31 October 2011

Always the Last to Know: Tout

Fact 1:  Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
Fact 2:  We're rapidly approaching majority penetration of smart phones.
Fact 3:  Smart phones all include video cameras.

Enter Tout, which is basically Twitter for video. Tout lets you create short video status updates. Shaq is apparently a big fan.

28 October 2011

Friday Top 5

Snow this weekend? In DC? REALLY?

Ok, well, maybe.

But we all still need to panic, right? Top 5 Things I'm Doing to Prepare for Octsnowberfest:
  1. Bringing in the houseplants before they all freeze to death.
  2. Ensuring I have enough milk, eggs, and bourbon to make bourbon milk punch, our traditional snow storm cocktail.
  3. Harvesting the rest of the mint before it freezes, too.
  4. Closing the storm windows.
  5. Bringing in wood for the first fire of the season (glad I got the chimney cleaned two weeks ago!).

27 October 2011

Idea Swappin'

This week's Super Idea Swap at ASAE was great, as usual! We had lots of new faces - and plenty of familiar ones - and sessions with different topics than we often see.

I chose to participate in the session on diversity in the morning, led by Constance Thompson from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Clinton Anderson, from the American Psychological Association. In the afternoon, I participated in the session on generations in the workplace, led by David Miles from the Miles LeHane Companies.

My top takeaways included:
  • When pairing up mentors and padawans, stop putting like with like (Asian man with Asian man, Latina with Latina, etc.), and look at people's professional goals and who can best help them meet those goals.
  • Diversity is about how we're the same and different. Inclusion is about using diversity to make us and our organizations better.
  • DJ Johnson shared two great tools: the diversity wheel and the concept of the diversity paradigm by Roosevelt Thomas.
  • If you don't measure it, you can't change it - getting data from our audiences is key to becoming more diverse as organizations, but we have to be transparent about why we want the information to allay people's fears about sharing it.
  • We have to let people express the "who cares?" thoughts, since stifling those uncomfortable conversations helps no one.
  • Conflict is a sign of diverse voices, which, to a group that has been historically homogenous, feels threatening. 
  • The decisions of a heterogeneous group take longer, but tend to produce better outcomes.
  • "Do you know next?"
Edited 11/1/2011 to add: I forgot one great takeaway! ASAE is shifting focus from a laundry list of protected categories to talking about diversity and inclusion in terms of the way we think (culture, work style, learning style), the way we do things (process, teamwork, innovation), and the way we are (human factors, demographics, identity). LOVE!

26 October 2011

What I'm Reading

  • If innovation was easy, everyone would do it.
  • Having a hard time finding good staff? Maybe it's you.
  • Put those FB fans to work!
  • And then show them you care.
  • Offtopic post? So what?
  • Radical idea: just tell the truth.
  • Universal volunteering - an idea whose time has come?
  • I'm re-reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, which I last read as a teenager. It's a creepy dystopian novel that prefigures turning "citizens" into "consumers" and regulating all strong moods and emotions with drugs. If you've never read it, you really should.

25 October 2011

Always the Last to Know: PatientsLikeMe

I found this site because its creator won the TR 35 Humanitarian of the Year award.

Every year, MIT's Technology Review identifies 35 innovators under 35 whose ideas are transforming our world.

PatientsLikeMe brings together people who suffer from serious and chronic diseases to share information that improves treatment and their lives.

Each day, community members answer a simple question: how do you feel now? The combined answers are changing the way medical research into their diseases is conducted.

24 October 2011

Get Your Ideas Here!

A little out of order this week, but there's still time to register for the ASAE Super Swap idea swap, which goes down tomorrow, Tuesday, October 25, at ASAE.

For those who haven't been before, a Super Swap combines SIX idea swaps in one day. That's a lot of ideas!

Tomorrow's topics will include:
  • Direct mail
  • Communities of Practice
  • Diversity
  • Marketing 
  • Generational differences
  • Recruitment and retention
The program runs 9:30 am - 2 pm. Lunch is provided. And I'll be there as an ambassador for the Membership Development Committee, so if you have any questions or need any help with anything, look for the energetic redhead (I can say that because Cynthia D'Amour will NOT be there).

21 October 2011

Friday Top 5

Man, I have been running around like a maniac recently! Some travel has been for fun, some has been for work, but it feels like I've hardly been home since before #ASAE11!

Well, no more. I think - I think - I get to stay home for a while now. And much as I enjoy travel and spending time with members and my organization's corporate supporters and my friends and family, well...  --> --> -->

Top 5 Things That Are Great About Staying Put For A While:
  1. Getting reacquainted with my cat, who's been looking a little lonely recently
  2. Not only getting caught up on my house To Do list, but having time to putter as a result
  3. Baking bread and croissants and baguettes and muffins and cookies and pies...
  4. Visiting the farmer's market (thank heavens I had a CSA this year!)
  5. NOT having to pack. Again. I'm a lousy packer.
Image credit: erikazen

20 October 2011

More IGNITE Goodness

John Chen on How Twitter Saved His Life, for #ASAE11

Did you get the message that the IGNITE videos are all up? Go watch them!

19 October 2011

What I'm Reading

18 October 2011

What Do You Reward?

Novelty or loyalty?

We've all heard the come ons: switch your cable/cell/Internet/long distance provider and we'll give you gifts, or better pricing, or premium services for free, or whatever.

Everybody's always looking for new customers, right?

Association professionals should know better. But we don't. We know that a retained member is more valuable than a new member. We know how much more expensive it is to get a new member. We know how important member satisfaction is.

But who get the goodies?

New members - join now and you get free months, a free book, a free webinar, a free conference attendance, etc.

What if we rewarded loyalty instead?

What if you said: "As a thank you for your committee service last year, please choose any book in our bookstore."?

What if you offered buy 5 get the sixth for free on your conference attendance?

What if you sent out a letter that read: "Congratulations on ten years of continuous membership! Next year's on us!"?

How can you show the love to your most loyal supporters?

17 October 2011

Always the Last to Know: IDoneThis

OK, I haven't actually used this myself yet, but I recently heard Dan Pink speak, and he recommended it as a productivity tool, which seems like a pretty good recommendation to me. IDoneThis: "Get stuff done." Love that concise tagline. And I'm always on the lookout for tools to help me stay organized. Anyone used this? What do you think?

07 October 2011

Friday Top 5

As probably everyone knows by now, the tech world sustained a major loss this week in the passing of Steve Jobs. So this Friday, it's Steve's Top 5:
  1. The mouse
  2. The graphical user interface
  3. Pixar
  4. The first truly functional touch screen interface
  5. Never losing sight of the marriage of form and function
To quote Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Steve Jobs: visionary, innovator, magician.

That which is remembered is never truly gone.

(Back Monday, October 17 - I'm at my organization's fall conference next week. Also, today is the annual celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, which recognizes the contributions of women to IT.)

06 October 2011

ALMA Opens Its Eyes

This has nothing to do with association management, but it's really amazingly awesomely cool.

ALMA Opens Its Eyes from NRAO Outreach on Vimeo.

A friend of mine from grad school is a radio astronomer at NRAO, which is how I found out about this. Make sure you're paying close attention during minutes 3 and 4 for some amazing photos of far reaches of the universe.

05 October 2011

What I'm Reading

04 October 2011


No, Malcolm Gladwell, Facebook and Twitter did not *cause* the Arab Spring. But they sure as hell helped, and there's a fascinating article in the latest issue of MIT's Technology Review that details exactly how, thanks to interviews with the leaders of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions (go read the whole piece - seriously - and see if it doesn't give you goosebumps).

In the US, at least for now, we have the luxury of sitting around debating how, or even whether, to use these tools. I think association professionals need to be reminded of the power of community and unfettered communication. It's bigger than us, and our organizations, and our parochial concerns.

03 October 2011

Always the Last to Know: Canv.as

Chris Poole, the guy who invented 4chan, has come up with Canv.as, an online community that allows anonymous collaboration. Think of it as 4chan without all the naughty bits.

By the way, just in case you aren't convinced, he also won a TR35 "Top 35 Innovators under 35" award for it.