three different topics in three different configurations (one solo, one with a co-presenter, one as a facilitator/presenter with two other people) within the space of a month.

To try to keep from boring my audiences, my co-presenters or myself to tears, I'm looking for clever ideas I can work in. IGNITE and Pecha Kucha are probably not options for these - I do need PPT slides, and takeaways, and handouts.

Assuming you're constrained by typical presentation format, what are your favorite tips for spicing things up a bit?

25 April 2011

Always the Last to Know: nPower PEG

OK, this is more of a gadget than a technology, but it still seems pretty cool to me. The nPower PEG is a Personal Energy Generator that uses your kinetic energy to charge your devices. Aka, you can charge your smart phone while you walk. Seems to me that it would be really useful when you're at a conference where you're using your smart phone a lot, wall plugs might be in short supply, you're inside (so you can't use solar), and you're doing a lot of walking around the convention center.

22 April 2011

Friday Top 5

I'm out of here this weekend to help my niece celebrate her fourth birthday. My brother, Dorkman, and his wife, the lovely Ms. Dorkman, live in the middle of nowhere (not exactly my usual stomping grounds), at the end of an extremely dull 5 hour drive down I-81. But it's still so fun to see them and their 3 kids. The Top 5 Things That are Great about Visiting the Nieces and Nephews:
  1. The change of pace is nice, at least for a few days.
  2. The lovely Ms. Dorkman plans AMAZING themed parties for the kids. Can't wait to see what she's come up with this time.
  3. I view gift-giving as a competitive sport, and I'm in it to win it! Case in point: fairy wings for my Tinkerbell-obsessed niece.
  4. Being an auntie is great - my only job is to spoil the kids.
  5. I have no kids of my own, so there's no danger of paybacks (see above point).

21 April 2011

How Awesome Is That?

The Awesome Foundation, launched in Boston, but rapidly spreading to other cities (including DC) has as its mission:

Forwarding the interest of Awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time.

How does it work? They award a $1000 grant every month to the most awesome, crazy, brilliant idea submitted. Again, quoting from their website:
Projects range across a wide spectrum, from public artwork to mobile applications to scientific experiments.
Their blog talks in more detail about projects that have been funded, among other things.

And the application process is really simple. They advise you be as specific as possible, and they like ideas that bring communities together, sparking joy and hope for the future.

Got an awesome idea? What are you waiting for - go apply!

20 April 2011

What I'm Reading

Forget what I'm reading this week - I want to know what you're reading!

My RSS feeds are feeling a little stale. What great blogs are on your feeds that I don't know about?

Don't tell me John Haydon or ReadWriteWeb or Amber Naslund or Copy Blogger - they're already there.

Maybe it's a great DC neighborhood blog I don't know about, or a literary food blog, or a humor blog that never fails to crack you up on a tough day, or your favorite music blogger, or a friend who writes biting political commentary - lay it on me!

19 April 2011

User Innovation in Practice

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the concept of user innovation versus producer innovation.

As a follow up, I thought it might be fun to share a small example of user innovation in practice.

One of the hats I wear at NACHRI is to fill our exhibit hall and keep our exhibitors happy.

You know what keeps exhibitors happy? Traffic.

So we're always looking for ways to increase traffic. And I love to "borrow" good ideas from other places. One thing I noticed a lot of shows do to drive traffic in the exhibit hall is various types of exhibit hall games for drawings. So we instituted an exhibit hall passport game, drawing for one big prize (we've done a Wii, a Nook, and an iPad to date) and some smaller prizes.

Another thing we do after every show is survey our exhibitors about the experiences. The three most important questions we ask are:
  • Please rank your overall satisfaction with the show.
  • How likely are you to exhibit with us again?
  • If there was ONE thing we could do make your show experience better, what would it be?
In the fall, one of our exhibitors indicated that, while he liked the passport game because it did bring people to his booth, many of them only wanted to get their passport stamp and move on. He asked if we could maybe set it up as a trivia game, where you had to get the answer to question from each participating exhibitor. So we did.

Result? About 1/3 of our exhibitors generally participate in the game, and our recent spring conference was no exception. But 85% of our spring conference survey respondents said they'll participate next time because of the meaningful exchanges they either experienced with attendees themselves or watched other exhibitors having around the cards this time.

What great ideas are lurking out there among the users of your products and services? Have you asked them recently?

18 April 2011

Always the Last to Know: What YOU Think

All right, T4P readers, I'm turning today's post over to you: what's the coolest, most interesting piece of technology (broadly defined - doesn't have to have anything to do with social media unless you want it to) you've encountered recently? Time to share your finds with the rest of us...

I'll go first: French Quarter Fest app (available for both iPhone and Android). It is really well designed: it allowed you to easily construct a personalized schedule, find out "what's playing now?" at any given time, connect with performers' online platforms (for those who cared to share, and yes, Amanda Shaw is now following me back on Twitter!), locate stages, find out about the food and beverage offerings, follow the hashtag - it even included an "encore flame." All for 99 cents. Money well-spent.

15 April 2011

Friday Top 5

Tomorrow I'm once again leading a (small) team from NACHRI to participate in the Greater DC Cares spring Servathon. The Top 5 Things that are Awesome about GDCC:
  1. They're entirely locally focused (which is a major plus in my book).
  2. They sponsor 3 major service events each year (spring Servathon, September 11 National Day of Service, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day National Day of Service) that mobilize thousands of people to work together to make positive changes in our community.
  3. They do all sorts of projects, but they have a heavy focus on public schools and DC public schools in particular.
  4. They provide year-round nonprofit board training (did you know that?).
  5. They provide year-round volunteer opportunities of all types and durations in the DC Metro area.

Although general registration for the event has ended, they are still looking for help for 3 particular projects. Can you give 4 hours on a Saturday morning to help your community?

14 April 2011

What are you selling?

Great tweet from @associationinc:

Can you describe what you're selling your members in a sentence, or does it take a 3 page fold-out brochure?

13 April 2011

What I'm Reading

Short list this week since I was on vacation for most of it.
  • 6 things social media sites need to stop doing. Does your association do any of these to your members?
  • Simple steps to social media risk mitigation.
  • Looking for a job and don't mind relocating? The government of the UK is looking for a "Twitter czar." 
  • Jamie Notter urges us to play hockey in our organizations, not golf. 
  • I read Blindsight at the recommendation of Lisa Junker on vacation. Dystopian sci-fi (a favorite genre of mine) and a fascinating book. Bonus points to author Peter Watts for including an appendix explaining all the science in the sci- part. I've just started Delirium by Laura Restrepo. It has rapidly shifting perspectives, but I'm starting to hear each character's voice clearly enough that I'm keeping up, and so far the story - of a woman who loses her mind, how she got there and the people around here - is compelling.

12 April 2011

Innovation Requires Risk


07 April 2011

Speaking of Unplugging...

I'm doing exactly that for the next several days while I'm at French Quarter Fest. Back next week!

Image Credit: French Quarter Festival site linked above 

06 April 2011

What I'm Reading

  • 3 questions that will kill your innovation efforts before they even start.
  • How to make sure you don't turn into a douchebag once you're the boss.
  • Want to write better? Edit, edit, edit.
  • How much should "influence" influence your customer service?
  • Has StumbleUpon stumbled upon the way to reliably make money as a social media platform, or will users come to feel duped?
  • Drawn into an online argument? Better know the rules.
  • Why ROI shouldn't be your only - or even your primary - measure of social media success.
  • Just finished Origin last night. It was terrific. I haven't started my next book yet, but it's likely to be blindsight by Peter Watts, at the recommendation of the fabulous Lisa Junker.

05 April 2011

Association TRENDS Salary Survey

Association TRENDS has recently launched their annual salary survey, and they need your (well, technically, your HR director's) help.

The annual Compensation Report looks at trends in compensation across over 100 different nonprofit jobs, and Association TRENDS provides not just the title but the description, so you can be sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Participation is free, and if you participate you can get a copy of the full results for $129.

Obviously, the more associations that participate, the better the data, so you know what to do.

04 April 2011

Always the Last to Know: Square

Selling a couch on Craigslist and wish you could accept credit card payment? Now you can, thanks to Square.  And all you need is a cell phone.

01 April 2011

Friday Top 5

Last night, the spouse and I saw Mike Daisey perform "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" at Woolly Mammoth. If you're in DC, it is a MUST-SEE show.

A little background: Daisey is a storyteller/monologist who has taken on all sorts of topics in his one-man shows, many of which I've seen at Woolly over the last several years.

In this show, Daisey speaks about his (and our) lust for all thing technological and the human cost it extracts, viewed through the lens of Apple fandom and the history of the company (and Jobs).

This Friday's Top 5 is in honor of the show: the Top 5 Things I Learned About Apple (caveat: other electronics companies are equally guilty, but Apple was the focus of this show):
  1. Most Apple devices are assembled by human hand in Shenzhen, China, where, to quote Daisey: "The cost of labor is effectively zero."
  2. iPhones cost $.84 to assemble. By hand.
  3. Apple devices are assembled using child labor.
  4. There's been a rash of suicides among the workers who labor in sweatshop conditions to make iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs.
  5. Workers who are discovered trying to unionize in China are sentenced to prison. For life.
So what can you do? Daisey doesn't recommend throwing out all your computers (remember, it's not just Apple at fault) and becoming a Luddite. What he recommends is a campaign similar to the one directed at Nike to get them to end sweatshop practices. He also recommends that we all be more thoughtful and aware consumers of technology.

See what Woz had to say after he saw the show.

Edited to add: Woolly just posted the "what can I do?" flier that was handed out at the end of the show online. Yes, I plan to email Steve Jobs this weekend.